Thursday, April 30, 2009

A patio lunch at Masa (Mpls)

My friends/coworkers, Siobhan, Diane and I had a fabulous lunch on the patio at Masa last Friday. Masa is an upscale Mexican restaurant on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. With the economy in the tank, I have had a pretty strict "no dining out" policy for the past few months. It hasn't been a huge deal since I love to cook, but every once in a while I miss being waited on and not having to do the dishes.

As I mentioned in a couple posts below, Siobhan is moving to another country (Colombia to teach English) which means opportunities to sit on a patio during lunch with her are dwindling (ps. Siobhan if you are reading this PLEASE DON'T GO!!).

So when the weather was sunny and perfect last Friday we agreed to an outdoor lunch. We chose Masa because we recently discovered it has a great lunch special that they don't advertise on their website. Since most people are on a budget these days, good deals are a must! The lunch deal they have is a "choose 3 for $10" that includes tacos, mango salad, a green salad, guacomole, tortilla soup and tortas. Lunch also comes with complimentary tortilla chips with delicious tomatilla salsa.

Siobhan loves ceviche and ordered that. She said it was great.


Photo credit: Masa's website

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tea Time!

"Tea tempers the spirit and harmonizes the mind, dispells lassitude and relieves fatigue; awakens thought and prevents drowsiness." (Lu Yu, 5th Century Chinese Poet)

Do you ever do something you're not looking forward to and it ends up being a lot of fun? That was my experience with "Spring Tea" at my mom's church last Sunday. She called up all the women in my family and invited us, how can you say no? So we went; my mom, aunt, sister and sister-in-law and actually had a great time. The tea was delicious, the dainty tea sandwiches were adorable and yummy and the scones were homemade. We laughed a lot and had some solid bonding time. Overall, there must have been at least 80 women at this tea and some even wore hats and brought in their own intricate tea cups!

Needless to say, it inspired me to think about hosting a tea get-together at my house with all the ladies and I can try my hand at making tea sandwiches and different herbal teas. I guess you really don't always need wine and cocktails...

Here is the menu from the "Spring Tea"

Dainty tea sandwiches
- Chicken cashew
- Egg salad
- Cucumber triangles
Strawberries and grapes
Cream scones with devonshire clotted cream (I have no idea what this is but it was freaking awesome) and lemon curd
Trifle
Tea by the pots

Here are some (not so great) pics from our tea time.



Monday, April 27, 2009

Dinner with good friends (and fresh pasta)

There is something really special about sitting at a dinner table with good friends, good food and plenty of wine. Especially when it is with a dear friend who is about to move to another country, which definitely added a bittersweet note to the evening.

Siobhan and I met a little over three years ago when she got a job at the advertising agency I work for and was seated in the work station next to me (that is really just a fancy word for cube). We instantly bonded over a love of happy hours and cooking. One of my first memories with Siobhan included frying plaintains with a delicious cilantro oil dipping sauce.

Siobhan is an amazing cook. She cooks with a lot of patience (the bolognese sauce below simmered for hours and hours) and a lot of flavor. Some of my favorite meals are ones that she cooked for me, not only because they are delicious but because they always include a lot of wine and great heart-to-heart conversations.

In addition to the bolognese sauce, Siobhan made a spring green salad with homemade vinaigrett and bought fresh pasta from Broders, a pasta bar in Minneapolis.

The recipe for the amazing bolognese sauce is from Food Network's Tyler Florence.






Sunday, April 26, 2009

I heart Weddings!

Did I mention how much I absolutely love weddings? Planning weddings, attending weddings, reading wedding blogs, contributing to wedding forums and community boards...ever since I got engaged in September 07 I have been pretty much obsessed with weddings.


Yes, yes, weddings are really about love, the coming together of two people, etc. That's all lovely and nice and don't get me wrong, I adore my husband, but for us the wedding was also about entertaining and throwing a darn fun party. And if you are anything like my husband and I, we LOVE throwing a good party. Just ask us about our annual summer BBQ bash complete with a hot dog eating competition (we'll save that for another post).

Back to weddings, one thing I loved so much about wedding planning was determing the menu. Wedding food is so...pretty and tasty, gone are the days when you go to a wedding expecting a bland chicken buffet dinner.
We chose the University Club of St. Paul as our venue, partly because it was big enough to hold the masses (we invited the entire world to our wedding, well, at least the entire city of Napoleon, ND), it was a beautiful space and they have a great reputation for serving great food.

Here is the menu from our wedding day plus some pics, photo credits to Sewell Photography.

Alcohol
Champagne with raspberries/wine/beer/cocktails

Butler-passed hors d'oeurves
Roast tenderloin of beef with garlic croutons and roasted red pepper mayo
Moroccan chicken tenders with spicy tomato sauce
Shrimp skewers with mint pesto

Salad
Mediterranean Bread Salad
Crisp greens tossed with focaccia, roma tomato, red onion, pepperoncini, black olives, parmesan cheese and balsamic vinaigrette

Entrees
Charred New York Strip Steak (12 oz), Poblano chili cream, scallion mashed potatoes, baby carrots and roast corn pico

Breast of Chicken, chardonnay chive sauce, stuffed with spinach-truffle mousse, rosemary roasted potatoes, bouquet of vegetables


Vegetarian open-faced ravioli, balsamic tomato jus, tri-colored pasta sheets layered with shiitake mushrooms, baby artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, braised leeks, spinach, asparagus and feta cheese
Dessert
Wedding cake

Slender-tinis

My girlfriends and I created the Slender-tini a couple years ago when I was on my 80th Southbeach diet kick and I trying to go lo-carb. The diet sucked and I am no longer a fan of Southbeach but the Slender-tini was one good thing that came from it.

I'm sure this is a fairly common drink, so I am by no means taking credit for it. If you haven't tried it, you must, it is a favorite among my girlfriends and I because is it low-sugar/low calorie and delicious. The inspiration is the Cosmopolitan. Every girl loves a good Cosmopolitan, right? Well, sometimes for me they are a bit too, vodka-y and sweet. And sometimes you take that first sip and think to yourself, it's going to be one of those "one and done" nights out.

Slender-tinis (it's not really a martini, more a cocktail, but we always drink them out of martini glasses and they are PRETTY!)

1 shot of vodka, about 1.5 fluid ounces (good vodka like Grey Goose or one of my new favorites, Prairie-it is organic and made in MN)
2 fluid ounces of club soda
Splash of light cranberry juice
lime slice

Put all ingredients into a martini shaker with lots of ice and then strain into the glass with the lime. Drink and be fabulous!


Friday, April 24, 2009

Gorgeous Sweets

This post is inspired by "Daily Candy", a daily enewsletter I subscribe to that has content on fashion, food, and fun. Check them out at http://www.dailycandy.com/. Brides-to-be, they also have a site for wedding planning, www.dailycandy.com/weddings.

Check out these freaking adorable chocolate truffle cones from FireLilly. Picture them as part of a dessert buffet at a wedding, as wedding favors, or on each person's place setting as dessert for a dinner party. Totally pretty...check them out at http://firelillychocolates.com/.





Another lovely day with sun and pretty food!

Grilling out yesterday evening was awesome and lovely, so lovely. It was 85 degrees which equals bbq perfection. The pecorino romano/apple/crostini was very good. I don't typically like the blend of sweet and savory flavors together but many people do. Erik (my hubby) really liked it and so did the other guests. The flavor of the pecorino romano cheese with fig and apple really pair well together.

Here is the recipe (inspired by a recipe from Giada's Kitchen, New Italian Favorites). I changed the recipe up a bit and below incorporates the dish as I made it, which is slightly different in the Giada's book.


Pecorino Romano with Apples and Fig Jam

1 jar of store bought fig spread
1 granny smith apple
1 baguette (I used multi-grain), sliced
Olive oil
Pecorino Romano cheese, shaved into thin slices

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle olive oil onto the bread the toast in the oven for about 7 minutes. Quarter the apple and slice off the cores. Cut each quarter into 6 thin slices.

Top each toast slide with fig jam, a slice of apple, and a piece of shaved Pecorino Romano. Transfer toasts to a platter and serve.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Submissions

Do you have a great recipe from a delicious meal to share? A great party with inspirational decor? A recent wedding or bridal shower? Please send 10-15 photos with a brief description to eatdrinkpretty@gmail.com. I accept submissions from vendors.

Please check out real weddings features for examples of submissions.

Thanks and I look forward to your submissions!

Contact me

I would love to hear from you! Please send email to eatdrinkpretty@gmail.com with any questions, comments, post requests, even criticism. I continuously strive to improve this blog and your feedback helps me do that.

Thank you!

Advertise

Thank you for your interest in advertising on Eat Drink Pretty.

Eat Drink Pretty was founded in April 2009 and has been featured in Fresh Home magazineStyle Me Pretty, Hostess Blog, The Party Dress, The Kitchn, Better Homes and Gardens e-newsletters, MSN's Delish, and many other blogs and websites. 

I gravitate towards native advertising on Eat Drink Pretty and believe the most successful partnerships are with products that integrate seamlessly into entertaining, food and baby/momma content. Brands I have worked with include Diet Pepsi, Alexia Foods, Reddi Whip, Smirnoff and Sierra Mist.

Please see below links with examples of sponsored posts.

Alexia Foods Ambassador Program including a fall dinner party and a spring dinner party 
The ultimate summer hoe down with Reddi Whip Hoe down 
Smirnoff Sorbet Light brunch with friends 
A Diet Pepsi spring love list
Entertaining tips for Diet Pepsi 
Cocktail recipe development for Sierra Mist 

For rates and more information please email eatdrinkpretty{at}gmail{dot}com.

About Eat Drink Pretty

{Photo credit: Gruman Photography}

I'm Jenna, the writer/creator behind Eat Drink Pretty.  I live in Minnesota with my awesome husband Erik, beautiful and sweet daughter Juliet and crazy kitty Kody.  By day, I work in advertising.

Eat Drink Pretty started as a lifestyle blog focused on cooking, baking and entertaining/party planning.  You will find a ton of recipes and lots of fun and inspirational real parties.

When my baby girl came along, things changed a bit (funny how that happens when you become a parent.)  I wouldn't necessarily say that it's now a mom blog...but some days it sort of is.  You'll see lots of photos of my sweet girl, and snippets of our life, which still fortunately includes quite a bit of cooking and entertaining.

Please enjoy Eat Drink Pretty and don't hesitate to email me with any questions, comments, feedback to eatdrinkpretty@gmail.com.

I am a bit of an Instagram addict and can be found @eatdrinkpretty.  I'm also a pinning fool on Pinterest.  You can also find me on Twitter or "like on Facebook.


Beautiful MN weather = grilling out

I am heading to grill out with good friends this evening. I am making a pecorino romano fig jam and granny smith apple crostini (could that name be any longer)? Anyway, I am drooling just thinking about it. As long as it turns out (is pretty and delicious) I will post the recipe and a photo tomorrow!

Coffee/Cupcake/Bakery Hop

My sister Katie and I are checking out bakeries around the cities. We are trying to do one every couple weeks. Originally we wanted to taste and see yummy/pretty cupcakes but our plan has emerged a bit to include lattes (for me), lemon bars (for Katie) and quiche (for both, it is delicious). So far we have been to Cupcake in Minneapolis and Black Sheep Cafe in South Saint Paul.

These photos are from our outing to Cupcake. Adorable cupcakes, great coffee and delicious quiche.


I love Black Sheep Cafe because it is located in the city I live in (South Saint Paul) and it is a little gem of a place. They do latte/cappucino art, which is so lovely, and the drinks are delicious. We both got quiche and it was only $3.50 a slice and it was really light and tasty.
Next stop, Dorothy Ann Bakery in Woodbury. I almost got my wedding cake from there but opted for Queen of Cakes in Edina instead. My cake was awesome and delicious (red velvet, carrot and white with raspberry mousse).

Here is a pic of my lovely wedding cake.

One of the best party dips ever (seriously)

I'm not sure where this recipe is from but I first tried it when my brother and sister-in-law brought this dip to a get together at my parent's house. I probably ate 2 pounds of it. I know that sounds gross, but the dip is freaking delicious. Oh, and it is not healthy at all so if you are on Weight Watchers or any sort of diet just skip this post!

If you make this dip I swear you will be the hit of the party. It is one of those tried and true recipes.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

1 jar Marie's Lite Chunky Bleu Cheese dressing (this is in the cold salad section of the grocery store, not the condiments aisle)
1 8oz bag of Monterey Jack shredded cheese
3/4 cup Frank's Buffalo Sauce
1 package/block of lite cream cheese cut up into small cubes
1 package of Louis Rich pre-cooked chicken breast strips, cut up into small pieces or a rotisserie chicken cut up into small pieces

Combine all ingredients into a baking pan and bake for 30-45 on 375 degrees. Or combine all ingredients in a crock pot and simmer until everything is melted. Serve with tortilla chips and/or celery sticks.

A little obsessed about food, pretty food.

Welcome to my blog. I admit that I am an amateur blogger...but I had a thought the other day to start a blog and this is why. I LOVE to entertain/host, try new recipes, cook delicious food and drink pretty and fabulous cocktails. I like wine, too. A lot. Whenever I have a party or try a new recipe or bring a dish to a get-together, people always ask for the recipe. I tend to talk (obsess?) about the food I made or how pretty and tasty the cocktails were, so I thought I'd start a blog to share recipes and talk about food.

Oh, and I also recently got married and was quite obsessed (and still am) with all things wedding related, but specifically food trends and how they can influence what you serve on your big day.

The first recipe I'm posting is a lovely hot crab dip I made for a BBQ last Saturday. The recipe is from Martha Stewart's Hors D'Oeurvres Handbook (given to me as a bridal shower gift my Maid of Honor, Kristin). This recipe got tons of compliments and was delicious. You can really taste the freshly squeezed lemon juice, which pairs well with crab (duh). Lump crab is pretty spendy so I did half lump crap and half crab claw meat. I also asked one of my foodie colleagues what you could substibute lump crap meat with if you are on a budget and she suggested shrimp.

Hot Crab Dip
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium shallots, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustartd
3/4 cup half and half
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces
4 ounces sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated (to yield 1 1/4 cups)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teasonpoons Worcestershire sauce
10 ounces lump crabmeat, picked over for cartilage
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 2 slices bread, crusts removed, put into food processor to form crumbs
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with the rack in the center. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of water and simmer for 30 seconds. Stir in the cayenne, Old Bay, and dry mustard until well combined. Pour the half-and-half into the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Slowly whisk in the cream cheese, a few pieces at a time. When the cream cheese is fully incorporated, whisk in the Cheddar cheese a bit at a time. Stir the mixture for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the lemon juice and Worcestershire and stir to combine. Ad the crabmeat and half of the parsley and stir. Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof baking dish and sprinkle with the bread pieces. Dot the top of the bread pieces with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle with the paprika. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until the bread pieces are golden and the dip is hot. Garnish with the remaining parsley and serve with bread or pita chips.