Tuesday, August 21, 2012

{ Buckeye Bites }

If you've been around here for any length of time, you've probably heard me mention my friend Lori.

A couple Christmases ago, a girl named Megan brought these treats to Lori's for Christmas. Lori raved over them, so I asked Megan for the recipe.

Yeah, nearly 2 years later I get around to making them.

And, Lori? She. Was. Right.

They are delish.

Megan, is in her early 20s and a renaissance woman. She bakes,  she does hair and make up, she's super stylish, she crochets, and I'm quite sure she does more than I even know, not to mention she's absolutely gorgeous! All this while being a full time college student going for a teaching degree.

She didn't have a name for these guys that I know of, so, being from Ohio where all things peanut butter & chocolate are instantly called 'Buckeye' I give you :






Buckeye Bites

1 Cup Peanut Butter
2 Tablespoons
 Softened Butter
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
Pretzels
Dipping Chocolate
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract (optional)


I may have mentioned this before (heaven only knows with this swiss cheese memory), but if you spray your measuring cup with cooking spray before using something sticky, it'll just fall right out.
I do this with corn syrup, shortening, etc, and with peanut butter, as shown here

Add to mixing bowl, 1 cup of peanut butter. I used smooth, but I bet crunchy would be great, you know, if you are into that kinda thing. Which, I am not.


Then add in 2 Tablespoons Softened Butter and mix together until smooth


 When smooth, add in the sugars. And me, being me, added in 1 teaspoon vanilla. This is not in Megan's recipe.

Megan used, as did I, the little square pretzels. Lori & I call these 'window pane pretzels', but I think the bag actually says 'checkers'. Whatevs. They'll always be window panes to us! I'm sure the standard mini twists will work just fine if you can't find these.

Lay pretzels out on a baking sheet/plate (something that will fit in your freezer).  



Roll peanut butter mix into teaspoon sized balls and place on a pretzel.

I'm SO consistent with size, aren't I? :-/

Then top with another pretzel to make lil sammies!


Place in freezer for 30 minutes to firm up.

Now comes the chocolate!

Melt up your favorite dipping chocolate.

Here's a tip for dipping chocolates to avoid the 'puddling'. I saw The Pioneer Woman doing this with glazed donuts and thought it would work excellently for chocolates.

Chocolate will harden into the grates, however, so spray with cooking spray first!

Then prepare your rack like this


Cooking sprayed baking rack with paper towels under. 

Now, dip your little peanut butter sandwiches 1/2 way into the chocolate. Then place on foil/waxed paper to dry, or, like I did, place on the baking rack.

This allows the excess chocolate to drip through, and you don't have the excess chocolate 'halo' around your treats!

Allow to dry on counter or place in fridge to harden.

And then... try to keep your hands off of them.

Even my picky hubs loved them.

I did chocolate dipped, white chocolate dipped, and non dipped. I liked the ones without the chocolate.

I must be crazy.

These were gone in 60 seconds. Ok, it was actually 2 days, but still, they didn't last long!


How great would these be as a gift? Pack them up all fancy and send them off!

So good.

So. good.

Thanks for telling me about them Lori & thanks Megan for the recipe.

My life may never be the same.

Tina

P.S. If you haven’t already,  you can ‘like’ my Facebook page here, and follow me on twitter here, and you can follow me on instagram here.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

{ Lunch Box Treats }




Well, it's that time of year again.

You know this commercial?

Oh. My. Landsies. How it makes me laugh! I used to look forward to seeing it each year, but I don't think they've played it for a few.


However, this is NOT how I feel. I feel more like this:


Sighhhhhhhhhh......... I love having the Bean home in the summer. We run around together, have 'dates' once a week, we have a good time. Of course the last couple years have been eaten alive with his Summer Drama Troupe (takes up all of June), but still, we love the summer. More than anything though, more than the passing of holidays or the coming of birthdays, the start of the new school year always makes me realize how quickly he is growing up. He will be a Sophomore in High School this year. Oh Em WHAT? 15 years old, working on 6 foot tall, wearing a size ELEVEN shoe. Sad Panda Mom. So, school starts here on Wednesday. Crazy cakes, I know, but that's when it starts. On Sundays, during the school year, I always bake up a batch of cookies or cupcakes for his lunch. Today

I'm sharing several cookie recipes that you might have missed.
Here we go:

________________________________________________________________________
Cookie Dough Sandwich Cookies    Chocolate Chip Cookies filled with a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Buttercream
   

Peanut Butter Blossoms   Soft and chewy peanut butter cookie topped with a chocolate kiss (I used chocolate hearts for Valentine's Day here)    

 

Gooey Cookies & Red Velvet Cookies   Moist & delicious cookies that start with cake mix!  
 

 Double Trouble Cookies   Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches with a cream filling  
  

 Chocolate Chip Cookies   The all time favorite of most everybody!    
 
 
   Chewy Oatmeal Cookies   Rich & Buttery, these Oatmeal Cookies make fans out of even non-Oatmeal Cookie likers!    
 

Snickerdoodles   Sweet & lightly cinnamon-y, these are *my* favorite cookies. They aren't just for Christmas, folks!  
 

So, there you have it. Some of our favorites. Make some up for your munchkins & pop in their lunchboxes. They'll be the most popular kid at the lunch table. Just ask the Bean! In the meantime, I'll try not to be a Sad Panda. Cheer me up by posting below about your kids heading back to school. Are you excited? Nervous for them? Happy to have time to yourself? Or are you, like me, saddddddddddd pannnnnnnnda?

Tina




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Saturday, August 4, 2012

{ The Epic Harry Potter Party Post }


Check out my 2013 party here!







Check out my 2013 party here!


This has what has taken over my life for the last month.
Coupled with, ya know, work and real life.

I started planning this party in January. It was supposed to be held last Friday night (anyone else hear Katy Perry in their head just then? No? Just me..?), but there was a big ole stinking thunderstom that rolled through and postponed the event. I was finally able to have it last night! Weehaw!

So, here's the straight owl poo on what went down.

Are you ready for some pictures? Sorry, they don't move.

Sign for Platform 9 3/4
If you are wondering, those are sweat bees on the sign, those were fun to fight off ;)
Good thing Ron's afraid of spiders, not bees!

The drinks were Oak Matured Mead (aka Fruit Punch), Polyjuice Potion (aka Lemonade with key limes, Mt. Dew & Orange Hawaiian Punch), and Pumpkin Juice (aka Pumpkin Juice)


For food, I just had pizza, potato chips, & fruit, plus Cauldron Cakes

House Points were awarded throughout the night
I found these Hourglass-ish shaped vases at the $1 store.
The stones are just the decorative 1/2 marbles you can get in any craft section
(but I couldn't find yellow for Hufflepuff, so clear it was).

Decorations
The glass bottles are from Hobby Lobby, I got them when
they were 50% off, making them between $1 & $1.25
The Pensieve

Because I think I'm funny

The Cauldron Cakes

The Butterbeer

The Three Broomsticks cups. I created the logo with a broomstick from digitalscrapbookplace.com
printed on sticker paper. 


Butterbeer bottles (made from IBC Rootbeer bottles)


wands and quills
(info on how to make both below)

Everyone was sorted into a house. This is the house that that person belongs in, not the character they came to the party as. They simply drew names from a hat.


Then, it was time for the Wand Ceremony. The wands "chose" the wizard via Spin the Bottle method.

The Bean, my niece, and I all made these wands.

All of the wands came with Ollivander's tags complete with type of wood, length of wand, and core ingredient listed.

Here are a few different photos of them. They are so cool (and fun to make)!


Yes, this one has someone's tumblr listed on it, no worries,
that's me! I didn't steal some poor tumblr's photo and claim it as my own ;)


Here is my tutorial
.  Find the inspiration for my tutorial here on Deviantart 



Wand choosing a wizard

After everyone had been sorted and properly wanded, it was time to become the character. Add a little 'essence of someone' to the Polyjuice Potion, and BAM! It's like magic ;)

I didn't use hairs, I used 'skin cells'. Yeah, that's gross, but so is a hair, or a toenail, etc. eww.
Becoming Harry via Polyjuice Potion

'essence of someone' for the Polyjuice Potion (it's Pixie Stix)



After everyone was present (we had: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Luna, Luna #2, Ginny, Prof Snape, Lily, Prof Trelawney, Draco's Long Lost Sister, Bellatrix, Pansy Parkinson, and Dobby)
 

....it was time to head off to hunt Horcruxes.

I forgot to take a photo of them last night, so here is one I took a couple weeks ago via Instagram:
The Horcruxes
Hunting Horcruxes

The last Horcrux was quite elusive. It was the locket, by the way.


After Horcrux hunting, it was time to settle down for a bit with some trivia.

No surprise here, but the ones who knew the most about Harry Potter trivia? The 3 people that came as Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Funny, eh?

Next, we traveled down to the Quidditch Pitch.

There weren't enough people to make full teams, so we combined houses to make Gryffinclaw & Slytherpuff. Gryffinclaw trounced Slytherpuff 180 to 10. Harry Potter found the Snitch in record time- naturally.


Quidditch!

To set up the course, I used 6 Hula Hoops and 12 stakes and twine. I actually used some of my dad's tobacco sticks (we used to grow tobacco). I tied 1 hoop to 2 sticks with the twine. Then I used 3 dodge balls, 2 blue for the Bludgers and 1 red for the Quaffle. The Snitch was an actual person who went off the field and hid. The Seekers went to seek her... haha. The game was played a bit like dodge ball meets basketball meets soccer. If you had the Quaffle and were hit, you had to drop the ball and it was fair game. The point, of course, was to get it through one of the hoops at the end, while the Keeper tried to keep it out. They had a LOT of fun playing!

After Quidditch, it was time to cool down with some tasty potions. I had an assortment of colored drinks in mason jars, labeled with names: Gillywater, Pondslime, Leechjuice, Honeywater, Nettlewine, & Moondew. Then I had different colored sugars in antique looking containers with names such as: Nightshade, Lacewing Flies, Moonseed, Crushed Scarab Beetles, & Powdered Mandrake Root. I had a few other containers with liquids: Acromantula Venom (honey), Syrup of Hellebore (light corn syrup), and Phoenix Tears (um, that was just water). They mixed to their delight and then drank up! Some liked it so much they made more.

Potions Class!
I made the labels with graphics from Digitalscrapbookplace.com
The small glass jars came from  Hobby Lobby, I got them when
they were 50% off, making them between $1 & $1.25.






The fun was adding Pop Rocks to the drinks, they pop and sizzle in your cup! Magic!

On to the Pensieve!

I knew I wanted to do a Pensieve, but I couldn't find containers for the memories. I wanted quarter machine plastic bubble containers, but could only find them in bulk. Finally I found these cool diamond shaped plastic containers in a Wedding section.


I put glitter in the water, and then floated the memories. Inside each shell was a favorite part from the book series. I also put a tiny glow stick in each one. This was a really fun part of the night. Someone would fish out a memory, read it aloud, and then we'd all discuss it. Some of the memories were: Hogsmeade Weekends, "Yer a Wizard, Harry", Ron & Hermione's kiss, Draco Malfoy 'The Incredible Bouncing Ferret', Fred & George's Hogwarts fireworks display, Snape's memories, and more. This elicited not only good discussions, but cheers, and laughter at times.


Wizard Dueling was next on the list. This was simply 2 people facing off in a posing contest. This is much funnier than it sounds. They would start together and then pace off steps (like in the Chamber of Secrets movie), then I'd count down, and they'd turn and pose in their best 'spell casting stance'. Winners were chosen via applause. The victor would then go on to face the next person and so on. One of the highlights of the night took place during this time when Harry and Ginny faced off. They never got so far as casting a spell because they started arguing about paying bills and Harry spending too much time at the pub with Ron!


By this time it was getting pretty dark, as you can see from the above photo.
The last event of the night was shopping at Honeyduke's Sweet Shop.

They all got bags with the Honeyduke's logo & filled 'em up!

(you can find the great pre-made Honeyduke's logo that I used here on Bakingdom).

This is what they got:

The goods!

Peppermint Toads- recipe here

Acid Pops: Jolly Rancher suckers & Pop Rocks

Candy Corn

Dementor Relief- Hershey Bars.
I found the great Dementor Graphic here.

Drooble's Best Blowing Gum
Chocolate Frogs- OF COURSE.
recipe here

Dumbledore's Favourite! Lemon Drops


Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans.
I found the template on Deviantart.

 
Jelly Slugs!
I was just going to use gummy worms until I found these great
"Sluggies" by Willy Wonka.





What everyone went home with: Bag full of Honeyduke's Candy,
Floo Powder, Butterbeer Bottle, wand & quill.

Here's the Floo Powder 
Just green, white, and silver glitter of course


The Quills were simple enough as well, I just bought white feathers and cheap pens that you can take the ink tube out of.  Here's a tutorial.

Some of the fonts I used for my packaging logos are: Lumos, Felix Titling, Parchment, Vademecum, & Times New Roman. The owl on the Floo Powder label is from a font called Birds of a Feather.

Well, I think we've come to the end here.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about my Harry Potter party.

Man, I'm tired! I also cannot wait to do it again!

QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? Post them below! :)

Tina

OH!

Did you want to see me? Well, please forgive my self portrait, but here I am, as Dobby, post freeing, when he wore some crazy mad get ups.

Enjoy ;)


P.S. If you haven’t already,  you can ‘like’ my Facebook page here, and follow me on twitter here, and you can follow me on instagram here.


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