pizza cake | a couple of amateurs

pizza cake

Our husbands have an excellent history of planning fantastic birthday celebrations for us. Surprisingly, we haven’t been as good about returning the favor; I guess we’re more into baby showers and New Year’s Eve soirees. It’s a good thing Anthony and Chris take care of each other. I dislike the

french baby shower | a couple of amateurs

bébé shower

Exciting news, guys! We’ve added a new member to our party planning team! And by “we” I mean Chelsea and Anthony, who welcomed their daughter to this world last month. She is so tiny and sweet and beautiful, and now that she’s a few weeks old I figured I’d better

keepin' it classy | grown up slumber party new year's eve

grown-up slumber party

For the past few years, we have hosted New Year’s Eve parties for our group of friends. They have ranged from small gatherings to huge fundraisers for our Kiwanis Club. Since it’s sort of become a tradition, we start brainstorming well in advance for possible themes. For our 2016 New Year’s

chai tea in a jar | a couple of amateurs

the gift of chai

Toward the end of summer, I lent a mason jar to my friend Liz so that she could take home some leftover sangria. We do not let good sangria go to waste, guys. When the jar was returned to me, it had an adorable handwritten recipe for chai tea, plus almost

peppermint macarons | christmas cookies | a couple of amateurs

peppermint macarons

Earlier this year – before I had ever attempted to make macarons – I did literally hours of online research on how not to ruin them. Use old eggs. Leave the whites out at room temperature for 3 days. Dry out the piped shells on the counter before putting them in

gin tasting

We’re totally getting into the Christmas season around here. The weekend after Thanksgiving, we started playing music, got out the decorations, put up the lights, and by Sunday I was very eager to set up our Christmas tree. So, for a double dose of holiday cheer, we decided to go gin-cutting

cocktail: spiced cider martini

Happy Saturday, guys! Chels and I just got done Jazzercising – paying our dues from Thanksgiving week I suppose. But still thinking back on the holiday fondly. Let’s reminisce, shall we? I had requested a signature Thanksgiving cocktail from Chris, and this is what he came up with. He knew

happy thanksgiving

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving. We certainly did. Family, friends, food, drink, babies, and more food. Thanksgiving is my mom’s favorite holiday, and Christmas has always been my fave. But now I think I’m starting to see where Diane is coming from. I’ve heard we turn into our mothers, so

apple party

Looking to plan a creative, seasonally-themed event that appeals to guests of various ages, genders, and interests? Our Kiwanis Young Professionals club has monthly social events, and that was exactly what I was looking to do last month. We hosted a very autumnal gathering, but I think this concept could be

fiesta desserts

Last month, I was charged with the task of creating a selection of desserts for our local Kiwanis club’s fiesta-themed banquet. Chelsea was on the planning committee, and also gave me (or rather, my household) the responsibility of planning the drink menu. She requested authentic margaritas made by my husband,

cocktail: scratch margaritas

Remember the margarita mix you bought in the supermarket when you were in college? You know, that sweet and syrupy stuff. Sometimes it was an unnatural color of green that should have been disturbing, but you let that slide because it made margarita-making so darn easy. My husband won’t allow

french baguette

I had tried baking my own bread before. I had tried so many styles. The end result was always a boring-looking loaf that was much too dense and had decent but unremarkable flavor. I had comes to terms with the fact that only professional bakers could achieve that light, chewy center

cocktail: sunday in the park

If you’re making our tomato tarte tatin for a Sunday brunch, perhaps you should prepare this cocktail to accompany it. When Chris saw me adding fresh thyme to the tarte, he must have gotten inspired. This drink features fresh thyme and lemon juice, and those herbal and citrus notes compliment

stout-braised short rib sliders

When I eat meat (which isn’t too often) I don’t like to work too hard. I’m weird about textures, so tender, slow-cooked, shredded meat is my favorite. If you’ve got the time to cook them slowly, cheaper cuts can turn into awesome meals. This recipe isn’t as easy as a “set

how to host a beer pairing dinner

Wine pairing for meals is a pretty popular concept. So why not beer? For some reason, when we drink beer with food, we aren’t as likely to stop and taste and think about the flavors that the beer and food bring out in each other. You can open your friends’

potato-crust quiche

This recipe recreates a quiche we made for breakfast during Chelsea’s birthday boat cruise. We made two, but this was the bigger hit for sure, with it’s spicy sausage and crispy hash brown crust. I don’t think anyone even noticed that I overbaked it (besides my husband, because he’s the one

french picnic

Our group of friends has a rotating dinner party, with a different theme and different host each month. This month’s theme was French Picnic, chosen by our pal Nicole who is a professionally trained and amazingly talented pastry chef. Nicole made a huge selection of desserts, and the guests brought the

tomato tarte tatin

Before we jump into this recipe, let me take a moment to pen a love letter to tomatoes. I love tomatoes. They are delicious and healthy. And beautiful. And versatile! My husband once took me to a restaurant in Vancouver that had a special menu for one month of the summer where every dish

amazing food: to go

To celebrate Chelsea’s 30th birthday, her husband organized a surprise overnight sailing trip with a small group of her friends. I was in charge of food for the group – lunch, dinner, and a breakfast the next morning. Although essential for that whole “surprise” element, it was strange to plan

the very hungry baby shower

One of the reasons we love to host parties is that we want to make the people we love feel special. We had so much fun planning a baby shower for Kim, one of our best friends. Kim had the idea for a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme, and of course we