February 16th, 2018
Robin’s beautiful Girls Game Night Buffet filled with a variety of food items to accommodate various dietary options.
I treat invitations to parties a lot like invitations to dance, I NEVER SAY NO! Unless we have a conflict that evening or we’re out of town, I try my best to attend, bring something delicious, and have a fabulous time. However, there are caveats. Brace yourselves, I’m about to share something crazy… I’m not a big fan of game nights… there… I said it! Most people love game nights, but I’m a bit more complicated than most people, especially if the host does not want to disclose what game we’re playing… I guess you can call me a bit of a control freak!
But recently, a friend of mine sent me an invitation to her Girls Game Night. As I always do, I asked “What can I bring?”. She asked me to bring a fruit platter and my mind was immediately at ease because at that moment I knew… FOOD WILL BE SERVED!!
Party food is my weakness, I will show up practically anywhere to partake in delicious party fare. I love seeing what hosts have put together in order to impress their guests or what menu they feel is relevant to their occasion. Yes folks, this is my passion. I especially love appetizers. You can even ask our friends. If you expect my family to come over for dinner, brace yourselves because we will clean off all your appetizer plates, my children included. I’m sure we are breaking some or even ALL the rules of being a good guest, but that’s just the way we are. We may take a few bites from your dinner buffet, but your appetizer set up will disappear! This goes the same when you come to our house for dinner. Most guests are shocked at how many appetizers we put out and truth be told, if we could JUST serve appetizers, we would! So, when I was invited to a party where I knew most of the food will be appetizers (like a game night), there was NO WAY I was going to miss out on that! Plus, Robin is one of those stealth hostesses. She never talks about entertaining, but come to one of her parties, you will be amazed at how she entertains like a pro!
Robin’s Girls Game Night was fabulous. First of all, I have to give her credit, she knew her guest list well. This all female group was sure to have some dietary restrictions. Carb free, gluten sensitivities, vegetarian, and we’re just talking about ME. But there were also guests who just wanted to eat healthy and avoid red meat. Yet again, Robin handled everything like a pro.
Here are the five tips I learned from her party.
DON’T OMIT THE CARBS! Unless you know that every person you are inviting is on a carb-free plan, don’t forget to set a few delicious carbohydrates on the buffet. They help fill people up, plus… they are delicious!
Robin’s beautiful Girls Game Night Buffet filled with a variety of food items to accommodate various dietary options.
2. CONSIDER AN INTERESTING SELECTION OF SALADS. Salad for a game night? Yes, especially when you want to keep it healthy. I’m not a big fan of just finger food on game night, simply because I hate having to clean my game board or game pieces of powdered cheese or red sauce. I’ve read on various blogs that if you can’t eat it with your fingers or a stick, the food item should not be served on game night. I disagree! Having food items which can be eaten with a fork is totally OK. In fact, it gives people the opportunity to take a break, step away from the game table and serve themselves. I loved Robin’s idea of serving pasta, cucumber, and Mediterranean style salads.
Girl’s Game Night Buffet… loved the fruit and vegetable platters. A must at any party!
3. VEGGIE + FRUIT PLATTER ARE ALWAYS WELCOMED. No matter the guest list, a fruit and vegetable platter is a must. These platters can accommodate any guest and bring beautiful color to the table.
4. CHEESE, CHEESE, CHEESE. This is another great platter to incorporate into any game night buffet. It appeals to the low-carb guest and it’s wonderful accompanied with a complementary wine, if you are planning on serving alcohol.
5. SURPRISE YOUR GUESTS WITH SOMETHING UNIQUE. There’s a significant difference between a girls game night and a super bowl party! You don’t have to think potato skins, chicken wings, pigs in a blanket, meatballs, or the many expected dishes during a sports game night. Women love to be surprised with a unique and healthy dish, something they may even try to prepare on their own in the future. Robin served salmon which paired wonderfully with the hand-crafted olive bread, salads, and vegetables. The presentation was so beautiful and the salmon disappeared! We all wanted the recipe!
February 14th, 2018
Cheese Fondue, perfect for a Valentine’s Day treat.
Valentine’s Day is a special day in our house. This is the day we have dedicated to two things…expressing our LOVE for each other and making fondue!! Although we love to make fondue on more than one occasions, we’ve had years go by when the fondue pots were no where to be seen, so making fondue a Valentine’s Day tradition in our family, guarantees that no matter how busy we get during the year, there is one day that fondue will DEFINITELY be served! Our fondue meal consists of two courses… the cheese fondue, which we serve with various meats and dippers and a chocolate fondue which also include lots of delicious dippers such as fruit, Rice Krispies, marshmallows, and pretzels.
Valentine’s Day Chocolate Fondue with LOVE dessert plates.
There are also a few other Valentine’s Day traditions we try to incorporate. Our goal is to show our children that you can have a day of love, celebration, and appreciation, even if you are not romantically involved with someone.
Here are a few other traditions we incorporate:
1. GOING AROUND THE TABLE AND TALKING ABOUT WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT EACH PERSON. This is such an easy and fun activity and certainly should not be reserved just for Valentine’s Day. We should tell our family how much we love them, every day… but you have to admit, there is no better day to do it than Valentine’s Day and you can make a point of being especially mushy and lovey! For instance, we talk about what makes each person at the table special and unique. It’s not the easiest thing for some people to talk about (especially my boys), but once they get started, they typically have no problems expressing themselves.
2. BRAINSTORMING ON HOW TO MAKE OTHER PEOPLE IN OUR LIVES FEEL LOVED. We enjoy teaching our kids that gestures of kindness and appreciation do not have to be grand or complicated. Sometimes we talk about what they can do for their grandparents (maybe draw a picture or write down some of the things that make their grandparents special). Sometimes we brainstorm on ways to make our friends feel good, especially if they are down or feeling lonely. Even quick gestures of respect, like saying thank you, excuse me, or holding the door open for someone, can generate a smile.
3. WATCH A FUN VALENTINE’S DAY MOVIE AS A FAMILY. Movie night is always fun, but you can make it extra special on Valentine’s Day by snuggling up together on the couch and watching a fun Disney movie such as Lady and The Tramp, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, or even the Sound of Music.
4. HAVE A SPECIAL VALENTINE’S DAY MEAL TRADITION. For our family, a fondue dinner is our big Valentine’s Day event. But you can create something that is unique and special to your family. What about a red dinner and red dessert (lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs in a red sauce and red velvet cake)? Heart shaped Pizza? Heart shaped pancakes or waffles for breakfast? I read in an article that a man and his wife always had a picnic on Valentine’s Day (they must have lived somewhere warm). Another family started celebrating February 15th, when all the chocolate would go on sale… you have to admit, pretty clever! Whatever you choose, it should be a reflection of what your family loves and enjoys. Even something as simple as sharing a box of chocolate with your loved ones, on Valentine’s Day, can be a memorable tradition.
5. LOVE NOTES. Instead of spending money on commercially made Valentine’s Day cards, encourage your children to write you love notes and you should do the same for them. This tradition doesn’t take much time or money but can be the most valuable of all, especially if your children decide to keep their love notes for years to come!
February 10th, 2018
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of being a regular guest on Better Kansas City. Mother’s Day was coming up and the producer wondered what great ideas I may have to save people time and money. I came up with three cake hacks which were easy to implement and didn’t cost a lot. As Lisa Teachman, one of the wonderful Better Kansas City hosts, was preparing for my interview, I was quickly assembling these cakes on set. Believe it or not, this was my easiest assembly EVER! Typically, I’m assembling my food and setting up to the very moment my segment is about to start. This time, it was so easy, I had a chance to even chat a bit with some of the audience members.
My first two hacks were simple store-bought cake decorations. For one, I used fruit. Simply adding some fruit on top and around the cake made for a much prettier presentation than the store-bought cake decorated with sprinkles. My second cake had fresh flowers and feather butterflies. I made sure the roses were organic and were not sprayed with any type of chemicals. The feather butterflies were purchased at Michaels and came on a metal twine which I sterilized and inserted into the cake. None of these items are edible, but if you are having a party and you want to display your dessert, this would be a stunning way to do it. Just remove the flowers and butterflies before you cut and serve the cake. You can also use edible flowers, if they are available in your area.
M & M Magic Waterfall Cake
For the chocolate lover, this M&M Magic Cake is super easy to create and will WOW your guests. Just cover a pretzel stick in chocolate, roll it in M&Ms or Reeces Peanut Butter Cups, and insert it into the cake. Arrange candy to look like a waterfall and pool the rest around the cake. Place the wrapper of the candy on top of the pretzel and it will look like the candy is cascading directly from the wrapper. Trust me, you’ll get ooooh and ahhhs from your guests.
February 5th, 2018
We had some big plans for Super Bowl Sunday 2018! My sister was having a big party and I was planning to bring several of my favorite dip platters. However, life had other plans for us. Our poor little doggie got super sick and we couldn’t leave him at home alone, so we called my sister, canceled our plans and decided to have a Super Bowl Sunday at our house.
My husband eats paleo, so it was important we had non carb options for him to enjoy. I loaded our coffee table with plenty of vegetables and a few pork rinds, as well as some fun snacks for my kids, which included Chex Mix and tortilla chips. My husband’s two favorite dips were on the table… my famous Smoked Bacon and Gouda Spinach Artichoke dip (super low carb), which I will include in my book as well as a paleo Seven Layer dip recipe which I found on the internet. I also added some lettuce leaves for him to create delicious wraps, he loved it and so did my kids!
Although our plans changed last minute and we didn’t get to go to a large party, we appreciated the time with our family and our sick little doggie, who actually felt a lot better on game day!
December 19th, 2016
December 2016 on Better Kansas City
December is always a wonderful time of year… Christmas lights, holiday parties, reuniting with family, seeing old friends, making new friends, lots of opportunities to use the fireplace, holiday cards, egg nog, cake, and food, food, food!!!
I think we can agree, December is a month that may be hazardous to the waistline, so when I was invited to come up with some fun ideas for KCTV’s Channel 5 Better Kansas City, I thought I would develop a gift that was straight from my heart AND kitchen but also a healthy alternative to cookie or hot cocoa mix in a jar.
Soup in A Jar – Great Holiday Gift!
PROTEIN PACKED PEA & LENTIL SOUP:
Hold on to your hats, because this soup packs a massive amount of fiber, protein, and magnesium! So easy, delicious, and super healthy! Substitute the beef bouillon cubes for vegetarian cubes, to turn this soup vegan/vegetarian friendly.
1 Cup Dried Split Peas
1/2 Cup uncooked white rice
1/2 Cup lentils
3 Tbsp Minced Onion
3 Tbsp Dried Parsley
3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 beef bouillon squares
1/2 – 1 cup of elbow pasta (pack in a zip lock bag since it will be the last
step in preparation)
1.In a wide mouth 1 quart jar, start layering the peas, rice, and lentils.
Then add the onion, parsley, salt, pepper, bouillon cubes and bagged pasta.
2. Seal with a lid, and place a gift bow on top. Attach a gift card with
ribbon that reads: Add Contents of Jar To 4-5 Quarts of Water. Bring to a boil
and then simmer for 45 minutes, add pasta, simmer for another 15 minutes and enjoy. To elevate this soup recipe, add two stalks of chopped celery, two sliced carrots, 1 cup of shredded cabbage and two cups of diced tomatoes.
VAPOR RUB SHOWER BOMB
3 tablespoons of VapoRub
1 cup of corn starch
Blue and green food coloring (optional)
3 tablespoons of water
1. In a bowl add in the three tablespoons of VapoRub. You can use any variety of VapoRub you wish.
2. Stir in the cup of corn starch. Mix well. You will notice that the
VapoRub takes a little time to soften. Continue to stir until it becomes a
3. Add in the two tablespoons of water. The goal is to make a paste that can
easily be manipulated with your hands, since you will be creating balls out
of it. Once you see that your mixture is thick enough to work with, it may
be a good time to stop. If you pick it up and try to shape it and it falls
apart, it needs a little water. If it can’t hold a shape, it has too much
water, so add more cornstarch.
4. When your mixture is the right consistency, add several drops of green
and blue food coloring. Continue to stir. This step makes the Shower bombs look like they have mint and spearmint in them, a little visual trick. But if you prefer to omit the food coloring, feel free.
5. Once the color is mixed in well, scoop the mixture into your hand. It
will have a play dough feel to it. Knead it into a ball and set on a piece
of wax paper. For a square look, pack the mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze. When frozen, cut each rectangle in two to create smaller squares.
6. Place in a freezer for 20-30 minutes and then put in a jar. If this is
a gift, include direction on the gift tag to place directly on the drain of
the bathtub while taking a shower. You don’t want the ball to be floating
in the bathtub water during the shower, since it can make the bathtub slick.
Placing it directly on the drain will make sure that it will melt directly
in the drain.
May 9th, 2016
What can I say, my friends know how to party!! I am just IN LOVE with this gorgeous and super sophisticated “snackadium” my friend Robynn assembled. Most of the plates were elevated, although it’s hard to see in this photo. And although it didn’t have a traditional stadium look, it still fit the bill. If you think it looks good in the photo, you should have seen it live in person! I also loved that she incorporated some healthy buffet items. Two thumbs up!!
March 25th, 2016
As always, I had a wonderful time on Better Kansas City on KCTV 5! For this show, I made delicious vegan and vegetarian salads that would be perfect for your Easter celebration or any celebration for that matter! If there is anything I have learned while prepping for parties, it’s to make as many dishes ahead of time as possible. I can’t tell you how much easier it makes things on the day of the event. These salads are perfect for just that! Each one is made from delicious ancient grains that are rich, filling, and good for you. And if the fact that they are delicious and healthy is not enough for you, what if I told you that the longer they stayed in the refrigerator, the better they taste?! So now you see why I LOVE these salads and hope you will too!
Lisa and I after our segment. Love her!!!
Santa Fe Quinoa Salad (lowest bowl), Mint and Green Beans Barley Salad (middle bowl), and Feta and Mint Orzo salads (top bowl) (all are on the left) and Santa Fe Quinoa Salsa with chips and bread (right)
Santa Fe Quinoa Salad
You can't get more perfect than Quinoa, With its mild flavor, light crunch
and impressive protein content, quinoa is the perfect gluten-free and
non-GMO substitute for pasta, rice or couscous. The below salad is fabulous
for any party and can be prepared ahead and stored for up to three days or
Six cups of cooked Quinoa
1 can of black beans
1 cup of cilantro
1 cup of frozen corn or one can of canned corn
1 cup of red pepper (chopped)
1/4 cup of chopped red onion
1 cup of chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup Olive oil
2 Garlic Cloves Minced
1 teaspoon of cumin
2 tblsp of lime juice
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper to taste
In a bowl combine your black beans, red pepper, corn, onion, cilantro, and
Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, pepper and honey
together and toss over bean and corn mixture.
Refrigerator for at least 15-20 minutes
When ready to serve, add your tomato, cilantro, and avocado. Gently toss and
If you plan on refrigerating this salad for a couple of day, leave out the
tomatoes and avocados until right before serving.
You can serve this just as a salad or add just a bit of quinoa and instead
serve the "salad" with crackers or chips, more like a dip.
Orzo and Feta Salad with Lemon and Mint
Orzo is a delicious pasta which takes this spring and summer salad to a
whole new level. Orzo is simple to prepare, is small in size, and has a
wonderful ability to soak in flavors from other ingredients. It's a perfect
addition to soups, pilafs, and SALADS!!
4 cups of cooked orzo
1 cup finely diced yellow bell pepper
2 finely diced large cucumbers (remove seeds)
4-6 oz of Feta cheese
4 tbsp minced fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup of minced shallots
1/4 cup of Olive oil
3 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
Combine the ingredients for the dressing... olive oil, shallots, lemon
juice, garlic, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Mix until well blended.
For the salad combine cooked orzo, yellow bell pepper, cucumbers, mint, and
Pour salad dressing over salad and toss well. You can serve immediately or
for an even more intense flavor, let sit for 1-2 hours at room temperature.
If you plan on making this salad a few days before eating, leave the mint
off until right before serving.
Spring and Summer Barley Salad with Mint and Green Beans
Whole grain barley is a healthy high-fiber, high-protein whole grain
boasting numerous health benefits. When cooked, barley has a chewy texture
and nutty flavor, similar to brown rice. Although soup is the most popular
way to eat barley, it was wonderful for salads as well.
4 cups of cooked barley
1 cup of green beans (steamed and cut into one inch pieces)
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots (minced)
3 (about 1 cup) ounces white mushrooms (stems discarded and sliced thin).
2 fresh lemons (juiced)
2 tbsp minced fresh mint
2 tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Heat 3 tbsp of olive oi in a small pan and cook the shallots unitl softened.
Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until mushrooms have given off their
liquid and it has evaporated. Add lemon juice and parsley. Salt and pepper
to taste and let cool.
When mixture is cool, pour over the barley and set aside. Whisk together
the remaining olive oil with the juice from one lemon. Pour the mixture over
barley and toss everything until well blended.
March 25th, 2016
It’s no secret, my youngest boy loves PEEPS and since his birthday falls around Easter, there is no shortage of the cute little colorful bunnies and chicks decorating store shelves and calling out our names. So why fight it?
Each year, my kids and I purchase a crazy amount of PEEPS boxes and set out to create our PEEPS creations. In the years past, I’ve had them create centerpieces and edible treats. This year, we decided to create story ideas on construction paper. We also invited a couple of their friends to join us. The kids had a blast and came up with some funny ideas. Next year, we are going to continue with this tradition and invite even more friends. It’s so fun to see their imaginations take off, even if it involves marshmallow bunnies and chicks!
PEEPS table, ready for some creativity!
We used PEEPS, jelly beans, paper grass, and markers as our art supplies
We used PEEPS, jelly beans, paper grass, and markers
PEEPs Easter Egg Hunt
February 9th, 2016
As always, hanging out with the wonderful people at Better Kansas City is always a treat! On yesterday’s Valentine’s Day inspired show I showed Lisa Teachman a few fun recipes. May I quickly add that I feel proud that I was the reason she tried beets for the first time! You gotta love it when you can inspire people to try a fun recipe or experience a new foods!
My three recipes included a Beet Hummus (Brace yourself… this stuff is AH-MAZING!!!), No Bake Paleo Cookies, and home-made chocolates filled with fun and healthy ingredients. So, without further delay, here are the recipes. Enjoy!!
ROASTED BEET HUMMUS + BAKED HEART TORTILLA CHIPS
1 cup of roasteded beets (directions to roast below)
1 15 oz. can white kidney beans (mostly drained)
zest of one large lemon
juice of half a large lemon
healthy pinch salt and black pepper
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Slice beets into thick slices and toss in olive oil with a generous portion of salt, pepper, and your favorite dried and/or fresh herbs. I love to toss mine with dried rosemary and oregano. Roast at 400 for approximately 15-20 minutes.
2. Let beets cool and place them in a food processor. Add, olive oil, beans, lemon zest and juice, garlic, Process all ingredients until very smooth. Follow my three step rule… Process, scrape, taste. Adjust ingredients according to your taste. I love extra lemon in my hummus, so I may add a bit more as I process. Then, again… Process, scrape, taste. Do this a total of three times and you should have your perfect hummus!
3. Serve hummus with warm pita bread, chips, crackers, or vegetables. Store extra hummus in an airtight container for up to a week.
For the above photo I used large tortillas which I cut out as hearts (with a heart cookie cutter). Then, I brushed each heart with olive oil, sprinkled with dried dill, oregano, and garlic salt. Baked at 375 in the oven for about 10-15 minutes… keep an eye on the tortilla chips so they don’t burn. Let cool and serve alongside your beet hummus. These baked tortilla chips are so much healthier than the store-bought fried alternative!
PALEO NO BAKE THUMBPRINT COOKIES
1 cup coconut flour sifted
2 T almond flour
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4- 1 cup Almond Milk
In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut flour,almond flower, and coconut palm sugar, and cinnamon. Make sure all the dry ingredients are mixed well.
Stir in the almond butter until the dough is crumbly. Using a tablespoon at a time, add the almond milk until a very thick batter is formed. Make golf sized balls with the dough and press down in the center of each to create a small ditch. Place the balls on a lined baking pan. Fill with dark chocolate and top off with god berries and hemp seeds. Refrigerate until time to serve.
QUINOA POWER CHOCOLATES
Any kind of chocolate Chocolate or candy melts
1/2 cup of toasted Quinoa (toasting instructions below)
Small heart molds or candy molds. I purchased mine at Michael’s in the baking section
Make chocolate with your favorite recipe or melt chocolate chips or candy melts.
Add toasted Quinoa to chocolate and mix well. Fill the heart molds with the chocolate and quinoa mixture. Cool in refrigerator until fully set. Pop out and enjoy.
HOW TO TOAST QUINOA : Toast quinoa in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until quinoa is very fragrant and makes continuous popping sound, 10-15 minutes. Transfer quinoa to bowl and set aside. Store extra quinoa in an airtight container.
October 31st, 2015
I am ending 31 Days of Halloween off with a BANG!! This healthy veggie platter was a hit at a recent party I attended. It was fun and funny! And best of all… HEALTHY!!! Happy Halloween Everyone!