Happy Birthday Kara!

 
There was much anticipation going into this weekend...the opening of the Olympics and Kara's birthday party :) We LOVE the Olympics and have been counting down the days until the games started and made sure we had no plans Friday night so we could watch the opening ceremony. We decided to go out for dinner and DVR the beginning of the opening ceremony so we could skip the commercials. We tried a new Cuban restaurant across the street and were presently surprised! If you like Cuban food, definitely check it out! We had a delicious meal and then headed home to watch the opening ceremony; we both were extremely disappointed!
 
Saturday, we woke up and had a lazy morning, which was really nice. We spent most of the day getting our apartment organized and preparing for the party. One of my best friends, Kara, has a birthday next week and about 6 weeks ago, Tyler and I informed her we were going to throw a mini b-day party. Kara's birthday isn't technically until next week, but this was the date that worked for everyone. We hadn't had people over in while and I was really excited to try a few new recipes!

*I slightly modified this recipe. See below.
Ingredients
  • 1 bushel of thin asparagus
  • 1 package of Boursin Cheese (I used Garlic and Fine Herb)
  • 1/4 lb. thinly sliced proscuitto
  • Drizzle of Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tin foil over a baking pan.
  2. Cut the ends of the asparagus and place on the baking pan in one layer. Drizzle olive oil over asparagus and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for about 15 minutes of until asparagus is slightly wilted.
  4. While the asparagus is cooking, take the proscuitto and spread a thin layer of the Boursin Cheese on the proscuitto. Cut the proscuitto in half.
  5. Once the asparagus have cooled, wrap the proscuitto and cheese around 3-4 asparagus spears and serve.
 I made two other appetizers, which were delicious: Goat Cheese Marinara Dip and Parmesan Artichoke Dip (a Holland house favorite!)

Goat Cheese Marinara Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  •  3/4 teaspoon garlic poweder
  • 1 baguette sliced
  • Olive Oil
Directions
  1. In a small sauce pan heat tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon seasoning garlic and garlic powder. Heat until boiling.
  2. Place sauce in a heat proof bowl and place cheese on top and put the rest of the seasoning on top and heat in oven at 400 degrees for 10 to 13 min.
  3. Grill bread on stovetop and serve. (I broiled the bread instead.)
Hot Parmesan Artichoke Dip
*This is one of Tyler's mom's recipes, which is amazing! It's really easy, but tastes delicious!

Ingredients
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 can diced chilies (4 oz.)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts drained and cut into small pieces
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a casserole dish with a lid, mix all ingredients.
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes with the lid on and until the dip is bubbling on the edges. We removed the lid and cooked it for another 6 minutes to crisp the top. Serve with tortilla chips and be careful not to burn your mouth!
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter
Last weekend, we had dinner at Tyler's classmates apartment and had the best sweet potato gnocchi. Tyler observed Geoff making the dish so we decided to try and replicate this savory dish (by memory!). This was seriously so good and a huge hit at the party! I doubled the below ingredients and it came out great.

Ingredients
  • Sweet Potato Gnocchi
    • 3 large sweet potatoes
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
    • 3 + cups (use enough flour to make the dough feel like playdough)
  • Sage Brown Butter Sauce
    • 1 stick of butter
    • 1/2 of a package of sage leaves
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon of salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prick sweet potatoes several times with a fork. Bake sweet potatoes for about 45-55 minutes or until soft. Take sweet potatoes out of the oven and let cool until you can hold them.
  2. In a large bowl, scoop out insides of sweet potato and mix nutmeg, garlic, salt, and egg with potato. Pour in flour and add more as needed until dough has consistency of playdough.
  3. Once dough is the right consistency, take a handful of dough at a time and roll into long logs about 1 inch thick. Cut gnocchi into 1 inch pieces.
  4. In a large saucepan, boil water and cook the gnocchi for about 6 minutes or until gnocchi is floating. (Note: stir gnocchi so it doesn't stick to the bottom.) I cooked he gnocchi in batches and kept the cooked batches in a bowl covered with tin foil.
  5. In a large sautee pan with a lid, melt butter. Once melted, add sage leaves and cook until butter is slightly browned. Take pan off of heat and mix remaining ingredients. Mix in gnocchi and serve!
For dessert, I made vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting (thank you Martha Stewart for the recipe!). In honor of our athletes, I decided to make an American Flag :)

 I also attempted to be creative with our ice trays and filled them with chocolate and strawberries. My idea didn't quite work out and was only able to get two strawberries out!
The two good ones :)

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