Sweet dreams

Dinner overlooking Boston Common upstairs at Troquet (french slang for wine bar) was dreamy…

Twinkling lights covering the trees in the park, sparkling as far as the eye could see. We waited and watched the streetlamps for hours for a front row view of the big snowstorm – but never saw a single flake.

Instead we feasted on sumptuous french seafood inspired dishes – 24 in total during our dinner for 8.

Each was a work of art – and delicious to boot – like my colorful beet salad with st andre and salmon roulade with crusted horseradish brioche and fennel mustard sauce.

But nothing prepared me for this charming presentation of apple crumble souffle and cinnamon ice cream. Ooh la la – served on a cutting board!

Even better – the waiter poured the warm caramel pichet directly into the top of the souffle.

Delicious.

Debi Lilly

Chief Eventeur
A Perfect Event
3050 N. Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
T 773.244.9333
F 773.404.2112

2008, 2007, 2005 Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Platinum List
2007, 2006 Best of Citysearch – Editorial and Audience Winner -Party/Wedding Planner, Chicago
2006 Elite Traveler Magazine – Global Black Book – Chicago’s Most Accomplished Luxury Event Planner
2006 Fall Daily Candy Wedding Guide – Wedding and Event Planner

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Cisco n go

Landed in Boston for holidays out east – and look what’s now migrated north…

Nantucket Brewery!

Serving all the island’s best whale tale pale ales and wonderful wines as well.

Now off to the South End for a whirlwind Beantown holiday weekend.

I can’t wait to see Leslie Linsley’s new Charles St boutique.

Debi Lilly

Chief Eventeur
A Perfect Event
3050 N. Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
T 773.244.9333
F 773.404.2112

2008, 2007, 2005 Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Platinum List
2007, 2006 Best of Citysearch – Editorial and Audience Winner -Party/Wedding Planner, Chicago
2006 Elite Traveler Magazine – Global Black Book – Chicago’s Most Accomplished Luxury Event Planner
2006 Fall Daily Candy Wedding Guide – Wedding and Event Planner

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Christmas Eve Cocktail Party

Christmas Eve Cocktail Party, ABC News Chicago

Christmas is coming…How to celebrate? A warm and wonderful Christmas Eve Cocktail Party is the perfect party theme for friends and family and those near and dear. My neighbor threw this party a few year ago and it was one of the most wonderful, festive eves I can remember.

First, let’s deck the halls. Here is a simple, elegant holiday centerpiece that sets the tone for merriment as soon as guests arrive. This fresh mixed pine long, linear centerpiece fits perfectly ontop mantles, dining tables, kitchen islands, beneath a plasma, ontop bookcases and more. Surrounded by a candle collection and massed gold pinecones, it creates a luscious holiday scent and warm ambience at the same time.

Make sure to think through your music – festive Christmas music playlists set the tone as guests arrive  my favorite lounge style music is Christmas Chill and Swingers Christmas CDs available at A Perfect Event.

Second, let’s create a feast filled with merriment.

For the cocktail menu, feature a trio of gorgeous drinks, both with and without alcohol.  Guests love to try new things, and this cockail menu of three speciality options costs significantly less than having a full open bar.

1. The Snowball
1 fl oz advocaat
5 fl oz lemonade chilled
ice cubes and a slice of lemon
Directions: Place ice cubes in highball glass(es) and pour the advocaat, pour the chilled lemonade to fill the glass(es), serve garnished with slice of lemon.

2. Cranberry Margarita
1 1/2 oz tequila
1 oz Rose’s lime juice
1 1/2 oz triple sec
1 1/2 oz sweet and sour mix
2 oz cranberry juice
What makes this one fabulous is the Ninja Blender  which whips it up into a creamy, dreamy drink. Add all ingredients into blender with ice. Blend until smooth.

3. White Jasmine Sparkling Tea
This amazing sparkling tea is my favorite holiday drink  served like champagne but sans alcohol  it is as looks pretty as it tastes. Available at Whole Foods.
The holidays are the most hectic time of year  so instead of having a dinner party, serve heavy hors d’ouevres – meaning it fills you up just like a dinner party. This stretches your budget  as you don’t need to rent large plates, silverware, tables and chairs, etc.

Third, instead of making everything from scratch, rely on gourmet groceries and markets for heat and eat hors’douevres. One of my favorite gourmet secrets is my neighborhood Trader Joe’s – and this entire menu of mouth watering heavy appetizers  meaning it fills you up just like a dinner party. This party planning secret allows you to focus on your guests, not the kitchen.

Scallops on the half shell
Ratatouille bites
Vegetable tempura nests with soy ginger dipping sauce
Parmesan Pastry Pups
French Canapes

Fourth, you know how much I love the personalized gifts and favors. Best of allthese are homemade favors to make with your whole family.

Christmas Cookie Jars are premixed cookie mix in old fashioned jars for guests to take and bake at home. The dry ingredients get layered into these jars, which you can buy at Menards. The simple baking details are printed on a label on the back  add an egg, milk, bake and enjoy! The recipe is on my blog at aperfectevent.com.

Cheers to a happy holiday and merry season to all. -2

Christmas Cookies

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Christmas Cookies as featured on ABC News, Christmas Eve Party with Debi Lilly segment

(can also them Santa Snacks, Sweet Treats, Holiday Hooplas, etc)

Start with a 1 quart old fashioned Ball glass canning jar. (available at Menards, Hobby Lobby, Michael’s)

Ingredients for mix layered in jar:

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup & leveled
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooking oats
3/4 cup m&ms
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Layer the ingredients in like this – using ¼ cup for all ingredients – as it fits best in the opening ontop the jar

(apparently Jacques Pepin folds a piece of paper lengthwise and uses this as a sort of “funnel/ramp” when you have a small opening like this…I will be trying this tomorrow)

First: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
Second: oats
Third: m&ms
Fourth: chocolate chips
Fifth: brown sugar
Sixth: white sugar
Seventh: chopped pecans

Pack each level down really tightly. Seriously – pack it in. I used a honey stirrer (flat bottomed for “packing” and it really made it all fit between layers. The ingredients should be flush to the top of the lid when you seal it up with the lid.

Next, cut a square of fabric (could also be colored tissue in a pinch) into a 7×7 square. (I prefer to use pinking shears for a nice, finished edge) Next cut a ribbon/cord 18” to wrap around the fabric to seal.

Place the fabric over the top of the jar, face up, so you can see the pattern. Place a rubber band over the jar, to hold the fabric into place while you add the ribbon to secure.

Tie ribbon into a knot, and for further detail I like to add small end knots at the end of each ribbon “tail” as well.

Print or handwrite labels for the front, featuring the name of the cookies, and the back, with baking directions.

Directions to print for label on back of jar:

Stir all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Add 1 slightly beaten egg
1/2 cup butter (melted slightly in the microwave)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix wet ingredients into dry mix. Then roll the cookie dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, place on a parchment covered baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes in 350 degree oven. Makes 25 cookies.

These make wonderful favors for holidays parties, teacher gifts that the kids make by hand (beware – you may have more ingredients on the kitchen floor than inside your jars!), and hostess gifts.

Notes:
Vary the color of the m n ms by season or special occasion…pastel for easter, green for St. Patty’s Day, brown for a boys’ bd party, and so many, many more.

You could also order custom printed m n ms with bride/groom names or monogram, logo or icon, and more!

Happy holidays one and all.

Oh happy happy day

Christmas came early this year!

Look what is now inside Starbuck’s snack case…mon dieu!

Coffee, pistache, raspberry, chocolate, vanilla and lemon – and just in time for abundant holiday entertaining. I can already see them stacked in lovely color blocked pyramids on silver platters.

Now…I wonder if they taste as tres magnifique as the coveted Pierre Herme?

I am about to find out. Breakfast of champions.

Debi Lilly

Chief Eventeur

A Perfect Event

3050 N. Lincoln Ave

Chicago, IL 60657

T 773.244.9333

F 773.404.2112

2008, 2007, 2005 Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Platinum List

2007, 2006 Best of Citysearch – Editorial and Audience Winner -Party/Wedding Planner, Chicago

2006 Elite Traveler Magazine – Global Black Book – Chicago’s Most Accomplished Luxury Event Planner

2006 Fall Daily Candy Wedding Guide – Wedding and Event Planner


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