Holiday Appetizer: Baked Brie

thanksgiving-appetizer-brie

One of my favorite things to prepare (and eat) during the holidays anytime is brie. You can’t go wrong with a little cheese, wine and chocolate so that’s exactly what I did to start the Thanksgiving festivities at my house this year.  This recipe is so versatile, easy and delicious, it should be at every gathering. Plus you can prepare this ahead of time and just pop in the oven 30 minutes before serving.

What you need:

  • 1 round French brie
  • 1 container of crescent rolls
  • jelly/jam(s) of your choice – I used a cinnamon butter jelly and a hot jalapeno pepper jelly – the pepper jelly was a bigger hit!
  • nuts of your choice
  • apples/crackers to eat the brie with

crescent-wrapped-brieLay out the crescent rolls into a star shape with no openings on the bottom.  Place the brie round in the center.  I shaved off a little of the brie coating but kept most of it in tact.  If you cut it all off and leave holes in the rolls, you could end up with a melted cheese disaster on your pan which tastes great, but looks terrible.

Top the brie with jams/jellies of your choice.  I highly recommend a jalapeno pepper jelly. the sweetness of the crescent rolls (and apples) complements very will with the kick of the jelly.

Top that which chopped nuts of your choice.

Fold the star of the crescent rolls to cover the entire brie, make sure not to leave any openings.  I used the 90 calorie ones so I sprayed a little butter on the top for a golden crescent finish. I doubt the only 90 calories helped any bit this Thanksgiving, but it’s the thought that counts, right?! 🙂

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Serve warm.

For the apples, a quick trick to keep them from turning brown – Soak the apples in a bowl of cool salted water for just a minute or two.  Then put in a Ziploc bag until ready to use.  They won’t turn brown – I ate tasty apples for 3 days!

Serve with wine (I had a bottle of Decadence from Cooper’s Hawk) and mint chocolate no-bake cookies.

brie-and-chocolate

Happy Holidays!

It’s a Pawty – A Dog’s Birthday Party

Dog-birthday-party-theme-puppy

What happens when you love your dogs and you love entertaining?  Chances are, you’ve thought about having a dog birthday party, right?  This year, Emmie turned 2 and now that she has her very own fenced in backyard, a party was a must!  Inspired by Pinterest (the easiest place for inspirations!), Emmie’s “all things dog” theme was created! Since the idea was to keep the dogs outside, the party began at 9AM <— yes, a party starting at 9AM!

Dog-birthday-party-theme-cake-bone-ideasDog Bone Shaped Cake:

Who knew a little geometry would come in handy while baking a cake!!  One of my favorite types of cake (from a box) is funfetti. Hands down. Something about the vanilla cake and sprinkles combo makes a great taste and reminds me of when I was a kid. I didn’t go fancy on this one at all. Simple cake mix and frosting, follow the instructions and bake. Once the 1 rectangular cake pan and the 3 circle cake pans were done, the fun began to create this dog bone shaped cake. You will cut out 1/4 of each of the circles so you can use the 3 1/4 pieces to make the 4th part of the bone. 🙂 A birthday wasn’t complete without us singing, yes singing, to Emmie and then indulging in a cake (and mimosas!).

Dog-birthday-party-mimosas-parfait-themeBest in Show Bubbly:

A make-your-own-mimosas bar. Need I say more?! I usually buy Andre Brut for my mimosa champagne but I recently learned about freixenet – a few dollars more, but so worth it. Maybe not for the masses when you can buy Andre, but definitely a must for a small gathering.

Pupcakes Dog-birthday-party-pupcakes-peanut-butter-apples

These peanut butter apple cupcakes were made specifically with dogs in mind.  They were a huge it hit!  You can find the recipe for pupcakes here.  The frosting is made of  greek yogurt and peanut butter and topped with homemade dog biscuits (recipe). These were a HUGE hit!

Doggie Bag: treats-to-go

Who doesn’t love going to a party and taking something home?  Well when you go to my dog’s party, you will end up taking home a doggie bag of treats for your fur baby! These are the same treats that I topped the pupcakes with and the recipe is here.  Made of oatmeal, carrots, and cheese, these things are healthy and the dogs ate them up!

Dog-birthday-party-biscuits-cheese-carrots-oats

Snacks

I made “fetch sticks” out of overnight French toast and strawberries on a kebab stick.  Topped with maple syrup and powdered sugar, these were so yummy.  I made pigs dogs-in-a-blanket from crescent rolls and mini sausage links.  I had extra rolls so I filled these with nutella and they were actually pretty good!  To make the snack spread somewhat healthy, a parfait bar was a must!

Dog-birthday-party-theme-fetch-sticks-ideas

Emmie’s party was such a great success but the afternoon was even better!  As soon as I was done cleaning everything up outside, the thunderstorms came down hard (talk about perfect timing!)!  The dogs slept for hours and I even fit a little nap in the day. 🙂

Happy 2nd birthday, Emmie!

Dog-birthday-party-theme-ideas

 

3 Ingredients to Paleo Pancakes

Paleo-pancake-porch

Friday morning I woke up at 5am.  Typically, I would take the dog out and then go back to bed.  But yesterday I was feeling well rested and decided getting up 1.5 hours early was a good idea. <— it was!  I cleaned, took Emmie on a long walk and made breakfast! I love breakfast but I don’t take the time to sit down and enjoy it in the morning.  Usually I eat it on the way to work.  (it being cereal – from a plastic cup) But not this morning!   This morning I decided to enjoy breakfast on the porch.  In a “get-up-early-be-productive-and-do-something-good-for-myself” mood I was in, paleo pancakes were a must!

The Paleo Diet is also known as the caveman diet.  Essentially, what cavepeople ate, is Paleo approved.  The Ultimate Paleo Diet Food List is a great source for the dos and don’t of Paleo.  I made a very yummy Thai Red curry Spaghetti Squash with Chicken dish that was specifically Paleo friendly.

For breakfast I mixed 3 ingredients and made a very delicious “pancake.”  Paleo-pancake-ingredients

  • Eggs – packed with protein, omega-3 fats and vitamin!  <— ok, I didn’t go with cage-free organic eggs, but eggs > no eggs, right?
  • Bananas – hello potassium!
  • Cinnamon – The smell boosts brain functioning… CPA is 6 days away!

 

The ratio should be 1:1 but if you have a big banana (like I did), I just used 1 banana and 2 eggs.  The banana makes the batter thicker so play it by ear…

Paleo-pancake-cinnamon

I love cooking with coconut oil!  I lightly coated the pan with coconut oil to give the pancake a crispier outside.

Paleo-pancake-coconut-oil

Cook the pancakes in the frying pan and wah-la!  Breakfast served!

Paleo-pancake-cook

For dinner, I made grilled steak kabobs and used the Weber Grill Chicago Steak Seasoning.  Oh my goodness… so delicious!  I visited the Weber Grill in Chicago (which was A-MAZING) so when I saw this seasoning in Publix, I was sold!  I coated the petite tender medallions beef shoulder pieces with olive oil and the seasoning.  I must say, that was a great decision!

Weber-grill-spice

What’s better than grilled steak?  Grilled steak AND grilled veggies!

Veggies-kabobs

What did you eat healthy this weekend?