Art Party

This was lost in my “pictures for the website file” that seems to be a pit of things I haven’t gotten to! A few years ago we did this for our oldest daughter and I think it’s time to do another one.  She loves art and so an artsy fartsy birthday was perfect.  She also loves bright colors so I used primary colors to decorate.
Her cake was so simple and cute!

I made 6 layers and colored each a color of the rainbow.  I used a white frosting in between each…

Frosted the outside and then went to town with primary colored sprinkles.

On top I added a rainbow made from marshmallow fondant.  (Use a skewer on each side to give structure and place into cake)  I set this out to dry a couple days ahead of time to firm it up as well.
Then I added some “clouds” with more white frosting on top

It looked pretty cool when we cut into it.

I made pizza and also some colorful whoopie pies.  Just use your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Just use white chocolate chips and add some sprinkles, sandwich with frosting and roll sides in sprinkles.

“Paintbrushes” were pretzel rods dipped in brown candy melts, then the tops in a colored melt.

Rice Krispy treats made great paintbrushes too!

I used my “Monster Munch” recipe but used m and m’s instead of reese’s and all white chocolate.

Some white tulle bunches and primary colored streamers made a fun rainbow and cloud backdrop. White balloons would work well too.

The activity was fun and pretty messy! I put an example up of what each station was for.
Spin art is popular in our house.  I just use a cheap salad spinner from IKEA, paper plates trimed to fit it (or construction paper, but you’ll want something thicker), and watered down paint in small bottles.

Marble painting got messy fast but they had so much fun.  Just use washable paints, a container for each color, marbles, and a tray that your paper fits in.

I made the invite myself on Microsoft Word as usual.

If you have a little one who loves art an art party is a fun inexpensive idea! Just make sure to have fun doing things together for the party and be prepared to clean up a mess! 😉

Honey Garlic Salmon

This is the first way I got my kids to eat (and love) salmon… scratch that, my kids AND my hubby!
It is super quick to make and every time we have it I am reminded why we love it!  Perfect with roasted veggies and grains for an easy quick dinner that pleases everyone!

HONEY GARLIC SALMON

12-16 oz salmon fillets, skin removed
1 green onion, sliced thin

Sauce:
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon honey
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tablespoon lime juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Whisk together all the sauce ingredients and place in a ziplock bag with salmon.  Marinate for 15-20 minutes in the fridge.
Heat a non stick skillet over medium heat and when hot remove the salmon from the sauce and add to pan.
Cover and cook 3 minutes.  Flip salmon and recover pan for 3 more minutes.  Remove lid and continue to cook for a minute or until cooked through and slightly caramelized.  Garnish with green onions.

Honey Garlic Salmon

Ingredients

  • 12-16 oz salmon fillets, skin removed
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin
    Sauce:
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • Whisk together all the sauce ingredients and place in a ziplock bag with salmon.  Marinate for 15-20 minutes in the fridge.
  • Heat a non stick skillet over medium heat and when hot remove the salmon from the sauce and add to pan.  
  • Cover and cook 3 minutes.  Flip salmon and recover pan for 3 more minutes.  Remove lid and continue to cook for a minute or until cooked through and slightly caramelized.  Garnish with green onions.
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    Homemade Steak Sauce


    “Steak sauce” is a little misleading, as this sauce is great on other things too.  Grilled chicken is particularly good with it, even veggies too.
    I am baffled at recipes for steak sauce, BBQ sauce, or other homemade condiments and the main ingredient is ketchup.  If you are going to the trouble of making a homemade condiment do yourself a favor and use tomato products, not a premade ketchup as a base.
    The end of summer is fast approaching.  But do yourself a favor and have at least one more grill night and take a tiny bit of time to make this easy amazing sauce.  I’m sure we’ll have it in winter even!

    HOMEMADE STEAK SAUCE

    1 white or yellow onion, chopped (approx 1 1/2 cups)
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    16 oz can tomato sauce
    6 oz tomato paste
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup Worcestershire
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1/4 cup soy sauce
    1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    2 Tablespoons molasses
    1 tsp mustard powder

    In a medium pot saute the onion and garlic over medium heat until softened and fragrant.
    Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

    Pour through a strainer and discard onions and garlic.  Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a couple weeks or freeze for longer storage.

    Homemade Steak Sauce

    Ingredients

    • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped (approx 1 1/2 cups)
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 16 oz can tomato sauce
    • 6 oz tomato paste
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup Worcestershire
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 2 Tablespoons molasses
    • 1 tsp mustard powder

    Instructions

  • In a medium pot saute the onion and garlic over medium heat until softened and fragrant.
  • Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Pour through a strainer and discard onions and garlic.  Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a couple weeks or freeze for longer storage.
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    Smoked Mac and Cheese

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    Do you have a favorite BBQ side dish? This was so fantastic, and unique and different.  Plus, in the summer when the smoker is going for a protein its great to be able to throw a side dish in there and not have to cook it in the house.  If you love smoked cheese you will love this!

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    SMOKED MAC AND CHEESE

    1/2 cup unsalted butter
    1/2 cup flour
    4 cups milk
    1 lb shredded cheese
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 pound elbow noodles, slightly under cooked

    Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and cook for a minute.
    Add milk slowly, whisking in.  Cook until thickened and smooth.
    Add cheese and stir until smooth.
    Season with salt and pepper.
    Place in a greased foil pan and hot smoke for 1-2 hours, to desired smokiness.

    Smoked Mac and Cheese

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 4 cups milk
    • 1 lb shredded cheese
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 pound elbow noodles, slightly under cooked

    Instructions

  • Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for a minute.
  • Add milk slowly, whisking in. Cook until thickened and smooth.
  • Add cheese and stir until smooth.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Place in a greased foil pan and hot smoke for 1-2 hours, to desired smokiness.
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    Smoked Corn on the Cob

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    This is really a recipe.. just an awesome suggestion.  If you have a smoker running throw some shucked corn on the cob where ever you have an empty spot and an hour later you have the most amazing corn on the cob!
    You can brush some melted butter or olive oil on it before hand and sprinkle with seasoning, or just throw it in plain like we did and really let the smoke flavor shine.
    So good!
    Next time I’m making extra so I can use the leftovers to make some smoky corn fritters!

    Unicorn Parfaits

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    If you think the unicorn themed treats are so last year.. well, you don’t live in our house!  These are the funnest little parfaits for little ones that believe in all things magical.. and delicious! 🙂 I highly recommend getting some edible gold star sprinkles for an extra touch!

    UNICORN PARFAITS
    Lucky charms
    Whipped cream (or non dairy whipped topping, thawed)
    various sprinkles and decorations for topping

    Separate the marshmallows out of the cereal. Set aside.
    Divide whipped cream into 2 or 3 bowls and color each. We did one purple and one blue.
    Fill two disposable pastry bags with whipped cream.  Place both bags inside a large pastry bag fitted with a large star.
    Alternatively, you could just spoon the whipped cream in.
    Pipe or spoon some in parfait cups or small canning jars.  Sprinkle some cereal, then pipe some more.  Do 3 or 4 of these layers, depending on the size of your containers.
    Sprinkle the top with the marshmallows and sprinkles just before serving.

    Unicorn Parfaits

    Ingredients

    • Lucky charms
    • Whipped cream (or non dairy whipped topping, thawed)
    • various sprinkles and decorations for topping

    Instructions

  • Separate the marshmallows out of the cereal. Set aside.
  • Divide whipped cream into 2 or 3 bowls and color each. We did one purple and one blue.
  • Fill two disposable pastry bags with whipped cream. Place both bags inside a large pastry bag fitted with a large star.
  • Alternatively, you could just spoon the whipped cream in.
  • Pipe or spoon some in parfait cups or small canning jars. Sprinkle some cereal, then pipe some more. Do 3 or 4 of these layers, depending on the size of your containers.
  • Sprinkle the top with the marshmallows and sprinkles just before serving.
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    Scooby Doo Party

    My youngest LOVES Scooby Doo so for her last birthday we of course had a Scooby Doo theme.
    I have a few rules about birthdays:
    1. We’re not breaking the bank, a kid’s birthday party should be fun, but also inexpensive.
    2. If we’re going to have a “theme” it’s because we’re going to spend time together making fun things.

    We thought of some pretty fun things for the Scooby Doo theme, and had lots of fun making them together.
    First up, hamburger “cake pops”.  Directions here.
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    And of course Scooby would want some hot dogs to go with the burgers!

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    Orange Soda.. I mean, Jinkies Juice.

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    The cake was probably her favorite thing to make.  We found some ideas on pinterest for making a fondant scooby.
    We used our trusty Marshmallow fondant of course.

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    More directions on making it here.

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    For activities they make their own pizzas.

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    And played the “mummy game”.

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    And pin the tag on scooby.

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    Hamburger Cupcakes

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    These were the perfect addition to a Scooby-Doo themed party!

    HAMBURGER CUPCAKES

    Chocolate cake batter or brownie batter
    White cake batter
    Sesame seeds
    Frosting

    Bake the chocolate cake in a sheet pan to make a thin layer.
    Bake the white cake in mini muffin tins.
    Cut small circles out of the cooled chocolate cake to make the burger patties.
    Cut the white cake in half to make the buns.
    Use different colors of frosting to make the condiments.
    Sprinkle tops with sesame seeds.
    Place a toothpick through each one, add a washi tape flag if desired.

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    Perfect with the cookie hot dogs and fries!

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    Hot Dog Cookies and Cookie Fries

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    These are super easy.  Super fun.  Perfect to make with your kids!  They went perfectly with our daughter’s Scooby-Doo themed birthday party.  I used homemade sugar cookie dough, but even store bought is fine. Divide the dough into thirds.  Color one third red for the hot dog, leave the other 2 thirds uncolored for buns and fries.
    Divide one third into however many hot dogs you are making to make the buns.
    To shape the buns, make an oval shape and cut down the middle, not quite all the way through.

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    Divide the red to make the hot dogs.

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    Shape into tiny hot dogs and place in the center of the “buns”.

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    I chilled mine so they would hold their shape better.  Then baked at 350 for about 9 minutes.
    After they cooled I added a squiggle of yellow frosting for “mustard”.

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    For the fries, roll out the remaining third of uncolored dough on a silicone mat thinly (about 1/4″)
    Cut into “fries”.

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    Bake and cool.  We made little paper fry pouches and lined them with checkered parchment.

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    Whole Wheat Quinoa Bread (100% whole grain!)

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    I’ve made many a loaf of whole wheat bread.  I try to use whole grains as much as possible and finding that perfect whole wheat bread recipe can be tricky.  This bread is not only 100% whole grain, it’s also 100%, hands down, the most fantastic loaf of whole grain bread ever.  Fluffy, soft, but still has a bit of chew you want for sandwich bread.  I make 4 loaves at a time.  You could easily cut the recipe down if you don’t want that much.  But it’s great for taking a loaf or 2 to a friend or neighbor (and trust me, nobody turns down homemade bread!).
    I like to slice it on my meat slicer after it’s cooled and whatever we won’t eat within a few days I freeze.  That way it stays fresh and I can remove however many slices I need from the freezer at a time.  Flax seeds are optional but they add a nuttiness and also up the nutritional power.
    I’ve broken the recipe down into a few easy steps, let’s get bakin’!

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    WHOLE WHEAT QUINOA BREAD
    Makes 4 loaves (9″ x 5″)

    For step 1:
    1 1/3 cups white quinoa
    2 2/3 cups water

    For step 2:
    10 cups whole wheat flour
    1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
    2 T instant yeast
    2 T kosher salt
    1/2 cup non instant milk powder (or 1 cup instant milk powder)
    1/2 cup flax seeds, optional

    For step 3:
    4 cups warm water (approx 110 degrees)
    2/3 cup honey
    1/4 cup oil (canola or something neutral)

    Step 1: Bring water to a boil in a small pot.  Add quinoa, reduce to low, cover and let cook for 15 minutes.  Fluff and let sit for 10 minutes to cool.
    Step 2: Mix all of step ingredients together in a stand mixer.
    Step 3: Add step 3 ingredients to stand mixer and mix until combined.  Add quinoa and mix for 5 minutes – 10 minutes.
    Place dough in a greased container and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel.  Rise until double in size, 45 minutes to an hour.
    Divide evenly into 4 sections and  form 4 loaves.  Place in greased loaf pans and rise for 30 minutes.
    Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  Loaves should be about 190 degrees when done.
    Immediately remove loaves from pans and place on wire rack to cool.
    TIP: There are 2 ways to form nice loaves without big air bubbles.  For one, form dough into a rectangle, about 9″ by 12″.  Tightly roll up, pinching the seam close.  Place in loaf pan seam side down.  For the second, pat into a rectangle and fold in thirds (this is the envelope fold).  Both work well.

    Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Bread Illustrated

    Whole Wheat Quinoa Bread (100% whole grain!)

    Yield: 4 (9" by 5") loaves

    Ingredients

      For step 1:
    • 1 1/3 cups white quinoa
    • 2 2/3 cups water
      For step 2:
    • 10 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
    • 2 T instant yeast
    • 2 T kosher salt
    • 1/2 cup non instant milk powder (or 1 cup instant milk powder)
    • 1/2 cup flax seeds, optional
      For step 3:
    • 4 cups warm water (approx 110 degrees)
    • 2/3 cup honey
    • 1/4 cup oil (canola or something neutral)

    Instructions

    Step 1: Bring water to a boil in a small pot. Add quinoa, reduce to low, cover and let cook for 15 minutes. Fluff and let sit for 10 minutes to cool.
    Step 2: Mix all of step ingredients together in a stand mixer.
    Step 3: Add step 3 ingredients to stand mixer and mix until combined. Add quinoa and mix for 5 minutes - 10 minutes.
  • Place dough in a greased container and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Rise until double in size, 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Divide evenly into 4 sections and form 4 loaves. Place in greased loaf pans and rise for 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Loaves should be about 190 degrees when done.
  • Immediately remove loaves from pans and place on wire rack to cool.
  • TIP: There are 2 ways to form nice loaves without big air bubbles. For one, form dough into a rectangle, about 9" by 12". Tightly roll up, pinching the seam close. Place in loaf pan seam side down. For the second, pat into a rectangle and fold in thirds (this is the envelope fold). Both work well.
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