Reluctant Entertainer http://reluctantentertainer.com Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:22:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Favorite Things: Bespoke Global $500 Giveaway http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/bespoke-global-500-giveaway/ http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/bespoke-global-500-giveaway/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:00:14 +0000 http://reluctantentertainer.com/?p=31681 When Bespoke Global asked me to highlight some of their gorgeous items in their gifts and entertaining collection, I was very excited to put together a dream list and collage of my favorite things, and host a $500 giveaway for my readers! Who wouldn’t love these beautiful candle holders? “Bespoke” means custom made, or made […]

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Favorite Things: Bespoke Global $500 Giveaway

When Bespoke Global asked me to highlight some of their gorgeous items in their gifts and entertaining collection, I was very excited to put together a dream list and collage of my favorite things, and host a $500 giveaway for my readers! Who wouldn’t love these beautiful candle holders?

“Bespoke” means custom made, or made to individual order. We sometimes see the word in reference to the clothing of royalty, like Britain’s Princess Kate.

What is Bespoke Global?

Bespoke Global is a luxury home & lifestyle eCommerce platform, that offers a unique variety of artisan crafted products. The way this company works, is that artists create products specifically for each customer, with customizable options available for all items. They are the leading source for made-to-order luxury home and leisure products. Very beautiful and unique!

Bespoke Global

Holiday entertaining.

Continue reading: Favorite Things: Bespoke Global $500 Giveaway

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Ordinary Days and Salted Caramel Apple Cake http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/salted-caramel-apple-cake/ http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/salted-caramel-apple-cake/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:00:18 +0000 http://reluctantentertainer.com/?p=32025 Today I’m sharing about ordinary days, and a fresh-picked apple Salted Caramel Apple Cake recipe! Lately, with the change of seasons, the nights getting dark earlier, the cooler weather, feasting on one-pot dinners, hanging around as a family at dinner time, it’s been nice to linger. You know, slowing down. Not running from one thing […]

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Today I’m sharing about ordinary days, and a fresh-picked apple Salted Caramel Apple Cake recipe!

Salted Caramel Apple Cake | ReluctantEntertainer.com

Lately, with the change of seasons, the nights getting dark earlier, the cooler weather, feasting on one-pot dinners, hanging around as a family at dinner time, it’s been nice to linger.

You know, slowing down.

Not running from one thing to the next.

Just letting the moments take on their own flavor, so to speak, and enjoying them and ordinary things. I do miss our son, Garrett, who’s up at college.

Salted Caramel Apple Cake | ReluctantEntertainer.com

I wish I would have slowed down enough to have gone to pick these apples with my sweet friends Roger and Faye, but instead, they picked them and brought them to me. Which was sooo nice!

Being rushed.

When we are rushed, we tend to be grumpy, we yell at each other, we’re unaware, drive too fast, shop on a whim (not good for grocery shopping), and miss out on ordinary moments. My older son reminded me that we lack mindfulness when we are too rushed. I agree.

Ordinary is fine.

Ordinary moments are good. They remind us of the mundane things in life, that still have meanin

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Swiss Diamond Giveaway: Apricot Chicken Orzo with Marcona Almonds http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/apricot-chicken-orzo-with-marcona-almonds/ http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/apricot-chicken-orzo-with-marcona-almonds/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 07:01:42 +0000 http://reluctantentertainer.com/?p=31187 This Apricot Chicken Orzo with Marcona Almonds was made in a beautiful Swiss Diamond fry pan {giveaway} and served in the great outdoors! Let me introduce you to one of my new favorite kitchen brands, Swiss Diamond, and my incredible 12.5″ Induction Nonstick Fry Pan with beautiful glass lid. I was first introduced to Swiss Diamond […]

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This Apricot Chicken Orzo with Marcona Almonds was made in a beautiful Swiss Diamond fry pan {giveaway} and served in the great outdoors!

Apricot Chicken Orzo with Marcona Almonds

Let me introduce you to one of my new favorite kitchen brands, Swiss Diamond, and my incredible 12.5″ Induction Nonstick Fry Pan with beautiful glass lid. I was first introduced to Swiss Diamond when I visited Asheville, NC, a few months ago. Isn’t it beautiful?

Win me.

Swiss Diamond Giveaway | Reluctant Entertainer.com

My good friend, Sommer, hosted a fabulous party in her home, and in the goody bag was a 7″ Swiss Diamond frying pan. I thought to myself, no big deal, I’ve used all sorts of nonstick frying pans and they’re all the same–eventually they are overused, worn thin, the coating comes off, and we toss them and buy new pans.

I was pleasantly surprised, and so was my family.

Apricot Chicken Orzo with Marcona Almonds.

Apricot Chicken Orzo with Marcona Almonds

My son recently helped me make a delicious Apricot Chicken Orzo with Marcona Almonds, and he really could have done his own commercial.

Continue reading: Swiss Diamond Giveaway: Apricot Chicken Orzo with Marcona Almonds

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How to Introduce Others: Butternut Quinoa {Vegetarian} Enchiladas http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/butternut-quinoa-vegetarian-enchiladas/ http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/butternut-quinoa-vegetarian-enchiladas/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:00:46 +0000 http://reluctantentertainer.com/?p=31977 This Butternut Quinoa {Vegetarian} Enchiladas recipe is excellent to serve next time you have a gathering. Either make enchiladas or use the mixture in individual bowls with extra toppings. My friend was next to me in our kitchen, finishing up the dishes after a small dinner party, making small talk, putting away leftovers, glasses, and wiping […]

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This Butternut Quinoa {Vegetarian} Enchiladas recipe is excellent to serve next time you have a gathering. Either make enchiladas or use the mixture in individual bowls with extra toppings.

Butternut Quinoa {Vegetarian} Enchiladas | Reluctant Entertainer.com

My friend was next to me in our kitchen, finishing up the dishes after a small dinner party, making small talk, putting away leftovers, glasses, and wiping off counters. She pulled me aside and shared a secret that she had been keeping. Feeling her life wasn’t as exciting as the other dinner guests, it was a little intimidating for her to speak up and get to know the other party guests, or share the details of her life.

How we meet.

The first thing people want to know when meeting someone new is usually: What do you do for a living? Or, how many kids do you have? Or, how long have you lived in the Rogue Valley? Or … what have you done that is extraordinary? Right? Don’t we usually want to know the “flashy” stuff about people?

Most conversation seems to revolve around family, volunteer work, schooling, where we go to church, or we update one another on our work lives. Sometimes sports and politics and travels.

But for the person who feels they have an ordinary job, life, not a whole lot of interests or going ons—this may be something they are embarrassed by, possibly feeling their life isn’t as glitzy or exciting as the person they are talking to.

Ordinary people.

I wrapped my arms around my friend and told her how much I love her. I like ordinary people.

Continue reading: How to Introduce Others: Butternut Quinoa {Vegetarian} Enchiladas

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Sunday Supper with One-Pot Vegetarian Pasta Bake http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/one-pot-vegetarian-pasta-bake/ http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/one-pot-vegetarian-pasta-bake/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:00:03 +0000 http://reluctantentertainer.com/?p=31945 This One-Pot Vegetarian Pasta Bake is unbelievably easy, perfect for Sunday Supper with crunchy bread, and our family (and kids) love it! Happy Monday, Friends! I just returned from 4 days in beautiful Deer Valley, Utah, at a retreat with a group of food blogging friends. The weather was so gorgeous, our time together was amazing, […]

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This One-Pot Vegetarian Pasta Bake is unbelievably easy, perfect for Sunday Supper with crunchy bread, and our family (and kids) love it!

So easy for a QUICK dinner: One-Pot Vegetarian Pasta Bake at Reluctant Entertainer.com

Happy Monday, Friends! I just returned from 4 days in beautiful Deer Valley, Utah, at a retreat with a group of food blogging friends. The weather was so gorgeous, our time together was amazing, and Maria and Heidi {the creators behind this retreat} did such a great job bringing all of us together to share, learn, and achieve new goals (Better Blog Retreat – #BBRetreat if you want to follow along on Instagram). I was thinking about the areas in the US that the 14 of us represent—UT, OR {me!}, AZ, AL, FL, TN, KS, NC, TX, NY, NJ. Many of us have spent time together over the years, so it’s more like “sisterhood,” or like college roommates getting together, where we really know one another.

Our time together was very soulful, you know, getting to the heart of the matter, which is more than “food” talk. It’s beautiful “soul talk” mixed in with a lot of R&R.

BBRetreat at Deer Valley Resort #deervalleyresort #ut

Here are the gorgeous colors from the Salt Lake City area, and by the way, Deer Valley Resort is right outside of Park City, nestled in Utah’s picturesque Rocky Mountain Wastatch Range.

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Plan a Pumpkin Party: Recipes & Entertaining Ideas http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/plan-a-pumpkin-party/ http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/plan-a-pumpkin-party/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 10:00:27 +0000 http://reluctantentertainer.com/?p=31513 Looking to Plan a Pumpkin Party to celebrate the season with family and friends? I’m happy to share some fabulous recipes and entertaining ideas today – Enjoy! For pumpkin lovers, I’m hosting a Virtual Pumpkin Party on my blog today! What do you love about pumpkins, besides the vibrant colors and fun different sizes? How about […]

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Looking to Plan a Pumpkin Party to celebrate the season with family and friends? I’m happy to share some fabulous recipes and entertaining ideas today – Enjoy!

Plan a Pumpkin Party

For pumpkin lovers, I’m hosting a Virtual Pumpkin Party on my blog today! What do you love about pumpkins, besides the vibrant colors and fun different sizes? How about decorating with pumpkins, serving out of pumpkins, cooking with pumpkin—from soup to dessert—and even gift ideas, games, hostess gifts, preserves with pumpkins!

While cooking last week, and making this yummy cake for our family—to share with our neighbors—I decided I’d do a roundup post to help YOU plan a perfect pumpkin party!

Plan a Pumpkin Party

Above are some ideas from a party I hosted 2 years ago. Don’t you love the little plush pumpkin on a fall leaf salad plate?

I’m not going to tell you exactly how to do it, or who to invite, but I’m going to give you fabulous ideas on how to make the season pumpkin-y fun, to host your own all-pumpkin party—from the food to decor to games!

Coasters, place cards, and more.

There are creative ways you can set the table and decorate with pumpkins and wood slices.

Plan a Pumpkin Party

Dollar Store.

Dollar Store has black plates and pretty orange bowls. You can mix and match with white and silver and set a very pretty table!

Plan a Pumpkin Party

Napkins.

Love these scroll and pumpkin printed napkins at Pier 1 for only $3.95.

Plan a Pumpkin Party

Chalkboard runner.

How about a chalkboard runner that guests can write on?

Plan a Pumpkin Party

Burlap and drinks.

Burlap on straw bales – the perfect place to hold overflow drinks!

Plan a Pumpkin Party

Cozy seating.

If you can gather hay bales, add quilts for a cozy seating area away from the food.

Pumpkin Party

Appetizers.

How about a Savory Pumpkin Dip from Ali {Gimme Some Oven}? Yumm-0!

Plan a Pumpkin Party

Or Heidi’s Pumpkin and Fried Sage Flatbread! I love FoodieCrush!

Plan a Pumpkin Party

Soup.

I love how creative my friend, Ree is. Look at this Pumpkin Soup recipe. Did you know that I spent a weekend with The Pioneer Woman on her ranch a couple of summers ago? (Yee-haw!)

Plan a Pumpkin Party

Biscuits.

Have you thought of making Pumpkin Biscuits? Well, I have. And they don’t last long, I’m just warning you.

Plan a Pumpkin Party

Salad.

Here’s Gina’s Baby Spinach Salad with Honey Roasted Butternut Squash, Pumpkin Seeds, Gorgonzola and Dried Cherries – whew! Long name but a-MAZ-ing salad! (Did you know that Skinnytaste’s new book has hit the NY Times Best Seller List? So proud of Gina!)

How to Plan a Pumpkin Party

Main Dishes.

My heart is swooning right now with these Pumpkin Chicken Enchiladas from Dara {Cookin’ Canuck}. Wowsa!

Plan a Pumpkin Party

Or Stacy’s Pumpkin Coconut Curry with Chicken – a fun way to make a rice bowl.

http://www.thewickednoodle.com/pumpkin-coconut-curry-chicken/

Dessert.

How about serving my new Buttermilk Cake with Maple Bacon Glaze? I’m not kidding – I think this is my favorite cake! If you like cheesecake RecipeGirl’s Pumpkin Cheesecake is another fabulous recipe!

Buttermilk Cake with Maple Bacon Glaze

Treats for the kids.

You’ve got to have fun snacks for the kids! You can either make up ahead of time, or set up a craft area for the kids to make these adorable treats from Skip to my Lou.

Plan a Pumpkin Party

Games and activities.

Having some games or activities, for either kids or adults, gives guests a little something to do–like painting candy corn pumpkins! You can bob for apples, pin the face on a pumpkin, or hang a pumpkin piñata.

Pumpkin Party

Let the fun begin!

Plan a Pumpkin Party | ReluctantEntertainer.com

Make it pretty, and don’t forget to relax, sit back, and enjoy the people around your table!

I’d love to hear any of your pumpkin party ideas?

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Birthday Dinner Party: Buttermilk Cake with Maple Bacon Glaze http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/birthday-dinner-party-buttermilk-cake-maple-bacon-glaze/ http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/birthday-dinner-party-buttermilk-cake-maple-bacon-glaze/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:00:32 +0000 http://reluctantentertainer.com/?p=31926 Do you love a moist, fresh maple bar? Well then you’ll love this delicous Buttermilk Cake with Maple Bacon Glaze! Yesterday was our daughter’s 18th birthday and our home was filled with love and celebration! Abby’s friends came for dinner and we enjoyed a pretty table, yummy food, and this amazing Buttermilk Cake with Maple Bacon […]

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Do you love a moist, fresh maple bar? Well then you’ll love this delicous Buttermilk Cake with Maple Bacon Glaze!

Buttermilk Cake with Maple Bacon Glaze

Yesterday was our daughter’s 18th birthday and our home was filled with love and celebration!

Abby’s friends came for dinner and we enjoyed a pretty table, yummy food, and this amazing Buttermilk Cake with Maple Bacon Glaze. Eh-hem … this is what Abby requested!

I had planned to make something else, but it’s pretty easy to navigate in a kitchen and change up a recipe!

It seems like yesterday that Abby was 3 …. with her Barbie cake! If I remember right, I made that cake in a glass Pampered Chef 2-quart bowl. Flipped it upside down, stuck a Barbie in the middle, and frosted it.

Then.

So many fun memories, it seems like yesterday when we celebrated on a warm, sunny October afternoon

Continue reading: Birthday Dinner Party: Buttermilk Cake with Maple Bacon Glaze

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Abby’s 18th Birthday with Roasted Honey Pear Crostini http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/roasted-honey-pear-crostini/ http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/roasted-honey-pear-crostini/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 10:00:18 +0000 http://reluctantentertainer.com/?p=31906 Lay sliced pears on a baking sheet, drizzl with honey and sprinkle with fresh thyme. Make Roasted Honey Pear Crostini where every bite is pure tantalizing sweetness! Today’s our baby’s birthday and she is 18. It seems like yesterday when Abby was born, such an exciting time, bringing home a new baby sister to her two brothers, […]

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Lay sliced pears on a baking sheet, drizzl with honey and sprinkle with fresh thyme. Make Roasted Honey Pear Crostini where every bite is pure tantalizing sweetness!

Roasted Honey Pear Crostini | ReluctantEntertainer.com

Today’s our baby’s birthday and she is 18. It seems like yesterday when Abby was born, such an exciting time, bringing home a new baby sister to her two brothers, completing our family of 5. Thinking ahead and praying for my kids, my mind would wander off to different scenarios —how exactly would this little baby girl turn out, so fresh with fragility? Did Dr. Leman (Birth Order Book) have it right–the youngest and only girl in the family would in a sense act as the oldest—and what would the relationship with her brothers be? Would she be tough, caring, courageous, other-centered, and compassionate? I love the personality stuff, as it’s fun to look at the dynamics of families and figure it out without even knowing birth orders. I think Dr. Lehman was on to something … the question is, are these characteristics present at birth or are they gifted through experiences in life?

Abby's 18th Birthday with Roasted Honey Pear Crostini

Abby was born!

I was excited to have a baby born in the fall, since the boys were both May babies, but it was unseasonably cold, and with that came colds, colic … and the holidays. A mixed bag of blessings. What was this exhausting thing called colic, anyway? The boys never had it, I had always only heard about it, and it wasn’t fun. But we loved our little girl anyway, and rolled right into Christmas, bouncing her on forearms and dealing with the colic, right into the wee morning hours. We’d pass her off to each other, and then fall exhausted into bed. Babies make us believe in the future. There is hope that they will grow up into amazing people

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Essence of October with Pumpkin Tortellini http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/pumpkin-tortellini/ http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/pumpkin-tortellini/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 10:00:51 +0000 http://reluctantentertainer.com/?p=31873 A lovely pumpkin-themed dinner party is a fun way to entertain, with each dish containing a pumpkin flavor, such as this Pumpkin Tortellini recipe. How’s your week going, Friends? Are you enjoying this gorgeous season like I am? Later this week I’ll be sharing some fun ideas for entertaining along with delicious recipes, so get ready […]

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A lovely pumpkin-themed dinner party is a fun way to entertain, with each dish containing a pumpkin flavor, such as this Pumpkin Tortellini recipe.

Pumpkin Tortellini | Reluctant Entertainer.com

How’s your week going, Friends? Are you enjoying this gorgeous season like I am?

Later this week I’ll be sharing some fun ideas for entertaining along with delicious recipes, so get ready … you may just get in the mood to plan your own Pumpkin Party!

My sweet friend Carrie, who lives in Portland,  took these photos of our backyard two years ago, and I love the pumpkin theme.

Pumpkin Tortellini | Reluctant Entertainer.com

Pumpkin Tortellini.

I recently created a new side dish of Pumpkin Tortellini, using DeLallo’s three cheese tortellini of Italian egg pasta filled with Pecorino Romano, Grana Padano and Edam cheeses, so tender and full of flavor

Continue reading: Essence of October with Pumpkin Tortellini

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Cozy Night with Honey Pear Cake http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/honey-pear-cake/ http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/10/honey-pear-cake/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 10:00:08 +0000 http://reluctantentertainer.com/?p=31819 It’s time to enjoy the beautiful fall colors, and turn on the oven, and fill the house with delicious aromas of Honey Pear Cake! We hosted a cozy dinner party last Sunday evening and I served this yummy Honey Pear Cake recipe. Taking a quick trip up the street to support our local farmers, I […]

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It’s time to enjoy the beautiful fall colors, and turn on the oven, and fill the house with delicious aromas of Honey Pear Cake!

Honey Pear Cake | ReluctantEntertainer.com

We hosted a cozy dinner party last Sunday evening and I served this yummy Honey Pear Cake recipe. Taking a quick trip up the street to support our local farmers, I bought a box of Bartlett Pears.

Suddenly the cooler evenings are here, and there is no turning back. I can’t believe how quickly the leaves are changing already, as I’m quickly preparing myself for chilly mornings.

Honey Pear Cake | ReluctantEntertainer.com

But, I am looking forward to a few more cozy Sunday night dinner parties, where we may turn the heater on, but we definitely snuggle up with jackets and maybe a few blankets!

Easy to make gluten-free.

This recipe today, using Bartlett pears, is an old recipe that has been sitting around in my recipe box for years. It’s been on my must-make recipe menu list, and for our gluten-free guest, I used gluten-free flour. It turned out a little gooier, but very tasty. Next time I’ll make it with regular flour, the way I remember eating it in past years

Continue reading: Cozy Night with Honey Pear Cake

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