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Royal Wedding Anniversary Party

Royal Wedding First Anniversary

Has it been a year already since William and Kate tied the knot?  April 29th is upon us and marks the date the entire world watched this once-in-a-lifetime event when a girl became a real princess.

Here at the Spilsbury home, my girlfriends and I shared that day cooking, eating and writing (work for me), while putting together this festive menu for the Royal day.

Royal Wedding Menu

A Royal Affaire-Fare


My friend researched Will’s favorite meal, and found that Cottage Pie is allegedly the Prince’s choice.  Get the recipe by clicking the image below, or here.

Cottage Pie by Toni Spilsbury, The Organized Cook

Cottage Pie, a favorite dish of Prince Williams, is a tasty version of the Shepherd’s Pie.


This recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding was not easy to prepare- that’s why I’m so glad that my daughter, Rayana made it!  Chopped up pitted dates are the main ingredient for this high calorie dessert.  Oh my goodness- was it ever so decadent and delicious!

Get this recipe by clicking the image below.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

I haven’t figured out how Kate Middleton could possibly keep her figure if this high-calorie desert is actually her favorite.


In an effort to create an appetizer both simple and regal, I used the “something red”- “something blue approach” for these easy-to-prepare crackers that I named “Westminster Crackers”.

Westminster Crackers

Westminster Crackers- so regal... so simple.


What better martini choice to celebrate the Royal Wedding than a “Blue-on-Blue” martini.  Don’t worry- it was after noon.

Blue on Blue Martinis

Blue-on-Blue Martini


Kir Royale- you’ve probably had the cupcake, now try the drink that inspired the tasty treat; champagne poured over Creme de Cassis.  Drink one of these and you’ll begin to feel like part of the (Royal) family!

Kir Royale

Kir Royale Recipe


Red strawberries and blue blueberries give this lemonade a royal touch.

Royal Lemonade

If there were a royal lemonade recipe- this would be it!


Hey, look who stopped by to have a martini with us!


our royal guest


After a day of cooking, sampling, watching the wedding and reading all the buzz, here’s the menu we came up with titled “A Royal Affaire-Fare”… even after a Kir Royale and “Blue-on-Blue”, I think we did a fine job.

royal wedding menu

A Royal Affaire-Fare





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Chardonnay Cake

Easy Chardonnay Cake Recipe

Chardonnay Cake

Chardonnay Cake

My recipe for Chardonnay Cake may be a little too easy.  Perfect for afternoon soirees, every time I serve this simple cake, I get raves.

Chardonnay Cake

Chardonnay Cake


  • Yellow Cake Mix
  • Chardonnay- 2 cups
  • For Grand Marnier Glaze:
  • Grand Marnier- 1 cup
  • Orange Juice- 1 cup
  • Sugar- 1 cup mixed with
  • Corn Starch- 2 tablespoons


  1. Prepare cake mix according to package instructions Substituting the water with Chardonnay.
  2. For Grand Marnier Glaze:
  3. Heat Grand Marnier and Orange Juice over medium heat until bubbly
  4. Add sugar mixed with Corn Starch and dissolve until glazed
  5. Pour over the top of cake


Below is my whimsical story of how I happened upon this gem of a recipe.


The Story Behind The Chardonnay Cake Recipe

At the very end of a long and windy rode in Paso Robles, California is a positively charming and unpopular winery.  I won’t mention the name, because although the scenery there is magnificent, the wine is not.

At the end of a long day of wine tasting during a group trip, we stopped off at this bewitching little spot owned by a famous couple from the 1950’s (at my urging only, because my wine-snobby friends would gladly have skipped it).

The story of how this quaint little winery came to be still gives me goosebumps.  I’m not sure if it’s true, but here’s how the story goes.

The husband and wife wine-making team are actually a famous 1950’s actor and Miss America from 1950-something.  During a helicopter flight from shooting in Hollywood to Northern California, the helicopter crashed with the husband inside on the site of the now-winery.  He survived (obviously).  And when he emerged from the wreckage he said something like, “this is the most beautiful place; I think I’ll build a home and winery here”.  He was then joined by his beauty queen wife where they still are.  He hand-paints labels for their wine and she keeps the place- well- charming.

During this particular visit, she (Mrs. Beauty Queen Winemaker) was out front pouring wine and giving away small samples of a Chardonnay cake she made.  Wow, this is a real treat, I thought.  No other winery we visited would ever think to meet you with hand-baked goods from the owner.  I loved it.

The cake was so moist.  I was sure used had some age-old culinary method.  As we chatted, I went on and on about how great her cake was when she offered to give me the recipe.

“Would it be too complicated?”, I wondered.  “Perhaps with some type of wine-reduction technique?”  As I waited for her to retrieve a copy of this gourmet secret compound, I burst at the thought of wowing my friends with an authentic Chardonnay cake recipe directly from a Paso Robles wine maker.

But, instead of leaving the table to retrieve it, she leaned over and said, “I use a basic yellow cake mix and substitute the water with two cups of Chardonnay.”

Maybe the cake tasted better than I thought after all this wine tasting- okay- drinking.  So, I thanked her and vowed to make it when I returned home to see for myself.

It was as good as I remembered it- moist and light tasting with just the perfect hint of Chardonnay.  Now I impress my friends during summer entertaining with this culinary marvel.

If you didn’t catch the secret recipe and are waiting for my ingredient and instruction list to follow: yellow cake mix….no water….Chardonnay instead.

Chardonnay Cake from Toni Spilsbury, The Organized Cook

hey, there’s a rainbow in my glass!


Chardonnay Cake from Toni Spilsbury, The Organized Cook

serve Chardonnay Cake in bite-size finger-food pieces


The cake comes out super moist and is sliced into bite-sized pieces to serve as finger food.  If you insist on having some type of icing for this cake, I used a glaze for mine.  I heated a cup of orange juice and some Grand Marnier in a small saucepan, then added a cup of sugar combined with a couple tablespoons of corn starch over medium heat until it turned to glaze.


Chardonnay Cake from Toni Spilsbury, The Organized Cook

Chardonnay Cake from Toni Spilsbury, The Organized Cook

Chardonnay Cake from Toni Spilsbury, The Organized Cook

Chardonnay Cake from Toni Spilsbury, The Organized Cook


Chardonnay Cake from Toni Spilsbury, The Organized Cook

Chardonnay Cake from Toni Spilsbury, The Organized Cook

Chardonnay Cake from Toni Spilsbury, The Organized Cook

Chardonnay Cake from Toni Spilsbury, The Organized Cook

Chardonnay Cake from Toni Spilsbury, The Organized Cook

Chardonnay Cake from Toni Spilsbury, The Organized Cook

Party Treat!

If you’re having a party, try this fun giveaway- Chalkboard Wine Bottles.

Used as table decor, I set out some chalk for guests to sign their name or write something cute.  Then I give away the bottles to a guest at the end of the night.  They can also be used for wine tasting parties to mark each type of wine, “Merlot”, “Cabernet”, etc.

They’re simple to make: simply spray-paint some empty wine bottles of different shapes and sizes with chalkboard paint.  Dry.

Wine Bottles with Chalkboard Paint

For more fun ways to use chalkboard paint, visit my Pinterest Board!

Chardonnay Cake Recipe

Chardonnay Cake recipe


For more summer entertaining ideas:

Summer Sangria Recipe

Summer Sangria Recipe

Summer Sangria

Summer Barbeque Menu



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Serve Up Patriotic with Pinterest

I’m “Serving Up Patriotic” for 4th of July entertaining this year with a little help from my buddy, Pinterest!

Visit my Pinterest boards for some inspiring and patriotic ideas for your 4th of July.

4th of July Serving Style with Pinterest from Toni Spilsbury The Organized Cook

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Serve Up Simple- 4th of July Simply Delicious Menu

Serve up simple.  Simple and delicious, that is.

If you’re entertaining for Independence Day, I have a recipe to make your life a lot easier.  Skip the traditional hamburgers and hot dogs and try this menu:

4th of July Menu from The Organized Cook


By marinating the steak a day or two in advance and making the salads which take just minutes to prepare, you’re time will be free to enjoy 4th of July festivities.

What’s great about this menu is that it covers all the basics- steaks, potatoes, pasta.  So, when guests ask, “what can I bring?” tell them to bring easy items like fruit or drinks.

4th of July Menu Flank Steak from The Organized Cook

If you’re not entertaining, it’s the perfect combination for just you and the family- I know- because this is what we had for dinner this past Saturday night and it was delicious….tasted like summer.

Toni’s 4th of July Menu


  1. Flank Steak 3-4 lbs, cut into 2-inch strips against the grain
  2. Dijon Mustard -1/2 bottle
  3. Soy Sauce- a few shakes

    4th of July Menu Red White Blue Potato Salad from The Organized Cook

    Dice potatoes into quarters

  4. Red Wine Vinegar- about 1/3 cup
  5. Fresh or Dried Oregano & Basil


  1. Petite Red, White & Blue (purple, actually- but close enough) Potatoes (I found the perfect ones at Trader Joe’s), cleaned and quartered
  2. Blue Cheese Crumbles- 1 small container
  3. Sour Cream- 1 cup


  1. Cavatappi Pasta- 1 lb
  2. Zucchini & Squash- 1 each, diced into half-chunks
  3. Grape Tomatoes- 1 pint

    4th of July Menu Cavatappi Salad from The Organized Cook

    Dice zucchini and squash into halves

Where I got my potato salad inspiration- basically, I think making traditional potato salad is a ton of work.  You have to peel, cook and dice potatoes and eggs, dice potatoes, etc.  So, unless my mom is here to make it (she makes a great potato salad), then I want to find an easier alternative.

I was shopping in Trader Joe’s and spotted these miniature potatoes and thought how perfect they would be in a salad.  I wanted to make it lighter, without mayonnaise, so I decided to try sour cream.  With some blue cheese to add to my “red, white and blue” theme, this potato salad came out better than I’d hoped.

4th of July party menu from Toni Spilsbury The Organized Cook




  1. A day or two in advance, combine mustard, soy sauce and vinegar in a bowl or casserole pan with about a half cup of olive or canola oil; mix well
  2. Season steak with salt, pepper, basil and oregano
  3. Dip steak into marinade and coat evenly
  4. Place steak in zip-top baggie and pour remaining marinade in; seal tightly and place in the refrigerator on a plate or platter to marinate overnight


Potato Salad (can be made a day in advance)4th of July Menu Red White Blue Potato Salad from The Organized Cook

  1. Place oven on Broil
  2. Place potato chunks onto baking sheet
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with some salt; use your hand to toss
  4. Broil until potatoes are brown, approximately 35 minutes
  5. Transfer to mixing bowl
  6. Add blue cheese and sour cream; toss


Pasta Salad (can be made a day or two in advance)

  1. Put zucchini and squash slices next to potatoes to Broil until brown, approximately 20 minutes
  2. Boil pasta in salted water until tender; drain and rinse under cool water
  3. Add vegetables to pasta
  4. Drizzle with olive oil; toss4th of July Menu Cavatappi Salad from The Organized Cook

When it’s time to eat, just grill steak- or hand it off to the hubby to grill like I do.



4th of July Menu Flank Steak from Toni Spilsbury The Organized Cook

Happy 4th of July!


If you’re looking for a summer beverage for 4th of July party, try my Summer Sangria!

Summer Sangria from Toni Spilsbury The Organized Cook

And, for the absolute most adorable place setting, check out this Patriotic Place Setting design by Social Couture.





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