Festive 4th of July Desserts

The 4th of July is one of our favorite holidays to celebrate because it has a set color theme, no questions asked. From decor to fashion, there are endless amounts of ways to incorporate the colors of our flag into your Independence Day celebrations. However, our favorite way to get creative is through dessert! Put away the food coloring and take inspiration from this roundup of festive treats instead.

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Green Summer Smoothies

It’s officially summer, and we’re turning to healthy green smoothies to cool us down while the weather’s heating up. Fine, so we’re crazy about them year-round. But there’s something about the icy texture of a good (guilt-free!) smoothie that just screams “summer.” Here are some of our favorites recipes. Chop your ingredients at night and wake up a few minutes early in the morning to blend them—your taste buds will thank you. Bonus for the cube-dwellers: pour your smoothie into a mason jar, bring it to work and stow it in the office fridge; come 3 o’clock, you’ll have a vacation in a glass.

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What do you put in your smoothie? Are they life-changing or overrated? Tell us @ASargentEvents!

Father’s Day Cocktails

Cheers to Dad! Raise a glass to the man who raised you with one of these cocktails from Fast Drink Recipes.

Bourbon-Daddy-Cocktail-Recipe

The Bourbon Daddy: bourbon, lemon juice and… an egg white? Trust us, it’s tasty. Plus, dad needs his protein! Recipe here.

happy-dad-cocktail-recipe

The Happy Dad: vodka, Cointreau and Compari. Simply. Classy. Gentlemanly. Recipe here.

Original-Manhattan-Cocktail-Recipe

The Manhattan: whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters. A true classic—make one for grandpa, too.
Recipe here.

Happy Father’s Day!

ASE Loves: Ticings

Fact: When you work in the event planning industry, you’re going to come across cake. And cupcakes. And cookies. And more cake. (Not that we’re complaining!) So what separates the good from the great? How does a sweet treat take home the gold?

Turns out, there are a few factors. Just like a diamond is judged by the 4 C’s (color, cut, clarity, carat), we at ASE judge sweets by the (less-demanding) 2 D’s: design and deliciousness. While it takes both factors to create the perfect baked good, we’ll leave deliciousness to the culinary experts. Today, we’re talking about design.

Enter Ticings. Launched in 2009, this company produces edible cupcake and cake toppers. In other words, Ticings let you transform your plain sweets into works of art—right in your own kitchen.

Here’s how it works: First, you frost your cake or cupcake so the frosting stays flat. Then, you peel the Ticing from the backing sheet—much like a sticker or temporary tattoo—and gently press it on to your cake. Done! Professional looking cake decorations at a fraction of the price and effort.

Custom Barcelona Monogram by Ticings.

Custom Barcelona Monogram by Ticings.

Ticings are gluten-free and completely edible. Their website lists the full list of ingredients here.

Choose from Ticings’ library of designs, or create your own. We’re currently loving the Custom Barcelona Monogram design—fitting for everything from birthday celebrations to graduation parties and everything in between.

Check out the rest of the designs at the Ticings website—don’t forget to tell them Allison sent you! What’s your favorite design? What occasion will you use Ticings for?

We’ll be reading your responses—while decorating cakes of our own—at @ASargentEvents.

ASE’s Top Picks for Valentine’s Day

The countdown to Valentine’s Day is on! Not prepared? No problem. We’ve gathered our top picks for favorite bakeries, chocolatiers, coffee shops and more in the northern New Jersey area.

Favorite Bakery: Jarets Stuffed Cupcakes

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What’s a stuffed cupcake, you ask? Picture a fluffy, cake-exterior literally stuffed with your favorite filling—chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla mousse—topped with thick frosting. Find these miniature cakes of joy at Jarets Stuffed Cupcakes in Nutley. Originally sold at the Petite Cafe on Franklin Ave., these baked goods have escalated to national fame and have been featured on the Huffington Post and O Magazine.

Favorite Chocolatier: Godiva & Chocolates With Love

We had to choose two favorites for this category because we take our chocolate very, very seriously. When it comes down to it, it’s a matter of personal taste. If your valentine has a taste for rich flavor and handsome packaging that looks kind of like this:

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…then by all means, head straight to Godiva. We love their boutiques in the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, Garden State Plaza in Paramus, Riverside Square Mall in Hackensack, and the Short Hills Mall in Short Hills. Any chocolate-loving man, woman or child will be delighted when they receive a pick from their beautifully packaged Valentine’s Day collection.

However, if your girlfriend rolls her eyes at heart-shaped packages, or your husband claims Valentine’s Day is for the birds, consider Chocolates With Love in Ramsey. The family-owned business creates their own chocolate creations. There’s something about hand-dipped chocolate covered pretzels and every flavor fudge that name brands just can’t match. Plus, the staff at Chocolates With Love is friendly and patient. Trust us—you won’t leave the store anything less than satisfied.

Favorite Coffee Spots: Rockn’ Joe Coffeehouse and Bistro & The Fine Grind

Looking for a place to hang out with a friend, or an after-dinner cafe to chat with a new date? Try Rockn’ Joe Coffeehouse and Bistro in Caldwell. They offer a variety of coffees and have live entertainment most nights.

FineGrind

The Fine Grind in Little Fall is another ideal casual date spot. We know it’s cold outside, but we recommend the frozen hot chocolate! The coffee bar is also featuring special Valentine’s Day drinks that sound equally tasty.

Favorite American Fare: George and Martha’s American Grille

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Picking a favorite restaurant in north Jersey is impossible. There are too many to choose from. However, we just can’t get enough of George and Martha’s in Morristown. The restaurant offers a cool atmosphere—no violin serenades here. Instead, you’ll find a well-stocked bar and an affordable menu. Check out their Valentine’s Day specials.

Favorite Homemade Recipe: Spaghetti and Meatballs

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Sometimes understated is better. Less is more. A homemade dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, some breadsticks and a bottle of wine is can be more meaningful (and much less stressful!) than waiting an hour to get into your local chain restaurant for half-off appetizers while listening to terrible music. Light a few candles and try this recipe from Martha Stewart.

Favorite Date Idea: Dinner Cruise

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Board the Spirit of New Jersey on New York Harbor from Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken. Enjoy a night of dancing, sipping champagne, star-gazing while you cruise on the water while New York shines in the distance.

What are your Valentine’s Day plans? Tell us on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments!

Savory Snacks for Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday is about two things: football and snacks. While our favorite team didn’t make it to the Superbowl (there’s always next year!), we’ll still be watching while munching on these savory recipes.

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mini deep-dish pizzas from e is for eat

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buffalo chicken dip from table for more

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guacamole from healthy green kitchen

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ham and cheese pretzel bites from pip & ebby

Neurotic Kitchen

bacon jalapeno poppers from neurotic kitchen

And what’s Superbowl Sunday without a brew—or dessert? Check out these beer cupcakes from Erica’s Sweet Tooth.EricaSweetTooth

What’s your go-to Superbowl snack? Tweet us your menus at @ASargentEvents or drop a line in the comments!

Five Hearty Soup Recipes for Winter

When the temperature drops below freezing and spending 10 seconds outside turns your fingers into icicles, there’s only one food that can shake the chill from your bones. That food is soup, and here are five of our favorite hearty recipes that are sure to warm you from head to toe.

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Warming Winter Soup from Kate in the Kitchen

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Roasted Tomato Basil Soup from Steph’s Bite by Bite

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White Chicken Chili from How To: Simplify

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White Bean and Escarole Soup from Budget Bon Viveur

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Hearty Chicken Stew from Can You Stay For Dinner?

Share your go-to soup recipes with us on Twitter @ASargentEvents. Happy cooking!

Holiday Cookies

Our post about holiday cookies was supposed to be two things: short and sweet.

Hundreds of cookies later, we realized that compiling a few of our favorites wasn’t going to cut it; there’s too many! Instead, we came up with four categories—Creative Cutouts, Chocolate Treats, Christmas Classics and Gluten-Free—and sifted through tons of blogs and magazines to bring you the sweetest of the sweet. Happy baking!

Creative Cutouts

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1. Glorious Treats—2.3. Better Homes and Gardens—4. Klickitat Street

Chocolate Treats

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1.2. Better Homes and Gardens—3. Bake at 350

Christmas Classics

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1. A Baker’s House—2. Cully’s Kitchen—3. The Kitchen Magpie

Gluten-Free

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1.2.3. Gluten-Free On A Shoestring

Holiday Cocktails

With one week left until Christmas, we’re making our food shopping list and checking it twice. No holiday party menu is complete without cocktails (or mocktails!), so here are some tasty drink recipes to serve at your seasonal soiree. Go ahead, test one out while finishing your gift-wrapping—you deserve a treat, too.

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Which holiday cocktail is your favorite? Are you a fan of fancy drinks, or do you tend to stick to the eggnog? Tell us on Twitter @ASargentEvents.