Monday, August 1, 2011

{Parties} Girls' Night

Last Thursday I had a few high school friends over for a little Girls' Night. We each take turns hosting and usually get together about every 4 months or so. It's really nice to keep in touch with these ladies, and I had a lot of fun hosting.

We started with a simple veggies and dip appetizer. I think I mentioned before that I'm finally learning my lesson when it comes to serving food -- I try not to overdo it on the apps because it spoils everyone's appetite for dinner!

Summer Dinner Menu ::

In addition to the green salad with poppyseed dressing I posted on Friday, I also served marinated & grilled chicken tenderloins with a creamy and very yummy dipping sauce {bbq sauce mixed with sour cream -- so delicious!}.

I also made my great grandmother's famous baked macaroni & cheese. This family recipe has been passed down the ranks and has been one of my all-time favorite dishes since I was a little girl. I remember begging my mom to make this for Sunday dinners and always on holidays as a kid.

My philosophy is if you have a great recipe, why not share it for other's to enjoy? So here it is -- ENJOY!

Ingredients ::
~ 1 lb. ready cut macaroni noodles
~ 10 oz. stick of extra sharp white cheddar cheese {I highly recommend Cracker Barrel}
~ 1 small onion, diced
~ 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes {break them up with a knife}
~ 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
~ S & P

Directions ::
1. Cook pasta until al dente.
2. In greased casserole dish, layer 1/2 the pasta, some S & P, 1/2 the onions, 1/2 the tomato mixture {with the juice}, and 1/2 the cheese {cut up and spread out}. Repeat one more layer.
3. Bake on 350 degrees for approximately 50 minutes {or until hot and bubbly}.

Now on to the fun part -- the sweets! I always, always, always draw a sketch of any kind of table I'm going to put together before I do anything else. I drew this picture a few weeks prior to my Girls' Night. Now check out the real thing below -- pretty close!

My options are limited when it comes to spaces & places to set up dessert tables in my tiny house, so I always use my dining room buffet. It's perfect for my spreads {but I'll admit I am in need of a change as I'm growing tired of using it for EVERYTHING!}. Thankfully, I've got a few ideas up my sleeve for the next time I entertain at my home ;-}

I love using a "loose" theme when entertaining to tie everything together, so I focused on one of my favorite summer colors {CORAL} and one of my favorite summer fruits {WATERMELON} to create a cohesive and unified look.

I used some of the leftover fabric from the fabric wall art I recently hung in my upstairs bathroom and some cute lime polka dot ribbon to create a garland for my mirror. It was super easy to make and turned out really cute.

I found a coral frame at Target for $1.69 on clearance and used it for a Sweets Menu. I crafted a little watermelon slice using scrapbook paper and ribbon. As for it being handwritten -- that's another story for another day {but let me just say I crashed another computer -- not my macbook thank goodness -- and lost all of my designing programs AGAIN -- ughh}.

I created most of what you see on this table with a $6 roadstand watermelon and used the Watermelon pinboard I created on Pinterest as my primary source of inspiration.

One cute & simple idea I found was cutting watermelon in spears and skewering them. It's a cute look and cuts down on the sticky juice that runs all over the place whenever you eat watermelon!

I bought a watermelon roll from Friendly's, sliced it and served it on a big, white platter. I was pleasantly surprised with this treat -- it was delicious!

These have to be the most adorable, little popsicles E.V.E.R! I spotted a link to them over at Pizzazzerie {one of my favs}, and not only are they so cute, but so so good! The recipe calls for rum but I opted not to include this in mine because I already had a watermelon cocktail with alcohol. I'm really glad I didn't because I had some popsicles leftover, and Dean has been loving them!

Click here for the recipe {it's from a sweet blog called Sugar & Charm}!

I also included some wafer cookies on my table just because I think they look so sweet -- hehe. And these were actually strawberry flavored instead of watermelon ;-}

I made little baggies with Sour Patch watermelon candies for the girls to take home. I don't know what it is but I love these candies!

What's a Girls' Night without a fun cocktail?! Enter in spiked watermelon slushies...

I subbed vodka for the tequila that the recipe called for because I wanted a cosmo instead of a margarita. Click here for the recipe.

The lime, striped straws are from Polka Dot Market. I added a ribbon flag to each.

Mmmm, Mmmm, Good!

Almost forgot -- the recipe calls for a frozen watermelon spear as a garnish -- cute, right?!

~ My neice's 1st birthday party {I'm helping my sis plan -- it's gonna be CUUUTE!}
~ Happy Hour {tossing around hosting a casual happy hour for our neighbors this fall}
~ Thanksgiving 2011
~ New Year's Eve 2011 {Gourmet Night clan}
**STAY TUNED & have a GREAT week!

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