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Light and Fluffy Angel Food Cake – Simply Heavenly

Need a light, homemade dessert?  Whip together this delicious, fluffy angel food cake – it is truly heavenly!  You only need six ingredients, which you probably already have on hand.

6 common ingredients

6 common ingredients

  • 1 cup Swans cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 large egg whites, brought to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Fresh berries – raspberries, blueberries or blackberries (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Sift together flour and salt into a small bowl.  In a separate bowl, beat egg whites on medium-high until whites have a foamy consistency.  Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until you have soft peaks.  Then, while mixer is still running, add sugar and continue beating until you have stiff peaks.  Finally add vanilla and beat until just combined.  Transfer this mixture to a large bowl, carefully.

Using a large sifter or fine wire sieve, sprinkle 1/4 of the flour mixture gently over the egg whites.  Very gently fold the flour into the egg whites.  Repeat this 3 more times.  Make sure when you fold the flour into the egg whites you cut through the middle and gently scrap the sides.  Watch our YouTube video to see how it’s done:

http://youtu.be/CGcit1djRQQ and  http://youtu.be/TygLc4WwZTc

Very gently, pour the batter into an angel food pan.  Using an icing knife, gently smooth the top of the batter.

Spread Gently

Spread Gently

Bake for about 40 minutes until the top is golden and center springs back when touched.

Golden Brown

Golden Brown

Once you remove cake from oven, invert pan onto its “legs.”  Let pan cool on its legs for one hour.

Angel  Food Cake on "legs"

Angel Food Cake on “legs”

Once cooled, gently run a sharp knife around the edges of the pan and lift cake out by the center tube.  Next run a knife along the bottom of the pan, remove from pan and place on a pretty platter.  Serve the cake with fresh berries.  This will serve 10 people.  Keep leftovers wrapped and will last about five days.  This also freezes well.

LIght and Fluffy Angel Food Cake - Heavenly!

LIght and Fluffy Angel Food Cake – Simply Heavenly!

Frozen Key Lime Pie – A Sweet Fiesta Finish

Instead of the traditional Mexican desserts, i.e., flan or churros, try this Frozen Key Lime Pie recipe to end your Fiesta on a sweet note.  This is an original recipe from one of our favorite chefs, Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.  One of the great things about this pie is you can make it days in advance!

Click the link below for Ina’s recipe:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/frozen-key-lime-pie-recipe3/index.html

Frozen Key Lime Pie

Frozen Key Lime Pie

Chambord French Martini – Cheers to 2014!

Chambord French Martini

Chambord French Martini

Let the Chambord French Martini be your signature drink this New Year’s Eve.  It’s a wonderful way to say goodbye to the good, bad, and in-between of 2013 and welcome the new hopes and dreams of 2014!

This recipe is for one drink:

  • 1 1/2 oz Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Chambord (black raspberry liqueur)
  • 2 oz Pineapple juice
  • Champagne Topper
  • Fresh Raspberry Garnish

Shake first three ingredients in a martini shaker filled with ice.  Strain into a martini glass and pour a little Champagne on top.  Garnish with a few fresh raspberries on a long toothpick or float one or two in the glass.

Cheers to our Simple Celebration family and friends!

Quick spicy tomato and bacon linguine

Dinner in 30 minutes

Dinner in 30 minutes

Now that you have been cooking for days and are exhausted but the thought of going out to dinner and getting dressed up is too much – try this easy and delicious dish.  This linguine dish is so good it would be great for a family meal but also perfect for company.  This has been a favorite of my family for years.   Open a nice bottle of chardonnay, pour yourself a glass and have dinner on the table in 30 minutes.

  • 1/3 pound thick sliced bacon, chopped
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 1/2 c. sweet onions, roughly chopped
  • 6 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1/2 t. red pepper flakes
  • 2 t. dried basil
  • parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound fresh linguine, cooked according to directions
Ingredients

Ingredients

Sauté bacon until almost crisp.  Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel.  Leave  2 T. bacon drippings in pan and add olive oil, water and onions.  Sauté for 3 minutes.

To pan, add tomatoes, wine, garlic, bacon and red pepper flakes.  Sauté for 3 minutes.

Finally add basil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve over pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Serves 4-6.

Potato & Smoked Salmon Starter

Smoked Salmon and Fingerling Potatoes

Smoked Salmon and Fingerling Potatoes

Instead of serving salad as a first course, try this potato and smoked salmon dish.  Jumbo cooked shrimp easily substitutes for the salmon if one of your guests does not care for smoked salmon.

  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes – variety of colors
  • 8 oz. smoked salmon, sliced thin
  • 8 ounces creme fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • 1 tablespoon minced dill
  • 1 teaspoon drained capers

Boil fingerling potatoes until fork tender, about 15 minutes.  (At this point you can place potatoes in a warming tray or low temperature oven to keep warm until your guests arrive.)

Fingerling Potatoes

Fingerling Potatoes

Mix together the creme fraîche, herbs and capers in a small bowl.

To assemble, cut each potato in half and place 4 halves on a salad plate.  Top each potato with a spoon full of the creme fraîche mixture.  Then take a piece of smoked salmon (or shrimp), fold it in half and put on top of potato and creme fraîche.  Top with a sprig of dill.  Serve warm.

Smoked Salmon

Smoked Salmon

Creamy Moose Milk Cocktail

Moose Milk Cocktail

Creamy Moose Milk Cocktail

Moose Milk has been served at our neighborhood holiday parties for years and everyone loves them, but BEWARE –  this is a very potent cocktail and if too many are consumed, there will be consequences and repercussions!  One more word of advice, if you want to make another batch, but have run out of vodka and/or rum, please don’t substitute with a bottle of Jack Daniels – been there, done that, not good.

In large punch bowl :

  • 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream (slightly softened)
  • 1/2 gallon whole milk
  • 1 c dark rum
  • 1 c Kahlua
  • 1 c vodka
  • Nutmeg garnish

Mix all ingredients and serve with a sprinkling of nutmeg on top.  To keep cold, make an ice ring by freezing water in a bunt pan and float the ice in the punch bowl.

Mom’s Party Mix

Vicki's Mom

Vicki’s Mom, Ann

Party Mix in a Christmas Tin

Delicious Party Mix

Vicki writes … For as long as I can remember, the holidays always included my Mom’s party mix.  She makes this in November and hides many tins in the closet until we beg her to please bring out more.  It is one of those holiday memories that will always stay with me.  What is watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation without a big bowl of party mix??  So from my family to yours – sit back, relax and enjoy those wonderful old Christmas movies, made so much better with my Mom’s party mix.

This makes a lot.  Make sure you have plenty of Christmas tins on hand (available at the dollar store).  Line your tin with paper towels and store them in a cool dark place – like your closet.

  • 1 1/4 pound salted butter
  • 2 T. garlic salt
  • 1 T. + 1 t. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1 T. + 1 t. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 12 oz. bag of thin pretzel sticks
  • 12 oz. bag of mini pretzels
  • 8.9 oz box of Cheerios
  • 14 oz. box of Corn Chex
  • 12.8 oz. box of Rice Chex
  • 14 oz. box of Wheat Chex
  • 4-10.3 oz. cans of mixed nuts
  • 3-8.3 oz. cans of whole cashews

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Melt the butter and add the salts and Worcestershire Sauce.  In two very large bowls combine the rest of the ingredients.  Pour butter mixture over dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Place party mix on as many baking dishes or cookie sheets that fit in your oven.

Bake for 2 1/2 hours stirring every 15 minutes.  Be sure and rotate pans among the oven shelves.

Take party mix out of oven and pour on paper bags (grocery bags from the store).  You can use paper towels, but the bags work just as well.

Store in tins.  This will keep for a month or so.

Eggnog Cookies with Rum Frosting

Eggnog - Rum Cookies

Eggnog Cookies with Rum Frosting

This is our final cookie blog.  We hope you are inspired to make a few batches of each type for your holiday festivities.  Vicki’s husband, Skip, likes this eggnog cookie the best during the holidays.  Why?  Well, the rum of course!

  • 1 c. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 t. dark rum
  • freshly ground nutmeg

In a large mixing bowl, beat 3/4 c. butter until fluffy.  Add both sugars and beat well.  Add egg, vanilla, and salt and beat again.  Add the flour and beat until well mixed.  Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven for 350 degrees.  Shape the dough into 1 inch balls.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart (step 1).  Press down in the center with your thumb (step 2). Bake for about 12 minutes.  Cool on wired racks.

Step 1

Step 1

Step 2

Step 2

To make the filling, add 1/4 c. butter in a small mixing bowl and beat until softened.  Add the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add the run and beat well.  Spoon the frosting, about 1/2 teaspoon, into the middle of each cookie (step 3).  Sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg and chill until firm.

Step 3

Step 3

Makes about 50 cookies.

Florida State Santa serving Rum Cookies

Florida State Santa serving Rum Cookies

Buckeyes – So Easy, Let the Kids Make Them!

Santa Loves Buckeyes!

Santa Loves Buckeyes!

For all of you non-bakers, this is the Christmas cookie for you!  If you are short on time, and who isn’t this time of year, you can get these cookies together in no time.  Better yet, have your kids make them for you (maybe with a little supervision).

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup creamy style peanut butter
  • Dash vanilla
  •  1 12-ounce chocolate bar melted or keep it simple by using Baker’s Heat & Dip Chocolate Dipping Sauce

Mix sugar, butter, peanut butter, and vanilla together with mixer.  Form dough into one-inch balls, place on wax-paper lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for approximately 45 minutes.  Melt the chocolate or use the dipping sauce, then, using a toothpick, pick up each cookie and dip into the chocolate.  Return to cookie sheet  and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.  Ready to eat!

A Quick Quiche Lunch

Spinach, Mozzarella, and Tomato Quiche

Spinach, Mozzarella, and Tomato Quiche

If you are having friends over for a gift wrapping party, a pie making party, or just a get-together to catch up, this Quiche will make a great lunch that won’t keep you in the kitchen!  The reason we call it Christmas Quiche  is because of the festive red and green colors.  You can substitute the spinach with sliced zucchini and mozzarella with any cheese you like.  Serve a simple green salad on the side, and your holiday lunch  is complete.

  • 9-inch baked pie shell
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced thin
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup half-and-half or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano or basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Chopped fresh basil leaves and black pepper for topping

Bake pie shell as directed on package.  In large skillet over medium heat, saute onion and spinach in butter for about 5 minutes.

Place half of the tomato slices on bottom of pie shell.  Sprinkle spinach mixture, cheeses, and flour into pie shell.  Beat together remaining ingredients until well blended and pour over vegetables and cheeses.  Top with remaining tomato slices, fresh basil leaves and pepper.  Bake in pre-heated 375 degree oven until knife inserted near center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 6

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