Entertaining + Mom’s Birthday Dinner

Tim and I love entertaining, and I think we make a great team when we host people at our apartment.  This may seem like a shocker, but I get everything organized ahead of time in terms of planning, logistics, and lots of to do lists.  Most of the time we’ll go grocery shopping together, but if it’s an especially busy or rushed week we’ll decide who has more time to go pick up any necessary food or supplies.  In terms of appetizers and munchies, we usually will set out the usual cheese and crackers, veggies and hummus, chips and salsa, etc. but sometimes we’ll make a dip or get fancy depending on who has a good idea for something new to make.

As far as the meal itself goes, Tim is definitely the master chef in the kitchen.  I could do it, but Tim likes it more and is a better cook than I am.  And it’s okay because while he makes sure everything is timed right, I play hostess extraordinaire.  I greet everyone at the door, take their coats, make sure everyone has a drink, is comfortable, clean up after Tim in the kitchen as he cooks so there isn’t a huge mess later, yadda yadda yadda.  Plus, I usually have baked up a storm prior to everyone arriving anyways.

It works out well.

Last weekend we had some family over for my mom’s birthday.

It wasn’t anything big, just my parents, brother, aunt, and uncle.  Uncle Jimmy brought over some fun wine.  Tim and I set out the “usual appetizers” as I mentioned above, plus some grapes and a pumpkin cheese ball, courtesy of Stonewall Kitchen.  I promise the crackers weren’t sitting out for a couple of months.

On our dinner menu:

Spinach, Feta, and Tomato Stuffed Pork Tenderloin:

Greek Style Green Beans:

Seasoned brown rice:

Teropita (fancy Greek word for cheese pie), made by Auntie Tina!  Hers are the best!

My dad brought over a salad too, so all in all, here was our display:

After dinner, my mom opened her presents.  I only took one picture here, of my parents and my mom’s bottle of ketchup.

Yes, that’s right, I said ketchup.  Aka, my dad’s gag gift about my mom’s age.  Heinz’s 57 varieties… get it?  Sorry mom, now all F&F readers know how old you are.

Finally, I set out many desserts.  The “main” dessert was chocolate chip oatmeal cupcakes with a cinnamon sugar chocolate chip frosting.  They may not look like it, but these seriously are hands down the best cupcakes I’ve baked to date.  I’ll post the recipe soon, I promise.

I also set out soooo many leftovers from Thanksgiving and from my co-worker Lauren’s baby shower that afternoon.  We had mini pecan pie phyllo tarts, mini maple walnut cupcakes, and apple blondies with brown sugar frosting.  And grapes.  I tried to have at least one healthy option on the table.  Oooof.

Was an entertaining success, if I do say so myself.  Hope you had a nice birthday, mom!

Do you like to entertain?  Why or why not?  If so, do you have a “system?”

I am stepping AWAY from my computer, blogging, and Y work for the rest of the night.  Have a good one, friends!

Apple Topped Pork Chops

Here’s another fun fall recipe for you folks!

Made apple pork chops for dinner last night, with a side of the Greek style green beans I always make as a go to side dish.  I’ve already posted that recipe – it’s on my Recipe Page – but you can click here to get back to the original post about it.

The pork chops made for a great post-workout meal!  They were so delicious and – sorry to use this word – moist.  (Ew.  I said I was sorry).

This particular recipe makes 4 servings.  I definitely found the recipe online sometime last year in the fall, but can’t remember where.  So my apologies for not giving due credit here!

Ingredients

  • Four 3/4 inch pork chops
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp pecans (optional) —> I actually had these but for some reason didn’t add them to the recipe.  Darn.
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 apples – peeled, cored, and sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 175.
  2. Place medium dish in oven to warm.
  3. Heat large skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Brush chops with oil and place in hot pan.  Cook for 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally or until done.  Transfer to the warm dish in the oven.
  5. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  6. Add butter to the skillet and then stir in brown sugar mix and the apples.  Cover/cook until apples are tender, then remove & arrange on the chops.  Keep warm in the oven.
  7. Continue cooking the sauce uncovered in skillet until thickened.  Spoon over the apples and chops.  Sprinkle with pecans.

I’m trying to cook as much as I can with apples so I can use them up from our apple picking excursion this weekend.  I’m having some friends over tonight for a little get together, so I also used last night to bake an apple cake.  Fingers crossed it came out good.

I’ll be posting that recipe another time, so you’ll just have to come back for more, won’t ya?

I’ll leave you guys with an inspirational article for now.  For any runners out there, you guys especially must read this about a blind high school athlete dedicated to running cross-country.  It’s a touching story for sure!

Question of the DayDo you have a go to side dish like I do with my green beans?!

Can’t wait for girls night!!

Spin, Sauteed Chicken, and Greek Style Green Beans

That’s what my night consisted of. Tonight was my second to last class subbing for Ed’s Wednesday night spin.  Lots of familiar faces tonight:  Tim, Katrina, Stanton, and Jen!  Next week will be the last Wednesday (for now anyways) – I’m gonna miss doing it. I was super sweaty tonight.  Sometimes I measure the intensity of my workouts based on how much sports bra sweat I have afterward.  Even though that doesn’t really have much to do with it.  Tonight my entire sports bra was soaked.  TMI?  Oh well. Playlist

  1. Little More Time – Zox
  2. In a Big Country – Moe
  3. If You Wanna Fly – Mayra Veronica
  4. I Like It – Enrique Iglesias feat Pitbull
  5. Sorry – Madonna
  6. Demons – Guster
  7. Black & Gold – Sam Sparro
  8. Ready to Go – Republica
  9. Beat It – Fall Out Boy
  10. Dream On – Aerosmith
  11. California Girls – Katy Perry
  12. My Sharona – The Knack
  13. Americano – Lady Gaga (Thanks Katrina for this awesome recommendation.  A download MUST!)
  14. Livin’ La Vida Loca – Ricky Martin
  15. First of Things – The Brew
  16. When I Fall – Barenaked Ladie

My favorite part of class was Trina’s awk excited clap when Ricky Martin came on. Dinner tonight was sauteed chicken with orange bell pepper and onions, and Greek style green beans (fasolakia!) Chicken Dish Ingredients

  • Stir-Fry Chicken
  • Orange Bell Pepper
  • Chopped Onion
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Garlic Powder

Directions

  • I don’t have specific directions for you or specific amounts!  Just eyeball it and saute all together 🙂

Greek Style Green Beans (Fasolakia) Ingredients – for 4 servings

  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
  • 1 fifteen ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook and stir the onions and garlic in the skillet until tender.
  • Mix the green beans, tomatoes, and salt and pepper into the skillet. Reduce heat to low, and continue cooking 45 minutes, or until beans are soft.  (I cooked them for 30 minutes tonight – the time can vary!)

I’ve never had the two different dishes together before, but it was pretty good combined.  I ended up eating it all together even though I started out with two separate sections on my plate: Best part is the leftovers I have for tomorrow / Friday! Questions of the Day:

  1. What are your favorite “sweatiest” workouts?
  2. What are your favorite healthy foods to eat as leftovers?

Comments welcomed 🙂 Goodnight!