The rosemary & wood block make great party favors.
In my family, I’m the one in charge of making name cards (some people call them “name plates”) for dinner parties. This year, I went with some super easy, quick ideas. These are great for Thanksgiving, winter holidays or even New Year’s Eve parties.
Family friends Su Sazama, co-founder of the modern design site fitzsu, and interior designer Tracy Sonka Stultz of Sonka Stultz Designs, stopped by to teach me and my friend Darcey how to create a modern Hot Cocoa Station for the holidays.
Excitement is in the air
Here’s what you’ll need: a heat-proof pitcher to hold the warm milk and a bowl for your cocoa powder (we used a coffee serving set made by Arne Jacobsen for Stelton). It’s nice to have fun mugs for your guests. We used Hakusan Fancy Tea Cups designed by Masahiro Mori, which are also made for the sight-impaired. Each cup has a unique shape which makes it easy to recognize by touch and easy to grip. These tea cups are also made of thin porcelain, which is a common practice in Japan, and acts as a safety device. If the cup is too hot to pick up then the liquid inside is too hot for delicate lips to drink.
We used organic Silly Cow cocoa powder made in Vermont, warm organic milk and almond milk, plus these ingredients to flavor: cinnamon sticks, crushed cardamom, homemade peppermint simple syrup, fresh whipped cream and marshmallows (we used an adorable slanted John Pawson bowl to hold our marshmallows).
Flavoring with homemade peppermint simple syrup
#spoonies not #selfies
These whimsical heart-shaped spoons were designed by Miriam Mirri for Alessi. They are sure to put a smile on your friends’ faces and, as you can see, they also make great photo opps, too.
If you have not realized this already, I am a big fan of all things French and I am especially fond of French desserts. This Pear Clafouti is one of my favorite non-chocolate desserts and I love to make it for holidays. Today, my friend Tahlia came over to help me and she ended up loving it, too. The recipe is a classic one from Ina Garten, also known as The Barefoot Contessa. I just happen to change up a few things in the recipe: I reduce the amount of sugar she uses; sprinkle a pinch or two of crushed up cardamom in the batter because that flavor goes so well with pear; and I put an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract instead of the pear brandy she recommends because we don’t usually have pear brandy on hand!
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour (substitute Pamela’s gluten-free flour if you like) 1 1/2 cups heavy organic cream 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (1 to 2 lemons) (remember that is just the rind of the lemon) 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 2 to 3 firm but ripe Bartlett pears Confectioners’ (that means “powdered”) sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Butter a 10 x 3 x 1 1/2-inch round baking dish and sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. We have also made this in a cast iron pan and it comes out just as well.
Beat the eggs and the 1/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the flour, cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, quarter, core, and slice the pears. Arrange the slices in a single layer, slightly fanned out, in the baking dish.
Pour the batter over the pears and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35 to 40 minutes. Garnish with berries or edible flowers.
Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.
This fun video shows kids how to make unique place card settings for special dinners and events. Great for family gatherings or holiday dinners! Don’t forget to check out the photos and read the instructions on my post How To Make Cool Place Cards.
Resources: Reused Spega Yogurt Jars; herbs from Whole Foods and our garden; We used scrap burlap for this craft, but in the past we have bought colored burlap ribbon at Paper Source. Other ribbons, gold pens & glue sticks purchased at Target. Cute name flags from WeddingChicks.com
lavender & rosemary make the table smell, great too
Level: Easy Materials: Reusable glass or jar; strip of burlap or ribbon or fabric; string; name card flags (free template provided below): glue stick; pen; herbs.
Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah, are a great time to get fancy with decorating a table for family and guests. And, this week’s craft can help kids make professional-looking table settings! This craft is super easy & quick and it doubles as name cards for your guests and party favors that they can take home. You can read this post for directions or watch me make one of these place cards on How To Make Cool Place Cards VIDEO.