I wanted to give a little background info before getting into the documentation of our amazing food filled night. Kelsey and I met this past summer and were pretty much inseparable until the day Chris and I moved to Colorado. We pretty much have everything in common, including our love for food, cooking, wine, yoga, and lots of playing/dancing/jumping/skipping/laughing/cartwheeling ;) It was super sad leaving my lovely lady the day we had to move but I knew it wasn’t the last I would see of her!
Kelsey + Eric let us know they were thinking of coming to Colorado about 2 months ago. I was more than excited. A few weeks ago, Kelsey brought to my attention, that the 24, 24, 24 meal would be taking place the weekend that they were in town. Then came, the.best.idea.ever. from Kelsey!!!!
She said: “HEY HEY HEY!!! Let’s apply to do the 24, 24, 24 as a TEAM!!!” I said: “Kelsey, genius idea. This is why I love y.o.u.!!!”
For all of you who aren’t familiar with Foodbuzz, they are an amazing online food community. It is kind of like Facebook for foodies. [about foodbuzz] There are over 3,000 Foodbuzz featured publishers worldwide, which is what Kelsey + I are. They host events and special contests for their bloggers and are an overall amazing company to be associated with.
Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 – This is a monthly event that any of the over 3,000 featured publishers can apply for. The 24’s stand for: 24 meals, in 24 hours, from 24 bloggers. You submit a proposal of your “dream” meal. It can be a meal for yourself, for a group of friends, or anyone you want and it doesn’t even have to be a full meal. You make up the rules! The door is left wide open for creativity, which is awesome. Each month, Foobuzz chooses 24 winners from all around the globe and gives them all $250 to carry out their idea. They like to have variety in their selection, so Kelsey and I thought really hard about how we wanted to word our proposal. When I found out we won, I could hardly contain myself!! I may have squeeled ;)
Here is a small excerpt from our proposal:
Because TWO Bloggers Are Better than One - Local Bites from a Colorado Winter
This is a collaborative entry between two passionate, adventurous, food loving bloggers! Kelsey will be in Colorado visiting Ashley the weekend that the January 24, 24, 24 takes place. What could be more perfect than to tackle this challenge as a team!
THE FOOD: When you think of Colorado in the winter, the first thing that comes to mind is NOT eating locally. However, we will create a night of small tastes, centered on the idea of Local Eats. Paired with the food, we will offer our guests locally brewed beer and mead. We will cap off the night with a smooth and creamy homemade ice cream, made from fresh, local dairy.
THE PEOPLE: We want to “wow” our closest Colorado friends with the local fare. We will host this meal for 10 [including ourselves]. Our intention is for a night filled with mouthwatering tastes that will leave our guests completely satisfied.
THE LOCATION: When you think local, you think “close to home.” So, it seems, there is no better venue than Ashley’s cozy house in Denver. The fire will be lit and the wine glasses will be filled. We want everyone to feel “at home.”
This night will fully encompass the definition of unique. Two food bloggers, will come together, with two different sets of culinary skills and ideas. We will merge them together for most of dishes but create one completely unique bite, each, on our own.
And now, on to the night!!
We had to set the mood. We wanted a super homey + cozy feel. The fire definitely helped.
Colorado is packed with amazing microbreweries, wineries, and even a few meaderies [honey wine]. After much contemplation we decided to go with a variety of beer from Twisted Pine, 2 types of mead from the Redstone Meadery, and a variety from Left Hand Brewery.
I am a huge fan of this Raspberry wheat.
Left Hand makes an extremely unique Ginger Beer!
Our guests started arriving at 6:30pm. Dinner was on at 7[ish]. Everyone was really excited about our “local” idea. They all brought their favorite local beers + wine, which was completely amazing!
Natalie + Pat brought singles of their favorite CO beers.
We started the evening with a platter of crackers + fresh chevre from our trip to the farmers market. It was the creamiest chevre [goat cheese] I have ever had.
Two of the local wines our friends brought :) The Syrah was delish!
Aaaaand we’re off!! All of the recipes can be found on my previous post!
Beer + Cheddar Soup with a side of Herbed Beer Bread
Kelsey + I had a plan of action for the whole night. After all of our prep work we made a timing sheet, so we knew exactly what we had to do and at what time. We had approximate times of when we wanted each course out and notes on when to change the oven temperature, add ingredients, etc. It was so important that we stayed organized. There was no way we could have done it all by memory. This was something I could have never pulled off alone!
We made it a point to stay relaxed, roll with the punches and enjoy the night. This was easily something that could have stressed us out! All of our prep work and detailed planning kept us on track the whole night. It was so much fun!
The soup was super creamy, extremely flavorful and fresh. The local cheddar was pronounced, the veggies and herbs were perfect, and I loved the mild hints of the Twisted Pine Amber Ale. I cannot say enough good things about the beer bread. This was the easiest bread recipe you will ever find! I can’t wait to play around with different variations. The fresh local herbs, milk, and flour made this bread even more amazing.
Everyone definitely “mmmm’d” their way through course one.
The first course was the most hectic as far as timing and then getting things organized for course two. I became more relaxed once the soup was consumed!
Ann + Natalie
Melissa + Matt were there too, with adorable baby Jake. Jake and the dogs reunited. They looove each other! He was such a good boy all night long.
The lovely ladies. Even Kenna got in on this one ;) I love all of these girls. They made the night so much fun. Kelsey + I loved how excited they were!!
Chris kept the fire going in our bar/reading/yoga room :)
Lamb Lollipops with Garlic Baked Butternut Squash
Enter, problem #1 – Chris preheated the grill so I could get going with the lamb. When I went outside the flame was out and the grill was cold. Minor freak out. Upon further investigation, the gas in our tank was out. The squash was going to be done shortly and the lamb needed to get started!
Enter, solution #1 – Pan sear the lamb instead!
- Lightly grease pans and heat over medium high heat.
- Place lamb in the hot pan and let sit for about 3-5min.
- Flip and cook for 3-5min longer. Check internal temperature [125* for medium rare]
We took the lamb off when it read 130*
The lamb browned perfectly. I think I actually liked cooking it in the pan more so than on the grill.
The local butternut squash was cooked to perfection and smelled amazing.
Kelsey plated away. It’s a good thing I have a lot of dishware + silverware. Even so, we had to run the dishwasher three times throughout the course of the night!
Watch the temp!
This local, grass-fed lamb was amazing. Tender + fresh.
It paired perfectly with the garlicky squash. The color contrast worked well too ;)
Kel[C] getting her photo on! As we brought the plates out to the table, everyone knew to wait for the photo sessions to finish! Everyone gathered around and chowed down. We wanted to keep it casual + fun!
Ooooops!! We forgot the fresh shaved parm cheese!! Enter ---> Kelsey to the rescuuuue!!!
While in the kitchen, Kelsey + I slurped on this local vino. It was $9.99 and totally drinkable!! In fact, it was super tasty!! While everyone mingled we were having fun in the kitchen. None of our guests knew what was on the menu. It was way more exciting this way!
We may or may not have had some slurps of deelicious local milk. It was utterly Uhmazing. [get it? utt-erly…ok, sorry, bad cow joke]
…does a body good!
Lemon Apple Palette Cleanser
This was our Lemon Apple Palette Cleanser, featuring local apples. We used EVERY mini spoon I own for this one :) Since it included apple brandy, I thought they would be fun to eat out of shot glasses.
The flavor was great!
It was the perfect little bite to include in our foodie filled night!
Melissa with sleepy Jake.
Melissa, Matt + Jake. Totally adorable!
Enjoying my Twisted Pine brew! The night progressed so well. The courses came out a little later than we planned for, but honestly, we knew that was going to happen! :) We were totally okay with it and everyone was enjoying themselves.
Dakota was being her usual self. She was so completely exhausted and falling asleep sitting up. Poor thing!
The hubs + me!! It was fun to cook for our boys + a bunch of friends!!
Kelsey’s boy and our good friend, Eric. I used his house to make my ota.bars in, when we lived in Charlotte! He pretty much rocks!
Typical Matt photo face.
Matt + me!
Kelsey thought it was a good idea to balance wine on top of Dakota’s head.
Then, she got attacked by the pony named Kenna beans!!!
Dakota = weirdest dog ever! She seriously likes wine. We know this from spilling it on the floor once and she helped clean it up. Don’t worry, she only had a slurp or 2!
For our fourth course, we featured a local tomato sauce company called Spinelli’s, based out of Denver. This sauce was extremely impressive. Kelsey + I knew we wouldn’t have time to make sauce, but we definitely wanted to support the local as much as possible. We found this at Whole Foods. It had a great consistency and a little bit of spice. I will definitely be buying this again.
A few of the other local wines our friends brought! <3
Ashley’s Buffalo Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash + Creamy Vodka Sauce
The local buffalo meatballs were packed with fresh herbs. They were the most flavorful meatballs I have ever made. Baking meatballs in a mini muffin pan is the way to go! It totally kept them from drying out.
All of the flavors worked really well together. I loved the slight crunch from the spaghetti squash. It was almost everyone’s first time eating spaghetti squash and I think it went over really well! Kelsey was so excited after every bite that we served, because everyone’s plates were completely cleared of all food. It made the chefs very happy :) :)
Dakota continued to be sleepy but refused to admit it.
Someone decided it was doggie play time. Wonder who?
Enter ---> PAT!
Brisket paired with Kelsey’s Purple Slaw
Kelsey sliced the rolls [fresh from the Whole Foods bakery] that we were going to serve with the brisket. They were the perfect little buttery, fluffy buns.
The local beef brisket was organic + grass-fed. Kelsey pulled the brisket after it was done cooking in the crock pot. She whipped up a sauce with some of the ingredients we rubbed into the meat earlier and let it simmer for about 5-10min, right in the crock pot. It was the perfect final touch. The brisket was tender and full of amazing flavor.
I know I keep saying how the flavors were amazing but they truly were! No exaggerating. Using local, in season foods, really makes all of the difference. Also, the quality of the meats were superb.
The local cabbage used in the purple slaw created a great color contrast. I love having something savory paired with a lighter crunchy side. The slaw had a great tangy mellow flavor. I absolutely loved Kelsey’s recipe for this!
We poured tastes of both types of mead for everyone to try. The first was Redstone’s Boysenberry Nectar.
It was enjoyed! Mead is fairly sweet, so this small serving was perfect! It worked really well as another palette cleanser :)
We wanted to try their Traditional Honey Wine. I liked the boysenberry more than the traditional, but both were tasty!
Apple Bread Pudding topped with Honey Vanilla Ice Cream
Even dessert was featured with almost all local ingredients! I had to include a recipe from my favorite 101 Cookbooks website! Heidi’s recipes never disappoint! The ice cream was out.of.this.world. It was packed full of vanilla flavor and had a nice subtle sweetness from the local honey. It definitely was not too sweet, which I liked. The local cream + milk added to the flavor + creamy consistency of the ice cream. I think I am definitely hooked on the local milk. It’s nice knowing where the cows are raised and that they are treated properly.
I absolutely love supporting local, seasonal foods. I feel like it connects me more to the place I live.
I couldn’t imagine a more perfect way to cap off the night.
I’m convinced that dessert was a crowd pleaser! We asked everyone what their favorite dish was at the end of the night. I don’t think anyone could give a definite answer, which made us feel so so good :) There was so much variety and flavor in each course, that I couldn’t even decide on a favorite! Kelsey + I definitely tried to savor each and every bite. We really wanted to show our friends [and all of you!] that it is possible to eat locally in the winter, even in this cold + dry Colorado climate.
After the food was consumed, there was a little more liquid consumption that ensued. The dijurido came out to play.
Everyone gathered in our multipurpose room to continue with the night. I loved every single moment of the night.
It was a great night filled with SO much good food but most importantly good company. I had a blast with my girl Kelsey and couldn’t have imagined doing this with anyone else. Sometimes things just work out so perfectly. What were the odds that E + K were coming on the weekend that the January 24, 24, 24 was taking place and that we were lucky enough to be chosen to participate in this amazing opportunity!
The morning after….
Can you believe there were only TEN people at our party?!?! ;) Serving food throughout the night definitely helped absorb the alcohol!
Kelsey – Thank you for your amazing idea to participate in 24, 24, 24 as a team. I am so happy that we got to experience this together. You rock girl + I already miss you.
Ann, Natalie + Pat – Thank you SO much for running out to get our emergency stick of butter!!! [we ran out and needed more for the bread pudding!]
Husband – Thanks for tending to the fire + exhausting the dogs before all of the company came over!!
Our gang of friends – Thank you all for coming. You made the night so much fun for us! Also, thanks for playing into our local idea and coming loaded with local beverages :) Love you all!
Recipe sources – Thank you bloggers and assorted websites for your recipes that helped inspire our menu!!
Foodbuzz – Thank you for this amazing opportunity!! We loved every moment of it!