Cupcakes and Cocktails Bridal Shower Invitation

So many things pair well together in life…wine & cheese, chocolate and wine, cookies and milk or beer and a burger…. I could go on and on. When thinking about this couple in specific; two close friends to myself and my husband, I figured what better way to celebrate their upcoming wedding than to give them a shower with two things they love in addition to each other – cupcakes and cocktails.

I designed the invitation with a color scheme very popular this spring, and it actually turned out it was very close to the couple’s wedding color as well. ( I hope the bride didn’t mind!). The cocktails were designed by our friend Ryan who played bartender for the evening, and the cupcakes came from Molly’s and also from my kitchen and my co-host for the evening, Emily.

EthanJessicaShowerInvite

Emily made a Guinness Stout Cupcake and I made my famous Strawberry Margarita cupcakes. Must I say not only do I love these cupcakes, but the recipe that I discovered on Pinterest is from a blog title homemadebyholman. SO close to my name it was just meant to be. I’ve made the cupcakes twice and both time they were amazing and delicious.

Here are some pictures of the decor. Emily did an amazing sign on the burlap letter signs above our cupcake display!

EthanJessicaCoupleShower

 

Shish Kabobs

With the recent warm weather our household decided it was time for some summer-like foods. We decided to make a few different dishes this week with fresh produce and the first on the list was Shish Kabobs.

We took the recipe from The Grilling Bible and found we really enjoyed the taste of the marinade. This recipe is very simple and we grilled it on our grill pan in our house since we don’t have access to a grill. We paired the kabobs with Lemon & Dill potatoes.

Shish  Kabobs

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed (I substituted 1 tsp minced garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh oregano or rosemary (we went with rosemary)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 lbs beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Green bell pepper
  • Red bell Pepper
  • Small onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Cherry tomatoes

Directions:

Combine first 9 ingredients in a large bowl. Add meat and stir to coat with sauce. Cover and refrigerate overnight (we actually only let it sit for 2 hours in the fridge and enjoyed the flavor)

Alternately skewer cubes of meat with desired combination of peppers, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes.

Place kabobs on grill or grill pan, rotating every 4-5 minutes until desired doneness.

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I”m always interested in trying out a new recipe when I bake. This morning was no exception when I was looking to use up a few ingredients that have been taking up room in the cupboard: white chocolate chips, dried cranberries & walnuts.

One of my favorite cookies to make (& eat) are Cranberry White Chocolate Chip & Cookies. So, this morning I thought I’d add a few more items and see how it turned out. The flavor in these cookies are amazing and I think part of that is due to the assembly. This is first time I”ve put together a cookie recipe that required me to melt all the butter and mix it with brown sugar and an egg. I also have found that the honey called for in this recipes adds flavor.

I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do!

Here’s the Recipe:

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled until slightly warmed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purposed flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:Preheat oven to 350 degrees. By hand or mixer, blend together butter, brown sugar and honey. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. In a large bowl, stir together flour, oats, soda, salt and cinnamon; add to butter mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Place 1 1/2′ pieces of dough on ungreased cookie sheet, about 2″ apart and bake until edges are lightly browned and centers are still soft, about 12-15 minutes. Cool completely.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

About two years ago I bought a container of hummus and instantly loved the taste. On most occasions I pair the roasted red pepper hummus with pretzels or green peppers. In an attempt to make my own I bought most of the ingredients about 2 months ago and set out to make hummus. Sadly I failed at making the tasteful treat. Partially because I didn’t follow directions as thorough as I should have, partially because I found (today) that I was missing the key ingredient I was used to tasting – roasted red pepper.

Wednesdays are my nights for American Idol so I chose to stop at the grocery store before heading home to buy a jar of Roasted Red Pepper and use up the other can of chickpeas I had in the cupboard.

Here’s what the jar of peppers looks like:

The next step – finding a recipe simple and high in ratings. For that I turned to allrecipes.com, a trusted site for many of my concoctions. If you are interested in viewing the original recipe click here, otherwise look below for the ingredients you will need. I also found a recipe for homemade tahini because I didn’t have any.

  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup tahini*
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers

*Homemade Tahini Recipe, altered. (Original recipe found here)

  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, about 1 tablespoon

Directions for Roasted Red Pepper Hummus:
First step is to make the homemade tahini if you haven’t purchased from store:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spread the sesame seeds on a shallow baking tray and bake, shaking frequently, until fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes (Note: Do not brown).

Let cool.
Put the sesame seeds in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade.

Add extra virgin oil and p rocess to a smooth paste, about 5 minutes.


Add more oil if necessary, to bring the paste to a thick pouring consistency.

That was probably the most difficult part about making the hummus which really wasn’t too difficult!

Add garlic, garbanzo beans and lemon juice to tahini. Process until the mixture is smooth.

Add roasted peppers; process until the peppers are finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper (optional).

Transfer hummus to bowl, cover and chill until you are ready to serve.

Enjoy with fresh veggies, pita bread, crackers or pretzels!

 

Cranberry Scones

Having used craisins for a favorite salad of mine, I now have a huge bag of craisins I don’t want to go to waste. With a little creativity and search through the cupboards I decided to make scones today.

I found this recipe by doing a simple Google search and looking at a few recipes. The one I used originates from Martha Stewart’s website; I made a few changes. The reason I chose this one was because I wanted the sugar topping. Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 5 tablespoons sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for topping
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup (plus 1 tablespoon) evaporated milk
  • 1 cup craisins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, 5 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 2/3 cup milk until just moistened. Gently fold in craisins.

On a lightly floured surface, knead dough gently, 5 to 10 times.

Pat into a 1-inch-thick round. Cut into 8 wedges; place on a baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Brush tops with remaining tablespoon milk; sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

Let cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

Cheesy Broccoli Slow Cooker Casserole

What better way to have a “set it and forget it” meal for the week than a mixture of broccoli and cheese.  This very simple, tasty recipe is found in  Rival Crock Pot’s “Best Loved Slow Cooker Recipes”.

Being a somewhat spur of the moment decision to make this dish I went without the celery seed and substituted onion powder for minced onion (because I didn’t have any).  I also used red pepper flakes in place of the hot pepper sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages (10 ounces each) chopped broccoli, thawed
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup minced onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 cup crushed potato chips or saltine crackers

Directions:

1. Coat slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Combine broccoli, soup, 1 cup cheese, onions, celery seed, paprika and hot sauce in slow cooker.

3. Cover & cook on LOW 5-6 hours or on HIGH 2 1/2 – 3 hours, or until done.

4. Uncover; sprinkle top with potato chips and remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

5. Cook, uncovered, on LOW 30 to 60 minutes or on HIGH 15-30 minutes, or until cheese melts.

    Pizza Cobbler

    This recipe was mentioned in a recent email for 7 Days Dinners from rachelraymag.com. I’m always looking for new ways to use buttermilk biscuits so I tried this for lunch today. The recipe is simple to prepare & you can easily add whatever pizza ingredients you like. I would definitely recommend this to moms looking for a quick meal to make for lunch or dinner.

    Here are the ingredients I used:

    • 1 tsp minced garlic
    • 2 cans sliced mushrooms
    • 2 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce
    • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 1 can refrigerated biscuits, separated & cut into quarters

    Directions:

    Preheat the oven to 400.

    In a skillet, combine oil,garlic & mushrooms. Cook on medium until desired tenderness. (about 5 minutes)

    Add sauce to skillet and heat just til starting to bubble.

    Spread sauce mixture in a greased 2 quart baking dish.

    Sprinkle with cheese.

    Top with biscuit pieces.


    Bake until cheese is bubbly and biscuits are browned, about 15 minutes.


    Let stand about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

    Bran Muffins

    Breakfast is an important meal of the day – whether it’s cereal, toast, eggs or something else. Mornings when I’m in a rush I hardly remember to grab a granola bar and I find myself eating my other snacks during my morning coffee.

    I decided to make these Bran Muffins for something different in my morning routine, especially as the mornings are still cold and I need the extra time to warm up the car!

    Ingredients you will need:

    • 3 c. Bran cereal (I used Raisin Bran)
    • 1 c. boiling water
    • 1/2 c. oil
    • 1 c. sugar
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 2 1/2 c. flour
    • 2 c. buttermilk*
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 1/2 tsp. baking soda

    Directions:

    1. Pour boiling water over 1 cup bran cereal. Let stand.
    2. Mix 2 cups remaining bran cereal, sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and oil together.
    3. Sift flour, baking soda & salt.
    4. Combine all mixtures and stir.
    5. Add dates, nuts and raisins (if desired).
    6. Mix together desired amount cinnamon & sugar.
    7. Place muffin mix in pans and sprinkle cinnamon & sugar on top before baking.
    8. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

    * I actually substituted the buttermilk for 1 cup milk + 1 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar per 1 cup buttermilk called for in recipe.

    Super Chocolate Cookies

    This cookie is the perfect fix for those looking for some chocolate. The cocoa and the M&M’s pair wonderfully together. In order to get more cookies out of one batch I downsized the recommended amount to place on the cookie sheet for each cookie.

    This recipe is from The Great American Cookie Cookbook which can be found at Barnes & Noble. A book filled with over 300 cookie recipes. Book is generally under $10.00.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 c all purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup shortening
    • 1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 cup candy-coated chocolate pieces

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

    Beat butter, shortening and brown sugar in large bowl of electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.

    Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended.

    Stir in candy pieces.

    Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Flatten slightly. Bake cookies 13 to 15 minutes or until almost set.

    Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets. Transfer to wire racks. Let cool completely.

    Make 18 to 20 (4-inch) cookies

    Snickerdoodle

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup shortening
    • 1/2 cup margarine
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 3/4 cup flour
    • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp. salt

    Directions:

    Cream together sugar, shortening, margarine, and eggs.

    Mix dry ingredients and add to sugar mixture. Blend well.

    Roll into balls and then into a mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.

    Place on ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.

    Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

    Allow to cool on wire baking racks.

    Enjoy!