Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Good-bye Granola Party Favor

I made a little Good-bye Granola treat - two of our neighborhood friends are moving away and there is a little breakfast to say goodbye tomorrow. So I decided to make some small party favors. We are all sad that they are leaving.

First I made a big batch of homemade granola. If you need a granola recipe - scroll down to the labels on the right hand side and click on the granola link and it will take you to the Granola recipe. I guess in a pinch you could use store bought granola.

Once the granola was completely cooled I put two big scoops into a 3 x 5" plastic bag. I bought the bags in a package of 100 from Michael's.  Then I cut out some brown scrapbook paper toppers. I folded the topper in half and stapled it to the top of the plastic bag.

Now you will need some labels, twine or ribbon and a pearl or rhinestone. I bought the labels and the pearls from Michael's. I had the brown scrapbook paper and twine in my craft supply closet.

I decided to write "Happy Trails" instead of "Good-Bye Granola." But I think these would also make a fun Graduation party favor - you could write "Graduation Granola."

Tie a bunch of twine or ribbon into little bows. Note: while I was doing this my husband was watching "Black Hawk Down" in surround sound and my whole house felt like it was under sniper attack. Yes, I was annoyed.

Heat up your hot glue gun and glue the little bow above the label and add the little adhesive pearl.

I think they came out really cute!

The brown paper with the twine has a rustic feel - the pearl is a little unexpected touch. Once the bags are lined up you can see how cute they would be to use for a Graduation Brunch or Father's Day Breakfast party favors.

If you decide to make this party favor for a Graduation Brunch - use scrapbook paper, ribbon and rhinestones in your school colors.

Goodbye - Adriana and Julie - you will be missed.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

French Onion Soup

I actually made this soup last week but  decided to post the recipe today because today is the first day of the French Open. I am sad that Venus Williams lost in the first round today. I have never met her - but I think that if I did I would walk away saying what a lovely lady.

I used Paula Deen's French Onion soup recipe for two reasons - first because I love Paula Deen and have always have good luck with her recipes and second because I had all of the ingredients for her recipe. A lot of French Onion soup recipes had ingredients like vermouth. And vermouth isn't one of my pantry staples.


8 onions, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/3 cup olive oil

2 heaping tablespoons all purpose flour

8 cups of beef stock

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

Loaf of French bread, cut into 3/4 inch slices

2 cups grated Gruyere cheese

When I was slicing the onions I had to stop several times because my eyes were watering!


Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat until the onions are tender and golden brown. This will probably take 45 minutes to one hour.

Once the onions are golden brown  add the two tablespoons of flour and sauté for a few more minutes - browning the flour.

Add the beef stock and wine and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the thyme and bay leaf.

Reduce the heat, cover and gently simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf and add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile coat each side of the French bread with a little butter or olive oil. I used olive oil.

Toast the French bread in a 300 degree oven for 3 to 4 minutes until it is golden brown.

Ladle the soup into oven proof bowls and add a few pieces of the toasted bread on top of each bowl of soup. Cover the top of each bowl with a small handful of cheese. You should have four to six bowls of soup - depending on your bowl size. And I had few small tupperware containers of leftover soup.

Set the bowls on a foil lined baking sheet and place them in a 350 degree oven for 4 to 5 minutes and then a minute or two under the broiler.

Note - my hands smiled like onions and garlic for 24 hours - despite my constant hand washing.

I am excited to watch the French Open over the next two weeks!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Basketball Rice Crispy Treats For the Basketball Team

These were super simple to make because I used store bought Rice Crispy Treats. I was under a time crunch - so I simply did not have enough time to make the Rice Crispy Treats.

Remove the wrappers from the Rice Crispy Treats and set them out on apiece of parchment paper.

Using a rolling pin flatten out each Rice Crispy Treat and cut out the flattened treat with a round cookie cutter.

Melt the orange Wilton candy melts and spread  the melted chocolate over the Rice Crispy Treat - then sprinkle with some orange sugar.

Melt some milk chocolate and put the melted chocolate into a small zipper bag. Twist the chocolate to one end and snip a very small hole. Pipe the basketball lines - the lines don't need to be perfect because the boys eat these in thirty seconds flat.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lemon Bundt Cake

Last week at a birthday party - we had wonderful lemon cake. You could really taste the lemon. So I decided to make a lemon cake! My husband says I need to stop with my restaurant recreations.

So I ignored him and Googled Lemon Bundt Cakes and found a great recipe from the Barefoot Contessa.

While making this recipe I used my KitchenAid mixer, three mixing bowls, a small saucepan and a ton of knifes, cutting boards, whisks, spatulas etc. I hand washed the KitchenAid bowl and attachment.  And everything else filled up my entire dishwasher!


2 sticks of  unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

4 extra large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 - 8 large lemons)

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Lemon Syrup:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

Lemon Glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar

3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour your bundt cake pan. I use the butter wrappers to grease the bundt pan.

Cream the butter and 2 cups of granulated sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

With the mixer on medium speed,  add the eggs one at a time and the lemon zest.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

In another bowl combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla.

Add the flour and buttermilk mixture alternately to the batter, starting and ending with the flour.

Put the batter into your prepared cake pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the cake is cooling make a lemon syrup by combining 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves.

Invert the cake onto a plate and drizzle the lemon syrup over the cake.

Now add the powdered sugar to the lemon juice and whisk together to create a glaze and drizzle that over the cake.

Slice up your cake and serve! Yum! Make this for the lemon lovers in your life.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Basketball Treats for the Team


Each week I email the team  parents - can anyone bring a small snack? So far only one other mom has helped out. So each week I have brought a small snack. Last week I wrapped Hershey bars with basketball scrapbook paper - I didn't post it because I did this in the past and I used the exact same scrapbook paper.

So I have been trying to use things that I already had - so I had these orange candy sticks left over from a Duck's Hockey Gift wrap. So I decided to add a basketball and make it the snack this week.

Using my big circle punch I quickly punched out large orange circles and made the lines with a black Sharpie. Then I taped the basketball onto the orange candy stick.

I bought the candy sticks at Party City - in the wedding section - they have every color of the rainbow. I think these would also make cute party favors or March Madness treats.

I made basketballs - but you could easily make soccer balls, tennis balls, baseballs etc.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Gift Card for a Soccer Friend

Lately I have been taping the gift card to Gatoraide bottles. It is a fun idea to do
for sports minded friends!

I have a big sports box and when I dug into my sports box - I found a soccer ornament and some soccer candy. When I was at Michael's this week I found that cute soccer pen.

I taped the gift card to back of the Gatoraide bottle.

It is a little hard to see - but I taped the pen to the front of the Gatoraide bottle and the soccer ball candy is around the bottom of the bottle.

I hope this inspires you the next time you wrap a gift card!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Party Favors for Lisa's Birthday Lunch

I made some little party favors for a birthday lunch that I am going to tomorrow.  Some little floral bouquets and small bags of Churro Bites. I can't stop making Churro Bites. Click on the Cinco de Mayo label (the labels are on the right hand side) and you can find the easy recipe!

I will start with the little floral bouquets. I put them in little jelly jars and decorated the jelly jars with ribbon and adhesive pearls. I bought the flowers at Trader Joe's.

Using some double stick tape I adhered the ribbon the the jelly jar and added three adhesive pearls. The ribbon and pearls just give the bouquet that "something extra."

Everyone can take the jelly jar bouquet home by placing it in the cup holder in their car! Bouquets in the same color palette always look really classic.

Is it a party favor - if it doesn't include a sweet treat? So I put some Churro Bites into little bags and tied them with coordinating ribbon that matched the bouquet ribbon.

But wait! I decided to jazz up the Churro Bite packaging by adding the adhesive pearls to the center of the ribbon and on the sides. Because I like things a little jazzy!

I hope this gives you some fun ideas for the next time you host a party or just want to bring a treat to a restaurant party. If you don't have any jelly jars - save your soup cans - remove the labels and add the the ribbon or some twine- it will be adorable!


Everyone liked the little bouquets and Churro bites!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

I Love Making Fruit Tarts

I decided to use my rectangle tart pan to make my fruit tart!

Each time I make a fruit tart - I use a different combination of fresh fruit.  While the crust is baking I wash and cut the fruit and make the filling.

Under the labels section on the right hand side - click on fruit tart. This will bring you to the recipe.

This would make a wonderful dessert to bring to a BBQ or serve for Mother's Day.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sports Friend Gift Wrap Idea

Many of my son's friends play sports and a fun way to wrap a gift card is to tape it to a bottle of Gatoraide.

I taped the Gatoraide Energy Chews and Pre-game Fuel to the bottle of Gatoraide. The gift card can be taped on the back of the bottle or placed underneath the bottle.

Then gather everything in a large piece of cellophane and tie with a ribbon.