In case you didn’t know this…Coffee is like air to me.
Coffee and I have had a longtime love affair. So you can only imagine my ecstatic state of mind when I received this gorgeousSyntia Focus Espresso Machine made by Philips Saeco to play with and review a few weeks ago. I mean isn’t she a beauty!?
I’m embarrassed to admit that I…lover-of-coffee…have never even owned an espresso machine. I have always brewed my own coffee the in a basic coffee pot and then relied on my favorite coffee house for my *real deal* cup of coffee later in the day. Well I am here to tell you that my coffee drinking life has changed forever! I have hopelessly fallen in love my espresso machine! I was a tad bit intimidated to try it out at first but after reading the manual *ahem* (and by that I mean My Yanni reading the manual and then describing in every little intricate detail what to do and not to do ), I put on my barista hat and I was ready to go. Once you understand the different sequences, and remember to pay attention to the illuminated prompts, making the perfect cup of espresso or coffee is just a simple button push away!
My Yanni and I have been enjoying all sorts of fantastic coffee drinks lately. My kitchen smells of divine robust coffee and I’m finding that I don’t need to make daily trips to my favorite coffee house any longer. We have even swapped out our beloved coffee maker for the gorgeous espresso machine! Something that I never thought would ever happen! Its sleek rich design and ability to whip up a fantastic cup of coffee 0r espresso in minutes makes keeping it out for all to enjoy a no-brainer. This past weekend we took our coffee loving experience a step further and made a decadent dessert to accompany our after dinner espresso, we made Tiramisu Affogato.
Such a stunning and delicious specimen.
And it was a total cinch to make.
This is a perfect dessert to dazzle guests with at any dinner party!
We just made a double shot of espresso,
placed a few lady finger cookies in the bottom of a bowl.
Plopped a big dollop of vanilla bean ice cream on top,
* We get to enjoy coffee house quality coffee drinks in the comfort of our own home.
* The machine takes minutes to prepare each drink.
* The sleek beautiful design of the Syntia Focus looks stunning on my kitchen counter.
* We can enjoy espresso as well as a long coffee (espresso with more water) that both taste incredible!
* We are saving money buy indulging our coffee habit at home rather than driving to our favorite coffee house.
* We can use any coffee/bean that we like and are not restricted to those packets/pods of coffee.
* The machine can be loud while it prepares to make a drink.
* You must remember to push the buttons in proper sequence or the machine will dump the coffee before it has been used.
* The small opening and flip lid over the coffee hopper makes it tricky to get the coffee grounds dumped in without spilling some.
I must state for the record, that My Yanni and I give the Syntia Focus a two thumbs up! We really love the fact that we can easily replicate and enjoy delicious upscale coffee drinks in the comfort of our own home!
Here’s the yummy recipe!
What you’ll need:
3 lady finger cookies
1 scoop vanilla bean ice cream
1 Tablespoon shaved dark chocolate
2 shots hot espresso
What you’ll do:
Place lady fingers in the bottom of a bowl, plop a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top, sprinkle shaved chocolate and pour hot espresso all over the top.
These delicious and chocolatey cocoa rice crispy & nutella heart sandwiches will melt anyone’s heart.
I whipped up the sweetest chocolatey treat this past weekend! I know that Valentine’s day is tomorrow but I just had to share this with all of you! These are the perfect last minute sweet treat for Valentine’s Day! This is all you have to do to make these darling heart sandwiches for those you love any day of the year!
Just mix some cocoa crispy rice cereal with some marshmallow creme (that has been warmed first in the microwave) and spread it on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with a silpat mat. To ensure that the mixture sets with a nice flat suface, just cover the mixture with some wax paper and rolled over it with a rolling pin. It works like a charm!
After 30 minutes press a heart shape cookie cutter into the the sweet crunchy mixture…
And out pop it out on a plate.
It’s perfect just like that, dontcha think?
But no, don’t stop there.
Go ahead and slather the heart with a generous amount of Nutella®.
Then top it with another rice crispy heart to make the most adorable (not to mention sweetest) heart sandwich ever.
And then don’t stop there. Cut-pop-out-slather-eat-repeat to your heart’s content.
And then make another batch for those you love.
Sending YOU lots of love this Valentine’s Day and each day all the year through.
Here’s the recipe!
Cocoa Rice Crispy & Nutella Heart Sandwiches
Author: Wenderly | Wendy Hondroulis
These delicious and chocolatey cocoa rice crispy & nutella heart sandwiches will melt anyone’s heart.
7 cups coca rice crispy cereal
1- 13 oz jar marshmallow creme
1- cup Nutella® spread
Pour a 13 ounce jar of marshmallow creme into a bowl and microwave for 60 seconds until the marshmallow creme is soft and easy to mix. Next pour in 7 cups of cocoa crispy rice cereal and fold mixture together with a spatula until incorporated. Pour the mixture onto a sided cookie sheet that is covered with a silpat mat. Spread mixture evenly into a 1/2 thickness. (Work quickly while the marshmallow is still warm and easy to spread). Once you’ve got all of the mixture spread onto the cookie sheet, cover with wax paper and gently roll with a rolling pin to help ensure a nice smooth surface. Let mixture set for 30 minutes before cutting. With a heart cookie cutter, cut out 12 to 16 heart shapes (depending on the size of the cutter that you use). Spread half of the heart shapes generously with Nutella and place the other heart shapes on top to make sandwiches.
Old fashioned hard tack candy is a holiday family favorite. The vibrant flavors and marvelous colors delight any age and makes a perfect hostess gift!
I always know that Christmas is drawing near when my sister Marcey gets into old fashioned hard tack candy mode.
She is an old fashioned hard tack candy making guru.
For as long as I can remember in the weeks leading up to Christmas, she has been like a mad scientist in her kitchen whirling around clanking cookie sheets, gathering dozens of tiny glass viles filed with a plethora of scented oils and flavorings. There are pounds of sugar, bottles of corn syrup and did I mention hammers and screw drivers?
Yes, I said hammers and screw drivers.
This year we decided to make it a family affair. My mom, my girls and I got together for a hard tack candy making extravaganza. I am now armed with pounds of colorful, brilliantly flavored candy that I have divided into sweet little Ball glass jelly jars to give as Christmas treats and hostess gifts. Thought you might like to do the same.
Here’s the skinny on how we like to make it.
You’ll need food coloring and scented vials (or drams) of oils and flavorings.
You can find them in your baking isle (some stores still keep them in the pharmacy like they did in the old fashioned days).
I just love these little vials. Aren’t they sweet?
My sister hoards them like they’re going out of style.
O.k. she shares them but she collects them all year round to insure that she’ll have enough of her favorite flavors.
There are two different types of candy & baking flavorings. There are *oils* and there are *flavorings*. We have found that you’ll need 2 of the flavoring vials and 1 of the oil vials in each batch. (With the exception of lemon…you’ll want to use 2 lemon oil vials to ensure the proper lemon-y tongue tantalizing zing).
Once you’ve got all of your flavorings and colorings in a row you’re ready to make your first batch! Remember how I mentioned my sister being a mad scientist? While I jest…it isn’t too far from the truth. Making this candy IS a science. Which to be honest makes me break out into a cold sweat. So I’ve kidnapped my sister and all of her years-of-candy-making-trial-and-error-wisdom to help me write this post.
Grab a saucepan, a wooden spoon (not a plastic spoon) and set the stove to medium heat.
You’ll begin by pouring sugar,
light corn syrup,
and water into a pan. Next attach your candy thermometer to the side of the pan and make sure that it isn’t touching the bottom.
Stir constantly until all of the sugar has dissolved. Takes about 15 minutes so make sure you’re fully caffeinated before you begin.
Once sugar is completely dissolved set your spoon down and let the heat take over.
Allow mixture to come to a boil. It should look like this…
A happy rolling boil.
Watch the candy thermometer as the mixture continues to boil,
until it reaches 260°.
Then the excitement begins! Time to add some color and pizzaz.
Add one teaspoon of food coloring to the boiling pot.
Again, don’t mix with a spoon.
Let the boiling do the mixing.
Now you’ll want to pay very close attention to the temperature.
The minute you see it reach 300° it’s time to take it off the heat, (some people test the candy mixture consistency in cold water to see if it’s ready but we just go by the candy thermometer).
Now grab the flavoring or oil that you want the candy to taste like. My girls wanted to confuse the taste buds of our recipients so they mixed up the color/flavor combinations. (Yes, our lemon flavor was red).
Allow the mixture to stop boiling before adding the flavoring. Note: My sister has learned that it is imperative at this point in time to carry the pot outside before adding the flavoring to the candy mixture because it will smoke profusely (and smell divine) but be careful not to inhale the vapors. Back in college my sister’s dear friend and candy making cohort went into a full blown asthma attack AND they set off the smoke alarm. Not exactly the way they wanted to spend the day. *Hi Amy!*
Once outside add the flavoring and stir.
Isn’t that purdy?
It’s a good idea to divide and conquer while making this sweet treat. Time is everything and remember it’s a science.
While someone is mixing in the flavoring, if possible, have someone else spray the pans with cooking spray or spray them yourself beforehand so that they are ready to go. You don’t want the candy to harden in the pot.
My sister uses non-stick pots and pans for her candy making and she has found that 9 x12 cake pans work the best.
Note: You may want to use old pots and pans or buy some inexpensive ones because they do take a beating.
So quickly pour the mixture into the cake pans.
Dividing the batch into 2 cake pans insures the right thickness for your candy-eating-enjoyment.
Let the candy sit until it is completely cool on the counter top (not the fridge), to ensure that you will get a hard crack not a sticky crack.
This is where the hammer and screwdriver come in. One of my sister’s expert tips – THIS is the very best candy breaking technique and it’s FUN TOO!
Grab a clean screw driver and hammer. Take the pans of candy back outside, (trust me on this) and place the screw driver in the center of a pan…
Give it a whack!
This is very therapeutic and gratifying. Feel free to wear safety goggles for the full mad-scientist effect. Just a thought.
Continue whacking until you’ve got as many pieces as you see fit.
You will have a few flying pieces but it’s worth it.
You may need to take a little break from time to time and do a little bonding.
Nana and her granddaughters. *sniff*
Check out this gorgeous sheet of molten sugar.
Is that nifty or what?
Don’t these look like little emeralds? Seriously. I may just have to make some jewelry out of them…
but I’ll have to remember not to wear them when it’s raining.
So the next step is the cerimonial coating of the candy with powdered sugar Once again my sister has a very specific technique for this.
Grab a gallon plastic bag that zips. Vedy important. Zips and stays zipped. Write the flavor of the candy on the bag. Especially if you’ve mixed up the flavor to color combination.
Sprinkle in a heaping tablespoon, no more than a heaping tablespoon, of powdered sugar.
Then pour the broken pieces of candy into the bag.
Make sure to leave the teenie tiny pieces behind. They get sticky and messy and almost sandlike. Totally takes away from the beauty of the candy and its magical glass-like effect.
I’m sure that Chihuly would agree.
Gently roll the bag around with the bag zipped,
until you’ve got an even coating of powdered sugar on all of the pieces.
Don’t you just want to reach in and grab a handful?
Can you guess what flavor this is?
Cinnamon! HA! And it’s SO YUMMY!
I must admit that this candy making business is really enjoyable once you know what you’re doing. The flavors burst, the colors are gorgeous and it really is some great old fashioned fun.
Hope you give it a try.
Wishing you and yours a Christmas full of sweet memories!
Aunt Marcey’s Old Fashioned Hard Tack Candy
Author: Wenderly | Wendy Hondroulis
Serves: 1 batch
Old fashioned hard tack candy is a holiday family favorite The vibrant flavors and marvelous colors delight any age and will make a perfect holiday or hostess gift!
3 3/4 sugar cups
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 cup water
1 teaspoon food coloring
[i]Don’t forget: [/i]There are *oils* and there are *flavorings*. We have found that you’ll need 2 bottles if you’re using the flavorings and 1 bottle if you’re using the oils in each batch. (One or the other, not both).
In a 3 quart non-stick sauce pan, pour in sugar, light corn syrup and water. Continuously stir liquid over medium heat until sugar has completely dissolved. Let mixture come to a boil, without stirring, and when candy thermometer reaches 260° add food coloring. Once again don’t stir let food coloring mix itself into the liquid by the boiling motion.Watch the candy thermometer, once it reaches 300° immediately remove from heat and allow the boiling to come to a stop.
Take pan outside and add your choice of flavorings (or oil) to the mixture. Stir without inhaling the potent vapors. Quickly pour into 2 greased cake pans, divide liquid equally into the pans. Let cool completely to the touch.
Once candy is cooled, take outside and insert a clean phillips head screw driver into the center of the pan and give a good whack. Continue until all of the candy is broken to your liking.
Next, grab a gallon plastic bag that zips closed. Pour a heaping (no more) tablespoon of powdered sugar into the bag. Pour both cake pans of broken candy into bag and zip closed. Make sure to leave the tiny pieces out. Gently turn and flip the bag until the candy is covered with powdered sugar. Candy will stay nice and crunchy when stored in a container that is airtight.
Helpful hint: For clean-up ease, soak your pots and pans in hot soapy water to dissolve the candy because we have found that scrubbing doesn’t work.
I have been “planning” to make this lovely sherbet bombe all summer long. My mom has dazzled me with her gorgeous bombe creations for years and for years I’ve said that I’m going to make one. You know how that goes, right?
Please tell me that I am not alone on this.
I woke up Friday morning sleepy and unmotivated. As I stumbled to the kitchen with only coffee on my mind, I glanced out the window to see this…
I stopped dead in my tracks. What a splendor to behold. I stood there frozen for about fifteen minutes unable to take my eyes off of this most glorious sunrise.
It was breathtaking. Captivating. Inspring.
My mind kept thinking, “if I could just take a spoon to that sherbet sky”…
I knew in an instant what I had to do. It was a sign, a divine intervention telling me to stop putting off what I had to do today.
So I made a bombe.
You will never believe how easy it is to make such a stunning specimen.
This is what I did.
Placed my sherbet on the counter so that it could soften a bit.
I decided to use orange, strawberry and raspberry sherbet to match the stunning sunrise. You can use anything you wish, including ice cream or sorbet, in any combination.
Grab a box of chocolate wafers,
And give them a good pulse in a food processor. If you don’t happen to have a have a food processor, no worries, just put the cookies in a sealed plastic baggie, grab a heavy spoon & smash away.
Melt a stick and a half of butter and mix with smashed cookies until it forms a soft chocolatey mixture. Line a glass bowl with plastic wrap (allowing enough extra hanging over sides to cover the top before freezing) and with your fingers press the cookie/butter mixture onto the plastic wrap that is lining the sides of the bowl. This will become the outer crust.
Then begin spooning the softened sherbet into the cookie crust.
Add each additional flavor.
Smooth the last layer of sherbet and cover with the extra plastic wrap.
Pop the bowl into the freezer (on a flat surface) and let freeze for at least eight hours.
Once frozen, place a plate on top of bowl and gently turn over. (You may need to soak bowl in hot water for a few minutes to loosen.)
And “bada boom bada bing” …a bombe!
A stunning sweet sherbet sunrise to enjoy any day.
May all your days begin with splendor,
Sunrise Sherbet Bombe
Recipe Type: Dessert
A stunning and sweet sherbet sunrise bombe to enjoy any day.
1- 9 ounce box of chocolate wafer cookies
1 stick salted butter- melted
1 quart orange sherbet
1 quart strawberry sherbet
1 quart raspberry sherbet
Place sherbet on counter to soften. Pulse cookies in a food processor (or pound with spoon in a sealed plastic baggie). Mix melted butter and ground cookies together until it becomes incorporated. Grab a 3 quart glass container and line with plastic wrap (leave enough extra over the edge to cover top of bowl before freezing). With fingers, press cookie/butter mixture on top of the plastic wrap, around sides of bowl. Next spoon in softened sherbet. I used a little over 1/2 a quart of each flavor. Be careful not to overfill. Cover the top with extra plastic wrap. Place in freezer (on a flat surface) for at least 8 hours. Remove from freezer, place a plate on top of bowl, gently turn over to release bombe. You may need to soak bowl in hot water for a few minutes if bombe seems stuck.
The past few weeks have been wild and wooly… filled with too much to do in too little time and I find myself whirling. I start at point A and somehow manage to spend a day that takes me over-the-river-and-through-the-woods then dumps me on the doorstep weary and tired.
And what better way to wake the weary than a pretty plate filled with delightful little cookies and a cold cup of milk or pipping hot coffee.
And not just any cookies will do.
These beautiful, crunchy, cinnamon-y, clove-y, delightful cookies are the Greek version of biscotti. They have the uncanny ability to melt away stress and comfort my soul in ways I cannot explain.
A traditional Greek cookie called “paximathakia” (say it with me, pa-ksi-ma-tha-kya), they are easy to make and are to die for.
I finally got my mother-in-law to slow down long enough to teach me how to make them. She has “tweaked” the original traditional Greek recipe, changing little things here and there through the years that has made this sweet treat perfection.
For as long as I can remember, she would make batches of these gorgeous cookies every week to have on-hand for impromptu visits from family and friends. One can always find paximathakia waiting in the cookie jar at Yaya’s house. Maybe that’s why I find so much comfort in the little guys. There’s something so rich and wholesome about family tradition and recipes that stand the test of time.
Now it’s my turn to make batches of these soul satisfying sweet treats.
Who’s with me?
Love & cookies,
Greek Biscotti – Paximathakia
(makes 48 cookies)
1 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
zest of 1 orange (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup white Zinfandel wine
3 teaspoons baking powder (heaping)
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup slivered almonds or walnuts (chopped)
2 1/2 cups wheat flour
2 1/2 cups white flour
What To Do:
Briskly whisk oil & sugar in a bowl for 5 minutes.
In a separate bowl mix orange juice & baking soda until incorporated, slowly pour into oil & sugar mixture and beat until creamy.
Add wine and orange zest mix well.
Next add baking powder and spices and mix with hands. Slowly add flour about a 1/4 of cup at a time and continue mixing with hands until batter becomes a dough-like consistency.
Add almonds or walnuts (or you can make without any nuts at all) mix with hands until incorporated.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and shape into a round ball. Take a knife and cut a cross into the top of the dough, making four equal sections of dough.
One by one, roll each section into a 12 inch loaf, place two loafs onto a cookie sheet. Pat loaf until even and flat on top and cut 1/2 inch wide marks down loaf being careful not the cut all the way through. (Each loaf makes 12 cookies.)
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until they start to become golden brown. Take cookie sheet out of the oven, let cool, cut all the way through and then bake for 15 more minutes.
Let cookies cool completely before eating. Cookies can be stored for up to a month in a sealed container.
I seriously cannot believe that an entire year has flown by. It seems like yesterday that I clicked the “publish” button for the first time moments before dashing out the door to church Easter morning. The adrenaline mixed with the gazillion butterflies flitting around in my belly at that very moment have never quite gone away. This past year has been filled with one incredible experience after the next and I will cherish each and every one of them for a lifetime.
Yesterday I was reflective, but today I wanna CELEBRATE so I’ve decided to share the most scrumdillyicious, decadent dessert that I can think of…
A Triple Chocolate Torte.
This cake has been our ceremonial go-to-cake for any special occasion, birthday or holiday for as long as I can remember! It is a show stopper above all showstoppers, a crowd pleaser like no other and nothing less than delectable.
I’d like to thank all of YOU wonderful people out there and you certainly deserve nothing less than the best.
So here we go, let’s make the cake, shall we?
This triple chocolate torte has three steps, go figure…
Once you’ve done that, put the egg whites in a mixing bowl.
With a whisk attachment, beat until nice and foamy.
Add 1/2 cup of sugar,
one teaspoon at a time..
You’ll want to continue mixing until stiff peaks form.
With a spatula, gently scrape egg whites into a separate bowl.
Pour remaining cup of sugar and all other dry ingredients into the mixing bowl,
and two egg yolks.
Mix until smooth.
Gently fold in the egg whites.
Mix until incorporated and batter turns a yummy milk chocolate color.
Pour batter into two 9-inch round cake pans lined with parchment paper that have been sprayed with non-stick baking spray.
Bake in 350º oven for 25 to 30 minutes until center springs back when lightly touched. Let cakes cool for 5 minutes in pan before turning out onto cooling rack.
While waiting for cakes to cool, we’ll get started on the heavenly chocolate cream filling.
Hershey’s® cocoa, sugar, cold whipping cream and vanilla extract.
Beat ingredients on low speed until thick and creamy and set aside (try not to eat it all before assembling the cake).
The third and final step…the chocolate glaze!
Semi-sweet chocolate chips, light corn syrup, butter and water.
After bringing the butter, corn syrup and water to a boil in a small saucepan,
add the semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Mix until the glaze becomes nice and shiny.
Let cool to room temperature.
And NOW the time has come to assemble the cake. Place cake round on plate, slather with chocolate cream filling, place second cake on top and gently press down to make cake even.
Pour chocolate glaze and spread evenly all over top and sides of cake.
Or just let the glaze ooze over the edges rather than smoothing it out. The choice is yours.
Once the glaze is set, cut a big slice…
Sit down to enjoy the most scrumptious chocolaty cake you’ve ever put in your mouth.
Thank you for a magical year.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Triple Chocolate Torte
Author: Wendy Hondroulis | Wenderly adapted from Hershey’s cookbook (I think)
The most scrumptious chocolaty cake you’ve ever put in your mouth.
[b]For the cake :[/b]
2 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups sugar divided
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup Hershey’s Cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
[b]For the filling :[/b]
2/3 cup suger
1/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups whipping cream (cold)
1 cup buttermilk
[b]For the glaze :[/b]
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350º F.
For the cake batter :
In a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until foamy.
Slowly add in 1/2 cup sugar, teaspoon at a time, until the mixture makes stiff peaks.
Remove mixture from mixing bowl and set aside.
Next put all dry ingredients, including remaining cup of sugar into mixing bowl and give a stir.
Add the two egg yolks, oil and buttermilk and mix until smooth.
Carefully fold eggs whites and sugar into the batter with a spatula until incorporated.
Pour batter into parchment lined pans and bake until cakes gently spring back after being touched in center, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let cakes cool 5 minutes in pan before turning onto cooling racks. Let cool completely.
While cakes are cooling it’s time to make the chocolate filling.
For the Chocolate Filling :
In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment combine the sugar, cocoa, whipping cream and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until filling becomes stiff. (Then stick your finger in and taste a little cloud of heaven, repeat as necessary).
Now it’s time to make the chocolate glaze.
For the Chocolate Glaze:
In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the butter, light corn syrup and water and stir until the mixture just comes to a boil.
Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, stir until chips are melted and glaze is shiny.
Trace and cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of two 9-inch round baking pans and spray with a non-stick baking spray.
Generously spread chocolate cream filling all over one cake.
Place second cake on top and gently press down with hand to make cake even.
Carefully clean edges of cake where filling may have squeezed out.
Then pour cooled chocolate glaze on top of cake and spread evenly on top and sides.
However, Halloween always seems like such a hectic time of year. We’ve finally adjusted to the back-to-school routine and then *BAM* it’s time to make costumes, carve pumpkins and get ready for trick-or-treat! The next thing you know I’m watching the Macy’s day parade while baking a turkey and then turn around to find that Christmas carols are playing and my kids are married and have kids of their own! O.k. perhaps it’s not that hectic but it seems like it is especially when my oldest is actually turning 13 years old this weekend.
How can this be?
It was only yesterday that I was looking into the sweet, pink, wrinkled little face of my first born child wasn’t it?
<gulp, sniff, sob>
See my point?
Time flies in the blink of an eye.
And this is precisely why I am so happy to have these quick and easy little ditties to turn to while I’m trying to forget, I mean, celebrate my first born turning into a teenager.
Wait until you see how easy it is to pull together a last minute Halloween soiree in about 30 minutes flat.
First I’m going to show you how to make cute little spider cookies with oreo cookies!
I made these for her Birthday Halloween themed party about 6 years ago, when I was allowed to do cute little things for her party. I believe that I got the idea from Martha herself, but I can’t be certain.
These are the ingredients: double stuff Oreo® cookies, mini M&M®‘s, rope black licorice and white icing.
First thing you’ll want to do is make the icing. Just mix 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar with 2 tablespoons of water. Easy peasy.
Pour the icing into a sandwich baggie.
By the way my tween soon to be TEEN helped me with this fun little treat.
I have to milk every opportunity to share time with her and I’m not above enticing her to assist me in photos.
Squeeze excess air out of the baggie and twist to keep icing in the tip of the baggie.
This will be your glue for the spider eyes.
Now it’s time for the spider legs. Just snip off pairs of 2 inch pieces and badda boom badda bing…spider legs!
Gently insert licorice into the sides of the double stuff oreo. This is why I like to use double stuff oreos, you’ll have plenty of room to fit the licorice!
Cut the tip off of the plastic baggie filled with icing and gently squeeze out 2 cute little dollops of icing where the eyes should be…
and place 2 mini m&m’s on top of the icing.
Aren’t they just the cutest little spiders that you ever did see?
Now it’s time for some fun decorations…all you need are a few paper napkins!
Now if you’re like me you have a drawer (o.k. a few drawers) of festive paper napkins. And if you don’t, well, do yourself a favor and go buy some. Now be sure to buy 2 sets like I do so that you’ll always have some on hand and I won’t be the only crazy person with drawers full of paper napkins! This summer I was reading one of my 432 magazines, I think that it was Country Living, anyway I saw some darling tablecloths made out of paper napkins and thought “great scott! now I can use up some of my napkin stash!” I decided to take it a step further and came up with the idea to make banners with the paper napkins as well! I mean everyone needs celebratory banners hanging about don’t they?
Here’s all that you’ll need to make some darling banners to hang around the house.
Napkins and ribbon.
Fold the napkin in 1/2 leaving fold of the napkin at the top then cut on a diagonal upward leaving the fold in tact at the widest part.
This is the easy way to cut out a perfect triangle.
Next lay out your napkins in the pattern that you want them to hang. I personally like to use 4 different napkins with one being a smaller size and alternate that smaller one between the larger ones.
Oh, and you’ll want glue too. Forgot to mention that earlier. Sorry. I’m overworked and underpaid.
Open up the triangles and lay the ribbon in the crease of the napkin and then dab a dot of glue at the crease and tip.
Gently smooth out any wrinkles and repeat until you’ve used desired amount of napkin triangles. I like to use this banner idea for any occasion – birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day – truly you could go on and on…see why I need drawers of paper napkins?
I like to hang my banners along my fireplaces.
It’s festive dontcha think?
Now for the tablecloth, actually I decided to make a table runner at the last moment to save time.
Here’s what you’ll need: paper napkins and scotch tape.
Lay the napkins out in a pattern that makes you swoon…
turn them over and tape the seems together. That’s it.
And then my friend, you’ve got a party!
Decorating and entertaining really don’t have to be expensive and difficult!
Once you try this scrumptious Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Baked Apples recipe you will want to make it every single day. And guess what? It’s so easy you will!
We have a joke in our family about apples. Ever since I can remember and especially after school while my sister and I were ravenous and scavenging for something starchy and satisfying, my mom’s standard response to “what can we have to eat?” was “have an apple.”
What? Seriously? An apple? Ummmm, I was thinking somewhere along the lines of nachos swimming in melted cheese.
After a while we didn’t even bother to ask any more. We just started digging fast and furious into every chip bag we could find until we heard her footsteps coming followed by the “Girls? Are you home? What do you want for an after school snack? Why don’t you have an apple?” It was truly remarkable that my mom had the uncanny ability to know the exact moment that we were digging into the chip bags. She knew it every…single…time…(without fail).Why do chip bags have to make so much dag on noise?
Well guess what? Now the joke’s on me, I’m a mom of two girls and somehow, mysteriously, through no conscious intent of my own, the words, “have an apple“, now echo through the kitchen at my house. It’s like a curse or something…as I hear the familiar rustle of chips bags, I find myself casually pop around the corner with an innocent “why don’t you girls have an apple?” How can this be happening? Guess it’s true what they say about turning into your mother! And still to this day I must admit that I wonder if she was actually in cahoots with the obnoxiously loud sounding chip bag manufacturers.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with apples! I love apples. Adore them! Even after a lifetime of eating them daily whether I wanted to or not. And I’m so happy that I’ve instilled the love of them into my children as well. That’s why this recipe written by my tween, Sassafras, delights me so. She has gotten creative with her apple consumption and I must say that this is an easy yet decadent way to enjoy an apple. Clever, clever girl she is.
So I give to you…brown sugar & cinnamon baked apples.
Here’s what you’ll need. An apple, cinnamon, brown sugar, and some aluminum foil cut into squares.
My daughter makes this yummy treat on a regular basis, but I’ve never attempted to do so. The night before I planned on making these sweet packets of deliciousness, I left a note with a few questions for her to answer before she left for school and I woke up to this.
Instead of simply answering my questions she wrote out “her” recipe. I think that I may have a foodie on my hands!
Begin by cutting an apple in half and coring it. I used a gala apple but any apple will do!
Next, slice each half into very thin slices. Approximately 20 slices for each half.
You’ll end up with a big pile of apples.
Place all of the slices in the center of a piece of foil (make sure that the foil is big enough to close easily around the apples or you’ll have an ooey gooey mess on your hands after it cooks).
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar all over the apples.
That’s it! Do you believe it? No butter, no anything else, the brown sugar and cinnamon combined with the juices of the apple make their very own magnificent sauce.
Wow, why didn’t I think of this when I was a kid?
I found that gathering each corner of the foil up and pinching it together kept all of the fabulous brown sugar & cinnamon sauce in the packet rather than all over the oven.
Placing your packets on a baking sheet is a good idea as well. Bake in a 400º oven for 25 minutes.
The result? Warm, succulent cinnamony (is that a word?) melt in your mouth baked apples. Make sure to pour all of the sauce all over the top, grab a fork and dig in!
Maybe my mom was on to something.
Now go have an apple!
Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Baked Apples
Author: Wendy Hondroulis | Wenderly
Warm, succulent and cinnamony melt in your mouth apples.
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 piece of aluminum foil
Slice 1 apple of your choice very thin (1/8 inch) you’ll end up with approximately 40 slices total.
Place apple slices onto a sheet of foil, sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Wrap up foil by gathering each corner and pinch it together and place on baking sheet.
I love the 4th of July! I love everything about it. The parade, the picnics, the friends and family, the fireworks. What I don’t like is rushing around worrying about what I can make for all of the festivities! Last year as I was planning and plotting about what dishes to make for the holiday packed with picnics and parties the thought occurred to me…
Does it really have to be this difficult?
I heard myself say out loud.
Thank goodness this “self discussion” was going on in the comfort of my own home and not in the middle of my local grocery store is all I have to say.
Not only did I talk to myself out loud, I’m quite certain that I clapped & jumped with glee over the idea of a watermelon feta flag as it popped into my head. And blueberries! Don’t forget the blueberries! We just went to Berryfield Farms and picked blueberries so this year my flag will be embellished with delicious, fresh off the bush, blueberries!
I adore watermelon and feta. Have you ever tried it? Sweet & salty, creamy & juicy. The flavors compliment one another in a way that will make your mouth sing (or maybe even talk out loud).
My Yanni introduced me to this decadent duo years ago while on our honeymoon in Greece. And you know what they say,”when in Greece…” so I gave in and instantly fell in love!
These are the fresh and gorgeous ingredients.
Watermelon, feta and blueberries.
I just love the colors and textures together.
Next you’ll need a platter, preferably a rectangle but an oval would work too and a small bowl.
Pour the blueberries into the bowl and place at the top left corner for the stars.
Next, slice your feta because feta makes everything “betta” (at least that’s what I think).
Cut the slices into cubes.
I used one 8oz square of feta.
Don’t ya just want to pop one in your mouth?
I did…………………………………..(don’t tell anyone)!
Next, the watermelon. I used half of a seedless watermelon. As a far as quantity goes for this recipe, it depends on the size of the platter you use. It’s always better to have to0 much than too little because my family is always lurking about ready to dive in, therefore the extras come in handy (don’t mess with mama’s stars & stripes).
It’s all about the stars & stripes when making a watermelon feta flag ya know.
So cut your watermelon into slices.
Trim off the rind.
Cut the watermelon int to strips.
And finally cubes.
Now grab a platter with bowl of blueberries,
and place the watermelon and feta into pretty rows starting with the watermelon until you fill the platter!
Now don’t forget cute little toothpicks for easy not to mention healthy handling of the goods!
And that is my easy peasy patriotic no hassel 4th of July watermelon feta flag!
Hope you enjoy a lovely holiday weekend!
Here’s the easy peasy recipe:
Patriotic watermelon & Feta Flag
A sweet & salty refreshingly delightful treat!
Half of a seedless watermelon
8 ounces of feta cheese
1 pint of blueberries
Cut and cube half of a seedless watermelon.
Cube 8 ounces of feta.
Rinse off 1 pint of fresh blueberries.
Pour blueberries into a bowl, preferably square and place in the top left corner of a rectangle (or oval) platter.
Assemble watermelon and feta into rows, starting with the watermelon.
Serve with a side of toothpicks for easy and healthy handling of the food.