Before Friday I had never eaten Pho. It is one of Siobhan’s favorites so on her second to last day in MN she picked me up at the office and we headed to Eat Street (aka Nicollet in Minneapolis). We went to Pho Hoa (I have no idea how to pronounce that), and had amazing Pho. Such awesome flavor, I kept eating and eating until I was full as hell. I blame the rice noodles.

So that was my Pho adventure, very yummy and it is a budget conscious meal (about $7) and apparently healthy as well.


When I was planning my wedding, inspiration boards were all the rage. An inspiration board is a cumulation of photos you gather that elicit the feeling/look you want to achieve for your day. They help guide decisions and are helpful in showing to vendors (like florists, etc) so that they understand your vision. It is really all about maintaining a vision.

Below is the inspiration board I put together during wedding planning and the second is a collage of photos from my wedding. My vision was an all-white winter wedding with lots of branches, candles, romance and elegance.

Photo credit: Sewell Photography (if you are interested in seeing more photos from my wedding, check out my photog’s blog)

The whole point of this is, why not extend the idea of inspiration boards for weddings into everyday entertaining/hosting? It can be done to guide your vision of your next dinner party, bridal shower, baby shower, cocktail party, etc. And plus, it’s just plain fun (if you are a geek like me) and really doesn’t take that long to do.

For example, I am planning a tea get-together (I’m sorry but I can’t bring myself to say tea party) with the women in my family within the next month so I put together an inspiration board to represent how I want the look/feel of that party to be. As you can see, I am going for a garden-feel with fresh flowers, pastels (maybe in the linens?), and of course pretty little sandwiches and mini desserts.

Send me your inspiration boards for your next party and I will post them! Email me at (I can also send you instructions on how to build one, it is super easy).


I celebrated my first ever Cinco de Mayo with good friends Siobhan, Tom and Matt. We made an amazing dinner. I played the role of sous chef and Siobhan was the executive chef. The guys provided great company.

The (freaking fabulous) menu:

Homemade margaritas (translation, I squeezed juice out of 12 limes, Siobhan made symple syrup and zested lime for a lime-salted rim). They were amazing!
Tomatillo salsa (click here for the recipe,
Chicken enchiladas verdes (with shredded chicken, tomatilla salsa and queso fresco)
Pinto beans
Corona Light

I will post recipes for the tomatilla salsa (salsa verde) and chicken enchiladas verdes soon. By the way, I just love the word tomatillo, say it three times out loud and you’ll love it, too.


With summer approaching, I just had to post these adorable flip flop cupcakes by Cocoa and Fig (a catering company located in Shakopee). Their blog is listed under my favorite blogs. They are all about pretty food that tastes delicious. If I was doing my wedding all over again, I would definitely have them design a dessert buffet.

1 comment
Yup, you guessed it, a Kentucky Derby party! What better way to watch those gorgeous horses than with good friends, a sunny day and lots of great food and drinks.

Besides the well-known Mint Julep, I searched and searched for Kentucky Derby-type recipes and didn’t have much luck finding anything I wanted to make. So I went with a “sure to please” appetizer, a Spinach and Artichoke dip, from one of my favorite epicurean magazines, Cooking Light. Photo credit: Cooking Light

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened
1/2 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
1 (13.5-ounce) package baked tortilla chips (about 16 cups)

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, sour cream, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and next 6 ingredients (through spinach) in a large bowl; stir until well blended. Spoon mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Serve with tortilla chips.

Since I mentioned the hat and polka dot dress, here are a couple (not so great) pics from the party. Erik (my husband) went all out with his outfit and won “best dressed for the Derby” at the party. He is so cute (minus the mustache, he thought it was a nice touch, I wholeheartedly disagree).


So the pretty cocktail I had such high expectations for was not good. Repeat…not good!! My two girlfriends (Kristin and Libby) agreed. The drink was way too sweet, too lavender-y and almost tasted like body oils or lotion. The lavender was overpowering.

In Rachel Ray’s defense, I changed up the recipe a bit and switched gin for vodka, so the drink may be much better in its intended state. But I wouldn’t even recommend trying it.
We saved most of the Prosecco and drank it with strawberries instead. Much better!

Our meal was delicious. Our menu consisted of:

Roasted red pepper hummus
Chipotle gouda
Multi-grain crackers
Caprese skewers (these are very simple, taste delicious and present beautifully. All you need is grape tomatoes, fresh mozarella, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, black pepper and toothpicks).
Butternut squash wild rice salad
Avocado, tomato, red pepper, provolone paninis
Assorted (lovely) cupcakes

My god we are huge pigs. It was fab though. Love our dinner parties! Kristin brought these lovely tulips over in honor of May Day, she is a sweetie!