Valentines Day Party

As seen in The Drive Magazine

I always jump at any excuse to throw a party for my girlfriends and this Valentine’s Day is no exception. I gathered all the sweets, all pink & red décor I could find, and whipped up some super easy appetizers that are sure to be crowd pleasers. I am sharing these quick Mediterranean style recipes with you, plus some tips on putting together your own Galentine’s Day party!

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Décor for a themed party is key. Luckily, Valentines Day is all about the sweets and pink hues when it comes to decor which makes things super fun and simple to put together. For this party’s table top décor, I started off with a pink and gold table cloth I picked up at Home Sense. However, you could totally use any pink hue or neutral for the table cloth as it will mainly act as your base. Then you can play around with colour in other aspects like the charger plates and accent pieces. Before I decided on good old pink, I was actually playing around with a pale blue colour that was to die for!

For the serving pieces, I used some old small vases I had on hand to store the pink and red candy I had grabbed from Bulk Barn, as well as the odd ice cream bowl to hold additional candy. What I like to keep in mind while setting the spread for the table is “layers”. I love to create a 3 dimensional look using different heights of serving ware. To continue with this method, I also added a small cake stand for the cookies and left the remaining appetizers to be on flat plates, lowest on the table.

Next, I added some fun Valentine’s craft supplies I had lying around which included some red, pink and white pompoms (just from the dollar store), heart shaped balloons from Canadian small business Joonie + Joe, as well as the “BE MINE” mini banner that I found at Home Sense. I love using these items to fill in the empty spaces on the table between the serving ware to give it that overflowing look.

Lastly, I finished by adding my charger plates, dinner plates, napkins, cutlery, and glassware. This part is pretty standard, but I want to add that you shouldn’t stress if you don’t have any Valentine’s serving ware. I didn’t either! I used basic off white charger plates and some gold accented napkins that I thought matched the table nicely. Where you can tie in the Valentine’s theme is what you decide to use for the plated favours. I decided on note cards, but you could always use name cards or mini candy favours or anything else you can dream up. The options are truly endless.

Next is the FOOD! You can find some easy and quick recipes below :


Hummus Dip

What you will need:

·      2 cans chickpeas

·      ½ cup tahini

·      ½ cup lemon juice

·      2 tbsp olive oil

·      4 tbsp water

·      Salt to taste

·      2 cloves garlic (optional)

Directions:

1.     Begin by boiling the chickpeas in a pot of water for 45min.  Once they are finished boiling, strain the chickpeas and rinse.  As you are rinsing the chickpeas, massage them with your fingers to help break the skins away from the peas.  Removing these skins will help to make the finished hummus extra smooth.  Once you have rinsed the chickpeas, fill the pot with water just enough so the skins float to the top. This makes the removal much easier.

2.     Next, transfer the chickpeas to a food processor with the blade attachment in place.  Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth.  If you are adding garlic, you will need to crush the garlic before adding it to the processor.

3.     Time to plate! The great thing about hummus is how versatile it is. You can go the traditional route by topping it with olive oil and garnishing with a small amount of paprika or get creative with it!

Bocconcini Cheese & Basil

Makes 15 pieces

 What you will need:

·      5 regular sized Bocconcini cheese rounds

·      2 Fresh tomatoes (I like Roma for this recipe)

·      10-15 leaves Fresh basil leaves

·      1 tbsp Olive oil

·      Pinch of Salt and pepper

·      French Baguette

Directions:

1.     Begin by slicing the tomatoes and bocconcini about ¾ cm in thickness, then the baguette about 1cm in thickness.  Cut the bread on a slight angle to create more elongated pieces.

2.     Layout the bread on a plate, then, place the slices of bocconcini and tomatoes on top in that order. One piece of each per slice of bread. Next, sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over the tomatoes and place a basil leaf on top of each.

3.     Once you are ready to serve, drizzle olive oil across the leaves and your done!

Zaatar Pita Pies

Makes 6 pieces

 What you will need:

·      6 mini pitas or mini naan bread

·      ½ cup zaatar blend

·      1/3 cup olive oil

 Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

  2. Take a small bowl and combine the zaatar and olive oil to make a smooth paste like consistency. Then, take your pitas and spread enough zaatar to cover the centre, leaving a thin crust around the edges.

  3. Add the finished pitas to a baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes or until they just start to brown.

  4. Enjoy these pitas with chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, or use them alongside hummus dip!

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I hope you found this guide to throwing your own Valentine’s Day party helpful! I would love to hear any party tips or recipes you swear by. Let me know in the comments below :).

Happy Planning!

-Mona

Spicy Shrimp & Quinoa Bowl

Hey everyone!

I hope your week is off to a good start.  I have a long to do list of work around the house we need to do this week, but so far I’ve just said “lets start tomorrow” haha.  So wish me luck that today, I get this week moving! Haha.

So I have made a pact with myself to slowly start to get back into the grind of exercising and eating healthy, but boy its been tough! I can almost always fit a nice walk in the day, but eating healthy or even eating a decent meal at all has been hard.  I find that sometimes the days just go by so fast that by the end of them, I realize I just snacked all day…. and usually not the healthy snacks either.  (Any Mama’s with me on this one?!? LOL) .  Yesterday I decided enough is enough and I’m going to make sure I am getting in some healthy meals throughout the day.  So I broke out the QUINOA.

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What I love about quinoa is it just seems to absorb the flavour of whatever your eating, and bonus, it’s packed with tons of protein.  I made a huge batch, this way I can store it in the fridge for the week.  If I have easy access to it, and I don’t always have to put a pot on to cook it, I’m hoping it encourages me to eat the healthier option more.

Any who, I went through the fridge and threw together a bunch of things I had.  Boy oh boy did this turn out good.  It was so quick to make!  The quinoa takes 15 min to cook, but if you have that done ahead of time, this recipe should only take you about ten min to prepare and cook!

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For this recipe you will need:

  • Quinoa, cooked (cook based on instructions on packaging)

  • 1 tbspn olive oil

  • 1 onion

  • 3-4 large mushrooms

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1 tspn chili flakes

  • Sriracha to taste

  • Salt/pepper to taste

  • 3/4 cup corn (frozen/canned/or fresh)

  • 1 cup salsa

  • 8-10 raw shrimp

  • Half an avocado

This recipe feeds 2.

Start by sautéing the onions and garlic on medium heat with olive oil.

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Once your onions are almost fully translucent, add the mushrooms.  Cook until the mushrooms have become a nice golden brown.  You can then add your corn, shrimp, and salsa, as well as your spices.  I used about 2 teaspoons of Sriracha with my dish but you can use any amount you think fit for your taste.

Cook on medium heat until your shrimp has fully cooked.  It should be pink in colour, but if your like me and are still unsure, cut into a piece of shrimp to check that it is no longer translucent.  I am always over cooking my shrimp because I’m a worry wart that I’m going to serve it raw haha.

That’s it!  I sliced some avocado to garnish my dish.  I highly recommend doing so as well.  It really complimented the spice of the dish nicely…. AND who doesn’t like avocado?!?!  Except my husband lol.  More for me!

Have a good week!

-Mona