Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I love this Crisp Autumn Countryside inspiration board created by Snippet and Ink.  It is the perfect board to wish you all a happy and safe Halloween. 

My husband and I will be hanging out with good friends this weekend.  I am roasting a sage and parmesan turkey for a dinner party on Saturday along with pumpkin soup, garlic mashed potatoes, lots of wine and some type of pumpkin dessert that is still TBD.  The weather is supposed to be in the high fifties so we'll probably sit around a bonfire.  It will be the perfect way to end the month of October.

What are your weekend plans? Are you dressing up in a funky costume or chilling at home with red wine and fondue?  Leave a comment and share!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Real party: a lovely ice cream parlor birthday

It seems that almost overnight fall has exited Minnesota and winter is creeping in.  Winds were howling and temps were in the 30's when I left the house this morning.  Maybe that's why I am so drawn to this ice cream parlor party, sent by Suzanna of Mon Tresor...it has me dreaming about the summer. 

Would you like to hear a fun fact about Eat Drink Pretty?  A bunch of my readers are from Australia, including Suzanna, who submitted this fabulous party.  I am continually amazed at the awesome parties that get submitted from my Australian readers.
Suzanna designed this party for her son Maddox's 3rd birthday party, the theme was an ice cream parlor with a soft color palette featuring neopolitan ice cream colors (vanilla, strawberry and chocolate) with a dash of pale blue.
Highlights of this party include a gorgeous dessert table with a ribbon wall and a build your own ice cream bar.

As told by Suzanna:

"Features of the dessert table include Rosanna Inc cake stands, apothecary glass jars featuring salt water taffy, colour coordinated m&m's (which i had to import from the USA!), cake bunting by the glorious Kikilaru, ice cream sundae cookies made by  Hello Naomi. Individually wrapped chocolates and kraft brown boxes for the party treats. Cake pops made by myself and inspired by Bakerella, white retro milkshake straws in mini glass bottles and I attached flags made from printed paper to tie in with the colour palette. The blue ruffled /tiered tablecloth was styled on the dessert table and I used coloured ribbons to create the  backdrop.

The party theme was chosen because of my son's love for ice cream! It is his favourite sweet treat so thought it would be fitting to style my first dessert table along this theme. The guests were able to create their own ice cream sundae or ice cream on a cone, using a range of different toppings and flavours. The ice cream table featuring ruffled chocolate table cloth had a vintage and shabby chic feel, with a white shelf where I placed the liquid toppings in glass bottles wrapped with twine and a  lace trimming. A mini chalkboard was used and the icecream was placed in white pails, complete with ice cream scoops adorned with pale blue ribbon."
























Chocolate bar wrappers by Candy Soirees.

Thanks so much to Suzanna for sending this party my way.  Be sure to check out her shop, Mon Tresor, which specializes in handmade accessories for children and party goods.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A heartfelt thank you

This post is a bit overdue...it is a thank you post.  I've been meaning to say a simple thank you for quite a while and though now I am writing the words, I know I won't be able to fully convey the appreciation I feel to each and everyone of you for visiting Eat Drink Pretty. 

Thank you for your sweet comments that make my day. 

Thank you for following Eat Drink Pretty on Twitter and for all your mentions and retweets. 

Thank you for "liking" my Facebook page.  

Thank you for your sweet emails that inspire me and this blog everyday.

Thank you for your amazing submissions of kid's parties, bridal showers, recipes, weddings, etc.

Thank you to all the wonderful companies that have hosted giveaways. 

Thank you to Tiny Prints for being Eat Drink Pretty's very first sponsor.

Thank you to my honey for putting up with me blogging every evening.

and finally...

Thank you to my sister for being my hugest supporter and fan.

I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin whoopie pies

My sister-in-law Nikki of Lovely Scribbles and my brother made these adorable pumpkin whoopie pies for my mom's birthday a couple weekends ago. They were moist, full of delicious pumpkin flavor...and I won't even get started on the cream cheese frosting. Nikki is super crafty and creative, she made these adorable little flags to decorate the whoopie pies.

Wouldn't these be perfect for your upcoming Halloween parties or fall gatherings?  If you aren't a huge fan of pumpkin flavor check out the chocolate whoopie pies I recently made.
Pumpkin whoopie pies with maple cream cheese frosting (recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

Ingredients

For the Whoopie Pies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Maple-Cream Cheese Filling:
3 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the granulated sugar, the dark brown sugar, and the oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.

4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.

5. Use a small cookie scoop or a large spoon to drop a rounded, heaping tablespoon of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.

6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, making sure that the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. The cookies should be firm when touched. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.

7. To make the filling, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth with no visible lumps, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, then add the maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth.

8. To assemble the whoopie pies: Turn half of the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe or spoon the filling (about a tablespoon) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving.

Thanks to Nikki of Lovely Scribbles for letting me share these delicious treats!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A fall-inspired dinner party

My friends Maija, Brooke and I got together for a dinner party on Saturday night. We created a menu inspired by fall, comfort food. The three of us were in need of a fun girl's night with plenty of wine and good conversation. There was no shortage of any of the above. Thanks for a great night ladies!

Menu

Apple cider punch (pictured above)
Carmelized onion tart
Pumpkin soup with sage and gruyere croutons
Macaroni and cheese with butternut squash

The tart was easy and delicious.  Puff pastry is such an awesome item to always have on-hand.  I've used it a lot lately for parties and fast meals. 

Caramelized onion tart (recipe adapted from Pepperidge Farm)

Ingredients

1 sheet puff pastry
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese OR bag Swiss cheese (6 ounces)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preparation

Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 minutes or until it's easy to handle. Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with vegetable cooking spray.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 15 minutes or until golden, stirring often. Season to taste and let cool.

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 12-inch square. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the edges of the square with water. Fold over the edges 1/2 inch on all sides, pressing firmly with a fork to form a rim. Prick the pastry thoroughly with a fork.

Spread the onion mixture over the pastry crust. Top with the Gruyère and Parmesan cheeses and sprinkle with the chives.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack. Cut into approximately 3 x 2-inch rectangles. Serve warm.

This pumpkin soup was my favorite part of the meal.  It is savory and velvety smooth.  I purchased the sugar/pie pumpkin at the farmer's market.  Peeling and dicing pumpkins is a bit of a process but so worth it.  I used one medium sized pumpkin to get 6 cups.

Pumpkin soup with sage and gruyere croutons (recipe adapted from Fine Cooking)

Ingredients

2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
6 cups 1-inch-diced peeled, seeded pumpkin
2 medium cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 medium fresh sage leaves
4 to 6 cups lower-salt chicken broth
2-1/4 cups packed grated Gruyère
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 slices rustic bread (each about 6x2 inches and 1/2 inch thick)
1 tsp. minced fresh sage

Preparation

Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 4- to 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin and garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add the wine and the sage leaves and cook, stirring, until the wine evaporates, about 5 minutes. Stir in 4 cups of broth, cover, and simmer, adjusting the heat as needed, until the pumpkin is very tender, about 25 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup of the Gruyère and using a handheld or standard blender, purée the soup (in batches, if necessary). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Return to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly and adding more broth as necessary to achieve a thin soup with the consistency of heavy cream.

Position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high. Arrange the bread on a baking sheet. Toast under the broiler, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Sprinkle the croutons with the remaining 2 cups cheese and the minced sage and season with pepper. Broil until the cheese melts and is bubbly, about 2 minutes. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and serve with the croutons.

A gorgeous bouquet made of kale from the St. Paul farmers' market
This mac and cheese was good, but I wouldn't say it was great.  Maybe by this time I was too full to really enjoy it but the dish wasn't quite as creamy and cheesy as I would like.  If I made it again I may substitute some of the milk for heavy cream, reduce the amount of noodles and add a bit more cheese.

Macaroni and cheese with butternut squash (recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients

1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound) , peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 cup homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock, skimmed of fat
1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 ounce)
2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon olive oil
Olive-oil cooking spray
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine squash, stock, and milk in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Mash contents of saucepan; stir in nutmeg, cayenne, and salt, and season with black pepper. Stir to combine.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles; cook until al dente according to package instructions, about 8 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl; stir in squash mixture, cheddar, ricotta, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.

Lightly coat a 9-inch square baking dish (4 inches deep) with cooking spray. Transfer noodle mixture to dish. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and oil; sprinkle evenly over noodle mixture.

Cover with foil, and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, and continue baking until lightly browned and crisp on top, 30 to 40 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Did you make anything delicious this weekend?  I'd love to hear about it, comment and share!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ginger shrimp potstickers with spicy peanut dipping sauce

Sometimes a birthday is just another day. And sometimes birthdays are really special. That was the case for my mom's birthday last weekend. My immediate family got together as we always do; casually, we cook my mom's favorite meal (mock chow mein, which is sort of like a casserole) and sit around the kitchen table.

This celebration was a little different though...my entire family is in this really happy state-of-mind. We kept toasting to all the things to be thankful for and celebrate; my promotion at work, my sister's recent wedding, my younger brother's raise. It just went on and on. Then my dad stood up and gave a speech...yes, the kind you would hear at a wedding or anniversary party. So the nine of us just sort of looked at each other like "what the hell is he going to say"?

Well, I won't remember word for word, but he basically told my mom she was the best thing that ever happened to him and how much he appreciates her for many reasons but especially because she gave up working outside of the home to raise his children and how we all turned out to be happy, respectful, successful adults and how proud he is of our family.  Ok, he said it much more eloquently than that.  But you get the idea.  And by the end of it my mom was crying, I was crying, even my sister was crying (who is not really a cryer, by the way).

So like I said, it was a special day.  And it made me realize how amazing my family is and how lucky I am.  

My mom loves shrimp and ginger so when I found this recipe for ginger shrimp potstickers it sounded perfect for her birthday celebration.  These are fairly easy to make, it takes a few steps to get there, but the end result is totally worth it.  Don't forget about the dipping sauce, it's the best part.

Ginger Shrimp Potstickers with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce (recipe adapted from Cooking Light)

Ingredients

3/4 cup shredded green cabbage (I used purple)
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup matchstick-cut carrots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound cooked peeled small shrimp
Dash of hot sauce
24 wonton wrappers
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
1 cup water, divided

Sauce:

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Preparation

1. To prepare pot stickers, combine first 10 ingredients in a food processor; pulse 4 times or until coarsely chopped. Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time (cover remaining wrappers with a damp towel to prevent drying), spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons shrimp mixture into center of each wrapper. Moisten edges of dough with water; bring 2 opposite corners to center, pinching points to seal. Bring remaining 2 corners to center, pinching points to seal. Pinch 4 edges together to seal. Place pot stickers on a large baking sheet sprinkled with cornstarch.

2. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 12 pot stickers to pan; cook 2 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Slowly add 1/2 cup water to pan; cover and cook 4 minutes. Uncover and cook 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil, 12 pot stickers, and 1/2 cup water.

3. To prepare sauce, combine 1/4 cup water and next 5 ingredients (through sugar) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Serve sauce with pot stickers. Garnish with chopped green onions, if desired.

Thank you so much for stopping by Eat Drink Pretty on your busy Friday.  I hope you have an amazing weekend!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Real party: a sweet pink 1st birthday

Today's sweet, pink birthday party was sent to me by Katena of Taylor Made Baking. She hosted this adorable little soiree for her daughter, Claire's first birthday.

As told by Katena:

"The dessert table goodies were all made by me. The menu consisted of caramel and chocolate cake balls, vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, pink smartie cookies, rocky road, pink smarties, pink mushrooms and marshmallows as well as the birthday cake. The initial sign and table tu-tu were make by me too.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about Claire's 1st Birthday, it was a joy to create this for our beautiful little girl."
This cake is nothing short of incredible!!!  I love the ruffled, textured look.











The cute, happy birthday girl!! Thanks so much to Katena for sharing this party. 

Vendor details:

Sharnel Dollar Designs : tulle pom pom's, round candy jars, party bags, fairy dust, square platters and pink smarties.
Sambellina : party ware and gift tags - Kate was wonderful and posted these directly to me as they were only being shipped to suppliers this week. Thankyou :)
Scissors Paper Rock Designs : invitations, menu labels and party bag labels.
Row's Pottery Shed : custom made cake stand.
Enchanted Belle's : custom cake topper.
My Little Jedi : divine twine and ABC cups.
Stitcheroos : Birthday outfit.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Guest post: Parisian baby shower inspiration by Postcards and Pretties


I am excited to welcome Chris from Postcards and Pretties as a guest blogger today!  Postcards and Pretties is dedicated to providing daily wedding inspiration and the inspiration boards are not to miss!  They are usually seasonally-inspired and always gorgeous.

As told by Chris:

Hi... I'm Chris from Postcards and Pretties and I'm so excited to be a guest on Eat Drink Pretty.

You are probably looking at the board and think..what? Why are there baby details sprinkled in? Well, I wanted to challenge myself and create my first baby shower inspiration board. Who says they are just for weddings?

I envisioned a soft Parisian Market theme in a delicate color palette.  No outdoor market is complete without a scale, fresh flowers and adorable trinkets. Hang vintage house numbers with a ribbon to mark your tables and create charming centerpieces with distressed dresser drawers filled with fragrant blooms. 

And, you can't forget the classic French treats like buttery madeleines and decadent macarons for the dessert buffet. Not a fan of dessert buffets..no problem, package up those yummy treats in a basket lined with a pretty handkerchief and wrap with twine for a delicious guest favor. 

{colors} lilac, mint, blush, cream
{photos} vintage drawer centerpiece {pretty petals} dessert buffet {instyle weddings} carriage {kiss the groom} parisian books {petite michelle louise} flower bundles {this is glamorous} felt baby shoes {martha stewart} table number {brides} madeleine cake {martha stewart weddings} macarons {unknown} vintage scale {madame cupcake}

Thanks so much for these stunning ideas, Chris!  Now I just need a girlfriend to get pregnant with a baby girl so I can execute this exact shower!  These details would also be perfect for a little girl's birthday or a bridal shower.  

Monday, October 18, 2010

Real wedding: Katie and Drew, September 2010

I may be biased but this is, by far, my favorite real wedding post yet.  My sister Katie and her husband got married on September 3rd in an intimate, outdoor ceremony on the banks of the Mississippi River in Hastings, MN.

A lot of people think/assume that my sister-in-law Nikki of Lovely Scribbles and I influenced the look and feel of this wedding, but in reality the vision and everything coming together was 100% my sister.  She wanted to make this wedding her own and she did exactly that.  Every detail was DIY and budget-conscious.  She did an amazing job.

My sister was going for a black and white picnic/chic wedding.   She wanted it to be small and intimate, close family and friends only.  Since Katie and Drew's day I have a special place in my heart for small weddings. There is something so sweet and...I don't know, organic-feeling than larger weddings?

Photo credits to Sarah Elizabeth Photography, unless otherwise noted.
{Photo credit: Eat Drink Pretty}

{Photo credit: Eat Drink Pretty}
Katie was a calm and happy bride the entire day.  I was impressed with how relaxed she was and how much she really just took in the day.  The ceremony was outdoors and unfortunately the weather was not the best.  In Minnesota you never know; it could be 95 in early September or cold and rainy.  Well, we got cold weather but not only that, really harsh winds.  Wind-advisory style winds.  And a very gray, cloudy sky. I'll admit, I was freaking out internally about the weather.  I wanted the day to be perfect for my sister and I wanted her dream of an outdoor ceremony to come true.

But we all know you can't control the weather so we made the best of it and everything ended up being just fine.  It was chilly but we still took tons of outdoor photos and we just succumbed to the wind as it blew my sister's hair all over the place.  The wind had no chance, my sister was one of the most beautiful brides I've ever seen, hair wind-blown and all.



The ceremony and reception venue was at Schaar's Bluff in Hastings, MN.  It sits on top of the Mississippi River with open prairies, fields, woods and flowers.  It is a stunning venue and very unique.

Katie and Drew took photos in the field surrounded by lush greenery.
One of the most special things about this wedding was that Katie wore my wedding dress.  She added the black sash, which I loved.  The white flower in her hair is from Etsy seller Rustic Cowgirl.


Katie and Drew's programs were DIY.  Thinking it was going to be warm on their wedding day, they made fan programs.  The programs were made with a mason jar stamp and a heart cutout.  They were awesome and matched the invitations.
I made this heart garland to use as a prop in photos.
Light, airy baby's breath bouquets made by Nikki of Lovely Scribbles.  Katie bought baby's breath from Sam's Club for $8 per bunch.  These are very easy to make, you simply need baby's breath, floral tape and ribbon.

Nikki also was the day of coordinator and executed the details including the set-up, ceremony and tear down flawlessly.
Katie and Drew kept the wedding party small (that's me on the far left).  Katie's best friend, Dana was the Matron of Honor and her husband Dan was the Best Man.  Drew's brother was the groomsman on the far right.



{Photo credit: Eat Drink Pretty}


Katie and Drew made tons of bunting for their wedding.  One strand hung from the ceremony arch.



It was a bit chilly for lemonade and iced tea...but again, Katie and Drew were assuming their wedding day would be warm.  The drink stand was located near the ceremony.
Katie used mason jars throughout the decor.  Medium-sized jars hung from white ribbon on the ceremony chairs with baby's breath.




A very happy couple.




The cutest little flower girl, Sidney.  She is Dana and Dan's (the Matron of Honor and Best Man) daughter.  She wore a black and white dress with an adorable headband to match.
It's little Sidney's one year birthday today!!!


Katie rented black and white gingham linens from Midway Party Rental.  Centerpieces were large mason jars filled with baby's breath.  The table numbers were in a white frame from Ikea for .99 cents each.
A large chalkboard displayed the menu which was casual picnic food catered by Green Mill.  The meal was delicious.
Guests found their seat with name cards wrapped around mason jars.  The jars were used to drink from and they held a note from the couple that informed the guests of a donation made to the MS Society.
Delicious cupcakes from Rivertown Cakes located in Hastings, MN.  These cupcakes were as tasty as they were and gorgeous.
Katie asked Nikki to paint cake toppers to match her and Drew's outfits.  They are a little mini bride and groom!  So cute.

{Photo credit: Eat Drink Pretty}


Carrot cake cupcakes with a tiny red heart (the little red heart was seen throughout the decor, including the invites and programs).

Nikki did the calligraphy for the placecards and table numbers.
A s'mores table for later in the night (the venue had a bonfire pit).
Katie loved the idea of an interactive photo wall so Drew had his dad create one.  I know photobooths/walls with mustache sticks may seem overdone but guests go crazy for it.  Everyone had so much fun taking photos in this all night.
The clouds cleared up later in the evening and the sky was a lovely blue.  Isn't the venue gorgeous?
My sister and I.  I absolutely love this picture of us.
Katie changed into a short, white dress after the ceremony.
S'more time!
A perfect couple had a perfect wedding, so happy for them.  Congrats to Katie and Drew!!!