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Monday, May 23, 2016

Summer Sale starts today! Robin's Egg Enamelware, Nautical Cookie Cutters...

Summer Sale!

The Summer Sale is starting today! There are lots of markdowns, including the Robin's Egg Blue Enamelware + Nautical Cookie Cutters. If you order today, you will have everything in time for your Memorial Day celebration!
Once these items are sold out, they will not be restocked.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Seafood Boil Party | My Favorite (and the easiest) Summer Party

Can it be possible that Memorial Day Weekend is next weekend?  Hosting a Seafood Boil is one of my favorite ways to entertain.   It is easy (so easy!), not really that expensive, and it makes a fun and festive night.

For me, a seafood boil is the essence of casual (but special) summer entertaining.  As you know, I love really casual entertaining, so a seafood boil is the perfect marriage of luxury (I mean, we are talking lobster here...) and a roll-up-your-sleeves and dig-in sort of party.  

Almost every summer we host some sort of Seafood Boil for our friends.  This year, we threw one for my Mom's surprise birthday party.  If you've never hosted one before - let me tell you, it is the easiest party you will ever throw.  The fresh seafood is such a fun summer treat for everyone, that there is very little to do besides set a pretty table.

Shop my Summer Products including this Robin's Egg Blue Enamelware, here.

Seafood Boil
serves 6

1 lemon, cut in wedges
1 tablespoon of old bay seasoning
1 tablespoon of whole peppercorns
2 pounds of small potatoes
6 ears of corn
6 small lobster tails (optional)
2 pounds of shrimp
french bread
melted butter

In a large pot of boiling water, add lemon, old bay, peppercorns and potatoes.  Boil for 8 minutes.  Add corn and lobsters and cook for 3 more minutes.  Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes.  Drain from water and pile on platter.  Serve with crusty bread and melted butter.

When I first saw this Robin's Egg Blue Enamelware Collection, I couldn't wait to use it for our annual seafood boil.  Here, I'm using the Large Round Platter ($16) to serve the seafood.  The tall sides make it very easy to pile everything in.

In the summer, I'm a beer girl.  I love, love, love Summer Shandy.  It is like beer and lemonade mixed together.  I put it in the Enamelware Deep Basin ($16)  (Now restocked!!) with ice and wedges of lemon.  I also offer white wine to keep everyone happy.

I made very casual candle hurricanes out of old extra large mason jars.  I filled the bottoms with large sea salt and then used my Tapers.

And of course... Lobster Sugar Cookies are such a fun parting gift... or dessert.  They are actually very easy to decorate.  If you can trace the outside and color in the lines, you're set.

These are back to the store this season - along with some other fun nautical shapes.

Gosh, these cookies make me feel like I'm sitting in Martha's Vineyard right now.

Shop the Nautical Cookie Cutters, here > 

Have I convinced you to throw a Seafood Boil yet?  You won't be sorry!

Another favorite version of this is a Shrimp Boil.  My brother-in-law hosted us at a boil a couple of years ago - old bay spiced water with sausages, onions, shrimp, corn and potatoes.  You can see that recipe, here >

What are your favorite Summer party traditions? 

Shop :

Robin's Egg Blue Enamelware ($16-24)

Nautial Cookie Cutters >

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Summer Recipe Photo Index with 70+ Recipes

Photo Recipe Index

Oh my goodness.  Oh my goodness!  I have been trying to do this for-e-ver.   Finally,  it is here, a photo recipe of alllll of my recipes.  Ok, well, really for the moment it is alllll 70 my Summer recipes from the last 6 years.  Soon it will be all 360+ recipes.  I'm in the process of reformatting all the posts so they look pretty.  It is really very painless and it should be done by the end of the week, but I couldn't wait to share.

Here it is : The Summer Recipe Index

I have forgotten about so many of these. I'm so glad to have them in an easy spot for me to scroll through for dinner ideas or menus for parties... or for me to forward to Mike and say, "Pick something (easy) for dinner!"

For the most part, the posts are chronological, but I've brought some favorites forward.  I've included some screen shots here of many, but there are many, many more in the index.

Hopefully you'll rediscover some favorites you forgot about, too, like that Tomato Goat Cheese Salad : )

At some point, I will sort them out into entrees, sides, appetizers, desserts, etc., but for now you can just immerse yourself in too many wonderful summer posts as we are officially on the cusp of everyone's favorite season.

Explore : The Summer Recipe Index

Heirloom Tomato, Marcona Almonds, Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Salad with an Easy Lemon vinaigrette

I would hate to add up the amount I've spent on Heirloom Tomatoes this summer...  It seems like our entire diet has consisted of Bacon, Avocado & Tomato Sandwiches, Classic Bruschetta, Watermelon & Tomato Salads, and just sliced tomatoes + salt & pepper along with every meal.

I just can't resist those beautifully crazy colored and crazy expensive tomatoes.  We don't have any ready in our garden just yet, but we have lots of green ones on the way.  Though between Emma's fondness of picking the green ones and the abundance of squirrels in our yard, I'm not holding my breath.  I keep telling myself that it is just a short time during the year when they are so readily available (from local farms) that it is worth the extra indulgence.  

Has everyone tried the Barefoot Contessa's Roasted Beet Salad?  It was in Foolproof, her most recent cookbook - you might remember my month of featuring recipes from it back in January.  I've adapted the salad to please my summer palate by using tomatoes instead of beets, and a fresh lemon vinaigrette instead of the balsamic.  You must try it.

I've officially burnt myself out on my previous favorite Watermelon & Tomato Salad and now, this is my new favorite salad for lunch.  I've also been serving it for dinner to alongside Grilled Shrimp, a piece of grilled fish, chicken or steak.  It is so interesting and has so many layers, but the best part is is that it is really just an assembly salad - there is not much chopping at all and the dressing is very, very easy, as you can just stir it together in a small bowl and toss the greens right in.  Then, all there is to do is layer everything on top.  So amazing.

One more note : if you haven't tried Marcona Almonds, you must.  They seem like a mix between a cashew and an almond - the ones I buy are tossed in sea salt and olive oil.  I almost ate the entire container on the way home from the store.  Ok, now onto the recipe...

Heirloom Tomato, Marcona Almonds, Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Salad
 with an Easy Lemon vinaigrette 

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serves 4 for lunch or 6 as a side

6 cups baby arugula
1 lemon
1 tsp of dijon mustard
1/4 cup of olive oil
sea salt & pepper
2 lbs. tomatoes (best available)
4 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced
4 oz. soft goat cheese
1/4 cup of marcona almonds (salted)
olive oil
salt & pepper

In a medium bowl, squeeze the juice of the lemon, then add the dijon.  Whisk in olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add greens and toss.  Put the dressed arugula on the platter or on each plate.  Reserve the extra dressing in the bottom of the bowl, if any.

Cut tomatoes into large wedges and chunks.  Pile them onto the arugula, then add prosciutto, goat cheese and almonds. 

Drizzle any remaining dressing over the salad.  If you don't have any, then drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper.

Pictured Here : Linen Hemstitch Napkins with "Seaside" Monogram

Fresh Peaches with Sugared Scones | And... My New Store Coming Soon!

For last weekend's brunch I wanted to serve a dessert that was early day appropriate.  I thought about strawberry shortcake, but the local strawberry season has faded and I'm not a huge fan of shortcakes... but I do love scones (no surprise, right?).  And what about peaches?   Are peach shortcakes a thing?  

You'll notice in the photos that I've switched from using the silpat baking liner to pre-cut sheets of parchment paper.  We used them at the bakery I worked at in college.  I'm crazy about them - no cleaning and non-stick.  They are so nice to have around for packaging, too - work great for wrapping up loafs of banana bread.  I love them so much that they are going to be one of the items I am going to stock in my new... store!

That's right.  I've been working on developing an online shop (Update! Now available, here!) to be part of the blog that will contain all of my favorite things and things that I always get inquiries about.  I'll carry a variety of "everyday essentials" (like the parchment liners, hemstitch napkins, linen tea towels, candles, kraft cookie/cupcake boxes, etc.), mailable gifts and special seasonal items as well (like cozy throws and pillows in the Fall, and goodies gift packaging for the Holidays).  I'm also designing some custom products that I will carry, too.  I'd love your input on what you'd like to see in my store! 

Back to the scones : 

To make the simple scone a little more special, I added almond extract and crunchy sanding sugar.  The sugar gives great texture and crunch to the fluffy and moist scone.  To put it over the edge, I topped it with vanilla bean whipped cream. 

I can't tell you how good this is.  Silly good and very, very simple.  I think this is what shortcake is actually supposed to taste like!  I highly recommend baking them just before serving (they only take 10-12 minutes) so they are hot and fresh with the cold peaches and whipped cream - or ice cream.

Fresh Peaches with
Sugared Scones
and Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

makes 12 small scones

2 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla
egg yolk
course sanding sugar
1 cup of heavy cream
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
fresh peaches
lemon juice

In a mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt using the paddle attachment.  Cut the cold butter into 1/2 inch pieces.  Add the butter to the dry ingredients and mix on low until the butter is mixed in and is the size of peas.  In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, whipping cream and vanilla with a fork.  Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the cream and egg mixture.  Turn off the mixer once added.

Turn the dough out onto the floured surface.  Divide into 2.  Add some flour onto the top of the dough, then pat it out into a 2 disks - about 6 inches in diameter.  Cut the disks into 6 pieces like a pie.

Separate the pieces and put them on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush on a little bit of a beaten egg yolk, then top with sanding sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.   

They are non-stick, too.  Perfect for cookies and scones, of course. 

Whip heavy cream with sugar and vanilla bean paste until fluffy - about 3-4 minutes.

Peel and slice peaches, then toss with lemon juice and sugar.  Serve scones sliced, topped with peaches and whipped cream.

Back to the store :

I'd love your help as I make final selections for the store.  What items do I often feature in my photos that you'd love to buy?  What sort of things would you like to see me carry?

If you want to pre-order the parchment paper sheets, just leave me a comment and I'll set some aside for you.  I'm thinking they will run about $12 for 200 sheets (that should be a year supply!).  What do you think?  Is that reasonable?  I'm verrrry open to feedback, so please, fire away!

Update : Visit my online store, here!

Easy "Homemade" Peach Ice Cream & Mini Snickerdoodle Cookies


I love really simple desserts - especially when we're entertaining... or is it that I always make really simple desserts when we're entertaining because I run out of time?  One of my favorite easy desserts to serve is ice cream and cookies.  I make the dough ahead of time, put them in balls on baking sheets and then put them in the oven just as we're finishing dinner.  I serve the warm cookies with cold ice cream and everyone goes crazy.   In the Fall, I make ginger cookies and serve them with caramel ice cream, during the holidays I make chocolate cookies paired with butter pecan... endless options.

When we lived in Concord, we spent most of our summer nights at a local creamery that made the best peach ice cream.  Nothing that I have found is even close.  So, any time I walk in the grocery store and smell fresh peaches, I make my own non-homemade homemade peach ice cream.  I put our favorite (Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla) ice cream in the food processor with some peach slices (skin and all) and give it a whirl.  If we're not going to eat it right away, I put it back in the freezer to harden.

I love how this little dessert looks in the Enamelware Mini Dessert Pots from my store.  I have lots of great desserts planned for them (individual blackberry cobblers!), but they also work great as ramekins on a buffet to hold dips and spreads.

Mini Snickerdoodles

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1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or regular vanilla)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Cream together butter, shortening and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time until combined.  Add vanilla.  Add flower, salt and baking powder, stirring until just combined. 

Chill mixture for 15-30 minutes.  Roll in very small 3/4-inch balls.  Roll them in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes at 350 degrees.  Should be taken out of the oven just before cooked through so they stay soft.

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