Monday, March 7, 2011

A Warming Steppe

With the thought of moving into a new apartment and my boyfriend buying a condo, house warming ideas are floating through my head.  A house warming party is a great time to have your friends over to show off your new digs.  You’ve just moved in so keeping it simple is key, once you have settled in you can have friends over for a big sit down dinner.


The focus is to show of your new place with those that matter.  Before the party make sure that you do a thorough cleaning of the new digs, people are going to be checking everything out!  Sharing your new place with your friends and family doesn’t mean trashing the place.  If the floors are a concern, make sure to have guests remove shoes.  Be sure to offer inexpensive flip flops or slippers for guests to wear.


Keep food simple with food, easy to pick up, finger foods.  Be sure to stock your bar, if you are going to be serving alcoholic beverages.  Keep on hand: vodka, gin, rum, tequila, bourbon, wine and beer.  You should also have mixers such as tonic, seltzer, orange juice, soda pop, cranberry juice, and lemonade.  Having these mixers on hand, also leaves options for those who do not want to drink.


Before the party you need to decide if you will showing guests around or kindly asking a friend to.  If you decide you will be doing the tour guide, nominate a friend to answer the door and greet guests.  You can also have the option of self guided tours, print a floor layout for guests and label each room, and state any added details (such as renovations or note worthy d├ęcor).

Keep the atmosphere warm and inviting with music playing in the background.  Plug in your Ipod but be sure not to crank too loudly you want people to be able to interact.

1. Our House – Crosby, Stills, and Nash

2. Home – Foo Fighters

3. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd

4. He Calls Home – Candlebox

5. Home – Michael Buble

6. Mama I’m Coming Home – Ozzy Osborne

7. Down Home Blues – Etta James and Otis Redding

8. I’m Coming Home – Diddy ft. Skylar Grey

Keep music moving with choices for everyone

9. I Got Friends In Low Places – Garth Brooks

10. Home – Chris Daughtry

Just a few choices, notice the theme??

A house warming party is about bringing your friends and family together to embark on this new step in your life.  Some guests may feel inclined to bring presents but by NO means should you expect or request gifts.

A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.” Unknown author.

Green with Envy Steppe

While I may not be Irish, St.  Patrick’s Day has easily become one of my favorite holidays through the years.  The older I get the better it seems to get.  It is one of the few days a year where I can be assured that all my friends will come together.  As a kid it meant donning head to toe green.  As a teenager it meant a smile brought on by the Shamrock shake (thank you McDonald’s).   In my 20’s it easily was the largest drinking party of the year.  Now in my 30’s it has become a day to bring friends together, filled with great food (I could eat corn beef and cabbage everyday!!!) and a still some drinking (goodbye to the days of binge drinking though).  Below find my inspiration board for a great Irish get together!


Photos from left to right):,,, ,,

As I said Saint Patrick’s Day to me means good eats.  Find some tasty and different finds for your Saint Patrick’s Day feast below.


Corn Beef and Cabbage Rolls:

Cook 6 Savoy cabbage leaves in boiling water, about 2 minutes. Rinse under cold water and pat dry; slice in half. Mix 1/4 cup each mayonnaise and chopped parsley and/or dill; spread on the cabbage leaves. Cut 2 slices rye bread into strips. Slice 1/2 pound corned beef into strips and toss with a spoonful of whole-grain mustard. Top the cabbage leaves with a few strips each of the bread and corned beef. Roll up and slice in half.


Irish Grilled Cheese: (I am a sucker for grilled cheese, it just gives me that all over good feeling so there had to be a way to work it into my St. Patrick’s Day feast)

Mash 4 tablespoons softened butter with 2 tablespoons each chopped parsley, scallions and chives. Spread the mixture on 4 slices white bread; top each with sliced Irish cheddar cheese and bread-and-butter pickles. Cover with 4 more bread slices. Spread plain butter on the outside of the sandwiches and fry in a skillet until golden on both sides. Spread the remaining herb butter on the warm sandwiches. Slice into quarters, then press the cut sides in more chopped herbs.


Beer Battered Broccoli

Whisk 1 cup beer, 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup chopped parsley and a pinch of salt. Let the batter rest 1 hour. Dip 4 cups broccoli florets in the batter and fry in 375 degrees F vegetable oil until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve with sour cream.

Whatever you may decide to do with your St. Patrick’s Day be sure to bring out your inner Irish.  With some of these above recipes you will certainly inspire some green envy from party guests!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Seuss Steppe

What a perfect day for National Read Across America Day, as it is the one and only Dr. Seuss’s birthday (actual name Theodor Seuss Geisel).

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." Dr. Seuss (I Can Read With My Eyes Shut)

Dr. Seuss books were always a childhood favorite, and still remain some favorites.  He definitely began my love of books.  Gather up your favorite Dr. Seuss books and have a reading marathon with your favorite little one.

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..." Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You’ll Go).

If you don’t have a little one in your life you can pay homage to the man of riddles with a Seuss inspired menu. 

A grown up version of Green Eggs and Ham: (looks delish)

dr seuss2

1 cup Cookin’ Greens Spinach (cooked & chilled)

24 Hard-Boiled Eggs (medium or large)

½ cup (125 ml) low-fat mayonnaise

½ cup (125 ml) low-fat cream cheese

1 tbsp (15 ml) Dijon mustard

1/8 tsp (1 ml) cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp (2 ml) sea salt

1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) black pepper

2 slices (12 g) pancetta, cooked until crisp and

broken into 1/2” pieces

2 tbsp (30 ml) finely chopped chives

  1. Using a thin paring knife, cut eggs in half lengthwise.
  2. Carefully remove yolks and place into a mixing bowl.
  3. Mash with a fork until as smooth as possible. Set aside.
  4. Arrange whites cut side up onto a parchment lined tray,
    cover, and refrigerate until needed.
  5. Add Cookin’ Greens – Chopped Spinach, mayonnaise,
    cream cheese, and Dijon mustard to the bowl of a food
    processor. Puree until combined thoroughly.
  6. Add mashed egg yolks, cayenne pepper, salt, and black
    pepper to spinach mixture, and pulse until smooth.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to chill.
    To Serve
    Using a piping bag, carefully pipe spinach and egg filling into
    each egg white half. Garnish with chives and a sliver of
    crisp pancetta. Serve immediately.
    COOKIN’ GREENS TIP: To help eggs sit upright on the
    serving tray, carefully cut a small slice from the rounded
    side of each egg white 1/2.

Be sure to wash your eggs down with a Pink Yink Ink Drink:

  • ½ pint fresh or ½ cup frozen blackberries
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 fresh strawberries (green tops removed) or ½ cup frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 tsp honey
  1. Put the blackberries in a blender and puree them.
  2. Pour into a large glass.
  3. Put the milk, strawberries and honey in a blender and blend.
  4. Strain the mixture (optional).
  5. Pour the strawberry mixture carefully on top of the blackberry mixture

dr seuss4

"Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope." Dr. Seuss