Tagged: entertaining

Chocolate-Covered Goodness

I had this past Friday off work and decided to use the day to tackle some holiday baking. I always like to make something yummy and pretty to give to friends and co-workers during the holidays. This year, I decided to stick with a classic but try some new flavor combinations. Enter delish chocolate-covered pretzels:

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Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 1.00.05 PMI laid all the pretzels out on a cookie sheet so I could sort out all the broken ones. Then I got all my toppings prepared. I used mini M&Ms, crushed candy cane pieces, crushed oreos, and some holiday sprinkles. Next, I melted down the different chocolates, white chocolate and milk chocolate. I dipped each pretzel, covered with topping, and laid them on wax paper to set. Here are the different combinations I came up with:

Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 1.00.18 PM1. White Chocolate with Oreo

2. White Chocolate with Holiday Sprinkles

Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 1.00.27 PM3. Milk Chocolate with mini M&Ms

4. White Chocolate with Crushed Candy Canes

The great thing about this dessert, is that it stores well in the freezer. So I popped these all into gallon size freezer bags and they will be ready for the holidays.

Of course, no baking can be done without a trusty assistant and mine was full of smiles:

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Have you started your holiday baking yet? Do you have any easy desserts you bake each year?





lovely lemon

Over the weekend I was looking for something different to bake and came across a recipe that sounded perfect.

These lemon brownies were definitely a hit, Nick loved them! Here is how I made them:

One thing that was nice, is that I had all the necessary ingredients already in the kitchen.

I cut one stick of unsalted butter into small slices to help bring it to room temperature quickly. Then I added it to the sugar, flour, and salt and begin to mix.

I whisked the lemon juice and eggs together and then added them to the mixer. I mixed for about two minutes until everything was combined nicely.

In the mean time, I worked on the icing which was just a mix of powdered sugar and lemon juice. I opted to use bottled lemon juice since I did not have fresh lemons on hand.

Now back to the brownie mix… Once it was combined I spread it evenly into a non-stick baking pan (The recipe called for a square pan but I went for an 8×8 circle since I didn’t have the other size.).

I then baked the brownies and let them cool. After I placed them on the other side of the pan to make it easier to ice and added the icing. Then it was into the fridge to cool and set the lemon icing.

Once the brownies had completely cooled, I cut them into small bite-sized squares. They turned out great and will definitely be added to our recipe book!

Did you bake something new recently? What was it?

piña colada cupcakes

Today is my family’s annual luau party and I knew I wanted to bake fun cupcakes. I came across this recipe for piña colada cupcakes on Pinterest and was excited to try them out. I did make some modifications though…

Here are the ingredients I needed to make both the cupcakes and the pineapple frosting. I did take a shortcut and use a vanilla cake mix for the cupcakes to save some time (and mess!) in the kitchen:

Then I began baking the cupcakes:

1. I lined my cupcakes pans so they were ready to go when the batter was mixed.

2. I mixed everything up following the instructions on the box.

3. Filled all the liners and waiting for them to bake (about 23 minutes).

4. Let them cool and began working on the frosting.

The frosting isn’t the healthiest (made with two packages of cream cheese and three sticks of butter!) and needed about 4 minutes of mixing to combine the ingredients before I added the powdered sugar and pineapple.

Then I began to frost the cupcakes:

After I frosted the cupcakes, I added shredded sweetened coconut to the tops of each one:

Next I cut up some pineapple rings that would become garnish on top of each along with a cherry:

Lastly, I topped all of the cupcakes with my fruit topping and used toothpicks to hold it all together:

And that is how the piña colada cupcakes turned out! I made Nick do a taste test for me (not that he minded) and he loved them. I am sure they will be a hit on this hot summer day at the luau party.

Have you ever tried a fun spin on traditional cupcakes? What did you make?

entertain me

Happy Friday! My parents are having their annual “luau” party tomorrow and it got me thinking about parties and entertaining. Here are five questions I want to know from you about entertaining:

How often do you entertain for family or friends?

We are new to entertaining having not been on our own long, but so far we have had a big party each year we have lived in our home.

Do you have a favorite theme when throwing a party?

I don’t have a favorite yet, but I definitely can appreciate the effort it takes to pull a theme together. My friend had a roaring 20’s theme for her husband’s 30th birthday and it was a lot of work!

Is there a go-to dish that you bring when attending a party?

My go-to treat lately has been cupcakes! I love finding new and fun recipes to try out. For my parents party, I am going to be attempting pina colada cupcakes! (I’ll share how they turn out :))

What is your favorite time of year to entertain?

I think my favorite time would have to be the summer. We have a pool and Nick has set up the backyard really nice, so it is fun to be able to swim and entertain when the sun is shining!

When is the next time you will be entertaining at your house?

We will be pretty busy during the next few months with our upcoming wedding, but I am throwing around the idea of having a New Year’s Eve party at the Grove Pointe house this year!

Can’t wait to hear all of your responses!

the fourth

This past fourth of July, we decided to invite our friends over for a pool party at our house.  It was going to be a casual party, but I knew I wanted to do a few things to decorate and create a theme for the day.  Naturally, I went with a nautical theme and it was super cute and easy! Here are some of the things I did to embrace my theme:

I made cupcakes and thought that sailing flags would make a cute touch. I was able to do a search for “sailing flags” and find some images that I printed and then wove through some toothpicks:

Next I decided to make some beach ball signs that said “dive in” to place in the different dips and appetizers.  It was really simple to do and it made a big difference when everything was set up. You can see it here in the marshmallows of my “smore station” (which was a hit when we had our bonfire!):

I also made navy and white striped place cards that had creative names for the different treats. Here you can see the “catch of the day” (goldfish crackers):

One treat too cute not to share, was the “shark attack” fruit salad that our friends Lon and Paula brought. It was a perfect addition to the party theme:

Last I decided to make a banner of sailing flags to hang over all of the treats.  It was really simple to make and tied the look together:

Of course we were sure to carry the theme outside and added these little guys to our bar area that is on our deck:

So there you have it – our pool party with a few cute nautical touches. It was a fun way to add a little flair to the day and a theme I am sure we will use again.  Have you tied a simple theme into a get together recently? What was it?