childhood chic up and away themed dedication

This past weekend we celebrated our second son Brody’s dedication. Opting for a less traditional theme to stay in line with our more intimate ceremony (performed by my sister-in-law), we went with up and away. With baby blue and white as our main color scheme, hints of bright red, home made hot air balloons adorning the mantel, and cloud cookies added an elegant touch of childhood.

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Up and Away Dedication

This party became quite the team effort! Hosted at my grandparents home and catered by family, every detail was personal. The theme inspiration started with the dessert table. While I have worked with fondant before (see my Sesame Street themed 1st birthday for Luca), with less than a week post-vacation to party plan I decided to bake a few cupcakes with Luca and delegate cake and cookie duty to a professional! Turned out to be a smart (and cost effective!) choice. Cut Above Cakes in Bridgeport, CT did an amazing job bringing my ideas to life while baking up treats that all our guests gobbled up🙂 Here’s some inspiration and tips for a successful up and away party!

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cioppino; italian seafood stew

For years I have ripped out recipes from every magazine, marked endless cookbook pages, and printed numerous websites, searching for the best tips on how to make Cioppino, a classic Italian seafood stew dish. This weekend I finally got around to making it…and it was so worth the wait! Three different fishes make it light enough for seconds while hearty vegetables and tomato broth makes it a filling dish. This recipe is mainly adapted from Ellie Krieger’s So Easy cookbook with a few Foodetarian twists. Check out this quick weeknight recipe for Cioppino.

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Feeling Italian tonight?

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29 plus 1 and gulf shrimp with casino butter

Another year has come and gone and March 20th marked a milestone birthday for me. The dreaded 3-0, or as I have referred to it as, my 29 plus 1. My twenties saw their fair share of extremes, from the highest highs to painful lows but here I am on the other side and I’ve gotta say, they sure did fly by. I have become some how more settled in my own skin by discovering my passions, finding a life path, and earning my proudest title of “Mom.” Thank you for sharing these accomplishments with me through my stories here and by, hopefully creating your own by sharing these recipes with your families and friends!

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The girls

In true Foodetarian fashion I celebrated with some of the most fun ladies I know with a (surprise!) party and cooking class at Two Steps Downtown Grille in Danbury. Tom was patient while taking countless calls from my party-planning mom adding humor and wit to his food demonstration. It was such an enjoyable evening and I’d like to thank Tom and his staff at Two Steps for allowing us to bring the celebration! I thought I’d share one of my favorite recipes from last night. Here’s Tom’s recipe for Grilled Pancetta Wrapped Gulf Shrimp with Casino Butter.

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Adorable chef inspired goodie bags my mom made that are pinterest worthy!

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not your usual corned beef and cabbage

While Saint Patrick’s Day is traditionally celebrated with lamb or pig in Ireland, Irish Americans have been cooking up this more familiar plate for almost 200 years. With corned beef being the neighborhoods flavorful meat, it was easy to splurge on when paired with the inexpensive tastes of their homeland such as potatoes and cabbage. (For more history, check out this Smithsonian article, “Is Corned Beef Really Irish?”)

For years I have been sticking my corned beef and vegetables into a pot or slow cooker which did the trick but left all the flavors, well, bland. This year I took a tip from The Pioneer Woman and slow roasted. It was by far the most savory Saint Patrick’s meal I’ve even made with sweet caramelization on the veggies and the perfect amount of salt on an otherwise tough cut of meat. This combined with a low and slow cooking method left for a brisket that even my toddler could chomp his teeth into! Here’s my newly dubbed favorite Slow Roasted Corned Beef and Cabbage.

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Adding color and roasting deepens flavor in a traditionally mono-flavored St. Patty’s Day favorite!

 

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sweet and crunchy candied nuts

One of my favorite pizza places in New Haven carries this amazingly incredible salad with mixed greens, dried berries, crumbled bleu cheese, and these sweet, crunchy, heavenly candied nuts. I have always wanted to try them out at home to change up our salad game and last night I did! They were so delicious that John has requested we always keep them in the house, plus, they kept the kitchen smelling sweet and nutty all night long! Here’s my recipe for Candied Nuts.

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Candied Mixed Nuts

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you’ll forget they’re not fried onion rings

This recipe is a funky take on a traditionally deep fried food. Baking saves on the greasy end result but the addition of crunchy potato chips adds enough flavor you won’t miss the oil! Give your Valentine what they really want this year with this tasty treat. Here’s my recipe for Baked Onion Rings.

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Your Valentine will thank you for this one!

 

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bundt chocolate chip and walnut banana bread

I was lucky enough to taste lots of treats that came from my Great Grandmother’s kitchen. Now I’m lucky enough to continue the tradition of treats with my boys in the kitchen with her original mixer! This was our first time using it to make classic banana bread with a twist. Here’s Luca bear’s (with a little help from mom) recipe for Bundt Banana Bread with Walnuts and Chocolate Chips.

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Bundt Banana Bread

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My favorite sous chef snacking on a few extra chocolate chips at 9am!

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