Gobble Gobble

Wishing you and your families a very happy Thanksgiving filled with delicious food and lots of pie….yes pie. Lots of it! And stuffing. Lots of stuffing!  Enjoy! 

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Happy New Year from JBE

May all your dreams be filled and your goals accomplished. May you appreciate all the joy in life and live in the moment. May you love with your whole heart and laugh every single day. All the best wishes for 2016 to be your best year yet! Happy New Year!!  


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Pear and Ginger-Sage Champagne Cocktail

Saw this yummy cocktail on my feed today and will definitely be adding it to my New Year’s Eve menu. What a fun way to jazz up champagne….not that champagne needs any jazzing up!!


  • 1 cup honey
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 whole pears, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 large chunk of ginger, peeled and diced
  • 20 fresh sage leaves + additional for garnish
  • 1 bottle of your favorite champagne or sparkling wine
  • Serves 4
  1. In a saucepan combine the honey and water over medium heat and bring to a light boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the honey has dissolved completely. Add the pears, ginger and sage leaves. Simmer until the mixture has reduced by 1/3. About 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let the mixture steep for an additional 10 minutes.
  2. Strain the syrup into a large mason jar. Discard the ginger and sage leaves.
  3. To assemble the drinks place a few pieces of the cooked pear into each glass followed by 1-2 Tablespoons of the simple syrup. Add the champagne and enjoy.



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Last Minute Holiday Decorating

Please tell me I’m not the only one doing last minute decorating? Believe me, it is not my style to be such a last minute sally but we waited until we got to NYC to decorate since this is where we’ll be celebrating Christmas. I did prepare a little bit by finding these beautifully decorated homes as inspiration.   I’m so excited to finally decorate and have my little one hang some ornaments on our tree!  Hope you’re all getting in the spirit!! Jingle jingle! 



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Thanksgiving at The Byrnes

Hey Guys!  Wanted to finally share a few snippets from our turkey day!  It was a pretty low key year (we typically have 20+) but we still managed to have a blast with our closest friends…although, sadly, a few were missing due to the flu. The best part was seeing my little peanut have so much fun with her friends and gobble down turkey.



We started the festivities on Wednesday with my most favorite baking pal. Yes we used a store bought crust! I know, it’s so wrong! But it was only for one pie, I promise!


My antipasto and cheese plates, plus some stuffing prep. You have to try this recipe from Giada. It’s da bomb! Did I just say da bomb?! Yea, I did. And it is! I make this every year and it’s always a hit.


My cute hubby prepping the bird with our little bird.


Here’s our kiddie table….we were also celebrating a 7th birthday!



And here’s our grown up table. I was really into going dark this year. Black linens, black gourds, and some dark purple callas.


Pretty “leftovers” stationary to match my placecards from Laura Hooper.


Our beautiful LA family enjoying the feast!

whole crew

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5 Tips to Make Hosting Thanksgiving Easier

My hubby and I have hosted Thanksgiving since before we were even married. If you follow my blog regularly, you know it’s my most favorite holiday and my most favorite party to throw!  Because we’re in LA we often end up with 20+ guests who don’t have family local, so I do my best to make them feel at home with us.  I try to make everything from scratch and put special touches into every part of the day. Paying attention to the little details is what makes all the difference in throwing a great party so I carry that idea into my holiday entertaining as well.  That being said, over the past 12 years of hosting, I have come up with a few sure fire ways to keep myself calm and make my life a little easier….because the number one rule of being a good hostess is having a good time yourself!  If you’re not having a good time, your guests surely won’t either!  Here’s a few of my tricks.


1. Preparation is key. Start right now. We’re a week away so you should be finalizing your menu, making shopping lists, and crafting anything you’ve planned to craft.  Be sure to choose a menu that you’re totally comfortable with.  It’s not really the time to try a new recipe. Stick with the things that you know you’re good at.

check list

2. Serve appetizers that don’t need to go in the oven or on the stove.  Make a fun cheese ball or cheese platter, shrimp cocktail or deviled eggs. Or check out this list of crostinis on Food Networks website. Or you can even just keep it really simple and put out a few bowls of fancy nuts and chips and call it a day. After all, no one is there for the appetizers….it’s called “turkey day” for a reason folks!  Whatever you do, keep your oven free!


3. Set up a self serve bar. This year, I’m making an apple cider punch so my guests will have a fun cocktail that I don’t have to serve them.  I’ll also have a large ice bucket with wine, beer, and a few non-alcoholic selections.  This way I’ll be free to prep the main attraction.

apple cider punch

4. Set your table at least 2 days in advance. I typically set my table on Monday night and just add any fresh flowers on Wednesday so they’re nicely in bloom for Thanksgiving day. This way it’s one less thing I have to do on Wednesday or Thursday morning, which I leave for all of my cooking.

set table

5. Say yes! When you’re guests offer to bring a side dish or dessert, say yes!  You’re good, but you’re not superwoman…ok, well you’re still superwoman for hosting such a big holiday…but take the help where help is given. It will give you some sanity to cross something off your to-do list.

travel food

Remember to have fun and enjoy the day!   No one wants to be at a dinner party where the host is crazed and stressed nor miserably tired because of how much work she’s done. If you prepare and use these tips, you’ll be golden! Gobble Gobble my friends!

group table

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Happy Halloween from JBE


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Spooky Smoothie

If you’re like me and ‘scared’ by the sugar fest that is Halloween, and you don’t want to hear all of the ‘boo’ hoos from your little ones when you tell them they’ve had enough candy; then try serving up this fun, and healthy, treat on Halloween!  Adults will like them too and they’ll look great being tray passed or lined up on your Halloween bash buffet.  Although the color is ‘creepy’, I think you’ll be ‘spellbound’ by the delicious taste!

Spooky Smoothie recipe:

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The ingredients are pictured here. I think it would taste good with any kind of berry juice, but I used blackberry to give it that dark, creepy color.

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Put all of the ingredients in your Nutribullet or high speed blender. Be sure to put the greens in first so they’re at the bottom, the ice should be at the top and the juice goes in last. Fill the juice at least half way.

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Make your sugar rim. I just put regular white sugar in a bowl with a few drops of red and blue food coloring and mixed it really well.  Pour the sugar on a flat plate and slightly wet the rim of your glass. Then dip the rim into the sugar, rolling it around to be sure to get all sides covered.

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Pour your smoothie into the glass (or plastic cup for your kiddos) and serve with a Halloween themed napkin and specialty straw.

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Now eat, drink, and be scary!

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Dracula’s Dentures

dracula dentures

I love all of the spooky and creepy recipes that people make for their Halloween parties this time of year.  Every year I say I’m going to do a fun dinner party or make some fun treats but it always turns out to be an extra busy time for work and I can never seem to fit in a party of my own.  This year I was determined to at least make a fun recipe with my little one.  I saw this cute and SUPER EASY Halloween cookie idea online and since Madison was sick last week, I thought I would try this activity with her while we were stuck in the house.  Thank gaahhhdd she’s finally feeling better….I think we both might’ve lost our minds if we had to stay inside one more day!!  Anyway, here’s the recipe…it’s super easy and fun!

Start with your favorite chocolate chip cookie. I went to this brand new place in our Brooklyn ‘hood and let me tell you, they don’t mess around when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, or any cookie for that matter! 

Other ingredients: Frosting (you can make your own or take the easy route and get store bought like I did), food coloring, mini marshmallows, and slivered almonds.

First, very carefully cut the cookies in half. 

Color your frosting with red food coloring. You’ll need to be very generous on the coloring otherwise it will look pink and these cookies really stand out when they’re bright red.

This was a good part to have my little one help with.

But she kinda just ended up eating all of it! IMG_1253

Spread the frosting on both halves of the flat side of the cookie.

Stick on your mini marshmallows so they look like teeth.

Place the other frosted half on top of the “teeth” so it sticks. 

You should have some nice dentures at this point. Then dip the tip of a slivered almond into the frosting and stick it into the frosting on the top cookie.

And there you have it…. Dracula’s Dentures!!  Easy, right?! and super cute!! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! 

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Autumn is Here!

Bring it on mother nature!!!

So excited to start my favorite season of the year, AAANNND I get to do it in New York City!! Holla!! I can’t wait to actually see the leaves turn colors!  LA is beautiful and all, but NYC wins the Fall battle every time. Palm trees just don’t give that cozy fall vibe, ya know?  To me Fall is the perfect time for dinner parties (whatever city you’re in), so I’m currently swooning over oodles of Pinterest pages dreaming up all of the wonderful dinner parties I’m going to throw!  Who wants to come over?

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