Sunday, August 29, 2010

dinner with friends (alternate title: champagne & jell-o shots)

champagne & jell-o shots
last night craig and i had 4 of our very best friends - cate, chad, erin & brian - over for dinner.  with summer weekends numbered, we decided to get together for one last warm weather hurrah before the fall craziness sets in.  erin & brian are getting married the end of october, so needless to say, they have a lot of busy weeks coming up.  (just to catch you up to speed, cate & chad are getting married in june of 2011, and craig & i are getting hitched november 5th, 2011!)  fun times ahead : )

well, back to the party.  we actually invited them over for a "bbq", but since i was working until 6pm, i had to make all the food in advance.  i decided to make sausage with peppers and onions.  ok, ok, i know that doesn't sound all that gourmet, but it turned out pretty good, if i do say so myself.  (i actually got caught squeegeeing my own plate last night to savor the last few remnants of sauce - good thing they're good friends!) 

i opted for chicken and turkey sausages - a spinach & feta, a mild italian and a white wine, parsley & garlic.  i sauteed chopped vidalia onions and red peppers in olive oil in a large pot.  i pan seared the sausage separately, chopped them and then added the sausage and pan drippings to the onions and peppers, added a jar or so of good marinara sauce as well as a can of chopped tomatoes and presto!  pot-o-sausage&peppers&onions.  to really make it a homerun, i made homemade bread.  (it's much easier than it sounds - but it always impresses.  thank you, hannie!)  i made a pesto loaf and also a garlic loaf.  yummy!  cate brought a fresh, delicious green salad with countless farmer's market toppings and erin made super good cauliflower & curry dip that she served with whole grain tortilla chips as an appetizer.  we ate well.  and drank well too...

i greeted my guests with two pitchers of fun summery drinks.  a simple sangria (and when i say simple, i mean simple) - one bottle of red wine plus (don't laugh) two 24oz cans of mike's hard lemonade.  yes, that's right.  i'm classy, i know.  but it did the trick.  i added fresh squeezed orange slices and added fresh peach slices and ice.  it was good and went down a little too easy.  the other pitcher was spiked iced tea.  sun tea + (don't laugh, again) two 24oz cans of twisted tea.  (don't judge, the large cans were leftovers from a fun trip to ohio to see my sis.)  again, i classed it up with some fresh lemon slices.  both drinks were refreshing and the guests had no complaints.

since i was at work all day, craig was at the helm for the day-of-party prep, and boy oh boy, did i train that boy well!  the cottage and yard looked beautiful.  the lights were on, candles were lit, dinner was simmering, music was playing, the yard was prepped with table and chairs and the fire pit was awaiting a match.  well done, craig.  well done.

after drinks & appetizers accompanied with wedding talk, girl talk and a few rounds of quoits (a yard game kind of like horseshoe but better), we enjoyed dinner at the dining room table inside.  the dinner was enjoyed by all and yes, as i mentioned, i did a hostess "no-no" and practically licked my plate clean.  (i know you've done it too at one time or another.)

on to dessert.  the boys headed outside to light the fire pit and we "prepped" dessert.  meaning i got the marshmallows, hershey's bars and graham crackers out of the pantry : )  i mean, honestly, is there anything better than s'mores on a cool summer evening?!  dessert was paired with champagne.  we uncorked the veuve clicquot that my parents gave craig and me when we got engaged and toasted to the inexplicable twist of fate that we're all engaged at the same time.  (erin, cate and i have been friends for years - i've known cate since i was two, and erin is my cousin.)  i don't think we ever would have imagined in all our childhood discussions that we'd all be at this life step at the same time.  it's wonderful and has been a lot of fun!

so what's the only thing that can make s'mores and champagne and summer and hanging with good friends even better?  raspberry jell-o shots.  chad seemed especially appreciative, but come on, what says "party!" and "fun!" more than good old-fashioned jell-o shots?!  it was a fun time.  a really fun time.

me, cate, erin
well, thanks to a brilliant team effort on all fronts, the party was a huge success.  the only one who didn't enjoy it (unfortunately) was little olive, our dog.  she hid in her crate all night.

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