Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Updated Look

As you have noticed, Forever The Hostess has updated its look. I have recently been inspired by the fantastic color pairings in some vintage wall paper, which makes me want to redecorate a few rooms of our house... My husband is not game - yet! So until then, I have updated the look of the blog with an equally fabulous background. I hope you like it!

There are lots of exciting things to come on FTH, as we are throwing an anniversary party this weekend for our parents. Some cute ideas are brewing, so check back soon for some new party ideas and recipes!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Frogs Leap Winery - On Sale

Frogs Leap Winery is a small, wonderful Napa winery that produces excellent and expensive wines. My favorite is their Chardonnay, but their reds are also delicious!

Today, there is a sale on Frogs Leap wines at RueLaLa. Join for updates, and shop this great opportunity to try wonderful wines at bargain prices! Click here to join and take advantage of this sale, beginning at 11:00 AM today through 11:00AM Thursday, August 27th. Sale features multiple bottles, but this is an investment you don't want to miss. Perfect for a birthday, anniversary, or Christmas gift too!

Also, check out Wino Wednesday for a review soon!

Cap't Matt's Sangria

This recipe is one of my summer favorites, given to me by my lifelong friend Matt. It always reminds me of our summer vacations with our families on Captiva Island! Matt never really measured for this recipe, so after watching him make this a few times, I estimated amounts... feel free to adjust the ingredients (like less brandy or sugar) depending on your taste.

1 1/2-2 cups Sugar
1-2 tsp Cinnamon
4 Oranges
3 Lemons
2 Apples
6 oz. Spanish Brandy (4 shots, more or less)
2 Bottles Spanish Red Table Wine

Pour sugar into a saucepan and pour in enough water to cover the sugar about 1- 1 1/2 cups), and heat over medium high heat, dissolving the sugar to make a simple syrup. Once the mixture boils, turn down heat to medium low, and stir in cinnamon. Next, quarter two (2) oranges and two (2) lemons, and squeeze their juice into the simple syrup, and stir. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes to allow juices to really mix. Fill a large pitcher half way full of ice cubes. Next, add 6 oz of brandy to the pitcher, and the two bottles of red wine. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the syrup mixture cool for 5 minutes. While it is cooling, cut the remaining oranges, lemon, and apples into small slices, and add to pitcher. Finally, pour the syrup over the fruit, ice, wine, and brandy, and mix with a wooden spoon. Pour into glasses, and spoon out some of the fruit in every glass. Remaining sangria-soaked fruit is a great treat you can eat later too!

This refreshing drink is perfect for a summer meal, or an afternoon at the beach. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How To Set A Table

I received an e-mail today from Martha Stewart on how to set a table, which reminded me that this information probably should have been one of my first posts, since it is such a basic lesson in hostessing. Having learned how to set a table back in my cotillion days, I feel it is important for everyone to know how to properly do so, and there are many good hostesses out there who are clueless. It isn't hard to learn, so here's a quick diagram guide (click on image to enlarge):
Of course, depending on the function, you can certainly add or subtract pieces. Like for instance, if you are not serving soup but are serving an appetizer, eliminate the bowl, and replace with an appetizer or salad plate. You can also be less formal and place the silverware on the napkin. This model is only a guide and totally adaptable to your own dinner party. Just be sure to put the forks on the left, and the knives and spoons on the right. Simple and easy, and if nothing else goes right throughout your event, at least you set the table properly like a good Hostess!

You can also check out the Martha Stewart in-depth version here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fresh Tomato Sauce

For quick, easy, and fresh tomato sauce, add the following ingredients to a food processor:

Can of diced tomatoes
1 freshly squeezed lemon
A couple fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp chopped green onion
1 Tbsp garlic
1Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Use the grate or chop setting on your food processor to lightly blend, just to break up the tomatoes, green onion and basil. You want the sauce a little chunky. It will be light in taste but powerful in the beautiful aroma of basil. Here, I added it to whole wheat thin spaghetti with black olives, mushrooms, and sliced chicken breast. Pour a little over the pasta, add some parmesean cheese, and serve. The perfect light sauce for summer!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"The Most Dangerous Chocolate Cake In The World"


I received an e-mail from two Karens in my family, both of whom love to try new recipes. The title of it was "The Most Dangerous Chocolate Cake In The World" - intriguing, I know. So of course, I open the e-mail and what was written before me was the recipe for a 5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake. Sounds too good to be true, but I am here to attest that I made it, tried it, and love it. Five minutes is truly all it takes with a few simple household ingredients. Grab a large microwaveable mug and add the following:

4 Tbsp all purpose flour
4 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa
1 egg
3 Tbsp milk
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp chocolate chips (optional, but it is so much better with these)
Splash of vanilla extract

Add dry ingredients first and just mix with a spoon. Next add the egg and stir. Then add the remaining ingredients, mix well, and you should have what looks like the concoction (pictured) above. Place in microwave and heat on high for 3 minutes. Mixture will rise out of the mug while cooking, but will not overflow. Remove from microwave and turn mug upside down on a plate to serve. The cake will pop right out! Let cool for 2 minutes and enjoy!

I like a side of whipped cream or strawberries for the ultimate indulgence. Feel free to add any syrups or toppings - it will only make it better! This also works great for a quick and easy recipe for last minute dinner guests - you can make them all individual, decadent desserts.

*Forever The Hostess will not be responsible for any addictions, burns from hot cake or mugs, or weight gain. Enjoy at your own risk!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Party Leftovers

There have not been any FTH recipes posted lately due to a stomach bug that had me steering clear of food. When I started to feel a little better, the first thing I asked myself was "Is it something I ate?". Thanks to Wired Magazine (and my husband for showing it to me!), I found a great site that can answer that question, as well as a million more about the food you have stored in your house. has a simple to use website that has expiration times for foods, broken down by category (dairy, vegetables, etc), is specific with foods like cheese listing it by type (Roquefort vs. Gouda), and whether the product is opened or unopened, raw or cooked. It also has raw food handling tips, storage solutions to keep your foods fresh, and how to make leftovers last longer.
Now you will know exactly how many days those leftover scallops and pasta will last!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Little Shop of Heaven

In a world far from here (Florida) there is a shop where I could spend all eternity. Located in Denver, Colorado is the Savory Spice Shop, a mecca of fresh spices, savory blends, flavored sugars, and cooking ingredients from around the globe.

What I love most about them, besides all the wonderful things they sell, are the small details they give to their shop and products. If ordering from the website, you can often find the origin of the spice, and dishes that it is commonly used in. There are also fun facts about each ingredient, and wonderful recipes.

Savory Spice Shop is also package and shipping friendly. They sell most spices in plastic baggies, so that you can recycle those plastic spice containers and simply refill them. Also, the baggies make it possible to save on shipping costs to anywhere in the country. And since they pride themselves with having the freshest ground spices, they ship quick so that the product is just as fresh for you as it was when it left their store.

I have ordered their blends for dips and rubs, and love to send their gift baskets to friends who love to cook and bake. For cooking, it doesn't get much more savory than this!