Holiday Entertaining With Giada

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on December 20, 2011

We all love to be in the kitchen. Julia and I like to bake yummy treats, while Ray and the boys like to create savory dishes. Ray would actually like to spend more time cooking, and I certainly won’t complain. I always look forward to noshing on his dishes.

Ray was most excited about one of our latest packages. It was a big box of items from Giada De Laurentiis’ Target line… lovely red mixing bowls, shiny measuring cups, white ceramic bakeware and jars of yummy foods. Not only did we have a blast trying a few of Giada’s recipes, but we look forward to using most of these items this weekend, as we celebrate Christmas here at home.

Here is one of Giada’s recipes that we plan to try this Saturday:

Pea Pesto Crostini

Recipe Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

  • 1(10oz) package frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 8 (1/2 inch thick) slices whole grain baguette or ciabatta bread, preferably day old
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved or 1 small tomato, diced

For the pea pesto:

  1. Pulse together in food processor the peas, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  2. With the machine running, slowly add 1/3 cup of the olive oil and continue to mix until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed.
  3. Transfer to small bowl and set aside.

For the crostini:

  1. Toast the bread for 2 – 3 minutes on an oven’s broil setting.
  2. Transfer bread to platter and spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of pesto on each slice.
  3. Top crostini with 2 tomato halves, finely chopped herbs or parmesan cheese and serve.

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings/ 8 crostini

If you are entertaining during this Holiday season, I’m sure these simple entertaining tips from Giada De Laurentiis will be helpful::

  • Plan ahead!  Prepare most of your dishes ahead of time, rather than trying to cook everything at once.  You’ll feel less stressed and will be able to enjoy the party.  Giada recommends leaving only one item for last minute prep – this brings everyone into the kitchen and sets the tone for a cozy, comfortable evening.
  • Don’t overdo your menu – keep it simple!  As a general rule, Giada suggests offering four to five appetizers.  During the holidays, choose foods that have vibrant colors for an added festive touch.  Also select foods that are beautiful to serve and easy for guests to eat.
  • For guests who pop-in unexpectedly, keep ready-to-serve delights in the pantry. Giada’s Genovese Basil Pesto and Eggplant & Pepper Pesto are easy and delicious treats.  Serve with toasted bread or crackers and display on a festive serving platter.
  • Create less work for yourself by using multipurpose kitchen tools.  The Giada De Laurentiis for Target Ceramic Bakeware can go directly from the oven to the table.  The bakeware beautifully displays the dish and makes less clean-up for you!  Kitchen and food items also make wonderful gifts.  Add a personal touch to a hostess gift by baking your favorite homemade pie in the Ceramic Pie Pan.

What are your must-have items when working (or playing!) in the kitchen?

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Giada De Laurentiis for Target and received product samples to facilitate my review.

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Monkey Bread

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on January 9, 2011

Everyone here in the Young household will agree that Monkey Bread is definitely listed in the “best baked creation ever” category. Made as a special treat, mostly around the holidays, a batch of this gooey goodness is sure to elicit squeals of delight from all.

And, with the directions right on the package of Pillsbury biscuits, there’s no searching for the recipe. Making Monkey Bread is a fun and easy way to get the kiddos in the kitchen.


The only problem? You can’t leave the Monkey bread to cool on the counter unattended without expecting to return to find it devoured!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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Spreading Christmas Cheer

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on December 24, 2010

All week the kids and I have been baking up a storm. Cookies, cupcakes and candy have been tempting us with their yummy goodness.







Today we’ve delivered some of these sweet treats, but tomorrow morning will find us playing a bit of ding dong ditch on unsuspecting (and often grumpy) neighbors!

Spreading Christmas cheer is so much fun!

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Eggland’s Best Holiday Baking Party

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on November 21, 2010

On Friday some of my best friends and I spent the entire afternoon doing one of our favorite things – baking! Eggland’s Best sponsored this fabulous baking party and we even had door prizes! We made Quiche, Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies and homemade ice cream, all with Eggland’s Best eggs. (See recipes below.)

QUICHE

Line pie pan with pie dough and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer with grated cheese, sauteed spinach, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed onions and diced tomatoes. Pour mixture of 6 Eggland’s Best eggs and 1/4 cup milk. Bake at 375º for 45 minutes.

VANILLA ICE CREAM

Beat 2 Eggland’s Best eggs in a large bowl until thick and lemon-colored (about 5 minutes). Add 1 cup sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Stir in 2 3/4 cup half & half, 1 tablespoon vanilla and 1 cup whipping cream and pour in to ice cream canister. Follow manufacturer’s directions. Makes 2 quarts.

CRANBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES

This post is sponsored by Eggland’s Best.
I received monetary compensation for my participation,
but my review and opinions are my own.

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Homemade Treats Make Great Gifts

November 12, 2010

My family and I make lots of goodies during the Holiday season – Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Pumpkin Cake and Fudge are just a few of our favorites. Baked goodies are not only extremely yummy, but they also make great inexpensive gifts for neighbors, family members and friends, especially when packaged up nice and [...]

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#epicfail Cake-Style

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I had the extreme privilege of attending the fabulous Wilton Mom ReTreat, a couple of months ago, and learned so much from two master cake decorators. I was anxious to put in to practice everything I learned from these ladies, but this pregnancy is kicking my butt, and I just haven’t had the energy to [...]

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Peach Crisp {A Delicious Summer Treat}

July 2, 2010

We simply love peaches. Fresh is best, of course, but we’ll eat them out of a jar, in a cobbler, or even in smoothies. I was jonesin’ for a dish-ful of warm peach crisp yesterday, so I searched for a good recipe. None of my foodie friends seemed to be of much help (I still [...]

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Sweet Treats {A Wilton Giveaway}

April 26, 2010

I know that I’ve mentioned before that I very much dislike to cook, but did you know that I have always loved to make sweet treats? When I was about nine-years-old, my sister and I made cookies and pies that were the talk of the town. Around the holidays we started a little business, and [...]

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Breakfast with Sandra Lee and Pillsbury

April 6, 2010

This morning, over breakfast, I had the chance to chat with Sandra Lee about Pillsbury Rolls and Sunday morning family rituals. What?! You don’t know who Sandra Lee is? That’s okay, neither did I before last week, but I’m sure glad I had a chance to “meet” her. Let me tell you a bit about [...]

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