A Guide to Registering for Fiesta Dinnerware

A Guide to Registering For Fiesta Dinnerware at the blog www.alwaysfestive.com.

Getting married is one of the most exciting times in a couple’s lives. But it’s also a time full of a lot of decisions! From wedding planning to registering, it can set your mind spinning with all of the choices. 

Even if you think you’ve narrowed down one aspect of your planning — for instance the casual dinnerware on your wedding registry — to colorful Fiesta Dinnerware, you then need to decide which colors to pick, how many place settings you’ll need, and which accessory pieces to request. Where do you begin? 

We’ve created a handy guide to make the process a little simpler for you or the betrothed couples you know. All of the dishes, bakeware, serving pieces, and more for a lifetime of love, entertaining and Fiesta together!  

To register for Fiesta Dinnerware, visit here: bit.ly/FiestaWeddingRegistry.

A guide to registering for Fiesta Dinnerware on the blog at www.alwaysfestive.com.

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A Sweet New Years Eve

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

I can’t believe it’s almost 2016? Where did this year go!?

The life cycle of the New Year’s Eve celebration began with watching Dick Clark in Times Square and counting down for the ball drop, then it was all about the party which eventually gave way to sitting up with brave kids who couldn’t quite make it to midnight. Now, we love to gather with friends, play cards, and enjoy yummy food while we ring in the New Year. Does this sound like your NYE? How do you celebrate?

This year is especially exciting since we’ll have our family home. I hope the games run past midnight and the conversation even longer. No celebration at our house would be complete without a dessert table with a treat for everyone.

hlc-new-years-table-2015-921

 

When Fiesta Dinnerware introduced Slate, I fell in love! It’s classy and timeless and incredibly adaptive. It was very easy to reach for the White and Slate with an accent of Turquoise; it’s a classic combination that works every time, the unanticipated bonus? It was so much fun creating only black and white desserts! Establishing these parameters was a terrific exercise in producing a cohesive and delicious dessert table for a new years eve.

Without a doubt, the star of this dessert table is the Three Tier Server in Turquoise, and why not? It’s gorgeous. This dramatic piece can be used in so many ways. From all three plates to just one plate or combining different colors of servers makes this piece one of my favorites.

Choosing which sweets to place on each tier, I went by size: smaller items on top and the largest desserts on the bottom. It looks good and feels like a natural choice. Coconut and almond bonbons on the top shelf are creamy and delicious. I baked the brownies and piped on cream cheese frosting then paired them with white chocolate covered pretzels. Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream and Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream anchor the base.

The sparkly snowflake on top came from a local art supply shop; I love how it looks and compliments the piece.

hlc-new-years-2015-769

 

When I visit with friends, sometimes they tell me, they can’t make a dessert table for a party or say they just don’t have time to make all those sweets from scratch. Well, neither do I!

It’s totally acceptable to mix store bought favorites with homemade dishes. Hosting a party is more about genuinely welcoming guests and not standing in the stress of desserts.

Let’s take a look…

hlc-new-years-2015-770

I love the versatility of the Omni Serving Trays – I don’t have to present four sections if what I really need is two. Also, every component of this presentation is store bought – graham crackers, bonbons, and sandwich cookies. And each one is a favorite – that’s a win!

I wasn’t sure how the dark cookies would look in a dark tray, but it totally works. It was fun finding a bonbon wrapped in Turquoise and knew instantly it would be the star of the Omni trays.

As I shared before, popcorn balls are the hot hot hot dessert right now. A variation on that is caramel corn, but I wanted to stay with the color scheme of black and white, so what did I do?

Say hello to my Popcorn and Oreo Gooey Delight.

It was too easy. I popped about ¾ cup white popcorn kernels (I use a hot air popper) and poured onto a baking sheet (with 1” sides). It broke my heart to deliberately break 1 sleeve of cookies and scatter over the popcorn. I melted 4T of butter in a pan, added a bag of marshmallows. Working quickly, I poured the melted marshmallows over the popcorn/cookie mix and using my bare hands (coated liberally with butter – the mix is hot, give yourself permission to use a wooden spoon, wear gloves, wait a moment, etc), I stirred until I couldn’t effectively combine any longer.

Caution: Your mileage may vary, but contents are likely to disappear upon impact.

hlc-new-years-2015-780

The White Pie Plate is sitting on top of a White Bouillon Bowl – it’s a perfect way to raise something off the surface of the table to create visual balance. These two pieces go well together based on shape, size, and silhouette.

When thinking about a theme, clocks felt like a natural choice, to symbolize the passing of time. When I was visiting my BFF in Missouri, we spent the better part of a day visiting antique malls in the area. She took me to lunch and we never stopped laughing. We spotted this larger vintage clock and knew right away I need to bring it home with me. The tag was marked, “as is”, I didn’t need it to work and the price reflected its condition. Unfortunately, a clerk wound it up and it started to tick and was still ticking as I drove myself to the airport. How does this happen with a broken clock? I love my life!

If you don’t have a BFF, find one. My life partner is everything to me. And my best girlfriend tells me when my slip is showing.

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And why not add more clock faces? How about on a cake?! I love a fancy cake. Most of my layer cakes have a simple, rustic but appealing look to them. Rosettes are so lovely for special celebrations and New Year’s Eve is one such occasion.

This triple-layer Vanilla Bean Cake is filled with vanilla buttercream tinted black. Since I already had chocolate cupcakes on the table, I didn’t want to add another chocolate cake. The vanilla is crazy good and worth it to process the whole bean. And I’m in love with this cake!

The roses are made using a large open-star piping tip. I start in the center, draw the buttercream over to the 3 o’clock position, and then continue in a counter-clockwise circle until I reach the 4. Overlapping the roses just a wee bit ensures complete coverage of the crumb coat.

hlc-new-years-2015-777

 

Because things don’t always work out, my plan for Panda Cupcakes became Panda Inspired Cupcakes. I lost my panda googly eyes, which were found immediately upon completion of the photo shoot, of course. I’m sold on the look.You see pandas, right?

 

hlc-new-years-2015-952

I don’t always prepare party favors or take-home gifts, but I did this time. These little jars are stellar! There is 5.5 Tablespoons of M&Ms in each jar, which becomes the perfect snack for the bus/car/tram on the way home.

We were traveling recently and made it a point to stop in a candy store that offers every color of M&M candies. So an ombre of fun was designed.

After I got these made, I tried several different types of bows/ribbon/string – but nothing worked. I think the ombre look is bold enough and doesn’t need anything else.

How adorable is this for a wedding/shower/birthday party favor?

Go green – reuse it.

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All of the food – delicious! While your guests prepare their own plates, enjoy your own party. It’s a win having friends and family who like spending time together.

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How I use my Fiesta Dinnerware on a daily basis is influenced by what I’m doing – fancy or every day, the Medium Flared Vase is a staple. We have this vase on our Dining Room table almost all the time and certainly when we’re entertaining. It can anchor a dessert table without stealing limelight from the star. This vase is a workhorse and I love it.

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Celebrations mark the passing of time, seasons, change and growth. Traditions, like the NYC Times Square Ball Drop are cultural norms that bind us to a larger group. Or, family traditions like card night and ringing in the New Year cements us to our smaller, inclusive group, that says, “my people, my family”. Traditions and rituals draw us together.

When our kids started going out with friends for New Year’s Eve, I was afraid they’d make the same mistakes I had made as a young person. We’re so fortunate they haven’t done that; I’m grateful they learned from my mistakes. That’s part of change too, parenting adult kids, loving them and being present in their lives.

For now, I get to create and love and experience my little corner of the world. Time keeps on ticking…Happy New Year!

Vanilla Bean Layer Cake
A light and delicious Vanilla flavored cake
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1tsp Baking Soda
  2. 2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  3. 1tsp Salt
  4. 1 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  5. 2 2/3 Cup Cake Flower
  6. 1 Cup Vegetable Oil
  7. 1 Cup Buttermilk
  8. 2 tsp Clear Vanilla Extract
  9. 6 Egg Whites
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In medium sized mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients; set aside.
  3. Process Vanilla Beans - add seeds to milk, stir. Add vanilla pods to milk and gently warm up to slightly warmer than room temperature. Tend carefully if in the microwave.
  4. In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites. Add sugar – beat thoroughly until smooth. Add oil and vanilla – beat on high until frothy.
  5. Alternating…add flour mix and buttermilk; set mixer to low.
  6. Divide batter among cake pans.
  7. Bake for 22-25 minutes.
  8. Cool completely. Frost with luscious Vanilla Buttercream.
Notes
  1. Note: Batter will be thin
  2. Hot Tip: This doesn't lend itself to substituting half of the oil with applesauce - some of the sparkly vanilla flavor is lost. The cake turns out wonderfully, but the flavor is diminished a wee bit.
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/

 

 

 

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A Christmas Dessert Table

 

A Dessert Tablescape

I love this time of year and I’m so happy to be back with a Christmas post full of sweet delights! I have wonderful, sweet memories of kids when they were younger and stockings and decorating a tree. And, there are certainly the memories of our early married years which includes Christmas mornings featuring upcycled toys, hand-stitched gifts, and stockings with more fresh fruit than chocolate candy.

No matter where we are today, it’s the time together that matters most for me. This year is an especially exciting since all our people will gather together and those with a partner are bringing them along for the fun.

What’s a family gathering without delicious food and a dessert table to pick from all day long? This year, I wanted to focus on the fun of Christmas and created a mixed bag of desserts to choose from while incorporating the new 12 Days Of Christmas sets.

I am crazy about the new Fiesta Twelve Days of Christmas Salad Plates and Java Mugs! This first in a series of three is gorgeous and functional – which is right in my butter zone. My favorite feature of this design is the liberal use of color I can pair with it – Lapis, Sunflower, Scarlet, Shamrock, Slate, and Tangerine.

The Lapis Luncheon plate looks amazing with the four Calling Birds. Right away, the start of the dessert table begins with a personal-sized Cherry Pie baked directly in the Bouillon Bowl. I love baking in this shape and the ramekins for portion control and ease of serving.

Individual Pies in Bouillon Bowls

 

So much of the fun of being a kid at a family gathering during the holidays – nobody is paying too much attention to a houseful of children running through the place.

This Lollipop Tree is an ideal distraction from the chocolate and offers an alternative to some common allergies. It’s made with a Styrofoam cone hot-glued to a round piece of cardboard (I used a cake board) and stuck with nearly four pounds of DumDum pops. It’s a party all by itself! A shiny bow on top finishes the look.

I sat the tree on a Shamrock Luncheon plate and hot glued it to an upended Shamrock Tapered Mug. Later when you want to take these two apart, let them soak in a sink of hot soapy water or pop the whole thing into the dishwasher, if you have one.

Sugary Shrink Tip: If you need to take a dish to a community holiday gathering – take one of these! I’ve seen one get destroyed in less than 10 minutes, it was amazing.

(Caution: watch for choking hazards with the wee ones.)

 

A Christmas Dessert Table

 

 

!2 Days of Christmas Set

I think the star of this table is the Scarlet Tiered Serving Center with a Red Velvet Cake on top. From top to bottom, this focal point is filled with fun and deliciousness.

This structure is pieced together with Hostess Serving Bowl as the base, 12” Cake Tray, Ring-handled Mug, and a Luncheon Plate.

The Triple-Layer Red Velvet Layer Cake is filled with Cream Cheese Buttercream and finished with a light crumb coat. I topped it with everything but the kitchen sink! There are three snow-covered trees with red ornaments: ice cream cones, buttercream, and mini-M&Ms. Yogurt covered pretzels, Hershey Kisses, Peppermint Bark, and a few Raffaellos complete the look.

When contemplating the fussiness of the top compared to the simple frosting I realized the look was quite balanced.

The Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream will keep that family member happy who says, “Just give me chocolate and everything will be ok.”

Remember, to cover the buttercream with the sprinkles connect with the frosting, treat each cupcake immediately after the swirl. Don’t wait until you’ve piped a whole tray, the buttercream will likely set and the sprinkles will slide off not sticking to the frosting.

A Christmas Cake from the Sugary Shrink

 

Popcorn balls and cupcakes

Popcorn Balls is this year’s hot, hot dessert. One thing I love about making popcorn balls is that you can get creative! Add in your favorite candy, nuts, dried fruit, crushed pretzels, toffee bits, etc. Don’t be afraid of this classic. In the past I was nervous about boiling sugar, but a few successes with my candy thermometer helped reduce the anxiety.

Another option is to treat the popcorn like you would Rice Krispie treats and make the popcorn balls with butter and a bag of marshmallows. Did you know you can do that!? It’s simple and easy and your family and friends will go bonkers wanting more.

If adding chocolate, wait until the marshmallows are fully integrated and the pan has begun to cool – just as it’s time to start forming the balls.

For a dessert table, I chose to form smaller treats – a bocce sized ball instead of a traditional softball size.

My Omni Trays look like a Wreath this year!

Shamrock is such an amazing color and ideal for creating a wreath with a Scarlet center with the Omni tray. This combination is a classic and makes for a perfect platform for all those Christmas Cookies scored at your annual cookie exchange.

I didn’t attend one this year, so I decided to fill the trays with some of my favorites – mostly homemade goodies.

Holiday treats in an all Shamrock Entertaining Set

In the 12 o’clock position are two amazing donuts I found at the bakery – tinted glazed donuts. They were stunning and almost too pretty to eat.

The Rice Krispie Trees are one my favorites – the design is very approachable and the result is Christmas fun. I used a triangle cookie cutter, piped on very thin buttercream, sprinkled the non-pareils, and chocolate-glued a wafer cookie on for a trunk. I promise you these will disappear.

The Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Star) Cookies are a classic in Germany. The cinnamon goodness gets even more delicious year after year. The light glaze is just enough sweetness to this very moist and slightly spongey cookie.

The Sugar Cookie Marzipan Wreath is a new one for me this year. I’m not much of a cookie baker at all. I can prepare of pan of dropped cookies or no-bake yumminess – but I begin to fall apart at the step “roll dough flat.”

My cookies have a more ‘rustic circle’ quality to it, so I needed some cover-up. Marzipan holly leaves worked great as a cover and a wreath was born. Each cookie only needs a few mini-M&Ms, which means anything remaining is a reward for yourself, just some of the perks of baking.

Sugary Shrink Tip: Don’t be stingy with the tinting gel, be bold and your creations will be the talk of the party.

Cookie-Wreath with Marzapan

A Fiesta Wreath full of sweet treats

The Java Mugs are intended to coordinate perfectly with the Christmas Dessert Plates. I love the level of detail in each design – the clear colors, numbers, and aesthetic of each day represents the quality of the work that has gone into this new series. Who else is anxious to see the next set?!

A Christmas classic in a non-drinking household is hot apple cider with extra cinnamon. It’s as if these mugs were made just for me! And of course for you too! Nothing says holidays in the cold like coming into a warm kitchen with apple cider on the stove.

12 Days of Christmas Mug Set

I couldn’t find a real Poinsettia plant anywhere, however, this silk arrangement looks terrific in my Sunflower Large Disc Pitcher. The colors coordinate with the Twelve Days of Christmas and looks incredibly Christmassy.

A holiday arrangement of Poinsettias in a Sunflower Vase

There was room on my 15” White Baking Tray for a few brave Christmas Trees. These inverted ice cream cones are covered with buttercream and sugar pearls to make these adorable Christmas Trees. I then placed them to sit on a chocolate cupcake with a base cover of white vanilla Buttercream. Aren’t there always-young ones running around who would gladly tackle this beauty?

Christmas Tree Cupcakes full of Buttercream

 

As many parties as I’ve attended, slicing the cake is the tell-tale sign that “desserts have started!” My favorite aspect of slicing and serving a cake is watching my family and friends jab their fork into that first bite and returning with “hmm…mmm… oh yeah…mmmm.” It’s cake talk for, “how soon is too soon for seconds?”

12 Days of Christmas Plate Set

I simply love all the color on this Christmas dessert table. It’s welcoming and inviting, but mostly sweet thanks to the desserts and the family that will share them with us.

The holidays are loaded with individual, family, and cultural traditions. I know we each carried the traditions of our youth into our new family and we had an opportunity to start our own traditions. Now, it’s very rewarding to watch our family develop some of their own Christmas traditions.

I love that Fiesta has been and continues to be a part of our holiday celebrations – right alongside the Christmas Tree with too many ornaments, the Christmas present that was put away in a “safe place” in August that no one can remember where, and the regifted decorative candle.

I appreciate the relationships I enjoy with our people and do not take them for granted. Mostly, I am joy-filled in my walk today.

 

DIY Fiesta Tiered Cake Stand

 

 

 

 

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12 Days Of Christmas Styled Four Ways

 

12-Days-Of-Christmas

We’re so excited this holiday season to have a collectors’ series available to add to your holiday traditions. This year, we launched our 12 Days of Christmas collection with this first set of four java mugs and four salad plates. They’re the first in a series of three to complete the collection of 12 java mugs and 12 salad plates over the next three years.

We provided four different ways to incorporate the first set of the series with your existing Fiesta collection.

Go Glam

Our first table idea is paired with sleek Slate. Slate is such a fun color because it can really be dressed up and that’s just what we did here. We paired the first day of Christmas with lights and a Cobalt napkin and a dressed it up by tying some shimmery tulle to create a beautiful bow to make it extra special. #1-Final

 

Go Bright

For the second day, we incorporated all four sets with a colorful and bright collection of Fiesta Dinnerware. We paired the set of four java mugs and four salad plates with Scarlet, Turquoise, Tangerine and Sunflower with the Fiesta celebration flatware. We used the same complementary colors in all the placemats and fringe napkins.

#2-Final

 

A Country Christmas

The cute French hens really spoke to a fun classic country Christmas look. This set coupled perfectly with a Sage dinner plate and Sage salt and pepper shakers. We added in some pine cones and a Christmas tree sprig decorated with holly to match the Scarlet flatware and the Fiesta soiree plaid tablecloth. Doesn’t this setting feel warm and cozy?

 

#3-Final

 

Scandinavian Inspired Setting

For the fourth day setting, we were inspired to create a Scandinavian theme with Poppy and Tangerine colors to complement the blue birds in the salad plate and the java mug. We used the tree branches to put together a small wreath the size of the dinner plate. We added in colorful felt flowers for an added pop of color. We kept the linens simple with just a placemat and napkin because the wood grains of the table added to the whimsical Scandinavian theme.

#4-Final

 

We hope you love the new 12 Days of Christmas collection and incorporate it into the your family holiday traditions for years to come. Share how you have incorporated it into your personal collection of Fiesta Dinnerware on social media and use hashtag #FiestaDinnerware for the chance to have your image featured on our official Fiesta Dinnerware Facebook page!
Happy Holidays!

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Thanksgiving Sweet Treats with The Sugary Shrink

Thanksgiving Sweet Treats

Thanksgiving is such a special time of year, at home in the Midwest or living abroad, this holiday remains an event at our house. The roots of our family traditions stem from my youth and the amazing holidays spent with my grandparents on their farm. And, I love how my little family has expanded those traditions and made them their own.

This year, I’ve planned a dessert table that can accommodate our friends here in Heidelberg. This is our fourth Thanksgiving as a group and it’s the usual suspects with a few extras mixed in. Our friends remind us that Thanksgiving is uniquely American and their exposure to a traditional dinner was brought to them only through sitcoms.

Many of our friends have said, “Every American sitcom has a Thanksgiving and Christmas episode.” Our hope the first year we hosted a Thanksgiving dinner was to simply avoid an international incident! A sit down dinner for 24 isn’t an easy task in the best of circumstances, but everything worked out wonderfully, as it usually always does.

Dietary restrictions of a few guests have prompted me to explore more types of desserts in ways I hadn’t considered before; allergies of all kinds have kept me on my toes. Offering every guest, several choices on the dessert table is important to me since most of the guests will have numerous choices as well.

Thanksgiving-Tablescape-with-Fiesta-Dinnerware

Mixing up textures inside a focused color palette helps me stay on point when designing a dessert table. Fiesta Dinnerware showcased against wood, metal, textiles, and glass highlights the beautiful lines and shapes I love. Balance is important, so I make sure I distribute these elements evenly across the presentation.

The Thanksgiving color combination was a simple and natural choice: Sage, Slate, Ivory, Paprika, and Poppy. These go seamlessly together and perfectly echo the colors right outside my window. Staying inside this chosen ensemble is critical for tablescape cohesion and design.

Sage Vase. Fiesta Dinnerware

I’ve anchored the table with a show-stopping arrangement in a Sage Medium Flower Vase. It’s stunning. I built this bouquet from silk flowers along with some other bits and baubles. I didn’t have any florist wire or tape, so I used a zip tie (we have plenty of those). All the colors from the table are represented in this design and the arching stem of flowers help frame the cake and draws focus to it.

The Triple-Layer Cake is made with two layers of carrot cake with a crust-less cheesecake middle layer, the frosting is a lightly tinted cream cheese buttercream garnished with a pair of petite-swirled Lollipops. Adding a small bow introduces another level of texture and elevates the textile component.

Nutmeg-and-Tapered-Mugs

Beginning on the left side of the table, in the Tapered Mugs I prepared a cranberry apple gluten-free crisp with a whipped cream topping. It’s as delicious as it sounds and even easier to prepare. This mug is quite generous in case you have two guests that just want a nibble, go ahead and share.

It is the case that I love the iconic shape of the Salt and Pepper Shakers, and I don’t have any desserts that required salt and pepper after everything is prepared. So, I thought about the best way to incorporate this steadfast piece and then it hit me; its possible guests would like a sprinkling of nutmeg or cinnamon on their after-dinner sweets or lattes etc. I love this idea and will sure include it from now on. Keeping the salt and pepper shakers near a tiny placard can help alleviate any confusion.

Pie-Baker-and-Omni-Tray

I’m happy with the results of staying inside traditions and having fun! These chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter buttercream are designed to mimic apple and blueberry pies, because offering real pies wasn’t enough. Using a tin foil cupcake liner is the small detail that mimics a traditional pie tin and piped-on latticework helps the candy-coated chocolates stay in place. Though the blue falls outside the color palette, I thought it would help convey the idea of blueberry pie. That choice falls to the baker, be your own best self on this decision.

Pecan-Pie-in-Slate-Pie-Baker

Because time is always a factor on Thanksgiving, I like to give myself permission to say, “I can’t do everything.” The pecan pie was bought frozen. Before baking, I popped it out of its tin and let it thaw a few minutes as it settled into the Slate Deep Dish Pie Baker. Just a few minutes less in the oven than recommended and this pie was good to go. Consider offering a warm vanilla cream sauce to pair with this pie. It’s a wonderful alternative to whipped cream and elevates the experience of this dessert. The Fiesta Mini-Disc Pitcher is a natural choice for pouring this delicate sauce.

pumpkin-pie-detail-448[2]

For this Pumpkin Pie, I needed to up my game by adding a decorative crust of pumpkin cutouts using a decorative pie crust cutter and I couldn’t have been happier with the results! Such a detail eliminates the question, “Is this pumpkin or sweet potato?” The Paprika Deep Dish Pie Baker looks wonderful sitting on an amber glass cake stand. Depending on your crowd, it might be a good idea to have an extra Pumpkin Pie or two on standby in the kitchen

Thanksgiving-Omni-tray-521[2]

An Omni Tray shining in the sun… let me just sit a little longer so I can enjoy this. Again, the five-part tray set is a great place to consider different types of desserts and sweet treats for easy snacking and serving. On the left is shortbread cut on the diagonal. I didn’t prepare these, but supported a local baker building her successful small business in a sustainable way. This was a smart decision considering shortbread isn’t in my wheelhouse yet and I love supporting my friend Claire as she launches something new.

The acorns consist of a chocolate kiss and a mini-Nilla wafer with a small dab of buttercream keeping them together. These are an ideal bite of something sweet and look fantastic on top of cakes and cupcakes.

Oatmeal raisin cream pies are my favorite (I ate one for lunch from the vending machine during all three years of middle school). I prefer my homemade cream pies to the store bought, but when time is a factor don’t be afraid to mix things up! Buy the cookies but make your own buttercream and then enlist some help putting them together.

Consider dried fruit or nuts for the Omni Tray, especially for guests that might be shying away from processed sugars, gluten, or dairy.

Banana-Cinnamon-in-Fiesta-Ramekins-462[2]

For an alternative dessert to all things baked, consider the classic Banana Nilla Wafer Pudding. It’s delicious and a perennial favorite. I chose to use Fiesta Ramekins to keep portion sizes consistent and the tables a bit tidy, but don’t forget about the Bouillon Bowls as a wonderful alternative. The whipped cream is a perfect topper for the pudding and if you’d like, maybe some cinnamon is the way to finish it, too.

Two gentle reminders, if your fridge has room, it’ll be easier to move the pudding in and out if you have a small tray or shallow dish the Ramekins can sit in. I love that the Fiesta Ramekins are just as functional and beautiful with a baked dessert or a cool one.

If cookies and graham crackers are off the list of approved foods, think about lining the bottom and sides of the dessert ramekin with banana slices. That opens up the possibility of using vanilla, banana, chocolate, or coconut pudding as the main attraction, because they all sound delicious with bananas and whipped cream!

Thanksgiving-Treats-on-Ivory-Fiesta

Dessert Plates! It’s like the floodgates of delicious open up when that first brave soul tackles slicing the pies and cakes. At our house, it usually sounds like, “Hon, can you come slice the pies and get things started?” Happy to. The Fiesta Dinnerware Salad plate is perfect for dessert portions and for handling the heavy load of the first round and returning for seconds. Are thirds a thing where you live? I’m just asking for a friend.

Thanksgiving-Pie-in-Slate-Pie-Baker

There is something about a sliced pie or cake at the holidays that anchors me to the people I love and call family. Perhaps it’s linked to the love that went into cooking and baking for this special meal. Or maybe, it’s the connection of remembering to give thanks for all I have and then demonstrating that in a really tangible manner.

I have clear memories of my grandmother lifting the flour sack tea towels that had covered the pies all afternoon and unveiling the long-awaited pumpkin or pecan or apple pie that would soon be in my tummy.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year and planning for it is terribly exciting. I think the anticipation of spending the day with family and friends is a key component to how I feel about it. Not only is it a day to laugh and share stories, it’s a day to welcome kind words of thanks and sharing that compassion among one another. Even when the baby cries, an adult steps on a toy, or the rolls are a little overdone– there is magic and meaning in community. Be brave and find your people. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Easy Halloween Entertaining

Halloween is always a fun, but busy day for families. Between getting kids in their costumes, making dinner and entertaining friends and neighbors who stop by for some pre-trick or treating fun, there is a lot to take care of. To make your night easier, we gathered some tried and true, easy, and delicious recipes for your Halloween evening.

Most parents agree that getting in a nutritious meal before eating candy well into the evening is  always the goal, especially on Halloween. Chili is a crowd pleaser, even for picky eaters. Plus, it’s a quick meal you can prepare hours ahead of time (we think it’s even better if you make it the day before!).

Final

We followed a very simple family recipe we like to call “Halloween Chili Brew” that can even be done in the crockpot if you want to prep ahead. Or you can make it in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Both options are simple and require little time. (You will find the recipe towards the bottom.)

 

Hand,-Chip,-Chili

One of the best things about chili is that it’s an easy, casual meal that guests and kids can serve themselves with ease. Then you’re free to mingle with guests dropping by or tend to little ones. We set out the Jumbo Bowls in Shamrock for a nice easy-to-hold bowl for individual servings. We used the Large Bistro Bowl also in Shamrock for blue corn chips. The chili was cooked in a Dutch oven on the stove, then transferred to the Ivory Large Covered Casserole dish and kept in the oven to keep it warm. The Large Covered Casserole dish moves perfectly from the oven to the table and keeps food nice and warm.

Overhead-Serving-Chili-Final

Of course our meal wouldn’t be complete without a beverage and what better beverage to serve than hot apple cider? We kept it wine free so everyone could enjoy it, but we will give you the recipe with with wine or without.

White-Pumpkins-Over-the-Shoulder

 

Overhead-Serving-Hot-Cider-Final

The hot apple cider took about 60 seconds to prepare. It’s as easy as just pouring all the ingredients into the crockpot, slicing an apple and orange, turning the crockpot on low and waiting for it to get nice and warm.

 

Overhead-Final

 

We placed the crockpot on the buffet table so everything was in one accessible spot. The new Tapered Mugs are perfect for enjoying a warm beverage, especially on a crisp evening.

To dress up the buffet table, we used black burlap strips to create a fun texture in place of a tablecloth. That kept things simple and prevented some of the messes from little ones who would be serving themselves. White pumpkins in three different sizes made for a great addition to the color scheme on the buffet table. Behind the buffet table, market lights and a chalkboard banner hung in the background to add to the ambiance. Simple decor like this is perfect to leave up for the entire fall season, making it even easier to entertain guests at a later date or on a spur of the moment.

 

Final

Fiesta mixing bowls have so many uses outside of the kitchen. We filled the medium mixing bowl with candy for trick or treaters. Just imagine what a lovely fall evening you’ll have sitting on the porch with a delicious cup of hot apple cider warming your hands and passing out candy to the neighborhood kids.

Shamrock-Bowl-At-Door

Cider-Outside-Final

We hope you have a fun, safe, family filled day with lots of laughter this Halloween.

Shamrock-Mixing-Bowl-Holding-Candy

Halloween Chili Brew
Serves 12
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs of Ground Beef
  2. 1 Medium white or yellow onion chopped
  3. 1 Medium Green Bell Pepper cut into strips
  4. 1 16oz can of Tomatoes
  5. 2 Cups of water
  6. 1 12oz can of Tomato Paste
  7. 1 cup black sliced olives
  8. 3/4 cup of oats, uncooked
  9. 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of Chili Powder
  10. 2 1/2 teaspoons of Salt
  11. 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  12. Tortilla Chips
  13. Cheddar Cheese Shredded
Instructions
  1. Brown meat, Bell pepper and Onion in large skillet, then drain
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to skillet and mix well
  3. Cover and let simmer for 30 min.
Notes
  1. Can also be cooked using a crockpot.
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/
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A Sugary Halloween With Fiesta Dinnerware

Full-TableScape

Hi! I’m Julia Murphy and I’m crazy excited to be guest blogging here for Fiesta Dinnerware. My family has been using Fiesta Dinnerware for generations. My grandmother had a Fiesta teapot on her shelf for decades and I’ve been using Fiesta on a daily basis since 1997.

My husband and I currently live in Heidelberg, Germany. We love to travel, try new things, make new friends, and explore. I’m a self-taught home baker. A few YouTube videos on the magic of buttercream plus work on the science of baking has brought me to a place where I like the look of what I create and how it tastes. New projects and techniques are labeled ‘test kitchen’ on my blog, The Sugary Shrink, so I can remind myself that nothing has to be perfect. My goal is for the outside design to match the inside deliciousness.

I hope you like what I have prepared for you this month.

At the first hint of autumn, I get excited for my favorite holiday season.  It begins with Halloween and continues through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. This year is no different. We love to invite our friends over for fun and spooky-good times!  After an easy dinner of chili and cornbread, a costume contest, and maybe a talent show – we’ll attack the dessert table before settling in for an evening of classic board games.

The Dessert Table

This dessert table was inspired my all-time favorite – Candy Corn! I love the colors, the look and the flavor.

 

Full-TableScape

When I prepare a dessert table, I like to offer popular choices so everyone’s happy. It’s also important to appeal all the senses. The scent of the Granny Smith apples, hot cocoa, and fresh fruit kabobs is an additional draw because it mingles with the scent of cupcakes and buttercream.

Combining textures is another great technique to keep things visually interesting. The Fiesta Dinnerware paired with a wooden box next to a wire cake stand allows these different textures to play off one another.

Varying the height of displays helps break up any sense of visual monotony. I aim for visual balance, for example the box with the Slate Large Disc Pitcher on the left is at the same level as the Baking Tray of Jumbo Mugs on the right.  The Appetizer Plates are balanced with the candy corn candle holder while the Bread Trays and Omni Trays establish a solid base.

 

Floral-Arrangement

I’ve stacked the Shamrock Witch Appetizer plate with a Lemongrass Dessert plate to add color and fun. The black and white paper straws are in a Poppy tapered Mug.  This combination, with three different levels, keeps a nice visual balance.

The Desserts!

Omni-Tray-Final

 

I am in love with this omni tray! An omni tray means it’s a party and this time was no exception. I combined two Poppy and two Slate omni trays and added a Poppy ramekin for the center and finished with a Slate 15” Round baking tray. The combination is a real showstopper.

The center is filled with a chocolate, peanut butter, and cream cheese dip to compliment the other dessert items of yogurt covered pretzels, graham crackers, Oreos and Clementine’s.

How about a few Monster Cupcakes?

Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes are perfect for a design like these. I tint the batter to match the cupcake liner. I tinted the FrankenCupcake green, the Purple Periscope is tinted purple and the Chocolate Orange Rose tinted orange to match their respective colored cupcake liners. Monster cupcakes might be the perfect party activity for guests of all ages.

If you make these cupcakes for your party guests this season, consider topping cupcakes with crushed pretzels or nuts, flaked coconut, swirls of caramel, and always remember to add eyes for the monster effect.

Orange Ombre Cake

OMbre-Cake-Final

 

This chocolate layer cake is three layers of delicious! The design is forgiving and approachable for the home baker. A Sunflower 12” cake plate is ideal for the 8” round cake and the colors pair very well. The frosting is vanilla buttercream in a light orange ombré finish. I cut out a construction paper Scary Boo Cat, to echo the Lemongrass Boo Cat, and taped a coffee stir stick on the back then gently set him down off-center.

When I first started decorating cakes, I tried to make each and every cake perfect. No lines, no smears, no flaws. But that’s not real life and that’s certainly not me. Now I embrace a more relaxed style when it comes to buttercream and cake and I hope you do too.

I don’t know if I can celebrate Halloween without a candied apple and I’m not willing to find out! These Granny Smith apples are a generous size and not for the faint of heart. The white bread tray is a wonderful showcase for these treats and is perfect for taking from refrigerator to the table.

Candy-Apples-on-Omi-Tray

These candy apples have natural sticks that I cleaned, blanched, and then twisted into the center of the cleaned, dried apple until firmly in place. After the apple was dipped in caramel sauce, I rolled it around several different kinds of coating. This is where the fun begins!

Though peanuts are a traditional choice, not all my guests can eat nuts – so I crushed a few pretzels instead.  It’s a terrific crunch and is a flavor buddy to caramel and apples; the candy corn screams party. Other options to be included next time could be cupcake sprinkles, mini-chocolate morsels, toasted coconut and toffee chips.

Bread-Trays-

These three Bread Trays: White, Poppy, and Sunflower continue the theme of candy corn and Halloween.

The Poppy bread tray has two different kinds of treat, fresh fruit kabobs of dark grapes and kiwi chunks. The color of the fruit supports the Halloween theme and is a wonderful alternative to baked goods and is a beautiful contrast to the Poppy.

Sugary Shrink tip: After completing kabobs, go back and cut away the pointed end of the stick to reduce the risk that anyone is harmed with a kabob skewer.

On the other half of the Poppy bread tray is a chocolate mocha ball with coconut. I bought this at the store because it looked festive and offered a different flavor.  When it comes to dessert tables– it’s about the hosts’ comfort level and reduced anxiety. If baking at home is too much, consider attempting one item. If that’s still too much, buy all the things! It’s a party and what matters is time spent with family and friends.

Rice krisp Candy Corn Wedges

RK-candy-corn

You didn’t know how badly you needed these in your life until this very moment. They are as fun and easy they look. For this dessert table, I used my 10” cake round, which required about one and a half times the standard marshmallow treat recipe. Add color just at the very end of the marshmallows melting, remove from heat, stir in cereal, and press into pan. Placing a round of parchment paper at the bottom of the pan and liberally butter the sides made for a very easy release onto the cutting board.  I scored the entire round with my cake slicer and sliced the wedges apart with a heavy knife.

These Jumbo Mugs are the hit of the party!  They’re so much fun and it seems everyone has their favorite. Halloween is a perfect time for hot cocoa with marshmallows and this mug can handle anything you throw at it.

hlc-halloween-341

Five jumbo mugs fit very nicely on the White 15” round baking tray sitting on an upended Poppy Hostess Bowl.  This combination adds color, height, and provides a great base for these hot mugs. Watch as your guests match their mug to their appetizer or luncheon plate, adults and children alike.

Quite frankly, this Jumbo Mug is one of my favorite, go-to mugs.  I might turn right around and have cereal or oatmeal in one or later in the day, a bit of soup. It’s like a bowl with a handle.

Cake-side-shot

Once the cake is sliced, the plates fill up.  There are very few rules when it comes to party guests serving themselves.  It’s about creating a welcoming atmosphere filled with love and acceptance and fun. Fiesta Dinnerware does that, it brings fun and says, “You’re family here.”

The best part of Fiesta and Halloween is the amusement and the memories. So many years of helping our kids get dressed up for Halloween, the occasional family costume (In 2005 we went as Yahtzee) or those drizzly nights my life partner dressed up as a mummy to hand out candy. Halloween has nostalgia and traditions.These are the same words I use when it comes to Fiesta Dinnerware. Fiesta is fun and each family has unique traditions that keep time anchored. This year as I add the Halloween Bats and Whoo Owl design to my party, I will also be adding a new tradition that extends the good memories of past years with the new memories of today.

Cake-Slice-and-Fruit-Kabob-Final

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24 Fall Color Combinations

As the season changes to fall, our fashions and color choices likely change. At Fiesta Dinnerware, we think that changing up color combinations is just as important as changing up your wardrobe. After all, that’s why we offer so many color choices, so you can mix and match to come up with your own personal signature set for all seasons and occasions.

Pumpkin-1

We have a total of 24 fall color combinations for you to be inspired by or use for any of the upcoming holidays.

The first combination is something traditional in color. We were inspired by the Pantone color of the year, Marsala. We created something that felt traditional but still had a pop of color. We paired plum, sunflower and poppy to create this look. We especially like the square dinner plate on the bottom which acts like a charger plate with the place setting. Plum flatware was also used to complete this look.

Pumpkin-2

 
In this second fall color combo, we went a bit more modern. We think these colors would be great for someone who likes the idea of non-traditional colors for fall. The color combination looks clean, modern and fresh.

Sunflower-1
We continued the feeling of new and modern by tucking the napkin between the dinner plate and the luncheon plate across the top, then took sunflower flatware and tied a fork and knife together with thick gray string and laid it across the fringe Fiesta napkins, also in sunflower.

Sunflower-2

This next look is somewhere in-between the first two, modern meets traditional. We took burlap  and draped that down the center of the table, adding texture to the tablecloth linen to create warmth in conjunction with the earthy tones of paprika. The idea of incorporating wheat into this color combo came after we added the burlap and saw how it perfectly fit in with the color combination. A sprig of wheat looks great against the paprika flatware tied together. Don’t you think?

Wheat-1
The color combination we used here is paprika, slate, tangerine and turquoise. The way that we paired it was to layer the lighter, brighter colors on top of the darkest shade, slate. The idea of a holiday brunch brought out the cream and sugar set along with a cup and saucer. The medium bistro bowl is perfect for just about anything.

Wheat-2

We have even more fall color combinations ahead for you, all based on fall color trends as well as some of our favorites. We hope that these fall color combinations inspire you to create your own fall color combinations. If you do, we’d love to see them. Share your color combinations with us on Facebook and Pinterest and we will feature them on our color combination board.

Here are the other 21 fall color combinations we created using Colorama on the Fiesta website. Share your favorites with your friends!

7

Top: Scarlet, Ivory and Sage. Middle: Shamrock and Slate. Bottom: Slate and Sunflower

1

Top: Scarlet, Sage, Slate and Ivory. Middle: Sage, White and Cobalt. Bottom: Sage, Paprika and Turquoise.

6

Top: Shamrock and Slate. Middle: Shamrock and Cobalt. Bottom: Ivory, Plum and Sage.

5

Top: Black and White Middle: Sage and Tangerine. Bottom: Lapis and Slate.

4

Top: Slate, Sage and Sunflower. Middle: Slate, Plum and Lemongrass. Bottom: Cobalt and Sunflower

3

Top: Slate, Lapis and Cobalt. Middle: Slate, Sunflower and Poppy. Bottom: Lemongrass, Plum and Shamrock.

2

Top: Poppy, Plum and Ivory. Middle: Paprika, Slate and Turquoise. Bottom: Poppy, Tangerine and Slate.

 

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Girls’ Night: Wine and Dessert Pairing

A night in with our girlfriends is always a good idea, so we decided to host a dramatic wine and dessert party. Enjoying each other’s company over three different courses not only allowed us time to catch up, but we also satisfied our sweet tooth with some unique recipes. Spending time with friends is a perfect addition to our #FiestaSummerResolutions.

Wine and dessert pairings are the perfect excuse to raise a toast to our girlfriends.

Wine and dessert pairings are the perfect excuse to raise a toast to our girlfriends.

One of the best parts of the evening was getting the chance to unplug and connect with our friends in person while making some special desserts with our hands. There’s something comforting about getting back to the basics in the kitchen: the texture of the ingredients, smells in the oven and the satisfaction of enjoying a homemade treat.

 
Course 1: Lavender Rosemary Donuts Dipped in White Chocolate paired with Riesling

Fresh-cut lavender straight from the garden, used in Lavender Rosemary Donut recipe.

Fresh-cut lavender straight from the garden, used in Lavender Rosemary Donut recipe.

This savory-sweet recipe inspired the entire color palette of the evening, with new Fiesta Dinnerware color Slate serving up the backdrop to accent color lavender. Using fresh lavender and rosemary straight from our garden, our kitchen smelled like a dream.

The ingredients for these Lavender Rosemary Donuts are pretty in themselves.

The ingredients for these Lavender Rosemary Donuts are pretty in themselves.

A donut pan makes it simple to whip up some fancy donuts for your guests. We made Lavender Rosemary Donuts.

A donut pan makes it simple to whip up some fancy donuts for your guests. We made Lavender Rosemary Donuts.

Sprinkling fresh lavender on the white chocolate before it sets makes a delicate presentation for Lavender Rosemary Donuts.

Sprinkling fresh lavender on the white chocolate before it sets makes a delicate presentation for Lavender Rosemary Donuts.

Homemade donuts are surprisingly simple to make. All you need is a donut pan and a few basic ingredients. We used a Lavender Rosemary Donut recipe from the blog, Gourmantine, and paired our donuts with a crisp sweet Riesling. What a tasty way to start the evening!

Course 2: Sangria Sorbet

We made this course the night before, so the sorbet had time to set. All it took was three ingredients (ok, four if you count water). Here’s how you make it:

1 cup sugar
¾ cup water
1 bottle sweet red wine (we used a red blend)
3 cups berries (we used raspberries)

Fresh raspberries are the headliner in our Sangria Sorbet recipe.

Fresh raspberries are the headliner in our Sangria Sorbet recipe.

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Boil for one minute. Remove from heat. If you still have chunks of fruit, blend in a blender or food processor. Since we used raspberries, they pretty much dissolved. Push mixture through a mesh strainer to remove seeds.

Strain raspberry and wine mixture to remove seeds and pulp for this Sangria Sorbet recipe.

Strain raspberry and wine mixture to remove seeds and pulp for this Sangria Sorbet recipe.

Pour liquid in a pan (we used the Fiesta Turquoise Loaf Pan). Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight. To serve, scrape iced mixture with a spoon or ice cream scooper. Because this is a boozy treat in itself, we opted to pair our Sangria Sorbet with some authentic Cuban coffee. If you haven’t had true authentic Cuban coffee, you must. It’s what coffee is meant to taste like.

Sangria Sorbet -- what a refreshing treat.

Sangria Sorbet — what a refreshing treat.

Course 3: Flourless Chocolate Cake paired with Port

Get ready for this, we’re bringing you another three ingredient recipe. We couldn’t believe how three basic ingredients created this rich decadence. Eggs, chocolate, butter – that’s it! The prep is a bit involved, but well worth it. We found a fail-safe recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake at the blog, Gimme Some Oven. Paired with a port wine, the combination was sheer bliss.

The key to a light and fluffy Flourless Chocolate Cake is whipping the eggs until they double in size.

The key to a light and fluffy Flourless Chocolate Cake is whipping the eggs until they double in size.

Fold the chocolate into the egg mixture for Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Fold the chocolate into the egg mixture for Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Prepping the springform pans for Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Prepping the springform pans for Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Savor a piece of Flourless Chocolate Cake with a full-bodied port wine.

Savor a piece of Flourless Chocolate Cake with a full-bodied port wine.

Port is a sweet wine from Portugal that’s fortified with brandy. It should be served at room temperature. Port is typically served as dessert itself, or with other desserts or cheeses. Click here to learn more about port wine.  

Flourless Chocolate Cake served on a Fiesta Slate Saucer.

Flourless Chocolate Cake served on a Fiesta Slate Saucer.

What do you like to do when you host a night in with friends? Do you plan around a theme? We’d love to hear some of your ideas. Be sure to use #FiestaSummerResolutions in your post. 

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Fiesta Summer Resolutions: Hosting a Clambake

ClamBake
Summer is meant for spending extra time with family and friends and making memories to last a lifetime. So why not try something new and bring an east coast New England summer classic to wherever you are? After all, our #FiestaSummerResolutions challenge still stands and we are determined to try new things. From the west coast to the east coast and everywhere in between, create your own clambake summer tradition.

Set the Table:

Set your table and make it the focal point of the clambake. After all, that’s where the action is going to be. Decide what colors you’d like to focus on and go from there. This is your time to bring the style from New England to wherever you are or to take that style and make it your own, like we did. We decided to incorporate the classic blues, Lapis and Cobalt with a modern take on red, so we used Poppy and crisp classic White.

Landscape-Tablescape

Tablescape

Plan a Festive Drink:

Lemonade

 

Find a fun drink recipe that will delight your guests’ tastebuds and that has the flavors of summer. We couldn’t think of anything more summertime than a delicious lemonade. We love this recipe from The Chic Site for her Sparkling Peach Lemonade. Trust us, it’s really, really delicious.

Hands-on-LemonadeTasting-Lemonade

Deciding on the Menu:

If you look up what food to serve at a clambake, chances are there are going to be several different suggested menus, but a couple of things are for sure: lobster and clams. Some like to include potatoes, andouille sausage or chorizo, and corn-on-the-cob. If this is your first clambake, don’t focus on making it “perfect”. Your family and friends will be so grateful that you are feeding them such delicious food and spending time together it shouldn’t matter if everything is perfect. We did add in artichokes for color, texture and variety. We loosely followed this recipe from Ina Garten which is listed on The Food Network’s site here.

Food-Served
Utensils:

The best part of a clambake is that you mostly eat with your hands and it’s perfectly acceptable. This being said, make sure that you have the proper utensils to eat the lobster and clams. To make the lobster easy to enjoy, make sure to have lobster crackers available to get the lobster meat. However, make sure to set out forks in case you do serve sausage or potatoes so your guests can decide if they’d like to eat with their hands.

Texture

PlaceMat

 

Clean Up Fast:

A clambake has one of the best perks of summer entertaining—easy cleanup. Because you took the time in the beginning, you get to reap the rewards towards the end of the party. If using a disposable tablecloth, just pull each side towards the middle and remove everything that doesn’t go into the trash and then discard the rest. Easy peasy. Or in our case, we used newspaper as the table runner just for this purpose.

Have you joined us yet in making summer resolutions? Just use the hashtag #FiestaSummerResolutions to share what you’re doing to spend more time outside with family and friends on social media or share in the comments below. Happy summer!

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