Monday, December 15, 2014

Girlfriends Christmas Party 2014

We love getting together for our Girlfriends Christmas Party!  It started out more of a typical Gourmet Club style event and has changed into a everybody help with the meal and join in a holiday dessert exchange.  We all go home with a dessert to share with our families and a fun new serving dish.

This year we all brought an appetizer to share. I didn't get individual pictures of some, sorry. 

Mandy brought a yummy hummus dip with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and a balsamic drizzle.

Brenda brought Crackers and Jalapeño Greek Yogurt Dip

Alisha brought crackers topped with beef, cranberry horseradish cream cheese spread and spiced cranberry jam.

Carrie brought cheese and homemade crackers

Amy brought Jalapeño poppers

Alyssa brought fresh fruit with a peanut butter yogurt dip

Amy brought a fun Holiday Chex Mix

Leslie brought the famous Raspberry Bundt Cake

Nola made Egg Nog Cheesecakes

Emily made Oreo Peppermint Popcorn

Mandy made Fudge

Carrie made a White Chocolate Cranberry Bread

Alyssa made a Bread Pudding

Tanya made a German Chocolate Cheesecake

Corinne made Banana Pudding

Brittany made Peanut Brittle

Brenda brought Pumpkin Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

and there were some really fun serving pieces to choose from.

Peppermint and Cookie Popcorn

Prep time
Total time
Popcorn is coated with peppermint chocolate candy. Throw in some broken up chocolate cookies for some extra chocolate crunch!
Serves: 8 cups popcorn
  • 1 (10 oz) bag Candy Cane Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped
  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 10-15 holiday Oreos, broken into pieces

  • Instructions
  1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the kisses in the microwave on 50% power in 30 second intervals, until the candy is melted. Pour over the popcorn and stir until coated. Stir in the cookie pieces. Transfer the popcorn to a wax paper lined baking sheet and allow to cool until hardened. Break into pieces.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Bewitching Dinnner

In October GG and Brittany hosted a fabulous Bewitching Dinner.  These cute invitations were tied to witches hats for each guest.


Back of Invite 

To add to the "creepy" factor GG's husband had a huge snake whose cage happened to be in the corner of the room we were in.  

More decor

Place Setting 


Appetizers:  Deadmans toes, witches fingers, deviled eggs and scream cheese an cackles. 

There were also a variety of poisons and tonics to drink...

They might have had creepy names but they tasted great!

Amy and Leslie

Katie and Tanya

Alyssa and Corinne

Brenda and Carrie

Rachel and Alisha

and the host witches of the evening...GG and Brittany

 Emily and Mandy

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

Rotten Apple Soda

Deviled Chicken with Potatoes and Beets

Dessert was mini pumpkin cheesecakes with gingersnap crusts, Apple slices dipped in chocolate, 

Take homes were so much fun.  We each got a hand soap from Bath & Body Works, some delicious gingersnap cookies, and an adorable witches hat decoration for future Halloweens.  


Wicked Witches Fingers
Roasted garlic grape seed oil
Rancher stake rub
Fresh asparagus rolled in roasted garlic grape seed oil, sprinkled with rancher stake rub, broiled for about 5 min until tender.

Cheesy Witch Hat
2 8oz packages cream cheese, softend
½ cup butter softend
2 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 4oz jar chopped pimentos, well –drained
¼ cup poppy seeds
1 large carrot, peeled, sliced thin
Combine all spread ingredients except poppy seed in bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Reserve 2 tablespoons cheese mixture in small bowl. Cover; refrigerate.

Divide remaining cheese mixture in half. Spread one-half into 6-inch circle in middle of serving plate to form brim of hat. Shape remaining half of cheese mixture into 4-inch ball. Wrap each in plastic food wrap; refrigerate 1 hour.

Assemble hat by centering cheese ball in middle of hat brim. Shape ball into cone to form top of witch’s hat. Sprinkle or press poppy seed over entire hat to cover.

Attach carrot slices to form hatband by using reserved cheese mixture. Carefully cover with plastic food wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving. Serve with assorted crackers and vegetables

Dead Man’s Toes – 
1 lb sliced bacon
1 14oz lil smokies cocktail links
¼ cup brown sugar
1. Cut bacon strips lengthwise into thirds. Wrap a piece of bacon around each sausage link. Secure each with a toothpick. Place onto a foil-lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
2. Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes or until bacon is crisp, turning once. 
Makes about 3-1/2 Dozen

Rotten Apple Soda – 
Jones soda with cute labels

1 ½ pound butternut squash, peeled and ¾ inch diced
Good olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
¾ cup apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 oz baby arugula, washed and spun dry
½ cup walnuts halves, toasted
¾ cup freshly grated parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.


Deviled chicken

12oz Ale (beer)
¼ cup kosher salt
2 tbs white sugar
1 tbs whole cloves 2 cups ice
2 cornish game hens (1.75 to 2 lbs each)
1 large lemon
2 tbs melted butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
  • In a pot over medium high heat, add the wheat beer, salt, sugar and cloves. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar and salt have dissolved, remove from heat. Add the ice, stir until dissolved. 
  • Rinse the game hens inside and out, place together in a large bowl. Pour the brine over the hens, refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours. 
  • Preheat oven to 425. 
  • Remove hens from brine, rinse thoroughly and pat dry. 
  • Place in a roasting rack of a roasting pan or on a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Cut lemon into quarters. Place one quarter into each hen, place the remaining two in the roasting pan beneath the hens. 
  • In a small bowl combine melted butter, salt and pepper.
  • Brush the hens liberally with the butter mixture. 
  • Roast at 425 for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165. 
Potatoes and beets – 
1 tablespoon extra –virgin olive oil
1 ½ pounds purple potatoes, halved if large
2 bunches red baby beets
Toss potatoes with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Transfer potatoes to oven during the last 20 minutes of chicken's cooking. Bake until tender, about 20 minutes.
Fill a medium saucepan with water. Add beets and salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until beets are tender, 16 to 18 minutes. Drain beets. When beets are cool enough to handle, remove skins.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Gingersnap Crusts
Apple Slices Dipped in Chocolate

Gingersnap Cookies
1 ½ C butter
2 C sugar
½ C molasses
2 eggs
4 C flour
½ t salt
2 t baking soda
2t each ground cloves, cinnamon, and ginger
½ C sugar for rolling and baking

  • In a stand mixer or large bowl, beat the shortening or butter and sugar until well combined and slightly fluffy. Add the molasses and eggs. Mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the mixer and stir until just combined.
  • Scoop and roll into 1″ balls. Lightly roll the dough balls in a shallow bowl of sugar. Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Backyard BBQ Gourmet Club Style

In September Tanya and Katie went all out with a Backyard Barbecue!  It was so much fun to walk in to Katie's house completely transformed. 

The Cowgirls

This cute sign greeted us as we came in the front door.

These totally creative invites were taped on the front door at each of our homes weeks before to get us excited for the upcoming event.  Each of us had a different name from the Wild West.

They made this tabletop to sit on top of Katie's regular table and it was awesome  The denim and red tied everything together perfectly.

The menus were tucked neatly inside a denim pocket.

That nights grub...

More fun decor

We started off with some fun appetizers.

Bacon wrapped stuffed jalapeños

Steak Rolls

Cowboy Caviar and Chips.  The tins added such a great touch.

Katie's got mad sign skills!! 

Who doesn't love a good Strawberry Lemonade?  The salad course was a wedge salad with cornbread on the side. 

For the main course they served a Pulled Pork Slider with Pineapple Slaw.  A Cheeseburger Slider with Onion Rings.  Corn on the Cob with Cilantro Butter  Lime Cucumber Salad and a delicious spear of Grilled Pineapple.  Ye-Haw!!

Dessert: Dutch Carmel Apple Pie a la Mode and Homemade Root Beer Floats

Our take homes were Cowgirl Cookies in  Jar and a Cowgirl Candy Bar.

You two girls can rodeo with the best of 'em that's for sure.  Thanks for an AMAZING night!

Recipes coming soon...

Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad
Yield: 5-6 side serving
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil (I recommend Tantillo )
2 cucumbers, very finely sliced (see photos)
4 tablespoons minced cilantro, to taste

1.Dice the jalapeno and garlic and add to a medium-sized bowl.
2.Add 3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Use a whisk to incorporate the 3 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.
3.Finely slice the cucumbers. Use a mandolin if you have it, but a very sharp knife will do the trick. (See photos below.) Add the cucumbers to the dressing and stir together.
4.Finely mince the cilantro and add it to the bowl. Stir to combine. You can either let it sit in the fridge to marinate for a couple hours, or serve immediately.
Make sure that you let the salad sit on the counter for a little while before serving if it's been in the fridge; the olive oil solidifies slightly when it's cold.

  • 1/2 of a pineapple, cut into spears
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a large ziplock bag. Add the pineapple spears, close the bag tightly, and shake it so that the cinnamon and brown sugar coats the spears. Place the pineapple in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat your grill to medium heat, around 350-400 degrees.
  • Place the pineapple spears on the grill and turn them every few minutes until all sides are grilled .
  • Grill the pineapple until it is cooked to your liking.
  • Enjoy!
Grilled Corn on the Cob Recipe by Paula Deen
25 MIN5 Prep + 20 Cook
10 - 12Servings
FavoriteShopping List

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground 
  • 8 ears corn, shucked and cut in half
Spray a grill rack with nonstick nonflammable cooking spray. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, 350 to 400°F.
Beat the butter, cilantro, salt and pepper in a small bowl with a fork until smooth. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the butter mixture over each half ear of corn. Wrap the corn in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Grill, turning frequently, until the corn is tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Pulled pork sliders with pineapple coleslaw

We used the pineapple coleslaw recipe to top our pulled pork

Pineapple Coleslaw
•3 cups coleslaw mix
•1 cup unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained (I cup after it’s drained)
•1/4 teaspoon celery seed
•1/3 cup mayonnaise (I used canola mayo)
1.In a large bowl, combine the first three ingredients. (You can add some salt and pepper too if you’d like)
2.Add mayonnaise and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Yield: 4 servings.

Atomic Buffalo Turd Jalapeno Poppers (aka - A.B.T.)
Serves: 20 ABTs

•10 jalapeno peppers
•10 bacon slices, cut in half
•10 mini sausages or smokies (or 20 if they are very small)
•1 cup cream cheese
•1 cup grated monterey jack
•1 tsp chipotle or chili powder
•2 shallots, minced

1.Slice the jalapenos lengthwise. Using a spoon, remove the seeds and membrane. If using bell peppers, quarter them after they are seeded.
2.Mix the cream cheese, monterey jack, chipotle powder and minced shallots. Fill the hollowed out portion of the peppers with the cheese mixture.
3.Place the smokie on top of the cream cheese. Wrap the half slice of bacon around the jalapeno. If the bacon is not staying tightly wrapped, it may be necessary to use a toothpick to hold it in place.
4.Smoke the ABTs in the smoker, set at 225F, for 2-3 hours, or until the bacon is browned

To cook on the grill: Cook on a medium heat grill until the jalapeno is tender and the bacon is browned. Keep the lid covered while cooking. To cook in the oven: Bake the ABT's in the oven, set at 425F, for 20-30 minutes or until the bacon is browned.

For the Marinade:
¼ cup barbecue sauce
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Steak Portion:
10 ounces of flank steak
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Filling:
1 green pepper, cut into matchstick size pieces
1 red pepper, cut into matchstick size pieces
1 yellow pepper, cut into matchstick size pieces
½ sweet onion, cut into matchstick size pieces
½ red onion, cut into matchstick size pieces
2 shallots, cut into matchstick size pieces

For the Pan Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup barbecue sauce
½ cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves of fresh garlic, pressed, or 1 teaspoon minced garlic (less or none of if you are not a garlic fan)

For the Marinade:
  • Whisk together all the ingredients until smooth. Set aside.
For the Steak Portion:
  • Cut steak into thin strips, if you can't get them think enough you can use a meat tenderizer to pound them out. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a container and pour the marinade over top. Pop the lid on the container and seal it, then give it a shake. Pop in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours.
For the Filling:
  • Cut all your ingredients into thin strips. Add some oil to a stir fry pan and bring to a medium heat. Once the oil glistens you can toss in the veggies. You only want to cook them for about 3 or 4 minutes. You don't want them too soft they are hard to work with. Remove and transfer to a plate or container till needed. It helps to let them cool so feel free to pop them in the fridge while the meat is marinating.
For the Pan Sauce:
  • In a frying pan over medium heat melt the butter. Add your favourite barbecue sauce, water, salt, pepper and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes or so. The sauce should reduce to about half. If you want it sweeter you can hit it with a touch of sugar. If you want it thicker you can hit it with a touch of tomato paste.
Putting it all Together:
  • Remove your ingredients from the fridge about 20 minutes before you need them. Discard any excess marinade.
  • Now lay your steak strips on a cutting board. Take a handful of the veggies and pop them on the steak so they stick out the side. You're basically making a T shape with your steak and veggies. Now tightly roll the steak around the veggies and secure with a toothpick. Repeat until all your pieces are bundle up beautifully.
  • In a large flat bottomed pan add over medium heat add about a tablespoon of butter. If you're afraid of butter (seriously people, a little butter is awesome for pan frying) use oil.
  • Once the butter (or oil) glistens you can add the steak rolls, seam side down. Allow them to sear on one side, then turn over. Add ½ the pan sauce and cover the pan, cook for about 2 to 5 minutes depending on the thickness of your steak. Remove carefully from pan. Remove toothpicks. Plate the steak rolls. Pop the extra pan sauce in a small bowl.
  • Serve with a big old western style smile!
Western Cheeseburger Sliders
 Serves 6 (2 sliders per person)

2 pounds lean Hamburger meat
 12 good quality Dinner rolls
 6 slices Cheddar cheese, cut in half
 Barbecue sauce
 Crispy Onion Strings (recipe below)

DIRECTIONS:  Heat a large grill pan or skillet to medium heat.

Divide the hamburger meat into 12 equal portions. Shape each portion into an oval patty. Sprinkle each hamburger patty with salt and pepper. Add 2 Tablespoons of butter to heated skillet and let melt.
Once butter is melted, add only 4-6 hamburger patties at a time, to ensure even cooking. Spread 1/2 a tablespoon of barbecue sauce over the tops of patties in the skillet.

Grill patties on each side for 4-6 minutes. Once you flip to other side, add another 1/2 tablespoon of barbecue sauce and spread. Continue cooking until no longer pink and cooked through. Place cooked patties on a baking sheet, and keep in a warm oven until all they are all finished cooking.

Place one cooked hamburger patty onto the bottom of dinner roll. (I buttered and toasted our dinner rolls first). On top of patty, add one half slice of cheese and more barbecue sauce. Top with crispy onion straws and the top half of dinner roll. Repeat with all others, and serve immediatley. Enjoy!
Crispy Onion Strings
Recipe from: Pioneer Woman
1 large Onion
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 quart canola oil
black pepper, to taste
DIRECTIONS:   Slice onion very thin. Place in a large bowl and cover with buttermilk. Let soak for atleast an hour.
Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Heat oil to 375 degrees.
Grab a handful of onions and place into the flour mixture. Tap to shake off excess, and plunge into hot oil. Fry for a few minutes and remove when they are golden brown. Place fried onion strings on a large platter lined with paper towels to soak up grease. Repeat with remaining onions, then serve on sliders and as a side!

Scrumptious Apple Pie
The Pioneer Woman
Print Recipe
  • 1 whole Pie Crust
  • 6 cups (to 7 Cups) Peeled And Sliced Granny Smith Apples
  • 1/2 whole (juice Of) Lemon
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1-1/2 stick Butter
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Quick Oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Pecans, Chopped
  • 1/2 jar (or More) Caramel Topping
Preparation Instructions
In a bowl mix peeled apples, lemon juice, sugar, flour and ¼ teaspoon salt. Set aside. For crumb topping, cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter, then add in brown sugar, oats, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
Add apples to prepared pie shell and top with crumb topping. Cover crust edges with aluminum foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil from crust and place back into the oven for another 30 minutes. Chop pecans, and when five minutes remain, sprinkle them over the pie. Finish baking. Quiver with anticipation.
Remove the pie from the oven and pour ½ jar (or more, if you’re feeling dangerous and naughty) of caramel topping over the top. Allow to cool slightly before serving, or don’t if you can’t wait. Eat. Enjoy. Smile. Cry. Then smile again.

Western Wedge Salad
1 head iceberg lettuce, quartered
1 large tomato, sliced into 8 wedges
1 large carrot, shredded
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
4 strips bacon, crisp cooked and crumbled
½ wish bone western dressing

Arrange 1 wedge lettuce and 2 tomato wedges on each serving plate.  Evenly top with carrot, corn, cucumber and red onion.  Sprinkle with cheese, then evenly top with bacon and drizzle with dressing.

1 pound or so strawberries
2 lemons
8 cups water
¾ cup honey
¼ cup sugar
Wash berries and cut the stems off.  Cut ends off lemons and then cut into quarters.
Keep the peels of the lemons on.  Combine berries and lemons in blender with 2 cups water. 
Take honey and pour over mixture.  Blend for a minute.  Pour liquid through a strainer.  Use a spatula to help push liquid through the strainer.  Pour remining cup of water through the leftover pulp in the strainer to get any more flavor out of it.  Add ¼ cup sugar to the liquid to sweeten (or more to taste).  Chill in fridge.