Monday, November 22, 2010

Prettify Your Thanksgiving Table in 20 minutes

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It has taken me longer than I intended to finally create the designs for my Thanksgiving table.  I've been a busy little bee.  But better late than never, right?  So  friends if any of you are looking for a simple, inexpensive way to jazz up your Thanksgiving look no further.  Simply print my pdfs on cardstock using a color printer (a home printer works just fine) and then cut.  Easy peasy. 

You'll need:

2" scallop or circle punch (if using the tags). 
Double sided tape or glue(for candle label)
Card Stock
Color Printer
Hole Punch and Ribbon (for banner)

Here's the ThanksgivingPrintable.  If you have Adobe Pro you can insert text for the name tags.  Otherwise use a fine tip permanent marker.

Included in the package:

12 circle tags with saying "Thankful", "Grateful" and "Blessed
Candle Wrapper
Name tags (can be used as labels for your food and dessert)
"Thankful" banner

Hope someone can find a use for this :)  and if you do, please let me know! :)



Friday, November 19, 2010

Salmon Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Aioli

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Dear Ina Garten,

I love you.

Every Ina Garten recipe I have ever made has turned out delicious.  Her choice of ingredients and equisite taste makes her recipes just simply divine.  I've had a bag of frozen salmon filets in my freezer for a month or so and was trying to figure out what to do with them.  My good friend, Mama with Flavor (who is an amazing cook btw) suggested I make salmon cakes.  It sounded interesting and I've always wanted to make crab cakes, but just never had the confidence to do so.

Since I've been cooking seriously for over a year now, I thought I could handle this challenge.

And I am so glad I did.  These were delicious!

My changes to the recipe were as follows: I used 1lb versus 1/2 lb salmon. I sauteed half a white onion instead of a red onion (didn't have a red onion on hand).  I only had a red pepper (no yellow) and I used store bought bread crumbs and panko crumbs instead of homemade bread crumbs. I didn't use capers because I'm not a fan of them. I also used dried parsely instead of fresh because I didn't have fresh on hand. When it came time to mixing all the ingredients together I mixed in 1/2 cup of green onions.   Even despite all these modifications they were amazing!

The red pepper aioli comes courtesy of Giada de Laurentis and I followed that recipe exactly.  The aioli was sooo wonderful and was a great compliment to the salmon cakes.  I'd use it again for many things, included garlic toast as Giada suggests.

This is a wonderful appetizer and can be made ahead of time and frozen.  If you want to freeze these, do everything except fry in the pan.  Form into balls and slightly flatten and then place them in a freezer bag.  Use within one month.

Ina Garten's original recipe:


  • 1/2 pound fresh salmon

  • Good olive oil

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)

  • 1 1/2 cups small-diced celery (4 stalks)

  • 1/2 cup small-diced red bell pepper (1 small pepper)

  • 1/2 cup small-diced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)

  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained

  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)

  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)

  • 3 slices stale bread, crusts removed

  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the salmon on a sheet pan, skin side down. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until just cooked. Remove from the oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and refrigerate until cold.

Meanwhile, place 2 tablespoons of the butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, celery, red and yellow bell peppers, parsley, capers, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, crab boil seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Break the bread slices in pieces and process the bread in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. You should have about 1 cup of bread crumbs. Place the bread crumbs on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 5 minutes until lightly browned, tossing occasionally.

Flake the chilled salmon into a large bowl. Add the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, and eggs. Add the vegetable mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Shape into 10 (2 1/2 to 3-ounce) cakes.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. In batches, add the salmon cakes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until browned. Drain on paper towels; keep them warm in a preheated 250 degree F oven and serve hot.


  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, drained, patted dry

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the aioli: Finely chop the garlic in the food processor. Add the peppers and blend until almost smooth. Blend in the mayonnaise. With the machine running, blend in the oil. Season the aioli, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the aioli to a small bowl. (The aioli can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)




Sunday, November 14, 2010


Pin It Now! In life, it seems it’s always when we find ourselves consumed with stress or suddenly feeling  unstable or unsure that we start to look for ways to strengthen our mind.  This past weekend I’ve had each of those feelings and it led me to realize many things.  One of them being I lack focus.  Whenever I do something, I’m thinking about the next 50 things I need to do instead of giving the task at hand my 100%.  Of course I can’t always do that because there WILL be interruptions with little munchkins around.   But still.  For the most part I don’t focus.  I don’t give my entire attention to a task or activity.

But this past weekend I had a lot more on my mind than usual.  More personal stuff than usual.  And it actually helped me to have more focus.  For dinner tonight, I took time to really enjoy prepping my vegetables for dinner instead of trying to rush it.  I gave myself some extra time, turned on Miles Davis and let myself just get in a zone.  Instead of doing a subtle cleanup in the kitchen, I decided to actually spend time and do a more thorough clean (including under the toaster and microwave!) 

This weekend I had the urge to work out for once.  Usually I’m constantly checking the clock to see how much more time I have left.    But this weekend I just gave my workout my all.  I focused on 45 minutes of me time to relieve stress, to think and to work out some things I was feeling.  I focused on my workout and my thoughts the entire time instead of when I’d be done.  I left thoughts of “what else do I have to do after this?” just go.  Actually I didn’t even let them enter my mind.  Because for that short time in my day that’s all I chose to focus on.

This weekend I tried to just focus.  To pay attention to what I was doing and to enjoy the little details instead of be annoyed by them. By practicing the art of focus and concentration I was able to have more control over my thoughts and I feel more calm and more at peace with things going on in my life.

In turn I think I was able to strengthen my mind.  I still need to practice.  But by doing so, I think it will help me become a better version of ME.  And also to see things as they really are.

So for practice this week:

I need to focus on having a schedule.

I need to focus on preparing my Thanksgiving plan.

I need to focus on preschool stuff for Little Wright.

I need to focus on working out and being healthier.

I need to focus on the things I want and don't want in my life.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

More Thanksgiving Table Ideas & Printables!

Pin It Now! Gosh.  I just love creative people.  I love designs.  I love pretty things.  I love people who make pretty things that I can look at and want.  Isn't this kids Thanksgiving table just too cute for words?   It comes from the creative mind of Paula at Frog Prince Paperie.

 A big part of holidays are the memories that stem from childhood.  We always remember Grandma's pumpkie pie or someone's traditional dish.  But I bet kids would also always remember how festive and beautiful Thanksgiving was.  And this is a wonderful (and easy!) way to create the ambience.

The best part of this party display is how easy it is to make yourself.  In the comfort of your own home.  You just need card stock, scissors, a printer and a 2 or 2 1/4"  puncher, either scalloped or round. These are readily available at any craft shop, or anywhere scrapbooking supplies are sold.

I am in love with this Giving Tree as a center piece.  So adorable and fun for kids to share something they are thankful for!

Paula has more details on how she created the table and craft ideas on her website.  She also has several creative printable party ideas!  Definitely worth checking out :)



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Free Thanksgiving Printable Party!

Pin It Now! A month or so ago I hosted a brunch birthday for one of my friends. Lots of the little details like the cupcake toppers, banner and cupcake wrappers were printed at home. It is so simple to create a unique and festive party! If you are hosting Thanksgiving at your house or having a kids Thanksgiving party of any sort you MUST check out this party kit from Paper Glitter.

Gorgeous isn't it?  This entire kit is free!  FAH-REE people.  All you need is a few craft supplies and you have a fabulous party.  I have ordered from Paper Glitter and even won a free kit.  She includes all the instructions on how to print and assemble the party supplies.  It doesn't get any easier than this.

I'm going to use this for a preschool Thanksgiving get together in a few weeks!  I'll be posting pics of course :)  Hope everyone is having fun planning for the holidays!