It’s been a while since my last post, and I miss you guys! Funny enough, despite the lack of new content on here, my site traffic continues to climb. It’s like you don’t even care that I’m not here anymore! Amsterdam & Beyond is thriving without me, which is both flattering and alarming. When did my baby go and get so grown up?!
On a more serious note, it really has been a while. I don’t want to make excuses, but real life has been pretty freakin’ awesome lately, and so that’s what I’ve been doing. Living. And my neglect isn’t focused solely on Amsterdam & Beyond – it’s all social media. I used to be a Pinterest queen and an Instagram junkie, with the occasional Facebook post just for giggles. Now, I rarely spend down time on my computer. I prefer to laugh, dance, kiss, talk, drink wine, eat sweets, run, and explore. I have a backlog of photos from the past few months, but have barely made a dent in editing them. My *goal* is to blog once a week. If I can keep up that pace, I will be happy :) So let’s see if I can get any better in April!These photos are a few snaps from a dinner the girls and I concocted last weekend. Have you ever heard of a progressive dinner? It’s a food tour through several houses, where one course is enjoyed at each stop! We thought it would be a fun idea for a Saturday night, as a prequel to some dancing :) And so we rallied eight ladies, four bringing beverages and four offering up their homes to host and cook! Read through to the end for some tips if you’re looking to throw your own progressive dinner party :)Most progressive dinners have themes, such as Italian, Japanese, etc. As we could not decide on just one, we decided to throw an international progressive dinner, with one country (or continent) represented at each stop. We started at Dannika’s house, where we had an Asian-fusion feast. As the hostess, Dannika made light and delicious summer rolls, while Jess brought fresh squeezed juice and sake for cocktails!
Our second stop of the evening was Kira’s house, where we feasted on way too much Mexican!Laura brought fresh ingredients for tequila sunrise cocktails, which we enjoyed alongside Kira’s amazing pomegranate guacamole and homemade tortilla chips.Kira also killed a Pinterest recipe, making mini taco cups out of flour tortillas by baking them in cupcake tins. She filled the mini cups with beef, olives, cheese, spring onion, and a bit of salsa. They were delish!
We ended the stop at Kira’s with some selfie action, inspired by numerous tequila sunsets!My house was next, with Erin bringing along the cocktails! Wanting to do a main dish that wasn’t super heavy (I momentarily considered and Italian lasagna, but didn’t want to hamper our dancing goals!) so I opted for Swiss and made two big batches of fondue, with all the bells and whistles! I love living above a big street market, as I have the opportunity to buy fresh produce, homemade bread, and delicatessen cheeses right at my doorstep! This time around, I grilled mushrooms, pumpkin, asparagus, and red peppers in the oven with salt, pepper, and olive oil. I then served raw carrots, avocado, tomato, and zucchini, along with a big fruit salad with crispy apples and grapes. For meat, I served slices of roasted sausage, and for bread I bought a fresh loaf of spelt and a bunch of little raisin-sesame buns which I cut into thick chunks. I added some dates and breadsticks for good luck, and whipped up a sweet berry and brie fondue as well as a more traditional swiss fondue as well! The meal was a colorful hit, and allowed everyone to nibble (or over indulge!) as they saw fit.
We then moved into the living room, each grabbing a bright pink vodka-strawberry cocktail along the way!The evening got blurry as dance parties ensued :)Our last stop of the evening was at Katherine’s place. Sadly, my camera was left at home, as multiple sakes, sunrises, and vodkas made photography a dangerous hobby. But thankfully I have photo documentation from friends, who were able to capture this dreamy, gooey, delicious chocolate cake before we ate it all. Lindsay made espresso martinis which were just the kick we needed at the end of a long meal of feasting. While we definitely contemplated staying in and calling it a night . . . . . . we ultimately ended up dancing off a good third of the calories we had consumed that evening!
If you’re planning a progressive dinner, here are some tips to keep in mind –
- Pick a theme, or align on dishes prior to the dinner. You don’t want to end up eating similar meals twice in a row!
- Check with the group about special diets beforehand. It’s no fun if someone can’t eat a course because of an allergy or special diet.
- Assign 3 or 4 people to host. Ideally one person hosts an appetizer, one hosts the main, and finally, someone hosts dessert. However, the meal can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. You could have an eight-course Italian feast spread across eight different houses, or three simple stops of finger food and cocktails.
- Make sure all of the houses are relatively close by. You don’t want to be walking, cycling, or driving for more than 5-10 minutes from house to house.
- If you’re hosting, choose a dish that can be prepped ahead of time. Think dishes that can be easily heated up in the oven, flash fried, or prepped ahead and popped into the fridge. When you’re guests show up, you’re going to want to spend little time prepping and more time enjoying the fun!
- If you’re up next to host, consider leaving the previous house 10-15 minutes early so you can mix cocktails and get food in the oven ahead of everyone arriving. That way your guests will walk into a meal that’s almost ready to be served.
- You can always bring left overs from one house to the next. For example, if you don’t use all the limes for an appetizer, bring them to the next house and use them to garnish cocktails! We did this with ice throughout the evening, as it’s on high demand in Amsterdam ;)
- Make a fun playlist to go with the theme! If you’re serving Mexican, put on some Buena Vista Social Club. Italian? Go for Carlo Buti.
- If you have more friends than houses, suggest that some friends contribute in another way. The fun part of a progressive dinner is that everyone gets to participate! Maybe some friends can help decorate, others can bring drinks.
- You may be in a hurry to get from one house to the next, but don’t forget to wrap up those leftovers! At a bare minimum, throw those must-be-cold items in the fridge before taking off.
- If you drive from house to house, watch your alcohol consumption! Car pooling and having a designated driver may be your safest bet.
Have you ever been to a progressive dinner?? How was it?