Sunday, May 31, 2009

Splendid Strawberries

Looking for a simple and delicious dessert fo those hot summer nights? This one my sister-in-law served for a girls night we shared years ago, and it is still my favorite go-to dessert when I want to serve something unexpected.

Fresh Strawberries
Sour Cream (I prefer low fat or fat free to save calories)
Brown Sugar

Take a strawberry, and dip it in sour cream. Then roll the strawberry in brown sugar and eat! I know the combination sounds out of this world, but after one bite, you will be hooked!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Goat Cheese Galore

I love cheese. Preferably with wine, but any time of the day, any day of the week. Despite being of German descent and a true "meat and potato" kind of girl, I truly believe that I may have been French or Greek in another life, since I am instantly drawn to recipes that involve cheese. This simple one was given to me by my mother-in-law, and I have to say, it is one of my new favorites:

Package of Soft Goat Cheese
Classic Olive Oil
Cracked Black Pepper

Slice the goat cheese, and lay the slices out on a plate. Drizzle with equal amounts of olive oil and honey, but don't over saturate. Finally, sprinkle a little thyme over the cheese, and top with just a little black cracked pepper.

I prepared it with crackers underneath for a bite-sized appetizer, but you can serve the cheese slices on a plate with a knife spreader, and spread the cheese on crackers or warm toasted bread. A brightly colored plate gives this simple appetizer a dramatic effect, but surely, your friends will remember it anyway after just one bite.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Backyard BBQ

Last week, we hosted a Backyard BBQ couples shower for some good friends of ours. Since the bride lived in Texas before moving to be here with her fiance, we decided to give the BBQ a Western spin.

The standard BBQ checkered table cloths found at the local dollar store set the base for the theme. I then took some vintage cowboy boots from my dad, placed a tall vase inside, and an array of flowers to create the centerpiece. I finished off the ambiance with some star votive holders with citronella candles (we need them for the bugs in Florida) to complete the Western look.

Food is also key to a great BBQ. For appetizers, we served the fresh salsa and feta black bean dip (recipes below) with chips, and my sister-in-law's famous sangria. Maybe her recipe will be here soon! For dinner, we served a hamburger slider bar, complete with toppings like sauteed mushrooms and onions, olives, feta cheese, BBQ sauce, and the other usual fixins', complemented by grilled corn on the cob, pasta and potato salads, and perfectly ripe watermelon. For dessert, we had an ice cream bar with toppings like Oreo cookies, nerds, cookie dough, strawberries, cherries, syrups, and sprinkles!

Add some outdoor games and good friends, and you'll always have a great Backyard BBQ!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Appetizer Addiction

Years ago, I was over at my friend Amy's house for a party. This dip was just one of the delectable snacks she was offering, but it was the only one that I found myself hovering over the entire evening. I have since used her recipe for many gatherings, and I find it amusing that my friends, too, are as addicted to it as I am. Here's how to get addicted yourself:

2 Cans Black Beans, drained
2 Cans White Shoepeg Corn, drained
8oz. Feta Cheese (I use reduced fat feta to save a few calories!)
Bunch of Green Onions, chopped
1 cup Peanut Oil
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup Sugar
Garlic Salt and Pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients, chill, and serve with white or blue corn chips. This recipe makes a good amount for a large gathering, so I like to half the recipe for a small dinner party appetizer. Enjoy!