Need Ideas for a Hostess Gift?

I have something to share with you. 

It’s that time of year when we get invited to a dinner party or a holiday event and I think to myself, what can I bring for the hostess?  Yes, a bottle of wine is usually the safe gift but here are a few more creative options that you can easily put together at home after a quick shopping trip.

For the Hostess who loves to sit with a great book:hotcocoa

For the Hostess who loves to bake with the family:cookiecutters

For the Hostess who loves the spa:snooziesfootcream

For the hostess who loves cooking:pancakemixspatula

Here are a few other ideas I found on Pinterest:

  • A S’Mores kit – chocolate bars, graham crackers, marshmallows
  • A pitcher with lemons, sugar, a wooden spoon and a recipe with a tag that says “Just Add Water
  • Giving plate – add their name and pass it to the next family
  • Waffle cones, toppings and a scooper with a tag that says “Just Add Ice Cream

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My Reliable Chef

I have something to share with you.

I recently started using both Facebook and Pinterest.  I had no idea that Pinterest had so many great recipes.  If you read my other posts, you know I love food and enjoy cooking. One of my must-haves:  a slow cooker.  I registered for one for my wedding many years back and it has not let me down.

My first Pinterest find:  Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken.

With less than 10 ingredients, you just slice the onion, measure the liquids, layer in the food, turn on the slow cooker and leave for work.  No spending my day deciding what to make when I get home, no last minute race to the food store before I pick up at school, no having to remember whether I took something out of the freezer.  The beauty of the slow cooker is I add a bunch of stuff to it in the morning and at the end of the day, you have a delicious meal.  Plus, with this recipe, you can serve it over rice, with veggies, or if in a rush, in a flour tortilla like we did!

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This will definitely be added to the rotation!  So I ask you….what is your favorite slow cooker recipe?  Add your favorites to the comments below!

Mission Impossible? Rainbow Dinner

I have something to share with you.

I wanted to find a way for my daughter to try more foods.  Dinner had to be more fun.  The no-thank you bite worked well for a while but now at five, she announced she had already tried everything.  So, I offered the following to my five year old daughter.

Every Monday night, we will do Rainbow Dinner. She gets to pick three colors from the rainbow and I have to make a dinner that has those colors. The catch – she must eat everything. No excuses.

For the first dinner, I should have known that she would choose the three hardest colors. Green, NO. Red, NO. Yellow, NO.  My daughter chose pink, purple and blue.  So now I am thinking, I am crazy.  This is going to take more time and effort than I thought.  Great job Mom – you really thought this one through.  

Create a dinner with pink, purple and blue – Hmm. Well, pink was not too hard. Beets(more dark pink than red), pink lemonade for a drink(is that cheating?), a cream sauce made from marinara(I think that is more orange). Shrimp – scratch that, she doesn’t like shrimp. Maybe not so easy. Purple – got it. Eggplant, or even better, purple cauliflower. She has never tried that before.  Note to self – I must make a trip to Whole Foods or Central Market for that one. Blue – what vegetable is blue? What meat is blue? What fish is blue? Blueberries – but how do I make that part of dinner? Fruit salad?

Thank you to Pinterest for allowing me to search rainbow foods, rainbow dinner, rainbow recipes.  And off to the food store I went.

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Fresh pasta-check.  Food coloring – check.  Purple cauliflower – check.  Chicken for her – check.  Shrimp for me and the husband – check. (Must have some meat or fish, right?) Sauce-check.  Some brilliant person figured out that you can use food coloring on PASTA.  It looks really cool but I will admit, my fingers are still a shade of purple from the pink and blue combining on my hands.  It was a VERY time consuming dinner to have to steam the cauliflower, cook the pasta(although the fresh pasta did save time), make individual bags of food coloring to dye the pasta, rinse the pasta, use another pan to cook the shrimp and chicken(Yes – my Rachel Ray pan) and then make the sauce.  Then I had to put it all together.

The end result:
Pink, Purple and Blue Rainbow Pasta with Purple Cauliflower and Grilled Chicken. My daughter’s huge smile showed her excitement and she ate the entire meal(I knew the  pasta would be a hit but she ate all of the purple cauliflower – YEAH!).  She even picked her colors for next week and wow, was I happy to hear them – red, orange and yellow.  (sigh of relief!)

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Mission Accomplished!!