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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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?

 

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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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