Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mom and Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary Party

On June 11, 2010 my parent's celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary.  My brother's and I, along with our spouses and children, planned a party to recognize their special day.  We invited about 120 friends and family and almost all of them were able to attend! 

We decided to keep the decorations simple and elegant, so we used gold, silver and white for our color scheme.  My girlfriends and I had so much fun making 50 of these tissue paper flowers to hang from the ceiling.  Here is a close up of the flowers, I think they turned out really pretty.  I found a great tutorial here.

This is the table we had set up at the entry way.  My friend Karen spray painted branches from her yard with gold spray paint and then we hot-glued silver and white doves to the branches.  We had guests sign this great Happy Anniversary plate I found one day at TJ Maxx.  By the end of the night it was full of signatures!

This is me at the Dessert Buffet.  I made Vanilla Oreo Truffles, Cookie Dough Truffles, Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting, Strawberry Cupcakes, Vanilla Cupcakes and Lemon Cupcakes.  Recipes to come soon!
My sister-in-law, Michelle, made the delicious mini cheesecake squares. 

We used some of the tissue paper flowers to hang from more gold branches at the food table to make it more festive.
We served shrimp platters, mini country ham biscuits, meatballs, boneless chicken strips, cheese & crackers, fruit trays with dip, veggie trays with dip, spinach dip served in a bread bowl and texas caviar with tortilla chips.  My two sister-in-laws and I did all of the food ourselves.  My fantastic friends, Karen, Kristy and Bekka helped us serve drinks, replenished the empty serving plates and helped us clean up.  Aren't friends wonderful!

This is my nephew Peyton, after he was accused of eating five cookie dough truffles.
Who me?

The night was so fun and my parents had a great time dancing and visiting with friends and family.
They are wonderful parents and we love them so much! 
Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Strawberries with Cream Cheese Filling

My friend Kristy showed me how to make these pretty strawberries.  They resemble flower petals and are piped with sweetened cream cheese.  They really brighten up a dessert table and taste delish!

Strawberries with Cream Cheese Filling

32 fresh whole strawberries
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
grated chocolate for garnish

Cut a thin slice from the stem end of each strawberry so that they stand upright, then cut each berry carefully into four wedges, cutting almost to, but not through, the bottoms.  Fan the wedges just slightly, but be careful not to break them.  Set berries aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, confectioners sugar and almond extract until light and fluffy.  Pipe filling into strawberries using a decorating bag with decorative tip.  Grate chocolate over top to garnish.
Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sweet Party Mix

We love snacking on party mix at our house, so when my mom sent a batch of this sweet mix home with my daughter, we knew we wanted the recipe since we ate the entire bowl that evening! 
My mom got the recipe from my aunt, so we're not sure where it originated, but it sure is yummy.

Sweet Party Mix

4 cups bite-size square corn cereal
4 cups bite-size square rice cereal
2 cups pretzel knots
1 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
6 T butter
3 T light-colored corn syrup
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup dried cranberries, blueberries or cherries

In a large roasting pan combine corn cereal, rice cereal, pretzels and almonds; set aside.
In a medium saucepan combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup.  Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils.  Continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, without stirring, for 5 minutes more.
Remove saucepan from heat; stir in baking soda.  Pour over cereal mixture; stir gently to coat.
Bake in a 300 degree oven for 15 minutes; stir cereal mixture and bake 5 minutes more.
Remove from oven; stir in dried fruit.  Spread on a large piece of buttered foil to cool.
Break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Honey Lemon Pasta Salad

Fresh Market Copy-cat Honey Lemon Pasta Salad

About a month ago I was out of town for work.  It was late evening and I was wondering what to have for dinner.  Sure I could have had Olive Garden, TGI Fridays or some other chain restaurant dinner, but instead I decided to explore The Fresh Market grocery store I noticed while driving around.  The Fresh Market was new to me, we don't have one where I live, but WOW do I love that store!  I roamed all around the isles admiring the beautiful bakery items, bulk snack mixes, bulk candies and fresh salads. 

Since I was trying to be relatively healthy, I decided on a turkey sandwich made with a delicious whole grain bread, green bean chips, a small container of honey lemon pasta salad and a bran muffin for dessert.  I took my bag of goodies back to my hotel, changed into my pj's and had a picnic in my room while I watched the Real Housewives of somewhere on television.  The pasta salad was so light and fresh tasting, I knew I had to try to recreate it when I got home.  I searched The Fresh Market website, but of course no recipe, but my version came out pretty darn close.  Hope you like it too.

Honey Lemon Pasta Salad

2 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 T Honey
1 tsp. chopped thyme
1/ 2 C extra-virgin olive oil
fresh ground salt and pepper

In a small bowl whisk the lemon juice with the lemon zest, honey and thyme.
Whisk in the olive oil and season with fresh ground salt and pepper.

Pasta Salad:
Bowtie Pasta (I used 3/4 of a 1 lb. box)
1/3 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup diced roasted red pepper
1 can mandarin orange sections - drained
diced red onion
toasted sunflower seeds

Cook bowtie pasta, drain and set aside.
Add diced green pepper, diced roasted red pepper, mandarin oranges and chopped red onion.
Toss with honey lemon dressing and sprinkle with toasted sunflower seeds.  Enjoy!