Pool Party: My Nephew’s 1st Birthday

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Under The Sea Cake

I come from a very large family, and my nephew turned one last week and so we celebrated in style.  It was a collaborative effort by friends and family with ideas from everyone and Pinterest. It turned out so cute I thought I would share some of the highlights. The cake above came from the very talented Creative Wine-O, check out her facebook page here. The detail was stunning. The beach ball was the “smash” cake and even the sand dollars were edible.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Watch Me Grow Time Line

To celebrate his first revolution around the sun my sister made a timeline, featuring a picture from each of his 12 months. Use ribbon and clothes pins to hang. Make sure you put it in a place that is easily accessible so all guest can admire it.  We also used this as the back drop when he ate his birthday cake. We placed his high chair in front.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Fish Craft

We hung a fishing net ( available at party stores) over the main food table and attached sand molds to it. We also had a craft table so that some of the older kids could make paper plate fish to hang in the net. We also used sand buckets and shovels to serve some of the food in.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Shark Bite Fruit Salad

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Shark Bite Fruit Salad

One of the highlights of the food table was this awesome watermelon carved into a shark by my brother-in-law. We then filled it with various cut up fruit.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Blow Fish Fruit Platter

He also made a cantaloupe into a blow fish.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Fish Veggie Tray

Vegetables morphed into a tropical fish.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Octopus Spinach Dip

Spinach dip was turned into a jolly octopus using a bread bowl and pretzel sticks.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Hummus Beach

Make your own hummus beach by spreading hummus in a shallow tray ( I used a clear lid to a casserole) and decorate with drink umbrellas and Pretzel Crisp crabs.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Dolphin Finger Sandwiches

I found a dolphin sandwich cutter at Sweetbay, perfect to make mini sandwiches for the kids.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Bait Bucket

Swedish fish and gummy worms turned into an edible bait bucket decoration.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Party Favors

Each child got to take a bit of the fun home. Our good family friend made party buckets out of plain sand buckets decorated with stickers and ribbon and filled with beach themed goodies from the dollar store.

It was a true success and a joyous celebration of one of our youngest family members birthday.

Sippin on Gin And Juice: Cucumber Lime Gin Fizz

I can’t drink Craft Beer all the time, IPAs are sometimes too heavy in the dog days of Summer. This is my new favorite cocktail, light, refreshing and delicious.

Cucumber Lime Gin Fizz

1/4  Hot house cucumber

1 Lime

1 jigger Gin ( about 1 1/2 oz)

1 c ice

1 t chopped mint

8 oz club soda

Muddle mint and about 2 T cucumber in the bottom of a glass, add juice from 1/2 a lime ( about 1T) add gin and club soda, stir. Garnish with cucumber and a lime slice.

Pretzel Crisp Toffee Candy

Pretzel Crisp Toffee Candy

 

I couldn’t wait for the Holiday Pretzel Crisps to come out so I made these today.

Pretzel Crisp Toffee Candy

1 7.2 oz bag Original Pretzel Crisps

1 c  unsalted butter (2 sticks)

1 c brown sugar

1 c chocolate chips

1 c crushed pecans

Preheat oven to 400. line a baking sheet with a silpat or spray with cooking spray

Lay Pretzel Crisps evenly on the pan.

Pretzel Crisp Toffee Candy

 

Melt butter in a small sauce pan with the brown sugar over med high heat

Pretzel Crisp Candy

 

Bring to a boil and boil over med heat for 3 minutes

Pretzel Crisp Toffee Candy

 

Pour over Pretzel Crisps and bake for 5 minutes

Pretzel Crisp Candy

Remove from oven and scatter chocolate chips and nuts over the top while still warm, slightly pressing them down with a rubber spatula to help them stick.

Pretzel Crisp Toffee Candy

 

Refrigerate baking sheet for at least 2 hours or until candy is hard.Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Pretzel Crisp Toffee Candy

 

** Other additions, chopped peppermint candy, toasted coconut, chopped peanuts, peanut butter chips, mini M and M’s

 

Chicken with Citrus Bernaise and Wilted Spinach

 

 

I am a foodie, I love to make my own sauces and purees but I have a weakness, powdered Bernaise sauce. Don’t judge, I have tried making my own, it was good (and much more difficult) but when I crave Bernaise I want the Knorr green, red, and yellow packet.  I was shopping in Publix the other day and heard over the loudspeaker that the Aprons lady was making some kind of fish with a Citrus Bernaise.  Sounds delicious, I thought, so I changed up my menu a little to include it. I always have packet in the pantry as well as some sort of citrus in the fruit bowl. Here is what I came up with…

Chicken with Citrus Bernaise Sauce and Wilted Spinach

For the chicken

2 T olive oil

2 T lemon juice

1 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

1/2 t dried thyme

Mix together pour into a large zip lock bag  and add 4 – 6 chicken cutlets. Seal and refrigerate 30 min to 2 hours. Grill over medium high about 5 min per side depending on thickness ( alway check temp with a meat thermometer to ensure doneness).

Citrus Bernaise

1 package Knorr Bernaise Sauce mix

1 c milk

6 T butter

1T Orange Juice

1/2 T lemon juice

1/2 t zest from orange and lemon

fresh parsley (if desired)

Follow Bernaise sauce directions, then add juices and zest stir and cook about 2-3 minutes over low, add chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Wilted Spinach

1 T olive oil

2 bags washed baby spinach

1 t garlic

salt and pepper

heat oil in a large skillet over med high,

add spinach and garlic and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until spinach is just wilted. Remove from heat, do not over cook.

Wilted Spinach

Place spinach on plate, top with grilled chicken and ladle Bernaise sauce over top.

Chicken with Citrus Bernaise and Wilted Spinach

 

** This would be great with grill fish as well

Mango Quinoa

Mango Quinoa

 

Quinoa is a food trend that is delicious and healthy. It is as versatile and as easy as rice. This recipe is a perfect side dish to a spicy entree like jerk chicken, Hot wings or Spicy Lime and Honey Chicken. Try incorporating it into some of your weekday dishes. For ease and clean up I make mine in my rice cooker.

3 c water

1 1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 c chopped mango

1/2 t chopped garlic

1/4 c chopped cilantro or parsley ( I used a combination)

1/4 c crumbled Queso Fresco Cheese or Feta

1/4 t salt

1/8 t pepper

2 t olive oil

Add water and quinoa to the rice cooker and turn on, when quinoa is finished pour into a large bowl and add remaining ingredients, stir and serve.

 

Homemade Spicy Sloppy Joes

Homemade Spicy Sloppy Joes

Easy comfort food with a kick !

Homemade Spicy Sloppy Joes

2 lbs ground beef (use turkey or chicken if desired)

1/2 c chopped yellow onion

1/4 c chopped green pepper

2 t minced garlic

1 12 oz bottle of chili sauce ( I used Heinz)

1 6 oz can tomato paste

2 T Worcestershire sauce

2 T hot sauce

1/2 t salt

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1/2 t dried oregano

1 t mustard

1/2 c water

Brown ground beef with onions peppers and garlic over med high until meat is cooked through. drain off excess fat or liquid if needed. add chili sauce, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, cayenne, oregano and mustard, stir to combine and heat through, add water and stir. Turn heat down to low and cook for about 10 minutes. Serve on toasted buns, add arugula and shredded cheddar if desired.

Homemade Spicy Sloppy Joes

Homemade Spicy Sloppy Joes

 

**Leftovers make great nachos, heat, spread on tortilla chips and sprinkle with cheese and sour cream

Peachy Keen Crumble

Peachy Keen Crumble

 

Easier than pie dessert, crumbles have all the flavor and none of the work. Try this one with the Summer peaches that are on sale and in stores now.

Peachy Keen Crumble

6 cups ripe peaches, peeled and sliced

3/4 c sugar

1 T vanilla extract

1/4 t salt

4 t corn starch

6 T butter at room temp

1/4 c brown sugar

1 C flour

1/2 t cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 375. Mix peaches with sugar, corn starch, vanilla and salt in a 8×8 baking dish. Let sit.

Peachy Keen Crumble

Meanwhile mix butter, sugar, cinnamon and flour in a mixer until it forms a crumbly mixture. Pour on top of peaches.

Peachy Keen Crumble

 

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Cool and serve with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.

Peachy Keen Crumble

 

 

Spicy Lime and Honey Chicken

Spicy Lime and Honey Chicken

 

This is a quick and easy chicken recipe and you probably already have these ingredients at home. Plus it uses Sriracha, my favorite hot sauce. Find it in the Asian section of your supermarket, it’s the bottle with the rooster on it.

Spicy Lime and Honey Chicken

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (use any cut of chicken you like just adjust your cooking times accordingly)

1/3 c honey

2-4T Sriracha Sauce (depending on your tastes)

2T lime juice

1/4 t salt

1/8 t black pepper

1/2 t lime zest

Combine honey, Sriracha, Lime juice, Salt pepper and zest, pour over chicken and cover. Place in refrigerator 1hr-overnight.

Spicy Lime and Honey Chicken

 

Preheat oven to 350. Remove chicken and place in a baking pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and reaches 160+ degrees.

Spicy Lime and Honey Chicken

 

Garnish with lime slices and extra Sriracha if desired.