Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall Has Arrived. Welcome Pumpkins.

Fall has arrived and nothing says autumn like bright orange pumpkins!

For your next special dinner, these stuffed baby pumpkins make an impressive side dish to a roast turkey, chicken or ham.

Plus they are so colorful and festive that they are certain to impress your guests.



4 baby pumpkins
1/6 cup vegetable stock or water
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon sage leaves, dried
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup bread crumbs, whole wheat
1/8 cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)
1/6 cup celery -- finely chopped
1/8 cup apricots, dried -- chopped
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes, grated
Soy sauce, low sodium to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice off the top 1/2 inch of each pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Bake pumpkins for 15 minutes.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat stock or water to simmering until onions are softened but not browned. Add garlic, sage, thyme, and bread crumbs. Cook, stirring, 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Lightly fill pumpkins with stuffing. (Any remaining stuffing may be baked separately in a lightly oiled baking dish.) Bake for 15 minutes, or until stuffing is lightly browned and heated through. Be careful not to overbake the pumpkins, because they will split.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Keeping Music on the Menu

Two things that can make or break a great party are music and lighting. The same can be said for a dinner party. Beyond organizing a menu, dressing your table and lighting some candles, background music plays a key role in setting the mood. Here are a few of my favorites CDs which have received a lot of airtime over the years:

Big Night Soundtrack – a great mix of Italian favorites perfect for your next pasta dinner. Louis Prima’s voice is magical.

Rendezvous A Paris – A Starbucks branded CD that would compliment your next Beef Bourguignon perfectly.

Buena Vista Social Club – I literally wore this CD out. So good. The music tempo is ideal for a dinner party and keeps your party lively without being raucous.

Share your favourite dinner party music by clicking “Comments” at the bottom of the post.

All CDs available on Amazon.ca.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bringing New Meaning to "Designer Label"

Want to take your next set of favors or homemade goodies from drab to fab?
Check out Beau-Coup’s designer labels. Beautiful, simple designs that would work for a wedding, baby shower or birthday. I love the silhouette series - both modern and fresh - I am just thinking of things I could stick them to! Plus, at $7 per sheet, they are a reasonably priced way to dress up an item.

Check them out at http://www.beau-coup.com/personalized-designer-labels.htm. $7 per sheet. Shipping and handling extra.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We're Back With Flourless Chocolate Cake

After a summer hiatus, The Hostess Shop blog is back full force. Stay tuned all fall for great recipes, cool gadgets and party tips. Comments are welcome and forwards encouraged.

To kick things off, a recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake. So good and so easy, it is always a crowd pleaser. Served at room temperature, it is delish with vanilla ice cream and raspberries. Plus it is a great dessert recipe for all of those wheat intolerant friends. Bon appetit.



4 oz squares semisweet chocolate, chopped
(dark chocolate works too - just use good quality!)
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch round cake pan, and dust with cocoa powder.

In the top of a double boiler over lightly simmering water, melt chocolate and butter (No double broiler? No problem. Use a low heat and melt it slowly in a small pot directly on the burner). Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, cocoa powder, eggs, and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Slices can also be reheated for 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave before serving.