Buffalo Chex Party Mix + $50 Giftcard Giveaway

Buffalo Chex Mix Recipe - A Well Crafted Party

The Summer holidays are coming around quick (Memorial Day is this upcoming Monday!) and with that comes the opportunity to spend time with the people in your life celebrating, remembering, and just enjoying each others company. It likely will also bring together a lot of hungry people! Enter Chex Party Mix… Chex Party Mix is super versatile and can feed a crowd. I came up with a couple easy recipes for an “All-American Chex Mix” flavors in honor of Memorial Day and Fourth of July. Though, they’d also work for any get together or even as a great camping snack.

I chose Buffalo flavor as one of my “All-American” flavors just because it reminds me of Summers back home in Oklahoma. I’m a huge fan of Buffalo Chicken Wings—especially during grilling season! Check out my first “All-American” Chex Party Mix recipe below and don’t forget to enter to win a $50 Visa Gift Card from Chex!

Buffalo Chex Mix Recipe - A Well Crafted Party

Buffalo Chex Mix Recipe - A Well Crafted Party

Buffalo Chex Mix

Buffalo Chex Mix

I really wanted an easy, "All-American" feeling Chex Party Mix to feed a crowd. Because I didn't want to overwhelm everyone with spice, I only used the Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce as a spice. However, if you want to kick it up a notch then you could also mix in a packet of Zesty Ranch Seasoning or a tablespoon of cayenne pepper. I used the oven for this recipe because I enjoy how the roasted cereal tastes. Microwave instructions for Chex Party Mix can be found on the side of your Chex cereal box.

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Wheat Chex
  • 3 Cups Corn Chex
  • 3 Cups Rice Chex
  • 2 Cups Roasted, Shelled & Non-Salted Peanuts
  • 2 Cups Pretzels
  • 2 Cups Cheez-It Crackers (I used original, but white cheddar or a spicy version would also be delish!)
  • 6 Tablespoons of Butter Melted
  • 4 Tablespoons of Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix the Chex cereals, peanuts and pretzels in a large bowl. Leave out the Cheez-It crackers for the time being.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the melted butter with the Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce.
  4. Slowly pour the Buffalo Sauce & Butter mixture over the cereal mixture, stirring as you go to make sure that everything is well coated.
  5. Pour out the cereal mixture on to a baking sheet. Make sure the cereal mixture is out flat and not piled up on itself. I had to use two baking sheets.
  6. Roast the mixture at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour, stirring the mixture every 15 minutes.
  7. Once out of the oven, mix in the Cheez-It crackers and package in an airtight container.
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Chex.com has a great site full of even more delicious Chex Party Mix recipes along with a bunch of other recipes that can be made using Chex! I’m also not the first person to come up with a Buffalo Chex Mix recipe… there are a ton of great ones out there. Mine is a fairly mild version that only gives you a little taste of that yummy buffalo sauce. Don’t forget to check back again soon for my other “All-American” Chex Party Mix recipe!

The fine people at Chex are giving away a $50 American Express Gift Card so that one lucky reader can go buy as much Chex Mix ingredients as they could need for future snacking needs! Winner must be in the United States. Please read the giveaway terms and conditions for more information.

Enter to Win!

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Sources: The USA Marquee Sign and patriotic travel mixing bowls came to me compliments of the Kohl’s Summer Entertaining Mailer. Check out your local Kohl’s for your Summer entertaining needs!

This post and giveaway was in partnership with Chex. Recipe and opinions are my own. Thank you for reading and participating in posts that help support this blog! 

Tips for a Great Outdoor Meal & Grocery Outlet Giveaway

Simple decor for an outdoor meal - A Well Crafted Party

The warmer days of Spring are here and Summer is just around the corner. For me this means that it is time to bring dinner OUTDOORS! Spring and Summer holidays and special occasions (Mother’s Day is Sunday!) are the perfect opportunity to bring a meal outdoors. The change of scenery can help make any meal feel like a special meal. But, not every meal makes for a great outdoor meal. You’ll want a meal that can hold up to the weather, be easy to serve and not too complicated to pack up and bring to wherever you are having your outdoor meal. When Grocery Outlet asked if I wanted to work with them on a post I immediately thought of all the fun outdoor items that they get this time of year, and wanted to throw a little outdoor party in honor of Mother’s Day. Below are some of my tips for creating a great outdoor meal. Check in tomorrow for a few recipes that anyone can make that are great for an outdoor meal!

Quick, Easy Outdoor Meal Anyone Can Make - A Well Crafted Party

What makes a great outdoor meal?

I think that there are a few factors that make for an outdoor meal, including simplicity. Part of eating outdoors should be that the whole meal has a more relaxed feel to it. Even if you are going super fancy and formal, the meal itself can be made simple and easy to eat while still being elegant. Last year I went to a wonderful outdoor farm to table meal that completely hit all my favorite notes of an outdoor meal! Here are my tips for what makes a great outdoor meal:

1. Keep it Simple – The meal does not need to be complicated nor have a lot of steps. The perfect outdoor meal can either be cooked outdoors, or packed up and easy carried outdoors. When planning an outdoor meal you’ll want to keep your ingredient list down (at least the items that are going to the table, if you want to prep a complicated many ingredient meal at home that still carries nicely and is easy to serve then by all means, go for it!), keep the garnishes to a minimum and let the meal really be the centerpiece of the experience.

2. Make sure it holds up to the weather- Besides food safety, considering the weather is important for the overall meal experience. If the meal you are serving really tastes best piping hot then you’ll need to figure out a way to cook or at least reheat outdoors so that the wind doesn’t take down the temp. Or, you can choose a meal that can be served at room temperature or cooled. If it is really hot then you might need to think about whether your desserts or meal items are going to just melt while waiting to be served. Of course, don’t forget about food safety as no one likes food poisoning. Items that are sitting out need to be properly cooled or heated to keep the items out of the danger zone.

3. A pretty setting – Eating outdoors can be a wonderful experience that can make any meal feel like a special occasion. Of course, if that meal is served in a not-so-ideal space and handed out wrapped in plastic it can feel more like a fast food experience than a special occasion. Take a few moments to make the meal special by taking care on how it is served. Even dressing up your picnic items a bit can make an ordinary meal feel extraordinary. When throwing parties in my back yard I often opt to cut flowers from my yard and use my basic dishware from the house. I leave my really nice dishware inside, but the basics can still feel dressed up when surrounded by nature! When I picnic I try to make things nicer by wrapping them in parchment paper and twine rather than just plastic baggies, or serving items on bamboo plates or reusable outdoor plastic plates instead of opting for paper.There are also a lot of great brands of really beautiful paper plates out there that can be perfect for making an outdoor meal feel special.

4. Think about pests – Nothing can ruin a meal faster than a few pests. Supply bug spray, plant bug repellent plants around your yard, or use some citronella candles to ward off pesky mosquitoes and flies. I found these adorable yellow tins with citronella candles at Grocery Outlet for less than $2 and bought a whole bunch of them for my outdoor parties. Not only do they look cute on the table, but they help ward off unwanted bugs!

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for some super easy recipes that ANYONE can make for a great outdoor meal!

Enter to win a giveaway to Grocery Outlet

Grocery Outlet wants to help you serve a great outdoor (or indoor) meal and are sharing a $25 Gift Card with one lucky reader. Grocery Outlet operates 210+ stores in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Check out the Grocery Outlet website to find a store near you!

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This post was created in collaboration with Grocery Outlet. All opinions are my own. Thank you for reading and sharing posts that are created in partnership with brands that help support this blog. 

Easy Entertaining with a Cheese Platter

Thank you to Fromager d’ Affinois for sending me a variety of cheeses to try and photograph for this post. All ideas and opinions are my own.

Tips for Creating a Cheese Board - A Well Crafted Party

If you entertain often, then cheese platters are your friend.* Not only are they delicious, but they are filling and SO easy to put together! When pressed for time, or bring an appetizer to a potluck party, or even when I just have a lot going on, I reach for my cheese boards and hit the deli section of my local grocery store.

Tips for Creating a Cheese Board - A Well Crafted Party

Tips for Creating a Cheese Board - A Well Crafted Party

Tips for creating a successful cheese platter:

  1. Buy a few different cheeses, but cap it at five different cheeses. Choice is awesome, but being overwhelmed by choice is not so fun. Keep your platters simple by choosing three to five cheeses to feature. For this platter I used three different flavors of cheese from the same brand of cheese, Fromager d’AffinoisBy going with the same type of cheese, with different flavors, I am able to let my guests enjoy discovering the differences in one type of cheese. You can also go with selections from different types of cheese to give additional variety.
  2. Make sure the cheese is easy to serve. There is nothing more awkward then trying to get some cheese off of a cheese platter that is too difficult to cut or there isn’t a cheese knife around to help get the cheese from the platter to the cracker. To ease the cheese serving conundrum pre-slice hard cheeses, put out cheese knives that are sturdy enough to cut the cheeses available, and make sure you have something to spread soft cheeses onto crackers. This platter features there soft cheeses (which I LOVE for entertaining) that are really easy to cut through with a simple cheese knife and spread onto a cracker.
  3. Serve cheese at room temp. You certainly don’t want your cheeses sitting out for hours, but cheese straight from the fridge won’t have the depth of flavor or ease of serving as one that has gotten to room temperature.
  4. Label your cheeses. I don’t know if there is anything quite as alarming to the palette than to think you are about to enjoy a nice double creme brie to get a tangy goat cheese flavor in return. While I’d love both types of cheese, it sure does help to know what is coming my way! It becomes even more important when you have the option of tasty accompaniments or toppings.  Whether you simple write out cheese names on a piece of paper and lay it next to the cheese or get fancy and print out specific labels, your guests will appreciate you taking the time to label!
  5. Don’t forget the accompaniments! Crackers are great for serving up with a good cheese platter. They are easy to store in the pantry for use at a moments notice, they make it easy to serve the cheese from the plate to your belly, and generally, can go with almost any kind of cheese. If you want to have a little more fun with your cheese platter you might think about alternative food items that might serve as a good cheese-to-belly delivery tool. Some cracker-alternative options include sliced cured meats, vegetables, breads, and different types of fruit. Is there anything better than a slice of aged cheddar on a crisp, ripe apple slice?
  6. Toppings set your platter apart. You’ve got the cheese all to temp and labeled, and your accompaniments are at the ready… it is time to think about what might really set your platter apart and make your cheese choices sing! Toppings such as pepper jelly, fig jam, apricot spread or even honey all make for tasty additions to a cheese platter. Have some fun putting out toppings so guests can mix and match.

Tips for Creating a Cheese Board - A Well Crafted Party

Tips for Creating a Cheese Board - A Well Crafted Party

More ideas for your cheese platters:

About Fromager d’Affinois:

Fromager d’Affinois is the top-selling cheese for Fromagerie Guilloteau. It is a smooth double cream cheese expresses that has been delicately matured. In addition to the original Fromager d’Affinois, this cheese also comes in flavors of Garlic & Mixed Herbs, Olive, Truffle, and Pepper. I tried the original, mixed herbs bleu and pepper varieties— all of which were creamy and flavorful! The high fat-content of this cheese positions it halfway between a traditional Brie and a triple-cream cheese. I was able to find this cheese at my local Whole Foods Market.

*Cheese platters are your friend unless you do not eat dairy, or your guests do not eat dairy. In that case, you may want to make other entertaining friends.

Saturday Spirits: Gin & Herbs Spring Cocktail

Herb & Gin Cocktail from A Well Crafted Party

My favorite thing about Spring is the emergence of all the fresh herbs. This cocktail is the perfect mix of fresh herbs and the wonderful aromatics of gin.

Ingredients
Shaker
Muddler
Ice
Rocks glass with Ice
4 Slices of Cucumber (3 for beverage and 1 for garnish)
1 sprig thyme for garnish
1 oz Basil & Thyme Simple Syrup (See recipe below)
½ oz lime juice ( ½ of freshly squeezed lime)
1 ¼ oz Gin
2 oz Sparkling Water (Or Soda Water)

Directions
1. Put ice, 3 slices of cucumber, 1 oz of basil & thyme simple syrup, squeeze of lime juice, and the half of the lime into a shaker—Muddle
2. Pour gin into shaker, cover, and shake vigorously
3. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice
4. Pour in sparkling water and garnish with cucumber slice and thyme sprig
5. Enjoy!

Herb & Gin Cocktail from A Well Crafted Party

How to Make a Basil & Thyme Simple Syrup
1. Put a handful of basil leaves and several sprigs of thyme into a small sauce pan with 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of water. 2. Stir the mixture as it heats on medium-low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved (about four minutes) 3. Remove from heat and let it sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 4. Once cooled, taste to see mixture as it sits to get your desired herbal flavor. 5. Once you have your desired flavor pour mixture over a sieve— to strain the solid from syrup—into a jar.The mixture can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.

Originally published on InComplete Magazine

Cooking with Spices from RawSpiceBar and a Giveaway!

RawSpiceBar spice subscription service featured on A Well Crafted Party

I love cooking. You can take one look at my “A Well Crafted Pantry” section of this blog for proof of that. However, one thing you won’t find in many of my recipes is a variety of spices. I’m sort of simple when it comes to using spices in my cooking. I like using fresh and dried herbs in cooking, but even that I typically limit to two or three different ingredients. Because of that I’ve stayed away from cooking some of my favorite styles of foods. Part of the hesitation is not knowing if I’ll like a certain spice or spice combination. The other is whether I’m going to use it very often. Then of course, there is the cost! Buying ten different spices to create one dish is not easy to do when living on a budget. Cooking with spices always seemed intimidating and expensive.

RawSpiceBar spice subscription service featured on A Well Crafted Party

Enter my new favorite subscription service. I love subscription services. I’m a member of several for my entertainment, to my blog work to simple pleasures we want to enjoy at home such as food or beverages. I was thrilled when asked to try out a new spice-centric subscription service.

The RawSpiceBar is a subscription service perfect for people like me who want to try different spices and spice combinations, but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg trying them out.

For $6/month you get a small batch of spices delivered to your door with a short story about the spices and the region that they come from along with some recipes. The past three month spice batches included:

How much fun is that? I have never cooked ANYTHING with any of these spices. It is a whole new world of cooking at my finger tips.

RawSpiceBar spice subscription service featured on A Well Crafted Party

I originally wanted to try creating my own recipe with the spices. But, since I had never worked with ANY of these spices before, I decided to try out one of the recipes that were provided.

I made the Punjabi Chicken Tikka Marsala using the Punjabi Garam Masala spice mix and the Tandoori Spices. One of the directions on the recipe was to bring the spices back to life by heating them in a dry saucepan on the stovetop. I cannot describe the amazing smells that were in my kitchen. I want to do this with ALL my spices now!

Punjabi Chicken Tikka Marsala recipe from RawSpiceBar featured on A Well Crafted Party.

Punjabi Chicken Tikka Marsala recipe from RawSpiceBar featured on A Well Crafted Party.I made this meal for myself, my husband and my toddler. All three of us ate as much as we could and there was enough for at least 4 more grown adults! I love that the recipes create enough for a crowd. Perfect for when I want to try out a fun new dish with friends.

I do have to say that the recipe card was missing a few bits of important information while cooking. But, the online recipe fixed any of my questions. So, if you read through the card and have questions, jump on the RawSpiceBar website and use the online version of the recipe instead.

Want to give it a shot? Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win one of two 3-month subscriptions to RawSpiceBar! Or, hop on over to RawSpiceBar now to sign up for just $6 a month!

Please read giveaway guidelines. Giveaway begins today, March 26 and ends 12AM PST April 6. Giveaway open to readers in US & Canada only. 

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Thank you to RawSpiceBar for providing me with a sample subscription to try the RawSpiceBar services and share with readers as well as the giveaway subscriptions. All opinions and images are my own. 

Food in Celebration

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Photo via Mary BoydenTabasco Shaved Ice Oyster Topping 

Just recently I had the opportunity to visit a conference in Portland, Oregon all about food! I learned a lot from the FoodWorx sessions that I was able to catch…more-so, they got me thinking a lot! I’ve got copious notes and many great sources to connect with to bring some more food-centric posts to this blog. However, one of these talks has been resonating under the surface for a while now and I feel that I need to share my thoughts… One short talk that has stayed with me was from Ian Rubin of Whole Self Wellness titled “Rewriting Your Food Story.”

What the heck is a food story? Well, in very simplified terms, it is how life and circumstances has shaped your relationship with food. I’ve known for several years now that my food story (though not entirely unique) has made me look at food different then a lot of my friends. While someday I may get into my food story here on the blog, that isn’t what this post is about. Ian’s talk about rewriting a food story made me remember something a co-worker once lamented about…

“Why do people always want to get together for dinner or drinks? Why can’t people get together for something other than eating!?”

Food in celebration is a part of many different culture’s “food stories.” There are Sunday dinners at grandma’s house, big beautiful birthday cakes, holiday meals that people spend months prepping for… the list goes on and on. Food is a big part of celebration!

Food in Celebration - A Well Crafted Party

Photo from my 31st birthday shindig 

I actually LOVE this part of my food story. I love how food brings us together. A large portion of this celebration-centric blog is FOOD. I enjoy brining foods to work for people to share and enjoy. I enjoy planning party menus. I enjoy random dinner parties that I throw just because.

However, with a philosophy that everyday is worth celebrating, I have started to re-think this part of my food story a bit.

I’ve started to ask myself questions regarding the role of food in a celebration. Does all celebratory food need to be healthful and consider my guests nutritional intake? No! Not in my book, I’m definitely going with a decadent cake if it fits the occasion. Perhaps it can add to the wellness of the soul rather than the body when eaten as an occasional treat. Though, a little consideration of the nutrition of guests is never a bad thing.

Over the past couple of years I’ve been trying to be more thoughtful in my selection of foods for celebrations. While many of my parties are still planned with food as a central part of the celebration, I try to consider the food stories of those in attendance. When brining food to work I no longer grab delicious donuts or homemade cupcakes. Instead I opt to bring more healthful and substantial offerings. (I’ll still eat the donuts if YOU bring them to me though!)

Other changes I’ve made in food in celebration is that I really look for quality over quantity as much as possible now days. I will opt to have fewer celebrations, or sometimes fewer guests, in order to be able to purchase higher quality ingredients or meals.

What traditions do you have with food in celebration? What changes have you made as you’ve grown older in this area?

How does Food in Celebration fit into YOUR food story? Comment below.

 

 

Saturday Spirits: Marionberry Champagne Cocktail

I had never even heard of a marionberry until I moved to Portland. Now, these native to Oregon berries are just one of the many reasons I’m in love with this place. One of the other reasons I love Portland is that we like our beverages here! Mixing the two just seemed natural.

Marionberry Champagne Cocktail from A Well Crafted Party

 

When then fine people from “Eat your Oregon Berries!” contact me and asked me if I’d like to develop a recipe with berries grown right here in the area I knew immediately that I wanted to make a cocktail. One bag of the Columbia Fruit Marionberry Blackberries was way too much for just one recipe… so, I made a couple and will be sharing them over the next few weeks!

 Marionberry Cocktail Syrup:

To make this cocktail you’ll first need to make a syrup with the berries. You can choose to strain the seeds from the syrup or you can choose to leave them in like I did. This recipe will make approximately 8 oz of syrup.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups frozen marionberries
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice of two lemons (approximately 3 oz)
  • 1 cup of refined sugar
  • 3/4 cup water

Directions:

  1. Combine the water and frozen marionberries in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Cover with a lid and let simmer down. Stir occasionally. The berries will break down and the juice will be watery and red.
  2. Once the berries are broken down, mix in the cup of sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved completely.
  3. Pour into a container, set in fridge and let cool.
  4. After cool mix in the lemon juice. The syrup should be slightly thickened, but not quite the consistency of a maple syrup.
  5. Make a cocktail with the syrup or pour over ice and top with soda water for a refreshing marionberry soda!

Marionberry Champagne Cocktail from A Well Crafted Party

 

Marionberry Champagne Cocktail from A Well Crafted Party

 Marionberry Champagne Cocktail Syrup:

I love champagne cocktails for all kinds of occasions. A little sugar, a little citrus, and a lot of champagne and I am a happy camper. A traditional champagne cocktail will have a sugar cube and some bitters. This cocktail is a variation on that using the syrup in place of the sugar and the lemon in place of the bitters.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 oz marionberry cocktail syrup
  • 4 oz sparkling wine
  • garnish with marionberry and a slice of lemon

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients in a champagne glass, garnish and enjoy!

Marionberry Champagne Cocktail from A Well Crafted Party

Ingredients for this post were paid for by the great people at Oregon Berries with a gift card to our local New Season’s Market. I found the Columbia Fruit Marionberry in their freezer section. Thank you for supporting the companies that help me bring fresh and tasty new content to the blog! 

 

 

Saturday Spirits: For the Love of Amaretto

How to Make an Amaretto Sour - A Well Crafted Party

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today is one of my favorite holidays. Not for all the mushy stuff. That is great and all, but that isn’t what I love about today. I love chocolate, sweets, red, pink, decadent foods, the phrase ‘I love you!,’ little notes of love, and so much more.

When I was a little girl my dad always made a point of getting my sister and I something small for Valentine’s Day each year. Even when we couldn’t really afford anything, he made a point to tell his girls we were special this day. When I got a little older I loved making valentine’s for my friends. I might have tried my best at hiding a crush or two within friendly valentines. I guess I was pretty good at the hiding part of it all, because no one ever seemed like they found out! Whooops.

It never was a “romantic” time even after meeting my husband. I worked in the restaurant industry for so long that Valentine’s Day usually meant I had to work. Because of that time I never really like to go out on Valentine’s Day. I prefer to stop by the grocery store and grab some delicious ingredients that we don’t get to use often. Tonight is no exception. Tonight I’m going to run by Whole Foods for their Steak & Lobster special (seriously, once you see this Herb-Roasted Lobster Steak recipe you’ll want it too!) and bunch of their roses that are on sale. We are doing a small dinner party with friends. I can’t wait!

How to Make an Amaretto Sour - A Well Crafted Party

In planning my menu for tonight I knew I wanted to use one of my most beloved liqueurs in a drink. Amaretto is one of my favorite ways to give a little sweetness to a drink. Amaretto is a sweet almond-flavored liquor that is made from a base of apricot pits or almonds or both. Funnily enough though sweet and delicious the name Amaretto comes from the Italian word Amaro meaning bitter.

Good ole’ wikipedia says this of the word, “Conflation of amaro (“bitter”) and amore (“love”) has led to associations with romance.” I guess I’m just going to be a part of all those people that have trouble distinguishing the two, because I definitely amore my Amaretto.

I’ve always believed drinking a good Amaretto Sour felt like enjoying a really great make-out-session. Don’t believe me? Make one and find out! Or, scroll down a little further and find ways that Amaretto can enhance other favorite beverages to make them even more lovely.

How to Make an Amaretto Sour - A Well Crafted Party

How to make an Amaretto Sour:

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Amaretto
  • 3/ 4 to 1 oz home-made Sour Mix (to taste)
  • A good maraschino cherry (check out my thoughts on a good maraschino cherry here)
  • Orange Slice (optional- I just love the flavor of orange and amaretto
  • Ice

Directions:

  1. Pour the amaretto and sour over ice. Crushed ice gives this drink even more ‘kissability’. I like to garnish with a a good maraschino cherry and a slice of orange!

How to Make an Amaretto Sour - A Well Crafted Party

Use Amaretto in these drinks to make them even more lovely:

  • Margaritas— Enhance the orange flavors and lend some sweet to your sour by adding Amaretto to your Margarita. To make a great margarita with Amaretto rim your glass with sugar rather than salt and pour the following ingredients over ice or blend in a blender together: 1 1/4 oz tequila, 3/4 oz amaretto, 2 oz sour, and 1 0z of fresh orange juice. YUM.
  • Spiked Coffee— Put 3/4 oz to 1 oz of amaretto in a hot coffee, top with a dollop of freshly mixed whipped cream and top with a dash of nutmeg.
  • Sidecar — Someday I’ll share my very favorite side car recipe with you… but, for now, consider trading out the cognac in a sidecar with Amaretto! To make pour the following ingredients over ice in a shaker, shake, and then strain into a chilled and sugar rimmed martini glass. Garnish with a twist of orange peel. Ingredients: 1 3/4 oz Amaretto, 1 oz Orange Liqueur, and 1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice. So good.

Have the happiest of Valentine’s Day… may it be sweet and not sour at all!

Do you have a favorite drink featuring this lovely liqueur Amaretto? Comment below with your recipe!

Saturday Spirits: Salted Caramel Apple Hot Toddy

Salted Caramel Apple Hot Toddy // A Well Crafted Party

The colder it gets outside the more I love to cuddle up with a good blanket and a hot drink. Teas, coffees, ciders… I have no favorites. Hot Toddy’s tend to be on a regular rotation at my house when the temps get cooler. I particularly love a good traditional hot toddy (check out this post or this post for a good, simple hot toddy recipe) but, today I felt like mixing it up a bit and making myself a hot toddy with an salted caramel apple twist. I honestly don’t know if it is better to call it a hot cider or hot toddy… but, either way, it is tasty and hot.

Salted Caramel Apple Hot Toddy // A Well Crafted Party

Salted Caramel Apple Hot Toddy // A Well Crafted Party

 

Salted Caramel Apple Hot Toddy

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 oz UV Vodka‘s  Salty Caramel Apple Vodka
  • 1 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whiskey
  • 4 oz Hot Apple Juice
  • Optional: Sprinkle of sea salt, sprinkle of nutmeg & apple slice for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat apple juice on stove top and pour into a mug or brandy glass
  2. Pour in bourbon and flavored vodka
  3. Top with garnish of your choice… I chose all three!

Salted Caramel Apple Hot Toddy // A Well Crafted Party

FTC Disclosure: UV Vodka sent a bottle of vodka for me to try out. All opinions are my own.

Favorite Cocktails of 2014

Favorite Cocktail Recipes of 2014 // A Well Crafted Party

In the spirit of the new year I’m looking back on some favorites… since I try to post cocktails on Saturdays for my Saturday Spirits posts I thought I’d share my top five favorite cocktail posts of 2014! These five are the cocktails that I loved the most out of the ones I shared this past year.

Favorite Cocktails of 2014 - Sparkling Lollipop Cocktail // A Well Crafted Party

Sparkling Lollipop Cocktail

This cocktail has to be my favorite of the year… not because it is complex or anything. But, I loved the flavor of the home-made lollipop paired with the sparkling wine. I featured this drink at my Hey Girl— Ryan Gosling themed birthday party.

Favorite Cocktail Recipes of 2014- Spiked Ice Cream  // A Well Crafted Party

Spiked Ice Cream (without an ice cream maker)

Not quite sure this one counts as a cocktail really… but, it definitely counts as a favorite. These easy spiked ice cream recipes don’t even need an ice cream maker.

Favorite Cocktail Recipes of 2014 - Lemon Ginger Drop // A Well Crafted Party

Lemon Ginger Drop

A good lemon drop should be sweet and tart both. This Lemon Ginger Drop gives you the sweet, the tart & an added kick of spice!

Favorite Cocktail Recipes of 2014 - Twist on the Classic Martini // A Well Crafted Party

Twists on the Classic Martini

Never underestimate the greatness of a good ole’ fashion martini. Twists on the classic martini can make an old favorite a new favorite with ease.

Favorite Cocktail Recipes of 2014 - Jalapeno margarita // A Well Crafted Party

Jalapeno Margarita

I guess I really like a kick in my cocktails. This Jalapeno Margarita recipe was inspired by the best margarita I’ve ever had.

More Oyster Toppings + Champagne Granita Recipe

Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

Continuing with all the oyster goodness (sorry for my followers that are not a fan… I will give oysters a break soon!) I have one more quick way to make a tasty topping for your oyster platters. At my recent Black, White & Gold birthday celebration I served to different platter of oysters. I served a briny oyster with champagne granita and a sweeter oyster with tabasco and lemon. I always love a good oyster with tabasco and lemon. However, these champagne granita topped oysters were AMAZING. I could have eaten a dozen of them myself! 

Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

Me and The Spicy Bee enjoying oysters

Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

Oyster tips from Whole Foods Market:

  • The smaller they are, the sweeter they are
  • Shucking is about finesse, not power
  • The Sweet Spot – There’s an open area in the back of the shell when the knife stops turning, twist the knife and pop the shell open
  • Protection – Wear a thick glove to protect your hand and use a rag to hold the oyster for leverage
  • History – Find out where the oyster is coming from. They should always have a tag. If they don’t have a tag, you don’t want that oyster!
  •  If you’re hosting an event or just craving oysters, Whole Foods Market can shuck them in-house for you!
  • Oysters are best 2-3 hours after being shucked.
  • Prime time for oysters is now through February; the colder the weather, the better the oyster!
  • Check out my post on shucking oysters here!
  • Check out my tabasco shaved ice topping for oysters here!
  • Check out even more oyster topping ideas on the Whole Foods Market Blog.
Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

Briny-flavored oysters topped with champagne granita

How To Make Champagne Granita Topped Oysters

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of champagne or sparkling wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Shucked Oysters – Use a briny oyster to pair nicely with the sweetness of the granita. Shuck the oysters yourself or you can do what I do and ask the nice people at your local Whole Foods Market to shuck them for you.

Directions:

  1. Pour 2 cups of champagne into a bowl with 1/2 cup sugar. 
  2. Stir until sugar is dissolved. 
  3. Pour solution into a pan or tupperware item, cover and put in freezer. 
  4. After 1 hour take a fork and break up the partially frozen mixture. You want to sort of drag the fork in lines along the mixture.
  5. Put mixture back in freezer. Repeat step 4 a few times until the mixture is a sort of snow cone consistency. 
  6. Top oysters with a spoonful (about a teaspoon) of champagne granita and serve immediately. 

Serving a less briny oyster? Pair it with little slices of lemon and tabasco for guests to use to taste or a top with a spicy tabasco shaved ice!

 Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

This post was not sponsored by Whole Foods Market even though it sort of reads like it is… I learned a lot about oysters when I visited the store for an oyster tasting and then have visited several times since to purchase oysters and feed my oyster addiction. 

Oysters with Tabasco Shaved Ice

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

There is just something so decadent and fancy about oysters. They are not an everyday treat and at a restaurant they can get quite expensive. Oysters are actually quite affordable as an at home appetizer and not at all difficult to make… especially if you let the wonderful people at the seafood counter take care of the shucking for you! The fun part (for me) of serving oysters is making toppings that complement the oysters. For this recipe I used a Miyagi oyster with a full meat flavor and mild brininess (to me they were almost sweet!). I like the spicier topping for oysters that are less salty and sweeter toppings for the oysters that have a strong brininess. You’ll have to scroll through some amazing photos taken by the amazing Mary Boyden before you get to the recipe. Hopefully you don’t get TOO hungry.

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters

Ingredients/Supplies:

  • Oysters – Not too briny. I used Miyagi, but the seafood department may be able to help you find an oyster that they carry that will pair nicely with tabasco. I got my oysters from my local Whole Foods Market.
  • Tabasco
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Ice
  • Food Processor

Directions:

Tops approximately 12 oysters

  1. Shuck Oysters (or have them shucked for you) and put on a bed of ice
  2. Take 1 cup of ice and put in food processor
  3. Shake in about 1 1/2 teaspoons of tabasco into the ice
  4. Squeeze 1/2 lemon juice into ice
  5. Put food processor on until ice is to a shaved consistency.
  6. Taste ice– if the ice isn’t spicy enough add more tabasco and mix by turning on the food processor
  7. Spoon about a teaspoon of the tabasco shaved ice onto each oyster and serve immediately.

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Want more?

Resources:
Photography by Mary Boyden— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Vintage Rentals by Something Borrowed— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Cocktail Napkins from Hen House Linens— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Aqua Leather Wrap Bracelet via Flourish Leather— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Styled Shoot by Bloggers of Create-Enjoy, Ladies in Navy & A Well Crafted Party:
Connect with Suzannah of Create-Enjoy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with Kelsey of Ladies in Navy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with ME! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest OR Click Share on the bottom of this post!

Saturday Spirits: Classic Manhattan

Classic Manhattan // A Well Crafted Party Photo via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

The new year is a time to look forward to all the things to come. But, the thing about the new year that I like most is the time to reflect a little bit on the year that has just past and the years leading up. A classic cocktail is a great way to give a nod to the past as you celebrate the future. This year at your New Year’s Eve party serve a classic martini or this classic manhattan cocktail to give your party a touch of old-style class.

These images were taken by the fabulous Portland-area wedding photographer Mary Boyden as a part of a styled shoot collaboration with Suzannah (Create-Enjoy) and Kelsey (Ladies in Navy). The vintage rental items were sourced through Something Borrowed in Portland, Oregon. I can’t wait to show the whole shoot beginning on Monday with free printables and New Years Eve party worthy recipes.

Classic Manhattan // A Well Crafted Party Photo via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Classic Manhattan Cocktail // A Well Crafted Party photos by Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

How to make a Classic Manhattan Cocktail

Links below may be affiliate links. A small portion of the sales made through the affiliate links go towards supporting this blog at no cost to readers. Thank you for supporting my blog.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Whiskey
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Bitters (I used Angostura)
  • Maraschino Cherries
  • Ice
  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Optional: Orange peel

Note about Whiskey: Some bartenders will swear by Rye whiskey for a manhattan. Personally, I like Bourbon Whiskey the most so I use bourbon whiskey in my manhattan. I used Burnside Bourbon from Eastside Distilling for this cocktail.

Note about Maraschino Cherries: I don’t like the bright red maraschino cherries you can find with the sundae toppings in most grocery stores. Typically those cherries are bleached and then filled with a syrup that has artificial dyes to make that bright red color. I tend to skip the cherry all together if that is the cherry offered. However, you can easily make your own Maraschino cherries or buy versions that are made without artificial dyes. I used Tillen Farms Organic Maraschino Cherries (which are a beautiful bright pink in color) and they were delicious!

Directions:

  1. Pour all ingredients over ice in shaker
  2. Shake well
  3. If using the optional orange peel, rub around the rim of your cocktail glass. The orange oils will deposit on the rim and give your drink an extra delicious kick.
  4. Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a cherry and enjoy!

Classic Manhattan Cocktail // A Well Crafted Party Photo By May Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty


Resources:
Photography by Mary Boyden— Connect: WebsiteFacebookInstagram
Vintage Rentals by Something Borrowed— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Cocktail Napkins from Hen House Linens— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Aqua Leather Wrap Bracelet via Flourish Leather— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Styled Shoot by Bloggers of Create-Enjoy, Ladies in Navy & A Well Crafted Party:
Connect with Suzannah of Create-Enjoy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with Kelsey of Ladies in Navy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with ME! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest OR Click Share on the bottom of this post!

Holiday Drinks Round Up – Christmas & NYE Cocktails

Whiskey Apple Ginger Punch & Other Holiday Drink Recipes // A Well Crafted Party

This festive cocktail is sweet with a kick. It is easy to throw together and serve at a party. I didn’t own a punch bowl and picked up this great Libby bowl from a craft store for around $7. Pretty sure it is going to become a staple in my future parties!

Bourbon Apple Ginger Punch

Serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 1 Apple cored and sliced
  • 2 Bottles of Ginger Brew or approximately 6 cups of Ginger soda (I used Trader Joe’s Ginger Brew – you want to use a very gingery ginger brew. If you can only use gingerale get as gingery as you can otherwise it will sweeten the punch significantly.)
  • 2 Cups Bourbon (I used Eastside Distilling’s Burnside Bourbon)
  • 4 Cups Apple Juice ( Use a nice organic, 100% Apple Juice… you won’t be sorry)
  • 1 22 oz Bottle of Sweet Apple Cider ( I used Portland Cider Company’s Sorta Sweet)
  • 1/2 Cup Sweet Vermouth
  • 8 Dashes of Bitters

Directions:

  1. Pour all contents into a large punch bowl. Put into fridge to chill. You may add ice to chill, but it will dilute the drink some so use sparingly.
  2. Dish into glasses and enjoy!

Holiday Party Drinks // A Well Crafted Party

Photo credits from top left clockwise: AWCP // Motormouth Studios for AWCP // I’m Bored, Let’s Go // Cooking with BS // The Spicy Bee // Merlot Mommy// Urban Bliss Life // Cooking with BS // The Goodhearted Woman

Holiday Cocktail Roundup

These drinks would be fun for your Christmas parties or New Year’s Eve events! Thank you to all the bloggers who participated! If marked (NA) the drink is non-alcoholic and does not contain any alcohol.

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