the ultimate little miss blog

April 21st

Easter in the burbs

I want to first say HAPPY EASTER to everyone! Hope the warm weather here on the East Coast made everyone’s weekend extra special.  I am happy to announce our winner for the Fatty Sundays Giveaway … Mayuri Amuluru! Congratulations! Email me here to claim your prize!

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Yesterday, my husband and I hosted 18 people for Easter. This was my first major Holiday post baby and all I can say is WOW was that exhausting! So incredibly fun, but the prep work/clean up was enough to make me sleep for 2 days — which everyone knows is impossible with a baby.  Obviously, in my craziness I forgot/was too busy to take a lot of really good pictures, so please forgive my very rushed iPhone pics! Hey – not everything can be professionally shot :)

I always start every holiday/dinner party by setting my table.  It helps me to feel super organized and also sets the tone for the event.  For more than 10 people, I start with my solid white porcelain dishes from Target.  I absolutely LOVE these dishes bc they are so chic and clean, they are super affordable so if one breaks it’s no biggie, and they pack away in convenient cardboard boxes with handles for easy storage in my basement.  For a larger group, they really are a no brainer!
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I wanted to use a palette of coral and green, so I started with these Nicole Miller napkins from HomeGoods that I found a few months back and have been dying for a reason to use them!  To keep it simple, I used bright green pitchers that are part of the Oh Joy! for Target collection as vases.  We love repurposing at LMP!  Tulips are classic Easter flowers and I chose bright orange and yellow since you can never have too much color after a winter like we had.
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I prepared a pretty huge feast for Easter so I went with a small number of appetizers for people to nibble on when they arrived.  Can you guess what my first app was? A cheese plate? Wow – how did you guess? Ha! I am pretty predictable in that department.  What can I say…I love cheese! That and I am also addicted to using this fabulous Williams-Sonoma cheese board.  It’s so gorgeous and always the star of the show.  I set out a few cheeses, a few cured meats, some olives and dried apricots.   In separate square bowls I had spring baby veggies with a fresh dill dip.
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categories: Appetizers, Dinner Party, Eggs, Food, Holiday, Holidays, Little Miss Foodie, LMP On Long Island, Meat, Pasta, Sweets

May 13th

Mother’s Day Weekend Recap

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I milked mother’s day for all it was worth this weekend both professionally and personally. Let’s see…where do I even begin?
Let’s start with lunch at Barney’s. One of our sweet clients who loves to give us only a few days notice whenever she needs us to come in and “cute-sy” up her table asked if we could help out with her Mom’s 65th birthday party. Pretty hard to say no. The lunch was for 6 gals at Fred’s in Barney’s New York. We kept it simple, classy and pretty. Just like the guest of honor. With a color palette of coral, grey and white we had some fun spray painting some glass vases to funk up the floral arrangements and found some adorable chevron printed pails at Target which made our spring tulips pop on the table. For a simple favor at each place setting we wrapped a mug filled with tea accessories and included a recipe for Challah since the event took place on a Friday – Shabbat Shalom!
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Moving on…later that night we styled an event that was sponsored by Urban Sitter and hosted by our friend Ilana of Mommy Shorts. This was one of my favorite events to date…partially because Michelle and I got to stay and participate. Was so fun!! A small party of 10 moms got together to have cheese and wine at Murray’s Cheese Bar on Bleecker, gab and celebrate a much deserved night out away from the kiddies. From what I understand the Friday night before Mother’s day is now called “Mom’s Night Out”. Who knew? But it Sounds good to me!
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categories: Brunch, Brunch, For Mom..., Holidays, Kids eats, Little Miss Foodie, Little Miss Mommy, little miss party, Pasta, Salad

February 14th

Blue Apron saves dinner…Free Giveaway!

Whether you live in a city or in a suburb, chances are you like convenience.  Especially delivery.  NYers can and will have just about anything delivered.  And there is nothing more convenient than delivery groceries…just look at the success of companies like Fresh Direct or Max Delivery.  I have to admit, when I moved from NYC to the suburbs of Long Island last month, I thought my days of convenience were gone.  Boy was I wrong!  Within a few days I had found a dry-cleaner that  picked up AND delivered (thanks Tricia!) and a fabulous new concept in grocery delivery called Blue Apron.  You may remember Seri’s blog post about Blue Apron from a few weeks ago…well she told me it was too good to be true, and well, she was right ! It’s AMAZING.  and here is why…right now I am cooking for 2.  Well 2.5.  And when I go to the grocery store to buy ingredients, 9 times out of 10 we don’t use up everything I buy and the remaining ingredients go bad in our fridge.  This happens to me every week.  Here is the genius part about Blue Apron; in their once-a-week subscription service they deliver all the fresh ingredients you need to make 3 meals, in exactly the right proportions.  They’ve designed their service to teach you fun new recipes, save prep time and also reduce unnecessary waste.  It is a dream come true for working wives and moms.  I literally sat in traffic today for 1.5 hours coming home from working in the city, and was SO pleasantly surprised to find a nice box waiting for me on my doorstep! Inside was everything I need for this weeks meals, all individually wrapped and surrounded by ice packs to keep cool.  The only thing I had to do was pick which delicious meal I was going to make first. Genius.
For tonight’s meal I chose the Sesame Chicken with soba noodles.  Prep time took me less than 15 minutes, all I had to do was chop garlic, ginger, carrots, cilantro and the chicken.

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categories: Breakfast, Chicken & Turkey, Food, Giveaway, Little Miss Foodie, Meat, Pasta, Salad, Seafood, Soup

September 11th

A light and healthy end-of-summer meal

There is nothing better than a meal that showcases the current season’s freshest veggies.  And summer always seems to have the most options.  Today, during my daily “what the heck am I making for dinner” thought sequence, I decided to make two delicious summer salads and some grilled pork chops.
I had been to the Union Square Greenmarket yesterday, and picked up a whole slew of yummy looking vegetables so my fridge was stocked for the week.  If you haven’t been to this market, you must go.  In 1976, the Council on the Environment of New York City (now GrowNYC) established the Greenmarket program, which provided regional small farmers with opportunities to sell their fruits, vegetables and other products at open-air markets in the city. The best-known of these is the Union Square Greenmarket, held Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays between 8 AM and 6 PM year round.   For a NYer, farmer’s markets are a luxury, so I try to go as often as I can.  This week, I had picked up Jersey tomatoes and Jersey corn (I did grow up in the Garden State after all !), red and orange bell peppers, scallions, dill, red onions, sugar snap peas and some white peaches.
I am obsessed with tomatoes in the summer…to me there is nothing better than a perfectly ripe tomato, with a little olive oil and salt & pepper.  I could be happy with that and a glass of wine every night.  But for tonight, I knew I wanted to make more than just a tomato salad.  One of my favorite websites for looking up recipes recently is called Food52.  Food52 is a fast growing. James-Beard award winning online food community and curated recipe hub.  It’s the type of site you can get lost on for hours.  As I typed in some ingredients, up popped the perfect recipe, which would become Summer Salad #1 for the evening…Amagansett corn salad.  The recipe couldn’t be simpler, because all of the ingredients used are raw; sugar snap peas, corn, tomatoes, red onion and basil.  It looked amazing…but wait, raw corn??  Is corn edible raw? Honestly, I had no idea.  I read the recipe again…yep, it definitely says raw.  So when all else fails, I did what any curious at-home cook would do – test it out!  I husked my corn and took a big bite…and guess what, it was DELICIOUS.  So sweet, and juicy.  I have to imagine this recipe only works with very fresh and seasonal corn, which is exactly what I had.  No chalkiness here!  I added a little balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper and voile…guilt free and insanely good.

For my Summer Salad #2, I knew I had to incorporate some carbs…I was cooking for my husband after all.  I love a good recipe, but sometimes I like to just wing it, which is exactly what I did.  I had a bag of whole wheat orzo in my pantry, which was the base for my pasta salad.  I don’t usually love all whole wheat pastas, but this particular brand is very good, especially the orzo.  Delallo 100% organic whole wheat pastas can be found in Whole Foods.  I love a good pasta salad, because the ideas and ingredients are endless.  Today I was focusing on being healthy, so I opted for red & orange bell peppers, scallions, cucumbers and some fresh dill to round out the flavors.  I always finish it with drizzle of olive oil and a few splashes of red wine vinegar to make the flavors pop.   As is, it tasted fantastic…but I thought it needs something…CHEESE!  I cut up some fresh mozzarella and in it went.  Now that is a pasta salad!

So my two Summer Salads were finished and in the fridge so the flavors can really intensify.  Onto the main event; the pork chops!  While at whole foods earlier today, I picked up 3 boneless pork chops.  With all of the flavors going on in my salads, I decided that the simpler the better when it comes to the meat.  Pork can be tricky to cook, as it can get very dry very quickly.  I have discovered that if you brine your pork, it remains juicy and tender and perfect!  I made a quick brine with kosher salt, water, peppercorns and some bay leaves.  After brining the chops pretty much all day, I took them out of the brine, patted them dry and sprinkled on a little spice mixture I found at Whole Foods, specifically for pork…the mixture contains salt, sugar, roasted garlic, coriander seeds, onion, mustard seeds, paprika and cumin.  Mmmmm.  A little sprinkle on each side and they were ready for my hot grill pan!  Although I dream of the days when I can have a real BBQ  (in a real backyard), I do enjoy cooking on my All-Clad grill pan.  I may not get that smoky flavor, but I do get perfect grill lines every time.  Four to five minutes on each side and pork chops are done.  Letting them rest a few minutes after cooking allows all of the juices to evenly disperse back into the meat…just what we want :)

ENJOY!!

 

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categories: Little Miss Foodie, New York City to do, Pasta, Pork, Salad, Summer Menu, Uncategorized

June 10th

Camp Mandylane

Growing up in Canada was especially memorable for me during the summers where I spent 2 months every year for 10 years at Camp Timberlane. It was a special place where I met my best friends and made many special memories. Well the same goes for my sister…who met her soon to be hubby Jason there. Jason proposed at camp which I thought was super cute and couldn’t have made a more perfect theme for the “stagette” as we call it in Canada (known as a bachelorette party to the rest of the world) this weekend.  Mandy’s bridesmaids, who I worked together with on Mandy’s beautiful bridal shower, flew in from Toronto for the weekend to celebrate. I thought it would be fun to play with the Camp Timberlane logo and turn my house out east into Camp Mandylane for the weekend. I had two of my best helpers on hand to do this. Ali took care of all of the graphics which turned out incredibly well on the water bottles, our spa station and all of the signage on our table. Then I also was VERY lucky to have my Uncle Steve and Aunt Debi in town the week prior to the big girls weekend as they helped me craft some amazing wood signage to put up around Camp Mandylane. Uncle Steve and I took a trip to home depot, picked up some wood planks and then he got to work. He stained the boards into a deep espresso color which was the exact color of everything at Camp Timberlane (the signs, cabins, etc.) and then drilled holes, hammered in stakes and attached wire for me to easily hang. Mandy had NO idea what I was planning so when she arrived at the house and saw the sign she started to wonder what was in store…

For the main set up and decor I was very inspired by the “glamping” party that I found on the hostess with the mostess blog which I turn to all the time for inspiration because they post some of the coolest and most creative parties out there. So I also had Uncle Steve find a log for me to hang under my umbrellas on the patio table to string lanterns from with twine. Of course he did this with great creativity and was able to make it super easy for me to hang and take off by using wire hangers to make hooks. This was my favorite part of table where I set up “Mandy’s Mess Hall” which is what our cafeteria at camp was called. On the other side we set up a “Tuck shop”. This was a cabin at camp that we got to line up outside of at 4pm every other day to get a treat such as a chocolate bar or chips and a soda. Uncle Steve constructed another sign to hang here and this is where I set up desserts such as s’mores with twigs as the rods, candy ribbon skewers, grape skewers, cherries, homemade lemonade, sparkling blackberry Izzies and bottles of water.


Lunch was catered by Gloria’s Fine Foods in Westhampton. She’s such a sweet lady who put together an easy and delicious lunch menu for our special afternoon which included:
Tuscan Style Grilled Chicken with Pesto Mayonnaise, Fresh Mozzarella, Artichoke Hearts, Plum Tomatoes and Mixed Baby Greens on Foccacia Bread
Grilled Vegetable Wraps with Fresh Mozzarella and Sundried Tomato
Bow Ties Pasta with Garden Vegetables, Oven Roasted Grape Tomatoes & Herbed Vinaigrette
Fresh local corn salad with red onions and basil
Since Mandy loves the picnic style look I turned to a couple of my favorite vendors for cute gingham and polka dot supplies to create this look. Think Garnish has the most fabulous items for packaging…not to mention great ideas of how to work with their items! I ordered some of the berry baskets to put a Pelligrino and sammie inside of as well as white 8oz containers for the salads which I marked with stickers that had “M” on them in a wood log font.

For the chips I ordered gingham cones from Shop Sweet Lulu and served these on “Riv Beach” which is the beach we used to lounge on at Camp Timberlane which was always one of our favorite activities to get assigned in our day. I also ordered the adorable blue and white polka dot cups for trail mix which looked so great up on the tuck shop table. I picked up some plain white waffle tea towels from Crate and Barrel to tie a bamboo fork around with red & white gingham ribbon for each of the girls to use for the salads.


Since Camp is based around daily activities I figured let’s make our activity for the afternoon mani/pedis…and a special treat from a massage therapist! Also from Shop Sweet Lulu I got some blue and white polka dot gift boxes to package up for each of the girls to enjoy. This is where my incredible Auntie Debi really stepped in the week prior and helped me out big time. We went to Target and Michael’s to pick up dollar items that would be practical and fun for the girls to use over the weekend such as manicure tools, mini sunblock, lip smackers, hand lotion, travel size make up removers and a special Camp Mandylane CD made up of the songs I planned to play over the weekend. We also couldn’t resist getting a pair of flip flops for each of the girls which turned out to be a great idea since so many of them forgot theirs! There was one more very special item for the girls to enjoy and this was personalized bottles from Pretty Please Nail Polish that I ordered from a girl who had gotten in touch with me from a LMP postcard I had placed on the bulletin board in my apartment building. Aunt Debi set up a little workshop and packaged each box with lots of love including little tissue fans coming out of each. I positioned this all in the shaded sunroom where the girls could come and go as they pleased to paint their nails and toes.





Friday evening continued on with dinner made by Elyse my sister’s friend who’s a chef and had done all of the fabulous cooking for the bridal shower. She whipped up a Martha Stewart Menu that was PERFECTION for a group of almost 10 girls…
Grilled flank steak with an olive & herb sauce
Romaine, raddichio and endive salad (that was dressed with parmesan, homemade croutons and she added honey into the salad dressing…YUM)
Campanelle with walnuts, ricotta and lemon

During dinner Mandy presented each of her bridesmaids with a little gift to say thanks. She got us each a gold necklace personalized with our initials. Beautiful.

Saturday the girls spent a cloudy day shopping at the Tanger Outlet mall, came home to eat leftovers and shower and then we made our way out to Montauk. We started at my favorite roadside bar Cyril’s where the drinks are flowing and the crowd is nothing but good looking. Then we drove down the street to The Surf Lodge. An all time fave. We had a fantastic dinner on the water while getting a gorgeous sunset and then partied in the sand with some great drinks and good tunes.
The weekend was awesome and the girls had a good time. This mama is pretty tired and ready to take a little rest…but couldn’t have been happier with how it all played out. Now…on to the wedding, THIS SEPTEMBER!  Can’t wait to celebrate Mandy…it’s going to be amazing.

categories: Dessert, desserts, Little Miss Foodie, little miss party, Meat, Pasta, Salad, Summer Menu, Sweets, Wedding

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