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Party central part 2!

Hi there! I so missed being here and chatting with all my friends (that would be you)! Back from a wonderful little getaway to the Richmond/Charlottesville area...so beautiful. Just loved it and could happily buy a beautiful horse farm, grow my garden and own my little interior design studio/shop and be one happy lady! A gorgeous part of the country.  Will be posting on it and sharing some of my beautiful pictures in the next week or so.

As promised here is part 2 of the party central post. If you  missed part 1 please click here. Two parties in one week is a lot and I am not sure I could pull it off again and though the day of this party I wasn't feeling 100% it was amazing how I got a new pep in my step and renewed vigor  as all the beautiful details started coming together. I captured as much as  I could on film....(wish I had an in house photographer lol) and concentrated mostly on my table because I was so excited with how pretty it came out! Yes, I know some pictures might feel repetitious but what the heck!

Anyway, enjoy.....I made half of the food (all appetizers excepe one) and wish I had photographed them all....as they were sooooo good! Here is what was on the menu...

A huge beautiful shrimp cocktail 
A large Italian antipasta platter
A pretty crudite with spinach dip
A large Mediterranean platter with hummus, pita chips and salsa
Thinly sliced flank with arugula on a baguette
Brushetta and parmigiano crostini

For dinner aka the BBQ

Flank steak
Grilled veges
Grilled corn
Kobe beef sliders
Barbecued chicken on the bone
Baby spinach Greek salad
Corn/tomato/cucumber salad
Grilled corn
Wild Rice

And I cannot believe I didn't get my dessert table...there were so many scrumptious desserts! By that time of the night however, I think I might have been deliriously tired and anything that involved any extra work or an iota of effort was out of the question:) Many of you asked for my recipes from my luncheon so I have included them at the bottom of this post. Hope you enjoy this recap......

Setting up...which involved more than one argument between my husband and myself was ready to strangle someone, lets face it women just know "these things" more than men, well at least most women! . I envisioned one super long table for all 40 people until.....the weather forecastsers predicted rain right at the very time we invited everyone over (5:00)! So.....we had the big long table concept moved to the loggia  and all that furniture onto the patio. We had a plan B aka backup plan in case and got very very lucky, as the weather ended up being gorgeous with only one dark cloud that floated away with not a drop! But there are no mistakes in life and having the long dining table under the loggia worked out perfectly no matter what the weather as we got the most wonderful breeze, so here we go......

In process of setting things up......

 You are getting a sneak peek at round 2 of the pillows  which I LOVE, (separate post to come later next week on pillows)!

Starting to put the table aka my vision togehter......

 I kept adding "layers" more blue and whites with flowers and candles and hurricanes.....

 Love the blue and white its so crisp and happy I went with navy seat cushions vs. the white......

 At this point I am totally loving it......

Meanwhile back in the kitchen, the prep continues.....

And outside, it is done and I am absolutely thrilled......

 Peonies on any table are always a thing of beauty

 Meanwhile outside on the patio.....

Before seat cushions and pillows......

And what a difference beautiful pillows make! Here is that second set of pillows (a post on these pillows to come).....

Some of the food starting to come out (really regret I did not get all of it).......

 Sons taste testing to be sure they are "edible" :)

 This was one fifth of the appetizers.....thankfully everyone came hungry!

Bar being set up......

Candles being lit.......

Love the lighting of the late day sun......

The sun was just starting to set and this is my most favorite time of day......

And just before we announced dinner was served took a few quick photos.....

And the next morning the remnants remained, a cigar box (empty) flowers just wilting a bit from the heat  and candles down to their wicks....

Hope you enjoyed! It was a total labor of love and my feet paid the price but it was so worth it. Everyone had a great time, they came at 5 and the last guest left at 11!  I had a lot of fun planing it out and seeing it all come together, afterall that's the real satisfaction at giving a party, is seeing all your ideas come to fruition..its like an experiment every time. Getting it right with just the right foods, drinks and creating the right ambiance. Flowers, blue and white and candles always seem to work for me!  Now here are the recipes from the other day that so many of you asked about!

Baby spinach Greek Salad

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup olive oil

1 pound mini penne, or your choice of pasta salad shape (Bear in mind that baby spinach takes up some space, so you want a shape that isn’t too small that will get overwhelmed)
6 oz bag, baby spinach (I used a little more than it called for)
1 7-ounce package feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 cup chopped fresh basil
12 oz jar (drained about 7 to 8 ounces) roasted red pepper (Trader Joes has a very lovely one)
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (or pine nuts if you prefer)

Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, and honey in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

Bring water to boil in pot.  Salt water and cook pasta according to package directions.  Wash and drain pasta.

Mix together spinach, feta, red onion, basil, roasted red peppers, pasta.  . Add vinaigrette; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Add almonds; toss. Serve at room temperature. 

Peach Sangria (sooooo good)

Peach Schnapps
Ginger ale
Fresh peaches or frozen peaches
one orange
1 bottle dry white wine
Crushed Ice
Fresh min   

Take a big pitcher, fill with one bottle of dry white wine, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of Peach Schnapps, add 5 fresh sliced peaches ( or one bag of frozen peaches) and 1 sliced orange to mix. Add about 2 tablespoons sugar and mix well. Refrigerate for at least an hour ideally for a few. Upon serving add about 1/2 liter of ginger ale and mix. Can serve with crushed ice, and I add several sprigs of mint if I happen to have it. This is a sure hit!  I normally do this x 3 to make a large amount..nearly everyone wants at least a second if not third glass!!

Chinese Chicken Salad

1 head of cabbage, 3 nice sized chicken breast, soy sauce, sugar, 2 bunches scallions, about 1/2-3/4 cup slivered almonds, 2 packs chicken Ramen noodles, one can lo mein or  rice noodles ( I use lo mein), 3 tablespoons or more sesame seeds, rice vinegar.

Shred cabbage very thin with a good sharp serenaded knife or a mandolin, which makes it easy. Boil chicken in salted water. When cool, shred to small pieces. Chop up 2 bunches of scallions. Bake almonds until golden brown. Add cabbage, chicken, scallions and almonds and set aside covered. In small mixing bowl, add about 1/2 cup soy, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, the sesame seeds, 1/4 to 1/2 cup oil (not olive any vegetable or corn is fine),the chicken seasoning packets from ramen noodles and 2 tablespoons sugar. Mix well, toss over salad up to 30 min. before you want to serve, add rice noodles at end. The original recipe calls for the ramen noodles (crushed first) to also be added but I personally prefer it without. Yum yum.

Thanks as always for stopping in to see whats new in my little corner of the world. I am happy these are behind me, and have a long long list of "to do's" that somewhat fell by the wayside! So plenty  to do in the coming weeks to keep me busy. Very busy. Many house projects that somehow got pushed to the back burner...I am ready to take them on again!! Hope whatever you have in store for the coming weekend is fabulous and relaxing. We have a party (thankfully I get to be a guest...woo hoo)  to go to so back to wardrobe woes......gotta get busy! Wishing you a wonderful Thursday afternoon and fabulous weekend. Talk to you soon.......

PS If you haven't already you must go visit my friend Melinda of Georgica Pond's  new blog by clicking here. . It is so spectacular and worth a visit..if you like what you see, leave her a comment telling her so! She worked hard on it and it shows:) Great job Mel!

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