A little Pre-Valentine’s Love in the Crafternoon!


Recently, I decided to host what I affectionately like to call a “crafternoon” -an afternoon of laughter and creativity. I invited my Mum, my sister who lives close by (Sherry) and one of my best friends- (Bonnie). We had lots of fun, good food and laughter. These  along with a little glue, glitter and some pretty paper were happy remedies for some of the stress of our world at the moment. 


A couple of years ago I did the same thing on a little larger scale with about 13 invited guests. I decided to scale back a little this year but didn’t want to miss out on it all together.

One of the things I’ve decided to do this year is to finish projects that are not completed but have been hanging around for some time waiting on me. I also have a tendency to pick up pretty yarn, paper or other craft and art supplies but not make the time to use them. So I’ve decided that my friends and I should get together and do this kind of thing more often.


Sherry was kind enough to bring over her Cricut machine (it’s an electronic die cutter) it makes cutting out shapes and lettering a breeze. I may have to put one on my own list after this because it was so fun to whip up the parts for our Valentine’s cards-custom made out of the paper we chose right there on the spot.  Mom brought some adorable 3-D shapes for Valentine’s including a “love bug” or two. Bonnie learned that she actually likes using stamps and ink. 🙂

Here’s the menu and I have to confess I am missing some pics because I was having a good time and forgot to take them before some of the food was gone 😉

  • Crab Dip and chips /crudites and Stonemill Spinach and Artichoke Dip (purchased)
  • Petite Rolls (Bonnie called them “roll Poppers” 🙂
  • Spinach Salad with warm Bacon Vinaigrette
  • Gabi’s Wild Rice casserole
  • Chicken Royale -my way
  • Strawberry Daiquiri Punch
  • Elvis- Love Me Tender Cake
  • Butterscotch Pots De Creme



Crab Dip for chips or crudites

  • 1/2 pound of cream cheese

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 minced green onion

  • 2 cloves minced garlic

  • garlic salt to taste

  • a large pinch of Old Bay Seasoning or fish herbs

  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 3 dashes smoked Chipotle Tabasco sauce

  • 3/4 to 1 pound minced cooked crab meat well drained

  • Z’atar

Mix all ingredients except green onion and crab together in mixer or food processor. Stir in green onion and crab. Chill for a couple of hours to meld flavours. Sprinkle Z’atar on top. Serve.

Petite Rolls -sorry no pic but I promise they were tiny and cute ;(

  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided

  • 1 cup lukewarm water

  • 1/4 pound butter, melted and cooled

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 4-1/2 cups all purpose flour plus more if needed

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Dissolve 1 teaspoon of the 1/2 cup sugar into the lukewarm water and sprinkle the yeast over. Let sit until foaming to proof. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the 1/2 cup butter, eggs and proofed yeast. Beat until well combined. In a medium bowl, combine the 4-1/2 cups of flour the remainder of the 1/2 cup of sugar and the salt. Add to the wet ingredients and beat well. If necessary add more flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, but remains soft and slightly sticky. Place in a greased bowl, turn to coat the dough and cover. Refrigerate for 8 hours. Remove from the fridge and let the dough come to room temp for 1/2 hour before rolling out to 1 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut with a well floured 1 inch cutter and place almost touching into a parchment lined and greased and floured jelly roll pan. Let rise, covered in a warm place for about an hour until doubled in bulk. Preheat the oven to 400F and bake for about 12-14 minutes or until golden. Brush the tops with butter while warm and serve.


Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

  • 4 cups Spinach washed well and dried thoroughly

  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced

  • 1 bunch radishes, sliced

  • 1 can Mandarin oranges in light syrup, chilled and drained well (or one navel orange sectioned with juice over the bowl)

  • 6 slices bacon, cut into 3/4 inch pieces

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • freshly ground black pepper- several grinds

Combine the spinach, green onions, radishes and oranges in a large salad bowl and keep chilled. Fry the bacon pieces until crisp starting in a cold frying pan over med low heat.Mix the vinegar, sugar and salt together and add to the pan (don’t breathe in the vinegar fumes) stir until sugar dissolves. Add to salad in bowl and toss gently. Serve immediately.


Gabi’s Wild Rice casserole

  • 4 cups mixed white and wild rice cooked and cooled.
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can artichoke bottoms or hearts chopped
  • 2 small cans sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup concentrate
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup concentrate
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup pecan halves

Mix all of the ingredients together except pecans. Stir well to combine, spread in a buttered 9×13 inch baking dish, top with pecans. Cover and bake for 40 minutes at 375F, remove foil and bake until pecans crisp- about 10 minutes more.



Chicken Royale- my way

  • 8 half chicken breasts, pounded flat to a uniform 1/4 inch thick

  • 1 package Boursin cheese, divided into 8 pieces

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, divided into 8 pieces

  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans (or enough to coat the cheese balls)

  • 16 leaves washed spinach

  • 16 slices of Prosciutto

  • salt and pepper

  • 1/2 cup rose or white wine

  • 1/2 cup raspberry vinegar

  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam

  • 2 Tablespoons butter

Mix each piece of Boursin with a piece of cream cheese (to make 8 total) into a walnut shaped ball. Roll in the pecans until coated. Salt and pepper chicken and place 2 spinach leaves in the center of a pounded chicken breast piece, top with a cheese ball. Pull the breast around to cover the cheese. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around the breast and cross with a second piece of prosciutto to completely enclose the seams. Place in a baking dish. Repeat with all remaining. You should have eight chicken packets. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for about 30-40 minutes or until chicken is done. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the wine, vinegar and jam and cook until boiling. Serve over the chicken.

Strawberry Daiquiri Punch

  • one 8 ounce package frozen sliced strawberries

  • 1 can frozen strawberry daiquiri mix

  • 1 can frozen pineapple juice

  • 24 ounces sparkling lemonade

  • 12 ounces ginger-ale

  • water and ice to taste



Elvis’ Love Me Tender cake

This is just a concoction. I’m just going to give you the link to Epicurious for Elvis Presley’s Favorite Pound Cake recipe. But do make it. Then slice a pint of fresh organic strawberries lengthwise to make “hearts” macerate with vanilla sugar and some Gran Marnier or Orange Brandy. Make a fresh ganache (heat cream until boiling pour over equal amount of chopped choc add a small knob of butter and a little Amaretto if desired) use Valrhona Alpaco or other really good chocolate and enjoy!

Butterscotch Pots de Creme

I didn’t get a pic of these either although they were to die for -if it hadn’t been bad manners we all would have licked our wee lion’s head ramekins clean on the spot. I will be making these again- when my waist can recover. The recipe is on Epicurious too here’s the link- Butterscotch Pots de Creme. I used dark brown sugar instead of the pricier Demerara and raw sugar for the Turbinado listed. If they were any better with the other sugars I’m not sure I could take it. 😉 Mmm oh my…..

Well that’s it for the Valentine making bash! I send you all lots of love!


P.S. I am not making the super Spinach dip that all of the other Craving Ellie crew are making today I have a huge Costco purchased tub leftover from the above and really can’t justify making more. I will try the recipe another time though- I promise. And I send my apologies to Cathy at The Tortefeasor for not playing today  but I do love her site- go on check it out. And for a list to check out the other Ellies’ Warm Spinach and Artichoke Dip here.




  1. Gabi says:

    Michelle- thanks so much- do try the butterscotch pots they’re delectable!

    Val- Thank you xoxo

    Maryann – oh you crack me up 😀

    Mikky- hey thanks and thanks for stopping by

    Natashya- thank you- and I WILL see you on TFF

    Marie- Thanks my friend- wish you could have been there xo

    Dhanggit- You are such a sweet- I send you a special valentine for all your lovely support!

    Tanna- Thanks for the lovely comment!

    Sally- Thanks- those afternoons sound divine to me I think it is so much more fun to create and produce together as women that’s one of the true benefits! Let me know how the chicken goes…

    Maria- thanks- how’s the Viking school going?

    I send you all a big heart of

  2. casalba says:

    Gabi, what a great idea the “crafternoon” is. So much more fun in good company. You are reminding me of when I lived in a small village in France – all the women formed a cooperative and would get together when bottling/canning/preserving their produce. Sitting, chatting, chopping, peeling… the job got done in half the time and the room was filled with laughter.

    Love all your recipes, but that Chicken Royale is bookmarked! Can’t stop looking at it.

  3. dhanggit says:

    you really have magic in taking pictures..i love everyone of them (as always)! im dying to try the wild rice casserole, im sure my hubby and daughter will love it!

  4. Marie says:

    Wow Gabi! How fun! You all are so creative!
    That wild rice and the chicken royale look fabulous! Love the heart strwberries too! Great ideas here, and love your photo’s. xox

  5. Maryann says:

    I always forget your comments are at the TOP of your post! haha Anyway, Gabi..everything looks great. 😉

  6. Michelle says:

    OH MY…your party sounds like so much fun and the food is wonderful!

    I can’t wait to try the Butterscotch Pudding! It’s so cold here and it sounds so good to me.

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