Sunday, September 2, 2012

Rowdy Howdy Jalapeno Popper Dip

2 packages cream cheese (8 oz each) at room temperature
1 cup mayo
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies
1 can (4 oz) diced jalapenos or 4 fresh seeded jalapenos
For topping:
1 cup Panko Japanese style breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, melted

1) Preheat oven to 375° F.
2) Mix first six ingredients together and spread in a greased two-quart baking dish.
3) In a separate bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, the remaining Parmesan cheese and melted butter all together.
4) Sprinkle topping mixture evenly over the dip and bake in oven for 20 minutes or until top is browned and the dip is bubbly.
5) Serve with pita chips or crackers.

2 Infinity and Beyond!

Clark has become obsessed with two things. Woody and Buzz. From the movie Toy Story. Even before he saw the movie, he loved Woody and Buzz, so it was plain obvious to us what his theme for his 2nd birthday party would be!

The invitations were done by SuperMom Saves the Date and they came out perfect! Blending a pool party with Toy Story wasn't an easy thing to do! :)

Despite the rain, everything turned out great thanks to all the wonderful family and friends that came!

First up on the menu, "Slinky" hot dogs with "Space Fries" & ketchup! To make the dogs like Slinky, we just spiral cut them!

Here is a great tutorial on how to spiral cut hot dogs:

Some other Toy Story characters popped up with some of their yummies as well!

The jalapeno popper dip was a big hit and I was asked to share the recipe, so here it is!
Rowdy Howdy Jalapeno Popper Dip

We had a "Bullseye's Watering Hole" set up as the drink station. We had lemonade, soda, and Buzz H2O (water), "cowboy juice" (milk) and juice for the kiddos!

The water bottles were just covered with metallic silver duct tape (thank you Pinterest tip!) to transform them into the space ranger's H2O!

We did cupcakes this year in lieu of a cake. I found how to make these cutie alien cupcakes on the Disney website here! I just used mini marshmallows instead of dinner mints for the eyes.

And we had to have ice cream of course to go with our cupcakes, so what better ice cream to serve than Astronaut Ice Cream in honor of Buzz Lightyear!

The table decor was easy to make with just some scissors, glitter paper, and glue!

The guests got to take home a Woody hat, Sheriff badge and a Buzz/Woody cookie as a thank you for coming! Cookies were made by Bella Cibo bakery.

And the party wouldn't be complete without Buzz and Woody attending themselves! Here is my now 2 year old (gasp!) hugging his favorite "toys"!

Clark had a blast and even the rain was a huge hit with him! He got to get wet playing in the rainfall and when the sun did come out, he got to get wet by swimming in the pool! But the most important thing was that he got to do this with all his family and friends! Being 2 has already been so much fun, we can't wait to see what the rest of this year brings!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Blue Cheese Veggie Burger

Sometimes all a girl wants is a burger and beer. One that she can really sink her teeth into...even if that girl is a vegetarian! So when I got tired of just watching my husband enjoy his gourmet BEEF burgers, I decided to create my own VEGETARIAN one!

Just take some Gimme Lean - ground beef style and some blue cheese...and whatever other toppings you would like!
For a big burger, take about half the Gimme Lean and almost a 1/2 cup blue cheese.
Combine cheese and soy meat together to form a patty. Salt.

Grill over medium heat for about 15 minutes (flipping over half-way through) and serve with fries & a beer for a yummy, filling meal! I topped mine with veggie bacon (Morning Star brand), avocado, lettuce, tomato and onion. I happen to LOVE blue cheese so I sprinkled just a little on top of the patty as well. Served on a big kaiser bun (toasted just a bit), this meal was so filling I couldn't finish it despite how good it was!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Baby Shower: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

This weekend I, along with some girlfriends, had the pleasure of throwing a shower for a close friend who is having a baby girl in just a few weeks!

"But this tree in the yard--this tree that men chopped down...this tree that they built a bonfire around, trying to burn up its stump--this tree had lived!"
 -Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Being the book lover that this new mommy is, it was only fitting that her baby have a name with a strong and meaningful literature connection. Brooklyn.
Since she was named after the classic book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, I decided to run with this in creating the diaper cake. Her nursery's colors are brown and various shades of pink, so the branches and little blossoms fit perfectly into the color scheme!

And instead of the traditional sign-in looseleaf paper, we bought a hardback copy of the book and had all the guests sign in it for Baby Brooklyn.

The invitation to help welcome guests in!

Here is the guess-the-date calendar set out on the sign-in table. The guests were able to guess Brooklyn's birthday by placing a gemstone on the date they think she will be born and sign their name next to it! The Tree of Heaven (another book reference) marked the baby's due date!

Our yummy menu at Pompeii Italian Grill!

The tables were adorned with pink flowers in glass baby bottles tied with cute ribbon and little baby rattles giving the restaurant atmosphere more of a baby-chic vibe! ;)

For the cake, fresh flowers were put on top to match the ones on the table. Beautiful!

We played three fun games at the shower!
1) "Guess Who's Pregnant?" in which guests had to match the animal to the length of pregnancy. Be thankful we are not elephants...they are pregnant for 22 months!
2) "What's in the Bag?" -This is where guests had to name 10 things that might be in Kim's diaper bag!
Here is the mama-to-be unveiling all the items in the bag! The first item was a change of clothes! 
Will definitely be needed!!!
3) "Baby Trivia" - A multiple choice quiz on all sorts of fun baby facts!!! Did you know babies were born without kneecaps?!? Crazy!
We had little frozen yogurt mixes to give away as prizes - sounded so yummy in this heat!
Mojito frozen yogurt? Yes please!!!

The other hostesses and I wish Kim and Baby Brooklyn all the best! We had so much fun planning the shower and seeing it all come together! We can't wait to meet Baby Brooklyn!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sip 'N See: Cookies & Milk

Being in Texas, it felt only right to take part in the southern tradition of hosting a Sip 'N See for a dear friend honoring her new baby boy! Basically, this is a post-baby shower where people can come by to "sip" some drinks and "see" the new baby. With her newborn in mind, we thought it would be fun to theme her Sip 'N See as a Cookies & Milk party!

We framed the invitation and put it in the entry way to welcome guests in. We had it as an open house where people could come and go as they please.

The banner to welcome Baby Ames!
*I used the "got milk?" font (aka cgPhenixAmerican) for all the labels and banners. 

The transfer stickers spelling out his name applied to each bottle filled with Cookie Crisp cereal made for a cute touch on the cookies & milk table.

I found some vintage milk bottles for the guests to pour their milk in.

A little monogram initial by the recliner where the momma and new baby were sitting.

The cookies and milk table! I found these cute FREE printable milk cartons from You can print the template to make them yourself here!

And my husband and I had a blast thinking up fun little boy labels for the food on the delicious menu our friend Kim created!
For cookies, we served "mud pie" chocolate brownies, "tough guy" toffee almond, "super hero" sugar, "shhh...don't" snickerdoodle, and my favorite, oatmeal & "raisin hell"!
Also on the menu were "little boy blue" cupcakes, mini "strawberry" scones, "boys only" club veggie & hummus sandwiches, "playing chicken" salad in phyllo cups along with veggie chips and cheese straws and some almonds and pastel blue M&M's.

For drinks we had of course our "got milk?", but we also served some "lemonade stand" sparkling lemonade and iced "t-ball" with mint.

Two different kinds of cookies were set in a basket by the door for guests to take with them as they left. The cookies were placed in CD covers closed with a label that said "SWEET BABY AMES" or "So SWEET of you to come".

Everyone had a great time sipping and seeing! Here is the mama enjoying her cookies and milk!

Out of all the cookies & desserts there, the guest of honor was the still the sweetest thing in the room!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cinnamon Honey Butter

Cinnamon Honey Butter
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon

I did all this in my Kitchen-Aid and it was super easy. This is from the same site that I got the copycat recipe from for the Texas Roadhouse Sweet Rolls.

Just whisk the butter for 30 seconds. 

Then add the powdered sugar, honey and cinnamon. Beat until mixed well and smooth. Scrape around the bowl and whisk again on high until light and fluffy (about another minute or two).

Texas Roadhouse Sweet Rolls (Copycat recipe)

Okay, so if you're on Pinterest, I'm sure you've seen this pin floating around. I am a bread lover... I'm sure if I gave bread up, I'd lose 30 lbs in a week. But I just can't do it! There is nothing that can make me drool like fresh, home-made bread. Even the aroma is bliss. So I pinned this and decided to give it a go and copy a copycat recipe! After these were done, I had to have my husband hide them from me call on my strong will power to not eat the whole batch....(20 rolls and a loaf!)

Texas Roadhouse Sweet Rolls

4 tsp active dry yeast (about 2 1/2 packets)
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups milk (*scalded and cooled to lukewarm)
3 Tablespoons of melted butter, slightly cooled
1/2 cup sugar
6-7 cups all purpose flour
2 whole eggs
2 teaspoons salt

*to scald milk, place in a sauce pan on heat until it FIRST starts to bubble and then remove.

1) Dissolve the yeast in the 1/2 cup of warm water with a teaspoon of sugar. Then add yeast, milk, & sugar. The recipe also says to add in enough flour to make a medium batter. So I added in about 2 cups of flour. Then whisk together and let stand until light and foamy (I let mine stand for 5 minutes).

2) Add eggs, melted butter, & salt. Beat well.

3) Here the recipe said to "add enough flour to form a soft dough". So I guessed and added in 3-4 cups. Sprinkle a small amount of flour on the counter to set the dough on and let rest.

4) While resting, grease a large bowl (I used Crisco). Then knead the dough until smooth. I put mine in the Kitchen-Aid and used the dough hook to knead the bread for 4-5 minutes.

5) Put in the greased bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place. (I set mine on the window sill.) Let sit until it has doubled in size.


6) Punch down. Put on a floured mat/board. I divided mine into 3 sections and then let rest for 10 minutes.

7) I took one portion at a time and rolled out to about an inch thick.

8) Then I cut several vertical strips and then made one horizontal cut down the center.

9) I then folded each rectangle in half and then pressed the sides together to "seal".

10) Put on greased cookie sheet and let rise for several minutes.

I did the above with two of the sections. The last section I just put in a greased loaf pan. (No rolling or forming required for the loaf pan!)

11) Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown for the rolls on the cookie sheets and 20 minutes or golden brown for the bread loaf. Baste immediately with butter.

These turned out GREAT! So yummy and I got the approval from both my boys!

And OMG - they are to die for accompanied with the cinnamon honey butter!