Throwing the Perfect Movie Award Night Party

 

Plan an Oscar worthy Academy Award party with some simple tips from Fiesta Dinnerware on the blog at www.alwaysfestive.com.

At Fiesta Dinnerware, we’ll take any opportunity to throw a party. Food and friends – it’s what life’s all about! So with the biggest movie award night just around the corner, we decided it’s lights, camera, action for a party themed around one of our favorite movies of the year…La La Land. Our décor, food, drink, and party favor all are inspired by this beautiful film about a jazz musician and actress searching for fame in LA.

Here are some ideas to plan your own movie award night viewing party:

Lay out the red carpet. Since our theme is based on La La Land, we’re rolling out a “piano carpet” that we found online. Ask a few friends to act like the paparazzi as your guests arrive.

Plan an Oscar worthy Academy Award party with some simple tips from Fiesta Dinnerware on the blog at www.alwaysfestive.com.

Dress for the occasion. How often do we get a chance to dress up? Do like the stars do and dress to the nines! You could even go a step further and ask your guests to dress like their favorite actor or actress.

Provide a star-studded backdrop. Try using a giant movie poster as your backdrop. And don’t forget plenty of props like hats, boas and sunglasses.

Make show stopping snacks. Set up a buffet table with gourmet snacks. Be sure to coordinate your dinnerware and serveware with the theme of your party. With our La La Land theme, we’re using a Fiesta Dinnerware color palette of Lapis, Cobalt, White, and new color Daffodil (look for Daffodil in stores and online this June!).

Plan an Oscar worthy Academy Award party with some simple tips from Fiesta Dinnerware on the blog at www.alwaysfestive.com.

We’re serving a variety of simple foods, but it’s the extra touches that make each dish special. Our menu includes:

Truffle Oil Parmesan Popcorn: Make or buy premade popcorn. Drizzle with a combination of melted butter and truffle oil. Sprinkle with shaved parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. We found some fun glammed up movie theater popcorn bags in which to serve the popcorn. People can scoop it right out of a Fiesta Signature Bowl.

Plan an Oscar worthy Academy Award party with some simple tips from Fiesta Dinnerware on the blog at www.alwaysfestive.com.

Chicken on a Stick: At one point in the movie, the main character Sebastian mentions that he’d like to open a jazz club called “Chicken on a Stick” in honor of Charlie Parker. It’s a no brainer what we’re serving after a comment like that!

We’re grilling chicken skewers and serving them with a variety of sauces, like barbeque, honey mustard and peanut sauce. Our friends at Oh So Delicioso have a recipe for a yummy Peanut Dipping Sauce.

Plan an Oscar worthy Academy Award party with some simple tips from Fiesta Dinnerware on the blog at www.alwaysfestive.com.

Serve the Chicken on a Stick on a Medium Oval Platter with the dipping sauces in our Bouillon Bowls set on top of a Small Bread Tray. Three of the bowls fit perfectly in the Small Bread Tray.

Cheese Tray for a Star: We’re having some fun with a set of star cookie cutters in various sizes to get our cheese tray Hollywood ready. Just cut different types of cheese into star shapes and serve with crackers and some dried fruit. We served our cheese tray on a Square Handled Serving Tray.

The new Bistro Crescent Plate is the perfect size and shape for serving small bites at a party. Don’t you think?

Plan an Oscar worthy Academy Award party with some simple tips from Fiesta Dinnerware on the blog at www.alwaysfestive.com.

Camera Ready Cupcakes: Is it possible to have a party without cupcakes? It would be hard to convince us otherwise. Vanilla cupcakes are always a hit. Need a recipe? Look no further than The Sugary Shrink. We’re sprinkling ours with gold stars to dress them up.

Plan an Oscar worthy Academy Award party with some simple tips from Fiesta Dinnerware on the blog at www.alwaysfestive.com.

Plan an Oscar worthy Academy Award party with some simple tips from Fiesta Dinnerware on the blog at www.alwaysfestive.com.

Here’s a fun Fiesta hack: turn a Cup upside down and place an Appetizer Plate on top to make a mini cake stand. Or a Hostess Serving Bowl upside down topped with any plate or platter for a larger cake stand.

Create a signature drink. Champagne will always do in a pinch, but creating your own signature drink makes the party all that more glam. We’re serving a La La Lapis Martini (recipe below).

Plan an Oscar worthy Academy Award party with some simple tips from Fiesta Dinnerware on the blog at www.alwaysfestive.com.

La La Lapis Martini Recipe

Ingredients:
Lemon wedge
Ice cubes
1/4 cup cranberry juice cocktail
2 tablespoons (1 oz.) citron vodka or vodka
2 tablespoons (1 oz.) blue curacao
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 

Directions:
1. Moisten rim of chilled martini glass with lemon wedge. Sprinkle sugar onto small plate, and dip moistened rim into the sugar to coat lightly. 
2. Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add cranberry juice, vodka, curacao, and lemon juice; cover and shake.
3. Strain into martini glass and garnish with lemon wedge.

* Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker

Cast your ballots. Before the show starts, provide a ballot sheet listing all the nominees. Ask your guests to cast their votes. Whoever predicts the most wins, gets a prize of their own!

Present your party favors. After the best picture is announced, give your guests some swag. We decided at our party, everyone goes home a winner. It’s golden statues all around: chocolate pops decked out in edible gold, of course!

Plan an Oscar worthy Academy Award party with some simple tips from Fiesta Dinnerware on the blog at www.alwaysfestive.com.

Are you planning a movie award night party? If so, please share your party ideas with us by tagging Fiesta Dinnerware on Facebook or Instagram.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

The Fiesta Guide to Setting a Thanksgiving Buffet Table

The Fiesta Guide to Setting a Thanksgiving Buffet Table

Are you hosting Thanksgiving, or perhaps a “Friendsgiving” this year? Planning, delegating and cooking can be quite stressful! Something that’s often neglected in the midst of all the Thanksgiving prep is how to set your buffet table.

Well, we have your back with a “Guide to Setting a Thanksgiving Buffet Table” that is pretty, colorful and provides a simple flow as your guests load up their plates.

It all starts with the buffet table itself. We used a basic six-foot folding table covered with a tablecloth that complemented our color scheme. To add visual interest and height to the dishes toward the back of the table, we placed two boxes underneath the tablecloth. This not only looks more pleasing to the eye, but it makes it easier for people to reach the food that isn’t right up front.

The Fiesta Guide to Setting a Thanksgiving Buffet Table

Next, we outlined our menu and pulled the serving pieces we’d be using for each dish.

We started with a stack of dinner plates in a variety of seasonal colors: (from top to bottom) Poppy, Turquoise, Sunflower, Scarlet, Shamrock, Tangerine, Claret, and Lemongrass. It’s a good idea to place the dinner plates in the front corner where the buffet line will start.

The Fiesta Guide to Setting a Thanksgiving Buffet Table

Then we used a 3 Tier Server for rolls and other breads, followed by salad, a side dish and casserole. The salad and side dish will be served in our multipurpose Bistro Bowls in Medium and Large sizes. And the casserole is featured in a traditional 9×13” Rectangular Baker. (PS: All of our dishes can be heated safely in the oven up to 350 degree and bakeware can go up to 500 degrees.)

At the center of the feast is the star of the day: turkey! Depending on how large your bird is, we have a variety of serving platters in sizes Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large. We’re planning for a lot of leftovers, so we used the Extra Large Oval Platter.

The Fiesta Guide to Setting a Thanksgiving Buffet Table

Condiments like cranberries and butter are next. We used the Individual Casserole for our cranberries and the Extra Large Covered Butter for the butter.

Napkins and flatware are best placed at the end of the line so your guests aren’t juggling them while piling up their plates.

The Fiesta Guide to Setting a Thanksgiving Buffet Table

Finally, it’s time for dessert. Yum! We made room for a pie and a cake. For the pie, we used the Deep Dish Pie Baker. For the cake, we spiced it up with a little Fiesta hack to create a “plate stand.” We turned a Hostess Serving Bowl upside down and placed a Baking/Pizza Tray on top. To serve dessert, a stack of Salad Plates finishes off the assortment of dishes.

Fiesta Dinnerware Hostess Bowl in Turquoise

http://www.fiestafactorydirect.com/c-72-hostess-serving-bowl.aspx

We sprinkled in some mini pumpkins, flowers and greenery to decorate and soften the tablescape. With the buffet table set, we’re ready for full bellies and naps!

The Fiesta Guide to Setting a Thanksgiving Buffet Table

We’d love to see how you like to set your buffet and dining tables for Thanksgiving. On Facebook, feel free to send us pictures or post them in the comments.

Fiesta Dinnerware wishes you and your your loved ones a very Happy Thanksgiving and we hope you take this opportunity to count your blessings. We certainly are thankful for you!

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

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.

hlc-new-years-2015-932

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.

hlc-new-years-2015-786

 

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.

hlc-new-years-2015-874

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.

hlc-new-years-2015-948

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
Write a review
Print
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/

 

 

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

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. 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS