Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Perfect Summertime Dessert Recipe: Mini Cheesecakes



There’s no question that the summertime brings much more than sunny days. With all that extra time on our hands, we can all agree that our sweet tooth can get just a little bit stronger during this season. Lucky for us, summer also brings us a variety of desserts that embody the bright, free energy that this season is all about. If you’re looking for the perfect dessert to celebrate summer vacation, this mini cheesecake recipe is it. It’s great for those famous summertime barbeques or even just those midnight munchies.

In order to achieve these mini delights, these are all the ingredients that you are going to need: 

Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter

Cheesecake Ingredients:
  • 16 ounces of softened cream cheese
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 21 ounces of desired filling or topping

Baking Tools:

Now that you have everything you need, you can get to baking! 

The first thing you want to do is preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then combine all the crust ingredients. Using a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until everything is evenly mixed. 
                                   
Next, grab your handy mini cupcake pan and line it with mini baking cups of your choice. This is where you can add to the presentation of your mini desserts! Picking a liner that yells “summer” is the key to making this your own!
                             

Using a spoon or the bottom of a small jar, press your crust mixture into the bottom of the cupcake liners. Depending on how thick you want your crust to be, you can make it anywhere from ½ inch thick to 1 ½ inches thick. Whatever thickness you choose, it’s important to make sure that the crust is pressed firmly at the bottom of the liner. No one loves a crust that’s falling apart!

Now that you’ve got the crust settled in, it’s time to get cheesy! Using a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla until your ingredients are evenly mixed, making sure to get rid of any clumps. Once you reach a nice, creamy texture, pour the mixture over the crusted cups. If you haven’t got the steadiest hands, using a ladle or ice cream scoop is a neat trick for making a clean pour. 

Next, you can finally put these bad boys in the oven! We recommend tapping the tray a couple of times to get rid of any pesky air bubbles. Set a timer for about 15-17 minutes or until the middles are set. This is definitely not a dessert that you want to overbake! 

Now for the best part: Once the mini cheesecakes are filled, you can add any toppings that you want! Whether it be strawberry jam, cherry fillings, chocolate filling or even just some edible roses, these not only add a bit of flavor but can also add to the overall aesthetic of the dessert. 
        
      
Instruction Overview:

      1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  1. Line cupcake tin with cupcake liners of your choice.
  2. Combine all the crust ingredients in a small bowl until evenly mixed.
  3. Press crust mixture firmly into the bottom of the cupcake liners.
  4. Beat together cheesecake ingredients in a large bowl until creamy and even.
  5. Use ladle to pour mixture over crusted cups.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until middle is completely set.
  7. Add toppings/garnishes for extra flavor and color.
The best part about these cute treats are that they’re super easy to make and even more delicious to eat! With a recipe as simple as this, you have the freedom to add your own little flair to them. Take advantage of summer vacation and take a whack at this awesome recipe!

Monday, July 2, 2018

3 Fun Party Themes To Try


When it comes to throwing the ultimate party, there’s no question that modern party-goers can be a pretty tough crowd to please. Nowadays, it seems like throwing just an ordinary party with plenty of food, drinks and games simply doesn’t cut it. With so many holidays and events to celebrate, throwing themed parties is all the rage to prevent the possibility of having another boring party. We know: Even with so many themes to choose from, it can still be hard to be original and creative. If you’re looking for a fun, easy way to spice up your next party, here are some themes that are sure to keep it going all night long:

Circus/Carnival

Although it may seem like a theme that is best for kids, the truth is that circus/carnival themes can be perfect for guests of all ages. Depending on how you go about organizing games, events and decorations, the carnival theme can make any party that much more exciting. Since there are so many different aspects of circus/carnival culture, you have plenty of room to make it your own while still having a clear direction. 
Decorations
When deciding what kind of decorations you should go for, it’s important to take into consideration who your guests are going to be. If it’s a younger crowd, you can throw in things like ticket booths, balloons, tents, and lots and lots of animals. However, if you’re looking at pleasing an older crowd, you can use red and white curtains, striped backgrounds and anything that resembles the experience of an actual circus show. 


Food & Snacks
  • Popcorn baskets
  • Mini hamburgers
  • Curly fries in cones
  • Cotton candy
  • Fruit cups/parfaits
  • Lollipops
  • Candy apples
Games/Activities
  • Apple bobbing
  • Ring toss
  • Balloon darts
  • Can toss
  • Photo booths with props/cut-outs
  • Rubber duck pond
  • Face painting

Paint Party

No matter how old you are, everyone loves to paint. Painting is a great theme because it can be turned into an elegant get-together with wine or it can be a wild party with fingerpainting. Whatever age group your guests are, painting is a unique way to not only get them talking to one another but also to get them to relax after a hard day’s work. For kids, it’s a great way to get their creative juices flowing while also giving them the freedom to express themselves in a new and unique way. 
Decorations

If you’re looking to go for the classy wine-tasting paint party, decorations can include anything from fancy dishware and intricate tablecloths to paint in mason jars or even easels set up in rows. If you’re going for a kid’s paint party theme, you can set up with squirt bottles of paint, colorful aprons, painted balloons and much more. The best part about decorating for this theme is that you get to be creative because, well, that’s all part of the look!

Food & Snacks
  • Cookies painted as paint trays
  • Paint brush cake pops
  • Paint tray fruit plates
  • Colorful mini sandwiches
  • Splatter paint cupcakes
  • Fruit kabobs on paintbrushes
  • Pretzel sticks with icing

Games/Activities
  • Painting with a twist (wine & paint)
  • Finger painting
  • Pottery painting
  • Apron decorating
  • Balloon paint darts
  • Paint fights with condiment bottles of paint

Murder Mystery 

While this is a classic, it doesn’t take away from the fact that murder mystery parties have become all the rage. Whether you want to do a murder mystery or just a Sherlock Holmes mystery to solve any crime, this interactive theme is sure to keep your guests constantly on their toes. Not only is it a great group game, but it also brings out a little competition in your guests. You’ll be able to have a great time setting up this mystery game because you can have the power to be as creative as you want with the case. 

Decorations
With such a fun theme to decorate for, there’s no limit to the things you can do to give your party the ultimate crime-solving vibe. For this particular theme, you probably want to stick to more ominous colors, such as black, red or gray. You can even stick with an all black and white theme to mimic those classic crime-solving shows that were aired without color. For a theme like this, we would recommend decorations and favors such as caution tape, masquerade masks, eerie candles, mugshot photo booths and really anything that screams mystery!

Food & Drinks
  • Blood red punch
  • Question mark cookies
  • Smoky cocktails
  • Any small finger foods
  • Eyeglass cupcakes
  • Envelope rice krispies
  • Bloody cake

Games & Activities:
The best part about this theme is that the activity is part of the theme. When setting up for this murder mystery, it’s up to you how hard you want to make the game. You can make it so they need to figure out the person, place and method, or you can just do a simple “who done it?” The important part about setting up for this game is to make sure to have plenty of clues and fake clues to make it a bit of a challenge. You want to make sure there is one clear answer but one that isn’t too obvious. Extreme detail is key!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

How To Amp Up Your Fourth of July Party


If you’re anything like us, one of the highlights of summer vacation is celebrating the Fourth of July. Whether it’s our national pride kicking in or the comfort of being around family and friends, the Fourth of July is not a holiday we want to miss. With everyone looking forward to this momentous holiday, there can be a lot of pressure to throw a kickin’ party to meet the hype of the season. If you’re not quite sure how to spread the spirit of the celebration without creating your very own fireworks show, here are some things you can do to make sure your party is the best on the block: 

Large outdoor space for activities/swimming 

When it comes to Fourth of July celebrations, most of the fun happens outdoors. One of the most important things to consider before signing yourself up to be this year’s host is the location. You want to make sure your backyard has plenty of open space for activities, games, and lounging. Although you don’t have to have acres and acres of land to throw a Fourth of July party, you want to make sure you have some open space for people to mingle and catch up with one another. 

For an added bonus, turning your celebration into a pool party is a great way to make sure your guests don’t melt in the summer heat. Nothing really beats the heat like jumping in a cool pool and relaxing on some festive floats. If you have a pool of your own or if you can get your hands on a location that has one, your party is sure to make a bigger splash. 


Potluck contest 

Is a party really a party without good food? With so many people to cater to, it can be difficult to take on all the cooking by yourself. One great way to get a good variety of delicious food is by making this celebration into a potluck. Not only will you save a lot of time and money on food, but you’ll also be sure that everyone has something they like to eat. In addition, since we all enjoy a little competition here and there, turning this whole potluck situation into a contest to see who brings the best tasting dish is an awesome way to make your celebration truly unique and fun. 


Although all seems good when there’s yummy food on the table, with potlucks, it’s important to make sure you avoid the disaster of multiple people bringing the same thing. The last thing you want is 60 different flavored cupcakes and no real food. To avoid this oddly common problem, create a sign-up sheet with all the basic foods you would want while also leaving room for new dishes. This way, you can keep track of the things that people are bringing and coordinate what you need to prepare. 

Fourth of July pops

Nothing says Fourth of July like themed desserts! If you want to branch out from the traditional cakes and cookies, creating dessert pops is an easy and delicious way to decorate the dessert table. Whether you’re looking to create chocolate pops or even waffle pops, you can use premade molds to create celebratory dessert popsicles easily. Not only are they a blast to make with family, but you also have the freedom to make them as festive as you want. 


If you’re not quite sure how to make them scream Fourth of July, decorating your delicious pops with blue candy chips or patriotic stars can add flavor and color. With these unique desserts on the table, there’s no question that people will be waiting in line to get their hands on one!

Party games and activities

No matter how old you are, the point of a party is to spend quality time with the people you love and care for. Whether it be your family members you’ve known for years or your distant cousin you’ve only met once, organizing a couple of party games and activities is a great way to make sure everyone is included in the fun. Not only are they great for getting to know one another, but they also ensure your party is constantly poppin’. 

No matter good you may have gotten at faking some small talk, after a while, even the chattiest people can get sick of it. Organizing easy-to-learn games and activities will give people that much-needed break from talking about something other than work and school. Whether it’s a simple icebreaker or something as intense as bobbing for apples, you never get too old for old-fashioned party games!

Party favors 

We can all agree that one of the best parts about any party is heading toward the door only to see a table full of goodies to take home. Although many people seem to neglect this important aspect, party favors are a great way to ensure that people remember your get-together. Not only are they a polite “thank you” for attending your event, but they also give you the chance to stand out amongst other parties on the block. 

The best part about creating goodie bags is that you don’t have to spend a ton of money or time on them. Even putting a beautifully decorated cookie or cake pop in a cute goodie bag can make quite the impression. The key to mastering the perfect goodie bag is the packaging that you put it in. 

Whether you’re an experienced party host or a first-timer, keeping things fresh can be hard, especially for an annual holiday. Try out these unique tips to keep your guests on their toes!

Monday, May 21, 2018

4 Easy Father’s Day Sweet Treats


With Father’s Day just around the corner, the pressure to make the day perfect can be stressful. However, one thing that almost all fathers have in common is their love for sweet treats. With any holiday, sweet treats are an absolute must-have, and there is no doubt that having the right ones will satisfy your father’s sweet tooth. If you’re looking to go above and beyond the simple chocolate chip cookie, here are some unique treats that are sure to make you the new favorite:

Peanut Ice Cream Pie

Nothing says Father’s Day like a combination of dad’s favorite things, peanut butter and ice cream. With this dynamic duo all mixed harmoniously into the perfect dessert, your entire family will find this irresistible. Not only is it absolutely delicious, but it’s also extremely easy to make. With only a few simple steps, you can whip up this sweet treat!

Ingredients:
·       1/3 cup finely chopped peanuts
·       3 tablespoons margarine, melted
·       2 tablespoons white sugar
·       ¼ cup peanut butter
·       ¼ cup light corn syrup
·       ¼ cup flaked coconut
·       3 tablespoons chopped peanuts
·       1 quart vanilla ice cream

Directions:
1. To make the crust, mix together the chopped peanuts, butter and sugar. Press the mixture evenly against the sides of a greased 9-inch pie plate. Finally, cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the crust for about 15 minutes.
2. Combine the peanut butter and corn syrup in a large mixing bowl. Next, add in the coconut and peanuts as you stir in the ice cream. Remove the crust from the fridge and spoon the mixture into the crust.
3. Finally, cover the dessert with plastic wrap or foil and freeze overnight.
Now that you’ve got your dessert made, you can go ahead and decorate it for the occasion. Without having to do anything too fancy, you can sprinkle fun chocolate chips or chocolate flakes to give it that extra ounce of sweetness.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Although these are quite the simple dessert, chocolate-covered strawberries are seen as a luxury treat when it comes to any holiday. Since the original recipe is quite simple, it’s easy to spruce them up for any occasion. With the proper decorations and a clean technique, these strawberries will provide your Father’s Day celebration with a slightly healthier option. After all, it is still considered fruit, right?

Ingredients:
·       1 package of strawberries (or more depending on serving desired)
·       Melting chocolate wafers or chips (white, milk or dark chocolate)

Directions:
1. Rinse strawberries until clean and dry completely with a paper towel.
2. Place chocolate wafers in a saucepan and melt over low heat until completely melted.
3. Remove from heat and dip strawberries into the melted chocolate and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Leave until chocolate is completely hardened (or refrigerate).
Now that you’ve got the base down, what you do next is up to you! This dessert in particular is great because you can turn a simple chocolate-covered strawberry into a fancy dessert by simply drizzling a different chocolate, adding some lettering, or using some sprinkles. If you really want to go outside the lines, you can even use colored chocolate instead of milk chocolate. The possibilities are endless, and there’s no such thing as too much chocolate!
Now that you’ve got a good list of funky treats to give you some inspiration, the reins are in your hands. You can now put your own unique twist on these classic recipes to cater to your father’s likes and dislikes and decorate them to celebrate this grand occasion. Remember, calories don’t count on Father’s Day!

Brownie Marshmallow Bars

If you’re looking for something that is packed with gooey sweetness, then this is the dessert for you. This dessert bar pairs a deep chocolatey flavor with the light taste of marshmallow to bring a combination that’ll get your taste buds dancing. Fathers love this dessert because it’s jam-packed with sweet flavor. We all know dads love anything that’s sweet enough to give them cavities!

Ingredients:
·       1 package (19.8 ounce) brownie mix
·       ½ cup vegetable oil
·       ¼ cup of water
·       2 eggs
·       1 (10.5 ounce) package miniature marshmallows
·       2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
·       1 cup peanut butter
·       1 tablespoon butter
·       1 ½ cups crispy rice cereal
Directions:
1. To prepare, start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F and greasing a 9x13-inch baking dish.
2. Combine the contents of the brownie package mix with oil, water and eggs and whisk together until smooth.
3. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes (or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean).
4. Evenly sprinkle the marshmallows over the cooked brownie and stick it back in the oven until melted (about 3 minutes).
5. In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter and put over low heat. Stir the contents of the saucepan until everything is melted and smooth.
6. Remove the saucepan from heat, then proceed to stir in the cereal mixture.
7. Spread the finished mixture over the cooled brownies and refrigerate until firm. Slice and serve.

Mudslide No-Churn Ice Cream

One thing that you can never go wrong with on Father’s Day is ice cream. Whether it’s the refreshing nature of the cold dessert or just the delectable creamy texture, there’s hardly anyone who can resist this dessert. Rather than going with store-bought ice cream, surprise your father with some homemade ice cream, mudslide style!

Ingredients:
·       2 cups heavy cream
·       1 (14.5 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
·       1 cup chopped chocolate
·       ¼ cup hot fudge sauce
·       2 tablespoons Kahlua
·       2 tablespoons of Bailey’s Irish cream

Directions:
1. Place the heavy cream in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks appear, about 5 minutes.
2. Gently fold the sweetened condensed milk into the heavy cream until fully combined. Then proceed to do the same for the chocolate fudge sauce, Kahlua and Irish cream.
4. Place the mixture into a 9x5-loaf pan and add some chocolate to swirl for decoration. Move the mixture into the freezer for about 5 hours or until it’s the desired consistency.

Before you serve it, you can even add some decadent decorations to add to the presentation. Adding cute toppings such as candy pearls or even just a pair of googly eyes can really make the ice cream seem like it’s something special!