Friday, April 29, 2011

M&M cookies

M&M cookies:

(Recipe from the M&M website)

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 12-ounce package M&M’S® MINIS® Milk Chocolate Candies (I couldn't find Minis so I just used regular sized and they worked fine).

3/4 cup chopped nuts (I didn't do nuts, but that might be yummy).

Preheat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla.

In medium bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt; blend into butter/sugar mixture.

Stir in M&M’S® MINIS® Milk Chocolate Candies and nuts, if desired.

Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and centers are still soft.

Do not overbake. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; cool completely on wire racks. Store in tightly covered container.

I took a before picture of the M&Ms in the dough.

All done!

These cookies were fairly easy and very yummy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lemon Curd

I love all things lemon - especially desserts - here is a basic lemon curd recipe that can be used to pair with scones, as filling for a cake, or in a tart - like I did here. All I did was bake a pre-made pie crust and fill it with the curd. I then topped it with some fresh berries.

3 eggs
3/4 C sugar
1/3 C fresh lemon juice
2 TBSP lemon zest
4 TBSP butter, at room temp - cut into small pieces

1. Combine eggs, sugar, and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth. Over a double broiler with simmering water whist mixture for about 10 minutes until it is thickened and coats a spoon.
2. Remove from heat, stir in lemon zest and butter. Cool to room temp before using and store in refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Luau time!

Hi Everyone, I am Marianne! I am really excited to share with you all today a party I planned for my cousin last month. (And it involves some food too!)

A while ago My aunt asked me if I would be in charge of planning my cousin Cammi's 7th birthday party. I agreed to and I'm glad I did! I'm going to take you step by step into Cammi's party in case you want to throw a party like this too or just see some cute ideas. Cammi wanted Bright colors, so I thought of a Luau theme! I worked great.

Invitations. I started by looking for invitations on Etsy and I found Pink Pickle studio's etsy shop. I loved their cute Luau invites so we ordered those. You can see them HERE. We just printed them out at cosco and then hand delivered them or emailed them.

The set up. We had the party in Cammi's backyard. We set up 2 tables and lots of chairs for where the kids would eat. We got the cute table clothes at Party city.

3. Food! The party was at 1:30 so we made it simple and just did snacks and cupcakes. The kids loved the food! We had: Tropical juice pouches, Rainbow goldfish, Cheesy sun chips (Cammi's request), A fruit rainbow, and cupcakes!

My mom made this fruit rainbow out of different fruit and marshmallows... Don't you just want to eat it?!

4. The cupcakes! I am SOO happy with how they turned out! I found the idea at Family fun's site. They took a long time to make but were really yummy.

Here is the recipe in case you want to try making these cute fish! I got the recipe from Family fun and was very impressed with it.

You will need:
  • 24 cupcakes (I did half chocolate & half vanilla)
  • vanilla frosting (I just used a butter cream recipe I love)
  • food coloring (yellow, orange, blue, green)
  • M&M's
  • candy fruit slices

  1. Spoon 1/3 cup of the frosting into a ziplock bag ( I used a piping bag) and set it aside.

  2. In a bowl, tint 1/2 cup of the frosting with yellow food coloring. Evenly divide the remaining frosting among three more bowls and tint one portion orange, one blue, and one green.

  3. Frost the first group of colored cupcake fish, then press four rows of identically colored M&M scales into each as shown ,you'll need two 1-pound bags of M&M's altogether. ( I just bought one of the huge bags of M&Ms) Add 2 red M&M lips.

  4. Snip a corner from the frosting bag, then pipe a frosting eye onto each fish and press a brown M&M on top. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes and frosting, then assemble them into a fish shape.

  5. Attach a candy fruit slice onto five or six of the cupcakes as shown.

I had this idea then to make Cammi a Rainbow fish! She was the only one who had it and it was a special birthday treat for her.

5. The activities. We split them up into 4 different groups and the rotated to each different activity

Activity #1.. Limbo! Sorry no pictures...

Activity #2 Digging for treasure!

We bought a kiddie pool at Walmart, bought sand at home depot and filled it with fun prizes from the 99 cents store! The kids loved this activity and thought it was so much fun!

Activity #3 Donuts on a string! It was very fun for everyone.
Activity # 4 Games with Hula hoops and balls!
I was in charge of this station. All I did was come up with a few quick games with the balls and hula hoops, but everyone had fun. They also blew bubbles and danced to Hawaiian music!

6. Pinata time!

Here is the cute fish pinata we bought at party city. We filled it with candy and let the kids hit away!

7. The party buckets
We found sand buckets that were a great price and filled them with some fun stuff. Like their own canteen/water bottles, rubber duckies, a Hawaiian kit to make a bracelet, bubbles, a noise maker, candy from pinata and the prizes from sand digging. They also got a Lei at the beginning of the party from the birthday girl.

The Birthday girl was very happy and I hope she had a great birthday! ( I just had to take a picture with her and the amazing clouds in the background!)

Bridal Shower Buffet

buffet is a system of serving meals in which food is placed in a public area where the diners generally serve themselves. It is a popular method for feeding a large number of people with minimal staff.  {In our case, the 'staff' wanted to enjoy the party, presents & participate in conversations.} 

Taylor, Maren Parker's daughter got married in February. We had a bridal shower for her here in San Diego on a Saturday in early February. It was open-house style, with guests coming in during a 2 hour time-block to share their good wishes. Maren put together a menu of salads, croissants and delicious desserts.
California's Best Chopped Chicken Salad


Garden Herb Ranch Sauce

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cold water
2 3/4 cups mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
7 tablespoons dairy sour cream
2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon green onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh Italian parsley, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fresh dill, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh basil, minced

1 1/3 tablespoon good olive oil
1 1/3 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons salt
20 ounces chicken breasts, skinless
1/4 cup barbecue sauce (your favorite)
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded fine
1/2 head romaine lettuce leaves, shredded fine
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
1 pound jicama, cut into thin strips
2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 cup black beans - rinsed and drained (canned works)
1 cup corn kernels, drained (canned works)
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 pounds tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced


Dressing: In a mixing bowl, use a fork to stir together the mustard and cold water, forming a paste. Set aside for 10 minutes. Add the remaining dressing ingredients to the bowl and, using a handheld electric mixer at low speed or a whisk, blend together just until smooth, taking care not to incorporate too much air into the dressing. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Chicken: Preheat a stove top grill or the broiler. In a mixing bowl, stir together the olive oil, garlic, soy sauce and salt. Turn the chicken breasts in this marinade and leave to at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Grill or broil the chicken breasts until cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. Cut the chicken breasts into 3/4" cubes and, in a bowl, toss with the barbecue sauce to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Salad: In a large mixing bowl, toss together the lettuces, basil, jicama, Monterrey Jack cheese, beans, corn, cilantro, dressing, and half of the Fried Tortilla Strips. Transfer the salads to chilled serving plates. Surround each salad with diced tomatoes. Top each salad with chunks of Grilled Garlic BBQ Chicken and drizzle the chicken with the barbecue sauce. Garnish with the green onions.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fried Chicken

1 cup bisquick
1 3/4 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper -I add more

I use chicken legs and boneless, skinless thighs. I
also remove the skin off the chicken legs.
Oven- 425 degrees Mix together the bisquick,
paprika, salt, and pepper. Place in a large zip lock
and coat each chicken piece and place in a 13x9
pyrex pan that has been sprayed with pam. I then
dab a piece of butter on each piece of chicken.
Bake for 35 minutes then turn the chicken over and
bake 15 minutes longer.

This freezes well.

Thank you to Courtney Dana for this recipe! My family loved it!