Top Ten Tips for Throwing the Perfect Memorial Day Party

Top Ten Tips for Throwing the Perfect Memorial Day Party

Monday is Memorial Day, and if you’re throwing a backyard party, we’ve got a few tips and tricks to help you make this Memorial Day go off without a hitch. Onward! 10. Slather on the sunscreen! Chances are, the weather will be nice in your part of the country, so make sure that you and your family are prepared to spend a couple hours in the sun. And while you’re at it, keep it handy and offer it to your guests, too. 9. Cue the Music! Every party needs a soundtrack! Any iPod docking station or laptop with speakers will work just fine; you don’t have to get fancy or hire a DJ. Choose your music with your guests’ taste in mind, and throw in some songs that add a little something interesting to your party’s theme. 8. Citronella Candles! Waking up the next morning with a bunch of mosquito bites is no way to start the week. Keep those citronella candles going and those pesky mosquitoes won’t come anywhere near your Memorial Day celebration. 7. Decorate! A little red white and blue can go a long way, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Pick up balloons, streamers and tinsel centerpieces at the Dollar Store, and add a little patriotic pizzazz to your backyard. 6. Prevent parched guests! Offer lots of water, sodas or beer to your guests. A signature themed cocktail (or mocktail) is always a great idea and a fun conversation starter, too! Here are a few patriotic cocktail ideas, and a layered gatorade mocktail would be perfect for the kids. 5. Too much is always better than not enough! When it comes...
Super Bowl Party Food Recipes

Super Bowl Party Food Recipes

The Super Bowl invokes a natural competition among even the friendliest of football fans. Many Super Bowl fans relish the planning of their game day fare. It’s the one time of year that finger foods reign supreme. The best Super Bowl party food recipes should make it easy for your guests to nosh on their favorite snacks during the game without fuss. Here are some easy and savory menu items sure to wow your guests during the most notable sporting event of the year.     Ro*Tel Famous Queso Dip– We love this recipe because it’s simple and tasty. This recipe only requires two ingredients and a hand to dip your chips into the Queso. The spice level can be adjusted to your guests’ satisfaction with the simple addition of chilies, sour cream, black or brown beans, green onions, salsa and avocado on the side and voila, your guests now have a mini nacho bar without the fuss.             Spicy Firecracker Shrimp– The appeal of this eye-catching dish is the crispy outside and flavorful inside. You can adjust the spice level. This will become an instant favorite for your party revelers. It is an easy and fun dish to make.       Spicy Whiskey BBQ sliders – Sliders are a wonderful option for those that love hamburgers better than wings or have dietary restrictions. Pair with a bourbon or local IPA flight, add sweet potato fries and your Super Bowl gathering will instantly ascend to the next level of major partydom.         Baked Brown Sugar Chicken Wings with Roasted Red Peppers...
Champagne Pairings to Ring in the New Year

Champagne Pairings to Ring in the New Year

Whether you’re ushering in the new year quietly at home or celebrating with a bang at a huge NYE bash, the sipping standard on New Year’s Eve is champagne, of course. But what you might not know is that champagne also reigns in the land of culinary mixing and matching. Since the New Year calls for a special celebration, why not work in some perfect food pairings with your favorite glass of bubbly? Lucky for you, GiftTree knows a thing or two about sparkling wine and fine food, and we’ve got a few ideas. Champagne & Chocolate – The Definitive Pairing Champagne and Truffles Gift Basket Featuring Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Segura Viudas is Spain’s most famous Cava, and the second most popular sparkling wine served in restaurants around the world. This basket pairs a bottle of Segura Viudas Brut Reserva with a rich assortment of award-winning chocolates to create a gift that delivers pure enjoyment.   Champagne and Fondue for Two Featuring Domaine Chandon Brut Classic Champagne The definitive pairing of champagne and chocolate! Perfect for a quiet celebration for two, a rich chocolate fondue kit arrives with two fondue forks, ramekins, rich melting chocolate and two splits of bright, spirited Domaine Chandon Brut Classic. Just add your favorite fruit, maybe some marshmallows, and you’ve got yourself an indulgent little New Year’s Eve. Champagne and Pairings to Sip and Savor When it comes to hors d’oeuvres or dinner, you might be surprised to find that champagne accompanies many different (and simple!) dishes, because champagne’s flavors greatly vary from bottle to bottle. Here are a few pairings for some popular champagnes: Moet & Chandon Imperial:...
Festive Holiday Cocktails

Festive Holiday Cocktails

Loved ones gathering around a crackling fireplace, sparkling decorations and your favorite holiday music floating through the room…. there’s something pretty magical about this time of year, and a special night like this calls for its own signature cocktails! From the traditional to the totally unique, we’ve got a few festive holiday cocktails to add a little sparkle to your holiday gathering (and maybe take off a little bit of holiday stress, too).   Traditional Eggnog Serves 4 -6  6 large eggs, separated ¾ c. superfine sugar 2 c. whole milk 3 c. heavy cream ½ c. bourbon (like Maker’s Mark) ¼ c. dark rum ¼ c. cognac freshly grated nutmeg for garnish Beat egg yolks in a large bowl until thick and pale. Slowly beat in sugar, then whisk in milk and 2 cups of the cream. Pour in bourbon, rum, and Cognac. Cover, and refrigerate for up to one day. Just before serving, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the whites into eggnog. Whisk the remaining cup of cream until stiff peaks form, and fold into eggnog. Sprinkle with nutmeg and serve!     Glühwein – German Mulled Wine Serves 8. 2 lemons 2 oranges 10 cloves 5 cardamom pods 1 ¼ c. sugar 1 ¼ c. water 2 cinnamon sticks ½ c. brandy 2 – 750ml bottles of dry red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon or Beaujolais Using a vegetable peeler, remove the lemon and orange zest in wide strips and place in a large saucepan. Juice the lemons and oranges and add the juice to the pan. Place the cloves and cardamom in...
How to Create a Thanksgiving Day Tablescape

How to Create a Thanksgiving Day Tablescape

Happy Thanksgiving! What are your plans for the holiday – are you lucky enough to be heading to someone else’s home to gather with friends and family, or are you hosting a Thanksgiving gathering yourself? If you’ve been blessed with the task of hosting Turkey Day this year, creating a fun, fancy and festive tablescape can be easy (and inexpensive!) with a few inspiring tips and ideas like these!   Tablecloth and Linens You may want to splurge on expensive, name-brand linens so they last, but here’s a money-saving tip: don’t buy a Thanksgiving-themed set! Instead, opt for simple designs or solid colors that reflect a palette that works for many occasions that you can use all year. Burgundy, gold or dark green are perfect choices.   Dinnerware The same goes here – a Thanksgiving-themed set of dishes means you can only use it once a year. Go for china, glassware and silverware that can set the table for many different special occasions. A simple gold charger underneath the dinner plate, or a festive napkin ring can be counted on to bring a place setting to its intended theme Placecard Holders  It may not seem like an important factor, but these are actually a chance to make the table really Autumnal-looking. Mini pumpkins, pinecones, or gourds make perfect Thanksgiving place card holders, and they’re all pretty easy to come by! An Eye-Catching Centerpiece Whether you’re setting the Thanksgiving table at your own home or looking for a gift to thank the host, a vivid centerpiece is just what you never knew you needed. Not only does it compliment an...
5 Inspiring Fall Party Ideas

5 Inspiring Fall Party Ideas

Temperatures and leaves dropping always make me want to cozy up with friends and celebrate the fall harvest. Whether inside or out, there are tons of great ideas floating around online for how to throw a fall get together that’s fun and memorable for all, but without too much stress or work to put together. Below is a round-up of 5 inspiring Fall party ideas appropriate for kids and adults alike to get you in the mood to host a gathering this season (click through the images in this post for more ideas and inspiration!).   Oktoberfest Themed Get Together Loosen up your lederhosen with a laid-back take on an Oktoberfest themed party. Have guests volunteer to bring menu items including soft pretzels with fondue dipping sauce, sausages, plenty of mustard and sauerkraut, German potato salad, and apple strudel or black forest cake for dessert. These don’t have to be toiled over all day in the kitchen either – many of these menu items can be easily store bought! Make sure to have plenty of German beers from lagers to hefeweisens to dunkels (of course) along with some cold, crisp German Reisling. If you feel so inclined, decorate with white and blue checked Bavarian flags, or set up a photo booth featuring paper props on sticks like giant beer steins, flags, hats, and speech bubbles that say “Prost!” (that’s German for cheers). Pop on a playlist of bier hall songs and let the celebrations begin.   Pumpkin Decorating Party (no messy carving required) Pumpkin carving is a classic fall party activity for adults and kids alike, but all those sticky...