#Sunday Supper: Recipes Using Fresh Tomatoes

Happy April, everyone!

April is National Florida Tomato Month, so the Sunday Supper crew, headquartered in South Florida, asked us to come up with recipes using fresh tomatoes to celebrate. Fittingly, Rini from Healing Tomato is our host today. Be sure to scroll past my simple recipe to see over 40 ways to use that bright red fruit!

I did something insanely simple that can create that wow factor at your next party – tomato tulips. I got the idea from Pinterest but when I clicked on the pin it did not lead me anywhere useful. So I did my own thing!

Tomatoes are stuffed with flavored goat cheese and then arranged with some scallion stems. They’d be beautiful on a cheese plate! Or arrange a veggie platter with other favorite veggies to create stunning garden scene perfect for springtime festivities – I’m looking at you Easter and Mother’s Day.

Kids might be more inclined to try a tomato if it looks like a flower. My 2 year old was anxious to try one as I was making them, but then he reached for a not-yet-stuffed tomato and managed to touch some of the seeds. It was game over after that point. He did have a spoonful of the goat cheese though. Ha!

I couldn’t decide what flavor goat cheese to go with when I was checking out the options at the grocery store. To go sweet or savory? I ultimately went with a savory garlic and herb variety, black pepper was my second choice, but honey could be fun!

Now it’s got me thinking… if you had large enough green grapes, stuffing them with honey goat cheese could be a great “bouquet” too!

Tomato Tulips

Ingredients:

  • grape or cherry tomatoes
  • garlic and herb goat cheese
  • scallions

Steps:

  1. Cut an X in the end of the tomatoes, not cutting all the way though.
  2. Using a small spoon fill the cut tomatoes with the goat cheese.
  3. Arrange on platter with scallion stems.

Tomato Tulips for #SundaySupper from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Chicken Recipes

Main Courses

Pizza, Pies, and Pastas

Side Dishes

Snacks

Soups and Salads

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

#SundaySupper: Sleepover Foods

You guys, guess what?

You know this super awesome theme for today’s Sunday Supper? Sleepover Foods? Yeah, it was mine!

If you have some super epic ideas, you can easily submit them here.

A big thank you to Marion of Life Tastes Good for hosting the event. I’m so excited to see what everyone has to offer for our virtual sleepover!

Originally, I’d have loved to share a fun popcorn recipe perfect for watching movies late at night. But the reality of doing so had me switching gears to a different salty snack.

Why couldn’t I share popcorn? Well, because I have two little boys, who, while awake ensure I will burn the popcorn every time. They’re also not of popcorn-eating-age, so when I make popcorn I have to wait until after bedtime. But by then, there is zero light by which to take a drool-worthy photograph. And let’s be real, there wouldn’t be any leftover to try shooting some stale-popcorn pictures.

I started thinking about party mixes and thought it’d be fun to make one out of all Goldfish. (No, I am not sponsored by Pepperidge Farm – I WISH!) I thought about my favorite popcorn flavor – salted honey – and knew I wouldn’t be able to transform that to my fishy mix because Treat isn’t yet one year old and can’t have honey. Agave wouldn’t lend enough flavor, so I decided on real maple syrup!

Firecracker was more than happy to be my little model. I put him into a pile of pillows and blankets on the floor and handed him of cup of my Maple Fish Party Mix.

An Original Recipe

Maple Fish Party Mix

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp real maple syrup
  • 2 C cinnamon graham cracker goldfish
  • 2 C pretzel goldfish
  • 2 C whole grain cheddar goldfish
  • 2 C original goldfish

Steps:

  1. Melt butter and syrup. You can do this in a small pot on the stove or in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. In a large microwave safe bowl, toss together all of the goldfish. Pour the melted butter and syrup over the top and toss to coat. Microwave 1:30min, toss, and microwave another 1:30min.
  3. Spread the goldfish mix onto a baking sheet and allow to cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container. The goldfish will keep up to 2 weeks.

Maple Fish Party Mix for #SundaySupper from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Breakfast

Snacks

Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out ourPinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Tuesday Tattles: 2nd Birthday

Tuesday Tattles

It’s finally time to share my Firecracker’s second birthday party, with you!

When we moved to California and became regulars at the playground I quickly realized it’d be a great place to have the kids’ birthday parties. I scoped out the venue for months to determine when would be the best time of day to throw a party at a public park, to figure out if it’d be allowed, and to decide which picnic table to claim. I then had to start asking around about how big the 4th of July got around here. The answer was a resounding “crazy!” So I knew that we simply wouldn’t be able to celebrate on THE day. (Good thing it wasn’t his 1st birthday!)

We celebrated on a Sunday at 10:30 am. Firecracker is only two weeks older than our friends’ son and so we did a dual birthday bash for the 2 year olds. Our guest lists would have been identical anyway. The party was attended by other families who moved out to California from Ohio the same time we did. And by happy coincidence, my dad had meetings in Los Angeles the following week so my parents came out for the party and my mom stayed out here to play and help with the kids while my dad was in his meetings!

IMG_9583I had originally planned (aka – when he was born I picked out his first four birthday themes) on having an Auburn themed birthday party. It was hard for me to change my mind, but I knew that my train obsessed toddler would much prefer a train themed party. So, I let go of my planning and switched gears.

This party was much smaller than his 1st birthday, so instead of ordering a cake, I decided to simply make cupcakes. I made 4 dozen cupcakes – way more than I needed. About half of them ended up in my freezer unfrosted. I displayed the cupcakes on Twizzler train tracks on our dining table. I made Busy Day Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting and Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes, my friend made the frosting for the vanilla cupcakes.

Cupcakes for a Train Themed 2nd Birthday Party

 

Down at the playground we set up a table with snacks. I cut out black circles and taped them to disposable aluminum loaf pans to create train cars. My friend had popsicle sticks which we used to create a track for the food.

A fruit train of pineapple, cherries, and red and green grapes was led by Orange Cream Dip and Chocolate Hummus. A veggie train of cherry tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, and carrots was led by Sour Cream and Onion Dip and Ranch. We also had a container of hummus. Salty snacks of pretzel sticks, potato chips, and “pigs” in a blanket joined the party, too. I traced a train cookie cutter to cut out the labels for the respective dips.

A train themed 2nd Birthday Party

After a couple of hours at the playground we moved the party to our place for grilling and cupcakes.

Decorations were fairly minimal too. I used the major Thomas and Friends character colors as my inspiration, blue, red, and green for Thomas, James, and Percy, respectively. I wrapped streamers around the banister for the stairs and tied some balloons on each end of the staircase. Balloons were attached to chairs at either end of the table were the cupcakes were displayed. Two sets (1 balloon of each color) of balloons were placed on Thomas the Tank Engine balloon weights and taken down to the playground to bookend our picnic table.

The biggest decorating endeavor was the Happy Birthday Banner. The banner was placed above our awesome 80’s style mirrored fireplace. I didn’t have a single hole puncher (I do now!) and couldn’t fit the train shapes in our stand 3 hole puncher, so my mom strung the banners together with a needle and thin yarn.

I found templates for a train engine, train car, and caboose through Google searching. I printed those out on colored card stock. I had two blue trains for the birthday boys’ names, a red train, and a green train. 4 red cabooses, and 19 grey train cars!  For the letters, I used the font Ariel. Three letters at a time were typed in WordArt at font size 96, then I sized the WordArt graphic to be 3.48″ x 8.81″, making sure the letters would fit inside the train cars, and then selected Rotate Flip Horizontal so that the text would be backwards. The words “2nd” and “and” followed the same method except that the WordArt graphic was sized at 1.52″ x 3″. The letters were arranged to look like railroad crossing signs and put on two 5″ yellow circles. Everything was cut out using a craft knife and adhered to the train cars using small glue dots.

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My attempt at getting a photo of the birthday boys with their cupcakes was a slight fail.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday Tattles: 1st Birthday

Tuesday Tattles

It’s been quite some time since my last Tuesday Tattles post, and today’s is a very special edition.

My little man is now ONE!

Today I will share with you the planning (and execution) of his birthday party. I will post another Tuesday Tattles next week documenting our favorite products to date.

IMG_4645Before I get into the decorative and food details, I need to give a HUGE thank you to my parents for allowing us to have his party at their summer home in Wisconsin. (I spent my childhood Fourth of Julys there when it was my grandparents’ home and I knew that living in Ohio we’d be close enough to spend the holiday weekend there once again.  It just so happened that the little man shares his birthday weekend with America.) And another huge thank you to my in-laws for agreeing to travel from Alabama for the little man’s first birthday.

Being surrounded by family, the invite list grew and grew and this birthday party became bigger than I envisioned for a first birthday. Thankfully the weather was perfect and our outdoor gathering was a wonderful reunion. I think my favorite part about the party was that my cousins’ kids, ranging from ages 3 – 17, absolutely loved my son – and better yet, my son loved them! I was amazed that my son could understand the concept of play and his newly found skill at walking came in handy while he chased around the older kids.

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When my son was born the day before the Fourth I knew immediately that his first birthday would be Captain America themed! I had been pinning ideas for a whole year and could not be more thrilled with how successful his party turned out.

I couldn’t find any pre-made party decor that was only Captain America since the latest movie that was released was the Avengers. So we resorted to using red, white, and blue. I added pops of yellow to break up the monotony and keep it “comic-book-y”.

  • I alternated red and white plates alongside alternating white and blue napkins. Blue dessert plates were used alongside red napkins.
  • I cut stars out of white sticker paper with the help of a friend’s Silhouette Curio Cutting Tool, and placed them on blue cups.
  • Two 16″ Patriotic Orbz Balloons were paired with yellow balloons and placed on either side of the food table.
  • White stars were cut out from paper and I hand wrote the food labels in red or blue to be placed next to each dish.
  • Star balloons flanked with blue balloons decorated the front step, and one star balloon added sparkle to the adult beverage table. (The latter would have been joined by a red balloon had there been any helium left!)
  • The party favor bags were simple paper bags in red and blue which I then decorated. The red ones received stars and vertical stripes, to mimic Captain America’s uniform. The blue ones received stars surrounded by a white circle, to mimic the shield. Sticker paper came to the rescue with this project, too! I sealed the bags with a “Thank You” sticker.
    • Inside the bags were two glow sticks (red, white, or blue), a squirt gun, small frisbee, bubbles, and some candy. The extras were offered beside the bags for any older “kids” who might want to play.
  • The high chair, where the little man would have his slice of cake, was decorated with a giant blue number 1 and two red balloons. On the front of the high chair tray I created a banner consisting of his name book-ended by two Captain America shields.
  • My biggest project was creating the big “Happy Birthday” banner. It ended up being displayed behind the goodie bags inside.

Captain America Themed First Birthday | Sew You Think You Can Cook

I found inspiration for both banners on Pinterest.

  • For the highchair banner I used the shape tool in Microsoft Word for the pentagon template at 2.9″x 5″. The font used is Simplified Arabic Fixed. I placed my son’s name in WordArt at font size 96 then sized the WordArt graphic to be 3.08″ x 8.03″ and then selected Rotate Flip Horizontal so that the text would be backwards. Everything was printed on cardstock and cut out using a craft knife. I used small glue dots to adhere the letters to the pentagon. I then cut the red and white cardstock to fit and glued those in place on top of the pentagon.IMG_5639
  • For the “Happy Birthday” banner I used this template and printed on red and blue cardstock. The letters used the same font as the previous banner and followed the same method. Only three letters at a time at font size 96 were placed in a WordArt graphic. The graphics were formatted to 3.67″ x 8.75″. A grey cardstock was used for “first” and placed on the red flags while a lighter blue was placed on the blue flags.
  • To create the Captain America shields I borrowed an incredible circle cutting tool from a friend, a circle punch, and a star punch. It took a lot of trial and error on scrap paper to figure out which sizes worked best. (The highchair shields were much larger than the birthday banner ones.)

Captain America Birthday Party (food) | Sew You Think You Can Cook

And now for the important part of the party: The Food!

  • The main course was broasted chicken from a local favorite chicken place along with their cole slaw, mashed potatoes and gravy, and cinnamon rolls.
  • Because they’re my husband’s favorite, I doubled my recipe for Cherry Chipotle Baked Beans – and there wasn’t any left! Doubling the recipe requires double the time so I made them Wednesday and reheated them before setting the slow cooker on low on the food table.
  • The dish I’m surprised to say got the most reviews was my Buffalo Macaroni Salad! I tripled the amount of pasta, eyeballed the veggies, and doubled the dressing (however, I only halved the original amount of chili powder as the pasta salad only gets spicier the longer it sits). There was still dressing leftover and would be perfect for chopping up the leftover broasted chicken and creating a chicken salad.
  • My mother-in-law made a 7-layer dip (which was devoured in under an hour) which I decorated using tomatoes and chopped black olives. To create the star in the center I placed a star shaped piece of paper in the center of the dip and traced around it with the olives. The key to getting that star to be recognizable is really concentrating the olives.
  • To make a shield fruit tray I chose strawberries, blueberries, and mini marshmallows. I found a star shaped bowl at my favorite thrift store which was filled with a cream cheese and marshmallow dip (1 block of cream cheese + 1 jar of marshmallow creme). My mom didn’t have a platter large enough so we got a cheap 16″ pizza tray! 3 pints of strawberries, half a bag of mini marshmallows, an entire recipe of dip, and at least of pint of blueberries were demolished by happy party goers.
  • And of course the cake – a marble cake with strawberry filling and cream cheese icing, decorated to look like Captain America’s shield. My little man was very hesitant when it came to the cake but once my mom fed him a bite his interest was piqued. (My husband put that bit of frosting on his nose.) Fun fact: red frosting dyes hands and faces! It did wash out of his Captain America onesie just fine, though.

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Sprinkle Cookies

Today’s cookie recipe comes from my good friend Tara. Tara blogs over at Tara’s Multicultural Table. Tara and I used to live near each other and I would get to taste her food first hand. Now that we have both relocated I’m going to have to make her recipes myself if I want to taste the things that come out of her kitchen. I’m only slightly bitter about this.

When Tara posted these Sprinkle Cookies I pinned them immediately. I was very intrigued by the concept. I’d also never heard of (not that I’m an expert cookie recipes) a cookie recipe that uses cornstarch.

We absolutely loved these cookies! I donated them to a Christmas Cookie Drive earlier this month so I only got to eat one of them. These cookies reminded me of cookie dough – I suspect the cornstarch is to blame for the unique texture. With a variety of sprinkles on the market these could be done to fit any holiday or match any party decor. So bring on the sprinkles, and make some cookies!

Sprinkle Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 C sprinkles

Steps:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add egg and mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Add the dry ingredients in two batches, mixing until combined after each addition. Gently fold in the sprinkles.
  3. Gather cookie dough and roll into a log. Cut into 3 dozen cookies. Roll cookies into a ball and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap and bake cookies for 8 minutes – until cooked yet not golden. Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for five minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

*This recipe is adapted from Tara at http://www.tarasmulticulturaltable.com/sprinkle-cookies/*

Sprinkle Cookies

Blender Salsa

For Cinco de Mayo, which conveniently falls on a Monday, I wanted to do something traditional. If you’re a returning reader to Sew You Think You Can Cook you know that almost every Monday I feature a Mexican-inspired recipe for Mexican Mondays. How authentic my recipes are is very debatable, and I don’t pretend that they are. Most of what I make spins from the American version of Mexican cuisine. But for Cinco de Mayo I thought I’d pay tribute to the holiday.

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day like most Americans believe. (Fun fact: Mexico’s Independence Day is September 16th) Cinco de Mayo is not a national Mexican holiday or even celebrated throughout the country. Oddly enough, the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration occurs in Los Angeles!

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla when the Mexican army defeated the French in 1862. Puebla is considered the melting pot of Mexico – Spanish, French, and the Oriental flavors were given to native Aztec and Mayan foods. While Puebla is known for it’s Mole Poblano I planned to prepare Chiles en Nogada (stuffed chiles in a walnut cream sauce), even it it’s not typically served until the fall when walnuts and pomegranates are in season.

Note I said planned to prepare?

Life got in the way. Weekends were spent out of town and Stuart was on travel (I wasn’t about to spend so much time and effort on a dish just for me). So my Plan B was to create a sweet traditionally found in Puebla – Jamoncillo Pinion.  The [translated] recipe looked simple enough. And then I was placed on bed rest. My mom generously offered to give it a shot. Somewhere along the way we failed at candy making. Whether something was lost in the translation or we were simply too impatient I’m not sure. But the candy never set – even after putting it in the freezer overnight. (Before I get in trouble, I am in no way blaming her! I’d be posting the same story if I were the one standing at the stove.)

So now what? I can’t NOT have a post on Cinco de Mayo!

With Cinco de Mayo being widely popular in the states and salsa being the number one condiment in America, why not a simple salsa?

Spicy Blender Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 1/4 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 small jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 C fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime

Steps:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until combined. Taste and adjust any seasonings if needed.

*This recipe is adapted from Kelley at http://www.mountainmamacooks.com/2012/01/quick-and-easy-blender-salsa/*

Spicy Blender Salsa

Stuart has now put a ban on all grocery store salsas and demands this be made every time instead.

Eating the Bible: A Return to Eden

This entry is my final entry of my Lenten assignment to cook recipes from Rena Rosser’s Eating the Bible: Over 50 Delicious Recipes to Feed Your Body and Nourish Your Soul. (However, this won’t be the last thing I make from Rena’s cookbook!)

I thought it only fitting to cook the last recipe in the book!

This last entry references Deuteronomy 33:28 “And Israel shall dwell securely alone, Jacob’s blessing, in a land of grain and wine, and the heavens with drip dew.”

Rena titled this Bible study section “A Return to Eden” because it is up to the new residents of Israel to “restore [it] to its original Eden status.” The people are expected to bless the land, rather than the land bless them.

Easter Sunday marks the end of Lent, but that doesn’t mean a halt has to be put on your spiritual education until next year. Continue to live your life so that it blesses those around you.

As much as I would have liked to keep Rena’s recipe true to itself (Red Wine and Barley Salad) for this final blog post, I am allergic to barley so I substituted Israeli Couscous. Publix was out of red bell pepper so I bought a green one (I love the pop of color it brings to the salad though). After changing a few things I then changed even more to suit my personal preferences – I omitted the almonds, feta, and grapes. Having tasted the salad, grapes would be delicious in here – but the grapes in my fridge were questionable and thought it safest to leave them out. I absolutely love the dressing she created and actually tripled it to use as a marinade for grilled chicken to serve along side the couscous.

This recipe would be fantastic to add to your next potluck picnic as an alternate pasta salad!

Red Wine Israeli Couscous Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 C water
  • 1 C Israeli Couscous
  • 1/2 C diced red onion
  • 1/2 C diced bell pepper
  • 1 C quartered grape tomatoes
  • 1/3 C olive oil
  • 1/4 C red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp parsley paste (use fresh parsley if you have it)

Steps:

  1.  Bring water to a boil. Add in the couscous and cook covered over low heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all water is absorbed.
  2. In a bowl combine couscous with onion, pepper, and tomatoes.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and parsley paste. Note: If you are using fresh parsley do not mix it with the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Toss couscous salad with dressing.

*This recipe is modified from Eating the Bible by Rena Rossner*

Red Wine Israeli Couscous Salad

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