Food in Celebration

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

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

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!

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