January 28th, 2010 |

Pretty Pears

Sunset Magazine has a great feature on pears this month.  Light, refreshing and perfect for an early Spring party, these recipes will add a nice new assortment to your repertoire!  They offer up 6 ideas (and each one is more irresistible than the other!):

Pear Sidecar
This sweet (but not too sweet) drink should be made one at a time in a cocktail shaker. Energetic shaking and a proper drink-to-ice ratio ― possible only in a shaker ― are key: The ice dilutes and softens the “edges” of the cocktail, encouraging the otherwise sharp flavors to meld together.

Caramelized Pear and Sage Crostini
Sweet pears and sharp blue cheese create an exciting yet homey appetizer. Serve them with the pear sidecar cocktail (recipe precedes), sparkling wine, or a slightly sweet white wine.

Braised Pork with Pears and Chiles
The gentle heat of the dried chiles is highlighted by the sweet pears, which become soft and a bit savory while cooking in the pork juices. With a side of greens, this is one of our favorite fall dinners.

Asian Pear, Fennel, and Walnut Salad
The quality of the walnuts can make or break this dish, so be sure to taste them first (farmers’ markets are an excellent source of fresh nuts; store in the freezer after buying).

Pear Upside-Down Cake
A rich flavor and soft crumb made this cake a favorite in our test kitchen.

Pear Sorbet
Light and refreshing, this sorbet is a delightful way to end a heavy meal. If you want to serve sparkling wine with the sorbet, choose one that’s sweeter than the one in the sorbet.

January 27th, 2010 |

8 Healthy (yet Tasty!) Recipes

healthy and tasty recipes for winter

I don’t know about you, but I have been trying to eat light these days.  Between the holidays and my lack of activities during the winter, keeping meals light and healthy is important (especially so that I can keep eating chocolate like it’s my job!).   My husband and I have been making salads for dinner lately….and to tell you the truth, they are BORING me.  So, I have been searching the web looking for some healthy, yet tasty recipes to keep me satisfied during these long winter months!

Here is what I came up with: (clockwise from the top left) citrus tuna pasta salad, spinach, pear and parmesan salad, scallops with tarragon cream and wilted butter lettuce, watermelon-tomato skewers, vietnamese noodle rolls, peach and brie quesadillas with lime-honey dipping saucemelon and prosciutto salad, and avocado pesto-stuffed tomatoes.

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January 25th, 2010 |

Chocolate-Tasting Party

chocolate tasting party valentines day party

This very well may be my “dream” party!  With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I decided it was time to start throwing some ideas out at you!  A couple of things come to mind when I think of this fuzzy, feel-good holiday….flowers, hearts and CHOCOLATE!  As you all know by now, my name is Kelly Lyden and I AM a chocoholic!  So in trying to come up with a unique party idea for Valentine’s Day, I decided instead of a traditional cocktail party or sit-down dinner, wouldn’t it be more fun to host a chocolate-tasting party?!  Um, that’s a big, fat Y-E-S in my book!

In theory, this is actually a very simple party to organize (especially if you are a baker!).  Compile a collection of chocolate treats to assemble an outstanding buffet.  I picture bowls of truffles, plates of chocolate-covered toffee, and a few other decadent treats.  In my search for new and delicious chocolate recipes, I came across these: triple-chocolate mousse (these look oh, so elegant in champagne flutes), chocolate-raspberry tarts, brownie-ice cream mini sandwiches, heart-shaped macaroons, and sugared chocolate beignets.  What I love about this selection of desserts is that there is a pop of color.  The raspberries on the tarts, the red macaroons…it helps to break up the brown color of chocolate!

Throw in a red, signature cocktail, some cute plates and napkins…..and you have one tasty party on your hands!

Images: centerpiece (styleathome.com), cocktail (traditionalhome.com)

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January 15th, 2010 |

Cheese Dessert Table

I’m drooling.  Literally.  I came across this A-M-A-Z-I-N-G cheese dessert table from Sunday Suppers today, and I just couldn’t wait until Monday to share this with you!  I love how tastefully done this is – from the cheese cloth tablecloth, to the simple white pedestals and glass cloches – it’s simple and sophisticated.  Not to mention looks delicious!  This picture is just a sampling….head over to Sunday Suppers to see more details!  And have a good weekend….I’ll see you Monday!

January 14th, 2010 |

NFL Potato Skins – Perfect for the Superbowl!

NFL potato skins recipes for superbowl party

As you all know, I could spend hours upon hours watching Food Network!  It’s calming and relaxing to me, and I find that I subconsciously learn things every day.  Their website holds a wealth of information, great recipes and party ideas.  My new favorite?!  The custom designed potato skin toppers (they designed one for each of the NFL teams!).  Perfect for your superbowl party, don’t you think?!

Here are a few of the teams that my family typically roots for….personally, I think the Dallas Cowboys potato skin sounds the tastiest!  (sorry Chicago!)  Head on over to Food Network to see the rest of these delicious recipes.

Toys

January 12th, 2010 |

Lunch with The Girls

spring lunch with the girls

I don’t know about you, but the holiday season was so full of family dinners, trips to see the in-laws, decorating, wrapping, and baking….it left little time for me to catch up with all of my girlfriends!  So – I am making an effort to catch up with all of them this week.  And if you feel the same, consider hosting a little lunch….during the week, if you are home while the kids are at school, or this weekend when you are work-free.  Whatever you do, keep it simple, light and all about catching up with your friends.

If you are looking for a few ideas for your menu, I suggest a peach nectar spritzer (non-alcoholic), a warm spinach salad with seared scallops, and a few colorful macaroons for dessert.  Light, spring-y, and colorful…exactly what I am craving these days!

Images: kitchen (styleathome.com), napkin (weddingchannel.com), dishes (williams-sonoma.com)

December 30th, 2009 |

Winter Cupcake Bar

It’s no secret that I am a sucker for both plaid and cupcakes.  So it’s no surprise that this idea from Southern Living literally made my head spin with ideas!

Although tartan plaid is typically associated with Christmas, I think you can use it all winter long.  It’s the perfect accent to transition your home from Christmas decor into “winter” decor.  Try using pieces of fabric to wrap your serving pieces, as shown in the picture above.  It’s is simple additions like this that really take your party up a notch!

A cupcake bar is a simple concept that could be used for any type of party – a kid’s birthday party, a holiday party, a baby shower.  Simply present your undecorated cupcakes with piping bags full of frosting, and cups of sprinkles. (don’t forget to color-coordinate your sprinkles to your party theme!)

December 28th, 2009 |

Cookie Dessert Bar

cookie dessert bar

Today is my father’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Dad!)….and I can’t think of anything he loves more than chocolate chip cookies!  I came across this idea for a cookie dessert bar….and I just think it’s the best thing since sliced bread!  Perfect for a birthday party or a wedding…..add in some milkshake shooters, and you will have a dessert bar that will make cookie monster completely jealous!

Images: milkshake shooters (theknot.com), cookie dessert bar (projectwedding.com)

December 24th, 2009 |

Merry Christmas!

Believe

I am hosting Christmas Eve dinner tonight for my extended family….so I am going to take the rest of the day off to cook!  I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas….I hope you all have a magical holiday!

Remember….you are never too old to leave cookies out for Santa!

Image via inmagine.com

December 15th, 2009 |

Sweet Packaging for Holiday Treats

Gingerbread Gift Box

If you are looking for some cute packaging for your holiday treats, look no further than these darling gingerbread boxes.  The perfect vessel to deliver all of your holiday cookies and candy, and they can be customized to the size you want (you make them, you decide the size!).  Made simply of gingerbread squares, and glued together with royal icing….here are the instructions from House and Home:

Step 1

Enlarge the templates on House and Home on a photocopier, but we recommend making these boxes no larger than 6” square. Otherwise, they’ll be too fragile.

Step 2

Cut the gingerbread squares using the templates. Bake cookies.

Step 3

“Glue” together and hide edges using Royal Icing.

Step 4

Place gift inside, and wrap with ribbons to reinforce.

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