I have a major back-log of recipes I’ve been meaning to share here, and with the chilly grey weather in Boston this week, a highly caloric comfort food recipe just seemed like the right choice to share. We celebrated my mother-in-law’s birthday in early May and I made a big tray of twice-baked potatoes, loaded to the brim with bacon and cheese-y goodness. They were a crowd-pleaser, which is always a treat when they’re actually so simple to make!

20140504-141733.jpgPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Scrub baking potatoes thoroughly, and use a knife to slice a few holes to let steam out. Pop them in the oven and let them bake for about an hour. While the potatoes are baking, prep your toppings: shred sharp cheddar cheese, chop up scallions and/or chives, and crisp up bacon and chop it into bits.

After the potatoes are done baking, use a sharp knife to slice the top 1/4 inch off the top of the potato horizontally and discard of the skin. Using a spoon (I think a melon-baller works great!), scoop out the inside of the potatoes into a bowl. In the bowl, combine the potatoes with salt, pepper, and sour cream — I used about 1/8 cup of sour cream per potato, you may need a bit more if they’re really big. Mash the combination together to thoroughly combine and then fold in some of the chives, bacon, and cheddar cheese.

Then you’re ready to re-stuff the loaded mashed potato goodness back into the potato skins. You’ve added more to the mixture, so they’ll heap over the edges a bit at this point. Then add more bacon and cheese on top and pop them back in the oven for 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted; sprinkle with fresh chives before serving.

There is no better day than Cinco de Mayo to add a little extra flair to your cocktail, am I right? Which is why I made some pinata-inspired drink markers for our margaritas this year. Here’s how you make them: first, trace the bottom of your margaritas glasses on a piece of card-stock and cut out the circle. Then cut into the center of the circle about halfway, and cut out a smaller circle a little bigger than the circumference of the glass stem. Using strips of colored tissue paper, use fringe scissors to cut fringe. Cover the card-stock circle with glue and then start to wrap the fringed tissue paper around the outside. Repeat and layer on each new color until you’ve covered the full circle, and tuck the ends of the inner layer underneath the center circle to finish. Then slip your little pinata-inspired drink marker on to the bottom of your margarita and get ready to fiesta (think about making them in different colors to help your party guests identify their drinks!).

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Let’s talk about my new obsession: orange basil water. I’ve been trying to up my water intake lately to replace my love for diet cokes and coffees. But there’s only so much water a girl can drink, I need flavor! So I’ve been cutting up an orange and a few basil leaves and infusing water in a big pitcher in the fridge. It’s delightfully delicious and actually makes me crave water now — plus, how pretty does it look?
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Nothing says “it’s time to party!” like a handful of confetti — which is what inspired today’s DIY project! To get that festive look I used Chinet’s Cut Crystal to make confetti plates and cups. To start, I cut my own confetti using several colors of tissue paper. Then I spread a thin layer of clear-drying glue on the plates and for the cups, I painted a think layer about half way up the cup walls. Next comes the fun part — tossing the confetti over the plates, and into the cups. Using a second plate and cup, lightly coated with the glue, I pressed the plate down to seal the confetti in between the two plate layers, and repeated with the cups, stacking them to tightly seal the confetti between the cup walls. Finally, let them dry before using. I paired the cups with my confetti cocktail stirrers and was ready to party!

(Psst! Enter to win a $100 Amex Gift Card and Chinet Cut Crystal Party Pack so you can throw your own party!)

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Please note, this post and giveaway is sponsored by Chinet, and all opinions are my own.

This weekend zoomed by, partially because I had a packed weekend full of parties and to-do-lists! On Saturday I went to a baby shower for one of my girlfriends, and it was beyond darling. My dear friend Taz was the hostess with the mostest and made an amazing layered blue ombre cake topped with bunting made from her gigantic fabric collection! I found myself hanging out near the mimosa bar, which was so darn cute and delightfully tasty (and lead to a solid post-shower afternoon nap before I headed out to my next party!)

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I love digging through my Grandma’s cookbooks to see the little notes and edits she’s made to the recipes over the years (inside the front cover of the book we borrowed is a note to my Grandmother from sister-in-law, and it’s dated 1967, when she received it as a gift!). When I was home at my parent’s house this weekend, my sister and I decided to borrow an old cookbook from my Grandma and make a family favorite recipe — Chicken Champagne. Her version has those little notes written in the margins of the pages (for example, her version omits the chicken livers, PHEW!), and I’ve adapted it a little bit more to omit some of the hard to find ingredients (like shaved truffles). Excuse the grainy cellphone pictures I took of our version — we were in quite the rush to dig in — it’s far more delicious than it could ever look in a photo! Find the full recipe below:

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset 1394975448.660773.IMG_1576 Ingredients:

  • 4-5 boneless chicken breasts, cut up into bite-sized pieces
  • All-purpose flour
  • Jarred mushrooms, drained
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 5 thin slices of prosciutto, diced
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of good Champagne (drink a little while you’re cooking too!)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Serve with angel hair or thin spaghetti  (fresh is best if you can find it, it absorbs the sauce so well)
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Instructions:

  • Toss chicken breast pieces with flour until lightly coated, season with salt and pepper.
  • In a large pan, melt 1/2 cup of butter, and add chicken. Cook chicken in butter until browned.
  • Once chicken is fully browned, add in mushrooms, prosciutto, and heavy cream. Stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add champagne, stir, and cover for another 10 minutes.
  • Season with additional salt and pepper as needed, and toss with fresh grated parmesan.
  • Serve over fresh pasta with additional parmesan cheese on the side, and don’t forget to pour a glass of champagne to compliment the meal!

Note: The sauce doesn’t reduce as well if you double the recipe, instead, use 2/3 of champagne and cream. 

It was my Mom’s birthday last week, so my sister and schemed all week and surprised her on Saturday by coming home and making her a tasty birthday dinner. I’m kind of terrible at secrets, so to pull this off I basically had to avoid my Mom’s phone calls for 3 days — but it was worth it, she was super surprised and we had so much fun celebrating. I love  getting to set the table at my parent’s house too — my Mom has quite the collection of dishes and linens and accessories, so picked out the very a Spring-y of combination of place settings to match the cheery daffodils she had growing on the kitchen counter. And of course no birthday celebration is complete without  sweets — my sister brought a big box of Baked by Melissa cupcakes and I ate them by the handful!

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The main course for my Taco Date Night party was a pulled pork taco with a chipotle lime slaw. We were gifted a slow cooker for our wedding and it’s been such a nice addition to the kitchen this winter — I love how our house smells like savory comfort food all weekend when we get to use it. The pulled pork recipe was simple. I combined a teaspoon each of chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder, plus a bit of salt and pepper to make a dry rub for a pork tenderloin. After coating the pork with dry rub, I seared all sides in a skillet before placing it in the slow cooker with a 1/4 cup of honey, 2 seeded chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 1 cup of chicken broth, the juice of one lime, and a tablespoon of brown sugar.  After that, I set the slow cooker on low for about 6 hours before coming back at the end to remove the peppers and shred the pork.

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I served them on warm corn tortillas with a chipotle lime slaw (which was just a slaw mix and some of the leftover chipotle lime aioli from my Mexican Street Corn, combined with about a teaspoon of red wine vinegar). These came out delicious, a really nice combination of sweet from the honey and spicy from the chipotle peppers. aDSC_0075

To help you recreate this party look at home, Hattie Sparks has a special offer for my readers: 20% OFF your online purchase with the code DOMESTIKATE today through Monday 3/17 – happy shopping!

Please note: I was gifted some of the materials used in this post. All opinions and recipes are my own. 

I shared a Taco Date Night party on the blog yesterday and today I’m diving into the recipes. I’ve noticed Mexican street corn popping up on lots of restaurant menus near me lately (in particular, the street corn at Painted Burro makes me SO happy) and I wanted to try to recreate the idea at home. It was super.duper.simple. In warmer weather I would have grilled the corn on the porch, but in these wintry cold temperatures, I just charred the corn in a lightly oiled cast iron skillet. While the corn is cooking, I made a chipotle lime aioli. Whisk together in a small bowl 1/4 cup of sour cream, 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, 1 to 2 teaspoons of chipotle adobe sauce (depending on your affinity for spice!) and the juice of one lime. When it comes off the pan, sprinkle the corn with chili powder, a little sea salt,  drizzle it with the aioli, and then top it with cotija cheese. YUM!aDSC_0065aDSC_0057

To help you recreate this party look at home, Hattie Sparks has a special offer for my readers: 20% OFF your online purchase with the code DOMESTIKATE today through Monday 3/17 – happy shopping!

Please note: I was gifted some of the materials used in this post. All opinions and recipes are my own. 

When people ask me, ‘why do you like blogging?’ — it’s posts like these that make me unequivocally be able to say it’s getting to ‘meet’ and collaborate with so many awesome people. The darling Hattie, owner of Hattie Sparks, reached out to me with the idea of collaborating on a table-styling project using some of the beautifully curated products from her shop. I of course jumped at the chance and when I saw the bright Jonathan Adler pieces she pulled together,  I knew they were begging for a little taco party (I guess that makes this Taco Tuesday!). My husband absolutely loves tacos, they’re his favorite food, so I made a plan over the weekend to cook up some gourmet tacos for a Mexican-inspired date night at home.

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For the menu I made a spin on pulled pork tacos that were slow-cooked with chipotle peppers and honey and topped with a lime-chipotle slaw. I plated up some Mexican street corn on a bright green and white geometric patterned tray (those colors together were perfectly appetizing!), and of scooped lots of fresh guacamole and all the toppings into playful bird dishes and bowls! Of course we needed a sweet libation to wash down our tacos, so I mixed up a batch of orange mango margaritas in mod white rocks glasses.

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I hope I have made you thoroughly crave a taco night — I’ll be posting my recipes later this week so you can recreate the whole meal.

And to help you recreate the look at home, Hattie Sparks has a special offer for my readers: 20% OFF your online purchase with the code DOMESTIKATE today through Monday 3/17 – shop away my dears,  you know need a guacamole bird bowl!

Please note: I was gifted some of the materials used in this post. All opinions, recipes, and taco jokes are my own.