Festive Fun!

We recently hosted a Christmas party and had about 100 guests.  I LOVE this party!  It is a lot of prep, but I just love that so many families gather together.

Here are some fun desserts (you all know I enjoy making desserts!)

rice krispy trees

 

pumpkin cakes and cookies, chocolate covered oreos, peppermint white chocolate brownies, Happy Birthday Jesus cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Birthday Stretch

My daughter officially turned 7 yesterday.  Cannot believe it!  She was a bit confused that after 2 parties, one with the family and one with friends, that she turned 7 on a day with no celebration.  😉  We did give her our gifts and sang to her with a leftover cupcake from her friend party, but  her actual birthday was definitely much lower key than earlier in the week.  I look at her and see how much she is like me when I was her age.  She is beginning to get into music, loves writing and just got her first diary.   Though it is bittersweet watching her grow up, it is definitely a blessing and a wonderful journey.

A peek at her cupcakes:

 

Weekend Fun

We had a pretty fun weekend  🙂  The kids went to pack Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes at church.  I LOVE OCC!  And I love even more that the church is including the youth to partake in giving to other children all over the world.  The kids had a great time serving and loving from afar!

We also had my daughter’s birthday.  I am not sure if I have ever seen her so excited!  She loved every single second of her day and went to sleep happily engrossed in one of several books she received for her special day.  This is her cake:

I love how frosting can cover up fondant mistakes.  I did run out of frosting, so had to improvise on the back.

I stayed away from the yellow dye of the cake, but was cursed by the crescent rolls!  I never even checked the ingredients on those!  I am currently an itchy mess.  😉

Also found out that vanilla may come from a certain place on a beaver…gross!  (Thanks a lot source of info…you know who you are.  😉  )   http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/10/01/beaver-butts-emit-goo-used-for-vanilla-flavoring/

I am choosing to forget that piece of knowledge and hope beyond hope that most still use the good old vanilla bean in making vanilla extract.

My daughter’s friend party is in just a couple days…time to start preparing.

🙂

Fun festive Christmas treats

cake balls with skinny candy cane sticks

beginning to set up

chocolate chip walnut cups and sugar cookies

red and green tortilla chips

Christmas pound cake…inside is red and white

peppermint bark is so much fun to make!

traditional black and white cookies Christmasfied!

chocolate dipped pretzels with sprinkles

egg nog bites

preparing some more

Paula Deen quiche

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/spinach-and-bacon-quiche-recipe/index.html

Oh Christmas Party….

We had our annual Christmas party today…I will post some recipes later on this week.  I tried making a new quiche recipe, a new mac n cheese recipe and peppermint bark this year.  Then I had some old standbys…chocolate chip walnut cups, sweet potato casserole and about a gazillion kinds of sweets (really a lot).  We had a fun time.  I ate about triple of what I planned.  Between that and getting back into my lifting routine next week (hopefully) it will be interesting to see if I can keep my progress going in my weekly updates.  Here’s hoping!

4 and 40

We celebrated the Fourth of July with friends and then again with family.  On the day of our family celebration we also celebrated my parents’ FORTIETH wedding anniversary (a little bit early, but it was a surprise).  🙂  Here are some festive treats we had in honor of both occasions.

My kids refer to this as the donut cake.  Version 1 above, version 2 below

Version 1 is white cake made in a bundt pan and covered with icing and sprinkles, while version 2 is a traditional pound cake with bolder color icing.  The best part is you divide the batter in 2 sections and layer them so that when you cut the cake the inside is red, white and blue.

 

 

 

4 and 40 cookies

This cake was a 2 layer red velvet cake made with buttermilk…I think anything baked with buttermilk is fantastic!  my first try at red velvet and I loved it!  It was fortunate the batter made it to the oven.

Red White Blueberry Trifle

Assembly:

Layer of pound cake or angel food cake

Layer of pudding mixture

Layer of berries

Layer of whipped cream

Repeat

Top layer of whipped cream top with cherries

Pound cake recipe:

2 cups sugar

1 cup butter or margarine softened

3 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/4 cups milk

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

6 egg yolks

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 10-inch Bundt pan or two 9″ by 5″ loaf pans.
    2. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat sugar and butter or margarine just until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add flour and remaining ingredients; beat until well mixed, constantly scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Increase speed to high; beat 2 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl.
    3. Spoon batter into pan. Bake in Bundt pan 1 hour or in loaf pans 45 to 50 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan; cool completely on rack.

Pudding layer:

8 ounces cream cheese
I packet lemon instant pudding mix

1/3 cup powdered sugar
16 ounces Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream

Cream together cream cheese and sugar. Fold in half the Cool Whip. . Refrigerate.

Berries: sprinkle with sugar and let sit at least 2 hours in refrigerator before adding to trifle

 

 

 

Desserts

My grandma’s birthday is this week and her party is today.  For the event I made New York style cheesecake and a Minnie Mouse cake.  Cheesecake isn’t my favorite dessert, but it is still pretty good.  I often make gooey cheesecake with lots of additions like chocolate or caramel or some other yummy item.  But in terms of plain cheesecake…this recipe is superb!  My photo really does not do it justice….

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter

Filling:

  • 24 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (recommended: Meyer lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Topping:

  • 12 ounces creme fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and butter together in a mixing bowl. Pour the mixture into the springform pan and using a mixing cup press the crumbs into the base. Using your fingers gently press crumbs into the sides of the pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Let cool.

Filling:

In a food processor, cream the cream cheese and the sugar together. Add the zest and vanilla, Blend until smooth. Add 5 egg yolks and heavy cream, pulse until smooth. Pour into a large clean bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until a soft froth forms. Add 2 tablespoons sugar slowly to the egg whites and continue to whisk until soft peaks form. Fold into cream cheese, a little bit at a time until fully integrated. Pour into the prepared springform pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until firm. Let cool for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Topping:

Mix the creme fraiche and sugar together and gently spread over the top of the cooled cheesecake. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool until the topping is set or chill overnight and serve. Best served at room temperature.

I used a mold for Minnie (it was actually a Mickey mold) and had a lot of fun with it!