Thursday, November 10, 2016

Party Food!

I do think that appetizers are my favorite food to plan, create, and eat. They're colorful, fun, and can be eaten in just a bite. I have a Pinterest board that I use to keep track of great ideas. I think the hardest time I have is editing!

For Young Women's in Excellence last night we created a table of only healthy refreshments. It was a challenge as desserts are easier, but it ended up looking very colorful and festive. And the food turned out yummy!

I broke one of my cardinal rules and tried out mostly new recipes all at once. But it worked! The worst part was I forgot to get a picture of the whole table. I only got the details of the food.

The menu:
Veggie tray with ranch dip.
Hummus & pita chips.
Cucumber bites.
Brie, apple & apricot crostini's.
Caprese with a twist.
Brie & cranberry turnovers.

Recipes are on the party page.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Family Master Chef Challenge: Flatbreads

 Tonight's challenge featured flat breads. We had quite a few guest judges who trickled in and wanted to help judge this competition. In the end they couldn't decide on a winner. So I will introduce them in the order served.

Julia's Veggie salad tossed with Poppy Seed dressing served with a warmed pita. Judges liked the use of and variety of vegetables and loved the dressing. Great balance. 


Mandy served a mini tostada served on a fried flour tortilla topped with beans, cheese, lettuce & olives. Judges said it was good enough to be served at a restaurant and it was perfectly crispy.

Stephanie served a variety of veggies and diced chicken nuggets in a whole wheat pita pocket. Judges thought it was delicious.

Lisa made a tortilla covered in nutella and stuffed with bananas. It was surprisingly delicious!

Rachel made a homemade crepe stuffed with strawberries, whipped cream, & chocolate sauce, and topped with more chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Judges all liked it.

Crepe recipe can be found on this blog on the page Dinners: French Influence.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Eggs at Last!

So one of my dear sweet adorable chickens decided to start laying early! We weren't expecting eggs until Spring. For the last few days she has delivered to us an absolutely stunning beautiful egg each day.

And they're tiny! The kids think they are absolutely adorable and run around making "oh my gosh it's so cute I can believe it I'm going to die" little girl noises. I must admit I may have sounded just like them when my husband brought me the first two.

General Conference & Chocolate Waffles

I'm really not sure how the tradition got started. But it did.

One night many years ago my daughter (can't remember which one) and I were watching some clips from Alton Brown's show "Good Eats". And he made chocolate waffles. We just had to try them! Our lives have never been the same since. Check out the recipe under "Breakfast Breads".

Every General Conference now has to include Sunday Brunch with chocolate waffles, topped with ice cream and all the toppings of course!

Family MasterChef Challenge #4: Cupcakes

Today we tackled cupcakes. With no working ovens I might add! Dozens of cupcakes were baked 6 at a time in a toaster oven of all things. It went well despite that!

My brother showed up at just the right time so we roped him and his friend into being judges for us.

They had a hard time deciding on a winner, so they came up with 5 categories with two winners in each.

For all American, Mandy took first place with her chocolate cupcake, purple frosting, and kit kat and chocolate rock "flower".  Julia took second.

For the classic cupcake category, Megan and Lisa won with their homemade white cupcakes with chocolate butter cream and sprinkles. Mandy took second.

In the sweetest category, Julia won with her stuffed cupcake topped with white chocolate and butterscotch. Stephanie took second.

In the richest category Stephanie won with her Frosted Brownie cupcake topped with Oreo crumbs. Rachel took second.

In the most sophisticated category, Rachel won with her mini layer cake filled with mousse and chocolate flavored cream. Julia placed second.

 A fun time was had by all.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Family MasterChef Challenge #3: Eggs

For our next challenge the judges issued us the challenge of omelettes. Since one of the contestants is only 7, they changed it to any egg dish.

Many eggs went into the making of this challenge!

The winner was Rachel with her baked omelette and waffle sticks.

Second place went to Megan with her traditional omelette with green onions and ham.

Mandy/Stephanie and Lisa tied for 3rd place.

Mandy & Stephanie made scrambled eggs on toast, served with a side of Tampico.

Lisa made scrambled eggs with ham.

A good time was had by all!

Next week will be the Cupcake Challenge.

Family MasterChef Challenge #2 Cookies

Another favorite family treat is cookies. We actually make cookies to sell when kids need money. We have good recipes. My oldest daughter Sara was visiting for the weekend and she's one of our best cookie makers. So she joined us as a contestant.

On this one I ended up having to be on one team and help two others. But the ideas were all theirs.

The challenge this week was cookies, but you had to change at least one thing in the recipe either adding or subtracting. We also had a "Mystery Box", a bowl full of candy bars, assorted chocolates, nuts, etc. that people could use as part of their challenge.

In first place was Julia with her deconstructed cookie "cake pops". She had two flavors: Andes mints with white chocolate and Peanut Butter cups with milk chocolate.

Second place went to Mandy & Stephanie for their cookie ice cream sandwiches. Sorry I forgot to photograph! You can kind of see one on the glass plate.

3rd place went to Sara for her chocolate dipped cookie

 3rd place also went to Rachel & Lisa for their "Toll House with a twist" served with homemade hot chocolate and chocolate mousse.

Family MasterChef Challenge #1 Smoothies

My children love MasterChef. Especially MasterChef. After watching an episode (or 2 or 3) they all run to the kitchen to cook. I have thought previously about hosting a family MasterChef competition (modified of course) but just never did.

One day I bit the bullet and suggested it. They loved the idea! We quickly had contestant volunteers and judge volunteers. My husband became head judge. His first challenge was smoothies, a family favorite. They had to utilize canned or bottled fruit.

And would you believe it? I never got pictures! But here are the results:

1st Place Julia with her pear, strawberry, Tilamook strawberry yogurt, and lemon-lime kool aid
2nd Place was Mandy/Stephanie with their Otter Pop inspired smoothie
2nd Place was Rachel with her Italian Soda inspired smoothie. I used a homemade chocolate nib ice cream and poured over it an apricot, strawberry & fruit cocktail smoothie.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Cookbook Club Highlights

Our cookbook club meets every other month. It's kind of like a book club but with recipe books instead of other books. Everyone prepares a recipe from the book and brings it to share. It's a great way to sample a cookbook without doing all of the work!

This time we did Alice Medrich's cookbook Seriously Bittersweet. I would highly recommend it to anyone! The recipes seem complicated but that's only because she gives very detailed instructions to make it work right the first time every time.

I had tried several recipes previously (see previous post) and really wanted to try a mousse. So I tried a triple mousse so I could try several. It was by far the best mousse I've ever tasted!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

New Favorite Cookbook, Seriously

My local cookbook club is currently working on the cookbook "Seriously Bittersweet" by Alice Medrich. The recipes are very clear and precise, easy to follow, the the food turns out perfect! I highly recommend it to any chocolate lover.

A few things I've made:
The cookies seemed like they couldn't work. 1/4 c. flour to 14 oz. chocolate. But hey, with that much chocolate I just had to try it. So I did. It may be a heart attack in a cookie but it's a great way to go! They were absolutely delicious. And they freeze well.

My Son needed a standout cake for his 16th birthday party. The nice thing about her cake recipes is that there are recipes and techniques for component parts that you can then build how you wish.

We started with the recipe for the tribute cake, and then did a modification of the cream center for the Celebration Cake (I doubled the whipped cream and used cream cheese instead of marscapone). I used her recipe for fans and ruffles for the decorations and a recipe for chilled ganache to cover the cake. It was amazing! Literally the best cake I've ever had.

Brownies and ice cream are two of my favorite things put together. I made her classic brownie and her bittersweet ice cream. They were both good. Then I put them together and wow. The flavor together was much better than the components separately. Very rich dessert. I'm going to play with this one a bit more for an elegant tiny dessert. This is served in a dip bowl with a cookie scoop of ice cream and it was still something I shared.

If you get a chance, check it out! I'm trying the triple mousse for our club. I'll let you know how it goes.