EVENTS 101: ATMOSPHERE

One of my very favorite things to do is to gather people for a fun night in or a home cooked meal. It’s cheesy, but I love the idea of connecting people, making them feel welcome, and giving them a fun experience. There are some small tips I’ve found to be tried and true, no matter the event, whether that’s a book party, themed soiree, or Friday night dinner. While these skew more toward smaller apartment or house parties, the fundamentals can be applied to any major event.

party-at-home-dancing-cranberries-picjumbo-comFOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD

I cannot state the importance of this enough. Having food, even if it’s just small nibbles, can make your guests’ experience. We’ve all been to events where food was lacking and the drinks were flowing – never a good combination. Pro tip: Since dark chocolate and other comfort foods are tied to your brain’s endorphin center, having some of these out at your party will be sure to leave your guests in a great mood.

Mobile Marketing 3ATMOSPHERE

It’s more than just a clean home. The atmosphere you create is what makes your guests feel welcome and ready to have a good time. Whether that is a fully stocked bar or a well dressed table, lit candles on the coffee table, or music in the background, it’s important to have a warm, inviting space. I always talk about “Instagrammable moments” with my clients who are planning events. Try and make a space in your apartment or house that is conducive to cute pictures. More on this subject in another post.

6V12NODFVMCREATE CONNECTIONS

Those of you who have been through the sorority rush process may find this vaguely familiar (“back pocket questions,”anyone?). The beauty of house parties is that while you may know all your guests, they may not all know each other. Think about ways you can connect your guests – whether they live in the same area, love the same happy hour spot or have similar hobbies.

photo-1433439216031-9571132ce719LET IT GO

It’s going to happen. Someone will spill wine on your favorite rug or sofa. Or will track dirty shoes around your house. Or will break a wine glass you loved. As hard as it is, let it go. For me, any items that are really valuable, sentimental, or won’t survive a rendezvous with a glass of red wine, are stowed away in advance of the event. If it’s a couch or accent chair you’re worried about, try draping a cute, washable throw over it. Take these safeguarding steps and you will thank yourself later.

What are your go-to tips when planning events?

 

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PEANUT-FREE BLOSSOM COOKIES

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I have a life-threatening peanut allergy. They expect me to be the awkward one at restaurants who stops the waiter in the middle of his or her sentence to ask about the peanut situation. They also know that I’m the one flying Southwest who prevents the entire flight from being able to enjoy their free peanut snacks (sorry ’bout it – and shout out to the flight attendant who went out of her way once to make sure I was comfortable). Yet despite the risk to my life, I’ve always been a little curious about all of those peanut baked goods. Reese’s cups? Blossom cookies? Mysteries.  Until I discovered SunButter, that is.

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SunButter has the consistency and texture of peanut butter, but with none of the life-taking symptoms. (For those with really severe allergies, it’s even made in a nut-free facility!) So I seized the opportunity to make these SunButter blossom cookies. And, while I was at it, I made them slightly healthier for you. Your sweet tooth can live another day.

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While I can’t tell you how they compare to their peanut butter cousins, I can tell you that they tasted like they could be the real deal to me.

Truth be told, I did learn from this experiment that I would not have been a peanut butter person if I could eat peanuts, so these will not be making a return to my pantry. At least I know now that I’m not missing out on anything great (sorry, peanut lovers!).  I’ll share my shortbread blossom recipe soon for those that are in my boat. For those that do love peanut butter, let me know how these stack up!

Recipe below for 48 cookies (modified from Hershey).

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3/4 cup SunButter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup additional granulated sugar for rolling
  • One bag chocolate chips

HOW YOU’LL DO IT

  1. Beat butter, apple sauce, and SunButter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy.
  2. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into SunButter mixture.
  3. Refrigerate overnight
  4. Heat oven to 375°F.
  5. While the oven is heating, shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  7. Once removed, immediately press the back of a measuring spoon (I used a teaspoon) into the center of each cookie to create a small pit. The cookies should crack around the edges. Then, move the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
    • Note: With SunButter, it’s normal for the inside of the cookie to turn green as it cools. Don’t be freaked out! It’s still safe to eat.
  8. When the cookies are completely cooled, melt about half of the chocolate chips. Here’s a how-to for those of you interested in doing it over the stove.
  9. Spoon or pour the chocolate into the pit you created for each cookie. Gently shake the cookie to get the lumps and bumps out of the chocolate.
  10. Place the cookies in the refrigerator for at least an hour to harden the chocolate.

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Enjoy!