Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Kitchen Themed Shower

I was lucky enough to host a little bridal shower for one of my friends getting married a couple of weeks ago. 

I chose a loose theme of a vintage kitchen for decor and encouraged everyone to help Margo stock her kitchen!

We had little appetizers, some cute sandwiches for the main course and bite sized desserts. We also played some kitchen games and just enjoyed Girl's Night,

 I loved this blue mason jar from World Market.
 Vintage cookbooks and milk bottle vases filled with baby's breath. 

 My grandmother's egg beaters and a vintage sifter from my good friend, Erin. 

 Cucumber goat cheese and dill crostini and roasted beet crostini.
 I'm kind of in love with these tiny little toasts. So cute. I found a pack of them at Central Market.

 Mini cannoli. I bought the pre-made shells and filled them with a ricotta mini chocolate chip filling.

I was SO proud of these and they were amazing! I used the lighter cake ball recipe from Skinny Taste. These are cake inside instead of cake AND frosting. Really lightens them up so then you can eat 4 instead of 1. ha. 

I used a cute vintage looking apron I had from Sur La Table to help decorate the table. 

 Delicious homemade granola in mason jars as favors. Get my recipe here.

Grape, orange, and club soda punch. 


 My lovely guests!

 Playing our first game-a kitchen/food quiz. 

 An adorable ramekin and mini whisk, both from World Market for game winners.

 Cute mugs!
All the loot!

Some of my favorite ladies! Hope you had a great time Margo! 
So excited for you and Drew!
The Menu

-Mini toast with goat cheese, cumber and dill (recipe coming soon!)
-Mini toast with roasted beet, goat cheese, and sea salt

Main Course
-Dill Ham Sandwiches (recipe coming soon!)  
-Side salads brought by fabulous friends
-Fruit platter brought by another fabulous friend

-Mini cannoli
-Skinny cake pops     

-Homemade granola in mason jars
-Ramekins with mini whisks (prizes for game winners)

The Games 

Kitchen Themed Games
-What's Cooking Quiz (questions about different foods and cooking items)
- Recipe for a Good Marriage (ask guests to write marriage advice on notecards and then read them and have the Bride guess who wrote them) 
-Identify the kitchen gadget (I put 20 of my funniest looking kitchen gadgets in a bowl and made guests identify them-The most anyone was able to identify was 11 I think!)  

I hope you enjoyed seeing my little vintage kitchen shower! Of course you could transfer a lot of these recipes and ideas to other parties or dinners as well!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Homemade Granola

Last week I hosted a kitchen themed bridal shower for a friend (photos to come!). I knew I wanted to do a cute food themed gift but I also wanted it to be something fun, affordable and able to be made in bulk without too much work. I happened to have some mason jars and I figured that was a great vessel to package up a cute gift in a smaller quantity for a dozen people. 

Homemade granola seemed like the perfect fit and I have always wanted to try it! I had most ingredients on hand and it was quick to throw together! Plus, I know everyone likes granola-as a snack, in yogurt, or in a bowl of cereal-I think it is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

I wanted to find a recipe I trusted since I knew there would be countless options online and I would have no idea how to decide. I have a distinct memory  of one morning in college, while staying at a friend's house, of waking up to the most amazing smell. It was homemade granola that my friend's mom had made. It was delicious and I remember thinking..."Is there anything she CAN'T do?" She inspires me as an awesome example of a cook, mom and person. So when I needed a guaranteed recipe- I emailed her and she obliged with her family recipe. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! And of course, feel free to customize with your favorite add ins. I liked Craisins and walnuts and pecans but you could do raisins or dried apricots with almonds. Definitely customize this to your liking!

Homemade Granola
The Apron Gal

Makes around 9-10 cups (ish) 

6 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
 1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup chopped nuts 

1/2 cup craisins or raisins (or other dried fruit).

*1/2 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1/3 cup honey

**1 egg white (optional) 


Mix all ingredients except craisins. 

Spread mixture onto greased cookie sheet (or use a Silpat) and bake for around 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees, carefully turning once during baking. During the last five minutes, add the craisins. Mixture will continue baking on cookie sheet, so let granola get a toasty color but it doesn't need to be super crunchy, it will get crunchier as it sits. Let granola mixture cool on cookie sheet before storing in an airtight container.

*Note: I used 1/2 cup melted coconut oil and it was delicious! It is a healthier option that also offers a slightly sweeter taste to the granola. I strongly recommend it! 

**For chunky granola, coat the granola mixture with 1 egg white. Spread on cookie sheet but pack it tightly to create clumps. Do not turn. Let sit on cookie sheet for several hours (or overnight) before breaking up into chunks and storing in an airtight container. If you want half clumps and half 

For gluten free, make sure to use gluten free oats. 


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Insta-Yum March!

I've struggled lately to keep up with my Instagrams of food lately! I think I get so excited to eat that I forgot to take pictures!

 Horrible photo. The most amazing Chinese dish I may have ever had.  Crispy beef from Bo Bistro in Round Rock. Try it, you won't regret it!

 I made this mushroom cream sauce with this bottled sauce from HEB. It was also, delectable. 

 My lunch from Green Pastures- that was really good. Apparently, everything they make is really good and it's a beautiful old Victorian house converted into a restaurant.

 Third Base has a bunch of $2.00 appetizers. All of them horrible. Never go there for those. Ugh. Perhaps the non-super-cheap food is better? I will never try to find out!

 Dickey's Barbeque fabulous chopped beef sandwich, onion tanglers, and potato casserole.
 So good.'Nuff said.

 Peanut butter with chocolate frosting cookie from the Foreign and Domestic food truck at SXSW. 

 My delicious dinner with Chobani at Parkside Austin. 
See all the photos and read more about it in my post here.

 Have I posted this before? I'm kind of obsessed. Corner Bakery's carbonara pasta with Caesar salad. O so fattening and O so delicious. 

 I received a sample of this popcorn in the Salted Caramel flavor and I just about died-the caramel is wonderful as well. This stuff is amazing: sweet and crunchy and there are no kernels so you can devour quickly without having to stop! I'm not paid to endorse this, in fact, send me more, Cosmos Creations if you are reading this! It's a bit pricey, but totally worth it.  You can order it online or I found some at Central Market.

 Baked potato with broccoli from Jason's Deli.

 The new Southwestern Mac & Cheese with chicken from Chili's. I normally despise Chili's but it worked out to go there one day and this redeemed my previous hated meals.

 Crawfish and potatoes and corn as part of Celina's Crawfish Festival (Celina is in North Dallas). It was fun to eat the crawfish for the first 10 minutes, then I got hungry and needed real food. They had some of the best boudin I have ever had. Fun day with good food. My favorite kind of day!

 Of course, we also needed a funnel cake while we were at the Crawfish festival. My dad made funnel cakes every year with Rotary for the Plano Balloon Festival when I was growing up so theses made me nostalgic and I love to support Rotary also. 

 The Cuban sandwich from Snarky's Moo Bawk Oink at the North Austin Trailer Yard. I love this trailer park and it's right by my work. 

 Roasted pear and prosciutto salad from La Madeleine. Divine.  Loved the sweet and salty combos in this with the candied nuts and Gorgonzola.

 The best chocolate bar I have ever had. I got it at the Lindt outlet that went out of business. (How does a chocolate outlet go out of business?) I think I ate this whole bar in 1 day and didn't even offer Jason 1 bite. I'm sad that the real price of this is $5.00 a bar. If anyone wants to know what I want for Christmas-it's 10 of these bad boys.

 See my cute Easter basket my husband got for me? I cut up those peeps and put them in brownies with some Cadbury eggs- so fun!

I was so proud of these blanched green beans I served with fresh Parmesan cheese and toasted almonds for Easter dinner. Every bean got eaten!

Where else should I try? Have you eaten anywhere lately you didn't like? I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring Marshmallow Salad

This was one of my favorite "salads" growing up that my Mom made. Why we call dishes filled with Cool Whip, marshmallows and pineapple "salads" is beyond me! But, it makes me feel better about eating them, so I can't complain too much! 

This salad is so refreshing on a warmer day and it's great to bring for a picnic (but only if you can keep it refrigerated right until it is served). Kids should love this too since it's so pillowy and sweet!

Spring Marshmallow Salad
recipe slightly adapted from Jell-O

1 container Cool-Whip (regular or lite)*, thawed
1 box Jell-O pistachio pudding  (3.4 ounces)*
1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple (with juice)
1 1/2 cups marshmallows (for Spring I use the multicolored but plain work fine too!)


Mix first 4 ingredients together and then gently stir in the marshmallows. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve cold. 

*I have used both lite Cool Whip and sugar free pudding and it still tastes great! I think it's slightly more flavorful with the full fat versions on both, but I try to choose lower sugar/fat when I can! 


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