Traveling Pans, Healthy Hearts

by Jenn (eating bender) on February 16, 2011

My good “blend” Mara first initiated me into the Sisterhood of Traveling Pans way back in June of last year. Since then, the Sisterhood has met several more times, but with the wedding, honeymoon and holidays, I have regrettably not been there.

That all changed on Sunday night in the city. The theme? Heart healthy, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

As usual, I was amazed by the dishes these women put together. Pictures simply do not do them justice, but I will make them try as hard as they can!

For starters, there was a fresh spinach salad, made with chickpeas, pears, red onion and balsamic.

Fresh asparagus seasoned with cajun spices.

A platter of beets and mandarin oranges with homemade dressing.

Handmade turkey potstickers with Asian soy sauce for dipping. EDITED TO ADD: Amy posted the recipe on her blog! You can make these yummy potstickers for yourself by clicking here.

And finally, my contribution: Humbecue Salmon Salad! Served with rye and sesame crackers.

For the main entrees, there was whole wheat pasta, which had every type of mushroom you can imagine (the kitchen smelled like heaven) and fresh Parmesan cheese.

Chicken lettuce wraps with “everything from the fridge” sauce (including ketchup and mustard)!

And last but not least, Mara’s homemade wheat rolls

…served with black bean burgers!

Nom, right?

We brought everything to the gorgeously arranged table for serving.

I took a bit from each dish and by the end of the meal, my tummy was very happy with me.

Wine was also served, of course. It has heart healthy antioxidants, you know.

The conversation was fabulous as well. We discussed our biggest cooking disasters (mine being that I still have never been able to make a decent batch of chocolate chip cookies), booming new businesses, family and friends. Many laughs were shared.

When the table was cleared for dessert, Tina amazed us all by bringing out a stunner.

I kid you not, this may have been the best dessert I have EVER had. Where to begin? Let’s start from the top. We have fresh strawberry with sugar-coated mint leaves and edible flowers. Next to that, peeking out from underneath, are homemade macaroons. Those, combined with the heart-shaped meringue and raspberries, help balance the exotically rich flavor of the homemade dark chocolate sorbet in the center.

That’s right. Homemade. Dark Chocolate. Sorbet. Four of the best words you could ever string together.

The goodies were surrounded by sprinkles of orange dust. Orange dust. I think it’s self-evident that there wasn’t a single person in the room who was not oohing and ahhing over this dessert.

We left Beth’s house with full stomachs but more importantly, happy, healthy hearts. Sure, we could say it was the food that did it. But I’m more inclined to believe that a night filled with laughter, no matter what is on the menu, is what truly adds years onto our lives.

(How’s that for a cheesy ending?) 😉

Do you host or attend dinner parties, supper clubs, etc.?

I’d love to hear your stories, too.


1 annie February 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Those potstickers look really good!

everything looks yummy!

2 Amy February 17, 2011 at 8:25 am

@Annie – Check my blog for the potsticker recipe in a few days.. they are yummy!

3 Jenn (eating bender) February 22, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Agreed! Amy just posted the recipe on her blog, too!

I’m on a mission to make them soon. :)

4 Marianne February 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm

That mushroom filled pasta is what the pasta of my dreams looks like. I love simple oil/garlic sauces, and to fill it with mushrooms and top with parmesan…yum!

5 Jenn (eating bender) February 22, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Me too, Marianne! Sometimes the tomato sauce just gets in the way!

6 Jess February 16, 2011 at 6:10 pm

That dessert looks amazing, and I love that you do this- it is so cute:) and I love the cheesy ending, too!

7 Mara @ What's For Dinner? February 16, 2011 at 6:12 pm

I’m so glad you have the photos from that night… I can’t believe my camera ate them!! They must’ve been delicious. I absolutely loved that night, and am so glad you were there!!

8 Natalie @ Will Jog for food February 16, 2011 at 6:15 pm

WOW! Homemade dark chocolate sorbet?! Homemade potstickers! That looks like the best meal EVER :)

9 Jenn (eating bender) February 22, 2011 at 7:46 pm

It was amazing!! Also, I’m singing Amy’s praises because she just posted her potsticker recipe!

10 Erica February 16, 2011 at 7:02 pm

oh my gosh! What a dinner! Everything looks AMAZING! My favorite parts are the fresh fruit, potstickers and that dessert! I love hosting and attending dinner parties. Its so much fun to try new dishes

11 Amy February 17, 2011 at 8:24 am

@Erika – Check my blog for the potsticker recipe in a few days.. they are yummy!

12 Jenn (eating bender) February 22, 2011 at 7:51 pm

I couldn’t agree more! Also, Amy’s potsticker recipe just posted if you’re interested: Pretty sure these are going on my to-do list for the weekend! :)

13 Toronto Girl West February 16, 2011 at 7:07 pm

This post made me want to pack up my bags and move to Chicago! lol Just to partake in your get togethers!!! 😛

As for dinner parties – we’ve had small casual stuff but we only have a dinette set for two in our current place (no room). So no formal sit down stuff.

14 Jenn (eating bender) February 22, 2011 at 7:47 pm

We want you to move to Chicago. Pretty please? :)

15 CaSaundra February 16, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Oh wow–that truly is a delicious looking spread!! I wish people had big dinner parties around here, but none that I know of. Maybe I should host one?! :-)

p.s. Could you take a minute and vote for my Pink Velvet POM cupcake here:
And spread the word if you’d like!! Thanks a million!!

16 Jenn (eating bender) February 19, 2011 at 10:08 am

Added your link to my latest post! Yum! Good luck. :)

17 BroccoliHut February 16, 2011 at 8:08 pm

So much great food! Now I’m craving a black bean burger…
Interesting factoid I learned yesterday: tulips are poisonous to humans! So don’t go eating that flower arrangement!

18 Jenn (eating bender) February 22, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I definitely did not know that about tulips. Thanks for looking out! :)

19 cbrady3 February 16, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Such a fun idea! My friends aren’t very into food or cooking right now, but it’s definitely something I’d like to do when I’m more “grown up”!

20 Meredith February 16, 2011 at 8:51 pm

what a great feast!

21 Lauren February 17, 2011 at 5:56 am

I love this idea so much!!! And oh my goodness, what a dinner!! When you put amazing women together who love food and love to cook, only incredible things can happen!

22 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) February 17, 2011 at 6:12 am

Everything looks fabulous! And man, oh man, that dessert?! Wow!

23 Amy February 17, 2011 at 8:23 am

Great post Jenn. So fun seeing you.. I’ll be posting my Potsticker recipe this week so your readers can go to to find it.

24 Megan (Braise The Roof) February 17, 2011 at 9:22 am

Too funny, I just put up a post about a dinner party, too! We must be on the same wavelength. :) That spread looks phenomenal and I can’t believe that gorgeous dessert!!

25 Jason @ Shutter & Saute February 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Those potstickers look amazing!

26 Shannon February 20, 2011 at 3:07 pm

omg, what a meal!! everything looks so fantastic :)

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