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Chili Cheese Dog (with the works!)

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It’s Championship weekend here in the states and football is on the minds of every fan!  And to go along with any good football game is good “football food”.  I don’t think there is another sport that has food and gatherings so closely associated with it than football.  There is football tailgating, there are home parties and there are just regular sit around the t.v. with some buddies gatherings all requiring beer and “football food”.

Hense, I bring you the Chili Cheese Dog.  It’s so simple, yet soooo good.  Using my recipe for “Chris’ No-bean Chili” these dogs are a snap to make and can really be made to order.  Just set out a crock pot of steamed dogs and another of the chili and set out the fixin’s and you’ve even got a great hot dog bar.  No muss, no fuss. This way, just because you like good football food doesn’t mean you miss the game! woo hoo!

A great hot dog bar can include: chili, shredded cheese, mustard, ketchup, soaked minced onions, maybe a cheese sauce, chopped jalapenos, black olives and pickles or relish.  Get some good fresh buns, good quality dogs and you are in business!

Take a look at this Chili Cheese Dog with the works!

Start with your favorite kind of bun… Being in New England we use the New England style bun here with the sides cut off making for a softer bun and easier to grill should you choose too.

Steam some hot dogs. You could also grill, but I prefer a juicy steamed hot dog.

Now we start to build. Place your dog in your bun.

This is where we start to at “the works”! Start with a nice yellow mustard.

Then add-on some no-bean chili. I am using “Chris’ No-bean Chili” here.

Spread on a sloppy amount of chili.

Now freshly grate some cheddar cheese, which should melt on top of your hot chili.

And to finish off “the works” you can add-on some water soaked minced onions. Yum.

Chili Cheese Dog (with the works)

Serves 6-12

Ingredients:

12 hot dogs

12 New England style buns (or your favorite)

2 cups Chris’ No-bean Chili, prepared

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup water soaked minced onions (optional)

mustard (optional)

Directions:

Steam hot dogs. Soak onions in water for at least 1/2 hour.

Place hot dog in bun.  Add mustard.  Add chili. Add cheese. Add onions.  Serve, enjoy!

*note – to make gluten-free, use a gluten-free hot dog bun and be sure to follow the gluten-free adjustment when preparing Chris’ No-bean Chili

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Madrinha’s Coconut Queijadas (Queijadas de Coco)

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My family, being Portuguese, is rather large by today’s standards.  My father grew up with 7 sisters and a brother and was one of 9 siblings.  This made for great parties growing up! I feel like almost every weekend of my childhood was spent attending a birthday party, baptism, 1st Communion, graduation, Confirmation, holiday celebration or just getting together to get together!  And at every single one of those events my Titia Tina, who would eventually become my Madrinha at my own Confirmation, would make these delectable little treats.  A creamy, crustless, coconut creation that once you try you will wonder what on earth you were doing all your life that you missed out enjoying it.

As I got older, I wondered how she made this family mainstay.  So, I asked time and time again… Her response was always, come on by when I’m making them and I’ll show you.  Well, time never allowed for an in person lesson unfortunately.  But, for my wedding shower, my cousin Stephanie, her daughter, nailed down the recipe with measurements for me and submitted it to be part of my family wedding recipe collection! (which by the way is one of my very favorite ideas for any bridal shower… what a wonderful way to preserve family recipes and memories!)

I was so excited to get the recipe and so I tried it right away… And I was absolutely amazed at just how easy and inexpensive it is! For such a fabulous treat! So, now I am sharing it with all of you. Here’s how we do it…

Start with 4 eggs in a large bowl. My bowl is by Pampered Chef and it has the pour spout (that is ideal!).  Wisk the eggs.

Measure out sugar.

Add sugar in while wisking.

Wisk your eggs and sugar until smooth.

For this recipe margarine is called for, not butter. I have never tried it with butter, but suspect it would be similar if you needed to substitute. Since this is what the recipe calls for and it’s much less expensive, it’s what I use.

You’ll need to melt the butter, so place it in a microwave safe container, in this case I use my handy-dandy Pampered Chef measuring cup and call it a day.

Add in your melted margarine wisking briskly, remember you have eggs in that bowl that can easily cook with still hot liquid.

You should have a creamy consistency after adding in margarine.

Measure out flour.

Add in your first measurement of flour and wisk.

Then your next. And continue wisking.

Add in 1 lemon rind. Be sure it is all in one solid piece like so, you will be removing this before baking.

You want to incorporate the lemon right into your batter.

Measure out your milk… I am using that same Pampered Chef 2-cup measuring cup so it still has some of the margarine in it, those are the yellow specks you can see.

Now add in your milk.

Once you have a nice smooth consistency, You are ready for the coconut.

Measure out your sweetened coconut. I’ve never tried unsweetened coconut in this recipe, but if you want to reduce the sugar content, I suppose this is where you might do that.

Spray your pan with cooking spray. This recipe is not made with cupcake liners.

In my madrinha’s recipe she suggests pouring your batter into a measuring cup with a spout to pour batter into the muffin tin… If you don’t have a handy-dandy spouted measuring bowl, definitely do this.

Fill each compartment about 3/4 of the way up.

As you are pouring your lemon peel will surface, be sure to pull it out and discard, it has done its job.

Once filled, you want to place pan in a pre-heated oven at 375°F for 20-30 mins. depending on your oven… it could go as far as 40 mins if they aren’t browning. When you come to 20 mins or so, turn on your oven light and take a peek, try not to open your oven if you can avoid it. You will be looking for a nice sunny golden brown.

Allow to cool once out of the oven.

Notice how it is “puffed up” right now and the center has not fallen… this is because it just came out of the oven and it is much too soon to remove it from the muffin tin.

Scoop each one out with a large soup spoon so you don’t dent the bottom edges taking it out of the pan. As you can see, the centers have now fallen with the cooling and they are looking perfect.

And this is what each little gem will look like when you place it on your serving platter.

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Madrinha’s Coconut Queijadas (Queijadas de Coco)

Yields: 2 1/2 – 3 dozen

Ingredients:

4 cups of whole milk

4 eggs

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 stick margarine, melted

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1 lemon rind

cooking spray

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl, wisk eggs.  Add in sugar, wisk.  Add in margarine slowly while wisking briskly. Add in flour and lemon rind and continue to wisk.  Next, add in milk while slowing wisking.  Lastly, add in coconut and slowly mix into the batter.

Spray a 12 count muffin tin with cooking spray (if you have 3 muffin tins, this would be ideal).  Fill each 3/4 up with batter.  Bake 20-30 minutes until lightly golden brown.  You want to check your oven starting at 20 minutes utilizing your oven light, not opening your oven.  It may go as far as 40 minutes depending on your oven (ie. gas vs. electic).

Allow to cool before removing from tin.  Each queijada will be puffy when first coming out of the oven, they will fall as they cool in the center.  Place each in a cupcake liner and then onto your serving platter.

Enjoy!

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“Spoon Full of Sugar” 1st Birthday Party!

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When my daughter turned one, I knew I wanted to have a “girly” kind of party with pink and green being the featured colors.  But, her birthday is in December.  December birthday’s are tough because you are not only dealing with the weather (so you really can’t plan anything outside), but also the holidays.  So, before picking a party theme, I thought the best thing to do would be to find a venue first.  That tactic turned out to be the best way to go!  I found a local carousel that was set up for parties and tons of kid fun!  I was able to bring in all my own food and decorations and between the actual carousel, the bounce house on site and little coin operated machines, the entertainment was taken care of!

So, I found the venue, now to come up with a theme that had something to do with a carousel… And it came to me!  One of my all time favorite scenes in Mary Poppins was the whimsical carousel scene and a theme was born.  The carousel horses were there of course.  In the movie there are lots of beautiful sidewalk chalk drawings… So, I made a chalk board detailing all the growing my baby girl had done throughout the year… I then added chalk boards as the party favors and had the kids use them as food place mats to keep them busy as they waited for the pizza to arrive.  I didn’t have dancing penguins, but I did make penguin centerpieces.  Instead of traditional party hats, I got cute top hats for the boys just like Dick Van Dike wore and cute little maid hats just like Julie Andrews wore.  And the centerpiece of the decor was the cake that was dolled up in hand painted stripes to reflect Julie Andrews’ dress in the carousel scene and of course two tiny sterling silver spoons that I sugared to adorn the cake.

As for the party food, I kept things really simple.  I made a couple of finger sandwiches I thought would be great for the adults, Chouriço & Peppers sandwiches, Caçoila sandwiches, Lebanese meat pies and (ordered) pizza were the main courses… A salad, some pop corn and chips and a pasta salad for sides… and individual crudettés were the appetizers.

The venue supplied us with lots of tables, we just brought in table coverings and the food.

The venue supplied us with lots of tables, we just brought in table coverings and the food.

Sandwiches on the left, sides in the middle and aps over to the right.

Sandwiches on the left, sides in the middle and apps over to the right.

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Salad.

Salad.

Some ice tea and punch for drinks.

Some ice tea and punch for drinks. And boxed coffee from a local coffee shop. The chalk boards and chalk are all ready for the kids to take… I was originally going to use them to set the kid’s place setting, but with the set up in the room, I thought it was just better to hand them out.  That worked out best because of the age of many of the guests, they needed to eat with moms and dads.

Spoon Full of Sugar Cake surrounded by the maid hats for the girls on the left and the top hats for the boys on the right.

Spoon Full of Sugar Cake surrounded by the maid hats for the girls on the left and the top hats for the boys on the right.  To make the hats, I just got some $.50 little mini party hats from my local party supply store and embellished the top hats with ribbon and a little lady bug and the maid hat was embellished with a ribbon and a little flower just like she has on her hat in the movie!

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Centerpieces were made with recycled formula cans with the label peeled off for the base, then hand cut out characters glued onto shish kabob skewers and napkins and tissue paper for flare.

Centerpieces were made with recycled formula cans with the label peeled off for the base, then hand cut out characters glued onto shish kabob skewers and napkins and tissue paper for flare.

Some of the details in a hand made keepsake chalk board... I made this with a black foam core board and a Sharpie chalk marker.

Some of the details in a hand made keepsake chalk board… I made this with a black foam core board and a Sharpie chalk marker.  Today, this board is hanging in her bedroom.

There is my son making use of his chalk board... To make these chalk boards, I just got a couple boxes of linoleum floor tiles, the industrial strength kind, painted them with chalk board paint and softened the edges with pink or green duct tape.  Then I just got some pink, green and white chalk and tied a couple of pieces together for each child.

There is my son making use of his chalk board… To make these chalk boards, I just got a couple boxes of linoleum floor tiles, the industrial strength kind, painted them with chalk board paint and softened the edges with pink or green duct tape. Then I just got some pink, green and white chalk and tied a couple of pieces together for each child.

One of the keys to any 1st birthday parties is to make sure the party is not just for the adults… I always like to be sure my child is going to have fun at their own party!

Adults had fun too… that’s just a bonus!

Kid's had lots of fun on the on-site bounce house too!

Kid’s had lots of fun on the on-site bounce house too!

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Always nice to have a table set up for gifts as well just so guests don’t have to guess where to put things.

And here is the beautiful birthday girl!

“Frozen” Birthday Party

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My God daughter turned 6 this summer and my girlfriend, Jennifer (who happens to be the single working mom of my two beautiful God children), put together a really great party for her.  Kinga, my God daughter, like most little girls these days, loves the Disney movie Frozen.  So everything you will see here is centered around the characters and story line of the movie.  I thought she did such a great job that I decided to share it with you all!

Elsa stood by for whom ever wanted to take a picture with the popular princess.

Elsa stood by for whom ever wanted to take a picture with the popular princess.

In the dining room…

A simple white fur Christmas Tree skirt was a perfect table covering with a footed silver bowl used as a chalice.

The bowl filled with fun “Frozen” themed chocolates.

Here is the cake that I made for the birthday girl... It's a chocolate cake with chocolate fudge buttercream filling... then a butter cream exterior that has been air brushed a blue ombre.  And on top, I made "ice" candy and dusted it with powdered sugar for the frosty look.

Here is the cake that I made for the birthday girl… It’s a chocolate cake with chocolate fudge butter cream filling… then a butter cream exterior that has been air brushed a blue ombre. And on top, I made “ice” candy and dusted it with powdered sugar for the frosty look. I then adorned the cake with all the Frozen characters.

In the kitchen, up on the kitchen island was an elaborate snack table!  Take a look…

Blue jello was

Blue jello was “Kristoff’s Ice”.

Rock Candy Pops were used as

Rock Candy Pops were used as “Elsa’s Ice Crystals”

Some pre-packaged powdered donuts were “Olaf’s Snowballs”

Some

Some chocolate covered peanuts were “Frost Bites”

Super cute string cheese was turned into little “Olaf’s” by just using a Sharpie permanent marker to draw him on the white canvas!

Ring pops made for the perfect

Ring pops made for the perfect “Coronation Rings”

There were "Snow Caps"

There were “Arendelle’s Snow Capped Mountains”

"A kiss to melt a frozen heart"

“A kiss to melt a frozen heart”

This was by far my favorite part of the snack table... A build your own snow man treat tray!  Kids (ahem, and adults) got to use the pretzel sticks as the snow man anchor to hold the marshmallows and then the raisins and cheese snacks got to adorn the little snow men!  Too cute!

This was by far my favorite part of the snack table… A build your own snow man treat tray! Kids (ahem, and adults) got to use the pretzel sticks as the snow man anchor to hold the marshmallows and then the raisins and cheese snacks got to adorn the little snow men! Labeled, “Do you want to build a snowman?” …Too cute!

Here is my little Olaf!

Here is my little Olaf!

Outside, the drink station was super cute too…

Outside there were two choices for drinks...

Outside there were two choices for drinks… The first was “Elsa’s Punch”

Then there was a "melted snowman"  which consisted of water, with a carrot ("nose") and two blue berries ("eyes")

Then there was a “melted snowman” which consisted of water, with a carrot (“nose”) and two blue berries (“eyes”) and the sign reads “Some people are worth melting for”

Sandwiches...

Sandwiches… “We finish each other’s sandwiches”

“Coronation Salad”

Hawaiian meatballs… “Troll’s Rocks”

The food table on top of a Frozen table cloth... Waiting for the pizza...

The food table on top of a Frozen table cloth… Waiting for the pizza…

On the kitchen table…

Fun centerpieces were on the main table in the kitchen.

Fun centerpieces were on the main table and scattered Frozen confetti.

The favors were super cute and clever too! A Frozen cup was stuffed with a non-frozen popsicle… Guests could also take along a Frozen Necklace and a Frozen Tiara

“Thank you snow much for coming”

My daughter loved her tiara and necklace!

In the back yard…

Under a back yard deck was "Oken's Trading Post".  The beams look like a real trading post in the woods and the little Christmas Trees, snow men and ice skates  are a cute touch.

Under a back yard deck was “Oken’s Trading Post”. The beams look like a real trading post in the woods and the little Christmas Trees, snow men and ice skates are a cute touch.

Snow in summer… A kiddie pool filled with a kneaded mixture of baking soda and shaving cream!

The kids had a blast playing in the snow in summer!

The kids had a blast playing in the snow in summer!

And here is the beautiful birthday girl!

And here is the beautiful birthday girl!

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Grilled Shrimp Scampi

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Easy entertaining is all about good preparation.  I have a book club with my mom, sisters and some very close friends.  Last month was my turn to host and I am just getting around to sharing with you all my menu…

Dinner for 8: All Grilled Menu… 1st Course – Grilled Romaine Salad topped with bacon, avocado and a homemade buttermilk ranch dressing.  2nd Course – Grilled Shrimp Scampi over linguine Fini and a Grilled Tostada.  3rd Course – Grilled Pound Cake with strawberries and grilled peaches dressed with a simple syrup and topped with homemade whipped cream.  Um… yum.

Grilling food is a great way to take a classic menu and give it a smoky twist. Grilling your fruit helps to bring out natural sugars in the caramelization process.  And grilling things like your lettuce, keep your guests on their toes!  And if you have everything prepared ahead of time, grilling keeps you out of the kitchen and outside with your guests!

Today we will start with the main course.  I didn’t focus on cooking the linguine fini, just follow the package instructions for that.  We will cover the Grilled Shrimp, the scampi sauce and the Grilled Tostada.

Start with your marinade:

Add in about 1-2 cups of dry white wine. This depends on your prep bowl, you need enough to cover the shrimp.

Add in a few slices of lemon and the juice of about 1 lemon.

Add in a few slices of lemon and the juice of about 1 lemon.

Add in some dried red ground pepper.

Add in some dried red ground pepper.

Add in a healthy pinch of kosher salt.

Stir all together and let marinade for about 20-30 minutes tops

Just before your guests arrive, skewer your shrimp and set aside. Having the shrimp on skewers helps to portion it all out.  Be sure to reserve the marinade liquid, it will be used in the next step.

For the scampi sauce:

Start off by melting one stick of butter into a large skillet… Remember, this is going to feed 8 people! (Be sure your skillet is really big, because all your pasta is coming in here a little later)

Thinly slice one whole onion.

Saute the onion until translucent over medium heat.

For the scampi, you will want about 8 cloves of garlic roughly chopped… I like one per guest.

Chop up some parsley and add in to your skillet.

Add about one cup of the reserved shrimp marinade in to the skillet.  Allow this to come to a simmer for about 5 minutes… you want to cook off both the alcohol from the marinade and the raw shrimp juices that made their way into that marinade. To this add in your drained pasta.  Allow it to cook together for a few minutes.

Place all your pasta in a large serving bowl and shave some parmesan cheese and some torn parsley over it.

Continue with the shrimp:

Grill your shrimp until you get nice grill marks on them and they turn pink. Don’t over cook them, that’s easy to do. Just 3-4 minutes on each side should do the trick. Also add lemons to your grill… I do one half a lemon for each guest… so I did 4 lemons.

For the Tostada:

For your Tostada, start with one loaf of french bread. (Italian is ok too)

Slice your loaf of bread on a bias.

Melt in a stick of butter into about a half cup of olive oil.  remember this is going to feed 8 people!

Melt in a stick of butter into about a half cup of olive oil. remember this is going to feed 8 people!

You will need three cloves of garlic.

Using your garlic press.  Press all three cloves of garlic into your warmed butter and oil.

Using your garlic press. Press all three cloves of garlic into your warmed butter and oil.

Last step in your garlic butter oil is to add about one teaspoon of kosher salt.

Last step in your garlic butter oil is to add about one teaspoon of kosher salt.

Brush one side of the bread liberally with garlic butter oil… I only do one side because I really like the flavor of the unbrushed side as much as the brushed side… If you want to do both sides, go for it.

Set aside the bread until your guests arrive.

When you place your shrimp on the grill, you can place the bread oil side down on the grill.

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From here people can either serve themselves… or you can plate each.  To plate:

On each person’s plate be sure to place pasta, a grilled lemon and a tostada. The shimp doesn’t take long to cook at all.

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Recipe for Grilled Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Tostada:

(serves 8)

Shrimp:

4 lbs. shrimp

2 lbs. linguine fini, cooked to al-dente

2 cups dry white wine

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

8 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 stick salted butter

5 lemons, divided

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shaved

Tostada:

1 loaf french bread, sliced on bias

1 stick salted butter

1/2 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic, through press

1 tsp. kosher salt

Directions:

For the shrimp:

Marinade – Combine wine, juice of one lemon, lemon slices, salt, red pepper flakes and shrimp.  Allow to marinade for about 20-30 minutes.  skewer. Set aside.  Reserve marinade.

Scampi sauce – Melt 1 stick of butter into a large skillet.  Saute onion until translucent.  Add in garlic, saute another minute or so. Add in parsley. Add in 1 cup of marinade liquid.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add in drained pasta.  Allow to cook together for a few minutes.  Transfer to serving bowl and top with torn parsley and parmesan cheese.

Shrimp – Grill on each side for a couple minutes until pink on either side.

Tostada:

Thickly slice french bread on the bias, set aside.

In a small sauce pan melt butter with olive oil.  Add in garlic that has been run through a press. Add in salt.  Simmer for about a minute over medium heat.  Turn off and allow to cool for a few minutes.  Brush one side of each slice of bread liberally with garlic butter oil.

Place oiled side down on the grill for about 3-4 minutes per side.

Serve along side pasta.

Enjoy!

 

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Rainbow Popcorn

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A good friend of mine had an “UP” themed birthday party for her little girl recently.  To highlight the theme she had rainbows, balloons and colors galore!  I decided to bring along my contribution to her party by whipping up a batch of this super colorful Rainbow Popcorn!

Not only is this popcorn colorful, but each color has a different flavor because to color the popcorn I used none other than a rainbow array of Jell-O.  You could adapt this, of course, to any theme you would like… If you are doing a ‘Lemonade Stand’ birthday party, then just use the yellow… If you are planning a ‘Smurf’ theme, then just the blue… the possibilities are endless.  This is a great activity for kids to help with too!  It’s not complicated at all.

Here are all the ingredients you will need.

Prepare 12 cups of plain popcorn. I did it over the stove with kernels… You might also want to try a plain bag of microwave popcorn… well several bags. Then place 5 cups of popcorn into a large bowl.

Pour half a can of sweetened condensed milk into a small sauce pan.

Pour half a packet of your chosen jello color into the pan.

Pour half a packet of your chosen jello color into the pan.

Mix well to distribute color.

Put the condensed milk mixture over low heat.  If the burner is turned up too high, you'll get a burned pan like you see here.

Put the condensed milk mixture over low heat. If the burner is turned up too high, you’ll get a burned pan like you see here.

Pour the thickened liquid over the prepared popcorn.

Mix in until it coats all the popcorn evenly.

I prefer parchment paper, but if you don’t have parchment, you can line your cookie sheet with foil like you see here and coat with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 175°F.

Once baked, let cool about 20 minutes and then break into pieces and place in bowl.

Once baked, let cool about 20 minutes and then break into pieces and place in bowl.

Mix in each color seperately.

Mix in each color separately.

Cook each color on low heat until thickened... about 10 minutes.

Cook each color on low heat until thickened… about 10 minutes.

Pour each colors thickened liquid over the prepared popcorn.

Place on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Bake at 175°F for 18-20 mins.

Place each color on the cookie sheet.  Bake at 175°F for 18-20 minutes.

Place each color on the cookie sheet. Bake at 175°F for 18-20 minutes.

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Break up all the popcorn… Place in serving bowl and toss!

Recipe for Rainbow Popcorn:

(serves 24)

30 cups prepared plain popcorn

3 cans sweetened condensed milk

6 boxes of Jell-O, in rainbow colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple)

Directions:

Turn oven to 175°F.  Prepare 6 cookie sheets (or alternate as you go along) with either parchment paper or aluminum foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Prepare fresh popcorn.  In a small sauce pan, pour half a can of sweetened condensed milk.  Then pour in half a packet of your chosen jello into the milk.  Heat over a burner turned to low for about 10 minutes until thickened.  Stir often.

Place about 5 cups of popcorn in a large bowl.  Pour thickened milk mixture over popcorn and immediately stir together with a wooden spoon.  Place on a prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 175°F.  Allow to cool about 20-25 minutes, then break up pieces and place into an extra-large serving bowl.

Repeat with each color.  Mix all cooled colors together. Enjoy!

*this is a Gluten-free recipe.

(Recipe variation… this popcorn has an intense Jell-O flavor, which kids love… but if you wish to tone it down a bit, use only 1/4 packet of Jell-O per mixture and add 4 drops of the matching food color to boost the coloring, for adults you could also sprinkle with kosher or sea salt just after baking to balance the flavor)

***This recipe is an adaptation of the Eagle Brand Condensed Milk recipe.

 

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Sangria Steak Sliders

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A great recipe for inside grilling!  If you have a grill pan, a pitcher of Sangria, some steak and bread and about 10 minutes on y our hands you have everything you need to make these delicious little lunch treats!  I kind of tripped upon this recipe the day I made my “A Taste of St. Michael Sparkling Sangria”.  I happened to have the pitcher there and being mid-week, we don’t do a whole lot of drinking.  I also happened to have picked up some thin cut steak sandwich steaks at the market and some bread…. So I got to thinking, what could I do with these ingredients???

Well, the answer was make that Sangria into a marinade!  And I must say it worked out really well! These are great for a quick lunch, a party or as a snack.  If you don’t happen to have these ingredients handy, you could either make some sangria or look below for some additional instructions.

To the Sangria all I added was about 3 Tbs. of kosher salt and 2 large garlic cloves, sliced. I let it marinade for about an hour… You could do this up to about 6 hours ahead (I don’t suggest any longer because of the acid from the oranges and pineapples)

Add some butter and oil onto a grill pan.

Place the steaks in the heated pan over medium high heat… These sandwich steaks are so thin that they really only need a sear on both sides and they are done… I also place some pineapple slices on the grill along with some of the garlic cloves (these garlic slices are huge!)

Then just take a slice or two of steak and place on the slider sized bread.  I prefer a Portuguese Pop Seco.

Then just take a slice or two of steak and place on the slider sized bread. I prefer a Portuguese Pop Seco.

Add on some grilled pineapples and if you like grilled garlic.

Add on some grilled pineapples and if you like grilled garlic.

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Recipe for Sangria Steak Sliders:

(makes 4 sliders, serves 2)

8 thinly sliced steak sandwich steaks (about 1/2 lb)

4 slider size rolls (I like Portuguese rolls)

2 cups Sangria with fruit (If you don’t have this, combine 2 cups sweet red wine with one small can of pineapple slices with juice and slice up one orange as a substitute)

2 large garlic cloves sliced

3 Tbs. kosher salt

2 Tbs. butter

2 Tbs. veggie oil

Directions:

Add salt and garlic to Sangria.  Marinate meat 1-6 hours.

Heat a grill pan over medium high heat.  Add butter and oil.  Sear steak on both sides (about 2-3 mins each side).  Sear pineapple and garlic as well.

Add steak, pineapple and garlic to roll.

Enjoy!

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‘Breakfast at Lindsey’s’ Bridal Shower

cake3My little sister is getting married!  What an exciting time!  She loves breakfast food, so my other sister, my mom and I thought it would be fun to throw her a ‘Breakfast at Lindsey’s’ Bridal Shower.  We took the elements of the very popular movie and made them burst from every seam.

These details can be transformed with little effort to be a ‘Breakfast at _______’ of your very own for anything from a 1st birthday party to a graduation party to sweet 16!  In fact breakfast parties are really becoming all the rage.  Although breakfast and brunch has traditionally been reserved for wedding or baby showers, they are a great low-cost option for any type of party really.  This one just happens to bring a little glitz and glamour to the morning.

I’ll take you through each detail and you can be on the lookout for projects in my crafts section to show you how to do some of the very doable DIY projects we have for pulling it all together.  Whatever you do, have fun with it.  This was a joint effort and it all came off splendidly, so be sure you have lots of what I like to call ‘Party Warriors’ to help get everything done.

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Let’s start with the beginning… the welcome table. This is a table we had set up right at the entrance which was to welcome people in. It contained all the key points we needed to let everyone know as soon as they got to the party. We covered the table that was already covered by a long white restaurant provided table-cloth with one we brought from home in a “Tiffany-ish blue”.

recipe box

We set out a recipe box to collect all the recipe cards that incoming guests had already filled out at home as they received the cards with their invitations. You will see touches of diamonds as you see the confetti here throughout the party.

quilt station

Each guest was given a string of pearls and asked to fill out a square of fabric with the fabric markers provided giving their best marital advice in lieu of a sign in book. After the shower, my mother planned to sew it together with mixed in silver squares. (also, the fabric – Tiffany blue linen – is the same as that of the runners you will see on the tables also)

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A sample square was provided so that guests could see what we were looking for. This is always a good idea to help guest get a clear picture of what we are asking them to do. Also, I got to do my square ahead of time, which is great because when hosting a party, it is hard to find time to stop what you are doing to participate in all the fun. (I didn’t take a clear picture of it (sorry), but all squares were laid out on a table in the entrance to the room when completed… that way guests could also have fun looking at what everyone wrote)

tiara

We had a hard time finding the guest of honor a tiara that wasn’t gaudy and didn’t cost more than the whole party. Our solution, a hair comb we found at our local craft store. We bent the comb at a 90° angle and wala… instant tiara, cute too! (We kept this at the entrance table so as not to forget to place it on my sister’s head)

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We clustered some vases in varying sizes that we had adorned with some diamond-like ribbon. We filled them with simple in-season white tulips and ostrich feathers and pulled it all together with some pearl string. Then we completed the look with some sparkly votive candles and diamond confetti.

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The food was served family style at the tables, but we added a special touch and ordered a waffle station because it is the guest of honor’s favorite.  We just added a little touch of softness with this bunch of plain baby’s breath.

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As guests came in, we had two tables set up to accept gifts with a pretty white birdcage topped with a crystal birdy we found at our local craft shop for cards.

lainey

And that is my daughter in awe of the beautiful gifts!

me and lainey

Our little Kathrine Hepburn had her dress designed and made by my good friend and her mom who is an amazing seamstress. The little tiara was a pin that i converted into a hair bow and she had her own pearls, but she wanted some of the party favors too.

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This is my daughter’s BFF who was a matching little Katherine Hepburn for the party! They had lots of fun! I just wish I had gotten a picture of the two girls together!

featured vase

We had a simple vase of white tulips as the centerpiece on each table, filled with ostrich feathers and adorned with the diamond-like ribbon I mentioned above.

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My mom made these beautiful Tiffany blue runners for each of the tables. Then we asked the restaurant to set out a circle mirror (most restaurants have these for free!) and we of course sprinkled more diamond confetti at the base of each centerpiece.

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Each place setting was set with a black napkin (that we asked the restaurant to do for us before we got there) and a pair of sunglasses for each guest. We also added a Tiffany blue mini pencil for the bingo game we planned (guests appreciate not having to fish around for a pen)

candy

Each table was then dotted with a few boxes of “cigarettes”. Don’t worry the place didn’t fill up with smoke, we just took a box of candy sticks (candy cigarettes) and wrapped them in a black and white ‘Holly Go Lightly’.

opening gift

If you are doing a party where gifts will be given and opened, it’s a good idea to have a gift passer outer and a gift writer downer.

basket

We put together a little surprise at the end of the gift giving. We gave Lindsey, the guest of honor, a laundry basket and had her filling it with cleaning supplies, but we created a little story with the cleaning products (kind of like a skit). Each cleaning supply had something to do with either getting married or the couple themselves.

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Now, onto the cake table. We had one of the couple’s engagement pictures blown up and turned into a canvas and displayed it on a stand behind the table.

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We decided to forgo a regular cake and made red velvet and my special black velvet cupcakes in black cupcake liners and topped with cream cheese frosting. We added a little game this by hiding a chocolate kiss in one of the cupcakes (warning guests of the possibility of course) and whoever found it, got a prize.

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I designed the cupcakes to look like a wedding dress with a super fancy belt and brooch. The belt is a double layer of diamond ribbon and the brooch is a real brooch to tie it all together.

favors

We can’t talk about the famous Tiffany’s without that little blue box tied up with a white ribbon. So, we got some little blue boxes and white ribbons and filled them each with a ruby ring for each guest to take home (a strawberry Ring Pop). Guests loved the little thank-you gift.

girls

In keeping with the theme, we (the hosts) each wore our little black dresses and pearls. We also were sure, since the shower was a surprise, to have a little black dress and pearls ready for the guest of honor.

Supplies for a Breakfast at Tiffany’s style party:

* pearl necklaces

* sun glasses

* a ruby ring (Ring Pop) in a beautiful little Tiffany’s box

* candy cigarettes wrapped in movie themed photo copies (two per table)

* a tulip/feather centerpiece in a vase adorned with diamond ribbon

* a Tiffany blue table runner

* black napkins set under the plate (supplied by restaurant)

* diamond confetti

* little blue pencils

* Cupcake wedding dress

* a chocolate kiss to hide in one cupcake

* blue table-cloth for the welcome table

* tiara made from a hair comb

* quilting squares

* fabric markers

* canvas photo of the couple, set on an easel

 

* fun skit with laundry basket and cleaning supplies

* recipe box for incoming recipes

* gift tracking book

* bird-cage to collect cards

* two beautiful little girls dressed as Katherine Hepburn to top it all off

Not shown here (sorry) but don’t forget:

* prizes for games

* Bingo cards (fill in your own card with potential shower gifts)

* prizes (we did this in white lunch bags adorned with a Tiffany blue ribbon and filled with something sparkly like a stretch bracelet or a gem wine stopper)