Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumpkin Cheeseballs

You know I all love a good cheeseball (find all the evidence here) when I decided to have our 1st annual Pumpkin Party, I had to make a cheeseball.  I had made a jack-o-lantern cheeseball years ago (see here), but wanted to do something a little different so maybe the kids would eat some too.  I decided to make mini-cheeseballs that looked like pumpkins.  
 I changed up my usual cheeseball recipe for this one, mostly because I had very little time in throwing this party together & decided that I didn't have time to go to the grocery store to buy the spices I was out of.  Usually I use a mixture of onion powder, garlic powder & chili powder as my spices & use a splash of Worcestershire sauce.  Since I wasn't sure how the kids would feel about chili powder & I thought it would change the color, I didn't use any of that & I was completely out of onion powder.  So here is what I used instead....

2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese
16 oz of softened cream cheese (2 standard bars)
2-3 tablespoons of garlic powder
2-3 tablespoons of cumin
1 1/2 cups of Cheez Its

Take the first four ingredients & mix them together like this...
 Usually I roll everything up into a big ole ball or a shape, but I decided to do little individual balls instead.
 Take your cheez its & put them into a ziploc bag & smash them up to make some crumbs like this.
 Then I took my mini-cheeseballs & rolled them in the cheez its mixture.
 After they were all rolled, I took some celery & cut it up into small pieces & stuck them in the top of the cheeseball to resemble a pumpkin stem.  I don't think these had as much flavor as my usual cheeseball, but they were pretty darn delicious & I think they were easier for the kids to eat since they were a little blander.  And seriously, who doesn't love a cheeseball covered in Cheez Its? ; ) Happy Halloween everyone!  

See these posts for more info on this party

Jack-o-latern Cheeseball

Throwback Thursday to a Halloween many moons ago.  When we were back in law school, Halloween was my friend Natalie's thing.  She threw the best Halloween parties.  We'd all make lots of delicious snacks, dress up in our best costumes & party the night away.  Life before children it would probably take me a couple of days to recoup from one of those parties. ; ) One year, I morphed my usual cheeseball recipe into a pumpkin.  I followed my usual recipe, but instead of rolling it in chili powder at the end, I mixed it into the main mix.  Then I used a green pepper to make the jack-o-lantern face.

Here is the recipe for the cheeseball.  You can find it & more of my cheeseball creations on my cheeseball page.  : )

 2 cups of sharp shredded cheddar cheese
16 oz of cream cheese (2 standard bars)
1/2 cups pecans, chipped
2-3 tablespoons of Worchestershire sauce
2-3 tablespoons of garlic powder
2-3 tablespoons of onion powder
2-3 tablespoons of chili powder

Take all of the ingredients & mix together & roll into a ball.  I flattened this down a little more to make more of a pumpkin shape.  Refrigerate overnight to make sure it firms up.  Take out about 20-30 mins before you want to serve it so it will be soft enough to eat with crackers.  I serve Wheat Thins with the cheeseball.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin Cupcakes

I will be the first to say, there was nothing super creative from me at all that went into making these cupcakes.  They are cupcakes made from yellow box mix.  I thought about trying to make pumpkin flavored cupcakes, but to be honest...I don't even really like pumpkin flavor that much & I didn't think the kids at the Pumpkin Party would eat it.  I thought about maybe making them with spice cake mix, but ultimately caved to the normalcy & deliciousness of yellow cake mix.
Now that I gave my disclaimer about nothing fancy about these cupcakes...I will take a second to tell you about trying the new line of Funfetti icings.  They have icing now that is vanilla flavored but brightly colored.  The orange one was perfect to make pumpkin cupcakes, especially since I used the last of my food coloring for the Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats.
 So I iced these cupcakes with my cool orange frosting...
 Then dipped them in clear crystallized sugar to give them a little something extra.
 Then I took some lime flavored tootsie rolls & cut them in half lengthwise & then in half again to make stems for the pumpkins.
 If I were to make pumpkin cupcakes again, I would probably try a pumpkin flavor or a spice cake flavor & also use a lot more frosting (shocking surprise, I know) & put it in the fridge to harden & then draw lines in the frosting to more resemble a pumpkin.  Since this party was majorly done on the fly, that obviously didn't happen here.  Oh well, at least my boxed cake mix was delicious.  ; )   Hope your pumpkin days are perfect!

See these posts for more info on this party

Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats

Is it weird that I am 30 years old & have never made Rice Krispie Treats before?  Probably, but I haven't.  I saw this recipe here on Pinterest at & it was too cute to pass up.  I mean, how cute did these turn out for our 1st annual pumpkin carving party?  Directions on how to make are below or on the original link above.  The only thing I really changed up is that I didn't pipe the green icing for the leaves.  I bought a bag of Halloween candy that had regular tootsie rolls & it also included the lime flavored tootsie rolls.  So instead of piping icing, I cut up the green tootsie rolls & then shaped them into little leafs.  I am sure for people who are used to piping easy, that is just as easy, but if you are like me & not an icing aficionado...feel free to use colored tootsie rolls or something similar (I like to use Airheads on a lot of the random cupcakes I make).  Anyway, here is how you make these cute little guys.
 For ingredients, gather the following:
* 3 tbsp butter
* 1 bag of mini marshmallows (you will only need 5 cups...the rest are for snacking or keeping toddlers busy while cooking, haha)
* red & yellow food coloring
* box of Rice Krispies cereal (You will need 6 cups so you will have a little left over afterwards. I bought the Frosted Rice Krispies cereal kind because I am that parent that thinks my kid will probably prefer more sugar with her cereal...I know, what was I thinking?)
* 15 regular brown tootsie rolls
* 3 green lime flavored tootsie rolls

So once you have all of your ingredients, place the butter in a pot & melt it over medium/low heat.  I used a large pot so that I could dump the marshmallows in & the cereal to stir it all up.  After the butter has melted, add in the marshmallows & start melting them.  Add in the red & yellow food coloring until you get the color of pumpkin you are looking for.  I used all of the yellow & just a smidge of the red (mostly because that is what I had left). 

Once the butter & marshmallows are all melted & smooth, start to stir in the cereal.  Take it off of the heat & just keep stirring until everything is coated.  Now here is where I wasn't sure exactly how to complete this step since I had never handled these treats before...I let the cereal cool & tried to roll into a ball.  This stuff is super sticky.  It was sticking to my hands like crazy.  So I suggest wetting your fingers just a little & make sure that the cereal is truly cool before you start rolling.  This recipe made me 15 pumpkins.  It could probably make more or less depending on how big you like your pumpkins.  Once you have your pumpkins all rolled up, poke a hole in the top with your finger (the original recipe said thumb but I got a pretty fat thumb, so I stuck with my pinkie).  Then I stuck in a tootsie roll.  I cut the green lime flavored tootsie rolls into 5ths, so I used 1/5 of the roll to mold into a little leaf to stick on the stem.  

I really thought these turned out cute.  Word to the these within the first day or two.  They are DELICIOUS.  After the second day though, the consistency gets kinda weird.  Although as yummy as these guys are, you don't really have to worry about them sticking around that long.  : )  

See these posts for more info on this party

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Party

This year I decided I wanted to start an annual pumpkin carving party so we invited a couple of friends & their kids over.  We didn't go all out & invite a bunch of people since this was our trial run.  if carving pumpkins with kids got crazy, I didn't want there to be 20 of them running around.  ; ) 

Now you can't have a pumpkin carving party without some pumpkin treats.  So here is the pumpkin party table...
 The lighting is terrible & I was traveling for work all week & ran out of time to make a banner, but here is our pumpkin party table on the fly.  I love the whiter looking pumpkins & Walmart will sell you 3 of them for like $2.  Legit.  The scarecrow is actually very special to me.  It was given to us in a flower arrangement when my father-in-law passed away & we like to have him out around this time of year to remind us of him.  : (  

 In looking at my table, you can tell I clearly wanted it to be pumpkin crazy.  Easiest pumpkin treat ever?  Little clementines with the peel removed with a little tootsie roll stuck in.  Easy & pretty darn cute.

We also had pumpkin-looking (was going to go with pumpkin flavored too but then I was afraid the kids wouldn't eat them & I would have too many left...wait, is that a bad thing? haha) cupcakes.  Click here for some more information on the pumpkin cupcakes.  
 Pumpkin cheeseballs!  You guys know I love a cheeseball, so I adapted my usual recipe to make these little individual pumpkin cheeseballs (also do not taste like pumpkin).  Click here for more info on these cute little guys. : )
 And last but not least, Rice Krispie treats that look like pumpkins.  So cute & so delicious.  Have Rice Krispie treats always been that delicious or is it just that way now that I'm an adult & it may not be as acceptable to eat them all the time?  Regardless, these were probably my favorite.  Click here for more information on those.

The pumpkin party was a blast.  We painted & carved different pumpkins outside on the deck.  Here are a couple of the finished pumpkins...Full Disclosure, I cannot show you my pumpkin.  It was supposed to be a witch's hat & somehow turned out to look more like a phallic symbol.  Completely embarrassing.  I cannot carve a pumpkin...I guess I will have to settle for making food that looks like pumpkins instead.  : )  Happy Halloween (a little early) everyone!

See these posts for more info on this party
Pumpkin Party
Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats
Pumpkin Cupcakes
Pumpkin Cheeseballs

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ladies Who Lunch

You all know I love a real planned out theme party.  However, sometimes it's just not a themed occasion or you have to throw a table together on the fly.  But you still want your table to look nice, right?  Of course!  : )  A couple of months ago, I had some of my best friends from law school & their kids over for a lunch/play date.  Planning a lunch for kids & adults can be a little trying sometimes (especially since we all have picky toddlers right now) so for this party, I kept the menu simple with cheese & crackers, fruit, pimento cheese & chicken salad with rolls/crackers, potato salad & pasta salad.  
To spruce up the table, I used a grey piece of flowered fabric across the table & bought some stargazer lilies (one of my absolute favorites, I only wish they had bloomed a little more).  I tend to like a really balanced table, so I loved that the height of the flowers balanced the tiered serving tray.  For a little something special, I printed out pictures of us throughout the 8 years we have now known each other & put them in glass candle holders as the centerpiece of our table.  It was a lot of fun to look at pictures of us throughout the years, while celebrating this next generation of friends with our kids.

Monday, October 13, 2014


Labor Day was Baby P's first holiday, so it felt only right to have a BaByQ.  'What's that'? you ask? Oh, just a BBQ honoring a baby of course. ; )  This was actually two days of celebrations where we had friends over Sunday night & family over on Monday, which was really nice because we had 2 parties & one setup.  Legit.  

So of course I did my OCD faux setup before the party started.  Usually I start this a couple of weeks in advance if I can, but this party was thrown together in a couple of hours just because of time.  I went with gingham, wood, stone & white as my patterns.  I love cast iron pots & wood & gingham both feel very BBQish.  The white I went with mostly out of necessity.  I set up all the serving dishes I needed & arranged them until they fit & looked ok on the table.  You know I love decorating with a crate, so I threw that up there too.  I decided to turn the table & put it in front of the old window (see that project here) I have hanging in my kitchen.  I decided the window would be cute to hang a little banner from.  There is also a little chalkboard that I write my menus for the week on that I thought I could write our BBQ menu on.  Disclaimer: once I write my weekly menu out on that usually stays that way for months, but it is the perfect cover for me to look like I am really on top of things. ; )

I wanted to make a large banner & a small banner.  I used my little cutouts sheet of letters for the small letters & my larger cardboard cutouts set for the large letters.

The gingham scrapbook paper came from Hobby Lobby.  These banners were nothing fancy because of my time crunch.  I used brown cardstock to trace the letters & brown ribbon leftover from my Boy Meets World banner.  I hung the large banner across the window & the small banner reading "Peyton" across the crate.

I love a good little chalkboard for menus.  I need one that can sit on a table by itself, but I haven't graduated to anything that fancy yet. ; )

I tied burlap & gingham ribbons around the different serving pieces & around the mason jars holding the candles. 
The last addition were some flowers on sale at the grocery store.  Sometimes you just need a bouquet of flowers to make a party table & this was one of those occasions. 
For the BaByQ, we served BBQ, baked beans, salad, chips, fruit, rolls & cookies...ala the traditional BBQ menu.  Everything was delicious & pretty easy & it was really wonderful to spend time celebrating the holiday & baby P with our family & friends.