Friday, January 31, 2014

A Delicious Girl's Night In

Girl's night! We all need them! Whether it's for the reason of getting out of the house, away from your routine, catching up with your friends, or venting about your week while indulging in chocolate and/or wine it's good for the soul. I tell my husband all the time how the occasional girl's night makes me a better wife and mother.

Dinner, manicures and pedicures, yoga class, coffee shops, movies, shopping and those places where you can paint and drink wine are all great girl's night outings. But if you are looking for a different idea, why not bring girl's night to your house and cook up something delicious.

One day I got an email from one of our local grocery stores about a giveaway. The store was partnering with one of their food supply companies and giving away a food tasting party at your home. One of their food ambassadors (similar to a chef) would come to your home fully stocked with all the food, bake ware, and utensils to teach your guests how to prepare a few recipes and of course, sample them. I immediately signed up and really hoped to win as this would be the perfect girl's night. As luck would have it, I opened my email a couple weeks later to read that I had been selected to host a party! All I had to do was choose a date and invite the guests!

Receiving this giveaway certainly made this girl's night an easy one for me to pull together, the opportunities are endless with this type of gathering. You could hire a chef, perhaps a student at a local culinary school or host and teach yourself. Maybe have a couple of friends each bring a recipe to make and share. Have your guests bring a fun apron to wear or make your own at the party. You could even make this a couples' night. Last year I went to a freezer meal party a friend hosted, there were seven girls total so we each pre-made six of the same freezer meals for everyone attending with cooking instructions attached. My first thought was wow, this is going to be a lot of work. But it was a lot of fun and definitely nice to bring home a week's worth of different meals! 

My party took place at the end of February. I was so over winter at that point and really enjoyed bringing out crisp, clean, white spring decorations. My floral arrangement of white and light green hydrangeas was a center piece along with white tulips from a local florist. I used a white quilt as a tablecloth, much cheaper than high end linen. In the dining room I hung white lanterns over a temporary guest table and used white tea lights throughout the house.

Appetizers greeted hungry guests

The appetizers were caprese bites (a basil leaf, mozzarella ball, and grape tomato on toothpicks then drizzled with balsamic vinegar) and multi-colored cooked tortellinis on a skewer with a pesto sauce. I also made a salad and put out some chocolate petit fours since I didn't know how much food the ambassador was preparing and didn't want anyone to leave hungry.

For drinks we had plenty of wine, soft drinks, and pudding shots. These were fun and yummy! For the recipe I used click here, although instead of the Irish cream I used Kahlua and put a dollop of Cool Whip on top. I served them in cups made out of chocolate that I picked up from a local specialty food shop. I can't believe I didn't take a picture of these, but the chocolate cups looked just like this. However, the ones I found were not anywhere near that price!

With drinks in hand and lots of chatting, we turned our attention to the food ambassador who gave a thorough explanation of the food and how to make the recipes. A couple of the girls got in there and chopped away, preparing the food, but a majority of us kicked back and just waited to sample everything.

My mother in law was in town and being the great cook that she is was very serious about this experience :)
After everyone drank and ate, the food ambassador cleaned the kitchen while we finished catching up! Everyone left that night with recipe cards of the food sampled and another fun, but relaxing girl's night on the books!

Good friends
One of my best friends gave me an angel with the saying "friends are angels following you through life." I couldn't agree more and can't imagine where I would be without my amazing friends by my side!!

Friends for 20 years and counting!!

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