Saturday, February 19, 2011

Long Time, No See!

Hey there, readers.  It has been quite a while since I've been able to post a good quality blog!  Life has been busy now that we're back to full weeks of school and the weather is getting nicer.  I'm trying to spend more time outside, rather than inside on the computer or glued to the TV.  But that's not to say that crafting, cooking, and celebrating are going to slow down!  In fact, my "creative life" has exploded in the past couple of weeks!  I'm in the midst of planning and preparing for my best friend, Beth's lingerie shower/bachelorette party that I'm hosting at the end of March.  So I've been busy brainstorming, gathering inspiration, and working on design for the shindig.  I don't want to give away too much, yet.  That's part of the reason I haven't posted much.  I love the element of surprise, especially when it's a party!  So I'm keeping most of what I'm up to under wraps until the bride-to-be herself gets to see and experience it.  I'll share little tidbits along the way, and would be happy to share what I'm doing with you individually if you're trying to come up with something before April.  But I'll save most of my blog posts related to her shower until afterwards.  I will tell you what I've already told her, though!

As I was looking for ideas for showers, I came across this cute, cute idea from 100 Layer Cake for a Sweet & Spicy shower.  It is PERFECT for Beth, because, well...she and I are pretty much exactly alike when it comes to "bachelorette party" -type things.  I knew she would want something that is classy and nice, something more sophisticated than what most bachelorette parties end up being.  But I know that she wants to also take advantage of this time in her life and that it's okay for things to be a little risque.  We're not doing penises fact I don't know that we will do them anywhere.  But it IS a lingerie shower and bachelorette party, so there will be some "spice".  Anyway...this sweet & spicy theme is perfect because it blends the best of both worlds.  We can keep the class, but bring in a little sexiness, too.  I know she says straight off in her blog post that most showers aren't as designed as this one, but I am using it as inspiration.  It's fun for me, and kind of interesting to dip my toes into the party planning world for a bit!  I chose to do things a little bit differently...not copying exactly what she shows in her pictures.  For the color scheme, I chose to use a deep midnight/navy blue, bright pink, and a hint of Kelly green.  I love that color combination and it reminds me of Beth...some colors she might put together in an outfit.  She's very stylish and always looks cute and sophisticated.  :o)

The plan is to start at my apartment to open gifts, play some games, snack, and get acquainted with each other.  We're all coming from different parts of the country, so we'll need time to loosen up and get to know each other.  After the lingerie shower, we'll head out to dinner, then down to Nashville for a girls' night out.  It should be a ton of fun!

Well...I don't want to bore you with too much information, and I want to save some for later on.  This weekend, I've been working hard on the invitations.  I definitely want to get them sent out this week.  I've got some more work to do on them, but here's a preview:

I'll do a full tutorial post once I send them out and give the girls time to receive them.  I'm so proud of how they are turning out!  I'm still not quite done, but getting there!  I think my biggest challenge will be finding envelopes to fit them in.  I saw some at JoAnn's today, but they were vellum and see-through...not ideal for mailing.  

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend, and is hopefully getting warmer weather like we are here in Nashville.  Goodnight, all!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Game Day Goodies

I was going to be ambitious and try to post some recipes for the Super Bowl BEFORE the big game, but ended up not making it.  I'm still giving ya'll some recipes to try!  Here's what I made this year:

1.  BBQ Ranch Deviled Eggs.  I saw this recipe on Food Network one day at mom's, so decided to make them for the game.  They were YUMMY!  I didn't have any green onions, (and apparently the Kroger near me doesn't sell them) so we were missing that element.  They were delish without, but I can imagine how much better they'd be with the onions!  Here's my attempt:

First, I thought I'd be cool and try to keep the eggs from sliding by using grains of rice.  I've seen rice used as a presentation base on platters before, so I thought it would look nice and keep my eggs from sliding around. Plus, I have about 4 bags of rice (you can get this brand free from the grocery store with coupons), so I wasn't really risking much.

It was a good idea in theory because the eggs DIDN'T slide around.  However, then I picked one up and it was coated with rice on the bottom.  I didn't want my eggs to be crunchy, so I dumped the platter and started over.  

By the way, this is the BEST way I've ever hard boiled eggs.  Every time I've done it in the past, I end up tossing a couple because it's hard to peel or deformed, etc.  I put all the eggs in the bottom of the pan, covered with cold water and brought to a boil.  I then let them boil for two minutes, turned off the heat and covered the pan.  13 minutes later, they were done!  

After I mixed up the yolk mixture, I used an icing bag and start tip to make it look nice, and make it easy to fill the eggs.  

The final step was to drizzle with a bit of BBQ sauce.  I just snipped the tip of a Ziploc bag for this part.

Then to transport them, I used a small glass to cover the center egg and wrapped the platter in foil.  It only smudged one egg, but the rest were pristine after the trip to my parents' house.  

Recognize that platter?  That's my $1.00 platter from Goodwill that I posted about yesterday!

2.  Game Day Bars.  I found this recipe while looking for something to make for dessert for my community group gathering on Sunday.  I brought the leftovers to the game.  They weren't bad, but not my favorite.  They had chocolate chunks, peanuts, and pretzels mixed in and are similar to a cookie bar. 

 3.  I found a box of yellow cake mix in my pantry, so I also made Gooey Butter Cake (Paula Deen's recipe, and my go-to recipe).  I forgot how delish it was!  I think this will be my birthday cake this year!

Here's a couple that I didn't make this year, but I LOVE for watching a game:

4.  Hoagie Dip.  Fell in LOVE with this last year when I made it for the Super Bowl.  This was something I saw in Food Network Mag.  If you're a foodie, I recommend subscribing.  It's like Christmas every time I get one in the mail.  I drop everything and sit and flip through to see what's new.  It's not just recipes, but there are plenty of good ones!

5.  Beanie Weenies.  Everyone calls them something different, but always a favorite!

6.  Dorito Dip.  I remember my mom making this when I was a kid.  It's not real healthy, but MAN is it GOOD!  Just mix this up, and serve it warm with Doritos.  I remember always sprinkling cheddar across the top once it was eaten and re-heating it.  I had mom send me the recipe because I couldn't find anything close enough online:

8 oz sour cream
1 lge pkg Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Blend w mixer then add:

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced green peppers

Add these to cheese mixture. Then sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese & Lawry seasoning on top. Pop in microwave for 3 min. or until cheese melts.

7.  Amaretto Fruit Dip.  This is a different tasting fruit dip than most people are used to, but I think the amaretto flavor adds the perfect "nuttiness".  Mix this up and serve with fruit like cantaloupe, honey dew, and strawberries.  However, I think the BEST with this dip is red and green apples and bananas.  YUM!

8.  People Treats.  Well...that's what my family calls them now.  They're really bacon-wrapped crackers, sometimes called "Candied Pigs".  They're easy, though they do take some time.  I don't even need to look at the recipe anymore because they've been requested so much.  They're always a huge hit at parties and potlucks because they're so different and so good.  

9.  Veggie Pizza.  I kind of make my own variation of the linked recipe.  This is a good, healthy option for snacking.  I top mine with broccolini (it's broccoli, but tinier...perfect for bite-size snacks), carrots, green and red peppers, cherry tomatoes, and celery.  

And since I have mild OCD and need to end with an even number, here's one if you are the host and need to provide the main meal:

10.  London Broil & Portobello Sandwiches.  I made these for the first time in high school.  They're filling, delicious, and not too complicated but make you look like a gourmet chef.  

Hope you found something you can use for upcoming parties or bookmark for next football season.  If you have any good recipes to share, please do!  I'm always looking for more to add to my collection!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Goodwill is GOOOOOD to Me!

How often would you say you make a trip to your local Goodwill to shop?  I've got to say, I don't go as often as I should...especially after the deal I got last weekend!  It was "Extra 50% off Saturday" last weekend, and I have a few events coming up I need to plan for.  So, I headed down to Goodwill before doing some grocery shopping to poke around.  It was CROWDED, and I didn't get there until late afternoon, so it was picked over and not really a pleasant "browsing" experience.  But I did walk away with some treasures!

I got seven of these cute little glasses.  I'm sure they came from a set of eight and one broke, but I can manage with seven.  For .99 each, 50% off, it was about $3.50 for all seven of them.  My sister is using "Tiffany" blue in her wedding, so I may incorporate this in her lingerie shower/bachelorette night somehow...

I also found this cool bowl that has a blue hint on the bottom.  Pictures don't quite capture the visual affect as much, but maybe you can use your imagination.  It would be a great bowl for a dip or candy dish, or even flipped upside down with a plate on top for a cake/cupcake plate.  I'm excited to find fun uses for it!

This was a great deal, too!  Only $1.00 for this large ceramic platter.  It's a light blue/aqua color and amazing!  There was Sharpee marker on the bottom, but it came off very easily with a Magic Eraser.  I've already used it once, and am sure I'll get MANY uses out of it.  It's a platter I'm going to have to make sure I bring home from parties, because if someone left this at my house I don't think I'd offer it back!

I also got two new cake pans.  I think they're 8 inch, though I haven't measured them yet.  I'm excited because before, I would have to borrow my mom's every time.  Now I have my own!  Each was only $1.00.

Finally, I rummaged through the children's books.  I found all of these to add to my classroom library:

So I got all of this...

For a grand total of....

EIGHTEEN DOLLARS!!!!!  AMAZING!  I love Goodwill because it supports my shopping for goodies habit but doesn't break the bank.  I challenge you to go see what you can find!  I've bought all sorts of things from Goodwill, from furniture to movies to organizational supplies to lamps to dishes...I could go on and on!  So grab $20, and go see what you can find!


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