Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Love Is Sweet!

Sorry it's been so quiet around this blog the past couple of weeks. I have been busy crafting like a mad woman in preparation for my sister's bridal shower. I will be back to my regular recipe posts next week but today I am sharing some of the shower details.

When I plan a party I like to have a theme to tie everything together. The theme for my sister's bridal shower was Love Is Sweet. I love any reason to indulge in my favorite sweet treats! 

Shower Parfaits: gifts for the shower hostesses. I took a large wine glass and put a mesh sponge in the bottom and added a shower gel and body lotion from Bath and Body Works. I created gift tags that read "Thank you for making our shower so sweet" and tied with pink and white bakers twine.

Lollipop Escort Cards: I applied ribbon to a block of green styrofoam with a hot glue gun and used a lollipop favor kit from the craft store for the escort cards.

Faux Cupcake Table Numbers: I made these cupcakes to hold the table numbers used to direct guests to the correct table. I cut the hearts and numbers with my Cricut. Please don't take a bite, these sweet cupcakes are are not for eating!

Soda Fountain Centerpieces: each centerpiece had a large and small soda glass with pink and white carnations, glittered cherries and striped straws on top of a charger plate.

Cookie Favors: 3 mini pink ombre heart shaped cookies that read Love is Sweet. I created gift tags that read "It was so sweet of you to come" and packed the cookies in Chinese takeout boxes tied with ribbon.

All of the above pictures were taken with my phone in the days leading up to the party since I foolishly forgot to bring my camera to the actual shower. I hope you enjoyed this peek into my sister's bridal shower!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Corn Cakes with Tomato Avocado Relish

You can make bite-sized corn cakes to serve as appetizers or larger cakes served with a salad for a light lunch or dinner. Feel free to use defrosted frozen corn in place of fresh if it is not in season. I prefer to use fresh corn that was frozen at the height of the season. To make your own freezer corn, remove the husks and rinse the cobs to remove any remaining silks. Stand each ear in a large shallow bowl and cut the kernels from the cobs. Blanch the kernels in boiling water for 5 to 6 minutes then remove the kernels to a ice water bath to cool down. When the corn is cooled, remove from the ice water and pat dry. Fill a zip-top freezer bag about half full, remove the excess air, and zip the bag closed. Flatten out the bag of corn and label the bag with the contents and date. Transfer the bags to the freezer and enjoy the flavor of fresh corn no matter what season it is.

Corn Cakes with Tomato Avocado Relish
recipe courtesy of  Annie's Eats originally adapted from Ezra Pound Cake, originally from Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen

For the corn cakes:
3 large ears of corn, shucked
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
¼ cup red onion, finely diced
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Canola or vegetable oil, for frying

For the relish:
1 large tomato, cored and chopped
1 scallion, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of half a lime
1 ½ teaspoon olive oil
1 ½ teaspoon white wine vinegar
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced
Ranch dressing, for serving (optional)

Cut the corn kernels off of the cobs and place in a large bowl. Place 2 cups of the corn kernels in the food processor and pulse several times, until the corn is slightly pureed but still chunky. Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the remaining corn kernels. Add the flour, cornmeal, onion, basil, baking powder, and baking soda to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to mix well. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and butter, and stir just to combine.

To make the salsa, combine all of the ingredients except the avocado in a medium bowl and mix well to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 2 days. Just before serving, mix in the avocado.

Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add just enough oil to barely cover the bottom of the pan and heat until sizzling hot. Scoop the batter into the skillet a heaping tablespoon at a time, cooking the cakes in batches of 4 or 5 so that they are not touching. Fry 1-2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Transfer the cooked cakes to a wire rack and repeat with the remaining batter.

Serve immediately topped with the relish and served with ranch dressing, if desired.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tortellini Soup

This simple soup is perfect for those nights I am craving comfort food. Most people think that comfort food has to be heavy and take a long time to prepare. That is not the case with this soup. It is light and comforting and takes less than 30 minutes to put together. 

Tortellini Soup
recipe courtesy of
Annie's Eats slightly adapted from The Well-Fed Newlyweds via Tasty Kitchen

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
15 ounce can diced tomatoes, with juices
4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
9 ounces tortellini, any variety (fresh or frozen)
3 cups fresh baby spinach, loosely packed
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan, for serving

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the pan and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Mix in the oregano and diced tomatoes. Add the stock to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the tortellini to the pot and cook according to the package directions. One minute before the tortellini is fully cooked, stir in the spinach. Remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with grated Parmesan as desired.