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.

December 10th, 2009 |

Holiday Cocktail Guide

holiday cocktail guide

With all of the Holiday cocktail parties, dinner parties and special events that are taking place this month, it’s time you update your cocktail repertoire!  Here are 8 cocktail recipes that will definitely put a festive spin on your party!

Balthazar French Martini, Goombay Smash, Christmas Caipirinhas, French 75, Partridge in a Pear Tree, Lemoncillo, Algonquin Bar Punch, and Cranberry Martinis.  Yum!

December 7th, 2009 |

Holiday Cookie Guide

holiday cookie recipes

Christmas cookies are one of my favorite parts of the Holiday season!  I like to make all different kinds and box them up to give as gifts to my friends and family.  Always in search of new recipes to update my assortment, I have come across a few new recipes that I can’t wait to try out!  Any one of these would be perfect for a cookie exchange party.

1. Super-Duper Chocolate Kisses

2. Chocolaty Caramel Thumbprints

3. Chocolate Peppermint Stars

4. Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

5. Seven-Layer Cookies

6. Chocolate-Orange Swirls

7. Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies

8. Lemon Blueberry Fans

December 7th, 2009 |

Packaging Ideas for Holiday Treats

packaging ideas for holiday treats

Once you have completed all of your holiday baking, you have to come up with a unique concept for packaging your gifts.  You can use tin cans, paper boxes, cellophane bags stuffed into a holiday mug…..I hope these images inspire you to get really creative with it!

Images: box with joy tag (williams-sonoma.com), tin can with bow (bhg.com), fabric covered box, tin can with stripe ribbon, mug (inmagine.com), loaves of bread (midwestliving.com)

December 3rd, 2009 |

Holiday Appetizer Guide

holiday appetizer recipes

Small bites, appetizers, hors d’oeuvres – whatever you call them, Holiday parties call for a lot of them!  To freshen up your appetizer recipe file, I have searched the web – here are my new favorites, updated classics, and a few that just look delicious!

1. Marinated Feta and Olive Skewers

2. Sausage Mushroom Caps

3. Creamy Mushroom Phyllo Triangles

4. Cocktail Meatballs with Herbs and Ricotta

5. Citrus Salmon Lollipuffs

6. Chicken and Lemon Pot Stickers with Soy-Scallion Dipping Sauce

7. Bloody Mary Soup Shots with Shrimp and Pickled Vegetables

8. Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Do you have a favorite appetizer recipe you want to share?  Leave a comment below with a link!

November 26th, 2009 |

Tasty Turkey Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

turkey recipes for thanksgiving leftovers

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful turkey dinner and some quality time with your friends and family!

When Thanksgiving finally comes to an end, there is only one question left to ask yourself…..what do I do with all of this leftover turkey?!

I have searched the web for some ideas for you, and have come up with 8 tasty recipes for turkey leftovers:

1. Turkey Pot Pie

2. Turkey Tortilla Soup

3. Smoked Turkey Panini

4. Roast Turkey and Prosciutto Pizza

5. White Turkey Chili

6. Turkey Bacon Salad

7. Barbecue Pulled-Turkey Sandwiches

8. Cranberry-Turkey Spinach Salad

November 18th, 2009 |

Holiday Appetizer: Goat Cheese Ornaments

cheese ornaments

LOVING this appetizer idea from Better Homes and Gardens!  An updated version of  everyone’s favorite cheese ball…..done in mini-size to look like Christmas ornaments, and served in a footed bowl…..yummy and pretty!

Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 6 ounces semi-soft goat cheese (chevre) or crumbled feta cheese
  • 24 pickled jalapeno pepper slices* or small pimiento-stuffed green olives, well drained
  • 1/2 cup dried red sweet pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup snipped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped toasted pumpkin seeds

Directions

1. In a medium bowl stir together the cream cheese and the goat or feta cheese until smooth. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

2. Using a rounded tablespoon of the cheese mixture, form it around a jalapeño slice or green olive, completely enclosing the pepper or olive.** Mixture will be sticky; moisten hands as necessary. (Chill mixture if it becomes too soft to handle.) Place shaped balls on a shallow pan. Cover with plastic wrap; chill for 1 hour.

3. Roll one-third of the balls in the red sweet peppers, one-third in the cilantro, and one-third in the pumpkin seeds to coat, leaving some white showing. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours. Serve with picks. Makes 24 appetizers.

*Note: Hot peppers contain oils that can burn eyes, lips, and sensitive skin, so wear plastic gloves while preparing them and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.

**Note: For smaller balls, use a rounded teaspoon of the cheese mixture and omit the jalapeño slices or pimiento-stuffed green olives. Shape into balls.

October 26th, 2009 |

Pasta Dinners for a Cozy Fall Night

fall pasta dinners

My husband and I made our favorite bolognese sauce this weekend and it put me in a Fall pasta mood.  Bon Appetit has an amazing selection of Fall pasta dishes that are sure to become new favorites.  Here are a few recipes that I can’t wait to try out!

Penne with Radicchio, Spinach, and Bacon, Pappardelle with Squash, Mushrooms, and Spinach, Pasta with Kalamata Olives and Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce, Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage, Fettuccine with Wild Mushroom Sauce, and Mac and Cheese with Pancetta.

October 22nd, 2009 |

Rustic Thanksgiving Dinner

rustic thanksgiving dinner party

Can you believe Thanksgiving is only a month away?!  I know, I know….we are not even thru Halloween yet….but I figured it was time to start rolling out the Thanksgiving ideas….I need to leave you all time to plan!

There are so many different types of Thanksgiving celebrations.  You can go elegant, you can go casual and eat turkey while watching the football game, or you can do the rustic look – I guess we’ll call it a mix between the two!  Today’s inspiration is for just that….a rustic Thanksgiving dinner party.

If you don’t host your family Thanksgiving dinner, use the holiday as an opportunity this month to host a Thanksgiving-themed dinner party with friends.  We do this every year – and we have so much fun doing  it!  It’s a great time to test out some new recipes (without having to discard everyone’s favorites on the day-of!).  The menu I have planned here is literally making my mouth water, and I can’t wait to test out some of these recipes!

Invite your guests with a fall-like invitation and set your table using earth tones, textured linens, and ceramic pots full of berries.  If kids are in the mix, set them their very own table using brown kraft paper.  You can put cups full of crayons on the table, and they can draw away on the tablecloth.  I love the idea of drawing on “placemats” with the kid’s individual names…..creative and rustic-looking at the same time!

Thanksgiving dinner is all about the food, so let’s get to it….this year, I am going to make a roasted turkey with a port gravy, twice-baked potatoes with goat cheese and chives, green beans and walnuts with a lemon vinaigrette, savory bread pudding with mushrooms and parmesan, olive and asiago rolls, and a bourbon-pecan tart with chocolate drizzle.  So….is your mouth watering yet?!

Seeing as though there are ALWAYS leftovers (which is half the fun of Thanksgiving!) – be prepared to send your guests home with some goodies.  Continue our rustic theme by packaging the food in brown paper boxes, tie it with striped ribbon, and attach a personalized label.

Images: craft table, tied napkins, and take out boxes (countryliving.com), wine and green ceramic centerpiece (potterybarn.com), invitation (tinyprints.com)

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