Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

California al Fresco Summer Dinner Party

Crostini Recipe from Alfresco Dining Party

Event styling and photography: Marina of Yummy Mummy Kitchen

California Alfresco Dining Party

Event styling and photography: Marina of Yummy Mummy Kitchen

Grilling Vegetables at California Alfresco Dining Party

Event styling and photography: Marina of Yummy Mummy Kitchen

California Avocado Salad for Summer Alfresco Dinner Party

Event styling and photography: Marina of Yummy Mummy Kitchen

Marina, a food blogger in California, is here with a guest post today to tell you all about hosting a summer al fresco party! We are so excited for her first post on the Layla Grayce blog – enjoy!

A few weeks ago, two of my girlfriends and I hosted a backyard dinner party for our dear friends who were moving to the Netherlands. We wanted to send them off with a beautiful table, flowers, delicious California style food and wine, and 12 of their closest friends. We all have young kids, so we arranged babysitters for the evening so we could spend some rare adult time together.

I was in charge of the table setting. For our 13 guests, we set two 6-foot long tables together in the backyard. I chose a simple white tablecloth, homemade burlap runner, and beautiful Pom Pom at Home White Linen Napkins tied with twine and lavender flowers. Our guests loved these super soft linen napkins. I also love the matching Pom Pom at Home White Table Runners, which have a rustic, elegant and cozy feel. For the centerpiece, I used a gorgeous Aidan Gray Decor Metal Plate Stand and filled it with jars and roses from my garden. Its patina is stunning and reminds me of something that could only be found in Europe.

My friend Holley was in charge of appetizers. Her crostini station was a huge hit with our guests, who nibbled on baguette toast, cheeses, spreads and nuts. Holley, another friend, Ronda, and I divided up the cooking and chose make-ahead recipes that could be served at room temperature. We served dinner family style, which was easy and created a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. Grilled summer vegetables were served using this Eclectic Hostess Serving Set, which has a beautiful patina and vintage flair. I’ll definitely be ordering another few sets of these to give out as hostess gifts. I love that no two sets are identical.

Crostini Station


  • ~ 1-2 baguettes, toasted and sliced
  • ~ 3 soft cheeses
  • ~ 3 spreads or soft toppings, such as hot pepper jelly, apricot jam, roasted tomatoes or tomato bruschette
  • ~ 3 hard toppings, such as various types of nuts


Arrange bread and all toppings in small bowls for self-serving

Grilled Summer Vegetables


  • ~ 2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
  • ~ 2 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
  • ~1 Japanese eggplant, sliced lengthwise
  • ~ 1 large red onion, quartered
  • ~ 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends trimmed off
  • ~1 bunch small carrots, tops trimmed off
  • ~ 1 each red and yellow bell pepper, halved and seeded
  • ~¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ~ 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ~ 3 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
  • ~2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • ~ ¼ teaspoon sea salt


Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat vegetables with oil, garlic, herbs and salt Cover and refrigerate 4-8 hours..

Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat. Lightly coat the grill with cooking spray.  

Place vegetable pieces on hot grill and cook, turning once, until tender crisp, about 2 minutes per side.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heirloom Tomato, Cucumber and Avocado Salad


  • ~ 5 cups mixed heirloom tomatoes wedges
  • ~ 2 small English hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • ~2 avocadoes, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • ~ 1 bunch fresh basil, sliced or torn
  • ~ 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ~2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ~ Sea salt
  • ~ Freshly cracked pepper


Place tomatoes, cucumber, avocadoes and basil in a large serving bowl or platter.

Drizzle with oil and vinegar and gently toss to coat.  

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

*Can be made several hours in advance, covered and refrigerated.

Serving Up Love, Valentine Style

Heart Shaped Food Ideas for Valentine's Day
Spice Cake Doughnuts with Cinnamon Glaze via My Baking Heart, Heart-Shaped Pancakes via Shopping Nanny,
Cherry Tomatoes & Cocktail Sauce via Eye Candy

Heart Shaped Valentine's Day Food
Heart-Shaped Appetizers via Martha Stewart, Four Cheese Ravioli via Annie’s Eats,
Heart-Shaped Pizza via Chef Mom

Show Valentine’s Day love for the sweeties in your house by surprising them with meals that will delight them (and earn you points for creativity). Start the day with heart shaped spice cake doughnuts or pancakes, snack on cleverly skewered cherry tomatoes or figs and sup on heart shaped ravioli or pizza for the kids. Get creative! Have some fun food ideas you’d like to share? Let us know about them in the comments below!

Game Day Snacks: Keep Those Resolutions Or Break Them?

Game Day Snacks: break the resolutions!
GAME DAY SNACKS: BREAK THOSE RESOLUTIONS! Spinach Artichoke Dip, Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Habanero Mayo Dipping Sauce, Mexican Layer Dip

Game Day Snacks: keep the resolutions!
GAME DAY SNACKS: KEEP THOSE RESOLUTIONS! Baked Buffalo Chicken Bites, Lime Chipotle Turkey Sliders, Caprese Bites

Ready to cheer on your favorite team New Year’s Day? Even if you’re not a football fan, it’s hard to avoid the battle of the bowls come January first. Which do you go for – Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Gator Bowl? And even more challenging, do you opt for game day snacks from the fruit bowl or strategize the best way to tackle the 7 layer dip bowl? Whether you resolve to keep your diet resolutions or break them, we have some tasty options for the game day hostess to serve, all laden with flavor and texture (and some with a bit more fat and calories than others!) What’s your strategy for 2012?

Mocha Peppermint Cupcakes

epicurious mom mocha peppermint cupcake recipe
At Layla Grayce, we love a sweet treat (just about any time of the day or night!) So you can imagine how thrilled we were when Katie Koonce of Epicurean Mom “gifted” us with this inspired cupcake recipe that she created exclusively for us. Mocha Peppermint cupcakes are today’s feature – delish! Katie explains how she incorporated favorite holiday flavors of chocolate and peppermint to create this palate pleaser:


3 Berry Delicious Strawberry Shortcake Variations

Healthy Strawberry Shortcake
Healthy Strawberry Shortcake recipe: Laura Deen via Hostess with the Mostess
Photo: Evan Sung

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake
Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake recipe and photo: The Supreme Plate

Strawberry Shortcake Popsicles
Strawberry Shortcake Popsicles recipe and photo: Brooklyn Supper via The Family Kitchen

Blue skies and sun drenched days signal that summer will soon be here, and opening the season this month are fresh strawberries. The sweet, heart–shaped bite finds its way into any meal, paired with everything from morning cereal to evening champagne, but the fruit takes its most iconic form in strawberry shortcake. To get us ready for upcoming roadside stands of berries, we’ve got three “fresh” takes on the traditional treat. Go guilt free with a healthy rendition by Laura Deen seen on Hostess with the Mostess, indulge in a chocolate sensation with The Supreme Plate’s version,or cool off from the heat with a frozen variation by Brooklyn Supper on The Family Kitchen. How do you take your shortcake?

Not Just Eggs for Easter

Rhubarb white chocolate muffins
Whether it’s scrambling to tie bows and coif hair for picture perfect looks or kids heading straight from bed to nibbling on chocolate bunny ears, a frenetic pace seems the norm for Easter morning. We found this delish muffin recipe by Patricia Scarpin to bring method to the madness. Make ahead for a quick breakfast or as part of an eggs-stravagant brunch. If you’re like us and the last rhubarb you saw was in your grandmother’s garden, Patricia says they’re equally delicious substituting strawberries. And don’t forget to nominate Patricia’s blog Technicolor Kitchen for Saveur’s 2011 Food Blog Awards!

Rhubarb White Chocolate Muffins
(adapted from Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe)
Makes 12 muffins


  • ~ 1 ½ cups + 1 ½ tablespoons all purpose flour
  • ~ ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ~ 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ~ pinch of salt
  • ~ 1 egg
  • ~ 1 egg yolk
  • ~ 2/3 cup caster (superfine) sugar
  • ~ ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • ~ ½ cup whole milk, room temperature
  • ~ ½ cup plain yogurt, room temperature
  • ~ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ~ 1 ¼ cup rhubarb, chopped
  • ~ ½ cup white chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line twelve 1/3-cup capacity muffin pans with paper liners.*

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg and egg yolk with a fork. Add the sugar, butter, milk, yogurt and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients into the large bowl and mix lightly with a fork. Add the rhubarb and the white chocolate and mix, again with the fork – do not overmix the batter or you’ll end up with tough muffins.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake for 15-18 minutes or until risen and golden – a skewer inserted in the center of a muffin should come out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then carefully remove from the pan and transfer to the wire rack to cool completely.

* Paper liners make unmolding muffins much easier since white chocolate chips may stick to sides of the muffin pan.

photo and recipe adaptation: © Technicolor Kitchen


Easter Crafts With Kids

Easter crafts
Yarn Eggs from Family Fun Magazine, Easter Art Glittered with Crushed Egg Shells from Make and Takes, Bunny Finger Puppets from The Purl Bee

Easter treats
Bunny Pops from eighteen25, Fluffer Bunnies from Family Fun Magazine, Carrot Patch Cookies from Family Fun Magaazine

Bounce into the Easter season with some of the cutest craft ideas and treats for kids. Finger puppets and suspended yarn eggs are irresistibly adorable in pretty Spring colors, and we love the idea of repurposing eye dying duds, turning them into instant Easter egg glittered art pieces! Reward their efforts with mom-made bunny pops, hide fluffer bunnies about the house for little ones to find or let them create and dig in to their own sweet little carrot patch.


Cheese, Bread, Bacon – You Know You’ll Love It

Arugula, Bacon & Gruyère Bread Pudding
Throw diet resolutions to the wind and live a little, because how could these ingredients come together and NOT be totally delish? They say everything is better with bacon, so why not try a savory version of bread pudding that could stand in for brunch, dinner or a side dish (how versatile!) But be forewarned, Lottie + Doof say that the leftovers are nowhere near as good as fresh baked, so do plan to clean the dish. We’re hopeful that the calorie burn from enthusiastic consumption count for something…

Arugula, Bacon & Gruyère Bread Pudding (adapted from Gourmet)
Serves 4 (main course) or 6 (side dish) | Cook and prep time total: 1 Hour


  • ~ 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • ~ ½ cup heavy cream
  • ~ 5 large eggs
  • ~ 6 bacon slices
  • ~ 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • ~ 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ~ 7 oz baby arugula or baby spinach (6 cups)
  • ~ 6 cups cubed (1-inch) country-style bread (1 lb)
  • ~ 5 ½ oz Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated (1 ½ cups)


Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Butter a 2-qt shallow baking dish. Whisk together milk, cream, eggs, and 1/4 tsp each of salt and black pepper in a large bowl.

Cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp. Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain, then coarsely crumble.

Pour off all but 1 Tbsp fat from skillet. Increase heat to medium-high and cook shallot and garlic, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Gradually add arugula and cook, stirring, until it wilts.

Stir arugula mixture, bacon, bread, and cheese into custard. Transfer to baking dish and cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake until golden in spots, about 10 minutes more.

photos and recipe adaptation: © Lottie + Doof


I Give You My Heart (The Adult Sweetheart Edition)

Stenciling Technique Tips
Stenciling Techniques
by Julia Usher

Valentine's Ideas for Adults
Love Letters
by Julia Usher

Valentine's Food Ideas for Adults
Heart Shaped Cinnamon Rolls by Pinch My Salt, Heart Shaped Egg-In-A-Nest by Pinch My Salt, Chocolate Crepes with Strawberries by Gina’s Skinny Recipes

Adult sweethearts will love a heart shaped surprise as much as the kids. Get creative with gorgeous stenciled cookies or a box full of tasty love letters, or start the day with a breakfast made with love (we know you’ll put your “heart” into it!)


I Give You My Heart (The Petite Sweetheart Edition)

Valentine's Day Food Ideas for Kids
Conversation Heart Cake Pops by Three Kids and Us, Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches by Martha Stewart Living and Candy Heart Bracelets by Brown Paper Packages

Valentine's Day Food Ideas for Kids
Valentine Pizza by One Charming Party, Heavenly Heart Shaped Pancakes by Very Best Baking and Healthy Hearts by Family Fun Magazine

Surprise your little guys and gals with some tasty Valentine’s treats that are perfect for the younger crowd. From breakfast on through dinner, keep ‘em guessing where the hearts will turn up next – pancakes, cake pops, fruit and even on pizza??? Well, what says “I love you” more than heart shaped pepperoni?