Category Archives: Savory

Lets Flamingle

In honor of my birthday week I though I’d share my 35th birthday party inspiration; a Tropical Flamingo party.

I have been obsessed with flamingos for almost a decade, it all started on a shooting party in an Arizona dessert. My stepmom Sheri had packed up a box of potential targets including a glorious pink lawn flamingo.  But as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to save it.  I smuggled him out of harms way and stashed “Felipe” in my suitcase.  Felipe the flamingo become my beloved mascot, I even named my apartment “the Flamingo.”
In 2008, Felipe was kidnapped and held for ransom. I unfortunately never saw him again.  But his memory lives on in my heart.

Here is what you need to throw a fabulous tropical Flamingo party.


Start with a whole flock of flamingos.  But not just any flamingos, go with the original Don Featherstone flamingos, they have the best details.

I finally decided to try my hand at a balloon arch after drooling over several amazing arches on The House That Lars Built.  You can check out the one pictured above on Wedding Chick or there is a great tutorial on A Beautiful Mess.


balloon arch

I am in love with this tropical flower backdrop on Blitsy.  Perfect for a D.I.Y photo booth.
Top the decor off with a pineapple flower centerpiece.



I have loved Shirley Temples since I was a little girl but since this is my 35th birthday, not my 5th, I decided to “adult” it up for my party by serving a Dirty Shirley.  Here is a great recipe from The Solstice Table. 

For an appetizer try this tropical bruschetta.
For the main course I will be serving Kahlua pork, coconut rice, and Hawaiian mac salad.
For Dessert try coconut cream pie shooters or a gorgeous coconut cake like this one.


Check out these adorable invitations from Carlson and Co on Etsy.

Happy Flamingling!


My Little Heartbreaker and his Pancake and Pajama Party


photos by Mary Clark, DMC Studios


photos by Mary Clark, DMC Studios


photos by Mary Clark, DMC Studios

My little two year old Oliver Jack has been stealing hearts since the day he was born.  He has an incredibly charming disposition, a knowing smile, a contagious giggle, and a sense of humor that continually surprises me.  His favorite game starts with him letting out a ferocious roar, followed by  the most earnest question “you scared Momma?”  He tenderly, reassuringly pats my arm and says sincerely “its ok Momma!”  He then mischievously wrinkles his nose and lets out a wild roar, starting the game all over again.

I can’t say the last two years have been easy; the sleep deprivation, the boogers, the messes, the lack of personal time and personal space, the money, oh and there was that vomitous road trip.

But I can say unequivocally that Oliver Jack is the most delightful, magical gift I could have ever hoped for or imagined. He brightens my day with more love than I knew possible.  Oliver acts as though I am the greatest person in the world. Which makes me want to reach higher and maybe one day deserve such adoration.

So happy Birthday Oliver Jack. Its been an amazing, wild two years and I look forward to our many adventures ahead.

To Celebrate his birthday we threw him a heartbreaker themed pancakes and pajamas Party.

I figured there won’t be too many more birthday party themes where I get full artistic license so I went with hearts, it totally works being that he was actually due on Valentines Day and will forever be the best Valentine.



For the cake I made my favorite Guinness chocolate cake, cream cheese frosting, and I used heart shaped macaroons from a local bakery as part of the caketopper.  I created the “Heartbreaker” with a Silhouette and black glitter cardstock.


The pancakes and pajamas were plentiful as promised.


I didn’t get a picture of the basement but we turned the family room into a blanket fort lounge. The kids loved it.  Juice added an eye screw in 3 different walls, about an inch from the ceiling. He then strung a nylon rope through each, creating a triangle overhead.  We hung a sheet up on each side of the triangle and then one on top, using clothes pins to secure it to the rope and where each of the sides met.  We also used clothes pins to hang twinkle lights.  We filled it with all the pillows we could find.



The mimosa and bellini bar was a huge hit. I made peach, pineapple, and a berry puree and grabbed a few bottles of champagne.  For the fruit puree I used this recipe by Giada as inspiration.


How cute are these heart straws?!!



I cant believe I didn’t get a picture of the pancake topping bar.  But it was filled with fresh fruit, a couple different kinds of syrup, and whip cream.


For the french toast shooters I added a dollop of cream cheese whip and drizzled in a little Golden syrup.  I could eat Golden syrup on just about anything. Its especially great if you do not love Maple like me.   You can pick up Golden syrup on Amazon or World Market.


These egg scrambles were a super easy crowd-pleaser.


One of the things I love about a pancake and pajama party is that you can use any color scheme you want or no color scheme for that matter.  There is something so comfortable and fun about everyone in pajamas, eating delicious pancakes.

Oliver had a blast with his little friends and was sufficiently spoiled.

I’m highly considering implementing an official “very merry unbirthday,” for each of us just to have more excuses to throw a party, well that or having more kids. 😉

Party on!!!!!


Big Game Little Work


I am the queen of over doing it and the master of the small details but sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to make football shaped cookies and cold cuts in the shape of a football stadium.

The good news is that most people wont mind, especially if you feed them well.
My favorite go to appetizers are: Hummus Flatbread Shooters and Veggie Ranch Shooters.


Hummus Flatbread Shooters

  • Servings: 20
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 oz Shot glasses  ( you can pick them up on Amazon here or your local party supply store.)
  • Your favorite hummus recipe (I used this one from Smitten Kitchen, or you could buy some from the store)
  • Flatbread
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Paprika


Prepare Hummus ahead of time and store in a Ziplock bag.  Right before your party cut the corner off the hummus bag and pipe hummus into shot glass about half full, drizzle each cup with a small amount of olive oil, and sprinkle with a dash of paprika.   Place flat bread on parchment lined baking sheet, brush lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and place in an oven set to broil until slightly toasted.  Cut into strips about 3 inches long, I like to use a pizza cutter for this, add to the shot glass.


Veggie Ranch Shooters

  • Servings: 20
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 oz Shot glasses  ( you can pick them up on Amazon here or your local party supply store.)
  • Your favorite Ranch Dressing/Dip ( I used this one from Pioneer Women or you could use a Hidden Valley Packet and follow the instructions)
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Snap peas
  • Tooth picks


Prepare your Ranch dressing ahead of time.  Cut your celery, cucumbers, and carrots approximately 3 inches long and slender so that they will fit in the shot glass.  I like to do this ahead of time as well. Right before your party, pour or spoon Ranch into each shot glass, add cut veggies, snap pea, and then place two cherry tomatoes on a took-pick and add it to the shot glass.

Throw some beer in an ice filled sink DSC_0319lowres

or some wine in a bucketDSC_0415lowres

Pick up some delicious cookies, I got these at the Popshop DSC_0419lowres

Pick up a fabulous meat and cheese tray, some olives, and crusty bread from your favorite deli, i got these at Tony Caputos 


There you have it, Big Game, little work!!




Lumberjack Party

My little Oliver Jack is a winter baby, which was great when I was 9 months pregnant and a burning inferno, but not so great when planning a 1st birthday party.  The freezing temperatures outside really limited my options.  But I decided to embrace my inner hibernation mode and what better way than with Cozy flannel and comfort food; the key ingredients to a Lumberjack themed party.

I fell in love at first site with these invitations from Lauren Haddox designs on Etsy, she also made a gorgeous set of printables that I couldn’t resist.


I loved that she has matching address labels that made these invites crazy cute from start to finish.


A couple of weeks before the party we took a little trip to the park to collect pine cones.  Which saved me about $20.






Decorations ideas:

  • Pine cones
  • Wood stumps
  • Flannel
  • An axe or two
  • Flannel bunting
  • Lanterns
  • Mini pine trees
  • Kraft paper
  • Burlap



Chili Bar Toppings:

  • Cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Jalapenos
  • Fritos or corn chips
  • Hot sauce
  • Corn bread muffin
  • Tater-tots




Waffle Bar Toppings:

  • Chick-fil-a party platter, perfect for chicken and waffles.
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Raspberries
  • Pineapple
  • Blueberries
  • White and milk chocolate chips
  • Whipped cream
  • Toffee bits
  • flavored syrup
  • Peanut butter
  • Bacon bits





Dessert Bar:

  • Stout Chocolate Cupcakes, complete with mini ax
  • Assorted sugar cookies
  • S’more Pops
  • deconstructed Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Bear







  • Hot Chocolate Bar complete with “adult add-ins”
  • Iced Tea and Lemonade for my fave: an Arnold Palmer
  • Mimosa punch
  • Water



Oliver’s cake didn’t turn out like I had hoped, but that is what happens when you leave things to last-minute. I had a vision of delicious cream cheese whip layered between gorgeous fluffy giant pancakes.  To save myself time I ordered the pancakes from local breakfast joint we love. On the day of the party we picked up the to-go order and headed to the venue.  I was really sad to find that they gave me their small pancakes instead of their large.  I had to improvise and the good news is, Oliver Jack didn’t mind.  It tasted amazing!

I loved this party theme so much I want to throw a lumberjack party every winter.




photographer: Anissa Vegh PhotoNV

Printables:   Lauren Haddox designs on Etsy

Balloons: John with Balloon Architects 


Breakfast Salads

Have you ever had a breakfast salad? I know what your thinking…a salad is NOT a breakfast food. Breakfast has rules. Why do you want to break the sacred rules of breakfast?

But if you really think about it, there are way too many silly rules we follow blindly without really thinking about the why. So many of our breakfast foods are born out of convenience.  I totally get it, its way easier to throw a bowl of cereal together for my toddler and grab a piece of toast as I run out the door for work, than to cut up fresh produce, plate a salad, and eat it as drive down the road.

That is where this post comes in.  I have designed the perfect breakfast salad that you can do prep for on the weekend, make the night before,  and travels well.

But before I get into the how. Lets talk about the WHY.

Back in 2006 my little Brother Aaron shared with me this article ( “The Men Who Live Forever,” from Mens Health) . It is a bit of a marathon to read but so worth it, especially if you are a runner or looking to lose weight. To sum up the article, there is a tribe of super athletes in south america that live crazy healthy, long lives.  They can run 100 mile distances well into their 60’s.  Their society is free of murder, suicide, and depression.  After spending time with the tribe, the author takes what he learned about their diet, philosophies, & running techniques and spent a year training to return and run a 50 mile race. To emulate their diet he starts eating salad for breakfast.

This was the first time I had heard about breakfast salads. My mind was BLOWN!!!  and I have been breakfast salad-ing it ever since.

It really is a truly refreshing way to start the day. bs6lowres

The key to a great breakfast salad is a heaping handful of spinach and mixed greens, seasonal fruit, crisp red, yellow, & orange peppers, a nut mixture that adds crunch and protein (I do equal parts dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and slivered almonds), a little feta, and a sweet/tangy dressing.

Corn and black beans would be a great addition to this salad.



I start out with all of this, wash & dry it, cut up the peppers and pineapple, mix my nut mixture, and wind up with this…


You can either put your salad together the night before or in the morning. It takes 5 minutes.  My favorite way to transport salad dressing is in a syringe.  It makes measuring a correct serving size super easy.


I hope you enjoy a new kind of breakfast that gives you energy, is refreshing, and frankly feels like a treat.  Forget those silly rules born out of convenience, grab a breakfast salad and start making your own rules!


Float My Oats #2 Bacon and Gouda



I recently had group of darling friends over for brunch and mimosas.   I decided to experiment on them with savory oatmeal.  Unanimously they were skeptical. But luckily I have awesome friends and they gave it a try. The smell of bacon wafting through the house definitely didn’t hurt.

I am thrilled to report that it was a huge hit.  There is something so satisfying about this recipe. I chose two kinds of cheese, a really creamy Gouda and a Sharp Gouda,  mostly because both tasted so good at the store, I couldn’t pick between the two.  Definitely hit the cheese counter for this recipe.










Bacon Mushroom and Gouda Savory Oatmeal in Rice Cooker

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 Teaspoon Chicken Better Than Bouillon ( low sodium)

4 Cups Warm Water

2 Cup Steel Cut Oats

1/2 Pound Thick Cut Bacon, chopped

1/4 Cup Salted Butter

2 Cloves of Garlic, finely diced

8 Ounces Sliced Mushrooms

2-3 Sprigs Rosemary, finely diced

2-3 Sprigs Thyme, finely diced

1/3 Pound Gouda Cheese, grated

Olive Oil for drizzling


For Oatmeal

Add bouillon paste to warm water and stir until dissolved. Add steel cut oats and water to rice cooker, set to “brown rice” and let it do its magic.  For this large of batch it took approximatley  40 minutes.  Be sure to check your rice cooker for specific directions on cooking oatmeal.


Chop bacon into small pieces and cook until crisp. Place on paper towel and set aside.  Remove grease from pan.  Then add 1 Tablespoon of the butter and garlic to pan cook on medium high heat for 1 minute then add mushrooms, rosemary, and thyme.  Sauté mushrooms for 4-5 minutes or until tender remove from heat and set aside. Grate cheese.

Once rice cooker is finished, add remaining butter,  grated cheese, and the mushrooms  stir until combined.


Place a heaping mound of Oatmeal in dish, top Oatmeal with a drizzle of olive oil, a crack of salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle bacon crumbles on top.

I really hope you enjoys this recipe and that it changes the way you view oatmeal.


Float My Oats



My love of Oatmeal began back in 2008 when I watched Alton Browns episode on Oatmeal.  I immediately started making oatmeal in the crock-pot. I loved how easy it was to wake up to those warm, cozy oats. I noticed that very few people shared my wild enthusiasm for oatmeal but after many sleepless nights contemplating this tragedy,  I concluded that its boring image needed to change.  The days of Ooey-gooey oatmeal drowned in milk, with predictable toppings, is over starting now.

Maybe itst the wanna-be-foodie in me, but oatmeal is meant to be bathed in Olive oil, a crack of pepper, shreds of sharp cheese and perfectly steamed vegetables. Its meant to swim in luscious coconut milk, with fresh  pineapple chunks, and shaved coconut. I could go on and on..and I promise I will.

I have tried numerous cooking methods but a couple years ago my friend Heidi introduced me to my favorite method, the rice cooker.


It is really fast and I love the texture, Its more like rice than a porridge.

I usually turn the rice cooker on when I first wake up and then come back to it when I’m finished getting ready for the day.

I use a 2 to 1 ratio of  water and steel cut oats. You can sub the water for just about any liquid. My favorite substitutions are chicken stock and coconut milk.

Here are my go-to recipes

Savory Oatmeal in Rice Cooker

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: extra easy
  • Print


1 Teaspoon Chicken Better Than Bouillon ( low sodium)

2 Cups Warm Water

1 Cup Steel Cut Oats


Add bouillon paste to warm water and stir until dissolved. Add steel cut oats and water to rice cooker, set to “brown rice” and let it do its magic.  Be sure to check your rice cooker for specific directions on cooking oatmeal.  My cooker takes about 20 minutes for a small batch and 40 for a large batch.  Add toppings.

Sweet Oatmeal in Rice Cooker

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: extra easy
  • Print


1 Cup  Water

1 Cup Coconut Milk

1 Cup Steel Cut Oats

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Tablespoon Honey


Add steel cut oats, water, and coconut milk to rice cooker, set to “brown rice” and let it do its magic.  Be sure to check your rice cooker for specific directions on cooking oatmeal.  My cooker takes about 20 minutes for a small batch and 40 for a large batch.  Once the rice cooker is done, stir in butter and honey until mixed well.  Add toppings.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to oatmeal.  You may be skeptical but that is OK.  I look forward to converting you.