Valentine’s Day Menu

Looking to impress your Valentine this year with a romantic meal you’ve made yourself? I’ve got you covered! I’ve put together a meal that you can either make for your loved one or make together for a perfect Valentine’s night in. There is one menu, but it can easily be made gluten free with one quick swap out. The menu includes bacon, if pork isn’t your thing use turkey!

Click on the link below to download the grocery list, menu and meal information. I want you and your special someone to feel loved this Valentine’s day so this menu can be downloaded for FREE.


 

There is no price on romance but if you feel like subsidizing the love I’ve put into the menu however, I’ve decided to try out the “pay what it’s worth to you” method. I’ve provided a link to my PayPal account, click below if you’d like to support menu love.


Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Holiday Entertaining Tips

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1. Pick a theme:

I find it easiest to pick a theme: Italian, Mexican, Indian, American,…..That way you are more focused when choosing recipes, all the food tastes good together ( you won’t have chips and salsa mixing into your sushi), often recipes from the same general area use similar ingredients (saves you time and money by not having a long grocery list and using 10 ingredients that you only need 1 Tablespoon of)

 

2. Room temperature is your friend:

When serving only appetizers try to have the majority of them able to be served at room temp, that way you aren’t running around the entire party trying to keep hot food hot and cold food cold, and your guests won’t have to be worried about food poisoning! Really a win win for all. Sample appetizer menu: Mini buttermilk biscuits with honey butter, Black eyed pea dip with carrots and cucumbers, Spicy kale chips, Watermelon kebobs, BBQ mini meatballs and lemon shortbread cookies.

 

3. For a sit-down Dinner, stews and braises are your friends:

If you are serving a sit down meal, make a braised or stewed entree. These dishes usually are very forgiving time wise and don’t need any last minute cooking on your part so you can enjoy your guests instead of all your time in the kitchen.  Sample menu: Butter lettuce and snap pea salad with orange mustard vinaigrette and sliced almonds, Coq au Vin served with crusty bread, and pots de creme)

 

4. Dress up your food:

Make the food look as pretty as possible, we eat with our eyes first. Generous sprigs of Italian parsley or cilantro tucked here and there on a platter looks beautiful, plus it’s cheap!

 

5. Arrange your buffet thoughtfully:

When arranging a buffet have plates at one end and napkins and silverware at the other, that way your guests won’t have to hold onto forks and spoons while they try to dish up a plate. Arrange platters at varying heights not only to create a more visually interesting buffet but it can also create more space of platters. Use cake stands, upside down bowls, a stack of books to balance a plate on etc.

 

6. Guests are happy that they didn’t have to cook:

Last of all remember its only food so relax! The majority of your guests will be so happy that they didn’t have to cook that they will be very lax on judging your culinary skills.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese

Most pumpkin cream cheese spreads you can buy taste like frosting; way too sweet for anything but dessert (and this is coming from a girl who considers pie an appropriate breakfast). I want to be able to taste some of the tang from the cream cheese and a little bit of the earthiness of a pumpkin, not just have a creamy sugary cinnamony spread on my bagel. So that’s what I came up with. Enjoy!

1 Cup Cream cheese
1/4C plus 2T Pumpkin puree
1T Brown sugar
1/4tsp Ground ginger
1/4tsp Ground cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg

Whisk it all together and enjoy on bagels, crumpets, toast, graham crackers etc.

Reuseable Bags

My boyfriend always laughs at me when I wash out plastic Ziploc bags, but I think you can use them more than once. But as I was rinsing some out the other day I realized that there must be a better solution. So I started looking on line and I found tons of fabric covered oil cloth bags, that can be used hundreds of times, not just 3 or 4 times.

I enjoy crafting and sewing so I decided I would just make my own. I found some fantastic laminate fabric at the Quilting Loft in Ballard that is phthalate and PVC free (which I think is pretty important if it’s going to be touching food). The fabric is made by ROWAN/Westminster.

I cut 2 squares of the laminate fabric and 2 equal size squares of another fabric, laid the like fabrics right sides together and sewed around 3 of the sides. Turned the regular fabric piece inside out, slipped the laminate fabric sewn piece inside. Folded down the edges and sewed around the top and used iron on velcro for the closure.

It’s a fun, easy, fast and useful project.

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut 1

My favorite fast meal these days is grilled sausages, sauerkraut, some grainy mustard and a cold beer. I got this recipe from a culinary school chum. It is so easy, tasty and nutritious. Lactic acid fermented vegetables (which is what uncooked sauerkraut is)  have a lot of vitamin C and contains good bacteria that promote a healthy gut.

This recipe does require a little bit of equipment, but you probably already have something that will work. You will need a ceramic or glass container, a small plate of some sort that will be able to fit inside the container to press down the cabbage, and you will need a weight to weigh down the plate. I found a ceramic container at the Goodwill for $1, the plate I had and I used a jar filled with water and rocks to weight the plate down. If you don’t have a plate that will fit inside the mouth of your container, double bag a zip-top bag and fill it with water and use this instead of the plate and weight.

1 small head of red or white cabbage

1 Tablespoon of salt

3 Tablespoons of water

Wash the cabbage and cut into quarters and cut out the core. Slice the vegetable as thinly as possible. Place the sliced cabbage in a large bowl and add the salt, toss to coat. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. Taste the cabbage, you want it to taste a little salty but not over powering. Add a little more salt if necessary. Pack the cabbage as tightly as possible into your container, use your fist to really punch it down. Pour the water over the top. Weigh the cabbage down with the plate and weight. Cover with a towel and place the container in an out of the way place for about 4-5 days. Check it after 24 hours to make sure that the cabbage is submerged under the liquid that has been released from the vegetables, if the top portion looks dry add a little water. It may smell kinda funny when you remove the towel, but it’s fine. Occasionally the top will get a film of some sort on top, just discard the top layer and eat whats underneath.

You can leave it on the counter where it will continue to ferment and get more sour or you can place it in the fridge to stop the fermentation. I store mine in the fridge, to save on counter space. If you chose to make this recipe over and over like me, save some of the sauerkraut and add it to your next batch, it will speed up the fermentation process.

kraut

Space Saver

We all know how important it is to wash fruit and vegetables before you eat it. In most cases I can use the container the fruit comes in to wash and drain the fruit, but that doesn’t work for everything. So I was so happy when I found a mini collapsible colander, check it out here.

Cooking Class

I’m teaching a spring salad cooking class at Dish It Up in Magnolia May 6th. I’ll be teaching you how to make an asparagus ribbon salad with sherry vinaigrette and shaved Parmesan, a blue cheese and steak salad with homemade croutons, a bibb lettuce salad with avocado, blueberries and candied pepitas, and a dessert salad of supremed oranges and a spiced wine “vinaigrette”.

Check it out and sign up!
www.dish-it-up.com