MVP Bloody Mary Bar

Bloody Mary’s are a tradition in my family, a staple at all our get togethers.  I remember Sunday Brunch’s with various pitchers of fresh homemade mix on my Grandparents kitchen counter. My Aunts & Uncles pouring a tall glass and adding dashes of this, splashes of that, a few of these then stirring it all together with a tall stick of celery.

When I was able to move from the “virgin” version to a true “adult” version I began to learn that Bloodies vary not only family to family but geographically as well, with each person in need of a different sauce, powder or vegetable to complete it. And so the beauty of the Bloody Mary Bar is born. Each guest has the opportunity to select what they like, leave out what they don’t and perhaps try something new.

Setting up the perfect display takes a little planning and preparation but once set up the work is done. For tailgating I recommend using various sized tubs that can be filled with ice. Keeping everything in one place, cold and making for easy clean up once the game begins. Labels on bottles & vessels not only look great but come in handy to help friends mix as they wish and doesn’t require you to stand guard answering questions about what each element may be {unless you want to of course}. They can easily be made on your computer or purchased in various remade themes.

The below are my favorite items to choose from but feel free to add to you and your guests preference. Be sure to provide additional clean ice, glasses, straws, small wooden stirring spoons, and cocktail napkins.

Bloody Mary Bar Featured Picture 


* V-8 Juice {it’s a standard and still delicious}

* Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix {there are many but I have found this is my favorite when mixed with V-8}

* Vodka {Everyone has their favorite…recently came upon 360 which claims to be eco-friendly..}








  •  Lea & Perrins Original Worcestershire Sauce
  •  Intensity Academy Carrot Karma {An all natural carrot based hot sauce. You will never go back}
  • Horseradish {buy a local brand for freshness}
  • Cleaned halved Celery Stalks
  • Green Onions {ends removed}
  • Hearts of Palm {sliced in quarters}
  • Cornichons / Gherkins {I prefer Maille brand}
  • Spanish Olives
  • Lemons Slices
  • Lime Wedges {I like the lemons and limes in different shapes for contrast}
  • Celery Seed
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Pepper Mill for Fresh Cracked Pepper

Most of All ENJOY!!



Be sure to visit the other fantastic members of Sunday Supper as we share our favorite tailgate recipes and tips.

The Lineup

Pre Game Warm-ups:

On the Sidelines:

Main Events:


From the Cooler:

Wine Pairings by Wine Everyday

Vanilla Lemonade Sipper Recipe



1 part Mandarin Vodka

2 parts Vanilla Simple Syrup {see previous post for recipe}

3 parts Italian Sparkling Lemonade

Ice to chill

Lemon Zest for garnish

Tall Glass

Mix Simple Syrup, Vodka and Ice in shaker. Shake to chill. Pour into tall glass and top with Sparkling Lemonade. Top with Lemon Zest. Serve.

Looking for more…Previous Recipes include:

Basil Grapefruit SipperThyme Tangerine Fizz, Provence Lavender Cocktail., Vanilla Mint Soda Sipper

Enjoy ~ See you at the Garden Party ~ Krayl


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Entertaining In the Heat: Video ABC


Getting together with friends and family is the perfect way to spend summer evenings and weekends but being aware of safety concerns will make you the ultimate host.

–          Keep in mind the ages of your guests and their needs; both young and old.

–          Consider moving your event inside when temperatures are expected to rise.

–          Plan your events in the morning or late afternoon when it is cooler.

–          Be aware of food safety concerns.  Only allow food to sit out for recommended times and temperatures.

–          Electric fans keep air circulating and the bugs away.

–          Offer non-alcoholic options and lots of chilled water.


The right theme can help tie the party together and if properly planned can be a fun way to beat the heat.

–          Ice. Ice. Baby.: Ask everyone to bring a bag of ice and drop it in the pool, to cool it down.

–          Made in the Shade: Provide umbrellas for your guests to use to shield the sun. Or have them bring their own from home.

–          Chillin’ and Grillin’: Keep the heat out of the kitchen by serving only grilled and chilled foods.

–          Glamping: Glamorous Camping is all the rage these days. Set the tone by using your china and crystal at a wooden picnic table, or in a tent! {Made famous by the ladies of BRAVO, of course}

–          Sunset Soiree: Start your party as the sun sets to beat the heat. This will also save you from having to provide a full dinner for your guests.



Your table, whether fully set or a buffet, is where your theme can really shine. Make sure your centerpiece and décor will look great until the final guest leaves by selecting options that will stand up to the heat.

–          Succulents

–          Woody Herb Bunches {Rosemary, Thyme}

–          Cut branches, large tropical leaves, summer hardy flowers

–          Fruits & Vegetables  {Lemon, Limes}

–          Flowers in small containers

–          Sprouts/Wheat grass


Seasonal entertaining is an example of working with what you have and making the most of what you are given. Each year the summer season brings about a new crop of trends from planners, designers, home-makers and crafters, showcasing the best of what it has to offer. Searching websites sites like and will give you new ideas for trends to incorporate into your gathering. Just a Few of the Latest:

–              Frozen ice pop cocktails

–              Berries frozen into ice cubes

–              Herb infused chilled water and Cocktails {Thyme, Vanilla, Rosemary, Lavender}

–              Melamine dinner plates in designer patterns

–              Outdoor Lanterns

–              Toned down flower arrangements


Relax and enjoy the time you have with you guests. No matter what they will have fun. Promise. ~

Vanilla Mint Soda Sipper Recipe



3 tablespoons Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup {recipe below}
6-8 fresh picked mint leaves, plus one sprig for garnish
tonic water
crushed Ice
berries for garnish
tall glass

Shady Tree in Your Favorite Garden


In a tall glass muddle the mint leaves together with Vanilla Simple Syrup. Add Ice to 3/4 of the glass. Fill glass with tonic/mineral water. Use shaker to mix all together. Pour back into tall glass. Drop a few berries in for color and insert Mint sprig for garnish. Find shady tree and sip.

1 oz Vodka can be added prior to the water over ice to chill.

{NOTE: I have been dying to try the FEVER-TREE Tonic water, I’m a sucker for packaging, what can I say.  But worried about the strong flavor I also tried it with San Pellegrino Mineral water and found I prefered the tonic. But it could also be great with ginger ale. So try both as well and let me know which one you prefer.}


2 cups water

1 cup sugar

1 whole Vanilla Bean

Heat water and sugar on high-medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Scrape seeds from inside the bean into mixture. Drop outside of bean into mixture. Stir occasionally leave to cool 1 hour. You may choose to strain out the seeds but I actually prefer the look of the natural dark seeds for most uses.

Looking for more…Previous Recipes include:

 Basil Grapefruit SipperThyme Tangerine Fizz or Provence Lavender Cocktail.

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COVER-Krayl-An Appealing-Plan- FINAL-page1

And, if you are looking for even more ways to celebrate everyday check out An Appealing Plan the book.

Call it a trend or a return to the past, but I believe we are bringing back entertaining at home, lingering over a table after a lovingly prepared meal with friends. It has been a way of life and passion of mine my entire adult life, and I am thrilled to be able to invite you on this journey with me through a year of celebrating every day. Filled with recipes, tablescapes, floral inspiration and seasonal entertaining ideas An Appealing Plan :: A Year of Everyday Celebrations, is a dream come true for me a true honor to be able to share it with you. To learn more about An Appealing Plan :: A Year of Everyday Celebrations here. And of course, share how you are celebrating everyday.

Celebrating the 4th Of July Over the Years

The Fourth of July is one of those holidays that although I have {as we all do} gotten older, I can almost still recall past celebrations as if it was just last year. Middle School years living in Connecticut, one of our neighbors dads had a convertible and would start the day at 7AM driving around, top down blasting “The Star Spangled Banner”, “God Bless America” and other patriot tunes. The day would be spent at the above mentioned neighbors house for a BBQ complete with fireworks in the backyard. I can honestly still smell the sulfur from the Chinese Lantern that when lit twirled around, shooting various colors and whistles in all directions, finally slowing down for the crowd to clap and cheer.

High School evenings would be spent going to a friend or boyfriends BBQ and always ending at a large field with fireworks to rival the best of any city. You had to park what seemed a mile away and walk with your blanket to the best spot in the field. Again, I can still see the faces of my teenage friends in the glow of the bursting globes above us in the sky. And even feel the small pellets fall on us from the air.

Through college and my twenties, living in Delaware and Pennsylvania, heading to the Jersey shore was THE best place to be for the 4th. Just the anticipation was enough to make you lose your mind with excitement. What bathing suit will I wear, what towel to bring, I might need a long sleeve, who else will be down the shore, etc.. you can imagine. The smell of the salt air as you drove over the bridge to Avalon or Cape May or to Dewey or Rehoboth….nothing better in the world.

This year, no trips to the shore, a simple pool BBQ with friends, with of course a fabulous table, but there is still the same excitement. This morning I put out the flag on the porch, hung one on the pool gate {need to head out and collect a few more, not sure where they have gone since last season}. Pulled out the cupcake flags; plan on baking up a batch tomorrow morning first thing. Positioned the flag platter in just the right spot in the kitchen for visiting guests to see, it will need to be moved and take its place of honor on the tablescape. Removed the tags from my brand new flag bathing suit {somethings never change}. And it seems the local bar way down the street has begun festivities early. I can hear the band playing summer favorites and a few island tunes mixed in.

What a great time to be an American and to have the ability to celebrate all this country gives and allows us to do.

GOD BLESS AMERICA.  Cheers ~ Krayl

Raspberry Rosemary Summer Sipper

A big part of entertaining is being the best host you can be so, I always like to offer my guests a beverage to sip on during an event. So here is the Suggested Sip of the Week recipe, with alcohol and non-alcoholic versions.


Previous Recipes include: Basil Grapefruit Sipper, Thyme Tangerine Fizz or Provence Lavender Cocktail.

With muddled fresh rosemary, Raspberries, fresh squeezed lime and Bombay Sapphire Gin gives this cocktail an added burst of flavor. Slice a fresh raspberry and a sprig of rosemary for the festive garnish.


INGREDIENTS {makes 1 beverage}

  • 6-1o rosemary needles
  • 6 Fresh Raspberries
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 1/2 ounces Gin
  • Tonic Water to taste {start with 2 ounces}
  • Ice
  • Rosemary sprig, Berries & slice lime for garnish


  1. Muddle finely chopped rosemary leaves and 4 raspberries in a cocktail shaker. Add lime juice, simple syrup, and gin. Top with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into rocks glass over ice top with tonic water.
  2. Use the top of Rosemary sprig, sliced lime and berries for garnish.


If you are hosting your own Garden Party and still looking for final touches, theme ideas or entertaining questions in general, comment below and I am happy to provide a few tips! Contact me for more details.


What is your favorite Summer cocktail? Leave comment and let us know! It may be featured in an upcoming article.

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Cocktail Recipe: The Garden Party Sipper {#GardenPartyChat}

Tonight’s An Appealing Plan  #GardenPartyChat on Twitter {Wednesday 8P EST} topic will be Celebrating Fourth Of July. Seems pretty straight forward right? Problem is turns out we all have our own version of what this means. {Join us on twitter here}

As a proper host, I of course would like to offer my guests a beverage to sip on during the chat. So here is the Suggested Sip of the Week recipe, with alcohol and non-alcoholic versions. Not a fan of Grapefruit or Basil…other suggestions might be: Thyme Tangerine Fizz or Provence Lavender Cocktail.

The Garden Party Sipper

Juice of 1/4 Fresh Juicy Grapefruit

2 1/2 Ounces of Bombay Sapphire Gin

1 Tablespoon shredded Opal Basil

1 Tablespoon Lemon Peel infused Simple Syrup

Combine all ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously approx. 30-60 seconds to chill and break up the basil leaves. Pour in martini or other cocktail glass. {strain if preferred} Garnish with basil flower.


{Makes one good size cocktail}

Not partaking in alcohol these days? Mix everything but the Bombay in a tall glass half filled with H2O, add ice & straw and sip away.

Always a fan of the proper glass and servewear.. I thought I would share my newest love. Gold Barware! Do you love?

If you loved this share with your friends on Facebook and Tweet it out! Be sure to sign up below to receive weekly tips on living the life you deserve.

Happy Entertaining! ~ krayl

Entertaining: Lets Agree to Disagree.

I follow Bon Appetit on twitter for daily postings and tips. I pick up the magazine when in my local grocery store. I visit their website frequently. Sometimes I have even cook the suggested recipes. Big Fan right. Then yesterday they post an article, 6 Rules for Setting Your Valentine’s Day Table, listing “rules” for setting your table and I have to say I was disappointed. Perhaps it was the title that I disagree with, maybe “suggestions” would have been a better title.

One ~ I do not feel there are rules for setting any table. There maybe etiquette to follow and I frequently refer to Ms Emily Post and her granddaughter, Ms Peggy Post, for guidance however, RULES for a dinner for two people? Not buying it. The table should be set with what makes you happy and makes you feel good about the experience. I love to set a beautiful table and the style of cooking can also play a big part in the selection of the dinner and serveware.

Two ~ The term formal dining room should be removed from the english language. Not that you can’t have a formal dinner party or set a formal table but simply having a room where you have a large table and host friends and families does not make a formal space. It is possible to entertain at a table large table and not at all have a formal feel. In fact I do it all the time and my guests always end up saying they wish they had a big table like we have.

Three ~ Although I sort of understand where the author is heading with the comment don’t eat at a large table, instead move to the breakfast nook. I once again disagree. There HAS to be a more romantic place in your house to set up a table for two than the kitchen. Cover a small coffee table with a linen and place it in your bedroom with candles, music, etc.. small balcony, anywhere. Different is good when it comes to romance.

Overall I understand where the author, Julia Bainbridge, was going with the story and there are points that I agree with. For instance, I TOTALLY agree with the unscented candles in the space you are eating your meal. And also agree with her on the choice of scented version, Jo Malone is at the top of my list. {I could go on and on about candles. I feel a new post coming on.}

Whatever your Vday dinner brings make it personal and your own experience. kf.

The Foodie In You: Day After Tarts

The past weekend was filled with rushing here, need to be there, make this, bring that and not to mention all the various menu items our bodies are exposed to over the holidays. Although I honestly love every minute of it, the day after Christmas was the first day we had nowhere to be, no decorating to do,  nothing to buy, and nothing on the schedule except for sitting on the couch and staring at our tree and watching movies. But there is still the question as to what should we have to eat?? Something super easy, not too heavy and quick to make.

I first made these “tarts” a few years ago for a brunch and they were a big hit. I changed up the flavors this time ~ Mushroom and Fennel – and they were just as tasty as I remembered.


Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (2 pack makes 4 tarts)

Variety of Chopped Fresh Mushrooms (or your flavor of choice)

     * I was able to find a pack of fresh mushrooms with multiple varieties included. Chop these and heat with butter in pan on stove top till warm – you can also add garlic here if desired.

Caramelized Onions

     *heat onions in a pan on stove top over medium heat with butter and sugar


     *chop fennel into small strips. Heat in pan on stove top over medium heat with butter, salt and pepper

Fresh Herbs to taste {from your kitchen garden of course}

Defrost the pastry sheets and layout on cutting board. Cut in half to create 2 separate tarts. Place ingredients {keep ingredients separate or mix together depending on your taste} on top of pastry, leaving a 1/2 inch border on all sides. Place in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until edges are brown.

Remove and slice into 5-6 vertical sections. Serve on a rustic cutting board with cocktail napkins. Relax and Enjoy!