so you see, i have this group of girlfriends. we are all wifeys. our husbands were friends first. some of them stretching their friendship history back to elementary school. we all went to hope. husbands and wives. well, all except hannah and jeremy; our token grand valley friends.
anyway, the wives thought it would be a really good idea to start a book club last year. at the time there were six in our club. although i am assuming everyone had good intentions...only two of us actually read all of the books. i totally understand that not everyone is an avid reader. (we previously discussed that i can get pretty psyched about my reading habits. so obviously i was one of the good little book worms. and for the sake of naming names, you should know that shawna was the other A+ reader.) it's not like our requirements were too strict; we were trying to finish a book every 4-6 weeks. thatt's a cake walk in my humble opinion. and we read fiction and memoirs, mostly. easy stuff. we all took turns selecting the books and then hosting the "club" gatherings. anyway, it turned out to be a bust. people stopped reading and our book club kind of fell apart. this card that my grandma sent me pretty much sums it up.
so anyway..this fall we regrouped, added a new member (congratulations to the new mrs. rachael gier!), and turned our book club into a craft club. less pressure, i guess. so far we have met twice. it was my turn to host last week so here is a little recap.
btw: the club consists of:
first i will take you through the dinner menu. because, let's be honest, we can't have a good party without good food!
since this was the end of october i served seasonally appropriate dishes.
*Sharp White Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sammies
*Ginger & Mustard Smokies
*Goat Cheese & Sweet 'n Spicy Almond Spinach Salad
*Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling
*Scoops of Pumpkin Ice Cream
(disclaimer...i am not usually the type to make cocktail weenies. but these just sounded delish and i wanted to have some protein on my menu.)
Here are some recipes for you to try:
Sharp White Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sammies
Fresh loaf bread (preferably baguette or french bread.) (I used Jimmy John's bread. more on this later.)
White Sharp Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
Salt & Pepper
Combine shredded cheese, chopped green onion and salt & pepper in a large bowl.
Slice your bread. Butter the outsides and spread cream cheese on the inside of one piece. Place a few finger fulls of the cheese & onion mixture on cream cheese layered bread. put on top piece of sandwich and grill. I used a grill pan to achieve the grill marks on the bread. You could probably also make this in a panini maker or George Foreman Grill.
**I used low fat or FF cream cheese and margarine instead of butter.
Sweet 'n Spicy Almonds
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 1/2 cups whole almonds
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon olive oil
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Spread the almonds onto a baking sheet, and toast until the nuts start to turn golden brown and become fragrant, about 10 minutes. Watch the nuts carefully as they bake: they burn quickly.
Stir together the sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper in a mixing bowl; set aside.
Stir together the water, honey, and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the mixture begins to bubble, stir in the toasted almonds until evenly moistened. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the almonds into the sugar and spice mixture, and toss until evenly coated. Spread onto baking sheets in a single layer, and cool to room temperature.
Mustard & Ginger Cocktail Sausages -- as seen in the Better Homes & Gardens October 2010 issue.
1/2 cup ginger conserve
1/2 cup whole grain mustard
1 Tbsp. garlic flavor olive oil. (i used regular olive oil and smashed up a clove of garlic.)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 lb. cooked or smoked cocktail sausages
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a shallow baking pan with aluminum foil, or use a disposable foil pain. In a large bowl, whisk together conserve, mustard, oil and soy sauce.
Turn sausages in the mixture. Arrange on the prepared pan. Cook 25-30 minutes stirring once.
**BHG says if you can't find ginger conserve you can substitute orange marmalade and add 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger and 2 teaspoons ground ginger.
Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling -- Libby's Brand Recipe
1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)
PREHEAT oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.
COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.
BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.
BEAT cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick.
**I have made this a couple times. The first few times I rolled it tight like Libby does in the picture on her website but a lot of the filling squirted out the sides. This last time I rolled it loose so I could add more filling. yum.
Hudsonville makes the best Pumpkin Ice Cream Ever!
never heard of it? check it out here.
all in all, can we say scrum de la scrum?!?!
stay tuned to check out our crafts in Part 2 of this blog...