Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Night at the Circus

You know the saying "Go big or go home"?  Well Corinne and Alyssa took that to heart big time with their circus dinner! 

The invites were adorable and came with a bag of peanuts.

This sign greeted us as we came in the door for the evening. 

The decor really was out of this world! 

Dinner under the Big Top!

The Place Settings 

The menu for the night

Appetizers:  Mexican Corn,  Onion Ring Towers and Rosemary Pretzel Bites with Jalapeño Cheese served with Strawberry Lemonade

There was a super fun Photo Booth that we all took full advantage of that night!

Katie & Tanya

Amy & Les

Brandi & Brittany

Mandy & Emily 

Brenda & Carrie

And our Amazing Ringmasters for the night! Corinne & Alyssa

Our salad for the night was Chinese Acrobat Salad with Wontons 

It was served with a frozen Banana Slush 

The main course was delicious!  Asian Turkey Meatballs with Soy Sesame Sauce,  Pork Satay with Thai Peanut Sauce, Greek Gyro Chicken with Tzatziki Yogurt Sauce, Bangin Shrimp with Thai Chili Mayo, Carmelized Pineapple, Sweet Coconut Rice and Roasted Asparagus.  

As if they hadn't already put on a big enough show, they finished the night with...
Funnel Cakes, Monkey tails and Carmel Apple Slices.

Our take homes for the night were a picture frame, a container of candy concessions,  and a carton of homemade Rocky Road Ice Cream

The hosts were lucky to have Alisha help in the kitchen that night!

We'd all be part of this circus again ANY DAY!! 


Thursday, April 16, 2015


In April Tanya and Katie hosted the most beautiful Spring dinner!  The decor and food was amazing and so perfect for the theme!

These were the cute invitations.

The weather coordinated perfectly that night with sun streaming in through the windows.  The centerpiece was so creative, they used a piece of sod and then layered potted flowers that we got to take home on top of it. They even made the plank table top!

It was so fun that the place settings were different colors.  It made it so bright and colorful just as Spring should be!

The Menu for the evening...

Appetizers:  Savory Monkey Bread, BLT Tea Sandwiches and Shrimp Taco Bites.  I think we were all trying to casually sneak back for seconds. 

The salad course featured a Mediterranian Spring Salad with a Sonic Cherry Limeade.  What's not to love about that! 

For the main course they served Tahitian Chicken Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing and the best melt in your mouth dinner rolls ever.  Perfect, light spring dinner. 

Desserts:  Frozen Key Lime Pie, Pizookie a la Mode and a Strawberry Amaretto Pastry

Along with a flower in a cute pot from the centerpiece we got a birdseed hanger and some Lemoncello Almonds for our take home gifts that night. 

Love, love, love this group of women.  We missed Amy but had so much fun with Jayme coming in her spot that night! 

Top Row:  Brittany, Corinne, Brandi, Carrie, Mandy, Emily, Katie
Bottom Row: Brenda and a cute twin, Alyssa, Leslie, Jayme and the other cute twin, and Tanya 

Recipes coming SOON! 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Breakfast at Tiffany's

In March, Mandy and Emily hosted the group for "Breakfast at Tiffany's".  The invites encouraged everyone to wear a black dress and pearls and came with a bottle of Tiffany Blue nail poish. 

Emily rounded up these fun blue dishes from  Home Goods in 3 different states with the help of several friends who don't mind her crazy. The table was decorated with white tulips, pearls, and small wrapped boxes. 

A good friend, Jillian Barron shared her awesome writing talent and chalkboard and did the menu for the evening. 

Place settings were marked with a "little blue box" for each guest that had their take home gift inside. 

The appetizer table

Appetizers for the evening were Puffed French Toast Sticks with Coconut, Berry, and Maple Syrups.  Raspberry Pecan Acai Bowls with Granola and Berries.  And a skewered wedge salad. 

The salad course was a Grapefruit and Avocado Salad with lemon and mint. Simple and refreshing! 

The main course was delicious! Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon, Cantaloupe and Proscuitto Wrapped Asparagus Spears also served with a Mixed Fruit Sparkling Cider. 

Mandy and Emily, our hosts for the evening.  LOVE the photobomb by Leslie. 

Sadly since Emily was hosting and taking pics one of the yummiest parts of the night didn't get a photo!  Dessert was Leige Waffles with Biscoff, Raspberries and Whipped Cream.  It was every bit as good as it sounds. 

The take home had to be jewelry of course!  So each guest got one of these necklaces with their first initial on it. 

Last but not least we couldn't have done it without our amazing kitchen helper Vynette.  Thank you!! 


Puffed French Toast

1 egg
1 1/4 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
6 slices Texas style toast, cut in half diagonally

In a large skillet, heat about 1/4” of vegetable oil over medium heat. In a shallow bowl or pie dish, whisk together all ingredients. Test oil heat by flicking some water into the frying pan. If it pops, reduce the heat. If it sizzles, it’s just right. Working quickly, take each 1/2 slice of bread and soak both sides in the egg mixture. If you leave it too long, it will get soggy, but you want to make sure enough of the egg mixture has soaked into the bread. Gently shake to remove excess batter and place in hot oil. Cook until puffed, golden brown, and a nice crispy crust has formed on each side (probably 3 – 5 minutes per side). Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. While cooking remaining French toast, keep cooked pieces warm in a 200 degree oven.

When ready to serve, roll each piece in:
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Another Option:
Slice the bread into strips for great French toast dippers. Serve with fresh raspberry jam and powdered sugar.

Coconut Syrup 

1 cup sugar
1 cup light Karo Syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup canned milk
1 tsp. coconut extract
1 tsp. butter extract

Stir sugar, Karo and water together in saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer 2 minutes. Take off heat and let sit a minute. Add milk, coconut extract and butter extract.

Edited to add: For my family of 5 eaters I doubled the french toast part and made the syrup just like the recipe said, but we had plenty of syrup left over, so next time I think I'll half or 3/4 the syrup.

Honey-Sweetened Berry Syrup


  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 tsp arrowroot starch/flour- this acts as a thickening agent, a substitute for GMO corn starch
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract 
  1. In a medium-size saucepan, over medium-high heat, add the berries, water, and honey. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring to combine ingredients.
  2. Turn the heat down to a simmer and mash the berries with a potato masher.  Mash the berries.
  3. Once mashed, whisk in 1 tsp of arrowroot to the berry mixture, cooking over low-medium heat (simmer). Place a top over the pan and allow to simmer until the mixture is thick (syrup consistency). This only takes a few minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  5. Serve the mixture warm over or  or store in a for later use. Keep syrup stored in the refrigerator. This syrup can also be frozen for later use.



  • 8 (1-inch) wedges iceberg lettuce
  • 4 strips cooked bacon, cut in half
  • 8 grape tomatoes

  • 8 bamboo toothpicks
  • 8 teaspoons blue cheese salad dressing
  • 8 teaspoons crumbled blue cheese, or more to taste


  1. Thread each lettuce wedge, bacon piece, and grape tomato onto each toothpick, respectively. Arrange toothpicks on a serving platter. Drizzle 1 teaspoon blue cheese dressing over each and sprinkle with blue cheese.


1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil
4 ripe Hass avocados
2 large red grapefruits

Place the mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
Before serving, cut the avocados in 1/2, remove the seeds, and carefully peel off the skin. Cut each half into 4 thick slices. Toss the avocado slices in the vinaigrette to prevent them from turning brown. Use a large, sharp knife to slice the peel off the grapefruits (be sure to remove all the white pith), then cut between the membranes to release the grapefruit segments.
Arrange the avocado slices around the edge of a large platter. Arrange the grapefruit segments in the center. Spoon the vinaigrette on top, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.


Toast and butter an english muffin.  Place smoked salmon on top of muffin then poach an egg and put that on top of smoked salmon.  Top with hollandaise sauce and chives (optional) 

Hollandaise Sauce:

3 egg yolks
1/4 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 dash Tobasco
1/2 cup butter 

In blender combine egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and Tobasco.  Cover and blend for 5 seconds.  Place the butter in a glass measuring cup and heat in microwave till melted and hot.  Set the blender on high and pour the butter into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream.  It should' thicken almost immediately.  Keep the sauce warm until serving by placing blender container in a pan of hot tap water. 


The easiest, most tastiest appetizer with just 2 ingredients and 10 min prep!


  • 6 ounces sliced prosciutto, halved horizontally
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Working one at a time, wrap halved prosciutto slice on each asparagus spear at an angle, covering the entire length of the spear. Repeat with remaining prosciutto and asparagus.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add asparagus and cook until prosciutto is crisp and asparagus is tender, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Serve immediately.

  • 3/4 Cup Whole Milk, scalded and cooled to warm milk
  • 2 Tablespoons water, warmed
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 Large eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1 Cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 3 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 Teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 Cups Bread flour
  • 1 1/2-1 3/4 Cups Flour
  • 2 Cups Belgian pearl sugar (we buy ours from Orson Gygi)
  1. Add the 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar to the milk and water and add the yeast, stirring to combine. Allow the yeast to proof, or get foamy and puffy.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars. Add the eggs, honey and vanilla. Stir together and add the yeast mixture. Place in a standing mixer with the dough hook and add 2 cups of flour. Mix until the dough is thoroughly incorporated, and add the remaining flour, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for up to 4 hours on the counter, or up to 24 hours covered with plastic wrap in the fridge. The dough will need to sit on the counter and come back to room temperature to use. Then punch down and knead in the pearl sugar. Separate into 8 to 10 balls and place on a hot, greased waffle iron. Cook until golden brown and serve with biscoff, whipped cream and fresh berries. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Happy New Year!!

Amy and Leslie hosted their first dinner and did it in fabulous New Years style!  It was gorgeous.  

The tablescape was beautiful and the clocks on the wall and ceiling added the perfect feel for their New Years theme. 

 Even the plates had clocks on them.  So fun!

We each had a card explaining to us "lucky foods for the new year"  the menu for the evening revolved around these lucky foods.

The sparkling cider bottles dipped in gold glitter had our place cards attached to them.

Appetizers: Roasted Turkey, Cranberry and Brie Grilled Cheese, Frozen Grapes, and Caesar Salad  The salad in a glass was such a fun presentation.  And the grilled sandwiches were on of my favorites from the night. 

 All the decor went together so beautifully

Amy and Leslie our hosts for the evening

Pomegranate Fig Salad and Indian Daal Soup  

The main course was Grilled Maple Dijon Pork Chops with Fettucini Alfredo

Dessert was Lucky Snowballs (vanilla ice cream rolled in coconut), strawberries with chocolate drizzle, and chocolate ganache rings.  

Top row: Amy, Mandy, Brenda, Brandi, GG, Carrie, Alisha  Front Row: Emily, Leslie, Alyssa, Brittany, Corinne, Tanya and Katie

We had two take homes for the evening and I think the Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream Hot Chocolate stole the show for the evening hands down.  Heaven (or heart attack) in a cup.  Mmmmm....

And...I'm pretty sure we all ate donuts for breakfast the next morning. Thanks Leslie and Amy for a wonderful night out!

Indian Dall Lentil Soup
1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed very well
1 large onion, or a couple leeks, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. minced ginger root
1 Tbsp. Ground cumin
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 15 oz. can of tomatoes; or 4 large, fresh tomatoes, chopped
4 cups stock
salt to taste
1 un-waxed, organic lemon
1. Rinse the lentils very well until the water runs clear.
2. Heat oil in a medium pot and sauté onions, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes until soft. Add a pinch of salt.
3. Add spices and stir for another minute or so, until fragrant.
4. Add tomatoes, 3 slices of lemon and rinsed lentils, then add vegetable stock. Stir well.
5. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. Squeeze in the rest of the lemon juice.
6. Serve hot with some cilantro, green onions or parsley on top with a slice of lemon. Delicious!
Serves 4
Recipe: Roasted Turkey, Cranberry and Brie Grilled Cheese
  1. 2 large pieces sourdough bread
  2. 4-6 ounces roasted turkey breast
  3. 2 ounces blue streaked brie cheese (like cambozola)
  4. 3 tablespoons cranberry chutney
  5. 1 tablespoon butter
  6. Preparation time: 2 minute(s)
Cooking time: 5 minute(s)

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream Hot Chocolate
dark chocolate hot chocolate base
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups cream or half and half
4 ounces 70% dark chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

dark chocolate hot chocolate base
In a large bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the milk and cream. Bring it to a simmer, stirring every few minutes. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the hot milk to the cocoa and sugar, mixing thoroughly to create a paste. Once the entire thing is wet, use a spatula to add it to the milk and turn the heat down to low. Whisk continuously until smooth (do not let it boil), then whisk in the chopped chocolate and vanilla extract.
for chocolate chip cookies and cream hot chocolate: before filling your mug, rub frosting (from the tub is fine!) or honey (you need a sticky substance) along the rim of the mug. Crush 2 chocolate chips cookies into crumbs and press the crumbs into the sticky rim. Fill the mug with hot chocolate, then top it with whipped cream, marshmallows, a big cookie and a cookies and cream HELLO chocolate.

Grilled Maple Dijon Pork Chops
3-4 tablespoons of Kosher salt
2 cups water
2 cups apple juice
whatever fresh herbs or citrus I have on hand.
Throw everything into a small pot on the stove and heat it until the salt dissolves. Then add it to a large ziploc bag, add ice to cool it down, add the chops, zip it up and let it do it’s thing in the fridge for as long as possible. (We did this the night before)

About an hour before you’re ready to grill take the chops out of the brine, give a quick rinse and pat them dry.
Maple Dijon marinade
Here’s what you’ll need…for 4-6 medium sized chops
  • 1/4 cup grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 1 teaspoon each salt, pepper, and thyme
  • drizzle of light oil like grape seed or similar (this just helps them to not stick on the grill)
Toss the pork chops in the marinade to coat and put them in the fridge for about 45 minutes-hour. (We did 4-5hrs)
Heat up your grill, and toss them on.
About 5-6 minutes on each side for a medium high heat. 

1 pint heavy cream
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cream cheese
.5 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Garlic Powder
In a saucepan combine butter, heavy cream, and cream cheese. Summer until all is mleted and mised well.  Add the parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Simmer this for 5-10 minutes on low. You may wish to season with a little salt and pepper.

Baked Chocolate Glazed Donuts

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1/3 cup light or fat free sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons canola oil (or melted coconut oil)
baking spray
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Special Equipment:  donut pan, gallon-size zipper bag
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Prepare the donut pan by spraying with baking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs then add the milk, sour cream, vanilla and canola oil. Beat until combined.
Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
You can use a spoon to pour the batter into the donut pan, or you can use the following technique. Fold down the top of a gallon-size zipper bag. Stand the bag up in a bowl or measuring cup. Pour the batter into the zipper bag. Get the air out of the bag and seal it up. Carefully cut just about 1/8″ of a corner of the bag. Pipe the batter into the donut pan, filling each well up about 2/3 full. 
Bake the donuts for 7 to 8 minutes. 
Remove from the oven and cool for about 3 minutes in the pan, then remove them and allow them to cool further on a wire rack.
Prepare the glaze by combining all of the ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. Dip the tops of each donut into the glaze then place them back on the wire rack to set…or into your mouth for quality control. 
Makes 12 donuts.

Chocolate Frosted Donuts

yield: 8 DONUTS

prep time: 30 MINUTES

total time: 40 MINUTES
These chocolate frosted donuts are baked, not fried - and are so simple to make! Cover them completely in sprinkles and you'll find yourself eating more than just one.



  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (gives them that "bakery donut" taste)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup (65g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk1
  • 1/4 cup (60g) Greek yogurt2
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 1/2 cup (90g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • rainbow sprinkles


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. Make the donuts: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the egg, brown sugar, milk, and yogurt together until smooth. Add the melted butter and vanilla, whisking until fully combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be very thick.
  4. Spoon the batter into the donut cavities—I highly recommend using a large zipped-top bag for ease, as pictured and explained in detail above. Cut a corner off the bottom of the bag and pipe the batter into each donut cup, filling 2 ∕ 3 –3 ∕ 4 of the way full.
  5. Bake for 9–10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the pan and bake the remaining donut batter. Allow the donuts to slightly cool before glazing.
  6. Make the chocolate glaze: Place the chocolate chips, butter, corn syrup, and water in a medium bowl. Melt in 20 second increments in the microwave, stirring after each time, until completely melted and smooth. Dip the tops of the donuts into the chocolate glaze and then cover with sprinkles. I simply poured the sprinkles into a deep bowl and dipped the tops of the donuts into it. You'll likely have leftover ganache. It's great on ice cream!
  7. Donuts taste best eaten the same day, though they may be covered tightly and stored at room temperature for 2 days.
  8. Make ahead tip: You can freeze the unfrosted donuts for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, warm up to your liking in the microwave, and top with glaze.

Additional Notes:

You can make this recipe into 8-10 muffins using a muffin pan. Bake at the same temperature for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  1. Skim milk, 1%, 2%, whole, almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk is OK.
  2. Nonfat, low fat, vanilla, plain, Greek or regular yogurt is OK. Sour cream works too!

Winter Salad with Maple Candied Walnuts + Balsamic Fig Dressing 


  • 4 [DeLallo Fresh SaladSavors® salad topping packs |] (OR 2 cups raw walnuts, 1 cup dried cranberries and 8 ounces crumbled goat cheese)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups mixed greens (I used baby kale and spinach)
  • 2 cups arugula
  • arils from one pomegranate
  • Balsamic Fig Dressing
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fig preserves
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pick out the walnuts from all four of the Salad Savors packets and add them to the baking sheet. Toss the walnuts with the maple syrup, cinnamon, crushed red pepper and salt. Bake for 15-25 minutes, stirring 2-3 time throughout cooking until the walnuts are toasted and golden. Remove from the oven and spread the walnuts in one layer. Allow to cool.
Add the greens to a large salad bowl. Add the pomegranate arils and the cranberries from the DeLallo Fresh Salad Savors. Add the cooled walnuts and gently toss the salad. Add the goat cheese.
To make the dressing, whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fig preserves and salt until combined. Just before serving, drizzle the dressing over the salad and gently toss. Enjoy!
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Total time: 35 minutes