I picked up the most amazing herbed cheddar cheese at a local farm store this morning, and came right home with it and a loaf of bread to make myself some savory grilled cheeses and soup for lunch. I opened up the cheese and bread to just have a little taste, and completely abandoned my lunch plans. We had no need to make these tasty ingredients into anything else, they were perfect just the way they were. After my impromptu cheese-plate lunch, I thought I’d share some of my favorite tips for building a beautiful and balanced autumn cheese board. It’s one of my favorite tools for entertaining! read more

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I recently had a chat with someone about our favorite seasons. My response was very specific – I love the first part of fall the best. Fall in New England has two distinct parts to me. That first part when school starts but the weather is still a little bit warm, and the days aren’t yet too short, and there is an abundance of beautiful colors in the trees and at the market. Then the second part is November, where it’s freezing and dark and we’re really just counting down until spring again! I do love those first fall days though, and can’t think of a better reason to savor those early warm autumn nights than with a pretty harvest-themed dinner party. read more

I love putting together a festive looking table for meals with family and friends. It’s something I love to do so much, I might even call it a full-on hobby. When I post pictures of these entertaining spreads, people often say that they love the idea of a tablescape, but don’t want all of the fuss and expense that comes with setting a fancy table. Well, my favorite way to do it is with a few a little tricks that make it inexpensive and easy — and I thought I’d share a few of my tried and true methods with you today so you can recreate it at home on a budget!  read more

With the last few days of August here, everyone seems to be talking about the end of summer. Yes, school is starting and a few leaves have started to drop off the trees in our yard. The weather is still warm though, and I’m determined to stretch out our summer days for long as we can. I keep reminding people that the official first day of Fall isn’t until the end of September; let September have it’s summer days too! One way I’m keeping the season alive is with a bit more al fresco dining — I’ll do it every chance I can get until the temperatures drop — and pulling together festive summer tabletops with my favorite color scheme: blue and white. read more

I know I’m probably in the minority here, but I really love grocery shopping. I get that it’s a not-so-fun chore for a lot of people, but I really enjoy it. I love to go to the store for inspiration, scanning the produce and proteins for my next recipe ideas. Last week I got the chance to check out the new Wegmans store in Natick, and because I’m a grocery-shopping-nerd I was delighted to explore it. read more

We are heading out on a family beach vacation in a couple of weeks and I’m so excited. We’re staying with friends on the Cape, and a big part of my excitement is rooted in starting traditions with Jane that meant so much to me as a kid. Some of my happiest childhood memories are from our family vacations to the beach. I remember spending the whole day in our bathing suits, with the salt water drying on our tanned skin as we played in the sand. I remember they joy of outdoor showers, and heading into town for ice cream cones after dinner. read more

I find that some of my most enjoyable party experiences are those that revolve around casual settings and shareable food – and there is no better way to create a casual, shareable vibe than with a taco party! In the spirit of kicking off summer, I have been working on some new taco-inspired recipes for al fresco entertaining. On the menu: quick and easy grilled chipotle chicken tacos that guests can assemble themselves with all of the toppings. And to cool off after a bite of these spicy tacos, I’m serving up big-batch pitchers of frozen peach margaritas – they use frozen fruit for a sorbet-like texture, yum. Head over to the Chinet®brand blog today to get the chipotle chicken taco recipe, instructions for making the frozen peach margaritas, and a few tips for setting up your own summer taco fiesta! read more

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, which means it’s time to kick off summer, wheel out the grill, and get our backyard celebrations started! I admittedly jumped on the BBQ train earlier this week when I saw some cute hot dog napkins at Target that quickly inspired our dinner plans. Grilled hot dogs, some macaroni salad, and pickles made for a pretty delicious weeknight treat. Now that the first al fresco meal of the season has been taken care of, I’ve been digging in my archives for more Memorial Day menu ideas and thought I’d share a few of my favorites here as you plan your own long-weekend celebrations!  read more

When I’m styling a table for entertaining, I always start with an inspiration piece — something that sets the tone and palette for the whole scene. When I received this beautiful geranium printed tablecloth in the mail (from Roller Rabbit, my favorite place to source table linens) the bright punchy pinks and deep jewel-toned greens had me hit the ground running for this colorful summer garden party.   read more