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“Hostess with the Mostest”

The Best Books for Holiday Entertaining

A collection of beautiful resources for planning all of the parties on your dance card this holiday season
Filed Under > "Hostess with the Mostest"

Entertaining Books, Waiting on Martha

It’s officially my favorite time of year!  October marks the start to a string of holidays that brings on the festive memories and excuses for merry-making left and right.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and everything in between call for seasonal recipes galore, and drinks that are just as beautiful as they are mouthwatering. 

Whether you’re planning a slew of holiday parties, hosting an intimate evening for friends and family, or simply enjoying the coziest time of year, you’ll love this roundup of holiday entertaining books.  These books include recipes that are begging to be made at home, and include so many tips and tricks to planning and enjoying an unforgettable occasion. 

While this is a time for many to indulge, some find it tricky to navigate the holiday menus.  That’s where Vegan Holiday Kitchen comes in.  And if you’re like me, you find the holidays to be the best reason to enjoy a champagne cocktail or cozy warm boozy cider.  The Coupe, Artisanal Cocktails and Cocktails for the Holidays are all great books to inspire some home bartending for the season. Truly, MKR

P.S. Check out all of our cocktails in our Recipe Index HERE. xo 

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Confessions of a Serial Entertainer

Waiting on Martha Home, $30

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We’ve carried this book in the shop for years now, and for good reason.  It’s one of my favorite books when it comes to entertaining in style.  Think menus, anecdotes and tidbits that will have you eager to host and open your home to friends and family.

The author’s inspiration for party food are classic, too: dips and cheese spreads with crackers, family recipes for delicious roasts, breakfast casseroles, and desserts.

The Coupe

Target, $13.56

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My husband loves a good cocktail, and I love mixing the up.  This gorgeous book by our friend Brian Hart Hoffman includes signature recipes with simply stunning photography, as well as inspiration for collecting coupes and styling them at your home bar.  Included, also: easy and elegant dessert recipes perfect for serving in coupes, a primer on citrus garnishes, and simple syrup recipes that add depth and flavor to cocktails. 

The Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookbook

Amazon, $11.66

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Nothing says fall like pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice!  This book is a no-brainer for any fall lover out there.  This book includes 40 recipes designed around this winning flavor combo.  I’m talking chai latte and vegan nog to waffles, chilis, bisques, breads, and chutneys.  YUM.

Celebrate Everything

Amazon, $16.50

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Darcy Miller, the ultimate celebrations expert and Editor at Large for Martha Stewart Weddings, brings us a jam-packed book with everything you need to throw a wonderful party.  She’s packed it with planning strategy and original ideas that promise to make the celebration personal. 

Vegan Holiday Kitchen

Amazon, $15.10

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It can feel daunting to navigate the holiday season with vegan dietary restrictions, but author Nava Atlas shares more than 200 totally doable and totally delicious recipes.  Whether you’re planning Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas or celebratory brunches, lunches, dinners, potlucks, and buffets, you’ll find inspiration for mouthwatering dishes.  

Cocktails for the Holidays

Amazon, $12.80

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This bright and cheery book will make you even more excited about the holidays, trust me!  Think holiday punches, sparkling champagne cocktails, seasonal sips with apples, clementines, cranberries and spices.  You can plan to take comfort with a cozy mug or elegant coupe with 50 stylish and festive recipes.

Southern Appetizers

Amazon, $11.32

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Like all Southerners, I love appetizers, and especially this time of year.  This book is full of tried-and-true recipes that really show some Southern hospitality, like smoked pecans, cheese straws, hot and irresistible dips, and pickled shrimp.

Along with recipes, you’ll also find tips on creating the ideal party flow, being a great host, arranging fresh flowers, handling invitations, and ultimate menu planning.  This book makes a great hostess gift, and one you’ll want to keep for yourself! 

Artisanal Cocktails

Amazon, $24.99

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This beautiful, full-color collection of 50 cocktail recipes will have your mouth watering.  I especially love this book for its use of organic, sustainable produce, and local, handcrafted ingredients. The author’s attention to detail and technique are apparent; the drinks are STUNNING and inspiring to even the novice home bartender. 

Photography, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha

13 SEC-Approved Tailgating Essentials

Here are the secrets to setting up a Spread Worthy of a Win
Filed Under > "Hostess with the Mostest"

SEC Tailgating essentials, Waiting on Martha

Being a non-Tennessee native, people always ask me why I ventured down to University of Tennessee to become a Vol years ago.  I think honestly a huge part of the reason was the SEC tailgating!  If you’ve ever been to Neyland Stadium, then you’ll understand.  The sea of screaming fans and the beloved culture surrounding Game Day is enough to turn anyone into a lover of orange and white.  And years of tailgating in Knoxville has taught me a thing or two about SEC tailgating essentials. 

But of course, tailgating is a treasured tradition throughout the entire SEC.  And the gear and tools to set up a proper spread are taken very seriously.  Think luxury coolers, embroidered throw pillows, high-end bartending pieces and enough food to feed a small army.  I’ve included my top picks in the list below…take a look and tell me what I’m forgetting!  Go Vols!  Cheers, Kat

P.S. Check out two of our favorite tailgate libations HERE

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Classic Cocktail Kit

Waiting on Martha Home, $45

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This perfect little cocktail mixing kit is just what you’ll need as you combine drinks for a crowd. The mixing glass, stir stick and strainer have proven to be the exact essentials for a great libation. 

Insulated 50 oz. Bottle

Waiting on Martha Home, $54

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Swig has answered my tailgating prayers with this 50 oz. insulated bottle.  It literally can hold up to 2 bottles of wine, all while staying discreet in a double-wall stainless steel bottle that you can top off all yours and your friends’ cups throughout the day. Sounds like a good Game Day to me. 

Hand Embroidered College Pillow

Waiting on Martha Home, $175

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These gorgeous designs deserve to be front and center on the tailgating chairs, back home on the couch (if you’re watching from afar), or atop a throw blanket in the bed of the truck.  They’re available in 60 different designs, ensuring that you can rep your team in style. 

Southern Cocktails

Waiting on Martha Home, $14.95

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Toast to the SEC with classic southern cocktails at your tailgate! Think Mint Julep, The Hurricane and all of the essentials you’ll need to stock a proper bar on Game Day. 

Tailgating Tavern

Overstock, $64.70

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The secret to a great tailgate lies in preparation AND organization. This transportable station will be your new best friend, offering a nice workspace and easy storage for all of your essentials. 

Chip & Dip Serving Tray

Target, $39.99

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Talk about a great chip and dip bowl!  This handwoven seagrass piece offers easy cleanup with its glass insert, and provides nice storage with the included lid. Love the elevated look of this serving piece at any tailgate. 

4-in-1 Bronze Bar Tool

Waiting on Martha Home, $35

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The worst thing ever?  Getting out to the tailgate lot and realizing you didn’t bring a bottle opener!  This 4-in-1 tool is a lifesaver in more ways than one. 

Cork Insulated Luxury Cooler

The Grommet, $495

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Talk about a fancy cooler! I mean this thing will have everyone on the tailgate line green with envy.  The design has cork as its natural insulator; making the cooler as functional as it is beautiful.  And a clear shield lets the cork shine through while protecting it for years to come. The design can store wine bottles upright and to keep things organized and presentable inside, there’s a divider, too. Not to mention, there’s a clear prep tray included that makes everything easier as you’re mixing up your next cocktail.  

Divided Serving Tray

Target, $27.49

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Here’s another great piece in Target’s Artland Garden Terrace collection! Two glass trays and three glass bowls offer great containers for tailgating snacks.  Not to mention, the handwoven seagrass is stylish AND durable. 

Acapulco Glass Pitcher

Target, $12.99

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Bringing along an easy, affordable pitcher is a must when serving any sort of batch drink to the crew. This one from Target is a go-to whenever we’re packing up our tailgating gear. 

Ultra Soft Throw Blanket

Overstock, $44.95

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Can’t be caught without some team gear!  This super soft, oversized throw blanket always makes its way with us, offering easy seating when the place gets packed, and some festive decor when thrown over a chair after we head into the game. 

Picnic Time Collapsible Chair

Overstock, $94.46

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This design should be considered as the king of tailgating chairs, in my opinion. It features a convenient surface for your plate and drink, easy storage for any belongings you need to set aside while lounging, and it also keeps drinks closeby in a nice little cooler.  Genius, really. 

28 oz. Insulated Tumbler

The Grommet, $39.95

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Here’s another beautiful design by Sovaro; the 28 oz. insulated tumbler.  It’s perfect for a large mixed drink, and keeps a low profile.  I love this elevated take on your standard tumbler cup!

Featured image, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha

An Easy End Of Summer Brunch with Shutterfly

Celebrating Summer's Bounty & A Recipe for Cheesy Drop Biscuits
Filed Under > "Hostess with the Mostest"

Shutterfly entertaining essentials, Waiting on Martha End of summer entertaining with Shutterfly, Waiting on MarthaSummer entertaining with Shutterfly, Waiting on Martha End of summer entertaining with Shutterfly, Waiting on Martha Summer tablescape on Waiting on Martha Personalized wine glasses from Shutterfly, Waiting on MarthaSummer tablescape inspiration on Waiting on MarthaPersonalized gifts from Shutterfly

As summer draws to a close and the trail of house guests slows down a bit, I knew I wanted to give a little nod to summer’s bounty with an entertaining brunch spread that was just as easy and achievable as it was beautiful. 

A welcoming tablescape that celebrates the everyday is something I like to think I’ve perfected over the years.  Sure, I know how to set a formal table for a special event, but I relish the chance to dine with friends and family on any given day.  

I know many of you get overwhelmed by the thought of putting together a tablescape, whipping up all of the food, and being a gracious host all at the same time.  But I promise you it’s easier than you think.  Most of us just tend to overcomplicate it.  It really comes down to a three simple steps you can replicate time and time again: seasonally sourced easy recipes, a table full of personalized details to be used over and over again, and simple fresh blooms. 

For the food, always keep it in season.  Choose recipes that can be prepped the night before.  For this brunch, I focused on vibrant citrus notes and herbs from the garden.  I served homemade cheesy drop biscuits with fresh chives that were truly to-die-for,  as well as an heirloom tomato, peach, pea and summer corn salad.  Drooling yet?  Scroll down for the cheesy drop biscuit recipe.  And don’t worry; the latter recipe is coming Monday.  

When it came to the table, I created a warm, welcoming effect through added depth and layers; think chargers, linen napkins, cutting boards and varying serving pieces.  I added a personalized touch with custom stemless wine glasses, a monogrammed glass jar as the vase for the flowers, and even sent guests home with their own potted herb in personalized flower pots. All of these pieces are what I call “forever pieces.”  Classic monogrammed glassware and accessories, wooden chargers, and gold stemware are all items that can be used during every brunch, lunch or dinner that you host.  By simply switching out the appetizer plates and linens, you’ll make the table feel new and fresh every time.  For example, I added these personalized lemon tea towels that will hang from my oven door once the guests have said goodbye.  An easy, inexpensive way to stick with the theme of brunch.

Lastly: fresh blooms.  While flowers are always a must, I know many of you stress over your ability to put together an arrangement worthy of being the focal point of the table.  My advice: KIS.  Keep It Simple.  Stick to one type of bloom, preferably no more than two colors, and add in additional greenery if needed, and place your arrangement in an interesting vessel.  I chose tulips because they’re usually the easiest to find at a reasonable price.  When it comes to tulips, I like to cut them just before guest arrive because I actually prefer when they bend over rather than stand at attention.  As far as the vessel goes, I love using anything other than an actual vase.  Most often I use pitchers, planters, or jars like the monogrammed one I used here.

Speaking of monogrammed items…can you believe they’re all from from Shutterfly!  What?!  If you’re like me, you’ve always thought of Shutterfly for all things photos.  They’ve been my go-to for printed photos and holiday cards for years.  So you can believe my surprise and delight when I recently discovered the ever-growing collection of entertaining and home decor pieces, all incredibly versatile and customizable—which, of course, makes them all perfect for gifting!  I’m talking all kinds of glassware, cutting boards, coasters, plates, serving trays, decanters, glass jars…even outdoor pillows!

Like all of my previous experiences with Shutterfly, ordering these personalized gifts was easy-breezy.  I seriously could not believe how fast everything shipped.  I’ve been buying monogrammed pieces for years and I know to expect slower shipments.  But that wasn’t the case here.  The order arrived in less than a week, with each glass item in the most gorgeous box.  The details were second-to-none too; the quality of the engraving and the lettering was anything but generic.  

I always think a tablescape, even a simple brunch, should be attainable.  And I’m a believer that a surefire way to get there is by adding meaningful touches to the table. I’m absolutely thrilled with the new pieces I’ve added to mine. Stay tuned for the recipe for the heirloom tomato, peach, pea and summer corn salad coming on Monday!  I promise you’ll be a fan.  Truly, MKR

 

Cheesy Herb Drop Biscuits
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 5 tablespoons butter
  5. 1 cup Whole milk
  6. Parsley, Rosemary & Thyme Chopped
  7. 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  8. 1/4 cup butter, melted
  9. 2 cloves garlic, minced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. In a large bowl mix together flour, salt and baking powder.
  3. Cut in butter and mix with your hands until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Make a well in the center of flour mixture, add the milk, cheddar cheese, and chopped herbs; stir to combine.
  5. Drop batter by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned.
  7. While biscuits are baking mix melted butter and minced garlic. Brush garlic butter over hot baked biscuits.
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Photography, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha | This post is in collaboration with Shutterfly, a brand we love and adore.  All opinions are 100% our own. 

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