Hi there, hope everyone had a great weekend. I definitely am officially feeling the holiday crunch knocking on my door! I will be posting 2-3 times a week vs. my normal 4 or so as the holidays near, time is at an all time premium around this time of year and I am juggling many balls in the air though blogging is definitely my refuge:) As many of you know last week I hosted a small luncheon for a very dear friends belated “50”.It is not everyday one reaches this number so although it was a late celebration it called for making it special. I allowed my new obsession with myrtle topiaries to dictate the theme here. And I was thrilled with how it all came out, naturally blue and white had to be in the mix! The thing I think I was the most excited about was finding the darling mini myrtle topiaries (they stand about 9″ tall) and putting them in these chic little blue and white planters, a new item soon to be added to my shop. They made the perfect most elegant favor. I also found this darling moss purse and filled it with stems of my faux flower clusters and LOVE how it came out. I put this at the place setting for the birthday girl. As I always do I try to capture as much as I can but once I get busy playing hostess it is much harder to take pictures, I need an “in house” photographer lol. So here are the highlights from this fun afternoon…..and a few recipes on bottom worth sharing! Here is what was on the menu (with some recipes below since many of you ask for them)- Started with peach bellinis and the brie en croute with crackers For lunch- Cream of curried vegetable autumn bisque Chopped brussel sprouts and parmesan salad Chopped Chinese chicken salad Mini chicken salad sandwiches Asparagus and Gruyere tartlets For dessert- Chocolate ganache cake A fruit platter and of course coffee! These were the cutest favors!! Mini myrtles that stand about 9″ in the charming blue and white planter….I placed one at everyone’s table setting. The pretty napkins from Number Four Eleven? (there was a mistake on the color) , it was supposed to be navy but I kept half the order just because they are awfully pretty I served Rose for lunch but always have a blue and white “tub” aka planter filled with plenty of alternatives (by the way if you have not tried Perrier Grapefruit, you should it rocks)! I made this, isn’t it darling! This I put at the place of honor for the birthday girl…. And the food….. A delicious batch of peach Bellinis getting whipped up….. My yummy autumn bisque The chopped brussels sprouts salad And chicken/apple salad getting mixed to put in mini rolls…. The yummy asparagus tarts about to hit the oven….. The making of the brie…. And lunch is just about served…… And of course we all left room for dessert…. Someone picked up the heavenly chocolate ganache birthday cake…thankfully there was a little leftover! I always serve a fruit platter with dessert, and you can see Mr. Teddy aka the “rufferee” standing guard:) So that my friends? is a recap of this fun afternoon. It was filled with lively conversation, lots of laughs, story telling, and much reminiscing of all of the fun times we have shared. There really? is nothing quite like time spent with good girlfriends. I also realized I am my happiest when I prepping, setting up a table, flower arranging, cooking and entertaining. I love being in my element and just “doing my thing”. I swear in my next life, I need to be a party planner, florist, caterer! I just love the entire creative process from start to finish. Recently my husband asked me what I wanted for my big “5-0” (yikes) and I told him a really beautiful greenhouse. He looked at me puzzled and said “don’t you want something for yourself like jewelry”? I said no because a greenhouse is something that would make me consistently happy, I love fiddling with flowers and plants and even if it’s a small one, think I would really enjoy it. And that is the truth:).Funny how we change and priorities shift, isn’t it? Thank you for stopping in, hope you enjoyed sharing this with me. Below is info on a new promo just started as of this morning and the recipes that many have asked for….. A new promo just started this morning only on for 2 days, it will end Wednesday morning. Beautiful selection of boxwood wreaths, garland and topiaries (subject to availability). Click here for the details. The recipes- (a few were featured on previous posts) For Asparagus tarts click here For Autumn bisque/curried cream of vegetable soup click here Chicken salad (on sandwiches) click here PEACH BELLINIS- (always a major hit) Ideally 6-8 fresh peaches, sliced in wedges OR 2 bags frozen peaches Peach Schnapps (about 1/4 cup 1-2 TBSP sugar ( left this out) 1 bottle of Prosecco Raspberries for garnish (optional) Blend peaches in a blender until a soft puree, add peach syrup and sugar and finally lemon juice.? Pour about half of the mixture into a champagne glass and fill the rest with champagne, stir and garnish with raspberry, cheers! BAKED BRIE? This is honestly so easy but the taste factor is off the charts! Pastry dough (purchase ready made or make your own) About half a cup of chopped pecans Half of a green apple, chopped 1/4? cranberries (optional) About 4 TBSP of butter softened 1 wheel of med. brie About 1/4 cup of brown sugar 1 egg white Simply roll out the dough until its wide enough to generously cover the brie. Cut off the outer layer of the brie. Put the pastry on the bottom and add all of the ingredient mentioned with brown sugar going last on top of the brie. Carefully pull up sides of the dough and wrap and twist on top of the brie. Brush on egg whites all over the wrapped brie. Put in oven of about 350 for approx. 30 minutes, I normally turn it down to 325 for the last 10 and you can leave in oven to keep warm lightly covered once it has turned golden brown. It is the best I have had! I serve with Carrs water crackers…..great holiday appetizer! BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND PARMESAN SALAD So light, tasty and tangy! About 30 chopped brussel sprouts (or shredded on a mandolin) A local shop carries shredded brussel sprouts which makes this sooo easy! About 1 cup of toasted almonds, walnuts or pecans 2 cloves of garlic finely minced 1/2 cup olive oil 2 TBSP of Dijon mustard 1 cup of finely shredded parmesan cheese To make the dressing add olive oil, Dijon mustard and 1/4 of the parmesan? Add lemon juice and shake well in a sealed container. Toss the nuts garlic and brussel sprouts. Add dressing right when you are ready to serve or up to half an hour before. Refrigerates well until the next day if you are lucky enough for leftovers! MY CHINESE CHICKEN SALAD People have come to expect this when they come over…so very tasty! 1 head of cabbage, 3 nice sized chicken breast, about 4 TBSP soy sauce 1 TBSP 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 and chopped up ramen noodles. Garnish with scallions, enjoy!