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Sweet ‘n Spicy Meatballs

Some people may think I was crazy to host two bridal showers in as many weeks. Crazy like a fox is what I say!

brides to be

The shower that Abigail, Kaley, Alyse and Marissa threw for Lindsey left me with a bounty of items and ideas to use for Megan’s shower, two weeks later.

signs

Kaley did such a beautiful job with the chalkboard art that I immediately knew I’d be using it again!

perfect signs

Abigail left behind a wonderful bulletin board that she had guests write words of sage advice for bride-to-be, Lindsey.

advice pinboard

I just had to recycle it for Megan’s shower, as seen on the left edge of the photo below.

present time

Then there was the “Welcome” and “Presents” banners that Abigail made.

presents

entry

Yes, I reused them as well.

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So, as you can see, hosting two versions of the same sort of party in a short amount of time is easier than hosting just one!

Here is another appetizer from Megan’s shower.

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February 11, 2015   3 Comments

Bloody Mary Shrimp appetizer

IMG_8349

In keeping with the bridal shower theme of “cocktails and cupcakes” the wine barrel in the entry was decked out with seltzer bottles, cocktail shakers, flowers arranged in silver mint julep cups and ice buckets, and of course, cupcakes.

Today’s recipe was the most popular of the appetizers served at Megan’s Bridal Shower.

spoon appetizer

I’ve been making this appetizer for years in various incarnations. If I remember correctly, it came from Gourmet Magazine some 10 years ago.

You can buy Chinese soup spoons at Asian markets, on Amazon or at Cost Plus World Market.  They are not only perfect for this recipe, but great for all sorts of appetizers and little dessert tastes.

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February 10, 2015   3 Comments

crab cakes for the Patriots

coffee ice cream

I made a themed dinner for Super Bowl Sunday. Crab cakes for New England and coffee ice cream for Seattle.  To be honest, I didn’t make the ice cream, I bought it but it’s the thought that counts and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t think “coffee” when the the think Seattle!

smoker

In the recipe, I give you instructions on how to smoke tomatoes on an outdoor grill. I actually used an indoor stove-top smoker that I own and love.

smoke rising

If you like to smoke a variety of foods, it’s a pretty good investment. You can find it HERE. If not, just keep using your grill.

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February 3, 2015   No Comments

lazy Super Bowl snack

Did you enjoy the Super Bowl? It was very low-key at our house. A few weeks ago, Dave and I received an invite to a party, but we turned it down because we didn’t want to leave Connor and my dad hanging out to dry.

xlix

A few days ago I talked to my dad and was asking what time he wanted to come over and he informed me that he was going to a Super Bowl party! How do you like that? Too funny really. So it was just the three of us chilling at the house all day.

I had some chips and salsa on hand, so that was snack #1. I needed something more but I had no intention of going grocery shopping, so I came up with this tasty treat.

I’d baked a few potatoes the other night and had two left. Plus there was leftover prosciutto and cheese from last weekend’s bridal shower. That’s all it took!

The recipe made 16, I ate 2 of them, the rest quickly disappeared, so I guess the boys really like them!

 prosciutto potato wedges

Prosciutto Wrapped Cheesy Potato Wedges

  • 2 baked potatoes, cut into 8 wedges each
  • 16 pieces of Port Salut or Brie cheese (cut into 2-inch long sticks)
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise

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February 2, 2015   1 Comment

shrimp piccata pasta

wine glasses

Marissa’s childhood friend, Lindsey, is getting married in March.

entry

Marissa and Lindsey’s other bridesmaids and maid of honor threw Lindsey’s bridal shower here at our house on Saturday.

savory

The girls (Abigail, Kaley, Alyse and Marissa) did a fabulous job! The shower was a huge hit!

dessert table

Lindsey and all her guests were rightly impressed.

cheeses

We set up the “savory” station consisting of cheeses …

meats

… Italian meats…

salad and bread

… breads, crackers and salads.

essence

Then there was the wonderful Essence Bakery desserts! Oh my!

pool bar

We set up the bar down in the pool kitchen.

milk bottles

We used my vintage milk bottles – along with necessary sign to keep guests from being scared off from the beat up bottles.

Yesterday, I made dinner for the first time in more than a week, to the delight of my family. It had been an unusual, difficult and busy week. The recipe follows.

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January 26, 2015   3 Comments

an especially beautiful salad

I served this salad on Christmas. I think it’s one of the prettiest salads around. It is inspired by a photo I saw on Pinterest.

Easy and Pretty. Now that’s a nice combination!

wreath salad

Fruit & Cheese Green Salad Wreath with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Salad

  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce
  • 3 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 2 small bunches grapes (red and/or purple)
  • 1 small red and 1 small green apple (1 cored and cubed and 1 sliced)
  • 2 pears (1 cored and cubed and 1 sliced)
  • 8 Strawberries (3 left whole for decorating, the rest diced)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Dressing

  • Zest of 1 lemon (remove zest and set aside before juicing lemon)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Salad: Place the iceberg lettuce and mixed greens in a large bowl and toss to combine. Place a bowl in the center of a large round platter and spread the lettuces around the bowl on the platter. This is your wreath base.

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January 20, 2015   2 Comments

mini cupcakes for a baptism

Sunday was baptism day for Peggy’s grandson, Cruz. Cruz is the cutest baby boy there ever was! I swear, he is a little chub of pure joy and his grandma is head over heals in love! I don’t blame her one little bit!

Cruz Baptism

Darling Cruz being held by his godfather, along with his godmother, proud daddy Stevo (Peggy’s son) and beautiful mommy Keegan.

 

The baptism was held during the 10:30 mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and the lunch was at Cruz’s great-uncle’s home.

Peggy was responsible for dessert and she did herself proud! She made the most adorable and delicious little lemon cupcakes with lemon curd, lemon frosting and lemon sugar. I held myself back and only had two. It was a test of control and strength!

Peggys cupcakes

I just noticed that the cupcake liners match her dress. What did I tell you? Adorable!

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January 19, 2015   1 Comment

slow cookers are made for pulled pork!

Pork + Slower Cooker = Perfect Match

pork loin

Honestly, when I lay my eyes on a large cut of pork, I always think of the slow cooker. With very little initial effort, the cooker turns the meat into the most tender and moist meat there is.

clean plate

In these parts, it’s a family favorite, no matter how I fix it.

salsa and coke

This recipe in particular, using a few key spices, Coke and salsa, is one of Connor’s favorites. So much so, that he insisted I take a photo of his “clean plate” which was clean before the rest of us even finished on taco. Growing boys… always a pleasure to feed!

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January 13, 2015   5 Comments

yes, I do bake… every now and then…

lemon glazed blueberry lemon bread

We all know that I don’t bake.

Yet I did, voluntarily, on Sunday.

Weird, I know!

frys ad

It all had to do with the blueberries that were on sale at Fry’s.

I bought them, only because they were on sale, then I didn’t know what to do with them … so I baked. The result was pretty darn fantastic! (Oh, I bought the pork loin on sale too… that recipe will follow soon.)

meyer

I used Meyer lemons, because I have them, but regular Lisbon lemons would be just as delicious.

2 varieties

If you need either, and you are in my neighborhood … contact me and you can pick as many as your heart desires.

expesive lemons

I do not charge $46 (plus $10 for shipping) for 3 pounds like they do on Food52/Provisions!!! In fact, I don’t charge anything, they are free for the picking. Meyer or Lisbon! And yes, both are organic!

lisbon

Before we get to the recipe, a few notes:

lemon glazed blueberry bread

I love to use a longer and thinner loaf pan for breads. There are more slices and they are a nicer size. A 12″ long by 4 1/2″ wide by 2 1/2″ deep loaf pan is my favorite size to use.

drips

When you use a glaze on baked goods, the glaze drips. Many recipes call for you to place the baked item on a rack – over waxed paper or such.

pastry scraper

Don’t bother, just place on a rack – on a clean counter. It is much easier to pick up the excess glaze drips with a pastry scraper and drizzle over the bread a second or even a third time this way.

drizzle the drips

When making the glaze, start with the juice from 1/2 a lemon and add more as needed. Powdered sugar soaks up liquid like a sponge, so start with a little and add more as needed, instead of adding too much liquid at the start and having to add more and more sugar to get the consistency you want.

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January 12, 2015   6 Comments

savory raspberry dip

This is another of the recipes I made for the bridal party lunch for my niece’s wedding day. The lunch was served in the Presidential Suite at the Hyatt Magnificent Mile, which is where we all stayed in downtown Chicago. Maureen and her bridesmaids were in the suite having their hair and make-up done. The girls had been there since 9:15 and the wedding was at 4:00, so they needed nourishment in the middle of that time.

maureen bridePhoto

How beautiful is she?!?

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January 5, 2015   No Comments