Our Summer Soiree 2017

Our second annual summer party was a success! This year we did a tropical theme with flamingo sugar cookies, lots of pineapples, and a balloon garland, that was insanely simple to make!

We still haven’t purchased outdoor furniture, so we went with the good ol’ pallet table this year…again. The pallets we used this year are actually the same pallets we used last year. I just gave them a good cleaning and they were good to go.

Plus I like the rustic vibe the pallets give. The craziest part is we spent less than $25 on all the decor. That covered the balloons & flowers. Everything else we already had. Pretty and budget friendly.

I do want to give a shout out to my hubby for letting me do my thing and helping along the way. He always just goes with the flow when it comes to my party planning. Bless his heart. Instead of getting all wordy, ill let the pictures do the talking.

The decor

I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on decor, so I opted for a balloon garland and fresh flowers. Flowers are an inexpensive way to spruce up a table.

The balloon garland was so easy and it really made the drink station pop! I made this quick how-to video to show you how to make your own! Side note, I started a YouTube channel to start posting my DIY videos! Yay! I would love for you to follow along with me. I just started it, so my channel is not looking the best, but I am super excited to create how-to video’s. My channel is HERE. You can also subscribe from the balloon garland video link above.

The tablescape

I used scrapbook paper and cut out tropical leaves to add a pop of color to the place settings. Aren’t they cute?!?

I planned on doing so much more, but baby K got sick the day before the party and mommin’ took priority. As it should. The table decor was minimal, but I think the guests were more focused on the food anyway.

The drink

I made a berry beer punch. It was super simple and the guests loved it. For that extra touch I made raspberry ice cubes and topped the drinks with a cherry, slice of lime, and mint, then served with a gold paper straw. Easy peasy. I found this simple and delicious recipe on Pinterest HERE.

The food

Both years we have served beet & goat cheese salad with raspberry vinaigrette that my hubby makes from scratch. It’s always a big hit and usually the first to be devoured. I honestly don’t know which one of us came up with the recipe, but it’s one of our favorites! Beets have always been one of my favorite vegetables. I even converted my hubby. He use to tell me that they tasted like dirt. 😂 But after years of serving them with dinner he gave in. The recipe for this crowd pleaser is at the bottom of this post.

We also served an assortment of cheese, of course. Cheese is my kryptonite. I could literally eat it on anything. Can’t most of us?!? The cheese we served included: Brie, Dutch Gouda, Aged Gouda, & Pesto Gouda. Do you see a theme?!? Give me ALL the Gouda!

I fancied the Brie up and added fig butter from Trader Joe’s, blueberries, and honey. Can you say yum! I am pretty sure I ate half of the wedge. I just couldn’t help myself.

The dessert

I made flamingo, ice cream cones, & watermelon sugar cookies.

And of course I made pie. Blueberry pie to be exact.

Well friends, that’s it for this post! I hope this inspired you in some way. Make sure to check out the balloon garland video to learn how easy it is to make. The recipe for the beet & goat cheese salad is directly below.

Until next time. XO

 

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Beet & Goat Cheese Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette Recipe

Salad ingredients:

4 – 6 fresh beets

4 oz block of goat cheese

1 1/2 cups of pecan halves

Spring mix

Rosemary (fresh or dry)

Olive oil

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Step 2: Wash the fresh beets, then cut both ends off each one.

Tip: You do not need to remove the skin. Once the beets are done the skin will easily slide off.

Step 3: On a lipped baking sheet, place the beets two inches apart.

Step 4: Drizzle olive oil over each beet evenly, then coat each beet with fresh or dry rosemary.

Step 5: Bake the beets for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Until soft.

Step 6: Let the beets cool completely then slide the skin off the beets.

Tip: Beet juice will stain your hands. I recommend wearing gloves.

Step 7: Slice the beets and then set aside.

Step 8: Prepping the salad. Put the spring mix on the bottom of the dish, then crumble the goat cheese on top of the spring mix. I just used my hands. 😊

Step 9: Place the beet slices evenly on the salad, then pour the dressing over the salad.

Step 10: Top the salad with the pecan halves and serve immediately

 

Raspberry vinaigrette ingredients:

1 pint of raspberries

1/5 cup of champagne vinegar

1 1/2 cups of olive oil

1 tbsp of dijon mustard

1/4 cup of granulated sugar

Step 1: Using a blender combine all the ingredients EXCEPT FOR THE OLIVE OIL, blend on high until smooth.

Step 2: Turn the blender to medium speed and slowly pour the olive oil into the blender until all combined.

Step 3: Once all the olive oil has been added blend on high for 5-10 seconds.

Step 4: Refrigerate or pour over the salad and serve immediately!

 

 

 

 

Lemon & Vanilla Bean Tart Recipe

My friends say I “stress bake”. It is true. I find peace in baking. With trying to juggle my career, working towards obtaining my black belt in lean six sigma, two kids, a hubby, an ever-shedding dog, my blog, and a house, sometimes I just need to go to my happy place. Baking. It also makes my coworkers and neighbors happy because I make so much that I have to give it away. 😂 So much that my coworkers said they were going to start a baking fund for me. Well I hope they come hungry Monday, because when life gives you lemons that are about to go bad and a vanilla bean you find in the pantry that you forgot you bought, you make a lemon & vanilla bean tart. Or in my case three.

The first time I made this lemon tart, I got so many messages asking for the recipe that I decided to share it. I found THIS RECIPE on good ol’ Pinterest. There is no need to recreate the wheel, right?!?

 Bonus, it is very easy to follow. But this time around I altered the recipe a little and I love how it turned out! So much that I could not stop licking the spoon. 😂 Look at that lemon vanilla bean goodness!

I used store bought pie dough, that I blind baked, instead of making the crust from scratch. I really want to make this with the crust recipe, but my lazy side kicks in and I always end up going with store bought. 😬

I still used THIS RECIPE (using 3 whole eggs) as the base, but made these alterations:

1. Omitted the heavy cream

2. Used the zest and lemon juice from two lemons instead of three

3. Mixed in one whole organic vanilla bean

I can’t tell you how much I love it with the vanilla bean addition. It is pure bliss.

The recipe takes about 5 minutes to put together and 15 minutes to make the curd. Any dessert is a winner in my book if it only takes 20 minutes to make!

After you pour the curd in the baked shell, put it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours. I let mine chill overnight for extra firmness. Then I topped it with fresh berries and powdered sugar the next day.

Serve immediately or take to your coworkers & neighbors. 😊

Well friends, that’s it for this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I truly love sharing my baking adventures and DIY’s. I hope you find inspiration in my posts. I pour a lot of love into them.

Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions if I wasn’t clear on the recipe above. If you decide to make my version, I would love to hear it! Feel free to leave a comment below or come say hi on Instagram! My handle is @acarriedaffairdesigns You can also follow along with me on Pinterest. My username is acarriedaffair

Have a beautiful day. Until next time. Xo

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Fourth of July Tablescape

Summer is here! Let the backyard cookouts, longer days, & sun-kissed skin commence! But also, it’s the season to celebrate our great country on the Fourth of July. 🇺🇸 This year I’ll be taking the boys to my parents house for a cookout and fireworks in the back yard. Just like when I was a little girl. I love that my boys get to watch fireworks with me in the same backyard as I did growing up.

Since I am going home, I can’t go empty handed. So I will be taking a cherry pie and cake to greet my family with. I don’t go home very often, so maybe the sweet treats will help me lessen the scolding I’ll get from my brother. 😂

This year, for our 4th of July tablescape, I focused on textures. I love the variety of textures mixed  with the mismatched linen napkins and white dishes.

In Carrie fashion, I went on a baking frenzy. It’s funny, I do what my friends like to call “stress baking”. Baking always clears my mind and makes me happy. I think my family, friends, & coworkers are ok with that though. 😂

Originally I planned to make an American Flag cake, where the inside looked like the American Flag when you cut into it. However, I decided that was too much work…so I made a batch of buttercream frosting, slapped some between the two white cakes and spread a layer on the top, then topped it with some cherries. Easiest cake EVER! 🙌🏼 I took it to my work for my coworkers and it was all gone when I left work that day, so I think it tasted good. The recipe for the buttercream frosting is at the bottom of this post.

Of course I had to make cherry pie too! I LOVE cherry pie! It is my absolute favorite. My recipe is HERE. The recipe also shows how I braid the crust.

More times than not, I just use store bought crust and church it up by doing an egg wash and topping it with sugar in the raw. It makes the crust sweet and flaky. My favorite!

Hungry yet?!?

Well friends, thats all for this post. I hope you found it inspiring! If you have any questions please leave a comment below or come say hi on Instagram. My handle is @acarriedaffairdesigns

I hope you have a safe and fun 4th of July! Until next time. Xo

 

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Note: I purchased the wicker tray from an antique store, so I couldn’t find the exact one to link, but I linked similar ones. Everything else is as pictured.

 

Buttercream Frosting Recipe

This might be the easiest recipe of ever. I have to thank my hubby for it. I’ve made buttercream frosting before, but used heavy whipping cream. Since I didn’t have any and was too lazy to go to the store my hubby said to use whole milk. It worked like a charm! Perks, of having a chef for a hubby. 😊

If you are looking for an easy and quick recipe for buttercream here it is!

Tip: This recipe made enough for me to add a layer in between two 8 inch cakes and a layer to the top. If you have more than 2 cakes and want to add a layer of frosting to each, I would recommend doubling this recipe. 

Ingredients:

2 sticks of unsalted butter (softened)

4 1/4 cups of powdered sugar

3 tbsp of whole milk

1 pinch of salt

1 tsp of almond extract 

Step 1: Whip the softened butter in a mixer until fluffy. Don’t over beat the butter.

Step 2: Add in the remaining ingredients and mix until peaks form.

Note: I like to use almond extract, but you can substitute vanilla extract if you aren’t a fan of almond.

Step 3: You’re done! Easy peasey! You can use immediately or put it in the refrigerator. 

Summer Home Tour 2017

Oh how I love Summer. Bright colors everywhere, flowers growing, the smell of fresh cut grass, swimming, & sun-kissed skin. Honestly, the list goes on and on. But what I love most is the longer days and sunshine that beams in the house. The one thing I fell in love with when we purchased our home was all the windows. The downstairs bathroom is the only room in our entire home that doesn’t have one. Sunshine just makes me happy. I think most people would agree.

This Summer I am all about pops of colors, greenery,  and textures.

The Main Living Room

We just updated the flooring a few months ago and I am still so IN LOVE with it! It is crazy how it transformed this room. I am still in need of an area rug, but in due time.

I have changed the decor on this wall more times than I can count, but I love the clean & simple look of it. I might add some more greenery. Just something I have been thinking about. P.S. If you missed my blog post on how to make the faux ivy vines in the empty picture frame CLICK HERE.

For the hanging shelf, I literally pulled a piece of wood off an old wooden pallet and drilled two holes on each side, then ran twine through the holes to hold up the shelf. It only took me 20 minutes to make! Crazy fast, right?!?

Shop The Living Room

Please note, some of the items are no longer available; however, I linked similar items for those that are not available.

 

The Kitchen

This room is where you’ll find the pops of color and what color says Summer more than yellow?

I painted the two lemon prints a couple months ago and I am so excited I can finally show you!

Shop the Kitchen

Please note, some of the items are no longer available; however, I linked similar items for those that are not available.

 

The Dining Room

I wanted to change things up a little this season. I usually want everything to match, but this Summer I went with mismatched linen napkins, a variety of white flowers, and different sized vases. Who am I?!? However, I really liked all the neutral colors and textures. This room just felt right with warm hues.

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The Sitting Room

We recently changed the floors in this room also. Actually the entire downstairs (except the kitchen & bathroom) has been updated to this flooring. I now don’t mind photographing this space.

I had my sweet & talented friend Nichole @therusticroost_ (on Instagram) custom make this sign for me a few months ago and I still love it.

I couldn’t show this room without getting a close up of these pink beauties. Too bad they are dead now. Sigh.

Shop the Sitting Room

Please note, some of the items are no longer available; however, I linked similar items for those that are not available.

 

Well friends, I hope you enjoyed my Summer Home Tour 2017. Make sure to check out the other lovely ladies I collaborated with listed below. Each name is linked to their blog or Instagram account. Their homes are nothing short of AHH-MAZZ-ING and I am sure you will think so too!

Karan

Meeghan

April

Jenny

Rae

Cynthia

Happy Summer-ing. Until next time friends. Xo