Easter Dinner ::: Your Menu for Sunday

Are you hosting Easter this year?

The last 3 years I’ve hosted Easter dinner at our house. Last year my Mom and her boyfriend were in town and before that we had a group of friends over in Manhattan Beach.

This year I am getting out of the day long ordeal {though I love cooking for loved ones} and heading to Orlando for my sister’s birthday. We’ll probably attend mass with the family and go out to brunch.

My menu from the last few years is below, if you need some inspiration!

Continue reading “Easter Dinner ::: Your Menu for Sunday”

New Year’s Eve Balcony Bash ::: Party Menu

I’m back! And don’t worry, I have a New Year’s Resolution to blog as-often-as-possible and I am going to do everything I can to stick to it.

Since my last post I traveled to Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, San Francisco, and San Diego for work. It’s so great to see such fantastic cities for my job, but of course it doesn’t always leave time for my own passions like photography, cooking, and blogging. On top of this Peter and I traveled to Fort Myers and  Orlando for Thanksgiving  and Christmas to see our families.

I finally had a week off last week and I had some time to myself to get back to this lovely blog of mine.

So how did we kiss 2011 goodbye? Jelena and I hosted a small party for New Years Eve at my house. Living in Miami means lots of options for parties on South Beach, but we didn’t want to deal with the crowds and chaos.

We had an amazing time partying out on the balcony in crisp 70 degree weather with lots of champagne and great music (play list à la Peter). It was a “finger food” type menu and of course all homemade. {The Merritt boys even made me substitute the canned chicken in the buffalo chicken dip!}

I actually had a whole crew helping me Saturday. Thanks Jelena, Jennifer, Peter + Justin! The Southwestern Egg Rolls and Champagne Cream Puffs were the biggest hits.

And yes you read that right…the cream puffs had champagne in them! I am obsessed in a sick way with champagne and sparkling wine (so much that I have kept myself up at night thinking of names for this blog including the word champagne), so this was an obvious pick when I saw it on TasteSpotting.

Click below each picture for the recipes.

::: Cocktail Meatballs :::

::: Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls w/ Avocado & Spicy Sour Cream :::

::: Baked & Boneless “Daytona” Wings :::

::: Buffalo Chicken Dip :::

::: Roasted Chickpeas :::

::: Champagne Cream Puffs :::

Happy New Year!

I have a feeling it will be a good one…

::: keelymarie :::

*** On a side note, my Shumai recipe is featured on Yummly.com! Check it out: 10 Darling Dumpling Recipes

J’aime Paris ::: A few of my favorite things (so far)

Paris has been absolutely wonderful so far. I have so rarely traveled in Europe for anything other than work, so being able to wander and get lost among les Parisiens has been a dream.

I plan to blog some specific stand-outs from our Europe trip, but here’s an amuse bouche from Paris until then.

A few of my favorites things about Paris (so far)….

::: the macarons :::

They are everywhere in Paris! No really they are everywhere – they even have them at the McDonald’s (so I read while googling them today). In Paris macarons seem like the current cupcake fetish of the US, but to me these are so much better. Near where we are staying, a few blocks from The Louvre, there are tons of chocolate and macaron stores (Michel Cluizel, Ladurée , Pierre Hermé) that are very boutique and designer-esque. Ohhhhhh the colors (of the rainbow), the sizes (mostly bite size but some larger size), the flavors (unlimited), the textures (outside: light & airy, then crumbly/ inside: custard, fruit gel, or ganache)…I’m in love.

We’ve had a large-sized chocolate macaron (to die for, you can see it above), a box of many from Michel Cluizel (seen above: interesting flavors like rose (!), pistachio, strawberry, almond milk), and the hotel we are at brings up an afternoon snack everyday that’s typically some type of macaron. Hoping the stairs at the Arc de Triomphe yesterday helped burn some of them off…

::: the gardens and parks :::

Paris teems with beautiful areas to sit and contemplate life, relax, or read a book. I love turning a corner and running into a park full of people lounging, dancing, sunning, reading, making-out… you name it. Above is the Jardin des Tuileries next to the Louvre. I could live here on a sunny day.

Below is Place de Vosges, the oldest square in Paris (built by Henri IV in 1612), which I stumbled upon while roaming around Le Marais. Sorry Miami, Bayfront Park just doesn’t cut it in comparison.

::: the shopping :::

Maybe it’s just me and I have a terrible terrible problem, but I can’t seem to find a way not to end up shopping here. Damn you Peter for having to work this week! {he wouldn’t entertain it often} Fun fact: This week is Haute Couture week  in Paris so I’ve seen some women walking around looking straight off the runway.

Shopping in Paris is definitely too expensive and yes my money gets me almost nothing, but it is still incredible. There’s Goyard on Rue Saint Honore for those who are tired of Louis Vuitton, at least 2 Chanel stores in walking distance from my hotel (maybe 3, I’ve gotten lost a few times), and Colette is probably the coolest place I’ve ever been shopping.

I wasn’t as impressed with the stores on Champs Elysses as I thought I would be, but it was still a fun walk as it’s the “grandest” shopping street I have ever seen. To be honest I have been pretty good, but probably only because we are going to Italy next!

::: the history all over the city:::

This week I keep saying “I think I could live here,” one of the reasons being that Paris is so wildly rich in history in comparison to anywhere I have ever lived. You can feel it all around you and every corner you turn is a monument, an important building, or piece of history. I am sure it gets old as a Parisian, but to me it makes things feel more alive.

The city has been kept so clean and “new looking” that I don’t miss the modern looks that I typically love. It does remind be a bit of Montreal, as I thought it would, but it of course takes it to a whole different level. I was very touristy and bought the Lonely Planet Paris Walking Tour App for my iphone and have taken time each day to tour the different arrondissements. Here are some of my favorite shots so far.

Arc de Triomphe
Place Vendôme
Statue of King Louis XIII at Place des Vosges
Hôtel de Sens
The opulently architected Paris Opera building
Église Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis (1641)
inside Église Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis

Au revoir for now! Attempting to stay away from my computer until this vacay is over on the 18th.

::: keelymarie :::