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When I was a little girl, it seemed our weekends were always filled with visiting, going on family outings and entertaining friends and family. It was all very simple, mind you. In fact I’m not even sure if we would refer to it as “entertaining”, in today’s context.

Nowadays I sometimes feel that entertaining comes with an unnecessary and unrealistic pressure to be something that you’re not. As though if you don’t have the perfect dinner setting, or that must-have tablecloth, that you might as well not waste your time.

“Entertaining”, to us, simply meant gathering somewhere and making sure there was lots of food and lots to drink. The fabric covering the chairs you sat on or the quality of the drinking glasses meant zilch. Seriously.

We were too busy having fun to worry about that kind of stuff.

Now don’t get me wrong. I like fine linen as much as the next person, but I don’t think you need it to enjoy yourself or your guests.

And now that I’m on this little soapbox, what happened to our weekends, people???

Why is it that when I was a kid, it seemed like we had all the time in the world to fit in socializing. In fact, that’s what the weekend was for. Those two end-of-week days were for events with family and friends (picnics, trips to the beach, dinners, etc.) and there was always time for that. Nowadays, I sometimes feel like Saturday and Sunday are just an extension of the work week.

What happened? Where did we go wrong?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this for two reasons. First of all, I don’t think I’ve ever been busier in my work life than I am now. I’m not complaining, mind you, but I’m finding it difficult to maintain the line of separation between work and home. All too often I find myself spending my evenings thinking about work and worse, thinking about it over the weekends.

The other reason why this examination of how I spend my weekend time has come about is because of a cookbook that I had the opportunity to review: Katie Brown Celebrates: Simple and Spectacular Parties All Year Round.

To be honest, I didn’t really know who Katie Brown was until I received her cookbook. But when I did some research, I was surprised to discover a personality that I would consider a kindred spirit. Artistic, creative, charming and calming. That’s how I would describe the Katie Brown that I read about and that I came across in the pages of her book.

As for the book itself, as you might expect it’s a pretty book filled with lots of beautiful photos and tonnes of great entertaining ideas that include recipes but also ideas for making your own party decorations for any occasion.

When I was a kid, that’s what we used to do. We’d decorate everything ourselves with whatever we could find around the house. We were encouraged to be creative and to use everything and never throw anything away.

Something about the book struck a real chord with me and it just got me thinking about weekends and lots of cooking and just doing nothing but enjoying yourself.

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While I wanted to try everything, I only tried three recipes. I started with these amazing Apple Popovers with a Brown Sugar Mascarpone Cream (mascarpone cream not pictured). These were so good and they’re a fast and easy way to use leftover apples. You can serve them with ice cream warm out of the oven.

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I made Cinnamon Crisps with a Crème Fraiche Dip. These are like palmiers, but with lots of cinnamon and the dip was the perfect accompaniment.

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Lastly, I made Feta Herb Puffs, which we enjoyed before our Easter lunch. These were easy: a bit of mashed feta and cream cheese in packaged puff pastry. And they were delicious!

The book is filled with so many recipes that are quick and easy but delicious. And it just has a really warm and fun feel to it that I guarantee will have you dreaming of the weekend throughout the year!

Ciao!