My First Cookbook!!!

I would apologize for all the exclamation points, but I can’t help it!  My first cookbook is now available!  This is the first book in the series Moms on the Go, and the book is titled “Party Time!”

This book is a compilation of simple and delicious foods that are perfect for parties.  They include:  hot appetizers, cold appetizers, beverages (both kid-friendly and adult), self-serve desserts and crowd pleasing desserts!

Click HERE for the link!  It’s available exclusively on Amazon!

 

Pirate Birthday Party

Click HERE to watch the slideshow!

It’s hard to believe our son turned a year old, but I was prepared to throw him a pirate party.  Every time my husband would pick on me for going “overboard” (ha ha, get it?), I would scoff at him and say, “He’ll remember this party for the rest of his life!”

Since a baby’s first birthday party is more for the adults and older kids than the birthday baby himself, it gives me an excuse to throw a blowout of a party.  First, the construction of the cake.  It had to be good.  It had to be massive.  It had to be amazing.

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Two weeks before the party, I got started on the cake topper, which was a treasure chest made out of rice krispie treats.  I bought a box of 16 treats, then put them all together to start the construction.  Here is the base and the top.

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After they were put together, I slathered some icing all around the sides and top.  The brown fondant was rolled out using a fondant roller, then cut into strips and wrapped around the treats to give it a real look of wooden planks.  The only thing I would do differently with this is use chocolate icing as a base, so there wouldn’t be any white specs of the buttercream underneath the fondant.

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The gold coins were made out of fondant as well.  I rolled out white fondant, using a small circle cutter to cut out the shapes, then painted them with gold food coloring.  This took several coats.  After the coins dried completely (couple of days), I layered them on top of the treats.  Skewers were cut to fit, and placed horizontally through the top section of the treats to secure them together.  More icing was piled on top and smoothed for a rounded look, then covered with the strips of fondant.  Toothpicks were stuck in the back side of the base of the chest, then the top part of the chest was placed on top of the toothpicks and coins.  The toothpicks secured the top part to the bottom.  The chest was placed on a small cake board, then cut to fit.  Dowel rods were placed in the top tier of the cake to prevent the chest from sinking into it (that thing was pretty heavy when finished).  Graham cracker crumbs were used as “sand” and the seashells were made out of chocolate using a seashell mold.  The jewels are plastic, and I used the majority of the jewels in the package for making treasure bags (along with plastic gold coins, plastic jewel rings, beads, and candy).  The treat bags were hidden in the back yard for the kids to do a treasure hunt, which they loved!

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The treasure map on top of the chest is also made out of fondant.  I rolled out the fondant, then cut it to shape using a paring knife.  An edible black pen was used to draw on it.

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Finished cake!  It literally weighed over 40 pounds…so it was transferred from one place to another only for pictures.  The bottom tier is a 3 layer 12 inch cake, and the top tier is a 4 layer 10 inch cake, the entire cake is vanilla with buttercream icing.

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The pirate skull, 1, anchors, and sharks are all made out of chocolate, using chocolate molds.  The red stripes and black cannon balls on the bottom tier are fondant.  The decorations on the top tier for the ocean are buttercream icing.

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Here is our little pirate, digging into his smash cake.  It was a 4 inch cake covered with buttercream and chocolate icing.  Go ahead and take a bite, big guy.  It’s your day.

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And, here we are with the pirate ship cake pops.  When I originally saw these, I got all excited and just HAD to make them…but wanted to add a little more than the original image I found, which only had the red and white stripe sails.  We went to our local arts and crafts store, which is where I found the card stock red and white stripe paper, along with black paper and the skull and crossbones stickers.  The cake pops are chocolate, covered with milk chocolate.  None of these were left at the end of the party.

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Speaking of chocolate, how about some chocolate lollipops?  I started working on these a week before the party.  Since there were several different colors of chocolate, it was more time consuming than just using one solid color.  I melted the different colors of chocolate separately, and used a toothpick to detail the colors, setting the molds in the refrigerator for the chocolate to set in between each color.  Time consuming, but worth it in my opinion.

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Here’s the dessert table, which also had chocolate chip cookies (made small and thick to look like gold nuggets), and peanut butter ritz cookies made with yellow chocolate to resemble gold coins.

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Oh, and while we were at the arts and crafts store, silly me made the mistake of walking past the bird houses and came across this one.  It ended up in my cart, along with paint brushes and paint.

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I was very happy with how it turned out, and used it as a table centerpiece for the party.  We’ll put it up in the yard since the party has passed for our visual enjoyment to watch the pirate birds play in their new pirate ship house.

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Here was our menu for the party.  I decided to print out copies and place them around the house so I didn’t have to repeat myself 20 times going over everything there was to eat. Almost all of the food items served at the party are included in my upcoming cookbook!

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The photo prop was bought for pictures like these.

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And who doesn’t love an inflatable pirate?

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It’s not a pirate party if you’re not dressed as a pirate, right?  Exactly!  ARRRRGH!!!

Gingerbread Rice Krispie Treats

While strolling through Wal Mart, the holiday baking section always catches my eye this time of year.  Well, I say that I was strolling, but it was more along the lines of a race-walking situation where I was headed for the finish line (being checkout).  I slowed down for a few seconds, then came to a screeching halt.  There they were…practically taunting me from the shelf…Gingerbread Marshmallows.  Was this an oasis in the dessert of shopping craziness in front of my eyes?  Clearly it was, so two bags were quickly thrown into my cart.  On I went, bolting for the self checkout aisle.  I couldn’t help but to fantasize about how satisfying some Gingerbread Rice Krispie Treats would be going into my belly.

With previous Rice Krispie Treat recipes, I’ve noticed that they’ve seemed a little dry.  Since I’m a huge fan of delicious desserts with moisture, I usually add a little more butter than what the recipe calls for…and in this case, some added cinnamon.  You’re welcome.

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Gingerbread Rice Krispie Treats Recipe

4 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 (8 oz.) bag gingerbread marshmallows

5 cups Rice Krispies cereal

extra butter for dish

Generously rub extra butter in bottom an dup sides of a 9×13 inch baking dish, set aside.  In a large pot, melt butter on low/medium heat on stove.  Continue to cook butter, stirring constantly, until slightly browned.  Stir in cinnamon and continue to cook for another minute.  Add marshmallows, reduce heat and stir constantly until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth.  Remove front heat, immediately add cereal and stir well until mixture is completely coated.  Spoon mixture into buttered dish.  Use extra butter for rubbing on hands, then press mixture evenly into dish.

Cayenne Chocolate Cookies

In all honesty, I was a little skeptical of these cookies at first.  One of my good friends told me about these cookies over the summer, which left me intrigued.  Spicy and sweet, all at the same time?  Will my taste buds revolt against me after eating these?   It’s amazing how the flavor of these cookies can send your entire mouth into a twist…  First, you get the rich sweetness of chocolate.  Next, it’s that sweet spice of cinnamon.  For the big bang, here comes the cayenne with a kick.  My mouth almost felt a weird numbness after the first one, but still wanted more.  The perfect opportunity to make these presented itself while I was preparing chicken tortilla soup and quesadillas for dinner.  It truly was the perfect ending to a Mexican style meal.

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Cayenne Chocolate Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 bag semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium size mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar.  Using an electric mixer, beat at medium speed until mixture is fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, continue mixing at medium speed until combined.  Add flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, cayenne pepper and cinnamon, continue mixing until dough is well combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Using a cookie scoop, drop dough on cookie sheet.  Bake for approximately 12 minutes, remove from oven.  Let cookies sit on cookie sheet for another 2 minutes before using a spatula to move cookies to cooling racks to cool completely.  Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

Over the weekend, we were stuck inside the house due to inclement weather.  I’ve been hearing the buzz of other people talking about pumpkin donuts from different donut shops…but since driving wasn’t the greatest idea, I decided to make some at home.  Biting into that fluffy, flavorful donut and sipping some hot coffee, it did add some brightness to our cabin fever filled days.

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For The Donuts

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup pureed pumpkin

2 eggs

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a medium size mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking soda, whisk together.  Add pumpkin, eggs, milk and butter.  Using an electric mixer, beat at medium speed for about 2 minutes, just until well combined.  Grease and flour a donut pan.  Spoon batter into a large pastry bag, cut about 1 inch off the tip of the pastry bag.  Pipe batter into donut pan, then place in oven and bake for 8-10 minutes (or until donut springs back lightly when touched).    Remove from oven and turn donuts out of pan onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Dip each donut in glaze, return to parchment paper to cool.

For The Glaze

3 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons water

In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well.

Frozen Birthday Cake

Frozen…the movie that literally every mom knows.  In fact, I bet every mom knows every single word to the song “Let It Go.”  Backwards.  Maybe even in Chinese.  I’ve gone as far as getting the sheet music and downloading background music to play it on my flute.  The things we do for our children.

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Our daughter turned 5, and she’s been talking about her Frozen birthday cake and party for the last several months, so I knew it had to be something good.

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“Frozen” is a frozen buttercream transfer.  The snowflakes are made out of fondant, a variety of different shades of blue and cut out with a snowflake cutter.  I rolled out the fondant and cut the snowflakes out several days before putting the cake together so the snowflakes could harden.  I watched this video to learn how to do a frozen buttercream transfer.

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The 5 is made out of chocolate using a chocolate mold.  The “ice” is made out of hard candy (see recipe below), and the cake toppers were purchased from Amazon.  In all honesty, you can use any figurines you please for placing items on a cake for decoration, just make sure they’re nice and clean before placing them on the cake.  Nobody wants cooties.

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The cake was a 10 inch 4 layer white almond cake with buttercream icing…and I’ll have to say it was a big hit.  There’s nothing like having a Frozen birthday pool party in August.

Hard Candy Recipe

3/4 cup white sugar

1 1/2 cups corn syrup

1 cup water

1 tablespoon extract (or candy flavoring)

food coloring (takes very little, 1 drop of sky blue recommended for this)

In a medium sauce pan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water, cook on medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Turn heat to high, do not stir, and wait until mixture reaches between 300-310 degrees.  Candy thermometer (digital thermometer is fine) is a must for this.  When mixture reaches desired temperature, remove from heat and stir in flavoring and coloring.  Spray a cookie sheet with butter spray, spread candy mixture out into a thin layer.  Let set to cool and harden, break into shards and place on cake.

Brownie Truffle Pie

Flipping through recipe books when you’re hungry is like begging someone to hold a chocolate bar in front of your face while dieting.  It’s cruel and unusual punishment, yet I find myself doing this on a regular basis.  Too many times I’ve slammed the book shut and fussed at myself for the self-inflicted torture.  Sometimes I wonder if that’s the real dessert in the pictures though, because it looks like an oasis in a desert since I want to eat the page itself.

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The picture of this particular dessert took up an entire page, and I stared at it.  My daughter comes up and says, “Mommy, I want you to make THAT!”  Yes, kiddo, me too.

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I made a few modifications on this to make it a little easier, but the result was out of this world.  The pirouettes are more of a fancy garnish, adding a “wow” factor to the presentation…along with added deliciousness.  This is a rich, velvety dessert with a moist and creamy texture, so even a small slice goes a long way.  Excuse me while I slip into a chocolate coma.

Brownie Truffle Pie

1 box brownie mix (plus eggs, oil and water for baking directions)

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 tablespoons coffee liquor (use cooled coffee if you’d prefer not to use liquor)

4 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed

14-16 Pirouette cookies, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 8 inch round baking pan with foil, spray with cooking spray.  Mix brownie batter together, spread in pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine heavy cream and butter.  Microwave on high for 1-1 1/2 minutes or until butter is melted and mixture is boiling, stir until smooth.  Add cream mixture to chocolate and whisk until chocolate melts.  Stir in vanilla and coffee liquor.

Set aside 1/4 cup chocolate mixture for garnish.  Transfer remaining chocolate mixture to a large bowl.  Place brownie on serving plate.  Spread half of the remaining chocolate mixture over brownie layer, spreading evenly over the top.  Stir in whipped topping with chocolate mixture until well combined.  Spread over chocolate layer, also around the sides.  Gently press cookies into side of dessert.  Pipe reserved chocolate mixture on top.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Remove from fridge 5 minutes before cutting.

**Spreading the top layer is easier if the ganache layer is already set….to do so, place brownie and ganache layer in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes for layer to harden before spreading mousse layer on top.**