Photo: Aaron Kirk; Prop Styling: Kashara Johnson; Food Styling: Pam Lolley

We planned our perfect Royal watch party menu, ate lots of cookies, and fantasized about sipping cocktails by the pool... all in all, not a bad week at the office.

Briana Riddock
May 11, 2018

We are gearing up big time for the royal wedding over here at MyRecipes. Each day inches us closer to the May 19th matrimonial extravaganza, and we will be up in the early hours of the morning with our television on and table set anticipation. The nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to air 7 AM (EST)—and I’m not sure about everyone else, but I usually sleep in late on Saturday mornings. Therefore, I'll definitely need the perfect array of viewing party foods for morning motivation. Thankfully, our editor curated the ultimate menu to prepare for this heartwarming occasion. This is one morning nobody can judge if you are sipping on the Queen’s choice of gin cocktail, alongside crumpets and a slice of decadent Chocolate Biscuit Cake (which is the Queen’s personal favorite), before 8 AM. This is a wedding, people; you get your party on. 

This momentous event also led us to reflect on how we could conduct ourselves in a more proper British fashion. Basically, it all comes down to drinking tea. Writer Arielle Weg schooled us on the way her grandparents taught her to enjoy tea. The key takeaways are:

  • You can (and should) drink tea virtually any time of day, under any circumstance.
  • You always drink tea with your pinky up. Really.
  • Give your tea an ample amount of time to seep (use multiple bags if you have to) in order to achieve a dark hue.
  • It’s crucial that you keep your tea hot.
  • Serve your tea with appropriate tea-related finger foods—i.e. cucumber sandwiches, scones, egg salad and chicken salad.

If you need a place to find all the ingredients for your watch party and tea snacks, head over to Trader Joe’s where, I hear, the frozen crumpets are divine. You can also find food items that are perfect to serve for all types of gatherings, wedding related or not. In fact, we learned this week that you can make quite a few themed party spreads for $25 or under with savvy Trader Joe’s purchases. I’m definitely planning to hit up TJ’s this weekend to grab a few things for a brunch spread and may just go ahead and start mentally planning my next girls' night while there. For the last girls’ night I hosted, I utilized a bag of precooked shrimp as a shortcut to making a few rave-worthy dishes. They absolutely loved this simple salad that I made by tossing the precooked shrimp in Old Bay Seasoning then serving with arugula, blue cheese crumbles, and marinated peaches. They couldn’t believe how tasty it was, and even more so, how easy it is to transform precooked shrimp into a hearty and elegant meal.    

 

WATCH: How to Make No-Bake Strawberry Nutella Cheesecake

 

When my friends are over, I want to spend as much time as we can gossiping and trading beauty secrets; thus, it’s often easier for me to pop a package of refrigerated cookie dough in the oven for dessert. I mean, within 12 minutes, I have freshly baked cookies to serve… you can’t beat it. However, given the results of our recent cookie dough taste test, on my next refrigerated cookie dough purchase, I will (for the first time) be skipping over the classic and beloved package of Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies and reaching for Sweet Loren’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Sweet Loren cookie dough is made with more wholesome ingredients, and the cookies bake just beautifully. I am sure my girls will approve of this switch-up.  

Another thing about my girls… Beyond being their friend, I’m their on-call food consultant. They call or text me for every cooking and grocery shopping question that they may have. While I do love the opportunity to help my friends and give them culinary confidence by sharing my own expertise, sometimes, I recommend that they make certain dishes and later realize that their kitchens are not stocked with a lot of items that I think of as givens. Therefore, I now make sure that at the minimum they have these 22 essential pantry staples before I start doling out easy weeknight recipe suggestions. We all have to stand by something, and I feel very strongly about having a can of tomato paste on hand all the times along with honey, soy sauce, pasta, and rice. 

I also recommend that all of my friends invest in a Dutch oven as well. I know that quality Dutch ovens can be pricey, which is why I think the new $95 Milo Dutch oven is the perfect gift for any food-loving friend. It’s affordable and serves all of the same functions that a more expensive pot does. I actually tested “Milo,” and made a wonderfully chunky Copycat Panera Bread Summer Corn Chowder. The chowder features freshly shucked corn in a creamy base with potatoes, tomatoes, and a diced jalapeño for heat. Hate to toot my own horn, but it was tasty.

Now, that I am thinking about it, maybe my next girls’ night should be a girls’ just-wanna-have-fun by the pool sort of thing. In that case, I will be toting a cooler filled with poolside ready drinks to pour up and enjoy the sun. I can already envision myself sipping on a gin and tonic with a slice of lime right now. The pool is definitely where canned rosés come in for the WIN. In conclusion, it looks like I have a date with the pool, cocktails, and my girls coming up soon. 

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