June 26, 2012

4th of July Party Ideas

Summer is here and it's the best time of the year to firer up that grill. 
 One of our favorite events is "4th of July" and each year we host a small get together with family.
To motivate those that like to make a special party to remember without the hard work and cost.  
I have complied past, present and future party ideas for you.

Now a days its the cost of living that is effecting us the most when it comes to spending money.
When I am out and about I keep my eye out for things that will fit in my budget when it comes to parties.
I have a rule of thumb if you are hosting an event like backyard BBQ's, 4th of July or any other holiday. 
You should not be in charge of all the work or cost. 
Example:  I will normally provide the meat, drinks and paper products and ask my guest if they would kindly bring a side dish, condiments or dessert to share. 
Most of the time they are more willing to help out.

With that in mind lets get this party started!


Ideas on food are to keep it simple, so you are able to enjoy your guest.
Here are some suggestions:

Baby back ribs, corn and bake potatoes all are a hit when it comes to a simple BBQ.

Host a build your own "Hot Dog Bar" it would not be 4th of July without hot dogs.
Grill hot dogs, hot links, or even polish sausages.  Buy different assorted hot dog buns and use assorted toppings like relish, onions, jalapenos, shredded cheese, chili beans, bacon, tomatoes, the toppings are endless once you get to thinking what your crowd likes.

If you are a meat eater and having a very small group why not try cooking a tri-tip on the grill for tortas. 
 We love Morton's tri-tip from Costco.  I put that bad boy on the grill about half hour before the guest arrive so I can let it simmer in a pan on the top level of the grill once I have seared both sides. 
We serve it up with torta bread, you can use hamburger buns or any other roll if you like or tortillas.  
Grill a few veggies, add some salsa on the side and call it a day.

Feeding a large crowd try cooking up chicken or a meat that will shred in a crockpot to make bbq sandwiches.  It goes a long way and I find in the past that the cost is not that expensive.  
I don't make any special sauce I just add a good quality bbq sauce from the store.  Add the sauce once it starts cooking and buy an extra bottle to place out on the table for guest during serving time. 
Make a coleslaw or grill onions and you are ready to go.

Let's Talk Drinks

I don't know about you but I find more soda cans and water bottles get wasted at parties. 
I have started using beverage dispenser for all drinks at my parties.  
Our guest favorite drinks at this time is cherry limeade, which I purchase at walmart for only .89 cent.  I buy a few bottles.  Use a beverage dispenser for water with fresh cut cucumbers or lemon slices.  
I have also found that people love lemonade on a hot day.  If you have to have soda I suggest liters, place a few out with the other items mention.


Let's get to the fun part, you do not have to spend a lot of money to dress up a party.
Shop the dollar sections at target, dollar tree or walmart that carry specilty items at low cost during the holidays.  Use old items with new for keeping cost down or borrow friends items to dress up your tables.

This candle holder was not much cost, I used an old spaghetti sauce jar ,  beads  I already had and throw in the .99 cent necklaces for a 4th of July look.

This mason jar came in handy and everything in it was under a dollar.

If you have a farmers market in your town I suggest heading out to pick up some flowers.   These flowers where only $4.00 I added items I found in the dollar section at target.  Note I used a flag bandanna that I got at walmart for a $1.00 just gripped it together with a rubber band at the top of the glass jar tucking in the corners under the rubber band for the bubble effect. 

Want to dress up your utensils just drop them in a pail or mason jar and add your own style.

Be sure to come back on Friday,  I will be sharing some "4th of July" goodie ideas and recipes.
I can't wait to share them with you.

Happy Summer,


June 24, 2012

Anna Banana Spice Cupcakes

The next recipe in the "Summer Series" is inspired by an upcoming party that I will be baking for.


1 - box of spice cake mix
3 - medium ripe bananas
1 - cup of toasted chopped walnuts


1 - tub of whip cream
1- 5 oz box of banana instant pudding 
Banana chips 
Caramel sauce 

Pre-heat oven to 350

Line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

After following directions on cake box add the bananas cut up in square pieces to the mix and toasted  chopped walnuts.

( If you have the question on how to toast walnuts.  layer walnuts on a cookie sheet and place in boiler, making sure to toss with fork around until lightly brown.  Don't leave in to long or they will burn.)

Using a 1/3 cup measure fill liners with the batter.

Place in oven for 18-24 mins depending how long your oven cooks or until you can insert a toothpick clean.

Will the cupcakes are in the oven put together frosting.

You want to make sure that your tub of whip cream is completely thawed out before mixing together with the instant banana pudding packet.

I normally use a 4 oz packet of pudding for any frosting, but they only come in 5 1/2 oz packages for banana flavor.  Pour only about half the pudding into the whip cream and mix together.  You can use your beater but I suggest on the lowest speed.  The whip cream and pudding will become thick so don't get worried.  Set aside in the fridge until cupcakes are ready.

After you have let the cupcakes completely cooled.  Place frosting in a piping bag or ziploc bag using a large tip.  I used a Ateco 866 tip for mine.  Squeeze in the center a bit of frosting, you do not have to cover the whole cupcake for this and place a banana chip on top, add a drizzle of caramel and your done.

***Please note I was able to make 30 cupcakes with this recipe and the frosting only covers 24.
If you like more frosting just double the recipe when you make it.***

Keep in fridge if not serving right away.

 Happy baking,

June 20, 2012

Fruit Croissant Bake

"Summer Easy Recipe Series"

This is one easy recipe with a few ingredients I think you will enjoy for breakfast or as a snack.


1- 8oz pkg of cream cheese (soften)
1 - can of refrigerated croissants
1 - cup of fresh strawberries
1 - cup of frozen blueberries

Pre-heat oven to 375

On a non-stick cookie sheet layer croissants slightly one on top of the other with the point part facing down.

Wash and cut strawberries in small pieces, add blueberries and mix with 2 table spoons of sugar.

In a medium bowl blend together with a fork soften cream cheese and 1/3 cup sugar until smooth.

Spread cream cheese mixture down the middle of croissants and top with fruit.

Crisscross dough over top of fruit and sprinkle with sugar.

Place in oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Let it cool off before serving.

Thanks for stopping by today & let me know how it turned out if you try it.

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June 01, 2012

Graduation Party

The last few weeks have been a busy one my friends.  
But I have time to post now so I am not complaining. 
I just finished up with my niece's college graduation party that came out fantastic. 
I made pom poms to hang from the patio, graduation hat inserts for the flowers, a candy bar and 100 cookies. 
 I was thankful I did not have to do all the work. 
Here's a peek of the pictures from the party.  
The only regret was I wasn't able to get more pictures for this post.  

Please note this beautiful sign was made by a good friend who is very talented.

Over the next few weeks I will be working on some great projects and ideas for 4th of July, a 50th birthday party, kids party ideas and even adding a weekly post on experiments of summer cooking with the kids.  
I even want to start a linking up party on Thursday's for summer recipe ideas on new simple meals or a blast from the past with a twist.  

Please leave a comment and let me know if your interested in the Thursday recipe party!  Have a great week.