Dilled Chicken and Potato Salad

I’ve had this recipe marked to make for a long time.  It has chicken, potatoes, and dill.  What could go wrong?

Ingredient List with pre-poached chicken

I poached the chicken ahead of time.  I still ended up chopping it a little smaller

Next, you mix the oil and vinegar while the potatoes are boiling.  I took a picture because it was a cool color 🙂

Next, put the potatoes in the mix.  This is where I think the recipe goes wrong.  I think all of the seasoning should go in with the oil and vinegar so the hot potatoes can soak all of them up

After it soaks for a bit, you add the dill, salt, pepper, and chicken.  I put some paprika on top because I’m cool like that!

I had it for lunch today.  It was a few days after making it, but it was very underwhelming.  It was almost bland.  That’s why I make the note up top with the seasonings.  Now, the problem is how to doctor up the rest of the servings so I can actually eat it.  Do I add mayo?  Do I heat it up?  Shit, I don’t even know what to serve it with.  I still think the recipe has potential, though.  I am definitely going to revisit this one.


Online Cooking School – Caramelized Onions

The Kitchn is offering an online 20 day (FREE) cooking course.  Of course, I signed up for it.  The first class was yesterday and focused on knife skills.  Today was onions and garlic.  One of the homework options was making caramelized onions.  Since I have never made it, I decided to go with that one 🙂

I started off with some normal yellow onions and sliced them

All in the pan and I checked them at 10 minute intervals.

It is supposed to take about an hour to make them, but, for me, it took a bit longer.  I don’t know if the onions were too thick or if the heat was too low, but I had nowhere to go, so it wasn’t a big deal too me.  One thing I do agree with is that you cannot rush the procedure.  If you try to rush the process, I don’t think it would turn out very well.

I made a collage for you of all the cooking snaps I took

Last two ingredients were salt and a liquid for deglazing the pan.  I chose Balsamic Vinegar this time.  I think next time, I will use chicken broth.  Th ingredient list showed 2 tbsp, but the actual recipe said 1/4 cup.  I poured it into a measuring cup and added slowly.  It actually ended up being 2 tbsp before I decided to stop.  Taste and salt accordingly.

Finished product

I am still trying to figure out what to do with them.  Maybe some potatoes or a tart or quiche of some sort     .  If I don’t use it, everything I read says that they will freeze well, so there is nothing to worry about if I can’t find anything right away.  Of course my boyfriend has now graciously offered to take them off my hands if I need – lol

Apartment Warming – Day Of

On the day of the party, I was up uber early.  I cleaned the shrimp and started getting the sauce ready for the meatballs.  I finally got Bunny up and we wrapped the shrimp, set up the taco cups and cut up the veggies for the dip.  I think we made like 3 extra trips to the store because I kept forgetting things :/  I decided against the Chex Mix and instead of the teriyaki sauce I used BBQ sauce on the shrimp.  We also decided to just make a fruit salad instead of grilling the pineapple.  I had some cherries and watermelon to add in with the pineapple and called it good.

We got it all set up and all there was left to do was wait.

A few shots of the place


Bar set up (most important)

Food set up

Candy set up

Bar being properly used – Baby Guiness Shots!!

There were about 8 people total that showed up.  Oddly enough, only one person that had originally answered Yes to the RSVP showed up. 2 Changed theirs late in the week after talking to me and the rest?  Nothing.  There was even one that left it on Maybe and posted pictures of a family reunion.  Now you KNOW you aren’t going to come if there is a freaking out of town reunion!!!  Why not just say that at the get go??  It really pisses me off.  One thing is for sure, the next invite list is going to be considerably smaller, that’s for sure.

The ones that did show up all seemed to have fun – and you can see they really helped fill my bar!!

The food went over well – for the people that actually ate it – lol.  The shrimp and meatballs were fantastic.  The taco dip was good as always, but only one was eaten and I was left with 11 to eat myself.  Sadly, I wasn’t able to eat them all.  I am still working on the Vegetable Dip, but that lasts a lot longer than everything else.  If the veggies are still good and the mayo or sour cream hasn’t expired yet, I call it good.  I am going to try and finish it off within the next week, though.

Hope you enjoyed my little series into the adventure of party hosting 🙂

Planning an Apartment Warming Party – Decor

The last thing to decide on is how you are going to decorate the apartment.  Is it going to be simple?  Is there a theme that you have with your food that you want the decor to go along with?  I definitely went with the simple theme.  I didn’t want any one to worry about how to dress and I didn’t want to worry about spending too much money to decorate.  I decided on a few key things, so this is going to be a short post 🙂

I saw a pin on pinterest that said if you put wax on a tea light, you can turn it into a cheap floating candle that will last for 2 hours.  I tried it.  It lasts for an hour.  Plenty of time.  I can just replace them as they burn out.  Simple enough.  I am going to do two bowls with water and my rigged tealights with spares around.  If they go out completely, oh well.  It’s not formal.

Long ago, I won a Fuji Instamax camera from the good ol Pioneer Woman.  It came with 2 packs of 50 instant picture film.  Well, of course, I took it to the bar and snapped away.  100 pictures on two different dates.  *SIGH*  If I had gotten off my booty and planned better, I would have bought some film and left the camera out for people to take pictures.  Instead, I am going to leave out my digital camera and see if the same thing happens.  I digress!  From the pictures, I chose about 15-20, hung them on some hemp and put them in the hallway on the way to the spare bathroom.  Some more went into a frame so that one blank spot on the wall isn’t so…….bare.

Other than that, I did something I had never done in any apartment I lived in…….I decorated.  I mean, I put things in frames and hung them on the wall.  Crazy, right?  I had some pre-framed stuff from the old place that I was kind of done with.  Out came the digital pictures and I created a couple collages on Walgreens.com, printed them out and voila!  Instant fun for every one 🙂

See?  Simple.  No big pressure on me or the guests.  No “dinner party” propriety that has to be followed.  Just a bunch of friends hanging out.  I will post some photos of everything after the party 🙂

Have a good weekend!!


Planning an Apartment Warming Party – Drinks

Second only to food in any party is the drinks.  Around here, we always do BYOB – bring your own booze.  Whether it be beer, wine, or liquor, it is up to you to supply what you want to drink unless otherwise specified.  It makes it so much easier on the host.  Especially one that doesn’t drink any beer and would have NO idea what to buy (me).  This party stemmed from the idea from a friend for a bottle party.  Basically, I am making my friends fill up my liquor cabinet 🙂

Just because it is BYOB, doesn’t mean there is nothing for the host to supply.  For mine, since it is centered around liquor, I am providing mixers for all: Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite, Ginger Ale, Orange Juice, Cranberry Juice and water.  These are also all good options to have for those choosing not to drink – we don’t want them to feel left out.  I am also contemplating grabbing a couple bottles of wine.  I haven’t really decided on that part, yet.  I will have two coolers of ice.  If cans or bottles of the mixers are used, one cooler can be used for them.  The second cooler can be used just for ice.  I probably won’t fill them at all until the guests start arriving.  No point in letting the ice sit there and melt before anyone gets there.

I saw an idea somewhere in my travels online for a “signature” drink for the party.  I actually really like this idea.  It is a great back up in case everyone brings the same bottle or only 5 people show up – lol.  I decided on a bourbon drink, since that is what I enjoy and the party is for me 😛 .  Again, I wanted something that could be prepared in advance.  I was thinking of having a pitcher, then people could just pour themselves a glass over ice.  I stumbled across this one from smitten kitchen and loved it, but it was a frozen drink recipe.  This is why you read the whole thing…….the drink part could be made in advance!!  AND you could make it one drink at a time!!  WOO!  It will be a bit of work to use the blender to make each, but worth it.  It makes 8 drinks, so I may double it.  If it doesn’t all get drank, it will still keep and not be watered down.  Genius, right?

The last thing to think about with the drinks is the location of the drink station.
Option One: The built in computer desk (or a folding table set up away from the food) in my apartment is an idea.  It is located by the food, but separate from it.  It is big enough to house all of the items needed for drinks.  This idea would be best if there are no frozen drinks or drinks needing to be shaken and not stirred

Option Two: Use the section of counter by the sink.  The open kitchen design allows people to still interact while fixing drinks and be out of the way of the food line completely.  This way, if there is a high probability of frozen or shaken drinks, everything is right by the sink and can be rinsed out easily.  I would put the coolers on the other side of the kitchen just to make the counter and sink more accessible.  If the kitchen wasn’t an open design, this wouldn’t be an option for me for a party like this.  A cook-out or just having a few people over for drinks?  That would be ok.

I just came up with the kitchen idea/reasoning, so I am not sure where I am going to be having the drinks.  I was really set on Option One.  I thought it was perfect – ingenious even.  Until I started thinking about frozen or shaken drinks.  How much would it suck to have to walk between the booze to the blender and rinse then possibly back to the mixers.  Or booze and shaker to the sink back to the mixers with a dripping shaker.  I probably won’t decide until the day of the party, cause I am crazy like that 🙂

Planning an Apartment Warming Party – Food

After setting the date, time, and sending the invites, the next logical step is FOOD!  Am I right?  Hello?  😉

I set the time of the party at 8pm so Bunny and I could still spend time at the beach during her trip.  This narrows down the options of what to serve considerably – appetizer food.  I wanted some things that could sit at room temperature for a while and still be ok.  I didn’t want all meat, but I didn’t want all vegetarian, either.  Another item to take into consideration is cooking the food.  I wanted things that I could potentially prepare up to two days in advance (before Bunny arrived in town).  I also wanted to make sure that Bunny was ok with all the foods.  After all, she would be eating the leftovers 🙂

My go to appetizer that I bring EVERY where and EVERYONE loves is veggie dip.  That is definitely on the list.  I think some people RSVP’d Yes after I posted the menu just because it was listed – lol.  I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone not like it.  It’s like delicious crack.  Surprisingly healthy delicious crack.  I also have a tasty taco dip recipe that I have been devouring for months.  That was definitely in.  Both of those could be made ahead of time with no problem.

Now, the meat ones.  I picked two out that I have been meaning to try, sweet and tangy meatballs and pineapple, shrimp and bacon skewers, but quickly saw some issues.  I am confident the shrimp would be fine, but it would have to be made between arriving home from the beach and the party.  Will we have enough time?  I mean we can clean the shrimp, cut the bacon and pineapple before, but that’s about it.  I don’t want either of us to be in the kitchen prepping or cooking when people start arriving.  The meatballs have a vague ingredient of “chili sauce”.  Um, ok,?  It’s by the ketchup?  Ok, I’ve never used this condiment ever.  How spicy is it?

I set to pinterest to search again.  I think bacon wrapped shrimp is good, the pineapple was the problem.  It hit me.  What if I just served the pineapple on the side?   I could prep everything and cook the pineapple on the grill pan in the kitchen and cut up.  That way, all the elements of the dish are there, but we don’t have to worry about wrapping everything and getting it on the skewer.  If the sauce isn’t good, I can simply have bacon wrapped shrimp!

Now the meatballs.  You know, I decided I am going to chance it.  There are so many pages out there with this recipe on it, how can they all be wrong?  It’s not like the internet is ever wrong.  I mean, what about all the people that say mashed cauliflower “tastes just like mashed potatoes”……wait……..never mind.  😛

One more thing that I have decided to definitely have – home made chex mix.  I have never made chex mix, but I had the thought that someone might just want a nibble, you know?  Something to pop in their mouth as they sip and talk.  Something that doesn’t necessarily need a plate.

What about dessert?  Should there even be a dessert or am I just going overboard?  I have no idea.  I am still on the fence for this one.  I could do anything from just grabbing a bunch on single serving haagen dazs and edy’s (they are on sale this week 🙂 ).  Or I might make this extravagant bar recipe I found.  It can be made ahead, but it is still a lot of work.  Maybe I could even just make a quickie ice cream cake.  I just don’t know yet.

One last note is be aware of food allergies/food preferences.  Unknown to me, a guest doesn’t eat pork.  Solution?  Make some of the shrimp without bacon.  I still need to ask about nuts for the chex mix, but I am almost positive everyone else eats everything 🙂


Disclaimer:  I was coming up with the ideas for the food as I was writing the post 🙂  Real time writing!!

Planning an Apartment Warming Party – Concept phase

Although I haven’t bought a house, I have moved to an apartment that I see myself living in for a long time. It is about 45 minutes from my old place and I am looking at it as a new beginning. Because of that I am having an Apartment Warming/Bring a bottle party

The Bring a bottle concept is new to me, but was suggested by a friend. Basically, all the guest bring booze instead of presents so you have a nice, well stocked bar 🙂

I am also having my little shindig when my best friend, Bunny (she likes bunnies – lol), is down for the weekend. I checked with her to make sure it was ok considering she is going to be helping me prep everything – lol.

The date is set, I invited all the people I wanted there (that would be in the state at the time) and set off to the internet for any ideas. There really weren’t a lot for apartment warming parties, so I had to get creative on my own.  In addition to Bunny, I have another friend helping me with the decorating of the apartment in general before the party and to bounce ideas off.  She is amazingly crafty.  I shall call her Crafty!  Another original pseudo-name, right?

I thought I would write a series on this madness to help anyone else out there that is throwing an Apartment Warming Party. This is just the beginning of the craziness 😀