June 30, 2014

Patriotic Chocolate Dipped Sprinkled Strawberries


Summertime is here and fresh, juicy berries are always in our fridge. Ashton loves to make smoothies, Ava likes to snack on just about any fruit, and I, well let's be honest, I love mixing berries with sweet desserts- especially chocolate! Chocolate dipped strawberries are a favorite of mine and since it's 4th of July week {and I love everything Patriotic} I thought I would give these red, white, and blue strawberries a try. They turned out great and so festive! I can't wait to make them again for our next party or cookout. 
These Patriotic Berries make a sweet birthday treat! I let mine dry, then packaged them in a cute container, and chilled in the fridge until party time. Then I presented them to the dessert lovin' birthday girl who was happy to eat dessert first at her party! 

Ingredients:

  • One 16oz container of strawberries, washed
  • Approx. 8-10oz white chocolate chips
  • Blue crystal sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Pour blue sprinkles into a small bowl.
  2. Melt chocolate until smooth in a double boiler or in the microwave in 30 second intervals. 
  3. Dip strawberries, one at a time, in the bowl of white chocolate.
  4. Gently shake off excess chocolate then dip halfway in blue sprinkles.
  5. Lay on a sheet of wax or parchment paper to dry.
  6. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Happy 4th of July! 


Set up your station. 
Pour blue crystal sprinkles in a small bowl (I used about 1/2 the bottle),
 lay out a piece of wax paper, melt your chocolate, and clean and dry the strawberries. 
How pretty are these bright blue "sand" sprinkles? 
Find them in the baking aisle. 
You can melt the white chocolate in a double boiler on the stove or I just heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then another 30 seconds, then stir, repeat until smooth. 
Holding by the stem, dip the strawberries in the chocolate, letting excess drip off.
Then lightly dip in blue crystals.
Lay on a wax paper lined plate to dry.
 
Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 
I found these cute boxes at World Market (ideally for cookies, I know) 
and I placed a few berries inside for a gift. 
These red, white, and blue treats are patriotic and delicious! 
Perfect for serving this holiday weekend!
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June 28, 2014

Sushi Cupcakes

For my birthday this week my husband treated me to a sushi dinner at our local Japanese steakhouse. So naturally, I had to make a festive dessert for us to share after our fantastic seafood meal. Birthday cake came to mind at first, but then I decided instead to make a tried and true favorite: cupcakes
I found a tutorial for these cute sushi cupcakes and knew this was just what I wanted for my bday! 
This simple recipe uses boxed mix and premade frosting along with gummy candy and black fondant and believe it or not takes under an hour to prepare (including baking time)! 
My delicious sushi birthday dinner. We ordered the "Love Boat". 
Family portraits before dinner. I am so blessed to have these two in my life!
One of my faves: the Tempura Jalapeno Roll.
My little foodie started her meal with miso soup
then nibbled on potstickers, sushi, and carrots dipped in ginger dressing. 

Ingredients:

(Makes 24-36 cupcakes depending on size)
  • 1 box of fluffy white cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • black fondant (I found mine at Wal-Mart)
  • 1 can white frosting
  • shredded coconut
  • assorted gummy candies (sour straws, fruit wedges, Swedish Fish, etc)

Directions:


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2.  In a large mixing bowl combine cake mix, a cup of water, and a cup of nonfat Greek yogurt in place of oil and eggs.  This gives the cupcakes an Angel food-like texture.
  3. Pour into cupcake pans filled with cupcake liners. 
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into cakes comes out clean. 
  5. Let cupcakes cool completely then unwrap all the cupcakes. 
  6. Roll out your fondant and cut it into strips that fit around your cupcakes. You’ll probably need about 2 inches off of a fondant block.
  7. Wrap with a strip of fondant. 
  8. Pipe a bit of frosting onto the top.
  9.  Top with a sprinkling of coconut to give a rice-like effect to the frosting and top with chopped up gummy candy and gummy straws for the traditional sushi roll style. 
  10. For a sashimi look, simply unwrap your cupcake, top with frosting and coconut, add a Swedish Fish and wrap with a small strip of fondant.
  11. Serve these tasty treats with chopsticks and try to eat just one!
Recipe from the awesome website Brit + Co. 
I used boxed moist white cake mix and white frosting (I like to buy the festive kind with sprinkles on the side and keep those for a later recipe). 
No need for oil or eggs! Just add 1 cup water and one cup Greek yogurt (I used vanilla) to a bowl and mix with cake mix.
Bake cupcakes in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

 Let cool completely then unwrap.

Fondant is pretty easy to find. I bought this tub from Wal-Mart.
Bonus: it's Duff from Ace of Cake's brand!

Cut about 2 inches off a black fondant block and roll out. Cut into strips to fit around bottom of some cupcakes and thin smalls trip to fit across the top of the rest of cupcakes. This is the "seaweed".

I just use a pairing knife and cut the fondant to fit. This was my first time using fondant but it was surprisingly easy to work with and I could mold it to fit and stretch.

Pipe or spread frosting on top of cupcakes.

Top with a sprinkling of coconut. This is the sushi "rice".

Now time to get creative!
Decorate the top of your "sushi" with Swedish fish and chopped up gummy candy and sour straws to look like sushi toppings. You can also use these Fruity-Fruitti gummies to look like roe on your sushi!
Serve with chopsticks and enjoy!
How cool did these turn out?!
I just loved the end result...and they were tasty too! 
These would be a festive dessert to serve at a sushi party! 
Just like sushi these are bite size and delicious....and bet you can't eat just one!  
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June 26, 2014

Birthday Pajama Party featuring a Popcorn Bar, Cheese Fountain, and Donut Cake!

Whew talk about being fashionably late! Today is my 31st birthday and I am sharing with y'all my birthday party last year when I turned 30. Since it was the big "Dirty 30" I had a fun Pajama themed party at my house. Everyone dressed in cute PJs and I served late night and breakfast type food. Then to add to the party fun we played Minute To Win It games that had us cracking up! 
Scroll down for pictures, recipes, and info and leave me a comment telling me what you think!
Fun outside party decor! 
Found the sign through Google and the balloons at the Dollar Tree.

Dressed in our PJs and ready to Par-Tay!
I served late night and breakfast type snacks and drinks to my guests.

The Menu:
1. Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
2. Pigs in a Blanket
4. Colorful Frosted Donut "Cake"
5. Marshmallow Cereal Treats 
6. Mimosas
7. Nacho Cheese Fountain with chips and toppings
8. Popcorn Bar (my fave!)
How gorgeous are these donuts?
 I went to the local Donut Shop and hand picked them on the morning of the party.
Here's a cute display and a fun idea instead of a cake: Donut Tower Cake!
Or you can make a Donut Cake like I did a few years ago. I baked a chocolate cake, frosted it with peanut butter frosting, and stuck donuts, cookies, and Reeses to the side. Easy, delicious, and fun! 
The Nacho Cheese Fountain was a big hit especially with the guys and the kids!
I used a block of Velveeta cheese, melted it in a large pot and thinned it out with vegetable oil so it wouldn't be too thick and clog the fountain. Then just pour into the fountain and turn on. Refill cheese if it gets low. Serve with tortilla chips and assorted toppings like jalapenos, tomatoes, onions, black olives, and sour cream.
Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches- great for kids and adults. 
I baked these on a sheet tray to make a lot at once then cut them into triangles.
Wait until the last minute to bake so they stay warm and crispy.
Who doesn't love Pigs in a Blanket?!
Always a hit {thanks Molly for the recipe}- Pizza Poppers !
 
 Colorful Marshmallow Cereal Treats 
{Simply marshmallows melted with butter and tossed with colorful cereal and sprinkles.}

How fun is this Popcorn Bar?! Simply have a few big bowls of popcorn popped {I had traditional butter flavor, kettle corn, and Cracker Jacks}. I found the large popcorn bucket at the Dollar Tree and the paper popcorn bags in the Target dollar section.
 
 
 Make sure you have a good selection of toppings. The different toppings are limitless!
Here's what I served:
1. Garlic Popcorn Seasoning
2. Bacon Cheddar Popcorn Seasoning
3. Sea salt grinder
4. Caramel syrup
5. M&Ms
6. Reese's Pieces
7. Wasabi Peas
8. Honey Roasted Peanuts
9. Goldfish crackers
10. Diced bacon
11. Dried Cranberries
The kids {and dogs} kept themselves busy and entertained us!
My sweet girl wouldn't look at the camera- she was distracted by my pretty new earrings :)
Our pajama clad friends hanging out.

Good times with good friends in Ft Polk!
I combined this party, as I often do, with a Houseparty I was chosen to host. Everyone left with a goodie bag from the sponsor, Udi's Gluten Free Foods. 
We played a few Minute to Win It party games including:
1. Booger Relay
2. Noodle Head
3. Pantyhose Bowling

Thanks to The Style Sisters for the ideas!
Be sure to have all your game supplies ready (most can be found at the Dollar Tree).
Also assign someone as a scorekeeper and give them a stopwatch.

Prize ideas:
Prizes {around a $5 value} were local Fro Yo gift card, pizza gift card, a bag of chocolate truffles, and a Starbucks gift card. Make prize bags with assorted treats from the Target dollar section or gift cards are always a popular choice!

Everyone was such good sports even though we looked {a little} ridiculous!
 Pantyhose Bowling is simply trying to knock over a row of bottled water. Oh yeah I forgot to mention, you can't use your hands or feet and you have to wear a pair of pantyhose on your head with tennis balls on each end to knock over the bottles.
Noodle Head is best played outside because it is messy! This is why I only have one pic of this game- I was covered in shaving cream! You separate everyone into teams of two and one person wears a shower cap covered in shaving cream. The other team member has to throw cheese puffs at their teammates head and try to get as many puffs as possible to land on the shower cap.

Booger Relay sounds grosser than it is! It's another game where you can't use your hands-get this- you can only use your nose! Each person rubs Vaseline on their nose, puts their hands behind their back and runs to a table that has a plate of cotton balls. They have to pick up as many cotton balls as they can in the minute and carry them back across the room to another plate where they must shake them off. Most cotton balls wins!

A birthday toast and a jello shot {or two} with the girls!
Woohoo! Every girl needs a bedazzled 30th wine glass!

My sweet Ava was so tiny! She's the best present of all!
What a great party! Goodbye 20s.....Hello 30s :)
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