Thursday, November 15, 2012

Baby Shower Tea Bar

How to not dry out the turkey

There is nothing more frustrating than cooking all day only to find out the turkey is tough & dry. 
Not to worry, this is completely avoidable. 

What you need
 1 Cheese cloth (in the cooking supply aisle - if not ask someone)
 1 injector (same aisle)
1 bottle white wine - any variety is fine
4 cloves of fresh garlic (not the jar type)
4 sticks of unsalted butter
1 red onion
Salt, Pepper and any seasonings you prefer
1 baster 

What you do
(thaw turkey - which should be done way before this process)
Start making this recipe about 20 minutes before you want to start cooking the bird

Mince garlic
Chop onion - small pieces
Melt all the butter in pan (Paula will be proud)
Add in garlic and onions and saute 
When onion is tender add the wine - the whole bottle (no drinking) 
Simmer until wine reduces
Add seasonings to liquid mixture

Almost There

Pour about 1 cup of liquid into a small bowl
Leave the rest in the pan
Fill the injector with the liquid and insert all over turkey
Season turkey
Cover the entire turkey with the cheese cloth
Drizzle some all over the turkey using the baster
Put in the oven

Then What?
This is the key - you have to keep injecting and basting. Depending on the size and cooking duration, but every 30 minutes is a good range. 
Heat up the liquid slightly before you inject. Use about 1/3 cup of the liquid for each injection. 
Baste over the cheese cloth as well

All Done
Remove the cheese cloth right before serving (it keeps it warm) 
WooHoo - you just made the greatest turkey ever. (close enough)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Party- Easy Food & Decor Ideas

It's finally here. The big day that will finally decide who gets the job. Regardless of who you think should win tonight, a party is a great way to bring people together. So have some friends over and forget about all the hostility and policy talks and not so politically correct facebook posts that we have all endured for way too long. Here are some simple easy election night party ideas to get you started. 
 American food all the way. Mini burgers pre-stacked with veggies.
Hot dogs with some patriotic scrap book paper and twine. Simple and festive. 
Baked potato station. I love this idea. Easy, cheap and makes a big splash. Big a large bag of potato's and throw them in the oven for an hour. Use bowls or cups for toppings. Variety of cheeses, sour cream, bacon get the picture. 
Mini corn dog muffins with dipping sauce. Get the recipe here
Spinach dip in a bread bowl. Mix sour cream, dry french onion soup mix, chopped green onions and a bag of spinach. Hallow out bread bowl and fill with dip. Use bread pieces for dipping. 
Apple pie caramel apples. That just sounds good. Get the recipe here.
Angel food cake with sliced fruit and whip cream. Use baby mason jars and ribbon. 
Easy decor - rubber bands and a simple bowl.
Be sure to have a state map to fill in when the polls close. You can also print them out and pass out to guests to track. 

Set out an umbrella stand with mini flags inside to welcome guests.
This patriotic streamer can be found at Party City. You can also just use red, white and blue mixed together. Streamers are an easy decor item. Add some red, white and blue balloons for some festive fun. 

If you don't throw a party tonight and totally skip the mass press coverage at least go out and vote. Not because you believe in everything one guy has to say but because we get to do something that most people in the world are still fighting for.  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Last minute Halloween Party Food Ideas

Here are a few of my all time favorite Halloween party food ideas complete with instructions. These easy to make treats are the perfect last minute additions to a great night of fun. Wishing everyone a Happy Halloween full of great costumes, endless trick or treaters and small children with sugar rushes. 
Mini Mummies. Cut hot dog in half and roll in crescent roll dough. Bake in oven until lightly browned. Use mustard to make eyes using a toothpick. 

Pumpkin Drink Chiller. Hallow out a pumpkin and place a metal or glass bowl inside. Fill with Halloween Jones soda bottles available at Target or Whole Foods. Add ice right before party. 

Hallow out a small pumpkin and add a small bowl. Fill bowl with dipping sauce and surround with cut veggies. 

Scary Knife cupcakes. Bake regular cupcakes or buy pre made ones from the bakery. Mix corn syrup with red food coloring and drizzle blood like liquid over cupcakes. You can make the knives out of taffy or find plastic eyeballs at a party store. 

String cheese and pretzel broomsticks. 

Reeces chocolate cups turned upside down with pretzel stick tops for another version of witch's broom sticks. 

Severed fingers. Cut strips of white flour tortillas in long pieces. Cut hot dogs in finger sized proportion. At the finger nail part scoop out a small amount to create a nail bed. Fasten the tortilla strips to the hot dogs using toothpicks. Cook until slightly browned on the oven. Remove toothpick and add ketchup to the nails. 

Ghost krispies. Shape ghosts out of rice krispie treats and use small candies in fall colors for eyes and mouth. 

Wrap juice box's in white tape. Hot glue googly eyes and chill before serving. 

Buy pre made sugar cookies and 2 icing decorators tubes in the baking section at the grocery store. Add some white icing and pipe them using the decorative tubes. 

Pick up wine glass from the dollar store and add some paint. Check out detailed instructions here. 

Freeze some plastic spiders inside of ice cubes. 

Create a giant pumpkin face using mini carrots, dipping sauce in small bowls or plastic take out containers from fast food places. Use broccoli at the stem and cut cucumbers as the mouth. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Outdoor Halloween Decorations - Simple, Easy & Cheap

I can't wait for Halloween. I usually spend the days leading up to it decorating the outside of the house to be the most anticipated house on the street. How do you know if you did a superb job decking out the house? You run out of candy. Here are some of my favorite simple DIY ideas with step by step instructions. Enjoy. 
Create a spooky entrance by cutting up black trash bags into thin pieces. You can use a tension rod (used for hanging drapery) for the base. Or use your shower rod and attach the bag around the rod to create a curtain effect. Make sure the strips are uneven and long. Gather some brooms to lean around the door and use a softer porch light.
 Create window silhouettes by cutting out figures from cardboard. Find boxes and piece them together to make a person sized rectangle. Have someone lay on the cardboard and trace them. Using a box cutter, cut out the outline. Place the outline inside the window and adhere either to the window or the wall so it won't move. Attach yellow tissue paper to cover the entire window (taping onto the wall and not the window so you don't see the edges). Light from behind using a lamp minus the shade. 
Get the glowing scary effect on the front porch or steps by breaking apart glow sticks. Do this relatively close to dark. Use these mummie candles to line the stairway. Simply buy cheesecloth (in the kitchen supply section at grocery stores) and a case of mason jars (either at grocery store, goodwill or Target/Wal Mart). Find googly eyes from a craft store and a box of votive or ti light candles. Wrap the jars with cheese cloth and hot glue to glass (glue rubs off glass so you can reuse). Add some water to the base of the jar so overflow wax won't get on the jar and create a mess for cleaning. Glue eyes on and scatter around entrance. 
Make these giant eyes for a tree using beach balls covered in white fabric. Use a cheap white sheet from a thrift store and paint large black circles directly on to it. Use some rope to tie around the back side of the knotted fabric and then tie to the branch. 
This is a fun effect to hang from trees. Using women's stocking, place a water balloon with a glow stick inside the stocking and hang from trees. Hot glue black spiders to create a spider's nest. 
Hot glue spiders or paper bats to front door by gluing magnets on them. 
You could also use snakes and worms.
Make a monster door with construction paper cut outs.
Fill a wheel barrel with skeleton bones and dirt. Place near the front door and illuminate with candle light or lit pumpkins. 

Light the pathway to the door with brown lunch bags cut out with eyes and mouth. Be sure to contain the candle inside a glass that is taller than the flame so the bag can not catch fire. Be sure to extinguish them at end of the night and not go inside and have a neighbor tell you the driveway is on fire. 
Yep, that was our Halloween 07. Have some fun. Get the kids involved and remember that even though this takes a little work and time, you only get so many Halloweens with the kids. Make it special. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Party

What is Day of the Dead? It's sort of like Mexican Halloween but with way better colors. Officially Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Day) is held each year on All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (Nov 1 & 2). This date is no coincidence and is very telling of the conflicting history of this holiday. The Spaniards thought the celebration to be sacrilegious. and to make it more "Christian" moved it to All Saints' Day. 
The celebration is basically a party to remember the dead. People create altars in their homes dedicated to a family member that has passed away. The surround the altar with the deceased favorite foods and light candles. A sugar skeleton had the name of the dead written on it and a family member eats it in remembrance. In other countries loved one's spend the entire day at the cemetery, decorating the headstone with marigolds and candles. They spend the day gathered around headstones eating and drinking. Gifts like toys for children or tequila bottles for adults are left at grave sites for the departed. 
The celebration originated some 3000 years ago by the Aztecs who believed in celebrating death. They believed life to be only a dream and death to be the time you were really awake. Instead of fearing death, they embraced it through celebration. 
This all can seem a little morbid. The only time I ever talk about death was wearing all black and speaking very softly. I never saw it as this brightly colorful celebration of life. But that is in fact what we can learn from the Aztecs. 
I like the idea of remembering lost loved ones through a beautiful celebration full of great food, vibrant decorations and lots of candlelight. It sure beats crying alone. I think the dead would appreciate such a celebration way more than the whole behind closed doors mourning thing. 
So this year consider changing things up a little and hosting a Day of the Dead Party. It definitely would be interesting and who knows, maybe the Aztecs knew something about combining parties and grief that we don't. Some photos courtesy of Kara's Party Ideas