Monday, October 31, 2011

A food-filled football party

Our friends Libby and Biffer hosted a football party yesterday that was filled with lots of close friends, cute babies/children dressed in Vikes gear and delicious food.  As Erik and I walked up to their home Biffer appeared in the window, dressed ready to cheer on the Vikes. 
Libby had an amazing menu planned including these peanut butter cup cookies and of course chips and queso.  I hung out at the food table quite a bit at the party. 

Slaw to top the dijon chicken sliders, recipe for those below. 
The menu

Chips and queso/salsa
Veggies and hummus
Cheesy corn with panko bread crumbs
Pulled pork sandwiches
Dijon BBQ chicken sliders
Grilled red potato salad with bacon-blue cheese vinaigrette
Peanut butter cup cookies
Pumpkin bars


Our friends have some seriously cute kids, wouldn't you agree????
It was a fun day and my honey was happy because the Vikes actually won a game. Yay Vikes!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Desserts everyday

{Photo credits: Martha Stewart}

I've discovered that it is possible to eat dessert every single day of your life. Well, my life anyway...over the past two weeks. Brownies, pumpkin bars, cake with buttercream. There has been way too much dessert milling around my ad agency and dammit it is just so hard to say no.

How was I ever uninterested in sweets pre-pregnancy? I can't even believe it now. I love chocolate, any kind of candy, cookies. I could eat sweets every second of the day.

Eek. This is a problem.

PS. How amazing does that triple chocolate cheesecake and boston cream pie look?  I'll take a slice of each.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Soup dinner party

Last Friday Erik and I had some good friends over for a soup dinner party.  Each couple brought over a homemade crockpot full of soup to share, plus we had some appetizers and drinks, of course.

Appetizers included a carmelized onion tart, veggies and hummus and crackers and cheese.

We had wine, beer and pomegrante pear martinis. 




The three soups included a butternut squash bisque, a roasted chicken and wild rice soup and chili (made with tomatoes fresh from the garden).  All were delicious. 
For dessert I served pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting.  We had no shortage of food.

After dinner the guys got a bonfire going and sat outside enjoying some beers. The gals thought it was a bit chilly ourside so we hung out indoors and chatted for a couple hours. 

It was the perfect, fun, cozy fall evening. 

Starbucks giveaway winner!

Thanks to everyone for participating in the Starbucks giveaway. Based on your comments I can see that you are all just as obsessed with coffee as I am.

The winner is Kristen who said:

"Salted Carmel Mocha, and love to pair it with any type of muffin that has some good streusel topping. Because I'm pregnant I try not to indulge too often but when I get to have a coffee drink it's pretty much heaven to me!!"

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Randy's pizza challenge

Last Saturday my younger brother Joel, brother in-law Drew, friends Biffer and Dan participated in the Randy's Premiere Pizza Challenge. Doing this was something Drew's always had on his bucket list and he's been looking forward to it all year.  He recruited a few guys he had high hopes for and the rest of the story is history.

Note, my hubs Erik did not participate because he knew he wouldn't be a very good contestant.
My brother in-law, Drew and younger brother Joel.  They were excited and ready to take on the challenge. 
The four guys had to eat a 30" pizza in 30 minutes.  Doesn't sound too challenging, does it?
When the pizza came out of the oven it looked HUGE. And smelled awesome. 
The guys later admitted that jalepenos were not the best choice as one of the toppings.Ready. Set. Go! The guys started off with a steady, strong pace.  15 minutes in we all thought they for sure had it in the bag.
We were wrong.  With about 7 minutes to go all the guys started to slow down. And they they basically sort of just...stopped.  As in they each held a piece of pizza in their hand but were unable to bring it to their mouth.  Biffer had a gag reflex about 6 times.  EW. 

They threw in the towel with about 3 minutes to go.  FAIL.  My whole family was there to watch and my mom lovingly called the guys a bunch of losers when the 30 minutes were up.


They boys were disappointed, as you can see pictured above.  They really did give it their all though. 

Good try guys.  Maybe give it a shot again next year???

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin bars and a Starbucks giveaway

Every fall I look forward to many things, but at the top of my list is Starbucks fall flavors and any type of pumpkin pastry or dessert. So when Starbucks approached me to do a giveaway I was thrilled and knew my readers would be, too.

Last weekend I made my mom's pumpkin bars and paired them with a hot mug of Starbucks Breakfast Blend coffee. These pumpkin bars are the best, the recipe is written on a worn, old recipe card dating back to the early 80's. Those recipes of my mom's are always the best kind.



The Starbucks giveaway includes four flavors (12 oz bags); Italian, Breakfast, French and House. It also includes 2 boxes of VIA instant coffee (now shown) and a Starbucks mug (value approximately $75). 

Want to win?  Here's how to enter:

- Comment on this post and let me know what your favorite Starbucks drink is during the fall and what you love to pair it with (e.g. the Pumpkin Spice Latte with a big chocolate chip cookie).  Or maybe you live in Florida and can still drink iced coffee.  I don't even use the word "iced" anything until the summer months are upon us in MN again. 

- For a second chance to win, "like" Eat Drink Pretty on Facebook.

- Make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry you make.

- US residents eligible only, the giveaway will close on Wednesday, October 26 at 11:59pm CT. The winner will be announced Thursday.

Don't forget to check out this delicious pumpkin bar recipe.  Yes, that does say 1 cup of oil.  It's a lot of oil....but also makes a ton of bars that are super moist and amazing.  These received a ton of compliments and I would make them again.  And again. And again.

Pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting

Ingredients

Bars
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream cheese frosting
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 stick of butter, at room temperature
4 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla

Prepation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray or grease a cookie sheet.

Combine all the ingredients for the bars and blend well with a hand mixer.  Pour into the cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool.

Combine all the ingredients for the frosting and spread onto the bars.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Baby news - it's a........

On Monday Erik and I had an ultrasound where we learned that our baby is healthy and growing. We also learned the sex!  We decided we definitely wanted to know ahead of time if our baby is a boy or girl but we wanted to make it more special than hearing the news in a stark ultrasound room with the technician. So we had him write boy or girl in an envelope and we opened it at lunch that same day.

My 19 week bump.  The pounds on the scale are growing at a scary rate.

Erik and I went to Cafe Ena for lunch which is the same restaurant where we got engaged 4 years ago.  It's always been a special place for us where we've had amazing dates...and now it holds an even more special meaning.

We ordered our lunch and then tore into the envelope.  Our baby is a GIRL!
Oh my god...this moment...I'll never forget it. 

Erik took a video while I opened the envelope. We were certain the baby was a boy because of some comments the ultrasound tech made.  We were wrong!



Then we ate! Veggie empanadas, a quesillo sandwich and a cubano sandwich.  All delicious.  Anything would have tasted good to me at that point.  I don't think I stopped smiling all lunch. 


Later that evening we brought a gender reveal cake over to my parent's house where my whole family learned that our baby is a girl by cutting into the cake with pink frosting. 
The cake was yummy. 
Happy parents-to-be.  To a little girl.  Oh. Wow. 

Happiness. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quick update

When the blog is quiet it usually means I am anything but. It's been a busy week and it's only Wednesday! But for once...it isn't from work but just life in general. And it's all very good.

I didn't get home until 11:30pm last night because I attended dinner and a show (La Cage Aux Folles, funny and fabulous) with colleagues and after that there was no time for blogging.

On Monday, Erik and I found out the sex of our baby. It was the best day ever, filled with such an incredible surprise that we later shared with my family. And I'll share the news with you in a full post all about it tomorrow!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Roasted beets and goat cheese

Every Thursday last summer I would set aside time during my lunch hour to go to the Mpls Farmers' Market.  I would take a $20 out in cash and wouldn't leave until the money was gone and my arms were sore from carrying a heavy load.

Well...this summer/fall I am sad to say that I barely made it out to the farmers' market at all and didn't buy much of anything all season. It was a product of being really tired during my first trimester and not feeling like cooking anything as well as being super busy at work and not being able to make time to get outside.  Lame.

The other week Erik said, "honey, remember when you used to always make roasted beets with goat cheese?"...I always included a huge bunch of beets in my weekly load of produce. So even though the beets were looking a little small at the market last week, I made sure to buy some and make Erik roasted beets with goat cheese yesterday.

He loves this dish and so do I. It's simple, so good for you....and if you've never tried this pairing do so immediately. Goat cheese and beets were made for each other.

You can easily turn this side into a salad  (add greens and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette and you're set).

Roasted beets with goat cheese

Ingredients

7-8 medium size beets, scrubbed and tops cut off
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3rd cup crumbled goat cheese
Salt
Pepper

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place beets on top of a baking sheet lined with foil. Rub the beets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with another layer of foil.

Bake for about an hour, checking tenderness of beets after 45 minutes. They are done when they are fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside to allow them to cool.

When beets are cool, peel them (using your hands, they should peel fairly easily). Cut into quarters and divide among 4 bowls, top with crumbled goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A fall, soup dinner party

{Photo credits: Martha Stewart}

I love hosting seasonal-inspired dinner parties.  In a couple weeks Erik and I are having a fall, soup dinner party but this time we are doing it potluck style.  I invited a few friends over and everyone is bringing a homemade (or semi-homemade) soup.  I'll going to buy mini bowls/cups and we'll have a soup sampler. I haven't decided what soup I'll be making yet but I'm thinking either a white bean chicken chili or a butternut squash/pumpkin soup. 

I also plan to serve a fall cocktail, a caramelized onion tart as an appetizer and homemade bread for lapping up the soup. I think it'll be a filling, fun and cozy evening.  Can't wait!

Recipes/photos shown above:

Pear rosemary cocktail
Caramelized onion and gorgonzola quiche
Pureed butternut squash soup

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin ice cream

{Photo credit: Williams Sonoma}

My friend Kristin and I went for a walk around a lake near her house and we made a pit stop at an ice cream shop. I noticed pumpkin ice cream so I asked for a taste. Um...oh my god. It was the best thing ever. I got a cup of it. So good. And so perfect for a warm, fall evening. 

I found this recipe from Williams Sonoma....for the ambitious only (I've never made homemade ice cream).  Or you could make your way to Grand Ole Creamery in Minneapolis and try their pumpkin ice cream.  You will be so happy you did.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Real party: owl/woodland themed first birthday

Abigail submitted this awesome owl/woodland themed dessert table she designed for her daughter Reagan's first birthday party.  I love that she incorporated a theme from her daughter's favorite animal.  I'm also a big fan of the neutral color palette.  The treats looks pretty tasty, too!

Details as told by Abigail:

We had a group of friends over to celebrate and in addition to the standard picnic fare for our dinner, we had a dessert table. I made some little fondant-covered owls from a new recipe: oreo “treats” in lieu of rice krispie treats—from a recipe I found on Pinterest. I also made our Grammie’s specialty: pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese filling and molasses sugar cookies. We had white chocolate-dipped “branches” {pretzels}, and a peanut butter chocolate “cheese” ball with Biscoff cookies. I also made cookie dough truffle “nests” from this recipe, and we had “owl chow” using the traditional Chex Muddy Buddies recipe. I complimented the rest of the table with assorted candies (white chocolates, pillow mints, and coconut truffles) and Izze blackberry sodas. Our pièce de résistance was my first attempt at making marshmallow fondant which I made for the five-layer ombré pink cake, complete with the curly “R” for my little Rae of sunshine.

Rae’s best trick right now is “what the owl says”; she’ll respond “whoo whoo” and upon every sight of an owl, she will repeat the sound. Of course, I couldn’t do anything but celebrate her favorite animal! My husband cut the wooden platforms from a tree that fell from Hurricane Irene in our yard, and it was perfect for my theme. The chartreuse cookie jar is an old Urban Outfitters gift that is a family favorite. Another of my favorite details is the year of pictures on the high shelf over the dessert table. I took pictures from 10 of the months of Rae’s life and arranged them so everyone could see the amazing growth that’s taken place in our daughter in a year.

Rae’s other favorite thing is definitely balloons. I tied a 36” pink balloon to our mailbox to welcome guests, and we hung 100+ balloons upside down in our cathedral ceiling to make a dramatic balloon cascade (without helium!). We’ve enjoyed the balloons for days, and Rae is ecstatic to see them every time she is in the room.















The adorable, little birthday girl.

Thanks so much to Abigal for sending this sweet party my way.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dutch apple tarts

After one of the most stressful work weeks I've ever had, I couldn't have asked for a better weekend. The weather was perfection, fall leaves were at their peak colors, we had good family time and tons of great food. I also baked a dutch apple tart on Sunday and was proud of myself for getting back into the kitchen. 

Erik's mom drove down from North Dakota to stay with us for the weekend. We ate at great restaurants, went shopping and visited a vineyard and apple orchard.

Fall in MN never disappoints. There are beautiful, vibrant leaves and usually a warm day or two. This weekend was in the 80's. It was hot and I loved it.

The winery we went to is in Stillwater, Mn, called St. Croix Vineyard and Aamodt's Apple Farm.



It is past pick-your-own-apple season so we chose apples in bulk.  I got haralsons and honey crisps.  Delicious.  We also walked around the grapes vines, past their harvest but still so pretty.
This vineyard is awesome because you can buy wine by the bottle, cheese and crackers and eat/drink on the patio with live music for entertainment. 
I couldn't resist snapping photos of these adorable baby onesies. 





I had a honeycrisp sunday.  Oh my...so good.  Vanilla ice cream, the sweetest apples and honey.
Erik and his mom, Karen.
Karen and I.
On Sunday Erik and his mom went to a Vikings game and I had a few hours to myself.  I decided to bake a dutch apple tart with the haralson apples from the orchard.  I found a great recipe on My Baking Addiction and got to work.

I used store-bought crust....what can I say?  I haven't put much of anything in the oven with the exception of frozen pizza for the past few months so I need to slowly ease myself back into this.

The tart was delicious.  Super sweet from the oatmeal streusel topping and sugary/butter sauce and warm, fresh apples.  YUM.

Dutch Apple Tart (adapted from My Baking Addiction)

Ingredients

1 package store-bought pie dough (with 2 rolls of dough)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Large Granny Smith (or Haralson) apples – peeled, cored and thinnly sliced

Oatmeal Streusel Topping

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup butter

Caramel sauce (optional)

Preparation

Prepare and prebake pie crust according to package directions.  You can either use a 9 inch tart pan or four, 3-inch tart pans (I used the smaller, 3 inch pans).  After the crust is baked, turn oven temperature to 425 degrees. 

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, cinnamon and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.

Prepare Oatmeal Streusel Topping by combining flour, teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and oats. Mix thoroughly, then cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.

Fill crust with apples. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Top with prepared Oatmeal Streusel Topping.

Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 20-30 minutes, until apples are soft.  I topped my tarts with store-bought caramel sauce. 
 
So quick confession, my tart looks a bit different than the tart on My Baking Addiction.  It's because I screwed up the oatmeal streusel topping (but it still turned out just fine!).  I forgot the step to cut in the butter and realized after I sprinkled the streusel on top.  So I remedied it by thinly slicing cold butter and laying it on top of the streusel.  Same taste, different texture.  Like I said...I'm easing (slowly) back into the kitchen!