The Kitchen Prep: February 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Feel the Burn!

So, perhaps you are a bit fed up with my Lilly obsession {Really?? Is that possible?}, but I HAD to share this with you folks...

Lilly Cruisers are now officially on Pre-Order!!!

Cuteness OVERLOAD!!!

And what, you may be asking yourself, does this have to do with food? Well... after cooking all of the tasty recipes I've been sharing, you might need a little bike ride to rid yourself of those excess calories. ;) {Yes, I will shamelessly find ways to make this relevant.} :P

Anyway... I have a bigger project ahead of me: Convincing the husband that I NEED this cruiser!! Start peddling!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Home Run" Cookies

We had an uncharacteristically fun Tuesday this week! Our Gator baseball team was practically playing  in our back yard, so we broke free from the weekday routine and went to the game with a bunch of friends. Lots of fun!

Since the game was going to be around dinner time, I decided to pack a snack to take with us to the stadium and share with our friends. After taking inventory of what we had going on in our kitchen cabinets, I decided on making some delicious sounding cookies from I must {sheepishly} admit that I ate more than my share before thinking to give anyone else a taste. ;) But they were just that.stinkin'.good.! I did get around to sharing with a few of our friends, and they were gone in a flash. I'd say they were a hit (hence the cliche & predictable title post). ;)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wine & Dine

Why, hello there. After a jam-packed weekend + President's Day of working ArtiGras, I am one exhausted chicklet. I have to admit that I've barely stepped foot in my kitchen, let alone cooked anything remotely appealing. My dinner today? Half of an abnormally large sweet potato. I just didn't have the energy. Don't judge.

I did, however, discover something new and food/beverage related over the weekend. Are you ready for this revelation? Here it goes: I do not particularly enjoy Moscato wine.

This was news to me as 1. I like almost every wine I've ever tasted, 2. I had never tasted Moscato before & 3. I assumed that I would like it due to its reputation of being sweet and delicious. It was, indeed, sweet but... TOO sweet for me. A bit like drinking syrup, I'd say. While I most definitely love a good confection, I would much rather enjoy something that sugary in the form of cream cheese frosting, thankyouverymuch.

This earth shattering discovery lead me to try to figure out what to do with an almost-completely-untouched bottle of Moscato. {Because I really hate wasting stuff. Especially food.} Thanks to a little Googling & the Barefoot Wine website, I now have a variety of uses for my un-loved Moscato! :D

After a brief once-over, I've already found a recipe that I could have used tonight with my very plain (albeit delicious) dinner: Barefoot Moscato Sweet Potatoes! I'm quite excited to spend some more time browsing Barefoot's recipes and giving Moscato the chance I'm sure it deserves. ;)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Taste & Temperature

The husband & I are geared up for a fabulous weekend of art, entertainment, and marketing at Jupiter's ArtiGras festival, where we'll be manning a booth for New Path Chiropractic. And let me tell you, the weather could not be any more pleasant and perfect for an outdoor event!

Currently, I am blogging from my balcony where I am tanning my {nearly translucent with paleness} legs and enjoying the cool breeze. This weather is such a treat, even for Florida, where we rarely get the perfect mix of sunshine, low humidity, and a refreshing breeze. (I know, "waa, waa, waah" is all you hear if you are reading this from a frigid state.Well, my apologies, but we in tropical climates are entitled to have complaints, too.) :P

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kitchen Couture

So, today I was browsing the web... you know, doing some "Windows" shopping, (HA. I crack myself up.) when I came across these incredibly adorable finds that I decided I MUST share with you:

From etsy shop hickitypickity

From etsy shop lwhelan. So Mommy & Minnie can cook in style. :)

From etsy shop shasta2001
From etsy shop ALittleLollipopTree - Um, yeah, obsessed with her entire shop.

 Oh, my. So cute. So preppy. So refreshingly Lilly! Now, from what I can tell, these Etsy sellers created these items entirely independently and are not affiliated with the Princess of Pink, but I doubt that even Lilly herself would be able to turn up her nose at such charming kitchen accessories. I, for one, am smitten. ;)

Time to add some items to my wishlist!


Monday, February 14, 2011

A Heart Warming Brunch

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today, people across the country are celebrating love with their sweethearts. Aside from my sweet husband, I am blessed to have so many people in my life who I love dearly. While Valentine's Day is certainly known for hearts,  and roses, and mushy-kissy romance, I decided that this year I would have a celebration of love for family and friends as well in the form of a Ladies' Valentine's Brunch. Nothing says lovin' like food in the oven!

I had so much fun creating the menu for brunch. To tell you the truth, a lot of the creating was already done for me! Most of the recipes came from a special edition of Taste of the South magazine dedicated to parties. I hit the recipe jackpot when I found a section called Celebrating with Brunch. Luckily (for me AND for you), Taste of the South has the recipes I used on their website, so I'll be able to give you a direct link to each one. Yay!

I've also hunted down the recipes for the rest of the items on the menu, so I'll link those up, too. Double yay!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Girls Night Italiano

Few things are more fun to me than having a casual night in with the girls. We're talking yoga pants, gossip, wine, and of course... food!

The fun of it all comes from the comfort of knowing that you don't have to get dressed up and spend a lot of money to have a blast. When I have the girls over, I like to keep a casual and cozy ambiance and make it special with the type of food I serve.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

An Appetite for Design

This morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see this idea for no-sew Roman shades in an email from Better Homes & Gardens. Isn't this a cheerful little kitchen?

Loving the "Eat" detail on the shade, especially because it coordinates with my blog background. ;) It makes me want to do some decorating in my kitchen... dangerous!

Since I don't plan on spending any time wielding a credit card today, I'll settle for decorating with the beautiful tulips I received as an early Valentine's present from my sweetheart. Aren't they pretty?

Tulips are my fave! I've trained him well. ;)

Wishing you a day filled with beautiful surroundings! 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lunch with Lilly

Check out these adorably preppy beverage napkins I came across while searching for cute entertaining accessories for the Valentine's Brunch I'm hosting this weekend:

I'm slightly partial to anything Gator related, of course, but who could resist these?? Too cute! They're not really "Valentiney", but that just means that I'll have to throw another little soiree where they'd fit perfectly with the theme. ;)

Looking forward to sharing the yummy recipes I'll be serving up this weekend!

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Compliments to the Chef!

Last Friday marked  a monumental event in my cooking related life. My father-in-law, who I consider to be one of the best cooks whose food I've had the privilege of eating, did something that caught me completely off guard -- he asked ME for a recipe!

I made this for my family's annual Christmas breakfast. It yields 2 loaves, so I left one for my in laws to enjoy and took the other to my Mom's house, and it was a hit with everyone who had a bite! I can't take full credit for this recipe because it came from none other than the fabulous Mrs. Paula Deen's Holiday Baking Edition magazine. So... thank you, Paula, for sharing a recipe that was enjoyed by everyone I shared it with!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Last Minute Spinach & Artichoke Dip

While the whole world was reserving their energy for tonight's big game, we had our own version of a "Game Watching Party" last night and, consequently, spent today doing a whole lotta nothing! Lazy Sunday? Yes, please! Never underestimate the power of our Super Sangria & Xbox Kinect!

As not to be big ol' party poopers, I decided to whip up some Last Minute Spinach & Artichoke dip for the hubby & me to snack on using a few things I just happened to have on hand. This recipe makes the perfect amount for a party of 2 hungry game watchers, or 4 trying to watch their girlish figures. ;)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Sangria

What a gorgeous Super Bowl Eve we have had here in South Florida! (Our apologies to just about everyone else in the country buried under inches of snow.) :P

My Sunshiny World

The day has been absolutely perfect for some patio dining and refreshing drinks. Tonight, the husband and I are headed over to our friends' house to watch the Gator Men's Basketball team take on Kentucky, and have been put in charge of bringing... a veggie tray.

I'm confident that you DON'T need a recipe for that, so I thought I'd share an easy recipe for a thirst-quenching Sangria instead! This is a great shortcut recipe for a cocktail that's good for all occasions and can be made in large batches, which makes it perfect for this particular Sunday since many will be hosting game watching parties for the big game. It's so delicious, you'll be glad it makes a lot!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happiness Is...

  • Feeding people you love.
  • Winning over people who don't necessarily love you with food.
  • The smell of garlic dwelling on your fingertips after cooking a delicious dinner. (This I love & dislike all at the same time.)
  • When the meal/dessert you've been working on for hours turns out "cookbook picture perfect". Or when it looks like crap but still tastes amazing. Sometimes the latter is even better.
  • Cream. In anything, really. You just can't lose with cream.
Philosophical thoughts for a Friday, brought to you by a hungry girl. :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite... Kitchen Tools?

I'm going to let you in on a dirty little secret: I am a self proclaimed kitchen gadget/appliance/tool junkie. No, really. It's a problem.

I can spend hours roaming the mecca that is Sur la Table. HOURS. (And our Sur la Table is not that big.) I try not to, especially because the sales people tend not to like it when customers caress the spatulas and such.

The only problem is... well... this:

That tiny little detail called a tiny little kitchen.