Party Time!

Today was our engagement party!! My mom and stepdad threw us one heck of a party at their house this afternoon (and well into the evening!) Thanks to all of you that were there, especially my college friend Meghan who drove over 4 hours just to come!! We’re exhausted, so here’s a gallery of some photos we took… please note: our names are spelled out in BAGELS!!

Hope you all had a great Sunday! “See” you tomorrow with more fantastic recipes… my dad’s in from Oregon and he’s coming over for dinner tomorrow!

Thanksgiving #4

Yes, that’s right, we had our 4th Thanksgiving dinner tonight! FOURTH! Thats so much FOOD! This time, luckily, was at my mom’s house, and she cooks extremely healthfully, so I rarely have to worry about what’s in dishes there. She’d asked me to bring mashed sweet potatoes, so that’s what I brought! They came out really well, but unfortunately, the picture doesn’t do them justice.

The room was not red, I swear!

The room was not red, I swear!

Lovely Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

1 sweet potato per person (I used 8!)

1/4 c. brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 400* and put the potatoes in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 350* and bake at least another 60 minutes. When the potatoes are done, place them in a large bowl and mash/blend using an immersion blender. When smooth, add cinnamon, ginger, and brown sugar and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a baking dish and bake in the oven about 15 minutes until the top is lightly browned.

Many people say that you should NOT use a blender for mashed potatoes. Usually, its not a good idea with white potatoes as they get gummy/gnocchi like. With sweet potatoes, there are long fibers that are unpleasent in mashed potatoes, so it works well!

The rest of the meal was to die for! We started with 3 beautiful gourmet cheeses and crackers that my sister and her boyfriend brought: cheddar with chives, triple cream brie, and boursin. My mom had also made delicious hummus that we ate with pita chips.

When we sat down, we were greeted by the most GORGEOUS spread! There was beef tenderloin, green beans, salad, cranberry sauce, and my grandmother’s recipe for stuffing (which tastes like the inside of kishke). Here are a couple pictures, after we’ve already devoured our first plates:

Roast beef, horseradish sauce, stuffing in the background

Roast beef, horseradish sauce, stuffing in the background

Cranberry sauce and green beans... and diet cream soda!

Cranberry sauce and green beans... and diet cream soda!

We finished off the meal with pumpkin pie, and a new recipe my mom tried for a pumpkin-chocolate tart courtesy of Martha Stewart. It was also my sister’s boyfriends birthday yesterday, so he got birthday cheesecake.

I don’t think I need to eat again for at least 24 hours… but alas, I’ll be hungry in the morning!

Vegetarian Friday

My stepdad’s family has this very cool tradition of “Vegetarian Friday” the day after Thanksgiving. The original assumption was that everyone had more than enough meat on Thursday, so it was time for some vegetables! I’ve missed the last couple of years’ dinner, but Adam and I decided to go this year. The rules were to come and bring a dish to share, preferably homemade, but definitely vegetarian. I asked around, and after much thought, decided against the original plan of Snobby Joes for 20. My stepdad’s aunt generally makes the “main dish” and I didn’t want to step on any toes. So what did I make?

Baked, brown, and delicious!

Baked, brown, and delicious!

Cheesy Corn Pudding

Ingredients

1 box Jiffy corn mix

1 can sweet corn, drained

1 can cream-style corn

2 eggs

8 oz. sour cream

1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Pre-heat your oven to 375*. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Pour into a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

This was inspired by See Bride Run’s Thanksgiving post, and since I can’t leave a simple recipe alone, I mucked with it and came out with what turned out to be one of the first-to-be-finished dishes at this enormous potluck! I had every intent of taking a picture of a piece of it, but I ate it too quickly. YUM!

Many people that were there also reminded me that EXACTLY one year from today is OUR WEDDING!!!!!!! Next Thanksgiving will certainly be a nerve wracking and exciting time!

Since many of you haven’t seen me, I decided to be a bit of a nerd and say:

Hugs to you all!

Hugs to you all!

Mom’s Home!

My mom got back from her trip to southeast Asia on Thursday, and she decided to have Adam and I, my sister and her boyfriend, and my “aunt” over for dinner. (“Aunt” is in quotes, as she’s not blood related, but as close to an aunt as I’ve got!) It was so great to have my mom’s cooking after all these weeks of blogging about nostalgic smells and tastes. I brought my Buffalo Chicken Dip, and it was absolutely gone before we started looking at the slideshow of my mom and stepdad’s pictures! Guess everyone liked it!

My mom made one of our winter favorites, Gingersnap Meatballs. These can easily be made with turkey, but she made them with super-lean ground beef.

Gingersnap Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 2 pound(s) raw extra lean ground beef
  • 4 slice(s) whole-wheat bread
  • 1/2 cup(s) ketchup
  • 1 package(s) frozen chopped onions
  • 12 oz chili sauce
  • 18 oz water
  • 1 cup(s) onion(s)
  • 1/2 cup(s) ketchup
  • 10 small item(s) gingersnap(s)

Instructions

Combine meat, 1/2 c. ketchup, chopped onions, salt and pepper to taste. Thoroughly wet the slices of bread until mushy, crumble, and add to mixture. Form into meatballs and put in a pan. Combine remaining ingredients through gingersnaps and put on top of the meatballs. Simmer over a low heat, gently shaking the pan every few minutes. Do not move the meatballs until completely cooked! Smash gingersnaps into a course crumb, and sprinkle over the mixture. Enjoy!
These meatballs were a standby on many Hanukkah dinners, and always remind me of fall/winter. It was great to have them with my mom at her house! We also had a great salad to start, and finished off the meal with her fantastic Rice Krispie Treats!
QOTD: What’s your favorite nostalgic smell/dish? Mine is roasting chicken or turkey… ah the memories…

Evening of Appetizers

Last night, my best friend Lizz hosted a jewelry party, and unlike the corporate types of jewelry parties (Cookie Lee or Silpada) this was one woman who makes the most beautiful glass pieces, then sets them into jewelry. I bought a gorgeous ring and pendant!

Beautiful ring

Beautiful ring

Even prettier pendant

Even prettier pendant

Lizz and I had decided earlier in the week that we would order a veggie-filled stuffed pizza for dinner, but first, we worked on the munchies for the party, and I made Buffalo Chicken Dip. It’s one of my favorites!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Ingredients

1 cup sour cream

1 8 oz brick cream cheese

1 packet ranch dressing mix

1 can chicken breast, drained

1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 c. Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high heat until cream cheese is melted, and stir well. Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, or any other dippable item.

Originally, this was a Weight Watchers recipe, so it was all fat-free products. I actually like it better with the fat free products as they maintain a more liquid texture when warm, but the high-fat version was also fantastic!

In addition to my dip, we had salsa and tortilla chips, a veggie tray, and the most decadent dessert: chocolate covered oreo balls. Lizz was kind enough to pass on the recipe:

Chocolate-Covered Oreo Balls

Ingredients

1 package Oreos

1 brick cream cheese

2 bags semi-sweet chocolate

1 bar white chocolate

Directions

Smash the Oreos to smithereens. Mix thoroughly with cream cheese. Refrigerate this mixture and then form into quarter-sized balls. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate, and dip the Oreo mixture balls into the melted chocolate. Decorate with melted white chocolate.

They come out something like this:

mmm... balls...

mmm... balls...

_

_Please ignore my sweatpants complete with cat hair!

More dinners to come this week…