How to Create a Mediterranean Style Antipasto Platter

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When it comes to hosting a dinner party, I’m pretty sure there is nothing better than starting the evening off with a giant antipasto platter to kick the night off! I mean what is more welcoming than providing an abundant platter of delicious bites for your friends and family to gather around and enjoy while waiting for dinner? It immediately creates an intimate and relaxed atmosphere plus it buys you a few extra minutes to finish preparing the rest of the meal or beverages!

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I absolutely love filling my antipasto platter with only the freshest of Mediterranean style ingredients that are just as beautiful as they are delicious! And the best part of this course is that it is simple and quick to throw together! Most of the ingredients can be store-bought, so all you need to do is arrange it on the platter, cover and refrigerate, and then bring it out when your first guest arrives! Easy peasy!

So we know this is super easy to throw together, but let’s talk about what we should actually include on the platter!

Keep it simple and colorful and offer a large variety of sliced meats, cheeses, and marinated vegetables. Some of my favorite additions to a Mediterranean style platter are:

  • Marinated artichokes
  • Hummus
  • Roasted red bell peppers
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Marinated feta cheese
  • Marinated olives
  • Sweet Pickles
  • Roasted almonds
  • Dried fruit
  • Fresh Mozzarella
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Assorted deli meats (salami, turkey, prosciutto)
  • Tabouli

Oh and don’t forget the most important part! A large selection of pita breads, breadsticks, and crackers for dipping! YUM!

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Antipasto platters are the perfect way to get people mingling and the conversation rolling. Incorporate one into your next dinner party or gathering and I promise you will not be disappointed!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

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Hummus is an absolute staple in my household! I mean, I literally LOVE it!  I am always sampling different types in the store, so I finally started experimenting with it in my own kitchen. And let me tell you – it is way better homemade and even easier to make than you would expect! Keep Reading!

Wedding Wednesday: Budget Guideline

When you first get engaged it’s easy to start thinking about all the incredible details that will make up the most important day of your life so far. You begin imagining the flowers, the venue, the food, the band, all the amazingly fun decisions you will make over the next year! However, before you jump in too fast and start all your planning meetings, it’s important to first create a budget and have some of those (unfortunately) uncomfortable conversations with your significant other and both sets of parents, or whoever is helping foot the bill. 

Traditionally, the bride’s family is responsible for a majority of the wedding reception (with the exception of the liquor/bar, bride’s wedding ring, officiant, flowers for the bride and her family to hold/wear, and oftentimes the photographer) and the groom’s family is responsible for the rehearsal dinner, marriage license, and the honeymoon. However, with couple’s getting married later in life or different familial budgets, many of these expenses get shared between the families as well as with the couple. 

No matter who is paying for what, sit down and start working through your budget. Below is our wedding budget guideline to start helping you allocating your budget amongst the most important wedding related expenses. This is by no no means set in stone, as you will find everyone has different priorities and elements they want to splurge on, but it’s important to start the process. After this step, the hard conversations are mainly over, and it’s all the fun and exciting decisions you have been dreaming about your whole life!

Enjoy!

The Everyday Hostess Wedding Budget

6 Kitchen Hacks

If you read our recent post on how to decorate small spaces, you know that I have been on a complete organizational roll lately! My small 700SF apartment, lacks much of the kitchen storage space that I was looking for (including a pantry!), so the kitchen has been under a complete organizational makeover! Today we are sharing 6 kitchen hacks that has completely transformed our kitchen in hopes it will inspire you as well! Enjoy!

1. Clear Containers – Clear containers are definitely an investment, but they are well worth it! You no longer have to sort through mountains of cereal boxes and bags of chips. Clear containers make the pantry feel more uniform and clean. These are perfect for storing cereal, sugar, pastas, flour, etc.

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2. Bins and Baskets – Invest in bins or baskets to help store more bulk items. I like to keep all my canned goods, baking items, and chip products in separate orderly bins. You can stack products on top of each other in the baskets, but they still appear more organized and systematic.

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3. Shelving Units – If your pantry doesn’t have many shelves, or if you don’t have a designated pantry space, consider adding a freestanding shelving unit to a hall closet to give yourself more storage space. This way you won’t have to waste valuable kitchen cabinet space with more canned food items rather than your favorite wine glasses! I have found Home Depot, Lowe’s, and the Container Store all sell great storage racks. I personally wanted to add a little extra color to my pantry, so I bought my turquoise one from the Container Store!

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4. Label Everything! – Labels bring a sense of order to your pantry as well as some personality! I absolutely LOVE these labels from Clementime Mercantile! She makes labels for any product you can imagine from sugar, and flour, to cleaning products or tools! Definitely check out her shop and if you don’t see the label you are looking for, she can customize one for you!

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5. Spice Jars – To keep your spice cabinet from getting too cluttered, invest in glass spice jars. This will also bring a sense of uniformity to your cabinet rather than having a million different brands and sizes of spice jars to your cabinet. I bought my spice jars from Bed Bath and Beyond and it has made a world of difference in my spice cabinet!

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6. Spice Jar Labels – When I say label everything, I mean everything! These gourmet spice labels from Itty Bitty Paper Co will completely transform your spice cabinet! They include 80 different herbs and spice labels plus two blank pages in case you have some unique spices.

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Red, White, and Blue Sangria

This Red, White, and Blue Sangria is the perfect refreshing cocktail to serve at any patriotic gathering this summer! It’s light, it’s fresh, and most importantly, it’s sweet!

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With the Olympics in full swing, this fruity beverage has been a staple in our household and is perfect for your Olympic parties this week! Plus it is super simple to make!

Just pour Chardonnay, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and white grape juice in a large pitcher and chill for 2 hours. If you want your beverage to really have the USA written all over it, cut an apple into thin slices and use a star shaped cookie cutter to add little stars to your cocktail. I found my baby cookie cutter at Sur la Table but most cooking specialty stores will carry them. Then when you are ready to serve just stir in the champagne and apple slices!

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Voila! The most American spirited cocktail there is!
Cheers!

Red, White, and Blue Sangria
Serves 10
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 Bottle of Chardonnay
  2. 1 Cup of Fresh Raspberries
  3. 2 Cups of Blueberries
  4. 1 Pound of Fresh Strawberries, Hulled and Sliced
  5. 1 ½ Cups of White Grape Juice
  6. 1 Bottle of Champagne or Prosecco (Chilled)
  7. 3 Apples, thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. In a large pitcher, add Chardonnay, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and white grape juice. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Optional: While chilling cut the thin apple slices into a star using a small star shaped cookie cutter.
  3. When you are ready to serve, stir in the champagne and apple slices. Pour over ice and serve immediately. Enjoy!
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Olympic Party with Swoozies

The Olympics are in full swing, which means it’s time for a party! This is the perfect opportunity to gather your friends and family over to enjoy some festive Olympic themed sips and treats while enjoying the games.

This year, I had the wonderful opportunity of celebrating the Opening Ceremony with my friends over at Swoozies! I shared some of my favorite Swoozies patriotic party decor as well as recipes for an Olympic themed menu.

The Everyday Hostess and Swoozies

Check out some photos from the event, as well as some inspiration for your own party!

The Everyday Hostess and Swoozies 1The Everyday Hostess and Swoozies 19These DIY popcorn torches only require an 8×11 piece of gold paper and scotch tape. The easiest party decor there is!

The Everyday Hostess and Swoozies 23The cutest Swoozies cupcake kit!

The Everyday Hostess and Swoozies 6These gold medal treats are just sugar cookies with frosting and yellow sprinkles! Add a red white and blue ribbon, and you have an edible gold medal!

The Everyday Hostess and Swoozies 4Star shaped watermelon! The perfect refreshing treat that only requires a star cookie cutter and some fresh watermelon!

The Everyday Hostess and Swoozies 16The most patriotic Koozies!

The Everyday Hostess and Swoozies 5The Everyday Hostess and Swoozies 8All American Red, White, and Blue Sangria!

And for all my friends here in Dallas, be sure to come visit us at our next tailgating themed party at Swoozies on August 27th!

Customizing Your Space – Drapery

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If you all read our recent post on how to decorate small spaces, you know that floor to ceiling drapes are the number one way to make a room appear larger and more spacious for your guests. Longer window treatments not only bring a sense of elegance and a finished look to a space, but they also draw your eye upward, which elongates the entire room. To me, these are crucial, especially if you like to entertain and want to add both functional and decorative elements to your home.

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Finding window panels at the store that fit your space and just graze the floor ever so perfectly can be incredibly tricky! When Landon and I were designing our home, we searched high and low for drapes that matched our style and were the exact length we needed. With little luck we decided to pursue custom made drapes, which are actually much more cost efficient and higher quality than store bought panels.

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We worked with Amanda at Avec Dieu Couture Home, who was an absolute delight and so incredibly helpful! She worked with us personally to find the exact pattern, size, and type of drapes that we needed. I sat down with her for a little Q&A to get a little bit better understanding of the importance of drapes as well as about her background and company.  Keep Reading!

Wedding Wednesday – Groomsmen Gifts

One of the first things future brides and grooms love to do after getting engaged is is officially asking their friends and family to be their bridesmaids and groomsmen!

Getting the bridal party set early makes it officially feel like it’s your wedding season! You can talk about the bridesmaid dresses and bachelor party, and for the future bride, you have your team ready to help make those tricky decorating decisions!

After you’ve decided who you want standing next to you as you marry the person of your dreams, I think it’s always fun to find a creative way to ask them. Being in your bridal party is a big honor, so let’s make it more special with a fun invitation!

I have compiled a few of my favorite ways to ask groomsmen (don’t worry ladies – bridesmaid gift ideas are coming soon!) to be in your wedding party, including how we asked ours!

Cheers and happy planning!

“Will you be my Groomsmen” cards from PurpleandPlatinum:

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Brooke, the owner of this shop, is an absolute delight to work with! She will customize these cards to match your wedding colors and the style of your wedding.

Custom pint glasses from Frederick Engraving:

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These custom beer pint glasses are the perfect groomsmen gift for your guys! Arika can customize them to include each groomsmen’s name, your monogram, the wedding date, or even the location! These pair perfectly with the beer labels below.

Custom beer labels from StudioBLabels:

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What is more manly than these custom beer labels with your favorite local beer?! I am absolutely obsessed with these labels and think they are perfect for any groomsmen! Rachel also makes wine labels for your bridesmaids, so it’s the perfect one stop shop!

Wedding weekend sneak peek:  Keep Reading!

How to Decorate Small Spaces

For many of us in our mid 20’s, small space living is a fact of life. Apartments never seem to have enough storage or maybe certain rooms in your house are just a bit smaller than you prefer.

Learning how to decorate these small spaces and still keep them entertaining ready can be a challenge – one that I face regularly! My fiancé and I recently moved into the most beautiful little apartment in Dallas with gorgeous floor to ceiling views of downtown. Although we absolutely love it, I must stress the LITTLE part of it. Condensing two people’s furniture and lives into one 700 SF apartment has proven to be tricky, so we have been extremely focused on how to maximize every inch.

I know we are not alone in this, so I have compiled our 12 key tricks to decorating and maximizing your space while keeping it entertaining ready.

12 Tips and Tricks:

  1. Increase Kitchen Storage – It’s not uncommon, for apartments or older homes to have minimal pantry space or none at all. Get creative, and turn your hall closet into a pantry. Add some simple storage racks from Home Depot or the Container Store to serve as additional shelves for your pantry items.

The Everyday Hostess design and home decor - kitchen pantry

2. Lighting – Keep it light! To make your space appear larger, use pale colors such as whites, beige, blues and greys. Neutral colors help create a nice flow to the house that isn’t overwhelming to the eye. You can then add a few pops of color here or there to add some personality. We went for a beige and white color palette and added hints of aqua in the living room to give it a serene and calming environment. We also added little pops of color in our decor, specifically in our design books. We used the same white and beige palette in the master bedroom, but instead of aqua we used navy and gold as our accent colors to give the room a little extra pop! Keep Reading!

Swoozies Dallas Olympic Party

Hey Dallas Friends! Come join us at Swoozies for an Olympic themed party! We will be sharing fun party styling ideas and recipes (yes, you get to drink some cocktails too!) to help you get in the Olympic spirit before the Opening Ceremony!

Plus! You get 15% off anything you buy in store with you tell them you are here for the event with The Everyday Hostess! I look forward to seeing you all on Saturday!

The Everyday Hostess at Swoozies Dallas