Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spring Tulip Bridal Shower

Spring has sprung... although the weather is of course doing its indecisive thing and it seems we will never get more than two days of sun (or even two hours) it is here. SPRING! And what do we think of when we think of spring.... well I think of Tulips. What a great sign that we are starting fresh and summer is just around the corner.
Here is a bridal shower or just a cute brunch you can put together by simply asking everyone to bring a bunch of tulips and an appetizer. You provide the drinks and simple decor, since the tulips will be most of the decorating.

Images above courtesy of Hostess Blog
Centerpieces: Simple and affordable tulips are a lovely flower for spring showers.

Images Above Courtesy of Bridal Party Tees

Images above Courtesy of Elizabeth Anne Designs
Favors: Here are some actual tulip bulbs you could hand out as favors with a paper tulip. The directions can be found Here
Courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings

 Cucumber Sandwiches, Tuna Croissants, Pasta Salad, Fruit Salad, Cheese, Crackers, Pesto
 Mini Cupcakes, Tarts
 Fruit Spritzers

Images Above Courtesy of Elizabeth Anne Designs
Cake courtesy of Cake Central

More Great Inspirations:

 Courtesy of Country Living

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fashion Friday: Purple Blouse

Weekly Meal Planner: Week 7

PointsPlus™ Value: 7
Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 7 min
Cooking Time: 12 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

The herb crust gives the fish incredible flavor and locks in moisture. A fabulous way to reap the benefits of salmon’s heart healthy fats.


3 Tbsp rosemary, leaves, fresh, chopped
3 Tbsp thyme, fresh, leaves, fresh, stemmed
1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
2 spray(s) cooking spray
1 1/4 pound(s) salmon fillet(s), with or without skin, Atlantic, skinless (four 5-ounce pieces)
4 Tbsp Dijon Mustard, regular or grainy-variety

1. Prepare the grill for direct, medium-heat cooking.
2. Mix the rosemary, thyme and pepper in a small bowl.
3. Spray the bottom of the fish fillets with nonstick spray (that is, spray the piece of the fillet where the skin would have been, usually with some gray or brown mottling on it).
4. Spread 1 tablespoon mustard on the top of each fillet. Sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the herb mixture on top of each.
5. Place herb side up on the grate directly over the heat. Cover the grill and cook until the fish flakes when gently scraped with a fork, about 12 minutes. Transfer to plates with a wide spatula. Yields 1 fillet per serving.

Salmon fillets are often sold with the skin on, but you can ask the person behind the fish counter to take it off for you. Don’t overcook these fillets; watch them carefully so that they come off while the meat is still moist and flavorful.

Raspberry Mustard Glazed Ham

PointsPlus™ Value: 5
Servings: 8
Preparation Time: 5 min
Cooking Time: 60 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

There is almost no entree as easy as a baked ham. The sweet, tangy glaze makes it extra-special - and can be whipped up in seconds.

1/2 cup(s) jam, raspberry, seedless
1/4 cup(s) Dijon Mustard, grainy-variety (with whole mustard seeds)
3/4 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
2 pound(s) cooked lean ham, smoked

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a small baking pan with nonstick aluminum foil or coat with cooking spray.
2. To make glaze, in a small bowl, stir together jam, mustard, pepper and vinegar until blended; reserve half (about 1/3 cup) to serve with ham.
3. Score ham with a knife by making several crisscross cuts in top of ham about 1/8-inch deep each; place ham in prepared pan and brush with some glaze. Bake for 1 hour, brushing with glaze every 15 minutes. Thinly slice ham and serve with reserved glaze. Yields about 3 1/2 ounces ham and 1 tablespoon glaze per serving.
4. Bake for 1 hour, brushing with glaze every 15 minutes. Thinly slice ham and serve with reserved glaze. Yields about 3 1/2 ounces ham and 1 tablespoon glaze per serving.

Savory Matzo Pudding

PointsPlus™ Value: 4
Servings: 12
Preparation Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 75 min
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Almost like stuffing with a crispy top. The perfect mate for pot roast or roast chicken. Garnish with fresh parsley just before serving.

5 spray(s) cooking spray , divided
3 large egg(s)
3 large egg white(s)
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
2 cup(s) canned chicken broth
10 board(s) matzo(s)
2 cup(s) onion(s), Spanish, chopped (about 3 medium onions)
1 cup(s) celery, chopped (about 2 ribs)
1/2 pound(s) mushroom(s), finely sliced or shredded
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp parsley, fresh, minced

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 3 quart oven-proof baking dish (about 13- x 7-inches) with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whiles, salt and pepper until well-combined; stir in broth.
3. Run each sheet of matzo under cold water and shake off excess moisture; crumble matzo into egg mixture and stir well to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, tossing once or twice.
4. Meanwhile, coat a large skillet with cooking spray; set over medium heat. Add onions and celery; sauté until onions turn translucent, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables brown and start to caramelize, about 15 to 20 minutes.
5. When eggs are almost all absorbed by matzo, stir in vegetable mixture until well-combined; spoon mixture into prepared dish and smooth out top. Drizzle oil over top of matzo pudding; bake until top is crisp, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before cutting into 12 equal portions. Garnish with parsley and serve. Yields 1 piece per serving.

You can make this with whole wheat matzo though it will change the consistency since the whole wheat matzo does not absorb the egg mixture as well (could affect the PointsPlus value).

PointsPlus™ Value: 3
Servings: 12
Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 480 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Wheat berries stand in for pasta in this vegetarian version of classic comfort food. They add great texture to the soup, not to mention fiber, vitamins and minerals.

28 oz canned diced tomatoes, reduced-sodium, with their juice
3 cup(s) vegetable broth, reduced-sodium
3 cup(s) uncooked string beans, halved if large
15 1/2 oz canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 large green pepper(s), diced
1 small onion(s), chopped
3/4 cup(s) celery, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cup(s) uncooked wheat berries
1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crumbed
1 1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

Mix all the ingredients in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Yields about 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons per serving.

If you don’t want to use such a big concert of dried spices, omit them all except the salt and add 1 1/2 tablespoons salt-free Italian spice blend instead.

Chicken, Mushroom and Brown Rice Slow Cooker Casserole

PointsPlus™ Value: 5
Servings: 8
Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 426 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

A fabulous slow cooker meal that’s easy enough for a casual weeknight meal and tasty enough for a weekend gathering.

2 spray(s) cooking spray
8 thigh skinless chicken thigh(s), about 2 1/2 oz each
2 cup(s) canned chicken broth, reduced-sodium
1/2 pound(s) cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup(s) leek(s), white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced, washed carefully for grit
1 cup(s) carrot(s), thinly sliced
1 cup(s) celery, thinly sliced
3/4 cup(s) uncooked brown rice , medium-grain (such as brown Arborio)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

1. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; warm over medium heat. Add the chicken thighs and brown, turning once, about 6 minutes; set aside.
2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker; nestle the chicken thighs in the mixture. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. Yields 1 chicken thigh and about 2/3 cup rice-vegetable mixture per serving.

Although a slow cooker takes most of the work out of cooking, there’s still no getting around the fact that browned meat adds more flavor to a stew, braise or casserole. Although this recipe calls for the meat to be browned in a separate skillet, there are slow cookers on the market that have inserts that can go right from the stovetop to the cooker — and that means there’s one less pan to clean up.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Simple Elegance in White

A white wedding is a beautiful tradition. Its a tradition that will always be beautiful and will never be tacky. It is timeless. Here are some inspirations courtesy of Style Me Pretty

Here is a beautiful bouquet courtesy of bridalbuds
And this is a decadent desert table courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings
Above I have created an inspiration board for a white wedding on Polyvore... my favorite place for inspirations!
White Wedding by jersfeld
Alberta Ferretti silk wedding gown, $7,385
French Connection tube dress, $148
Trasparenze, 12 EUR
Jimmy Choo platform heels, $665
Diamond ring, $1,749
Kenneth jay lane necklace, 88 EUR
Safety pin brooch, 2,95 EUR
Wedding earring
Temperley London wedding hat, 245 GBP
Short glove, 27 GBP

Home Decor: Reclaimed Wood Coffee Tables

Courtesy of Pottery Barn
Reclaimed wood is so HOT right now, it's been sneaking it's way back into home decor for years now. Unfortunately that means it is pricey! So if you know anyone with an in or taking down an old barn etc... be sure to keep that wood around for projects.
Courtesy of Fan Pop 
Notice the large slab of wood above the mantel as well as the coffee table that is very warehouse-style. I love the raw materials being used. It is so simple and beautiful.
 Courtesy of Restoration Hardware
This is an old warehouse cart that is absolutely fabulous. I love it with the antler chandelier.
 Courtesy of Hudson Goods
 Courtesy of Hudson Goods
  Courtesy of Restoration Hardware
  Courtesy of Restoration Hardware
 Courtesy of Restoration Hardware

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Brunch

Easter is just around the corner. Here are a few ideas for brunch to get you started on a sweet spring morning with family and friends. 
Decorations are fairly simple for a spring brunch simple spring flowers, birds, and bunnies. Here are some creative ideas courtesy of Hostess Blog

The printables shown above are on sale on Anna and Blue's Etsy Shop for $10.00. Printables are a simple and inexpensive way to jazz up any party.

Light and refreshing drinks are a favorite for morning brunches.

1/2 oz triple sec
1 1/2 oz fresh orange juice
3 1/2 oz chilled Champagne
orange slice for garnish
1. Pour triple sec, then orange juice into a champagne flute.
2. Top with champagne.
3. Garnish with orange slice.

12 oz frozen fruit punch, partially thawed
10 oz frozen strawberries
2/3 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp lemon juice
24 oz ginger ale
1 qt Champagne
3 cups water
1. Place a frozen ice ring in a punch bowl.
2. Add the fruit punch, water, strawberries, and juices.
3. Stir well.
4. Add ginger ale and Champagne, then stir again.

2 oz peach juice or peach puree
4 oz Champagne
peach slices for garnish (optional)
1. Pour the peach juice or peach puree into a Champagne flute.
2. Slowly top with the Champagne.
3. Garnish with peach slices and serve.

1.5 oz vodka
1/2 c tomato juice
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Worcestershire sauce
celery stick for garnish
lemon wedge for garnish
1. Add dashes of Worchestershire Sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper into highball glass.
2. Pour vodka, tomato sauce, and lemon juice into the highball with ice cubes.
3. Stir gently.
4. Garnish with Celery Salt and lemon wedge (optional).

2 oz vodka
5 oz orange juice
1. Pour all ingredients directly into highball glass filled with ice.
2. Stir gently.
3. Garnish with orange slice.

Menu: Bacon, maple syrup, baked french toast, egg tarts, quiche, easter salad... all delicious.

Courtesy of Sunset Magazine are perfect for Easter brunch.  Egg yolks, sugar, and milk in a light filo crust; prep time + cooking = 30 minutes.
•  1  package frozen mini filo tartlet shells (15 shells)
•  1  egg white
•  3  egg yolks
•  2  tablespoons  sugar
•  2  tablespoons  milk
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Arrange shells on a baking sheet and defrost at room temperature, 15 minutes. Meanwhile, beat egg white until watery but not foamy.
2. With a fine-bristle pastry brush, generously brush inside of shells with egg white, gently working it into crevices. Bake until white is set, about 5 minutes.
3. In a large measuring cup (or other vessel with a spout), whisk yolks, sugar, and milk to combine. Skim off and discard any foam on top of the mixture and let sit 5 minutes (this will ensure tarts with sunny, shiny tops). Pour into shells and bake until set, 8 to 10 minutes.
(Don't ask how many calories this is... it's worth it!)
1-2 cups stripped hashbrowns (de-thawed)
1/2 bunch spinach (rinsed)
1 bunch broccoli (chopped)
3 scallions (chopped)
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 16oz container sour cream
1 cup romano cheese
5 or 6 slices of swiss cheese
Press hashbrowns into pie mold to create crust, broil untill browned. In Large bowl beat eggs,add sour cream and combine, mix in cheese, spinach, broccoli and scallions. Pour Mixture into pie pan. Cover with sheets of Swiss Cheese. Bake on 350 for one hour. (allow to cool before serving)
EASTER SALAD courtesy of  Martha Stewart
4 ounces mache roots, trimmed
8 ounces assorted baby lettuces, such as oak, Lolla Rossa, and bibb
1 bunch watercress, stems removed
1 large pink grapefruit
1 small avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 red small papaya, peeled and cut in half
1 small red onion, skin removed and sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
Place mache, all the baby lettuces, and watercress in a large bowl, and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving platter.
Cut both ends from the grapefruit. Starting at one cut end, slide a paring knife between the peel and the pulp, removing the entire skin and the outer membrane. Use the knife to lift out the sections. Arrange the sections down the middle of the greens in a row. Place the avocado cubes to one side of the grapefruit sections.
Remove the seeds from the papaya, and reserve for vinaigrette. Cut papaya into 1/2-inch-thick slices, and arrange slices on other side of the grapefruit sections. Top with onion rounds. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the entire salad, and serve immediately.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Weekly Meal Planner Week 6

This weeks menu is courtesy of Living Locurto I love treating my daughter to a dinner once a month that she loves... like pancakes. Enjoy!

Avocado Enchiladas

8 avocados
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Juice of one lime
(You can sub ready made quacamole instead of above ingredients)
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
3/4 teaspoon salt
20 corn tortillas
2 Cans Enchilada Sauce
1/3 cup canola oil
1 pound grated Monterey Jack Cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Chop avocado and toss with cilantro, onion, jalapeno, lime juice and salt. (Or use premade guacamole)
In saucepan, heat oil over medium flame for about 2-5 minutes. Once oil is hot, fry tortillas one at a time for one minute each side, or until lightly brown. Remove and blot on paper towel (if you skip frying the tortilla, the enchiladas will not hold form).
Spread 1/2 cup sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish.
Dip fried tortillas in a bowl of remaining sauce, add a large spoonful or two of avocado filling in each tortilla. Roll up and arrange rolled tortillas side by side in casserole dish. Pour remaining sauce over tortillas sprinkle with cheese.
Cover and bake for 25 minutes take foil off and bake for another five minutes. Serve with spanish rice and black beans.

Spanish Rice (optional side dish)

3 tbsp oil
1½ cups uncooked long grain rice
2 cloves minced garlic
½ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp black pepper
3 cups chicken broth
8 oz. can of tomato sauce

Heat the oil in a skillet and saute the rice until it is golden brown.
Add the vegetables and seasonings, and continue to saute for 1 to 2 minutes longer.
Add the broth and the tomato sauce, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove the rice from the heat and let it stand 3 to 4 minutes, still covered. Fluff and serve.

Jazzed up Canned Black Beans (optional side)
Drain and rinse beans with water. Pour them into a glass bowl and simply top with any favorite taco sauce or southwest seasoning. Heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Salina-Style Spaghettini with Cherry Tomatoes

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 dozen (8-10 ounces) small ripe cherry tomatoes, cut in half
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 lb dried spaghetti
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1/2 cup heaping and loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 1/4 freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese. (Parmesan would work too)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil
Put olive oil and tomatoes in a large pan, sprinkle with cayenne. Warm over medium heat until the tomatoes begin to give off some of their juice, shaking the pan every so often.
Salt the boiling water and add the spaghetti. Cook, stirring often until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Transfer pasta to the pan, add the garlic and toss with the tomatoes.
Add 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water. Toss over medium heat until water and oil emulsify. Add more water as necessary, until you have a nice creamy consistency and all the strands of spaghetti are well coated with sauce.
Rip mint leaves into small pieces and toss with spaghetti. Add to plates and top with cheese.
Serve with Salad

Turkey Burgers with Horseradish and Cheddar Cheese
1 package ground turkey
2 tablespoons horseradish
1/3 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, diced
2 Scallions (green onions), finely chopped
1 palmful of grill seasonings (such as McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning)
extra virgin olive oil
spicy brown mustard
poppy seed Kaiser rolls
1 tub or can of whole-berry cranberry sauce (optional)
Romaine lettuce

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
In a medium bowl, mix together meat, horseradish, cheddar, scallions, and grill seasoning.
Form 4 patties and drizzle them with olive oil. Cook the burgers for 5 to 6 minutes each side.
Spread buns with mustard and cranberry sauce (optional).
Sides: Chips or Oven Baked Fries and carrots

I do not put the cranberry sauce on my burger, but rather serve it on the side. I also serve it with a side of broccoli as well, since this is a vegetable that we all like.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

(Try blueberries or bananas for a healthier version.)
I will be making mini whole wheat pancakes from a box.
After pouring the batter into the pan, I add mini chocolate chips. I then pat each one down so the batter covers them. Flip and they are ready to eat!
Top with a powdered sugar or a spoonful of Cool Whip and add sprinkles…. your kids will be so happy!

Sides: Bacon & Apples

Grilled Basil & Lemon Salmon with Tomatoes & Asparagus

Butter substitute like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter or 1/2 stick softened butter
1 bunch of fresh basil, finely chopped
1-2 lemons, sliced
3-4 Roma Tomatoes, diced
Fresh Asparagus
Salmon Fillets – if you have a large slab of Salmon, slice it into portions as they will be served
Fresh Ground Pepper

Mix the chopped basil into the softened butter and set aside
Lay out foil for each serving of Salmon you plan to make – foil should be about 12-15 inches in length
Place salmon in the center of the foil
Put about a tablespoon of the basil butter mixture on top of salmon and press down slightly with a spoon along the top of the salmon sprinkle with pepper
Place 2-3 lemon slices on top of butter mixture
Add 3 asparagus stems to the packet (rub butter mixture on top of asparagus for extra taste)
Sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of the diced Roma Tomatoes on top of lemon layer
Salt to taste and grind fresh pepper on top
Pull top and bottom of foil up and roll down until it seals in the center. Fold over the sides several time toward the center to seal and form the foil packet.
Place on medium heat grill for 10-12 minutes (in oven cook 10-12 minutes at 375°)
Open steaming packets carefully and enjoy!