Monthly Archives: February 2016

A Night at the Oscars

2016-02-27 22.31.12  INTRO

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Hi Everyone,

Well, we are in the middle of the award season and the Academy Awards are here.

February 28, 2016

88th Academy Awards

I have to admit, in the past year I didn’t get a chance to see all the movies that are up for an Academy Award, but I never miss the red carpet arrivals on Oscar Sunday. The fashionista in me comes out while looking at all the celebrities in their haute couture outfits.

The red carpet is my favorite part of the evening.

But no matter how many movies I have or haven’t seen, Oscar night is a time to celebrate along with Hollywood and Oscar deserves a tablescape all his own.

2016-02-27 19.51.14- CLOSE UP

So let’s start.

Instead of ushering in the red carpet, I am ushering in a red tablecloth and napkins. I used the rhinestone napkin rings once again. I love the sparkle.

2016-02-27 19.24.45- TC AND NAPKINS use this

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For this tablescape, I am using a runner; something I very rarely use but I couldn’t resist because it is a film strip.

2016-02-27 22.33.43   RUNNER

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The chargers for tonight will be gold of course, just like Oscar himself and the plates will be black.

2016-02-27 19.29.39 chargers plates USE this

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To add to the theme, I bought paper dessert plates in a red, black, silver and gold movie reel and stars design.

2016-02-27 19.27.49- DESSERT PLATE   use this

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Special nights deserve special glassware, so I am using red martini glasses to match the red carpet.

2016-02-27 19.28.33- MARTINI GLASS- use this

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I put a beverage napkin, same colors as the dessert plates with a popcorn bucket design under each glass instead of a coaster.

2016-02-27 19.27.10- BEVERAGE NAPKIN  use this

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The flatware will be gold and silver.

2016-02-27 19.25.54  FLATWARE - use this

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At each place setting I have included a set of “Hollywood” sunglasses. I have seen some celebrities wear their sunglasses both day/night and indoor/outdoor; so I had to include these on the table.

2016-02-27 19.31.43  SUNGLASSES  USE this

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All my guests are always winners to me, so at each place setting all my guests get an Oscar statue as a party favor.

2016-02-27 19.44.01  OSCAR  use thuis

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Now on to the centerpiece. What comes to mind when we go out to the movies ?…To me it would be popcorn and candy, so that had to be part of my centerpiece.

I decided to get a little crafty and make bowls out of movie ticket rolls. I saw this on Pinterest and decided to give it a try. I am the last person to take on a craft project but it didn’t look too difficult.

I was so excited to start, I forgot to take a picture of my ticket rolls when they were flat, so here is a stock photo of a roll to give you a better idea of one of the supplies I needed to start the project.

Ticket-roll1

(photo courtesy of hello.etix.com)

So with my rolls of tickets, sponge brushes, level and bottle of Mod Podge, I set out making bowls. It wasn’t difficult and Mod Podge is my new best friend.

2016-02-25 00.20.48- PARTY TICKET BOWLS

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Now that the bowls are finished, I needed to fill them, so I bought movie size candy boxes for two bowls and popcorn for the third. 

2016-02-27 19.40.24  GOLD BOWL

2016-02-27 19.40.06 POPCORN BOWL

2016-02-27 19.39.58 - WHITE BOWL

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I displayed the bowls on a three tiered cake server.

2016-02-27 22.34.50  3 TIER

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And now the centerpiece is complete, with the addition of a clapboard cutout.

2016-02-28 03.31.28  CENTERPIECE LAST

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A few table accents and we are almost done.

 The first table accent I chose was my old Nikon camera that I haven’t used since I started using the camera in my cell phone. 

I decided to take it out of storage and give it a place on the table for old time’s sake.

Along with the camera, something every paparazzi photographer needs at all times would be a VIP back stage access pass.

2016-02-27 22.27.07  NIKON

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The next table accents for me are movie reel designed coasters. 

Instead of using them as intended, I decided to use them as photo frames with pictures of old movie stars and displayed them on lucite tabletop easels.

The photos are of movie stars that I loved.

Audrey Hepburn is one of my all time favorites- LOVE everything about her; along with Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. 

2016-02-27 19.38.08 COASTERS

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I found this great film strip ribbon and draped it around the centerpiece. 

2016-02-27 22.27.59  FILM RIBBON

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And lastly, some “Hollywood movie night” metallic confetti including movie reels, stars and popcorn containers and some Oscar danglers for my dining room fixture.

2016-02-27 19.34.09- CONFETTI

2016-02-27 19.52.20 - OSCAR DANGLERS

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After our dinner tonight, 

the Academy Awards menu for Bob and I will be hors ‘d oeuvres.

2016-02-28 00.09.00 hors 'deouvres

It’s not catered by Wolfgang Puck, but it will do.

So I am now ready to sit back, relax and watch the Academy Awards.

If you plan on watching, enjoy the show…

Place Setting

2016-02-27 22.54.02- PLACE SETTING USE

Table Details

Red tablecloth from Linens and Things

Red napkins from Linens and Things

Gold chargers from Pier 1

Black plates from Kohl’s

Paper theme dessert plates and beverage napkins from Party City

Gold and Silver flatware- everyday set

Red goblets from Crate and Barrel

Access pass and Film Reel ribbon from Amazon

Film Reel table runner from Party City

Oscar statues, danglers and confetti from Party City

Sunglasses from Oriental Trading

Centerpiece movie ticket bowls-supplies from Oriental Trading

Movie coasters from Amazon

Lucite easels- prior purchase

Tiered cake stand from Michael’s Arts and Crafts

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to follow and share DishingwithDiane.com either on facebook or sign up for emails directly from the web page.

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

And please continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

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Happy Valentine’s Day 2016

Happy-valentines-day-HD-wallpaper-2016 - 2(photo courtesy of happybirthdaycakeimages.com)

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

I know everyone is busy making plans for Valentine’s Day, either with their special someone or friends and family. 

Last year Bob and I we went out to a cozy little Italian restaurant for a light lunch and came home for dinner later that evening to heart shaped ravioli, a salad with heart shaped beets, chocolate covered strawberries and cupcakes.

2015-02-08 15.42.45- USE ravioli 2

Heart shaped ravioli for Valentine’s Day

(I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out the shape for the beets).

2015-02-08 15.39.14-USE salad

Valentine’s Day salad with beet “heart” cut outs

2015-02-08 14.14.07- USE strawberry

Valentine’s Day

2015-02-08 15.20.17- use 4

Valentine’s Day

The older I get, the more I want cozy and quiet. I don’t need to go out to a restaurant for the overcrowded “Special Valentine’s Day” Dinner. Although it is quite entertaining to watch young couples out for the evening on Valentine’s Day. Bob and I have this little observation game we play to guess how long the couple has been together based on the way they act and look at each other.

Bob and I have been together for 31 years, so we have some experience with this.

This year, once again we will celebrate the official holiday with a quiet cozy dinner at home instead of dinner out. 

Bob and I celebrate Valentine’s Day every day of the year. I am very fortunate to have married such a loving and caring man and I am grateful every day.

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Last year I posted a Valentine’s Day Breakfast table.

2015-02-10 05.55.40 - opening table

and a Valentine’s Day Dinner table,

2015-02-08 14.19.34- USE candlelight

Valentine’s Day

so this year, I am posting a 

Valentine’s Day Dessert table. 

2016-02-12 22.47.56- INTRO

For dessert this year I am setting up a chocolate fondue pot. Bob and I received this fondue pot as a wedding gift and this is the third time I have used it.

2016-02-12 20.24.44- FONDUE POT

I placed the fondue pot on a white ceramic cheese board and added the most adorable red ceramic “love birds”. 

2016-02-12 20.07.19- LOVE BIRDS

2016-02-24 21.13.32- BIRDS THAT MATE FOR LIFE

I’ve made cheese fondue before, but this time it will be Chocolate Fondue. 

You have to have chocolate on Valentine’s Day.

( I have the recipe posted below).

So let’s start the tablescape….

 I have decided on a pink tablecloth! Nice and cheery.

I am not using the matching cloth napkins. I picked up the cutest luncheon napkins that look like conversation heart candies. 

2016-02-13 01.37.35 - TC & NAPKIN

 Trying to keep to a pink, red and white color scheme; the placemats are red and the chargers are white.

2016-02-12 20.22.32- PLACEMAT AND CHARGER

This time, NO dinner plates. I am using pink paper luncheon plates on top of the chargers. (easy clean up)

2016-02-12 21.59.29 - PINK PAPER PLATE

Even though the fondue is delicious on it’s own, I still have to have cupcakes on Valentine’s Day.  

At each place setting I placed a Valentine’s Day cupcake in a heart shaped ceramic dish surrounded by holiday colored M & M’s. (another candy I love)

2016-02-12 20.08.14- RED DISH -USE

2016-02-12 20.20.24 -  RED DISH CUPCAKE

I am also serving two of my favorite Valentine’s Day treats, Peeps and conversation hearts. Loved these since I was a child.

It’s just not Valentine’s Day without them.

Now I needed a serving bowl for the treats and I chose red martini glasses. 

Think about how you can re-purpose what you already own.

Golden rule: shop your house first. 

I like the way the red matches both the placemat and ceramic heart dish and it also adds a bit of color to the tablescape.

I think I have enough candy for the dessert table.

2016-02-13 01.03.41 RED MARTINI

2016-02-12 20.21.42 -MARTINI CANDY

For my drinking glasses, I am using decorated goblets with hearts. 

2016-02-12 20.29.21-- GLASSWARE

The flatware is good old reliable red.

2016-02-12 22.02.01 - RED FLATWARE

Now I had to think about what to serve as dippers for the fondue. My final choice was bananas, strawberries, cantaloupe, marshmallows, pretzels, pineapple and pound cake.

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To add to the theme, I cut the pound cake into little hearts.

2016-02-12 22.49.31 - POUND CAKE CLOSE UP

Trying to have as many hearts on the table as possible, I added heart shaped mirrors to place some votive candles on.

2016-02-12 20.28.54  MIRROR

 I had to get candles on the table, so I bought votive candle holders with more hearts painted on.

2016-02-12 22.04.05- VOTIVES

2016-02-12 22.04.14 VOTIVE CLOSE

Now to serve all the dipping goodies for the fondue, I am using various cake stands that I have collected over the years.

 The white with red ribbons cake stand, I received as a “Good Luck” gift when I started the blog last year and I just LOVE it.

2016-02-12 22.04.58 - CAKE WITH RIBBONS

The second white cake stand fits so perfectly with the theme of the table because of the colored hearts design.

2016-02-12 20.25.19- HEART CAKE STAND

And the third cake stand blends into the tablescape perfectly with it’s delicate shade of pink glass.

2016-02-12 22.06.15- PINK CAKE  FINAL

Last year I purchased felt confetti that look like conversation heart candies so I am using the same confetti again this year.

2016-02-12 22.01.13 - CONFETTI

A few heart danglers from the light fixture and we are all set.

2016-02-24 21.14.01- DANGLERS

2016-02-12 22.51.47 BUFFET

Place Setting

2016-02-12 22.22.43 -PLACE SETTING

Table Details

Pink tablecloth from Linens and Things

Paper Conversation heart napkins from Target

Pink paper luncheon plates from Target

Fondue set was a wedding gift

White ceramic cheese board from Target

Red “love birds” from Pier 1

Red flatware from Homegoods

White chargers from Pfaltzgraff

Red woven placemats from Homegoods

Red ceramic heart shaped dishes from Michael’s Arts & Crafts

Valentine’s Day goblets from Marshalls

Red Martini glasses from Crate and Barrel

White cake stand with red ribbon was a “good luck” gift when I started the blog.

Heart cake stand from Sur La Table

Pink glass cake stand from Pier 1

Heart danglers from Amazon

Heart shaped Mirrors from Oriental Trading

Heart votive candle holders from Amazon

Felt conversation heart confetti from Michael’s Arts & Crafts

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2016-02-12 22.51.55 EXTRA 1 TO WINDOW

Chocolate Fondue Recipe

Recipe By:EAGLE BRAND(R)
Ingredients
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND(R) Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In heavy saucepan, over medium heat, melt chocolate chips and butter with EAGLE BRAND(R) condensed milk and water. Cook and stir constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla.
  2. Serve warm as a fruit and cookie/cracker dipping sauce or drizzle over ice cream or cake. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

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I wish each and every one of you a very Happy Valentine’s Day!

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to follow and share DishingwithDiane.com either on facebook or sign up for emails directly from the web page.

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

And please continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

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images- valentines day 1(photo courtesy of 10-themes.com)

Welcome New Members

 

welcome-to-the-group-smileys-graphic- welcome WELCOME TO THE GROUP

Welcome New Facebook Members

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Stay well, 

Diane

 

 

 

 

 

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

2016-02-07 16.38.34 - spinach balls for BLOG

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Hi Everyone,

I just have to share this. I posted this experiment to my Facebook page and received so many questions and comments, that I decided to post it to the blog.

Last Sunday when my husband was watching the Super Bowl, I decided to spend my time in the kitchen and cook. (You guessed it, I am not a football fan).

For those of you that remember my post back in December for my rice balls; you know how thrilled I was with my new gadget.

So, on Sunday I was thinking, since I liked the rice balls so much, can I make a stuffed meatball with the rice ball maker? And the experiment began….

I put together my meatball mixture, added some chopped spinach and shredded some mozzarella cheese on the side to use for the stuffing.

Diane tip: Before shredding, put the mozzarella cheese in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to shred and not get stuck in the box grater.

So far, so good.

I sprayed the bottom cup of the gadget with cooking spray so the meat mixture wouldn’t stick and then filled the cup. I made a well in the meat and filled it with shredded mozzarella.

Added some more meat on top to form the ball and it was done.

2016-02-07 16.38.34 - spinach balls for BLOG

I set up the usual breading station, breaded all the meatballs and let them rest for 5 minutes.

This time there was no deep frying involved. I baked the meatballs to make sure that the meat cooked all the way through.

2016-02-07 17.39.58- spinach meatballs 2 FOR BLOG

Once they were done, I cut it open and we had a WINNER. Gooey, hot melted cheese mixed with the meatball and spinach.

Bob and I loved them and I wanted to share the recipe.

If you don’t have a rice ball maker, you can easily make small meatballs like this by hand. Enjoy

2016-02-07 17.43.04- meatballs finished FOR BLOG

Stuffed Spinach Meatballs

Using the Rice Ball Maker 

Ingredients:

1 pkg. Ground turkey or beef

1 small onion, diced (shallots can be substituted)

Seasoned breadcrumbs

Grated cheese

Salt & Pepper

No salt organic seasoning

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 tbsp. Fresh parsley

Fresh mozzarella, diced in small cubes or shredded 

1 egg, lightly beaten for meat mixture

10 oz. pkg. chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained*

Diane tip:* To drain spinach completely—after package is thawed, place spinach in a dishtowel and ring the towel out and release all the liquid.

2 tbsp. olive oil for cookie sheet

For the Breading:

3 eggs lightly beaten

Breadcrumbs (I mixed homemade and panko)

Water

Procedure:

In a large bowl, mix seasoned breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, garlic, onion, no salt seasoning, salt and pepper ……

ADD ground meat, Worcestershire sauce and 1 slightly beaten egg. ADD the drained spinach and gently mix the meat and seasonings –do not overwork the meat

Using the rice ball maker…

Either use cooking spray or brush bottom cup with olive oil to prevent the meat from sticking

Fill the bottom container with the meat mixture

Make a well in the meatball and insert either mozzarella cubes or shredded mozzarella

Add meat on top to close the ball, invert and place on a greased cookie sheet or parchment paper.

(If the meat sticks when removing the ball, run a butter knife around the cup to loosen the meat)

Complete forming all the meatballs before the next step

In the 1st breading tray mix 3 slightly beaten eggs with a few tbsp. of water (add additional salt and pepper if desired)

2nd breading tray, mix breadcrumbs (I use plain and panko) and add additional grated cheese if desired.

Dip the meatballs in breadcrumbs, egg mixture and then BACK to breadcrumbs and place on a cookie sheet drizzled with olive oil. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Heat oven to 400 degrees

I baked the first side for 15 minutes, flipped the meatballs and baked for an additional 10 minutes

If you use grass fed beef shorten the baking time. Grass fed beef has less fat and will dry out.

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 I hope you give this recipe a try… If you participate in Lent as I do, you might have to wait awhile.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to follow and share DishingwithDiane.com either on Facebook or sign up for emails directly from the web page.

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

And please continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

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Mardi Gras- Happy “Fat Tuesday”!

2015-02-17 17.45.42 - BUFFET

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Hi everyone. 

Happy Fat Tuesday !

Today is the last day before lent begins on Ash Wednesday and the last chance to feast on rich foods before the 40 days fasting of Lent. The date changes yearly depending on when Easter falls.

In my house during carnevale, I set the table in the Mardi Gras colors.

Purple for Justice

Green for faith

Gold for Power

 In the Italian heritage, we call Mardi Gras, carnevale and celebrate with Carnevale Lasagna which I featured last year for Mardi Gras.

Lasagne di Carnevale is filled with meat and cheese and the idea of the dish is to use up whatever meat you have in the house before the fasting for Lent begins.

But, Fat Tuesday is also called Pancake Tuesday.

Pancake Tuesday has been celebrated for centuries and some suggest it was originally a Pagan holiday to celebrate the arrival of Spring and the shape of the pancake represents the sun.

Since then, pancakes have been traditionally eaten on Fat Tuesday to use up rich foods like eggs, milk and sugar before Lent.

So lets enjoy some pancakes today…

For me, there is no better way to celebrate Pancake Tuesday than to “Congratulate” a dear friend that just won honors for her pancake recipe.

Vera Sonnenberg

Vera’s pancakes have recently claimed fame in Pennslyvania and are now featured on the menu every Thursday at The Manor Restaurant in Bethlehem, PA.

If you live in the area, please be sure to visit and place your order for “Vera’s Pancakes”.

Vera was kind enough to share her famous pancake recipe with us for Fat Tuesday.

Vera’s Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups flour (I sift )

3 tsp baking powder

1½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp sugar

1 1/2 cups buttermilk 1 cup of milk ( I only use whole milk)

2 large eggs

4 tablespoons or a half stick of salted (that’s why there is no salt in recipe) melted butter, then cooled

Splash of vegetable oil

Directions:

Whisk first 4 ingredients to evenly blend dry ingredients then add wet ingredients ..Do not over mix , some lumps are fine..

Let stand while you heat your griddle to 350 degrees…giving the buttermilk a chance to react and bubble up…check your batter..sometimes I add a couple of tablespoons more of milk because we do like a thinner batter, but the recipe is fine as is for a nice light fluffy pancake. 

I always butter the griddle for each pour of a new pancake…everything is better with butter and I also only use real maple syrup xoxox, Vera

Thank you Vera and Congratulations once again.

I hope you all enjoy your Fat Tuesday celebrations and I will see you for Valentine’s Day!

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to follow and share DishingwithDiane.com either on facebook or sign up for emails directly from the web page.

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

And please continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Note– Scroll to the top left hand corner of each picture for the white and red “pin it” button and add DishingwithDiane.com photos to your Pinterest page.