Cocktail Recipe: Paloma

Cocktail Recipes: Paloma = Tequila and Grapefruit!

I’m always looking for a new cocktail to try and when I was on Pinterest on Cinco de Mayo, Paloma recipes kept popping up left and right so I thought I would give it a try. I ove Greyhounds which are vodka and grapefruit juice so I figured I had to like this which sounded similar but with tequila. There are a few other differences: Palomas call for a splash of lime, a little sugar and club soda. I don’t usually have club soda, but I always have sparkling water. So I used La Croix (Is this anyone else’s favorite sparkling water?) and let me tell you, this bad boy was delicious. It’s so light and refreshing, I know I will be enjoying these all summer.

I highly recommend that you use fresh squeezed juice. I know this adds a little extra time, but it reduces the amount of sugar and artificial flavors plus I think it’s why the drink seems so light. In addition, I highly recommend the salt rim. It really added to the taste of the drink.

Ingredients

Makes 1 serving

  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon agave syrup (You could also use a teaspoon of sugar or other sugar substitute)
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) tequila
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) sparkling water or club soda (I used La Croix in Apricot and it was fab, next time hopefully I have their Grapefruit flavor on hand)
  • Margarita salt (optional rim, but highly recommended)
  • Grapefruit zest (optional rim)
  • Lime slices (optional garnish)
  • Ice

Directions

To rim glass, combine margarita salt with some grapefruit zest. Using a lowball glass, wipe a lime wedge around the rim of the glass and then dip your glass in the salt/zest mixture.

In your rimmed glass, combine grapefruit juice, lime juice and agave syrup. Once syrup is dissolved stir in tequila. Fill your glass with ice and then top with sparkling water/club soda. Add a lime slice for garnish and enjoy!

St. Patrick’s Day “Lucky” Tags FREE Printable

FREE St Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day is Friday and one thing I love to do is design party printables for holidays and events. I personally love printables not only because I can customize the colors and sayings to be just what I want, but I also get to provide the files for others to use. And what’s really great about PDF printables: They are always quick, affordable and an easy last-minute decoration. Plus, often it’s the only decor touch you need for a day like St. Paddy’s Day.

So be sure to download the FREE St. Patrick’s Day “Lucky” Tags here. Below, I show two uses: 1) drinking glass tags and 2) dessert toppers. Enjoy!

FREE St Patrick's Day

First, you’ll need to download the FREE St. Patrick’s Day “Lucky” Tags here. The file is a 8.5 x 11 PDF that you can download and print as many copies at home or a place like Staples. All I ask is you don’t sell the goods you make, don’t distribute the file or use any of the artwork as your own. Please also give credit to Tonality Designs for any photos used online or in social media.

You can use the tags for a variety of uses, but below I give you two examples.

Drinking Glass Tags

FREE St Patrick's Day

For the drinking glasses, I printed the file on regular paper and then attached each tag to a quilted mason jar using double-sided tape.

FREE St. Patrick's Day Lucky Tags Printable and Green Beer

I decided to serve a St. Patrick’s day classic—Green Beer. All you need is green food coloring and your favorite beer. I added 1 drop of green food coloring to the glass and then poured the beer. Make sure you put the food coloring in first because it will naturally mix when you pour your beer into the glass.

FREE St. Patrick's Day Lucky Tags Printable and Green Beer

FREE St. Patrick's Day Lucky Tags Printable

Not into beer, you can pretty much add food coloring to any drink so serve milk, Sprite, water… Or I served wine too and kept it the natural golden color. Are there really any rules when you’re having fun?

Dessert Toppers

St Patrick's Day FREE Printable Tags

For dessert toppers I suggest printing the file on heavy white cardstock. I think the weight of the cardstock helps make sure your toppers are sturdy enough. Also, I often use two tags per topper so that the topper is double-sided; therefore, looks good from all sides.

St Patrick's Day FREE Printable Tags

I attached each tag to a party straw and on some added gold tissue paper tassels as well.

St Patrick's Day FREE Printable Tags

And then I wanted something really easy to serve, so although I don’t know how Irish mint chocolate chip ice cream is, but the color seemed perfect. I’m sure you could also add toppers to your corned beef and cabbage or Irish soda bread (wink)!

St Patrick's Day FREE Printable Tags

Matching Banner Also Available

St Patrick's Day

I also created a Lucky! Banner that is available as an instant download on my Etsy site.

St Patrick's Day Lucky Banner via Tonality Designs

I simply printed the 3-page PDF file on white cardstock and then strung together on white rope and also added tissue paper tassels.

St Patrick's Day Lucky Banner and FREE Lucky Tags

The banner made for a nice backdrop for the drink and dessert bar.

Tonality-Designs_St-Patricks-Day-2017-13

Be sure to download the FREE Lucky Tags and also check out Etsy for the Lucky! Banner.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Winter Citrus Pick-Me-Up Cocktail Recipe

Cocktails: Winter Citrus Pick-Me-Up

As signs of spring start to bring hope for warmer days, I know winter is still something a lot of you are dealing with. In the dead days of winter, I can say I’m happy I moved to California where anything below 50 is freezing. Yet, we have had many cool and rainy days this winter (we may even be out of the severe drought), so I can sympathize—a little. I also grew up in Ohio and every year spend a month during the winter there so I do know what snow days look like and can firmly say I am not a fan of seasons (insert winking emoji here).

Cocktails: Winter Citrus Pick-Me-Up

But one really great thing about winter—citrus fruit! Tell me you don’t love when Cuties and Halos hit the grocery stores in droves. One thing I’ve always been confused about is the difference between mandarins, tangerines and clementines. So I googled it and it turns out that mandarin oranges are a type of fruit and tangerines and clementines are just two mandarin orange varieties. And when you buy Cuties or Halos, you are getting different types of mandarin oranges depending on what type is currently in season. Currently we are in the final days of the mandarin orange growing season and are most likely buying the Murcott variety. Did I loose any of you already? Probably, but the nerdy side of me found this kind of interesting. And hopefully I wasn’t alone in not knowing what is probably common knowledge for most.

Cocktails: Winter Citrus Pick-Me-Up

This juicer by Jareware is my favorite. It attaches to any wide-mouth mason jar and the built-in strainer catches all the pulp and seeds, letting only the juice into the jar. It’s super easy to use, clean and store. I found mine at World Market and for only $6 it’s a must have.

While grocery shopping recently, all the citrus fruit seemed to just jump into my cart. I had bags of mandarins, lemons, limes… But could you blame me? The vibrant yellows, oranges and greens just looked so happy and fresh. Yet, being that I live alone, I needed to come up with some ways to use it all before it went bad. And what better way to use up your fruit than in a tasty cocktail? So I went to Pinterest and looked up cocktail recipes and there were actually lots of Gin and Vodka recipes. They were mostly takes on a Gin Fizz or a Screwdriver, so I figured I probably couldn’t go wrong combining fresh squeezed mandarin juice with anything I had in my liquor cabinet. And my favorite recipe was one by Two Tarts so that’s what I aimed for creating (see original recipe here).

Cocktails: Winter Citrus Pick-Me-Up

My only regret in making this cocktail: not thinking to do it at the beginning of mandarin orange season! Seriously, this is so good. A real pick-me-up for the winter blues too! I truly believe the fresh squeezed juice makes all the difference. And what’s really great about this recipe is you can make it for one drink or scale it and make a whole pitcher for a party.

Ingredients

For Drink

  • About 2-3 oz (1/3 Cup) fresh squeezed mandarin orange juice (about 3-4 mandarin oranges, any variety)
  • 1 oz (1/8 cup) fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice (about 1 small Meyer lemon)
  • 1/2 ounce Triple Sec
  • 2 ounces Vodka
  • Ice

For Sugar Rim & Garnish (Optional)

  • Sugar sprinkles
  • Lemon and mandarin orange zest
  • Candied 0range slices (Available at most grocery stores with dried fruit, I found mine at Trader Joes)
  • Fresh mint

Directions

Cocktails: Winter Citrus Pick-Me-Up

To rim glass (optional): Pour sugar sprinkles onto a small plate or shallow bowl. Zest both the Meyer lemon and mandarin orange into your sugar sprinkles until there is a nice mix of color within your sugar.

Cocktails: Winter Citrus Pick-Me-Up

Rim your glass with fruit juice by wiping a slice of the lemon or orange around the rim. Then dip your glass in the sprinkle mixture.

Cocktails: Winter Citrus Pick-Me-Up

For drink: Fill your glass with ice. Combine mandarin orange juice, lemon juice, triple sec and vodka. If making more than one drink, mix your ingredients in a shaker or pitcher and then pour into glasses.

Cocktails: Winter Citrus Pick-Me-Up

For garnish: Add candied orange and a piece of fresh mint or other green herb for added flair.

Cocktails: Winter Citrus Pick-Me-Up

I served my drink in a quilted mason jar, but it fits in a classic lowball glass.

Cocktails: Winter Citrus Pick-Me-Up

The mint wasn’t intended to change the taste of the drink, but it looks so pretty. And the smell does add to the experience.

Cocktails: Winter Citrus Pick-Me-Up

Cheers to seasonal fruit and the change of seasons as this sweet drink will surely welcome spring!

How to Throw a Galentine’s Brunch for Valentine’s Day

Galentine's Day Party Ideas for Valentine's Day via Tonality Designs

I’m not always into trends, but the ever popular Galentine’s Day is one trend I’m happy to get on board and celebrate. As the name would suggest, Galentine’s Day is a chance to celebrate all the gals in your life—all your friendships! It’s almost like a bridal shower but there is no bride and everyone is the guest of honor. It actually originated with Amy Poehler’s character Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation (boy do I miss that show). Leslie said, “What’s Galentine’s Day? Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home and just kick it breakfast style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus, frittatas!” To learn more about why this made-up holiday is so awesome, check out this Buzz Feed article (you’ll get a good laugh).

I love this alternative way to celebrate Valentine’s Day for a few reasons:

  1. Single gals tend to dread Valentine’s Day and in response have done “anti-Valentine’s” day parties, yet that approach is a bit negative for me. Even though single, I’m not anti love. This is a way to lift up everyone.
  2. You can include all your friends, not just the single gals.
  3. It’s the perfect excuse to have a get together. Who doesn’t like girl time?

How to Throw a Galentine's Brunch for Valentine's Day

Okay, now onto the party details

Inspired by Leslie Knope’s original idea, I planned a brunch and I wanted it to be as girly as possible so the colors are pink, on pink, on pink, on red! I also wanted there to be an activity because my friends are always asking me to throw a craft/DIY party. I figured once done eating, why not turn the main table into a planting station so each girl could take home a lovely potted plant of their creation. Here are the details for the brunch and I’ll follow up this post with all the details about the planting activity.

How to Throw a Galentine's Brunch for Valentine's Day

It’s all centered around the flowers

It started with the flower box. Oriental Trading actually contacted me to do a Valentine’s post and so I got to hand pick some of their items to use for this party! I will give you a full overview of the products I used at the end of the article, but while first searching their website I fell in love with the DIY Flower Box Centerpiece as well as some galvanized pots so I knew my design choices would be centered around using them.

valentines-planter-box-diy-1

The box was cute as is, but even the product name says “DIY” so I knew I needed to embellish it some how and I’m so glad I did. My friend Whit of Just the Frosting creates custom vinyl decals and while I was looking through her products on Etsy I discovered this love arrow and the rest was history. It’s honestly my favorite detail and I have the complete DIY tutorial here. You’ll be shocked at how easy this is!

How to Throw a Galentine's Brunch for Valentine's Day

How to Throw a Galentine's Brunch for Valentine's Day

And now let’s talk flowers! I get a high when my vision comes together, and these flowers have me feeling all kinds of wonderful. They became a reality thanks to my friend Monica of Twig and Vine Florals. I usually do all my own flowers, but this box is massive and I wasn’t sure I would be able to accomplish my vision on my own. So I contacted Monica and sent her some inspirational photos. She was then gracious enough to have me over to not only put the arrangement together, but to give me a tutorial on how to build a large arrangement using oasis floral foam. The tutorial quickly turned into fun girl time and I forgot to take pictures of all the steps, but I’m excited to now attempt some harder arrangements. Plus I can say I did “help” with this beauty. Haha, it’s all thanks to Monica’s talents. If you live in Whittier, CA or surrounding LA and OC areas, I highly recommend her for your next event!

How to Throw a Galentine's Brunch for Valentine's Day

I keep it real and use paper goods

Sorry if you are a firm believer in using all “real” plates, napkins, etc., but paper goods just make everything cheaper and easier—especially clean up! The problem is that a lot of time paper goods can look really cheesy, but here are a couple tips to keep it classy:

  1. Pick solid colors or simple patterns in one or two colors. And more often than not, white is always a good choice. Here I really wanted my flowers to stand out, so if I had used pink and red table clothes, plates and silverware, it would have taken away from their beauty. So instead I picked all white, using white plastic tablecloths, white plastic dinner plates with a pretty ribbed detail (they look real) and clear plastic silverware. I then did use pink cloth napkins, but they too pop with all the white.
  2. Don’t use all paper goods. I like to mix in some “real” non-throwaway items with my paper goods. So for example, here I used real napkins and quilted mason jars for glasses.
  3. When using plastic tablecloths, double up! Seeing the legs of folding tables can be so well…ugh! So to fix this eye sore, I simply use two plastic tablecloths so that I can have each one drape to the floor. And in addition, I’ve discovered that this helps prevent the wind blowing your tablecloth off. They still blow but they don’t blow all the way to the top of the table.

How to Throw a Galentine's Brunch for Valentine's Day

Folded Heart Napkins Have My Heart

Okay, I’ve tried different fancy folded napkins before and frankly have had a lot of failures, this is not the case with these hearts. As long as you have a square cloth napkin, you too can do this. And I didn’t have napkins so I simply went to Joann’s and bought a light pink cotton that I cut into squares—easy peasy. As for how to fold them, there are tons of tutorials if you search “heart napkins” on Pinterest, here’s the link.

How to Throw a Galentine's Brunch for Valentine's Day

Brunch Proves Simple

I did not want to cook so I went to a local bakery and purchased a quiche and baked goods.  I then used store bought cookies for extra sweets, sorry not sorry!

How to Throw a Galentine's Brunch for Valentine's Day

The only prep I actually did myself was cutting the fruit and putting on the whipped cream. I then plated everything using my collection of rustic serving platters from Home Goods plus the super cute heart snack cups from Oriental Trading (complete with the arrow picks – sometimes you need a little cheesy!).

How to Throw a Galentine's Brunch for Valentine's Day

As for drinks, keep that simple too. Champagne, coffee, tea and water are good picks for a brunch. Or have a signature cocktail as well, perhaps Bloody Mary’s, Mimosas or Bellinis (like I did). Use paper straws for added cute factor. Here I turned my straws into what I call Sugar Straws, see my tutorial here.

How to Throw a Galentine's Brunch for Valentine's Day

I have all the details for the planting activity in a separate post here.

And then we made it a “Planting Party”

Last, but not least, I love a good activity. Plus, I also love succulents. I mean, who doesn’t? So once done eating, I figured it would be easy to change the table into a planting station and allow everyone to make their own arrangement (so this acted as an activity and favor all in one). And it was super easy to change the table over. I just cleared the table and put the original centerpiece on the buffet table. I then brought out the succulents and pots that I had waiting on the buffet table as decor.

This part of the planning was really fun because I designed printable tags for the pots as well as two signs to display on the table. You can get all the details on how to turn your Galentine’s Brunch into a “Planting Party” (as well as download the FREE printables) on my follow up post here.

How to Throw a Galentine's Brunch for Valentine's Day

A special thanks to Oriental Trading for sending me items to use for this post. I was pleasantly surprised, and even overwhelmed, by the large variety of affordable and cute party and craft supplies available on their website. And a lot of the items I picked will be used (and enjoyed) for years to come (the flower box, pink and red glass votives, galvanized buckets). Although I received free products, all opinions are my own and I receive no compensation for any products purchased through the links on this post.

Grandma Detrick’s Caramel Glazed Christmas Cookies

Caramel Glazed Christmas Cookie part of a Christmas Dessert Blog Hop

Christmas and baking seem to go hand in hand so today I’m sharing a favorite family cookie recipe as part of a Christmas Dessert Blog Hop. A special welcome to my followers as well as anyone here because of Beth’s blog Home Stories A to Z. I’m so happy you’re here and following our blog hop.

I’m actually sharing my great grandma’s recipe, but this recipe was passed down to me from my dad so we’ve always just referred to them as Grandma Detrick’s Cookies. For the purpose of sharing, I added the Caramel Glazed description in order to give you a hint of why they taste so good.

FREE Christmas Baking Gift Tag Printable via Tonality Designs

And since giving is one of the joys of Christmas, I’m also sharing a FREE download for a Christmas Baking Gift Tag, so this post is just full of baking goodness.

When Summer of She Leaves a Little Sparkle asked me to be apart of this blog hop, I immediately thought of these cookies, but then thought, “Well, they aren’t that pretty so maybe I should think of something else.” But how sad is that? Something shouldn’t just be photo worthy in order to share. So I brushed that thought aside and committed to making what truly is my favorite Christmas cookie. And I’m so glad I did. Because to be honest, this is the first time I’ve ever made them by myself. Usually my mom makes them. I did help as a child, but I haven’t done that in years.

When I asked my mom for the recipe, she sent it via a text and I gasped at the ingredient list. Let’s just say, sometimes it better not to know what goes into making your favorite recipe. I realized there would probably be a lot of sugar and butter, but instead of butter it was Crisco. Yet, I’d never bought Crisco before. I texted my mom that very thought, “I’ve never bought Crisco.” She replied, “It comes in cubes like butter.” I then said, “Okay. No wonder they are so good—just pure fat!” And then her final text to me was “Your dad said, ‘You’re damn straight.’ lol.” 

We later discussed “Why Crisco?” And my mom thinks a lot recipes from that time period tended to use Crisco instead of butter. And we think we could actually substitute Coconut Oil (and not kidding, Crisco even makes one) and get the same results. I didn’t yesterday because I just wanted to make sure they turned out, but I think I’m going to try that today and let you guys know how it works. Perhaps a little healthier alternative. But hey, they are cookies so what did I expect? Plus, my great grandma lived to be 101 so perhaps they aren’t that bad for you.

tonality-designs_grandma-detricks-cookies-2

As for the cookie, I wasn’t sure how to describe it. It’s kind of a rustic sugar cookie, but it’s not that sugary. So it’s probably better to describe it as a cake cookie that has just a hint of sweetness. That’s probably why I like it so much as I’m not really into super sweet treats. Plus the cookie is topped with a brown sugar caramel glaze that adds the perfect amount of sweetness. I hope that description helps to sell it as it really is a family favorite.

Ingredients

Yields about 4 dozen cookies.

For Cookie:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup crisco (Or substitute coconut oil)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For Caramel Glaze Icing:

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup crisco (Or substitute coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions

Caramel Glazed Christmas Cookie part of a Christmas Dessert Blog Hop

For Cookie:

Preheat oven to 350°.

In large mixing bowl, mix sugar, brown sugar and Crisco (or coconut oil) then add eggs and buttermilk.

In separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar then mix it into the wet mixture. Keep mixing until batter is smooth.

Scoop tablespoon size balls (or heaping teaspoons) onto a cookie sheet and bake in 350° oven for 8-10 minutes. Cookies should be golden brown on the bottom and light brown on top. (Note, you can chill batter for more consistent scooping, but it’s not required.)

Caramel Glazed Christmas Cookie part of a Christmas Dessert Blog Hop

Let cookies cool on a baking rack or, if you’re like me, use a brown paper bag that you’ve cut open.

Caramel Glaze Christmas Cookies part of a Christmas Dessert Blog Hop

For Caramel Glaze Icing:

In small sauce pan, heat brown sugar, Crisco (or coconut oil) and milk. Bring to a boil. Let boil for one minute and then remove from heat. Let cool. Once cool, spread on cookies. (Note, I tried dipping some of my cookies in the brown sugar mixture while it was still slightly warm, and although this was super easy, the glaze ends up seeping into the cookie and not forming on the top. I didn’t like this result as much so next time I’m going to be patient and wait for the mixture to cool.)

FREE Christmas Baking Gift Tag Printable via Tonality Designs

And since Christmas cookies are meant to be shared, I created a FREE Christmas Baking Gift Tag printable that you can use for any holiday treats you’re giving away this year. You can download it here and make someone smile because, “It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas.” 

FREE Christmas Baking Gift Tag Printable via Tonality Designs

Just download the printable and print on white card stock. Cut out each tag and punch a hole at the top.

FREE Christmas Baking Gift Tag Printable via Tonality Designs

I then filled a wide-mouth mason jar with my cookies and tied on the tag using red and white baking twine. For an added touch, I spray painted the mason jar lids white. (You can see my tutorial for DIY Metallic Mason Jar Lids for more inspiration on spraying jar lids.) Plus be sure to see my other FREE Christmas Gift Tag Printables (May Your Days Be Merry and BrightStovetop Potpourri and Homemade Hot Chocolate).

Christmas Dessert Blog Hop

As I stated earlier, this is all part of a Christmas Dessert Blog Hop.

I invite you to visit Kara’s Party Ideas next for her Crock Pot Fudge Recipe and then move on to all the other wonderful bloggers below. These girls have me wanting to press pause on my daily schedule and just bake all day.

She Leaves a Little Sparkle

Boxwood Avenue

Meaningful Spaces

Lillian Hope Designs

Our Vintage Nest

Home Stories A to Z

So what’s your favorite Christmas dessert? I would love to hear about your family favorites and if available please include links to your favorite recipes within your comments. I love being inspired to try something new.

Halloween Bagel Creatures

Halloween Bagel Creatures - Cream Cheese Mummies and Nutella Spiders

Breakfast is served! I don’t know why, but there is something so magical about surprising kids with a fun holiday breakfast. And these Halloween Bagel Creatures make the task super easy! I thought about doing it on cinnamon rolls, but then thought perhaps bagels would be a little less of a sugar rush for this candy-filled holiday. But I think doing cinnamon rolls might still need to happen! Literally this concept could be used for decorating cookies, cupcakes, brownies, etc. Just pick whatever frosting works for what you are serving and decorate away.

Cream Cheese Mummy Bagel

Halloween Bagel Creatures - Cream Cheese Mummies and Nutella Spiders

Ingredients/Materials

  • Bagels (your favorite flavor)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (use a lot less if you are only making one, this will probably yield a few bagel halves)
  • 1-3 tablespoons milk or almond milk (I only had almond milk and you couldn’t tell)
  • Candy eyes
  • Wilton decorating tip #150 (long thin and flat shape) and decorating couplers (used for frosting and available at Michaels and other craft stores)
  • Ziplock bag
  • Mixer

Instructions

  1. Using your mixer, blend your cream cheese and milk. Add the milk a little at a time until your cream cheese is smooth enough to run through your decorating tip.
    tonality-designs_halloween-bagel-creatures-7-copy
  2. Cut a small hole at the corner of your ziplock bag. Add your decorating coupler and tip per instructions on the coupler package.
    tonality-designs_halloween-bagel-creatures-6
  3. Add your cream cheese mixture to your ziplock bag.
    tonality-designs_halloween-bagel-creatures-9
  4. On a bagel half, pipe on cream cheese in criss-crossing lines. Just lightly squeeze it out, I had no prior frosting experience and this was so easy. Go as light or heavy as you want. (And of course you could toast your bagel before decorating,  I just didn’t because I know kids get crazy about anything being too brown – what’s up with that? Plus, un-toasted meant I was less tempted to eat my creations.)
    Halloween Bagel Creatures - Cream Cheese Mummies
  5. Add your candy eyes. I also piped a line of cream cheese slightly over the eyes so they looked like they were peaking out.
  6. Repeat for as many bagel halves as you need.

Nutella Spider Bagel

tonality-designs_halloween-bagel-creatures-4-copy

Ingredients

Halloween Bagel Creatures - Nutella Spiders

  • Bagels (any flavor)
  • Nutella
  • Pretzel rods (8 per bagel half)
  • Candy eyes

Instructions

tonality-designs_halloween-bagel-creatures-5

  1. Spread Nutella over bagel half. NOTE: the middle ended up caving in, but I kind of liked that it looked like a mouth. However, if that bugs you, just rip a small piece of another bagel and plug the hole before you frost. 
  2. Dip the end of each pretzel rod in Nutella and add to your bagel – four on each side for your legs.
  3. Add eyes. Easy peasy!

Halloween Pattern via Tonality Designs

As for the “tablecloth” – it’s a halloween pattern I designed and then had blown up to 36 x 48 at FedEx Office on their black and white plotter (for only $9). And I’m offering it as a free PDF for you guys tomorrow, so be sure to check back in. I’m using it for something super cute and can’t wait for you guys to see!

vampire-donuts

More of a donut person? Check out our fangtastic donuts we made last year!

Peach Bruschetta

Peach Bruschetta via Tonality Designs

What is it about fruit and cheese?  Apples and cheddar, pears and blue cheese, strawberries and feta, watermelon and feta, anything and feta… do I need to continue? Clearly I love fruit turned savory. Or any reason to eat cheese. Last year I channeled my obsession by using nectarines in place of tomatoes for Caprese salad (so scrumptious) so this summer I figured peaches might just work for bruschetta. And it turns out, I was right—I was so right! We’ve been enjoying these for the past couple months and I’m finally getting around to sharing the recipe with you. Where did summer go?

Let me warn you, when I cook I don’t do a lot of measuring. This makes writing recipes (even these simple appetizer recipes I share) very difficult for me. So sometimes I give you just estimates because most of the time what I’m cooking isn’t rocket science. If I used two peaches and you use three, I’m pretty sure everything is still going to taste good. It’s all about using fresh ingredients and tasting as you go. And really, I’m just here to inspire. I hope that you don’t only want to try my recipes, but perhaps you’ll look at your food differently. Because most of the time, my recipes are inspired by meals I like that I want to make into party food. And with a little imagination, anyone can do this. And I promise—if I can make it, anyone can make it. A master chef, I am not. In fact, I used to hate being in the kitchen, so really this is outside my comfort zone. Yet it’s been so rewarding creating in the kitchen.

Peach Bruschetta via Tonality Designs

Ingredients

  • 1 french baguette
  • 2-3 peaches, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • 8 oz. creamy goat cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic glaze (available at Trader Joe’s or reduce Balsamic vinegar on your stovetop)

Peach Bruschetta via Tonality Designs

Directions

  1. To make the crostini, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice baguette into 1/4 inch pieces. Brush both sides of baguette slices with olive oil and place on baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Turn crostini over once during baking.
  2. While your bread is baking, dice your peaches into small cubes. Mix peaches with a small handful of coarsely chopped basil and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
    Peach Bruschetta via Tonality Designs
  3. Once bread is out of the oven, spread each crostini with goat cheese. Having your goat cheese at room temperature will make it easier to spread. (Also note, if you don’t like goat cheese—like my sister—then skip this step. She promises it’s super good without the cheese.)
    Peach Bruschetta via Tonality Designs
  4. Top each crostini with the peach mixture.
    Peach Bruschetta via Tonality Designs
  5. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. I like buying the bottle from Trader Joe’s, but if you can’t find it you can make a balsamic glaze by reducing balsamic vinegar on your stovetop.
Peach Bruschetta via Tonality Designs

Seriously yummy!

Beet Salad Crostini via Tonality Designs | 20 minute appetizer idea

You may also like these Beet Salad Crostini. A perfect fall recipe. 

DIY Lemon Sorbet Cups

DIY Lemon Sorbet Cups via Tonality Designs

Refreshing and sweet, all wrapped up in a natural bowl—equals a win in my book! I’m always trying to think of really easy, but really cute dessert ideas. Serving sorbet in fruit is always such a clever idea, but I especially loved this idea for summer gatherings because they are  not only light and refreshing, but also something something you can easily do ahead of time. Doing it ahead of time allows you to just pop them out of the freezer when it’s time for dessert. You’ll look so fancy, when in fact it just takes a little prep work and a few lemons.

DIY Lemon Sorbet Cups via Tonality Designs

If you have a lemon tree, this is so perfect for you as you can go gather your largest lemons. However, if you have to buy your lemons like I did, instead of buying a bag of lemons, I suggest hand picking your lemons so that you can get the largest ones. It also  ensures that all your lemons will be about the same size and none are too small.

Ingredients

  • Large Lemons, washed (1 per serving)
  • Your Favorite Lemon Sorbet (1 pint fills about 4 lemons)
  • Mint leaves (optional, for garnish)

Instructions

DIY Lemon Sorbet Cups via Tonality Designs

  1. In order to make your lemon stand on its own, you’ll need to cut a small sliver off one end to create a flat end. Be careful not to cut through the pith as you still want your lemon to have a closed bottom.
  2. Cut a larger slice from the other end to create the top of your ‘cup’. I cut about one-third from the top, so you’re left with about two-thirds of your lemon. With the one-third scrap of lemon, slice and cute into wedges that you can use for garnish.
    DIY Lemon Sorbet Cups via Tonality Designs
    DIY Lemon Sorbet Cups via Tonality Designs
  3. Using a serrated knife, cut around the inside of the pith. Then, using a spoon or grapefruit spoon, scoop out the inside of the lemon. Put the lemon ‘guts’ (for lack of a better word) in a bowl or cup as you’ll have a lot of juice you could use for something else (like lemonade).
    DIY Lemon Sorbet Cups via Tonality Designs
  4. Fill your cup with your lemon sorbet. My lemons were large enough to hold exactly 1/2 cup which is one serving of sorbet.
  5. Freeze your filled lemon cups if not serving immediately. I placed mine on a cookie sheet covered in foil and then placed in freezer. Once ready to serve, garnish with lemon slice and mint leaf. The lemon slice actually proved to be a great natural spoon! Enjoy.
DIY Lemon Sorbet Cups via Tonality Designs

These cups are a simple added touch that has great impact! I love details like this because it shows you took the time to think of your guests, but you don’t have to spend a lot of time to execute it. Especially since we used store-bought sorbet. I’m a semi-homemade kind of girl. 

DIY Lemon Sorbet Cups via Tonality Designs

I hope this got your summer dessert ideas flowing. Of course you could fill your cups with any treat you like. To be honest, I almost did chocolate ice cream in mine. Plus, why not try it with oranges and grapefruits—oh the possibilities!

Mackie’s Blackberry Lemon Slush

Mackie's Blackberry Lemon Slush via Tonality Designs

Okay, I’m usually posting cocktail ideas, but since I’m in Ohio visiting family my niece Mackenzie requested a kid-friendly party drink. Instead of it being just my creation, I enlisted her help and we came up with this Blackberry Lemon Slush as well as cool Sugar Party Straws to garnish each glass. (See my earlier post regarding the straws here.)

It took a little trial and error to get just the right tart to sweet ratio, but I think young and old will enjoy this drink. After all, we did taste test on a group ranging from eight to 75. And I’ll admit, a few of us added a shot of Blueberry Vodka. What can I say, if consuming this many sugar calories, it might as well be a cocktail!

Mackie's Blackberry Lemon Slush via Tonality Designs

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 to 1 cup agave syrup (Add to taste)
  • 5 cups ice

Directions

  1. In blender, combine lemon juice and blackberries. Blend until smooth. Once mixed, you can continue as is or you can strain your mixture to remove the blackberry seeds. It’s up to you. (Our strainer wasn’t the right size so we skipped the straining and the seeds didn’t really bother any of us.)
  2. Add water, agave syrup and ice to your blackberry/lemon mixture. Blend until smooth. Be sure to add the agave syrup to taste. I recommend starting with about 1/2 cup and then adding as you go depending on how sour or sweet you want it.
  3. Enjoy! We enjoyed ours in sugar rimmed glasses with DIY Sugar Party Straws that we made! See my earlier post for the how-to instructions.

Mackie's Blackberry Lemon Slush via Tonality Designs

Mackie's Blackberry Lemon Slush via Tonality Designs

This is a perfect 4th of July drink option. Especially with our DIY Sugar Party Straws.

Mackie's Blackberry Lemon Slush via Tonality Designs

Thanks Mackie Moo for inspiring such a fun project!

 

DIY Sugar Party Straws

DIY Sugar Party Straws via Tonality Designs

When I made Strawberry Mint Margaritas for my sister Sarah’s birthday party (see post here) my niece Mackenzie really wanted a kid version. We ended up making her one and then started plotting about what we could make together for me to blog about. We decided on a Blackberry Lemon Slush (which I’ll blog about next), but we needed a fun garnish. Inspired by Mackie’s love of all things sugar (especially rock candy), we decided to not only rim our glasses with sugar, but to make Sugar Party Straws. The project is so easy and really adds a special touch that all kids are bound to get a kick out of—adults too.

DIY Sugar Party Straws via Tonality Designs

Can you tell my partner-in-crime was pretty excited about the results?

With it being July 4th weekend, we went with a variety of red, white and blue party straws, but really this project can be for any party. Just buy straws that match your party theme.

DIY Sugar Party Straws via Tonality Designs

Materials

  • Paper party straws
  • Agave syrup or honey
  • White sugar sprinkles (or try colors or even shapes)
  • Cotton fabric strips or ribbon (optional)

Directions

DIY Sugar Party Straws via Tonality Designs

  1. Make sure you wash your hands. We used our fingers to rub on the agave syrup, but you could also use a brush. Take a straw and rub on agave syrup (or honey) to one end of your straw. We did about 1 to 1.5 inches of the top of our straw.
    DIY Sugar Party Straws via Tonality Designs
  2. Dip straw in sprinkles and then place in jar or cup to dry.
    DIY Sugar Party Straws via Tonality Designs
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for all your straws.
  4. Once you have your sugar straws, tie on ribbon or fabric strip for a flag. We used a variety of ripped cotton strips about 1/4″ wide. To tie on, fold your fabric or ribbon in half and then wrap the loose ends around the straw and through the folded loop. Pull ends until tight. This type of knot (sorry I don’t know what it’s called) will allow your fabric or ribbon to ‘fly’ like a flag.
DIY Sugar Party Straws via Tonality Designs

She’s so proud! Perhaps we have a little blogger in the making?!

DIY Sugar Party Straws via Tonality Designs

To rim glasses, rub each glass with a slice of lemon. Pour sprinkles on a saucer and then dip each glass in the sprinkles. Easy peasy!

Up next, the Blackberry Lemon Slush we filled each glass with! Or try one of our other drink recipes like Strawberry Mint Margaritas.