Saturday, June 16, 2012

Beads & Brunch


I have very stylish girlfriends.  They know how to accessorize and make an outfit stand out.  Me, not so much.  I'm not horrible at it; I'm just a little too safe, too conservative.  Yeah, I know; conservative and me don't seem to go together, especially considering my penchant for adventure.    

I was lamenting my lack of bodacious bling to my colleague Christina, after having told her for the hundredth time that I loved her long and chunky necklace and wished I could wear something like that.  Apparently, she'd had enough of my whining because she told me she was arranging a party for me and her other jewelry-challenged pals.

Christina knows people, and one of those people is a Paparazzi consultant.  If you aren't familiar with Paparazzi, it's a direct sales jewelry and accessories company where every item is just $5.  Turns out, many of the pieces I'd admired of Christina's were from Paparazzi.  So, it was on: we were having a Beads & Brunch party with pretty little things and, of course, good food and drink.

Along with my wallet, I brought three dishes: Bloody Mary Salad, Cheese Pizza, and Flower Power Fudge.  Christina supplied the Sangria and Mimosas, and the other ladies brought delectables like Monkey Bread and Chicken Salad in Phyllo Cups.

What's more perfect for brunch than a Bloody Mary? I hear you shouldn't drink your calories, and so I turned it into a salad, inspired by Smitten Kitchen's Skirt Steak with Bloody Mary Tomato Salad.

The pizza was kind of an accident.  Well, actually, it was totally an accident.  I had bought some refrigerated pizza dough just to have on hand, and it fell on the counter and opened up.  Use it or lose it, right?!  The key to a great basic pizza is the sauce.  I used Victoria Trading Company Tomato Basil, which is well seasoned with onions, garlic, basil, sea salt and other spices.  There are chunks of tomatoes, and NO funky ingredients (like high fructose corn syrup, blech!). 

Sweets are a must at a brunch, or any event or riding in the car or bedtime or in the tub or...  I found a sinfully simple recipe for fudge that I jazzed up with edible decorating flowers with a chocolate chip center.  

Bloody Mary Salad

  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons vodka (I only had Whipped Cream vodka.  I was worried it'd be too sweet, but it worked just fine.)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 pints grape or cherry tomatoes (I used a mix of red and golden tomatoes.)
  • 5 stalks celery, cut into small slices
  • 1 bag fajita steak strips
  • In a large bowl, whisk together horseradish, oil, vodka, lemon juice, pepper sauce, Worcestershire, salt and pepper.
  • Add tomatoes, celery and steak strips, tossing to combine.
  • Cover and refrigerate for two hours or until ready to serve.

Cheese Pizza

  • 1 tube of thin crust refrigerated pizza dough
  • 3/4 cup pasta sauce
  • 1 cup reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Roll pizza dough out on baking sheet.
  • Pre-bake for 5 minutes.
  • Spoon sauce over pre-baked crust.
  • Spread shredded cheese on top of sauce.
  • Bake for 6-10 minutes or until crust is browned and cheese is bubbly.
  • Cut into squares and serve.

Flower Power Fudge

  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • edible decorating flowers
  • extra chocolate chips for the center of the flowers and for melting (to use as glue on the flowers)
  • Melt chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Stir until thoroughly blended.
  • Spread onto baking sheet and chill.
  • Using a round cookie cutter, cut fudge into small circles.
  • Place an edible flower on top of each fudge circle. (Because they are designed to be used with frosting on cakes, they will not stick on the top of the fudge.  That's okay, though, because it allows people to easily remove the flowers, if they want to, before eating the fudge.)
  • Put a tiny drop of melted chocolate on to a chocolate chip and place in the center of each flower.
  • Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
I'm linking up this recipe at It's a Blog Party and Whatcha Whipped Up Wednesday.


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  2. That flower power fudge is so stinking cute. I'm pinning to make later. I'd love it if you shared this over at Whatcha Whipped Up Wednesday.

  3. Thanks, Dawn! I'd love to share it. :)