Friday, May 29, 2009

Stand Mixer!

In preparation for my upcoming adventure in mass cookie production, I purchased a KitchenAid Stand Mixer (because having this will help me crank out 500 cookies, right?). However, I will say that this is something I have wanted to purchase for a long time and I know that they last years and years.

I purchased it from the Dillard's in Little Rock and they have a great selection of colors. I got the color "Ice", kind of a retro kitchen color. With the purchase of a stand mixer, I also get a slicer/shredder OR a food grinder for free, what a deal!

Tonight I am going to start making the dough and I cannot wait!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Antipasto Kabobs

For the bridal shower, Ben's mom made these delicious antipasto kabobs. Here's the recipe:

  • 1- 9 oz. package of refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 40 pimiento-stuffed olives

  • 40 large pitted ripe olives

  • ¾ cup Italian salad dressing

  • 40 thin slices pepperoni

  • 20 think slices hard salami, halved

1. Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water.

2. In a resealable plastic bag, combine the tortellini, olives and salad dressing. Seal and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

3. Drain and discard dressing. For each appetizer, thread a stuffed olive, folded pepperoni slice, tortellini, folded salami piece and ripe olive on a toothpick or short skewer.

Also, she arranged the banana peppers to add more color to the dish.

NEWSFLASH: I have been hired to bake 500 cookies for a good family friend's daughter's wedding!!! I am so excited/nervous! They will be just like this.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Polka Dot Cookies

We hosted a bridal shower at our house this weekend and for one of the desserts I made polka dot sugar cookies with the bride's soon-to-be last name's initial. Her colors for the wedding are a beautiful spring green and classic pink, so these were the colors I chose for the cookies.

I used the sugar cookie recipe and icing recipe from the Easter cookie blog post. Below are step-by-step photo instructions of how I iced the cookies.

I only baked the cookies for 5 minutes so that they would still be somewhat soft.

I divided the icing into 3 bowls. I dyed the majority of it pastel green and transferred a couple of scoops of it to an icing bag with a small round tip. Then I drew an outline around each cookie.

With the rest of the green icing, I slowing added water to it, constantly stirring, until it was runny. Then I transferred this to an icing bag and began to fill in the cookies, making sure to stay within the lines.

I then took the white icing that was in a separate bowl and gradually added water to it (like the green icing) and put it in an icing bag. Prepare the bag of white icing at the same time as the green icing. After filling in about 3 or 4 cookies with the green, take the white icing and squeeze little dots onto the icing. The dots will spread out and form almost perfect circles. I learned this trick from Sarah's friend, Robin.

Let the base layer dry for about 15 minutes. Then I dyed the remaining white icing with pink Wilton's paste. Do not add anymore water to this icing to the pink.

Place these in an airtight container so the icing will not become hard.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fish Tacos

For dinner this week, Ben made fish tacos. He seasoned 4 Tilapia fillets with cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper, then broiled them for 14 minutes or until brown. We used corn tortillas and put a little olive oil on each tortilla and placed them on a griddle, about 3 minutes on each side.

I love these because I can add whatever I want and leave off things I don't like as much (aka spicy foods). Below is a picture of my fish tacos (fish, shredded cheese, corn, slaw with a hint of lime juice and olive oil, and cheese dip).

Other things you can top the tacos with are chopped green onions, guacamole, refried beans, and salsa. I think dishes like this are a great way to get creative with your meal.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Decorating for a Crawfish Boil

Over the weekend we had a crawfish boil for my parents' 25th wedding anniversary. This was that first time we had ever bought or cooked crawfish at our house. So much fun! This post is about the decorating I did for the boil. Minimal was key, because crawfish can get messy and it has been raining for what seems like 40 days and 40 nights. I thought we were going to be able to set up the tables outside, but then the rain started around 4pm and we decided just to bring all of the tables in and set up in our house. So Ben and his brother, Bill, moved all of the furniture out of a room and we piled in the tables.

I bought blue and white gingham table clothes from Garden Ridge. These were bright and cheerful and a good color to use.

The center pieces for the table were large mason jars filled half way with dried black-eyed peas. I tied some raffia around the top and put 1-3 large sunflowers in each one.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More Spring Drinks

Here are two drink recipes that Ben and I tried out over the weekend. The first is a mojito, which is not new to us. The second is a strawberry lemon drop (this was my girlie drink) and it was so good! I forgot to buy grenadine (oops), so I muddled a real strawberry and added it to the drink which was AMAZING! But the drink in the picture is not the one with the added strawberry, because this idea came after the first drink was already made (and I'm not one to waste a perfectly good drink).

Strawberry Lemon Drop
  • 2 oz. strawberry vodka
  • 1 oz. sweet & sour mix
  • 1 large strawberry, muddled
Combine in shaker with ice. Mix well and serve in chilled glass. Garnish with strawberry.

  • 4 mint leaves
  • 2 oz. rum
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • lime juice
  • club soda
Muddle the mint leaves and sugar. Combine with rum and lime juice in shaker. Mix well. Strain into chilled glass with ice and top off with club soda. Garnish with lime.

This is a great article about how to avoid using sweet and sour mix, because let's face it, it doesn't exactly taste good but so many drinks call for it. Thanks for the article, Dan!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cheesy Squash Casserole

This yummy recipe is from one of my favorite TV cooks, Paula Dean. I made this dish over the weekend and will definitely make it many more times. The only things I would do differently is 1) cook it longer than 20 minutes. I think next time I'll shoot for 25-30, because I do not think casseroles should be runny at all. I like clumpy casseroles (sounds good, right?). I think another way to prevent soupy casseroles is to make sure the ingredients are not too wet when they are mixed together. In my case, I should have drained the squash and onions before I added it to the cheese mixture. And 2) I will not, under any circumstance, put aluminum foil on top of the casserole after it has cooked. I did this in order to keep it warm, and instead it made the cracker crumbs too mushy (not appetizing). Other than those 2 things, the casserole tasted so good!

Cheesy Squash Casserole
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6 medium sized yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 sleeve crackers, crushed medium to fine - I used Ritz crackers
1. pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2-quart casserole dish.
2. heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Saute squash, onion, and butter until soft. Transfer to a bowl (this is where I would drain the squash and onions). Stir Parmesan, sour cream, and cheddar.
3. pour in the casserole dish and sprinkle cracker crumbs evenly over the top.
4. bake for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden and bubbly.

The below picture is of the casserole half covered in crackers, just to let you see what it looks like.