Featured On: My Open Faced Tomato Sandwich on the Lilac City Momma Blog

Recipe for a Roasted Tomato Open Faced Sandwich

I shared a recipe with the Lilac City Momma Blog and it’s now live! Run, don’t walk, over to her blog to get this scrumptious open faced tomato sandwich made with roasted heirloom tomatoes! It truly is one of my favorite things I’ve made of late!

Picnic Week: Summer Picnic Beer

Picnic Week on A Well Crafted Party

It’s Picnic Week here on A Well Crafted Party. My wife bought me beers to try so I could tell you which ones I’d bring to a picnic. It’s a hard, hard life. Check out the other picnic-related posts, but only after reading about the beer!


Picnic Beer Options from HUB

Beer in a Can, Perfect for a Picnic

Beer comes in cans or bottles, usually. We once thought that beer in cans was cheaper, not as tasty, and only for frat boys and hipsters. It still is, but the audience is widening. Around 2009, craft breweries starting canning in addition to bottling. That lead to a shift in perception, and there are a few good reasons for breweries to offer their beer in cans. Cans don’t break like bottles do, and are cheaper to ship. For beer drinkers, the beer quality is actually better in cans, since no light can penetrate them, and the seal is tighter than bottle caps. The green consumer will also be happy that cans recycle much more efficiently. So let’s get tasting.

Right now I’m trying the “Sweet As” Pacific Ale by GoodLife Brewing Company. They’re a brewery in Bend, Oregon (can we call Bend Portland’s tomboy sister, and get away with it?), and it’s a satisfying pale ale for an Oregon summer. The Pacific in the name refers to the two hop varieties used in this pale ale: Galaxy from Australia, and Pacifica from New Zealand. The galaxy hops give the beer a slight citrusy, passion fruit profile, and overall, it’s not so hoppy to fall into the IPA category of bitterness. If you’re a fan of Widmer’s Drifter Pale Ale, you’d probably like this summer brew by GoodLife.

Hopworks Urban Brewery IPA is next. The hops hide behind the malt – the aroma’s all sweet and malty, and you don’t really know you’re drinking an IPA at first. I’d recommend it to beer drinkers who want to like IPAs, (oh, you’re from Portland? You must like IPAs, right?) but find that most are so bitter they shrivel their tongues. Now, I may be losing beer snob cred here, since Hopworks claims this beer is 75 IBU. But taste it, then taste something like Ninkasi’s Tricerihops. The HUB may indeed be a better picnic beer, but it’s not overly hoppy for an IPA.

Another selection from HUB: Rise-Up Red, NW Red Ale. This seasonal beer was only made available in cans this year. It’s full bodied, thicker on the tongue than a pale ale or IPA, but delicious. It’s brewed with the northwest mainstays, Cascade and Centennial hops. I prefer more refreshing beers for picnics, but might go with the Rise-Up Red on a hiking trip in the spring. By the way, Centennial hops are also used in many other Oregon beers, like Bridgeport Brewing’s Hop Czar, Rogue’s Independence Hop Ale and Double Mountain Brewery‘s Pale Ale.

Beer Options for Picnics

21st Amendment Brewery’s Hell or High Watermelon is an American wheat beer, with watermelon added during second fermentation. I love eating watermelon, but I’ve never really been a fan of anything watermelon-flavored. When I tasted this beer, I did first notice the watermelon, but it really wasn’t overpowering. It ended up being really thirst quenching. I would pair it with campfire food or burgers.

Looking for a cheap, session beer? Some picnics call for trunks full of beer, but you just can’t stoop down to the level of Bud and Coors. And PBR makes you feel like you’re trying too hard. Our local  Trader Joe’s stocks the Simpler Times Lager, from Minhas Craft Brewery, in Wisconsin, IL. Set your expectations to low, and you’ll be happy with this affordable (under $5!) six pack.

If bottled beers are allowed in parks where you live, like they are in Oregon, I’d also recommend 10 Barrel Brewery‘s Swill. It’s a summer sipper, a berliner weisse infused with grapefruit. You might not find it to your liking, if you’ve never had a penchant for fruit beers. I loved the taste, and the look on people’s faces when they take a sip. It’s surprisingly good. And even the most machismo of men can maintain their masculinity while partaking in this fruity picnic beer. Maybe they’ll sell it in cans, after they read this post? C’mon 10 Barrel, you liked my tweet that one time, about your beer; you know you owe me for the free advertizing.

For the perfect picnic, my recommendation is just to try them all. If I had to pick one, I’d suggest the Hell or High Watermelon Wheat. I had two at the Portland Blogger’s Family Picnic this afternoon, and it just felt right.

What are your favorite canned beers?

Picnic Week: Italian Inspired Picnic Menu

Picnic Week on A Well Crafted Party

If you haven’t been reading this week then you may not know that it is Picnic Week on A Well Crafted Party! I’m sharing all kinds of fun picnic ideas in honor of the Portland Bloggers family picnic that is happening this weekend. I’ve already shared a quick pasta salad, my favorite picnic supplies, and a huge list of picnic inspiration from around the web. Today I thought I’d delve into the picnic food menu. YUM. I’ve crafted menus that will make for a fabulous picnic meal and will continue sharing them throughout the weekend!


Italian Inspired Picnic Menu

I love a well crafted menu. There is just something really special about a menu that has been thought about and crafted to taste great together. I’ve come up with picnic menus based off of some of my favorite styles of food to inspire your own picnic menus. I’ve linked to some of my favorite recipes as well. You’ll get everything from snacks to nibble on while playing bocce ball through to dessert and beverages. Starting things off today is one of my very favorite types of food— Italian!

Beverages—

Okay, maybe it is a traditionalist in me, but you can’t go wrong with some sparkling water and your favorite Italian red for a picnic. Try taking a chilled Lambrusco to relieve the heat! A great way to keep your chilled red or white wine cold (and not watered down) while drinking is to freeze grapes and plop them in your wine glass! Eat the wine soaked grapes as they thaw.

Snacks—

Antipasti platters are one of my favorite Italian appetizers. Make it picnic-ready by creating antipasti skewers. You can really make this one up with items you like and stack them on skewers. I like to add items like olives, basil, cherry tomatoes, marinated mozzarella, Italian meats, and cooked tortellinis. Try this antipasta skewer recipe out for more ideas.

Italian Pressed Sandwiches— Photo by Motormouth Studios

Italian Pressed Sandwiches— Photo by Motormouth Studios

Meal—

Caprese Salad—I think salads are the perfect summer food. And, caprese salads are so easy, delicious, and refreshing. To make a caprese salad in a jar simply build the salad by putting in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, cherry tomatoes, balls of mozzarella (the fresher, the better), and basil leaves. I sometimes like to mix my basil with sweet baby green as well.

Italian pressed sandwiches— These sammies make for a filling and very portable lunch. I’d cut them into individual portions, wrap in wax paper, and tie up with twine to add an extra special touch. This would be a great way to identify speciality sandwiches for friends and family that need items left out of their sandwiches— just write a note on the paper or tie it on with the baker’s twine! There are a ton of recipes out there for Italian pressed sandwiches. My favorite? My own! Check out my Italian Pressed Sandwich Recipe here!

Dessert—

No Bake Tiramisu in Jars— When I think Italian dessert I instantly think of tiramisu. MMMMM. I’m not a fan of too much fuss for a picnic meal, so I tend to lean toward things with “no bake” or “one pan.” Building an easy and delicious tiramisu in a jar will make you look like you slaved for hours over a hot stove while you sit pretty and relax with your Lambrusco in hand.

Do you like to have a coordinated menu for your picnics? Or, would you rather throw something together the day of and wing it?

 

 

Picnic Week: A Super Easy and Delicious Pasta Salad

Picnic Week on A Well Crafted Party

 

I’m posting a series of picnic-themed posts this week in honor of the Portland Bloggers’ family picnic that is happening this weekend. The first post was all about fun picnic supplies to make for a pleasant picnic in the park (or wherever). Now, onto the food!\


One of my favorite things to make for a picnic is my super easy and delicious pasta salad. It doesn’t have any name that I know of… I learned it from word of mouth from a friend and have been making it ever since. It doesn’t have any mayo so it is pretty heat friendly. You can add in things or take them out as you like. I’ll share the base recipe I use and then one of my favorite modifications!

Easy Pasta Salad

A Super Easy and Delicious Pasta Salad

Serves a whole bunch of people… I really can’t even estimate well, but over 12 side dish portions.

Ingredients:

  • Approximately 6 cups of tortellini (You can decide the filling, I typically go with cheese filling or half cheese and half spinach)
  • 1 16oz bag of frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 bottle of your favorite Italian dressing— I’ve used everything from Wishbone to Olive Garden. My favorite is Newman’s Own Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Italian Dressing (Affiliate Link)
  • 1 bag of shredded parmesan cheese— approximately 5 to 8 oz of cheese will be used. I sometimes shred my own. I sometimes get it in a bag. The pictured KRAFT Shredded Italian Cheese Mixture (Affiliate Link) would work nicely as well.

Directions:

  • Boil the tortellini as you would any pasta— tortellini tends to float to the top when done. I always give it a taste test to check for sure.
  • Pour the frozen peas and carrots into a colander and put in sink while the tortellini is boiling.
  • Pour the finished pasta and boiling water into the colander after the pasta is al dente. The hot water will cook the veggies!
  • Rinse with cool water until the whole mess of yummy food is cool.
  • Pour in a BIG bowl.
  • Then add up to 1 full bottle of dressing (to taste, I typically use 1/2 to 3/4 a bottle) and the parmesan cheese to taste (I usually use the whole bag)
  • Cool and enjoy!

See, so easy! Now, here is my most recent modification. I used all of the above ingredients, but I added diced ham and chives at the end! One of the best things about this recipe is you can make it as simple or as gourmet as you want. If you want to go supremely foodie on this picnic favorite then get some fresh tortellini, make your own Italian dressing, grate your own super nice parmesan, and add in some prosciutto.

A great way to serve this dish is to just put them in individual canning jars. The jars can be the food storage containers and double as dinnerware.

Want some more awesome pasta salad ideas? Check out my friend Bee’s Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Sun-dried Tomatoes or Rebekah’s Six-Ingredient or Less Greek-ish Pasta Salad.

What food do you love bringing to a picnic?

It’s Picnic Week: My Favorite Picnic Supplies

 

Picnic Week on A Well Crafted Party

In honor of the Portland Bloggers’ Family Picnic happening this weekend I wanted to feature a post about picnics. My love for picnics and my ideas for picnic-related posts covered an entire sheet of brainstorming paper though, so instead of ONE post, I’m posting several throughout the week! You’ll see ideas for creating beautiful picnics, picnic supplies, picnic clothing ideas, picnic-ready recipes, some free picnic printables and MORE. Are you as excited as I am? ;-)


To get the party started I wanted to share some of my favorite picnic supplies out there ready for your next picnic. I like to mix some handmade items with store bought, and vintage with modern to really set the scene for the perfect picnic. Pictured below are a selection of store bought items that I think could really put together a very pleasant picnic. Throw in some items of your own, make a few selections, and pick up one or two of these fun picnic supplies to put on a perfect Summer picnic.

Supplies for a Pleasant Picnic

Picnic Supplies for a Pleasant Summer Picnic

*The following are affiliate links— Affiliate Links help support the bloggers that post them. I only post products/brands I use and love or have been coveting for some time. See my policies for more information.

  1. Water resistant backed picnic blanket (You can also make your own… check out later this week to learn how!)
  2. A cooler of some sort. You can try just a regular everyday cooler like this one from Coleman, or a cool collapsable tote (pictured above).
  3. Wine Key— I’ve always been a fan of the traditional waiter’s wine key that has a foil cutter, corkscrew, and bottle opener all in one cool too. This lime green one needs to find its way into my cupboard!
  4. Cups and Plates— Picnics are a great time to bring out the outdoor dinnerware and use them instead of throwing away a lot of trash. This is especially great when picnicking somewhere that doesn’t have available trash containers. Campware tableware sets are great for picnics. I’m also a huge fan of these cute melamine plates and cups that look like the disposable kinds. My favorite type though are the ultra pretty ones, like the dinnerware pictured above from Waverly, that can bring a little cuteness to the practicalness of a picnic spread.
  5. A few throw pillows— this old lady can’t sit on the ground without a little cushion. I happen to love the pictured throw pillows because they are totally outdoor friendly!
  6. Great reusable containers to carry delish food and drinks in. While I love the above food storage containers from Kinetic, I’m a big fan of good old fashioned Kerr Jars or Ball Jars.

 

All in one picnic supplies

Okay, so you want something that is all in one and super portable? I LOVE my picnic backpack that has an insulated area, wine holder, plates, cups, etc. We got our backpack years ago… but, these packs look awesome as well: (The following links are affiliate links.)

  1. Picnic Time Malibu Insulated Cooler Picnic Tote, Service for 2
  2. Picnic Time Pioneer Picnic Basket, Moka— For the traditionalist who still wants to bring a basket to the picnic
  3. Picnic at Ascot Bold Lux Wine and Cheese Cooler(Perfect for when you just need the necessities— wine & cheese!)

What must-have item makes an appearance at all of YOUR Summer picnics?

 

 

Snapshot: A Day with Family

I’ve been really good recently about sticking to my posting schedule. Today I had a post almost ready to go an just waiting a few small things before I could publish. But, life got in the way a bit. And, I’m so glad it did.

My husband’s parents are in town visiting and we are having such fun together! My son is calling them “BamMa” and “Papa.” Today we decided to go out to the Willamette River and paddle board. I stayed at the shore with the kiddo…but, we all had a grand time. Afterwards we enjoyed a homemade dinner on a rooftop in downtown Portland.

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Pacific Northwest Summer Toddler Style

PNW Summer Toddler Clothes

PNW Summer Toddler Boy Clothing Style

Summer in the Pacific Northwest just isn’t the same as it is in other places that I’ve lived. It is chilly in the morning and evening. It gets HOT in the day time. We wear layers year round. We buy cardigans in Summer colors and hang them in our closets rather than storing them away with our winter wear.

So, when writing this post I was going to title it “Summer Toddler Style” until I realized that this would be WAY too much clothing for a lot of toddlers. I really was dressing my son for a Pacific Northwest Summer Toddler Style. (mouthful much?) So, if you are visiting the Pacific Northwest this Summer or live here year-round and need tips on dressing your toddler boy for the PNW Summer then this post will be for you.

toddler clothing ideas

I dress my son in a hat as much as possible during the Summer. Most of the year the sun is scarse out here in Portland. But, during the Summer it is shining bright. The sun protects his pale skin from burns (along with copious amounts of sunscreen) and keeps his eyes shielded some. I love the way this little blue sun hat makes his blue eyes shine. It is getting a tad small (bought it last year) which makes me sad. My baby isn’t a baby anymore.

Pacific Northwest Summer Clothing Ideas

 

PNW toddler style

I like jeans year round for this kid. He has plenty of shorts for when it is really, really hot. However, because we were heading down to the water where it is cooler, I dressed him in jeans and rolled them into a capri length. We paired the jeans with a grey and white striped v-neck (big so he has room to grow) and a pair of black sandals. Closed toe shoes are important for my little guy… he stumbles a lot still and the closed toe protects his feet better than opened toe sandals. The jeans are the complementary jeans from 7 for All Mankind that I talked about in my 7 More Days of Toddler Style.

Toddler Boy Summer Styling Ideas

His Outfit: (The following links only go to the store website from which I got the clothing items. Many are from different seasons and are no longer being sold. However, similar items can be found.) Shirt: Old Navy, Jeans (Complimentary): 7 For All Mankind, Sun Hat: Old Navy, & Sandals: Burlington Coat Factory

** This is not a sponsored post as I did not receive anything in exchange for this post. However, I did receive the jeans my son is wearing in the photos above complimentary for a different series I wrote this year. All opinions are my own.**

Summer Entertaining Series in Review

Summer Entertaining Series

 

I’m back from vacation and feel so fortunate to have had 10 AMAZING guest posts for the Summer Entertaining Guest Post Series while I was away. If you haven’t had a chance to read these posts then what are you waiting for!?! Check them out:

Summer Entertaining Series 2013

Thank you SO MUCH to the lovely bloggers that contributed to this guest post series. It was a lot of fun reading and sharing these posts. I’ll be back tomorrow to share some images from our vacation to TX.

I hope you all are having a WONDERFUL 4th of July Weekend!

Summer Entertaining Series: Grilled Bacon Wrapped Pork with Kung Foo Feltus

As part of my Summer Entertaining Series I’ve asked several of my favorite bloggers to share tips, parties, recipes, and ideas for great Summer parties. Today I’ve got one of my FAVORITE bloggers (and friends!) sharing one of her Summer recipes. Please welcome Shannon from Kung Foo Feltus to A Well Crafted Party!


I am so happy to be writing a guest post! Wahoooo for Summertime!! I am know for few things. Bacon is pretty much top of the list and gardening is high up there too. I am combining these two loves to bring you a really awesome recipe for a fresh and mostly healthy meal. I am not going on any Paleo diet anytime soon but I have been told that this can fit into that style of eating as well. Bonus! It is low carb for those into that and low sugar too. Really I feel like you can’t go to wrong with meat and veggies when you want to feel full and satisfied. But, more importantly, this dish can totally feed the masses if need be for relatively low cost. Double Bonus! We grow a massive amount of kale and tomatoes at our house among so many other foods. If you can’t grow your own, the next best thing if you don’t live near me, is hitting up the local farmers markets. Produce there is out of this world flavorful too. Grocery stores are great and all but nothing beats fresh local fruits and veggies if you can get your hands on them.

My sister helped me pick a recipe because I had about 30 ideas and no focus. She reminded me of a few very good points. Not everyone is a plant nerd like me. I grow a bazillion vegetables and like, research them and their origin, how they pollinate, how much of the plant can be eaten and of course how to prepare it. Which leads to her best point; Not everyone knows how to cook some of the veggies they like to eat. Like spaghetti squash. Before I had ever learned to cook it, I had eaten it at various friends houses for meals and even a few times in restaurants. With it looking like it does and turning out how it ends up it’s no wonder this delicious food can be botched ( I learned through trial and error horrible error). So, I give you one of my favorites and all the steps I can think of to help make preparation as simple and no nonsense as I can.

Continue Reading…

Summer Entertaining Series: Summer Wedding Attire with Cup of Ting

As part of my Summer Entertaining Series I’ve asked several of my favorite bloggers to share tips, parties, recipes, and ideas for great Summer parties. Today I’ve got one of my FAVORITE bloggers’ sharing her advice for Summer wedding attire. Please welcome Ting from Cup of  Ting! This is especially relevant to me today as I don my own Wedding attire as I enjoy my sis-in-law’s wedding! 


Hi, I’m TING!  Jenni was sweet enough to invite me to share some sunny fun with you while she’s out getting her vacation on.  I suppose you might want to know a little about me, so here I go…

I play house for a living!  I’m a foodie who loves all things stripes + I still play dress up.  As a dancing queen + healthy lifestyle cheerleader, I read cookbooks in my spare time + am not your typical stay at home mom.  Come play with me sometime in this little blog world of mine called Cup of TING… giving you a sip of my Fashion, Food + Fun!

Now, summer is a coming + do you hear what I hear?  Oh yeah, it’s wedding bells, champagne bottles popping, cheers + laughter all around.  Here’s the age-old dilemma though… what to wear.  My go-to for any summer wedding is the classic Little Black Dress.  Here I’d like to share some options to jazz up YOUR little black dress attire.

Continue Reading…

Summer Entertaining Series: Semi-Homemade Summer Salad from Back-Handsprings Through Bridgetown

As part of my Summer Entertaining Series I’ve asked several of my favorite bloggers to share tips, parties, recipes, and ideas for great Summer parties. Today I’ve got one of my FAVORITE bloggers’ sharing her favorite Summer Essentials. Please welcome Laura from Back-Handsprings Through Bridgetown!

 

BHTB 2

 

Hello peeps of A Well Crafted Party! My name is Laura, and I blog over at Back-handsprings Through Bridgetown. Jenni is a special kind of individual who can do things from Pinterest successfully, as well as create things that others want to pin. I am not. I suck at crafts and I never DIY (because my stuff will look DIY… in a bad way). That is why I must read blogs like Jenni’s to make myself feel inadequate and envious. But that is like, the point of blogs right?… especially fashion blogs. Haha! No, but seriously, we all need inspiration from people who have different gifting than ourselves.

 

Summer Entertaining Series: Summer Essentials from Cupcakes & Cutlery

As part of my Summer Entertaining Series I’ve asked several of my favorite bloggers to share tips, parties, recipes, and ideas for great Summer parties. Today I’ve got one of my FAVORITE bloggers’ sharing her favorite Summer Essentials. Please welcome Sharon of Cupcakes & Cutlery to A Well Crafted Party!


Hi guys! I’m super excited to be contributing to A Well Crafted Party today! I’m from California so we can pretty much entertain outdoors all year long. My design style doesn’t vary that much by season. I generally gravitate towards a boho vibe and this summer is no different. These are my summer entertaining essentials:

Continue Reading…

Summer Entertaining Series: Introduction

Today marks day one of my Summer vacation! If you couldn’t tell from the many Wedding Travel posts leading up to today… I’m traveling to a wedding! My lovely sister-in-law is getting married this upcoming weekend and I will be one of her bridesmaids. My  son will be the ring barrier and my husband (her brother) will be an usher. I’m so excited to get to take part in her big day. But, knowing that I’d be way too busy to consistently post I asked a few of my awesome blogging buddies if they wanted to contribute to a series on Summer Entertaining. The response was overwhelming and the posts are SO MUCH FUN! Can’t wait to share them with you…. but, I’m going to wait til tomorrow!

I just asked the guest bloggers to provide a post having to do with ANYTHING about Summer Entertaining. We have some fun recipes, entertaining essentials, real parties, and more. A big thank you to all of the participating blogs!

Continue Reading…

Summer Wedding Travel Tips: Women’s Travel Ready Wedding Attire

Planning what to wear to a bevy of wedding events is difficult enough without adding in the extra challenges of limited space and weight restrictions. I’m one of those people that will get EVERYTHING to fit into one bag rather than pay for extra baggage fees. In order to still be prepared for looking the part at all the wedding events and still being able to pack light, I’ve come up with a list of rules that I need to apply to my wedding trip packing.

Continue Reading…

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