Chocolate Ganache Tart

Tart Shell:

1 c. flour                                                      1/4 c. sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, room temp       1/8 t. salt

1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder         1/2 t. vanilla

Ganache filling:

10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/2 c. whole milk

1 c. heavy cream

1 large egg, lightly beaten



Coat tart pan (or mini tart pans) with cooking spray. Whisk together flour, cocoa and salt. Beat butter on medium speed till fluffy, about 3 min. Add sugar and beat till pale and fluffy, about 2 more min. Reduce speed to low. Add vanilla and flour mixture and mix till dough begins to hold together, 1-2 min. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 min. Roll out dough to 1/4 in. thickness. Press into prepared pan(or pans). Trim excess dough so it’s flush with pan edge. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Bake shell at 325 degrees on a rimmed baking sheet till firm, about 25 min. Let cool completely on wire rack.

For filling: Place chocolate in bowl. Heat cream and milk in small saucepan over med/high heat till almost boiling/pour over chocolate. Let stand for 2 min. Slowly whisk till smooth. Let stand 10 min. more. Stir in egg. Return tart shell(s) to baking sheet and pour in filling. Bake till set, about 25 min. Let cool completely before removing from tart pan(s). Garnish with fresh whipped cream and raspberries if desired.

No Fail Crescent Rolls

Sweet Rolls

2 softened sticks of butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
2 c. warm milk
1/2 c. warm water
2 rounded T. yeast
1 t. salt
7 c. flour




Combine warm water and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. In a large mixer combine butter and sugar. Add egg and mix well. Add milk and yeast mixture, salt then half of the flour. Mix slowly till well combined, then add remaining flour. Dough will be slightly stick. Allow to rise covered, at room temperature until double the size (approximately 40-60 min.)
Split dough in half or thirds depending on preferred size of roll (half for larger rolls, thirds for smaller rolls). Roll divided section onto floured surface till 1/4 thick into a circle. Using a pizza cutter, cut into triangles. Roll the dough from the long side to the point then space evenly on cookie sheet. Repeat with other divided sections (fills 2 sheet pans). Cover and let rise 20-30 minutes. Bake at 350 for 15-20 min depending on size of rolls. They should be lightly browned on the top. Melt 1/2 stick of butter and brush on tops of rolls while they are still warm. Yields, 4 dozen smaller rolls or 3 dozen large rolls.




Boho Picnic at the Park

A picnic in the park in the middle of summer was the perfect setting for my daughter’s 10th birthday. To keep with the boho style we laid out rugs and blankets and added colorful pillows for the girls to sit on. My favorite feature of all of the decor was this fabric chandelier that we made with strips of different fabric tied around 2 quilting rings and hung with string. It was the perfect centerpiece and Joss was able to help me make it since it was so easy to do.

We set up next to a small stream that the girls could play in to cool off after their lunch. Greenery headbands adorned their lunch bags so they could all have one to wear during the picnic.





This coffee table bench from Ikea was just the right size to hold all of the girl’s lunches and to sit in front of to eat.

We made Jossie’s headband a little more special by adding flowers to it as well.

After they ate lunch we played squirt gun tag with colorful water guns that we brought for each of the girls.

Joss loved it:)





She requested a Dream Cake which is one of my specialties so I was happy to oblige. I adorned it with flowers and macarons, her favorite cookie.

Because they’re her favorite cookie, we made little boxes of macarons as the party favors. Not the easiest treat to make but totally worth the effort!

These tissue paper flowers and greenery were the only other decorations besides the chandelier, pillows and blankets. So bright and colorful and so simple to make.






This teepee from Land of Nod was perfect for taking pics of the girls inside it and it held all of the gifts as the girls arrived.

Such a fun day for such a great girl!!

 

 

Strawberries & Cream Frozen Bars

Strawberries & Cream Frozen Bars

2 lbs. strawberries, hulled                  7 large egg whites

1 1/2 c. sugar                                         2/3 c. cold heavy cream

coarse salt                                              1 t. pure vanilla extract




In a blender, combine strawberries, 3/4 c. of sugar and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth. Pour into a 9×13 in. baking dish and transfer to the freezer. Scrape with a fork every 30 minutes until mixure is thick and slushy- about 1 1/2 hours. Smooth top with rubber spatula.

Beat egg whites on high with electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add 3/4 c. sugar with mixer on medium. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. In another medium bowl, beat cream and vanilla on high till stiff peaks form, about 1-2 minutes. With a rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into egg white mixture. Pour over strawberry mixture and smooth top with rubber spatula. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours (or, covered, up to 3 days), before cutting into 12 squares.




Creamy Fruit Pie

No Fail Pie Crust

2 1/2 c. flour                       1/2 t. salt

1 c. shortening

Process the above ingredients until they are large crumbs.

Add:

1 egg, beaten                      1 T. vinegar

1/4 c. water

Mix all ingredients together; divide into four parts. Roll out onto well floured surface and put into pie pan. Poke holes in pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown.

Let cool before filling.





Filling:

2 t. vanilla                                          3/4- 1 c. sugar

8 oz. cream cheese softened           2 c. thinly sliced fruit (strawberries, peaches, raspberries or blueberries)

2 c. heavy cream, whipped

Beat together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Whip the cream separately. Fold or whip both mixtures together. Spread into baked and cooled pie crust. Cover and refrigerate. May be made up to 1 day in advance. When ready to serve top with desired fruit topping.




Citrus Honeydew Melon with Fresh Lime-Basil Sorbet

Ingredients:

1/2 ripe honeydew melon

1 lime, juiced

1 lemon, juiced

Zest of 2 lemons

Sorbet:

1 c. fresh squeezed lime juice (8-10 limes)

1 c. water

1 c. simple sugar syrup (1 c. sugar plus 1 c. water, boiled then cooled)

10 whole basil leaves

1/2 c. heavy cream




Directions:

Cut melon into 6 wedges and remove the rind. Place in large plastic container with lid along with juices from the lime and the lemon and zest of 1 lemon. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, turning over to coat with citrus juices. When ready to serve, slice each wedge into 5 or 6 thin slices and arrange as a fan on each plate. Drizzle with remaining citrus juices and more lemon zest. Place a small serving of sorbet on the top or beside  melon.

Sorbet:

Combine all of the ingredients, except the heavy cream, into a freezer friendly container and freeze for 6-8 hours or overnight. Remove from freezer and allow to soften a little. Put chunks of frozen mixture into a food processor and process until all the crystals have disappeared and the mixture is smooth. Add the heavy cream and combine well. Re-pack in the container and keep frozen until needed.

Sweet 16 Birthday Party

I chose fun colors of pinks and corals with gold accents for this colorful teen’s party. We rented a taco truck for food and had a DJ to dance the night away. It was such a fun night filled with friends, music, good food and a great space to party! This ‘G’ on the door was the initial for the birthday girl’s name to greet her guests with.

This party hat entry table was one of my favorite features at the party.  A room full of teenagers wearing party hats was such a fun sight!

We called this room the balloon room- it was right to the left as you entered and was a great space for the teen’s to hang out in when they weren’t dancing.




The fringe ‘selfie backdrop’ wall was a hit all night and simple streamers down the hallway were the perfect party addition.

These centerpieces were high impact but inexpensive. I just blew up small 5″ balloons and tied them around a 24″ string. I taped the string to the tablecloth and inserted some greenery and flowers to hide the string. It took some time but I love how they turned out.

This cake by Annie Bee Cakery was the perfect little cake to display with all of the cupcakes. The simple flowers I added to it were just the right accent.

This wall of pictures of the birthday girl was a highlight of the night and such an easy addition. Sparkling Ice drinks to match the color scheme and water bottles with cute labels were kept well stocked the whole night.

These treats were the favor but were snacked on throughout the night after all the tacos were eaten. Can’t have a party without treats- especially when there are teens involved!

 

Holiday Housewarming Party

I thought the perfect way to share our new home with friends and family would be to combine a holiday AND housewarming party. It gave me time to get my home ready and kick off the holiday season with loved ones.

Drinks and appetizers were served to greet our guests. I kept the fare light finger foods to keep it easy and delicious.

This Lime Mojito drink was refreshing and so easy. Crushed mint leaves added to equal parts sprite and soda water garnished with lime was a crowd pleaser.

Simple finger foods with something for everyone were perfect for the casual night. I made these tiered platters by applying putty to candleholders and the platter base to allow for more food display. Something that is easily removable put perfect for larger gatherings.

Candles and twinkle lights were everywhere to allow for a dimly lit, moody atmosphere.

The dessert table included mini chocolate toffee trifles and raspberry shortcake trifles. This table was empty by the end of the night- definitely what I’d hoped for!!

Such a fun night celebrating with friends and family. Everyone’s kind comments and support of our new home left me full of gratitude for this new chapter of our life!!

Big thanks to she.be.still.photography and sydney.carpenter for the photos

Ladie’s Luncheon

img_6694

I had so many friends help us move out of our old home and into our new home that I wanted to thank them all by throwing a lunch for them! I tried my hardest to keep it simple and CASUAL- so bottled sodas and a simple lunch were the way to go.img_6740

I had all of the salad plates set up with a wedge salad when my friends arrived- iceberg lettuce, crumbled bacon, diced tomatoes, bleu cheese and topped with ranch dressing. The perfect starter for a light lunch.

img_6689

As they finished their salads we cleared their salad plates and brought them grilled cheese sandwiches made with cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and spread with an herbed butter- 1/2 c. softened butter blended with 1 tsp. lemon lemon juice, 1 T. diced fresh parsley, 1 t. diced garlic and salt and pepper to taste. The tomato soup stole the show though- fresh tomatoes blended with cream and served hot.

Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup

3 T. olive oil                                                                                        1 T. tomato paste

1 1/2 c. chopped red onions (2 onions)                                          1/4 c. packed fresh basil leaves

2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped                                                    3 c. chicken stock or chicken broth

1 T. minced garlic (3 cloves)                                                             1 T. salt

2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely  chopped                      2 t. ground black pepper

1 1/2 t. sugar                                                                                        3/4 c. heavy cream

Heat the olive oil in large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauce for about 10 min., until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30-40 min., until tomatoes are very tender.

Add the cream to the soup and process in a blender or food processor.

img_6734

Serving 14 women was kind of tricky getting us all into the same room but 2 tables held us perfectly and we were still close enough to talk. Putting a tablecloth onto an 8 ft. card table was the perfect solution.

img_6787

We ended the lunch with snickerdoodle ice-cream sandwiches- something small and sweet!

img_5925

Surprise Birthday Brunch for Joss

josstableme

My goal was to keep this party simple, small and summery. I’m not a big fan of themed parties, but my obsession with watermelons was the perfect jumping off point for Jossie’s 9th birthday. I pulled the colors and summery aspects of it into the look of the whole party.

jostablesetting

These napkins were just the right addition to add that summery look and feel. The pink glasses were from the Dollar Store- such a great find!!

josfriends

I made it a jammie party and the girls all looked adorable.

joscraft

One of her favorite things to do is to make crafts so we made these watermelon fans together- the girls loved them.

joswreath

The florals were all pink and green to follow the watermelon color scheme. The wreaths I made for the back of the chairs were made out of olive branches. They were a great addition to the table.

josfloral

The centerpiece helped tie it all in together.

jossmelon

Watermelon slices on a stick were cute and fun to eat and it’s Jossie’s favorite fruit!

joscake

This watermelon cake was adorable and delicious.

jospartytable

jostable2

I used washi tape to attach the pale colored balloons to the ceiling. We still have balloons floating around the house and it’s 2 weeks after her party!

josandi

Such a fun day for the sweetest girl- I love birthdays!!

All photograph by She Be Still Photography- thanks Tressa!