Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

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Hocus Pocus – Yumtastic!

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

I love Halloween. Not only is the dressing up fun, but CANDY! And not only candy, but all kinds of adorable treats.

This past weekend we went to a Halloween Baby Shower for our friends Laura and Evan. That was a first. Tons of fun. Our fabulous friends, Paige and Alex dressed their 3 yr. old son, Lucien up as Michael Meyers. Which I thought was hilarious.

Here’s our photo together.

How awesome (and scary) is this little killer? I

How awesome (and scary) is this little killer? 

Are you looking for a new, easy, adorable recipe to feed your party guests? How about this Hocus Pocus inspired smores pop? The folks at Delish have got it going on.

I need these. Well, I don’t actually NEED them, but I sure would love to have one. 🙂

Love these!

Love these!

Let me know if you make them and how they turn out!


xoxo, Patti


Frito Fail!

Friday, October 21st, 2016

Good Morning Darlings,

Happy Friday!

It’s always a hoot when things in the kitchen don’t go as planned. Eric and I got a wild hair last weekend to try and whip up homemade fritos to go with chili. The New York Times had what looked like a super easy recipe with basically three ingredients.

And ours looked pretty close to the ones pictured in the Times.

Here’s their photo:

New York Times Fritos (on the right)

New York Times Fritos (on the right)

And here’s ours:

I seriously have to use a better camera, y'all.

I seriously have to use a better camera, y’all.

Perhaps I should have laid mine out on pretty polka dot wrapping paper?

Anyhoo, Frito Lay doesn’t have to worry about going out of business. We immediately went out and bought three bags of real fritos. We had friends coming over! We couldn’t feed them these homemade things.

But we did – just so they could see what the homemade version tastes like. And you know what? They ate them, because they are awesome people. Polite to the max.  It was the first attempt. We can get better.

Popping out to the store is so much easier and tastier, though.

What are you cooking this weekend?

xoxo, Patti


Friday, March 25th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

I’ve been so busy lately, but I’ve missed you! And now it’s almost Easter.

Bestie Melanie is cooking dinner and I am contributing deviled eggs and lemon meringue cupcakes. Don’t these cupcakes sound divine? Take a look at how pretty they are!


Now, that isn’t my finished product, but it did come from the lovely people at Nielsen-Massey, who were so kind to send me their gorgeous vanilla AND lemon extract so I could recreate this masterpiece at home.

And, it would not be kind of me to keep the recipe all to myself. Here you go – make these and look like a superstar this Sunday!

Lemon Cupcakes with Marshmallow Meringue(Makes 2 Dozen)

For the Cupcakes:
2½ cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest (3-4 large lemons)
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Lemon Extract
3 large eggs
½ cup low-fat buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350?F. Place paper liners into two standard cupcake tins; set aside. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend and set aside.In a large mixing bowl, add butter, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla and lemon extracts. With a handheld mixer, beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients one-half at a time, alternating with buttermilk; beat after each addition and scrape sides of bowl as needed. Do not overmix batter.Fill each liner with about ¼ cup batter and bake until done, about 18 minutes. Carefully place cupcakes in 2 (9 x 13) pans and cover with plastic wrap; set aside to cool. Make sure the wrap does not touch the cupcake tops; this method of cooling will make deliciously moist cupcakes.

For the Marshmallow Meringue:
4 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ cup sugar
1 cup marshmallow creme
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
¼ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Lemon Extract

In a large bowl, add egg whites and cream of tartar. With a handheld mixer, beat on medium-high speed until foamy. Increase mixer speed to high and gradually add sugar until soft peaks form.Add marshmallow creme, vanilla and lemon extracts, and beat until combined. Using the back of a spoon, mound and creatively swirl meringue onto each cooled cupcake.Place cupcakes on a rimmed sheet pan. Use a handheld kitchen torch or place under a broiler and toast until golden brown. If using the broiler method, watch to ensure meringue does not over brown.

xoxo, Patti

Brunch Time

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings,

Brunch is my favorite meal. And since it really only makes sense two days out of the week, you can really make it special.

At our house, brunch can turn into a 7 hour affair that can become quite raucous. But we like that kind of thing.

What to serve? Champagne is a must. Cava and prosecco are perfectly budget conscious replacements. Just think bubbly. Then you can add orange juice for a mimosa, peach puree for a bellini and anything else that strikes your fancy. A bloody mary bar is always appreciated, too. Fill bowls with olives, onions, stalks of celery and let your guests build their own. Add worcestershire sauce as well as salt and pepper or hot sauce to top off the fun.

This is the time to break out your best everything – china, wine glasses, flatware, napkins. You can arrange some pretty flowers around the table, making sure not to create an arrangement that is so high your guests can’t see each other from across the table. Hydrangeas set in a pretty bowl would be nice this time of year.

Lovely hydrangeas

Next – what will you serve? I like to try and keep it simple, with a make ahead menu that will allow me to spend more time chatting with my guests instead of feeling like a slave in the kitchen. A few weeks ago, this is what we served for a group of 6:


Starbucks Coffee Cake (it’s so easy and delicious!)

Chipotle Candied Bacon

Hashbrown Casserole

Fresh Strawberries


Notes on the menu:

Coffee Cake: Next time I make this (and I WILL make it again – it is so good) I will line the pan with aluminum foil so it overlaps the edges and I can lift the entire cake out. Not lining the pan caused the cake to stick to the bottom because it was so moist. I know, first world problems. I also made this the day before the party.

Chipotle Candied Bacon: I prepped two pans of the bacon, set on cookie racks sprayed with Pan and then wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge the night before. The next morning, I took them out so they could come to room temperature and popped them in the oven with the casserole.

Hashbrown Casserole: Not sure what went wrong, but I’m thinking I didn’t cook it nearly enough as the potatoes weren’t particularly crunchy, which I would have liked. My guests were super polite and ate it anyway. Lol.

Brunch is such a fun and economical way to get friends together. If everyone brings a bottle of bubbly, your cost goes way down, while the fun stays waaaaay up. If you don’t bake, pick up a coffee cake or bagels from the store.

It’s all about having fun. Don’t stress out. 🙂

xoxo, Patti


Guest Post – A Twist on Blueberry Pie!

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

Good Morning Darlings,

I am so happy to hand the reins over today to my dear friend and business partner, Carrie. She is an incredible cook and can whip up a party in a moment’s notice. It’s truly fabulous to behold.

Southern Living Magazine is one of our favorites, so when they asked if I would pick something to try from their newest issue, I was just dying over the pie on the cover.  Carrie picked up the ball and ran with it…here’s her story. Enjoy!

Take it away, Carrie!

Baking Fails

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Good Morning Darlings,

Does every cake turn out perfect?

Um, no. I really felt for these baking fails. I laughed so hard I cried.



And here’s one from my own archives. I tried to make Crystal a lemon layer cake. I swear that cake was trying to run away. It kept sliding off the bottom layer. A personal best! Not.


Share your baking fails with me!


Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Good Morning Darlings!

Here in Atlanta we are going to see torrential rain for July 4th. Will that stop the party?

Heck no!! We will be at our dear friend, Melanie’s house. It is going to be a HAPPENING. I can’t wait!

I am making double bacon potato salad. If some bacon is good, more is better, right?

What are you up to? I am crushing on these fun photos:

Cupcakes, icing, and well, more cupcakes!

Apparently, I’m on an icing kick.

I’m not even sure what these are, but I need them in my life.

And I HAVE TO HAVE everything on this sweet website:

Love love love

I wish you and your loved ones a fabulous and safe July 4th. Leave a comment and let me know what you are up to!!

xoxo, Patti

My Snack Bracket Winning Recipe

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Good Morning Darlings!

As I gear up for Super Bowl Sunday and our Snack Bracket, I think I’ve found the winning recipe.

Although, now that I’m getting ready to link to it, I think Holly might have already made this once before and I disremember.

Anyhoo! I found this on Taste and Tell and I’m going to make it for Sunday. Maybe. If I don’t find something else.

Sorry, Hol.

Holly might have beat me to this.

Season’s Musings

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Good Morning Darlings!

Can you believe it’s almost Christmas? Holy cow!

We are hosting a tiny dessert and cocktail party late Christmas night. Seems like a good time. Everyone will be done with family celebrations and be ready to unwind.

What do the holidays hold for you?

Thanksgiving Appetizers – Sausage Balls

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Good Morning Darlings!

When I am asked to bring an appetizer to a party, sausage balls are my go-to recipe. It is ridiculously easy and they taste so good.

A couple of weekends ago, I had 3 parties to go to, so I whipped up 3 different versions of the basic recipe.

Pop in and get in the kitchen with me!