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Saturday, June 29, 2013

{Alice In Wonderland Unbirthday Tea Party}

My niece's birthday is 3 days after Christmas. Long story short, she gets the shaft. Anyone who has a late December birthday knows the feeling I'm sure. "Here's a present for you. It's Christmas AND birthday." Or "Here's your birthday gift, sorry it's wrapped in Christmas paper.". "We'll have your birthday party in a month. Or so...".

For years I've tried to talk her into having an "Unbirthday party". This year, I gave her no choice. I told her we were having one, and so we did.

It just so happened that last night was her exact Half Birthday. She turned 19 1/2 years old yesterday.

So, here is what I did.

My friend Elizabeth is in visiting from Texas. I put her to work. I'm SUCH a good host. She was indispensable help. 

Set up:


 Decorations were really inexpensive.

Tea Cups: My parents picked these up at various yard sales for about 25 cents each. Thrift stores are also an excellent resource.

Cards: I bought these at a $1 store. They were 2 packs for $1. I punched holes in them and made garlands. I also did individual cards and hung from the tree. I scattered them on the tables and used them as place cards as well.

Signs: I simply cut poster board into arrow shapes and wrote 'fancy' on them. I had 'this way', 'that way', 'wrong way', and 'tea party'. The 'This Way to the Mad Hatter's Tea Party' was printed on my computer.

Hanging Decorations: The cards, as I mentioned, the hanging flower decorations came from the $1 store, the paper lanterns are the only thing that were very expensive. They were $6.99/3.

Misc: Whil-a-gigs were from the $1 store, as were the pink flamingo stir sticks. I didn't get a photo, but I had 3 tall stuffed, bendable flowers,  over sized dice, and also a caterpillar. All from the $1 store.

Tags: I made Eat Me & Drink Me tags for all the food and drink (and tea cups). They are very quick and easy to make on the computer. The Drink Me tags were tied on, while the Eat Me tags were attached to bamboo skewers.


For snacks I had cheese crackers, watermelon, meringues, chocolate cookies, and mini chocolate pies. I also had an assortment of candy in jars that didn't get photographed. There were also chips of course, because teenagers.

Elizabeth's daughter has Celiac Disease, so I tried to keep many things gluten free.

The chocolate cookies are a flourless cookie. You can find that recipe at King Arthur Flour.

The meringue mushrooms were a lot of fun. Everyone loved them. You can find a recipe here.I didn't put mine together as they suggested though. I dipped the stems in chocolate to glue the caps on. Cause chocolate tastes good. The end. Mine wouldn't stand upright on the plate. I used a bit of chocolate to glue them down. I don't recommend that. LOL.

We made cheese checkerboards & spelled out Alice words with Cheese-It Scrabble Junior crackers (well, Elizabeth did all the work!).

The pies were a chocolate pie. Easy & peasy. Made with Jello Pudding. They are mini because it's Alice in Wonderland, after all. I used the adorable little Keebler Mini Graham Crusts. Piped on whipped cream, added sprinkles, and a cherry.

And... since it's a Tea Party

Yes, we actually had tea. Bean loves his tea "British Style" with cream. None of the others had tried it that way, so they all gave it a go... They liked it!

By the way.. it rained. I was broken hearted, but at least everyone got to see the set up & it didn't rain long or hard, just enough to make us have to move it all under the cover of the back deck.

After the rain cleared, they got into the Photo Booth Props. Yes, Elizabeth and I made new ones for this party. See my tutorial.

Elizabeth and family had to leave by this time, so you'll only see my goofy teens.

 I had a couple relay races planned, a Tea Cup Race where they would fill a tea cup and run to the other end of the yard and pour it in a bucket. Team with the most water would win. Also, a Humpty Dumpty Run (aka, egg on a spoon race), but alas... rain.

They did, however, play....


No matter how bad they were at it, and believe me they were bad, they had a LOT of fun.

It was made even more challenging by the wet grass. LOL.

So there you have it. A VERY Happy Unbirthday was had by my niecey!

Plus, one of her gifts was a day out with ME, so, yeah... she scored. Ha.


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.

Click to see all my parties!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

{Walkers Shortbread Cookie Giveaway: UPDATED WITH WINNER}

Round these parts, we loooove our animals. I'm pretty sure we are not alone. I know lots of  you out there in internetland love your animals too.

I've mentioned ours before, I've even made and posted treats for my gluten allergic dog. I've mentioned that I'm a crazy cat lady... with one cat. Then there was that time our pup ran away. Also, the time she woke me up from a nap when I was sick.

However, I want to introduce you to them again.

These are our Jack Russells.

Jingle (Jingle Bella, she was Bean's Christmas gift in 1st grade), the besweatered one will be 10 in a couple months. Luna, (yes, named after the Harry Potter character, her name is Luna Rosa Lovegood) is 4.

And my beloved kitty, Fairley Bueller. I'm not kidding.

As a pet lover and Brand Ambassador for Walkers, I was very pleased to see that they are a sponsor for the ASPCA, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty®.

 Walkers makes the most adorable pure butter Scottie Dog shortbread. For every 3.9 ounce package of these sold, they donate 10 cents to the ASPCA. They will donate 20 cents per package of the larger sizes. In 2012, Walkers donated $31,000. In 2013, Walkers has pledged to donate at least $50,000 to the ASPCA!

I had the chance to try Walkers newest product, Chocolate Scotties! Chocolate shortbread? YES!! So good!

So, do you want to see these adorable (not to mention delicious, and ALL NATURAL) cookies? I knew you would!

While they are amazing plain, here is a quick and fun way to serve your Scotties.

Just squeeze a little buttercream icing on a Scottie and top with another! Amazing shortbread sandwich cookie.

Or... do what Bean preferred to do... just dip em in the buttercream!

This would be a lot of fun for a party. Give everyone a few Scotties and a dish of buttercream and let them go to town.

Read more about Walkers quality, non-GMO products here & view my recipe for Raspberry Shortbread Crusted Brownies.

Walkers has extended an offer for my readers.

Free shipping on orders of $25 or more when you order from Walkers Website. Also, when you purchase the Scottie dog cookies or tin, Walkers will donate an additional dollar to the ASPCA in Sugar Bean Baker's name. The promo code for this offer is: SBBSCOTTIES. This promo code will be good until July 5, 2013.

And now... for the giveaway!

Walkers would like to give one of my readers this great tin of Scotties!

Isn't it cute? (And yummy.) 



Just post below and tell me the name of your pet(s)! 

If you don't have any, let me know what you think a great name would be!

For optional entries:

"Like" my Facebook page Sugar Bean Bakers (if you already like, it still counts!).

"Like" Walkers Facebook page

Contest runs through July 1, 2013, 8 am EST.

You MUST make a new comment for each entry and include your email address in each one!

Scotties will be shipped to you directly from Walkers.

Contest open only to residents of the USA.

Good luck! 

Winner via drawing.... Post #6, Willow!


As part of the Walkers Blogger Buzz Ambassador program, I was sent this product to review and to giveaway. However, opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Monday, June 24, 2013

{Knickerbocker Glory}

I don't know if you know this or not, but yesterday was a very important day.

It was Dudley Dursley's birthday.

Ok, first of all, I can hear the non- Harry Potter fans sighing already. "ANOTHER Harry Potter post?"

I'm sorry, I have a problem.

Then, I can hear the fans sighing, saying, "Tina, really? You are celebrating DUDLEY'S birthday??"

Well, no, not really. See, the second chapter of the Sorcerer's Stone/Philosopher's Stone, the one in which we actually MEET Harry, takes place on Dudley's birthday.

For Dud's birthday, they go to the London Zoo.

"They ate in the zoo restaurant, and when Dudley had a tantrum because his knickerbocker glory didn't have enough ice cream on top, Uncle Vernon bought him another one and Harry was allowed to finish the first."  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 2

I'm totally not making this to celebrate mean ole Diddykins. This is all about Harry. :) It is in this chapter that we are introduced to who he is. It is in this chapter that we start to fall for the messy, black haired, bespectacled orphan.

Now, as an American, I had to wonder, what the heck was a knickerbocker glory? I, of course, googled it. I finally decided it was time to make and post on here.

A Knickerbocker Glory is a fruit and ice cream sundae. I did a lot of reading up on the subject.  I know, I know, I have problems (see above).

It seems it originated in the 1930's as a British Seaside treat. It is served in a tall glass to allow for all the layers. There seems to be no actual right or wrong way to make a Knickerbocker Glory, but traditional ingredients are strawberries, grapes, peaches and bananas along with a fruit sauce. Other fruits can be used, as well as a chocolate sauce, but all are less traditional. They are layered in the glass starting with the fruit, then the ice cream, then the sauce. Repeat. A KBG has at least 2 layers of ice cream. It is topped with "squirter cream" as  the British recipes call for. This would be what we American's know as canned whipped cream. It can then be topped with nuts, if desired, and some form of fancy wafer cookie. Unfortunately, I forgot to buy those, so a Vanilla Wafer had to do. According to recipes, you can use fresh or "tinned" (canned) fruit, fruit cocktail, or a mixture of both. I also forgot to put the cherry on top. Oops. What was I thinking?!

Anyway you slice it, you've got a fruit and ice cream sundae and who can say no to that? Well, Dudley, who obviously wanted more ice cream and less fruit. That's ok though, it worked out well for Harry.

For my KBG, I used sliced strawberries and peaches. I also made a simple strawberry sauce by blending up a few strawberries and adding a bit of sugar (just add to taste).

Sadly, it was over 90 degrees outside yesterday, so my layers kind of melted. It's still pretty though, eh?

Tastes good too!

So, here's a fun new treat to make for pudding (British speak for dessert).

Also, if you, like me, ever wondered just exactly what a Knickerbocker Glory is, now you know.

Read even more here.


Click HERE to see all my Harry Potter posts.

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.

Linked up at 30 Handmade Days Pity Party 

Knickerbocker Glory

Ice cream
Fresh or canned fruit
Whipped Cream
Nuts (if desired)
Fruit based ice cream sauce
Wafer cookie

Layer fruit, ice cream, sauce, fruit, ice cream sauce in a tall glass.

Top with whipped cream, nuts, cherry, and a wafer cookie

Thursday, June 20, 2013

{Soft Iced Pineapple Cookies}

I know I've mentioned my BFF Lori on the blog before. She's even behind some of the recipes here, like Strawberry Filled Cupcakes, Holy Moses Dip, and she introed me to the current most popular recipe on my blog, Buckeye Bites.

For a long time, she has told me about her great grandmother's Pineapple Cookies. Sounds good, eh?
These are a definite memory for Lori. She says she cannot remember a time when she went to visit her grandmother that these were not present.

I can see why.

They are soft and lightly citrusy.

When I say soft, I mean, I want to curl up and use one for a pillow. They are tender and delicious.

I made a 1/2 a recipe. I live with picky people, folks. 2 days later and there are 5 cookies left. FIVE. Even a 1/2 of this recipe makes A LOT of cookies (about 3 dozen).

Gone. People. Gone.

So, saying they were a hit, well, now that would be quite the understatement.

I believe these will be a new summer standby cookie. A soft sugar cookie with a pineapple twist? Perfect for summer.

Tres yummy.

Thanks Lori!

I'll be buying stock in pineapple after this!


Soft Iced Pineapple Cookies
Recipe by Margaret Cameron

1 Cup butter
Cup sugar
Cup brown sugar
2 eggs
Cup crushed pineapple (drained)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cup flour
teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 Tablespoon pineapple juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup nuts ( optional )

Cream butter and sugar together. Add well beaten eggs. Beat in crushed pineapple and vanilla. Add baking soda which has been dissolved in 1 Tablespoon pineapple juice. Mix together flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Gradually add this to the other ingredients. Mix in nuts, if desired. Beat well. Drop by teaspoon onto greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. bake at 350* for 12 mins.

1/3 Cup softened butter
1/4 Cup pineapple juice
2 Cup powder sugar

Melt butter, stir in pineapple juice and powdered sugar. Whisk until glossy. Spoon onto cooled cookies or dip tops of cookies into the glaze.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

{Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits}

Shrek: For your information, there's a lot more to ogres than people think.
Donkey: Example?
Shrek: Example... uh... ogres are like onions!
Donkey: They stink?
Shrek: Yes... No!
Donkey: Oh, they make you cry?
Shrek: No!
Donkey: Oh, you leave 'em out in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin' little white hairs...
Shrek: NO! Layers. Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it? We both have layers.
Donkey: Oh, you both have LAYERS. Oh. You know, not everybody like onions. What about cake? Everybody loves cake!
Shrek: I don't care what everyone else likes! Ogres are not like cakes.
Donkey: You know what ELSE everybody likes? Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, "Let's get some parfait," they say, "Hell no, I don't like no parfait"? Parfaits are delicious!
Shrek: NO! You dense, irritating, miniature beast of burden! Ogres are like onions! End of story! Bye-bye! See ya later.
Donkey: Parfait's gotta be the most delicious thing on the whole damn planet! 

 So, Shrek is one of my very favorite movies on all of planet earth. Also, Shrek 2, which is veerd since most sequels kinda, well, let's not mince words here, suck.

Donkey is one of my all time favorite characters. Eveeer.

copyright Dreamworks
I luff him. I cannot, cannot, cannot make a parfait without thinking of the above conversation. Ever. Ever. Donkey resides in my brain and randomly quotes things, like, "we took a magic potion, and now, we're SEXY!". Yes. Donkey. In my brain. Which can be entertaining, but probably annoying to those closest to me. Quoting Shrek & Harry Potter lines all day long. There's nothing wrong with that, right? I know.

I wanted to make a quick and easy dessert for hubs for Father's Day. Two of his favorite treats are Aunt Rosie's Strawberry Delight and Grammy's Strawberry Pie. So, what I did today was kinda combine the two.

Funny story. The Bean took hubs to the movies today to see Man of Steel for Father's Day. While they were gone, I made this. I was editing the pictures when hubs saw them.

Me: a dessert
Hubs: Is there more?
Me: I ate it all.
Hubs: Those pictures are at our house!
Me: It's GONE.
Hubs: runs to fridge and proceeds to gobble it down.

So, I guess it was A-OK, huh?

Hope you've had a wonderful day celebrating all the special men in your life!


Strawberry Cheesecake Parfait
serves 4 (photo above is a very large serving)

For the graham layer: 
3 full sheets of graham crackers
2 Tablespoons sugar

Add together in food processor and crush until very fine

For the cream cheese layer:
1- 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat for a softer set)
1-2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 cup sugar

Starting with 1 Tablespoon milk, beat together cheese and sugar in mixer until well combined. Should be the consistency of pudding. If too thick, add the other tablespoon of milk.

For the strawberry gel layer:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons corn starch
2 Tablespoons strawberry jello powder (mix)*

*store the rest in a ziploc baggie for making this again! 
On the stovetop, add all ingredients into a heavy saucepan. Stir together. Heat over medium heat. 
It will be kind of a milky red. Allow to boil, stirring constantly. As it begins to thicken, it will turn a clear, bright red. When thickened, remove from heat. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before assembling parfaits.
For the strawberry layer:
sliced strawberries

Graham cracker layer, cream cheese layer, gel layer, strawberries. Repeat. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles.


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