Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Smokehouse Bacon and Cheddar Cheeseball

Wind and Willow makes some very good mixes and this particular one is a family favorite.

You simply go to Olsen-Sayles in Frankfort, Michigan and purchase a package of Smokehouse Bacon and Cheddar Cheeseball & Appetizer Mix. You will find that there are two packages inside: one for the cheeseball mix and the other is the breadcrumbs for covering the cheeseball once it has been in the fridge for awhile.

You simple mix according to box directions...
Soften 4 oz. of cream cheese
Then mix in the cheeseball mix (I used a mixer)
Mound into a ball shape and place in fridge
Just prior to serving, roll the ball in the package of crumbs.
Garnish with parsley if you wish and serve with crackers, fresh veggies, or bread.

This is perfect for a quick and easy appetizer!!!

Do Enjoy~

Monday, July 18, 2011

Puff Pastry Chicken "Packages"

This is a clever way to cook chicken but I chose the hottest day of the summer to make these packages and I wouldn't suggest you follow suit. Instead, a nice fall or winter day would be perfect!

As you can see, the actual chicken breast is filled and what a tasty treat to bite into.

The filling has cream cheese, onion, parsley and cooked bacon, now who doesn't like that combination?
And puff pastry just can't be beat!!!

4 chicken breasts
4 sheets puff pastry, thawed
Diced onion to taste (1/4 - 1/2 cup)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
Italian parsley, chopped (a nice handful)
6 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
1 large egg, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together the cream cheese, parsley and onion...then add the crumbled bacon. Set aside.
Make a deep cut into the chicken breast and fill with cream cheese mixture.
Roll out the puff pastry just a little to make it easier to manipulate.
Place the chicken breast in the middle of the pastry, sprinkle with salt and pepper, brush edges of pastry with beaten egg and wrap into a package.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 - 45 minutes (depends on thickness of chicken breast).

This is filling and delicious but it certainly warms up a kitchen!


Monday, July 11, 2011

Drink Umbrella's

I love any excuse to do a little crafting...how about drink umbrella's for the 4th of July? Why not, they are quick and easy and your guests will know you want them to feel special!!!

You could use colored doiley's but I simply chose to paper punch some red and blue paper stock and glue them on each umbrella.

I bought some 1/4" button plugs to place on the top, how cute is that?

Cut a 2" circle pattern and then trace on paper stock and cut out however many you need. I folded the pattern into fourth's so that I could make a mark on the paper stock where I wanted to cut as can be seen in the above photo.
Glue the paper stock to 4" doiley's (you can find these at craft stores).
I used a permanent glue stick for this!
Now, cut thru the doily/card stock to center (as seen in above photo), bend into a cone shape and glue ends together (card stock to the inside).
Hot glue a wooden skewer to the inside of umbrella and allow to dry.
For a finished look, hot glue the little 1/4" button plugs to the top of each umbrella being cautious to not burn your fingers.
If you desire, glue the "dots" or other shapes to the finished umbrella.

These would be adorable for baby/bridal showers...the possibilities are endless.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Raspberry-Watermelon Lemonade

This is a nice fruity drink and can be prepared quite quickly!

Raspberry-Watermelon Lemonade

1/2 cup raspberries
6 cups seedless watermelon cubes
1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar (generous)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (5-7 lemons, depending on size)

Place raspberries, watermelon, and water in Cuisinart, cover and blend until smooth. Strain to be sure there are no seeds!
Stir in sugar and lemon juice thoroughly (making sure the sugar is dissolved)

Chill & Enjoy~

Friday, July 8, 2011

Red, White & Blue Hair Pretty

I have had my eye on hair pretties for some time now...just waiting for Maggie's hair to get a little longer!

The time was right and a holiday on the horizon was a great time to try my hand at making a fun little pretty for Maggie's hair!

When Caribe & Courtney were little girls I made many barrette's for their hair and they always looked so cute!!!

I purchased dowels and cut them to fit a foil-lined cookie sheet. Then I wrapped grosgrain ribbon on the dowels and secured with clip clothespins. I baked the ribbon covered dowels in a 250 degree oven for 25 minutes...and don't worry they do not burn but watch closely!

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Now you remove the clothes pins and unwind the ribbon and be amazed at how the ribbon stays curled!
You can put a bit of fray-check on the ends so the ribbon doesn't fray.
I cut the ribbons in pieces that would fit the small clip, use your judgment for length.
Place a 12" piece of carpet thread onto working surface and place the ribbon on top...then gather up tightly and tie off the thread securely.
You can now hot glue the pretty onto the clip.

I covered the clip with ribbon to give it a finished look!

So easy and fun to do for a sweet little girl!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 4th Dessert

I am a huge fan of ice cream and when combined with cake, whipped cream and fresh fruit...well that puts me right over the top!

This looks like a little tower of delight to me!

This was just the right ending to a delightful 4th of July with family!

Place a flag and sprig of mint on top and you have a cute little dessert that is delicious and refreshing on a very warm 4th of July in Michigan!


1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1.5 quart Breyer's Strawberry ice cream
Whipping cream
Combination of fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries
Fresh mint

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Using a 15" x 10" jelly roll pan, spray surface, then line with wax paper and spray again.

In large bowl beat sugar and butter until thoroughly blended (5 minutes or so). Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt~stirring with whisk until blended well.
Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk (beginning and ending with flour)~mixing well after each addition.
Beat in the vanilla and almonds extracts and pour the batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 20 minutes
Cool in pan, on wire rack, for 10 minutes~then remove cake from pan.
Carefully remove wax paper from cake and cool completely.
After cooling I wrapped the cake in foil and placed in freezer for one day because of my schedule and it was just fine.
The night before serving I allowed the ice cream to soften a little and spread evenly over entire cake...cover with plastic wrap or foil and freeze.
Remove cake from freezer and cut with desired cutter (I used a 2" round cutter)~
You will want to work quickly...place one cake round on bottom and top with another round (ice cream side down). Repeat until all cake is cut and place back in freezer until ready to serve.
Whip desired amount of cream.
Place each cake tower on individual plate, top with whipped cream, and garnish with fruit combination and mint sprig (and flag if desired)

This is a great dessert for a nice warm summer day!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

4th of July Centerpiece

The above picture was snapped before the table was set for the July 4th celebration!

I so look forward to holiday's so that I can set a festive table...

The centerpiece was fun to create and not terribly expensive, which is always a bonus!

I had not made pinwheels in years and with all the scrapping supplies on the market today, making a final decision could prove to be time consuming (the choice of papers is amazing).

I opted to make large and small pinwheels for variety!

I purchased and spray painted a 7" clay pot and saucer blue and also painted dowels in red, white, and blue.
Cut the dowels in graduated sizes to suit your fancy and place a pencil eraser on the top end of each.
Google search a pattern for the pinwheel and then trace the pattern on your desired scrap book paper. Cut out and use a straight pin to secure the pinwheel and then push the pin through the eraser to secure and bend the pin downward. Tie a festive ribbon around the dowel for added decor'.

At your local florist (Victoria's) purchase your choice of flowers...I chose 1 dozen red carnations and 8 large white spider mums. I ended up using 9 carnations and 6 mums (the extra flowers went into a wall arrangement in the bathroom~don't you think the bathroom needs a little holiday flair?)

Place wet oasis in the bottom of the clay pot and with the carnations (cut the stems down to about two inches or so) and start inserting into the oasis around the edge of the pot. Next, cut the stems of the mums about 4 inches or so and insert them into the oasis around the interior of the pot.
Finally, place the pinwheels into the oasis, being careful not to disturb the flowers.

Have fun with this idea~

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 4th Favors

It is difficult to comprehend that the July 4th holiday is behind us, where does time go? I hope all of you had a fantastic time with family and friends...we surely did! And many thanks to Andrea for providing a wonderful spot to view the parade! And one last note, congrats to Raegen for taking 1st place in the bike decorating contest!!!

Back to the favors...this is one quick, easy, and delicious treat!

As you can see, peanuts, pretzels, and white chocolate were the ingredients...oh, and a few decorative red, white, and blue sprinkles!

I made one batch and then decided it wasn't quite enough so preceded to prepare another.

Maggie had her own special mix, directly from the grocery store...she loves melts and freeze dried fruit.
Of course it needed to be as close to red, white, and blue as possible.

Festive Bark:

11 oz. bag of white chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups skinny pretzels, broken in half
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
Sprinkles, if desired

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper
Melt chips in the microwave (according to package directions)
To the melted chips, add pretzels and peanuts thoroughly but gently
Pour the mixture onto the paper lined cookie sheet and shake sprinkles over the top
Allow to cool and then package as desired

If you like the sweet/salty taste this is for you!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

"Our" Deer

Do you see the little brown spot in the middle of the above photograph? It is a little fawn with spots galore walking toward mama in the tall grass.

Mama and baby meet up for a little grooming and a snack!

The fawn seems transfixed on the stump while Mama looks on!

Here we have Mama grooming the fawn in the freshly mowed open field!

Such a delight each spring (early summer) to watch the little deer arrive on the scene. Currently we have two little babies that show up nearly every day!