buon appetito

antipasto plate_jsorelle

We’re Italian and proud of it. We love our heritage and the Italian culture…and of course, the food! Our mouths water with the site of a good Antipasto Platter.

But, how do they do it? How do people create that savory “before the meal” plate that can bring people together and satisfy their cravings? What’s the secret to a beautiful and delicious Antipasto Plate?

We know an expert who can tell us…because we know a place that does everything right when it comes to Italian food and ambiance.

Parisi.

Christine and Simone successfully recreated a little piece of Italy in Denver, Colorado. If you haven’t been, you need to go. And, if you don’t live in CO, you need to add a visit to CO to your bucket list, and add Parisi to your must-eat list.

Here’s owner Christine’s tips for a delectable Antipasto Platter.

- Make sure there’s a balance of olives, cheese, cold cuts & toasted bread with topping.
- Include a mix of soft and hard cheese.
- Tempt the palette with new flavors because people always like to try new things, but also intermingle with a few familiar flavors.
- Keep the toppings simple for the Bruschetta using seasonal veggies. It’s nice to add a little sweet balsamic to the mix to balance out the savory.

parisi antipasto platter_jsorelle

And, what about the essential sidekick to a yummy Antipasto Platter, otherwise known as wine? Christine has us covered there too.
“Reds are a good choice for heartier antipasti plates such as a San Giovese blend {San Giovese is the grape used for Chianti and so many of the Tuscan faves),” she said. “But a refreshing Pinot Grigio isn’t a bad choice for those who insist on white.” 
She added, “Oh, and then there is one of my favorite red Italian blends from the Veneto region:  La Cappuccina’s Madego.. it’s organic and so smooth, but not boring. But I am all for blends these days…I can’t commit to just one grape.”
parisi antipasto platter_jsorelle
The list of ingredients from the mouth-watering plate Meredith Moran of Meredith Moran Photography snapped for us at Parisi includes…
Drunken Goat (harder goat cheese immersed in red wine)
Fresh Asiago
Pecorino Picante
Prosciutto di Parma
Finocchiona salame (with fennel)
Castelvetrano & Kalamata Olives
Mortadella
Pancetta
Bruschetta with an artichoke topping & a cherry tomato topping
parisi antipasto platter_jsorelle
Now are you ready to impress your guests with the most amazing Antipasto Platter ever? Of course, if you need some authentic Italian food for inspiration, a great sandwich for lunch, an impressive place to bring a special date, or you just want to indulge yourself because you deserve it, stop by Parisi. If you want to eat for hours like the Italian’s do in a more intimate setting, make a reservation right below Parisi at Firenze a Tavola {same owners}. I promise, you will want to go back for more. It’s special to us, not only because Florence is our love affair city, but also because Jenna and Will celebrated their rehearsal dinner at Firenze a Tavola, and that was just the beginning to a wonderful life together.
parisi denver_jsorelle
parisit denver_jsorelle
Thanks to Christine at Parisi and Meredith Moran for making this post possible.

roller coaster of love

We’re about 2 months late posting this, but better late than never right? We made a special set of coasters for my mom and grandma this year for Mother’s Day, and today we are sharing our DIY with you. Custom tiles make for a lovely Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthday, or anniversary gift. And, if you have a loved one that loves photos like our mom does, he/she will really appreciate this gift.

I had extra paper and medium {{I ordered bulk transfer kits a year ago for another project} from Tilano, a photo transfer kit/products, that transfers photos from special paper to tile, and I bought 9 marble coasters from Home Depot for $4 – that was all I needed for this special gift.

I followed Tilano directions {for more thorough instructions, read them here}, and have outlined my steps below…

How To Make Custom Photo Coasters
Find images you want to use, and mirror the images. I used Picnik, an amazing photo editing tool, conveniently {and free} on Google+ to mirror the images.
Make sure each image is 4×4 {or the size of your tile} – I had Jenna at Fleur de Lis edit each image to a 4×4 size, and next to each other {so I didn’t waste paper} onto a PDF}
Make a laser copy of my images onto the shiny side of the Tilano Imaging Paper™ with a laser printer.
Do not cut each image yet…that will come after you apply a thin coat of medium.
Shake the Tilano Medium™ before use. Lightly brush a thin layer of medium onto the laser copy of your image. Use quick, even brush strokes and don’t apply medium to any part of the image more than once because it will smear. It is easy for the ink to smear.

Apply a thin coat of the medium onto the entire surface and edges of the tile too, and let each dry for 45 minutes.
Once it’s dry, cut the image.
Using the foam brush, apply 1 tablespoon of the Medium to the entire surface of the tile.

Immediately apply your image face down and use a spreader to flatten the image so there are no air bubbles. The easiest way to do this is to push firmly from the center of the images outwards. Wipe the spreader clean each time so no Medium gets on the back of the paper.

Place the coaster on a cookie sheet and place it in the oven for 15 minutes at 170 degrees, then let it cool for about 15 minutes.
Rinse the foam brush so all the Medium is removed.
Fill a cup with water, and apply water to the back of the paper with the foam brush until it becomes totally transparent {about 30 seconds}. If there is an area or spot that did not become transparent, add more water and rub until it becomes transparent.

Use your fingers to peel the paper off starting where the paper has lifted on a corner.


Let the coaster dry for 30 minutes.
Once dry, use sand paper to sand the edges of the photo to create a ‘vintage look.’
{left is not filed with sand paper below, but the right is…hopefully you can see the difference}

Dip the brush in the medium and apply a thick coat to the entire surface and edges of the tile using even strokes. Let the coaster dry for 45 minutes, then apply another coat. 3 coats will provide the greatest durability {I think I just did 2}.
Stack coasters, tie with twine and add to a tray with coffee or a cocktail and snacks, and bring to your loved one. Every time they drink, they can smiles and cheers to the beautiful faces on their custom coaster set.

For any questions or more info about the Tilano kits specifically, go to www.tilano.net for FAQs and downloadable templates.

{images via Tutto Bella}

building hope around the world

My husband is a builder and an Ambassador for Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties. Every year Habitat for Humanity hosts a Carpenter’s Ball in celebration of their mission of bringing people together to build homes communities and hope. It’s their signature fundraising event, and after attending 3 prior Ball’s, this year was my absolute favorite. They mixed things up from their standard cocktails/silent auction and ceremony/sit-down dinner…and it was a fabulous time!

This year’s annual ball, “Building Hope Around the World,” brought people together in a festive way – each guests received a Passport to experience food and drink from regions around the globe where Habitat is making a difference offering housing solutions. Here’s why I think this international wine and food tasting worked and was a success:

It allowed everyone to mingle and not be stuck at one table.

Guests really learned about Habitat and the places they make a difference around the world, not just by reading it in a program or hearing it from the President of Habitat during a speech in a ballroom, but by ‘visiting’ stations inspired by the locations, along with interesting facts about the specific location.

We were able to try all kinds of new and delicious foods inspired by cultures from around the world, along with paired beverages. The talented Chef Richard Hinojosa of Larkspur Restaurant designed six, three course tasting menus paired with great wine and other beverages. From Braised Fennel Citrus Sea Scallops to Little Larkburgers at the USA station. Shrimp Pad Thai to Steamed Pork Bao in Asia & Pacific. Crème Fraiche Pierogi {my personal fave} and a Hungarian Risotto with Spring Pea Pancetta created the European flavors with Veuve Clicquot to compliment the cuisine at that station.

Opportunity to bid on unique auction items.

Great, live music.

Being a DIYer, I was impressed with the construction-themed DIY details Elyse Howard, Development Director at Habitat Humanity, and her team executed beautifully. Some of my fave DIYs were the nuts and bolts in mason and hob nail jars, real ladders that we use at the job site and wood for auction shelving, burlap runners and habitat hard hats with mints and labeled lotion and soap in the bathrooms. They also used biodegradable bamboo “vessels” for the food which you can find here.

Lighting, which I’ve come to believe really sets the tone for a party, was warm with amber up lighting around the room, and custom gobos added a personalized touch. And a wow factor was the exposed lightbulb chandelier, which exuded an elegant work site feeling.

Can’t wait for next years party, Elyse. Thanks for sharing this year’s photos with us.


{this was my favorite display – food and wine lined up along wood planks {anchored at each end with different sized wood blocks} at different heights to appear ‘stepped.’}

Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.  Habitat builds simple, decent, affordable homes in partnership with local families in need.  Founded in 1995, Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties has served 42 families to date housing over 120 children. To learn more about Habitat, or how to become involved, visit http://www.habitatvailvalley.org/.

VENDOR LOVE

Photography: Joe Kania from Axel Media Solutions
Annual Event Operations/Production and Planning
: Highline Sports & Entertainment {special thanks for Katie at Highline for her help in planning and DIY projects}
Decor: Pink Monkey Solutions {chandelier, gobo light, lounge areas, burlap pipe and drape, burlap runners, hob nail and mason jar centerpieces, food station decor and overall look and feel}
Venue and Food: Larkspur Restaurant
Photo Booth: Patrick at Go Photo Booth
Invitation: Bahan Design
Entertainment:  My Brother’s Keeper Band
Alcohol: Veuve Clicquot, Grand Marnier, Milbrant Vinyards, Crazy Mountain Brewery
Auction tablet software/smart phone bidding: AES  Solutions

Sponsors:
ANB Bank
Amanda Precourt
Hermes Resort Properties
Alpine Bank
Beck Building
Bob and Sue Baker
First Bank
Gallegos
George Schaeffer Construction Company
Land Title
Laureen Hopkins Interior Designs
Remonov & CO
Ron Byrne & Associates Real Estate
Ruggs Benedict
Slifer Smith and Frampton
VAg, inc Architects and Planners
Vail Board of Realtors
Vail Daily
Vail Resorts
Veuve Clicquot

to: dad

We found some great gifts for the men in our lives, as we celebrate them on Sunday, Father’s Day. Cheers to dad! I know we have the best dad in the world, and I know my kids are blessed to have my hubby as a dad too.

Billy Jealousy Shave Cream, Nordstrom
{my husbands fave}

The Mantry
sold in one month, 3 month and 6 month subscriptions. Each Mantry includes 6 full size artisan food products delivered to your door and packed in a handmade wooden crate, along with a custom manual detailing product stories and recipes.

Corkcicle Chillsner
Corkcicle impressed us with the wine Corkcicle, and now they are pleasing the men too, the first in-bottle, drink-through beer chiller. Perfect for those hot summer days where no one wants a warm beer in hand.

Cigar of the Month Club
For $24.95 a month, plus $5 shipping, your dad will receive five hand-rolled premium cigars from the world’s top producers, along with a newsletter with tasting notes, cigar profiles and alcohol pairings. Shipments will be sent monthly, every other month or every 3 months.

Horseshoe Set, LL Bean {$69}

Brew2Go, The Product Farm
Hopefully you bought mom a Vino2Go for Mother’s Day, so now Dad can be a part of the cocktail action too with a Brew2Go.

Star Trek Wine, VinPort
If your dad is a cool Trekky like ours, he will love this bottle of wine that celebrates the series.

Men’s Santa Cruz, Crocs {$55}
my dad loves these

{image via Corkcicle, The Mantry, Cigar of the Month Club, Crocs, LL Bean, VinPort, The Product Farm}

the little things…

It’s the little things in life that have the biggest impact sometimes. When I think of the little things that make me smile, it’s watching my kids discover something new for the first time, or the sound of tiny feet running into our bedroom in the morning, or a sweet note from a friend, a hug, a smile – whatever it may be, the little things are noticed and often, never forgotten.

All that was so ‘high level;’ in relation to what this post is really about. I’m not even sure why I got into that. This post is so not deep or philosophical. But, you know those little things that you’ve discovered, or special treats that can make a big impact in your day-to-day routine? That’s what we’re sharing with you today…some of our tricks of the trade that are small, but worth trying.

1. Frozen grapes in your wine glass.
Instead of ice, add frozen grapes to your glass of vino, and it will look pretty, and stay chilled without getting watery.  

2. Coconut Oil on the skin
Looking for a glow to your skin, without feeling oily? Coconut {organic and unrefined} is my go-to for a healthy, softening and brightening skin lotion. It adds a special glow, and doesn’t stain clothes or make me feel oily. You can find liquid Coconut Oil or solid Coconut Oil {when rubbed in between your hands, it will melt immediately and then you can apply to your skin} at your local health food store, and possibly grocery store. 

3. Cinnamon in coffee
Cinnamon consumption has been known to have positive health benefits, including lowering blood sugar and has also been noted to detoxify the system, help fight bladder infections and stimulate brain function. My brother-in-law, Will, said this coffee trick, changed his life. :) Just a dash of cinnamon added to the ground coffee in the filter {before you brew} will give your coffee a little {and delicious} kick, and healthy non-natural flavor. 

4. Chlorophyll in water
I know this sounds totally gross, but a couple drops of chlorophyll in a glass of water is so yummy! Even my hubby likes it, and the kids ask for green water daily. If you’re not a water drinker, but enjoy mint flavor, adding chlorophyll to your water will make boring water, tasty and refreshing. Chlorophyll fights toxins and boosts energy, so you’ll get some healthy benefits as well. Find liquid chlorophyll {mint is our favorite} at your local health store, and follow the directions for appropriate amounts of chlorophyll in your water. 

 Do you have any little things we MUST try. Please share! Send us an email at trejsorelle@gmail.com or comment on this post.

{image via Tutto Bella}