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!
Jack and I hosted our first Fourth of July party this week, it was Andrew's first one so we wanted to make extra special. We had water games, bean bag toss, and fireworks. I didn't want to stress myself out by going crazy with the food and I also didn't want Jack to have to stand next to a hot barbecue all afternoon. The best solution was to have a hot dog bar with all of the best toppings, a few types of chips, and a few desserts. Easy!
Instead of putting the hot dogs on the barbecue or in the microwave, we used the crock pot. It worked perfectly! They came out perfectly plumed and cooked. Just start them on high for four hours before serving.
What makes the perfect hot dog? The toppings of course! Here is the list of all of the toppings we had in our Hot Dog Bar:
Chili, no beans
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
We also had three types of chips: Original, Barbecue, and Sour Cream and Onion. The dessert was kept simple with Blueberry and Strawberry shortcakes. Lastly, we offered blueberry and strawberry lemonade and blueberry and strawberry sangria.
The party menu was perfect and all of our guests seemed very happy with the choices. Hopefully, we will get to host Fourth of July party next year with a hot dog bar and more water games!
Yesterday was Andrew's baptism. It was such a special occasion, everything was beautiful from his heirloom baptism gown to his navy ombre cake. The food was amazing and the blueberry and peach sangria hit the spot after a very busy day!
As stated in the cake post we either ordered the food or asked family to help out. We served pinwheels and croissant sandwiches (Vons) with a wonderful Italian pasta salad and fresh green salad (family). The beautiful personalized cookies came from a friend's bakery and the other cookies came from one of our family favorite bakery's in town. The sangria was the same from the baby shower, a premade Moscato Sangria that we added frozen blueberries and peaches to help keep in cold, plus they were yummy to eat once your glass was empty! I kept the decorations very simple with a pretty pattern tablecloth and topped it off with a burlap runner. I made a matching burlap banner to hang on the window for under $10 and a hot glue gun. The flowers were purchased from Albertsons for $4.99 and placed in a mason jar that I wrapped the same blue twine I used on the banner. The adorable favors were made by my mother in law and filled with white and shades of blue Jordan Almonds, which is the traditional favor at a baptism in France.
I appreciated how much every one pitched in and helped, it made the day so special. Plus the food was delicious and the day was relatively stress free!
I know what about I am about to say may be sacrilege, but I don't like baby themed things. I knew as soon as I found out I was pregnant that my baby shower wasn't going to have a cuties baby theme. Sorry, no vintage Pooh Bear, Noah's Ark, Jungle, not even baby pink or blue. This sadly crushed some of my family members, but I promised them that it would be beautiful, classy, elegant, and most importantly will have alcohol. After all just because I can't drink doesn't mean my guest shouldn't.
Once our budget was in place I started looking for a location. I knew a house was going to be too small since there was a lot of people invited and I didn't want to blow the whole budget on just on the location. Randomly one day on Facebook an ad popped up for a local downtown gallery talking about their $500 package and the ad included several pictures of baby showers they had there. Immediately booked an appointment to view and put the deposit down as soon as I saw the place in person. It was perfect. Beautiful hardwood floors, concrete walls, this awesome downtown industrial feel, and it even had a separate bar area for the food! I send a few pictures of the location to my friends and they even said it was totally me: vintage, classy and elegant. Just the vibe I wanted for my baby shower.
After the location was booked, we found a great local restaurant that could cater an event on a Sunday; something that actually turned out harder than we were expecting! For the drinks, we purchased apple cider, small bottles of water, and Carlo Rossi's Moscato Sangria that we added frozen raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries to help keep it cool. And not surprisingly, I did the cake with matching cupcakes.
Although I didn't want a cuties baby theme, there was still a theme, sort of. Since we were having a little boy I wanted to have an Americana theme to match what we were doing in his nursery. The colors of the decorations, table settings, candy bar and even the cake were red, white, blue, with touches of gold and silver. Most of the decorations were provided by the gallery and we only had to bring in a few for the gift tables. All of the tablecloths I either already owned or brought on eBay, including the awesome blue and white striped table runners. It turns out it was actually cheaper to buy them than rent them! I did end up renting some candle holder that we used to put vanilla scented candles and larger holder to put the flower centerpieces in. The flowers were ordered at the local flower market and my aunt made the arrangements. To fit with the color scheme, we ordered white roses, red hypericum berry flowers, and eryngium thistle. We decided not to rent table settings and just bought nice quality plastic plates, silverware, and cups from Costco.
Yes, there were a few baby shower games, but I was very careful about the ones I picked. Sorry no, guess the candy bar for me thank you. Since I am such a detailed person, everything from the labels on the homemade shower gifts, to the game cards, to the food labels all matched the invitations. We tried to keep the prizes simple and just did four fun themed gifts baskets: movie, spa, baking, and fall. I even had background music for the shower. I found lullaby versions of some of the songs from mine and Jack's favorite bands so people had no idea they were listening to Green Day, Five Finger Death Punch, Metallica or Queen! My favorite thing from the baby shower was the guest book. I bought Dr. Seuss's Happy Birthday to You and had the guest write something special to our Baby Boy. I plan on readying it to him every year on his birthday along with all of the wonderful things people wrote to him.
The shower was incredible and was so perfect. It was everything I have ever wanted for my baby shower. Everyone seemed to have a fun time, was really impressed with the classy and elegant feel of it, just what I was hoping for!
You're a Mean One Mister Grinch....tonight we hosted our annual Christmas party and this year we made it a Grinchmas Party. It was so much fun! We all dressed up with Whoville in mind and we even had a Grinch! Our entertainment was the original Grinch cartoon (sorry Jim Carrey just not a fan of your version) and a few other Christmas classics. I wanted to do something fun and simple for the menu so we had a red and green veggie and fruit trays, homemade salsa and chips, chicken white chili, country toffee, and the perfect cupcakes for dessert. Oh and don't forget about the Grinch Popcorn! There was even champagne, cider, and a hot chocolate bar too!
Green colored vanilla cupcakes
A ring of white buttercream to create the base of the Santa Hat
Swirled red buttercream to create the Santa Hat
Topped with a white sixet for the puff ball
Santa suit cupcake wrappers
For our annual Halloween Party we wanted to do something a little different. We wanted to keep it similar. A few weeks ago we purchased a project and thought it would be a lot of fun to watch Halloween movies in the backyard. We had a kid friendly movie which is one of my must watch Halloween movies: Hocus Pocus and an adult movie full of jumps and twist: The Others. I kept the food simple and fun. I made Devilish Eyeballs, Witches Fingers, Mummy Dogs, Turkey Pumpkin Chili, Brain Dip, Vampire Fang Cupcakes and Eyeball Cake Pops. Creepy and Tasty!
In the backyard I had a candy and popcorn bar where you could make your own snack bags. All of the treats were a big hit and everyone loved the movies. I can’t wait to do another movie night!
It’s time for creepy and tasty treats! Last Halloween I shared my Devilish Eyeballs and Witches fingers so this year I needed something even better! This is how you make Halloween Cream Cheese Brain Dip:
1 8 oz. package of soften cream cheese
½ Cup Chili Sauce*
Mix the cream cheese and chili sauce together. Add a spoonful of chili sauce in the bottom of a bowl, preferable clear. Put the dip mixture in a gallon size freezer bag and cut off a small piece of one of the bottom corners.
Pipe the dip in a snake design on half of the bowl, when half way up the bowl repeat on the other side. Finish piping the remaining dip in the same pattern creating the look of a brain. Top off with a little more chili sauce. Serve with crackers.
This dip may look extra gross, but it is super tasty!
*Can use salsa instead of chili sauce.
Coming off of one wedding and our own blessing, I just finished making cupcakes and a cake for another wedding. The bride to be has order several large order of cupcakes from me several time and was not surprised that she needed 14 dozen cupcakes plus one small cake to cut into. She choice chocolate, French vanilla, strawberry, and lemon cupcakes topped with coral buttercream and white pearls. The cake was a chocolate with chocolate buttercream covered in ivory fondant. I added a little ivory lace on the bottom of the cake to balance the coral hydrangeas that were placed on top. I wasn't able to find coral hydrangeas so I bought peach and colored them with coral food coloring and vodka, just like I did for the roses on our blessing cake. She borrowed the cupcake stand that was used at the pervious wedding and it helped make her beach wedding perfect!
We wanted the feeling of the marriage blessing to be carefree and classy, by picking lace, burlap, and soft blues, corals and pinks we were able to pull off a simple inspired vintage country reception. My good friend let me borrow some of her table and chairs from her rental company. I purchased longs rolls of burlap in the floral area at the craft store since it was much cheaper than in the ones in the craft area. I ordered 25 inexpensive napkins on eBay since I knew I could reuse them. I already had three long white tablecloths that I bought for Easter and my aunt saved me because she had the perfect blue plates. Between her, my mom, and myself we had enough wine glasses and silverware. I already had tons of mason jars that I use for canning so I just needed to do buy ribbon, burlap, and lace to decorate each jar. Most of the mason jars had an electric tea light and the rest had white and soft pink roses and other greenery from our courtyard. The silverware was wrapped in the white napkins and tied with twine. Jack and our friend did an amazing setting up and decorating the table while I finished getting ready. I didn't need to change a thing!
We wanted our Blessing Cake and Cupcakes to match the overall look and feel we were going with. With a Vintage Country flare I thought a light aqua cake decorated with lace and cream and pink roses on top would be perfect. The cake was my yummy triple chocolate cake with rich chocolate buttercream filling. I made French Vanilla Cupcakes and topped with Vanilla Buttercream frosting top with a small matching rose bud. I baked the cupcakes in blue aqua cups and wrapped a lace paper cut out. I couldn't find the color of roses that I wanted to so I bought cream roses and colored them with water down rose food colorings. By just placing the paint brush on the edges of the peddles the water soaked in giving it a natural look. I have done this process on difference types of flower and it always gives a look of realism. The cake and cupcakes perfectly matched my table decor and dessert plates!
For my blessing dress I wanted something simple, yet classic. I went to every store in town and I still couldn't find anything like I was wanting. I wanted a cream dress, with lace sleeves, knee length and preferably V-neck. My vision was inspired by the wedding dress Kate Middleton work in 2011. I love how simply elegant it was and I wasn’t to find something similar. I found some online that were pretty close but was way too far out of my press range, they looked too much like a wedding dress and I wasn't something that could be also casual. After weeks of searching I gave and decided to make my own. And why not, I have made lots of costumes in the past so why couldn't I make my own blessing dress! I found the perfect cream fabric that was slightly stretchy, but wouldn't wrinkle throughout the day. I found cream rose stretchy that would work perfect for the top. I found a dress pattern that I could alter to make exactly what I was envisioning. I used the pattern pieces that I needed to make my version of the dress and started sewing. Once I was finished I was completely in love with the dress and could not have been happier that I took the risk to make it myself. This really encourages me to start making my own clothing!
I paired the dress with some new blue aqua heels and my favorite pearl earrings.
Jack was a little easier, he got to wear the light grey suit that he wore during my 30th birthday and ordered him a matching blue aqua tie and pocket square.
My Godmother and her husband were the witnesses and wore a black and white with black polka dress with a coral belt and shoes. Her husband had a dark grey suit and a matching coral tie.
My parents and closet friends also looked great in their coordinated outfits!
Last year I converted to Catholism and since Jack I weren't married in a Catholic church the Deacon told us we could do a Marriage Blessing. This would be our third wedding togher. We first eloped during the summer after only know each other a few months, before we decided to elope we were already planning a big family wedding and decided to still have it to get our families together. The Marriage Blessing was going to be our third. Although this was our third wedding it was the simplest, and the funniest. We wanted to keep it casual with a vintage country flare. We had a guest list of only 25 and 10 of them joined us at the Marriage Blessing. We kept our budget very low at only $500. I asked a friend to do my hair and make-up, a co-worker to take photos, my mom and aunt helped me make our decorations and prepared the dinner, and of course I made the cake and cupcakes. I got lots of help from family and friends so we were able to stay within budget and had a really fun and mostly stress free day!
Today was the wedding day of a special little girl I have known her whole life. Her mother has been my mother's best friend since high school. My mother's wedding gift to her and her mother was to pay for the wedding cake, which of course was already going to be done by yours truly! Last month I met with the bride to be and groom and decided on making 15 dozen cupcakes with an eight inch cake on top for them to cut into. The color scheme was yellow, white, and grey. The decided on four cupcake flavors, lemon, chocolate, French vanilla, and orange with two types of frosting, buttercream and cream cheese. I baked the lemon and French vanilla in yellow and white cupcake liners, and the other two flavors in grey and white liners. I colored the buttercream frosting yellow and left the cream cheese white. I rotated the frostings on all of the cupcakes and alternated between silver, white, or yellow sprinkles and silver, white, and yellow pearls. The small cake was French vanilla with cream cheese frosting, covered in yellow fondant and decorated with sugar daisies. I added a band of white lace and a gray ribbon to tie in the theme and place a Mr. & Mrs. topper on top. The bride’s father made an incredible white cupcake and cake stand to display all of the lovely cupcakes with the beautiful cake on top. Everyone loved how they tasted and I was honored to participate in such a big way on her special day!
Once a year I try to get all of the important women in my life together for a brunch. This year I wanted to do a Mardi Gras theme so lots of purple, green, and gold decorations, beads, and masks! I even made one of Jack's favorite slower cooker meals: Jambalaya! Now I know this might not be real jambalaya, but it's what we call jambalaya. The recipe is super easy and super yummy. It also makes a great frozen meal! It's even better with a slice of King's Cake!!!
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves -
cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
1 pound frozen cooked shrimp without tails
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chicken broth 2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
I created this blog to share my creations with hopes that it will inspire others to show their creative side.