Friday, December 18, 2009

Grandma's Gingerbread Recipe

Decorating Gingerbread houses is an activity my children look forward to participating in all year long! My all time favorite recipe is this one from Wilton - 'Grandma's Gingerbread Recipe'. It is truly a perfected piece of work! Now days, most craft stores have cookie cutters for sale that are the perfect size for small gingerbread houses.

Jenna is busted! Nothing like a little (or a lot) of sugar to really get things moving!

Grandma's Gingerbread Cake Recipe



Cookie Sheet
Gingerbread Cookie Cutters
Royal Frosting


5-5 1/2 cups of flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 t powdered ginger
2 t cinnamon
1 t ground nutmeg
1 t cloves
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 Cus unsulphured molasses
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven 375 degrees. Thoroughly mix flour, baking soda, alt and spices. Melt shortening in large saucepan. Cool slightly. Add sugar, molasses and eggs; mix well. Add four cups of the dry ingredients and mix again.

Turn mixture onto lightly floured surface. Knead in remaining dry ingredients by hand. Add a little more flour, if necessary, to make the dough firm. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4 inch thickness and cut out cookies with Metal Gingerbread cookie cutters.

Bake 6-10 minutes for small to medium size cookies and 10-15 minutes for large cookies. Longer for bigger sides of the house.

If you are not going to use your gingerbread right away, wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate. Refrigerated dough will keep for a week, but be sure to remove it 3 hours prior to roling so it softens and is workable.

*Substitute 1 1/4 cups light corn syrup for molasses to make Blond Gingerbread.

Makes 40 medium cookies.

Royal Icing

When I was 17 I broke my Mom's Bosch mixer trying to achieve the stiffest peaks possible. Ooops! Be careful, and add a drop of water if you need to! The frosting should be soft and easy to spread... there is no need to have it be terribly stiff.


3 level tablespoons Meringue Powder
4 cups sifter confectioners' sugar (approx. 1 lb.)
6 T water

Beat all ingredients at low speed for 7-10 minutes (10-12 minutes at high speed for portable mixer) until icing forms peaks.

Yield 3 cups of icing.

Decorating Instructions: Ornaments With royal icing, pip outlines and facial features using Tip 3 and Disposable Decorating Bags. Use Wilton's Icing Colors to create different looks. Attach candy canes with royal icing.

Gift Tags Pipe outlines and facial features using Tip 3. Attach real ribbon bow with royal icing. Cut a tag from lightweight cardboard and punch a hole to attach to bow.

Place Cards Ice area where the name will go. Add name and trim with Tip 2. ipe outlines and facial features using Tip 3. Bake a small triangle shaped gingerbread piece to prop gingerbread cookies up. Prop upright by attaching triangle to back of gingerbread cookie using royal icing.

This is Wilton's famous Gingerbread Cake Recipe, and it is truly a perfected piece of work!

The items listed above, including the meringue powder can be purchased at Michael's. Enjoy!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Peppermint Fudge

Peppermint Fudge

Fudge layer:

2 ½ teaspoons butter, softened (no substitutes)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar (powdered)
6 Tablespoons baking cocoa
2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cups nuts (optional)

Peppermint layer:

2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ teaspoons milk
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
¼ cup crushed peppermint candy

Line the bottom and sides of an 8 x 8 pan with foil. Grease foil with 2 ½ teaspoons butter; set aside. For Fudge Layer: In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, milk and vanilla. Stir in nuts. Spread into prepared pan. Chill for 1 hour or until firm. For Peppermint Layer: beat cream cheese in a small mixing bowl. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, milk and extract. Stir in peppermint candy. Spread evenly over chocolate layer. Chill for 1 hour or until firm. Using foil, lift fudge from pan. Gently peel off foil. Cut into small squares. Store in refrigerator.

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Chocolate Souffle

My 14 year old son found this amazing recipe online, and made it himself. It is an easy to follow, delicious recipe! This is one of our new family favorites!

Chocolate Souffle

From Food Network Kitchens

Prep Time:

30 min

Inactive Prep Time:


Cook Time:

20 min




6 individual servings


7 ounces finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus for preparing the molds

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 large egg yolks

3 tablespoons warm water

1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons

8 large egg whites, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Confectioners' sugar for garnish


Brush 6 (6-ounce) ramekins with soft butter, then coat with sugar. Put the prepared ramekins in the freezer. (This can be done a day ahead.)

Set an oven rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

Put the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside.

Combine the egg yolks and warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer or large bowl and beat until frothy. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, and continue beating until ribbons form, about 5 minutes. Very lightly fold the yolks into the chocolate mixture. (Rinse the bowl well, if using for beating the egg whites.)

Remove prepared ramekins from freezer. Put the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer, or large non-reactive bowl, add the lemon juice. Beat on medium until frothy; then gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and increase speed to high. Beat until the whites hold a stiff but not dry peak.

Working quickly, fold about a third of the egg whites into the chocolate to lighten; then fold in remaining whites until blended. Gently ladle or spoon the souffle mixture into the ramekins, and place on a baking sheet. (Level off the surface with a straight edge, scraping any excess mixture back into the bowl.)

Immediately bake until the souffle rises about 1 1/2 inches from the ramekins, and the tops are touched with brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, dust with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately.

Copyright 2007 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cookie Party

2/3 cup shortening (1/3 cup butter crisco, 1/3 margarine)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
4 tsp milk
2 cup sifted flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Cream shortening, sugar, vanilla. Add egg and beat until light and fluffy (2 minutes) then stir in milk. Sift all dry ingredients then add to the wet. Divide dough in half and roll in saran wrap and chill for 1 hour. Roll and cut - only 3-4 times on lightly floured surface 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Bake on greased cookie sheet 375 for 7 minutes.

Rachel had an awesome cookie party last year! The kiddos went crazy decorating! She sent out evites, and got busy baking (it helps that she has two ovens and dishwashers). All her guests enjoyed their creations along with hot chocolate. Her sugar cookie recipe listed above really is amazing! So, treat your neighborhood to a 'cookie party' this year!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Savory Chicken Cordon Bleu

6 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts
6 thin slices of deli ham
6 slices of cheese (swiss, provolone or pepper jack)
2 t sage
1 1/2 c fine bread crumbs (seasoned or plain)
1/2 c parmesan cheese
3 T dried parsley
4 T melted butter

Place chicken breast on cutting board, cover with wax paper and pound lightly with meat mallet until breast is approximately ¼ inch thick.  (Be careful not to punch holes in the breast)

Place a strip of ham and one slice of cheese on each breast.  I used swiss cheese on 3 of the chicken breasts and pepper jack on the other 3.  Tuck in sides and roll up jelly roll style.  Secure with two or three toothpicks.

Combine bread crumbs, parmesan, sage and parsley in a medium bowl.  Dip chicken rolls in melted butter, then roll in crumb mixture until well coated.  Place in a shallow baking pan coated with nonstick spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 – 50 minutes.  Recipe courtesy of Kristen Harris

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Eggs Benedict Stacks

This easy but elegant twist on an old breakfast tradition looks and tastes gourmet.

Eggs Benedict Stacks


6 large eggs, divided
2/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 English muffins, cut in half
Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce (see below)
8 slices Canadian bacon


In a pie pan, whisk together 2 eggs, milk and salt with a fork. Soak English muffin halves for 1-2 minutes on each side. Heat a small frying pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray over medium-high heat. Cover and cook soaked muffin halves one at a time for about 2 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Place cooked muffin halves on a plate and set aside. Cook the remaining eggs individually as desired. To assemble stacks, toast 2 muffin halves in toaster for 1 minute, or until lightly crisp. Place 1 muffin half on a plate and then spread with a tablespoon of Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce. Place 2 slices Canadian bacon over the sauce. Place a cooked egg on top and then drizzle generously with more sauce. Lay remaining muffin half on top and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Easy Hollandaise Sauce:


3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup butter


In a blender, blend egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and white pepper. Melt butter in microwave until sizzling hot. Turn blender on low and slowly pour in all the melted butter. Serve warm. Store inthe refrigerator 3-5 days. Makes 1 cup.

This recipe is from Donna Kelly's 'French Toast' cookbook.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Southwest Chipotle Burgers

Southwest Chipotle Burgers

1 1/2 lb ground chuck or ground sirloin
1 chipotle pepper canned in adobo sauce  (1 chili or less for kids, 1 1/2 for anyone who likes it spicy)
1 1/2 T adobo sauce (from the chipotle chili can)
1/4 C grated onion
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t cumin
1 1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t pepper

4-6 good quality buns
1 tomato
1-2 avocado
optional: jack, cotija, or queso fresco cheese

Chipotle-lime Mayo:
1/2 C Mayo (light works fine)
2 t lime juice
1 t adobo sauce (from the canned chipotle chilis - not the chilis, just the sauce)
2T chopped fresh cilantro

Start by making the sauce.
Place mayo, adobo sauce, lime juice and cilantro in a small bowl and stir together then chill.

Now place the beef in a bowl and gently crumble with your fingers. Add the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, grated onion, garlic powder, cumin, kosher salt, and pepper. Use your hands (yes, your hands!) to gently mix things together. If you go crazy and over-work ground beef it gets a yucky texture. Just mix it enough to distribute the ingredients and call it good.

Divide into 6 patties and place on a preheated grill, indoor grill pan, or skillet.

If you want to top with cheese, do so in the last few minutes of grilling. Use jack  cotija, or even some queso fresco. While the burgers are cooking, toast buns and spread chipotle-lime sauce generously on each side of each bun.

When the burgers are done to your liking let them stand for 5 minutes off the grill/pan and then pop onto your prepared buns. Top with tomato slices, avocado slices, and a crisp piece of lettuce.

If you made extra sauce, serve it on the table so people can slather it on every bite.

Recipe from

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Whipped Honey Butter

Honey Butter 

2 cubes real butter, (close to room temp- works best when slightly chilled still.)
2/3 C honey
¾ C powdered sugar

(If your butter is too soft, you'll end up with a gooey mess, so I just leave it out on the counter for about 20 minutes or so before beating and it turns out nice and fluffy)
Just place it all in a bowl and beat with an electric hand-mixer for about 30 seconds.  You can use a Bosch or a Kitchenaid but it turns out better with a hand mixer.  Serve at room temp with warm rolls, irish soda bread, scones etc.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thai Peanut Noodles

Posted by PicasaThai Peanut Noodles
1/2 c. chicken broth
3 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1-2 tsp. Sriracha chili sauce (1/2 tsp is best for kids, 1 is mild with a bite, 1.5 is medium, 2 is hot)
1 1/2 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh minced ginger
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
8 oz. Udon or linguine noodles
Chopped green onions
Chopped cilantro
2 limes, cut into quarters
Chopped peanuts

Cook noodles in salted water. In the meantime, combine chicken broth, peanut butter, chili sauce, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk until smooth and remove from heat. Toss cooked noodles with sauce and divide among 4 bowls. Sprinkle with green onions, cilantro, chopped peanuts, and garnish each serving with 2 lime quarters. Before eating, squeeze lime juice over noodles and stir to combine.

 *If desired, you can add meat to this dish by stir-frying shrimp or very thinly-sliced chicken (partially freeze it first) in some olive oil with a couple cloves of garlic, some fresh ginger, some green onions, soy sauce, and a small squirt or two of Sriracha chili sauce.

recipe courtesy of

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Candy Corn Cupcakes

Candy Corn Cupcakes
1 18.25-oz. white cake mix
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
Yellow and orange food coloring
A double batch of Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling (see below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 24-cup muffin tins with white paper liners (although you may not make it to 24 cupcakes). 

Combine all ingredients except for food coloring in a large bowl and beat on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat on medium for 2 additional minutes.

Divide batter equally into two bowls; you should have about 2 1/4-2 1/2 cups of batter in each bowl.Mix about 1/2 heaping tsp. of yellow coloring into one bowl of batter and 1/2 heaping tsp. of orange coloring into the other bowl.

Divide the yellow batter evenly among the muffin tins. I used a standard cookie scoop, which measures about 1 Tbsp. Holding the edges of each pan firmly, bang the pan a few times on the counter to level out the batter. Repeat the process with the orange batter. 

Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan and then allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.When ready, frost the cupcakes and garnish with a candy corn. When you cut them open, they look like this:

Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling
6 T Flour
1 C milk (whole milk is best, but I used non-fat or 2% when it's all I have and it's actually fine)
1 C real butter
1 C granulated sugar
2 t vanilla extractor other flavor if you wish.

Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat.
Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. Let it cook, while stirring, until you can start to see the bottom of the pan. The INSTANT you see the bottom of the pan remove from heat and start straining over a bowl.  I used a rubber spatula to push the liquid through.  This is a fast thing so go quickly.

You should end up with a nice, smooth mixture. It's almost like
 pudding before it's set.

Put this mixture in the fridge and let it cool completely, it's fine if it stays in there long enough to get chilly, you just don't want it warm at all. When it is chilled, you can move on to the following step.

It an electric stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar for a minute or two until well combined and fluffy. You'll want to use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, not the flat paddle. Then while beating, add in the thickened milk mixture and the vanilla. Beat to combine and then scrape down the sides. Don't be scared. It's going to look like a goopy mess. 
 Beat on med-high for 7-8 minutes. I know it is a long time but I was promised it would turn out and it did!

It should turn out light, silky and oh so good!  If it isn't light and silky, try beating it a little bit longer.

For more details on any of the above go to and look up candy corn cupcakes.  You will love EVERYTHING on their site!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rice Krispie Eye Balls

3 TBSP Butter
1 Package of Regular Marshmallows
6 Cups Rice Krispie Treat Cereal
Gummy Lifesavers
M&M Candy
Candy Melts, or melted chocolate chips
lollypop sticks

1. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat, add marshmallows and stir until melted. Remove from heat.

2. Add Rice Krispie Treat Cereal, stir until well coated.

3. Will clean, buttered hands roll mixture into several 21/2 inch balls. Allow to cool.

4. Attach a gummy lifesaver to the ball using candy melts or melted chocolate. Attach the M&M to the gummy lifesaver in the same manner.

5. Dip a lollypop stick into candy melts and insert into the rice krispie ball. Lay flat to cool.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

1 devil’s food cake mix

3 eggs

1 cup Sour Cream

1/4 Cup Water

1/4 Cup Milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 cups chopped peanut butter cups (Plus more for garnishing)

8 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 9-inch cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. Line with wax paper and coat paper.

In a large bowl, beat cake mix, eggs, buttermilk and vegetable oil on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape down sides after 1 minute. Fold in 2 cups of the chopped peanut butter cups.

Pour batter into muffin liners and bake at 350 degrees for about 19 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool cup cakes completely.

Place chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Bring cream just to a boil and then pour over chocolate. Whisk until chocolate melts. Add peanut butter and whisk until smooth.

Spoon onto the tops of cupcakes.

Allow frosting to set for a minute and gently press remaining chopped peanut butter cup pieces all over top of cupcakes. Place in refrigerator for about an hour to set. Remove and serve.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fabulous Pasta Salad

When you are in a pinch, we have a solution. I make sure to always keep a few of the salad ingredients on my pantry shelf and then improvise with what is in the refrigerator's crisper. In minutes you have a colorful pasta salad to share with a crowd!

The Perfect Pasta Salad

1 lb. pasta cooked to package directions (I like bow tie or tri-colored spirals)
1 16 oz. bottle Zesty Italian Dressing
1 Tbls. Italian Seasoning
1 Tbls. Salad Supreme
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 can chick peas, rinsed
1 small can sliced olives

From here you can be creative:
cherry tomatoes
small broccoli florets
1/2 - 1 green or red pepper, chopped
1/4 purple onion, chopped
carrot, chopped
pepperoni or diced ham

Toss all ingredients, except Italian dressing, in large bowl. Add approx. 3/4 of the dressing and toss well. Refrigerate. Before serving, stir and you may want to add some additional dressing. The salad is even better the next day!

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Caramel Rolls

Caramel Bundt Rolls

18 frozen rolls (I use Rhodes brand)
½ cup chopped nuts (optional)
½ cup butter
¾ tsp. cinnamon
¾ cup brown sugar
1 (3 oz.) pkg. regular “cook and serve” butterscotch pudding

Grease bundt pan. Line with nuts. Place frozen rolls on top of nuts. Sprinkle pudding on top of rolls. Melt margarine, sugar & cinnamon. Pour evenly over top of rolls. Set out uncovered 6-8 hours. Bake 350°F, 25-30 minutes. Turn upside down immediately onto large plate.
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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Peppercorn Steak

I have to give credit to Medifast as the author of this healthy recipe! I love this dish because it is not only packed with vitamins from all the vegetables, but is also very tasty, and sure to delight any appetite!



1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns, crushed

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme


5 oz. flanked steak

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 cup onions

1/2 cup mushrooms

1/2 cup green peppers (I love to add red and yellow peppers as well)


Mix peppercorn, salt, mustard, garlic powder and thyme. Brush and

rub evenly over steak. Let stand for 10 minutes. Heat a non-stick grill

pan over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Grill 5-7 minutes

on each side or until desired doneness. Sauté onions, mushrooms,

and green peppers with oil. Serve on the side.

Nutrition Info.

Cal 330 | Fat 16g | Chol 55mg | Carb 13g | Pro 34g

This recipe makes 1 serving.

Steel Cut Oatmeal

This is a healthy heart pleaser!

Use real steel cut oats - I buy mine in the bulk section at Henry's. This breakfast is nutritious and inexpensive. I sometimes add flax or protein powder when I am toasting the oats.

* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 cup steel cut oats
* 3 cups boiling water
* 1/2 cup whole milk
* 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon low-fat buttermilk
* 1 tablespoon brown sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


In a large saucepot, melt the butter and add the oats. Stir for 2 minutes to toast. Add the boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer. Keep at a low simmer for 25 minutes, without stirring.

Combine the milk and half of the buttermilk (I usually use 2% milk) with the oatmeal. Stir gently to combine and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Spoon into a serving bowl and top with remaining buttermilk, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

This is one of my favorite breakfasts when I add fresh fruit! My kids love to eat oatmeal this way, and it keeps their little tummy full until lunch time!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


These are my favortie cookies and they are even low fat! They are great for Weight Watchers. I think they are 1 or 2 points depending on how big you make them and how many chocolate chips you put in. Plus they are super easy - my kids can make them.

I large jar of canned Pumpkin
1 box spice cake mix
1 cup chocolate chips - I use the large Ghiradelli ones - there is nothing better

Mix the first 2 ingredients together by hand until all the cake mix is mixed in. Add the chocolate chips.

Use a cookie scooper (the batter is very wet so this is the best way) and put the scoops on a cookie sheet

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes

These cookies are best the next day or when they are totally cooled. If you eat them too soon they will be gooey.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Banana Chip Muffins

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These are perfect to pack in lunches or grab on the Go!

Banana Chip Muffins

1/2 cup marg. or butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat. Add bananas, milk, and lemon juice. Add dry ingredients (can sift if desired). Mix well. Pour into paper-lined regular sized muffin tins. Bake 350 degrees for 20-24 minutes, depending on color of pan. OR bake in a well-greased 8x4x3-inch loaf pan for 1 hour at same temperature.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Yoda Soda's ~ Star Wars Birthday Party!

Michael and Tanner had a combined birthday party to celebrate their 7th birthday with friends! My personal favorite were the drinks... YODA SODA's rock!

Recipe for Yoda Soda:

Mix together lime sherbet & Sprite.


For more details on this party visit the movie at:

Here are our notes from the party:

3:00-3:20 Build lego star ships until all guests arrive, with star wars music in the background...

~Use the force game.... light sabers & black balloons

~Pod (wagon) Races...*Pod Race: You'll need two suitcases (use old suitcases if you have them) or another wheeled item such as little wagon.

Split the Star Wars birthday party guests into two equal teams, and have the teams divide themselves into pairs. One person leads the pod racer, while the other person rides on the suitcase. Have each pair race to one end of the party area, switch places, and then race to the other end and back to their team. The first team to have all pairs cross the finish line wins!

~Pass the Death Star: To prepare for this Star Wars birthday party game, you'll need a couple of clear (or transparent) balloons, confetti, several small balls (no more than 1" thick), and Star Wars theme music. Before blowing up the balloons, fill them with a half-hand full of confetti and several small balls. Blow up the balloons and tie them closed. (As the balloon is passed around a circle, the confetti and small balls within the balloon will bounce around as if the 'death star' is exploding.)

Ask the kids to sit in a circle. Hand the birthday child the 'death star' balloon. Explain that everyone must pass the death star around while the music plays. When the music stops, the child holding the death star must "explode" out of the circle. Keep playing until only one player remains.

~Jedi vs. Sith: First, pick one or more players to be Jedi knights, and everyone else is a Sith. When the Jedi hear command "May the force be with you!", they must try to catch as many Sith as they can. If players get caught, they must go to a designated area called "Sith Prison," where they must stand still with their legs spread apart.

To be rescued, one of their Sith friends has to crawl through the captured player's legs. Keep playing the game until everyone has been caught, or it's time to move to the next Star Wars birthday party game.

This could lead to their receiving their Padawan robes and getting their pictures taken fighting with their character of choice...

4:30- Sing Happy Birthday, Yoda Soda, Light Saber Cupcakes (I'll make 2... what color saber does Tanner want?), Do we want to do any other food? Galactic Pizza? Light Sabers (dipped pretzel sticks)? Open presents?

Should we tie a black then white helium balloon on the chairs where the kids sit to represent dark vs light?

5:00 May the Force be with you! Goodbye!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fruit Salsa

pineapple, strawberries, blackberries (cut in half), mango, kiwi, blueberries

cinnamon chips

This is a sweet fruit salsa to eat with those Cinnamon Chips. This is such a great family snack, a light dessert, or an awesome appetizer to take to a gathering. It would even be great on a brunch buffet.

You can make this a few different ways - it is a "you pick" thing

1. Choose Your Fruit
I choose fruit based on it's color. I love having something in just about every color of the rainbow!

Red: Strawberries are great because they hold up really well, they're usually inexpensive, and everyone loves strawberries. But watermelon, raspberries orpomegranate seeds would be fun too.

Orange: Mango is my top choice because they are so good! Peaches,nectarines, or orange segments would work.

Yellow: Pineapple! Fresh is best, but in a pinch (like my pictures here) open up a can. Nectarines and peaches can also be yellow.

Green: LOVE the bright color and great texture of Kiwi in fruit salsa. There's always honeydew too.

Blue/Purple: Go with price on this one. Blueberries or blackberries, whichever is cheaper! Make sure to cut your blackberies in half. If you are using any type of berries, you'll want to stir them in at the last minute so they don't dye the whole salsa.

2. Choose Your Sweetener

Honey: I love the flavor of honey with fruit.

Powdered Sugar: It dissolves fast and gives a light sweetness.

Brown Sugar: Takes longer to dissolve but adds an interesting flavor. Much deeper flavor than white sugar.

Granulated Sugar: What I use the most. It tastes good and makes a nice syrup with the fruit juices.

Agave Nectar: If you want to use an alternative sweetener, you could try Agave Nectar (very low on the glycemic index if that concerns you) or a natural herbal sweetener like Stevia.

3. Choose Your Extras
You don't want to do all of these together- pick and choose!

Lime Juice: Just a few big squeezes. The fruit will give off a lot of juice so you don't want to add too much additional liquid, but a few squeezes of tangy lime juice adds a great flavor and makes it nice and tropical tasting.

Cinnamon: A few dashes of cinnamon goes great with the cinnamon chips.

Mint: You can add a little chopped fresh mint to the fruit salsa. But beware, a little goes a long way and if you add too much it will really overpower the taste of your yummy fruit.

Coconut: shredded coconut is especially yummy when you have tropical fruits like pineapple and mango in your salsa. Sprinkle some on top or stir it in, but either way do it just before serving or it will get all soggy.

Toasted Coconut: If you're taking this to a party, then add some toasted coconut on top for great presentation. People will go wild over it!

Ginger: A little fresh ginger would be great. A little will go a long way. P.S. ginger + coconut = yum.

4. Cinnamon Chips

Flour Tortillas (I like the little 6" ones)
Melted Butter
Cinnamon Sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly brush one side of each tortilla with melted butter. You could use cooking spray instead of butter, buy why would you ever want to do that?

Then sprinkle on some cinnamon sugar. A little or a lot. If ever faced with the decision to go with a little sugar or a lot of sugar, a lot wins. Always.

Use a pizza cutter to cut those tortillas into wedges.

Place them on an ungreased baking sheet and bake them in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. You'll see them crisp up. Watch for the edges to turn up.

Remove from oven and let cool.

When they're done they'll be light and crisp and oh so delicious. These are yummy, addicting little things. You can use them for all kinds of things- try making nachos by topping them with some vanilla ice cream and buttermilk caramel sauce or hot fudge. Or dip them in fruit dip or straight into whipped cream. Or just snack on them plain- they make a great after school snack. My kids love them. Even sprinkled with sugar they're still more healthy than a fried tortilla chip and they taste like a yummy cookie!

4. Eat it!

You'll want to chill the salsa first for maximum yumminess. Then serve with the Cinnamon Chips for dipping. Also fantastic over ice cream!

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