LIFE'S A BEACH

 LASDI©

LASDI©

This particular catering gig was in June, so being the Themer-Girl I am, it only made sense that the summer menu was called Beach Party Roast.  It consisted of roasted salmon, roasted mini-sweet peppers loaded with green onion, cream cheese, and shredded cheddar, roasted asparagus, roasted beach bread, and sandy beach parfaits that I found a recipe for from a Texas-girl blogger.  With all of that yumminess, the peppers got quite a bit of attention.  I had the opportunity to pop a few in my mouth, and could completely see why they were so addictive!  Plus they're easy to make and low-carb!!  Shout out to The Daughts for the cute-and-appropriate title to this post!

MINI SWEET PEPPER POPPERS

1 bag tri-colored mini sweet peppers (about 20) seeded, and cut lengthwise

1 block cream cheese

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 bunch green onion, sliced thin (both green and white ends)

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp pepper

Combine cream cheese, shredded cheddar, green onion, sea salt and pepper in a bowl.  Microwave for 15 seconds.  Mix well with a spoon and let stand about a minute or two.  Scoop a mound of cheese mixture into each pepper and press into pepper, careful not to over-mound so your cheese doesn't leak out during cooking.  Refrigerate for about an hour.  Heat oven to 400 degrees and bake peppers for 20 minutes; switch oven to broiler and broil peppers until cheese is brown and bubbly - about five minutes.  Let rest five minutes before serving, then pop a few in your mouth before putting them on the table because they go quick!!

NOTES: These are great for your Vegetarian Friends.  For you Meat Eaters, and for extra flavor, you can crumble some bacon into the cheese mixture, or just about anything you like!  I know an entire bunch of green onion seems like a lot, but it really lends an herbaceous, chivey taste to these loves.  For July, and some added heat, I use jalapenos in place of the sweet peppers for hot pepper poppers!  These are great served warm or room temperature and make a great side or appetizer.  

PICNIC LUNCH

  LASDI2016©

LASDI2016©

I am learning that catering doesn't always mean a fancy, sophisticated spread.  Sometimes may also be doing a ton of amuse bouche or appetizers, and sometimes the theme could be low-key and understated - and yet still very appreciated!  In this particular case, I made a picnic-style lunch of gorgeous paninis with three kinds of cheese and shaved deli turkey on sprouted-grain bread, hand-crafted veggie-chip blend, baked cornichon, and the most wonderful chocolate chip cookies that were crisp on the outside and just-soft-enough in the middle that they melted in the clients' mouths!  I know, because they said so!!  I have a little trick for uniform cookies so read on in the recipe to see what that little hack is!!

CHOCOLATE CHIP PICNIC COOKIES

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 pkg (16 oz) chocolate chips

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg. Add vanilla and mix well. slowly add flour mixture until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips. HACK PART ONE:  Spread your mixture onto a prepared baking sheet to meet the edges.   Bake until cookie "cake" is brown, which is approximately 13 minutes.  HACK PART TWO: Take a circular (or whatever shape) cookie-cutter (I used a small round with tiny scalloped edges for this catering job) and immediately cut your shape into the sheet of baked cookie.  DO NOT REMOVE.  Immediately place your cookie sheet in the freezer and leave there for anywhere between fifteen minutes to a half hour.  When you pull out the cookie sheet, carefully remove your cookies and keep the scraps for another recipe or as a treat for later!  I freeze mine and use in cheesecake for Sunday Supper!

NOTES: I use all-organic ingredients but it is not necessary for the flavor in the cookies for this particular recipe.  Also, be on the watch for your husband sneaking his nose into the freezer for the scraps you are saving for later.  I'm not trying to throw anyone in my house under the bus (The Hubster)......I'm just sayin'......

Let's Be Brie(f)

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

Oh, man.  I cannot TELL you how much this catering gig lit a fire under me!!  I had SO MUCH FUN doing this particular one because instead of a meal, it was a ton of apps for a ton of people.  And it was a SUCCESS!!  Among (many) other things, there was Teeny Tacos, Creamy Cake Truffles, Barbecued Meatballs, Stuffed Mushrooms, Pesto & Goat Cheese Stuffed Cherry Peppers, Shrimp in Texas Red Sauce, and so, soooooo much more.  One of the faves seemed to be the Streusel-Topped Baked Brie I made.  Considering the holidays, this is the recipe I'm sharing today.  It's so easy and very fast to make, but seems so sophisticated and like you spent all day in the kitchen!  I served mine with really hearty and rustic wasa crackers, but you can serve with whatever you like!  Happy Holidays indeed!

STREUSEL-TOPPED BAKED BRIE

1 full round of brie

cooking spray

1 cup pecan pieces

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 sugar

2 tbs pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Gently cut the top of the brie round off and lay it back on top of the cheese from where you cut it from.  Spray a circular baking sheet with cooking spray and place the brie in the middle.  Bake for exactly twelve minutes.  While the brie is baking, combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  After twelve minutes, take the brie out of the oven and sprinkle streusel mixture all over the top.  Bake another five minutes.  Take out of the oven and let cool completely.  Serve with crackers or just eat it with a spoon!  

NOTES: If any cheese runs out onto the baking sheet while cooking, you will be able to scoop it up in its entirety if you want to place it on a platter.  Simply place the crackers over it or for a rustic look, don't cover it up.  Let that melty-cheese look do all the talking! 

She-cago Cubs

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

Though I am not a Cubs fan, I am a fan of Cubs fans.  One in particular happens to be my favorite person - The Hubster!  As we watched the possibility of Back to the Future's prediction in progress, we were invited to two of my other Cubs fan-favorites, Cody and her husband Joe.  My job was to take a sweet and a savory.  I did not don the Cubs gear; however, in support, I did fix up some Cubs eats!  I did cupcakes decorated with a Cubs logo, as you can see from the picture above, and also dressed up some antipasto apps to look like baseballs!  That is the recipe I provided you below......throw them together for your next sports party!

BASEBALL ANTIPASTO APPS

1 pkg 'everything' bagel thins, sandwich-size

1/2 pound hard salami, sliced at a 2 or 3

1 pkg sliced smoked provolone cheese

1 jar roasted red peppers, keep the liquid

2 tbs mayonnaise

2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese

Toast the 'everything' bagel thins until just crisp.  Mix the liquid from the jar of peppers, the mayonnaise, and the Parmesan cheese in the jar, close and shake well.  Spread very thinly and evenly on toasted bagel thins.  Place a slice of salami on top of the dressed bagel thins, and then layer a slice of provolone cheese.  Cut each roasted red pepper into thin slices to make the baseball 'laces', and layer according to the picture above.

NOTES: I use Boar's Head salami because it has no nitrates or MSG, and is minimally processed.  Also, as the low-carb girl, I simply eat this without the bagel thin and it is DELICIOUS!

 

 

ALL FUN & GAMES

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

Put together a game night for us and two of our favorite humans and just HAD to have some delish snackies.  So with leftover tuna steaks I made tuna-cakes, and with leftover ham, sun-dried tomatoes and 1/2 a bell pepper I made some bruschetta sammies (that's what I call them, anyhow), set out some cheese, crackers, and olives, and we had a full belly and a great time!  I've given you the bruschetta sammies recipe below.  DO IT.

BRUSCHETTA SAMMIES

1 brick cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup cheddar shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 bell pepper, diced finely

6-8 sun-dried tomatoes, diced finely

1 cup sandwich ham, diced finely

sea salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp paprika

1 loaf of your favorite crusty bread, sliced into 1-inch slices and open-faced

Mix all ingredients down to bread.  Generously pile onto bread.  Eat.  Say YUMMM!!

NOTES:  Isn't is crazy that it's THIS EASY?!?

 

Party Preserves

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This night was all business, so how could it have been SO FUN?!?  This was a seven-course meal made by yours truly for our Guest Services Team Captains for our home church, Crossbridge.  It was a Summer Dinner Theme because well, it was in the summer.  This picture was part of the amuse bouche, which had a cheese board, a black currant preserve brie wheel, canapes, and potato latkes.  It was all so 'amuse-ing'.  See what I did just there? For the sake of this particular post, I will give you the brie wheel recipe because it was a HUGE HIT, not to mention really, really pretty. 

BLACK CURRANT PRESERVE BRIE WHEEL

1 wheel brie cheese

1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted

1 cup black currant preserves (or any seasonal preserves of your choice)

1 egg

1 tsp water

Place the cup of black currant preserves in the middle of the puff pastry in a circle, eye-ing the size of the brie and trying to keep the circle to about the same size.  Place the brie cheese on top of the preserves and very gently close up the puff pastry to a tight "present", sealing the edges together and cutting off any excess.  Turn over so that the seal is on bottom and place on a prepared baking sheet.  Whisk egg and water together in a small bowl, and baste all over the puff pastry.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Serve with crackers, celery, or just drop a whopping spoonful into your mouth by itself!

NOTES:  I used the scraps of the excess to make a decoration by cutting out a butterfly with a cookie cutter. I placed it on top of the puff pastry prior to basting with egg wash.

'Choke On It!

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

One of my most favorite things in the universe is artichoke.  This particular night we paired it with the crab we caught on our beach-camping trip and a kitchen-sink salad.  (Crab recipe will come at a later post.  Friend of ours gave us the most AMAHZ recipe I will share!)  Artichokes are super-duper-good for you: they are from the thistle family and are a good source of niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber (not to mention low-carb!), vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and manganese.  (YAWN.)  THEY ARE JUST PLAIN DELICIOUS!!  This is my go-to way of making them just about every time, and you won't be sorry if you try it.

CITRUS BAKED ARTICHOKE

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

1 whole artichoke

sea salt

pepper

juice of 1 citrus fruit (orange, lemon, lime)

extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

Snip sharp edges from artichoke, peel stem with vegetable peeler until all nubs and points are removed, and quarter.  Cut top off smooth.  With a paring knife, carefully cut the prickly thistle out of the middle so there is a slight divot, as shown above.  Lay on baking sheet and one at a time, pick up by stem and squeeze citrus juice in between leaves and then onto stem.  Do the same with the evoo, sea salt, and pepper - in that order.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until tender.  Then rip the 'meat' off of each leaf with your teeth until you hit the gold nugget that is the tender artichoke heart.  Sweet love of all that is good......you're welcome.

NOTES: Great as a side, or on its own as a snack!

Man Food

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

There is some TOP-SECRET stuff going on around here!  And all in the name of my 45th birthday party in November.  So I can't let the cat out of the bag just yet, but I CAN tell you that once-a-month I have five men meet here at my place to rehearse, two of whom are The Hubster and The Sonster.  Well, I certainly have to provide snacks!!  How to feed five hungry dudes?  See below.

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

CRACK SAMMICHES

Look, if we're being honest, here, I did not invent these babies.  I've had them a few times and they are good no matter who makes them!  I did put my own little twist on them, though, and the guys huddles around them like they were stalking their prey.  And they just couldn't get enough!  Hence, the name.

CRACK SAMMICHES

1 24-pack of Hawaiian mini-rolls

1 large pkg ham of your choice

2 pks sliced Swiss cheese

1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted

2 tbs Dijon mustard

2 tbs Worcestershire sauce

2 tbs onion powder

2 tbs poppy seeds

Place roll bottoms in the bottom of a greased baking pan.  Thinly layer ham, then Swiss cheese, then ham again, then last layer of Swiss cheese.  Put roll tops on.  Mix butter, Dijon, Worcestershire, onion powder, and poppy seeds.  Pour or baste over top (see notes) and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

NOTES: I used a silicon brush baster to ensure the tops of the rolls got every bit of flavor and so that not one single poppy seed was wasted.  I was unable to find organic ham or Swiss that I thought would hold the flavor I was looking for, so I used Boar's Head instead, which has no artificial fillers, no MSG, and no nitrates.  And GOOD LUCK finding organic Hawaiian rolls!  So I used the good old-fashioned Hawaiian rolls and decided not to feel guilty about it!

 

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

CRESCENT LOVE

2 containers butter-flavored crescent rolls

1 pound ground turkey breakfast sausage

1 can ro-tel

1 large handful shredded sharp cheddar

1 large handful shredded mozzarella

Brown turkey sausage in a pan, and then add ro-tel until all liquid is absorbed into meat.  Meanwhile, roll one can crescent rolls onto un-greased baking sheet.  Pinch together your seams, using a little water on your fingers to seal.  Pour sausage mixture over the top.  Sprinkle your cheese hands-ful over the sausage.  Roll your second can of crescents over the top of the cheese and sausage, using the same method to seal the seams and sides of the crescent dough.  Bake in a 350-degree oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

NOTES:  I found organic crescents at Trader Joe's!  I also found extremely inexpensive turkey breakfast sausage there, too!