Thanksgiving Favorites

Yes, I have been a slacker lately, I have lots of new and delicious recipes but I just haven’t gotten around to posting them, it is on my to do list this week though. Since November seems like it is flying by and I wanted to post some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes before the big Turkey Day.

Spiced Pear Sangria

Spiced Pear Sangria

 

 

Creamy Pumpkin Dip

Creamy Pumpkin Dip

 

 

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Jalapenos 

Creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Jalapenos

 

Spiced Rum Cranberry Sauce

Spiced Rum Cranberry Sauce

 

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

 

Chipotle Maple Acorn Squash

Chipotle Maple Acorn Squash

 

Spicy Pumpkin Hummus

Spicy Pumpkin Hummus with Beer

Enjoy!

Pool Party: My Nephew’s 1st Birthday

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Under The Sea Cake

I come from a very large family, and my nephew turned one last week and so we celebrated in style.  It was a collaborative effort by friends and family with ideas from everyone and Pinterest. It turned out so cute I thought I would share some of the highlights. The cake above came from the very talented Creative Wine-O, check out her facebook page here. The detail was stunning. The beach ball was the “smash” cake and even the sand dollars were edible.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Watch Me Grow Time Line

To celebrate his first revolution around the sun my sister made a timeline, featuring a picture from each of his 12 months. Use ribbon and clothes pins to hang. Make sure you put it in a place that is easily accessible so all guest can admire it.  We also used this as the back drop when he ate his birthday cake. We placed his high chair in front.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Fish Craft

We hung a fishing net ( available at party stores) over the main food table and attached sand molds to it. We also had a craft table so that some of the older kids could make paper plate fish to hang in the net. We also used sand buckets and shovels to serve some of the food in.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Shark Bite Fruit Salad

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Shark Bite Fruit Salad

One of the highlights of the food table was this awesome watermelon carved into a shark by my brother-in-law. We then filled it with various cut up fruit.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Blow Fish Fruit Platter

He also made a cantaloupe into a blow fish.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Fish Veggie Tray

Vegetables morphed into a tropical fish.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Octopus Spinach Dip

Spinach dip was turned into a jolly octopus using a bread bowl and pretzel sticks.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Hummus Beach

Make your own hummus beach by spreading hummus in a shallow tray ( I used a clear lid to a casserole) and decorate with drink umbrellas and Pretzel Crisp crabs.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Dolphin Finger Sandwiches

I found a dolphin sandwich cutter at Sweetbay, perfect to make mini sandwiches for the kids.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Bait Bucket

Swedish fish and gummy worms turned into an edible bait bucket decoration.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Party Favors

Each child got to take a bit of the fun home. Our good family friend made party buckets out of plain sand buckets decorated with stickers and ribbon and filled with beach themed goodies from the dollar store.

It was a true success and a joyous celebration of one of our youngest family members birthday.

Mediterranean Layered Dip

Mediterranean Layered Dip

 

Everyone has had 7 layer dip and its delicious, here is a little twist, same idea but Mediterranean flavors. Make this as easy or as difficult as you want, use store bought ingredients or make your own Hummus and Tzatziki Sauce.

On a large plate or shallow bowl layer the following ingredients or be creative and add your favorites, anything goes.

Hummus

Tzatziki sauce or Greek Yogurt

Chopped Tomatoes

Chopped Kalamata Olives

Chopped Pepppadew Peppers or Roasted Red Peppers

Crumbled Feta Cheese

Chopped Fresh Parsley or Oregano

Lemon Zest

Serve with Pita, Celery or Pretzel Crisps

Mediterranean Layered Dip

 

Other ideas, Pine Nuts, Roasted garlic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Tabouli

 

 

Graduation Party Revisited

Graduation Party Ideas

I can’t believe it has been a whole year since my oldest graduated from high school. He has now completed his first year of college and is working part time. He votes, pays taxes and insurance and is a true adult in everyone’s eyes but mine, to me he is still my baby. As I see many parents getting ready to celebrate their own children’s accomplishments and graduations I decided to revisit some of the highlights from last year’s graduation party and post them here.

For decorations we did all of our sons school and baby pictures under a sheet of clear plastic on the table, it was fun to reminisce and see all the crazy hairstyles he went through as a preteen. We also rolled the napkins into diploma shapes and tied them with black ribbons. Then made little stacks of them around the table.

Graduation diploma napkins

For food we incorporated his favorite food, chips and set up a chip and dip bar. We set out various types of chips and dips in different bowls plates and cake stands and let everyone mix and match.

Chip and Dip Bar

Don’t worry we also had vegetables for dipping.

Veggie platter

Some dip ideas are… ( click on the link for the recipes)

Salsa and Guacamole

Bacon Horseradish

Kalamata Olive

Beer Cheese

Goat Cheese and Marinara

Sweet Potato Hummus

Pimento Cheese

Also you could include some dessert dips

Creamy Reese’s Peanut Butter Dip

Key Lime Pie Dip

I was lazy and let Publix make the cake, but this book cake would be pretty easy to replicate using 2 different sized rectangular or square pans.

Publix's Book Style Graduation Cake

Congrats to all who graduated and the people that helped them get there, have fun celebrating this momentous occasion.

Beet and Blue Cheese Hummus

Beet and Blue Cheese Hummus

Beet and Blue Cheese Hummus

Valentines’s Day is right around the corner, looking for a festive snack that doesn’t involve sugar or chocolate. Try making this delicious and savory hummus, go all the way and cut pita into heart shapes with a cookie cutter or serve with red veggies like peppers and cherry tomatoes.

Beet and Blue Cheese Hummus

1 15 oz can chick peas, drained and rinsed

3 T Tahini (sesame seed paste)

2-3 T blue cheese ( you could also use feta)

1 t salt

1/2 c sliced pickled beets

2 T beet juice from jar

1/2 c olive oil

1T chopped green onions

Add all ingredients except oil to a food processor, turn on and slowly drizzle olive oil in.  Continue to process until all ingredients are completely smooth, add more oil if it is too thick.

Serve with pita, tortilla chips or fresh veggies. I drizzled some extra beet juice on top when serving.

 

 

IMG_6693

Spicy Pumpkin Hummus …..with Beer!

Yes another pumpkin recipe, gotta get them in while I can. This one is a spicy earthy dip perfect on Pretzel Crisps or Pita Chips. Beer can be omitted just add more olive oil., or try your favorite style instead, stout, pumpkin beer etc..)Bring this to your next fall gathering.

Spicy Pumpkin Hummus

1 can garlands beans (chick peas)

1 can pure pumpkin

4 garlic cloves

2t chipotle chili powder

1/2 t cumin

1/2 t  ground ginger

1 t cinnamon

1 t salt

3-4 T olive oil

2 T honey

1/4 c beer ( I used an IPA, Lancaster Brewing’s Hop Hog to be exact)

2 T lemon juice

1 T pepitas

Combine all ingredients except pepitas in a food processor. Whirl until smooth, taste, add salt or olive oil if necessary. Pour into serving bowl, top with 2 T olive oil, pepitas and a sprinkle of chipotle chili powder.

Pinspired: Sweet Potato Hummus

I love, love, love, Pinterest. I get so many great ideas and recipes there. When I saw this on the site I knew I had to try it. Smoky sweet potato hummus was originally found on www.blissfulbblog.com and thankfully someone pinned it. I had a book club meeting for Saving C.C. Honeycutt and knew this would be a perfect dish to bring, but I made a double batch so I could take it to a family gathering the next day. It was a hit at both events.

This is the recipe I used since I was making a large amount, but make sure to check out the original recipe here:

4 sweet potatoes

1 lg can 19oz of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 chopped chipotle peppers (canned in adobo sauce)

2 garlic cloves

the juice of 2 limes

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste found in the ethnic food section of the supermarket)

salt and pepper

Wash and pierce the sweet potatoes several times with a fork. Bake the sweet potatoes for 1 hour on a baking sheet lined with foil. Cut in half and scoop out the potato into a food processor. add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. You may add more olive oil or water to get it to your desired consistency. Top with smoked paprika and a drizzle of olive oil before serving.