Sunday, December 29, 2013

Pesto Chicken Pizza

Here's another recipe I made for my sister's party. Home made pizza makes a great party food as it's easy, recognizable and still tastes great cold! ;)

This pie is a little more sophisticated as it is made from pesto instead of tomato sauce and is on flatbread rather than heavy pizza dough.

  • Flatbread (home-made or store bought)
  • Pesto sauce
  • Cooked chicken breast, chopped
  • Sun dried tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • Mozza cheese, shredded

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Lay the flatbread on a baking sheet or pizza stone, spread the pesto sauce on the flatbread so it is evenly covered.

3. Sprinkle half the cheese over the pizza, and top with the chicken and tomatoes, then top with the remaining cheese. Bake until the crust is golden and cheese is melted. Bon Appetit!

Fig & Brie Bites

 Another easy appetizer that tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen. Flaky pastry with fig jam, brie cheese and a touch of sea salt.

These are a great make ahead appie. In fact since they are puff pastry they actually hold their shape much better if you freeze them prior to baking.

These bites are rustic looking so don't worry too much about trying to make them look prefect. I know, it was hard for me too! ;)

  • 1 box of puff pastry, thawed in the fridge
  • 1 wheel of Brie Cheese, with the rind removed
  • Fig jam
  • Course sea salt

1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with wax paper. This will be used to freeze the bites.

2. Roll out the puff pastry into a large square. (Use minimal flour for rolling out otherwise the puff pastry will not stick to itself) Cut into equal squares, about 1.5 x 1.5 inches.

3. Spoon about half a teaspoon of fig jam into the middle of each square. Then place a small piece of cheese on top of that. (I know I'm not giving exact measurements but use your judgement, should be proportionate to the jam and pastry)

4. Fold over the corners of the pastry around the filling to make a bowl or basket. Place on the wax paper a sprinkle the sea salt on top. Place in the freezer until firm. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Baking Instructions - Bake at 375 degrees on parchment paper for 15 - 18 minutes. The pastry will puff up and the cheese and jam will be gooey.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Birthday Decor

For my sister’s 30th birthday bash, I wanted to decorate the house without spending a ton and still make it look sophisticated and cute. So I improvised and made a few things myself to cut down on costs. After all, most of the stuff just ends up in the garbage when the last guest leaves anyway.

I decided on a silver theme with a hint of white and pop of red. One nice thing about having her birthday this time of year is that it made it easy to find sparkly silver items too add to the décor.

One of my good friends, Kristen is a Wedding Planner, so she came over and helped me figure out where everything should go and with the decorations. It's so nice to have talent friends! :)

Flag Banner 101

Tape and scrap book paper will be your best friends for this people! I suppose if you were making a banner to use again and again, using glue and ribbon would probably be a better way to go. For me, it was a one time use so using tape was the quickest and most effective method. I actually didn’t even hang it, I just taped it right on to our fireplace mantel and it worked perfectly!

The first thing I did was cut out paper flags (triangles) using different patterns of scrapbook paper. I traced the one I liked until I had enough flags for each of the letters.

Then I printed out each of the letters with a circular boarder, cut them out and glued them to the middle of the flag. If you decide to string them using ribbon you would then need to punch holes and so on, but all I did was tape each flag to the next. Be sure to curve the flags as you tape them to give them that “hung” look.

I had ordered some paper flowers off Etsy for the party, I wasn’t sure how was I going to use them but as soon as I saw the banner I thought it would look adorable and add a little punch of color to it. So I glued a paper rose in between each flag. This worked great as it also hid the overlap and any tape that might have peeked through. (I ended up using the remainder of the roses scattered among the plates on the food table to continue the theme)

And there you have it! A cute, easy, and cheap banner to use once, or again and again.

Tissue Pom Poms

I have always loved the look of these, but this was the first time I actually made them! I was a little discouraged at first as the tissue kept tearing as I pulled them apart, but after doing a few I got the hang of it.

If these are also new to you, here is a great tutorial on how to make them.

  • A few tips from me to you
  • Use more than 8 sheets of paper per pom pom I found that 12 made much fuller pom poms
  • Buy good quality tissue paper
  • Be gentle with the tissue
  • Make sure the ribbon or string is long enough to hang it from where you plan on using them
  • For hanging clusters, use different sizes, colors and string lengths to make a full arrangement. I also incorporated balloons and some white spirals to mix it up.

30 Years of Photos

Since this is a milestone birthday I wanted to do a little something extra. I saw this idea on Pinterest, and lucky for me it was yet another cost effective decoration that made a statement.

I collected photos from friends and family that would be at the party, and printed them off in B&W. Next, I cut out a large “3” and “0” from Bristol paper to glue the photos onto it.

This was a great idea because everyone at the party including the birthday girl can take a little trip down memory lane.

Here one of the food table, unfortunately it's empty as once the guests started to arrive I totally forgot to take more photos! I will be posting more appetizer recipes that I made as well, stay tuned! :)


Friday, December 20, 2013

Egyptian Magic

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Here’s another beauty product my sister got me hooked on. Great timing as winter can really take its toll on your skin. This moisturizer not only works great, but it’s not expensive and it’s made with all natural products such as Honey, Beeswax, Olive Oil, Royal Jelly, Bee Pollen and Bee Propolis.

When you open the jar it looks very stiff almost like a lip balm, you’re supposed to scoop some of it out and rub in it your hands at which point it will almost turn into an oil, then apply it to your face, body etc and your skin will feel moisturized and hydrated immediately!

You can order online or look up your closest reseller by visiting their website

Monday, December 16, 2013

Amazing Appetizer – Spinach Bites

This has been a busy month! We moved, it’s Christmas, and it’s my sister’s 30th birthday! This year we decided to throw her a party at our new house. I plan on doing a whole run down on all the menu items and decorations but for now here is another great appetizer recipe!

Since the party day will be super busy I made these ahead of time and froze them. I love things like this because I much rather make my own appies then use store bought stuff.

Don’t let the spinach fool you, these are not the healthy-est but they sure are delicious and very easy to make! Besides, it’s Christmas….the diet starts January 1st, right?! ;)

  • 1 package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 boxes of Stove Top stuffing (Chicken)
  • ¾ cup of melted butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of mozzarella cheese
  • Ground Pepper to taste 

1. In a large bowl combine the spinach (make sure you squeeze every last of moisture out of it) stuffing, and cheese. Add in the melted butter, eggs and pepper. Mix well.

2. Chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes. This gives the stuffing a chance to soak up some of the butter and egg.

3. Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with wax paper. Roll mixture into balls (approx. 1’’ in size) and place on baking sheet. Place tray into freezer until they firm up, then transfer to a large zip lock bag and store in the freezer. When ready to bake, prepare a baking sheet by lining it with tin foil and spraying it with pam (trust me, these things will bake right on otherwise) and bake at 375 degrees for about 16 minutes, tops should get golden brown.

For more amazing appetizers click here.

Monday, December 09, 2013

No Bake Cookies

Sometimes I feel like baking and then I remember how long the actual baking part can take and I get sad, then I stop being sad and make no bake cookies. ; )
As it turns out these cookies are also gluten free, but unfortunately not sugar free. The original recipe calls for 2 whole cups of sugar and man are they sweet. I cut it in and half which makes just right! Quick recipe if you ever get a late night cookie craving.

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 tbsp of cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 3 cups of oats

1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with wax paper.

2. In a large sauce pan heat the sugar, butter, cocoa powder and milk until the butter is completely melted.

3. Add in the peanut butter and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the oats and drop spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm. Store in the fridge. Makes approx 16 cookies.