Now that Phoebe is eating a wide range of foods (from roasted cauliflower to yes, the occasional chocolate chip cookie), I’m constantly on the hunt for simple recipes that she’ll love, that can also be the jumping-off point to whatever Adam and I will be eating for dinner that night. Since receiving my copy of Weelicious Lunches, blogger Catherine McCord’s brand new collection of fresh and innovative lunch ideas, I’ve been so inspired to whip up outside-the-box dishes that thankfully, call for only a handful of ingredients. Catherine is one of those beautiful, super cool moms that is a smash success at everything she does… yet somehow manages to feel totally approachable, too. I’m so thrilled that she let us peek in on a recent lunchtime cooking party she hosted for a few friends in her gorgeous LA kitchen, and that photographer Mary Costa was there to capture all the yummy details.
My standard hostess outfit:
Generally something flowy, or jeans and a shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Comfortable with a splash of color.
My must-have entertaining tool:
Cutting boards! I have them in all different shapes and sizes. Even if you aren’t a gourmand, they up your game a bit more. Of course, I use them for chopping and dicing, but they also present food beautifully. Even at get together’s I will pull kids right up to the table and get them chopping.
Always in my refrigerator:
You don’t want to see my refrigerator! I hate running out of any of our favorite foods… almond butter, Greek yogurt, Persian cucumbers, eggs, tortillas, cheddar cheese, berries and lots and lots of leftovers (which I love) can always be found.
My signature entertaining dish:
For an adult party it’s my Southern Style Pork Tenderloin. I can’t get enough of it!
When it comes to the kids, it’s a tie between my Rice Cooker Mac and Cheese which I’ve made for every birthday party I’ve thrown (I have to make it in two rice cookers it’s so popular) and “sushi” sandwiches with a variety of fillings like cream cheese with olive tapenade or good ole’ PB&J.
The restaurant meal I’ll never forget:
My husband and I got married with just our parents and my brother present at Blue Hill in NYC. The chef, Dan Barber, cooked us the meal of a life time as well as the most unique wedding cake make from rice crisps. Nostalgic perfection.
The night I gave birth to Chloe, all I wanted afterward was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I actually dreamed about having this “push” sandwich for weeks before Chloe arrived, and hours after she was born and resting in my arms, I gobbled up not one, but two. After all, I’d more than earned it! If only I knew then what I know now: the secret to making the world’s greatest PB&J is finishing it in a waffle iron. The bread gets super crispy and the peanut butter and jelly melt together in an indescribably delicious way. When you want to impress someone with your incredible culinary skills, whip up one of these ooey-gooey, delectable treats. I promise you that they’ll declare it “the world’s greatest PB&J.”
Click here for the recipe for Catherine’s “World’s Greatest PB&J”
My entertaining style in 5 words or less:
Relaxed and ready for fun!
My dream dinner guests:
Jamie Oliver, Michelle Obama, Adele, Diane Sawyer, Martha Stewart and my husband because he’s the funniest person I know.
When I first moved to Los Angeles over fifteen years ago, several of my friends introduced me to their favorite restaurant, Chin Chin, which is famous for its Chinese chicken salad. One bite of this crisp, crunchy, fresh salad and you’ll immediately understand why it’s so darned popular. I’m always trying to think of recipes that our entire family can eat together, and this one has a lot of fans in my house.
It couldn’t be easier to make. In no time you’ll have a tasty salad that’s filled with vitamin-packed veggies. Many people would never imagine their kids eating salad, but trust me; this one will change their minds.
Click here for the recipe for Catherine’s “Shredded Chinese Chicken Salad”
My current favorite color palette for parties:
I love everything white with splashes of color. I bring out the color with fun napkins, straws and of course vibrant food.
The taste I’m always craving:
Fruit. Any kind. I’m an equal opportunist as long as whatever I am eating is at it’s peak of freshness.
What scares me about entertaining:
Guests leaving. I love when everyone’s having so much fun that they don’t want to go.
The entertaining rule I rarely break:
Keeping everyone’s glass filled.
The perfect dinner party playlist includes:
Adele, Justin Timberlake, Daft Punk, Bruno Mars. I always keep it upbeat so there’s a bit of head bobbing and foot tapping happening.
Do you have any idea how much money you spend on granola and/or nutritional bars for your kids each year? Take a minute and add it up. I would bet it’s more than you think. They may be convenient, but at what cost? About 8 years ago, I got so fed up with spending money on granola and nutritional bars that I decided to figure out how to make them myself. I worked so hard at it that I seriously flirted with the idea of starting my own bar business! These Chocolate Chip Granola Bars are unbelievably delicious and, if you wrap and store them individually, just as easy to grab when you’re on the go as the ones you buy at the market. The best part? This recipe makes thirty bars and will cost you less than $4.00 to make.
Click here for the recipe for Catherine’s “Chocolate Chip Granola Bars”
photography by Mary Costa
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