Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day...

... from one crazy bunch!

Dinner! We had spaghetti. A family favorite around here.

But most spaghetti nights don't include the fancy dishes and special desserts.
But on special days I like to do extra special things.

We had poached pears on our honeymoon, and I loved them. I have been
wanting to make them myself and Valentine's Day seemed like the perfect motivation.
Not everyone liked them, but, Mark, Madison and I really enjoyed them. And I thought they made a pretty presentation.

I cut everyone's initial and little hearts from gum paste with my Mini Cake Cricut
which I found at Joann Fabrics on clearance for only $30. Quite a find :)
Everyone had a personalized cupcake for dessert!

After dinner my sweet children cleaned up dishes and Mark and I snuck away so
I could blog we could enjoy some quiet time alone together on our first Valentine's married.
So, maybe I should get off the computer now! :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chocolate and Wine

 What a great combination!
Wine, chocolate, and friends.
With Lent just around the corner, I figured it was a great reason to get together 
with some friends and indulge a little!
Just a little... I mean, all the desserts were "little." Does that count?

These Rolo Brownie Trifles were delicious, but, very rich.
I think these little concoctions would have been enough chocolate all by themselves.
Ok... not really! Did I say "enough chocolate"?
One thing is for sure though, next time I will serve an even smaller version.

Peanut butter and chocolate just work so well together, wouldn't you agree?
It seems only fitting that peanut butter makes an appearance when this much chocolate is involved.

And fairly easy make.

Chocolate Cake Shooters.
This was my own design!
(Shh! Don't tell anyone just how easy it is to through something like this together.
Just tear a piece of cake into bite size pieces, layer with a complimentary pudding, 
cookie crumbs and whipped cream. Combinations are endless.)

A chocolate cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts. 
And this mini version did not disappoint.
The real danger is that now that I know how to make
a mini version, it is tempting to make them more often.

 And for the wine. Served in small "tasting" glasses
allowed for variety. I had to try chocolate wine... not sure I was all that impressed.
I think I preferred the LePassione with my chocolate.
And what would a night with friends be without some spilled wine!
(Right, ladies?? But it was all the dogs fault! 
So thankful for my norwex cloth. No one else will ever know!)

I really enjoyed making all the desserts. I like trying new recipes and making "mini" desserts
just means I get to try even more.
 It was a fun evening. Thanks, ladies, for the conversation, laughter, and friendship. 
I am hoping to do it again. Just have to wait until after Easter when Lent is over.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Canasta Dinner.

It all started over a couple decks of cards. We all decided it would fun. After all, we get together with Dave and Kristi fairly regularly. What better way to spend a couple hours then visiting over a competitive, full contact friendly game of cards? So we paired up guys against the girls... no problem! We ladies were doing pretty good, I must say, with the guys winning just often enough to keep them interested challenged. After a few months, we had won over 20 games, the guys somewhere in the upper teens. Well, someone(one of the guys, no less) had the great idea that we should start back at zero wins a piece and play for a "prize". The first team to reach 25 wins would get a special dinner made by the other team. "Great idea," we ladies agree. After all, it seemed as though skill rested in our favor :)

They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Well, I would say it provides some pretty good motivation in cards as well. The tide turned! The guys pulled out ahead, and I believe held the lead through most of the round. We ladies would pull up from behind... possibly taking the lead by a game (or 2) here and there. But the guys would rally and come back in full force to pull out in the lead. In the end, they won 25 games to 22. 

Time for Kristi and I to plan dinner!

We decided on Italian. 

For drinks we served a strawberry margarita (great recipe),
a white moscato, and Le Passione (both my favorite wines).

For an appetizer, we served bread with garlic olive oil.
Kristi brought some venison sticks.
(Ok... some may argue that venison is not Italian. I say, "Who cares? They were delicious!")

Our first course consisted of an "Olive Garden Soup" copy-cat recipe that Kristi found.
(Thanks, Kristi, for leaving some leftovers. Perfect comfort food for this very snowy Sunday!)
She also put together a wonderful salad served with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Time to eat!

For the main course, I made Rolled Lasagna.
I tried a new recipe. It was good, but, needs a little tweaking. It seemed a little bland and a little dry.
We also had sautéed green beans.

For dessert, (thanks to some inspiration from Pinterest), I made
mini chocolate cheesecakes, lemon shooters, and mini tiramisu.
I must say, the tiramisu was a very pleasant surprise. I'm not always a fan of tiramisu. But this
 was delicious and the favorite dessert of the evening. Although I must admit, my personal favorite was
the cheesecake. I decided to try using ground oreos for the crust... YUM!!

Well, I do believe our dinner turned out to be a great success. And, I must admit, that
although I am hoping this round of canasta has a different ending, making dinner was a lot fun!
The guys even enjoyed it so well...


And, of course; the evening continued with a few games of canasta!
Dave and Kristi... so glad we are friends!