November 7th, 2018
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.
September 27th, 2018
Had book club at my house again and wanted to create a beautiful “fall” appetizer table… but nothing too complicated. I had some hummus left over from the weekend… beet hummus and basil hummus. Additionally, I prepared some quinoa Mexican inspired salad with corn and beans. It was DELICIOUS!!! I also prepared a beet salad because I LOVE to add red to my menu.
For a healthier alternative, I served greens so that people can build a salad foundation with lettuce and spinach and then top it off with the quinoa or beet salad.
The appetizer platter was very simple. It included bread and crackers, for the hummus, as well as various kinds of cheese. Last but not least, I purchased a flatbread at my local supermarket’s frozen food section, right next to the pizzas. It was easy to bake and my friends thought it was a wonderful addition to the table. I mean, who doesn’t love some freshly baked flatbread with their salad?
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!
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.
October 29th, 2015
Delicious and unique! This salad is a great treat for brunch, lunch, or dinner!
- 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
- 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
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!
October 26th, 2015
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!
- 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
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.
October 5th, 2015
I love Fourth of July , for so many reasons! Firstly, it’s a casual celebration, which means I don’t have to stress too much about what to prepare, in fact, it is a perfect celebration for potlucks! And that is exactly what I did this year. I just wanted it to be relaxed, fun, and easy. So, I asked several of my friends to bring their favorite dish while I prepared a few surprised for the kids! After dinner, we went to my friend Danna’s house and enjoyed watching the kids do sack races and a plethora of other fun activities. Danna made mint juleps while my friend Rhae provided the red, white, and blue macarons. It all turned out great and below are some photos from this fun day!
Red, White, and Blue Strawberries. Just buy white and blue candy coatings and dip away!!
Fruit shortcake dessert bar. Just combine fruit, pound cake, and whipped cream and allow your guests to build their own masterpiece which they can top off with some patriotic strawberries.
Danna’s gorgeous potato salad
Our 4th of July potluck buffet with a burger bar.
Hanging out at Danna’s house
Rhae’s red, white, and blue macarons.
Danna’s beautiful red, white, and blue centerpiece straight from her beautiful garden.
Danna’s mint julep paired with Rhae’s macaron… DELICIOUS!!!
Our kids watching fireworks… priceless!!!!!
September 30th, 2015
Simplicity is key… mixed greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, and shredded carrots make this salad a quick and easy combination that everyone will love!
- 1 cucumber (sliced)
- 2 cups mixed greens
- 12 grape tomatoes (yellow or red)
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
Place the bed of mixed greens in a bowl, add sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and shredded carrots. Salt well and set aside for five minutes. Then, drizzle olive oil and toss. Your salad is finished!!!
September 28th, 2015
If you are looking for a salad that has a combination of interesting and delicious ingredients, this salad is FOR YOU!! This Melon, Turkey Sausage & Artichoke Salad, is a perfect blend of hearty, fruity, and salty! The addition of the Terragon is a wonderful little surprise at the end. If you love all these ingredients, don’t hesitate for a minute to combine them!
- 1 can/jar Marinated artichokes
- 2 tbso Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cantaloupe
- 1 pkg turkey sausage
- fresh tarragon
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp prepared mustard
To prepare lemon, cut in half and scoop the seeds out with a spoon. Cut the flesh into cubes and set aside. Remove the marinated artichoke hearts from jar and drain. Remove sausage from package and slice. Heat olive oil in a pan and add sausage. Fry until sausage is ready and allow to cool a few minutes. In a bowl, combine artichokes with melon, and sausage. Sprinkle with a generous amount of tarragon. For dressing place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Pour dressing over the prepared salad and toss well. Garnish with more tarragon and enjoy.
September 25th, 2015
- 1 cucumbers
- 1/2 cup black olives
- 1/2 cup green olives
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes
- 4-5 oz feta cheese
- 1 stalk celery
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp White wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove chopped
- pinch of red pepper
- pinch of dried oregano
Cut cucumbers in half and spoon out the seeds. Slice both halves of cucumbers. Slice celery. In a bowl, combine cucumber slices, celery, black olives, green olives, tomatoes, and feta cheese. Set aside.Prepare dressing. Combine all ingredients in small bowl and whisk to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) You can also use ready-made Italian dressing. Toss dressing and salad in a bowl and serve. Can be refrigerated for up to one day.