3 Days Until the Halloween Party

by J.S. on October 27, 2010

in Parties

I’m getting really excited. I think I’ve settled on the dishes above, plus a few ready-made items. I’m going in with a list, but I may have to decide on the fly since I’m sticking to the $150 budget. I’ll be bringing the lovely Jen along for the ride and to help keep me in line. We’ll try to post throughout the day so stop by and tell us how your festivities are going.

Photos are from and the

{ 1 comment }

Martha's Ghastly Ghoulash?

by J.S. on October 22, 2010

in Parties


from Martha Stewart


This maybe the winner. This looks amazing. Beef, bacon, potatoes and egg noodles? I’m in. I’d say this guy could be a no-brainer  for the main dish. Also, Martha said we can make it in advance. Lovely.


Serves 10 to 12

  • 2 pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose f lour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 (28 ounces each) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 fresh oregano, plus extra leaves for garnish
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 12 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 ounces thick bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 10 ounces small white mushrooms, (quartered if large)
  • 1 box (10 ounces) frozen pearl onions, thawed and drained
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • Caraway Egg Noodles, for serving


  1. Toss beef with salt, pepper, and flour in a medium bowl. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over mediumhigh heat until hot. Brown half of beef on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes total. Transfer beef to a plate with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining beef and 2 tablespoons oil.
  2. Add onion to fat in pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute. Add wine; cook, stirring up brown bits, until most liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  3. Return beef to pot. Stir in paprika, tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; reduce heat. Gently simmer until meat is just tender, about 11/2 hours.
  4. Stir in carrots and potatoes; continue to simmer until vegetables and meat are very tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a dry large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Add mushrooms, pearl onions, and bell pepper to fat in skillet; cook until vegetables are tender and golden brown, and liquid has mostly evaporated. Add to goulash. 6. Season goulash with salt and pepper, if necessary. Garnish with bacon pieces and oregano. Serve with caraway egg noodles.
From Halloween 2004

Read more at Ghastly Ghoulash – Martha Stewart Recipes


Possible Party Food? Easy Spinach Dip

by J.S. on October 22, 2010

in Parties

from Martha Stewart


Makes 3 cups

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for baking dish
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds spinach, cleaned, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 ounces reduced-fat bar cream cheese
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Baguette slices, breadsticks, or crackers, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic; cook until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add spinach in two additions, letting the first batch wilt before adding the next; cook until completely wilted, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a colander; drain, pressing to release all excess liquid.
  3. In the same pot, warm milk over high heat. Whisk in cream cheese until melted, about 3 minutes. Add spinach, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and 1/4 cup mozzarella; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a lightly oiled 1 1/2-quart shallow baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.
  4. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot with accompaniments, as desired.

Hot Spinach Dip – Martha Stewart Recipes


A Poor Girl Challenge

by J.S. on October 22, 2010

in Parties


from Amy Atlas


This Halloween we’ve decided to throw a small dinner party with a few close friends. That sounds great, right? Issue is we’re brokesville. So instead of whipping out my side kick, Amex, I’ve decide to put this party on a budget and stick to it (a new thing for me).

Here are the details:

10 people (I think)

2 appetizers

2 side dishes

1 main dish

dessert bar

Signature drink

Total Budget: $150

The rules:

I’m not counting decorations. I already have Halloween decor so I don’t need to buy any. I will include things like paper plates and other paper goods. I’m not counting beer or wine because I have wine already and I’ll ask people to bring beer. Ingredients I already have will not be added because, well, I already paid for them.



Halloween Recipes – Part 1

by J.S. on October 11, 2010

in Parties

My mom is throwing a Halloween cocktail party and I promised to give her some recipes. I figured I would share with the group. Some of these, I’ll be making too!


from Martha Stewart


Shriveled Potatoes with Romesco Sauce

Get the recipe here.


from Martha Stewart


Savory pumpkin Puffs

get the recipe here.


from Martha Stewart


Spicy Bat Wings

Recipe here.


from food network


Perfect Caramel Apples



The first Poor Girl Party!

by J.S. on October 10, 2010

in Parties

The table

Drum roll please! The party went really well. Everyone seemed to like making crafts and having drinks and food definitely doesn’t hurt. If you have a party of your own, please send me photos, I’d love to see the results.

making dinner

Make things that you can cook ahead of time so you’re not tied up with food. I made baked fusili/ penne with spinach in a – tomato sauce. Recipe for that deliciousness below..

2 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons oil oil

1 jar of sun-

dried tomato plus the oil they’re packed in

1 can diced tomatoes (8oz)

1 can of sauce started (16 0z)

Red pepper flakes

s & p

3 cups spinach

2 tbls Balsamic vinegar

1 cup mozzarella

1/2 cup parmasean

1 lb of pasta, following package cooking instructions.


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in a sauce pot. Add dices sun-dried tomatoes and cook until they start to plump. Add diced tomatoes, starter sauce, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and oregano. cook through. Add spinach and cook until it begins to wilt. stir in cooked pasta and mix until combined. Pour pasta mixture into a baking dish and top with cheese. Cook until cheese melts and serve.

Baked pasta with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes



more crafting


yours truly

Carrot Cake

How to set:

I covered my table in craft paper.

leave out:

2 needle nose pliers

2 wire cutters

30 feet of picture hanging wire, look for the braided wire. Post earring can fit through the braiding.

1/4″ staples

staple gun

Picture frames


Ok, that’s all I have, what do you think?


Party Time

by J.S. on October 9, 2010

in Parties


via Google


Please be proud of me, besides getting my swagger back as a hostess, I’m actually planning ahead. Tonight is my first booze and crafting party with a small group of ladies. The last party I failed miserably by not taking any photos so this time I have the camera out ready to go.

Wonder what I’m making? Follow along won’t you…


White bean and arugula crustinis


Golden beet and pear salad with spiced pecans and blue cheese.

Baked penne with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach


Carrot Cake


Sparkling winter sangria

We’re making picture frame jewelry hangers.


The Dinner Party…The Left Overs

by J.S. on September 12, 2010

in Parties

Go ahead, give me the big FAIL. All this talk of parties, I finally have one and guess what? I didn’t take one picture! Not one. I was up to my elbows in flour and frosting and I got distracted. So sorry. What I do have is a recap and some left overs. so here we go.

Overall, I think it went smashingly! The food seemed to be a big hit, drinks were (responsibly) flowing and conversations was constant. We did have a few hiccups, about 30 minutes before it was suppose to start we had 4 people cancel. Can you believe that? What happened to manners? Listen, Poor Girls, I know I don’t need to tell any of you this, but allow me to vent, dinner parties cost money and they take time. Showing up late or canceling at the last second is not acceptable and we should not allow it. Can I get an Amen?

Moving on. I have some tips for your next party. Wine and beer were really the drinks of choice so the liquor we bought wasn’t really necessary, save money by skipping it. Make more than you think you’ll need so you’ll have left overs and wont have to cook for a night or so. Get the most out of your effort. Don’t load up on appetizers. Normally I go overboard and really how many stuffed mushrooms does one need. So to save money, stick to two apps.

Recipes are coming up.


The Menu

by J.S. on September 9, 2010

in Parties

My dinner party  is two days away. I think I’ve finally nailed down the menu. It’s not going to be healthy but it’s going to be good (I hope).

The Apps:

Fried green tomatoes with buttermilk ranch dressing

Cheese, crackers and fruit plate

The Main Attraction:

Fried chicken fingers

Mac and cheese

Pulled chicken sliders

Cole slaw

Greens or a salad

I’m still debating the dessert.