Wednesday, July 22, 2015

2015 - 2016 Schedule

September - Judith & Kristy

October - Lisa & Carolyn

January - Holly & Melissa

February - Chandler  & Heidi

March - Annika & Stephanie

April - Lindsay & Jenny

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Backyard Wedding - Michelle & Annika - June 2015

Michelle and Annika hosted our last evening before Summer break with a Backyard wedding.

 Invites were wood grain with light strands and details tied with a simple sprig of babies breath.
As guests arrived the gate was propped with a fun vintage ladder, chair and chalk board sign leading them to the "Happily Ever After".
The backyard was set up with a couple large canopies over the table and had large burlap balls hanging from the center.
The table was set with clean white linen and had accents of brilliant coral and gold.
The center piece was reclaimed wooden boxes filled with babies breath and a bright coral ribbon around them.
The chairs were so fun with alternating colors and each tied with burlap and a sprig of babies breath.

 Just simple details. 

Place settings were white with gold rimmed china, layered for perfection and gold rimmed goblets.  Each name tag was held by a tree branch cut into a stump to hold each tag.
The coral napkins and gold ware was such a fun detail encasing the menu with a sprig of babies breath as well.
 The yard was decorated with different pieces of furniture and signs as well as Annika and Michelle's wedding dresses on display.
 This tri-fold held wedding photos from each of the ladies as well as fun quotes on marriage and love.

 The appetizer table had a lace and burlap banner strung as a backdrop and a fun bright coral "Mr & Mrs" sign.
Appetizers were: 
Mini Watermelon Feta Salads, 

 Cucumber Bites with Herb Cream Cheese,
Strawberry, Lime, Cucumber and Mint Water 
 and Caramelized Gorgonzola & Pear Flatbread.  All light and refreshing. 
We got seated with a Hungarian Mushroom Soup garnished with Peasant Bread.
Next we cleansed our pallets with the yummiest Kiwi Lime Sorbet before leading into
 the main dish which was a Grilled White BBQ Chicken served with a Parmesan Grain Medley and Roasted Ranch Asparagus.
 Dessert, yummy Coconut Bread Pudding with Vanilla Bean Frozen Yogurt", was served in individual ramekins with a darling wooden spoon that said "Mr. & Mrs.".
 Take homes were on a fun bench with pillows, flowers and a reclaimed wood sign.
Recipes, sparklers with a "Let Love Shine" tag and

the yummiest granola!
We can't forget a couple of these crazy ladies who showed up dressed for a wedding! 
This evening was so pleasant with beautiful weather, yummy food and fun decor. It marked the close of an era for 3 of the gourmet gals. They will be missed, but we treasure the memories and relationships we made sharing our crazy passions for details and all things food!

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Flat Bread

2 small flat breads (such as Naan or homemade)
2 pears (Bartlett), sliced or diced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. olive oil
handful of Gorgonzola cheese pieces
handful of fresh spinach

Heat olive oil in pan and add sliced onion, pear and vinegar. Caramelize them together for about 8 minutes.  Place the flat bread on a greased cookie sheet. Add pear-onion mix to the flat bread and sprinkle with cheese crumbs.  Bake it for about 6-8 minutes at 425 degrees. Remove from oven, add fresh spinach and drizzle additional balsamic vinegar if desired.

Watermelon Feta Bites

2 Tbs. syrupy Balsamic vinegar or glaze
1 small seedless watermelon, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 small bunch basil, chopped
5 oz. feta cheese crumbs

Drizzle a serving dish with balsamic glaze.  Spear one cube of watermelon and top with feta crumbs and chopped basil.  Place bite on prepared dish and drizzle with additional glaze if desired. Serve immediately.

Cucumber Bites with Herb Cream Cheese

4 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 cup homemade Ranch dressing
2 Tbs. Dill (Thyme is also great)
3-4 long cucumbers, skinned and sliced into 1 inch slices
Cherry tomatoes, halved
salt, paprika and/or Cajun Spice Mix for garnish

In a mixer, combine the softened cream cheese with the ranch dressing and herbs. Mix until combined. Spoon into a piping bag with a star tip.  Prepare the cucumber, remove peel, using fork score the sides.  Slice into 1 inch pieces. Using a melon baller, remove portion of the center of one side of the piece of cucumber, leaving a half moon crater.  Pipe the herb cream cheese into the crater. Enough to stick out of the top about 1/2 inch.  Add a half cherry tomato partially buried into the herb cream cheese.  Sprinkle additional salt, herbs and spice mix for additional color.  Chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!
Hungarian Mushroom Soup
12 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced or roughly chopped
2 c. chopped onion
4 T buttter  (1/2 square)
1/4 c. flour
1 c. milk
1 tsp dill weed, plus a little extra if desired before serving.
1 T Hungarian paprika
1 T. Tamari (soy sauce)
1 tsp salt
2 c. stock or water
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. fresh chopped parsley (opt for garnish) or dill
Fresh- ground pepper to taste
1/2 c. sour cream
Saute onions for a few mins in 2T butter.  Salt lightly.  Then add mushrooms, 1 tsp dill,  
1/2 c. stock or water, tamari and paprika.  Cover and simmer for 15 mins.
Melt remaining butter in large sauce.  Whisk flour and cook, whisking a few minutes.
Add milk.  Cook, stirring frequently, over low heat, about 10 minutes, till thick.   Stir in
mushroom mixture and remaining stock. Cover and simmer 10-15 mins.  
Before serving, add salt, pepper, lemon juice, sour cream, and extra dill, if desired.  
Garnish with parsley or fresh dill or small dollop of sour cream, if desired.

Round Peasant Bread

1 pkg. yeast
2 cups warm water
1 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. salt
4 cups flour
butter, melted

Place yeast, water, sugar and salt in a warm bowl and stir until dissolved.  Add flour and stir until blended. Do not knead bread. Cover and let rise one hour or until doubled in size. Spray a cooking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Flour hands; remove dough and place in 2 rounds on cookie sheet.  Let rise an additional hour. Brush the top with melted butter and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 375 degrees and cook an additional 15 minutes.  Remove and brush again with butter. Serve warm.
Grilled White BBQ Chicken

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1 Tbs. prepared horseradish
1 Tbs. black pepper
1 Tbs. Spice brown mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Mix all of the sauce ingredients together with a whisk.  Divide the sauce in half.  Marinate the chicken in 1/2 the sauce overnight. Remove chicken from marinade, but reserve. Grill chicken for 10-15 minutes on each side, basting a few times with the sauce chicken was marinating in while cooking. When done, remove from grill and let rest for about 5 minutes. Serve with remaining sauce.

Roasted Ranch Asparagus

1 lb of asparagus
1 -2 Tbs. coconut oil
1-2 Tbs. dry ranch seasoning

Wash, trim and dry asparagus.  Place in a roasting pan with coconut oil and sprinkle with seasoning. Toss to coat well. Roast in oven at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring half way. Serve immediately.

Parmesan Grain Medley

1 cup truRoots sprouted rice & quinoa blend (I like to get at Costco)
1 cup Trader Joes harvest grains blend
1-2 cans chicken broth
1/2 cup plus garnish fresh Parmesan cheese

Cook grain according to package directions using chicken broth in place of water. When done mix in 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan and grate some on top for garnish.

Kiwi Lime Sorbet

10 kiwis
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lime juice

Cut kiwis in half and remove skins (I used a large spoon to scoop them out). Place in blender and pulse 3-4 times; enough for everything to do a once around on the mixing blade. Pour in sugar and lime juice and pulse 6-8 more times, until the kiwis liquefy and no chunks remain. Do not over mix, or you will break the kiwi seeds.
Pour mixture into a plastic bag and seal, removing any air from inside the bag. Allow to chill in freezer for at least 45 minutes.
Once chilled, churn your sorbet in an ice cream machine according to your manufacturer's instructions. Scoop into freezer-proof container and allow to chill for at least 4 more hours, preferably overnight.

Homemade Vanilla Bean Frozen Yogurt
For a 2 quart ice cream machine

1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup 2% milk
27 ounces of vanilla Greek yogurt – plain will make it more tart
3/4 cup half & half
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 vanilla bean strands
pinch of sea salt

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and milk until sugar has dissolved. Slit the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds adding to milk mixture. Add in yogurt, half & half, vanilla extract and salt. Mix until smooth and well combined.

Transfer mixture to the ice cream maker bowl. Follow machine instructions. Turn on and churn for about 20-25 minutes. Remove and serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer.

Coconut Bread Pudding

3/4 cup white sugar
5 eggs
1 – 14 oz can coconut milk
1 3/4 cup Silk coconut milk (refrigerated section)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups flaked coconut, divided
1 – 1 pound loaf French bread, cut into 1” cubes

Coconut Sauce

1/3 to 1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbs. flour
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup Silk Coconut Milk

Grease a 9x13 baking dish with butter or spray. In a large bowl, combine sugar, eggs, coconut milks, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix until smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 cups flaked coconut. Fold in bread cubes until evenly coated. Let sit 30 minutes to soak up liquid stirring occasionally. Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/2 cup flaked coconut.  Continue baking 25-30 minutes, or until center springs back while lightly tapped. While baking mix all sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat on medium heat. Stir continuously until the sauce begins to thicken. Pour over bread budding while warm and enjoy.

Nutty Granola

4 cups oats
1 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
4 T. flax meal
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup coconut oil
1 cup honey
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup 9 grain cereal
1/4 cup millet
1/4 cup sesame seed
1/4 cup sunflower seed
2 T. chia seed
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or cacao chips (optional)
1 cup sliced almonds (optional)

Mix until everything is moistened and fully incorporated. Press into a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, or until top is lightly golden brown. Baking time depends on if you want your bars/granola chewy or crunchy.

Let cool completely. If desired, cut into bars and wrap individual bars in wax paper, seal with a sticker or tape, and store in a airtight container.

* you can substitute any grain with an alternative if you don't have it or don't like it