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A Fabulous Brunch by my Friend, Rachel!

November 7th, 2018

brunch, breakfast, eggs, salad, breakfast buffet, bagels, bagel party, party, buffet, brunch buffet,

I have a wonderful friend named Rachel who is obsessed with Smitten Kitchen.  Rachel invited us to a fabulous bagel brunch at her home.  The bagels were from a famous local bakery where they make water bagels and we were excited to finally sample a few.  Rachel not only supplied the delicious bagels, but she also made several outstanding recipes from Smitten Kitchen and Dash and Bella.  First, she made Baked Eggs with Spinach and Mushrooms. They turned out delicious! Secondly, she prepared a Persimmon Salad which not only tasted fabulous but was also one of the most beautiful salads I have ever seen.  Rachel outdid herself and I had to share some photos as well as links to both the recipes. So, if hosting a brunch is in your future, the recipes in this post will be outstanding.

Brunch, breakfast, salad, party, breakfast buffet, muffins, fruit salad, buffet

 

Simple and Adorable HALLOWEEN Goodies For Your Next Halloween Party!

October 22nd, 2018
Halloween, Halloween party, cake, Halloween cake, pumpkin, pumpkin cake, sweets, Halloween sweets, spooky party, spooky treats, scary treats.

Two of the moms who made the party possible!

As some of you may know, Halloween is my FAVORITE time of year.  I love Christmas and Thanksgiving, but Halloween…. OH… it just gives me so many more opportunities to be creative! Plus, I also love seeing how creative other people can be and this is why I spend way more time than I should on Pinterest and Instagram looking for fun and innovative recipes for my Halloween parties.  Each year, I throw a Halloween bash (or what I like to call a Halloween Taste Testing) every Friday for the entire month of October.  I invite my friends, my sons’ friends and their parents, and anyone who wants to come! I ask everyone to bring a Halloween dish they love and we set it out on the buffet. Then, we all try what was created and talk about our favorites.

The below goodies were created by the many parents who attended and were considered the favorites of the taste testing! Enjoy!

Halloween, Halloween party, cake, Halloween cake, pumpkin, pumpkin cake, sweets, Halloween sweets, spooky party, spooky treats, scary treats.

Delicious Rice Krispie Treat Monsters.

The above Halloween Rice Krispie Treat Monsters are made just like any Rice Krispie treats.  However, I also dipped the top portion in candy melts and my son decorated them with various sprinkles and candy eyes.  They came out adorable.

Halloween, Halloween party, cake, Halloween cake, pumpkin, pumpkin cake, sweets, Halloween sweets, spooky party, spooky treats, scary treats.

Yummy vegetable jack-o-lanterns filled with healthy vegetables.

My friend Rhae brought these healthy jack-o-lantern pepper snacks.  A wonderful and healthy addition to the table!

Halloween, Halloween party, cake, Halloween cake, pumpkin, pumpkin cake, sweets, Halloween sweets, spooky party, spooky treats, scary treats. broom sticks

Halloween Cheese and pretzel broom sticks… so CLEVER!

This pretzel and mozzarella stick broomsticks are ADORABLE.  I love the presentation as well.  Just two ingredients and a wonderful salty addition to a sweet buffet!  Way to go, Carrie!

Halloween, Halloween party, cake, Halloween cake, pumpkin, pumpkin cake, sweets, Halloween sweets, spooky party, spooky treats, scary treats.

Candy Corn Rice Krispie Treats

One of the moms brought these Halloween Candy Corn Rice Krispie treats.  I love how she packaged them (many kids took one home as a favor), brought them in a basket, and even displayed the recipe for anyone else who wants to try making them.  So thoughtful!!

Halloween, Halloween party, cake, Halloween cake, pumpkin, pumpkin cake, sweets, Halloween sweets, spooky party, spooky treats, scary treats.

Halloween Skeleton Slow Cooked Weenies (A.K.A. Guts)

Halloween, Halloween party, cake, Halloween cake, pumpkin, pumpkin cake, sweets, Halloween sweets, spooky party, spooky treats, scary treats.

Halloween Skeleton Weenies (A.K.A. Guts)

Halloween, Halloween party, cake, Halloween cake, pumpkin, pumpkin cake, sweets, Halloween sweets, spooky party, spooky treats, scary treats.

Helping herself to some Skeleton Guts!

OOOOHHHH… SOOOO GROSS!!! But it’s Halloween… RIGHT??!! My friend Gina (not the one pictured above), is super creative and brought the ULTIMATE snack to the party!  She needed some extra space and set-up time, but this incredible treat was a SHOW STOPPER!!! The kids loved it.  She dressed up a skeleton and inserted a slow-cooker inside his chest filled with BBQ mini hotdogs or cocktail smoked sausages.  She also brought Hawaiian buns to pair with the mini hotdogs. The kids  (and adults) had a treat scooping the “guts” or hot dogs on to their plate.  I know… I know… not for the faint of heart, but it’s HALLOWEEN!!!

Halloween, Halloween party, cake, Halloween cake, pumpkin, pumpkin cake, sweets, Halloween sweets, spooky party, spooky treats, scary treats.

Yummy cookie pizza

You can’t go wrong with a cookie pizza and this dessert was a fun treat for our guests.  Loved this creative idea from one of our moms!

Halloween, Halloween party, cake, Halloween cake, pumpkin, pumpkin cake, sweets, Halloween sweets, spooky party, spooky treats, scary treats.

Brownie Monsters

These adorable brownie monsters made everyone smile!  They are simple brownies with candied eyes and a gummy worm as a tongue! Another dessert winner on the buffet!

Halloween, Halloween party, cake, Halloween cake, pumpkin, pumpkin cake, sweets, Halloween sweets, spooky party, spooky treats, scary treats.

Mini Chocolate Bar Robots for Halloween

This dessert was such a fun idea  Simply take any mini chocolate bar, insert pieces of pretzels for the legs and arms, and decorate with candy sprinkles on the body.  You can make them look like anything, monster, spiders, and in this case, robots!

Halloween, Halloween party, cake, Halloween cake, pumpkin, pumpkin cake, sweets, Halloween sweets, spooky party, spooky treats, scary treats.

Halloween Candy ghosts

Hate trying to make your cake pops look perfect? Here’s the answer! These wonderful cake pops did not have to be perfectly round to be  winners.  Once they were dipped in candy melts, they simply were allowed to free form.   After the candy melts set a bit, the mom carved in some faces, which also did not need to be perfect.  Two thumbs up for this fun and creative dessert!

I love how these adorable desserts looked together!

Halloween, Halloween party, cake, Halloween cake, pumpkin, pumpkin cake, sweets, Halloween sweets, spooky party, spooky treats, scary treats.

My Halloween flowers. I love how some stores dye their flowers black during Halloween. It gives me so many ideas for arrangements.  I also love the background of the skeleton.  Sort of reminds me of a grave!  Okay, now I’m getting a bit gory!

Adorable Halloween guests.

Halloween, Halloween party, cake, Halloween cake, pumpkin, pumpkin cake, sweets, Halloween sweets, spooky party, spooky treats, scary treats.

Halloween Orange Jack-O-Lanterns filled with fruit salad.

I always give two thumbs up to anyone who brings healthy desserts.  This mom went all out and created these fun Halloween orange Jack-O-Lanterns.  She filled them with fruit salad and voila!

Delicious Vegan and Vegetarian Make Ahead Salads!

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 Teachman and Arina Lanis

Lisa and I after our segment. Love her!!!

Quinoa, Barley, and Orzo salads

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)

RECIPES

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
more! 

Serves 6-8 

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 avocado

Dressing
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

Instructions
In a bowl combine your black beans, red pepper, corn, onion, cilantro, and
cooked quinoa.

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
combine well.

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!!

Serves 2-4

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


Dressing
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
feta cheese.

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.

Healthy Valentine’s Day Yummies – Beet Hummus – No Bake Cookies – Health (ier) Chocolates!

February 9th, 2016





arinalanis

valentines-01

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!!

valentines-05

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!

valentines-03

valentines-04
PALEO NO BAKE THUMBPRINT COOKIES

1 cup coconut flour sifted
2 T almond flour
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
pinch cinnamon
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4- 1 cup Almond Milk
Dark chocolate
Goji Berries
Hemp Seeds

Instructions
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.

valentines-02

candymelt

 

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.

The Ghoulish Green Haze

October 29th, 2015

greenhaze

A great blast from the past!  We featured this drink in St. Louis Entertains Magazine a few years back and it has always been a Halloween favorite! This drink is delicious and a perfect addition to any Halloween bar menu or even as a signature drink!

Ingredients

  • 1 shot Gin
  • 1 shot Creme de Menthe
  • Splash Pineapple Juice
  • Splash Ginger Ale

Preparation

Pour the two shots into a martini shaker with ice and shake well. Pour into martini glass and top with pineapple juice and Ginger Ale

Artichoke and Prosciutto Salad

October 29th, 2015

prosciutto-01

Delicious and unique! This salad is a great treat for brunch, lunch, or dinner!

Ingredients

  • 1 can/jar Marinated Artichoke Hearts
  • 4 small tomatoes (yellow, red, or both)
  • 2 oz Prosciutto
  • 1 large handful of basil leaves
  • 1-2 cups Mixed greens
  • Dressing
  • 3 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1/2 tsp mild mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Thoroughly drain and cut the artichoke hearts into quarters and place in a serving bowl. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and cut prosciutto into thin strips. Place a bed of greens in a bowl and add the tomatoes, artichokes and prosciutto. Keeping a few basil springs whole for garnishing, tear the remainder of the leaves into small pieces and add to the bowl containing the other salad ingredients.To make dressing, place all the ingredients in a screw top jar and shake vigorously until they are well blended. Pour over salad, garnish with basil and enjoy with crusty bread!

prosciutto-02

SUPER EASY SUGAR COOKIES

October 26th, 2015

cookies

The month of October was a busy one for me!  While doing research for my upcoming book, I decided to try-out some fun Halloween recipes I found on Pinterest, magazines, books, and various other sources.  The goal was for me to see if some of the most popular recipes were as good as their inventors claimed they were.  So, over the past four weeks, I’ve had four taste test kitchens and invited children who’s ages range from 8 to 13.

The main goal was to have these kids try some fun recipes and tell me what they REALLY thought.  And that is exactly what I got!

I had various kinds of feedback… too sweet, too salty, not enough sugar, too dry… but predominantly they were all thumbs up.  The sugared cookies, pictured above were by far, the most popular items.  Super easy and a few ingredients, who could ask for anything more?

INGREDIENTS

1 package of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough
1/4 cup of flour
1 Package Betty Crocker Cookie Icing – Black
Candied Googly Eyes available at most craft stores in the baking section

PREPARATION

Remove the Pillsbury dough from package and put in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup of flour and knead with your hands until the dough forms. Flour your cutting board and place the dough on top. Flour your rolling pin and roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch. Remember to keep flouring your rolling pin a little bit with every roll. This dough tends to be sticky.

Get your bat cookie cutters and cut out your cookies. Repeat the step to roll out the dough with any leftovers.

Place the bat cookies in the oven and cook according to dough package direction.  Keep an eye on them, the thinner the dough, the faster they tend to burn.

Once cookies are done, let them cool and harden.

Once the cookies are cooled, begin decorating them. Just snip off the tip above the second ring, massage the bag a little bit and make your outline. Then, flood the bat and add the googly eyes. Let dry 5-10 minutes and enjoy!

Smoked Chicken and Cranberry Arugula Salad

October 26th, 2015
salad-smokedchickencranberry
This salad is perfect for anytime. It is bursting with flavor and a treat for anyone who likes a salad bidding to be a meal!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium smoked chicken (available at any grocery store)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 head lettuce
  • 1 bag arugula
  • To Make Dressing
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp walnut oil
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh mixed herbs (a mixture of fresh herbs such as parsley, lemon thyme, mint, etc.)
  • Salt and Pepper

Preparation

Divide and carve the chicken cutting to make bite sized pieces for the salad. Cover the divided and cut chicken and store in refrigerator.Put the cranberries in a bowl of water and let stand, covered, for 30-45 minutes.

Meanwhile, blanche the frozen peas and refresh them under cold water.

Slice or cube the avocados and squeeze lemon juice on them to prevent discoloration.

Combine the lettuce and arugula and toss with avocados and peas. Add the chicken.

Combine all the dressing ingredients and shake well. Add salt and pepper to taste and shake well again until all the ingredients are well blended and taste the way you want.

Drain the cranberries and mix them with the dressing, then pour over salad and serve immediately.

PUMPKIN PATCH HUMMUS DIP

October 24th, 2015

pumpkinpatchhummusdip

Seriously, how can you not fall in love with this great idea for an appetizer? It’s easy to put together and fun for guests to nibble on. All you need are carrots, parsley, green onion, toothpicks, and hummus.

A few years ago I posted this recipe (on the bottom left) but then realized that you can use pre-cut and bagged carrots (main image) instead of cutting them yourself.  Best part? The pre-cut and bagged carrots have ridges and are different shapes, a lot like pumpkins. Still yummy but now you can save a step and not have cut the carrots!!!!

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg Hummus
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • toothpicks

Preparation

Just slice the carrots, take some parsley leaves and attach them to the carrot with a toothpick. Slide a piece of green onion over the toothpick to have a look of a stem and arrange on a bed of hummus. Told ya it was simple! Thanks to the folks at Disney magazine for inspiring me with this recipe.

HALLOWEEN BLOODSHOT EYES!

October 22nd, 2015

bloodshoteyes

Here’s a fun Halloween recipe which will take you five to ten minutes to prepare!  This was fun to make and fun to eat!  My kids loved it and the kids at my Halloween Taste Test Kitchen gobbled these little cuties up within minutes.  What do I like most about it.  Portion size!  Since you are working with snack-sized chocolates, you immediately have your portion sizes figured out for you!  Trust me, you’ll love that!!

INGREDIENTS

1 bag of Snack sized Three Musketeers chocolates
1 bag of marshmallows
1 package of candy googly eyes
1 bottle or bag of ready-made red icing

PREPARATION

Arrange the Three Musketeers chocolates on a plate or platter.  Take a marshmallow and start slicing it to create the large portion of the eye.  Take the slices of marshmallows and adhere them to the candy.  Adhere the googly eye to the marshmallow.  Finally, pipe the red icing on to the marshmallow to make it look like a bloodshot eye. The first and the lasts slices of the Marshmallow will not be sticky on one side. If you will be using these pieces, adhere them with the red icing.