Thursday, December 12, 2013

$12 or Less Gourmet Christmas Gift

Holiday Season is here,
that means Christmas or Holiday Parties.
I always get boxes or tin cans full of goodies.
And what happens to the tin cans or holiday boxes?
Recycling Bin.
I'm sorry my friends and family
 who have given me these,
but I just don't have storage for all those lovely Holiday containers.
I was at my favorite discount Home store.
And I found these inexpensive jars.
I thought ... these would be a perfect way to package the
cookies I was giving to my husband's friends at work.
I filled the jars with my 
Insanely Good White Chocolate Chunk & Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
White Chocolate Chunk Macadamia Cookies.
After the cookies are gone ... they'll have a beautiful non-seasonal container
to repurpose.
They can store candies, flour, sugar, chocolate chips, or more cookies in it.
Or they can even take it to work and just fill it with pens/pencils,
markers and scissors.

$6.99 jar
$4.00 cookies
$ 0.30 label
Total cost: $11. 29

The containers below, came in different colors,
so I bought the red and green just to show a little bit of the holiday flare.

$2.99 jar
$4.00 cookies
$ 0.30 label
Total cost: $7.29

You can also fill these jars with the persons favorite candies or chocolate,
tea or coffee.
I used a red and white Baker's Twine to tie the label.

And have a
Merry Christmas!!!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Orange Cranberry Sauce

No canned cranberry sauce at our table.
I don't understand why some think it's too much work, so they would rather just open a canned cranberry sauce.
It's not that hard to make it from scratch.
This is a great cheesecake topping too.


1 -1 lb. bag fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. Orange zest
2 tbsp. Freshly squeezed orange juice


Put all ingredients into a medium saucepan.
Bring to a boil, boil rapidly for about 5 minutes or until berries pop.
Turn heat down to medium heat,
Cook berries for another 5-10 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon
Remove from heat and cool.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Vampires Bloody Treat

There will be sad TRICK or TREATERS tomorrow.
We will be getting lots of rain.
I have to come up with something to at least make it a little fun for this little tykes.
Games, and tons of treats since we are staying indoors.
A Mother's job is never done.
Here's a few easy treats you can make with the kids tonight for tomorrow's
Halloween Feast.
You can use your own cupcake and brownie recipes,
but since I don't have enough time,
I am doing it the easy way.
There's nothing wrong with using boxed mix,
even Giada de Laurentiis does.  ;)


Things you will need for the Mummy Cupcakes:

  • cupcake liners
  • box of cake mix, (follow baking instructions)
  • mummy cake decorating kit (follow assembly instructions)
  • frosting

You can use your own cupcake and frosting recipe if you prefer.



Things you will need for the Brownie Pops:

  • a box of Brownie Mix
  • Halloween Sprinkles
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp. safflower oil

  • Line baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. set aside.
  • Have the kids cut the brownies to their preferred shape or scoop brownie and roll into balls.
  • Place chocolate chips and oil in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute, stir until completely smooth. You can use a double boiler if preferred.
  • Dip brownie balls or squares into the melted chocolate.
  • Insert lollipop stick.
  • Place on the prepared baking sheet, refrigerate until chocolate has set.
  • Transfer to a serving plate and serve.

Vampires Bloody Treat

Things you will need for the Vampires Bloody Treat:

Black Cherry Jello powder mix 
Strawberry Jello powder mix
Plastic cups


  • Follow mixing istructions at the back of the box.
  • Pour mix into plastic cups.
  • Add fresh cranberry on a cocktail stick for garnish (optional).



Saturday, October 19, 2013

Extremely Chocolatey Chocolate Rice Krispies Mini Bites

When my sister visited from London,
she brought me this Chocolate Cornflake Mini Bites treats
that I crave for all the time.

Look Sissy! The tub is all empty.
Since she is thousands of miles away I can't just call her
and have her send me the treats.
So what does a girl need to do?
Learn to make them.
I could not find chocolate Cornflakes at our local grocery
 so I decided to make it with Rice Krispies.
So I ended up making Rice Krispy Buns as it is commonly called in the United States.
And I found that they are easy as 1-2-3!
                                           1. Melt
                                           2. Mix
                                           3. Spoon into mini cupcake liners


4 cups Chocolate Rice Krispies
1 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
1/3 of a bar Lindt 85% Cocoa Extra Dark, coarse chunks
  • Place 28-32 pcs. of mini cupcake liners on a baking sheet. Set aside.
  • Place chocolate in a large bowl set over the bain marie or in a double boiler at a low simmer. stir chocolate until melted. Turn off heat.
  • Add Rice Krispies to melted chocolate, gently stir until well coated.
  • Spoon into prepared mini cupcake liners.
  • Allow to set, then serve.

  • You can substitute Chocolate Rice Krispies with Regular Krispies or with Cornflakes.
  • A mini bite has about 56-62 calories.

Monday, October 14, 2013

UP Movie Themed party

Special Thanks to my awesome cousin Clint who made my Little Aiden's day
by editing this photo with Russell.

I had about a week and a half to get this party ready.
It started as a small family get together and became a much larger party
when my 4 year old decided to invite his neighborhood friends
and classmates.
My Little Taz has been looking forward to turning 5,
so to celebrate his BIG BOY Party,
he asked for an "UP"  themed party.
For a couple of years now he has been wanting this theme for his party,
and I have not done it
because there is no "UP" merchandise on the market.
So like any good Moms out there I gave in.
I did my research and came up with a few ideas.
Thanks to my blogger friends for some great ideas shared.
I only had 2 hours to set-up at the Clubhouse before the party started,
didn't plan my time well,
guests started arriving before I was able to take proper photos of our birthday set-up.
I was busy entertaining,
 and that was the least of my concerns.
So I hope you still appreciate the "Point and Shoot" photos we took.

Our handwritten invitation with Aiden's UP artwork.
Yes, he drew the house and balloons.
He draws the same picture over and over everyday.

I asked Aiden to draw the same house and balloons on the Menu.
I purchased the house from a popular Home store and bought acrylic paint and painted it.
It took about an hour to finish it.
No sweat. 

Made Strawberry, and vanilla cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

 Chocolate cupcake with ganache and chocolate frosting.

Chocolate-dipped Marshmallows, bought flag stickers at a popular craft store.

Cut out clouds from a poster board and the blue backdrop is a $0.99 vinyl table cover.
The photo does not show the exact color. 

I bought these daisy lids for the Mason Jars a couple years ago.
Finally had a reason to use it.
Got paper straws from the same Home store.
The Thirst Quencher dispensers were a great find when I was still living in California.
 Bought from an after season sale for $4.98 each,
at a store with a Red Bulls-eye logo. ;)

So happy with this frosting work.
NO,  that is not fondant!
Carl, Russell, and Dug toys were found from a contact in NJ that orders it
from a toy maker in Germany.
This set  was my big purchase $36. + shipping.

 Please make UP themed toys now.
You're making a lot of toddlers really sad.

A very happy birthday young man getting ready to cut his cake.
Helping him is my always ready to help awesome friend.
Thanks for all the help Bing!!!

Found an old luggage for $5 at Salvation Army,
filled it with party favors.
To make the banner hanging on the luggage,
I printed the UP themed prints I found online and glued it on a twine.
For our party favor bags,
 same prints were glued to brown lunch bags with labels saying
"Thank You! - Aiden"
Notice the drawing Little Taz inserted in the luggage.
Didn't see that until I edited the pictures. LOL!
Aiden's photo with Russell displayed at the table.

Had the kids pick what they wanted from the party favors.

Printed out labels using just Microsoft Word for the water bottles.

Hanged the Mexican Cut-out Banners I purchased from my Texas trip last year.

For our table centerpieces,
I used the prizes for the games and tied balloons on it.
I had crayons, paper, markers, UP print-outs and glues on all tables for the guests to keep themselves busy.
When guests arrived,
 I set the presents they brought for the birthday boy on the table in addition to the centerpieces.

 Guests that came on time keeping themselves busy
with the art supplies I set on the table while I finished preparing the food.

Played Sack Race

We could not hang a piƱata at the clubhouse so I opted for "Popping the Balloons".
My husband filled the balloons with coins and dollar bills.

Not too happy with the popping. ;)

Put the Nose on the Clown was quite a hit.

 The best game of all times, MUSICAL CHAIRS!
Never gets old.

A refreshment break after running around and playing games with friends.

The table were a I had all the food set up.
This was taken after the party.
I bought an inexpensive banner,
printed out letters that spelled ADVENTURE AWAITS, cut it out, and glued onto the banner.
The globe was one of his presents from us.



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