Food/Drink

Mother’s Day Brunch Bunch

On Sunday, May 6th, with the help of my fabulous co-hosts Jen Znosko, Amy Schuster, and Julie Fowler, I hosted a Mother’s Day brunch to benefit Westchester elementary.  It was a fun way to raise money for the school while also taking time to celebrate moms who work so hard for their families and communities. The goal of the party was to allow moms to have fun and celebrate Mother’s Day free of distractions for a few hours.

Just like the selfie scavenger hunt we hosted back in April, this was also a fundraising sign-up party. In honor of the beautiful spring weather, we created a light brunch menu. First up were some cute “mom-osas” served with pink-and-white straws and “spa” water (fruit-infused water). Along with plenty of brunch finger foods, a simply decadent chocolate tasting courtesy of Bissinger’s Chocolates was a perfect way to round out the menu.

Mom-osa brunch

We wanted to keep the brunch menu simple yet delicious, so we chose finger foods and appetizers that everyone was sure to enjoy. Nothing is more simple and scrumptious brunch food than skewers. You’ll see there were several on the Mother’s Day brunch menu, and they certainly didn’t disappoint!

Here’s what was on the menu:

“Mom-osas”

The perfect fun brunch drink to celebrate amongst fellow hard working moms.

Mother's Day Brunch

 

Mothers Day Brunch

Momosa brunch

Spa Water

Mother's Day Brunch

We loved having two different types of infused water to keep things fresh and light. My favorites were Detox Cucumber (cucumber infused water) and Citrus (oranges, lemons, and basil).  These H2Os were beautiful and refreshing!

Veggie Cups and Dip

Mother's Day Brunch

Veggie cups

The veggie cups with dip were simple, delicious and healthy; a can’t-miss brunch food idea!  Simply put some dip in the bottom of clear plastic cups, then place carrot and celery sticks, broccoli and a tiny skewer of grape tomatoes in the cup on top of the dip. These made such a bright, colorful, and fun addition to our brunch food.

Bacon Skewers

Bacon Skewers

If you want an amazing brunch item that looks simple but is anything but simple in the taste department, then trust me—these bacon skewers MUST for your next gathering! They were spicy, sweet and simply amazing! Amy found these taste bud electrifiers on Pinterest, and I couldn’t stop eating them. Get the recipe here

Yogurt parfaits with Irene’s granola

Irene's granola parfait

Here’s another simple brunch food idea that was beautiful and easy to assemble. For our yogurt parfaits, we simply layered yogurt over fresh-cut fruit, then topped it off with Irene’s soft granola for a little bowl of heaven!  Irene’s granola is made locally in Kirkwood and is amazing.

Quiche

Momosa brunch

You can’t host a brunch without serving quiche, right? It’s a great brunch food since it’s filling, but pairs perfectly with finger foods and appetizers. For our quiche, we decided to offer some variety with a two-pack from Costco. We chose the spinach-artichoke and cheddar-broccoli flavors from La Terra Fina, and we were super pleased.  They were healthy and delicious!  Check out their site for a coupon.  My friend Jen said the spinach-artichoke dip is amazing.  I can’t wait to try that too!

Fruit Kabobs

fruit kabobs

Who doesn’t love a fruit kabobs?   These little gems were on our brunch menu! So light, so delicious, and so easy! Cut the fruit and skewer.

Donut Hole pops

Donut Pops

This was an easy brunch treat to assemble and provided such a fun presentation.  My friend Julie bought a box of Munchkins donut holes from Dunkin Donuts.  We skewered each one and served.  Perfection!

All these foods were super easy for a busy mom who doesn’t have time to be slaving away in the kitchen.  These would be great ideas if you are hosting a baby or wedding shower, graduation parties or having brunch with your favorite girls.  Whatever your event, this easy and simple menu will give you more time to toast with your friends.  Cheers!

XOXO

Sarah~

Special thanks to my co-hostesses Jen, Amy, and Julie.
The businesses who made this party special:  Elizabeth from Gladly designs for all the beautiful signs and food tents, Irene’s granola for the amazing granola.

Plus all the amazing businesses that donated to the Mother’s Survival Kit swag bags:

Swag Bag
Kidzxplor, Yoga 6, Fit Flavors, Chick fil a- Des Peres, Bissinger’s,  Marley Lilly, The Daily Bread Cafe, Wee Tutoring, Kendra Scott, Shine Tan, European Wax, Soap Box and Prana Yoga.

We did a self-care accountability activity check out that post here.

Photos from @missverajeanae_

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Instacart grocery delivery

Here is the play by play on using Instacart grocery delivery.  Copy my promo code SSCHUMACHER2B5144 for $10 off your first order.

  1. Copy and paste this link to Instacart: https://inst.cr/t/N7fnYTDuh
  2. Select your store:  Remember if you want to shop at Sam’s or Costco you don’t have to have a membership to Sams or Costco to use them.  Instacart has the membership so you don’t have to.  🙂  yeah.
  3. Select your groceries and other items
  4. When finished select your delivery time.
  5. MOST IMPORTANT STEP Before you hit place order UNCHECK the Service fee Change to $0.  The drivers told me this fee does not go to the driver it goes to the company and it’s not necessary.

Instacart grocery delivery

6.  You can also pre-tip the driver but I usually give it to them in person.
7.  Copy and paste this promo code to save $10.  SSCHUMACHER2B5144
8.  Place Order
9.  Spend time doing what you really want to do by saving time running around the grocery.  🙂

What to expect.

*They will send you a text when they begin shopping to alert you they are at the store if you need to add or change anything.
*They will send you a text saying when your delivery is expected to arrive closer to time.
*If any of your items are not available when at the store they will alert you and get your approval for a replacement.

Enjoy!!  XOXO  Sarah

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Dierbergs Holiday Appetizers and Cocktails Class

I’m always looking for new and fun experiences.  So when Dierbergs invited me to one of their “pop up” cooking classes, I was thrilled.  This particular class was for holiday appetizers and cocktails, which is right down my alley.  I’ve been to some classes recently for a girls-night-out and work team-building activity, and each time picked up something new.  

Dierbergs offers some of their more popular classes as “pop up”, or last minute, so make sure you follow them on social media.  Their Instagram handle is @Dierbergs, or sign up for their newsletter here so you don’t miss anything.  They do fill up quickly.  

If you’re looking for a unique gift for someone celebrating an anniversary or birthday, these classes would be something interactive and fun.

Dierbergs holiday appetizer and jim beam cocktail class

Here was the menu:  

  • Seared Tuna Skewers and Spicy Avocado Cream & Pickled Cucumber
  • Sun-dried Tomato & Mozzarella Bread Sticks with Olive Caper Cream
  • Candied Bacon Cornbread bits glazed with Sweet Tomato Jam
  • Chocolate Caramel Mousse Cups with Candied Pecans

This class was a demonstration with Chef Christie Maggi.  In demonstration classes, you get to sit back and relax while the chef does all the work.  

What we ate:
While Chef Christie was starting to cook, she passed around a couple of apps from the store for us to sample.  We had a festive olive and salami tray along with a cranberry pecan torte you can pick up from the deli, which makes for a quick party-pleaser.  

Salami and olive tray

torteRecipes and a couple tips Chef discussed.

Seared Tuna Skewers and Spicy Avocado Cream & Pickled Cucumber

This was my favorite appetizer of the night.  Chef Christie had a great tip about working with food on skewers.  Instead of soaking the food on the skewers, she recommended cooking the tuna first, then add the skewer after.  This prevents the skewers from burning and falling apart. 

Seared tuna skewers

Avocado substitution option: if the avocados you were planning on using aren’t ripe, you can substitute with Wholly Guacamole.  

Lemongrass substitution option: use lemongrass puree in the squeeze tube.  

Candied Bacon Cornbread Bits glazed with sweet tomato onion jam

Candied bacon cornbread bits glazed with sweet tomato onion jam

Sarah’s Scoop: These would be great served at a brunch or holiday appetizer party.  The tomato jam is what transforms this from good into an amazing item!


Sun-dried tomato & mozzarella breadsticks with olive caper cream

Sun-dried Tomato & Mozzarella Bread Sticks with Olive Caper Cream

sun-dried tomato breadsticks

Sarah’s Scoop:  If you don’t want to make the dough from scratch, Dierbergs sells pre-made pizza dough in the same aisle where fresh pasta is made.

Chocolate Caramel Mousse Cups with Candied Pecans

Filo cups are very versatile, so pick some up in the deli department.  I love using them for holiday appetizers too (see how I did for my holiday appetizer party here) but using them for desserts is equally delicious.  

Chocolate caramel mousse cups with candied pecans

Chef’s Tip:  This mousse can be made a day or two ahead of time.  A snazzy serving option is putting them in a shot glass with berries on top, or use a martini glass for a larger portion.  

Chocolate caramel mousse cups with candied pecans

 Jim Beam Cocktails

Jim Beam Side Car

Here’s what Stephen, the Jim Beam rep, made for us to sample.

  1. Moscow Mule
  2. Sidecar
  3. Manhattan
  4. Penicillin
  5. Maker’s neat

Up until this point, I hadn’t drank any whiskey since I was in college, so I didn’t know what to expect.  The Moscow Mule is definitely something I would serve at one of my own parties for my girlfriends.  My friend Jana recently served it at her house, and she threw in some cranberry to make it festive for the holidays.  These drinks ranged from light whiskey taste too very strong.  Penicillin and Maker’s Neat are more for whiskey lovers that enjoy the taste.  There were several whiskey enthusiasts in the class, that really enjoyed these cocktails.  The cocktail size was quite large, more than just a sip, so you really got to enjoy it.

This class truly had something for everyone, including dessert.  So, do you prefer to savor a rich decadent chocolate mousse or sip on a warm whiskey at the end of your meal?

Maker's neat and chocolate carmel mousse cups with candied pecans

Jim Beam cocktail recipes

Overall this class was a lot of fun, with a lot of pleasant surprises and fun people willing to learn.  Many attendees were celebrating a special occasion or having a fun night with friends. One couple in the class said they were hosting a lot of guests for the holidays, and wanted to gather some ideas.  They love to go shopping right after the class so they picked up the ingredients of the apps and drinks they liked the best.  Very smart.  Thanks to Dierbergs for such a fun experience.  

Did you know Dierbergs has classes for all tastes and preferences?  Even if you are not a cook.   Check out their list of options for January and February here.  Here are some I’d like to attend:

New Year, New You
Make it- Take it Valentine Spa-tacular non-food class.
Friday Night Dine:  Classy Appetizers and Craft Cocktails (super popular)
Gal-entine’s Brunch
Crock Pot or Not (for those who can’t live without their crock pot)
Puppy Love, Parent-Child Kids Class (My boys love helping me in the kitchen)

Dierbergs is so much more than fresh groceries, my boys love it too. 

We thoroughly enjoy their children holiday events.  We recently saw Santa and did fun kid activities around the entire store; such as sampling foods, getting balloons, face painting, and making ornaments.  It was a win-win for everyone.  

Dierbergs Santa fair

Dierbergs Santa Fair

Dierbergs Santa Fair

Also, I hosted a pumpkin beer and treat tasting with friends this past fall, where I picked up some pumpkin beer and snacks for my girlfriends to enjoy.  If you’re looking for a great place to host, but don’t have the time to do it at your place, this is a perfect solution.  They even have live bands every Friday to make for a really festive atmosphere.  Read all about it here.

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Easy appetizers and drinks I served at my holiday swag bag party.  

Cheers Sarah, Christine, Rachel and Ann Santa define nice

 

 

 

 

 

I was in search of some easy appetizers and drinks to make for my holiday swag bag party.  I called my go-to foodie friend Christine to discuss options.  I knew she’d be a big help, because she knows I don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen cooking, but still want to wow my guests with a fun snacks and drinks.  

The primary goal for my menu was to serve appetizers I could assemble quickly, that would require three or fewer ingredients. I decided to showcase a mix of sweet and savory apps that were served cold and hot.

Here’s what I chose:

filo cups

Spinach Filo Cups.  

  • Filo cups
  • Your favorite dip (spinach artichoke works great!)

This is my “go-to” appetizer for all my parties, and are a huge hit.  They look really fancy, but they’re the easiest tasty bites to assemble.  Dierbergs carries already-baked filo cups.  While you’re there grab some of their fresh spinach artichoke dip.  All you do is spoon the dip into the filo cups, and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.  You can also order them at pre-assembled, and take them home to bake.  

Anne and Sarah Jessica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crockpot Meatballs

  • 1 package of meatballs
  • 1 bottle of BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Rays’ Honey Chipotle is really good).
  • 1 jar of apricot jelly

The crockpot can be your best friend when hosting a party.  Just throw the ingredients into the crock, and it takes care of the rest.  The apricot jelly adds a different twist to this classic appetizer.  My guests raved about this one, and requested the recipe.

cream cheese stars

Red Pepper Stars

  • 1 brick of cream cheese
  • 1 bottle of red pepper jelly

Divide and cut the cream cheese into a creative shape using a cookie cutter.  To prevent the cream cheese from sticking, spray the cookie cutter with Pam.  Then just top your shapes with the red pepper jelly, and enjoy with toast bites or crackers.  These are a simple way to make the holidays special.  For Valentine’s Day do hearts, shamrocks for St Patrick’s Day, and pumpkins for Halloween or Thanksgiving.

Baked goat cheese and marinara

  • 1 jar of your favorite marinara
  • 1 log of goat cheese
  • Fresh basil for garnish

This appetizer was inspired by my favorite tapas restaurant in St. Louis: Barcelona.  It’s so simple and looks so festive.  All you have to do is pour the marinara sauce into small baking dish.  Next slice the goat cheese and bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until toasted and sauce is bubbling.  Serve with toast bites.

Cinnamon Chip Breadbowl

Cinnamon chip bread bowl

  • Cinnamon Chip bread bowl  from @Great Harvest Bread Co
  • Cheesecake fruit dip
  • Apple slices

I love making this Cinnamon Chip bread bowl into an amazing party treat.  This bread tastes like heaven!  Just core out the top and put in the smooth and tasty cheesecake fruit dip from Dierbergs’ deli department.  I also like to serve it with fresh apple slices.  If you’re looking for a show-stopper; this is it!

 

chocolate dipped clementines

Chocolate covered clementines

  • Clementines
  • Dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • Sea Salt

First, peel and divide the clementines.  Next, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, and dip half of the clementine into the chocolate.  Sprinkle with sea salt before the chocolate hardens.  Finally, place them on parchment paper and let cool in the refrigerator.  

Veggie Platter

Veggies and Dip from Dierbergs

I like having veggies as a healthy option for my guests.  I ordered a veggie platter from Dierberg’s because they’re always fresh and beautiful.  Just throw them onto your own platter and it looks like you did all the preparation.  

Buntini's

Bundtinis from “Nothing Bundt Cakes”

These delicious miniature bundt cakes, may be small, but pack a punch for any sweet tooth. Nothing Bundt Cakes has two   locations in Chesterfield and Brentwood.  They have a compact variety of flavors in six types of products (i.e. bundt cakes and bundt towers).  I went with chocolate chocolate chip (yep, that’s twice the chocolate) and red velvet for this party, and they all disappeared quick.

What we drank:

Very peary cocktail

Very Peary Breeze

  • 1 part pear vodka
  • 1 part cranberry juice
  • 1 part apple juice
  • Frozen cranberries
  • Rosemary

Just like the name indicates, this drink is like a fresh breeze.  Once mixing the three drink ingredients, throw in some frozen cranberries.  These make for festive ice cubes, a nice pop of color, and keeps your drink cold without watering it down.  Finally, garnish with rosemary.   

Wine decisions red or white? Heather C

I also had a variety of red and white wines and water on hand.  You can jazz it up the water by putting a large ice cube with frozen oranges and cranberries inside the container.  

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So that covers what we ate and drank at the Swag Bag Party.  If you missed all the fun swag items you will want to check that out here.  The recipe for the Peary Beary Cocktail here and other party ideas here.
Next I’ll be showing you how I turned my office wall  into a photo back drop.  Here’s a sneek peek.
Photo wall
XOXO  Sarah
Party Pic photos by the talented @verajeanaephotography

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Are you ready for a very peary holiday cocktail?  This drink is so simple and festive for the holidays.  It looks like your drinking Christmas.  Yes!!

You’ll need:

Pear vodka
Apple juice
Cranberry juice
Cranberries and lime for garnish

Mix equal part of the pear vodka, cranberry juice, and apple juice.  Stir, garnish, and enjoy!!

Party Tip:  I like to freeze cranberries and the juice to add to the cocktail.  This prevents it from getting watered down.

very peary holiday cocktail cranberry ice cubes very peary holiday cocktail

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The O’Fallon Brewery pumpkin pack is one of my favorite treats when it hits the shelf at Dierbergs during the fall season.  These tasty brews will have you looking forward to autumn every year.  The popularity of the O’Fallon Pumpkin Pack is so high though, they fly off the shelves shortly after being stocked.  Last year I could not find it anywhere.  This year I decided to plan ahead reserve a Pumpkin pack and and host a pumpkin beer tasting party because there’s nothing like enjoying the Fall season with your girlfriends.      

How to host a pumpkin beer tasting party  

  • Set a date
  • Find a venue
  • Contact the venue
  • Think about food and drinks
  • Have an activity 
Pumpkin_Beer
O’Fallon Brewery Pumpkin Pack

1. Set A Date:

Talk to your friends and see who is interested in attending and what dates and times work best.  I wanted to keep this group to between 6-10 people since I wasn’t having it at my house.  This makes it easier to talk to everyone too.   I decided 8:00 p.m. was a good time, I wanted to squeeze in a little quality time with my boys after work and have time to freshen up, before heading out.

Pumpkin Beer Tasting
Pumpkin Beer Tasting

2.  Find a venue:

Many times hosting at your house is the natural option.  If you’re like me, hosting a party at my house can be stressful after working all week.  Picking a neutral location can make it a lot more enjoyable because you won’t have to worry about getting your house picked up prior to your guests arriving, and cleanup is a snap.  The Dierbergs in Des Peres on Manchester Rd. was an ideal location for this party because it features a balcony area by the main entrance, they provide glassware, and every Friday night there’s a live band.  Plus, unlike at a restaurant, you won’t have to worry about how long your party runs and if you’re occupying much-needed tables during busy times.  Think outside the box when deciding on a venue.  It’s more important to get together than to have the perfect setting.   Some other options are  Park pavilions, Recreation facility, church hall, private rooms or alcoves at restaurants, your neighborhood clubhouse and coffee shops.

3.  Contact the venue and find out all the details.

It’s important to note any policies they might have, so you don’t have any snags once you arrive.

4.  Think about the food and drinks:

If you love cooking, making your own food items for the party is a great cost-saving approach.  However, I literally did one-stop-shopping at Dierbergs for my food and drinks.  The beer was not the only item that was pumpkin themed  here is what I got:

  • O’Fallon Brewery Pumpkin Beer 12-pack, which included flavors like “Jack O’ Latte”, and “Pumpkin Bread”
  • Sweet bakery items: pumpkin gooey butter cake bites,  pumpkin cupcakes, and scones.  I asked Dierberg’s to put this together for me since I was sticking to a pumpkin theme.  They were easy to work with and charged me for the food and a few extra dollars for the platter so just ask them if you want something you don’t see.  

 

Pumpkin_platter_of_treats
Pumpkin_platter

5. Have an activity:  

I like to have some sort of activity or simple icebreaker, especially if your friends don’t all know each other already.  I thought  it would be fun to get my friends’ engaged in tasting each beer, so my husband created a pumpkin beer tasting sheet.  Then they can make comments and grade each flavor.  The results from my tasting had the classic O’Fallon Pumpkin Beer claiming the blue ribbon, and O’Fallon Jack O’ Latte was runner-up. 

The food winner was far-and-away pumpkin gooey butter cake bites, followed by pumpkin cupcakes.

So, what’s your favorite pumpkin-themed recipe?  Is it a scrumptious sweet item, savory entree, or are you a novice brewer who makes your own pumpkin beer?

Happy Fall everyone!

XOXO Sarah

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The weather has cooled off in St Louis so I’m obsessed with getting my boys outside as much as possible.  Many nights we will take our dinner to a playground or park and enjoy the outside while we eat.  Being a working mom, I don’t have loads of time with my boys so I try to find ways to make our time together special without a lot of work.

Here’s what we do:

  1.  Keep a blanket, towel, even your yoga mats in your car so you can be spontaneous when you’re in the picnic mood.
  2. If packing food isn’t an option and you’re not in the mood for fast food, we like to get “grab and go” from The Art of Entertaining in Webster Groves.  They have healthy options my kids like too.  Mason is eating the Smart Start breakfast option which includes fruit, yogurt, and a popular mini muffin.
  3. One additional thing I like to do is use these fun kids conversation cards to generate interesting dialogue with my boys.  It helps keep topics off the bathroom which for some reason boys love to talk about.  🙁  LOL

Fill me in on how you like to picnic.  Have fun enjoying your quality outdoor time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a side note, my boys LOVE dogs.  They want to pet every dog they see.  I was recently looking for some cute graphic T’s for a family photo and found these adorable options.

Puppy Applique T-shirtPuppy long sleeve optionRound towel for picnic | Art of Entertaining grab and go foods

I love infusing water with flavor in the summer.  Here is one of my favorite spa water combinations.

Water
Fresh Lemons sliced
Sliced cucumbers
Mint leaves, muddled

Mix together and chill in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!  XOXO

I’m always on the look out for healthy snacks I can keep with me while on the go that don’t require temperature control.    Here are some of my favs!  Enjoy!!

 

 

 

  1.  Think thin bar (salted carmel)
  2. Skinny Pop Popcorn
  3. Banana
  4. Sweet chili pistachios
  5. Apple
  6. Extra Gum
  7. Trader Joe’s Turkey Jerky
  8. Baby carrots

 

Tapped– Maplewood

 

If you’re looking for a fun date night or GNO that’s a new concept in going to a bar, then the new Tapped should be on your short list. Tapped allows you to taste over 40 craft beers, ciders and wines, without the commitment of purchasing a whole bottle. Plus, all of the selections are regionally and locally produced.

When you arrive, the hostess opens your tab by giving you a bracelet which contains a computer chip.  This chip activates the self-serve taps, and detects when you have started and completed your pour.  You pay per ounce, so you can try all you want until you find the one you love.

When we visited, I opted for some of their fruit-based beers

My favorites were:

  1. O’Fallon’s “Daze of Summer”
  2. Bur Oak Brewing Co.’s “Lilly Ale”
  3. O’Fallon’s “Pineapple Wheach”

Of their 48 taps, 8 feature wine.

Their menu has a variety of shareables, salads, pizzas and sandwiches.  The Bavarian pretzels will melt in your mouth.  Yum!!!

Since Tapped is self-serve, they don’t accept tips.  However, if you leave any gratuity, it’s donated to charity which changes every week.

Cheers!!  Let me know your favorites.

XOXO, Sarah