food favors

Trying to decide on favors for your wedding or event? Send guests home with something they can enjoy as a late-night snack or the next morning. Make it more personal by going with a local vendor or a brand you love.

Some ideas:

  • S’mores! Pack some graham crackers, chocolate squares and large marshmallows in clear boxes (photo: real simple. clear boxes: see michaels.com for stores)
  • Indianapolis’ own Long’s Bakery donut holes or cookies and small cartons of milk
  • Mini bottles of Jack and coke
  • Salt water taffy :: our favorite is Shriver’s
  • Popcorn :: in Indy, pick Just Pop In for the best selection
  • Granola, trail mix, and your favorite coffee :: our pick for the best local granola is Scholars Inn Bakehouse
  • Tortilla chips and a small jar of your favorite salsa with miniature bottles of water
  • Scones and jam :: our favorite is from Tina’s Traditional Old English Kitchen. Tina also has wonderful loose-leaf tea that would be perfect with a small jar of local honey.

Enchanted 4th Birthday Party

An enchanted party to celebrate Lily’s 4th birthday :: complete with fairies, pirates, and a treasure hunt!

It all started with this: a cute cupcake decoration set I picked up at Marshalls back in the fall.

When the kids arrived for the party they picked up fairy wings or pirate hats then headed out back to play.

The hats are from Party City, and the wings are from Target and the Dollar Store.

I LOVE the Dollar Store! I picked up most of the decorations and favors there, which certainly helped me to stay within the $175 party budget.

For the dessert table I created a skirt by cutting strips of tulle in different colors (about 6 inches wide and 4 feet long). Then I tied the strips on to a long ribbon and pinned it to the table cloth with safety pins. It took about 8 yards of each color to go around the front and sides of my hutch.

The snacks…

And to drink: Fairy Fizz (pink lemonade and 7-up)

The treasure hunt was a huge hit!

The last clue led everyone to the playhouse where the treasure chest was ‘buried’ with pirate loot and fairy wands.

Then the fairies got to decorate their wands with ribbons and beads.

By the end of the party the fairies needed a refill…bottles of pixie dust (sugar and glitter) to help them fly home.

Nice weather, wonderful friends and family–it was a great day to celebrate turning 4!

Fun and Festive

It won’t take much to get your post-holiday home New Year’s Eve party ready. You probably have most everything you need on hand already. Try stamping 2013 with rubber number stamps on leftover napkins. Group noise makers together for table centerpieces. Keep the greenery and shiny ornaments up, set out candles, then add a few touches to get your guests in the spirit to celebrate.

Party Crackers

Pick up some party crackers (try Pier 1) or make your own following this tutorial from Pottery Barn:

How to Make English Crackers

Here are directions for making a party cracker using a solid cardboard tube center and white card stock to reinforce the ends of the cracker. The finished cracker measures approximately 10 inches in length and has a fillable space measuring 2 x 4 inches to hold the surprise gift.

Required Supplies & Equipment

  • Wrapping paper (cut to 7.5 x 12 inches)
  • Cracker end stiffener (cut into 2.25 x 7 inches — use 60–70 weight white card stock)
  • Cracker snaps
  • Small gifts or novelty items (at least one per cracker)
  • Cracker rollers (1 pair)
  • Cardboard tubes (2 x 4 inches)
  • Low–temperature glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Curling ribbon

Assembly Instructions

1. Insert rollers into each end of cardboard tube. Lay assembled rollers and tube on back of wrapping paper making certain tube is centered across length of paper. Apply a small drop of glue from glue gun to bottom middle edge of paper and roll tube back over glue.

2. Place snap under front (leading) edge of roller–tube assembly, making certain snap is centered across length of paper.

3. Roll wrapping paper onto tube to within a half inch of paper’s end. Make certain paper rolls evenly onto tube. With glue gun, run a narrow bead of glue along back of paper about a quarter inch in from top edge. Roll paper over glue keeping glued seam pressed against work surface for several seconds to allow glue to harden.

4. While holding paper cylinder in middle, remove roller from each end of cylinder.

5. Roll end stiffener into slightly smaller diameter cylinder than cracker and insert into end of cracker until even with outer edge. Do not cover snap during this procedure — it must remain free in end of cracker.

6. Spread stiffener out firmly against inside wall of cracker end and glue into place with glue gun. Repeat step on other end of cracker.

7. Using thumb and forefinger, gather one end of cracker between tube and reinforced (stiffened) end. Securely tie a 10 — 12 inch length of curling ribbon onto the gather of the cracker using a double knot.

8. Insert gifts/messages into open end of the cracker. When filling your crackers, make certain you do not push the cracker snap into the center of the cracker.

9. Gather the end of the cracker, as before, and securely tie a 10 — 12 inch length of curling ribbon using a double knot.

10. Check the finished end of the cracker to make certain the snap is located near the outer rim of the cracker and not too far down into the cylinder. Reposition with fingers as necessary. Your cracker is now finished and ready to be shared with your party guests.

Fun Fascinators

Check out the details on making your own creative party hats by Kira at Her New Leaf.

Borrow a Custom

Celebrate with the traditional Spanish custom of eating twelve grapes at midnight for good luck all year.
Pop one each time the clock strikes.

Start Your Own Custom

Have guests write down a memory from 2012 and a wish for 2013 on a card, then address an envelope to themselves. Mail the cards out next December. Or better yet, invite them back for your New Year’s Eve party next year and open the cards then!

And don’t forget the music! Check out Spotify for New Year’s Eve playlists or Greatest Hits of 2012.

Happy Planning!

NYE Eats

Menus for a crowd can be tricky things. But they don’t have to be if you keep it simple, and try not to worry about pleasing every one of your guests.
Here are some ideas to get the wheels turning:

Appetizers

Start with classic shrimp cocktail (you’ll need 2 lbs of shrimp for every 10 people).

Cocktail sauce (recipe from Bon Appetit)

1 cup chili sauce (ketchup-based sauce, such as Heinz)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
8 dashes hot pepper sauce
Kosher salt

Whisk first 4 ingredients together in a small bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt. Cocktail sauce can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Add a simple raw vegetable or antipasto platter and you’re set! For the antipasto platter: line a large serving plate with raddichio leaves, then pile on olives, roasted red peppers and peppadew peppers, artichoke hearts, figs, provolone or mozzarella cheese, rolled up salami, sopressata, or prosciutto, and anything else you like. Serve with breadsticks or crackers.

Roast Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Cream

(recipes below from Bon Appetit)

Ingredients

Horseradish Cream

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream (about 5 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (or more) drained prepared horseradish
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons drained green peppercorns, minced, or coarsely ground pink peppercorns
  • Kosher salt

Beef

  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pink peppercorns
  • 1 3-pound center-cut beef tenderloin at room temperature
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preparation

Horseradish Cream

  • Whisk crème fraîche (or sour cream) in a medium bowl until thickened and soft peaks start to form, 1-2 minutes. Fold in horseradish and peppercorns; season with salt and more horseradish, if desired. Sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; chill.

Beef

  • Combine first 5 ingredients and rub all over meat, pressing to adhere. Beef can be seasoned 1 day ahead. Wrap in plastic; chill. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before continuing.
  • Preheat oven to 400°. Scatter rosemary over bottom of a large roasting pan.
  • Heat oil and butter in a 12 inches cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sear meat until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to prepared roasting pan.
  • Roast meat until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of beef registers 125° for medium-rare, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a carving board. Let rest for 15 minutes. Thinly slice tenderloin – a little at a time. Serve with Horseradish Cream.
  • To double or triple the recipe, sear the tenderloins one at a time, then arrange crosswise in roasting pan (cook time will be the same). Leave at least 1 inch-2 inches between pieces of meat.

Garlic Knots

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter plus more for baking sheet
  • 1 pound store-bought fresh (or frozen, thawed) pizza dough, at room temperature for 30 minutes
  • All-purpose flour (for dusting)
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Preparation

  • Lightly butter a baking sheet. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch square. Cut dough in half. Cut each half crosswise into 1-inch-thick strips (for 24 strips total). Tie each strip into a knot, gently stretching dough as needed. Place on prepared sheet. Loosely cover with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until slightly puffed, 1-1 1/2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 375°. Bake knots until cooked through and golden, 25-30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup butter with garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer garlic butter to a large bowl; stir in oregano.
  • Place warm bread knots in bowl with garlic butter; toss until well coated. Transfer to a platter. Sprinkle with flaky salt.
  • Makes 24. To scale up, double or triple the ingredients. Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Bake knots, rotating pans halfway through (work in batches if tripling). Serve half of knots. When platter runs low, rewarm remaining knots in a 350° oven.

Dessert

While your friends may have had enough cakes and cookies through Christmas to last them awhile, you should have a little something sweet for after dinner. Purchase a few cheesecakes from your favorite bakery, or make it interactive and have fondue for dessert. Everyone brings something to dip!

Drinks

When it comes to stocking a basic bar, think of it as just that: basic. Set out a bottle of vodka and a bottle of gin, a good bottle of rum, club soda or tonic, a small selection of fruit juices (such as orange, lemon and lime), simple garnishes like olives and cherries, and a bucket of ice. If you include whiskey, scotch or bourbon, make sure you splurge a little on these since most guests will drink them on the rocks. If you have a martini shaker be sure to set that out too. Forget the crazy mixers or fancy liqueurs. In fact, most of your guests will be happy with a glass of wine.

For a festive signature drink to toast with, consider this recipe for a White Peach & Cardamom Bellini (adapted from Fashionably Bombed)

1 large white peach (roughly chopped)
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Champagne or sparkling wine (you’ll need 2 bottles of chilled Champagne for 10 drinks)
In a food processor add peach, lemon juice, sugar and cardamom. Blend until smooth. Carefully add 2 tablespoons of the peach mixture to each glass and top with champagne/sparkling wine. Cheers!

Getting Started

I know you’re thinking “I have to get through Christmas first!”, but it’s a good idea to start thinking about your New Year’s Eve party now. Some of the best party preparations begin with a bottle of wine and someone to run ideas by. So grab a friend and let’s get started.

First, calculate how many people you are expecting then imagine how you’d like the rooms in your house to function. For example, while it seems logical to keep food and drinks in the kitchen, if it’s small consider setting up the bar and all the food in the dining room (or other large space). This way you can keep people from congregating in the kitchen while you are traying up the last of the shrimp cocktail and stashing the dirty dishes out of sight. Designate someone to greet guests, take coats, etc.

Next, plan the menu. Whether you are going to order catering or fix all the food yourself, start with a list. And keep it simple. A few really good dishes are all that’s needed to impress your guests. Think about starting at 9:30 or so and keeping it to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

Then, start gathering up all the linens, tableware, serving platters, and glasses you will need. Borrow from friends, hit up some sales, get busy. If you can swing it (and your guest list isn’t too large), avoid using disposable flatware or plastic anything. You can always bribe someone to help you do dishes.

Next up: FOOD! Ideas on what to serve.

New Year’s Eve

So you’ve nixed the idea of booking a last minute trip to Mexico or Vegas, and your hunting on Eventbrite and Living Social hasn’t turned anything up. Why not throw your own party for New Year’s Eve? But where to start…

We’ll guide you through the next two weeks of planning a soiree that’s sure to be memorable and fun. Not just for your guests, but for you too!

Invitations

The nice thing about a New Year’s Eve party is that it lends itself to being more informal, which gives you room to breathe. Instead of the traditional, formal invitation, try an Evite or simply send out a Facebook invitation.

Want to make it more personal? Start your planning off right and help set the tone for your event with a custom designed logo. We can help you design a mark that represents your style and event theme within 24 hours–getting you well on your way to planning the perfect end to 2012!

Stay tuned for more ideas in the coming days. In the meantime, check out our New Year’s Eve Pinterest Board!

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Wish Upon a Wedding

James, Stacey, and Anne at the Blissful Wishes Gala

Prospect House Events was honored with the opportunity to grant Stacey and James the wish of a dream wedding. With the help of the Indianapolis chapter of Wish Upon a Wedding, and some very special vendors, we pulled together an amazing event at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Check out the photos here.

Anne Johansson, owner and lead planner of Prospect House Events, was nominated for the 2012 Shining Star Award for her work on this event.

Wish Upon a Wedding is an amazing organization doing some fantastic work. Visit the website for more information on how to get involved.

New Year’s Eve Appetizers

For a unique way to set your serving table or buffet try filling 1/3 of a clear cylinder vase with water. Float a rose on top of the water then top the vase with a clear plate of appetizers.

Try these easy samosas.

Easy Samosas

Ingredients

  • 2 packs frozen puff pastry or pie crusts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 4 potatoes, boiled and cubed into half-inch pieces
  • 1 egg
  • Store-bought Major Grey’s chutney for serving (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set the puff pastry or pie crusts on the counter to thaw.
  2. In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Add cumin seeds and cook until they sizzle. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the curry powder, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add peas and cook covered for 8 to 10 minutes until peas are softened. Stir in potatoes and cook another 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk an egg with a pinch of salt.
  4. Cut the puff pastry or pie crusts into 4 rectangles. Place one rectangle on a floured surface and roll out slightly with a rolling pin. Cut into equal-size squares. Spoon about a teaspoon of the filling into the center of each square. Rub two sides with the egg mixture and fold over to form a triangle. Use a fork to score the edges. Brush a little egg on top before baking.
  5. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden, on a greased cookie tray. Serve with the chutney, if desired.

Cinnamon Almonds

These cinnamon almonds are a great party snack. You could also prepare them as favors: pick up a holiday stack of scrapbook paper and some double sided tape from your local craft store to create paper cones – stuff them full of almonds and leave them by the door for guests to grab as they leave.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
3 cups raw almonds (or any other nut)
1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup water

Directions: In a large skillet combine the sugar, cinnamon and water. Add the almonds and stir constantly with a spoon over medium heat, coating the almonds with the syrupy mixture. Keep stirring until the sugar crystallizes. Remove the pan from heat and scoop the almonds onto wax or parchment paper. Let the cinnamon almonds cool before serving. These can be made a few days ahead.

Color and Linens

Renting linens and tableware is an easy way to impress your guests. It’s also a lot more economical than you might think. Our friends at A Classic Party Rental have everything you need to create the look you’re going for.

Try sticking with basic white for linens and china then bring in pops of color with napkins and centerpieces. Some of our favorite color combinations for the holidays are olive green and light gold, dark blue and silver, red and bronze.