How Do Bloggers Birthday? (Plus Recipes)

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Happy Birthday to Me!  So how does a food blogger celebrate her birthday?  Hint;  food will be involved, (too obvious?) and if she’s lucky, maybe some fun and games.  Last week I was in Maine for my birthday and a few of my peeps threw a goodmotherdiet party for me.  This theme was a sheer stroke of genius by friend and party planner extrordinaire, Kerri Eng (KGEvents) where all my guests brought dishes that have been featured on this blog. I was aware of the goodmotherdiet aspect but not what people were actually bringing, so each new dish was a surprise as well as a walk down memory lane.  I’m sharing the dishes that were prepared for the party as well as a link back to the original recipe, so if you feel inspired, feel free to make and send me a photo.

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Our evening began with a sunset cruise of Bear Pond on a pontoon boat featuring Mango Margaritas made by my friend, Rick from the original blog post: Mango Margaritas and Homemade Tortilla Chips with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

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While we cruised around the lake, we munched on a yummy Asparagus Goat Cheese Tart made by my friend, Karen, from the original recipe: Asparagus Goat Cheese Tart Karen was kind enough to make one without goat cheese for those who abstain (cough, my husband) which was also delicious.

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We also enjoyed a wonderful version of my Cranberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip which had been ‘summerized’ by Kerri by substituting strawberries which are so sweet and delicious right now while cranberries are hard to find.  I love how the same recipe can be turned into a seasonal delight just by changing one ingredient.

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Alas, we finally had to leave the lake and head in to dinner where more goodies awaited.

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Dinner was a fabulous group effort. First up was deliciously spicy Salt and Pepper Shrimp with Garlic and Chile.  I believe that the crew of Kerri, Rick and Jason had to improvise with chile sauce since they didn’t have Chinese 5 Spice.  It was hotter and wetter than the original but delicious. Other substitutions for Chinese 5 Spice would be any combination of star anise, cloves, fennel seed, cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns and a dash of Creole Seasoning, red pepper and chili powder.  You can’t go wrong and this effort proved it.

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But the ‘piece de resistance’ was the Maple Bourbon Glazed Salmon made lovingly by my son, Eric, and his sous chef, Hannah Grace.  I say lovingly because Eric is an experimental cook like I am, rarely following a recipe twice but this time he followed the recipe painstakingly in honor of the occasion with perfect results, even with our finicky oven.  This dish is a family favorite and a great main course to prepare for dinner parties as it take very little fuss and cooks quickly giving you time to enjoy your own party.

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Eric and Hannah Grace also served a platter of perfectly roasted veggies, including eggplant, red and yellow peppers, yellow squash, zucchini and mushrooms.

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No dinner is complete without a fabulous salad like this Caesar Salad made by my friend, Geof, who went to the trouble to make his own dressing and homemade croutons.  Yum! Marjie brought a delicious carrot cake which wasn’t from my blog but then I don’t make many desserts.  Hmmm, maybe that will change…

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Then the fun and games portion of the evening began with a hotly contested game of FAMILY FEUD hosted by our own ‘Richard Dawson’.  The ‘girls’ squeaked out a narrow victory over the ‘boys’ in spite of the fact that I missed the last of the ‘Top 7 Barnyard Sounds’ by answering Meow instead of Cluck, which if you know that I am also know as the Chicken Lady that is pretty funny. (Check out Mrs Vs Rescue Chickens )  In my defense, my mother in law had already said cock a doodle doo so I figured chickens were taken.  Sigh…  Then on to music.  This photo taken before fab musician, Peter arrived.

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During dinner, my son gave a very sweet birthday toast and then asked me how it felt to see so many of my recipes come to life and if it was intimidating.  Surprisingly, I found it very validating as a blogger, especially one who is not experienced at creating recipes (which is harder than you might think).  All of the recipes were a success, even those that were adapted to accommodate seasonal ingredients or availability.  Whew!  I suppose it could have been a disaster, but it was sure fun.  For someone whose Mom always had to scrape up enough neighborhood kids that were in town in July to make it seem like a birthday party, I feel pretty lucky. (I’m sure other summer birthday people know what I’m talking about) Maybe I’ll celebrate the whole month…

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Mango Margaritas & “Homemade” Tortilla Chips with Grilled Pineapple Salsa!

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TGIF! Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner and you know what that means – Margaritas! In the interest of having a good time research, my trusty pals and I decided to go in search of the new perfect margarita. Sure the lime margarita is delicious and traditional but why limit yourself? One click of the keyboard and a multitude of exotic possibilities lay before me-strawberry, blackberry, cucumber, pomegranate, cranberry, mango-avocado, papaya, hibiscus, watermelon and mint! Who knew there were so many? Obviously, a lot of research has already been done on this subject. Since we had fresh mango and pineapple in the refrigerator, we decided to start there.  After much testing and tasting we came up with a fabulous Mango Margarita, which is cool and refreshing with just the right amount of sweet-the perfect grownup dessert, like a mini vacation for your tastebuds. Take me away Calgon…

Crunchy, salty tortilla chips, warm from the oven, topped with spicy, smoky, sweet pineapple salsa are a perfect pairing for the ice-cold mango margaritas.  Sure it’s easy to just pick up a bag from the store (I do it all the time), but making them yourself out of good quality (non GMO) tortillas is so much tastier!  It’s easy too and only takes 15 minutes or so, depending on quantity.  Each 6 inch tortilla makes 6 chips, so do the math to figure out how many you need. (I would say 2 tortillas per person).  This is also a great use for stale or dried out tortillas, so don’t throw those out!  The grilled pineapple salsa is the creation of my son, Eric. Grilling the pineapple is pure genius!  It adds a nice smoky quality and softens the pineapple so that it picks up the other flavors nicely.  His version included habanero peppers and was delicious but pretty spicy (our lips were numb), so I have toned it down with mildly spicy jalapeno peppers.  If you like things super spicy (like my Dad) increase the amount of peppers or add spicier varieties.  This is also a good appetizer for my Fish Tacos, Chile Rellenos or Black Bean and Mango Salad with Avocado Ranch if you want to continue the Mexican theme.

Tips:   You can buy mango pre-cut but it’s very easy to do it yourself if you know the right technique.  How to cut a Mango.  If you like your margies really thick and frozen, you can buy frozen fruit or cut the fruit into chunks, lay them on parchment or waxed paper and freeze them for a half hour or so.  Using frozen fruit reduces the amount of ice you need, resulting in a thicker, fruitier beverage.

Mango Margaritas

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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2 cups ripe Mango, large dice
6 Tbsn fresh lime juice
1 Tbsn agave necter
4 ounces Tequila (100% agave blanco)
1-2 cups Ice

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  • Rub the cut side of a lime around the rim of the glass and dip the wet rim in salt. (Optional)
  • Add all the ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Add additional ice if a thicker drink is desired.

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  • Pour into prepared glasses.  Cheers!

Homemade Tortilla Chips

  • Servings: 72 tortilla chips
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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12  6″ corn tortillas
1/3 cup vegetable oil(avocado, grapeseed or sunflower)
kosher or sea salt
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Brush tortillas with oil on both sides.  Place in a stack.

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  • Cut tortilla stack into 6 triangle shaped wedges.
  • Arrange the tortillas on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake  for about 6 minutes.

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  • Using tongs turn them over, sprinkle with a little salt, and bake for another 6 minutes..
  • Remove from the oven and let cool.

Spicy Grilled Pineapple Salsa

  • Servings: 1 1/2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1/4 whole pineapple, sliced into rounds
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely diced(or other hot pepper)
1 small shallot, finely diced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
1 tsp fresh lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

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  • Grill pineapple slices on a hot grill for several minutes on both sides and remove from heat.

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  • Dice pineapple into small chunks

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  • Using gloves, finely mince jalapeno
  • Combine all ingredients.  Serve with chips. Ole!

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