Thursday, December 30, 2010

{Party Food} Sweet & Sour Meatballs

I hope you're all enjoying your holiday week. We've been mostly homebound due to a sick little one. Doing lots of jigsaw puzzles and watching many movies!

Before this all happened, it was Christmas Eve. Wow, that seems like so long ago already! December is really busy in our home since we celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas. We do Christmas Eve in our house with my family and Christmas Day is always spent with the hubbs' family in Staten Island.

This Christmas Eve, I took some advice from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) and decided NOT to make everything myself. It was so freeing! We made 3 things and assembled 3 things. Don't you just love party food? The best part was that I purposely made so much and had leftovers that lasted for a few days after.

One of my favorite party foods is Sweet & Sour Meatballs.


They're always a hit and as you'll see, so easy to make. I wanted to give you this recipe now in case you needed something for New Year's Eve.

I think you'll be surprised at the secret ingredient!!

Yes, the sauce is made from 2 things - salsa and GRAPE JELLY!!!


No one will ever know it's grape jelly, they'll just think it's delicious!!

Start out with equal parts of your favorite salsa and grape jelly. Since there were kids involved, I used Mild salsa. If it was an adult only party I would have gone with the Medium. For 2 pounds of ground meat, I used approximately 32 ounces each of the salsa and jelly.

Open them both up and put it in a pot.


As this mixture heats up, the jelly starts to liquify and it becomes more like a sauce. This is the same pot you'll be cooking the meatballs in.

You can use your favorite meatball recipe or try mine.

Like I mentioned, I started with 2 pounds organic ground beef, (use whatever you like), 2 eggs, seasoned breadcrumbs, dash of Worcestershire Sauce, dry oregano, garlic and onion powder and salt and pepper to taste.


Mix all ingredients together and form into small meatballs - try to get them smaller than a golf ball. They should be about a 2-bite size ball. I think I got about 40 to 50 meatballs or so out of this mixture.


By the time you finish forming the meatballs, the sauce should be simmering away. Give it a good mix and start to gently place the meatballs in the sauce. Try not to make the mistake I made, and think about the size of your pot BEFORE you start cooking!!


After I put the meatballs in, I realized the pot was too small and had to transfer everything to a larger pot. This pot was actually too big but I didn't have anything in between.


Ooops! There I am in the reflection with my pink snowflake 'jamas on!

Put the lid on and cook the meatballs for about an hour. In the last 15 minutes if you think the sauce looks too thin, take the cover off and the sauce will start to reduce and thicken. This is actually a great dish to make the night before because the sauce definitely thickens up overnight.

Once the meatballs are done, place them in a serving bowl along with your other party food goodies and you're ready to go!


Hope everyone has a great New Year's Eve!

Let me know if you try this recipe.


Sweet & Sour Meatballs (makes about 40 - 50 meatballs)

For the sauce:
  • equal parts salsa annd grape jelly (32 ounces each)

For the meatballs:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon each garlic powder & onion powder
  • splash of worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 - place salsa and grape jelly in a pot on medium heat

2 - mix together all of the ingredients for the meatballs. If the mixture seems too tight, add a little water.

3 - form small meatballs in about a 2-bite size

4 - carefully place the meatballs into the simmering sauce and cook covered for an hour

5 - check the sauce in the last 15 minutes - if too thin, remove cover

6 - place in a serving bowl and enjoy!


Do you have a favorite recipe that you whip out at parties? Would love to hear about them.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and hoping you got everything you wanted from Santa!


And, if you don't celebrate Christmas, hoping you are enjoying your movie and Chinese takeout !!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Where Women Cook" Winner!!


The past couple of days have been so crazy (in a good way) - I can't even begin to tell you!!

Sorry I'm late in announcing the winner but here goes...

Using, the winner was selected.

Lucky number 13!!


Derek and Sarah said...
No plans for cooking this weekend...I am flying home to TN for Christmas!! But, I do plan to bake in the near future lots of Christmas goodies, including christmas tree cake pops from Bakerella! Thanks for the give away! I wish I would have known about this event!

December 17, 2010 9:11 PM

Friday, December 17, 2010

{I Heart Faces} Fix It Friday #81

Wow! I'm actually posting my Fix It Fridays edits on Friday! Must be a miracle!!

Here is the shot SOOC (not mine)

Fix-It Friday #81

Here are my edits using CS4. I did two this time.

The first one I cropped slightly and adjusted the levels and vibrance but did it separately from the girl's jacket.


The second one I cropped more and ran the B&W Beauty action from The Pioneer Woman. I then selected the woman's jacket and adjusted the levels to get more detail.


Check out everyone else's edits by clicking on the I Heart Faces logo.

{Events} Where Women Cook & a Giveaway

Last Friday, I found myself back at Chelsea Market, not eating my way through all the sweets like last time, but instead meeting the women behind all these great sweets and more.


I was fortunate enough to attend an event to launch a new magazine called Where Women Cook - a new magazine from the same publishers of my favorite magazine Artful Blogging.


I just knew it was going to be good! What drew me to this event were the people that were going to be there. Some bloggers that I had been following were going to be featured in the inaugural issue.

The event was held in a large room right next to Chelsea Market Baskets.


When I got there, the line was pretty long but fortunately it moved quickly. While I was waiting in line, I got to talking to the group of women ahead of me. We instantly hit it off and spent the rest of the event together. I love networking!!

When I got into the event, the first table was set up with magazines and various books written by some of the women who were featured in the magazine. The room was so cute! It was decorated with aprons! Aprons hung all over on every wall. It made the event feel very warm and friendly.


I bought a couple of magazines and made my way to each table meeting the various foodies in attendance. I was so excited to meet some of New York's legendary foodies starting with Amy from Amy's Bread.


Bread just has to be the best food on earth, don't you think??

There were other "women of Chelsea Market", including Mary Cleaver - owner of The Green Table restaurant. Organic. Fresh. Local. And a WINE bar!!


The next table had Serena from The Farm Chicks (on the left) - a blog I recently discovered. I love her blog so I was REALLY excited to meet her in person. Look how cute she is!! She's equally as sweet! Definitely check out her blog if you haven't already. On the right is Celeste Shaw - owner of Cake Bakery. She was equally as cute and full of personality!


The first blog I ever started reading was Bakerella. You may remember me telling you about her book signing I recently went to. Well, a couple of years ago when reading Bakerella, she mentioned she was so excited about going to "the ranch". What ranch I thought?? I felt so clueless. I clicked on the link and all I could think was WOW!!! It brought me over to The Pioneer Woman.

The photos were (and still are) so amazing! Horses, cows, and lots and lots of open land. A far cry from my NY lifestyle!! I was in amazement! I've enjoyed reading her blog and watching her success just go through the roof!! Books, TV appearances, movie deals and who knows what else she has in store! She's been a true inspiration.

Hers was the next table coming up. Ahhhh!!! I can't believe I'm going to meet Pioneer Woman!!

She was very nice - we chatted a bit about our girls and the differences between city life and life on a ranch. I told her how all that open space would just freak me out.

I need my crowds. My takeout. My noisy upstair neighbors!

We took a picture together. Don't we look so comfortable together?!?


These are the women I was telling you about earlier - the ones I met in line. Not to be confused with friends I met "online".


Starting from the left, Angie is a photographer (love that!) so we had a lot to chat about.

Then there's Celeste - we had the cake love bonding us. She organized a Cupcake Camp on The Oregon Coast. She managed to get BAKERELLA to come and do some classes! Must have been super fun!

Dianna was also at the Cupcake Camp. She's an amazing cake decorator that has been on a number of Ultimate Cake Off shows (my older one is obsessed with that show) and she also works at the very famous Carlo's Bake Shop. Woo Hoo!! We had cake AND the NY thing bonding us.

Then there was Geri - she was also part of the group - guess she wanted her own photo with Pioneer Woman. She's a professional drummer (so cool!) and her family has a farm and store called Bertha & Brambles in Freeman, WA.. filled with lots of vintage charm.


I also met the creator of the magazine - Jo Packham.


She was so friendly, and stylish! She has creativity oozing out of her! I'm hoping to make it to The Creative Connection 2011 event this coming September in Minnesota and meet her again!

Then there was Sarabeth. THE Sarabeth. THE Sarabeth of Sarabeth's Kitchen!! (2nd from the left with fellow foodies Molly Wizenberg - next issue's cover girl, and on the right award winning cookbook author & chef Rozanne Gold (super friendly!))


All I can say is YUM!! I love Sarabeth's plum cherry preserves. Mmm Mmm Mmm. I've got to try the raspberry key lime? Sounds soooo good! When I lived on the upper west side, many a times I would attempt to eat Sunday brunch at her restaurant. Many a times, the line was out the door. Many a times, I didn't get to go.

I don't live on the upper west side anymore.

I don't even go out for brunch anymore.

Waaaaaahhh!!!! Poor me.

As I said in the beginning, I bought 2 copies of the magazine and had all of the lovely ladies that were there sign them.

One for me, and one for one of you!!


I tried to keep it organized and have them sign mine addressed to Total City Girl and the other just a general one but I kept getting them mixed up so some of the pages will be addressed to Total City Girl. If YOU are a city girl, this shouldn't be a problem then, right?!?


This magazine is so beautiful! Lots of great photos, interesting stories and of course, recipes!!

If you'd like to get this signed issue, just let me know in the comments section. Tell me if you plan on cooking anything special this weekend. I for one will not be, but I did a lot of cooking this week. I made Texas Chain Gang Chili, Chicken & Dumplings, and homemade pasta sauce with meatballs. I'll be taking a break this weekend because next week I have a lot of baking to do.

The deadline for entry is Monday December 20th at 10pm. A winner will be chosen at random and announced on Tuesday December 21st.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


While I'm working on my post about the Where Women Cook event I attended last week, I thought I'd share a few quick photos straight from the streets of NY.

When I got off the subway and was walking west on 15th street towards Chelsea Market, I came across this and just had to get my camera out.


I snapped away and stood there in amazement. I felt like there was such a story behind this car.


Does it belong to a hoarder?

Why is this person saving so many newspapers?

Is someone living in there?

Or buried in there?



What could it be? I noticed other people stopping and trying to peak inside. I honestly didn't want to get THAT close.

What do YOU think?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

{I Heart Faces} Fix It Friday #80

Once again, my edits are coming on Saturday. I was at a really special event yesterday in the city and didn't get to it until now. I'll tell you all about the event this week as I go through my photos. I'm also going to have a little giveaway this week so definitely stay tuned!!

So, here's the shot from the site straight out of the camera (not mine)

Fix-It Friday #80

Here's my final edit:


To check out others, click on the Iheartfaces logo.

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

{I Heart Faces} Fix It Friday #79

Just practicing some photo edits for Fix It Friday. Yes, I know it's Saturday! I was preparing for a holiday gift show I did today so I didn't get to it yesterday.

Here's the original photo SOOC (not mine)

Fix-It Friday #79

Here's my edited version:


I cropped to a square, ran the Soft & Faded PW Action, sharpened a bit and added the border.

Friday, December 3, 2010

{Field Trip Fridays} Laila Rowe

This week I met my friend Pam for sangria and appetizers. We decided to go to one of our favorite places - Cafe Ronda on Columbus Avenue between 71st and 72nd. I'll write a separate post about them another time. One of the reasons I love going there is because of their next door neighbor - Laila Rowe.


Laila Rowe is one of my favorite stores in the city.


Their accessories are fun, fashionable and extremely affordable! Gotta love that! And one more thing, they always have some kind of sale going on!


They hawe lots of bracelets, earrings, rings and necklaces and they are usually organized by color so it makes it super easy to find something especially if you're looking for that perfect accessory to go with a particular outfit.



I absolutely LOVED this necklace!


It had these metal disks with black satin ribbon weaved through them.

I was also eyeing this cameo necklace as well.


Besides jewelry, they have lots of great hair accessories! It's like headband heaven!


Even when it rains in NY, you still want to look stylish. And now you can! Here they have a wide array of rain boots



and even fashionable umbrellas!


Bags, sunglasses and even decorative paper!




Especially with the holidays coming up, Laila Rowe is the perfect place to go to accessorize your holiday outfits.

There are a few locations in the city but I tend to go to the one on Columbus. If you don't live in NY but still want to check them out, no problem - you can go to the Laila Rowe website!!

Their website doesn't have everything you'll see in the store but there's still a great selection.


What's your favorite type of accessory?
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