Posts tagged Valentine's Day
Valentine Cocktail Party + 3 simple appetizer recipes
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party

There are so many options for how to spend Valentine’s Day, but a fun way to celebrate with all of your friends is with a simple cocktail party - after all, Valentine’s Day is on a Thursday this year! Instead of celebrating just as couples, invite everyone over for drinks and small bites and celebrate together. This is especially great if some of your group is ‘coupled up’ and some of your group isn’t. And the planner-ahead-ers can pop over before their dinner reservation!

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party

I have found when you’re hosting a party that the best thing you can do for appetizers is pick three good ones and go ALL IN! So be prepared to make tons of them because no one will dig into a partially empty buffet. I usually make one batch of each of these per every 10 people. But if you are cheese lovers, then maybe add a little more.

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Baked Camembert
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Baked Camembert
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Baked Camembert
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Baked Camembert

BAKED CAMEMBERT

1 wheel of camembert cheese

10 sprigs rosemary

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a bed of rosemary sprigs on a baking sheet and place the unwrapped wheel of cheese on top.

Bake 30-35 minutes until the cheese browns on top. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes.

Move the cheese to a serving dish and discard the cooked rosemary branches. Drizzle the top with honey and sprinkle with walnuts.

Serve with slices of bread or crackers.

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party

I found all of these serving platters at Anko - my new favorite obsession because everything is darling and really well priced. I picked up these pink platters because they’re pink but not PINK. I was friends with a guy who used to call PINK menopause pink because when he was growing up in the south, every woman around 50 years old remodeled her kitchen and added those pink appliances that were so hot for a while. It was the ‘60’s after all. Ever since then I have been super picky about my color pink. I DO NOT WANT menopause pink in my life.

These are not. These are awesome. There are dinner plates and bowls too.

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Pesto Gorgonzola
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Pesto Gorgonzola
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Pesto Gorgonzola

PESTO GORGONZOLA

Undoubtably the simplest appetizer you will ever make. Two ingredients; ten minutes; served hot or cold!

1/2 cup pesto

1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese

1 baguette, sliced

In bowl, mix together the pesto and gorgonzola until evenly mixed. Spread on the top of toasted bread. Toast again for 2-3 minutes in a broiler - or serve cold. Delicious either way.

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Candy Cocktail

CANDY COCKTAIL

1 packet grape poprocks

slice of lemon

1 tablespoon chambord

champagne

Rub the edge of a champagne coupe with the slice of lemon and rim with poprocks. Pour in chambord and top with champagne. Serve quickly!

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party | Candy Cocktail

I love combining new things with my collection of vintage barware. These champagne coupes are from the 1950’s and I adore them. I use them all the time because there is literally never a time when gold rimmed champagne coupes aren’t appropriate. If you can find some yourself, I highly encourage you to grab them! I set them on top of a marble board from Anko. I like to have everything grouped together - the marble is a great landing place for glassware ESPECIALLY if you have marble countertops. The slab creates a spot that’s unique but won’t damage your real marble counters in the event anyone spills.


Pin these for later!

Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party
Hedin Simple Valentine Cocktail Party

Family Valentine Game Night + Heartthrob Pasta Recipe
Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner

There is not only one good way to spend Valentine’s Day but I think this is the best way - with your family at home. This is the best way for loads of reasons: 1. Going out for Valentine’s Day is expensive. 2. Most restaurants have a prix fix menu, servers that are grumpy, and are overly busy. 3. Your kids will feel super special if you spend this day with them instead of out on a date. 4. You can go out on a date tomorrow night when everything is back to normal and you can get a seat at a restaurant.

For our family game night I made a fun dinner everyone will eat - but also made it a little bit cheeky and really leaned into the ‘valentine’ theme. Kids love it. And, let’s be honest, I love it too.

HeartthrobPastaRecipeDetailPage.jpg
Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner

Our family’s new favorite game is this hilarious combination of pictionary and being blindfolded - it’s called Googly Eyes. It is hilarious! You roll to land on what color glasses you’ll wear while you attempt to draw something as simple as popcorn. The glasses make it surprisingly challenging. Unless you are Pearl and I - we are a dream team.

Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner
Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner

HEARTTHROB PASTA

serves 4

STEP 1

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Slice the beets in half and add them to the water as it begins to boil.  When the water has come to a boil, add the pasta.

 

STEP 2

When the pasta is nearly cooked, turn the heat off and let rest for 30 minutes.  

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

 

STEP 3

Unroll the package of crescent dough and press together all of the seams.  Slice the dough into strips.  Twist the dough and form it into a heart.  

 

Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

 

STEP 4

Heat a skillet with the olive oil.  Cook the peppers, onion, and garlic over medium heat until softened. Remove the beets from the pasta, remove the skin with a paper towel (by rubbing it off), chop them and add them to the skillet.

 

STEP 5

Drain the pasta – reserving at least one cup of pasta water – and toss the pasta with the peppers.  Add the pasta water and toss until a sauce has formed.  Remove from heat and sprinkle parmesan on top.  

          

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 sweet onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tbs olive oil

2 beets

½ lb pasta

½ cup parmesan cheese

1 package crescent dough

Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner
HeartthrobPastaMainMenu2.jpg
Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Game Night Dinner

CUPID SPRITZ

1 ounce pomegranate juice

1 ounce vodka

DRY Sparkling Lavender

In a glass filled with ice, layer vodka and pomegranate juice. Top with DRY Sparkling and serve! For those without booze, just skip the vodka and don’t forget to garnish with a cherry.


THIS IS A SPONSORED POST. ALEXANDRA HEDIN HAS RECEIVED PAYMENT OR PRODUCTS IN EXCHANGE FOR PROMOTING. ALL OPINIONS STATED ARE MY OWN AND I ONLY PROMOTE PRODUCTS AND COMPANIES I LOVE.

weeknight cocktail | shot through the heart
Ali Hedin | Anti-Valentine Cocktail

All month Jordan of Oh Happy Day has been posting the most hilarious "Anti-Valentine" Valentine ideas.  Every time I'm scrolling through them I find myself giggling at her hilarious un-valentine sentiments, like "I need space" or "The magic is gone."

So when I started making one of my favorite cocktails - a Negroni - into something kind of fun for Valentines day, I realized the bitterness of the aperol lent itself perfectly to an anti-valentine cocktail!  

Ali Hedin | Anti-Valentine Cocktail
Ali Hedin | Anti-Valentine Cocktail

SHOT THROUGH THE HEART

makes 4

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake aperol and gin together.  Strain into four cocktail glasses, dividing the gin mixture equally.  Top with Blood Orange DRY Sparkling and serve while it's cold. Cin Cin. 

2 ounces Aperol 

4 ounces gin

Blood Orange DRY Sparkling

Ali Hedin | Anti-Valentine Cocktail
Ali Hedin | Anti-Valentine Cocktail
Ali Hedin | Anti-Valentine Cocktail

30 Minute Romantic Valentine's Day at Home {featuring Steak au Poivre}
Ali Hedin's Steak au Poivre

In the event you forgot to get a dinner reservation for Valentine's Day - or if you're like me - you don't want to waste a perfectly good evening out on a prix fix menu and overly crowded restaurants. - let's eat in!

I have become a master of the "indoor steak" technique over the last few years for a number of reasons, but mostly because it is so freaking easy!  SO EASY!  It's how restaurants do their steaks - there aren't grills in most restaurants - so they skillet sear and broil them too.  It keeps in the moisture (worst word ever) and creates the deliciously crispy crust on the outside.

The video will show you how easy it is to cook steak in the oven + a bonus cocktail and a side dish you can make in minutes.  (Also, my cute husband is at the end)

Ali Hedin's Valentine's Day at Home!

Steak au Poivre

serves 4

4 NY Strip steaks

4 tbs crushed peppercorns

2 tbs butter

2 shallot, chopped

½ cup cognac

½ cup beef stock

3 large russet potatoes, sliced in rounds

2 tbs olive oil

2 tsp flake salt

 

STEP 1

Preheat the broiler to 500 degrees. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until the pan is smoking hot.  Pat the steaks dry and push each one into the peppercorns. 

 

STEP 2

Pop the steaks on the hot skillet.  Sear 3 minutes each side until browned.

 

STEP 3

Toss potatoes in olive oil and salt.  Spread out on a baking sheet and pop in the lowest rack in the oven for 5 minutes.  Check and flip as needed to brown them but not burn them.

 

STEP 4

Top each steak with ½ tbs butter and pop the pan into the oven.  Cook 5-8 minutes until meat thermometer reads 145 degrees. Remove from the oven and let rest covered on a plate with foil for 5 minutes.

 

STEP 5

Place pan on a high burner and pour in shallots – cook quickly.  Add cognac & stock and whisk.  Season with salt.  Cook to reduce by 1/2.  Plate steaks and top with sauce.

 

NOTES

-       Traditionally this is cooked with heavy cream.  That didn’t seem needed with this gorgeous steak but if you want to add ½ cup cream with the sherry, it’s delicious.


I don't think you need me to tell you how to make it romantic at home.  But I will remind you that music helps.  A lot.  Have music.  

Ali Hedin's Valentine Playlist
 

as seen on tv | galentine's day
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Ali Hedin | Galentine's Day

I am so lucky to have a great group of girlfriends who are supportive, fun, and are always ready for a gif in the text string.  This January seemed to take us down hard.  Everyone got sick, or their kids got sick, or something dramatic happened that kept us all apart.  

We're due for a girls day.  One involving booze.  

I can't wait to celebrate my lady loves with a fun boozy brunch.  This one is so simple that you can whip it up after the kids have left for school and be done in time for a p.j. clad brunch before 9am! (My kids leave at 7:30am)

Ali Hedin | Galentine's Day
Ali Hedin | Galentine Party
Ali Hedin | Galentine's Day
Ali Hedin | Galentine's Day

Simple & Fun Family Valentine's Dinner
Ali Hedin | Fun Family Valentine's Day!

We don't usually go out for Valentine's Day.  We used to.  But then with kids it became more challenging for us to find a sitter, a reservation, and a restaurant we'd want to spend a fortune at for a prix fix menu.  

So we stay at home.  It's fun to spend time with the kids and do something special for them.  I started making a family friendly valentine's dinner when my oldest was a baby and the tradition has carried on.

And then we go out to dinner another night when it's not the night every other couple goes out to dinner.

My favorite part is having them make their own heart shaped pizzas.  They could make plain shapes too, I guess, but it's Valentine's!  Have a little fun with it!  For my kids, all I really need is cheese and pepperoni.  But you can add olives, bell pepper, sausage, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, and different kinds of cheese - like feta.

Hedin-Valentine-4.jpgAli Hedin | Fun and Easy Family Valentine's Dinner
Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Day
Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Day
Ali Hedin | Family Valentine's Day

In the video I made fun soda floats with my kids.  It's a simple option that's a huge win for the kids - and doubles as dessert.  But I really really like dessert and I am not the hugest fan of soda floats...

The point is to have a fun cocktail that's just for the kids.  Floats are a great time for everyone - but Shirley Temple's are just as popular.  My kids also love Dry Soda's - the Rainier Cherry flavor is a favorite!  

Ali Hedin | Fun and Easy Family Valentine's Dinner
Ali Hedin | Fun and Easy Family Valentine's Dinner
Ali Hedin's Simple and Fun Valentine's Day for the whole family!
 

the best strawberry cake ever
Ali Hedin | The Best Strawberry Cake

I feel like you're going to think I'm exaggerating.  But I am not.  This cake is THE BEST.  People who don't actually like me that well in real life love this cake.  And they tell me they love the cake.  Trust me - they wouldn't do that if they didn't love the cake.  This cake is the best.

The best part is that it's barely any ingredients.  I think you spend more time fixing a box cake than it takes to make this from scratch.  

Ali Hedin | The Best Strawberry Cake

I have found that it's best with homemade jam.  But I realize that's not something that everyone keeps in their pantry.  I have loads because it's my favorite and my children hate strawberry jam.  Who could hate strawberry jam?  Something is wrong with them.  

Ali Hedin | The Best Strawberry Cake

STRAWBERRY JAM CAKE

STEP 1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the bottom (not the sides) of two 9" round pans.  In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder and set aside.

STEP 2

In a large mixing bowl, neat together the butter and sugar until smooth.  Ad the vanilla until incorporated.  Add eggs, one at  a time, beating well after each one is added.  With the mixer on  medium speed, add the flour and the jam alternately beginning and ending with flour until both are fully incorporated.

STEP 3

Divide the batter between the pans and bake about 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.  

3 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 eggs

1 cup strawberry jam

Ali Hedin | The Best Strawberry Cake

SIMPLE BUTTERY FROSTING

STEP 1

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until it's smooth.

STEP 2

Add the powdered sugar and beat on low speed until incorporated.  Once the sugar is incorporated turn the mixer to high speed and let it whip for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy.

STEP 3

Mix in the vanilla and any food coloring.  Use immediately!

4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Ali Hedin | The Best Strawberry Cake
weeknight cocktail | watermelon fizz
Ali Hedin | Watermelon Fizz for Galentine's Day

This year I wanted to host a Galentine's Day for my best gal pals.  Unfortunately, we're dealing with one who is just coming out of the ER, two that have been sick, and two that can't stop traveling for work.  It looks like it's turning into a post-Valentine celebration. 

No matter when we get together, these fizzy watermelon cocktails will go down easy.

Ali Hedin | Watermelon Fizz for Galentine's Day
Ali Hedin | Watermelon Fizz for Galentine's Day

WATERMELON FIZZ

serves 4

In a blender, combine watermelon and vodka.  Puree until totally smooth.  Divide equally into four martini glasses and top with DRY Sparkling Watermelon!  Garnish with a heart shape of watermelon skewered with rosemary.

1 cup cubed watermelon

4 ounces vodka

DRY Sparkling Watermelon

Ali Hedin | Watermelon Fizz for Galentine's Day
Ali Hedin | Watermelon Fizz for Galentine's Day

Queen of Valentine Hearts {non-candy love notes}

I love making valentine's with my kids.  I love not buying the store-bought Valentines that are lumped up on the shelves and look entirely un-thoughtful.  Sometimes it's hard to come up with exactly what that fabulously fabulous Valentine is going to be.  Which is why I was so thankful for my friend

Chelsea's

post last month featuring her

cement Valentines

!  Finally I knew what to do with that giant tub of Plaster of Paris I bought before Christmas!  Finally, an adorable Valentine that both boys and girls will dig!  Finally, something my children can EASILY help with!  Hooray!  

Pearl and I made tiny hearts using Plaster of Paris and heart ice molds from Ikea.  After the hearts dried, I set them loose with red and white paint and a lot of red glitter.  

I may or may not have purchased an entire case of playing cards a few years ago because - well, you never know.  So we mounted all of the little hearts on "hearts."  That's right, I picked through all of the playing cards to find only the hearts for this project.  After my children wrote their names on the back, I loaded them into clear bags and closed them with a sticker.  

Happy Valentine's Day!