Monthly Archives: October 2010

Trick or Cupcake Treats!

I liked the idea of Halloween as a kid. Spray on hair color? Awesome. Eyeliner kitty-cat whiskers? Yes, please. Freeeeee Caaannnnnddy! Check and check.

But when push came to shove, it turns out that…well…I was kind of a wuss.

It wasn’t the thoughts of ghost and goblins and things that go bump in the night that had me shaking. It was the cold. The COLD.

Maybe you grew up in a place where it didn’t get cold. You could put on your little princess dress and sashay your pretty little self up and down the block bare arms and all. Well, bless your little heart. πŸ˜‰

In the Midwest, on October 31, it is cold. Always. It might be rainy cold. Or perhaps windy cold. In some not-so-alternate universe there is slim chance it could even be SNOWY cold. I’m sure it’s happened. Or maybe it’s just plain cold.

Any way you slice it, you’re wearing a coat over your princess dress. Halloween costume FAIL.

I’d get around the neighborhood, collect a bit of loot. Then the nose would start to run and the fingers would get icy. It would start to feel like 15 miles up hill both ways to next house as the wind slapped me straight in the face.

Okay. Candy’s cool and all but…I was lucky if I lasted an hour out there. Even the promise of an Snickers or two couldn’t bribe me into toughing it out. I can just hear my 8-year-old self: I’m COOOOOLLLLLDDDD. I wanna go HOOOOMMMMME.

Yo! Wimpy wuss over here! I am not one for being out in the cold. Not much has changed there (says the girl who will be putting on her winter coat here shortly and not take it off until…April.) I’m more suited to stay in my nice warm, cozy house, only open the door when someone knocks, and keep the candy leftovers all to myself. πŸ˜‰

Good thing I’m all grown up now. Clearly adults get the better deal on Halloween. πŸ˜‰

Plus, I know another activity that doesn’t involve being out in the cold…baking! I can mark this Halloween by skipping the shivering outside in a skimpy costume and making a cute sweet treat instead.


Ignore the ghoulish glare on my ganache, please and thank you.

These little chocolate bites are fun on the outside and even more fun on the inside. They’re stuffed with delightful marshmallow cream! Think Hostess cupcakes, but better. Much, much better.

Filling and decorating these cupcakes is a little time consuming but the end result is well worth it. Rich chocolate cupcakes, sweet, creamy filling and chocolately ganache. They scare the pants off your standard candy. In addition to the Halloween designs above, I also did the classic seven-loop swirl. So much fun to make and eat!

HALLOWEEN CREAM-FILLED CUPCAKES (Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart Cupcakes)

For the cake:
You can use any chocolate cake you like, but I would avoid one that’s too soft and crumbly. The filling is pretty stiff, and you need a cake that can stand up to it. The following recipe is still moist and delicious but somewhat dense. It worked well! Makes about 24.

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • Marshmallow Cream Filling (recipe follows)
  • Shiny Chocolate Ganache Glaze (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup orange candy melts, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard muffin tins with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, add half the flour mixture, followed by sour cream, ending with remaining flour mixture; mix just until incorporated.
Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time. Remove cupcakes to wire rack to cool completely.For the filling: 

  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow cream
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
  • Orange food coloring, if desired
In a medium bowl, whisk marshmallow creme and butter until smooth. Add food coloring until you get your desired shade. Chill until slightly firm, 15 to 30 minutes. Transfer mixture to a heavy resealable plastic bag or piping bag. Cut off one corner of the bag to make a 1/8-inch opening.
To fill:

Using a paring knife, cut a small cone out of each cupcake. Reserve the cone (you will use this to plug cupcake after filling). Hollow out each cupcake a bit more, discarding crumbs.

Insert tip of plastic bag into each cavity, and squeeze to fill.

Replace the cones, pressing down lightly. Careful not to let the filling squeeze out!

Shiny Chocolate Ganache Glaze:
The recipe in the book calls for using two ounces of chocolate to 2/3 cup cream to make a smooth, dippable ganache. I tried it with two ounces and it was TOO thin. Ugh. I wasted perfectly good chocolate, dang it! I tried it again with four ounces and it was perfect. I’m using 4 in recipe below.

  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Place chocolate medium heatproof bowl. Bring the cream and syrup just to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour mixture over the chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes before slowly whisking the mixture until smooth and combined.

Immediately dip the tops of each cupcake into the ganache, letting the excess drop back into the bowl. Return to wire rack to set slightly.

To decorate: Place melted candy wafers into a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip or a squeeze bottle. Pipe desired designs on each cupcake. Store finished cupcakes covered in the refrigerator. Bring to room temp before serving.

Note: To make the spiderwebs, pipe rows of circles on each cupcake starting in the center and working your way out. With a toothpick, pull the melted candy out from the center, marbling it slightly with the ganache.

ENJOY!

One Year Ago: Baked Shrimp Scampi
Two Years Ago: Easy Herb Fococcia

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Roasted Roots

One day a couple of friends found a Rusted Root CD in the street. Just lying there. Unclaimed and unloved.

They picked it up and thought: Score! Free CD!

It was the mid-nineties and along with a fondness for baggy jeans (slit at the ankle to properly cover the Doc Martin. Duh.), the friends were fond of a song on the album:

Well, kind of. It was all right. They wouldn’t turn it off it came on or anything. But it’s not like they jumped up to hit record on the boom box to capture it on their latest radio mix tape with as little annoying DJ talk over the music as possible.

They brought the CD in the house, all set to pretend like they knew the words before the chorus and sing along (No, seriously. What are the words? That’s not English, right? That’s what I thought…)

The CD wouldn’t play. Scratched. Sliding across concrete does that to things.

Bummer.

The disappointment was palpable for about 3 seconds. So much for free music. (For all you youngsters out there, no, Napster had not been invented yet.)

And then the friends went off in search of candy. Or something similar.

Now for the shocking plot twist: I was one of those friends.

True story.

The roots in the recipe below are not rusted. That would require a side of tetanus shots, which would not be good for anyone. But they are roasted, which turns some ho-hum, forgettable vegetables into little gems of golden brown deliciousness. That’s good for everyone. Even for people who swear they don’t like vegetables.

I served up this smorgasbord of dirt-dwelling delights at my Project Food Blog luxury dinner party a few weeks back. They were a huge hit. They were also a huge pain in the…ass.

There, I said it. Don’t tattle on me now.

Kidding. They’re not that bad. Although if you don’t like breaking out your biggest, baddest, sharpest knife and hacking away at tough, dirt-covered balls of frustration perhaps this recipe isn’t for you. Celery root. Rutabagas. Leeks.

I feared for the safety of my fingers.

BUT! It is all worth it in the end. These little nuggets are a little bit sweet, a little bit savory and all warm and satisfying. There is something about slightly crunchy, deeply caramelized vegetables that just soothes the heart and soul as the cold weather sets in. My guests really enjoyed them. Even Eric, Mr. Veggie Hater himself. These would be a delightful addition to any holiday table. Make ahead and then just toss back in the oven for 15 minutes or so and serve.

The prep here, once you get past cutting the tough skin away from your celery and washing the weird waxy coating off your parsnips, is really simple. Toss the cut vegetables with a bit of olive oil, season liberally (and I mean liberally…you’ve got a ton of food here) with salt and pepper), toss with fresh rosemary and throw in the oven. Now, the recipe calls for adding whole cloves of garlic to the roasting pans about halfway through the roasting time. I ended up removing them from the finished product because I didn’t think anyone would want to crunch down on them. The garlic flavor was pretty subtle. I’m sure if you wanted a more intense flavor, you could mince the garlic and add as the veggies near the end of their time in the oven. Otherwise, the small flecks of garlic will burn and taste bitter.

ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES WITH FRESH ROSEMARY (Recipe Source: Bon Appetit, December 2001 via Epicurious.com)

Note: This recipe makes a TON and serves about 8 generously. Feel free to scale back to meet your needs.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 pound red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound celery root (celeriac), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound rutabagas, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 leeks (white and pale green parts only), cut into 1-inch-thick rounds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Position 1 rack in bottom third of oven and 1 rack in center of oven and preheat to 400Β°F. Spray 2 heavy large baking sheets with nonstick spray. Combine all remaining ingredients except garlic in very large bowl; toss to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Divide vegetable mixture between prepared sheets. Place 1 sheet on each oven rack. Roast 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reverse positions of baking sheets. Add 5 garlic cloves to each baking sheet.
  2. Continue to roast until all vegetables are tender and brown in spots, stirring and turning vegetables occasionally, about 45 minutes longer. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Let stand on baking sheets at room temperature. Rewarm in 450Β°F oven until heated through, about 15 minutes.)
  3. Transfer roasted vegetables to large bowl and then serve.

ENJOY!

One Year Ago: One of the most popular posts on the blog: Snockerdoodle cookies!
Two Years Ago: Cinnamon Crispy Squares

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Adventures of a Camera Dummy

One day not too long ago, Eric came to me and said, “I think we should upgrade our camera. I want to try to take pictures of lightening.”

Um. Okay. I guess?<<cough, cough NERD ALERT! cough, cough>>

He added quickly, “And you can use it for your blog too.”

Oh. Well, in that case….I’m listening.

I’ve been thinking about the camera upgrade for a while but found myself reluctant to take the plunge. I’m not sure I have the photographer gene in me. I mean, I do okay here on the bliggity-blog. As my short, stocky, slow-witted, bald friend Mr. Georgey C. would say “Not showing off, not falling behind.”

Co-Stan-Za!

Photos are generally bright and clear. Food is identifiable. There are recipes that haven’t been blogged because the photos were not up to my (albeit perhaps lower than yours) standards, so I like to think I have some self-awareness in this area. Do I consider myself a photographer? No. Did I start this blog because I was really excited about taking pictures of my dinner? Honestly, that’s a big, fat negative.

Sigh. But photos are important. So I do try.

When a friend of ours recently offered to let us borrow his Nikon dSLR for a few days to try it out, I jumped at the chance. Try before I buy? Yes, please!

So he hauls this piece of equipment over to our house. The bag holding this stuff may or may not be too big for the overhead compartment. Please see an associate to check your camera bag. (Kidding, kidding…) He got about as far as turning it on before my head started to spin and panic set in.

Wait! What am I doing? It took me forever to locate the play button on the DVD remote, how am I supposed to work this thing? I can’t do this! Stop, stop! I wanna get off!

And so our friend left this very expensive and highly breakable piece of equipment in my care. Me. Accidental Dropper of Things. Eternal Mess Maker.

After tooling around (very carefully) with it for a while and getting nowhere, I had a brilliant idea – the manual! YES! I can read. The manual will help.

The manual did not help.

The manual assumes I have basic knowledge of photography terminology.

I do not.

F-stop means nothing to me. ::hangs head in shame::

The manual attempts to show the difference in the setting with tiny little black and white pictures that look exactly the same.

I can’t see the difference. ::hangs head in shame::


This thing is scary…

I know these things take practice, but how to practice when you don’t know where to begin? See, this is why I love writing about food way more than I love taking it’s picture. I learned to work a pencil and paper somewhere around the age of 5. At 10, I learned how to type with my fingers on the right keys. Nothing much has changed with these two items since then and they probably never will. I’ve been scribbling in notebooks and filling blank word docs for so many years, it’s comforting to know they will always be there. The latest and greatest digital camera will become obsolete. Words from the heart are forever.


Ahhh. Hello, old friends.

So maybe I’m no photog. Maybe I’ll have to send that fancy camera back across town to it’s owner without taking one decent picture with it. And that’s okay. Because I feel like my identity with this blog lies within the words. I hope that’s at least part of the reason why you keep coming back. It’s certainly why I do. πŸ™‚ WORD NERDS! Holla!

Oh, who am I kidding. I want to take pretty pictures too!! Please help me. Oh my gosh, I feel like such a camera dummy. I am overwhelmed to the point of anxiety. If you started from the bottom up with your DSLR, what were some of the resources that helped you? How long did it take you to feel comfortable? I want to hear about your experience!

And now for something truly poetic. Lyrical even. Something that dances and sings on the tongue. Silky smooth, creamy, the butteriest of butternut squash soups. Simple and healthy to boot. And with a dollop of smokey roasted red pepper puree in each bowl, it’s downright literary.

Actually, it’s not a bunch of word fluff. It’s a bunch of delicious! I made this soup as the first course for my Project Food Blog luxury dinner party. Upon finishing, I was promptly removed from the competition. Hmpf. But that’s neither here nor there. πŸ˜‰ This pureed soup is super simple to make, especially if you have a stick blender. With the natural sweetness of the squash, the warmth of the citrus zest and thyme and the toasty yumminess of the squash seeds, this is an easy dish that tastes like something special.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP WITH ROASTED RED RED PEPPER PUREE (Recipe Source: Gourmet, November 2003 via Epicurious.com)


Here’s a not so fantastic photo taken with my not so fantastic camera. πŸ˜‰

For the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/4 cups chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 2 1/2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces (reserve seeds)
  • 5 1/2 cups (or more) vegetable broth (I used chicken broth. I just like the flavor better.)
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
  1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions; sautΓ© until tender, about 12 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add squash and 5 1/2 cups broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until squash is soft, about 40 minutes. Cool slightly.
  2. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return puree to pot. Add 1 teaspoon thyme and orange peel. Thin soup with more broth if desired. Simmer 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and chill. Rewarm before serving, thinning with more broth if desired.)

For the red pepper puree:

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped drained roasted red peppers from jar
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • Puree all ingredients in processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before using.)

    For the toasted squash seeds:

    • Seeds from one 2.5 lb. butternut squash
    • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
    • Salt, pepper and cumin to taste

    Rinse the squash seeds to remove any excess fibers. Spread in a single layer on a paper towel to drain and dry completely. Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and ground cumin. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees until golden brown and crunchy, 8 to 10 minutes.

    ENJOY!

    One Year Ago: My favorite Beer Cheese Bread. Made this again just a couple weeks ago. Stuffed. My. Face.
    Two Years Ago: My grandma’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. I was JUST thinking about these. Must make. Now. πŸ™‚

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    Filed under soup, veggies

    Thank YOU!

    Well. The journey has ended for me. I was cut like the risotto from my dinner party menu the other night from the Project Food Blog competition. Just wanted to say a quick THANK YOU to everyone for your support and votes! All of your thoughtful comments made me smile big and laugh loud. That’s all that matters, doesn’t it? Supporting each other and having a good time doing it? I love the food blogging community and I’m so grateful to have even had the chance to compete side by side with some of the best in the biz. I am in awe of so many of them. Best wishes and good luck to all those still kicking!

    So, what have we learned from all this? We’ve learned maybe it’s a little tough to get luxurious around a kitchen table in a tiny, 1960s ranchΒ  in small-town Iowa. No formal dining room here. No penthouse city views, no fresh caught lobster, no exotic cheese, no perfectly paired wines. Hell, there wasn’t even make-up and a decent hairstyle on me that evening! LOL. Luxury fail.

    None of that matters because you know what there was plenty of that night? Great food. Amazing company. Wonderful good news to share. Laughter. Toasts. Ice cream. Football. Beer. All the good things that make life worth living.

    So anyway. Thank you, new readers and old friends. Thank you, Twitter followers and extended family. I would never had made it as far as I did without you! I’m already looking at the things to improve to whip this humble little blog of mine into shape for next year. I hope we all get a chance to try this again next fall!

    Thanks for everything and GOOD LUCK!

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    Filed under Just for Fun, Project Food Blog

    Vote for Luxury

    Hey all! Voting is open for the third round of the Project Food Blog challenge! If you liked what you saw of my luxury dinner party (or if you were there! Holla!), click on over right here and cast a vote for me! πŸ™‚ It would mean ever so much to me. For real. Do you know how many dishes I washed this weekend?? LOL.

    Thanks again to all of you for all of your encouraging comments and support. You are all SO great. The food blog community is so friendly and welcoming. I wish ALL of you could have come for dinner this past weekend. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the votes!!

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    Project Food Blog Challenge 3: A Luxury Dinner Party

    And then there were 200. Thanks again everyone for your support and votes in this crazy Project Food Blog competition! What a wild ride this has been so far. Thanks for sticking with me here! Now on to round three!

    When the awesome folks over at Foodbuzz say the word “challenge” they mean it. Especially this time around. Hosting a luxury dinner party on extremely short notice ain’t for the weak and wimpy. Good thing I LOVE a challenge. Dinner for 4 (that ended up being 7 actually) in less than 24 hours? BRING IT.

    Playing hostess can be a lot of fun. It gives you the chance to do things you wouldn’t normally do – like fold napkins into pretty little fans and peel a rutabaga while jamming out to ‘Cover Girl’ on the New Kids on Block Pandora station.

    ::Pause. Blinky face::

    Because really, what other occasion would there be to peel a rutabaga? πŸ˜‰

    It can also be stressful if you don’t have a game plan. Don’t toss up a Hail Mary and hope to reach the man in the end zone here. Plan a cohesive menu that won’t leave you freaked out and frazzled. And take care of the little things before staring anything else (Do your cloth napkins need ironing? How’s that tablecloth that’s been stuffed in a drawer since last Thanksgiving look?) Things that can be made or prepped ahead of time = good. Things that need constant attention and tending = bad.

    Sorry, Risotto. You’re cut. Fried Chicken? You’re out of here. You may be in charge of feeding the hungry herd, but you also want to enjoy your guests.

    PLANNING THE MENU

    When I sat down to plan the menu for my gathering for our friends, my goal was to make my guests feel pampered, without spending our life savings on dinner. See, we’re not a real fancy group. When we get together, we tend to prefer the company of Bud Light and bean dip to champagne and caviar. I knew I could kick it up a notch from our usual without losing that comforting, down home, Middle America feeling.

    I kept two things in mind: What’s in season and what’s on sale. It’s officially fall, so things like squash, pumpkin, apples and pears are in abundance (not to mention cheap) and my store just happened to have an amazing deal on pork tenderloins this week. That got the ol’ rusty gears a-turnin’ and I was able to come up with a delicious, seasonal meal that felt expensive without actually being so.

    ALL THE SMALL THINGS

    Before I started on the food, but after I flew around the grocery store Supermarket Sweep style (remember that show??), I got my table ready. These were not the things I wanted to be thinking about 15 minutes before my guests arrived.

    A simple runner with fall details would do the trick.

    I tied the napkins with gift wrap ribbon. The acorn detail came from a a little bag of (fake) fall goodies I found for half off at the craft store.

    On the center of the table, I filled small, square vases with cinnamon sticks and a fall candle. Then I added a few pine cones (from that same Bag-O-Fall as the acorns) for an extra touch.

    THE FOOD & PREP

    The best part about this menu is that almost everything can be made ahead. The things that couldn’t be made ahead were super simple to toss together. The only action happening in the kitchen while my guests were here was making the pan sauce for pork at the last minute. See, easy-peasy. Look for the recipes coming soon! πŸ™‚

    Soup: Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Red Pepper Puree and Toasty Cumin Squash Seeds.

    This soup is so simple, yet so delicious. It’s got such a great warm, sweet flavor that’s made extra special with addition of fresh thyme and orange zest. The red pepper puree adds just the right amount of smokey heat. It was a great way to kick off the meal and probably my favorite dish of the night. The best part? Make both the soup and puree the night before and reheat slowly over low heat while preparing the rest of the meal.

    Entree: Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Apple and Shallot Pan Sauce

    Pork tenderloin is the perfect entertaining main dish. It’s not overly expensive, it’s a flavorful cut of meat and it’s pretty tough to screw it up. I’ve never had a pork tenderloin come out of the oven anything but super moist and tender. In keeping with the fall theme, the tenderloin is seasoned with a simple but festive blend of cinnamon, ground coriander, salt and pepper. It’s seared in a hot pan on the stove then transferred to the oven to finish cooking. The sauce is a simple combination of apples, shallots and thyme cooked in butter and apple cider until crisp tender and delicious. The combination of savory pork and sweet fruit made for a delicious meal.

    Side: Roasted Root Vegetables with Rosemary

    Does this look like a big bowl of fall comfort or what? Red skinned potatoes, carrots, parsnips, celery root, leeks, rutabaga, and onions are simply seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and a hefty helping of fresh rosemary, then roasted in the oven until browned and caramelized. Holy heaven! There’s a lot of chopping involved here. Not going to lie. And root vegetables? They are a pain in the you-know-what. They’re covered in dirt. (I was also covered in dirt. Thank you Celery Root!) They’re tough to peel and cut. Have no fear though – prep the veggies first thing the morning and roast in the afternoon. Then just reheat in a 13X9 inch pan while roasting the pork and serve.

    Salad: Mixed Baby Lettuce with Bosc Pears, Goat Cheese and Citrus Vinaigrette

    I chose to serve the salad with dinner because, well, this is my house and frankly, I like a little salad with my dinner. πŸ™‚ Actually, I thought something a little lighter and fresher on the side with heavier flavors of the pork and vegetables would be a welcome addition. This just a simple salad of mixed greens, crumbled goat cheese, sliced pears and an orange and lemon infused vinaigrette. I made the dressing the night before and, prepped the rest of the ingredients in the afternoon and then tossed it together right before dinner. Very refreshing.

    Dessert: A’la Mode Sundae Bar

    Put a little pie in your sundae! For dessert, I thought it’d be a lot of fun to get everyone involved to make their own customized dessert. I prepped a variety of pie-inspired toppings and let everyone go to town with big bowls of cinnamon and vanilla ice cream. I topped mine with cinnamon apples, caramel sauce and oatmeal crumble. Yum. What a great way to end a fantastic meal!

    Favor: Dark Chocolate Cranberry Bark

    I wanted to send my guests home with a little thank you. They did literally drop everything to come over at the last minute. What a great group, huh? πŸ™‚ So I made this dark chocolate cranberry almond bark as a favor. Of course, all but one guest left before I remembered I had it in the fridge (d’oh!) but it’s too simple not to share. Melted dark chocolate is mixed with dried cranberries and almonds and spread on a cookie sheet to set. I topped it with a white chocolate drizzle and then broke it into pieces. This is a great make ahead idea – it will keep for a good long time in the fridge. πŸ™‚

    So there you have it! A relaxing dinner party featuring all the flavors of fall in the Midwest. Seasonal and easy on the wallet, this a simple meal anyone could entertain with. Great food, great friends, great times. This amazing crowd (who was kind enough to supply their favorite beverages for us to share) even gave me a standing ovation. ::blush::


    See how we squeezed in a few more folks? The more the merrier!!

    Missing the important things like my make-up and styled hair, but I had the most amazing time planning and executing this party! Can I put you down for my next one? πŸ˜‰

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