Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wednesday Night Party

This Wednesday, we incorporated two reasons to have people over into one party, Pampered Chef and Project Runway. Although we had a great time, we are done with parties for a while. Evan told me I am cut off. This is the third party we’ve hosted at our house in the past two months, not to mention all the parties I have attended. I have been to two Pampered Chef parties since October and I’m totally addicted. Some things are a bit more than I would spend on cooking utensils, but most things are the same price as a Bed, Bath & Beyond or Target price. The difference to me, is the quality of the products, and the best part of all, are the cooking shows! The woman that hosted our party, Julianne, is so charismatic and has the best recipes that are quick and fun. Anyone who knows me knows, I’m not the best cook, but I feel like I learn so much better with a person showing me how. Julianne made baked chicken wontons and the easiest chocolate bar candy I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to try out these recipes for myself. My favorite items on my wish list are the Batter Bowl and the Pizza Stone with handles. After the cooking show we flipped the couch around to face the TV and watched the new episode of Project Runway. For the rest of the year every Wednesday will be an event, but the boss says no more parties. Thank goodness next year isn’t too far away!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Party Menu

When ever I plan a party, I always want to try new foods that I’ve never made before. I know this is risky and usually adds stress to the “Day Of,” but when else do you have the opportunity to get adventurous? For the Project Runway Viewing Party, we were going for appetizers that would be enough food for hungry people, but easy to eat standing and chatting. I tried to keep things a bit fancy, but still do foods that everyone would like. My party menu included:

Shrimp Cocktail
Stuffed Mushrooms
Baked Cheese and Artichoke Puffs
Cheese platter – Port Wine Cheese, Gruyere and Swiss
Spinach cups
Mini Crab Cakes
Apple Pecan & Blue Cheese Dip (on crackers)
Peanut Butter Cups

The items that I never made before were the Stuffed Mushrooms, Baked Cheese Puffs, Spinach cups, Mini Crab Cakes and Apple Blue Cheese Dip. Pretty much the whole menu. I’ve done stuffed mushrooms before, but this was a new recipe that I got at the grocery store in one of those Nabisco Appetizer Books that they have at the checkout. Most of these recipes came from that book, so everything had something to do with crackers. At the last minute, we decided not to do the Mini Crab Cakes, mostly because we were afraid it would stink up the house. Everything else got great reviews. I think my favorite dish was the Apple, Pecan & Blue Cheese Dip. It was the easiest this that I made (other than the cheese platter.) Here’s the recipe:

1 container (8 ox.) light cream cheese

1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

1 Rome (or Red Delicious) apple, finely chopped

1/4 cup crumbled Blue Cheese

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Triscuit Crackers

Beat cream cheese spread and sour cream in medium bowl until well blended.

Add apples, blue cheese, onions and pecans; mix well.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours and serve.

Project Runway Viewing Party

As you all should know, last week was the premier episode of Project Runway. To celebrate the beginning of my little brother, Christian’s, new found fame, Evan and I hosted an elaborate viewing party at our house. I took off work to prepare our menu of things that I’ve never made before. (I don’t know why I always do that.) We rented a 64” screen flat screen TV from Rent-A-Center. We brought in plenty of extra seating and rearranged all the furniture. We had photos of Chris’ designs and some garments he had made that were stored in my mother’s closet. The d├ęcor turned out fabulous and we had an amazing turn out for a Wednesday evening. We had 20 guests come to watch, eat, drink and enjoy. We had a stocked bar, beer, wine and Champagne, so you can imagine what our crowd was like. Once the show began, everyone got quiet, but every time my Chris said something smartass (which was often) the whole group would laugh out loud. It was such a blast to be able to enjoy the show with all of my friends here in Arkansas. Christian did amazing on the first challenge and even my boss (who is not at all into fashion design) said that he thought Christian should have won. We had people stay until midnight, so I am pretty sure everyone had a great time.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Chili Cook-Off

The company that Evan’s works for participated in a Chili Cook-Off yesterday. He was nominated with his co-worker, Stephen, to cook for the title of Best Chili. They competed against other building materials suppliers in Northwest Arkansas. Every group had to have a theme and I think they did a great job picking a unique one. They had Hawaiian Chili and included pork sausage and pineapple in the recipe. The recipe was totally prepared on the fly, but the oos and ahhs were enough to tell me (who doesn’t eat chili) that they really hit the mark. Evan and his partner donned Hawaiian shirts and did a great job of presenting their Chili. If only they had little umbrellas. I guess that was originally the plan, but they got frazzled on the trip to WM and ended up leaving without them. The lack of umbrellas didn’t make a difference because…they WON 2ND PLACE!