Tag Archives: appetizer

You had me at “Bacon”

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I don’t know about you, but I don’t venture out much when it comes to cooking.  There’s a safe place between chocolate chip cookies and baked chicken.  Branching out isn’t easy, and it most often means you don’t even know where to start to find what you need.  It is a little unnerving to wander through the grocery store looking angrily (let’s be honest) for an ingredient I cannot find because I’ve never used it before.  And maybe this seems a little simple to you guys because this ingredient isn’t uncommon, but I could not find pitted dates for the life of me this week.  And I was so frustrated I wore a blister on my foot stomping around two different stores, true story.

Why dates, you ask?  Only for a recipe that rocked my socks.  Bacon-wrapped dates, exactly.  I had them recently at a cookout and it practically changed my entire outlook on the world.  You know how it is, when you go to a potluck event and you make something delicious and sure to please?  It’s nice to be the one that brings the most delicious thing, the thing that people have to have the recipe for.  But it’s also nice to be the one that discovers the most delicious thing and get the recipe for yourself.  So thank you, Christine, where ever you are and in whatever way we are connected through mutual friends, thank you for the game changer.  Yeah, did you hear me? 

 

Bacon.  Wrapped.  Dates.

 

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 Simple enough.  Buy a bag of Sun-Maid pitted dates and your favorite bacon.  Cut each bacon piece into thirds (width wise) and wrap around the date, secure with a toothpick.  Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 for 35 minutes.  Eat it!

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Middle School Reminiscing and a Baby Shower

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I hope you are as blessed as me.   My friends are lifers, friends that I KNOW are always going to be around.  The girls I grew up with are unlike anything else.

We suffered through braces.  We crushed on boys and sometimes on the same ones (oops).   We went to prom together, and took our dates along.  We experimented with plucking our eyebrows and learned the valuable lesson of what was “too much.”  We put on an hour’s worth of makeup just to walk on the beach in the dark in the hopes meeting awkward teenage boys trolling the dunes for prime specimens like ourselves.  We laughed when our friend, Michael, fell off the dock into the lake on our 8th Grade field trip.  We bought coordinating clothes and wore them at the same time.  We listened to “Porcelain” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers on repeat.

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And then we grew up… but not apart.  It seems like so long ago that we did all those things.  But when we stand side by side at a wedding or when we celebrate the birth of someone’s first child, it all comes rushing back.

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Our friend Derin got married first, and had a baby first too.  Unfortunately, Jess was out of state so Lauren and I set out to throw a damn fine baby shower.

Let me tell you a little about my co-host, Lauren.  She’s been dubbed as my “different friend” for as long as I can remember.  And while she pretends to be offended,  she knows it’s all for good reason.  Lauren moves to the beat of her own drum.  She takes cross-country roadtrips in a van that she lives in.  She’s gets my mean humor, but knows I’m not really mean.  All those gasp-worthy things you didn’t have the guts to do, she’s done them…twice…and liked it.  She’s effortlessly pretty and hysterical, rolling down the street in a dumptruck of a Ford Taurus.  Basically, she’s kicking ass and taking names.  And here we are planning a baby shower together, and she doesn’t even “prefer” children.  When I have kids, I’m going to pay them to touch Lauren with their sticky fingers.  And I’ll let them stay up past their bedtime if they beg Lauren to let them spend the night with her.  And I’ll give them candy if they mock everything Lauren says.  And I’ll let them dress themselves in whatever they want if they sing “Jesus Loves Me” to Aunt Lauren whenever she comes around.  And she can’t really be mad because that’s very similar to some antics she pulls with her own nephews to torment her family.  And maybe if I’m lucky, she will teach my children what its like to be your own person and what it means to be true, to yourself and your loved ones.

We wanted the shower to be kind of rustic, and we wanted to avoid the blue/brown baby boy color trap.  So we ventured into green, orange and gray.  We started with customized, foresty invitations from tinyprints and used an extra for display.  We completed the vignette with wood slices, faux moss stones,  and flowers.

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We used gray cups, green and orange plates, and alternating orange and bunting-covered napkins.

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We made these tissue paper poofs and suspended them from the chandelier.  We also used crepe paper streamers and twisted them from the poofs to the underside of the table.

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A a simple burlap runner grounds our tablescape.  We used more wood slices and stumps to create a forest.  Apothecary jars housed independent wildlife scenes like a bird in her nest with eggs, flowers and lady bugs with moss stones.  Real ivy curls around the centerpiece.

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We elevated our cake to make sure it was the focus of the centerpiece.  Keeping with our forest theme, we made a Dirt Cake.  We topped it with a nest holding the letter “G” and a solitary egg.  Above, we made a small bunting banner out of scrapbook paper, baker’s twine and wooden skewers.

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We made picnic ham & cheese sandwiches, rainbow fruit kabobs with brown sugar fruit dip, rabbit food in the form of a vegetable tray, trail mix for the forest explorer…

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…acorn cookies from mini Nutter Butter cookies and Hersey’s Kisses, and sausage rolls.  Okay, the last one doesn’t have a theme but they are delicious and don’t require it.

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 We filled an apothecary jar with pine cones and topped it with a raffia bow.  We used a ceramic owls, wood slices, and moss to continue the theme into the foyer.

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One last spot around the party favors:  Again, we repeated the wood stumps, moss, and an apothecary jar filled with a wildlife scene.  We wrapped the letter “G” in gray yarn and affixed a butterfly.  We used a DIY chalkboard platter to explain our parting gift.  Inside each favor box (an upcycled toilet paper roll decorated with a paper doily, baker’s twine, scrapbook paper and stamping) were bulbs to be planted in Baby G’s honor.

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During the shower we played multiple games.  The first game required each guest to cut a piece of yarn long enough to circle the mom’s baby bump without much excess.  The second was BINGO, each square containing prospective shower gifts for the mother-to-be.  You can make your own bingo cards here.  The third game was the tried and true baby food tasting, complete with a lightening round for our lucky guessers as a tie breaker.  We gave prizes to our winners.  Go big or go home.

Most importantly, Derin got to celebrate this new chapter in her life with her friends and family.  And presents, lots of presents.

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Ride or die homies!

I will post recipes, and tutorials under the Good Eats and Party sections in the coming days.  Have a great week yall!

Out with the old, in with the new…RECIPE!

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I love the holidays, I REALLY do.  And I decorate my house like Santa Claus himself takes up residence here.  I’m always outdone, however, by our neighbors in the cul de sac.  We call them the Griswolds.  They don’t know that, but I feel like they wouldn’t mind, plus we mean it to be a compliment.  We love Christmas Vacation and them.  They are the best kind of neighbors.  They are big sports fans, give us DIY advice, stay out of our business, and offer up gasp-worthy information on our other neighbors from time to time.  Don’t even act like you wouldn’t like that! In comparison to their holiday spread… I’ve got nothing to complain about.  But after all the color scheme planning, the strategic placement of accessories and decorations, and the flood of family and friends in and out of the house for celebrations…this girl is ready to pack that shit up and return to life as normal.  My mother takes the tree down in her house on Christmas night!  We’ve compared her to the Grinch when he packs up a Christmas tree like an umbrella in the classic cartoon.  After all these years I finally understand why she did that, but what a pain.  And now here I am pretending that my Christmas decorations are gonna pack themselves and mosey on up the attic stairs without any effort from me.  This post is nothing more than a diversion attempt because I just don’t want to clean or pack right now.

After the Christmas decorations come down, people start looking to the New Year and declaring their resolutions.  I do that too, but not before I think about the Super Bowl Party.  I believe it should be a holiday too; I know I’ll need a three day weekend to really recover.  I ain’t as young as I once was!  I may not know where I will celebrate or if I will be the host, but there are a couple of things I DO know.  1)  I will not be caught dead in anything other than a Carolina Panthers jersey (even if we haven’t seen Super Bowl action since Janet Jackson’s ill-fated ‘wardrobe malfunction’) and 2)  I will be making Sausage Rolls.

They are so simple, and every single one gets eaten, every time.  Then the next time I have or host a party, I get requests and sometimes, shameless begging, to make them again.  HAHA.  And you know you wanna be the wife or excellent guest that whipped up something so delicious that people fell all over themselves.  Well maybe that doesn’t happen, but people do love them!  I got the recipe from a former coworker.  She was so sweet, and told me this recipe would never fail me.  Word, sounds like a winner.  And just so you know, you can make these ahead of time and reheat in the micro or oven and nobody will know the difference, they make a great appetizer or breakfast dish, you can substitute low-fat and low-cal ingredients without detection, and it only requires three ingredients.  I swear a trained monkey could do this!

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You’ll need:

1 pkg Sausage ( I prefer mild, but you choose your favorite)

8 oz softened cream cheese

2 cans of Crescent rolls

Directions:

Brown sausage and drain excess grease.  Add softened cream cheese to sausage and mix thoroughly.  Open cans of crescent rolls and spread out onto a greased cookie sheet.  Use a pizza cutter and cut each crescent in half, so instead of yielding 16 large rolls you will have 32 bite-sized crescents.  Put a heaping teaspoon full of the sausage mixture into the center of each halved crescent and fold the corners up until you have a “roll.”  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm…and GO PANTHERS!  Let me know how ya love it!?