Shrimp with Mango Salsa Appetizer

Guest post from Kelly!

The East Coast has been experiencing a major heat wave, with temperatures over 100 the past week. This has been coupled with an intense Derecho (Weatherman speak for a bad storm that’s like a tornado or hurricane but not a tornado or hurricane) that caused wide spread tree damage and power outages. Thankfully my home fared well, but it is still too hot to cook much of anything.

I came up with this recipe while trying to develop a quick appetizer I could pull together in a jiffy with ingredients on hand. I don’t fancy myself a cook so I was pleasantly surprised when this came out well!  Martta immediately thought “guest blog post.” 


  • 1 Bag Frozen Shrimp
  • Baguette, sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 Red Onion, diced
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Mango, diced
  • 4-5 Cloves of Garlic, diced
  • Orange Juice (I used fresh – approximately one orange)
  • Lime Juice (Fresh, four limes), divided

Seeing as how I don’t fancy myself a cook, I don’t have exact measurements for the ingredients, but it’s something you could definitely play around with to your tasting.

Start off with defrosting the shrimp according to the package directions.  Then marinate the shrimp in a mixture of the garlic and lime/orange juices for approximately two hours.

When I was ready to cook the shrimp, I threw everything into a skillet and cooked according to the package directions. In the meantime, I made the salsa with the onion, cilantro, mango and the juice from two limes. Once the shrimp was cooked, I placed the salsa on a piece of baguette with a shrimp on top. This can be a quick appetizer to entertain company or if you are a single girl like me, a light and easy dinner.




Harry Potter Food!

Well now that you already know how I did the Sorcerer’s Stone Jell-o, here is the rest of our menu for our big Harry Potter movie viewing party: 

We made our desserts first.  Pretzel rods dipped in chocolate and rolled in sprinkles of all kinds for the wands. Then owl feed, which turned out to be SUPER addictive!  It was a traditional white trash snack mix.  Man do I love those Wheat Thins Stix!  And finally on to our pièce de résistance: Dragon chicken with dragon egg grapes and forbidden forrest broccoli. 

The kids love their dragon chicken with ranch dressing so I simply mixed the ranch dressing with food coloring to come up with dragon “wings” and fire breathing.  They loved it!  Caroline especially liked the fact that she could mix all the colors and turn her ranch dressing brown.  

Then to cap off our Harry Potter movie fest, a traditional glass of butterbeer for everyone!  Yum!  

I’ve tried a lot of butterbeer recipes and this one is my favorite.  Although, I don’t add the rum extract and I dash in some butterscotch schnapps for the adults.  Yum!


Cream Cheese Spinach Tortilla Rolls

Once a year, I host our neighborhood Bunco group. We have such a good time chatting, playing, eating, and of course indulging in a glass of wine… or 3. Because I was hosting in March, and a week before St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to go along with a green theme, and add in a few shamrocks here and there. I’ll try to share all of my recipes over the next week!

Today, I’ve got a recipe my Grandma shared with me a few years ago. It’s super easy, and always a crowd pleaser. These cream cheese rolls are similar to the ones you see on catering trays from the grocery store, but cheaper, and so easy to do yourself!


16 ounces cream cheese – softened

1 packet dry ranch dressing mix

Half of 1 small can chopped olives

1 small can diced green chilies

fresh green onion – about 3, chopped

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 package tortillas – I used the spinach wraps for the green color, but you can use plain, low fat, whole grain, whatever you like!

Mix all the ingredients together… except the tortillas! I let mine sit overnight so the flavors could blend, but you don’t have to… maybe let it sit for a good hour or 2. Take one tortilla, and spread the mixture all over, evenly. I think I used about a 1/2 cup per tortilla, and made about 5 tortillas worth.

Roll up the tortilla, making it as tight as you can. You don’t want gaps or spacing inside the tortilla. Chill for about an hour, then slice them up! I cut off the uneven ends (a snack for me!), and sliced the rest in approximately 1 inch increments. Done!

I served mine on a chilled glass cake stand… I think it helped keep the cream cheese cold for a longer period.

Some tips:

You can make the filling a day or 2 ahead! However, I don’t recommend rolling them until a few hours before your party or event. I made one roll a day ahead to see if it would be ok, and it was slightly soggy. Yuck. I even rolled it in plastic wrap, but I think the humidity of the refrigerator, plus the cheese, just doesn’t work.

Enjoy your St. Patty’s Day!


Hummus Three Ways

One of the new treats I tried out for this year’s Oscar Party was hummus three ways.  I figure if the gurus on Top Chef can have all their dishes three ways, why can’t I?  And I do think it turned out sensational (if I do say so myself). 

To make this hummus extravaganza happen, I picked up votives at Ace Mart for a little under $0.50 a piece.  Heather contributed black bean hummus (which she’ll have to blog in the future), Costco contributed a tub of Sabra’s roasted pine nut hummus and I made a batch of Giada’s white bean hummus – my version is always heavy on the parsley.

Chop veggies in sticks.  For the black bean hummus I had carrots and celery (I did spring for the extra effort of chopping whole carrots so they would be tall enough in the glasses) and for the roasted pine nut hummus, baby cucumber spears.  I followed the directions for Giada’s pita chips but rather than cut the pitas into triangle shapes, I created sticks by cutting strips of pitas then cutting the strips in half.  They fit perfectly into the small votive glasses and were the perfect tool for scooping out yummy hummus!

To make sure the edges of the glasses stayed clean, we pipped the hummus into each cup – it’s faster and easier than cleaning edges!  All the types were a taste sensation and the little cups were all gone by the time the party was over.  I can’t wait to try this again next year!


Kelly’s Yummy Pizza Bites

One of the best things about having a blog is that people think you’re super amazingly crafty or some fabulous kitchen diva. In reality, some days it’s the kids dinosaur chicken from the freezer for dinner.

I call those days Wednesdays.

It’s days like this that I thank goodness for my friends who are being crafty or cooking divas. Like my good friend Kelly who celebrated last week’s Yappie Hour (happy hour where everyone brings their dog) with some easy to make pizza bites.  Look how yummy these look! 

Here’s her how-to directions so you can make them for your next Yappie Hour:

Like many people, I am in love with Pinterest. However, I do not consider myself a very crafty person. This is why I am best friends with Martta. Every now and then I will re-pin something I think I could actually accomplish. This is one of those items.

Every two weeks, my friends and I have Yappie Hour. Everyone comes over after work with their furry children for some world famous margaritas (a separate blog post for the future….) and yummy food. I am lazy and will typically grab a pizza from a local family owned pizzeria. This week I decided to change it up and make these Pizza Bites. It’s so simple and they were a big hit with my friends:

Pizza Bites Ingredients:

  • Can of Pillsbury Grands Biscuits (Appx. 8 Biscuits)
  • Package of Mozzarella Cheese (Appx. ½ cup)
  • Package of Pepperoni ( I use Turkey) cut into small pieces (Appx. ¼ cup)
  • Tomato Sauce (2 small cans is enough for approximately 16 Pizza Bites)
Marinara Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
  • Two cans of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 t Dried basil
  • 1/2 t Dried oregano
  • Red pepper flakes to taste

Start making the pizza bites by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray and break each biscuit in half and place one half in each muffin tray. (Note: If I am making these for just myself, I will only make as many as I want and use a vacuum sealer to seal the remaining biscuits for another time. The glory of this recipe is you can make as few or as many as you need!)

Place cheese on top of each biscuit – enough to cover the biscuit.  Then add the sliced pepperoni.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10-12 minutes.

While the pizza bites are cooking, I make the marinara dipping sauce. I open two can of tomato sauce and add basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes to jazz it up. I let this marry together while the pizza bites are cooking.  Once everything is done, serve and enjoy!


Almond Butter Fiber Bites

As Martta preps for her amazing Oscar Party coming up tomorrow, I thought I would share this easy & healthy snack recipe…. Almond butter fiber bites!

Need fiber? I think it’s safe to assume the average person does not eat enough fiber in a day… I can include myself in that stereotype as well. A few weeks ago, Martta made some really delicious snacks similar to the Peanut Butter Balls my Mom made us as kids. I’ve attempted to recreate it the way Martta did, but with a little bit of my Mom’s recipe left intact.

1 cup Almond butter

1/2 cup Dried cranberries

1/2 cup Oatmeal

1/4 cup Bran or Flax seed

1/4 cup Sesame seeds

1/4 cup Honey

1/4 cup Powdered milk

Mix all ingredients together and roll into balls! Pretty simple, right? I prefer to refrigerate mine so they are cold and a little more firm, but they should stay together just fine.

I love this recipe because it is so adaptable. Use peanut butter, instead of almond butter for a cheaper alternative. Substitute raisins for the cranberries, or even dried blueberries! More antioxidants, right? I don’t think the powdered milk is a necessity, but it adds more protein, calcium, and vitamin D.  I found it in the baking section of the store, and it was pretty inexpensive.

My daughter loved these, and they are a great snack for after school… that period of time when the crankies come out!

I hope you try these and enjoy them as much as we do!


Oscar Party Menu

I’m so excited Oscar Party is almost here!!

I sat down and did some serious menu planning this weekend.  I decided this year it’s time to break out to a dessert-only table.  This just gives me more room at the main table and forces a few people to circulate into other parts of the house since it’s getting pretty crowded in that main great room area.

So let’s start with the dessert plans (because you know you want to start there):

First up, the star of the show – Gold Dusted Chocolate Oscars 

And the second star of the show: The chocolate strawberry tower:

Some crowd tested favorites: Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Truffles with Sea Salt 

Then a bit of Pinterest inspiration with Chocolate Dipped Raspberries 

and Tiramisu Shooters 

Now on to the savories.  At the main table, I’ll have one of my Oscar Party standards: Spanakopita 

Hummus Three Ways: White, Roasted Pine Nut and Black Bean.  If Top Chef can have everything three ways, then I think it’s reasonable that I do too.  I plan to put each hummus in individual mini glasses pre-stocked with crudités.  Thank goodness for cheap glasses at the Ace Mart restaurant supply!

Greek Cucumber Cups

More Pinterest inspiration: Proscuitto Asparagus Spirals 

Ginger Soy Chicken Mini Kabobs 

Rosemary Balsamic Mini Kabobs 

Antipasta Skewers (I love me some Pinterest!)

Then over to the coffee table in the prime time TV viewing location.  Guess what?  I’ll put more food there too!  Starting with Paula Deen’s Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie.  Can you really go wrong with anything that has brie in it?  No, especially since you soak those nuts in brandy for 24 hours in advance of that party……mmmm!

Classic, can’t live without Dill Dip with Crudités

and finally to round out the table, Cheese, Crackers and Grapes.

But Oscar Party isn’t completed without it’s signature cocktail…..the Twisted Cosmo!

So friends, I hope you’re seriously hungry ’cause I’m already cooking up a storm!  I’ve pinned all these to my Oscar Party board on Pinterest along with a few other party ideas in case you’re planning your own shindig.


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