Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Engagement Party Extravaganza!

The celebration just keeps on coming!! erin and I were lucky enough to celebrate our engagement with a great group of friends and family this past weekend! Our friend Emily offered up her great apartment and our friend Molly certainly provided just about everything else!
We had quite a turn out of food, friends and fun!

Since this is primary a food blog, let's start with the food...brought by friends.
Erin's mom brought the cake and it was incredible!! as you can see she had the decorated draw a tree, with a swing on it to show where we got engaged. perfect.

Molly also contributed to the desert by bringing her amazing sugar cookies decorated simply with homemade white frosting. YUM.

I had requested some of Molly's past goodies including: fig and goat cheese bruschetta (this was by far my favorite dish of the night...my families too) and chipotle black bean dip! My future Sister in law Kara brought a buffalo moz. bruschetta and turkey cauliflower meatballs (both a huge hit!). Emily made some tasty Sangria!, a spin-artichoke dip (always a winner) and a great veggie platter! Erin's cousin Jayda brought beer bread with a dip (also one of my favorites).

To round out the spread I decided to bring: Shrimp Cocktail, a lovely cheese platter with a homemade fig-mango cherry jam (made by the chef at my restaurant!), homemade Hummus, Nectarine and Mozzarella Skewers with Pesto,(used my homemade pesto sauce and my Dad threw these together) and a fresh fruit platter with a Kahlua/cool whip dip.

Check out this spread:

Seriously...there was barely room on the table for all this food!
We were so blown away by all the support and love we got...my heart was bursting with happiness and my stomach was pretty full too!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Move in Madness

Our friends Nick and Molly just bought their first house and we couldn't be more excited for them!! It's amazing and Molly finally has a big kitchen to use all of her wedding swag in and her limitless knowledge of baking and recipes (her mom works for King Arthur Flour, so it's practically in her blood ;).

We headed to their house for their first, of many, weekend get together's. Of course it was filled with food and fun! Despite the fact that they just moved in, Molly made a great spread for us to enjoy AND they had picked up not only Sam Adams Oktoberfest, but Shipyard Pumpkin! (my favorite).

These are some of her homemade sugar cookies with homemade frosting decorated as fall leaves, squirrels and acorns! These tasted as good as they looked.
She also wowed the crowed with a great dip from Cooking Light: black-bean chipotle dip that she served up with chips/celery and carrot sticks. This was a crowd pleaser and as you will see soon was also a must have at our engagement party!! She has the best platters for these things (that she again completely supplied for the engagement party spread). There were other delicious snacks throughout the weekend and of course I wanted to contribute something...So I came up with breakfast for the next morning.

It was a perfect recipe to do for a group and travelling because I was able to prep the night before and just throw it in the oven when I went for a run the next morning! I took advantage of Molly's great kitchen and prepped there, but this is totally something you could take with you if you were staying over at someones house!

I combined all the dry ingredients above(minus the raisins..erin's not a fan). I used a low-cal bread to save some calories but you could use a variety of breads to make it heartier as well! I also think that raisins would have added a little texture, but any dried fruit would do. I failed to save enough crust less pieces of bread to cover the top completely...but we made it work! and it was yummy with real maple syrupy. I don't think that Nick and Molly knew they would be opening a cooking school when they bought their new house...but they know me well so I don't think it will be a big shocker :).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chinese take-out...made in!

I love the little town that I call home...but it is rather little. and with that comes limited options for take out food (which is sometimes a good thing!) Our choice is typically Chinese food which is fine by me because you can either splurge or go with the steamed options. Either way you are still getting take out...even if its a fake out. So the other night erin and i were craving some Chinese food. We dialed up our trusty neighborhood place and to our horror they notified us they were not delivering that night. WHAT??????????

In order to make sure that never occurred again I decided to finally try a recipe I had bookmarked awhile ago for Moo Shu Vegetables. I had turned erin on to Moo Shu awhile back so I knew that she would be game. Of course you can always choose to add a meat of choice to this dish.

I did have a few items to purchase for this one because most of the ingredients are fresh! (fresh ginger, bag of shredded veggies, bean sprouts, scallions and hosin sauce) The most expensive (hosin sauce) will last me awhile though, so it will definitely pay for it's self. I already had the rice vinegar from a previous recipe, and most Asian recipes I stumble upon call for these sauces!
The directions are super simple and direct. and since it calls for pre-shredded veggies the most prep I had to do was chop the ginger/garlic and scallions. We were ready for dinner in less than fifteen mins.
The veggies themselves are fairly low in calories so I would pair this with brown rice, tortillas or throw some meat in there!

Sadly my camera ate the picture of the final product just about as fast as we did. It was delicious. It had the same flavors as take out minus the oil aftertaste! The fresh ginger really complimented everything. YUM.

Try it now. put down that phone.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Purple Monster

Around the food blog world a Green Monster is a food group in and of it's self! I have seen so many different variations of this "smoothie" that of course I had to try my hand at it!
One morning after a long hot run I opted away from my typical bowl of oats and decided to use up some "last leg spinach". I threw that in my trusty blender along with:
-1 cup of Skim milk
-1 frozen banana (this takes the place of adding ice as well)
-1/4 cup of frozen raspberries
-1/4 cup of frozen blueberries
-1/8 cup of oats (i had read that this gave a good texture to the smoothie...and i'm a texture girl (twss)

As the blender began it was of course green and then...the purple took over. Fine by me!

I have since tried kale in replace of the spinach and although i loved it, its not for the faint of heart. I definitely think kale gives a hearty more green taste to the monster. You can of course also substitute any frozen berries that you have on hand, or are in season.

What color is your monster???

Friday, September 4, 2009

Back to School, Baking and Basil Pesto

Back to school and back to baking! Sometimes i feel like a stay at home mom when I work from home, and i get the urge to bake erin something fun to eat when she gets home (I don't think she minds all that much!). So while i was looking through my Hungry Girl book I stumbled upon Funky Monkey Squares. These were super simple, super low-cal and used up some bananas on their last leg! Now I can't post the recipe because it is in her book "Hungry Girl 200 under 200", but this is seriously worth the buy! It has TONS of simple/tasty recipes and will more than pay for itself with all the fun ideas.

The ingredients came together rather nicely although I will admit I was a bit worried at how thin and small the bars looked in the pan! But after cooking and cooling they looked perfect. They are a bit on the thin side but make up for it in taste! Erin is always my go to for approval with these deserts because she will be the first to identify something as "healthy tasting"...she loved these! They were similar texture to banana bread but a bit heartier! I enjoyed mine for desert that night with a scoop of frozen vanilla yogurt. YUM.
Working backwards, while the bars were cooking, I set out to use some of this:
Since you can't smell this picture I will leave you to imagine what an amazing aroma fresh basil brings to a small apartment! I love this smell and it was just screaming to be made into some guilt free pesto! I say guilt free because back in my weight watchers days I stumbled upon a "point friendly" pesto recipe. A typical pesto uses olive oil as the liquid, (which is heart healthy in doses!) but to save point WW's substituted fat free chicken stock. Genius!

I just combine all the listed ingredients in my trusty (yet old and needs to be replaced) food processor and voila!

I have made this many times before and it can be frozen, used over pasta, as a sandwich spread....or in my favorite use: Pizza!
It's so simple because no matter how large, or small, a group you have everyone can make their own pizzas with their own toppings! <---Erin stays pretty simple with pesto/cheese and artichoke hearts...where as I load up on veggies and skip the cheese-->. Her's always looks better :).