Living the Dream …

Baking with Denise

Caprese, Greek and Crudities

Sweet Sweet Pinterest!

Oh, how my world has changed with the introduction of Pinterest.  As I am a very visual person, I love that I can surf the site and then “pin” what I like to my own “board.”  Plus, since I have a less than stellar memory, it’s helpful that I can easily circle back to recipes that I “pinned” a month ago. And let’s be honest, it’s so nice to have a few less recipe cut-outs in my cookbook cabinet!! I know some of you know what I am talking about …

We moved into our house 9 years ago.  I sold my soul (living in the city) and moved to the burbs. Oh yes, it was brutal at first but as time has gone by, like one would expect, I have settled in. One of the many benefits that I have learned of life in the burbs is THE BACK YARD!  Over the past 9 years, we have done a lot of work to our back yard and found that we really enjoy entertaining out there.   Recently we invited several families over for a pool party, and I knew that I wanted to make some fun appetizers I had seen on Pinterest.  However, appetizers for 30 people seemed a bit daunting on top of everything else.  So, I decided to have the main dish catered, (BBQ-Buz and Ned’s), so I could focus on making the appetizers.  I’ve noticed that when we entertain I have time to make one “great” dish, and the rest fall into the “good” category.  I have been wondering lately how Ina, Paula, and Martha, do the ENTIRE meal where each item is unique and amazing.  Then it dawned on me … THEY HAVE HELP!

Who do I call when I need help?  My neighbors THE CONROY’S!  Two amazing parents who have 4 girls. (Shall I repeat that, THEY HAVE FOUR GIRLS!)  Two of the girls are Irish Twins. I  had no idea what that meant, and even when I did find out, I literally mentally couldn’t understand it.  Two kids 11 months apart?  That still hurts my head!  My boys are 19 months apart and there were weeks on end where I probably should had been committed!   Anyway, back to the Conroy’s… three of their girls (Courtney, Carleigh and Caitlin) have been helping me with the boys over the last 3+ years (that 4th sister went to college before I could get her!).  They started as my mommy’s helper and quickly moved on to watching my boys a few times a week. They have each taken the time to encourage my children to use their manners, to read, to practice their writing and to be good little gentlemen. I am so lucky to have them in my boys lives.

Onto the FOOD!

Appetizers:  Tiny Caprese Salad, Tiny Greek Salad, Crudities and Fruit Skewers for the kids!

Carleigh was available to help me, so we got started on the caprese.  This is one of my favorite salads, so I love the idea  of using the same ingredients for an appetizer. Caprese is very easy to make – tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella and a lightly drizzle it just before serving with oil and balsamic vinegar.  I got the idea for the mini on Pinterest, but the recipe didn’t pull up … so I can’t give credit to anyone.

Next up, we put together the mini greek salad appetizer. I got the idea for this from www.cookingwithmykid.com.  I recently discovered GREAT feta!  My friend Alina shared some with me down in Costa Rica.  Little did I know that fresh feta tastes so much different (smooth and rich) than the store-bought kind I have been eating for years!  I asked a neighbor, Doreen about where I could get some fresh feta and she being Greek knew right away,  “The Mediterranean Bakery” off of Quioccasin.  They had THREE different kinds of fresh feta (french, greek and …I forget!! lol)   Oh my, so good!  Thank you Doreen for letting the secret out about that Deli/Bakery.  The food and service were both awesome there.

Next up, we move onto slicing vegetables for the crudités.

I put together a Homemade Dill Dip  that Jamie from www.mybakingaddiction.com created, that accompanied the crudités.  Jamie has a ton of awesome recipes on her website, check them out when you have a moment.

1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped Vidalia onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill weed
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix the above and chill until you are ready to use.  Next time I will add in some cream cheese to help thicken the dip.  (In order for the vegetables to stand on their own.)  You could substitute reduced fat and even greek yogurt for the sour cream to lighten it up a bit.  The portions are so small in the little cups that I wasn’t too worried

Then up: Assembling the veggies with the dip!

Finally, since we were having about 15 kids, we put together some cute fruit skewers!

And we were DONE!

Thank you Carleigh for your help!  I couldn’t have done it with out you!  We had perfect weather, the kids played in the pool all evening and I enjoyed being able to have all of these done WAY ahead of time.  That way I could focus on the Cocktails!  :)

If you have made an appetizer on skewer or one that will look cute in a mini cup, let me know!  One of my rare bad buys at Costco was 250 of those little plastic cups about 2 years ago. I can’t even remember what I was trying to do with them … lol

Denise

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3 thoughts on “Caprese, Greek and Crudities

  1. Casey on said:

    Everything looks so great! I didn’t even know fresh feta existed… May have to hunt that down!

  2. Judy on said:

    I love the recipes! I have always hated making appetizers…you saved me! Thanks Denise!

  3. Denver Britten on said:

    i love appetizers because they are one of the tastiest part of a meal aside from the dessert.;

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