Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Strawberries were on sale this week at Cub for .99 cents so we decided to make dipped strawberries!! All you need are strawberries, chocolate chips and a little shortening. Sometime I like to use random things that I have in my cupboard to roll the dipped berries in.

Melt one tablespoon of solid vegetable shortening and one cup of chocolate chips in the microwave according to package directions or for about 35 seconds. Stir gently until all chips are melted and then dip the strawberries. Roll them in coating if you’d like. I toasted up some coconut, crushed up some Oreos and I also rolled a few in more chocolate chips. These are a perfect for a Romanic dessert with your sweetie

Easy Summer Desserts

Picture it: yesterday 12:30pm, Rainbow Foods.
I am frantically running around the grocery store looking for something to bring to a BBQ later that afternoon. Nothing looks great in the bakery, I don’t have time to bake anything myself and I am very short on time! Luckily at the last minute I remembered these simple desserts. They were easy, they didn’t heat up the kitchen, and we were on time to our BBQ. Here’s what I made.

Pistachio Fruit Salad
One regular sized container of cool whip
One can of your favorite fruit cocktail
Mini marshmallows (I like colored ones)
One small can of crushed pineapple
One small box of pistachio instant pudding(do not prepare pudding)
One small bag of chopped pecans

Mix the box of pudding and the cool whip together, then add all of the other ingredients. Refrigerate for a few minutes, put it in a pretty bowl and serve.

Yes, I know my bowl isn't pretty. But I'm taking it to a BBQ. So this will be fine. Also I like to sprinkle just a few pecans on top for two reasons. One, decoration. and two it allows people with nut allergies to see that there are nuts in the dish. especially important at barbeque's and potlucks.

Oreo Pie- This recipe is as simple as, well…pie! You’ll need a package of Oreos, a large container or two small containers of cool whip and one Oreo pie crust! Crush the Oreos lightly and then fold them into the cool whip. Spoon mixture into pie crust and refrigerate for one hour. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fried Pickles

I made fried pickles today. They were so delicious that I decided to share the recipe! I have tried to make these before using flour, crackers, even cornflakes and they never turned out quite right. But alas! I have found the secret ingredient! Panko Breadcrumbs. Now come… fry with me!

Cold Dill Pickles
And for a beautiful crispy outside, Panko breadcrumbs!

Slice the pickles into ¾ of an inch slices. I like a nice thick slice for fried pickles. Dredge the pickle slices in the flour, dip them in egg and roll them in the breadcrumbs pressing lightly to ensure good coating. Put the pickles into the freezer and chill for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes heat a good amount of oil over medium to medium high heat. You’ll want to oil hot enough to fry but not so hot that the breadcrumbs burn. My stove fries Panko perfectly at medium heat. This is important because it will help keep the pickle cold during frying and it will also help the breading stick. Take the pickles out of the freezer and fry them up until golden brown. It takes about 30 seconds on each side! Serve immediately with ranch dressing. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I heart MixingBowl.com Magazine

While in line at the grocery store the other day, I was looking for some new cooking inspiration. After a minute of looking around at the food magazines, nothing caught my eye. A bit disappointed I tossed in a copy of a magazine that I had not seen or noticed before. MixingBowl.com magazine. My expectations for the magazine weren’t too high but I figured it was good reading material for the car ride to my parents house later. After just a few seconds of thumbing through the pages I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. Great inspirational recipes with beautiful pictures! Each time I look through this magazine I find more and more recipes that I cant wait to try! Here are a few that I’m sure to make here soon! Yum!

Peanut Butter Drizzled Chocolate and toffee chip cookies
Panama Pork Stew
Dee’s Jamacian Jerk Pork Chops
Golden Potato Nuggets
Ham and Potato Goodness
Brown Butter Carrot Cupcakes
Birds Nest Marinara
Glazed Strawberry Banana Bread
Larry’s Birthday Soup

And that’s not even all of them! Usually I find one and if I’m lucky maybe two good recipe per book or magazine and MixingBowl.com and FAR exceeded my expectations and look forward trying many mixingbowl recipes!

One recipe I could do without is Saturday Morning Dogs. Ew. Hotdogs for breakfast???

Monday, April 19, 2010

Rock A Bye Baby Shower

Rockstar Baby Shower

I wanted to do something out of the ordinary and special for my best friends baby shower. I decided to go with a Rockstar Baby theme! My goal for the party was to make it memorable and fun! I wanted to incorporate a rock and roll theme while keeping the party classy, fun and of course BABY themed.

Invitations- These are the invitations. I ordered the design online from etsy.com and printed them out in Kinko’s at the self serve copy machines. It would be nice to include directions. I did not include directions and later wished I would have.

My friend isn’t really a baby pink kind of girl, so I went with hot pink, black and white for my color scheme. .If you’re lucky enough to live near a dollar tree or other $1 store, make sure you look for decorations and balloons there first. I decided on hot pink table cloths with black and silver star confetti. I did bunches of light pink balloons and black balloon stars. But if I could re-do it, I would have done bunches of black and hot pink balloons and I would have used a lot more balloons! I used white star table weights. We hung traditional pink Baby Shower Banner. I found these great big silver stars to hang on the wall and I wrote baby song lyrics on them with a sharpie marker. We put pink flowers around. I also hung big black music notes around the room. Bowls of pink M&M’s, pop rocks, retro candy, and ring pops would all be very cute on the tables. Oh! And I also filled a baby bottle with spring colored jelly beans and tied ribbon around the top and had the guests guess how many jelly beans were in the bottle. Winner gets the sweet treat!

Above is the diaper cake I made with the help of my mom. I think it turned out great and it was really easy to make! Diapers, hot glue gun and tons of ribbon!

Food- I served sandwich platters from subway, chips, a veggie tray with dip, fruit salad, a spinach dip bread bowl and soda. The strawberry soda in the hot pink cups looked especially cute with the star shaped ice cubes! I served a very simple lunch, but feel free to go crazy with the menu! Pizza would be fun and rock-ish. I served the food on black plates with hot pink silverware. I didn’t serve liquor at her shower, but I think that pink wine coolers or a big pitcher of strawberry sangria in a clear pitcher would be beautiful.

This is the cake we served! It came from Super Target. I just described what I wanted to the cake decorator and it came out beautifully! I LOVE the little pink Mohawk! Too Funny. The cake was chocolate so I served it with vanilla ice cream. There are tons of great ideas online for cake decorations. Have a good idea of what you want when you are talking to the decorator. You could certainly make a cake or cupcakes yourself!

To keep guests busy and happy, print out baby crossword puzzles, word scrambles, and word finds and put them out on each table with plenty of pens or pencils. No prizes awarded for these games. They’re just for fun. We did a celebrity baby name quiz.

Baby Shower Price is Right is my favorite baby shower game!
You will need to go out and buy 8-10 baby items… I bought a pack of diapers, baby rash cream, wipes, a small bottle. Buy all your items in one transaction and then save the receipt in an envelope. Then at the party you give each guest a pen and piece of paper. The hostess holds up each item and gives a little description and guests guess the cost of each item and then add up their totals. The guest who guesses closest to the actual retail value WITHOUT going over, wins a prize! All of the baby items go to the mother to be!

We played the traditional “measure the belly game.” Usually the game is played with toilet paper. We played with bright yellow measuring tape looking thing that I found at the party store.

My friend also likes lottery tickets so I bought cute baby shower scratch offs. You can find these at most party stores or you could custom order them online!

Diaper Raffle- This is a great way to help the new mom stock up on diapers. I noted on the invitation that we would be having a diaper raffle. I got raffle tickets at the party store. Guests were encouraged to bring either a pack of diapers or wipes in exchange for a raffle ticket and chance to win a mystery prize. The prize should be at least worth the cost of a pack of diapers.

For prizes- I found these cute pink Chinese takeout containers at the dollar store. I stuffed them with tissue paper and small prizes. Gum, chap stick, lip-gloss, gift cards….whatever you can think of to put inside. I’m sure there are better ideas than that, I just cant think of them. Then I dressed up the takeout containers with curled ribbon. When someone wins a prize I just let them choose a container.

Instead of having guests sign a traditional baby shower scrapbook page, I had the guests all “autograph” a plain white onesie with fabric markers. You could also get extra plain white onesies and bibs for guests to decorate at the tables with sayings like…My mommy Rocks, My mom’s hot, party at my crib….You can also buy printable iron on transfers and make some pretty cool onsies.

I put out baby pictures of my friend, the father to be, her mom, and sister and put them on the tables in little silver star shaped frames. With facebook and myspace, you can usually find good pictures and keep it a surprise. Remember the little touches are what makes it memorable.

This is the diaper cake I made with the help of my mom. I think it turned out great and it was really easy to make! Diapers, hot glue gun and tons of ribbon!

For favors I made each guest a mixed CD of rock and roll songs that I felt fit the theme and burned them onto hot pink cd‘s. ….If you are good with light scribe or cd label makers, you could make really nice favors. I am not good at that…so I made these!

Some of the songs on the cd:
Sweet Child of Mine- Guns and Roses
And the cradle will Rock- Van Halen
Jump- Van Halen… (this song was playing in the delivery room when I was born so I had to put it on there. Lol )

I also played this same CD at the shower. I had it playing at medium volume and thought it sounded great., but one of the older ladies kept turning it down… so be careful, I guess. Also, make sure the music suit’s the mother -to-be’s tastes.

You could also check out Rockabyebabymusic.com, they turn classic rock songs into sweet lullabies. This would also make a good gift for the baby.

My party tips:

Always keep the mother to be in mind. Make sure the party is something that suits her and something she will be comfortable with. Chances are if you are throwing the shower, you know the mommy well so use this to your advantage. My friend isn’t a huge fan of being the center of attention, so I made sure to keep that in mind and not do anything too crazy or embarrassing.

Try to keep guests busy as to avoid awkward silences, but also don’t keep them too busy because you don’t want to keep guests from visiting with each other. Just “feel” out the party and keep things flowing nicely if you can.

Have plenty of food as unexpected guests sometimes show up. And if you have leftovers you can pack it up for the mommy.

Stay within your budget and plan carefully. I’m a fan of coupons and sales so keep your eyes peeled before you go shopping. And I cant say it enough…..dollar store…dollar store

Be a happy hostess!Dress Cute! I wore grey skinny jeans and my hot pink ugg boots! Try to plan ahead so you wont be stressed out the day of the party. Eat, mingle and relax with your guests. Oh! And take lots and lots of pictures!