Saturday, November 28, 2009

How much liquor to buy for your party?

During your wedding weekend, for the rehearsal dinner you'll host at home, for bridal showers, bridesmaid parties, crafting parties at which volunteers come help to make the favors, and even for an at-home engagement party , you'll want to be sure you have enough drinks to go with your menu. But, of course, you don't want to spend a fortune at the liquor store, over-buying the wine and alcohol and wasting money. The trick is getting just enough...

Here is a terrific tool from that I've found to be right on target in estimating how much liquor you'll need to suit your crowd of light- to heavy-drinkers.

If you're on a budget, keep in mind that a terrific champagne punch or sangrias stretch your liquor dollar and guests LOVE getting to sip on a unique drink they don't get every day. I love the drink recipes at Food Network, and I also have a fabulous Sangria recipe book that I often break out whenever we have guests or are hosting a party.

It's important to pair your drinks to your menu -- since a great app will be spoiled by a so-so vintage or a too-strong mixed drink -- so get adventurous, explore your drink options, and taste test any new drink recipes before the big party, just to be sure.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

All-time favorite, easiest appetizer!

I love Alouette cheeses! On their own, as a spread for crackers or grissini, they delight the crowd, but when you take it to the next level with Alouette's recipes, you turn DIY party menu-making into an 'Is It Professional?' level that your guests will love.

Right now, I'm preparing the Alouette stuffed mushroom caps for my Thanksgiving feast, and I highly, highly encourage you to make this easy recipe for your engagement party, rehearsal dinner, the wedding itself, the after-party and let your bridesmaids know about the Alouette site for the bridal shower.

Monday, November 16, 2009

We're going Foodie here at Sharon Naylor Weddings

Get your soup tureen ready, and get ready for some very happy engagement party, bridal shower, and at-home wedding guests when you serve my Lobster Bisque! It's filling dish, perfect for fall and winter, so you only need to set out little serving bowls or cups -- I love the new square ones at Crate & Barrel. Anytime you set out unique serving bowls or dishes, you up the Wow Factor for any dish...and also make it look like you spent more money!

This recipe will serve about 14 people with smaller servings, so make your adjustments accordingly. I like to boil frozen lobster tails to get nice, huge chunks of lobster meat, but you can also have your seafood specialitist at the grocery store steam your lobster for you. Some will even cut the tails in half for you, which really helps. You could subsititute shrimp or crab, but I find that the lobster is in a class by itself here...


2 large lobster tails, cooked and diced
1 large onion, diced
1 and ½ sticks butter
¾ cup flour
2 cans condensed chicken broth
¾ cup dry sherry
3 small containers heavy cream
1 can tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste

1. Sauté onion in butter until soft, stir in flour to make a roux
2. Add chicken broth, stir, allow mixture to thicken and boil for one minute
3. Add lobster and sherry, cover and simmer for 20 minutes
4. Blend in cream, tomato paste, salt and pepper, stir until combined and soup is pink
5. Heat on low flame until soup is hot.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Vegetarian Menu Inspiration for your wedding

Finding inspired and delectable vegetarian dishes for your cocktail party or wedding isn't a challenge at all when you work with a caterer who has experience with vegetarian or vegan menus. I'm so thrilled to share some samples from

Sides, Salads & Dolci — Mediterranean

Vegetables, Grains & Legumes

Platter of Grilled Seasonal Vegetables in light balsamic marinade
Wild Rice with broccoli, bell pepper, tarragon & toasted pecans
White Beans with tomatoes, olives, rosemary, feta, light balsamic sauce
Couscous or Tabbouleh with tomato, cucumber, parsley, mint
Israeli Couscous with julienned vegetables & light vinaigrette marinade
Persian Wedding Rice with caramelized onion, dried fruits,
saffron, cardamom, toasted nuts
Indian Dal garnished with yogurt, tomatoes, cucumber & cilantro
Sicilian Eggplant Caponata


Mixed Seasonal Greens with grilled vegetables & agrodolce dressing
Salade Niçoise with green beans, potatoes, tuna, tomatoes, eggs, olives & basil
Lebanese-style Salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, onions, sumac
Orange Salad with red onions, & mint dressing, served on a bed of greens
Panzanella: Italian bread salad with roasted peppers, olives, tomatoes, basil
Fattoush: Middle Eastern bread salad with cucumbers,
tomatoes, peppers, mint, cilantro
Seasonal or Citrus Fruit Salad with orange flower water & mint


Fabulous flourless Italian Chocolate Torte with hazelnuts
Ricotta Tart with seasonal fruit or berries
Platter of Dessert Bars, including triple chocolate fudge brownies,
Slices of moist Lemon or Orange Cake, & hazelnut bars with raspberry jam
Strawberries in red wine
Tarte Tatin (upside down apple cake)

* * *

Sides, Salads & Postres — South of the Border

Vegetables, Grains & Legumes

Platter of Grilled Seasonal Vegetables with light cilantro/lime marinade
Arroz Escarlata (scarlet rice with beets)
Spanish-style Rice with chiles, tomatoes, celery, cilantro
Pineapple Rice: a spicy rice with vegetables & fresh pinapple
Black Beans with mango, tomato, corn, avocado, lime/cilantro dressing
Lentil Stew with pineapple & banana
Zucchini & mushrooms in spicy lime marinade
Eggplant with garlic & spring onions
Quinoa with julienned vegetables, tomato & light marinade


Red, White & Green Salad with spinach, red cabbage & avocado
Orange & Radish Salad served on a bed of greens with anise dressing
Jicama & Cucumber Salad with orange lime marinade
Salad of Beets & Cabbage with candied pineapple & avocado sauce
Cactus & Jicama Salad with watercress & avocado
Cauliflower Corn Salad with orange dressing
Painted Desert Coleslaw: finely shredded cabbage & veggies in a lime marinade
Peruvian Vegetable Salad with baby vegetables, eggs, olives & thinly sliced pancetta
Mango, Tomato & Red Onion Salad
Avocado, Arugula & Citrus Salad


Citrus Fruit Salad (tangerines, blood oranges, grapefruit) with light sauce
of kumquat & orange blossom water
Platter of Fresh Fruits (melon, pineapple, strawberries)
Louisiana-style Bread Pudding with dried apricots & bourbon sauce
Jamaican Fruit Trifle (layers of cake, cream, dash of rum & tropical fruit)

Sample Menus

International Specialties

Indian Specialties
Sides, Salads & Sweets

Take your appetite on a Mediterranean adventure into tangy spices, zesty sauces, salty crunches, cooling dips and subtle sweets from Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Sicily, Morocco, Lebanon, Syria, Portugal, and Tangiers.

Our Latin menus include foods from Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Cuba, and the Caribbean, where beans and rice are never ordinary!

For more information on this expert, contact:
Margaret Riesen
877-967-9848 toll free

Now accepting all Major Credit Cards

Santa Barbara • Santa Ynez Wineries • Montecito • Malibu • Santa Monica
Southern California • San Francisco Bay area

website by
Design Mine

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fabulous fall foodie favor!

I have been looking *everywhere* for a great spice bars recipe -- both because my Mom loves them, and because they make great shower, wedding and party favors! when you give your guests a luscious taste of the season, your favors are a hit.

And when you can save a LOT of money by baking your own, it's a double-hit.

I found these amazing spice bars, plus a maple cream icing that has just the right amount of sweetness, and they're going right on my fall party menu list:

Here's the recipe, from, the site for Better Homes and Gardens.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My new book is a hit before it even launches!

Authors check Amazon all the time to see how our books are doing. It's exciting when a six year-old book is still selling like wild, and it's really exciting when a book that hasn't even launched yet is...well, selling like wild! I'm so proud of my new book Your Wedding, Your Way -- my idea-filled book on how to take all of the traditional wedding elements like the first dance, the cake-cutting, the bouquet toss, and give them a unique, personal spin that pays homage to your own personal love story. This book gives a spin to everything you can imagine, and it was one of the most fun books I've ever written.

And I LOVE the cover! My art team at Adams knocked it out of the park.

Here's a quick description of the book:

Wedding experts agree: Today’s bride and groom want a wedding that reflects who they are—without regard to tradition, convention, or in-laws. This guide shows you how to:
Break with tradition—on a budget!
Present nontraditional ideas to parents and grandparents
Build in time for visiting friends and family
Incorporate shared passions into the ceremony
Use elbow grease and inventiveness for a DIY wedding
Deal with vendors and suppliers
You will identify ways you can express your individuality during your wedding celebration, from rehearsal dinner to the morning-after brunch. The memories you take away will be of a ceremony celebrating your love—your uniqueness as a couple.

And here's where to get it: It's not even up on my website yet, so you're going to be among the first to get your copy when the book is released in a few weeks.

In honor of the military families who are going through so much these days, I am offering 5 free, signed copies to the first military couples who contact me through Twitter @sharonnaylorwed.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Another reason to love Envirosax

Loosk like we know who's next on the list for my Norah Awards! Envirosax is one of my favorite sources for eco-friendly wedding favors and guest welcome bags, and now they're knocking it out of the park again for their work in saving abandoned pets. Check out this press release, which I think is pretty amazing!

The Foreclosure Pet Phenomenon

There has been a disturbing rise in animals left behind to starve or fend for themselves in empty foreclosed homes. Once discovered and taken to shelters, many of these pets are in need of medical care.

Animal shelters nationwide depend on donations to cover medical costs and to provide food and shelter; however donations are dwindling and many shelters have been forced to cut holding periods from six days to three after which the animals are put down.

But there's great news and this is where you can help!

Let all your blog followers know that this November, Envirosax is proudly donating $1 from the sale of every pouch (set of 5 bags), sold on the Envirosax website, to the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

Click here to order your Envirosax pouch today and help give these abandoned pets a second chance.

Who knew Holiday Season shopping could be so rewarding?