Monday, November 24, 2008

Bridal Shower

Okay, so I remember I promised that I would post this glorious and beautiful post filled with pictures and amazing recipes from the bridal shower that I threw this past Saturday.

Unfortunately, I realized I hadn't taken any pictures when the party was over and all of the food was half eaten!

But, I thought I'd post anyway. I really liked my menu and thought it worked out really well for a casual mid afternoon shower. This one was actually an "Around the House" theme, where each guest was assigned a room to buy for. We ate, played a couple of games, and just enjoyed each other's company. It was a great way to spend an afternoon!

Most of my menu comes from chefs from, with one original recipe inspired by a restaurant in Chattanooga, TN.

Bridal Shower Menu

And lastly, here is the one recipe I made up. It's inspired by an amazing sandwich I ate at a restaurant in Chattanooga, TN called River Street Deli. Or River City Deli. Or something like that. I know exactly where it is, though. It's owned by a New Yorker and it's just one of those simple, amazing hole in the wall places. You might think this is an odd combination at first, but its great!

Mini Open Faced Ham, Cheddar, and Green Apple Sandwiches


  • 10 slices of Pepperidge Farm Very Thin white bread
  • 1/4 c. apple butter (approximate)
  • 1 large or 2 small Granny Smith apples
  • 1 package Sargento sliced Medium Cheddar cheese (or any deli sliced cheddar cheese)
  • 1 package good quality deli ham or proscuitto

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the crusts off your bread slices, and then half them. Put all of the bread slices on a cookie sheet, and spray with a little bit of cooking spray. Put them in the oven until just toasted. This took about 5 minutes for me, but check them often. You want them to be barely browned.

Next, core and slice your granny smith apple into very thin slices. I didn't peel mine because I liked the color. I also put mine in a bowl of cold water and lemon juice after slicing so they wouldn't turn brown.

After slicing your apples, you'll want to slice up your cheese into rectangles that fit perfectly on top of your bread slices. Make 20 cheese rectangles and you can nibble on the scraps.

After the cheese is done, you're ready to assemble your appetizer. Spread each bread slice with a thin layer of the apple butter. Top with a slice of cheese, a slice of apple, and then with the ham or proscuitto. I just layed the ham prettily atop the apple, but if you have proscuitto you can wrap it around the sandwich. Just experiment and see what looks good.

Arrange on a tray and wrap with plastic wrap until guests arrive so the cheese won't dry out around the edges. I would make this one the day of so its fresh.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2 Ingredient Brownie Muffins

This week my husband is away on a business trip and he took my camera with him, so again, no pictures. But, I do have a super simple, super easy recipe for you that has just two ingredients! And, its pretty healthy! I served these at a girls night in I was having at my house, and none of the girls could believe how simple and delicious they were. You'd never believe that they have just 2 ingredients, and that one of them is pumpkin.

2 Ingredient Brownie Muffins
  • 1 box your favorite Devil's Food cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Moist Deluxe)
  • 1 15oz can pumpkin (I recommend Libby's brand)


Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper cupcake liners. Combine the cake mix and canned pumpkin in a bowl. It will be relatively thick, but don't be tempted to add water, oil, eggs, or anything else, as it will ruin the mixture. And add fat and calories, and we wouldn't want that, now would we? Fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way full with the mixture. I think I got 16 muffins out of my batch, but I wasn't really exact with the measurements. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack & enjoy!

1 Muffin, or 3 minis - 181 calories, 3.5g fat, 37g carbs, 2g, fiber, 2g protein - 4 WW points.


  • Instead of Devil's Food cake mix, try using spice cake for yummy, moist pumpkin spice muffins.
  • To add a little bit of decadence to your brownie muffins, stir in chocolate chips or other add ins. I bet peanut butter chips would be good. Of course, this makes them higher in fat and calories. Last night, I stirred in some Nestle chocolate chunks that I had in the pantry.
  • You can also just spread this in an 8x8 baking dish and cut into squares for low fat brownies. A friend of mine made hers this way and they turned out great!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Peach Pie Smoothie

Okay, okay. I know I promised to post more photos here and yet again, I post a tiny stock photo from Food Network's website. But, please, bear with me. I promise one of these days, I'll get my act together.

This Peach Pie Smoothie recipe is really great. It's easy to do, it's tasty, and it's even healthy! Mr. JY is a type 1 diabetic (to learn more, visit - it's a great organization), so I'm always on the lookout for easy and healthy recipes. This makes a great breakfast on the go. Sometimes, I'll mix up all the ingredients except the frozen peaches the night before and store it in a container. The next morning, I'll just combine it in a blender with the peaches.

It has no fat, 240 calories. It is a little high in carbs; but, it does have a lot of fruit in it. So, it least it's natural sugars from the fruit and honey. It's also a good source of calcium, fiber, and vitamin C.

However, please don't be mislead by the name of this recipe. It really is a yogurt smoothie with some peaches and spice. It's not going to taste exactly like a slice of decadent peach pie. It's easy to tweak according to your tastes, too. Use vanilla or peach flavored yogurt; add more spices; or more vanilla. Any way you make it, it's healthy and refreshing. Try it for breakfast today!

Peach Pie Smoothie
courtesy of Ellie Kreiger, Food Network

  • 1/2 cup nonfat or 1 percent lowfat milk
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 cup frozen unsweetened peaches
  • 1 tablespoon honey, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground ginger


Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Per Serving:

Calories 240; Total Fat 0 g; (Sat Fat 0 g, Mono Fat 0 g, Poly Fat 0 g) ; Protein 12 g; Carb 49 g; Fiber 3 g; Cholesterol 5 mg; Sodium 150 mg

Friday, November 14, 2008

Christmas Etsy Finds

I love, love, love Etsy. I could spend hours and hours browsing the unique handcrafted creations there. It's a also a great source of kitschy vintage items that I love. Today while browsing I found some fantastic Christmas items. Here's a few I'd like to share with you. Maybe it will bring you some holiday inspiration!

1. Classic Christmas Advent Calendar from AllThingsArtsy, $35

How incredibly adorable is this? It's a muffin pan with magnets covering each cup. I was almost afraid to post this one, because I really am thinking of purchasing it myself. Imagine how fun it would be to fill each cup and remove the magnet together with your kids or with your spouse. So fun, and a great way to start a holiday tradition together. I am sure it would be easy to make one of these yourself, but this one is just so cute and it would defintely save you time and effort in finding and pairing all of these adorable things together. I love this!

2. Cream Feather Christmas Tree from brandywine, $12.50

I just love this cream feather Christmas tree from Etsy seller brandywine. I imagine it would be so lovely with vintage broaches clipped on it for a modern, elegant take on a Christmas tree. I love the box with antique ledger paper. This would look lovely on any tabletop, and really compliment a vintage Christmas theme. Check out brandywine's shop for other beautiful vintage-y Christmas items, including some beautiful tag and stocking decorating kits.
3. Vintage Postcard Garland from VintageScraps, $14.00
What a wonderful, simple, and beautiful idea! Vintage postcards strung together to make a unique garland. Check out VintageScraps' shop for more unique uses of vintage papers and other materials.
**EDIT: I am not sure why the alignment of my text and pictures is so wonky, but hopefully I'll get it fixed soon. Please bear with me. Thanks!**

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Preview & An Announcement

Next Saturday, the 22nd, I am hosting a bridal shower at my home and have come up with a menu that I think sounds really good! Let's just say there's a mocktail, cupcakes, and some really yummy appetizers involved. I will also post about the invitations and decor I decide upon as well. So that should be a really fun post! Look for it some time the week of Thanksgiving.

Also, I wanted to announce that I've joined The Daring Bakers! If you're not familiar with The Daring Bakers, basically they're a group of bloggers that do a recipe challenge each month and post about it on the same day. The recipes are usually very challenging and I'm really looking forward to learning new techniques, trying some new things, and sharing my experience with other food bloggers. I know it's going to be a really fun and humbling experience because these bloggers are just amazing! I am hoping that by joining them I will be able to learn and soak up some of their knowledge and expertise.

So, there's a little taste of what's to come on Mrs. JY! I am also thinking of trying out a cookie recipe from Picky Palate this weekend as well. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

{insert pretty food photo here}

I promise one of these days I'll actually learn to take photos of my food. Right now, my camera is hanging out in a box somewhere. Haven't dug it out yet. I'd really like to have fabulous photos and tutorials a la two of my favorite blogs The Pioneer Woman Cooks and The Crepes of Wrath, but for now, I guess this'll have to do.

Last night, I made Strawberry Pretzel Salad to take to my small group. We have dinner together every week, which makes it a good testing ground for recipes. Samantha made a fantastic Santa Fe soup, and at the request of my friend Jana I made her favorite, Strawberry Pretzel Salad.

I really can't think of enough good things to say about SPS. First off, its called a salad, when really, it's a dessert.... it almost tricks you into thinking it just might be healthy. It's really easy to make, its light, its refreshing, and everyone loves it. It's creamy, sweet, tart, and salty all rolled into one. And the longer it sits, the more delicious it gets. In fact, I'd recommend making it the night before you are going to serve it. Or at least the morning of. I really wish I'd done that yesterday instead of making it right before taking it to small group.

This probably won't be the first post you see about strawberry pretzel salad in my blog. That's because I am trying to perfect this recipe to duplicate my favorite SPS from a local restaurant here, Main Street Cafe. And last night's came close, but it wasn't quite there yet. So I gotta keep tweaking and testing..... not that I'm complaining.

Here's the recipe I used, from

Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad

2 c. crushed pretzel sticks
3/4 c. melted butter
3 tbsp. sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
1 c. sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip
1 (6 oz.) pkg. strawberry banana Jello
2 c. boiling water
2 (10 oz.) pkgs. frozen strawberries, partially thawed

Mix first three ingredients and press in bottom of a 9"x13" pan. Bake at 350 degrees (metal pan) or 325 degrees (glass pan) 8 minutes. Let cool completely. Beat 1 cup sugar and cream cheese. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread over pretzels. Mix Jello and water until dissolved. Add strawberries. Stir into Jello, then set aside for 10 minutes. Pour over cheese mixture. Chill.

My notes:

First off, don't know why this recipe calls for strawberry banana Jello, but I just used regular strawberry. Never heard of using strawberry banana, and I don't think I'd want to. But if the idea blows your skirt up, by all means, go for it.

First off, I noticed that I didn't have enough pretzel mixture to cover the bottom of my pan. I don't like to completely pulvarize my pretzels, I leave them pretty chunky, since grinding them into a fine powder makes for a soggy crust and also the pretzel crust is (for some) the most important element of a strawberry pretzel salad. I wanna know they're pretzels. I'd defintely recommend doubling the pretzel mixture ingredients. And maybe adding even more butter after that. My pretzels just didn't wanna stay together; and I want to end up with uniform "slices" of my salad, just like Main Street Cafe's.

The cream cheese filling turned out good, but I added 1 capful (not sure what the exact amount is) of vanilla extract and beat the tar out of the cream cheese and sugar until it was fully combined, light and fluffy. Don't be afraid to beat it for a good 5 minutes, or until it looks good to you. Make sure you fold the Cool Whip in carefully as it can "break" easily. I don't think I need to double this mixture. I think adding 4oz more of cream cheese and maybe a bit more sugar would help it be a little bit thicker, though, and more rich.

The strawberry Jello layer was a small fiasco. The recipe says to let it sit for 10 minutes in the bowl after the addition of the partially thawed strawberries. Well, maybe my strawberries were too cold because it completely gelled in the bowl when I walked away for 10 minutes, resulting in me having to just spoon it atop the cream cheese mixture. Not so pretty, and not the affect I was going for. Also, it seemed to me there was not enough Jello and too many strawberries; I'd recommend using 1 bag of strawberries (either 10oz or 16oz) and maybe 2 boxes of Jello and 4 cups of boiling water.

All in all, this attempt still tasted pretty good. It's hard to mess up! It's a perfect treat for a pot luck, family gathering, or just an anytime dessert. You could probably lighten it up a little by using sugar free Jello, neufchatel cheese in place of cream cheese, Splenda in place of sugar, and fat free or sugar free Cool Whip. Not sure what you'd do about all those pretzels and butter though......