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!

Curtesy of

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lemon Blueberry Bread

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There are not many things that scream summer like lemons and blueberries! It is the height of fresh blueberry season. Pick up some blueberries at your local farmer's market or grocery store and surprise your family or a special friend with this most delicious treat!

Lemon Blueberry Bread

1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
6 Tbls. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsps. grated lemon rind
½ cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

3 Tbls. fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in bowl and set aside. Beat butter with 1 cup sugar in second bowl. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each one. Add lemon rind. Next, add flour mixture, alternating with milk. Fold in blueberries. (Sprinkle small amount of flour of blueberries to prevent sinking to the bottom of the bowl.) Spoon batter into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake 325° F. for 1 hour 15 minutes or until pick inserted into center comes out clean. (If using a dark non-stick pan, cook time will be just over 1 hour). Place on wire rack to cool slightly. Bring lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar to a boil. Pierce loaf and spoon mixture over loaf. Let stand in pan 1 hour to cool completely.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


My favorite Italian dessert!

For the cake:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

2 2/3 cups blanched slivered almonds (about 11 ounces), toasted

1 3/4 cups hazelnuts (about 7 ounces), toasted

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup cake flour

9 large egg whites

For the chocolate ganache:

10 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 cups whipping cream

For the hazelnut cream:

2 cups chilled whipping cream

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons amaretto or other almond liqueur

1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, chopped (about 2 ounces)

1/3 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate (about 2 ounces)

Unsweetened cocoa powder

Powdered sugar

Fresh raspberries and blackberries


Make cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 15x10x1-inch baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Line with parchment paper. Butter parchment. Combine nuts, sugar and flour in processor. Process until nuts are finely ground. Beat egg whites in large bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold nut mixture into whites in 3 additions (whites will deflate). Spread on prepared baking sheet. Bake until cake starts to pull away from sides of baking sheet and is light golden on top, about 35 minutes (cake will be slightly moist). Cool cake 10 minutes.

Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Invert cake onto parchment. Cool cake completely.

Make chocolate ganache:
Place chocolate in large bowl. Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Pour over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Chill until firm enough to spread, at least 6 hours or overnight. (Cake and chocolate ganache can be made 1 day ahead. Cover cake tightly with plastic wrap; leave at room temperature. Keep ganache refrigerated. Let stand at room temperature until spreadable.)

Make hazelnut cream:
Beat cream in large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and 1/4 cup amaretto, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in chopped hazelnuts and chocolate.

Line 2-quart bowl with plastic wrap, overlapping sides by 2 inches. Cut cake lengthwise into 1/3-inch-wide slices. Line bowl with cake, placing slices cut side down and tightly side by side in single layer, trimming to fit and completely covering bowl (if cake slices break, piece together to fit). Brush cake with 1 1/2 tablespoons amaretto. Spread ganache over cake, covering completely. Spoon hazelnut cream into center; smooth top. Cover filling with cake, placing slices side by side, fitting tightly together and trimming to fit. Brush with 1 1/2 tablespoons amaretto. Cover; chill at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.

Uncover cake. Invert onto platter. Remove plastic. Sift cocoa powder and powdered sugar over. I like to add chopped hazelnuts or almonds over the top. Serve with berries.

Zach Zachrison introduced us to this delicious dessert.