Slower Cooker Baked Potatoes:
10-12 Large Russel Potatoes
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Easy Mulled Spice Rice:
2 Bottles of Red Wine
1 Orange and 1 Apple sliced in rounds
1/2 tsp Ground All Spice
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
For my little pumpkin’s first birthday this past weekend, we decided to have a small party with only close friends and family. I know Andrew will never remember and I know the party is really only for me, which I am totally fine with. I called it “I survived the first year party” and it included good food, great desserts, and even mulled wine! Nothing says fall to me like a bowl of chili with a slice of cornbread so decided to have a chili bar. With the help of my mom, we had three kinds of chili: classic five bean chili, turkey pumpkin, and chorizo chili. We used a roaster that had a three tray divider to keep the chili nice and warm. I baked potatoes in a slower cooker for anyone who wanted to put their chili on one. There were also two kinds of homemade corn muffins: regular and jalapeno and cheddar cheese. To finish the chili bar there was tasty toppings: shredded cheese, red and white onions, and sour cream. I had hot apple cider, peach tea, and mulled spice wine for the drinks.
The food was amazing and the main benefit of having a chili bar was everything was able to be made/prepped well in advance. The roasters and slow cookers kept everything perfectly warm so there was no rush or stress. I was able to have a cup of mulled wine and be able to enjoy the time celebrating me surviving the first year!
I can’t believe this adorable first birthday smash cake is for my little Andrew! It feels like just last month I was making the cake for my baby shower. Since my little man is a fall baby and is my favorite season I thought it would be super cute to have his first birthday party be a little pumpkin theme. I will go over the menu and budget in a future post, but for now, let’s talk about his fun smash cake! Since I bake and decorate a lot of cakes Andrew is no stranger to the sweet treat. So, sorry no “healthy” birthday cake for him. Is there really such a thing as a healthy birthday cake anyways? Not only do they look gross, but they also don’t sound all that great either. It’s their birthday give them a real cake and I’m not talking about pre-mix over food colored sweetened frosting you find at a grocery store bakery either. Andrew’s cake was a simple vanilla cake with my delicious cream cheese frosting. I baked the cake in my dome cake molds to create the round pumpkin shape. I then colored the cream cheese frosting with all natural yellow and red food coloring that I found on Amazon. I filled the two domes with frosting and took a little off the top and bottom to make the ball shape look more like a pumpkin. I knew I wanted the cake to create a mess so I didn’t cover it with fondant, but instead covered the entire outside of the pumpkin. I created the groves of the pumpkin by using a frosting spatula to make lines in the frosting. I topped the cake with a stem out of brown fondant that I didn’t blend completely to create the look of a real stem. I finished the cake off with a few green leaves and vines. It’s the perfect birthday cake for my little pumpkin!
I loved how this photo collage turned out for Andrew’s first birthday party. However, it was a lot more challenging than I thought it would be! Why? Because it was so hard picking on only 12 pictures of this little cutie!
After going through all of the months of pictures I narrowed it down to 16, Jack couldn’t help me narrow it down anymore either so I chose to just print out all 16. I bought the little string of lights at Michael’s along with the project board. I taped the lights in place in a zig-zag pattern all over the board then started adding pictures. I actually liked having a choice with the extra pictures because some of the pictures looked dark, too similar, or too crowded next to each other. That ultimately helped me narrow it down to the 12!
The photo collage came out great and such a fun way to display his first year!
Today was my coworkers birthday and all she wanted was an apple cheesecake that currently isn't in season, so I decided to make my own version. I found some over complicated cheesecakes recipes that would take hours to make with all of the prep and baking...the version I came up with only took an hour! Everyone at work loved the pie, the birthday girl proclaimed it was her new favorite pie, and my husband stole the small piece I tried to save for a later treat! Follow the steps below to make your own amazing Caramel Apple Crisp Cheesecake Pie!!
•Pre-made Graham Cracker Crust
•2 8oz package softened cream cheese
•2 tbsp corn starch
•¼ cup brown sugar
•¼ cup white sugar
•2 tsp vanilla extract
•½ tsp cinnamon
Apple Crisp Topping:
•¼ cup all purpose flour
•¼ cup rolled oats
•¼ cup brown sugar
•½ tsp cinnamon
•2 tbsp melted butter
•2 medium to large apple, peeled and thinly sliced
•Caramel Topping, if desired
One of the major perks for living in sunny California is all of the great vineyards! Paso Robles is only a few short hours away so at least once a year we try to do a get together and tour some of the wineries. Last year we went for one of my longest friend's birthday so I decided to make some mini tasting cupcakes that were paired with certain styles of wine. Needless to say it was a big hit and this year they begged me to do it again. Due to time restraints and cake orders I wasn't able to make as many flavors as I did for the previous year. I decided on a simple strawberry cupcake with fresh strawberries baked in. I topped half with a rich chocolate buttercream and shaved dark chocolate, the other half was a lemon frosting with orange zest sprinkles. The strawberry cupcake works perfectly with both flavors of frosting. Chocolate flavors works best with a deep red wines and the tart flavors works amazing with the fruitier white wines. Wineries can be found in most states so search one out and visit with a group of friends and don't forget the cupcakes!
Today is Jack's birthday and his favorite birthday treat is my Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Pie. This is a quick and easy dessert perfect for any loved one's birthday!
Prep time 10 minutes, Chill time 6 hours
Serves 8 people
1 Chocolate Pie Crust
2 Cups Vanilla Ice Cream, melted
1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter, melted
4 pkgs Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups crushed
Mix the melted vanilla ice cream, creamy peanut butter and 3 packages of crushed Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (6 pieces).
Freeze for 6 hours.
Top with the whipped cream and remaining crushed Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups package (2 pieces).
I am a thrift store addict when it comes to costumes. I love going into one in search for the perfect thing that I can turn into an amazing costume. Amber's, Jack's, my mom's, and many other's costumes were great thrift store finds. My dress came from a clearance sale at JC Penny's way before I started the thrift store searches. I knew when I say it, it would be perfect for the look that I was going for, but it just needed a little sparkle! Some of the dresses already had a great 20's look to them so all I needed to do was fit them. A few others needed a little something something to make them really pop. For Amber's costume I added black fringe to the top and the bottom and added a satin ribbon around her waist. Jack's suit as a great find at a thrift store in Phoenix when I was there for a work conference and had time to kill in the evening, it fit great once I took it in a little on the sides. A lot of the accessories I was able to find on eBay like the hats, spenders, and ties. Party City also had some great hats and long strands of pearls. The headpieces I made were really easy, look for instructions on my earlier post. I used a lot of websites as a reference for the costumes, here are a few of my favorite links: A lot of the girls used theses links to get hair and make up ideas. Since it was my birthday I had my friend do my hair and make up, it came out so perfect for the theme. I was really happy with how much everyone got into the spirit of the party and got all glammed up! Even Duffey had a little extra bling that night.
Music makes a party and you can't have a Roaring 20's party without some fun 20's music. One of my friends is really into music and thankfully she had a huge list of 20's music from soundtracks and other resources. All I had to do was by the Gatsby Party Mix on itunes which had 50 songs for only $10! That's a deal! I created the playlist and just let it repeat all night long. Here is a list of some of the artist an albums that we had:
The Great Gatsby Soundtrack
Midnight in Paris Soundtrack
The Rhythic Eight
Paul Whiteman's Orchestra
The Great 1920s & Gatsby Swing 20's Classics
Get your flap on!
I have to admit we had quit a spread of some amazing hor d'oeuvres. From meatballs to bacon wrapped mushrooms, to chocolate dipped strawberries to mocha cake pops! We had wonderful raspberry tea and strawberry lemonade. huge variety of wonderful wines and a Whiskey Bar!
I wanted to give you a few of my favorite quick recipes.
Frozen Meatballs of your choice, at least 1lb
1/2 cup BBQ Sauce of your choice, I use Kraft Original BBQ
1/2 can of Jellied Cranberry Sauce
Warm the frozen meatballs in a pan with a little water to keep them from burning for about 5 minutes. Add BBQ sauce and 1/2 of the can of jellied cranberry sauce. Cook until the sauce thickens and meatballs are fully cooked, about 10 minutes.
Bacon Wrapped Mushrooms
Pack of Bacon
Medium sized mushrooms, about 30
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the bacon in half to shorter pieces. Wrap each mushroom with a piece of bacon, if needed use a toothpick to hold the bacon in place. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until crispy.
Cheesy Balsamic Bread
Veggies if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all the slices of the baguette on a cookie sheet and bake for 3 minutes. Remove and sprinkle the balsamic vinger on each of the slices. Next add a slice of mozzarella cheese onto each of the slices of baguette. Add sliced vegetables if desired, I like to use mushroom, tomatoes, and cilantro. Bake for another 5 minutes.
Wow! What a birthday party! It was so worth all of the prep work. We had so much fun and it was such a HUGE turn out! I can't believe how many people dressed up too! Today I am in a party coma so I really don't want to do that much so over the next few days I will have additional post to go a little more into detail about the party. Thank you everyone that attended and helped make my birthday so special. For now here is few of my favorite photos that Amber took and edited.
Just kidding. I don't actually think 30 is that old and I didn't mind turning 30. Unlike Amber who was dreading turning 30 back in March, but ended up having a blast at her orange themed birthday bash. If you know me, you know that I love parties and I love costumes even more. I thought a perfect way to honor turning 30 was to have a HUGE 1920's themed birthday party. I have been planning it for months and this week has been crazy since the party is this Saturday! There is still so much to do, but for now I leave you with this sneak peak at some of the items I made for it.
Menu & Table Materials:
Small Art Deco inspired frames 2in x 2in, I found these in the $2 bin at Michaels
Guest Check Font, downloaded free at www.azfonts.net
Mini Whiskey Favors:
30 10ml bottles with corks, found on eBay
Labels, I used Avery 5160 and cut in half
Font of your choice, I used Playbill I found in Word
1/4 yard of trim that matched Amber's costume
4 inches of Elastic
Needle & Thread
Hot Glue Gun
I hand sewed the elastic to the trim after I sized it. I glue the feathers on the felt in the shape that I wanted. Once cooled I glue the button to the point where the feathers came together. I then glued the hair clip to the back of the felt which allowed Amber to put the Feather Clip where she wanted on the Headband.
Happy Birthday to me!!! I can't wait for Saturday!
These are posts from the original Oak Tree Junction blog before I took a break in 2020. These posts were created to share my creations with the hopes that it will inspire others to show their creative side. I plan to continue to share new creations on the current blog.