Sunday, January 31, 2010

Put your cupcake on a pedastal

When I saw these:



on the fabulous website Modern Chic Home, I immediately had to have them. Santa (aka Mr. Fo) put them under our Christmas tree, and I am now the proud owner of cupcake pedestals.

Cupcake pedestals may not be a necessity, but damn they are cute. Plus they are super versatile... you can use them for....

Flowers





Candles





Placecards


(I made these by cutting a slit in the top of the apple and sticking in a piece of cardstock - too easy)

.....and of course... Cupcakes...










How adorable are these?! I made these cupcakes from a Valentines Day Funfetti mix I got at Target... that's also where I bought the adorable heart cupcake wrappers. And yes... in the last picture... those are heart shaped cupcakes. I couldn't help myself.

Pick yourself up some cupcake pedestals to use at your next party! You know you want to :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A "Sweet" Valentine's Cocktail Party

I probably spend 40% of my day dreaming about parties...what food to serve, how to set it up, themes, etc... is this normal?

Lately I have been obsessing about throwing a Valentine's Dessert Cocktail Party. This isn't in the cards for me, since I will be cooking up a dinner for 2 for Mr. Fo and myself for Valentine's Day. But if you are not having a party of 2... maybe you should throw my dream cocktail party ...do it for me.. please?!


Here are some ideas so you can get started on achieving my dream party:


Sweet Treats...





1) These charming cupcakes come from THE Martha via Delish.com. Knowing Martha, she grows her own flour and sugar somehow to really make these cakes from scratch. My motto is, if I am going to go the extra mile to decorate a cupcake with a heart shaped brownie, it's okay to make a boxed cake. No one will know ;)



2) These Peanut Buttery oldies but goodies come from Quick & Simple, also via Delish.com. They don't call it Delish for nothing. Everyone has made or eaten a Peanut Butter Tart, so we all know how simple yet delicious they are. Instead of a Reese's Cup, put a heart shaped chocolate in the middle and call it a day. These can be made ahead of time and frozen until thawing for party time!



3) Chocolate Covered Strawberries are a classic. But don't let me catch you buying them from a store - people should be arrested for selling these for $2.50 apiece when it is SO easy to make them yourself. Instructions: 1) Buy strawberries 2) Buy Bakers Dipping Chocolate and Microwave according to Instructions 3) Dip strawberries in Chocolate 4) Enjoy
(image via tlc.discovery.com)



4) Bakerella's Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies - How do I love Bakerella, let me count the ways... If you aren't familiar with Bakerella and her whimsical treats, go to her website now. Then tell me you don't want to be her. She scores again with these gorgeous and EASY sandwiches perfect for Valentine's Day.




5) Chocolate Sweet Hearts - Martha again (via Delish.com). I have a love/hate with Martha. Really, this should be a separate post, but for now I will cram it in here... I love Martha because... well.. she's Martha...the creator of tissue paper flower pom-poms...The thing is... Martha says ridiculous things like "Anyone can make their own beautiful wedding cake!" UM NO THEY CAN'T MARTHA. And also, I don't want to pick up one of your cookbooks that says "Easy Recipes" and see an ingredient I have never heard of that has to be flown in from Botswana and costs $45... you get my drift? Enough about my complicated feelings towards Martha. The cookies here are adorable and are only 50 calories a pop. Diet Food.


6) These were pictured on the wonderful blog Thoughtfully Simple. I happen to love a good conversation heart. They taste sort of weird but are so adorable. Plus they are candies that TALK... and I love to talk. Put them on your cupcakes for a creative twist...



7) These delightful treats are Valentines Meringue Cookies...I happen to love meringue...after one disastrous meringue experience, I have since mastered these cookies...Light, Airy, Heart Shaped and Pink? Perfection.



8) These French Macarons from Mowielicious are to die for. Here's a secret - I am deathly afraid of making Macarons. If I were to ever accomplish this feat, it would be my Mt. Everest ... you feel me? In fact, if anyone wants to throw a few tricks of the trade my way, I would be forever indebted to you...



Love Potions...



1) Try this Pink Vodka Cocktail from Oh how Posh! This would look great in a punch bowl or a glass drink dispenser.

2) You know I have to have a champagne cocktail at my party - Try this Raspberry Royale from TheBubblyGirl.com...YUM

3) This gorgeous drink is made using Baileys so it would be perfect for a dessert party...I just may have to serve this one at my party of 2 this year :)

4) A Mocktail for those Mommies to Be or those on the wagon... How pretty is this Raspberry and Rose Punch from Epicurious?


Decorate your heart out... (get it?)



1) Candles in glass jars are an easy way to decorate...Use V-day candy such as Conversation Hearts, Red Hots and Red and White Sprinkles (like in this picture from BHG.COM) to add some color.

2) Do the same with your flower arrangements. In this picture Martha uses red V-day candy to complete her tulip display. Bonus - the mass of candy in the vase helps arrange your flowers.

3) Use a combination of flowers and candles - sprinkle some rose petals on the table, line up some candle votives and you are in business - simple and elegant. (image from http://floriade.33.websecurestores.com/Default.aspx)


With this foolproof guide you should be able to have my dream Valentine's Cocktail Party in no time - Enjoy and let me know how it turns out ;)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Help for your Casa by CASA BRASI

Today I want to give a little shout out to my fabulous friend Amanda who just started her own blog - Exhibit A below:







You may remember Amanda as the fab friend who helped me with my sister in law's baby shower. If that isn't enough to entice you, here are several reasons why you should make Casa Brasi an Internet hotspot:


1) She has the best hair I have ever seen. Seriously. It's red and gorgeous and is never styled the same way twice.



2) She is more of a bargain shopper than I am and dresses WAY better than I do - no doubt about it. If she weren't so damn nice, you could hate her.




3) She is following her dream of becoming an interior designing by going to Design School WHILE working full time - wowza... makes me tired just thinking about it... (Don't worry, the hair and wardrobe have not suffered in the slightest).




4) She has a natural flair for design... take a look at Casa Brasi to see what I am talking about... she will tackle your worst room and make it fantastic under ANY budget!


5) Creative doesn't even begin to describe this chick! Stick with her and you will continue to be inspired.


Go visit Casa Brasi... tell her I sent you ;)


Monday, January 25, 2010

Chalk it Up

As stated in a previous post, I have newly discovered chalkboard spray paint. When is the last time you wrote with chalk? When you were in your driveway playing hopscotch or back in the one room school house? A little nostalgia never hurt anyone. After combing the Internet, here are some of my favorite things you can do with this fabulous product:


(image via Chef's Resource)

I have never hosted a wine and cheese party, although wine and cheese are some of my 2 favorite food groups. Yes, I consider them food groups. I am setting a goal right here on this blog for all of you to see - before 2010 is over, I WILL host a wine and cheese party. And you will see a fabulous chalkboard cheese plate that I will have made from some random item in our house.


(image via purpleandpearls.blogspot.com)

How cute is this place card? And easy. A combination I strive for.


(image via yumsugar.com)

Similar to the place cards above, these double duty as place cards AND napkin rings. Efficiency at its best.


(image via Celebrations at Home)

I found this idea on one of my favorite blogs, Celebrations at Home. This fab blogger always posts super creative ideas that are completely doable! Directions for making your own chalkboard table runner: 1) Find a table runner. It can be the cheapest, most hideous table runner ever - who cares, you are painting over it 2) Paint table runner 3) Make delicious food and label table runner accordingly 4) Invite people over to eat said delicious food 5) Humbly listen as your guests applaud your creativity... Easy enough, right?




My attempt at chalking (I just coined this term) was a quick menu board in my kitchen. I found an absolutely atrocious $4.99 picture at Marshalls and painted over it with chalkboard spray paint. Let it dry and happily use. This would be cute propped on an easel at a dinner party with the party menu written down.

Moral of the story.... chalking is super easy and cheap. If you mess up, you can just erase it. And I bet you can find 5 things to spray paint in your house RIGHT NOW. Happy Hunting :)

P.S. Random Side Note: I just want to say that as I sit here typing, Mr. Fo is watching Wheel of Fortune and I swear, this game is his God given talent. It's like he has secret powers. If there are 2 letters up on the screen, he can correctly yell out the phrase before Vanna ever thinks about turning over a new letter. (Why does Vanna never age, btw?).... I know this has nothing to do with chalkboard paint, but maybe we can have a Wheel of Fortune party one day to show off Mr. Fo's amazing talent...or maybe we should just move to Boca Raton with the other 90 year olds who watch "The Wheel." Just a thought.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Yumm

Mr. Fo and I had a great dinner Friday night at Nobles for Charlotte Restaurant Week...Twice a year, participating restaurants in Charlotte have 3 courses for $30. It's a good deal, although we always end up spending more. ($140, thank you very much.) After our big night out on the town Friday (we were home by about 10 p.m.), we knew we would stay in Saturday night. How OLD are we?! Anyways, we invited one of my best friends Hillary over for dinner, and it was a 3 person party.


On the Menu at Cafe Fo:


Italian Platter of crostini, tomato and mozzarella stacks, and prosciutto

Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus

Spinach Salad with Champagne dressing, glazed walnuts, feta cheese and craisins

Individual Pudding Trifles


Just typing this makes me hungry. I think I will be repeating this menu tonight - that's the best thing about pasta - there are always leftovers.

Note that although Cafe Fo is NOT a fancy restaurant, we definitely fed 3 people for way under $140. Just saying.

First things first: Tomato/Mozzarella Prep




I know you are asking yourself, what IS this fabulous contraption that makes slicing tomatoes and mozzarella SO FUN? Well, it's a "Tomato/Mozzarella Slicer" by Mario Batali for Crate and Barrel. The good news is that Mario and his peeps invented this absolutely unnecessary, but absolutely amazing gadget. The HORRIBLE news is that this product is discontinued. I guess people don't find it necessary? They just use a regular "knife" or something ridiculous like that. Thank God for my mother-in-law Susan, who scoured Crate and Barrel's store inventory up and down the East Coast to find the last one ever made. (Okay, I don't know if its the last one ever made, but it makes for a better story.)

Simply slice your tomatoes/mozzarella. ( I like to use Roma tomatoes - they are smaller and cuter... that's right, tomatoes can be cute.) Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add some thinly sliced prosciutto (Italian ham people) and little crostinis and voila... you have a gourmet appetizer. (NOTE: Prosciutto and Mozzarella from the "Italian Store" in Charlotte - actual name: Pasta and Provisions... their slogan... "Eat Pasta, Run Fasta..." I can tell you this is actually NOT true as I eat a lot of pasta and can barely run at all. But it's a cute slogan.)




As you can tell, I like to make the mozzarella/tomato slices into little stacks. I could have just eaten a boatload of this for dinner. But. I could not disappoint my 2 guests. (Party of 3, remember?)





I must admit, this is my go to salad (ingredients listed in menu above), I make it at least once a week. But it's so freaking good. You have to use Girard's Champagne dressing. If you don't have it on hand, don't even bother making the salad. Although maybe you could pour actual champagne on the salad. As I said in a previous post, add champagne to anything and it will rock. Try it and let me know.



For the entree, I made a super simple Fettuccine Alfredo recipe I found on Delish.com (one of my favorite websites to get recipes). I don't typically love Fettuccine Alfredo because it is usually SO heavy, but this is super light and doesn't use that much cream. Plus it has asparagus in it so its practically a health food. You can find the recipe here. I wanted to add peas, too, but I forgot. Imagine if I had remembered the peas - it would have been really been a health food. Never mind the fact that the veggies are doused in cream.

For dessert, I was dying to use the individual trifle bowls I had just purchased online from Crate and Barrel. And no, you didn't read that wrong, I said Individual Trifle Bowls. For all you visual learners:




HOW CUTE ARE THESE? I knew I had to do these bowls justice, but I also wanted to do something easy that could be prepared in advance.
Here is what I came up with:

Chocolate Pudding Individual Trifles


1 package of Instant Jello Pudding


1 tub of Cool Whip



Crushed Graham Crackers




Step 1: Make Instant Pudding per directions on box (My unborn niece could do this, so you can too)



Step 2: Crush Graham Crackers



Step 3: Begin Layering. Graham Crackers first, then pudding, then cool whip. Repeat.






Garnish however you like. Shaved chocolate curls, fruit, nuts, etc. I used raspberry, graham crackers and a Pepperidge Farm Pirouette. These Pirouettes are heaven in stick form. I suggest you try them out.



I am telling you - make this dinner the next time you have a party of 3. Or if you are more popular than that, this would also work for a large crowd. I am off to eat the leftovers while watching football on the couch.

Food coma to ensue. Happy Sunday Night!




Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A SUPER Superbowl Party (That's a double SUPER)


Per the request of arguably my most devoted reader, Aunt Rosie (HI AUNT RO!), I have been perusing the web and racking my brain for some Super Bowl party ideas. Mr. Fo and I are still on the fence about whether or not to throw a party, seeing as though we have a new baby coming into the family in the next few weeks (not ours, see previous posts)... Why doesn't Baby Brooke know that we are trying to plan a party here ... Gosh, infants are so wrapped up in their own world, aren't they?




Here is my take on Super Bowl parties. Just because it is about football, chips and beer, doesn't mean you just throw out a bag of Tostitos and a case of Bud Light and call it a day... BUT, on the flip side, I wouldn't go serving Proscuitto Wrapped Melon Balls with a side of caviar, either.. you get my drift?

Here are some fab ideas I found:



1. Ref Cupcakes. Hostess with the Mostess never disappoints and has featured adorable Football Cupcakes from Jeanne Benedict at Celebrations.com. If I do have a Superbowl Party this year, these cute little guys will be making an appearance. Guaranteed. Oh, and if you were wondering, those are little whistles on the top of the cupcake. You can use them if your party gets too rowdy ;)

2 and 5. Team Drinks: I am no ESPN commentator, but let's just say, it's the Indianapolis Colts vs. the New Orleans Saints this year. First off, know that I will be pulling for Peyton Manning (Colts) as he is hysterically funny in all 75 of his commercials. Seriously, click here for his hilarious United Way SNL sketch. Anyway, enough about my weird crush on Peyton Manning. I love a good signature cocktail - it's so easy to do and is always fun to drink. ;) I featured Martinis which is probably too fancy for a Superbowl party, but just go with the team colors. A Black and Gold martini for the New Orleans Saints and the Dreamy Blues for the Colts. Maybe the more popular drink will predict the winner of the game? In that case, I will be chugging the Dreamy Blues. ;) (IMPORTANT NOTE: BEER STILL MUST BE SERVED ON SUPERBOWL SUNDAY. IT'S A LAW.)

3. Football Napkins. Cute napkins are a must. I like these simple brown and white napkins from Plum Party. If I buy them, Mr. Fo may explode as my napkin collection is getting a little bit ridiculous. Need a napkin for an occasion? Seriously, just call me. I got you covered.

4. Chili with a Toppings Bar. Chili seems like a football appropriate food, right? Plus, and more importantly, you can have a TOPPINGS BAR. Cheese, Scallions, Avocado, Veggies... the toppings list is endless. Plus, it's fun and convenient for the hostess (i.e. Make the Chill, set out toppings and chillax while your guests make their own food). This setup is from Real Simple.

5. (See 2 above)

6. Football Cookies. Easy, delicious and adorable. Pillsbury just can't be beat sometimes. I made these last year. Now, with my intensive collection of cookie cutters, I obviously have a football shaped cookie cutter, but it's really not necessary to have one. Plus, if people have enough Signature Team Cocktails, they won't care if it's a perfect pigskin. These football cookies will be a "touchdown" at your party. (Too cheesy? Sorry.)

7. Football spreaders. These are from a great party site, Hostess Jo (BTW - All items 40% off right now). How could you NOT buy these?

8. Playing Field Centerpiece. Again, Hostess with the Mostess scores. How cute would this be on the food table? It almost makes me want to toss around the football. (Not really.)

I will keep you updated on our Superbowl party situation - we are either having a fabulous party, or we are bringing the football shaped cookies to the hospital where my niece will be born :) Either way, we are eating some football cookies.

Happy Almost Weekend!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Land of Necklaces


I cannot adequately express my love for accessories. Bracelets, Earrings, Necklaces, Scarves... You name it, I have worn it. My mom says it comes from my Great Aunt Jo who always wore her dangly earrings, even when she was cleaning the house. Well, I am happy she passed along her special gift to me.

You can imagine with the trend of costume jewelry that has been rocking the fashion world the past few years, I have really gathered quite a collection. Some might call this an "obsession" or a "sickness." I don't care, because if you make fun of me I will just buy a new necklace and that will make me feel all better. ;)

Exhibit A:


No, this is not a child's costume dress up closet. It's not backstage at a Broadway musical. This is one of my happy places.... The Land of Necklaces.

You see, once the necklaces got bigger... and longer... a regular jewelry box just wouldn't cut it. I simply couldn't properly accessorize when all of my necklaces were jumbled together in a box. Blasphemy.

To solve this conundrum, I came up with a fabulous idea of using an over the door towel hanger/coat hanger to store all my necklaces on the back of my closet door. Since my "brilliant and unique" idea, I have seen it suggested in about 3 different magazines, but whatever. I thought of it first. Okay? The only drawback to this wonderful storage system is that when I open my closet it makes a super loud jingly-jangly noise when the necklaces bang against the door... I personally think it sounds like angels singing... Mr. Fo finds it a tad annoying. Well then maybe he should just build me a special necklace closet. But that's for another post.

Since it's not really practical to show you all my necklaces, I will just showcase a few favorites:


Gray flowers with amber colored crystal centers? Be still my heart. Go to Lulu's.com and see if they still have it. I am sure they don't because who wouldn't want to purchase this masterpiece? You should check out Lulu's anyway though... super trendy and affordable.


This silver, black and pearl combination really topped off my Christmas morning. Santa Claus (via my generous in-laws) must have thought I was a good girl this year, because he gifted me with this gem. Dear Boring Black Shirt: You won't be boring for long. You can purchase this at New York & Company.


For a pop of color, I like to throw on this green number I picked up at Anthropologie. Three strands of glass green beads? Yes, Please.



This piece of architecture was another gift from Santa. Interesting story. I was planning to wear this to ring in the New Year when all of a sudden I realized the clasp had broke. Catastrophe - I had to call in for reinforcements. Thank goodness for Mr. Fo, aka MacGyver, who fashioned a replacement clasp with dental floss and some good old fashioned imagination. Crisis averted. Dear Banana Republic: I love you, but please don't make cheap clasps. Thank you.

And finally... all good Jackie O girls must have...


A wide array of pearls. Huge pearls, little pearls, double strand, triple strand, REAL pearls, FAKE pearls ... I have these all but I somehow keep finding different MUST HAVE variations. Not to mention the pearl earrings, bracelets and rings, but we don't have time for all that. Just know that Pearls and I are BFFs. And nothing can come between us.

Please note that 99% of these items were purchased on Sale or Clearance. I absolutely refuse to pay full price for anything, especially nowadays. I think I have demonstrated that you can be fully accessorized on a budget - right?

In closing, this post was for 2 reasons: 1) To show other obsessed women (or men) how to organize their overabundance of accessories, and 2) simply to celebrate one of life's simple pleasures.

Go buy a necklace today... (or 8)!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sissy's Baby Shower

As all great sister-in-laws do, I threw Drew (a.k.a. Sissy to Mr. Fo) a fun baby shower this past fall. I enlisted a happy helper - the fabulous Amanda, and we were on our way. The pressure was on since all of my husband's family would be coming in town for this event. I think we delivered, I must say.




First off, the invites:





I thought these were adorable without being too cutesy for a little girl. These are from my go-to invitation place -
Polka Dot Designs. LOVE THEM. The invite introduced the color scheme of green and pink.





Party Decor:







We hung a "B" on the front door... B for Baby and B for Brooke, which is the baby's name!

The B is from Hobby Lobby for under $10. We gave it to Drew and now it's painted pink and hanging in Brooke's nursery! Party Decor and Nursery Decoration all rolled into one - I like that efficiency.







This pretty pink tulle - from Walmart's fabric department - draped the staircase when guests first walked in. This was my friend Amanda's great idea, and it looked gorgeous. It could work for a more formal event as well as a smaller event like a baby shower.








These flowers were clustered on the front hall table. They looked beautiful, and they were favors for guests to take home.









Along with wine, we served 2 specialty cocktails. Safe for Mommie's to be was the "
Mamajito." This was basically a virgin Mojito.



Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoon Fresh Mint Leaves Muddled
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Grated Ginger Root
  • 4 Oz Sprite or 7-Up (Caffeine Free)
  • 1 Oz Fresh Lime Juice
Steps
  • Muddle mint in the bottom of the glass using the back of your spoon, add ice, ginger, lime and shake.
  • Top with the soda and garnish with mint leaves.

The non-virgin cocktail was Spiked Pink Lemonade - a combination of Pink Lemonade and Champagne. This was a total hit and proved my theory that if you mix champagne with anything, it tastes delicious. It's not just for New Years Eve people.







We called this "Brooke's Candy Bar!"

This was my first attempt at a candy bar, and it turned out quite delicious! I tried to use an equal mix of pink and green candy, but it ended up being mostly pink candy as green candy is surprisingly hard to find. The candy included:



Pink M&Ms

Pink Jelly Beans


Strawberry Whoppers


Strawberry Marshmallows


Double Bubble


Dove Bliss Bars


Pink Frosted Animal Cookies


The Fabulous Bakerella's Cake Pops (my first attempt and they were SO fun to make)
Malted MINT Milk Balls (from Dean and Deluca - pricey, but OMG good)




This was really fun to put together and most guests had never seen a candy bar before. Tie some cute ribbons on the candy scoops, make the labels for the candy jars, and you are in business.

Labels Tip: For an easy but cute label presentation, print out (in cute font) the names of the items on self-adhesive white labels and stick them on cute pieces of scrapbook paper for a pretty border. This is a cheap alternative to ordering pre-printed labels, and anyone can do it.






Here's a close up of Brooke's Candy Bar Sign and the cute bags to take the candy home. The bags were just brown lunch bags with pink and green polka dots stamped on them. Super cute, affordable, and room for lots of candy :)








Mantel Decorations. Resting against the mantel were actual baby pictures of Drew and Michael... as you know from Mr. Fo's 30th birthday party, I love using pictures as decoration. Everyone loved seeing their baby pictures and talking about what little Brooke is going to look like! We used Brooke's name in the decor again by painting unfinished wooden letters from Hobby Lobby. Drew was able to take all of these decorations home and is using the Brooke letters in the nursery.







Trivia Game and Prizes! I knew we needed to do a game... but I have been to a lot of showers where the game is... well... not all that fun. So I came up with a Drew/Michael trivia game. The questions pertained to milestones they made as a baby (i.e. their first word) and general fun facts about the mommy and daddy to be! It was fun because everyone got to know a little bit more about them. The best part was the presents. Aunt Carol had a great idea to buy a bunch of "prizes" that were actually baby items to go home with Drew. These included baby lotions, bottles, bibs, etc. So when all the prizewinners opened their gifts, they just passed them along to Drew! It was funny and allowed Drew to go home with even MORE goodies!







The adorable cake was from my favorite place,
Edible Art. I found a bunch of cakes on the Internet that I loved and picked out elements from each that I wanted incorporated into this cake. The result was exactly what I had described to the lovely ladies at Edible Art! Plus it was delicious, as usual.



Drew really racked up at this shower...stroller, baby clothes, you name it. But the gift with the biggest laugh was from yours truly...






No words needed. Hilarious onesies such as this one can be purchased at
BabyWit.com.





This shower was SO fun and all the guests went home stuffed and happy with their pretty pink rose and bag o' candy. We had the food catered from Dean and Deluca, because as much as I like to cook, sometimes you just need to have a party catered. They always do a great job.




Little Brooke should be here before we know it and I will be sure to take a picture of her in her favorite onesie to show you all ;)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Night Dinner... Its not a Balanced Meal, but it's YUMMY

Food post here... Well, it's Saturday night. As you can imagine, I am doing fabulous Saturday night things... like sitting at home eating dinner and watching a movie with Mr. Fo... maybe in my pajamas... but I am NOT complaining. Cooking...eating..pajamas... sounds good to me ;)



First things first... an appetizer. It's completely delicious...completely fattening...completely versatile for parties. It's my favorite appetizer... Baked Brie. Moment of silence please for the awesome-ness that is Brie cheese.



Normally, Baked Brie is meant for more than 2 people. But we had it in the fridge and it sounded good. If you can resist eating it all, it actually heats up well the next day in the microwave.



My favorite recipe for this is the Pillsbury Recipe using Crescent Rolls. It's incredibly easy and can be varied in many ways. The best part is it looks fancy and people are impressed... which is always a plus.



Recipe: Crescent Wrapped Brie



The directions are pretty simple. Unwrap a crescent roll and split into 2 square. Press down the perforations so each square is its own piece. Put one square on the baking sheet and place the round Brie on top of it. Then place the other crescent square on top and pull the bottom corners over the top.



Note: there will most likely be excess Brie on the bottom square. That is where your creativity can come in. Use a cookie cutter to cut out a shape and put it on top... like the heart cutter I used. Hearts are my go to these days. This would make it work for a Valentine's Day party or even a Valentines dinner for 2!





Beat one egg and brush the unbaked Brie with the beaten egg. This part is fun to me because I get to use my pastry brush. I need to find more things to use it for. It's fun.






This is the finished product after baking in the oven for 20-25 minutes. I love how the cutouts really stand out. Let it cool for about 10 minutes and cut the Brie open. It will ooze out (for lack of a prettier term)... Serve right away on a platter with crackers. You can serve with a jam on the side or even spread the jam right on top of the Brie round before putting the crescent square on top so it bakes with the jam. However you do it, it's guaranteed to be a hit. You can write mean comments on my blog if it's not.






Now... that was just the appetizer... so you can imagine that we were too full for the entire meal we had planned... which, if you are curious, was gnocchi (more on that later), creamy polenta and roasted asparagus. Due to the enormous amount of delicious Brie we had consumed, we decided to just go with the gnocchi.





You may be asking... what is this... gnocchi? I am so glad you asked. It's one of my favorite pastas - although it's really not a pasta - it's potato dumplings. Do not be scared of gnocchi! Despite its hard to pronounce name (pronounced: nyo-key), its incredibly easy to make. One of these days I am going to make my own gnocchi from scratch , but for now, I can find it at most grocery stores. I take full credit for telling several people about gnocchi... and now they love it! It can be served with all types of sauces and it is very unique and delicious. Plus you can tell pasta haters that it's a potato, not a pasta. (Although why would anyone hate pasta? Seems silly and I certainly wouldn't associate with those types of people.)




I purchased this from Trader Joes... more specifically, their Italian line called "Trader Giotto's" ... get it ? Trader Joe's = Trader Giotto's in Italian. Adorable. Plus it was under $2. Can't beat that.





Just drop the entire package of gnocchi into a pot of salted boiling water.







Wait about 5-7 minutes and you will see the little guys bouncing at the top of the water. (It's really cute... they are letting you know they are ready.) In my opinion, this is what makes gnocchi so awesome - you really can't screw it up. As soon as you see them come to the top, just wait a minute or two and take them out. It's genius, really.





Drain the gnocchi. The main reason for this picture is to showcase my Martha Stewart collapsible silicone colander. Run to your local Macy's and buy one now. You can thank me later. I think this was a bridal shower gift from my friend Leighton who coincidentally just got engaged YESTERDAY. CONGRATS LEIGHTON!






YUMMMMMMMMMM. Gnocchi with homemade gravy. Add some shaved Parmesan and you are golden. Took all of 15 minutes. Beat that 30-minute meals.






Served in my favorite bowls - Crate and Barrel soup bowls given to me by my in-laws for my birthday. Gnocchi tastes like little pillows of heaven. Does that make sense? It weirdly does to me. Mangia :)



In review...I will admit this isn't a well balanced meal... Cheese and potato dumplings? What?! But it's delicious. And if we hadn't pigged out on Brie, we could have made the polenta and asparagus to add some veggies and a side. But sometimes in life you just have too much Brie cheese. And I think we would all rather have too much Brie cheese then none at all.



Try some Baked Brie for your next party or just for 2 people. And the gnocchi is a necessity for a quick but delicious meal. Everyone can use a little bowl of heaven pillows.



I am currently in a food coma and you can find me relaxing in my pajamas for the rest of the evening. Happy Weekend!