Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nikki's Nummy Bread Dip

My new friend, Nikki, brought this outstanding bread dip that was to die for to the Witches Brew last week! I can't wait to make it myself! Later, Doug, who'd dished up a plate of treats to enjoy alone during the party, asked, "WHAT was that?!?!" It was a hit!

8 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups grated cheese
1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1 cup chopped ham
1 can green chilis
1/2 cup green onion

Mix well, put in a greased pie plate and bake for 1 hour. Spiders and Bugs optional! Serve with torn pieces of french bread or chips or crackers. The french bread was AMAZING!! Enjoy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Witches Brew

The Witches! Wigs, Warts, Hats and Furs. Quite the motley crew, we were!
Since my home is small and I don't have a ton of room for hosting a large party, I decided to keep it small and invited only fourteen women. The invitation asked them to "come in their best witch's attire and bring a great appetizer to share".

I set the table and lit the candles, using all black and white and orange. I didn't go for the spooky, creepy feel, since we were all such elegant witches.

Using what I had on hand, I created some fun and funky type candle holders, including this orange Pier One decanter (that is awkward to pour out of anyway.) It made a great candleholder by putting a rose vase inside and sitting the black candle on top.

The black and white pumpkins were my new addition to my Halloween collection this fall. Selected by my daughter, Liza, they are two of my favorite pumpkins.

I set out black and silver chargers for the guest to put their appetizers on when they arrived, to keep things going along with the theme.

Of course, a little dry ice added to the punch is a must for a "brew".

This $1.69 cent hat is my most fabulous creation of the year! With embossing powder/glitter, a glue stamp and an awesome swirly rubber stamp, this hat is fantastic and so easy to make! Instructions are on my regular blog, here.

My favorite quote of the season: Eat, Drink, Be Scary! It's written in chalk on a piece of black cardstock scrap.

I debated and debated over whether to serve the brew from goblets or these canning pint jars. Goblets would have looked more elegant but, goblets spill easily and since we were moving about for the games and activities, I went with the jars. The tags, purchased long ago at Staples for a scrapbooking project, were then stamped 1 -14, so that everyone knew who's was who's. The number also indicated who was on which team later in the night for the games.

This Black Hat Society sign was downloaded from the internet and perfect for what we became by the end of the evening... friends connected in a new way...by our black hats.

The easiest way to have a party is let the guests share in the cooking. I asked the gals to bring an appetizer or dessert and we had quite the spread. We could never eat it all, but we did put a good dent in it! Apples and caramel dip, a very delicious bread dip, cheesy salsa dip and chips, pumpkin roll, eclairs, layered chocolate caramel bars, seven layer cookies and beautiful tasty tarts! MMMM!

I served two brews for this party. The lime/pineapple slush, because, as my daughter says, "When else can you serve green drink?" and my favorite old standby with the white grape juice and gingerale!

Black, White and Swirls galore... kind of witchy and magical.

I'd made the large broom and hung the sign on the top,"Broom Parking" then tied these miniature versions of the broom along the banister as little thank you gifts to my guests. They all got to choose a broom as they were leaving. They added to the decor and were a fun little gift, too.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Baked French Toast Strata

This recipe was a huge hit with the entire family. Lately, I've seen several recipes that were similar and actually had a version of baked french toast last weekend. This one was pretty quick and easy and yet tastes like something that you've worked for hours on. It's a must try! And best of all, it can be made the night before and just baked when it's time to eat. It'd be a great Christmas morning meal!

1 loaf French bread
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt

Tear french bread (I used half Sara Lee multigrain bread and half french) into pieces that are about the size of a large marshmallow. Cover the bottom of a well buttered 9 x 13" pan. Combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a blender and mix until blended well. Pour mixture over the bread slices. Cover the bread totally and use a spatula to make sure that it's saturated completely with the milk-egg mixture. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. (I made it and only waited an hour or so before baking. It was just fine.)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Spread topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes at 350 until puffy and golden. Serve with maple syrup. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Red Pepper Dip

I don't even remember where I discovered this recipe but can I just say that it is nu-uh-ummmmy! For my birthday girl's night out sleepover, we each brought the makings for an appetizer. It was risky on my part but I brought the ingredients for a first try of this one. OH MY! I'm so glad that I decided on this. I followed the recipe to a T last night and then came home and did a second attempt in my own version and loved it even more. It's so festive and beautiful, not to mention delish! Try it! You'll love it!
You'll need:
2 red bell peppers
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
Place the peppers in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a soft boil for about 30 minutes. Remove from the water, drain well but quickly! Place the peppers in your food processor while still hot. Add the brown sugar and salt. Puree until smooth.
Then, here are the two options.
Spread the cream cheese in a platter and pour the puree over it. Serve with crackers or chips. (We used Lime Doritos. OH MY!) The puree was pretty runny though. SO, I tried Plan B today.
Here's Plan B:
After making the puree, mix in the cream cheese and serve as a dip. It will be a soft dip. Much less messy and still pretty.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wicked Halloween Bling!

Happy Halloween! My second tablescape on the new antique table! Setting this table each month is like decorating for Christmas! I love it! First, a few shots with the lights on!
These fabulous boots were my inspiration for the whole table. They look pretty wicked from outside as you drive by our home at night!
The black blingee pumpkins on the upsidedown candlesticks were purchased to match the boots... a great start to the table. Now, to turn the lights down low and light the candles.
Here's my October table for two. A romantic little candlelight dinner in a purple mist (tulle) and glitter.
The layers: Black Charger, translucent orange charger, white dinner plate, orange salad plate. My mom, knowing that I love setting a pretty table, picked up the orange chargers at a thrift store last Christmas. 12 for $2! Sweet!
The fabulous wine bottle candlabra was a birthday gift from friend, Marilyn! I love it! It slips into any bottle just like a corkscrew. Being that we don't drink alcohol, it will be interesting to see what other ways I can put it to "work".
The fishbowl type candle holder from Pier One (purchased after Christmas for a song or should I say a carol?!) is filled with purple foil tinsel. Candle from Hobbie Lobby.
One of my favorite decorating quotes: Candles are to be burned not dusted.
Cute little Vintage Happy Halloween is from Taipan and I made the blingee orange potion book in the background. It's a $1 book from the thrift store, painted orange and then stamped with the words, "Spells & Potions", then sprayed with glitter spray. Yagottaluv glitter spray!
Doug described this table as "dining in a mist".
Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wendy's Homemade Apple Dumplings

Wendy's family tradition, like ours, is to serve the birthday girl's favorites for their birthday dinner. Last night, I got to choose! I chose lasagna, green salad, garlic bread and "anything appley"for dessert. I'd choose apple desserts over chocolate anytime! What a delightful surprise! I'd never had a real true apple dumpling like this before, but, this would be my birthday request from now on! They were fabulous! Here's Wendy's recipe and a few photos to go along with.
2 Cups Enriched Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
2/3 Cups Shortening
1/2 Cup Milk

Place flour, baking powder and salt in medium size bowl and mix it together with a fork. Add the shortening to the bowl and cut in shortening. Add milk to bowl and use a fork to just moisten the mixture. (I used my food processer.)

6 apples
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
3 T. butter
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon Boil 1 cup sugar, 2 cups water, 3 Tablespoons butter and ½ teaspoons cinnamon for 3 minutes. Peel apples and remove the center. Mix together ½ cup sugar and 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Roll out ¾ pie dough and cut into 4’s. Put 1 apple on each piece of dough making sure it will cover the whole apple. Add 1 T. cinnamon sugar mixture into the middle of each apple. Roll out the rest of the dough and cut into 2’s, put apples on dough, and add cinnamon sugar mixture. Bring dough up around and cover each apple. Put in 9x13 pan. Do not have apples touching. Pour boiled mixture over apples and cook at 400 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Good served hot with half and half poured over. Enjoy!