Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Veggie Snacks

Thanks to my crazy schedule lately, I'm rather behind on my food posts!  However, I did want to share our family's most favorite snack food lately: roasted brussel sprouts!

This discovery occurred quite by accident, and all started with a regular trip to our local farmer's market.  My daughter had been intrigued by the mound of brussel sprouts for weeks by then, but I always just walked right by since I had long ago classified brussel sprouts as a nasty-tasting, limp, and boring vegetable that I was forced to eat as child.  Ick!  Not a positive association.  I finally gave in not long after starting this blog, realizing I should be encouraging my 4-year-old's veggie curiosities and not perpetuating the vegetable aversion I've had for as long as I can remember.  <Sigh.>  So, I let her fill up the bag with brussel sprouts (trying not to gag and wondering how in the heck I was going to prepare them) and off we went.  Honestly, the bag of brussels stayed buried in the produce drawer for a good week.

Then, my husband saved the day.  Yes, he gets all the credit for this bit of (simple) brussel sprout magic :)

He sliced 1 lb of brussel sprouts in half lengthwise, and tossed them with just enough olive oil, salt, and pepper to lightly coat the veggies.  He then placed the brussel sprouts cut side down on a cookie sheet (trust me, this is important!), and baked at 375 or 400 degrees until the aroma filled the house and the veggies had a fabulous color on them.  Once they were out of the oven, he squeezed the juice of one lemon over top and . . . oila!  Easy peezy!

I do have to confess, agreeing to try these veggies was a bit of a "grin and bear it" moment for me.  Jim was so very proud of his creation, but I am pretty sure that I kept flashing back to the steamed brussel sprouts of my nightmares . . . at least, until I got the first bit in my mouth! 

Roasting transforms this vegetable into a little bit of heaven, while the olive oil and lemon juice combine to  elevate the flavors even further.  The way I kept eating these, you would have thought they were potato chips!  I am so very grateful that I gave in to Abby's veggie curiosity and Jim's culimary creation.  We happily snacked on brussel sprouts the whole night while watching the Olympics -- sounds crazy, I know!  But this, my friends, is a little bit of foodiva magic.  Promise.  :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Two LIttle Monkees!

You may have been wondering where I've been for the last week . . . the answer: up to my ears in "Two Little Monkees Jumping on the Bed!" party funness!

Party planning is certainly high on the list of my most favorite creative outlets.  In fact, I've loved throwing parties for as long as I can remember.  Some of my fondest memories of my childhood are spending hours with my mom pouring over our party planning book, selecting a theme to entertain all my friends, and knowing my mom was going to plan every detail to perfection.  I remember them all: the Mad Hatter Tea Party (where she forced my brother and his friend to be our waiters), the Cheerleader Party (where she paid my oldest brother's cheerleader friends to come and teach us high school football cheers and we totally got to dress up in their uniforms (awesome, right?!?!?!)), and the Campout Party (where she had family friends come entertain us with old time campfire songs and we made s'mores).  So it's not hard to understand why I've loved passing along the tradition to my own daughter -- and more recentlly, for my friends too.

I was delighted to plan this incredibly fun "Two Little Monkees Jumping on the Bed!" party for my friend Kym's two daughters, Kaylee (age 4) and Daphnee (age 1).  P.S. now that I've finally introduced them, you also know that I really do know how to spell "monkey," it's just that the double "e" is a thing for the Boisverts!  ;)  The theme was a perfect play on their names, but also on their rambunctious little spirits and the giggles and playfulness that fill their (totally awesome, brand new) home. 

My first order of business was hiring my friend Kristin to come up with a fabulous piece of artwork to anchor the party, as well as serve as a photo booth.  As you can see below, she more than delivered!  (I helped, but all I did was paint in the lines!)  And kudos to the girls' daddy, John, for building the board and to Kym for painting it a fabulous shade of purple.
I really can't thank Kristin enough for bringing my and Kym's idea to life and making it so darn CUTE!  The polka dots were an unexpected addition that were just too perfect not to carry throughout the party. 

With the artistic inspiration completed, my next call was to my friend Chelsea who makes AMAZING cakes -- both to eat and to look at!  In fact, for those of your who remember, she made the awesome rainbow cake for Abby's rainbow superhero party.  Yeah, pretty cool, right?  But check these cakes out!  I think she outdid herself:

If our request for these two custom cakes (with custom artwork) weren't enough, we also asked for SEVEN dozen cupcakes.  She didn't disappoint!  Thank goodness for the amazing ladies on etsy (especially AbbaGee and CraftsbyJilly), where I spent hours pouring over as much monkey themed, pink/green/purple polka dots as I could find!  I think I literally squealed with delight when the adorable custom monkey cupcakes toppers arrived.  And I think Chelsea squealed with delight when I told her she didn't have to decorate seven dozen cupcakes!

About a week before the party, I discovered my friend Monique had started a new company specializing in cake truffles, "Posh Desserts."  (Like her here:!/sdposhdesserts!)  She did an awesome job with the monkey cake pops -- and judging by how fast they disappeared, they tasted pretty fabulous too!  She also made the beautiful banana pops (cuz monkeys have to have bananas to eat!) -- which ended up being quite a bit trickier than we anticipated, so major props to her!

So, with all of that, I'd say we created one fabulous cake table!
Of course, a party isn't just about creating an awesome cake table . . . so we hired the BEST taco cart service ever (though I think we also gave the taco lady a heart attack when we doubled the attendees two days prior! Doube the fun, right?  HA!).  We had two jumping castles, a play area for the babies, a giant chalkboard, a monkey (or should I say monkee?) pinata, and hand made (thank-you-very-much) goody bags to round out the fun:

And of course, since it's my blog . . . here's my little monkey :)

Thank you, Boisverts, for all the silliness and fun . . . it was great to plan a party with you and oh-so-fab to see it all come together!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Smoothie Quest 2012: Round 3

This week has been full of party planning (don't worry, definitely showing that Herculean effort off soooon!) but I had to take a moment to share my hands down, most favorite smoothie yet. 

one handful green grapes
1/4 carton raspberries (about 10)
10 strawberries
handful blueberries
one over ripe banana
1/3 cucumber, cut in small chunks
1 large handful clover sprouts

Pause: I'm sure this would have been delicious on it's own.  On a whim, however, I opened up my freezer and added:

1 large handful of unsalted mixed nuts

The result?????  Fruity, not too sweet, peanutty, lavendar-colored goodness.  INCREDIBLE.  My new favorite.  The nutty note in the smoothy definitely keeps it from raising your blood sugars and adds in a helpful blast of protein.  The berries deliver al lthe antioxidants I need to help me fight this yucky, not-needed head cold.  I'm in smoothie heaven!

I call it Nutty Lavendar.  :)

Enjoy, fellow foodivas!