Posts in Parties
Valentine Cocktail Party + 3 simple appetizer recipes
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party

There are so many options for how to spend Valentine’s Day, but a fun way to celebrate with all of your friends is with a simple cocktail party - after all, Valentine’s Day is on a Thursday this year! Instead of celebrating just as couples, invite everyone over for drinks and small bites and celebrate together. This is especially great if some of your group is ‘coupled up’ and some of your group isn’t. And the planner-ahead-ers can pop over before their dinner reservation!

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party

I have found when you’re hosting a party that the best thing you can do for appetizers is pick three good ones and go ALL IN! So be prepared to make tons of them because no one will dig into a partially empty buffet. I usually make one batch of each of these per every 10 people. But if you are cheese lovers, then maybe add a little more.

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Baked Camembert
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Baked Camembert
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Baked Camembert
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Baked Camembert

BAKED CAMEMBERT

1 wheel of camembert cheese

10 sprigs rosemary

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a bed of rosemary sprigs on a baking sheet and place the unwrapped wheel of cheese on top.

Bake 30-35 minutes until the cheese browns on top. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes.

Move the cheese to a serving dish and discard the cooked rosemary branches. Drizzle the top with honey and sprinkle with walnuts.

Serve with slices of bread or crackers.

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party

I found all of these serving platters at Anko - my new favorite obsession because everything is darling and really well priced. I picked up these pink platters because they’re pink but not PINK. I was friends with a guy who used to call PINK menopause pink because when he was growing up in the south, every woman around 50 years old remodeled her kitchen and added those pink appliances that were so hot for a while. It was the ‘60’s after all. Ever since then I have been super picky about my color pink. I DO NOT WANT menopause pink in my life.

These are not. These are awesome. There are dinner plates and bowls too.

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Pesto Gorgonzola
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Pesto Gorgonzola
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Pesto Gorgonzola

PESTO GORGONZOLA

Undoubtably the simplest appetizer you will ever make. Two ingredients; ten minutes; served hot or cold!

1/2 cup pesto

1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese

1 baguette, sliced

In bowl, mix together the pesto and gorgonzola until evenly mixed. Spread on the top of toasted bread. Toast again for 2-3 minutes in a broiler - or serve cold. Delicious either way.

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Candy Cocktail

CANDY COCKTAIL

1 packet grape poprocks

slice of lemon

1 tablespoon chambord

champagne

Rub the edge of a champagne coupe with the slice of lemon and rim with poprocks. Pour in chambord and top with champagne. Serve quickly!

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Candy Cocktail

I love combining new things with my collection of vintage barware. These champagne coupes are from the 1950’s and I adore them. I use them all the time because there is literally never a time when gold rimmed champagne coupes aren’t appropriate. If you can find some yourself, I highly encourage you to grab them! I set them on top of a marble board from Anko. I like to have everything grouped together - the marble is a great landing place for glassware ESPECIALLY if you have marble countertops. The slab creates a spot that’s unique but won’t damage your real marble counters in the event anyone spills.


Pin these for later!

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party

Family Valentine Game Night + Heartthrob Pasta Recipe
Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner

There is not only one good way to spend Valentine’s Day but I think this is the best way - with your family at home. This is the best way for loads of reasons: 1. Going out for Valentine’s Day is expensive. 2. Most restaurants have a prix fix menu, servers that are grumpy, and are overly busy. 3. Your kids will feel super special if you spend this day with them instead of out on a date. 4. You can go out on a date tomorrow night when everything is back to normal and you can get a seat at a restaurant.

For our family game night I made a fun dinner everyone will eat - but also made it a little bit cheeky and really leaned into the ‘valentine’ theme. Kids love it. And, let’s be honest, I love it too.

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Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner

Our family’s new favorite game is this hilarious combination of pictionary and being blindfolded - it’s called Googly Eyes. It is hilarious! You roll to land on what color glasses you’ll wear while you attempt to draw something as simple as popcorn. The glasses make it surprisingly challenging. Unless you are Pearl and I - we are a dream team.

Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner
Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner

HEARTTHROB PASTA

serves 4

STEP 1

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Slice the beets in half and add them to the water as it begins to boil.  When the water has come to a boil, add the pasta.

 

STEP 2

When the pasta is nearly cooked, turn the heat off and let rest for 30 minutes.  

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

 

STEP 3

Unroll the package of crescent dough and press together all of the seams.  Slice the dough into strips.  Twist the dough and form it into a heart.  

 

Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

 

STEP 4

Heat a skillet with the olive oil.  Cook the peppers, onion, and garlic over medium heat until softened. Remove the beets from the pasta, remove the skin with a paper towel (by rubbing it off), chop them and add them to the skillet.

 

STEP 5

Drain the pasta – reserving at least one cup of pasta water – and toss the pasta with the peppers.  Add the pasta water and toss until a sauce has formed.  Remove from heat and sprinkle parmesan on top.  

          

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 sweet onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tbs olive oil

2 beets

½ lb pasta

½ cup parmesan cheese

1 package crescent dough

Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner
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Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner

CUPID SPRITZ

1 ounce pomegranate juice

1 ounce vodka

DRY Sparkling Lavender

In a glass filled with ice, layer vodka and pomegranate juice. Top with DRY Sparkling and serve! For those without booze, just skip the vodka and don’t forget to garnish with a cherry.


THIS IS A SPONSORED POST. ALEXANDRA HEDIN HAS RECEIVED PAYMENT OR PRODUCTS IN EXCHANGE FOR PROMOTING. ALL OPINIONS STATED ARE MY OWN AND I ONLY PROMOTE PRODUCTS AND COMPANIES I LOVE.

weeknight party | super bowl
Ali Hedin Super Bowl Party

Are you hosting a Super Bowl party this year?  It's such a fun excuse to have a party.  The struggle of course, is that it's an all day type thing.  You start at kick off, claim your spot on the couch, and it lasts until well after the awards ceremony.  

Ali Hedin Super Bowl Party

Here's how I'm making Super Bowl super this year.

Ali Hedin Super Bowl Party
Ali Hedin Super Bowl Party
Ali Hedin Super Bowl Party
Ali Hedin Super Bowl Party
 

Shop the party

 

2 Perfect Champagne Cocktails for New Year's Eve
Ali Hedin | Champagne Cocktails
Ali Hedin | Champagne Cocktails
Ali Hedin | Champagne Cocktails

Ali Hedin | Champagne Cocktails
Ali Hedin | Champagne Cocktails
Ali Hedin | Champagne Cocktails
Cocktails, PartiesAlexandra Hedin
Vintage Christmas + the best fondue recipe
Ali Hedin | Vintage Christmas

Can you tell I’m feeling nostalgic for our own house? Soon we’ll have a great new house that will be amazing - especially at Christmas - but until then, I’m posting these darling photos from our old house and how cute we were.

Our original house was a 1940’s with a few “mid century” architectural details. I leaned into the vibe and hosted a little family cocktail party with champagne cocktails and a really delicious fondue. Even without a mid century home, you can still host a fun little cocktail party with mid century vibes.

Ali Hedin | Vintage Christmas
Ali Hedin | Vintage Christmas

RASPBERRY CHAMPAGNE

1 scoop raspberry sorbet (about one ounce)

1 tablespoon chambord

champagne

raspberries

In each glass, pop a scoop of sorbet and a tablespoon of chambord. Top with champagne until full. Drop a raspberry in each glass.

Ali Hedin | Vintage Christmas
Ali Hedin | Vintage Christmas
Ali Hedin | Vintage Christmas

THE BEST FONDUE

The trick with this fondue is that you need to keep it warm. It will set up if you let it get cold as we’re basically just dealing with warmed cheese.

8 ounces shredded gruyere cheese

8 ounces shredded swiss cheese

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup white wine

1 teaspoon brandy

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 cloves garlic

Toss shredded cheeses with flour until totally combined.

In a large pot, bring wine, lemon juice, and whole garlic cloves to a low boil. Slowly add the cheese, whisking the entire time. Continue whisking until smooth. Stir in brandy and transfer to a fondue pot. Serve with sliced bread, cooked red potatoes, and honey crisp apple slices.

Ali Hedin | Vintage Christmas
Ali Hedin | Vintage Christmas
Ali Hedin | Vintage Christmas
Ali Hedin | Vintage Christmas

Modern Pink Christmas Breakfast + Peppermint Marshmallows
Ali Hedin | Modern Pink Christmas

Every year my mom hosts a little brunch/ coffee hour for her friends at Christmas. For years I rolled my eyes every time she tried to get my friends to come to the party too. I mean really? My cool friends - or worst, people I wasn’t 100% sure were friends - to come rub shoulders with some of her weird old birds?

But then last year my friends were there - my actual friends - and they liked some of her weird old birds. We had coffee and cookies and chatted and it was actually fun. So I decided you should all host one too. Brew some coffee. Invite every weird friend you know and celebrate the season together. It’s totally worth it.

Ali Hedin | Modern Pink Christmas
Ali Hedin | Modern Pink Christmas
Ali Hedin | Modern Pink Christmas

Here’s how to pull it off:

  1. Send your friends an email or write a note at least one week ahead of when you think you’re planning the party.

  2. Aim for a weekday at 10am if most of your friends are at home during the day. A Sunday at noon is usually best if they are at work during the day.

  3. Buy or make at least three kinds of cookies. A small variety in large quantity makes the biggest impact.

  4. Brew a pot of coffee, a big one. And bring out the good china mugs to serve it in.

  5. Prep everything the night before - like platters for the cookies, mugs, napkins - then just set out the cookies in the morning!

Ali Hedin | Modern Pink Christmas
Ali Hedin | Modern Pink Christmas

PEPPERMINT MARSHMALLOWS

Yes, these take a bit of time but it is so worth it. Homemade marshmallows are nothing like store bought. These are so much better. And nothing is better in hot cocoa than a peppermint marshmallow. Unless of course that’s peppermint schnapps. And the marshmallow on top.

4 packets unflavored gelatin

3 cups sugar

1 ½ cups water

1 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

½ cup crushed candy canes or other peppermint candies

Powdered sugar

 

 

Butter the bottom of an 11x17 sheet pan and top with parchment paper.  Butter parchment paper and dust with powdered sugar.  

 

In a stand mixer, combine gelatin and ¾ cup water.  Let stand.

 

In a medium sauce pan with a heavy bottom combine sugar, remaining water, corn syrup, and salt. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to cook until mixture reaches the soft ball stage on a candy thermometer (about 240 degrees).  

 

Turn on stand mixer and pour in sugar mixture in a slow steady stream.  Leave mixer running on high speed for 15 minutes until mixture is light and fluffy.

 

Blend extract into marshmallow mixture and pour marshmallow onto prepared pan and smooth out to the corners. Evenly coat the top with crushed candy canes and dust with powdered sugar.  Let sit uncovered for 12 hours.  

 

Turn out onto a cutting board dusted with powdered sugar.  Butter and dust a knife with powdered sugar.  Cut marshmallows into 2” squares and dip each cut edge into powdered sugar.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  

 

Ali Hedin | Modern Pink Christmas

Literally the best Thanksgiving side dishes

The turkey may be the main event but that's no reason why the sides can't be fun too.  What's your favorite side dish?


A Pumpkin Patch Party + easy dessert bar ideas
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Years ago I hosted a pumpkin patch party at my in-law’s farm house. Everyone had tiny babies and they rolled around in the pumpkin patch and ate cookies. It was so darling. When I was looking back on some old photos I decided these were too darling not to share. Especially that little face of Lars?! Are you kidding me?

This party is also timeless. These babies can be tiny and eating sugar cookies or ten years old and let them carve pumpkins on their own. You can host this anytime and all of the kids will love it. Serve some spiked punch and the adults will love it too.

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5 tips for a dessert bar

  1. Create a backdrop. It makes everything look more professional & like you planned it. I used an old Pendelton blanket (I have a collection) but you can use almost anything.

  2. Make your favorite desserts that you have tried a million times and you know they work.

  3. Fill in with store bought favorites. I adore Trophy Cupcakes and can’t think of a reason why I’d make my own when Trophy is done and delicious.

  4. Napkins! Plenty of napkins.

  5. Have something that’s “non-dessert” like a bowl of apples or cheese sticks or something that can take down the sugar high.

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Hedin Pumpkin Patch 8.jpg
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Weeknight Family Halloween Party + your new favorite chili recipe
Ali Hedin | Family Halloween

When I was a kid Halloween was the best time of the year. We lived in a neighborhood that had very few children, but lots of adults who were happy to buy loads of candy. We scored. Every year my dad and the dad next door would take all of us out around the neighborhood. Living in Seattle meant that there were many years where it rained. When that happened, we all piled in the back of my dad’s Ford Explorer with the hatch open (it was the 90’s after all) and he’d drive us from house to house.

Halloween smelled like rain and leaves and whiskey (as a kid I didn't recognize the smell, but as an adult I’ve figured out what was in those flasks.)

Ali Hedin | Family Halloween

As a kid, Halloween is full of magic and fun. The years between being a kid and having a kid are a little more ambiguous. There were parties and fancy dinners but the magic just wasn’t the same. If you’re lucky enough to have little ones around this Halloween, take advantage of it. Host a party, make a big batch of chili and revel in the magic and fun of youth.

Ali Hedin | Family Halloween
Transform styrofoam balls with hot glue and candy corn. These last for years.

Transform styrofoam balls with hot glue and candy corn. These last for years.

Ali Hedin | Family Halloween

HALLOWEEN CHILI

serve 8

STEP 1

In a small bowl blend together cornmeal, sugar, cumin, salt, pepper, and chili powder.  In a warm pan cook spice blend with two tablespoons olive oil until aromatic (just a minute or two).  

STEP 2

Add onions and butter to pan and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add sausage and stew meat and cook, turning often, until browned. 

 

STEP 3

When sausage is completely cooked and stew meat cubes are browned on all sides, pour in 1 cup beef broth to deglaze the bottom of the pan.  Add the second cup if needed to retain some liquid in the pan.  

STEP 4

Pour in tomatoes, beer, beans, and bay leaf and bring to a boil stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to low and simmer about 3 hours stirring occasionally to prevent sticking until stew meat is tender and flaky.

 

STEP 5

When ready to serve, break up stew meat chunks with a fork and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with cheese, sour cream, and fresh chopped onions.  

1 medium onion

3 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons butter

1-2 cups beef broth

1 pound sausage

2 pounds beef stew meat

2 bay leaves

12 ounces Pale Ale

1 - 8 oz. can garbanzo beans

1 - 8 oz. can kidney beans

1 - 8 oz. can pinto beans

2 - 9 oz cans tomato sauce

3 tablespoons cornmeal

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon cumin

¼ cup chili powder

½ tablespoon salt

½ tablespoon pepper

olive oil

Ali Hedin | Family Halloween

Here’s how to pull off the perfect Family Halloween Party

  1. Make a giant batch of chili. More people show up? No problem, add more beans & more stock.

  2. Make or buy loads of cookies and treats. Not totally for the kids - but for the parents to snack on so they don’t dig into their kids bags (yet).

  3. Cocktails! Set up a simple bar with gin, vodka, tonic, and soda water. A few bottles of red wine & beer will round out the bar.

  4. Weeknight Family Halloween parties tend to wrap up around 8pm. Let friends know ahead of time that you’re putting your kids to bed at a certain time.

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Ali Hedin | Halloween Party

1./ 2./ 3./ 4./ 5./ 6./ 7./ 8./ 9.

Ali Hedin | Family Halloween
Ali Hedin | Family Halloween
Weeknight Halloween in 2 Easy Steps

Any reason at all to celebrate anything at all is a win in my book.  Halloween is right at the top of that list because it can be SO QUIRKY!  And quirky is the best way to celebrate anything.  I put together a quirky little Halloween that is so simple you can pull it off with almost no lead time.  Especially those rats!  Keep scrolling for a cocktail that does have to sit overnight (jell-o) but is ridiculously good (stick to one of those!) and a step-by-step of the rats that are really easy and really fun.

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween

Here's why this is the coolest cocktail; the jell-o shot melts as it sits in the martini delivering, not only a 1-2 punch, but also a spooky 'bleeding' effect.  You can always skip the martini part and just serve jell-o shots (yum).  I make loads of jell-o shots so take my advice: 

1. Do not use cheap vodka.  You will notice.  Everyone will notice.  If the bottle is on the bottom shelf, then leave it there.  

2. Let sit overnight.  Do not rush these.  It won't set up as well and they get sloppy and weird.

3. Don't try to add more vodka.  There's plenty.  Remember this is still science and you need the right balance for these to set up. 

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween

You know that when you've totally creeped out a three year old that you've done your job.  And when you can do it for about $5 at the dollar store - BAM!  You feel like a freaking genius.  The trick with these rats is to cut all the way through so the candle can touch the table.  When it does that, it gives it a more stable resting place than if it is attempting to balance somewhere inside the plastic rat.  

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween

I hope you have a fabulous Halloween!  Let me know how you're celebrating and follow me on Instagram for all of the goods I'm serving up this year!