Friday, June 29, 2012

Fun Book Club Ideas

Are you in a Book Club? Would it be fun to give your Book Club members a party favor? Or display some cute items at your Book Club meeting? Here are some ideas!

This month Robin started a book club and picked the book - 50 Shades of Grey. She has always wanted to be in a book club! So I used her name throughout the post!

So I bought some grey/silver candy and put it in a cellophane bag. Then stapled some silver paper on the top and added a tag, bow and rhinestones.

I happened to have the paper, ribbon and rhinestones in my craft cabinet. But you could easily buy the paper, ribbon and rhinestones at Michael's or Hobby Lobby for a few dollars.

This is a terrific idea and you could also use regular popcorn. This would be a great idea for a kids Book Club! I have also made some popcorn drizzled with melted chocolate. Check out the Easy easter Popcorn post dated 4/1/12 for the recipe.

Once again - I was just using supplies from my craft cabinet. But this would look cute in primary colors as well.

I love sugary/sour candies. So I used some sour worms! This is also a perfect idea for a kids Book Club!

I wished I had some red or pink rhinestones!  Or worm stickers. But I was trying to use items from my craft cabinet. If you don't have any scrapbook paper - you could also use wrapping paper.

The last idea is to make little books out of mini candy bars. To see the exact directions on how to make a little book - view my Bible/Scripture post dated 10/13/11.

I hope that you are able to use one of these ideas at your next Book Club meeting!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blogoversary Update

It has come to my attention that a few people are having a hard time leaving comments. Just go to the comments - right now it says 7 comments. Click on that and leave a comment - if it does not publish - then you just need to open a quick google account. Google is the provider for my blog - off to the side you can open a a quick google account - it will take less 30 seconds - you just type in your email.

After you open the google account - go back to your comment and press publish! Then it will ask you to type in the funky word and your comment will be published and you will be entered into the contest!

Hope this helps! Thank you for reading my blog and entering the contest!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Two Year Blogoversary

Yes, I will be celebrating my two year blogoversary on June 30th! To celebrate I am giving away a fun prize!

The Sweet Designs book by Amy Atlas! Amy Atlas is famous for her dessert party tables. She has made party tables for people like Oprah and Brooke Shields. She has lots of sneaky grocery store cheats and recipes.

She does has tons of wonderful ideas!

This is a book that you would refer to every holiday!

How can you win this book? Just leave a comment below- on what recipe or craft idea you have enjoyed throughout the year. Or what craft or recipe ideas you would like to see. Would you like to see more cleaning tips or decorating ideas?

Just leave me a comment and you will be entered! I have made it very easy to leave a comment. Just scroll to the bottom of this post - click on comment. Leave a comment - Press publish and type in the funky word to prove you are not a robot.

So please enter my contest and tell your friends. The contest ends on June 30th at 5 p.m.

On July 1st I will leave the name of the contest winner on my blog and then contact the winner! If I have over 50 comments I will giveaway two books!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Raspberry and Pineapple Fresh Fruit Tart

I made another Fruit Tart! Except that I changed up the fruit!

Using the same recipe from the post on June 1, 2012 - I created a different Fruit Tart!

Because this time I used fresh pineapple and raspberries. I still used the kiwi and blueberries - but this tart really does have a different look and taste!

I love making Fruit Tarts! You can really be creative with your fruit choices and any leftover fruit makes a wonderful fruit salad or fruit kabobs.

Let me know if you make a fresh Fruit Tart!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

I found this idea on Pinterest and found the recipe on the Life's too Short to Skip Dessert blog - check out her blog if you have a minute. She has a lot of great dessert ideas! This recipe was so easy and you only need four simple ingredients!

8 ounce pretzel twists (approximately 1/2 of a standard sized bag)
2/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon


Cellophane bags


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. I took out the broken pieces - but you don't have to do this step!  I am just such a type "A" personality. Then place your pretzel twists in a roasting pan or casserole type dish.

In a medium bowl mix oil, sugar and cinnamon. Pour the sugar mixture over the pretzels and stir so that all the pretzels are coated.  Bake for 30 minutes - stirring every 10 minutes.

Let the pretzel's cool and serve them in a bowl or put them in cellophane bags and tie with ribbon.

I put the cellophane bags in a bowl on my kitchen island so the kids could grab for the pool or beach snacks. These were so good - I have already made them twice!

I try to keep my kitchen counters clear! But as you can see this really never works out! This is a great summer snack to bring to a BBQ. Make two batches because they will go fast!

Are your kitchen counters clear of clutter?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Red, White and Blue Table Setting

My Dad's birthday is June 14th - which is also "Flag Day." So each year when he comes over for his birthday dinner - I decorate the table in red, white and blue. Oh and of course some Flags!

That is my Dad's gift - wrapped in Flag paper! And although you really can't see it - I used some toothpick Flags to decorate the middle of the bow!

I love red, white and blue! It is so festive!

I made Pillsbury Flag cookies and set the dish on an upside down red, white and blue bowl.

This is a close-up of each place setting. I used a blue star toothpick to decorate each napkin.

The chandelier is also decorated with Flags and red, white and blue!

This table setting would be perfect for Memorial Day or the Fourth of July. Of course I would move move everything to the backyard.

Monday, June 18, 2012

PB&J Granola

I can't stop making granola! Each time I make granola I tweek the recipe  just a little!

Today I made PB & J Granola! Yum!


6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups coconut
2 cups of peanuts
1/2 canola oil
1/2 packed brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups dried cranberries or dried cherries
2 cups of peanut butter chips


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Mix the oats, coconut and peanuts in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over low heat mix the oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix until everything is smooth and completely blended. Pour over the oat mixture and mix until everything is combined.

Line a large shallow pan with foil and spread the mixture in the pan. I use an extra large glass pan so I don't need to use the foil.

Bake until the mixture is browned - 50 minutes. Stirring every 10 minutes. Cool in the pan. Once the granola is cool add the dried berries and peanut butter chips.

I bought the peanuts and dried cranberries from Trader Joe's.

You can buy the peanut butter chips at Target or the grocery store.

Mix the dried berries and peanut butter chips into the granola and place in a airtight container for up to 2 weeks. This recipe makes a ton - share it with your friends, neighbors and co-workers.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

White Balsamic Homemade Salad Dressing

This is a really light and refreshing salad dressing. It tastes really fresh. Once you start making your own dressing it is harder to use the bottled stuff!

My son wanted to go to California Pizza Kitchen - so we took him! And I ordered a salad with white balsamic vinaigrette and grilled peaches. I decided to replicate the recipe at home starting with the salad dressing. I found this dressing on the Living Lou website. Check out her blog if you have a minute - she has a lot of great recipes.


1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic powder, honey and oregano. Slowly mix in the olive oil and add the salt and pepper. Place the dressing in a glass jar and refrigerate.

Shake lightly before using.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pearl Name Tag Gift Wrap

Okay - can you tell that this gift is from Banana Republic? It is for my friend Joy. So I wrote her name on the wrapping paper with a pencil and traced her name with a glue gun and added the pearl beads. Doesn't this look like a fun gift?

Here is a close up of her name! I used three types of ribbon - polka dot, sheer and rick rack! So if you don't have time to make a gift tag or card - get out the glue gun and your bead kit!

Send me photos of some of your gift wrap ideas and I will post them!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Taco Pie

A very easy casserole to make. It is actually faster to make then making everyone tacos with bowls of toppings. Plus all the toppings bowls take up so much room in the dishwasher!


1 9-inch pie crust, frozen or homemade
1 can refried beans, 16 ounce
1 1b. lean ground beef
1/2 cup salsa
1 small can of chopped green chili's
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 large tomato. diced

Optional Toppings:

green onions
sour cream
1 small can of sliced olives, drained
avocado slices


Bake your pie crust according to your directions.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread 1/2 can of refried beans inside the baked pie shell. Use the rest of the can for a 7-layer dip.

In a large skillet start to brown the lean ground beef. Once the meat is brown,  drain the fat and add the onions, salsa and green chili's. Mix throughly on low heat for a few minutes and then add to the pie shell on top of the refried beans.

Now sprinkle the mixture with the crumbled tortilla chips.

The last step before placing the pie in the oven is to cover the top with shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is nice and bubbly.  While the Taco Pie is baking you can wash and chop the tomato, lettuce, green onions and cilantro. Drain the olives.

Once the Taco pie is fully baked - let it sit for about five minutes before you start to add the toppings.

At the very end I add a small helping of sour cream and some avocado slices.

You can get make this dish from start to finish in about 40 minutes.  It is delicious!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Chocolate and Caramel Drizzled Croissants

Okay - so I wanted to make homemade croissants - but when I looked up how to make them from scratch it took four days and a million steps to make 12 croissants. Ugh!

So in honor of the French Open - which I am loving this year! Such great matches! I went out yesterday and practiced my serve! It is all about the serve! However, I digress. If I were in France I would have a chocolate croissant every morning for breakfast. Because French women don't get fat.

So I improvised and used croissants from the bakery. I filled them with chocolate and drizzled them with carmel and chocolate.

Don't these look fantastic? And so easy to make!

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Then split your bakery store croissants in half and add a tablespoon of semi-sweet chocolate chips on the bottom half of each croissant.  Put the croissants back together and bake for 3 minutes.

Once the croissants have cooled in about 15 minutes or so - melt about ten caramels and put the melted caramel in a ziplock bag and snip off a small end and drizzle over the croissants. Let the caramel set for about ten minutes.

Now melt some milk chocolate and put it in a zipper top bag - snipping a small end off and drizzle over the croissant. Let the chocolate set for about ten minutes. Then you can take the croissants and place them on a serving platter!

I would love it if you left a comment. And signed up to be a follower! This would be a really cute gift to make for a friend, teacher or neighbor combined with a Starbucks gift card. Let me know if you make these croissants!

I hope Maria Sharapova and Roger Federer win the French Open. Who do you want to win?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Confetti Orzo with Fresh Vegetables

This is a wonderful dish to bring to a picnic or BBQ especially since it is not mayonnaise based.  It can be served cold or at room temperature. It is also a very pretty dish - cut the veggies into really small pieces.


1 1/2 cups orzo, cooked and drained
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 cup bell peppers, finely chopped (red, green and yellow)
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped*


Cook orzo for 10 -12 minutes in boiling water.

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Toss the dressing, cooked orzo and all of the finely chopped vegetables.

*If you don't have basil - use parsley. Be creative. I would love it if you left a comment or signed up to be a follower!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fresh Fruit Tart


This is really easy to make - you can use your favorite fruit! I will probably post another fruit tart over the summer with pineapple and raspberries. Be creative!



1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup butter, room temperature

 Crust Directions -

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a pastry blender, keep pressing until a dough forms. You could also make this dough in the food processor. But I really hate cleaning my food processor and our grandmother's did not have food processors. They used pastry blenders!

Press the dough into a 12-inch tart pan with the removable bottom.  Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until the crust is very lightly browned. Set aside to cool.


 8 ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until the mixture is smooth. Then spread it evenly over the cooled crust.

Fruit Topping


Wash and cut the fruit. Try to find strawberries in the same size and cut them in half.  First I made a circle of kiwi, then strawberries. I filled in the extra area with blueberries. The I added the blackberries, and an extra row of strawberries filled in blueberries. So simple!

I did not use a glaze over the fruit. I think this fruit tart is perfect without a glaze. Make this for your next BBQ. Everyone will love it!