Eva Amurri Martino is a woman who can do a little bit of it all—she’s an actress, mother and fashion girl whose blog, Happily Eva After, covers all things family, beauty, style, entertaining, decor, travel and more. We tapped the beautiful Angeleno to give us creative ideas for holiday entertaining and a few recipes that make an event truly special. Her hostess tip? “Place the food and cocktails on a table in the middle of the action to encourage mingling,” says Eva. “Everyone flocks to food and drinks!” Don’t we know it. Click through for Eva’s recipes and party ideas sure to make your festive season the merriest and most delicious it can be.
"I absolutely love entertaining around the holidays, but I’ve learned that if I’m going to be able to enjoy the party alongside my guests I need to keep things simple," says Eva. "A make-ahead drink like my Holiday Sangria is perfect for this and looks so festive on the table it’s almost like a centerpiece. I pair it with a few simple, crowd-pleasing hors d’oeuvres for my guests to snack on."
Holiday Sangria Recipe (makes 1 large pitcher):
1 bottle Sauvignon Blanc
1 cup vodka
1 cup white grape juice
1 can lime flavored sparkling water
2 apples, chopped in to 1 inch pieces
2 oranges, cut in half and then sliced in to half-rounds
1 cup cranberries
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish.
Add all of the ingredients except for the sparkling water into a large pitcher. Mix well with a wooden spoon, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours. When ready to serve, top off with the sparkling water, mix well and pour into glasses—make sure to let plenty of the yummy fruit tumble into each glass! Garnish with extra rosemary sprigs.
Caprese Salad Bites
What You Need:
Bite-sized mozarella balls
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Start by putting a torn piece of basil on a toothpick. Follow by one cherry-tomato half, a mozzarella ball and the second cherry-tomato half. Serve alongside a dipping bowl of extra-virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinaigrette and fresh oregano sprinkles.
Prosciutto-and-Fig Pinwheels & Pear-and-Blue Cheese Crostini
What You Need:
1 jar fig preserves
Good Italian prosciutto di parma, thinly sliced
1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Thaw puff pastry as per package directions. When ready, make slightly thinner by rolling out lightly on a floured surface. The surface area of the pastry should increase by about a third. Lay the pastry so the short side is facing you. At the far end, brush the last two inches of the pastry with the beaten egg. Then, progressively moving towards you, spread fig preserves on half of the remaining pastry and lay prosciutto slices beside each other (flat) on the other half. Beginning from the side closest to you, roll the pastry away from you into a tight jelly roll. Use the pastry with the egg wash to seal the roll. Wrap in plastic and place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
When ready, remove from the plastic wrap, place on a floured surface and cut crosswise in to ¼ inch rounds. Lay them flat on the baking sheet, careful not to overlap or place too close together. Brush with the egg wash on the side facing up.
Bake for 15- 20 minutes.
Pear-and-Blue Cheese Crostini
What You Need:
Flat crackers of your choice (make sure they are sturdy and flat enough to hold the topping)
Good blue cheese, sliced into flat and wide pieces
Ripe pears, cut in half and sliced very thin
Rosemary to garnish
Arrange the blue cheese on the crackers. Place a thin slice of pear on top and finish with a tiny sprinkle of rosemary. Serve alongside honey to drizzle.
DIY Trail-Mix Favor Bar
I love giving a favor out at my parties, and I especially love when a cute favor can be useful to my guests. Here in Los Angeles we spend so much time in our cars that I wanted to create a fun and festive snack that guests could take with them—a little bit salty, a little bit sweet, just like 2015 has been! I wrote out the tags ahead of time so guests could find their names before filling up their bags.