Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Book Club Menu: "But Where Do I Put the Couch?"


I have a confession of sorts when it comes to books...

My favorite kinds of books are?

 A. Romance Novels
B. True Crime and Mystery Books
C. Movie Star Autobiographies 
D. History
E. None of the Above

It's true... the answer is "E"... 

None of the above... Did I fool you??  


I do enjoy those books above (really, I do)    
 but, my true-blue favorites...
Let's just say, I am a practical gal...

If you find me in a bookstore, 
I will be in one of two places...
 Obviously, I can be found in the cookbook section...

but, my other very favorite section is the
Home Décor section!

I love a good home makeover...I am all about before and after photos.

 I love learning new things (from baking to gardening to decorating), especially if the “new things” I’m learning enhance my life or my home.

When it comes to home decor, there is no shortage of  DIY dilemmas, from finding your style to picking the perfect paint color:

Can a room have more than one focal point?? 
(I think that's part of a problem I have in our family room...)

 Is it ok to mix gingham pillows with my plaid pillows?? Is too much pattern-mixing a thing??

How do I display a collection of favorite finds??

I absolutely LOVE books that spark my creativity and make me feel excited to rearrange the furniture...

I love books that give me the courage try something new— to paint something...like a thrift-store hutch, kitchen cabinets (I really did this)...or even to paint a whole room... and add a sassy accent wall!

Here’s where this story gets fascinating...
This is where the universe combined my love of DIY home decor and food...

Not too long ago... 

I was invited to create a menu 
for a virtual book club!!

Not just any book club... 

a "Home Décor" book club.

A book club devoted to my kind of books!!

And here's the best part... You're invited to join the fun!

 If you like home décor, design, fresh ideas, 
and also really good food...
(And really cute menus with clever names)
THIS is the free virtual Book Club for you.

Yes, free... and fun!!

As you might imagine, when this fabulous opportunity to
 create a home décor themed menu arrived,
I jumped at the chance!!

Wait until you read the menu...  "Couch Cake"  "DIY Dip and Paint Chips"
and more... (This menu would be great for ANY party, and I love a creative menu)

Please let me introduce you to Missy Noonan, the hostess and creator of her 
"SonataScript" Virtual Book Club.  
Missy hopes to create a home decor focused book club that each month dives into home decorating, gardening and home design books.
Missy blogs at Sonata Home Design, where you can learn more about this exciting endeavor. She is
so excited to personally invite you to her free virtual book club.  

 The book Missy has chosen for March is:

"But Where Do I Put the Couch?" 

This very creative and super-useful book is
written by Melissa Michaels and KariAnne Wood.  

This book answers 100 of the best home décor questions.

Here's the other super-fabulous part... later in the month, creator of the lifestyle blog Thistlewood Farm, and author of “But Where Do I Put the Couch?” KariAnne Wood, will be a special guest and part of a
fun LIVE virtual book club meeting!

I would love for you to visit Missy at her blog Sonata Home Design 
and sign up to be a part of this unique book club for March.

Without further ado... Here is the specially curated menu for the
"But Where Do I Put the Couch?"  virtual Book Club.

What's a Book Club without amazing food?!

Let's get to those recipes!!

Crispy Cheddar Cheese Coins, or Conversation Circles
You can eat these yummy cheese crisps while having a conversation...and I don't want to give anything away...but if you're doing "it" (home décor) right...you might already have a conversation circle in your home-right now...

Crispy Cheese Coins: Karri Perry


1 stick softened unsalted butter
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese-grated
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 dashes hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal (Rice Krispies)


In a stand mixer, (or with a hand mixer)  cream butter until it is light and fluffy.  Add the grated cheese and dash of hot sauce and mix well.  Add the spices to the flour.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the cheese and butter mixture. Mixture will be thick but pliable (like a pie dough) Lastly, fold in the dried rice cereal.  

Pour the mixture onto a piece of waxed paper.  Shape into a log (about 1-2 inches in diameter.)  Roll up the cheese dough and twist both ends of the waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, overnight is better.  
*A prepared cheese coin log can be kept frozen and stored in the freezer for one month-be sure to wrap tightly and store in a zip-top freezer bag.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, using the middle oven rack.  Slice the cheese coins thinly into 1/4 inch rounds and place on a parchment lined baking sheet 1 inch apart.  Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the cheese coins are crisped and golden on the bottom.  Allow the cheese coins to sit for one minute after baking and then move to a cooling rack.  
Once cooled, store cheese coins in an airtight container or tin.  

 DIY Dip and Paint Chips
This is one of my all-time favorite dips.  This admittedly delicious garlic & spinach dip--might require an after-dinner mint —but it's worth it.—that is how good this dip is!

 Spinach & Garlic DIY Dip and Paint (Tortilla) Chips

Fresh baby spinach (enough to fill your food processor)  2-3 Cups,
1/2 cup real mayo (Duke's or Hellman's)
1 clove of garlic peeled
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
In a food processor, add spinach, garlic clove.  Chop well.  Add mayo.  Blend.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

 * If you prefer a thinner dip (salsa-like)- add a few tablespoons of buttermilk
* Substitute plain Greek yogurt for the mayo for a more healthful option. 
*Can be made ahead, the flavors get stronger...and it is still excellent.

For this book club party, I served this dip with “paint” tortilla chips, it’s also great served with fresh vegetables.  The brightness of this fresh dip look gorgeous on a spring charcuterie board... so versatile and easy to make!!


GingHam Pillows
I’m a big believer in “something for everyone” when it comes to menu planning.  For a vegetarian option replace the ham with caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms.

GingHAM Pillows
Smoked Ham and Gruyere on Puff Pastry with Fig Jam and Dijon

Puff Pastry- Can be purchased in the frozen section of most grocery stores (I use Pepperidge Farm)
Smoked Ham slices or diced ham (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup fig jam
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
Gruyere Cheese-shredded
1 Tablespoon flat leaf parsley chopped
salt and cracked black pepper
Egg wash-1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon of water

Pre heat oven to 425 degrees-middle rack
Thaw puff pastry according to package instructions.
Lay the puff pastry sheets open on a parchment lined baking sheet
Spread a layer of fig jam, followed by a light brushing of the Dijon mustard (using a pastry or basting brush can help this process)
Add the ham on top of the jam and mustard.
Top with the shredded cheese.
Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut each sheet into 9 squares.
Pinch each square together-joining opposite corners--add egg wash to help secure.
Brush the prepared pillows with a light brushing of egg wash using a pastry brush
Sprinkle with salt and pepper
Place baking sheet with the prepared pillows into the freezer for 5-7 minutes- just before baking
(Why should you do this “freezer” step?? The puff pastry works best if the puff pastry is very cold when it goes into the oven.—same principle with pie dough baking)
Bake at 425 degrees on middle rack for 12-15 minutes or until the pastry has puffed and the cheese is melted.  Sprinkle with the fresh parsley.  May be served hot, warm or at room temperature -for up to 2 hours.

Focal Point Pasta Cups
Roasted Vegetables, Pasta, dressed in a tangy vinaigrette... topped with Asiago cheese, a delicious make ahead party favorite.

1 pound cooked and drained pasta- choose bite sized shapes-(like rotini, elbow, or mini penne)

Shredded Asiago cheese 


Roast fresh vegetables of your choice- cut into bite sized or 1-2 inch pieces.
Red Onion 

Drizzle with olive oil (1-2 Tablespoons) add salt and pepper and bake on a foil-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Let cool. 

Tangy Vinaigrette:

Whisk together:

4 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons Dijon or grainy mustard   

2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons good mayo 

Salt and pepper to taste 

Drizzle with olive oil (1-2 Tablespoons) add salt and pepper and bake on a foil-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Let cool.

Mix the cooked and drained pasta and the roasted vegetables together, dress with vinaigrette and fold in arugula if desired.  Sprinkle with shredded Asiago. Serve, or chill until ready to serve.

Did someone say dessert!?



Glazed Raspberry-Coconut  "Couch" Cake
Because... a cake this good, you'll want to curl up on the couch with a BIG slice.


Raspberry-Coconut Cake, Karri Perry-Blue Ribbon Favorites
Makes one standard Bundt cake serves 10-12


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs-room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups freeze-dried raspberries (I purchase from Target, available on line or in the granola/nut aisle)

2 cups confectioner's sugar
3 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Optional- fresh raspberries and extra shredded coconut for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Set racks to the middle position

Butter and flour the Bundt pan, set aside.

In a medium bowl combines the flour, salt and baking powder, set aside
In a mixing bowl add the sugar and vegetable oil, using a stand or hand mixer, mix well.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
Add the extracts.
Add in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/3 of the buttermilk, alternate each until all of the ingredients are incorporated.  Mix gently and just until combined.
Gently fold in the shredded coconut, followed by the freeze-dried raspberries.

Pour batter evenly into the prepared Bundt pan.  Smooth the top and then bake on the middle rack for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly from the center.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before inverting the cake onto a cooling rack.  Cool the cake completely before glazing.

(You can glaze the cake on a baking sheet and then transfer your finished cake to a pretty plate or a cake stand once the glaze sets up.  OR you might choose to glaze the cake on a cake stand or pretty plate--be sure your serving piece has a rim to catch any drips-if you go this route.) 

For the glaze: in a bowl add the confectioner's sugar, water and extracts.  Using a pastry brush, coat the cooled cake on all sides.  The glaze will harden as it sets up.  If using coconut for garnish sprinkle onto the wet glaze, before it sets.

Home-Sweet-Home Citrus Sipper

Because there really is no place like home...and I was taught to always offer my guests a beverage... it is the polite thing to do... 


Mint Simple Syrup- Boil 1 cup each of water and granulated sugar together.  Bring to a boil,  Turn off heat.  Add 10 fresh and cleaned mint leaves, stir.  Let mixture cool for 30 minutes.  Strain off leaves-reserving the mint simple syrup.  Store the simple syrup covered in refrigerator up to one week.

For One Drink:

Crushed Ice
1 Tablespoon mint simple syrup
1/4 glass orange juice-no pulp
1/4 glass pink lemonade
Top with bubbly, club soda or lemon-lime soda

For a Crowd:

Mint Simple Syrup-to taste
1 bottle (20 ounce) orange juice-no pulp
1 bottle (20 ounce) pink lemonade
Add Bubbly, sparkling wine or soda just before guests arrive or top off each glass with preferred carbonated beverage.

Garnish with citrus slices and fresh mint 

Thank you as always, for visiting the blog!  I hope to see you at the Virtual Book Club later this month!!



No comments:

Post a Comment