Posts

PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE

PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELP

Well, hello! We are helping you step up your entertaining game this holiday season with the most delicious (and easy!) prosciutto wrapped dates with goat cheese! You can make it in under five minutes, it tastes delicious, and it packs a major WOW factor – what could be better? See the recipe below! – xoxo, LK


Friends! Constance here. It’s official! I’ve found it. The ultimate Christmas party appetizer that is, in fact, equal parts super easy and super fancy-ish. Parties, dinners and last minute get-togethers are in full swing for the holidays, and if you’re anything like this gal, procrastination can get the best of you. Rather than opting for that weird and slightly disturbing store bought dip, I beg of you, try this prosciutto wrapped dates with goat cheese combo out.

PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELPPROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELP

INGREDIENTS:

-15-20 dates

-goat cheese

-proscuitto

-fresh thyme

 

PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELP

INSTRUCTIONS:

-Spread 1/2 tbsp of goat cheese on each date.

-Wrap each date with one slice of prosciutto.

-Top with a small sprig of fresh thyme.

PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELPSo next time you are in a bit of a bind and need a fancy appetizer in a snap, don’t forget about this little gem! Nothing says, I am a serious hostess-with-the-mostess like prosciutto wrapped dates with goat cheese! PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELP


constance button

 

SUMMER ROOFTOP DINNER PARTY

ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0041Howdy, folks! Lauren here and I don’t know about you, but I feel like our Summer days are numbered. Not that I am sad to see the sticky summer days go, but I will miss the lazy afternoons spent on rooftops, taking in the sights, nowhere else to be but with your friends drinking rosé.

Chicago is full of rooftop decks that are in prime form in the summer. A nice city breeze, great people watching, not to mention a killer view whilst grilling. It’s basically the best way to dine outside with friends while drinking and eating all you want with you friends. So, that’s exactly what we did!
1ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0006

Schedules are nuts in the summer, so the promise of good food and a rooftop hang usually helps people clear their schedules pretty quick. We rounded up some good friends, asked them to bring their favorite adult beverage, and gave them the address for where to meet us.
ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS00092

We whipped up a few of our favorite low-key, slam-dunk meals and picked up some protein to throw on the grill from Whole Foods. Plus, we found these ADORABLE eco-friendly bamboo plates and silverware from Whole Foods and they are perfect for a picnic or a no-cleanup dinner party (which is totally something I can get behind). ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0013ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0015

Casual get-togethers are my absolute favorite. You round up whatever bowl, pan, or serving container can hold your dish and somehow it all comes together looking fabulous. Grab some dollar store candles, your favorite blooms, and set a table with love and full of friends and you can’t beat it!
3ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0025ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS00304I look like I am about to devour him, but let’s just take a moment to check out my hubs. I mean, such a hunk!ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS00455ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0039So, there you have it! Nothing beats a good rooftop dinner party hang with great friends. Grab a night (probably soon), text your friends, and make it happen. Summer is coming to a close and you should probably have a least a few of these rooftop dinners under your belt.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t even have to be fancy, it just has to be honest. When you throw a get together, tag us! We would love to see your dinner and celebrate the good times with you.

ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0044ROOFTOPTABLEMAKERS0050


constancelauren

DINNER WITH FRIENDS| BELEN AQUINO

DSC_0034Hello, hello! We are in for a big treat today. Belen Aquino, a Chicago-based photographer, and her family vacation in Martha’s Vineyard and they are taking us along with them to experience dinner on the Cape! In true New England fashion, they invited a bunch of friends over and settled in for a delicious clam bake….with an Italian twist. Scroll down to see the full story and delicious recipe. 
DSC_0041Hello! Belen here and I am so excited to share this delicious dinner. Our last night on Martha’s Vineyard we decided to do a clam boil and invite over a few friends and family. While my husband Drew and his cousin Armando took on making  the boil, I set about getting the table ready. Weekend and summer homes are never as well equipped as an everyday home. All the plates are mix and match, and there’s are never enough linens to go around. Clam boils are messy eating so I used last weeks paper to cover the picnic tables. DSC_0053Right before everybody arrived I snipped a few branches off the wild rose bushes that run along the property line and placed them down the center of the table. Sometimes, just using what’s on hand is the best way to go. And think outside the box. Who says you can’t use newspaper to cover the table? Talk about a conversation starter. Sitting outside enjoying the sunset and eating clams right out of the ocean, and chatting with some of my nearest and dearest was truly the best way to end a magical vacation. DSC_0081 DSC_0082

INGREDIENTS:

– 4 Gallons water

– 4 cups clam juice

– 1/2 pound unsalted butter

– 2 oz jar Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic (or more to taste)

– 6 medium yellow onions, quartered

– 8 stalks celery, cut into thirds

– All of the cloves of 4 heads garlic peeled and cleaned

– 2 lemons, halved

– 4 tablespoons kosher salt

– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

– 6 ears fresh sweet corn, husked, cleaned, and cut into thirds

– 3 pounds new potatoes (we used a mix of red and golden)

– 4 pounds smoked sausage, cut into 2-inch lengths (We used Linguiça and a bourbon sausage.)

– 4 pounds steamer clams

– 4 pounds littleneck clams

– 2 sticks salted butter (melted)

– 2 loaves crusty French bread

DSC_0087 DSC_0099

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine the water and clam juice and butter in a 6-gallon pot.

2. Add the seafood magic, onions, celery, garlic, lemon, salt and black pepper. Add the sweet corn and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the sausage. Cook, covered, until the potatoes are almost fork-tender, about 10 minutes.

3. While the boil is heating, clean the clams by scrubbing thoroughly and rinsing under cold running water. Fill the sink with cold water and swish clams back and forth to dislodge any sand and grit that may be caught in the necks. Rinse and repeat several times. If you’re buying clams from your local supermarket, you can probably skip this step.

4. When the potatoes are almost fork-tender, add the clams, increase the heat to high, cover, and cook until the shells pop open, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the liquid from the pot.

5. Serve the clam boil on paper bags or newspaper. Discard any clams that do not open.  Pass the melted butter and bread.

DSC_0115 DSC_0121Clam boils are the absolute best. They are messy, happy, and oh so delicious! We made some of our favorite sides to round out the meal. Pair it all with a few bottles of your favorite wine & voila – taste bud heaven. Feel free to spice things up, switch it around, this is your dinner party, so have fun with it. DSC_0126 DSC_0128 DSC_0152


Recipe adapted from  Emeril Lagasse, 2005

Photography & Copy by Belen Aquino

DINNER WITH FRIENDS | BRITTANY PIGORINI

birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-7Hello & happy Tuesday! Brittany here and I am so excited to share our Dinner With Friends feature. As an event designer, my world is a beautiful place filled with lush, perfect imagery of ornate floral bouquets, styled vignettes, and more inspirational Pinterest boards than one could ever possibly imagine. Because these curated moments occupy my work life, I crave a more simplistic lifestyle and surroundings when I leave the office. I know many fellow creative folks can relate, as there’s always a tendency for comparisons, which can certainly lead us down a slippery slope.birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-12birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-16My friend hosted a small backyard bash for new and old friends alike, where we could all mingle, enjoy a glass of sangria, and relax amongst a candlelit dinner. With a no-fuss menu of a summer quinoa salad and roasted veggies, it was a menu that could be prepped easily and allow her to focus on conversations, not slaving away in the kitchen.birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-19birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-10birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-13Entertaining doesn’t need to be a huge production, and I think allowing guests to help out is the key to success. Rather than pretending you have it under control when you’re secretly drowning in a sea of failed recipes and wishing your home looked like a West Elm catalog, why not entrust in your friends to bring dessert, help set the table, or make a unique cocktail menu? You don’t need to do it all yourself!birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-23birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-18birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-2As the owner of a vintage rentals company, I was able to provide all of the tabletop goods and set the table quickly. Another friend is a talented calligrapher, so she easily whipped up a few name tags that were carefully placed to ensure people made new friends. Another guest owns a succulent and terrarium shop, so we of course incorporated her stunning creations as our centerpieces. Of course, we also were fortunate enough to have a photographer friend snap a few photos during the intimate occasion.

birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-27birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-1birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-21With only an hour of preparation, the entire party was setup and guests were able to share a special evening together. That’s what entertaining is all about – conversation, laughter, and bringing people together. Trust me, nobody cares if your napkins aren’t perfectly pressed or if your yard needs to be mowed.birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-28birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-30 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-39 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-37 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-35 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-34 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-32


Tabletop items and design: Birch & Brass | Calligraphy: Wondrous Whimsy | Hostess and Menu Planning: Modern Whimsy | Terrariums: Slavonk & Hortus Terraria | Event planning: The Daily Romantics | Photography: Chelsea Laine FrancisBRITTANY BUTTON

DINNER WITH FRIENDS | BRITTANY PIGORINI

birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-7Hello & happy Tuesday! Brittany here and I am so excited to share our Dinner With Friends feature. As an event designer, my world is a beautiful place filled with lush, perfect imagery of ornate floral bouquets, styled vignettes, and more inspirational Pinterest boards than one could ever possibly imagine. Because these curated moments occupy my work life, I crave a more simplistic lifestyle and surroundings when I leave the office. I know many fellow creative folks can relate, as there’s always a tendency for comparisons, which can certainly lead us down a slippery slope.birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-12birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-16My friend hosted a small backyard bash for new and old friends alike, where we could all mingle, enjoy a glass of sangria, and relax amongst a candlelit dinner. With a no-fuss menu of a summer quinoa salad and roasted veggies, it was a menu that could be prepped easily and allow her to focus on conversations, not slaving away in the kitchen.birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-19birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-10birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-13Entertaining doesn’t need to be a huge production, and I think allowing guests to help out is the key to success. Rather than pretending you have it under control when you’re secretly drowning in a sea of failed recipes and wishing your home looked like a West Elm catalog, why not entrust in your friends to bring dessert, help set the table, or make a unique cocktail menu? You don’t need to do it all yourself!birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-23birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-18birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-2As the owner of a vintage rentals company, I was able to provide all of the tabletop goods and set the table quickly. Another friend is a talented calligrapher, so she easily whipped up a few name tags that were carefully placed to ensure people made new friends. Another guest owns a succulent and terrarium shop, so we of course incorporated her stunning creations as our centerpieces. Of course, we also were fortunate enough to have a photographer friend snap a few photos during the intimate occasion.

birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-27birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-1birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-21With only an hour of preparation, the entire party was setup and guests were able to share a special evening together. That’s what entertaining is all about – conversation, laughter, and bringing people together. Trust me, nobody cares if your napkins aren’t perfectly pressed or if your yard needs to be mowed.birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-28birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-30 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-39 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-37 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-35 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-34 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-32


Tabletop items and design: Birch & Brass | Calligraphy: Wondrous Whimsy | Hostess and Menu Planning: Modern Whimsy | Terrariums: Slavonk & Hortus Terraria | Event planning: The Daily Romantics | Photography: Chelsea Laine FrancisBRITTANY BUTTON

DINNER WITH FRIENDS | LAUREN KELP

HT|DWF0037

Howdy folks! As you all know, we are doing this fun series called – Dinner With Friends. It’s like our Tablemakers concept but a little more practical. As much as I would love to have our weekly dinner party full of tree trunk chargers in the middle of a vineyard in Sonoma, it’s not always the most practical thing. But, like we always say, entertaining doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be honest!

So, today we are taking a peek in to my little house downtown Chicago and getting a look inside how we normally entertain. Lots of really delicious food, good drinks, and the best of friends – what more could you need?
HT|DWF0040HT|DWF0056

Since moving back to Chicago it’s been an absolute blast getting to catch up with old friends again. We kicked off the evening with a casual little “cocktail hour” on the sofa while the soup did its thing on the stove. Nothing makes me feel smarter when entertaining than having a recipe that does the work itself. No one wants to be slaving away in the kitchen while you have friends over, so don’t!

HT|DWF0050HT|DWF0042

I absolutely love having people over for dinner, but I understand that it is not everyone’s cup of tea. I think a lot of that has to do with the pressure to have a perfectly set table, a cool house, and a secret affinity for cooking. The truth is that no one cares about any of that! Everyone is just so excited to get together the rest is just toppings.

We set a really simple table that full of color and chocked full of mismatched silverware, stemware, and serving platters. They all worked together because we wanted them to, not because they matched. And guess what? No one noticed!

HT|DWF0057 HT|DWF0039Isn’t this cake delicious looking? Just wait until you taste it! Get the recipe for this surprisingly easy cake HERE!
HT|DWF0061 HT|DWF0063

The best part of the entire evening was kicking back, not being stuck in the kitchen, and catching up with people we haven’t seen in years. We told stories, drank a fair share of wine, and caught up on all things big and small. The pot of soup was emptied and the cake didn’t stand a chance. It was absolutely perfect.
HT|DWF0066 HT|DWF0071


laurenconstance

THE PERFECT SUMMER STRAWBERRY SALAD

memorialday0014

 Hello, hello, & Happy Monday! Hoping you all had a wonderful weekend full of fabulous summer things. If you are like us and constantly wanting to be outside in the summer, it helps to have a few recipes in your back pocket for quick beach snacks, summer potlucks, or outdoor dinner parties. No one wants to spend time in the kitchen, especially in the summer, so we’ve whipped up this easy, breezy summer salad & it will make your heart sing it’s so good!
It’s the perfect summer strawberry salad as it’s main ingredients are your favorite summer fruits! Add a bit of mint, a hint of this, and a dash of that & voila! You look like a total health nut and a pro because it only took you 15 minutes to whip up this delicious dish. Enjoy & tag us if you try it!

memorialday0003

INGREDIENTS:

– Juice from 3 lemons
– 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
– 1 large handful (~15-20 leaves) fresh basil, chopped
– 1 medium sized watermelon
– 2 lbs strawberries

memorialday0005

INSTRUCTIONS:

– In a large mixing bowl, mix lemon juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved.
– Add basil and muddle.
– Cut watermelon into small cubes and halve strawberries
– Add watermelon and strawberries to mixing bowl and gently stir fruit until evenly covered with lemon basil mixture
– Serve and enjoy

memorialday0004


constance

DINNER WITH FRIENDS | SAMANTHA THOMPSON

ftyXF_JVnJMQen0B-CINSJ0W4tSK3XN_5kCIuS-ZTScMeet my dear friend, Samantha Thompson. You might recognize her from our Well Dressed Creative feature or you might have her of her company – Standard Wax – mainly because we have a giant love affair with their candles and can’t get enough of them (seriously, get the White Tea & Thyme – it’s divine).

We started a new series called Dinner With Friends (you might remember #girlboss Candice kicking it off a few weeks ago). Think of this series as Tablemakers in practicum. We realize not everyone has a beautiful desert space to host their friends, or has access to exotic ingredients for unique recipes. But, that’s really not the point of all of this. At the end of the day our goal is to encourage you to invite people over. Impromptu dinner party, Bachelor watching party, it’s almost Friday and we had a shitty week party, whatever it is – gather up some folks and hang out!

That being said, we couldn’t think of anyone who exemplifies this better that Samantha. She is quick to host, always down for a dinner party, and doesn’t fret over a messy house – god love her, right? So dive in, scroll down, and check out what entertaining means to Sam and be inspired!

CV0CD7Y19wUVCptYwdAkEE3LzRHpeRH_Oh8KgsKs46Q

What does entertaining mean to you?

It means bringing people together. I never have people over to cook, or make the house cute, or decorate a table. I do it so I can see my friends and family and spend meaningful time together.

vxFYvjb3tUf2c5ZBNn6Nq3uWmD4kznBMkbBYyUI19_Y,_2dpNgGOy5a-U1D0uSTKkqGeD2kSLMXZp1yHXHOWD70

How do you like to make people feel welcome when they come over?

Food, drinks, music. That’s really all you need. I used to think a party had to have some sort of over-the-top theme or menu, but when it all boils down, people just want to spend time together. I also don’t like to be rushing around a kitchen when people come over. I try to do as much as I can so that when the first guest arrives, they aren’t shoved into a corner to sip a drink alone. They feel welcome because I’m genuinely excited to see them, instead of stressed about finishing an extravagant recipe.

nFOBm8E2zMoihcUvR4W9KoLkv3cH3iDYCqFC_-ODg80

What is your favorite “go-to”?

A party game, a recipe, favorite cocktail, etc. Recently it’s sangria. It’s delicious, I usually have the ingredients lying around, and it can be ready within an hour!

MZlDpB2lyXnrm2m2VyCqLq70PdLhM08yM4lC0IDump0

What makes you nervous about having people over?

Nothing! Are you supposed to be nervous? My house can be a mess and I can order takeout instead of cooking, but as long as my people are there I’m happy.

KI6GEUM78GdEayWSKa-sA-iaoVeOK9bvylqp5Ngrdko

Tell us about tonight? How did you plan?

How did you come up with the recipes, etc? I just wanted to spend a low-key night with some girlfriends over dinner and drinks. The catch? I was right in the middle of the “whole 30” diet (if you don’t know, it’s no processed foods, no added sugar, no dairy, etc etc etc). It sounds crazy, especially since I’m a vegetarian, but I was feeling so amazing I didn’t want to break the diet just for the party. I also didn’t want to eat a “special” meal while everyone else had something mouth-watering and full of cheese and butter. So, I decided to experiment and plan the whole menu around the whole30 diet, but not tell anyone and see if they noticed. But like I’ve said, I don’t want to be tired and stressed from cooking, I want to spend time with my friends! So, all of the food was from a local restaurant. Blasphemous? Maybe. But it’s how I roll, and I would never try to hide it. We had hummus and fresh tomatoes, grilled chicken with garlic potato puree, tahini cauliflower, mixed beans, sautéed mushrooms, and then I made lots of sangria. LOTS of sangria.

Y4BAmoF5_HsyO4-BQFXXZesLB-ilPBfeat1ASd-VWK4,QSC82wTwrOWOdijkctF3ND0dfPsyQMih7qQ3ONNTOF4Give us your favorite entertaining tip!

I own a candle company, so I might be a little partial, but I think candles add a sense of “togetherness” to any room or table. Before people come over, I light a few around the house, and always have a few on the table with some flowers. Everything instantly looks put together with about 5 minutes of prep time.

EWchmie8Tzl51xTAyHC_W4uJlUzsDueUOXH5VlyhEpA,0CSJaNSgUduW9utibVriQnvDDqubyxt0OayVj-KsKjQ


Photography by Carlee Komar | Florals by Bask + Terra | Centerpiece Candles by Standard Waxlauren

FANCIFIED GRILLED CHEESE

FANCIFIED GRILLED CHEESEHappiest Monday to you, friends! I hope your weekend didn’t go by as quickly as mine–a blink, I tell you! I’m a huge advocate for the 3 day weekend–who’s with me?

Until then, I’m dreaming of lazy Saturdays by the pool, pretty little farmer’s markets, and back porch dinners with the dearest of friends. In honor of back porch dinners, we bring you our favorite fancy grilled cheese recipes. Trust me, it’s the perfect time of year to add these to your dinner party cue. The weather is just right, and it’s such a good way to be intentional with your guests while avoiding that stuffy dinner party feeling.

Here are our current favorites:

FANCIFIED GRILLED CHEESE

#1 –  THE E.P.A

– fried egg

– prosciutto

– avocado

– shredded white cheddar cheese

FANCIFIED GRILLED CHEESEFANCIFIED GRILLED CHEESE#2 – SWISS CHARD & TOMATO

-lightly sauteed swiss chard

-heirloom tomatoes

-whole grain mustard

-shredded gruyere

FANCIFIED GRILLED CHEESE#3 – APRICOT & BRIE

-apricot preserves

-brie

-rosemary butter

FANCIFIED GRILLED CHEESESo go ahead, get as fancy as you want, and be sure to share your lovely little creations with us by tagging #LKMakes on either Instagram or Twitter!


constance

THE PERFECT WINE PAIRINGS

wine_pairing0011Picture this: It’s towards the end of the week and you are sitting down to menu plan for your dinner party on Saturday. You know you have so serve some kind of vegetarian dish, but let’s be honest, you’ve also got to serve something with meat in it. You start to research, make a grocery list, and BAM! it hit’s you….you have no idea what wines to serve with your dishes! GASP. 

Typically the biggest concern about having people over is what wine to serve with the food. Now, this is a big concern because it’s an important decision to make while meal planning, but, never fear, we are here to help you with three wine pairings & three DELICIOUS recipes to pair them with – pasta, flat-bread, and salmon! Trust me, you’ll never fret about this again. Okay, on to the pairings!

SEE THE PAIRINGS & GET THE DEETS ON THE RECIPES HERE

FotorCreated wine_pairing0031 wine_pairing0025FotorCreatedYYYY


laurenstancy bio button