Sunday, August 24, 2014

Logi's 5th Birthday Party!!!!!


Let me start by saying I am so excited I get to share these photos, as we thought we would never recover the photos from the camera!  Long and boring story, but the end results of photo recovery were pure victory!

My sweet baby girl turned 5 this month and she wanted to have a party in the park behind our house.  Her only requests were sports, face paint, pinata, tie dye and cheese balls.  Such easy requests to fulfill!!!

All about the goodies!  Vanilla cupcakes topped with 
my no fail frosting and strawberry hats joined a heaping 
pile of rice crispy treats, sea salt chocolate chip cookies a few
 other goodies ready for the little and big kids!

A bowl of cuties certainly balances out the load
of cakes and candies!

 Cheese balls!  They were a must on Logi's short 
list of requests.  The bowl they are sitting in is the large
bowl in a set of 4 melamine nesting bowls (with lids!)
that I picked up at Costco.  They have a lovely, vintage
look to them, with all the practicality of melamine!
 
My past life in event planning and catering always 
comes through on the treats table!!

I topped the chocolate cupcakes with m&m candies,
logo side down.  Logi really wanted 'tie dye' at her 
'sports party' so I tried to pull in color, wherever 
I could.  This was a quick and cute way to doll
up the cupcakes (and distinguish them from the 
vanilla cupcakes.)

Side note: the polka dot cake stand was a gift I
received from the sweet woman from Zac's office
in Oklahoma, who planned a baby shower for us when 
I was pregnant with Logi. Extra special to pull out on this day!

Even though we were gathering in the park, I wanted
to elevate the feel of the party (let's be real, I could have 
just opened a few bags of chips...).  Popping goodies into/onto
bowls and platters instantly kicks it up a notch.  Creating 
a table with dimension is quick and easy, if you have a couple
white table clothes (or white fitted bed sheets) on hand.
Place sturdy boxes under the cloth and allow the folds
of the cloth to build a base (table with varying heights)
to then add in bowls, platters, cake stands, vessels, etc.

It is oh so easy, just takes a bit of planning...give it a whirl for your
next shindig.  Whether you are hosting in your home or in the park.
 
 I placed piles of sidewalk chalk around, but wrote up a big
reminder of why we were all gathering!  Can time slow down,
please.  Just looking at this makes me tear up!

 The sweet little birthday girl!  Tie dye on tie dye works, 
when that is the theme...our sweet babysitter made her the 
"birthday crown" out of pipe cleaners.  My sweet Logan is so kind, 
happy, funny, active and loving. Her personality is one of the 
best I have ever been blessed to know.

 Before friends arrived Logi took some imaginary
swings at the pinata, while Benny sat in the chalk.

I was quite surprised that Logi picked the Hello
Kitty pinata, as it really isn't her thing...until she
explained that it was the biggest and could hold
the most candy.  Clever girl. 

Sweet Benny!  I could just gobble him up!  I realized, long after
the party wrapped, that he was shoved into a 6/12 month shirt. 
Poor buddy looked a hot mess most of the evening.  

Kathy and her grand daughter Mady, of Jester's Entertainment.  They
are always at the Golden Farmer's Market and Logi was so excited
to have them be a part of her party.  They are incredible.  Kathy does
airbrush art on the kids, which is ridiculously amazing!  Check them out!

Logi has the hardest time deciding what to get, when we were at the
farmer's market.  Good thing she got to pick a few, at the party!

A sparkly car!  How amazing is that!  Kathy cuts all the stencils.


How cute is this! 

Pure happiness!

 Real snakes = no good.
Balloon snakes = nearly the cutest.

 We asked friends to please bring donations for the
Golden Backpack Program.  I was thrilled with the amount of
donations collected for this wonderful organization!

Goodness, I love her!

Her buddy, who is teaching her how to skateboard...she adores him.

 Sister Sister!  Two of my favorite little kids and such
sweet friends to Logan.

 These two sugars melt my heart!  Second generation friends!

Like a postcard!  You can't fake that excitement!

These to did preschool and preK together.  Total partners in crime!

It isn't a party until bags of beans are tossed!

 Pregame excitement!  I have never seen such a big pile of crazy,
over a pinata!  Crazy...but oh so cute.

 Benny.  Delivering the heat!

Bringing the heat!


Well folks, that's a wrap on Logi's 5th birthday party! 
Thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate!

xo.














Monday, August 11, 2014

Rice Crispy S'more Bars!

 
 
Oh YUM!  All the goodness of a s'more, 
folded into a rice crispy treat!

What you need:
1 bag + 3 additional cups mini marshmallows
1 stick of butter
9 cups crispy rice cereal
5 cups Golden Grahams (don't buy generic on this one, 
I find they actually taste generic!) 
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp sea salt

buttered 9x13 pan
 
 In a large stock melt, over medium heat, melt the butter
 and the marshmallows (reserving 1 cup of the marshmallows
for a bit later) stir in the sea salt.  Once melted add the 2 types 
of cereal. Once cereal is coated, fold in the reserved cup of 
marshmallows and the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

 Press the mixture into a buttered 9x13 pan 
(I butter the back of a spatula to press)
 
 Yum Yum Yum!  I made these for the made up
holiday 'National S'mores Day'! We were so 
excited to celebrate, with these tasty treats!

  I mean you could basically call these breakfast bars!

Enjoy!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Birthday Party Prep, in the kitchen


 Sweet Logan turned 5 yesterday.  I will post all the pics of her wonderful birthday celebration, but for now here are the goodies I whipped up for her party!  

 You can't spell P-A-R-T-Y without cookies, or something 
like that...am I right?  Semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies,
dusted with sea salt are ALWAYS on the menu!

Dark chocolate cupcakes (along with vanilla cupcakes that
didn't get their time to shine in front on the camera during prep)
alwaty please the crowds!
 
 It is a must for cupcakes, layered cakes, spoons and fingers!
Make this recipe, it is quick and easy and oh so tasty!

 Copious amounts of rice krispy treats!  I didn't make 
homemade marshmallows for these bad boys, as I have
in the past.  But the secret to stepping up your game with
a krispy bar made with a bag of marshmallows: a bit of sea salt!

 Peanut butter and homemade jam (via the MIL) is 
turned into party food, by removing crust, with a round 
biscuit cutter and dipping the cut edges into
tiny sprinkles!  So cute and festive!

It's a 5 year old birthday party, but I always plan
for the parents who are showing up as well. 
Beer and handmade wraps were on hand for them.
Store bought tortillas filled with havarti, oven roasted
turkey slices, candied bacon* and sun-dried tomato 
mayonnaise** were perfection!

*to candy bacon, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and parchment (no stick, yay)
place bacon on the prepared baking sheet and generously sprinkle with brown
sugar and cracked black pepper.  Bake until crispy (directions on bacon package). 
Do not drain on paper towels as the sugars will just stick to the paper!  I place the cooked
candied baon on a cooling rack and allow to drip a bit (playing baking sheet under the 
rack to catch drips).  once cool, store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.  
Can be made a few days in advance.


**to make sun-dried tomato mayonnaise, grab your food processor and whip 2 small jars
of drained sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2 cup cream cheese (soft) and 1 cup real mayonnaise.
Store air tight in the refrigerator, can be made a week in advance.


PARTY PICS SOON !!!
(but, let's be real...what does 'soon' mean to me?  still haven't finished
Sundance Film Festival 2014 pics...opps!)
 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Asian Lettuce Wraps


Every time I order lettuce wraps at a restaurant, I am reminded how simple they are, 
and have recently been whipping them up at home.  Here's how I like to do it.

Oh, and all the steps, up to eating, where done a day in advance. 

YumFest 2014, right! 

Grab a head (or 2 or 3...) of bib lettuce in the produce section

 1 lb. ground turkey (93% lean is preferred) and
in a small bowl mix: 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce,
1 tablespoon sriracha and 2 tablespoons light brown sugar)

 Use a fine grater (I get out my zester) to finely grate
carrots (yield ~1 cup grated carrot)

 Pulverized goodness

Cook the turkey thoroughly, then stir in the sauce and
carrot (add more heat, sweet or sodium to the sauce to 
meet your liking.  I do think the measurements I gave
you are a good base though)

It's hard to find that cup of grated carrot, huh! 
Sneaky, sneaky!!

 Chop the zucchini and drop into a pot of boiling water
for 1-2 minutes.

 Remove from the boiling water and submerge
in an bowl of ice water, to stop the cooking.

 Turn the heat off the boiling water and drop
the mai fun noodles in the pot.  They will
sit in the hot water (off heat now), covered,
 for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, drain the noodles.

 This step is for sure not compulsory, but I think it adds
 a wonderful crunch and is super simple.  If you want the
crunch, but aren't up for this step, use store bought 
crispy chow mein noodles.

I use my pizza wheel to make strips of wonton dough.
I find the packages of wonton wrappers in the 
produce section at the market.

 In a saucepan heat 2 inches of canola oil, test the temp
by dropping one strip in and watch it dance, if you will
 (I am not a seasoned deep fryer, but these are hard to screw up)

Use a metal tong (or spider skimmer) to remove from the oil 
when they are light golden brown in color. Place on a
plate with paper towels to drain.  

These can be made several days in advance, just store air tight.

 All the fixings for delicious Asian Lettuce Wraps:
Bib lettuce (cut off the base and cleaned very well and
wrapped in towel to dry), the ground-seasoned turkey, wonton
strips, jullienned sweet peppers, blanched zucchini, sliced
scallions, lightly salted cashews, cooked mai fun noodles.

Also, if you want whip up some more sauce, that was stirred into the
ground turkey, for topping the wraps.

Enjoy!!!  

xo.