Posts in the ‘Food’ Category

My New Year's Resolution: More Salads

Delicious salad recipes I told my husband that 2014 is going to be "the year of the salad" for us. We are good at eating vegetables. David and I both love them (Lainey is another story), but we typically eat them cooked... sauteed really, unless they're Brussels sprouts, and then we bake them.

But it's starting to feel boring and a little too predictable. I believe it's time we seriously expanded our vegetable repertoire and for me that's expanding into the world of salads. But how? The problem is that when I think about lettuce and dressing, I'm just not that inspired.

But when I think about a gorgonzola radicchio salad with orange vinaigrette like this, I start to get excited.

That's why I put this collection together. I wanted to see beautiful vegetables, in interesting combinations, with delicious, tangy sounding dressings. I thought this would motivate me to get chopping. And so far it's working.

My new favorite thing to do is add strawberries and a strong cheese, like feta, to a simple arugula salad, then add a tangy balsamic vinaigrette. I know it's not revolutionary, and doesn't hold a candle to some of the these creations, but for me it's definitely a start.

This is a sponsored post by Foodie.com but the opinions are all my own. I want to eat these salads!

Triple Chocolate Amaretto Hot Cocoa Recipe

hot-chocolate-amaretto-cocktail-title2

I am a chocoholic, if you read my blog you know. It is my one major indulgence.

So now that it's getting colder, I wanted to post a hot cocoa recipe, but turn it up a notch. First, I added some amaretto to make it a little more "grownup." Then I put homemade chocolate whipped cream on top and finished it off with shaved dark chocolate, hence the triple threat. (I also added a few almond slivers and coconut shreds to give it texture.) One word... decadent!

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE AMARETTO HOT COCOA RECIPE

Ingredients:

For the Hot Chocolate

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup Amaretto
For the Chocolate Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
For the Topping
  • 2 tablespoons of finely grated dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut

Directions:

Over low heat, warm 1 cup of milk. Add the cocoa powder, sugar, and salt and whisk until they are dissolved. Turn the heat up to medium, and add the remaining 3 cups of milk, stir until it is hot enough to serve. Take the pan off the heat and add the vanilla and Amaretto.

To make the chocolate whipped cream, mix the cocoa with a couple tablespoons of the cream. Stir with a spoon, pressing out any lumps until you have a smooth chocolate paste. Add the remaining milk, and sugar, and beat with an electric mixer on high for 2-3 minutes until you have a nice peaky texture. You can refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Pour the hot chocolate into the serving cups. Spoon on a some of the chocolate whipped cream, then use a grater or zester to add some of the dark chocolate. Finish with a few slivers of almond and some shredded coconut.

Makes 4-6 cups.

hot-chocolate-amaretto-cocktail-19

My chocolate whipped cream.

hot-chocolate-amaretto-cocktail-3A

Have fun indulging!

hot-chocolate-amaretto-cocktail-28

What Are You Drinking this Summer? You Could Win a $300 Prize!

solocontest

Who loves ice cold  drinks on hot summer days? Solo Cups does! They are the makers of the big, red plastic cups, and  are running a Summer Sippers Contest on their Facebook page with nice prizes, and asked us to spread the word.

They are asking fans to share their favorite summer drink recipes. I just added my Strawberry Ginger Lemonade to the contest, which has been my go to drink all summer!

Solo is going to select four weekly winners to receive $50 AMEX gift cards and Solo gift packs. One grand prize winner will receive a Solo gift pack, a cocktail gift pack, and a $150 AMEX gift card for a total value of over $300.

Check out this mixer set below, complete with little black drink recipe book!

solo-cup-contest

Here's how the contest works:

  1. Tell them the name and recipe of your favorite summer beverage.
  2. Vote for your favorite “Solo Summer Sippers” entry.
  3. For 4 weeks starting on July 16, 2013, the Solo Facebook community’s votes will lead to one winner per week.
  4. One grand prize winner will be selected on or around August 12, 2013.
Their promotion will run from 10:00:00 am ET on July 16, 2013 until 12:00 pm ET on August 12, 2013.

Get drinking and sharing!!

This is a sponsored post but was written solely by me. 

{DIY} How to Make Star Shaped Ice Cubes out of Watermelon

watermelon ice cubes (11 of 11)

 

Nicole from Tikkido is back with a simple way to freshen up your summertime beverages!

This project is ideal for those long summer days stretching ahead of us. Watermelon -- that delicious, classic summer fruit -- has so much water content that it makes fabulous ice cubes when frozen. It's absolutely perfect for punch that you don't want to water down, sangria, or any drink where you want a little bit of colorful fun.

watermelon ice cubes (10 of 11)

Start by slicing a ripe watermelon in thin slices--about a half an inch thick. Shapes like stars look better with thinner, rather than thicker slices.

Use a small cookie cutter to cut star shapes out of the watermelon.

watermelon ice cubes (1 of 4)

watermelon ice cubes (2 of 4)

Place watermelon stars on a baking tray lined with Silpat. The silpat isn't strictly necessary, but it does make the watermelon star ice cubes much easier to peel off after they're frozen.

watermelon ice cubes (4 of 4)

Once the watermelon stars are completely frozen, they can be peeled from the tray and stored in a ziplock bag. This can be done several weeks in advance of your event.

watermelon ice cubes (7 of 11)

Cubes work just as well as fancy shapes, of course, but between Memorial day and the 4th of July, we find lots of reasons to use this juicy red star ice cubes!

watermelon ice cubes (8 of 11)

Thanks, Nicole, what a terrific idea!!

To learn more about Nicole (who enjoys decorating cakes but not eating them, Irish dancing, public radio, Old English language and archaeology, and geekery of all sorts), visit her at Tikkido and on Facebook.
 

My Sauza Tequila Ladies Night Shoot

I'm so excited to share this video, because if you watch it, you might notice I'M IN IT!

A few weeks ago, I headed down to LA to be part of a Sauza Tequila video shoot with Jennifer Sbranti from Hostess with the Mostess, Candice Kahn from Fashionably Organized, Jenny Wu from Good, Bad, and Fab, Christi Johnstone from Love from the Oven, and Marisa Guerrero from Margaritas in the Rain.

I was nervous about it. It just seemed weird to pretend I'm having a Cinco de Mayo ladies night in a rented house with a bunch of women I don't know. My daughter even made me this sign back at the hotel to give me strength.

lainey-dont-be-scared

But then I got there, and I met the women, and we started hanging out...

If you've ever been to a video shoot, you know how long they take. We got there at 2:00pm and weren't going to be finished until 10:0pm. So what did we do to fill the time?

We chatted about our lives, our families, our kids, our blogs, our husbands. We talked about food and fashion and business. We got our hair and makeup done, took photos of each other and posted them on Instagram. We ate a ton (a real dinner and a staged dinner and we ate them both). And we even almost froze to death because it was 50 degrees outside when we shot the last outdoor scenes.

But the truth was, it turned out to be a blast!

You see, I spend so much of my time at home alone in my sweatpants in front of my computer, and people in my everyday life don't quite understand what I do. So to hang out for a day with these interesting women who know exactly what I do because they're doing the same thing, made me feel like I belonged. It was an instant bond!

Thanks Sauza Tequila, because by the end of the night, we really were girlfriends at a Cinco de Mayo party enjoying delicious margaritas (recipe at the bottom of the post) in an awesome house with a great view of LA. And I was so glad I did it!

SOME PHOTO HIGHLIGHTS...

Here's the insane house with the swimming pool in the living room, no joke.

photo (7)

Jenn and me posing for the camera.

photo (2)

The gorgeous dinner table. It really did look like a fiesta!

sauza-tequila-shoot

Candice, Christi, and Jenny goofing off between shots.

sauza-tequila-shoot

Marisa pouring more yummy margaritas. This will definitely be my go-to margarita recipe from now on. It has beer in it!

photo (6)

And here we all are posting photos and then commenting on them. Thanks, ladies, for the good times!

photo (4)

SAUZA-RITA RECIPE

  • 1 can Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila*
  • 1 bottle light beer
  • 1 can frozen limeade
  • 1 can water
He's equally talented in the saving of lives and the ways of love. And best of all? He's ready to pour you a Sauza-rita, and listen as you pour out your feelings. This perfect man is perfectly prepared to help make your ladies night unforgettably fun - with Sauza Blue, of course. Check us out at http://facebook.com/SauzaMargaritas.

SauzaLogo_50

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Sauza® via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Sauza®.

{RECIPE} Delicious Strawberry Apple Crisp

This is one of my favorite desserts and I can't believe it has taken me so long to share it on my blog. It's simple to make and perfect for a quick mostly-healthy family dessert!

The best part about it is the added strawberries. They create a level of acid that makes the soft fruit sparkle in your mouth. How's that for a description!

This recipe makes 6 large ramekin-sized apple crisps or 1 large casserole dish-sized apple crisp.

APPLE CRISP

Ingredients:

filling

  • 6-7 apples sliced about a 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 basket strawberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
topping
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (half stick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix flour, oats, brown sugar, melted butter, salt, cinnamon, oats, and walnuts in a large bowl to make the topping.

Core the apples and cut them into thin slices. Toss in a bowl with lemon juice and cinnamon. The lemon juice will add some extra flavor, and help keep the apples from browning while you work with them.

Hull the strawberries and cut them into thin slices.

Use butter to grease the ramekins and add about a tablespoon of water, just enough to cover the bottom. Place a layer of apples at the bottom of the dish, followed by a layer of strawberries, then a layer of apples.

Cover the filling with the topping.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes in ramekins, 45-1 hour in a casserole dish. The apple strawberry mixture should be bubbling and the top should be brown and crisp. I wanted the tops extra brown so I put them under the broiler for about 45 seconds, but be very careful, they can burn every easily, especially the walnuts.

 

And here they are right out of the oven, piping hot!

Serve with a scoop of ice cream and enjoy!

{RECIPE} Caprese Sandwich with Basil Chimichurri Sauce

I was excited when GE asked me to write a post about fresh food, because it's something my family and I live on. We shop at our local farmer's market every Sunday. I love coming home and biting into a peach that tastes like flowers.

So when I thought about what kind of fresh food I like to take on a trip (the topic is inspired by the new GE web series, Freshpedition), I thought about my favorite caprese sandwich. Just writing this makes my mouth water.

To add extra flavor to my sandwich, I like to drizzle a little chimichurri sauce on it. For those of you who don't know, chimichurri is an Argentinian marinade made from parsley, garlic, olive oil, red pepper, and red wine vinegar (we added basil to tie it in with the caprese).

BASIL CHIMICHURRI

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons basil chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon Red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt (to taste)

Directions:

Combine olive oil, parsley, basil, red wine vinegar, garlic, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Mix. If you can, let it sit an hour or two to let the flavors develop. If you are impatient, it is still good!

BASIL CHIMICHURRI CAPRESE SANDWICH

Ingredients:

One large baguette cut into quarters 2 heirloom tomatoes (to make four sandwiches I used a large yellow and large red one; the gnarlier they look, the better!) 8 fresh basil leaves 8 slices of fresh buffalo mozzerella (I bought, which was delicious, at Whole Foods) Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

To build a Caprese sandwich, start by liberally spreading the chimichuri on the bottom half of the bread. Add two big slices of tomato, then two big slices of buffalo mozzerella. Finish it off with two big basil leaves and a dash of salt and pepper. Put the top on and... delicious! You will probably have enough tomato left over for at least a couple more sandwiches.

Here's how my four sandwiches turned out!

I wrapped them in parchment paper, tied them with bakers' twine, grabbed four peaches that taste like flowers and off we went to the park, not necessarily a long car ride, but a great afternoon with delicious food. :)

Check out GE's new web series called Freshpedition, about a chef and an engineer who take a 2,000 mile trip with a fridge strapped in the back of a pick up truck to find the freshest ingredients across the country and cook something special at the end.

GE is continuing this same passion for fresh food with the Freshpedition Sweepstakes. This sweepstakes uses Pinterest, which means you can actually pin for a chance to win all new GE kitchen appliances.

But wait, there’s even more to win!

You can also enter each day of the sweepstakes for a chance to win a $100 VISA® Prepaid Card. Entering for this prize is fun as you’re asked to pin your favorite fresh foods or your own recipes. Also, these pins when hashtagged with your state (e.g. #GEfreshTX) become part of a “Best of Fresh” map featuring freshness from around the country. Explore the map here: http://www.freshpedition.com/sweepstakes/fresh-map.htm

For official rules and to enter visit here: http://www.freshpedition.com/sweepstakes/

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by GE via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of GE.

{RECIPE} Fun for Cocktail Parties... Piña Colada and Mojito Gelées!

Last week, Glam Media sent us a "party pack" filled with fun party supplies, and Bacardi sent us two bottles of their new Piña Colada and Mojito Classic Cocktails Light so we could style a "Shiny Chic" cocktail party.

We wanted to try something new, so we decided to make piña colada and mojito gelées! What's a gelée, you might ask? Well, it's fancy way of saying "Jello shot."

I highly recommend trying these at your next cocktail party! They were simple to make, looked great when we were done, and tasted delicious.

Here's how to do it...

Ingredients

1 cup pre-mixed cocktail 1 packet gelatin 1 tablespoon lime juice

For the garnish 1/4 cup shaved coconut 1/4 cup dried pinapple 12 bunch mint Zest from 1 lime

Directions

In a saucepan, add 1 cup of your cocktail and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Stir in one packet of gelatin.

Stir the mixture in the saucepan over low heat until the gelatin completely dissolves - about 5 minutes. You don't want it to boil (or even simmer) or the alcohol will evaporate.

Lightly oil a silicone mold, and wipe out any excess oil. We used a silicone brownie square mold for the square gelées, and a silicone mini muffin pan for the round gelées. We filled the molds with a baster, but you could also use a measuring cup to carefully pour the mix. Put the molds in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or until the gelatin has solidified.

Makes approximately 12 gelées

We left them in the fridge until we were ready to serve, then we carefully popped them out. A few stuck so we used a knife to loosen the edges. Next time we will add a little more oil to the silicone trays so they slip out more easily.

We garnished the piña colada gelée with a small piece of shaved coconut and dried pineapple, and we garnished the mojito gelée with some lime zest and a small mint leaf.

To keep it simple, we served our gelées with plantain chips and macadamia nuts.

I have to briefly discuss the cool party pack we received. It included:
  • Cream and black napkins from West Elm
  • Shiny silver napkin rings from Crate & Barrel
  • Silver bowls and a silver tray from CB2
  • Rhinestone tea lights from Z Gallerie
  • Cocktail picks from Williams-Sonoma (which we put out with the gelées but was a cheat because you couldn't pick up the gelées with the picks, you had to use your fingers, or better yet tasting spoons :))
The napkin rings were these pretty silver loops, so I wanted to find something interesting to do with them. I ended up wiring them together with an antique pearl and crystal necklace and draping them from the lighting fixture in our dining room. It made for this cool effect.
BACARDÍ Classic Cocktails Light is a new line of low calorie, ready to serve cocktails. At less than 95 calories for a 4-ounce serving, BACARDÍ Classic Cocktails Light is available in Piña Colada and Mojito flavors and is made with natural flavors, real juice and pure cane sugar. Whether enjoying a favorite cocktail after a long day or throwing a party, BACARDÍ Classic Cocktails deliver classic cocktail taste that’s a hit with friends, won’t add inches to your waistline and won’t take all day to prepare.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Bacardi via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Bacardi.

{GIVEAWAY} Win 12 Mason Jar Sippers Worth $50 From Fancy That

One of the newest party trends is mason jar sippers. These are mason jars with special daisy perforated metal lids that fit fancy straws perfectly. They're a great chic detail to add to your table and can work at kids' parties and grown up parties alike.

Lisa from Fancy That, a custom party good and gifts boutique, is giving away this complete drink package worth $50 that includes:

  • A set of 12 mason jar sippers with lids
  • 12 paper straws (you choose the color)
  • Personalized drink flags to match your party decor
You win 12 jars, 12 lids, 12 straws (in your favorite color)...
And 12 drink flags customized to match your party decor...
To enter, just "like" Fancy That on Facebook and leave a comment at the end of this post saying you did just that.

Thank you, Lisa, for such a trendy giveaway!

We’ll pick the winner at random on Thursday, June 7th at 10:00PM (PST).  Any entries after that won’t be considered, sorry. We will use random.org to generate our winner and will notify you by email. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

 

{TRENDS} Ice Cream Desserts that Aren't Ice Cream!

With summer approaching, I can't help but think of ice cream, so I was planning to write a post about the incredible ice cream socials on our site. But then I noticed how many treats people make that look like ice cream, but aren't actually ice cream.

I love anything clever and fun, especially when it comes to dessert, so here are my favorite "ice cream" desserts pulled from different parties on our site. (Click on the photo to see the party it's from.)

Pretty unbelievable...

I Blog for Spoonful
Cutie Patootie Creations
Polkaprints Cards + Prints
Party Pop
Heather Renee Celebrations
Smashcakeandcompany
The Pink Picker
Accent the Party
Jes Parker Events & Celebrations
Cherries n' Berries
Double the Fun Parties

Categories

Close Follow Catch My Party