Simple Entertaining Tips & Trends

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When I’m preparing to entertain – whether it’s a small family gathering or a larger holiday event – I take to the web to search for a great new idea or two.  So, that’s why I was thrilled recently to come upon a wonderful blog that is a really visual and easy to read resource that offers up ideas that are “just my style!”

You’ve got to check out written by Mary Ann Pickett.  Her blog features doable entertaining, decorating and cooking ideas that really focus on using items that you might already have in creative ways.  Her photos are delightful and many of her entries take you inside her family entertaining and leave you with that “I want to try that!” feeling.

Here are two of the recipes from her blog that might just wet your appetite for more:

Alie’s Pineapple Vodka New Smyrna Beach Cocktail

Put one cup chopped fresh pineapple in a cup of vodka and marinate for eight hours or overnight.  Mix ¼ cup fresh orange juice with a splash of cranberry juice and a jigger of the pineapple flavored vodka and pour over a glass of crushed ice.  Garnish with marinated pineapple and lime slices (or oranges.

This is a great warm weather signature drink for your guests.

Easy Grilled Lemon Chicken Papparadelle

Marinate, for one hour or longer, two boneless skinless chicken breasts in the juice from two lemons, three tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper.

Put the pasta on to cook per package directions. Grill the chicken breasts while the pasta is cooking.  When the pasta is cooked, drained and squeeze the juice of one half of one lemon on it (it soaks it up).

Meanwhile, in a skillet, warm three table spoons olive oil over medium heat, add four chopped garlic cloves and once the garlic browns, add a 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes and two tbs. butter for two to three minutes.

Put pasta in bowl, add chopped chicken, pour garlic oil from pan over it and 1/3 cup grated parmesan, zest from one lemon and some chopped basil.  Toss together.   Serves four people.

Use what you have.

That’s Mary Ann’s mantra at and I took it to heart for this segment.  Plus, I combined the ideas I found with some of the latest trends I’ve noticed.

Cupcakes or Small Desserts

Two ideas here – first consider using wine or other glasses to raise up individual desserts like cupcakes or brownies.  Then add something new by topping one with a mini sparkler for special occasions.  Find them at or at select gift shops.  These make any dessert or event extra special.

Veggie snack and a centerpiece all in one.
Instead of your predicable veggie platter, pull out your vases and use them to sort and serve up fresh veggies.  They become a table focus and a fresh addition to the buffet.


I walked into a hot new restaurant a couple of weeks ago in San Diego and the only thing on the menu was … meatballs.   I knew something must be trending and sure enough, meatballs are the new thing.  So why not get ahead of the trend with your guests and serve them up as your main course or appetizer.  Make it a meatball buffet, cook up a batch and offer barbeque, marinara and other toppings along with mini hamburger buns.  This will be a hit – trust me – I tried it!  Plus it’s an easy do ahead party food that allows you to enjoy the gang and have one of those delicious Pineapple Vodka cocktails (see above.)

Full circle!  Enjoy and Live and Learn.