Celebrate the Ladies This Valentine’s Day 

Parks & Recreation’s character Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) had a brilliant idea when she dubbed the day before Valentine’s Day “Galentine’s Day,” deeming it a time for “ladies celebrating ladies.” I created my own “Galentine’s” ideas — and instead of waffles with lots of maple syrup flowing like Knope, I chose to let the pink champagne flow instead. I’m totally crushing on this flirty and fun celebration idea drenched in delicious shades of pink. This one is for us girls. Welcome to my Party Crush Studio in Kirkland, where I created a one-stop workshop so you can get ready for your own “Galentine’s Day!”

425_Val16__2299The “Maine” Dish
Lobster cocktail with grapefruit vinaigrette

Seafood cocktail simply says celebration to me, and when that seafood cocktail is lobster … woo-hoo! Paired with juicy citrus and the crunch of radishes and fennel, this dish is fresh and delish. Serve these crowd-pleasers straight up in martini glasses.

For the salad:

  • 3 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
  • ½ dozen grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons fennel bulb, chopped
  • 4 rainbow radishes chopped
  • 1 pink grapefruit, sectioned
  • Zest of half a pink grapefruit
  • 4 leaves of fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 4 frozen uncooked lobster tails
  • 4 radicchio leaves

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1 cup olive oil cup freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
  • A few torn tarragon leaves
  1. Using a sharp knife carefully cut the topside of the lobster shells lengthwise. Season meat with butter, salt, and pepper. Broil lobster tails until meat is opaque, about 5-8 minutes. Cool and dice into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Toss all above ingredients — minus the radicchio leaves — into a bowl with the diced broiled lobster.
  3. Make the grapefruit vinaigrette — whisk together olive oil, grapefruit juice, tarragon leaves, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. To assemble, place a radicchio leaf in each martini glass and spoon lobster mixture onto the leaf bowl. Drizzle the vinaigrette, sprinkle with fleur de sel, and garnish with a sprig of fresh tarragon. Cheers!

Hugs & kisses

Hand-painted craft store Xs and Os with pink and white paint. It’s so simple, yet sweet.

The table 

A small glass container makes a big and beautiful impact thanks to casually arranged stems of roses, protea, carnations, and greenery.

425_Val16__2309DIY bubbly bar backdrop

Break out the bubbles for this one and create a simple Bubbly Bar backdrop! Spray the backside of a piece of clear acrylic with pink paint, and use a dry erase pen to create your message on the front side. I picked up the frame and acrylic combo at a crafts store.

The dessert
Tipsy Strawberry Trifle

This is a rich but quick and simple version of the pretty English dessert classic. Store-purchased pound cake is a real time-saver!

  •  10 ounces cream
  •  2 egg yolks
  •  1 vanilla pod, scraped
  •  1 tablespoon vanilla bean sugar (I make my own with leftover pods that I stick in the sugar jar!)
  •  2 teaspoons cornstarch
  •  3 tablespoons each of Riesling and Cognac
  • ¼ cup chopped chocolate (to garnish)
  1. Line a small clear glass bowl with slices of heart-shaped strawberries, cut side, facing outward.
  2. Tear roughly 3 cups or so of purchased pound cake, and layer into the bowl.
  3. Drizzle the cake with 3 tablespoons each of Riesling and Cognac and set aside.

425_Val16__2295Vanilla bean custard trifle filling

  1. Beat the eggs and sugar together for a few minutes. Set aside. Heat the cream, vanilla pod, and beans in a pan until the combo just comes to a boil.
  2. Pour the hot cream over the yolks and sugar, quickly whisking until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Return the mixture back to the pan. Sprinkle in the cornstarch.
  4. Whisk over medium low heat for 6 to 7 minutes. It’s done when the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
  5. Cool slightly and pour over the cake only, in the prepared glass dish.
  6. Top with chopped bittersweet chocolate and a plump strawberry on top.

Dreamy dessert bar

Complete the dessert bar with store-bought ombre macarons, M&Ms, and petite cardamom and cinnamon donuts with a pink grapefruit glaze. Find the donut recipe at 425magazine.com.

Give corsages

Sweet handmade pink daisy wrist corsages are fun to give and wear.

425_Val16__2300The notebook

Send the gals home with sweet handmade leather XXO notepads. So simple to make! You’ll need:

  • Small pre-cut pink leather sheets
  • Alphabet leather stamp set
  • Wooden mallet, paper, and tassels

With the finished side of the fabric facing up, slightly dampen the leather with water where you want to make the letter impression. Position the metal leather stamp, and strike with the mallet several times, creating the impression. Cut paper to fit, slightly smaller than the leather cover. Stack the paper. Use a leather shoelace or ribbon to tie and secure the paper to the inside of the leather notebook. Add leather tassel.

Napkin folding 101

Take a pretty and eclectic mix of napkins in yummy shades of pink to the next level with an easy, old-school DIY napkin-folding trick! You can create this pretty heart-shaped napkin in seconds! Check out my online video tutorial about how to make this, a DIY heart made from yarn, and more!

Credits: Photos by Brooke Clark, Studio B, Craft items from Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames, Redmond. Napkins from Table Top and Home, Bellevue. Food from Metropolitan Market. Hair styling by SEVEN the salon, senior stylist Chu. 

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