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Tag Archives: party

Christmas Appetizer -Honey Garlic glazed Meatballs 

18 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 18

Welcome to the 18th day if Blogmas where I bring you a simple recipe for a delectable appetizer great for your yuletide gathering (or any other time of year). 

This is a recipe my mother makes often.She got it from TasteofHome. She has altered it a bit and I have altered her version so this is a version of a version. Lol.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Meatballs 

1) Ground beef-you can substitute this with another ground meat : turkey, lamb, pork, chicken or for a vegetarian option you can use textured vegetable protein (minced soy chunks)

2) 1 large egg.

3) 1/2 cup(125mL) of milk

4) 1 cup breadcrumbs.

5) 1/4 cup of diced onion.

Meatball ingredients 


Sauce

6) 2 diced garlic cloves.

7) 3/4 cup(6oz/170g) of ketchup

8) 3/4 cup of honey

9) 3 tbsp(45mL) of soy sauce

10) 1  tbsp butter

Sauce ingredients 




WHAT TO DO 

Meatballs 

PREP

Season your ground meat-I use black pepper and Worcester sauce and let it sit for about 30 minutes. 

1) Mix egg and milk together.

Egg and milk 


2) Add breadcrumbs and onioin and mix well.

Breadcrumbs and onioin  added 




3) Add ground beef (turkey,  lamb, soy etc) and form a firm mixture.

Meat mixture 




4) Form balls, approximately 1 inch (2.5cm) in diameter. This recipe gives approximately 24 meatballs this size. Of course you can make them larger or smaller if you so desire.

Meatballs formed


5) Place on baking sheet and bake at 400 F (205 C) for 15 minutes or until cooked all the way through. 

Sauce

6) In a saucepan heat garlic and butter then add ketchup, soy sauce and honey. Allow to simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.

Sauce


Serve Meatballs with sauce either on the side or coated.

Meatballs with sauce on the side 



Meatballs glazed with sauce 



The original recipe(linked above) makes more meatballs than stated. My mother also finds the amount of breadcrumbs recommend isn’t quite enough to make a firm meatball. She also recommends using more honey than listed. For me I halved the amount of ground beef but had to tweak it in a few other places. The take home message is be careful if you plan to use the original recipe.

These Meatballs are always a hit. The meatballs themselves are firm but moist and flavourful. The sauce is has complex flavours but is super easy and affordable to concoct. The salty soy sauce , the sweetness of the honey and the tang from the ketchup make give a unique taste combination sure to impress your guests.

Definitely try this one out guys and have an awesome day.

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FESTIVE DRINK -Hot (Chocolate) Shot

15 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 15

It’s the 15th day of Blogmas and we’re rounding out the Christmas drinks with a chocolate shot. 

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Vodka-Regular or flavoured; this one happens to be chocolate flavored because it happened to be on sale but a marshmallow or vanilla flavored one would work too. 

2) Chocolate milk– Or chocolate almond/cashew/soy milk.

3) Mini Marshmallows – for topping.

4) Brown sugar– For the rim

5) Shot glass.



The ingredients 


WHAT TO DO 




1) Rim glass with using simple syrup (white sugar dissolved into water) then coat with brown sugar.

Glass rimmed with sugar



2) Pour shot glass 2/3 way with chocolate milk.

Milk



3) Fill remainder of glass with vodka and top with 3 mini marshmallows.

Vodka and marshmallows


4) Toast marshmallows- I used a long handled lighter. Be sure to let the flame touch the Marshmallows but not the shot itself (unless you want it flaming!)

Toasted marshmallows



Finished shot




The toasted marshmallows smell so good  (it’s fine with untoasted marshmallows as well). The rich chocolate flavour goes smoothly with the vodka. This a great little drink to get your guests in a party mood and it looks like hard work but is so easy and quick to do.

Thank you for reading and have an awesome day.

(No- bake) Ice cream cake 

4 Sep

Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream 

Hello

Today I bring a spin on the ice cream cake that involves well…no cake. This is a great treat to make as a regular cake alternative for your ice-cream loving friends.

Instead of cake , this recipe uses a cookie crumb crust similar to a cheesecake. I have also included a decor DIY I think is fitting for any ice cream party.
ICE CREAM CAKE

I made two small cakes and some mini ones. The process is identical the difference is the container used. You can also make a larger cake or use a loaf pan.
WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Ice cream– I bought a box of neopolitan ice cream that way I got 3 flavours out of one  purchase but use whatever you have/want.

2) Cookies/Buscuits– I used custard creams as the vanilla and strawberry base and oreos for the chocolate base.

Custard creams and oreo cookies

Butter 
3) Cake tin(s) I used two 4 inch diameter spring form tins and a mini muffin tin for the smaller ones.

Cake tins

PROTIP : The key here is the spring form tin. I have attempted ice cream cakes in the past that didn’t work out because I simply couldn’t get them put the tin. Remember you are freezing the ice cream, it will not easily slip out of a regular tin. For the smaller ones it was easier to remove because liners were used. I haven’t tried it but I suspect this could work with a silicone container. 

4) Blender/Food Processor – To crumble the cookies. You can alternately do it manually. 
WHAT TO DO 

1) Remove filling from your biscuits  (if they have )

Golden custard and oreo cookies sans cream
2) Blend cookies  -In food processor / blender/nutribullet  to create crumbs. If you don’t have one of these devices then place the cookies in a plastic bag, get a heavy utensil  (mallet, bowl, leg of ham…) and pound the daylights out of it, use that elbow grease. This is a more labour intensive method but it works just fine. 

Cookie crumbles 
3) In a heated skillet melt a small amount of butter at a time alternatjng with adding cookie crumbs.  You want to create a concoction the texture of moist sand.

Creating crumb and butter mixtures
4) Press cookie-butter mixture into lined pans or cupcake liners and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up.

Compress mixture
5) Once the crust is firm add softened ice cream on top and smooth over. Atthis point you can make any additions you want like broken up cookie bits, fruit, jelly candies. ..you get the idea.

Process of adding ice-cream to base.
6) Freeze for at least 6 hours but overnight if you can. I want to recommend covering your cakes with plastic wrap as this may help reduce the frostbite mine ultimately suffered. 

7) Decorate -I broke up some cookies and placed them onto the top of the cakes but you can add sprinkles, frosting whatever you want! 
DOILY/DOILIE BANNER

I made a banner using dyed doilies as I thought this would go along with the ice cream vibe. I made a similar one a few years back for my mother’s birthday party. Doiles are very inexpensive and can be used in all kinds of crafty activities and I think they suit events such as ice cream and tea parties. 
WHAT YOU NEED 

1) White doilies (I used 6 out of a package of 40)

2) Food dye– you can also use natural dyes such as berries or tea.

3) String

4) Glue

5) Bowls– to soak the doilies in. The number you use corresponds with the number of colurs you use, unless you’re like me and you only have one bowl, then this process takes MUCH longer!

Materials needed
WHAT TO DO 

1) Place water into bowl and add dye. The more dye and less water you add (i.e the more concentrated the solution) the more brightly coloured your doily will turn out.

Water and dyes placed
2) Place doilies in and let soak. -I left mine for about one hour, long enough to soak up as much colour as possible but not so long as to become over saturated and disintegrate. 

Doilie soaking
3) CAREFULLY  remove from water, separate and lay flat to dry. Until they dry they remain quite delicate. 

Dyed and dried doilies
4) Fold dried doilies over string and glue. I folded mine 1/3 over because I liked it better that way, but you can fold it in half or even cut them to make more.

Folded and glued doilies  (back view)
Hang and enjoy! 

Dolie banner
Combine your decor and finished ice cream cakes for a whimsical ice cream party. This is great for birthdays,  a cute dessert option for any gathering. 

Have an awesome day! 

Checkered Celebration Cake

15 Aug

Hello all! I attempted one of my most daring baking feats this past week….and it worked! Sort of.

My beautiful friend is leaving our squad for greener pastures, furthering her career and reuniting with loved ones and all good things. Therefore as sad as I am for her to leave, it is a cause for celebration. 

A group of us decided to host a chill, surprise goodbye celebration with casual no fuss eats like burgers, hot dogs and tortilla chips with salsa. Our resident vegan came through with a spicy tofu dish and we had mini cinnamon rolls as a sweet snack. 

Like I said it was chill and relaxed just like our friend. That however wasn’t enough for me apparently. I decided I wanted to make her a cake. A celebration cake! A checkered celebration  cake. A checkered celebration cake topped with cookies and chocolate. What a decision this was.

I have been seeing and admiring checkered cakes for well over a year now, dissecting the technique, pumping myself up to finally tackle it .This was the time. A word of advice is NEVER try out a new recipe just before you have an event or guests over. Did I listen to that advice? No.

So I undertook this task and I will now document it inclusive of my horrible errors so that we can all learn from my mistakes together.

Let us begin…

The cake was tri-colour checkerboard and I topped it with meringue cookies and shards of candy melt bark. I will begin with the toppings as I made them first.

(Rainbow) Meringue Cookies

WHAT YOU NEED

1) 3 med- large egg whites 

2) 3/4 cup(150g) castor sugar

Tip (castor sugar and icing sugar are the same thing and it can be made by running granulated sugar in a food processor / blender/nutribullet etc for a few seconds. 

3) Cream of tartar  (to stabilize the egg whites)- you’ll just need a pinch of this.

4) 1/4 teaspoon rose water (the original recipe called for vanilla extract, you can substitute that for whatever flavour you prefer)

5) Multiple food colours – I used teal and purple (my attempt at orange didn’t make the cut.

6) Piping bag (or a zip lock bag )

Meringue ingredients


WHAT TO DO

1) Preheat oven to 95°C (200°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.

2) Beat egg whites until foamy, add cream of tartar and beat until soft peak stage.  (Soft peaks gently and slowly fold over )

3) Slowly add sugar beating at medium to high speed until stiff peak stage. ( Stiff peaks hold their form) then add in the rose water.

Tip : Do NOT over beat the egg. It’s better to beat,stop and check then keep beating than to overbeat the egg.

4)Using a toothpick or a knife, streak your food colouring along the length of the piping (ziplock) bag then add the meringue mixture.

5) Pipe the meringue mixture out in little dollops, according to the size you wish. The food colour should form a swirled effect.

Whipping up meringue mixture


6) Bake in oven for 1 1/2 hours (90 minutes) or until cookies are dry and crispy.

After this I stored my meringue cookies in a sealed airtight container and placed it in the cupboard for later use. I didn’t want to keep it in the fridge for fear of some moisture affecting the cookies.

The next thing I made was the chocolate/candy melt bark.

Rainbow Bark

WHAT YOU NEED

1) Candy melts in assorted colours. If you are more savvy ,you can use white chocolate and colour it using non-waterbased food dye. The colours I used were really just what I had knocking around; lime green, bright yellow, red and dark blue as well as white (this poor party girl wastes nothing!)

Candy melts in white and cheesecake (off white)



2) Sprinkles – to add over the top of the bark.

3) Containers to place the candy melts in.

4) Silicone mat or other flat, smooth heat resistant sheer to form bark on.

Silicone mat 



WHAT TO DO

1) Melt candy melts. 

2) Pour the melted chocolate onto mat or sheet and spread it out. I started with the white ones.

3) Add each colour and swirl it in. Add sprinkles on top.

White candy melts with red swirled in

4) Set the swirled bark in the fridge for a couple hours so it hardens completely. 

5) Remove hardened bark and crack it into shards using knife or mallet 

Multicolored candy melt bark 

I stored the candy melt bark in an airtight container in the fridge.

Candy melt shards

So those are the toppings for this overly ambitious cake completed. This took me an ENTIRE night,  good thing I started 2 days in advance. I recommend this for anyone trying this out.
DECOR

Before we move on to the  mess   I mean piece-de-resistance i.e the cake let me take a moment to show off my decor. It was really simple as I didn’t have a lot of time or money to get prepared.

I made the ever popular tassle/pom poms strung up and layered. I used brightly coloured tissue paper as it went along with the cake and my friend’s personality. 

Pom pom tassle decor 


I also hung up two balloons with multicolored marble design and lit some candles for a little ambience. 

Okay back to baking. The cake! This cake takes some work and some foresight but it isnt hard. The concept behind the checkered pattern is that by creating circles of differing colours in the horizontal plane, each one becomes a square when cut in a vertical plane. Sounds a smidgen confusing but I promise it isnt.

Tri-coloured Checkered Cake

WHAT YOU NEED

1) White cake batter- This makes it easier to colour. I used a recipe from www.joyofbaking.com because any recipe that lady (Stephanie) creates is actual gold-I’m talking 24 carat here!

2) 6″ round cake tin – this is what I used. You make the amount of cake batter in accordance with the size of your cake tins and the number of layers you ultimately make.

3) Food colours -I used red,yellow, blue and green to create bright pink, bright yellow and teal.

4) Circle Cookie cutters- this is to create the circles from the cake but you can freehand it with a knife …..if you dare.

 Some stuff you need for the cake

5)Icing- I’m not going to put an icing recipe here because quite frankly I have none. I attempted Italian meringue buttercream TWICE using 2 separate recipes from what I consider to be very legitimate websites but each one failed. In my online scouring I found that a lot of people attempting these recipes had similar problematic outcomes where the egg white seemed to deflate on addition of the butter. My advice from the beginning of this post remains, don’t attempt this for the first time on the day of the party/event. 

In the end I had to add a crap ton of icing sugar to make my second attempt salvageable. So……find an acceptable icing recipe and make it. And if it works, leave me a link cause girl needs help!

6) Cookie butter- The idea to add cookie butter to my icing came from a video by Yolanda Gamp of HowtoCakeit on YouTube. This. Is. An. EXCELLENT. Idea. The cookie butter also helped to thicken the icing .

WHAT TO DO

1) Preheat your oven as directed by the recipe you chose.

2) Mix your white cake batter

3) Separate batter into 3 bowls or whatever number of colours you plan to make. 

4) Add food colours to get desired colour-I used water based food colours because that’s what I had (they also tend to be cheaper) but gel colours definitely give me vibrant colours.

White cake batter

5) Bake cakes according to recipe, let cool and remove from tin.

Edit

Multi coloured cakes

To be honest I was initially disappointed that my cakes were so thin ( I think I made the batter stretch too far) but it turned out this was an okay height  (approximately 1 1/2 inches). I think it would be best if each layer is about 2 inches tall.

6) Trim the tops of your cakes to create a flat surface for stacking-I couldn’t do this because my layers were so skinny. 

7)Using your cookie cutters create 3 circles in each cake.

Cookie cutter used to make circle

Two different sized cutters used

Cake circles

8) Arrange the cake circles so that each cake layer has each colour in it.

Cake colours intermixed

9) Place 1st layer of cake on a level surface (if you own a lazy Susan this is the time to whip her out, if not creat your own with a bowl and a large plate.

10) Stack your layers, icing in between with the cookie butter infused frosting,  then crumb coat and place in refrigerator to harden up.

Layers of cake with frosting

11) Make more icing- the cookie butter turned the icing brown and I wanted the outside of the cake to be white. Also the icing just wouldn’t harden up as much as I wanted, so I decided to make royal icing to cover it over with. Unfortunately even my royal icing recipe was not on my side and that too ended up being a bit runny. Once you have successfully made white icing, cover the cake and place it in the fridge to begin to stiffen..

10) Add the toppings. I stuck the candy melt shards into the actual cake as you would a candle. I then placed the meringue cookies on top (my placement was haphazard and by the time I decided to relocate then they had set up in the icing )


The cake

Inside of checkered cake

When it’s time to serve the cake you will see the beautiful checkered design. Eat and enjoy! 

We had a great evening, it was stress free and ended on a sweet note (ba dum ching!) Thank you for reading and have an awesome day!

HALLOWEEN PARTY ACTIVITIES FOR ADULTS

3 Oct

wpid-20141029_153948.jpg

So it’s another October and Halloween is in the air! If you have even 1/64 of the love I do for Halloween you have been planning for months: decorations, costumes, parties etc. My sister and I traditionally have a Halloween party where we invite friends over, decorate our family home from top to bottom usually with a theme and make spooky inspired foods. Over the years the party has basically been a movie party where a selection of scare worthy flicks are played. On various occasions we have (pumpkin) spiced things up …. with in an activity or two to make things different.

The interwebs are choc full of Halloween party ideas from the décor to the food to the activities. The problem is when it comes to activities most of what you see is for kids. That’s fine, Halloween is a fun time for kids to dress up and have a blast but what about adults who want to dress up and have a blast?

I am going to share some ideas for activities for an adult Halloween party, and hopefully this will inspire someone. Enjoy!

So first things first, you have picked your theme, décor and menu. We won’t be dealing with that in this post.

MOVIES
This is a total “no brainer”. You pile up on some couches, grab some popcorn and let the movies roll. I have compiled a list of what I consider some great Halloween movie night choices (in no particular order).
1) Little Shop of Horrors
2) Insidious 1 and 2 (NOT 3!)
3) The Craft
4) The Conjuring– Anything even loosely based on a true story ups the scare factor
5) Poltergeist– Classic
6) The Exorcist– Another classic
7) Nightmare on Elm Street– The original or any from the franchise
8) Rosemary’s Baby
9) Sleepy Hollow
10) The Amityville Horror– Or any Amityville movies for that matter.

Alternately, you could binge watch a series. Some of my recommendations (again in no particular order) are :
1) American Horror Story (Seasons 1-4)
2) Penny Dreadful (Seasons 1 and 2)
3) True Blood ( Seasons 1-7)
4) Ghost Hunters – the original
5) Haunted Collector

CHALLENGES
If you have ever heard of this cute little website called YouTube then you may have come across the wide array of challenges that have taken over. The Kylie Jenner lip challenge, The Smoothie Challenge, The Lays chips Challenge, Pringles Challenge, Bean Boozled Challenge, French fries, burger, oreos , chubby bunny, ice cream and so on and so forth.

If you take a few minutes you can find dozens of videos on every challenge each one as entertaining as the last. I think any of the challenges involving food would be great group fun but I have selected my two favourites.

Oreo Challenge
It is now fairly common knowledge that Oreos, everyone’s favourite cream filled cookies come in more than just the traditional black with white cream. Literally any delicious sweet flavour you can imagine they have made. There is Birthday Cake, Mint, Berry, Pumpkin, Caramel apple, Red Velvet and many more.
So without any further ado ….

What You Need

1)Multiple flavours of oreos. I recommend 5-10. Less and it isn’t much of a game. More and it can get a bit long. One person (The Game Master) knows all the flavours and is responsible for distributing the cookies each round.

Some of the many flavours of Oreo cookies available:

Birthday cake oreoPumpkin Spice OreoMint OreosLemon oreosCandy Corn OreosCOOKIE DOUGH OREOSCaramel Apple OreoPeanut Butter Oreo

For a more exhaustive and comprehensive list check out this great blog post : http://blog.food.com/happenings/2015/03/06/22-odd-oreo-flavors-you-didnt-know-existed/ by ‘Happenings’

2)Players – 2 persons and up. You can technically have as many players as you have cookies.

3)Blindfolds- All players need to be blindfolded so as not to see the cookies before tasting.

What To Do

1)Each player dons a blindfold while the game master distributes one cookie per player all of the same flavour.

2)Each player tastes his/her cookie and makes a mental note. On the count of 3 everyone shouts their guesses.
After the guess, players remove blindfolds and flavour is revealed. Correct guess earns 1 point. Incorrect guess earns zero points.

After all rounds the person with the highest score is deemed winner.

Everyone wins in the end because they can eat all the left over cookies!

Tidbits
I’ve seen people award half points for close guesses e.g if Apple caramel cookie is guessed as just apple player gets 0.5 points.

Elimination- I never saw this because I’ve only seen it played with 2 players at a time but with each round, anyone with an incorrect guess can be eliminated until there are just 2 players and then they play for the win.

Prizes- This is generally reserved for children’s party games but why not? The prize can be anything from a package of oreos to a bottle of wine.

Bean Boozled Challenge
This is another hugely popular one. This kit sold by Jelly Belly consists of multiple jelly beans that are essentially colour similes. For example an orange jelly bean can be either peach or vomit flavoured, a yellow and white speckled one can be either popcorn or mouldy cheese. The odd disgusting flavours (I believe) are based on Bertie Botts Every flavour Beans written about in Harry Potter and made by Jelly Belly as well.

You can’t tell the difference until you taste it and by then it’s far too late.

What You Need
1) Bean Boozled Challenge Kit- The box with the spinner and 20 beans: 10 nice and 10 nasty go for around $6 US on Amazon or Jelly Belly’s website but you can buy an extra box/bag of just the beans for about $2.50 US.

bean-boozled-boardgame

Bean Boozled Kit- Photo available at: http://www.fivebelow.com/party.html

2) Players- At least 2 but you can have as many players as there are each colour bean

What To Do
1) Spin the bean boozled wheel and it points a particular colour bean ( flavour options given).

2)Each player takes one jelly bean in that colour and eats it. You have to eat the entire bean regardless of the flavour.
-I’ve seen the points awarded differently: One way is the person who gets the nice flavours gets a point while the one with the “boozled” flavour gets zero. I’ve also seen players awarded 2 points if you are able to eat an entire ‘nasty’ flavour.

3) The winner is the player with the most points.

Tidbits
I saw YouTuber Shaneece Bernard up the ante on this game where you had to take a shot each time you couldn’t or chose not to eat the ‘nasty’ flavour. Truly Bean BOOZEled.

FORTUNE TELLING/ TAROT/RUNES READING

Had enough of the challenges? How about having your fortune read?

So I don’t know any real fortune tellers but I know a few people who can read tarot cards.( As a disclaimer to anyone offended by this sort of thing, tarot cards aren’t actually meant to tell the future or have any evil connotations. That said, if you aren’t comfortable with it, don’t do it.) If you can afford it and want to ,you can hire someone to come and read everyone’s tarot. Or you can do it yourself.

Tarot cards are easily found online along with the book for interpretation and if you purchase a set you can keep it for every party or gathering you have.

tarot-cards-300x226Tarot Cards. Image available at: http://spmcommunications.com/gazing-into-the-future/

An alternative or in addition is reading Runes . Similar concept to Tarot cards.

1341389954RunesReadingIntroduction

Picture of Runes stones. Available at: http://www.futuresobright.com/tags/runes-reading

KARAOKE AND DANCE OFF
These are easy, fun and free. Gone are the days when you had to buy a Karaoke machine to be able to do this. Just connect your television with your device and play the song you want using a lyric video. Have someone(s) judge for the best singer/ all-round performer.

For the dance off it’s pretty much the same thing. People assemble into small groups, select a song and make up a short choreography. The best group wins.

Tidbits
To increase the fun factor I suggest having a theme. For example all the karaoke songs have to be by the same artist or all have to be in a foreign language. For the dance group contest perhaps all the songs have to be from a particular decade e.g the 1980s.

All of these activities are in my opinion fun and chill and inexpensive. Movies can be watched via Netflix or your Android box, you only need an internet connection to get access to VEVO for karaoke and dance competitions and the bean boozled kits and oreos are reasonably priced.

I hope my suggestions inspire you for your Halloween or any time of year party. Have an awesome day!

Halloween on the Cheap

30 Oct

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Happy Halloween!
I love Halloween. I also love Christmas, my birthday and Easter. I like Valentine’s day and I have no feelings towards Thanksgiving. I also appreciate,respect and acknowledge Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali and Eid even though I don’t personally celebrate them.

Now to the meat of the matter: Halloween!
Despite living away from home on and off for the past 4 years I have managed to be at home every year for the past 6 Halloweens. There I have a collection of Halloween props and decorations both handmade and store bought.

Here (where I am now) I have nothing. Zero, zilch! To add insult to injury Halloween season found me at a time when I had no money. NONE! So it isn’t like I could order a bunch of new stuff online or go on a shopping spree.

What is a poor party girl to do?

Well I soon discovered that my new hometown didn’t have much to offer in the way of Halloween shopping, in fact it doesn’t have much to offer in the way of shopping in any way…

Despite that I soon discovered a discount store had some Halloween stuff in stock. The basic stuff: witch hats and brooms, cat ears and tail kits, rubber creepy crawlies you get the drift.

Even though I prefer more inspired merchandise I could work with this. I have loads of “basic” Halloween decorations at home.

I could do a whole witchy theme I thought :
I’d hang two brooms over the doorway, put a plastic cauldron on my dining table and have a ton of rubber worms and mice spilling out of it. Of course I’d buy a bunch of pumkins and arrange them on my counter then put witch hats on a couple of them…..yes I can see it now….
EXCEPT I didn’t have enough money for all that stuff.

Okay so forget the theme idea I would keep it simple: A Happy Halloween banner on the wall, fake cobwebs in each corner a plastic Jack-o-lantern bucket filled to the brim with candy. I could strategically place the rubber rats and centipedes on the floor wait wait….didn’t have enough for that either.  And the store didn’t have any fake cobwebs anyway.

So I went in with a budget of under $10 (that was my theme).For that I got the following:
1) Spiderweb bowl
2) Pack of rubber spiders
3) Pack of small bats
4) Witch’s hat
TOTAL $9(things are kind of expensive around here)

This wasn’t a whole lot to work with but it was enough. My apartment is small anyway.
I placed the bowl on my table and arranged the spiders in and around it.

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Made some look like they were crawling away.

I put the witch’s hat on my breakfast bar and placed a spider and bat on it. I also added a purple candle I had from before saying as my colour scheme is purple.

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The bats were a problem. I wanted to hang them or maybe stick them onto the wall for a flying effect.but my lease prohibits sticking stuff up and also I had neither string nor tape nor funds with which to buy them. So I grudgingly propped them onto the shelf just above the breakfast bar. Made it into a Halloween corner as such.

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I’m a hardcore Halloween-ist so I knew I had to do something even if it isn’t what I would have wanted. I’m already away from home and friends and family so I needed some semblance of normalcy. And you know what I like it. It’s simple. I can look over when I’m on my laptop or in the kitchen making lunch and see it and that’s cool.

This is the overall look

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My little Halloween corner.

Well that’s that. I’ll be at work on Halloween night but I hope everyone has a great Halloween.
Stay tuned for my Halloween Scary Story post.
Have an awesome day!

Dessert Party

29 Sep

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Hello everyone. I had a birthday this month. (Shout out to all September borns!)

Initially I wanted to have an intimate gathering. A cooking party, one where a chef comes and demonstrates while the guests follow and prepare the gourmet meal they then indulge in. I soon realized this was well above my means.

What I did instead was just as good. I had a dessert party! A dessert beach party to be exact! Yup, a party where the entire menu is dessert. I also had the fortune and pleasure of being able to have it at a beach house. Dessert, sand, ocean. Pretty perfect.

INSPIRATION
The inspiration for my party was…wait for it…. “My Little Pony Friendship is Magic” a.k.a MLP FIM. Yes, this adult over here is a huge fan of the series. I’ve been a fan of My Little Pony since the original series back in the day. I’m sure most people are vaguely aware that the series has been revamped quite a few times but I have to say that this current version (Generation 4 or G4) is the best! But I digress.

I knew I wanted a party inspired by them but having MLP FIM plates, tablecloth and loot bags would be a bit much even for me. I decided to have a more abstract interpretation of the show.

On the show, the ponies are always having a good time and throwing some kind of party usually put together by resident party planner and my favourite character Pinkie Pie. For this reason I chose pink as the colour of my decor.

At their parties the menus almost solely consist of dessert. Hence my idea to have a dessert party!

THE PARTY
Every shindig I throw together no matter how big or small how casual or fancy I have a party plan. This is where I put together important bits of info to guide me as I plan. Sometimes it’s written, sometimes I put it in my phone and sometimes it’s just in my head but the point is that it’s there.

PARTY PLAN

WHAT: Birthday- Dessert Party

WHEN: September 6th 2014

WHERE: Beachhouse at X location

WHO: Insert guest list here

THEME: MLP FIM /Dessert

MENU: Insert menu here

ENTERTAINMENT: This is where you decide how you keep ypur guests bustm. Anything from an iTunes playlist to a game of monopoly to a performance by a belly dancer goes here.

BUDGET: Arguably the most important part of the party plan.
My budget was $100 US

Wait…what! An entire party for 25 plus persons feeding them dessert!(easily the most expensive part of any meal) for $100 US! No way!

Yes way. I am the poor party girl. I entertain and live fabulously on a budget!

HOW: I decided to do it potluck style. I asked each guest(or couple) to bring a dessert. That way each person only spent money on one dish but put altogether we had quite a spread.

THE LIST
This is my menu
1) Strawberry Trifle

2) Chocolate Trifle (ended up being baked chocolate mousse cake)

3) Brownies

4) Blondies

5)Cheesecake (one with strawberry and the other with cherry topping)

6)Coconut mousse

7) Ambrosia Salad

8) White chocolate chip cookies

9) Strawberry Strudel

10) Ice Cream

11) Fruit Tarts

12) Coconut Loaf

13)Chocolate Bread Pudding

14) Jello

Additionally we had tuna, cheese and cucumber sandwiches as well as fishcakes for those who wanted a break from the sweetness.

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Fruit tarts

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Blondies being sliced

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Some of the desserts

Of course there were drinks. From juice to coke wine, rum and vodka(birthday cake flavoured!), tipsy gummy bears and jello shots!

DECOR
As I said pink was the colour of choice. In an effort to stick to my budget coupled with my lack of time and energy to DIY, I had very minimal decorations but I think it worked out just fine.

1) Triangle flag banners
I bought three of these 9 foot long card banners. They were pink and white with alternating patterns of polka dots and stripes. I got them from a craft/toy store and they werw very inexpensive.

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The banners

2)Flowers
I usually get flowers from my supermarket. They are reasonable and there’s a decent selection. To save money, you could buy 2 or 3 flowers and either add some bulk with foliage from your garden or leave them just so for a minimalist look. This is what I usually do but I got crazy and bought a full bouquet with pink being the main colour of course.

3)Table
I bought a dirt cheap plastic tablecloth in flamingo pink. Not wanting to hide to beautiful dark wood table entirely my sister folded the tablecloth lengthways into 1/3’s and made it into a table runner.

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Table runner and flowers

4) Balloons
What a controversial decoration. For years I considered them tacky. A six year old birthday? Yeah. A high school dance? Fine, maybe. A wedding or a conference? NO!
Now I don’t feel that way at all. All over the net I’ve seen some seriously tasteful balloon decorations. Also, if you like balloons..use them! They are cheap, fun and instantly say “party!”.
My sister and mother got me three regular latex balloons filled with helium( they don’t last as long as heluim balloons) for my welcome home which happened 5 days earlier. They still had a little life in them so I tied them to the gate of the beach house so guests could find us.

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The balloons on day 1(sorry no party pics of them)

5) Candles
More for the ambience than decoration. I got a Glade candle in Coral Lagoon scent. Glade, BBW and similar brands are cheaper alternatives to fancy schmancy pricey designer candles.

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Glade candle

ENTERTAINMENT
Music
My sister’s bf set up a laptop and speakers and hooked it up to the TV. He had a playlist going most of the evening but later in we switched to YouTube requests and karaoke. Fun times!

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The entertainment system and me being a total creep in the window.

Hula(Hoola) hoop
Oh yes, inspired once more by MLP FIM. In their land Equestria, technology doesn’t exist and the ponies entetain themselves with old fashioned passtimes like apple bobbing and ball bouncing. I had 2 hoola hoops and later on in the evening some of us retreated to the sand and had a serious hooping session. I won!
There was also a beach ball (for those who couldn’t hoola hoop)

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View from the beach where the hoop-off took place.

THE CAKE
Half of my budget was spent on my cake. I love baking but who wants to have to make their own birthday cake? I ordered a dark chocolate mousse on chocolate sponge. It was topped with thick white chocolate curls and sliced strawberries. It was pure, smooth chocolaty evil. And we loved it!

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Decadence

I had an old fashioned “birthday song singing, speech giving cake sticking” It was touching.

That’s it in a nutshell. Another birthday well spent with excellent company. I have to admit I had been feeling really down in the days leading up to and on my birthday. This happened to me last year as well (I hope it doesn’t become a regular thing). By the end of the night I felt better and for that I am grateful. (especially after that hooping sesh!)
Wishing everyone an awesome day!

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