For this Texas farm girl and my Nebraska farm boy, it was a no-brainer to take our engagement photos in the wide open spaces. We picked the orange groves on one of the pretty spring days of the year in late March, with the smell of orange blossoms all around, and had so much fun with our incredibly talented (and patient!) photographer Kristen Swanson.
Can you believe I get to marry this handsome guy?! Lucky girl.
Our December Supper Club gathering was here before we knew it, and as usual, we enjoyed a meal fit for queens as our hostess with the mostess treated us to a holiday-themed feast.
Check out the recipes below, from our once-again successful girls’ dinner:
Almendras al Pimentón
- 1 1/2 tbsp. coarse sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. smoked sweet Spanish paprika, or hot paprika to taste
- 3 1/2 cups blanched almonds*
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Put the sea salt and paprika in a mortar and grind with the pestle to a find powder, or use a mini spice blender (the amount is too small to process in a full-size food processor).
- Place the almonds on a baking sheet and toast in a preheated oven, 400 degrees F, for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and giving off a toasted aroma. Watch carefully after 7 minutes because they burn quickly. Immediately pour into a heatproof bowl.
- Drizzle over about 1 tablespoon of oil and stir to ensure all the nuts are lightly and evenly coated; add extra oil, if necessary. Sprinkle with the salt and paprika mixture and stir again. Transfer to a small bowl and serve at room temperature.
*Cook’s tips: It is best, and more economical, to buy unblanched almonds and blanch them as and when required, because they start to dry out as soon as the thin, brown skin is removed. Put the unblanched almonds in a heatproof bowl. Pour over boiling water and let stand for 1 minute. Drain well, then pat dry and slip off the skins.
From: World Food, Spain: The Food and the Lifestyle.
My incredibly talented girlfriends and I started a Supper Club – we meet once per month, each time at a different members’ house. We break out the good serving wear and entertaining pieces to enjoy a delicious home-cooked four-course meal. Our goal is to try out and share new recipes, expand our cooking skills and do it all among friends (and lots of wine).
I hosted November, and we tried a few delish fall recipes that are just too yummy to keep to ourselves. And the best part is, that although we’re trying to get out of our comfort zone in trying out some tougher recipes, these are all totally doable!
Here they are… ENJOY!
Warm Spinach Artichoke Dip
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 4 ounces fat-free cream cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a large saucepan, combine the first eight ingredients.
Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 7-8 minutes or until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally.
- Serve warm with sliced veggies or pita bread.
The leaves have changed colors now, and it’s my favorite time of year on the farm. I can’t wait to be back home with the pups!
Pecan pie, here I come!
Vintage brooch paper mache autumn pumpkin from Cloth & Patina.
Brass letter stencils ‘DREAM’ letters from Artful Vintage.
Vintage brooch magnet from Chloe Belle.
Cute buttons and burlap rustic charm love sacks from Cloth & Patina.
Vintage Tudor plate 1946 Queen Bess pattern from Cloth & Patina.
My incredibly talented girlfriends and I started a Supper Club – we meet at a different member’s house each month, break our our fancy flat wear and table decor, and gather around the table for a delicious home-cooked four- to five-course meal. Our goal is to try out and share new recipes, expand our cooking and hostess skills and do it all while catching up on each others’ lives and enjoying a nice glass of wine.
We kicked off Supper Club with our first meeting in October. Below, find the delish recipes!
Mushrooms Stuffed with Brie
- 1 package white button mushrooms, washed and stems removed
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 4 -d whole green onions, sliced
- Splash of white wine
- 1 wedge of brie cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt butter in large saucepan. Add mushroom caps and toss to coat in butter. Sprinkle lightly with salt and cook for 1 minute. Remove mushrooms from pan and place upside down in a baking dish.
- In the same saucepan (without cleaning it) throw in garlic, parsley, and green onions. Sprinkle very lightly with salt and splash in wine, if using. Stir around until wine evaporates, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Cut rind off of brie wedge, then cut pieces of brie to fit each mushroom cap. Place inside, lightly pressing to anchor each piece of brie.
- Top mushrooms with parsley/garlic mixture. Place into the oven for 15 minutes, or until brie is melted.
Note: Mushrooms are best when they’ve been allowed to cool slightly. Delicious!
- Greens of your choice (either spring mix, or Mediterranean mix works best, large bag)
- 2 roma tomatoes
- 1 md cucumber
- 1 red pepper
- 2 jars marinated artichoke hearts
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- garlic salt
- olive oil
- 2 fresh lemons
- 1 package of feta
For the salad:
- Dice the Roma tomatoes, cucumber and red pepper. Be sure to remove cucumber skin and inside of red pepper.
- Dice artichoke hearts from the jars. Combine with your washed lettuce in a large bowl and set to the side.
- On a small baking sheet lay out asparagus heads (make sure they are dry if you just washed them).
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 mins.
- When they are cool cut into bite sized pieces and add to your salad.
For the dressing:
- In a small bowl add 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 tsp of garlic salt and one whole squeezed lemon.
- Mix and taste, if lemon is too strong add more oil. If too bland when mixed add a couple more shakes of garlic salt.
- Keep to the side until ready to serve.
Chicken Pot Pie
- 3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 2 tbls granulated chicken bouillon
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups medium-diced carrots, blanched for 2 minutes
- 2 cups peeled chopped potatoes
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (2 cups)
- ½ lb button mushrooms sliced
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
- 4 ribs celery, thinly sliced
- Pre-made puff pastry mix
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the chicken breasts in foil pocket on a baking sheet. Put 2-3 breasts in each pocket. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper each side.
- Pour 1 tbls chicken stock in pocket and fold closed. Cook for 35 mins or until done. Cool and put aside.
- In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and sauté the onions and potatoes over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent.
- Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick.
- Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream. Add the cut/shredded chicken, carrots, peas, onions and parsley. Mix well.
- Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle.
- Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, and then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.
Baked Butternut Squash
- 1 butternut squash
- Salt and pepper
- Olive Oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- With a large knife, cut off the two ends of the gourd where the stem is.
- Peel the butternut Squash with a potato/carrot peeler (try to choose a squash that a balance between neck and base).
- Cut the neck off the squash, and cut the base into 2 halves and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
- Cut the remaining halves and neck into bite size cubes (not too small, like 1inx1in).
- In a 9×11 or larger baking dish spread out all squash cubes and drizzle with olive oil. Mix lightly with your hands, making sure all sides are covered on all cubes.
- Generously salt and pepper the entire batch, mix again.
- Cover with foil and bake for 45 mins to 1 hour. (Check at 45 mins to see if you can stick a fork through them.)
- Once moist enough to stab with a fork, take off foil and cook for an additional 5 minutes to brown the tops. (watch your oven to make sure you don’t burn them)
- Cool for 10 mins before serving.
French Apple Cobbler
- Apple Filling:
- 5 cups tart apples, peeled, sliced
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1/2 cup flour, sifted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- In a medium bowl, combine apples, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, vanilla and water. Turn into a lightly buttered 9-inch square pan.
- Dot apples with 1 tablespoon butter.
- Combine all topping ingredients. Beat with wooden spoon until batter is smooth.
- Drop batter in 9 portions, over the apples, spacing evenly. Batter will spread during baking. Bake 35 to 40 minutes at 375 degrees or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown.
- Serve warm with cream or ice cream.