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Everyday Entertaining

DIY S’mores Tray

With temps finally dropping, now is the perfect time to build a fire & build some s'mores
Filed Under > Desserts

Last weekend we hosted some of our closest friends and their little ones from out of town.  When planning out our evening and trying to figure out something that was both and adult and kid friendly I had the idea of creating a DIY s’mores station. I mean I already had a ton of candy for Halloween, and who doesn’t love a S’more?! And while S’mores have been billed a summer treat, I feel there’s no better time to enjoy a S’more than by the fire on a chilly fall evening. 

Building your own DIY S’Mores tray is extremely simple, and a great way to get the kids involved. Using a large galvanized tin tray that has been my go-to for BBQ’s and patio drinks for years now and just happens to be on sale, I added three different kinds of graham crackers; chocolate, regular, and cinnamon. And then kept it classic with jumbo marshmallows, Hershey Bars, and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. 

You can go “gourmet” with your S’Mores tray and add all sorts of different high-end chocolates, but I argue against it. I’ve tried fancy S’Mores at numerous places, but nothing beats the melt and classic taste of a Hershey Bar. To finish the tray off simply add plates or napkins, and get your roasting sticks ready.  I had the hubs grab sticks from the neighborhood for roasting, but if you’re looking for a more permanent solution I love these marshmallow roasting sticks

After the tray was built all that was left to do was cozy up the space with plenty of blankets and pillows and build a fire. We have an extremely small backyard, but that doesn’t prevent us from utilizing every square inch of the space we do have. Which of course includes a fire pit.  We used to have a larger fire pit, but found that took up too much of the coveted small space. So this year I opted for a smaller and very inexpensive version. After one full season of use, I’m extremely happy with the results. It’s easy to move and store out of the way when we’re not using it but gets the job done when we’re ready to cozy up with an evening fire.

So next time you have friends over for dinner, or want to get the kids outside, throw a few logs on the fire and build this super simple S’mores tray for the perfect way to end any evening. Truly, MKR

 


 

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.
Waiting on Martha http://waitingonmartha.com/

 

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. 

Easy Summer Wines: 7 Toast-Worthy Types to Try

You'll love these picks for Summer Rosé, Chardonnay & more
Filed Under > Entertaining

Easy Summer Wines on Waiting on Martha

Summer is the time for patio sittin’ and wine sippin’ always and forever.  I’m a big fan of wine in general, and I especially love my easy summer wines.  Extremely drinkable, light, refreshing and cool, all of these wines are sure to become staples in your entertaining arsenal. 

Below, I list my current favorite rosé, chardonnay and other refreshing blends.  By now you know about Whispering Angel, a WOM favorite, so you’ll appreciate a list of additional options. 

So if you’re looking for sippable, easy summer wines to try, look no further.  Hopefully this list helps you discover your new favorite summertime sip!  Truly, MKR

P.S. See our previous list of more patio season wines here. xo 

2016 Summer Water Rosé

Winc, $15

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Quite possibly the best rosé around?!  This is a dry wine that’s perfectly crisp and ideal for summer drinking. The grapes for this Central Coast Grenache and Syrah blend were picked early in the season to achieve an ideal natural acidity. Expect notes of strawberry, pink grapefruit and white peach. 

Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016

Exquisite Collection, $8

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So Fortune named this wine one of the best wines of the year and ranked among the best rosés in the world, and it’s only $8, AND it’s sold at Aldi.  Enough said, right?! 

2015 Rosé

Hogwash, $16

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I like to think of this rosé as summertime in a glass. It has a pale salmon-pink color, and a lively nose of watermelon candy, red cherries, red current and rose water. It’s medium bodied, and it has that vibrancy that has you coming back for more.  It also has a great finish that makes it incredibly easy to drink, for everyone.

2014 Overlook Chardonnay

Landmark Vineyards, $15.98

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This wonderful Sonoma wine features notes of Meyer lemon tarte, marzipan, toasted almonds, Asian pear, honeysuckle and a hint of Tahitian vanilla on the nose. On the palate, notes of apricot, clover honey and toast are in perfect balance with zippy acidity and bright minerality.

2016 Arriviste

Blackbird Vineyards, $28

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I can’t get enough of this elegant, salmon-pink colored rosé of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

On the nose, it has a mélange of aromas of strawberry and stone fruit come together with light floral notes. The wine has flavors of blackcurrants, crisp red apple and citrus on the mid-palate, carrying clean minerality and bright acidity on the lingering finish. While the 2016 Napa Valley growing season saw near-optimal conditions, it allowed for an abundance of perfectly-ripe grapes with a smooth balance of acids and sugars, producing this spectacular rosé.

Laurent Reverdy Sancerre

Trader Joe's, $12.99

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Trader Joe’s brings us a really, really good Sauvignon Blanc that’s produced in the Sancerre region in France.  This region is known for its rich, limestone soil, which helps it produce such reputable wines. 

This white wine is crisp and well-balanced, with intense citrus fruit notes, along with hints of peach, pear, and lychee. 

2013 Qupe Marsanne

Santa Ynez, $15.99

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Santa Ynez is magical.  It was actually the first place I’ve ever tasted wine. The Qupe Marsanne is a fresh white wine, with minerals and citrus and that classic peach pit and wet stone character.  It’s medium bodied, and perfectly balanced.

Featured image, Kathryn McCrary for Waiting on Martha

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