Showing posts with label party food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label party food. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pizza Monkey Bread


When my family gets together we love to ask each other questions like "If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?" or "if you could pick your real dream job, not having to worry about making enough money etc, what would you do?" or "what is your honest opinion about ."

It makes for some riveting discussions and I always end up learning something new about the very people who I grew up with.  One day someone (probably me) asked, "if you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?"  Tough question!  Especially for a person who essentially likes everything, with the exception of goat cheese, I know, I know.

But truth me told, I'd have to say pizza.  Not a very foodie answer, but I've got to be honest.  I LOVE pizza.  And I love how versatile it is, there are endless combinations which would keep it from ever getting boring.  Plus, I mean, c'mon, it's pizza.  It's hot, gooey, comforting, full of flavor, and always ready for a party. 

I got really excited when Barbara from Barbara Bakes posted her Pizza Monkey Bread.  Not only does it have all the great elements of a food I already love, but it's in a different and fun form that kids love.  Who wouldn't want to tear off a piece of this and dunk it into it's warm, homemade marinara.  It really is a party.

Click here for the original recipe and for a great video on how to make them.  Enjoy!


Friday, March 8, 2013

Bacon and Pepperoncini Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Around Superbowl time a friend and I were commiserating about the fact that our disinterest in sports excludes us from all the great sports fare.  So, our Non-Superbowl, Superbowl party was born.  It basically meant all the game food, none of the game.  Score for us!  (Yes, that's right, I'm not a sports fan, but I'm still a real nice gal, honest!)

Don't you love this colorful bouquet of peppers.  I like to consider this my attempt at being responsible, by bringing veggies that haven't been dunked in hot oil.  Instead they've been stuffed with cheese!  I'll admit that I took a small leap of faith making these, I'd never had anything like this, so I had no idea what to expect.  Let me just tell you, these little babies are TASTY!  Sweet crunchy peppers, stuffed with a creamy filling that has a great tangy/smoky combo.  They would make the perfect appetizer for a party, luncheon or baby/bridal shower.  You've got to give these a try.

Bacon and Pepperoncini Stuffed Sweet Peppers
From The Shrinking Kitchen

Ingredients


2 teaspoons olive oil
2 slices turkey bacon, chopped (I used reduced fat center cut bacon)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 green onions, diced
10 pepperoncini peppers, stems removed and roughly chopped
4 ounces light cream cheese
20 mini sweet bell peppers
 
Directions
 
Wash and cut the stems off the mini bell peppers and set aside.  In a non stick skillet, heat the olive oil.  Add the bacon and saute for a few minutes until it starts to crisp.  Throw the green onions and chopped red bell pepper in with the bacon and continue to saute until the peppers are softened.  Scrape the bacon/onion/bell pepper into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times.  Add the cream cheese and pepperoncinis to the food processor and pulse till combined. If the mixture is too thick, add a little juice from the pepperoncini jar.  Spoon the cream cheese mixture into a zip top bag.  Snip off a tiny piece of one corner of the bag.  Fill the cavity of each mini pepper with the cream cheese mixture.  Chill the filled peppers until ready to serve, or at least an hour.  (I thought they were even better the next day.)





Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Krispy Kreme Donuts



Happy Thanksgiving! Or Kanksgizzin, as my silly kids like to call it. What are your plans for this wonderful holiday? Going to snuggle in at home, travel to see family, or maybe going out for Thanksgiving? Whatever you do, I hope it's wonderful!

I feel a bit hypocritical posting a recipe for fried donuts, after plastering my Livefit launch all over my blog. However, in my defense, these were made long before we started, and c'mon, its time to indulge a bit right? As I've mentioned a few times, my husband and I have very different tastes. While I'm usually in the mood for something savory and salty (cheeseburgers, pizza, chips, etc), my husband has a MAJOR sweet-tooth. He could eat cookies and cheesecake for every meal, if allowed, and would wake up the next morning feeling great. Needless to say, this program that we've been doing has posed some pretty serious cravings for my "sweets loving" husband, but he's been staying strong, bless him.

These donuts were something he made a few months ago. He loves Krispy Kreme, and since we don't have one readily available to us, he found the recipe and whipped them up himself. Not even being a fan of donuts, I do have to say, these were pretty fantastic. If you're only interested in having one or two, I suggest halving the recipe, because it's really hard to stop!



Krispy Kreme Donuts
Food.com

Ingredients

Donuts
2 cups scalded milk
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons yeast
4 eggs ( beaten)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
7 cups sifted flour

Glaze
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cold water

Directions

1. Mix together ingredients for glaze.
2. Melt butter in hot milk, add 1 tsp sugar and salt. Allow to cool.
3. Beat in yeast, nutmeg, eggs, remaining sugar, and 3 cups flour.
4. Add rest of flour (dough will be sticky).
5. Knead for 5 minutes then allow to rise for 1-1 1/2 hours.
6. Roll out dough, cut into shapes.
7. Do not re-roll dough, then allow to rise for 30-45 minutes.
8. Heat oil to 365° and fry 1 - 2 minutes on each side or until brown. Toss in the doughnut holes first, let those cook, and then proceed to cooking the donuts.

Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I happen to be very grateful to all of you for your friendship and support. Have a safe and delicious weekend!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Berries and Chocolate



Growing up with my parents meant learning how to say thank you. You say thank you when someone passes you the broccoli at the table, you send a thank you card when given a gift, and when someone goes out of their way to really do something nice, you say thank you in style, like this platter of berries and chocolate.


My mom really wanted to say thank you to a local dental office after they went above and beyond to beautify her smile. We put our heads together and decided on a platter of fruit and chocolate. Costco had a gorgeous selection of Rainier cherries, strawberries and blackberries, so we went with those. We then set to work making Funfetti cakeballs, raspberry cheesecake bites, and Ghiradhelli brownie bites (from the boxed mix).

It turned out to be a really fun platter to deliver, and it was definitely a crowd pleaser. You could do something like this for a shower, a party, or a fun way to surprise a loved one. And of course, it's a wonderful way to say thank you!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Corn and Black Bean Salad



I feel like after blogging for over three years, you're allowed throw in a repeat every now and again, especially if it's as good as this salad.

This is probably more of a dip then a salad, but really it can go either way. While it's probably served best as an appetizer or party food, I'd be perfectly happy eating a big bowl of this stuff for lunch, just throw in some whole grain tortilla chips and you've got one flavorful and nutrient packed lunch. This would also make a great addition to your taco salad, nachos, burritos or tacos. Gosh, I already want to make this again!

Corn and Black Bean Salad

Ingredients

2 cans black beans-drained and rinsed
2 can corn-drained
1 red onion chopped
2 avocados chopped (I omitted avocados this time around, but it is good)
1 red pepper chopped
1 yellow or orange pepper chopped
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes halved
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Vinaigrette
2 TB lime juice (fresh if possible)
2-3 tsp chili powder
1-2 tsp salt (kosher salt if you have it)
1-2 TB olive oil

Directions

When chopping veggies, try to make them as uniform in size as possible.

Combine all of the veggies, including cilantro, in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine lime juice, chili powder and salt. Then, whisk in olive oil to desired consistency, there won't be a lot of dressing, but it will be STRONG. Add dressing to salad and toss well. Serve with tortilla chips, those Scoops chips are great with this salad.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Semi-Homemade Raspberry-Lemon Cheesecake Bites



Why do I love mini food so much? Is it because I'm mini? At 5'0, I rarely get to look others in the eye. Is it because I have mini kids? Or maybe mini food makes me feel better about eating ten? Regardless of what it is, the smaller food is, the happier it makes me.


This idea came after making those mini quiches. The little pie crusts were so easy to make that the possibilities became endless. Then I discovered that you can buy premade cheesecake filling that requires no baking.



That combined with a layer of lemon curd, and a bright raspberry, and you have one (or ten) tasty little bite!

Semi-Homemade Raspberry-Lemon Cheesecake Bite
A Blog About Food

Ingredients (Makes 48)

2 refrigerated rolled pie crusts
1 tub cheese cake filling
1 jar lemon curd
1 container of raspberries, washed (just about any berry would work)

Directions

Preheat oven to temperature on pie crust box. Unroll pie crust, flour on either size and roll out to almost twice it's size. Use a round glass or biscuit cutter to cut out circles to fit a greased mini muffin pan. Bake according to directions. (You'll do this twice). Allow to cool.

Fill each pie crust with cheesecake filling, a layer of lemon curd and top with one berry.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mini Quiches



I always think about quiche this time of year. Maybe it's the eggs, representing Easter. Maybe it's the bright yellow color representing spring. Either way, I'm not complaining because quiche is awesome!

I made these sweeties for a baby shower. I have a thing about turning food mini and these little quiches are much easier to make then you think. A store bought pie crust helps a lot, just line your mini muffin tins with a cut out piece of pastry, fill and bake! They're the best warm, but also taste great at room temp, making them perfect for say an upcoming Easter Egg hunt, or brunch you have coming up!



Mini Quiches
Adapted from Food.com

Ingredients

2 sheets store-bought pie crust
6 slices bacon, diced
1 onions, finely diced
6 eggs
1 cup cream
1 cup grated cheese, I used sharp cheddar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (I used fresh)
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Cook the onion and bacon over a low heat until the onion is softened.

2. Allow to cool a little.

3. Mix together with the eggs, cream, cheese, parsley and salt and pepper.

4. Unroll pie pastry, dish with flour and roll with rolling pin until it's increased in size by about a third. Using a cookie cutter or glass, cut 12 circles from each pastry sheet.

5. Use these to line a greased mini muffin pan.

6. Place about 2 teaspoons of the egg and bacon mix in each pastry base.

7. Bake in a moderate oven for about 12 minutes per tray (or until puffed, golden and set).

8. repeat with remaining pastry sheets and mix.



My kids made paper crowns for their little bunnies, they're so dang cute!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip



I LOVE the holidays!! I love the gatherings, the parties, the music, the lights, even the chill in the air and the occasional snow storm. It is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year. And of course, having the love for food that I do doesn't hurt either. The holidays basically hand you a license to go hog-wild in the kitchen, and it's okay! It's the holidays! It would practically be wrong not to.


This is a dip I served for Thanksgiving, which in our house isn't so much an event, as it is a kick-off, to all of the gorging that will happen for the next month. And now that I've made this dip, I can guarantee that it's going to be making a gooey, cheesy appearance often in our household. This is an Alton Brown recipe, which not only has five stars from a million reviews, but it also takes literally two minutes to make. There is no baking, sauteing, or cooking of any kind. Just a quick mix, and into the warmer (crockpot) it goes, providing giddy flavorful love for all in attendance. Make this dip, use carrots, cracker, bread, a spoon, legos, whatever your heart fancies to dip it in. It will all be delicious!


Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Adapted from Alton Brown

Ingredients

1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach
1 1/2 cups canned or jarred artichoke hearts
6 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft. Stir in rest of ingredients and serve hot. Keep in crockpot if you plan to party all night long.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Roast Beef Finger Sandwiches with Herb Cream


Don't let the simple look of these little sandwiches fool you, they pack a powerful punch!

About two years ago, when my little food blog was but an infant and I wasn't sure if I was going to catch the food blogging bug or not, I posted this appetizer recipe. I had gotten the idea from a Cooking Light magazine, and they were so good that for the past two years I've never completely gotten them out of my head.

I did things a bit different this time and turned these into finger sandwiches instead of toasts, which is how they originally appear in the recipe. For toppings I used roast beef, Gorgonzola cheese, salami and a mixture arugula and spinach. But what really makes these babies pop is the sauce you use to coat both pieces of bread. It's a very simple mixture of sour cream, mayo, Worcestershire, garlic and herbs, but the taste is so unique and unforgettable, and absolutely perfect for a whole variety of different toppings. I'm already planning on making myself a nice little panini with the stuff tomorrow! These little sandwiches are perfect for parties, baby or bridal showers, or just those quiet moments when your kids are napping. Hope you enjoy!

Finger Sandwiches with Herb Cream
Adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients

1 loaf soft white or sour dough bread
1 package deli thin sliced roast beef (or preferred meat), cut to fit size of sandwich
1 package salami, cut to fit sandwich
1/2 cup Gorgonzola
handful of spinach and arugula

Herb Cream:
2/3 cup fat-free sour cream
2 TB minced fresh chives
2 TB low-fat mayo
1 1/2 TB chopped fresh thyme (I used dried and it was fine)
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove minced

Directions

Stack bread on top of each other, about four high. Slice in half, and then trim off all crust. To assemble sandwiches, spread herb cream on each slice of bread. Add all ingredients to one slice of bread, and top with the second. Press gently on sandwich and secure with toothpick if desired. The bread will dry out quickly, so keep covered as much as possible until serving.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Deviled Eggs-Done Two Ways

My family loves eggs. We like them boiled, scrambled, fried, poached, you name it. My son once woke me up at three in the morning asking for eggs, I think you get the picture. So come Easter time, it's never been tough for us to finish off the two dozen or more eggs that we dye every year, especially knowing that we are going to "Devil" them, or whatever that particular verb might be!

I don't know how deviled eggs got their name, but I do know that can eat about twelve in one sitting! I'm pretty picky about how they are made too, lots of mustard, horseradish, flavor galore. But this year I took a leap of faith and tried a few recipes from this book.

My parents, knowing of my love for deviled eggs, got this for me a few years ago. The first type I tried were the "Pesty Devils" which had pesto and sundried tomatoes in them. They were wonderful, and if you are a pesto fan, you will definitely love them. They are also very easy and require only a few ingredients. The sundried tomatoes aren't essential, but they sure do add a wonderful sweet chewiness.

Pesty Devils
Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon drained and chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
6 hard cooked eggs, peeled, cut in half, and yolks mashed in a bowl
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons prepared pesto
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Gently press the sun-dried tomatoes between several layers of paper towel to remove excess oil.

2. Combine to thoroughly mashed yolks with the sour cream and pesto. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic powder. Taste, then season with salt and pepper.

3. Fill the whites evenly with the mixture and garish each egg half with a little dab of pesto.

The second eggs I made were the Tex-Mex Diablos. I loved these for their southwestern taste and the sweet crunch of the corn. It has your classic tex-mex flavors like cumin and chili powder, with the heat of cayenne, delicious! I'm tempted to make this whole thing into an egg salad and wrap it in a tortilla for something really different!


Tex-Mex Diablos
Deviled Eggs


Ingredients

6 hard cooked eggs, peeled, cut in half, and yolks mashed in a bowl
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons corn kernels, drained well
2 teaspoons hot chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon canned chopped green chiles, drained well
2 teaspoons shredded Monterey Jack, shredded (I didn't use this)
salt and pepper

Directions

1. Combine the thoroughly mashed yolks with the sour cream. Stir in the corn, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, chiles, and Moneterey Jack. Taste, then season with salt and pepper.

2. Fill the whites evenly with the mixture and garnish each egg half with shredded cheese.



How do you like your eggs?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tiny Spinach Quiches



I have a thing for tiny bite-sized food. Having kids might have something to do with that, but it also makes for the most convenient party food. It doesn't require silverware, rarely even a napkin. You pop it in your mouth, no plate, no commitment, and then you grab a second.

I actually made these today for an Easter Egg hunt. I figured we could use an adult snack in the midst of the sugar frenzy we were about to be surrounded in. Truth be told, they're a bit of work, but they're also fun when you're looking for a nice project in the kitchen to focus on. The pastry is quick and easy to make, but next time I'm just going to buy a pie crust, it will save me a lot of time and work. The best thing about the quiches is that they make a great appetizer, but they'd also be a hit as a breakfast or brunch item. Plus, I love that bright green color, so nice for spring.

Tiny Spinach Quiches
Adapted from Favorite Brand Name Appetizers

Ingredients

Pastry:
3 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup flour

Filling:
5 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup grated Swiss cheese (I used Mont Jack and Mozzarella)
1 small package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 eggs
3/4 cup light cream (I used fat free half and half)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. To prepare pastry, cut cream cheese and butter into flour. Form into a ball; wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour. Lightly flour rolling pin. Place pastry on lightly floured work surface, roll out to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into 16 circles with 3 inch biscuit cutter. Line sixteen mini muffin cups with dough circles.

2. To prepare filling, preheat oven to 375. Sprinkle bacon, then cheese, evenly over bottoms of unbaked pastries. Squeeze spinach dry and spread evenly over bacon and cheese. In medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour evenly into pastry cups. Bake 30 minutes, or until set.

If you'd like to make this into a pie, pour into 9-inch pie crust.

Smile for the camera kids! Smile! Kids!

Happy Easter!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hot Artichoke Dip



You know, I'm just going to say it, trying to eat healthy just plain sucks sometimes. It's not that I don't like healthy food, it's that I really like the stuff that's not so healthy. And I'm not much of a sweets girl, I'm talking big bacon cheeseburgers, greasy cheesy pizza, and salty snack food, oh how I love it! But, I made a goal this year by golly, and even though it's February and I'm supposed to have forgotten about it, I really want to accomplish my goal of getting healthy. Come hell or a high mountain of potato chips!

That's why I'm always grateful for recipes like this. They make the whole healthy process suck just a bit less. I love artichoke dip, it's cheesy and has that fantastic sharp artichoke flavor. But, unlike a lot of dips, this one is not full of fat and calories. In fact, the bulk of this dip is white beans, which gives the dip the creamy illusion that you are indulging and being naughty. It's wonderful for parties, and tastes just as good cold or room temp as it does hot.

Hot Artichoke Dip
Cooking Light

Ingredients

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained, divided
1 (15.5-ounce)can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup (4 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided (I really like Pecorino Romano, I almost always sub it for Parm)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a food processor; add 1 can of artichokes and beans. Process until smooth. Add remaining can of artichokes, 3/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 1 tablespoon parsley, and garlic. Pulse 20 times or until artichokes are coarsely chopped.

3. Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle top with remaining 1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and remaining 1 tablespoon parsley. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until bubbly.


4. I think this is best served with tortilla chips, sliced baguette, carrots, celery or cauliflower.

Serves 12: Serving size is 1/3 cups

Per Serving: 98cal, 4g fat, 2g fiber, 5g prot, 488mg sod

Points per Serving: 2!!


With the leftover dip, I made an awesome roasted zucchini and mushroom panini (what else!) Roast whatever veggies you have (asparagus would have also been excellent), spread dip on one slice of bread, top with veggies and any cheese if desired and press. Delicious lunch!

So here's my question...what helps you when you're having a particularly hard day staying on that straight and narrow path to healthy eating?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

CEiMB: Five Layer Mexican Bean Dip



I am in love with any type of party food, mostly because it usually means there is a party attached to it! This week's CEiMB recipe was perfect because last night I had a little scrapbooking gathering with some girls in our card club. By the end of the night, it was GONE, which almost never happens, I was thrilled! There is no way you're going to eat this and know that it's lowfat. It's so full of flavor and heat that you'll feel like you're indulging. This is actually the second layered bean dip I've posted and I think I like Ellie's more then my own!

A little tip with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, since usually you open an entire can to use just one. To avoid having to throw the rest away, freeze the peppers, individually in small baggies, and thaw right before use. A great tip if you're like me and you lose sleep over wasted food!

Five Layer Mexican Bean Dip
By Ellie Krieger

Ingredients

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, preferably low-sodium, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon minced chipotle pepper in adobo
4 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups corn kernels (10-ounce box frozen corn)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 ripe avocados
4 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion
1 tablespoon finely diced jalapeno pepper, optional
3/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar

Directions

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until they soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.

Put half of the onion mixture into a food processor with the black beans, chipotle pepper, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, cumin, water and salt. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

Add the corn to the skillet with the remaining onion mixture and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro leaves.

In a small bowl mash the avocado with the remaining lime juice. In a medium bowl toss together the tomatoes, scallion and jalapeno, if using. Season tomato mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spread the black bean dip into the bottom of an 8 by 8 glass baking or serving dish. Top with the corn mixture, spreading it out to form a single layer over the beans, repeat with the avocado, then the tomatoes. Top with cheese. Serve with baked chips.

Serves: 12, a serving size is 1/2 cup

Per Serving:Calories 140; Total Fat 8 g; (Sat Fat 2 g, Mono Fat 3 g, Poly Fat 0.7 g) ; Protein 5g; Carb 16 g; Fiber 5g; Cholesterol 6mg; Sodium 245 mg

Points per Serving:3!

You still have until 10pm tonight to enter here in my giveaway for a Silpat, don't miss out!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Year!

Well, I know it's already the fourth, but what the heck...



It's good to be back! How was everyone's holiday? I did my best to check up on ya'll from time to time, but I have to admit, I missed our regular interactions. We are back from our vacation, still getting unpacked, but excited about the new year. I feel so good about 2010 and I have a lot of goals, but first things first...

Check out my blog! My super talented, web designin' brother voluntarily made me a new header and background. What a Christmas present! I love what he's done with it, and yes, I look exactly like the girl in my header (snort, cough). If you're interested in having your blog redone by Kendall, email him at kendall@bengalworks.com for pricing and packages.

And now onto my goals. I don't know about you, but I love making new year resolutions. I do it every year, and I make a lot. I never accomplish all of them, but I do accomplish some, and it feels so good. Some of the goals I have in the kitchen are:

1. Eat healthier. I'm not going to say lose weight. I would like to lose weight, but it's not about weight right now as much as it is about health. I need to eat healthier and exercise to avoid diseases that run strong in my family. I need to be healthier for my joints, muscles and skin. I want to have energy for my family and obligations. I also want to keep my husband and kids healthy, and being the primary cook in the home warrants me that responsibility. AND, if I happen to lose weight on that particular journey, then that would be a fantastic bonus!

2. Join at least two clubs this year. I've already joined the HBin5, which I am so excited about (my sweet man got me the book for Christmas). Does anyone have any recommendations for another club that you've enjoyed? I think this would be a fun way to push myself and meet new people.

3. Make homemade ravioli, potstickers and beef wellington. I've been intrigued with all three of these things and I'm dying to try them myself.

4. Create more original recipes. Most of the things I post are simply recipes that I have found to be very good. I think it would be so fun to start experimenting and writing up my own dishes.

So there you have it, now that it's all out there, I'll be more likely to do it! It will take a week or so to post the mouthwatering foods that are responsible for my unwanted holiday pounds, but after that hopefully there will be some goal accomplishing!

And on to the food. Since this has already been a long post, I'll just show you what our Christmas Eve meal was comprised of. We decided this year we would just set out a huge spread of appetizers to fill up on. This is such a fun idea because everyone gets so full, but also gets to try a huge variety of fun party food.

My mom made these awesome pears, covered in a Gorgonzola mixture and dipped in pecans. Heaven!


We also had a fantastic shrimp cocktail and veggie tray, two of my holiday "must-haves."


And I was SO excited because I finally got to make a cheese platter. I've been wanting to try one of these for a long time. Unfortunately when I went to Costco, the cheese selection was a little slim, but it was still fun. I followed Ina's rule, which is to have one hard cheese, one blue cheese, and one soft cheese. For the soft cheese, I used a triple cream Brie. For the blue, I used a cheese called Cambozo, which was a very soft and subtle blue cheese. It was delicious on apples. And for the hard cheese, I used a cheese called Comte. It had the flavor of Swiss or Gruyere, and it was pretty good, but I probably would have preferred something a bit tangier like Pecorino Romano. And for good measure I threw in some Baby Bellas, which is a soft and mild cheese, great for kids. It was so fun and came out rather pretty if I may say so myself.


Throw in a bunch of cookies, candy, chicken fingers, hot bean dip, and spring rolls, and here you have the final spread. Mmmmmm, can it be Christmas again!



And last, but not least, I'd like to thank Debbie, at Dining with Debbie for this cute award! I am just getting to know Debbie, but I already really enjoy her for her fun posts, personality and delicious food.

Thanks Debbie! I'm going to think of who to pass this on to!

Phew, well, there you have it! I wish you all health, peace and prosperity this year of 2010 and may your tables always be full of good food!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gingerbread House Party and Happy Holidays!




Seeing as this is in fact a Blog About Food, I figured it would be only appropriate to post my gingerbread house party. This is the second one I've done in a row, and I'm really hoping it becomes an annual thing, it's so much fun, especially since the entire thing is involving food!

About a month before the party I make the gingerbread houses, which are the same houses my mom has been making for us our entire lives. They are small and simple, but made out of real gingerbread and are so cute. I freeze them, and then the day before the party, I assemble them with hot glue. It's probably not the most traditional way to assemble them, but it's non-toxic, peels right off, and ensures the fewest broken down houses. I also provided the frosting and piping bags, and then everyone brings a different candy to decorate with.


And here you have the fabulous people that came! You'll notice there are no kids, I think adults should be able to have some good, old fashioned Christmas fun too, don't you! I love these girls. Lots of laughing, eating, and staying up way too late, so fun!

And on to the food.

In the crockpot are Li'l Smokies, dressed in a very complicated sauce of ketchup and mustard. Sounds a bit too simple, but trust me, it's fantastic, and everyone is surprised when they find out that's all it is. There was also a veggie tray with a side of ranch dip (gotta keep the veggies around during the holidays!)

Alissa, from Spunky Girl Eats, brought her fabulous stuffed mushrooms, which disappeared SO quickly. Oh my gosh these were good!

I made Melanie, from My Kitchen Cafe's fantastic cheesecake cookies, bejeweled in a strawberry and blueberry pie filling, how pretty are these, great cookies Melanie!

And of course I had to make cakeballs. I made dark chocolate and mint chocolate cake balls, both made with chocolate cake and chocolate frosting. The mint cakeballs are coated in a mint-chocolate shell using the Wilton candy chips. They were good, but not quite minty enough for me, next time I'm going to put some chopped Andes mints right into the cakeballs.

We had other people bring fantastic treats too, but unfortunately I didn't get pictures of it all. Suffice it to say, there was plenty of food to go around!

I'm so happy with the way things turned out, and I'm already looking forward to doing it again next year. Thank you so much girls for making it a fun night!

And now we're getting ready to board a plane tomorrow to Idaho to spend two blissful weeks with my favorite people in the world. Because of that, I'm probably going to be signing off for the year 2009, it's been a great year hasn't it! So a toast!



My family does an eggnog toast every Christmas Eve, but inevitably they get really silly and by the end of the toast we're all in stitches. Since eggnog is so rich, I can't drink a lot of it, but my friend suggested thinning it out with a bit of Sprite or 7up. It might sound a bit crazy, but it's really delicious and cuts the thickness without losing a lot of flavor. I also love that it's bubbly! So here's to a wonderful holiday and a promising new year! Thank you everyone for all of your support and willingness to read throughout the months, it has made food blogging so very enjoyable. I'll see you all in 2010!
Cheers!
 
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