Pining for Christmas

Christmas is coming and I am very excited. I made an agreement with my husband that I wouldn’t put up our Christmas tree until the 1st of December. Now I am using all my self control not to try and jump the gun, but somehow the Christmas Tree has already made its way out of storage and hiding behind the dining table in our living room. As I resist putting up the tree I thought I could slowly start to put some other decorative items around the house. I saw a cute little candle arrangement on Pinterest which I decided to replicate. The resourceful side of me was excited that I didn’t need to buy anything to create this. I used recycled jars, course sea salt, deconstructed red holly christmas decorations that came with my tree, foliage from a tree outside and some spare tealight candles. These are a cute candle arrangement for your dining table, coffee table, mantelpiece or shelf.

Christmas Candle Decoration

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A Free Range Life

Last night I laughed so hard that there were tears rolling down my face. There were six of us in my home for a formal dinner consisting of three courses straight from the new book ‘A Free Range Life’ by kiwi chef Annabel Langbein. Over the course of the evening I showcased ten of her recipes. I was truly amazed at how brilliantly they all turned out and how impressed my guests were. Every recipe was a hit and it was even fun explaining the ingredients that went into each item at each course. Needless to say the ladies of the group are excited to rush out and purchase their own copies of this fabulous book. I thoroughly enjoyed planning the evening and presenting the evening in a formal way. It’s not often that you get the excuse to be a little bit fancy! I love birdcage’s and took the opportunity to indulge a cheeky $12 at Kmart to purchase one and create a rustic bird theme for our dinner. We were perhaps a little too eager or over the top with the fairy lights, and although they don’t come out so great in the photos, they really did add to the atmosphere of the evening. For a real cheesy twist we also had some Table Talkers which were cards with questions written for you to ask people to find out different things about them and their lives. I had such a great night and have been very tired today. The life of a Mum doesn’t afford you any sleeping in!

The Annabel Langbein Recipes used were:
Entrée: Asparagus Tarts with Smoked Paprika Aioli
Main Course: Juicy Jerk Chicken with Roast Vegetable and Chorizo Salad
Dessert: A medley of Chilled Strawberry Mousse, Ice Cream Sandwich, Rocky Road and Caramel Crumble Slice
Party Favours: Old-Fashioned Chocolate Sauce, Blackjack Barbecue Sauce

Here is a glimpse of the evening:

The Table Setting

Rustic Dinner Birdcage Setting

Birdcage centrepiece

Birdcage Centrepiece

Birdcage Table Layout

Bird Name Place Setting

party favour for rustic theme

Menu and Table Setting

A Free Range Life Menu

Entrée

Entree Asparagus Tart with Smoked Paprika Aioli

Entree of Asparagus Tart with Smoked Paprika Aioli

Entree of Asparagus Tart with Smoked Paprika Aioli

Main

Main Course Juicy Jerk Chicken with Roasted Vegetable and Chorizo Salad

Main Course Juicy Jerk Chicken with Roasted Vegetable and Chorizo Salad

Main Course Juicy Jerk Chicken with Roasted Vegetable and Chorizo Salad

Dessert Medley

Dessert Medley of Ice Cream Sandwich, Chilled Strawberry Mouse, Rocky Road, Caramel Crumble Slice

Dessert Medley of Ice Cream Sandwich, Chilled Strawberry Mouse, Rocky Road, Caramel Crumble Slice

Holding my inspiration of the night – A Free Range Life by Annabel Langbein

Amy Pearce holding Annabel Langbein's A Free Range Life Book

I can’t wait until summer properly arrives and I can continue to try more of the summer BBQ meals from this new book. At NZ$19.95, you can’t go wrong with it.