Archive for the ‘Table Setting’ Category

Halloween Dinner All Grown Up

October 25th 2009

dinnerware spider4 Halloween Dinner All Grown UpI had my big Halloween extravaganza last night, the annual Gothic dinner party. I invited 12 people for a total of 13 including me – a perfect number for Halloween. Everyone comes dressed in black, and a few guests add makeup and accessories to create a costume as well. The table was covered with a black table cloth that was accented with small gold one to cover the center of the table. The only lights in the room were witch hat string lights and candles everywhere (especially the dinner table). The lightning machines behind the graveyard scene covering the windows looked like a spooky storm, complete with thunder sounds. Like I’ve said before, setting the scene is one of the most important parts of a successful Halloween party.

I love the new rolls of Halloween scenery you can buy this year. Various scenes that are 4 feet tall and the rolls have 50 yards of it. I covered one entire wall with a spooky forest theme at the top with a graveyard scene below. It’s an amazing effect, since it’s on one of the biggest walls in the room.

Over the front windows I have scary ghosts panels and when the lights are on inside, you see the ghosts and tombstones glow outside. It’s a great effect inside and out. I found some spider web lace panels at a fabric store and used that as sheers for the remaining windows. Add as many jack-o-lanterns as there are surfaces, a raven with blinking red eyes, and obligatory skeleton and you’ve created your own haunted house.

On the table I used regular dinner plates as base plates, water glasses, wine glasses, and a full set of silver for the evening. It’s important to have as much done ahead of time as possible. Each guest brings a dish and I have a multitude of slow cookers ready to keep each course warm until we’re ready to serve it. This year I broke my cardinal rule of starting off any dinner party with an empty dishwasher. Don’t make my mistake. It’s a beautiful thing to fill up your dishwasher as you clear each course. It makes end of the evening clean up a breeze.

Black and grey is a great color scheme to theme your Halloween table. Check out the Noritake Black Pepper or Stone Charcoal patterns. If you’re looking for some cool dishes for your Halloween party it’s a perfect place to start.

Here’s my Halloween dinner menu:

  • A shot of pomegranate liquor to start out the meal in an ice skull

  • Tossed mixed greens with an orange vinaigrette decorated with berry ‘eyes’

  • Spicy tomato soup garnished with radish-olive eyes

  • Dead Man’s Ribs and Veggie Loaf Coffins

  • Whole Cauliflower cooked in a tomato olive sauce as a bloody brain

  • Spooktacular Mashed Potatoes – I left out the eggs, used coconut milk and earth balance to make it vegan

  • Gluten Free Corn Muffin Bats and Ghosts

  • Gluten Free Brownies

  • Meringue Bones stuffed with raspberry jam

  • Vegan Apple Crumb Pie

  • a liberal amount of a sparkling Sauvignon blanc and Devils punch

I hope that my party menu inspires you to have your own Halloween soirée this week.

Posted by Myriam under Fall Entertaining & Halloween & Holiday Entertaining & Party Food & Table Setting | 1 Comment »

Halloween Dinner Ideas

October 13th 2009

dinnerware pumpkinsoup Halloween Dinner IdeasYou can go with any theme for your Halloween dinner party, but it just won’t be complete without a few dishes to remind you of the holiday. From mummy hot dogs for a kids party to ribs served on a platter with a carving knife stabbed into a fake heart – they all create an atmosphere your guests won’t soon forget.

I throw a fancy Gothic dinner party. I have my guests dress up in all black or a dressy costume. Each guest chooses a dish to bring from a list of recipes. I make sure there are recipes that everyone can make.

You can create a buffet using ordinary crockpots to keep the food warm, and allow for people to arrive at different times. I do a big sit down dinner with multiple courses. Of course, you have to count on your guests a little more, but the results really shine.

It takes some planning to have each course ready when you want it. After all, you want to be in the party not in the kitchen all night! If you want to do a little bite (amuse bouche) to start your meal, try something cold that you can have plated up in the fridge. Do the same with your salad course, plate it up, and put dressing in the serving bottle you want to use.

Keep your soup hot in a crockpot and ladle out in small bowls you set up nearby the minute you want to serve it. Have your main course cooked ahead of time, and you can pop it in the oven to warm up as you eat the soup or salad. If you have a room temp dessert plate it up and cover with a dish towel until you are ready. Or if it’s a chilled dessert, try and prepare it in individual serving dishes to speed up your time in the kitchen.

Make sure you have enough plates to serve on ready ahead of time in the kitchen. Nothing will slow you down more than stopping to wash dishes for your next course. Pick up a few thermal carafes, and make your coffee and tea while you are heating your main course. It’ll be hot and ready to serve when bring out the dessert. Also have sugar and creamers ready to make coffee service a breeze.

I set my table so that all the silver for the night is already in place. Set a water glass, wine glass, and coffee cup just like a restaurant would do and you’ll have less to haul from the kitchen. Make sure your dishwasher is clean and empty before the party starts, then you can put your dirty dishes straight in for an easier cleanup.

Have I got you thinking about your Halloween dinner? There are a ton of  ‘clipped’  Halloween recipes saved in the Halloween recipe notebook on Evernote. Happy party planning!

Posted by Myriam under Fall Entertaining & Halloween & Party Food & Recipes & Table Setting | No Comments »

Make your own Coasters

September 13th 2009

DIY coaster

When you have a houseful of guests, it is a good idea to make sure you have coasters displayed on your table tops. Encouraging guests to place their drinks on coasters rather than your nice stained table, will save you clean up and the frustration of trying to get those “rings” to disappear. I am liking this do it yourself coaster project from Martha Stewart. Pressed flowers dress up an ordinary coaster and table top. With Fall approaching, you can even try this with pressed leaves.

Posted by Myriam under Holiday Entertaining & Hostessing & Table Setting | 1 Comment »

Accent with Linen Napkins

September 6th 2009

An easy way to add a bit of pizazz to your dinner table is by accenting with linen napkins. Choosing linen napkins that have a bright pattern, an elegant detail, or a vintage flair can add a uniqueness to your dinner table settings. Here are a few examples of linen napkins that would definitely spice up your table top.

wintage print linen napkin

Vintage Floral Print from Plum Party

Stiched linen-napkins-

Hemstitched Detail from Country Living

bright floral napkins

Bright and Bold Floral Print from Casa Sugar

Changing out small details (such as linen napkins) is an easy way to change the look and feel of your table top. You an also get creative with napkin rings which would provide even more interesting detail the next time you are setting your table.

Posted by Myriam under All About the Home & Table Setting | 1 Comment »

Creative Menu Idea

August 16th 2009


menu Creative Menu Idea

I love the idea of getting creative with your menu display. The gourmet goddesses over at Sunday Suppers came up with this rustic (yet sophisticated) option for displaying your individual menus: a paper bag.

Other creative menu displaying ideas are  mini chalkboards and/or small framed menus. Have fun and get a little creative when it comes time to let guests know what you’ll be serving.


Posted by Myriam under Occasions & Party Food & Table Setting | 1 Comment »

Entertaining Outdoors, It’s Spring!

April 30th 2009

The sun is out, the breeze is mild and the air is filled with the sweet smells of spring. Where better to host your next dinner party (or luncheon) than outdoors? Taking your party outdoors almost makes it easier to plan. The blue sky and surrounding greenery offers instant decor, the springtime fragrances fill the air and replace your need for candles. Outdoor surroundings fill up your space which means you are required to do less, buy less, and make less. I say, gather a few things you have around already and repurpose them for entertaining. Here are two great ideas courtesy of Martha.

garden party ideas

I love this simple idea. Transform flower pots into serving dishes and platters. This is a great way to pull your outdoor dinner party together and in a very frugal way.

garden party details

It doesn’t get easier than this! Pluck a few leaves off your outdoor trees and you have instant spring coasters!

Here are just a couple decor ideas for your outdoor entertaining. We would love to hear how you celebrate spring outdoors as well!

Photos via Martha Stewart Living

Posted by Myriam under Table Setting | No Comments »

Spring Table Tops

March 27th 2009

With the arrival of spring, many are getting the itch to entertain outdoors again. Spring is the perfect time to start planning your patio and backyard get gatherings. The weather is just right and the spring blossoms make the most fragrant scents, a perfect time to entertain outdoors.

When setting your outdoor table, gather inspiration from nature itself. Yellow and green hues make  are  great choices for a spring table scape- they have that  complete spring feel.

table tops for spring Spring Table Tops

To save on costs and to ensure gorgeous blooms, consider incorporating Daffodils, Tulips, or Lilac into your table centerpieces.

{photos from The Knot}

Posted by Myriam under Table Setting | 1 Comment »

How to Set a Formal Table

March 8th 2009

No matter how many times I set a formal table, I always seem to second guess myself as I am placing my dinnerware, flatware and stemware. The fear of placing something in the wrong place always leaves me having to ask someone (mainly my mother) or pausing to think it over … once again.

I came across this graphic “cheat sheet” and thought it would be fitting to share with you.

Formal Table Settings

1. Napkin
2. Salad Fork
3. Dinner Fork
4. Dessert Fork
5. Bread & Butter Plate w/ Spreader
6. Dinner plate
7. Dinner Knife
8. Teaspoon
9. Teaspoon
10. Soup Spoon
11. Cocktail fork
12. Water Glass
13. Red-wine glass
14. White-wine glass
15. Coffee cup and saucer


Of course you can omit any item you need. For example, if you are not serving bread, you should not place the bread plate on the table. Also, as far as the napkin placement goes, you can also fold and place it in the center of the dinner plate for a more modern feel.

For future reference, bookmark this page and you will have it for the next dinner party you host!

Thanks to Home Made Simple for the oh-so-helpful graphic!

Posted by Myriam under Table Setting | 4 Comments »

Make Your Table Stand Out

January 13th 2009

When you are entertaining, whether it is a Superbowl party or a formal dinner party for fifty, the one thing that everyone will notice is the table.  The table is so much more than a place to sit and eat.  The table is a conversation piece.  It is a common ground for your guests to meet and mingle and it gives them the perfect opportunity to start conversations.  Something unique at every dinner party table will lead the way to your guests having a great time.  It doesn’t matter if it is your latest find at an antique store or just an idea you come up with to decorate something special.  Whatever it is, it will give you and your guests an ice breaker to begin conversations.  If you are stuck looking for unique ideas, check out some of these ideas for some help.

It is important to look at functionality first, of course.  The table must work for the situation and not be clumsy and over cluttered.  A classic white tablecloth always works but if you choose to use a tablecloth with a pattern, make sure to offset it with some solid colors so that it isn’t too busy to look at.  You want the guests to see the table as a whole but also notice each separate nuance you give it.  Every single thing should coordinate and work together as a whole.  Your dinnerware should flow well with the style and colors of your tablecloth, napkins and placemats and serving pieces and accessories should be the same pattern, if possible.

Try to stick with the basic table setting placement.  There are reasons that table settings have been set up the same way for hundreds of years and it is because it works.  It is functional and easy for people to move through the meal easily.  It is a good idea to do a practice run of setting up the table a day or two in advance.  By doing this practice run, you can play with different things to see how they work without being rushed and you can make double sure that you have everything you need.

TweetIt from HubSpot

Posted by Myriam under Table Setting | 2 Comments »