White Elephant

Top - J. Crew; Sweater - J. Crew; Jeans - Joe's via Anthro; Shoes - All Black via Anthro; Earrings - Anthro

Date: Thursday, December 30, 2010

OMG guys, it's New Years' Eve! I don't know about you, but this year has FLOWN by! So many things have happened, per usual, and I know that 2011 is sure to bring more surprises and fun. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year. Take this time to reflect on all of the blessings you received - some that you may not have seen as blessings - and look forward to what's to come!

So, the story behind this outfit goes like this...My family gets together every New Years' Eve Eve for a "White Elephant" gift exchange party. Basically, this is a time to re-wrap all the gifts you got from friends and exchange them with family members. You know the saying, one persons trash is another person's treasure. Well, that surely is the case with this party! I got some ornament place card holders - RANDOM! I think it will be fitting for my Christmas 2011, who knows, maybe I'll have people over and use them! Or maybe I'll re-wrap them to re-gift them next year. I had a blast with my family yesterday.

Unrelated great news: I have a tutorial video to post for this hairstyle, look for it in the New Year!

Another Christmas Gift

Top - Limited via Hand me down; Skirt - Anthro; Tights - Anthro; Shoes - Gift via Anthro; Necklace - Anthro

Date: Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Guess what guys? I made a Christmas Wish List and gave it to my mom, and I got most of the stuff on the list!!! I got three things, all from Anthro, two of which you will see soon. These shoes are one of the items. I plan to treat these shoes like regular brown booties. I think the leopard print adds flavor, but not so much that it interrupts the outfit. I don't plan to build my outfit around the print. I hope you all are enjoying your New Years' Eve Eve!

Good 'Ol Faithful

Dress - Target (2008); Cardigan - Anthro; Shoes - Anthro; Necklace - Anthro; Earrings - Anthro; Watch - Gift via Fossil; Tights - Urban

Date: Tuesday, December, 28, 2010

Everyone needs a good 'ol faithful go-to outfit. It's an outfit that looks good on you on a bad hair day, a bloated day, a don't know what to wear day, or a I just want to look decent without trying hard day. I've been home in VA since last Wednesday, and packing clothes for an entire week wasn't easy. Thus, I knew I needed to pack my good 'ol faithful to help me get through a day. So here it is - my good 'ol faithful. Good enough to get by for a casual office look, and the dress is comfy and roomy! This dress was $20 at Target and I'm pretty sure it will last forever. The material holds up well and it's machine washable. Additionally, bf got me the watch for Christmas, so I purposely packed a lot of gold-based outfits to allow me to wear my new watch.

Do you guys have a good 'ol faithful?

Deconstructed Falafel

This was my first time making falafel, but I don't think this patty is like normal falafel. I feel that falafel is also one of those "vegetarian foods" that everyone talks about, and I had never tried until yesterday! I can say that my first taste of real falafel at a Lebanese restaurant was not my favorite, but this falafel that I made was delicious! This deconstructed falafel was especially delish with varied flavors from grilled zucchini, mushrooms and fresh pickles. What a delight!

Deconstructed Falafel from the Top Chef Cookbook
Serves 4

1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsely
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
Vegetable oil for frying

4 teaspoons EVOO
1 portobello musroom cap, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced horizontally
8 pickle slices
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts

  1. In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, parsely, garlic, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste and puree until smooth. Remove 3 tablespoons of the hummus mixture, combine it with the lemon juice, and reserve for the sandwich. Add the flou, baking soda, and egg to the mixture in the food profcessor and pulse to combine. Transfer to a bowl and shape into  4 patties. Place the patties on a plate and let stand for 15 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil over medium heat until hot. Add the patties and fry until cooked through, crisp, and nicely browned, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
In a small skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushroom and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the pan and place on a plate. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the skillet, add the zucchini, and cook until lightly browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the mushrooms. (Alternatively, cook over a medium-hot outdoor grill.)

place a falafel patty on each serving plat. Top wiht the mushrooms, followed by the zucchini, reserved hummus, and pickles. Finish with the alfalfa sprouts and serve immediately.

Festive Week: Saving the best for last

Dress - Anthro (2009); Sweater - Anthro (2009); Tights - Hue; Booties - Urban; Earrings - Anthro

Date: Saturday, December 25, 2010

This is the last post for Festive Week. My Christmas was wonderful. I ate A LOT - someone even brought veggie breakfast sausages for me!!! It was also great to see family and friends. For today's post, decided to save the best for last and give a shout out to my parents: Monica and Dimitrius - don't worry guys, I call them mom and dad.

Well, this post could go on for days, because I have an awesome set of parents. We've had our ups and our downs, as all children have with parents. However, in the end, they have been a part of the guiding light to help me become the woman I am today. They raised me around a solid set of successful people, and I learned a lot from them too! They are wonderful examples to follow and they taught me to be respectful, honest, strong, and independent. I have some great parents, I wouldn't trade them for the world.

Festive Week: Merry Christmas!

Top - Anthro; Skirt - Anthro (sample); Tights - Hue; Earrings - Anthro; Shoes - Urban

Date: Friday, December 24, 2010

So this outfit was worn yesterday (Chrismas Eve), but it's being posted on Christmas Day so...Merry Christmas everyone! I'm sure most people aren't online today, and are instead, spending time with loved ones, eating great food, opening gifts and enjoying each others company.

Today I want to shout out everyone who follows/reads this blog. As I have talked about the people who mean a lot to me. I thought it would be nice to mention the wonderful outlet that this blog has provided me. I started the blog over a year ago, and I recently revamped it to discuss everything that I love, and it has been a joy to write posts, take pictures, read comments and participate in others blogs. I really do love this and am glad that others find joy in it too.

So today, I thank you - all of the people who read this! It means a lot to me, and it definitely helps me want to keep things going. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and God Bless you, your families, and loved ones!

Festive Week: From whence I came

Top - J. Crew (hand me down); Blazer - Anthro; Jeggings - Joe's; Shoes - Banana (hand me down); Earrings - Anthro; Watch - Gift (Fossil)

Date: Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ok guys, I fibbed a little, there were two items at Anthro that I LOVED and purchased because they were on sale, and they offered an extra % off. I couldn't help myself, but you'll see both items in today and tomorrow's fits, so I'm getting good use of them!

For today's post, I'm going to shout out my grandparents. I don't know how you guys feel about them, but I think they're AWESOME! I have three grandparents - one paternal grandparent, and two maternal grandparents. My paternal grandparent, Grandma Lula, doesn't take no stuff! She's Memphis-bred and Detroit-raised and manages to stay up on all of the urban trends. She taught me how to play a mean game of Bid Whist. It's a card game similar to Spades, but it has a lot more strategy. If you happen to be her partner, don't renig, even if you're family, she'll still call you out!

My two maternal grandparents are the cutest couple I've ever seen. They've been married for 55+ years and are just adorable. My grandaddy loves to tell stories from when he was active in the Civil Rights' Movement, and he is sharp. He has a blazer, slacks and hat on every time I see him. My maternal grandma loves to sing, she'll break out into song at any point in time. She has a melodic, operatic voice that makes all of her grandchildren laugh with joy when we hear her sing!

Grandparents carry a wealth of knowledge, and I would be lost without them. They tell me the best stories about my parents and they teach me a lot about where I came from. This one is a shout out to my grandparents. Love you guys!

Festive Week: Brother dearest

 Shirt Dress - H&M; Sweater - Anthro Hand me down; Tights - Urban; Headband - Anthro; Shoes - All Black via Anthro

Date: Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Today's festive post is going to be a shout-out to my one and only sibling, my younger brother, DJ. He's also going to be my photographer for the next couple of days, so if I look a little crazy - blame it on him.

My brother is 11 years old, he's 12 years and 7 months my junior. My parents say he was not a mistake - I wasn't either, although they debate that at times. As a young, rambunctious child, I remember bugging my parents about having a brother/sister all the time. I would say things like...

"Hey guys, I could really use a brother or sister. Aren't you tired of JUST hearing me talk to you?"
"Look at how nice I am, I would be a great big sister!"
"How about a dog...can we at least settle for a dog?"

I figured my begging and pleading had run out as I reached my pre-teen years and was still an only child. I remember the day my mom told me she was expecting, it was the same day I came to realize I would be an only child FOREVER! I said something like, "Mom, I've faced the truth - I'll never have a younger sibling - EVER." Her response, "Guess what? I'm pregnant!"

I clearly thought she was joking, as she would often use "being pregnant" as an April Fools' joke for me, however she was serious. She had to show me proof with an ultra sound before I really believed her. Obviously, DJ was no joke - she was expecting and I've loved being a big sis ever since. Although we are far apart in age, my brother an I have a solid relationship. He calls me "Sister" - just like they did in the old days. I call him DEEJ, DJ, Dimitrius, Annoying and Awesome Little Bro-Bro! I love my brother - he's my favorite sibling EVER. ;-)

Festive Week: Holiday Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

You all know I couldn't just post outfits without some mention of holiday food! What can I say - I love to eat, especially when it's time for dessert. Originally, I was inspired by this post, and I have been craving sugar cookies with buttercream frosting, so I made some for myself and some co-workers last Thursday. Now, they didn't come out to be very pretty, but if you like soft, sweet cookies - you'll love these!

Holiday Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

COOKIES from Foodnetwork.com
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired.

FROSTING from Allrecipes.com
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and vanilla. Blend in the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk, and continue mixing until light and fluffy. Keep icing covered until ready to decorate.
*Tip - If you're using natural sugar, it probably has a lot of solids. I would suggest sifting it to get rid of the hard parts.

Sugar cookies take time to cook, so I prepared the dough before my basketball game, that way I didn't even notice that 2 hours passed by! I purchased my cookie-cutters from Whole Foods for $10.

Festive Week: Penny People

Sweater - Anthro; Top - J. Crew Hand me down; Skirt - Anthro Hand me down; Tights - Hue; Shoes - Urban; Lip - MAC, Satin; Hair - Princess Twists

Date: Monday, December 20, 2010

I'm going to start off this festive week paying homage to the woman who graciously gave me half of the items in my outfit today. My favorite cousin Malaika. I know you're not supposed to have favorites amongst family, but she's the person I'm closest to, so no one should take it personal, it's just the honest truth.

Malaika is more than a cousin to me, she's always been like a big sister. We lived together in my grandma's house growing up when I was but a mere 8-year old, and she was fifteen. I remember catching her booty-poppin' in the mirror, and whispering sweet nothings on the phone to some boy. At the time, she thought I was the most annoying person ever.  She and my other cousin went to the length of creating something called the "Penny People." Stating that they were "penny fairies" who gave me the privilege to be a part of the penny people. I gave them pennies every day for a week or two and practiced their made up symbols until the day my mom caught me doing the symbol after putting a penny under my pillow. She asked questions and I found out they were finagling me. They gave me my pennies back.

We lived together again when she graduated from college and I was a high schooler. She was there for me when I had me teenager-tiffs with mom. Now we both live in Philly as adults, and it's great to be able to look back on all of the memories we have shared. Malaika is awesome - she's one of my confidants and a great friend and family member to have by my side. Hopefully, she won't kill me for this post - love ya cuz!

NOTE: I use the term "festive" loosely, some of you may think - this is NOT festive, but I think it is, and there you have it, LOL.

Announcing Festive Week!

Ok guys, I've totally been hit with the Christmas spirit! After seeing this post, all I have wanted to do is dress up in pretty, festive wear, and so that's just what I'm going to do! That's one of many benefits to having a blog - you can dress up and always have an excuse for it...errr...the blog.

Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, December 22 through Saturday, December 25, I'm going to show outfit posts in my most "festive" wear. Festive does not necessarily mean red and green - it's gold, silver, white, black, sparkly and whatever else makes your heart flutter with holiday spirit! Each day I will add a sappy sweet story to say something I'm grateful for. After all, the holidays are about giving, celebrating and loving.

I really don't plan on shopping to support this week, so I'm going to stick to things in my closet. I hope to surprise myself with the looks I pull together from old faithfuls.

There's no place like home

Dress - Banana Republic Monogram (2009); Shoes - Steve Madden via DSW; Bracelets - Anthro; Earrings - Anthro

Date: Saturday, December 18, 2010

On Saturday I went to a semi-formal work holiday party for a good friend from undergrad. We had almost every class together, so it was a joy to share embarrassing stories, eat great food for free, and play dress up all at the same time! It was also great to hang out with my friend ;-)

I did break my no shopping 'til April rule and got these pumps because I have no black tie shoes. I LOVE the shoes I found. Since my pic came out a little blurry, I decided to share a pic of just the shoes. They remind me of shoes that a modern-day Dorothy would wear - just sparkling in delight. I thought my pinky toe was going to die that night, however it's recovering now and should be back in commission today or tomorrow. Although my feet were killing me, I definitely held it together through dancing and shifting...you know when you shift your weight from one foot to the other to offset the pain and pressure being driven to the one foot. I may have one more holiday party to attend today, but it's an after work party, so no dressing up. I'm getting excited for time off and fellowship with family and friends!!!

As for my hair, I wasn't really sure what I did. It's a version of the cinnabun style, set higher on my head on braid-out hair with no headband to pull it back. I used a criss-cross strategy to keep the back pinned up. I honestly didn't love it, but it definitely served it's purpose in allowing me to look decent.

Practical winter dressing

Top - Anthro; Sweater - Anthro; Jeans - J. Crew; Boots - Sorel via Free People; Scarf - Anthro 

Date: Friday, December 17, 2010

So today is Friday, I'm tired, it's the end of the week, there's snow on the ground, and it's cold outside. The last thing I want to do is throw on a dress, or something cute and uncomfortable. So, I didn't and here you have it - practical winter dressing. I think the look has style, it's just not glitzy-glammy style.

I should have warned you that you will rarely see me in stilettos in the winter. It's just not realistic or safe for me. I'll give you two prime examples from my college days...

  1. I ruined a BCBG suit after slipping and falling on a sheet of ice, rushing to get to an interview. I got the job offer - didn't accept it, ripped a hole in the knee of the pants and cut my knee and hand. Clearly I used my hand to break my fall...obviously that didn't help much.
  2. Then another time, I fell down a hill after a recent snowfall - it was like I turned my body into a sled. As I began to roll, I grabbed onto a nearby tree to try to stop myself from falling and the tree was full of thorns. So I let go and continued to roll down. Some guy saw me to help me, he stopped laughing by the time he reached me. I was ok, just some cuts on my hand. I didn't ruin any clothes this time, just muddied them up!

Now this what I call extreme winter sports! You guys didn't know that about me did you? Well yes, please laugh in my clumsiness - it really cracks me up, LOL! I hope you all have awesome weekends! I have good fits coming up since I'm going to a couple of parties...which do require heels and leg-bearing. ::rolls eyes and smiles::

PS - I know someone is looking at this pic going, WHOA- hair! I finished taking my braids down on Wednesday, and I've worn it out 3 days too many. I'm dreading the wash process that's taking place this evening. DREADING IT!

Red Hot Vegetarian Chili with Homemade Cornbread

Ok ladies & gents, I have gone 2 days without really getting dressed. Hence the food posts (yes, I have a stash of pics and recipes for times like this). I will be back in full effect tomorrow.

Vegetarian Chili with Homemade Cornbread
Chili from Get Cooking by Mollie Katzen and the Cornbread from Mom
Serves 6

2 tablespoons oliv oil
1 medium red or yellow onion, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium stalk celery, diced
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 good-sized cloves)
1 small bell pepper (any color), diced
3 15-oz cans red kidney beans
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
Up to 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 big pinches of red pepper flakes


  1. Place a soup pot or a Dutch over over medium heat. After about a minute, add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the onion, chili powder, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion softens.
  2. Stir in the carrot, celery, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetable are very soft.
  3. Add the vinegar, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often. Meanwhile, set a colander in the sink and pour in the beans; give them a quick rinse and allow them to drain.
  4. Add the beans and the crushed and diced tomatoes (with all their liquid) to the pot. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat all the way down to the lowest possible setting. Cover the pot with the lid slightly askew and simmer gently, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
  5. Grind in some black pepper to taste, add in the red pepper flakes and serve hot with the cornbread alongside.
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/8 cup melted butter

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add cornmeal. in a medium-sized bowl, mix egg, buttermilk and butter. Add in the flour mixture. Mix enough to moisten. Pour into a greased pan or skillet. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

I love a good, hearty chili with homemade cornbread. Be sure to make the cornbread first so that it bakes while you fix the chili. This is the perfect winter cold-comfort food. Very appropriate* considering that Philly got its first snowfall today! *I made the chili weeks ago.

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger
Serves 4-6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 14.5-oz cans no-salt added diced tomatoes, with their juices
1/4 cup finely minced fresh flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely minced dill
1 1/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes, the add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 5 minutes, until the tomato juices thicken. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, dill, and shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the feta over the top. Bake until the shrimp are cooked through and the cheese melts, about 12 minutes.

I served this dish over rice, however you can also serve this over orzo. This is a great dish. Really tasty, healthy, quick one-pot dish that doesn't require a lot of prep or actual cook-time.  The fresh dill and parsley add a lot of fresh flavor. I used frozen shrimp because it's cheaper, and tastes just as good. To defrost it, I simply soak the shrimp in cold water and then dump it in a colander and it's ready to go! I do think I could have reduced the sauce a bit more, and baked the dish longer, but a girl was HUNGRY!

Bad hair day

Sweater Dress - Nordstrom (2006); Tights - Hue; Boots - Thrifted; Scarf (on my head) - Gift; Necklace - Anthro; Earrings -  Mango (Philly Boutique)

Date: Tuesday, December 14, 2010

So the story really started on Sunday, when I started taking my mini-braids down around 3 pm. I thought, "Great, I'll be done taking these down by the end of today!" Well guys, I finished HALF of my head on Sunday, and I wasn't feeling so hot Monday - winter cold. Although I feel much better today, sometime between Sunday and today my hair has become a half-unbraided/half-braided big hair MESS!

I had this beautiful bohemian look planned for today. It was warm, flowy and just awesome. Then, once I realized that I wasn't done with my hair, I knew I needed SOMETHING to cover it. The cover - this scarf - did not work with the bohemian look. I threw this together in 2 minutes for an after-lunch meeting that required me to look decent. This is the final look. I feel like having some of the braids showing makes it look like perhaps I did this on purpose as opposed to: "ALERT! BAD HAIR DAY!" Plus, turbans are totally hip this season.

Today was a bad hair day, but I think I made the best of it. Looking at the pictures, it's not so bad to me...I would venture to show you what's lurking under the scarf, but I don't want to scare anyone. I'll have a hair update coming after I take these braids out...which is now worse than putting them in!

I decided to make a quick vid to show you how I tied my scarf - enjoy!

When the timer goes off

Tunic - Vintage/Hand me down; Shirt - Anthro; Leggings - American Apparel; Boots - Thrifted; Belt - Urban Sample; Necklace - Anthro; Earrings - Anthro; Frames - Urban

Date: Saturday, December 11, 2010

Be ready! Funny story about taking pictures with a timer...sometimes, the picture you see in the little preview screen looks very different from the picture you see on the computer screen. In today's case, I didn't realize that I looked so surprised in the second pic. I feel like this is one of those pics where I wasn't ready when the timer actually went off. Oh well, I like my unpolished pics just as much as my fierce ones, because it shows more of my personality, and it's just more realistic. I literally laugh out loud at the second pic!

One last thing, one of my LOVES of fashion is how you can transform yourself from one look to another. When I toggle between today's post and Friday's post it's like night and day...and I LOVE IT!

Mirror mirror

Dress - Anthro (2008); Scarf - Free People; Tights - Anthro; Booties - Urban (2008); Earrings - Anthro; Lipstick - Mac, Dark Side

Date: Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm going to a little soiree tonight. I wanted to get dressed up, especially considering how restricted I've been with the 30 for 30. I got this LRD (Little Red Dress) from Anthro in 2008, and although I only wear it twice a year, I still love it. I'm not much of a "red" girl, but I do think it is a wonderful, bold color every so often! I paired it with the scarf to dress it down a bit. I do plan to wear some type of sweater/blazer on top because it is 24 degrees outside, but bf was pressed for time, so I'm still deciding what is going to go on top!

Bf shot these pics for me in my bathroom. I'm really not that vain, but this was the only thing that could work, considering that it gets dark at 4:30 pm. One last thing - these braids are going on week 3, I've already washed my hair once, and I still think they look GREAT!!! YAY for the weekend!!!

It's Party Time: Easy Party Dishes

This time of year is always a time of fun, laughter, and general partying for a lot of people. I have a number of upcoming parties to attend, some of which require food. As a pescatarian, I hate having to bring something like a veggie plate because it's so boring, and it really doesn't highlight the wonderful tastes that can come from a variety of meat-free options. I brought the dishes below to a cabaret my sorority held last week. Both dishes were a hit! I got the recipes from College Vegetarian Cooking by Megan and Jill Carle. I hope you enjoy these easy vegetarian party dishes to get you through the holidays...

Bruschetta with Fresh Mozzarella
Makes about 40 pieces



1 lb French Baguette *Ask to get it sliced at the  counter and save yourself some time
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tomatoes *I used roma
4 cloves garlic
8 oz. mozzarella cheese
2/3 oz. fresh basil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/4 red onion *I added this in because I LOVE onion

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cut the baguette into 1/4 to 3/8-inch thick slices and place on a baking sheet. Brush the bread with olive oil and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until light brown. Peel one of cloves of garlic and rub it over warm bread slices.

Cut the mozzarella into 1/4-inch cubes. Cut the tomatoes in half, remove the seeds by scraping them out of the tomato with a small tool or your finger, and dice into 1/4-inch pieces. Coarsely chop the basil. Peel and finely chop the remaining 3 cloves garlic or pass through a garlic press.

Combine the mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and chopped garlic in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Spoon some of the tomato mixture onto each piece of toasted bread and serve immediately.

I loved this appetizer, I'm so happy I now know how to make my own homemade bruschetta! This  is a definite winner!

Spinach & Artichoke Dip
Makes about 4 cups
1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts
1 cup frozen chopped spinach
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 clove garlic
Crackers or pita chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Drain the artichoke hearts and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Peel and finely chop the garlic, or pass it through a garlic press.

Place the artichokes, garlic, spinach, mayo, mozzarella and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and the onion in a large bowl and stir until well combined. Spoon into an ungreased 8-inch square baking pan and top with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it just begins to bubble on the edges. Serve warm with crackers or pita chips on the side.

I served this with pita chips, and I forgot to add the Parmesan cheese. However, it was still ok, I think there was a little too much mayo for my taste buds, but bf liked it. I definitely think the Parmesan may balance out the extra mayo flavor. This one deserves another try!