Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Posthaste Party Planning


This past weekend was my Dad's 80th birthday. I had a small surprise party for him at my house. Life has been a little hectic lately, so the entire event was planned quickly and very last minute. By last minute, I mean that the party was on Sunday and I didn't start thinking menu until Friday night! The menu consisted of appetizers and desserts.

Cake has never been my forte so I ordered one of those picture cakes. Everyone liked the picture of my Dad; we all thought he looked like Forrest Gump!

After coming up with a list of appetizers, I decided that any desserts I made needed to be quick and easy. I knew I had to make at least one type of cookie because after all, I am the "cookie maker" in my family. I decided on a simple but elegant thumbprint cookie from one of my favorite cookbooks by Dorie Greenspan. These cookies are  wonderfully delicious and buttery with the added bonus of being pretty.

Knowing my family, I also had to make something chocolate. I couldn't decide what I was going to make until I happened to pull out a box of brownie mix from my cabinet. On the back, I found this recipe for Marshmallow Crispie Bars. Luckily, I had all of the ingredients so I whipped these bars up. I am not even embarrassed that I used a boxed brownie mix because these are some goods eats! Yummy! 

I always serve fruit for dessert when I entertain. I complimented the fruit with a very easy fruit dip that consists of 8 ounces of cream cheese and a jar of Fluff mixed together. Very basic but oh so scrumptious!

Even though the planning was spontaneous, the party was a success. My Dad was surprised and looking forward to his 90th birthday party!

Photos by Heidi Blanchard 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day everyone! I am posting this a day early because I bet if you whip up a batch of these super moist, super gooey chocolate cherry cookies for that special someone, they will definitely be your valentine!

Buried Cherry Cookies

1 10 oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained, reserve juice
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well.
Add flour mixture; beat until well combined. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet 2 inches apart. With thumb, press down the center of each ball. Place a cherry in center.

In a small saucepan, combine chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk. Cook and stir over low heat until chips are melted. Stir in 4 teaspoons of reserved cherry juice.
Spoon 1 teaspoon of chocolate over each cherry, spread to cover. I use a 1 inch scoop to place chocolate directly over cherry. The chocolate covers nicely this way. If chocolate becomes to thick, thin with additional cherry juice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and cool. (Makes about 36 cookies)

(This recipe has been in my cookbook for many years. I have no idea where the original recipe is from.)

Hmmm, look at that gooey chocolate and cherry filling! A perfect treat for your special Valentine!

Photo by: Heidi Blanchard


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Cutest Knitting Pattern Ever!!

Meet Mr.Fox Stole My Heart.  The pattern for this  mini fox collar can be found on Etsy. I really enjoyed knitting this little cutie. I am happy with how he turned out but I plan on making another soon using different yarn and varying the color. The yarn I used for this Mr. Fox isn't what the designer suggested. I was being impatient and ended up settling for a wool/acrylic blend. The body of the fox is mainly stockinette stitch which tends to curl. I attempted to block the body but it kept curling after three tries. After a bit of research, I found out that most knitters agree that acrylics can't be blocked. Oops! So I opted to line the body with polar fleece. Not only did this make Mr. Fox snugly warm, it also added a nice finished look.

You know what else is great about this particular pattern? When you purchase it, not only do you get the mini fox pattern but you also get a pattern for a larger fox scarf, which I am sure to be making soon.

(As an added bonus, here is a  peek at  the adorable designer of this pattern. After watching her, you will totally understand why this fox is so darn cute! I mean, how could he not be?)