5 Things I Learned From My First Dinner Party

My best friend has cooked me dinner on more than a few occasions and I must say…I haven’t returned the favor. It’s not like I’m trying to be a bad friend. But you know how life is. We are busy. There’s always something to do. Finally I decided that there needed to be a change. So why not go all out, right? I had my first dinner party in her honor, and I learned a few things along the way.

1. Plan Ahead

You would think this one would be painfully obvious, but somehow, planning ahead didn’t seem to resonate with me. I had been planning in my mind plenty, but I left all the action to be completed the day of. Get place settings, flowers, groceries, and any food prep done beforehand as much as possible. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Summer Dinner Party

Blush Summer Dinner Party

2. Get a Helper

There’s a lot to be said of simply getting a second opinion. If your indecisive like me, you’ll definitely want someone to assist in selecting tableware, making a menu, etc. An extra set of hands in the kitchen can also be a godsend when you’re on a time crunch.

Blush Summer Dinner Party

Summer Dinner Party Silverware-5

3. Be Flexible

Not everything is going to go right. Dishes will break, food will burn, ingredients will go missing and flowers will inevitably wilt. Don’t stress..which leads to #4.

Summer Dinner Party Blog-8-6

Blush Summer Dinner Party

4. Be Resourceful

When things do go wrong, be resourceful. There’s a good chance that you already have something lying around the house that can fix whatever problems you run into. Being resourceful is also helpful when it comes to setting your table. What do you already have that could be used or how could you use something in a new and creative way?

Blush Summer Dinner Party

5. Know When And When Not To Splurge

Not everything has to be brand new and expensive for your party to look it. I used many things I already had for this party, but I bought a brand new set of Vera Wang silverware. The style is simple so it will match my modern plates, but it’s dainty enough to go with my vintage ones as well. I didn’t mind spending a little extra on something so versatile. Don’t invest too much in things that won’t be used again.

Blush Summer Dinner Party

What a perfect summer evening. A little planning and elbow grease are totally worth it. And I can get back my reputation for being a good friend! ~

Summer Dinner Party Menu

 Sparkling Hibiscus Tea

Caprese Salad

Parmesan Chicken

Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Pizzookie

Plates, Chargers, Napkin Rings, Pillows – Pier One

Tablecloth, Napkins, Votives – Target

Vase – Anthropologie

Silverware – Tuesday Morning

Table Runner – Thrift Shop (Cue Macklemore!)

Name Card – Free Printable from Wedding Chicks

Follow me on Instagram! @carliwentworthSummer Dinner Party Instagram-1

    

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Cooking with the Sassy Mama | OKC Food Photographer

Image Last year I had the opportunity to shoot the food photography for a cookbook. This has always been on my list of things to aspire for, but I had no idea I would get to accomplish it so soon. I’m very blessed to have talented people in my life who like to make me look good! One of those people being Caryn Ross. If you haven’t heard her name before, just wait. It’s only a matter of time. Her intuition when it comes to food combined with her sassy personality make a beautiful combination. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the book. If you’d like to order a copy, check out Caryn’s blog here. The cookbooks are also available at Tulips Home and Gifts, Mels Kloset, The Painted Door, Best of Books, Wright’s Family Market,  and Hastings. Enjoy!

 

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Kitchen 324 | Restaurant Review | OKC Food Photographer

I promise, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for me going to Kitchen 324 three days in a row. With my camera. Causing a scene.

Well..let me explain.

I’m always keeping my eyes and ears open for new restaurants and when I heard about this one, I was thrilled. It sounded like it was made for me. Local, fresh, homemade food located downtown and uniquely delicious; I was dying to try it. I grabbed my camera (Day 1) and planned on snapping a few quick photos. But I couldn’t help myself, everything was beautiful. I couldn’t resist the simple, modern-yet-elegant atmosphere. Or the shiny new espresso machine. Or the smell of fresh-baked pastries. Once the food arrived, I was hooked. What a wonderfully refreshing take on breakfast. It’s places like this that are really contributing to the growth and transformation of OKC.

Later that day, I had an email in my inbox from Slice magazine. They wanted to me to shoot a new restaurant downtown called Kitchen 324. Hm, how ironic. So, (Day 2) I walked in with my camera and took over a spot in the corner, hoping to be out of the way as much as possible, and avoiding eye contact with anyone who might have noticed me doing this exact same thing the day before. But once again, I got carried away with my subject. Can’t say that the latte or the carrot cake donut survived.

The next day was my friend’s birthday. We knew that we wanted brunch, but she needed suggestions. What can I say? I had Kitchen 324 on the brain. As I entered (Day 3) I took a quick glance around. I didn’t see anyone who looked familiar, so I thought I’d be ok. I mean, I wasn’t planning on eating there every day…it just kinda happened. We found our seats and when the waitress came to take our order I had to laugh, it was the same woman who I had spoken with about the blog and magazine the past two days in a row. “Yep, I’m back…but I promise it’s for her birthday, and (this time) I didn’t bring my camera!”

But really, there’s no need to justify showing up three days in a row to the employees at Kitchen 324. Because they understand. So go ahead, come everyday. There’s no judgment here.

Kitchen 324 Downtown OKC Food

Smoked Salmon

Kitchen 324 Downtown OKC Food

Carrot Cake Donut

Kitchen 324 Downtown OKC Food

Carrot Cake Donut

Kitchen 324 Downtown OKC Food

Green Eggs & Ham

Kitchen 324 Downtown OKC Food

Green Eggs & Ham

Kitchen 324 Downtown OKC Food

Steel Cut Oats

Kitchen 324 Downtown OKC Food

Latte

Kitchen 324 Downtown OKC Food

Pineapple, Green Apple, Lemon, Mint Juice

Kitchen 324 Downtown OKC Food

Greek Yogurt with Seasonal Preserves

Kitchen 324 Downtown OKC Food

That’s right, even the water has personality here.

Coffee Bar

Coffee Bar

Kitchen 324

Kitchen 324

Kitchen 324

Kitchen 324

Kitchen 324

Kitchen 324

To see a much more eloquently written article in Slice Magazine, click here. For more information on Kitchen 324, check out their website and menu, here.

Have a restaurant you’d like to see featured on the blog? Leave a comment!

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Flint | OKC Restaurant Review

There’s nothing I love more than breaking the Oklahoma stereotype. Tornadoes, cowboy boots, teepee’s.. yeah that stuff is out there. But there is a whole side of Oklahoma that’s just waiting to be discovered. One of the places contributing to the growth of OKC is my new found breakfast obsession, Flint.  It’s located at the bottom of the historic Colcord hotel, across from the newly renovated Myriad Gardens. Looking out the window at the downtown view, you don’t feel like you’re in Oklahoma. Flint is the perfect blend of cozy and upscale. Its lounge area and unique fireplace not only sets the restaurant apart, but also makes it the place to be now that fall has arrived.  As if that isn’t enough comfort, just try the food. This visit I decided on the lemon ricotta pancakes with papaya chutney, while Hannah ordered the heart healthy omelet. Both had the melt-in-your mouth deliciousness factor. (Very important.)  Though I’ve yet to try it, Flint is open for lunch and dinner as well. If it’s anything like breakfast then I think we’re in for a treat.

Breakfast is serious business. Thanks for putting up with me and my camera, Hannah. ;)

        For more info and to see a menu check out their website! http://flintokc.com

        15 North Robinson Ave. OKC, OK  -Free valet parking during your meal (up to 90 minutes).

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Nebu | OKC Devon Tower | Restaurant Review

Confession: I have an infatuation with the Devon tower. It has become a compass when I’m lost and a landmark when giving directions.  It surpasses all other buildings in our little skyline so much that it looks out of place. Not to mention that it’s extremely photogenic. As if I needed another reason to love this tower, now there’s Nebu.

Nebu is a cafeteria style restaurant with a fresh twist. Although it’s located inside the Devon tower, you don’t have to be an employee to come here. It’s menu offers salads, sandwiches, pizza, and sushi; along with other hot items like pasta, burgers, and burritos. Nebu is taking a step in the right direction for OKC, offering healthier, simple solutions for lunch. When you’re short on time usually eating right goes out the window, but that doesn’t have to be the case. And the best part? It won’t break the bank.

Nebu is located in the garden wing of the Devon Tower. Open Monday-Friday  7:30 am – 2.pm. *Coming Soon* Illy Coffee to be opened in August. Future blog post? I think so!


My taste-tester for the day.

 

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Chocolate Quick Fix | OKC Food Photographer | Recipes

Whether you find yourself getting caught in traffic, spilling something all over a new shirt or forgetting your phone at home.. Some days just call for chocolate. Not that we’d need an excuse for that. Every once in a while (everyday), I get a chocolate craving that just won’t go away. A craving that not just any chocolate could take care of. Something warm and gooey could only do the trick. But who has time to make a warm gooey cake at a moments notice?  During one of my said cravings, I was desperately rifling through recipes and found this one for cake in a cup. I doubted that a cake made in the microwave could actually taste good, but much to my surprise it was unexpectedly delicious. One recipe makes two servings. Three if you just need a sampling. Or one…if you’ve had a rough day.

 

Cup Cake

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 egg

3 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons oil

Splash of vanilla

3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)

Put dry ingredients in a mug and mix well. Add egg, milk, oil, vanilla, and chips. Mix with fork. Put in microwave for three minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy.

* This recipe would be great made with peanut butter, coconut, cinnamon, or banana etc. Make it your own!

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Chipotle Steak Tacos with Fire Roasted Corn Salsa | Cinco de Mayo Recipes

While living in Massachusetts I learned many things, but mainly: 1. Pretty winter snow is overrated. 2. There is no such thing as real Mexican food that far north. Now that I’m back in Oklahoma I appreciate Mexican cuisine even more. So for me, Cinco de Mayo is a great excuse to eat anything that involves a tortilla.

Chipotle Tacos with Fire Roasted Corn Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • Juice of 2 limes, divided
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank or skirt steak, 1 inch thick (ask the butcher to tenderize it twice)
  •  kosher salt and coarse black pepper
  • 16 soft taco-size corn or flour tortillas, charred. I like the La Abuela brand because they come ready to cook and taste homemade.

Toppings for tacos

  • grilled sweet corn, scraped from the cob
  • pico de gallo (make your own or use pre-made) mix with grilled corn
  • Crumbled Queso Fresco
  • black beans
  • sour cream or plain yogurt
  • lime juice

Preparation

Seed chipotle peppers then purée with adobo sauce into a smooth paste. Add 4 tablespoons to a large plastic food storage bag. Place remainder in a small freezer bag with the date for future use. To the large food storage bag, add the lime juice, honey, Worcestershire, oregano, garlic and vegetable oil. Mash up the bag with your hands to combine.

Season steak with salt and lots of black pepper. Drop it in the bag and press out most of the air as you seal up the bag. Maneuver the marinade evenly around the meat and marinate in the fridge for several hours.

Bring the beef to room temperature. Pre-heat the broiler and set an oven rack one notch up from the center. Shake off excess marinade, place beef on a broiler pan and broil 5 minutes on each side for rare, 12 minutes total for pink center or medium.

Let meat rest 5-10 minutes then thinly slice against the grain. Serve with charred hot tortillas and toppings above or of your choice. Serves 4-6

  • Feel free to use chicken as well as steak. Grilling the meat also works well if you prefer not to use a broiler.

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