Thursday, 13 December 2012

Luncheon accomplished!, today's my birthday and the recipes!

I added onto my post....including the recipes from yesterday that so many of you asked for. They have been added to the bottom!

Hi everyone....its been a busy busy week. This is a short post (for me). Had a luncheon for 26 friends to celebrate one of my dearest friends birthdays in the world. It was loads of fun and so worth any effort, stress and extra calories that went into making it happen. It felt more daunting to plan because of the Christmas chaos that is full swing but it ended up being loads of fun.  Did my best to capture some of it, but was not able to get as many pictures as I would have liked. I was busy up until the last second before someone arrived and then got busy  greeting everyone (think I need an in house photographer) lol! So here are a few highlights...........really wish I had been able to take more "in progress". A friend of mine  snapped some of the highlights....

Come on in......
This brie is soooooo good. I swear one day I am going to make it just for ME!

Made this centerpiece arrangement, it came out really pretty (more on that next week)

Yummy.....the brie is ready to come out of the oven!
Big round tray for fish and large fruit platter going into the fridge, Teddy "standing guard" for any remnants that might hit the floor...
The spread......a tricolor with shaved Parmesan and yellow tomatoes, a tricolor pasta with fresh basil, mozzarella and tomatoes, an herbed salmon and a lemon dill salmon, a mushroom and spinach quiche and finally my "in house staple" the Chinese chicken salad

 How pretty are these poinsettia topiaries that I found? I love them, they are so festive and elegant!

 The pretty flower cake.......white ganache and heavenly! (bummed that there weren't leftovers)!
 A big fruit platter......this can be eaten without any guilt and when you had a piece of cake next to it, it cancels out the calories :)
I am going to do a post on my completed Christmas decorations including my tree on Monday. Some of it you have seen but there are a few new additions and of course my Christmas tree!
Speaking of holiday decorations...I have SO enjoyed getting all your pictures. All I can say is that I must have the most talented readers out there! Its not too late to send me yours, I will post this next Tues, Dec. 18th so I only ask that you submit your photos by Monday Dec.  17th. Email your picture(s) to This is going to be one fabulous post!

You know I am always bragging about my readers and their exceptional taste level...check out these two beauties. One used my silver planter for a holiday party centerpiece and the other has my pretty ginger jar pillow on display! LOVE these!
Wrapped my first two Christmas gifts, here they are. I always pick up all kinds of litlte doo dads to add to gifts to make them feel special. Granted, I have a looooong way to go and many gifts yet to even purchase but this is one step in the right direction.

 I like adding small adornments to packages, nothing super overdone but even a touch of greenery and a pine cone can make a gift feel special
Tomorrow is my birthday so I am taking the day off. I really need a "decompressor" and I have chosen that day to be my day of relaxation. A very good friend of mine is hosting a small lunch for me ( I said no but she was adamant so it's just me and five of my closest friends) small and intimate just the way I like it. I will be sure to share highlights next week.
Wishing you a wonderful day, a sane and peaceful state of mind as we all find our way through the crazy maze of Christmas and holiday journeys. Fun, oh yes but the stress level can run high too. Of course I think (I speak for myself ) that I also set the bar high and sometimes set unrealistic expectations of what can be done!  SO remember deep breaths, lots of little breaks, coffee and/or wine and lots of laughter will all help you get through it! Ho ho ho......... 
Hi its Dec. 14th and I am adding onto my post by popular demand! Here are the two recipes for the brie and the easy but they look and taste like you slaved in the kitchen all night long:)

And here's a little gift from me to you....the recipes from yesterday that so many of you asked for!

Best brie ever!

One large brie
Dough ( I use Pepperidge farm because I like the easy way out) but you can also make homemade dough if you are really that ambitious......not me
About 1/2 cup of slivered almonds or pecans
Fresh cranberries
Maple syrup
1/2 stick of butter
Egg whites
Brown sugar

Put cranberries in a ziploc and add maple syrup, shake bag so all are covered, ideally they marinate over night. Next morning roll them or shake them in a ziploc with sugar.....Cut the rind off of the cheese, let dough sit at room temp, roll it out with ample flour until you have plenty to wrap around the cheese. Add cranberries, cut butter, nuts and then top with brown sugar on top of cheese, then "wrap" the dough around and twist on top. Brush on the egg whites to seal the dough. Bake into a pre heated oven at 350- 375  for approx. 25-30 minutes. As soon as it is golden brown take it out, you can cover with aluminum foil and serve about 15 minutes later. If keeping in oven, turn oven off and tightly wrap with aluminum. I garnish with fresh cranberries. I serve with Carrs water crackers,

Only advice I have is watch over the brie carefully and as soon as you  see it about to be demolished announce lunch or dinner is served, swiftly remove tray- this way you insure you have leftovers for yourself:)

My easy peasy salmon-

If you can overnight, squeeze the juice of 2 lemons over fish and sprinkle liberally with sea salt  and drizzle with olive oil, then cover with aluminum. The next morning, drench (as in the entire bottle) the fish in a lemon dill sauce/marinate. Squeeze a fresh lemon over it. Cut up about 4 cloves of fresh garlic in thin slivers I make little slits in the fish and insert garlic. Add red pepper, fresh dill and lemon slices. Add sea salt if needed. Bake covered at around 350 then  last 10 minute remove aluminum so it gets a little crusty on top. I then remove the garlic that has done its job by giving it a wonderful flavor. Great thing is this can easily be served room temperature, Iooks pretty to add some fresh lemon slices and fresh dill on top.  I also take the "sauce and juices" from the pan and drizzle over the fish.  This is so easy and quite delicious...the fresh dill and lemon are what make this so yummy.

So there you have it, so many of you asked, I had to share. Happy cooking!

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