Garlic and Herb Dip

As a non-traditional, but still delicious, Super Bowl snack, a reader sent in the following recipe for Garlic and Herb Dip to be served with pita chips or crunchy potato chips (I love the Cape Cod Reduced Fat Potato Chips). We have not tried it personally, but it looks fabulous:

You need:
4 heads garlic
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 fresh thyme sprig

4 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 cups sour cream
5 Tbs. mayonnaise (light mayo is fine)
1 1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper, as needed

To prepare:
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the tops of the garlic heads and dress the tops with the olive oil. Put the garlic on a baking sheet. Arrange the rosemary and thyme sprigs on or around the garlic. Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil. Roast until the garlic cloves are soft and lightly browned, about 1.5 hours. Let cool completely. Squeeze the pulp from the garlic cloves into a mixing bowl. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, chopped rosemary, thyme and parsley, the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Using an immersion blender, blend until well combined (you can also use a food processor). Cover the dip and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Sporty Food

Not being a big fan of sports, especially football, I am not a big fan of the “Stupid Bowl,” as I call the big event that is happening this Sunday. However, I do enjoy the parties that are associated with the game. I know everyone has their own traditions, so what are your favorite Super Bowl Party recipes for a group?

Mine Include:
Chili (
this is one of my favorite recipes)
Secret Cornbread (I am sworn to secrecy on this recipe by my mother, but it is heavenly)
Rotel Dip and Chips
Super Nachos (my husband’s favorite)
Puppy Chow (I omit the butter)

No one ever said that Superbowl eating had to be heart-healthy, right?

Wedding Wednesday: Personalize It

I was thinking recently that with the escalating importance of weddings as a magical affair, many touches that used to be considered "personal" are de rigueur at a certain type of wedding, to the point where they are almost a cliche. So my question to all the married girls out there is: "What did you do at your wedding that was truly personal and not seen anywhere else?" - LG

Cocktail of Choice

I am currently loving anything with a pear flavor. I had a Pear-tini
here on Sunday night, pear infused tea here recently, and even fashioned this pear-inspired champagne cocktail at home last month (see photo at right).

It is quite easy…

In a champagne flute, stir to combine:
1 shot (or however much you want) chilled Absolut Pear Vodka
Chilled Prosecco or Champagne
Pop in 1 slice green pear for garnish

It is refreshingly light and lovely and makes an easy signature drink for any get-together.

Fresh Flowers

This weekend I was lucky enough to stay at the Taj Boston (formerly the Ritz-Carlton). Although generally a fan of very traditional flower arrangements, I was taken with the arrangement in their lobby, which used the uncut stems of traditional flowers to create height and interest. I thought this was a creative way to do something other than a very tall single bunch of flowers in a space that requires a large arrangement. - LG

Wedding Wednesday (Thursday)

A reader wrote in regarding a bridal shower she is hosting this March in Richmond, VA. It is a mid-afternoon shower, 25 potential guests, and will be followed by evening bachelorette activities for some of the girls. We will post the super-cute chocolate and aqua invitations she ordered shortly, but in the meantime, she is looking for inspiration on what to serve. The beverages are already selected – the bride’s cocktail of choice, Peach Bellinis, and wine.
She would love it if anyone had suggests on favorite bridal shower menu items. Feel free to post ideas in the Comments or email us (theplan03 @ recipes and we will pass them along!

Light it Up

Domino magazine recently published a great article: 5 Steps to a Foolproof Fete.
While each of the guidelines is spot-on, the most interesting to me was step 3 , "get the right light."
One of the first things I ever learned at my debut post-college event planning job was from an ambassador's wife. We were hosting a political fundraising reception at her lovely Annapolis home during the last presidential election. When we arrived to set up, one of my interns noticed her staff methodically replacing all of the light bulbs on the first floor of her home. When the hostess saw us observing this ritual, she pointedly let us know that this was a must-do for any party at her house. Soft, pink lighting "makes all ladies look better," she said. As skeptical as we were, I would have to agree -- it cast a subtley fabulous glow on every attendee. Even if you don't have an alternate set of blush light bulbs (found at most home improvement stores) to put in before you host a get-together, lowering your normal wattage is a must.

Lighten Up

With the new year here, I know many of us are trying the traditional "lose weight" New Year's resolution. If your meals are turning a bit lighter, maybe it is time to do the same for your wine (at least in taste, if not in calories). My suggestion is Prosecco, a sparkling wine from Italy. "Prosecco" refers to a grape that is used to produce a crisp wine with fruity flavor. Because it is sparkling, the celebratory feel of this drink belies the average price tag of $13-16 per bottle. I recommend Prosecco del Veneto, which is served by Michael C. Fina at it's in-store events on Fifth Avenue. Don't be turned off by the pop top- this is a great everyday choice to spice up your meals or after work routine. - LG

Wedding Wednesday: Late Question

Last night Farrell asked if I had any ideas for Wedding Wednesday. I very flippantly replied, "Why does J. Crew make it's bridesmaids dresses in such weird colors?" They are pretty colors independently, but wouldn't fit into many wedding color schemes.

Obviously this question cannot be made into a real post, but still....WHY? Why do you do this, J. Crew?

Berry Good

I am not one to keep up with "in" drinks, but someone recently told me about the blueberry mojito. Has anyone had one of these? A recipe can be found here. - LG

Thank You Very Much!

I usually try to adhere to the “within three days of receipt of gift” rule for thank-you note writing, however during the holidays I admittedly sometimes fall behind a bit. This season, I have received some super-cute thank you notes, including two from one of my favorite letterpress sites: elum designs. They have a great selection of classicly modern designs, and are reasonable priced. Some of my favorites are below (including two that came in the mail last week).

If you haven’t finished up your thank you notes for the holiday season, check out your options on their site.

No elbow grease needed....

I was in a local home store yesterday where I stood next to a woman who was purchasing silver polish. Apparently she had never cleaned silver before. I couldn't figure out if a) someone had always done it for her or b)she had never owned silver that needed polishing. Coincidentally, I was on the same mission and went straight for my favorite brand- Wright's Silver Cream. I have tried a few different brands and I always return to Wright's. It doesn't have a strong odor and it takes off the heaviest tarnish. - LG

Going Green in 2008

We hope that everyone had a fabulous holiday season!

Everywhere I look, I see or read something else about the big push to "go green." We have been doing "green" events at work for a while now, actually.
While doing some post-holiday internet shopping, I noticed that Williams Sonoma is now offering a "green" line of kitchen hand soaps and lotions. As a fan of their current line (except for always wanting them to make the lotion in a smaller size than the hand soap), I am sure that these will be just as fabulous, with the added bonus of being environmentally friendly. With inventive new scents like Meyer Lemon Parsely and Olive Oil Coriander, they are definitely worth checking out!