Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Last taste of summer produce

The chilly fall air means summer is definitely over (though it never really started here in Michigan) but the produce section at the grocery store if full of sweet summer fruit.  Right now you can get a great deal on sweet peaches, nectarines and plums so buy them up while you can!  I've got the perfect recipe that combines this sweet summer fruit with a taste of fall and will totally impress your friends!  The best part is there is no cooking involved just assembling!

Carly's Peach Cobbler Parfaits
1 package of country style biscuits (pre-baked in bakery section)
6-10 peaches (peeled, sliced and sprinkled with sugar)
2 cans of vanilla pudding (i usually use a higher quailty brand in the baking isle)
1 package of gingersnap cookies (broken up into peices)
1 can of whipped cream
4 tall parfait style glasses or wine goblets ect.

Start by putting a dollop of pudding in the bottom of each glass then topping with crumbled biscuit peices.  Next spoon some peaches and juice over buscuits, top with whipped cream and crumbled gingersnaps.  Repeat this layering process until your glass is full.  Crumble gingersnaps over top.  Chill- Enjoy! 

***If you make these before dinner it will give the biscuits time to soak up the delicious peach syrup!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Michigan VS Michigan State: ways to celebrate!

It's the biggest sports rivalry in the state!  Green and white versus the maize and blue.  No matter if you're unsporty like me or a superfan, everyone will be celebrating! AND what's a celebration without FOOD!  Here is a supercute cupcake I made for the superbowl that could easily be the perfect fit for your game day party in front of the tv or out at the tailgate.  Just decorate them in Green and white and maize and blue! (this recipe is adapted from wilton.com)

Bake 2 dozen cupcakes

Make or buy your favorite white frosting

Tools: (meijer carries these inexpensive tips by the baking pans and kitchen supplies)
•Tip: 5 (medium round tip)
•Tip: 16 (star tip)
•Disposable Decorating Bags

•Green Icing Color
•PinkIcing Color (light skin tone)
•Black Icing Color
•Yellow icing color
• Blue icing color

Ice cupcake cake smooth with pinkish skin-toned colored icing.
Outline helmet with tip 5 and cover with tip 16 stars in the team colors of your choice
Pipe tip 5 dot eyes, pupils and nose; outline mouth and eye "shade".
Pipe tip 5 face mask.

**TIP: if you don't want to buy the icing colors and disposable decorating bags look in the baking isle for tubes of pre-colored icing in the MSU and UofM colors.  You can simply put the tips on these tubes and decorate in a snap!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fall Decor under $20

I love to be festive around any holiday but hate spending a small fortune on all the cute little things for my house because frankly who has the extra cash for that?! I could get new clothes or go on a fab dinner date or whatever... BUT I can't stand not getting out a box of decorations and putting up all of the fun themed things. So here iis a quick easy way to get a lot of "look" for less!

I recently got inspired while grocery shopping. I saw all of these awesome sugar pumpkins, squash and Indian corn in the produce section and thought to heck with eating these, they would be a great way to decorate the mantel. Then a stop at the Dollar Store for a few cheap strands of leaves and things and I was set. I barely spent $20 for this great fall look!

To get this look for your mantel you'll need:
2- sugar pumpkins (1 orange, 1 green)
2- gourds (1 yellow, 1 orange)
2-mini pumpkins
2-bundles of dried Indian corn
2- strands of fake fall leaves
1- Halloween themed sign or figurine for you focal point (I used a wooden witches hat sign)

Start by putting your Halloween themed centerpiece in the middle of your mantel. Then on each side place your Indian corn upright (use the centerpiece for balance). Next put your orange pumpkin/gourd on the far ends of the mantel. Then fill in the remaining spaces on either side of your Indian corn with your green/yellow pumpkin/gourds. Weave the stands of fall leaves through the pumpkins etc. to fill in the gaps. Finally place your remaining mini pumpkins throughout to add pops of color. (see pic for a visual aid) I also had a fake mum plant wrapped in craft paper that I added to mine in the pics above.

*** SHOPPING TIP-Another great place to get fall decor is Hobby Lobby-- everything is 50% off so it's a great time to pick up a new candy dish or serving platter.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Get your grocery list- you'll want to add this recipe!

Drummm rollll please! This week's it's been all about my favorite snack: Chips & Dip. I've posted recipes all week long and here is my #1 choice! Serve this for a football or Superbowl Party, or a movie night. My husband loves it anytime and it gets me out of going out for wings every Sunday!

#1 Chip & Dip Recipe

Buffalo Chicken Dip

(all recipes.com and picture credit goes to guidespot.com)

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup ranch dressing

1/2 cup FRANK’S® REDHOT® Sauce

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cans White Premium Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Place cream cheese into deep baking dish. Stir until smooth. 2.MIX in ranch, Frank’s RedHot Sauce, 1/2 cup of cheese and chicken. THen sprinkle remaining cheese over top and BAKE 20 min. or until bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips, carrot sticks and celery sticks.
*** quick note-- I often make this dip using 1/3 less fat cream cheese, fat free ranch, and skim mozzerella cheese and skip the chips... (sorry who am I kiddin', I don't skip the chips) BUT I do try to dip more celery sticks than chips to make it a healthier option. You'd be suprised how good it tastes -- no one will be able to tell you snuck in a reduced fat dip they'll be too busy eating!)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Not Cho' Ordinary Nacho Dip!

This week's entertaining topic is Snacks! MMMM! Today I'm featuring #2 of the Top 3 Chip and Dip Recipes. I love #2 sooo much and it comes from my good friends Traci & Toby Weston. I tried this recipe at their engagement party a few years ago and had to have the recipe. The best thing about this amazingly delicious chip and dip recipe is that you can customize it to your own taste! BUT if you do be sure to keep the sausage/beef combo it's what makes it spectacular! I love to make this for 4th of July. I mix it up in the morning, spend the day on the boat, then come back and feed the hungry crowd.  (picture courtesy of ehow.com)

#2 Chip & Dip Recipe
Traci & Toby's Famous Nacho Dip

1 and 1/2 packs velveeta cheese
1 brick of cream cheese
1 small can of chilies
1 soup can size of diced tomatoes with pepper mix (fiesta mix)
1 pound ground hamburger, cooked, and seasoned with taco seasoning
1 pound ground sausage (mild or spicy), cooked and seasoned with taco seasoning
milk as needed to water it down (the Velveeta can get thick)

***(notes from Traci) sometimes we add a can of hormell beanless chili and Toby adds extra 'love' into his queso dip he says! ha ha Really, you can dress it us with anything you have in the cupboards...corn, black beans....it's usually or way to empty our cupboards!

Melt the ingredients together in a crock pot and keep heated on low. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chips & Dip to die for!

One of my favorite snacks is chips & dip. There are so many varieties of this popular combo but I've got three that you are going to love! Today we'll start with #3, tomorrow #2 and finally on Thursday my #1 chip & dip recipe fit for your next get-together.

The Snacks of the Day

#3. Coming in third place is a Mediterranean version of chips and dip that are perfect when you're asked to "bring something" to a party or when you want a fresh somewhat healthier snack. Now I didn't invent the dip nor the ideas of pita chips but I have made them so many times I don't even know where the recipes came from..

Pita Chips and Greek Dip
1 bag of pita bread
EVOO (a few drizzles or enough to coat the chips
Garlic Powder
Sea Salt
Dried dill
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut the pitas in the several wedges (chip sized pieces) the toss them in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients. Season to taste and bake for about 20 minutes or until crispy. Salt them lightly when they first come out of the oven then cool and serve.

Greek Dip
1 brick of herbed cream cheese (softened)
1 container of hummus
1 cucumber (diced)
2 large tomatoes (seeded and diced)
1 container of crumbled feta cheese
a handful of pitted kalamata olives (halved)

On a round serving platter spread the cream cheese in an even layer. Then layer the hummus on top. Next sprinkle on the cucumber, then tomato and feta cheese. I then sprinkle the olives over half of the dip (which satisfies me the olive-lover and my husband the olive-hater). Surround the dip with pita chips and serve!

I've done this dip as a passing dish at a Bachelorette Party (pictured above), a Christmas Party, a Superbowl party, and a great snack for friends on movie night. It's always a hit because it's light and refreshing but still has the great qualities that make chips and dip so popular! Try it and let me know what you think!

Monday, September 21, 2009

quick we need snacks!

This week it's all about SNACKS! The crunchy and munchy delights that are a must-have at every event. First a quick story that inspired this week's topic.

This week's grocery budget went quick since I was armed with 4 new recipes and a football game after party for 10 people on Saturday. So I did what I always do and re-evaluated as I made my way up to the check out. I scattered a trail of delicious snacks throughout the store. Moving them from my cart to random locations when nobody was looking. It was the typical leave the chips in the papertowel isle type undercover mission. Yes I am that girl- embarassingly enough. Any way, leaving the Hansel and Grettle type trail through the store does help me out. I make my budget (woo-hoo!) but get a rude awakening the next day.

I did a great beef/sausage/mushroom pasta along with chicken/spinach/artichoke stuffed shells all the night before the family was coming. After getting back from the big football game that day the only left to do was pop the food in the oven- no fuss no muss right?! WRONG- hungry football fans and a pasta dish that's going to take at least an hour means bad news!

So I had to make inpromptu snacks for the crowd but most of the snacks where somewhere in the paper towel isle back at the grocery store! I did some digging through the depths of the fridge and came up with some carrot and celery sticks with some homemade buttermilk ranch dressing. Then I baked some frozen giant soft pretzels and served them with a quick mix of mustard and honey.

Slap it on your cutest serving platters along with a great autumn trail mix and you've got yourself one happy crowd! Presentation is everything and a few simple homemade dips go a long way when you're trying to make something out of nothing. Simple can be great just serve it with a smile!

Today's Snack of the Day!
Carly's Favorite Autumn Trail Mix:
1 bag of basic trail mix (peanuts, raisins, m&m's)
1 bag of cinnamon roasted almonds
1 bag of candy corn
1 bag of candy corn pumpkins
combine all in a very large bowl then display this addicting sweet and salty mix in your favorite Halloween candy dish.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I'm not sporty...

The title kinda says it all. It couldn't be more true either. My husband loves to tell people I duck from a ping-pong ball. Not only do I not have an ounce of sportiness running through my veins I have the complete opposite- "my inner Martha".

I have a weird knack for the domestic stuff. I love to cook, I love to bake, I'm an avid cake decorator and I love to do a good artsy-craft project. I just love anything to do with entertaining and I find myself often inspired by events.Life celebrations both big and small are what I think makes me feel happy and inspired. So I'm hoping with this blog I can inspire myself to celebrate more and inspire others to do the same. Food, crafts, parties, gifts, ideas for every occasion- that's what you'll find here on "365.entertain.everyday."

Don't know what to get Dad for Father's Day this year? Need a great menu for when the in-laws come into town? What to put up Halloween decorations for less than twenty bucks? That I can do! Want to learn to throw a ball? yeaaaahh, not sooo much.....