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Recipe of the Week – Watermelon + Feta Squares

February 8th, 2012

This is the perfect party recipe! There are many different variations on the web but I tweaked it a bit by using champagne vinegar, it’s available at Target as one of their Archer Farms brands and you can find it next to all the vinegars in their grocery section.  I bet if you find some great unique vinegars, it would add to the interest of this recipe.  If you choose to use a balsamic vinegar, I’m sure it will taste great too. If you are not a vinegar fan, this appetizer is wonderful without it as well.  

1/2 Watermelon
1 box Feta Cheese block
1 punch Basil leaves
Olive Oil
champagne vinegar (available at Target) or any balsamic vinegar

Simply cut the watermelon into even sized cubes. Cut the feta cheese into thin cubes as well. Prepare basil leaves. To assemble, start with a watermelon cube, add basil leaf, add feta cheese, add another basil leaf, and top with another watermelon cube. You can either eat as is. Or, you can sprinkle with olive oil as well as balsamic vinegar. We found champagne vinegar at target which had an interesting taste.

My Dollar Store Fall Wreath Is Ready!

February 8th, 2012

I love fall and all the fun craft projects it brings.  I recently went to my local dollar store and found bags of multi-color leaves which can be used for various fun craft projects.  If you shop at the dollar store, you probably know the drill… if you see something you like, grab it because the chances of it being there the next time you come are pretty slim, especially seasonal items… so, I grabbed the leaves!

I needed to create a quick fall wreath and I thought, why not use the leaves!  I feel like I need to add a disclaimer, which is that I’m not a crafty person.  I don’t have a craft room or all those wonderful organizers for ribbons and pens which I covet on Pinterest!  However, I did have some Elmer’s glue , scissors, and various wreath forms which I had left over from different projects.  I chose to use one that was foam (the smaller one) and a larger one that was flat and made out of wood.  I glued the leaves with  Elmer’s glue (I know, I know, hot glue would have been much easier and faster to dry but I was out… I warned you, I’m not a crafter!) and each wreath had the leaves going in different directions.  Once I secured the two wreaths together, I got one, very thick wreath that I would have not been able to create with any other ready-made wreath form.  Also, since one wreath form was thick and one was flat, my wreath is 3 dimensional… LOVE!!!!

Party Worthy Vegetables and Platters

February 3rd, 2012

Nervous about falling prey to the holiday eating frenzy?  If you are hosting a party, you can say good-bye to that frustrating feeling that your table has to be laden with rich and unhealthy foods.  Here are five simple tips on displaying healthy veggies in an attractive and fun way to dress-up your next holiday party… or any party for that matter!  Trust us, your guests will thank you for it!

Here’s my latest segment photos from Better Kansas City when I had a chance to talk about “re-inventing” the way we look at vegetables when it’s time to throw a party!


TIP #1 – RETHINK THE VEGGIE PLATTER:  Many hosts approach the vegetable tray as an afterthought, but since the holidays tend to reak havok on our waistlines, most guests appreciate healthy options at the holiday buffet. But you don’t have to forego  creativity when serving veggies. There are so many  fun ways you can incorporate vegetables at a party. A great idea is a salad bar.  “Interactive” bars have become one of the hottest party trends… such as candy “bars”, cupcake “bars”, even potato “bars”.  Why not do the same with veggies and allow your guests to create a custom salad with their own ingredients and dressings.

TIP #2 –  HAVE FUN WITH PRESENTATION:  Again, the platter is great, but other serving ideas are even better.  Check your cabinets for items you use everyday, such as flower vases, martini glasses, mason jars, and just about any container to display your veggies.

TIP #3 – GET CREATIVE:  This goes without saying!  Displaying your veggies in a creative way brings the WOW factor.  Create Christmas Trees from your broccoli and vegetable wreaths from your asparagus… the possibilities are endless.

TIP #4 –  DON’T FORGET THE KIDDOS!   If your party will include children, create a fun platter just for them.  They’ll love that someone thought of them and you can feel better knowing that you are encouraging healthy eating.  This fun Elmo veggie platter is easy to make and if you google “elmo vegetable platter” you will also see lots of Sesame Street characters made into veggie and fruit platters.

5.  TIP #5 – MAKE LIFE EASY!  Buy the veggie platter at the store and ditch the plastic.  If time is of an issue and budget is not, let the professionals at the grocery store cut and arrange your veggie platter. Then take it home, ditch the plastic, find fun containers and create something fun within half the time.  Also, the best part about veggies… they can be prepared ahead of time.  That’s always a huge help for the host on party day!

Colleen's Cookies – The Sweetest Spot on Forsyth

February 2nd, 2012

Driving down Forsyth you’ll see many businesses, but none with as cute of an awning as Colleen’s Cookies!  The black with white polka-dot awning isn’t the only creative element which draws people to this cookie mecca.  Her warm  atmosphere, both inside and out, invite customers to stop in, peek inside, and indulge their palates with a delicious treat from Colleen’s vast array of sweet selections.

Colleen has baked custom cookies for 10 years in her production kitchen and just over a year ago opened up her own store-front and a large production kitchen in Clayton.  Although her shop is a must-see, her cookies are by far a must-taste!  Colleen’s creations can be described as  tasty self-expressions.  However, creating something that is reflective of her customer’s personality is definitely her speciality.  Her clients can literally unleash their imaginations.  From designing cookies that look like Malibu Rum bottles, happy faces, daisies, to creating her own whoopie pies, ice-cream sandwiches, and her latest addition, decorated cookie cakes.  Colleen can tackle just about any vision and transform it into something sweet and delicious.  Stop by her web site and don’t forget to subscribe to her monthly e-blast filled with great stories, tips, and recipes.

Visit Colleen’s Cookies on the web:
Stop by the shop:  7337 Forsyth Boulevard  St. Louis, MO 63105
Call her:  (314) 727-8427

I'm bananas over Baked Banana Boats!

February 2nd, 2012

I know, the title of this post is pretty hokey, but I can’t help it, baked banana boats have to be one of my favorite desserts!  My 9 year old son told me about the recipe, which he discovered in his “Boy’s Life” magazine.  Apparently, this recipe is a camper’s favorite.  If you google baked bananas, you’ll get lots of other great ideas on toppings.  The added benefit is that I can do this with my boys and they feel like they’ve created something very special.  This is a two thumbs up recipe, perfect for anyone at anytime!



Chocolate Chips


1. Preheat oven to 300ºF. Slit each banana lengthwise through 1 side of peel, taking care to avoid cutting all the way through banana. Stuff each slit with chocolate chips and marshmallows.
2. Wrap each banana in aluminum foil, place upright on a baking sheet and bake until chocolate and marshmallows have melted, 10 to 15 minutes. Unwrap and serve immediately.

Our Time on Channel 4's Great Day St. Louis

February 1st, 2012

We were very lucky to have been invited to Channel 4’s Great Day St. Louis to showcase our two delicious recipes for St. Patrick’s Day.  We featured the very healthy and green Luck of the Irish – Emerald Salad and delicious Dublin Deviled Eggs.

Below is a link to our segment, in case you want to see the recipes.  They are great for St. Patrick’s Day or anytime of the year. CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO or click on the image below.

The crew on Great Day St. Louis, as always, made us feel at home and relaxed.  I was interviewed by Matt Chambers, one of the hosts on Great Day, and he had me laughing throughout my interview.  Many people have asked me before if Matt is as funny in person as he is on camera and the answer is YES!!!  Matt is one of the nicest people I have ever worked with.  And the segments I did with Carol have always been fun… if you’ve ever been on Great Day, you know that Carol has this incredible ability to make you feel relaxed.  Although I have never worked with Virginia and Kent, they also seem to be very nice and funny.

Big kudos goes out to Karen Hohlen, our sous chef and assistant for the day.  Karen made sure everything was set-up properly and looked beautiful… she did a great job!

We’ve received e-mails with questions in regards to where we got some of our items for our set-up.  Here is a list of retailers who helped us make our segment look great.

Thanks to Mary Tuttle’s for the plates, silverwear, topiary trees, and jute rug (we used for a placemat).  They also provided the beaded Mariposa tray for the cookies. The dragonfly napkin ring actually had wings which moved!

Colleen’s Cookies provided the St. Patrick’s Day themed cookies.  They didn’t make it on camera, but were winners nevertheless!

Petals Galore provided the adorable three leaf clover arrangement in a silver mint julep cup (in front of the topiary trees).  I have never seen a three leaf clover plant, so it was incredible to see the flowers they produced and how gorgeous it can be as a centerpiece on St. Patrick’s day.  I believe they are only about $3.50 a plant, so they are cost effective as well!