It’s the Holiday Yum Blog Fest!
Looking for the perfect recipe to share at a family dinner? A dish to pass at the next work potluck? Well check this out and stay tuned for much much more! Many of your favorite bloggers are sharing their best holiday recipes with you in this very tasty blog hop!
So Get Ready to Savor the Flavor!
- On November 17th, Jenny Hansen kicked off the hop with her Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Meal. There are lots of great tips for folks who need to eat GF, including some sneaky foods to watch out for!
- On November 19th, I shared the salty-sweet, super-easy Spiced Pecans appetizer.
- Ellen M. Gregg has us all drooling with The Chocolatiest Chocolate Cake – Evah on Monday, November 26th.
- Jenny Hansen introduces us to her luscious Almond Roca, famed of song and story, on Wednesday, November 28th.
- Estee Lavitt shares her mouth-watering Baked Latkes on December 2nd, just in time for Chanukah!
For the full Holiday Yum schedule check out the tab at the top of the blog!
And from all of us to you and yours, have a very Happy Holiday Season!
I have an addiction. To the Oscars. Every February when the red carpet rolls around, I get over the top urges to cook gourmet appetizers involving olive oil and fine cheeses. I
demand suggest to all my friends that they dress up and drink wine with me! And for the four hours of awards and 2 hours of pre-show, I make them deal with my company!
It is an extreme guilty pleasure of mine to ooh and aah over the dresses worn at the Academy Awards. So for this Guilty Pleasure Friday, allow me to REALLY INDULGE and share my favorite, and not-so-favorite, looks of the evening as well as provide the decadent recipes you all asked for in my previous Oscar post, A Red Carpet Affair!
For Outstanding Achievement in Evening Wear, the Nominees Are:
Stunning, Penelope; I love it! Gorgeous and unique color for the evening. Classic hair and Hollywood glamor!
While Sandra appeared on some blogger’s Worst Dressed list, I wholeheartedly disagree! I adored the unique silhouette of her gown, loved the beading at the waist, and thought she looked sleek and beautiful.
Michelle Williams, this year’s Natalie Portman! She looked darling and youthfully vibrant in this coral gown, both fun in silhouette and super girly.
Her first big Red Carpet event, and Kristen nailed it! Gorgeous gown with subtle texture on the bodice and frilly femme fatale in the skirt. A knockout look if you ask me!
While Ellie’s bangs are an extreme ‘do, I LOVE her gown. A simple shape is made bold and fiery with these red and gold sequins. Hot, hot, HOT!
Best Actress Nominee, Glenn Close, looking so chic and pardon my french, DAMN FINE in this pleated bodice and form fitting gown. I love that she topped it with a suit jacket! She looked radiant!
The Oscar for Outstanding Achievement in Evening Wear Goes to:
I’m completely biased towards anyone who wears a bold color at the Oscars, and Viola looked smashing! I adore the emerald green gown with beading in the bodice and mermaid-like pleats in the skirt. To accessorize, she even wore emerald earrings. Voila, Viola!
My Nominees for Poor Achievement in Evening Wear Are:
I am a fan of Rose Byrne’s acting, but this look is too harsh for me. Everything about it is too blunt. There’s no whimsy at all. The hair is too sharp, the gown too garbage bag saggy, and the shoes look like geisha shoes to the point where I’m afraid she’s going to tip over.
Tell me this doesn’t remind you of the scene in The Little Mermaid where Ariel makes a dress out of ship sails and rope, and I’ll give it another try. I think my bigger issue is poor Angelina’s body. Her arms and legs are much too thin for my liking. She looks ill.
Not bad, but not great either. A little lackluster for such a graceful face and frame as Gwyneth. I like the cuff bracelet, but that’s about it.
And the Award for Poorest Achievement in Evening Wear Goes to:
Last year, she won an Oscar! Now look at her! It’s like someone bedazzled her pajamas! I hate the top! It isn’t flattering, and that bow just doesn’t go. The shoes are about all Leo’s got going for her.
And now for the sharing of food! Cause you can’t talk fashion on an empty stomach!
Fresh Mozzarella with Toasted Garlic and Capers (from Bon Appetit Magazine)
- 12 oz fresh water-packed mozzarella cheese, drained, cut into 1/4 inch-thick slices
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 t dried crushed red pepper
- 1 T minced fresh oregano
- 1/4 t coarse salt
- 1/4 t ground black pepper
- 2 T capers, chopped
Overlap cheese slices on medium platter. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed pepper and stir just until garlic begins to change color, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in oregano, salt, and pepper. Cool. Stir in capers and remaining 4 tablespoons oil. Spoon over cheese slices.
Slow-Baked Tomatoes with Garlic and Mint (from Better Homes and Gardens magazines)
- 1 1/2 lb cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 7 garlic cloves, peeled, split lengthwise, and green shoot removed
- 1 bunch fresh mint, trimmed
- 1 to 2 t coarse salt
- 1 t freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 325° F. Wash and drain tomatoes well. Pat dry with paper towels. In a nonreactive 2 quart baking dish, place tomatoes in a single layer. Pour on olive oil so they are well coated and there is a thin layer of oil on bottom of dish. Toss in garlic, mint, salt, and pepper. Bake uncovered for 45 to 60 minutes or until skins split and soften but tomatoes still retain their shape. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Spoon or mash over slices of bread or serve with warm goat cheese.
Godfather Crostini (from Simple and Delicious magazine)
- 1 loaf (8 oz) French bread, cut into 16 slices
- 2 T plus 1 t olive oil, divided
- 8 bacon strips, halved
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 T minced chives
- 2 t lemon juice
- 16 fresh basil leaves
- 16 oil packed sundried tomatoes
- 1/4 cup prepared pesto
- 2 T shredded parmesan cheese
Brush bread slices with 2 T oil and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400° F for 5-6 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp in a large skillet. Remove to paper towels to drain. Combine mayonnaise, chives, lemon juice and remaining oil in a small bowl; spread over toast. Top each with a basil leaf, tomato, pesto and a piece of bacon. Sprinkle with cheese.
There you have it! My picks for what to wear to the Oscars, as well as what NOT TO! And some delightfully easy and delectably tasty appetizers you can serve at your next guilty pleasure soiree!
What have you been indulging in lately?
The Paaaaaaaaaaarty Has Arriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiived!
The entirety of Sunday was spent prepping sauces and chopping party food, assembling schwag bags, and getting my costume ready.
I’m thrilled for the winners of the 84th Academy Awards, all of whom seemed more than grateful in their acceptance speeches and looked just lovely.
The winner for Best Achievement in Directing went to The Artist’s Michel Hazanavicius. Likewise, Best Actor went to Jean Dujardin from The Artist. My favorite awards of the evening went to Best Supporting Actor, 82 year Christopher Plummer for Beginners, gaining her 3rd Oscar and 17th nomination, Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady won Best Actress, and very exciting was the win of Best Supporting Actress, Octavia Spencer for her role in The Help! And the finale of awards, Best Picture, went to The Artist.
Also exciting was the return of 9-time Oscar host, Billy Crystal! Yay!
- Sugar Snap Pea Salad
- Godfather Crostinis
- Salmon Cakes and Dill Sauce
- Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Mint
- Herb Buttered Mushrooms
- Gladiator Chicken Skewers
- Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos
- Fresh Mozzarella with Toasted Garlic and Capers
- Tofu Dill Fondue
- Sicilian Herb Dib and Assorted Cheeses
- Chocolate and Butterscotch Pudding Parfaits
- Red Carpet Red Velvet Cake
Our signature drink to kick off the red carpet interviews was a Peach Bellini, followed by lots and lots of red wine! I know right, are your mouths watering? They should be! This was possibly the best coordinated menu and most savory of foods my co-hostess and best friend, Cat and I have ever had!
Guests filled out their ballot sheets ahead and turned in their pens. No cheating allowed! Markers were handed out, and we waited during the awards. My winning guest had 12 correct answers and won the first place prize of a Movie Theater Pass for Two, a bottle of Francis Coppola Chardonnay, a Box of Lindor Truffels, and a bottle of Chanel Chance perfume!
My blog contest winner from last Tuesday’s post, guessed 2 out of 4 main categories correct and will be receiving an Amazon Gift Card plus Oscar worthy prizes such as movies, recipes, and more movie fun! And the Oscar for best blogger goes to…Amanda Rudd!
Thanks for tuning in to the Oscar’s with me! Join me on Friday for my Guilty Pleasure rundown of Best Dressed!
It’s winter, winter everywhere, and not an ice scraper to spare! The six day work weeks have begun for me, and no matter what my shift is, it seems I’m going to work when it’s dark, and it’s really dark when I leave.
So, I’m getting cabin fever.
Here are the rules and realities that I’ve come to believe in for surviving the perpetual darkness of the winter season:
- Crazy colored, fuzzy socks are a must! It’s true, especially if you’re boyfriend won’t turn the heat up anymore. Big, fuzzy, warm socks are a godsend after 9 hours on the sales floor.
- So is an eclectic mug collection. I’m too lazy and a wimp to brave the cold and see my favorite coffee shops, so I save time and money with our Keurig single cup coffee maker. I’m well stocked on apple cider, cafe’ mochas, espresso, and a variety of bold blends. Pick your mug for fun: the flamingo? the New Orleans cafe’ du monde mug? one of the maple leaves set?
- If it’s dark all the time, it means it’s the “night life” all the time! Wanna know what I’m doing for fun this holiday season? I have SOOOOO many cosmetics (Hello, I work at the mall and manage that department!) that I’m going to wear each and every one of my eye shadows until I’ve gone through them all! Today I wore Turquoise Sands! Doesn’t that sound like I do in fact have a life? I said sounds like! Stop that snickering!
- Stay indoors. Watch The Vampire Diaries. I will leave the house, a drastic and bold move (if I plan, I just go right after work) to venture to the library and stock up on whole seasons of TV. I’m currently rewatching Season 1 of The Vampire Diaries since it’s newest season is on that ridiculous thing the networks call “midseason finale”. How garish!
- Household chores gettin’ ya down, throw in an audio book! I’m trying to madly finish up a few titles on my To Be Read list for 2011, so I’ve been double-tasking by getting ready in the morning to an audio book. I can also listen while cooking, cleaning my room, or wrapping presents.
- Become a Sports Fan. Nothing like a fan club that requires sitting in front of the TV, snack food, and obscene amounts of cheering. Looking for a team to root for? *brushes shoulders* Might I suggest the ol’ Green and Gold, 14-0, Titletown Champs Green Bay Packers?! Alright, alright!
- Write in a journal. Start a journal. Now more than ever, keeping a gratitude journal has been important to me. The long hours and days at work and little free time makes it important to spend that time in a meaningful way and be grateful for the little things like taco dip, vampire TV, and Aveeno creamy moisturizing hand lotion (OMG – this cold weather on my skin! Grrr!)
- If you can’t hibernate, have a party! The holidays should be a time for friends and family. Spend your days with those you love indulging in laughter and creating new memories. What will I remember about this holiday season so far? My toddler niece telling me on the phone “I found Coco the Elf, he’s down the hall!”
How are you handling Cabin Fever this winter?
I’ve been entertaining lately. February is the month containing the two parties my boyfriend and I throw together. The Superbowl and The Oscars. I’ve been scrambling to see as many Oscar films as I can between now and the award ceremony. So the other night I enticed one of my friends over to watch a marathon of movies by offering to cook dinner for her.
Menu: Apricot Chili Pork Chops with Lemon and Spinach Pasta with Herb Dinner Rolls
If you’re going to force your friends to sit through six hours of cinema, I recommend basting the rolls with garlic butter and sprinkling parmesan and herbs over the top right as they walk through the door. They’ll have to stay to taste them, and then they won’t be able to move after they’ve devoured about four. Placing the wine bottle on the ottoman also does the trick.
By far the best taste of the evening was the pasta, extremely light and fresh, while still forcing your eyes to roll back in your head. To make it, you just cook some angelhair pasta as normal, and in a large pan saute garlic, baby spinach, lemon juice and salt/pepper until the spinach is wilted. Add the pasta and toss! So delicious!
So far of the nominated best pictures I’ve seen: Inception, Black Swan, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, The Kid’s Are All Right, and Winter’s Bone. I still need to see: True Grit, The Fighter, 127 Hours, and The Kings Speech.
Back to the party. All was going exceptionally well. We had viewed The Kids are All Right and spiked up a nice conversation on surrogacy. To further entice my friend to stay, I rented the second season of The United States of Tara to watch a few episodes. She can’t tell me no when I’ve brought her schizophrenic Toni Collette and comedy by Diablo Cody!
Somewhere in the middle of the fourth episode it hit me, like an all too real flashback “Live from the Wizard of Oz, it’s Dorothy trapped in a tornado!” I instantly got the spins. I fess up to my own body. I know I didn’t eat much earlier today, I still wasn’t feeling very good. But dinner was amazing, and a little wine is supposed to be good for you! Mixing in my stomach was the storm of Poseidon! I guess red wine and cold medicine are not meant to mix. Suddenly, I became that absurd host who kept excusing herself from the room hoping no one would notice her 5’2″ frame swaying around like Kramer on Seinfeld. After my poor, but understanding, friend had paused the episode too many times to count, I guiltily said “I don’t feel good” and left the room again. She finished the episode at my pleading from the bathroom afar, and like the wonderful friend she is, let herself out. Dear Lord, how embarrassing! I spent the next half hour lying on the bathroom floor moaning and cursing. At least we have heated tiles. *shakes head in shame*