Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Beach Themed Food Items

Next on the list was simple things for the beach theme. I got the ideas from The Simple Parent for an easy Beach Party. I found easy food tents the I saved as a jpg and pasted in a word doc to add my wording.

Beach themed Food Ideas:

Sand & Sea Cookies (click for recipe)
Shark Fins - Doritos or Tortilla Chips
Beach Balls - Cheese Balls
Driftwood - Long Pretzel Sticks
Octopus Cupcakes - Click for recipe
Fish Cupcakes - Click for recipe


Ocean Water - I used my go to punch of Hawaiian Punch and 7up (or Twist up since it was on sale).


Have a BEACH of a day!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Beach Themed Party Food ... Sand & Sea Cookies

One more fun recipe made for the beach theme! These were simple sugar cookies just half was died blue, well a little more than half I didn't measure that well .. lol. I saw this idea on The Simple Parent, she used jello to color and flavor her cookies I love my AmeriColor food gel (no taste and a beautiful color).


What you Need:

Sugar Cookies (see recipe below)
AmeriColor Food Color Blue (or Jello like she did)

Half your recipe to keep one half the white (cream color) and then add food coloring to your mixer and mix to the perfect blue color. Take a ball of white and a ball of blue and roll them together! Bake like normal and tada Sand & Sea Cookies! My second batch got a little brown due to the kids were requesting things and I spaced on the cookies in the oven (still yummy just darker then I like).

Enjoy!!!


I started out with a Sugar cookie found on All Recipes, dubbed The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies.

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:
1.In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
2.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
3.Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
Thanks for Stopping by!
Don't forget to see the parties I link up to HERE.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Beach Themed Party ... Starfish S'More's

So this was not made for the party but it fits in with the theme of the party. I had a special request for a 2 y/o birthday and official adoption.  I got confused on the dates and made them too early for the party date, so the kids had a treat and so did my bestie! ONE thing I learned was the cookie cutter I had didn't make the cleanest star shape. I found this fun recipe for Starfish S'Mores on Hungry Happenings.


Ingredients:
1 cup water, divided
3 packages unflavored gelatin (2 1/2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1-2 teaspoons butter or non-stick cooking spray
50 squares of graham crackers crushed into crumbs
16 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (or chips)

Special Equipment Needed:

stand mixer or super heavy duty hand held mixer
small saucepan with lid
candy thermometer
9″ x 13″ pan
rubber spatula and/or an offset spatula
star cookie cutter
dipping fork or kitchen fork
parchment paper or wax paper
baking sheet or cutting board
toothpick

First part is you make homemade marshmallows, which isn't hard but not simple. After you make the star cuts you have scraps and not wanting to waste them I cut what I couldn't into squares and rectangles for homemade marshmallows to add to hot cocoa or just to eat. NOW I hate store bought marshmallows, but these are so fluffy and yummy in your mouth!!

Instructions:
Pour 1/2 cup of water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle gelatin over top of water and allow to soften for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, pour remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt into a small saucepan.  Stir just to combine ingredients. Cover saucepan, place over medium heat, and cook for 4 minutes.  Remove lid, and clip the candy thermometer onto the side of the pan.  Continue to cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit (about 7-8 minutes.)
Place the whisk attachment on your stand mixer. Turn the stand mixer onto low speed. Very carefully and slowly pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the softened gelatin. Once all of the sugar syrup is in the bowl, increase  the mixer speed to high. Whip until the marshmallow becomes very thick and cools to a lukewarm temperature, about 12-15 minutes. Add the vanilla and whip just to combine.
While the marshmallow is whipping, prepare your pan.  Butter (or spray with non-stick spray) the bottom and sides of a 9″ x 13″ pan.  Combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch in a bowl.  Sprinkle evenly over the bottom and sides of the pan. Tap pan to remove excess. Save remaining mixture for later.
Butter or spray a rubber spatula and use it to remove the marshmallow from the bowl. Spread the marshmallow evenly in the pan. Use a buttered offset spatula to smooth the surface.

Dust the top of the marshmallow with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Cover bowl of powdered mixture for later use. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncoveredfor at least 4 hours and up to overnight.


Now for the S'mores:

Set a large cutting board on top of the pan of marshmallows.  Turn both the board and pan upside down.  The marshmallow should fall right out of the pan onto the board. If it doesn’t, help it along.  Dust a star shaped cookie cutter with some of the powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture.  Press the cookie cutter into the marshmallow, remove, and press marshmallow out.  Dust cutter again, and continue to cut stars until you can’t cut any more.  As you can see, you will have a lot of marshmallow scraps. Either dust them with more powdered sugar/cornstarch or dip them in any leftover chocolate (be sure to leave some chocolate to attach your candy eyes.)

Pour chopped chocolate into a microwave safe bowl.  Heat on high power for 30 seconds.  Stir. Heat on high power for 20 seconds. Stir vigorously.  Heat on high power for 15 seconds.  Stir vigorously.  If not melted, continue to heat for 10 second increments, stirring after each, until melted.

Pour graham cracker crumbs into a shallow dish.

Place one marshmallow star in the melted chocolate.  Use a fork to press the marshmallow into the chocolate, covering the top and all sides of the star.  Place the fork on the underside of the marshmallow and use it to lift the marshmallow out of the chocolate.  Shake the marshmallow to allow any excess chocolate to fall off.  Flop the marshmallow over into the bowl of graham cracker crumbs.  Remove fork.  Sprinkle and push the crumbs over and up against the marshmallow star.  Completely cover the star with crumbs and allow to dry for 1-2 minutes in the crumbs. Remove from crumbs and set on a parchment paper lined baking sheet or cutting board.

Use a toothpick to dig out small circles of the graham cracker crumbs where the eyes will be on each starfish. Add a dab of chocolate to the holes and place an eye on top.  

Store your marshmallow starfish in an airtight container for up to 1 week.  Package individual starfish in cellophane bags to give as party favors or gifts.


You can throw away the scraps but I like the waste not method and use for other treats!



Enjoy!


Thanks for Stopping by!
Don't forget to see the parties I link up to HERE.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Beach Party Themed Cupcakes .... Fish and Octopus

We usually throw and end of summer start of school party at the lake. This year I had to go to Boston for work so we had to push it out a week. The weather was overcast and we had a few sprinkles but all and all it was a great party. Not many showed to this party but the one's that counted did. I think I may have to rethink having parties .. lol my turn out is getting to be low.

You know me and have to have a theme for all parties, and I went with the beach themed that I've done in the past with some new treats! I got most of the beach ideas from The Simple Parent.


 
First on the list to make was an easy Fish cupcake. I saw this idea and now can't find the page to link to them sorry.

What you Need:
Frosted Cupcakes (I tinted mine blue using Americolor Food Gel)
Colored Gold Fish
Black Frosting Gel
Decorating Pearls

Frost your cupcakes I used the feather tip to make it look like waves. I added 3 gold fish per cupcakes (using all the different colors). I used the black gel to add an eye to each gold fish. Then took decorating pearls to decorate the cupcakes like bubbles coming out of the fish breathing under water!

Next cupcake was the octopus. I saw on The Simple Parent using gummy worms and a gumdrop to make an octopus. I happened to go to Walmart candy section and bam I found octopus gummies! Less work is great for me!

What you need:
Frosted Cupcakes (I tinted mine blue with AmeriColor Food Gel)
Octopus Gummies (Or make your own with worms and a gum drop)

Frost your cupcakes I used the feather tip on these also to look like waves. I topped each cupcake with a octopus gummy and bam done!


Thanks for Stopping by!
Don't forget to see the parties I link up to HERE.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fly away on a Work Trip

You may have noticed I was absent last week. Well I took a little trip now it wasn't all business a little pleasure was there also! I work in Boston so I travel there every 3mo or so to have some face time. Being virtual is amazing for my home life etc, but you miss some of the face to face that helps make you real ... lol. I was so happy when my bosses said I could come out ever few months to work in office.

I flew out Saturday night for a 6 hour flight and arrive bright and early Sunday. I of course flew in when the hotel had a wedding and all rooms were booked. I love the Hyatt they are usually very helpful and get me right in. The lady that spoke to me sadly did not carry that high regard for the company I'm use to. Instead of saying let me take your name and number and if we have a room open early we'll let you know. NOPE she was almost down right nasty. NOW I know I flew in early and before the check in time, but as we all know they have rooms that haven't been sold and are just sitting there. Usually they are so nice, these lady not so much. Got nasty tell me its Sunday do I think ppl would check out early. WELL missy I watched as ppl checked out early and went and talked to the nice girl I usually deal with very nicely took my name and number and called me when a room was cleaned.

Packed and ready to go!
Rick had to work so I took a towncar to the airport!
Sat next to older couple who had to pee like every 30min, so much for the good isle seat!

Thankfully a Starbucks is right next the hotel.
So I could wait there until room ready. 

I had a great week! I had to dress up every day which is so far from my PJ look I usually wear every day for work. We had a huge event that was so fun and I got to meet a lady I've talked to but hadn't meet in person.


I was on a mission and got up EVERY morning I was there before work and hit the gym! I did bring protein bars and shakes with me to help with my diet, but I knew with no grocery store by me I was going to have some not the best meals. I was pretty proud of myself getting up at what would be 3:30am my time (6:30am their time) and even taking the stairs up and down to the gym! I'm happy to say I've been home a week and down 2lbs from when I left so all is good!


The office celebrated my belated bday since I wasn't in the office for my bday. I was so touched, and ate cake which was so bad! The office took me to dinner at Legal Seafood the night before I left. I laughed so hard and enjoyed the great time with my co-workers.


I had a bumpy flight home, but didn't have to share my row with anyone! I love JetBlue they have WIFI and TV! Flew in late Friday night, and back to work Saturday AM I went. 


I love my job and being able to work from home and a 3 hour time difference makes my life so much easier! I can't wait to go back again, it's fun playing dress up and working with great people. 
Have a GREAT weekend!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Soft Amish Sugar Cookies

And last on my list of cookies that my bestie posted recipes of on FB was these super soft yummy Soft Amish Sugar Cookies. I was good and didn't taste these but I was so tempted! They were so fluffy and soft!


This is a must recipe of all the cookies I made from her FB post.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter., room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4½ cups flour
  • *optional sprinkles to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. In your mixing bowl cream together butter, oil and both sugars until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  4. Add in baking soda, cream of tartar and salt and mix in.
  5. Turn mixer to low and add in flour, mixing until combined.
  6. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon drop dough onto lined baking sheet. Add sprinkles now if desired. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges just start to golden.
  7. Allow to cool for 3 minutes on baking sheet and transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.


Enjoy these will be a hit! (Alexis hit I always use Almond instead of Vanilla it's my favorite flavor profile).

Cookies on her list I made:

Thanks for Stopping by!
Don't forget to see the parties I link up to HERE.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cinnamon Sugar Shortbread Bars

Next on the cookie list my bestie posted on FB was Cinnamon Sugar Shortbread Bars. They looked easy enough I tried them the night she posted them. And surprising very easy and VERY tasty. I'm a huge shortbread fan, so I did have to test this one. I had one ... ok maybe Three .. ugh but sooo good!!!


Enjoy these Cinnamon Sugar Shortbread Bars, simple to make and perfect sack!

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
Mix in the flour and cornstarch until well combined.
Pat into an ungreased 10x15 rimmed baking sheet. Prick all over with a fork.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the dough.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden and the cookie is set.
Cut into bars while still warm.

Cookies on her list I made:

Thanks for Stopping by!
Don't forget to see the parties I link up to HERE.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Caramel Apple Pie Cookies

My best friend always finds the best cookies and then post them. And you all know I love to bake but I'm trying to be good with getting my weight back down that I don't want to eat them. So I usually make what she post then take it right to her house ... lol.


This recipe for Caramel Apple Pie Cookies I've seen on SEVERAL blogs and websites so I don't have one that I can link to so I just picked one. NOW the ingredients are easy and the recipe is easy but the end product I wasn't overly impressed with. But they did turn out good!  One thing I did learn don't chop the apple's up too small it a gooey mess that way!

INGREDIENTS

1
package Pillsbury™ Refrigerated Pie Crusts
1
jar caramel sauce
1
can apple pie filling
1
egg, lightly beaten
3
tablespoons cinnamon sugar
2
tablespoons flour for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Sprinkle a little flour on a clean work surface. Roll out the dough just a teensy-weensy bit to slightly increase the surface area. (You don't want it too thin).
  • Spread a thin film of caramel sauce over the crust.
  • Chop up the apple pie pieces so they're smaller. Spread some of the apple pie mixture over the caramel sauce. Don't use quite the whole can.
  • Sprinkle a little flour on your clean work surface and again, you know the routine ;just roll the dough out very slightly. Use either a pastry cutter or a knife to cut a bunch of strips about 1/2 inch wide.
  • Using the strips, make a lattice over the top of the pie.
  • Get out a round cookie cutter and cut out the caramel apple pie cookies. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, you should end up with a dozen. Use a thin spatula to carefully transfer the cookies over to a non-stick baking sheet.
  • Brush a little of the egg across the strips on the cookies. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  • And don't forget to bake up all those luscious leftover scraps, too!

Alexis notes: I used Salted Caramel that was so yummy and I'm glad that I got it out of the house fast so I didn't eat the jar. DON'T overly chop the apples I did it was a mess!


The other cookies I made that she posted: 

Thanks for Stopping by!
Don't forget to see the parties I link up to HERE.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Zucchini the size of my arm ... White Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies

We end with the 3rd recipe used from this HUGE zucchini! I was able to shred 7 cups from this one zucchini! Enough for all three recipes, today is our last recipe to be featured! 


So I wanted to do a cookie and I had a bag of white chocolate chips and thought I'd do a google search and bam ... I came across a recipe for White Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies on Serious Eats.



INGREDIENTS 
  • 1 cup butter, softened and divided into 3/4 cup 
  • 1/4 cup 2 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 1 cup diced zucchini 
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips 
DIRECTIONS 
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 
2. In a medium saucepan, melt 1/4 cup butter and the brown sugar. Over medium heat, sauté the diced zucchini until it has lightly browned and absorbed the butter and sugar mixture. Set on paper towels to blot the excess moisture; leave to the side for the moment. 
3. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream 3/4 cup butter and granulated sugar; beat in egg and lemon peel. Stir in sifted dry ingredients,then mix in the zucchini;once mixed, gently fold in the white chocolate chips. 
4. Drop by teaspoonfuls on the prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch and a half around each cookie to allow for spreading. 
5. Bake until golden around the edges, 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Now I found these cookies to be a bit goopey so I added some quick cooking oats to make it easier to make cookies. 

What I made from the one zucchini!

Thanks for Stopping by!
Don't forget to see the parties I link up to HERE.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Zucchini the size of my arm ... We make Zucchini Dessert Squares

Since this zucchini gave me 7 CUPS of shredded zucchini I had to find a few recipes to make with this one zucchini!  I found a recipe for Zucchini Dessert Squares on Taste of Home


These looked so yummy! I was being good on my diet so I didn't even taste a little but I heard they were yummy! I will have to make when I hit my goal weight!

The Zucchini!!

Ingredients
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups cold butter
  • FILLING:
  • 8 to 10 cups cubed seeded peeled zucchini (4 to 5 pounds)
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions

  • 1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly; reserve 3 cups. Pat remaining crumb mixture into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 375° for 12 minutes.
  • 2. Meanwhile, for filling, place zucchini and lemon juice in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 6-8 minutes or until zucchini is crisp-tender. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; cover and simmer for 5 minutes (mixture will be thin).
  • 3. Spoon over crust; sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture. Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until golden. Yield: 16-20 servings.


One Zucchini - Three Recipes!

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