Bruschetta…what’s not to love about this amazing appetizer?


Growing up we ate a lot of Italian food, not because we have deep Italian roots -we don’t.  We ate a lot of it, because my mom loved to get Italian cookbooks and she would try out new dishes, possibly because of her love of traveling to Italy.  We ate Italian food, honestly, because it’s delicious!  There was a restaurant that we would go to all the time when I was growing up, it became a reward when I got good grades and a place we could count on for a great meal every time.  One of my all time favorite appetizers they made was bruschetta.

I love the vibrant fresh basil, the tang of the balsamic vinegar and the crunch of a well toasted baguette.  Over the years it has become one of the recipes that I’ve made so many times that I just whip together simply by eyeballing it.  The funny thing about this dish is that it is so incredibly simple.  The ingredients are basic and it just blends together to make this amazing bite.  Every time I’ve made this dish for a party, it is the first one devoured completely, even when I make more than I think we will need.  People always ask for the recipe.  So here goes…


6-8 Roma or medium on the vine tomatoes, diced into small pieces

10 fresh basil leaves

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (although I leave this out often when I make it for my family)

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste, usually just a pinch of each

Sourdough Baguette

olive oil for drizzling

Additional toppings:

Shredded Parmesan cheese

Balsamic Glaze


Dice the tomatoes and try to leave out the majority of the seeds, this way the end result will not be too watery.  Stack all of the leaves of basil together and roll it up like a little cigar and chop it finely.  Finely chop the garlic.  Add all of the ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and stir together.  Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.  Remember to taste it along the way to get it to your personal liking.   You can let it sit for a few hours, but it doesn’t taste as good after about 4 hours and starts to break down.

Slice the baguette into 1/4 inch rounds, use a pastry brush to lightly coat both sides of the bread with olive oil place on a baking sheet.   Bake at 350 degrees for 10-20 minutes flipping them over half way, watch to make sure they don’t burn or get too browned.  If you are a lover of garlic you can also take a peeled clove and rub it over the bread after it is toasted.

Place a good spoonful of the mixture onto each piece of bread.  At this point you can either serve it as is, or you can add a drizzle of balsamic glaze to the top, or a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  If you opt for the cheese you will want to return to the oven and broil until the cheese melts.

Serve immediately.  Makes about 2-3 dozen depending on how you slice the baguette.

Bon Appetit!




Let’s Go…Travel Themed Party

I realize its been almost a month since I have written anything and I am a little surprised by this…but that is how summer goes, it seems like it’s just started and then it’s August…

Me and Mom

I’ve been busy working on my dear sweet Mom’s 70th birthday party, hip hip hooray!  She was a flight attendant for 31 years, since her traveling days she hasn’t gone abroad and I wanted to make her a very special party filled with lots of little touches just for her.  The first thing that I did was make sure that I had all of the amazing supplies I needed to make her party spectacular.



I started with a trip to the local used bookstore and found an amazing atlas.  This was the main focus of inspiration for the party.  The invitations and envelopes were the first project.  I’ve never really made my own envelopes before, but it was super easy, of course the first one was a little wonky.

Next up table décor; I wanted to use globes from my petites’ nursery but I also wanted decorations that would add something interesting and unique.  I wanted to make some vintage looking little vases that had subtle travel touches, these are just Starbucks coffee containers with Paris themed paper on them.   I ended up making these amazing pendent lanterns that filled the space perfectly.


Another thing I wanted to do was remind my mom of all the amazing places she has been.  So I had her dig up some of her old travel pictures and send them to me.  I picked up some wooden frames at the craft store and selected map pages that matched the location of the pictures.  Her friends loved seeing my Mom on all of her travels.  My mom’s on the left in her awesome sunglasses and coat, just eating some fresh pretzels in Germany.

Pictures and Places


As you may have noticed, from previous blog posts, I love party planning and I love food.  When you combine the two planning party food – I’m game.  Whether it’s a baby shower, or baby birthday…I just love it.  For this party since it was a travel theme, I wanted to have foods from my mom’s three favorite places to travel: Greece, France and Italy.  I had so much fun getting the food sorted out from these three amazing foodie locations.  Since I have two small petites and was traveling a few hours away to my parents, I wanted to have less intensive foods to prep and make.  So I opted to purchase pre-made deliciousness from Trader Joes.  Spending my time making my tried and true favorites instead.   It worked out fantastically, I was able to spend the time I wanted with my family and wasn’t making a huge mess in my mom’s kitchen.

Travel Themed Food

Since my mom loved Greece so much we had spanakopita, carmelized onion & feta bites and a humus tray.  France was another favorite location so we did a fantastic cheese tray with fruit and nuts.  I am a sucker for a cheese plate, I love all cheeses…for this I used camembert, a swiss, a smoked gouda and a triple cream brie.  Next on my moms ultimate favorite travel was Italy.  For Italy, I did charcuterie of meats, tapenade and crostini, bruschetta, caprese salad and tomato pesto flatbread.  Of course the bruschetta was the guests favorite, click here for my recipe.

For treats I made mini red velvet cupcakes, airplane shaped sugar cookies and assorted macaroons.  I bought these adorable little gift kits from the local art store that had little bags, tags and stickers in a map and Paris theme.   I used the stickers to make cupcake toppers, and it turned out even better than I had expected.    Treats

Little Touches

I wanted my moms party to have some really special things that would be a complete surprise.  I emailed her friends and family from years past to present and asked them to help me wish her a happy 70th by sending along a birthday card to me so I could present them to her all at one time.  Everyone was so excited, they sent cards and it was amazing.  She loved it.  After all, isn’t the best part of birthdays getting well wishes from old friends and family?  Of course I needed the perfect way to display these amazing greetings.  I picked up these super cute, cardboard suitcases at Land of Nod (three in the pack) and was able to use the others throughout the party, for favors and  to hold napkins.


I am a firm believer that party favors are not just for kids, but are a great way to show guests how special it was that they came to the party.  For these favors I used the cute little bags and tags and then filled them with airplane cookies or macaroons.  So cute, if I do say so myself.  Oh and of course made even more fabulous by the display in the suitcase.

Photo and Cards Treat Components

 Another fun touch, that was a complete surprise, I had an old friend who works for the same airline my mom did send me travel posters.  We used those to decorate the house and they looked amazing!

Travel posters1 It was so much fun to plan a party for my mom.  In doing it she mentioned that she had not had a party since she was a little girl, so it really made it all the more special.  The little touches and the overall theme of the party really helped me to stay focused and to have it look cohesive.  I feel like it’s really easy to get overwhelmed with party planning and then it looks chaotic because there is too much, but if you stay within the theme and find a color or two to pull it all together then it works out fabulously.Travel Posters

If you want to check out my inspiration for this travel themed party check out my Pinterest Pin Board.

If you would like to purchase some of the decorations that I made for this party, or request custom made pieces, please stop by my Etsy Shop.

If you liked this post you also might enjoy my under the sea party as well.