Tuesday, June 7, 2011

{Parties} Gourmet Night

Gourmet Night went off without a hitch, and we had a blast with our dinner group! A little background info :: there are five couples that are part of G.N. {most met for the first time at our Wigs & Wine party back in October}. We rotate months and each couple is responsible for hosting dinner for the remaining members of the group at their home on their chosen month. The guests supply the "adult" beverages ;-}

There is no pressure to throw an extravagant party -- you can make it as simple or as detailed as you'd like. I purposely chose June because I wanted to entertain on our patio, and thankfully the weather was perfect! My hubby and I brainstormed possible themes for our night, and we both agreed that a ballpark night would be fun since baseball season is in full swing {not to mention it lent itself to a fairly simple and manageable menu, allowing me more time and energy to spend on my favorite part of entertaining -- the pretty details!}.

The invite set the stage for our theme -- simple navy and brick red colors with fun verbage and baseball stripes.

I set up my patio very similarly to the way I did when I threw my sister's sprinkle last July. It seems to work best for the space I have out there. I dressed up the tables with some fabrics from Joann's that were in keeping with my colors and then added some "baseball" touches.

Appetizer spread :: one thing I've learned from entertaining countless times, is that I always go overboard on the amount of food I serve. Many times it goes to waste or my guests fill up on appetizers and have no room for dinner. I'm finally starting to learn! I focused on two easy apps this time, which were in keeping with what you might buy at a ballpark -- soft pretzels with mustard and loaded chicken & cheese nachos. YUM!

I used a very old chalkboard that belonged to my grandmother {and I used to play "school" with -- haha -- when I was young} to add a little flare to this table. I wrote "Concessions" on the chalkboard since the table held my apps and then had a little fun by adding Powell Stadium and a scoreboard.


...and soft pretzels.

My second table was just for fun. I fell in love with the navy and white indoor/outdoor fabric I found for this table {and the fact that the hem at the bottom is slightly uneven is really bugging me!!!}.

I bought this picture for my husband when we first starting dating. I didn't know much about him then as we had only been dating for a little less than a month, but I did know that he loved baseball. It hung in his apartment until he moved out, and we moved in together as a married couple. I thought it would be perfect for this table.

I also added some glass vessels filled with my hubby's old baseballs, peanuts, crackerjacks, and Baby Ruth mini candy bars.

I spotted this old fence in my father-in-laws backyard {I always find all sorts of cool things at my in-laws home, and I love how my FIL is always dying to get rid of them -- he gladly passes them my way!}. He trimmed the bottom of it for me, so it was the right height and then I added a fabric bunting.

We created a signature cocktail called "The Grand Slam." My husband came up with the idea to make it lemonade based since that's a popular stadium drink.

I made a cocktail menu {not shown above but can be seen in the table shot} and added a little tag to the martini pitcher.

"7th Inning Stretch" tea was another drink option {not spiked -- just good old fashioned homemade iced tea}.

I had dinner set up on my kitchen island. We had a "Build Your Own Dog" station with five different dog ideas. I had the Jersey Slaw Dog -- DELISH!

Other dog options included :: Shaggy Dog, Doc Dog, Chicago Dog, and Chili Cheese Dog.

Bo, my right-hand man, was able to borrow a hotdog roller from a co-worker. It was perfect. The last thing I want to do when I have company is spend the night in the kitchen cooking and preparing -- I want to hang out with my guests! We threw the dogs on the roller and that was it -- the machine did the work. Easy!

We had pretzel rolls and regular rolls...

...and my aunt's pasta salad, which is my favorite pasta salad recipe ever. Other eats included baked beans, chips & the fixins for the dog station.

I can't tell you how much use I've gotten from this caddy I bought years ago from Southern Living {now called Willow House}. I use it every time I entertain for one thing or another....most often it's my silverware caddy.

Dessert was just as simple as the apps and dinner. One of Bo's accounts is Citizen's Bank Park {home to our favorite major league baseball team, the Philadelphia Phillies}, and he was able to snag some of these little baseball hats for our banana split sundaes.

I pre-scooped all the icecream and put the hats on a tray, which I stored in our basement freezer. All I had to do was add a few simple toppings, and they were ready to go in minutes for our guests.

Some additional details ::

We set up some additional tables to accommodate our ten guests, so I threw some burlap over each table as a table cover and then added a globe vase filled with baseballs and a fabric flag that I made to the center. Easy & festive.

My husband just built this firepit for me. He's so good like that -- I have a vision and he does his best to recreate it for me. He was right on the money with this one as it was just what I had envisioned! That evening was a tad cool, so the fire added just a little warmth.

We also hung a string of twinkley lights to add a some warmth to our space once the sun set. I'm a sucker for lighting -- this was nothing extravagant but I really liked it {and it was much more adorable in person!}.

The Gourmet Night ladies {Patty, Kelly, Alyssa, Jamie & me}.

Boys will be boys and our boys are no different. They played a game of whiffle ball and Ginger {our little tomboy Beagle hound}, had to jump in on the action. She likes hangin' with the guys!

Our "little slugger" helped Mama set up -- notice he was drawn to the beer -- ut oh!

**This theme could easily be translated to a baseball themed birthday party.
**Have I inspired anyone to start their own dinner group? It's so much fun!! We already discussed the future of our group in the year 2012 and Bo & I are all set up to host in January. We're thinking a "New Year's Glam" Gourmet Night would be fabulous!
**Well, I've entertained my little heart out for the last year, and I'm taking a much needed break this summer -- I think.
**To see any of the parties I've designed, styled & hosted, please check out my "PARTIES" tab!
**I'm in the process of updating the "INVITATIONS" tab as well -- check back for updates on that front!


  1. Looks great Kate! I just submitted a baseball themed dinner for Foodbuzz, if I get picked, I will definitely be using some of your decorating ideas.

  2. Love it Kate!! It looked awesome...I want to come to gourmet night!!

  3. Thank you, ladies! Bec, you can come!!!! Krissy -- I wanted to make your popcorn recipe so badly but ran out of time!

  4. I adore you and your blog little lady! Just thought you should know..... I check it daily, right after I check my email! I think you really are my "little sister"...... we must be related! xoxox.... let's get together with your little men once we wrap up these teaching jobs, promise??

  5. Awww -- thanks Tina! Let's definitely plan a date this summer so we can chat and our boyfriends can play. Miss you, Big Sis!

  6. I'm planning a baseball birthday party for my son and saw your ideas on Pinterst. I've been looking everywhere for some baseball hat bowls for the dessert. Do you know of any other places that they can be found if you don't have connections at the ballpark?? :-)

  7. Hi! I would try your local baseball stadium or Craigslist or eBay. I've never seen stadium sundae hats in any store -- sorry I couldn't be more helpful :-( Good luck to you!