August 27, 2014

Gourmet S’mores Party

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

Once a month I meet up with a fabulous group of local bloggers to chit chat, network, and talk about blogging. I have grown to love our fun meet-ups and look forward to them every month! Sometimes we’ll pick a new restaurant in town to try, and sometimes we’ll have get togethers in our homes. This month I invited them over to my house for a Gourmet S’mores Party!!

(Above: Stephanie @ Grinning Like An Idiot, Paula @ AKA Jane Random, Amanda, Stephanie @ Plain Chicken, Lynda @ Southern Kissed)

 

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

I love going all out for s’mores! We had four different kinds of marshmallows, four different kinds of chocolates, and lots of fun spreads to create our own culinary s’mores masterpieces. :)

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

I even made two different types of homemade marshmallows for us. How pretty and fluffy are these Cake Batter Marshmallows from Cookies and Cups??! I also made classic Vanilla Bean Marshmallows using Shauna Sever’s recipe.

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

After chit chatting on the porch all afternoon, we gathered around the fire pit as the sun started to get low in the sky.

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

For our s’mores set up, I always try to make sure I have a few staples on hand. Milk and Dark chocolate Hershey Bars are classics. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are a must!! They are always a crowd favorite. Butterfingers Cups are a new favorite! I always put out a few classic graham crackers (the cinnamon sugar ones) but once everyone tries S’mores with Ritz, no one ever goes back to grahams. :)

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

This is Lynda. She makes the best brownies ever!!

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

Here was my first creation of the night: cake batter marshmallow with dark chocolate. Loved the homemade marshmallows!! They got so soft and gooey!! They also didn’t catch on fire as easily as storebought marshmallows do.

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

Here’s my favorite combo: homemade vanilla bean marshmallow, dark chocolate, and homemade salted caramel sauce.

If you’re thinking about throwing a gourmet s’mores party, I highly recommend making at least once batch of homemade marshmallows!  They get fabulously caramelized on the outside and unbelievably gooey on the inside. The perfect combo!!

Check out this post for more tips on hosting a gourmet s’mores party. One new thing I’m going to start doing now… I always bring out a roll of paper towers for us, but now I’m going to start bring a box of baby wipes as well, lol!! S’mores are MESSY!! :) I am usually a chocolate covered mess by the end of the night. :)

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

I couldn’t let my friends leave without a little fun s’mores swag! :)

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

I emailed a few of my favorite brands, told them about our awesome group, and they were so sweet to provide a few little goodies for our party. Kroger provided these awesome insulated shopping bags and $25 gift cards.

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

Kraft sent a GIANT box of marshmallows for us!! Enough so everyone got 2 bags! :) These classic Kraft marshmallow are my favorite for s’mores. They’re the perfect size for Ritz crackers! ;)

Nestle sent their elusive Butterfingers Cups! Have you had one yet?? They are so popular they are hard to find!! :) We can usually find them at Kroger, though. They also sent their Girl Scout Nestle Crunch Bars. Omg. Have you had the Thin Mint one yet?? It’s SO good!! I was dying! So, so dangerous now that they’re available year round!! Ack!!

A new company, Legit Organics, sent some goodies as well. Legit makes classic candy bars with high quality, organic ingredients. Have you seen them around? Can’t wait to try these two new ones!!

What would a S’mores swag bag be without THE S’mores Cookbook??! SO excited to include my sweet friend Susan’s S’mores Cookbook. All the girls were dying over all the gorgeous recipes in this book!! This book makes an awesome gift.

They also got Shauna Sever’s Marshmallow Madness cookbook so they could go home and make their own homemade marshmallows!! Both the recipes for the classic vanilla marshmallows and cake batter marshmallows are in this book. This is also a super cute cookbook and would make a great gift. The cover is puffy like a marshmallow!

And finally, the sweet gals at the Huntsville tourism board sent everyone these cute #IHeartHSV tshirts for all of us!

Thank you so much to our sweet sponsors for making this the best swag bag ever.

Use Ritz crackers instead of grahams for the perfect salty sweet s'more!!

Be sure to check out these fun recaps from the party and take a peek at the delicious S’mores themed recipes they’re sharing!

Pizza, Pool and S’mores Party from Stephanie @ Grinning Like An Idiot
S’Mores Chocolate Milk from Lynda @ Southern Kissed
S’mores Cereal Bars from Paula @ AKA Jane Random

And definitely don’t miss the story of how Paula’s pants fell off at the party. She will have you rolling with laughter!!

Happy S’mores Making!! :) xoxo

 


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August 26, 2014

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Shrimp Scampi Pasta with Bacon. Simple enough for a weeknight dinner, but so, so good!! We loved this one!! #recipe #dinner #pasta

New recipe on Kevin & Amanda Recipes today! :)

This decadent pasta has shrimp, bacon, garlic, a hint of lemon, fresh herbs, and soft angel hair pasta swimming in a creamy, buttery scampi sauce. It’s packed with flavor and super impressive, but simple to make. It’s one of my favorite recipes to serve to guests!

Click the title below to get the recipe:

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Enjoy!! :)


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Best Restaurants in New Orleans. #travel #neworleans #nola #restaurants

Lauren and I had a fabulous first two days in New Orleans, and had some of the best food we’d ever had in our entire lives. On our third afternoon in NOLA, we went to one of the most amazing bakeries I’ve ever been to in my entire life. For two food bloggers and dessert-lovers, no trip to New Orleans is complete without a visit to Sucre Bakery.

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Sucre does it all — traditional French pastries…

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Gorgeous French macarons.

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Fabulous cupcakes!!

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Decadent chocolates…

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Homemade marshmallows and hot chocolate mixes. It’s the perfect place to shop for souvenirs.

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And even their own gelato in tons of different flavors.

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We got a special, behind-the-scenes tour of their test kitchens, where we got to try their new invention called the MacBubl: an inside-out, chocolate-covered macaron, coming to Whole Foods across the nation soon. Keep an eye out for these bad boys!!

Here’s my post about Sucre from my very first visit there in 2011.

Sucre even has an online boutique where you can buy their macarons, chocolates, marshmallows, cookies and more online and have it shipped straight to your door. Dangerous!!

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After a indulgently sweet morning, we had some serious R&R time with massages at The Spa at Windsor Court.

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We spent the afternoon lounging around the spa and sauna. They even had Moroccan Oil products for us to use to freshen up with before we left!

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Okay, no trip to New Orleans is complete without a visit to Hansen’s Sno-Bliz!!! They serve the softest, finest shaved ice you will ever have in your entire life. LIFE-changing. Be sure to get a scoop of ice cream at the bottom!! I always get the wedding cake flavor. :)

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That night we had a fabulous final dinner at Gautreau’s, prepared by our new friend and head chef Sue Zemanick, a 2014 James Beard Award winner, as well as Top Chef and Top Chef Masters alum. The pork chop was out of this world!!!!

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And would you get a load of all these desserts??! We were in hog heaven.

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The following day, our last breakfast in New Orleans was at The Old Coffee Pot, just a block away from our apartment in the French Quarter. I got their signature dish, the Lost Bread. It’s their po-boy bread that been griddled, then battered, fried, and topped with plenty of powdered sugar. Phenomenal! 

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Lauren had never had a praline, so for her first trip to New Orleans, we definitely had to get her a warm, freshly made praline. There are a billion praline shops all over the French Quarter, but Southern Candymakers is the best!! Be sure to hunt it down, and definitely get one of the samples that’s warm and freshly made!! :)

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On a whim, right before heading to the airport, Lauren and I decided to have our fortunes read. We were in New Orleans after all. :) I’d never had it done before. Mine was pretty generic. Have you ever had your fortune read?? How did it turn out?? :)

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We spent the rest of the morning wandering around the French Quarter.

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So much beauty everywhere!!

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Of course we had to stop by Brad Pitt’s house!! ;)

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Thank goodness!! ;)

Be sure to check out Lauren’s fun recap of our week in NOLA!! :)

Thanks so much for looking! Have a fabulous weekend!


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