Ina Garten Themed Dinner Party for my Mom’s Birthday!

To celebrate my mom’s 55th birthday this year, I knew I wanted to do something special.  Ina Garten is my mom’s all-time favorite Food Network Chef, so I decided to host a Ina Garten-themed dinner party!  I invited the whole family over for dinner and cooked up delicious appetizers, dinner, and dessert all from two of Ina’s cookbooks: Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics and Barefoot Contessa Family Style.  As everyone walked in, I welcomed them to my very own “Barefoot Contessa” Restaurant and greeted them with Ina’s Herbal Iced Tea.

Ina Garten's Parmesan and Thyme Crackers @FoodMarriage

For appetizers, I started with two different dips.  I made Ina’s Sun Dried Tomato Dip and an Herb Dip.  And then I even made homemade crackers: Ina’s Parmesan and Thyme Crackers!  They were melt in your mouth good!  After the dip and crackers, we moved onto Ina’s Roasted Vegetable Soup, which I made and then kept warm in the crock pot.  I made a double batch so we were able to freeze some leftovers!

Ina Garten's Sunday Rib Roast and Baked Mac and Cheese @FoodMarriage

For dinner, I made Ina’s Baked Mac & Cheese which was unique with tomatoes and fresh breadcrumbs on top.  For a vegetable, I made parmesan roasted asparagus.  And the shining star of the meal was the Sunday Rib Roast!!!  If you follow Ina’s recipe exactly it will be the best meat you ever made!!!!!!

Ina Garten's Coconut Macaroons @FoodMarriage

To close out the meal for dessert I made two different treats!  I made Ina’s coconut macaroons (so easy/so delish!) and also a Pumpkin Roll!  I have to say, I did take on a lot making all these different things.  And I would probably never try to make SO many new recipes at one time….but surprisingly all of Ina’s recipes are fairly easy!

Ina Garten Dinner Party

My parents with my husband and I after our Ina Garten Dinner Party!

My mom loved the entire meal!!  (And I’m pretty sure that she thought the meal was her actual birthday present!)  But as we were finishing off the last morsels off dessert, I hushed the room to make an announcement!  Her official birthday present is that I am taking her to see Ina Garten in person!  Ina is coming to the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia on Tuesday, November 12!  She will sharing recipes, tips, and of course some great stories!  Needless to say, my mom was completely surprised!!  Best birthday present ever?  I think so!  We can’t wait to meet Ina!

Stay tuned over the next coming days for more pictures of ALL the food I made for my Ina Garten Dinner Party!  I’ll also be sharing some of the recipes!!

 

xoxo, Food Marriage

Sweet White Sangria Recipe

In addition to the cucumber water recipe I made for my Girls Fantasy Football Draft party, I also made a Sweet White Sangria!  I made up the recipe on my own by just mixing white wine with sprite and adding in some sliced fruit.  I used a light and refreshing wine called “Lighthouse White,” which I actually purchased when I was at the Cape May Winery for a bachelorette party.

White Sangria Recipe @FoodMarriage

I made a party-sized version of this sangria and used my 3-gallon drink dispenser!  I used a variety of fruits, including blueberries.  But I did learn the hard way that blueberries are not the best to add in if you are using a drink dispenser.  The blueberries tended to get caught in the spout, blocking the flow of the liquid when you tried to get your drink.  Another great tip I can share?  To keep your sangria cold and instead of using regular ice cubes in it which may dilute it too much, make soda ice cubes!  I froze sprite in ice cube trays and then added them into the sangria!

Sweet White Sangria Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: Large party-sized container of Sangria

Sweet White Sangria Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 bottles white wine
  • 2 bottles (2 liters each) of sprite
  • Pint of Raspberries
  • 2 kiwi
  • 2 peaches
  • 8 strawberries

Instructions

  • Using your first bottle of soda, pour into ice cube trays and freeze (You can also use a few raspberries to freeze into the middle of the soda ice cubes to look pretty).
  • Put the second bottle of soda in the refrigerator to start chilling.
  • Pour your white wine into a large drink dispenser.
  • Slice your raspberries and strawberries in half and toss into the wine.
  • Peel and slice your kiwi and peaches and also add into the wine.
  • Place your drink dispenser into the refrigerator to chill until ready to serve. (I actually recommend doing this the night before so the fruit flavors can blend together and really flavor the wine).
  • When you are ready to serve your Sangria, remove from the refrigerator. Add in your bottle of sprite right before serving so it stays fizzy.
  • To keep the sangria cold throughout your party, add in as many sprite ice cubes as needed throughout the day.
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xoxo, Food Marriage

Pink Glitter Football Cake Pops!!

Our Girls Fantasy Football League is in full action now!!!!  I don’t think I’ve ever paid so much attention to football games until now!!  I already shared a little sneak peek of the cake pops I made for our Girls Fantasy Football Draft Party, but now I am excited to share them in a little more detail!

Pink Glitter Football Cake Pops for Girls Fantasy Football Draft Party @FoodMarriage

I have made football-shaped cake pops before for my nephew’s first birthday, so I already had an idea of what I was going to do.  But this time I jazzed up the cake pops by making half of them pink and added pink sugar crystals to make them fun and glittery!

And as with any cake pops I make, I always feel that the details in the display really give the cake pops the WOW factor!  For this display, I got a regular photo box from the craft store and added some stick on rhinestones.  I also got a little puffy football and dazzled that up with rhinestones as well.  Inside the box, on top of the foam, instead of using shredded paper like I often do, I added in pink and clear plastic gems (found in the wedding section of any craft store).  And then the background is just scrapbook paper with a football background and some fun stickers I found in the scrapbook section!

Pink Glitter Football Cake Pops for Girls Fantasy Football Draft Party @FoodMarriage

To finish off the display, I added some additional scrapbook paper underneath with more footballs on them, a real football, and then a cheerleading teddy bear that I saved from my freshman year of high school! (Go Lansdale Catholic!!!!!!)

And the flavor of these fun delicious treats?  They are what I now call “Chocolate Lover’s Dream…” – a chocolate fudge cake mixed with decadent chocolate icing.  Absolutely AMAZING!!!!

Pink Glitter Football Cake Pops for Girls Fantasy Football Draft Party @FoodMarriage

Since we have 12 girls in our league, clearly we could not eat all 42 cake pops by ourselves (especially after eating all of our other appetizers).  So I was able to pack up my husband, Pat, some football cake pops to take to his draft party with the boys!!  They never had anything like this at their draft parties before!!!

Pink Glitter Football Cake Pops

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: About 40-45 cake pops

Pink Glitter Football Cake Pops

Ingredients

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • Ingredients required for the cake (listed on cake mix box)
  • 1 cup chocolate frosting (feel free to use a store-bought kind)
  • 1 (14 oz) bag of brown-colored, milk chocolate flavored candy melts.
  • 1 (14 oz) bag of pink-colored, vanilla flavored candy melts.
  • Half a bag of white-colored, vanilla flavored candy melts (7 oz needed)
  • Pink sugar crystals
  • Lollipop sticks

Instructions

  • Bake your cake according to the directions on the box.
  • Allow your cake to cool completely.
  • Crumble your cake up (Use your mixer to break it up).
  • Add in 1 cup of frosting and mix well (this will give it a sticky texture).
  • Roll your cake into about about 2″ size balls. Once you get it into a ball shape, roll it between your hands to slightly make it more of an oval shape. Place your oval shape onto a tray covered with wax paper and then pinch each end together between your fingers to make it come to a point. This creates the football shape.
  • Once your footballs are shaped, place your tray into the refrigerator for at least an hour to firm up.
  • Melt a small amount of the brown candy melts and a small amount of pink candy melts. Dip each end of a lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and the press the stick about 3/4 of the way into the ball. Do this with each ball (I did half in the brown candy and half in the pink candy. I also did about half of my footballs with regular-sized lollipop sticks and then the other half with slightly longer lollipop sticks. This allowed me to display them all at different graduated heights in the display).
  • Once you have sticks in all your footballs, place back into the refrigerator for another 10 minutes or so. This will ensure that the sticks stay in your balls.
  • Melt more of your brown-colored chocolate candy melts, and dip half of the cake pops into the melted candy so it is covered completely. You may want to tap it on the side of your dish to eliminated any excess candy. Place each cake pop standing up in a styrofoam block until the candy hardens.
  • Next, melt your pink-colored vanilla candy melts and dip each the remaining pops into the pink candy melts. Once you tap off any excess candy, immediately sprinkle your pink sugar crystals all over the football. You will need to do this before it has a chance to dry so it sticks.
  • Once your cake pops are hardened and dry, get your white-colored vanilla-flavored candy melts out. Using a disposable candy decorating bag, melt your candy right in the bag and then use to paint the tops of the footballs with lines and laces.
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xoxo, Food Marriage

Girls Fantasy Football Draft Party!

Anyone that knows me knows that I don’t know much about football.  I was the cheerleader in grade school and high school that loved to cheer on the team, but didn’t know the difference between defense and offense (seriously, not joking).  Over the years and after marrying a sports-loving husband I have gradually picked up on things.  Now I can watch an Eagles game and understand what is going on!

Girls Fantasy Football Draft Party: Wine Glass Charms @FoodMarriage

Personalized Fantasy Football Wine Glass Charms

Since every guy I know plays Fantasy Football…that means all of my friends’ husbands, fiancés, and boyfriends play Fantasy Football.  And what does that mean for all of us girls?  The TV is monopolized every Sunday during football season.  And not just for one game – for the WHOLE day!  So a bunch of us girls decided to start our own Girls Fantasy Football League!!  Our #1 reason was to be able to join in the fun and have a reason to watch the other games on TV!  It will give us something to get excited about and give us a reason to root for different players!!  And since all of us are on an even playing fields in terms of understanding/not understanding Fantasy Football, I think it will be a fun time!

Girls Fantasy Football Draft Party: Money Jar @FoodMarriage

The Money Jar!

Our new league is rightfully named “Virgin Fantasy Girls” as it is mostly everyone’s first time playing Fantasy Football.  There are 12 of us in the league (and I’m excited to say we even have someone on the wait list for next year if anyone drops out!!)  With girly team names like “Tough Cookies” (me) and others like “Victorious Secret,” “Show Me Your TDs,” “When in Romo” and “My Husband’s Team Sucks,” we got into the spirit right away!!

Girls Fantasy Football Draft Party: Pink Glitter Football Cake Pops @FoodMarriage

Girls Fantasy Football Cake Pops

I held our draft party at my house and loved decorating for it!  I made custom Fantasy Football Wine Glass Charms by tying ribbons around wine glasses, adding a football cut out of card-stock, and personalizing them with each person’s name.  I made a Fantasy Football Money Jar by cutting out a football and tying it around a mason jar.  I also made two fun drinks: a sweet summertime sangria and cucumber water (recipe to follow later this week).  And of course, the draft party would not be complete without Pink Glitter Football Cake Pops!  (Recipe also coming later this week)

Girls Fantasy Football Draft Party: Picking Draft Order @FoodMarriage

Draft Order Picking

To pick our draft order, I got little wooden footballs from the craft store and wrote the numbers 1 – 12 on them.  I then put them inside a football that has a top that opens up.  You actually push a button on the front of the football, it plays music, and then the lid opens up!  It made for a very dramatic and fun way to pick the draft order!!  Each girl got to push the button, close their eyes, let the music play, and pick their tiny football out!

Girls Fantasy Football Draft Party: Yellow Penalty Flags aka Napkins @FoodMarriage

Penalty Flags aka Napkins!

To get excited for the upcoming competition between us all, we did food potluck style where everyone brought their favorite game day appetizers and foods.  From homemade guacamole, salsa, pigs in a blanket, and buffalo chicken dip to pizza, meatballs, and smoked ribs…we definitely ate like queens!  Everything was severed on football shaped plates.  And I couldn’t resist putting out yellow “Penalty Flags” for napkins!!

Girls Fantasy Football Draft Party: ESPN Drafting Online @FoodMarriage

Intimidating!

The actual drafting of the players?  A little more stressful than we thought it would be!!  We only had two minutes to pick each player online and as you get down to the wire, your computer starts beeping at you to make your pick NOW!  But once we got the hang of it, it went pretty smoothly. (And thank goodness for cheat sheets!)

Girls Fantasy Football Draft Party @FoodMarriage

Great Draft Party!

Overall, it was a successful draft party and we had a great time!  There’s some good money at stake as we each put in $50.  But really, we are most excited to have fun each week playing against each other and rooting on our players.  Can’t wait for the season to start!!!

I would also like to give my husband a special THANK YOU for his late night Fantasy Football tutoring sessions…love you!

 

xoxo, Food Marriage

Football Shaped Cake Pops

I love being an aunt!!  Mostly because I get to make fun things for our nephew, Ryan!  (You may remember the Duck Themed Diaper Cake I made for my sister-in-law before he was born).  This week was his first birthday.  Because his party had a “Little Quarterback” theme, I decided to make Football Shaped Cake Pops!!

Football Shaped Cake Pops with Display Food Marriage

First, I made a display by lining a green photo box with styrofoam and then covering it in fake green moss to look like grass (You can’t really see the moss in my pictures, but you could see it as people started taking out some of the pops to eat them!!)  I decorated the outside with fun stickers and then made a football field background.  To make the background I found scrap booking paper that looked like a football field, spray glued it to some cardboard, and then inserted it into the back of the box.  And then I got stickers to put his name on it!!

Football Shaped Cake Pops 1 Food Marriage

I made the football cake pops with chocolate cake, chocolate icing, and then dipped them in chocolate candy coating.  (They were like chocolate heaven!)  Ryan loved the cake pops so much that when he finished his first pop, he started crying because he was finished it.  They were so good he wanted a second one!!

Football Shaped Cake Pops Recipe
One recipe will yield about 40 – 45 cake pops

Ingredients:

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • Ingredients required for the cake (listed on cake mix box)
  • 1 cup chocolate frosting (feel free to use a store-bought kind)
  • 2 (14 oz) bags of brown-colored and chocolate flavored candy melts.
  • 1 (14 oz) bag of white-colored and vanilla flavored candy melts.
  • Lollipop sticks
 
Directions:
  • Bake your cake according to the directions on the box.
  • Allow your cake to cool completely.
  • Crumble your cake up (You can use your mixer to break it up).
  • Add in 1 cup of frosting and mix well (this will give it a sticky texture).
  • Roll your cake into about about 2″ – 2.5″ size balls.  Once you get it into a ball shape, roll it between your hands to slightly make it more of an oval shape.  Place your oval shape onto a tray covered with wax paper and then pinch each end together between your fingers to make it come to a point.  This creates the football shape.
  • Once your footballs are shaped, place your tray into the refrigerator for at least an hour to firm up.
  • Melt a small amount of the chocolate candy melts.  Dip each end of a lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and the press the stick about 3/4 of the way into the ball.  Do this with each ball (I did about half of my footballs with regular-sized lollipop sticks and then the other half with slightly longer lollipop sticks.  This allowed me to display them all at different graduated heights in the display).
  • Once you have sticks in all your footballs, place back into the refrigerator.  This will ensure that the sticks stay in your balls.
  • Melt more of your chocolate candy melts, and dip each cake pop into the melted candy so it is covered completely.  You may want to tap it on the side of your dish to eliminated any excess candy.  Place each cake pop standing up in a styrofoam block until the candy hardens.
  • Once your cake pops are hardened, get your white-colored vanilla-flavored candy melts out.  Using a disposable candy decorating bag, melt your candy right in the bag and then use to paint the tops of the footballs with lines and laces.
These are by far my favorite cake pops I have made yet!!  They were loved by the kids at the party – they could grab them and go right back to playing and didn’t make much of a mess!  They are great for birthday parties, but could also be fun for a game day get together or the a Super Bowl party!  Aren’t they the cutest!?
 

xoxo, Food Marriage