Category Archives: Party Planning

Holiday Crack

I decided to try something besides my infamous white chocolate chip cookies this year. Cooking comes much more naturally to me than baking, so I tend to keep things simple. I knew combining butter, brown sugar, and chocolate was basically fool proof, and I was right. My boys delivered all but a tiny bit to our neighbors yesterday to keep my indulgence at bay. Next time you need to whip something up for a holiday party that’s quick, super easy, and most likely you already have all of the ingredients, try this.

Begin by generously coating a foiled-lined baking sheet with nonstick spray. Now layer the entire pan with saltine crackers.

Melt 2 sticks of butter and a cup of brown sugar over medium heat. Once melted, bring the pot to a boil and stir quickly for 2 minutes. Pour the mixture over the crackers and even out with the back of a wooden spoon.

Bake at 350 for 5 minutes. Remove and top with chocolate chips.

Pop back in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove and spread chocolate evenly over the crackers.

This is where you can let your Littles help by decorating with M&Ms, sprinkles, colored sugar, etc.

Run a sharp knife along the sides of the crackers and then refrigerate until the chocolate has hardened. Enjoy!

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Spicy Beef Sliders

Between football season and holiday parties, there are so many occasions for good sliders. I’ve been making these particular ones for a few years and they never disappoint. You can even make them a day ahead of time and pop them in the oven right before serving.

Begin by generously spraying nonstick spray into a baking dish. Cut a dozen dinner rolls in half and lay the bottom half in your pan. I’ve used both plain and Kings Hawaiian rolls and both turn out perfectly.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat until it’s almost smoking. Add a pound of ground sirloin – don’t break it up, just let it sizzle for 2 minutes on each side until it begins to char. This adds amazing texture and flavor to the meat.

Now add a chopped onion plus 1tsp salt, 1tsp pepper, 1tsp cumin, 1tsp mustard powder, and 1/2tsp paprika. Break up meat and cook it through. Add a 1tsp minced garlic and cook for another minute before removing from heat. Drain off any excess grease and then stir in 1 drained can of Rotel.

Once combined, spoon your meat mixture over the bottom half of your rolls. Layer with 12 slices of sharp cheddar cheese and cover with the top halves of the rolls.

To make your glaze melt 1 stock of butter in a small sauce pan. Add in 2tbl brown sugar, 1tbl Worcestershire, 1tbl Dijon, and 1tbl sesame seeds. Pour over your rolls.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until tops begin to brown. Enjoy!!

Adapted From – Kevin & Amanda

The Best Ever Holiday Stuffing 

With the holidays upon us and Thanksgiving less than a week away, I’ve decided to share the sides that are a MUST in our house. Ryan is in charge of frying a turkey, smoking another, and the oysters, but I’m in charge of the sides that he feels are mandatory. 

I think we can all agree that stuffing is a must-have with the Thanksgiving spread. It happens to be one of my absolute favorite sides too, so several years ago I set out to make the most epic stuffing possible. I think I’ve achieved it – try it and see for yourself.😋

Begin with a couple large loaves of good, soft, unsliced bread. I use a combo of white and wheat. You’ll need about 9 cups total of bread cubes. Lay them out on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Set aside. 

Sauté over medium heat in 3/4 cup of butter the following: 1.5C diced celery, 3/4C diced onions, and 1C mushrooms (optional) until soft. Now stir in 1/2tsp salt, 1/2tsp sage, 1/2tsp thyme, 1tsp poultry seasoning, and 1/4tsp pepper. 

Toss seasoned veggies with bread cubes in large mixing bowl. Add in 1C chicken broth to moisten. 

Transfer into a greased 9×13 baking dish and bake at 350 (uncovered) for 35-40 minutes. You can thank me later – Enjoy!!

Inspired by – Chef In Training 

Most Epic Chocolate Chip Cookies 🍪 

In honor of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, I feel like I should share the last “chip” recipe you’ll ever need. I say “chip” because I have made these with milk chocolate, toffee, mint, peanut butter, and white chocolate chips and all are heavenly.

I use my Kitchenaid Mixer but I think you could possibly get away with using a decent hand mixer. 

Begin by sifting 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons of cake flour, 1 & 2/3 cups bread flour, 1.25 teaspoons baking soda, 1.5 teaspoons baking powder, & 1.5 teaspoons coarse salt. Set aside. 

With paddle attachment cream together 2.5 sticks unsalted butter (room temp), 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, & 1.25 cups light brown sugar until light and fluffy – approximately 5 minutes. 

Reduce speed and add 2 eggs & 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. 

Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in your chips. 

Refrigerate for 24-36 hours – DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. 

When ready, drop by the spoonful and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes – Cool on a wire rack. 

You will be the hit of the bake sale, the cookie swap, & the neighborhood Christmas party. You are welcome!🍪

Adapted From: I Am Baker

Fresh Shrimp Sliders

We just returned from a week at the beach. The beauty of living here is that we didn’t feel the need to eat out whatsoever. We simply picked veggies from our garden, brought fresh local shrimp from The Shrimp Lady, and bought some good bread, meats, and fruit. I mean, no place in town could beat the view from the porch anyways….

Every dinner felt like a date night…..

One of my favorite meals that we cooked were these Sliders. Now, these could easily be served as full size sandwiches or even bite size mini biscuits for the perfect brunch treat. Any size, they are absolutely delicious. 

Begin by whisking together 1/3C mayonnaise, 1tbl chopped basil, 1.5tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1.5tsp freshly squeezed orange juice + 1tsp orange zest, and 3/4tsp Old Bay seasoning. 

Fold in a pound of cooked & chilled fresh shrimp, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (or smaller for smaller servings), 6 crispy crumbled slices of bacon, and 1/4tsp each of salt and pepper. 

Prepare your buns by buttering each side and sliding them under the broiler or onto the grill until the edges begin to brown. 

Spoon some of your shrimp mixture onto one half and top with fresh basil leaves and garden fresh tomatoes before capping with your top piece of warm buttered bread. OMG.😃

Adapted From: Southern Living

Grilled, Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

With a million jalapeños from our garden and a cheat day/Father’s Day upon us, what better way to use some of our fresh produce than load them up with cheese. These were a bit labor intensive, but worth it.

I used 12 jalapeños and halved them, removing the seeds and membranes.

Combine 1 cup shredded cheddar, 8oz softened cream cheese, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Use a dinner knife and spread each half with as much as it will hold.

Cut 12 strips of bacon in half and wrap each jalapeño, placing a toothpick in each to hold the bacon in place.

Grill with the cheese side down for 6-8 minutes and then flip and grill until the bacon blackens.

Try not to eat the entire batch!

Adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction

Homemade Twix Bars

I am not someone who has a huge sweet tooth. I don’t have to have dessert every day, but when the mood strikes, it’s game on. These Twix bars are not only super easy, they are DELICIOUS. 

Coat a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Using a hand mixer beat 1 cup of salted butter until soft. Add in 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 1 cup powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. Add 2 cups of flour and carefully combine. Using your hands, press dough out evenly into your baking dish. Bake at 300 degrees for 35 minutes. Let cool completely. 

Melt 2 bags of caramel squares (2.5 cups) and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl for 3 minutes on high heat. Make sure to stop and stir each minute or so. 

Pour the caramel over the cooled crust and spread evenly. Let cool in the fridge for 20 minutes. 

Melt 2 cups of milk chocolate chips in the microwave for 2 minutes (stir after the first minute). Pour over the caramel and spread evenly.

Refrigerate until chocolate sets. Cut and serve!😃

Adapted from: My Kitchen Escapades

Birthday Banners

When my son turned 1, I literally spent almost $50 on banners to include one that draped around his highchair tray with the simple phrase, “I Am One”. The following year my super crafty and talented sister in law made one for him with her Cricut. What is that you say? Well, I had no idea either…..fast forward to a couple of months ago and I insisted (asked nicely😄) for my husband to buy me one for Mother’s Day. I mean, women are making hand over fist with these magical machines selling to the less craftily inclined…

My cousin’s little boy who I keep some during the week and love like he is my own turns one tomorrow, so what better excuse to take my new machine out of the box and see what all the hype is about. I’ve played around with it for the past couple of days and can tell this can easily become an obsession….I’m actually not totally embarrassed by my first attempt (although I did tell my cousin she didn’t have to hang it if she didn’t want to). It’s the thought that counts anyways…😊

1st Birthday Chalkboard

I have to admit, I was super intimidated to try one of these for my son’s first birthday. I LOVED the idea of it, but I am not artistic. I actually planned to order a template from Etsy and call it a day. Then, one of my dear friends said something that made me take the plunge. She said that the fact that I made it myself, with nothing but my hands and lots of love, would mean so much more later on….it would be imperfectly perfect. So, I did some research and got started. The first thing I did was print off my son’s name in the font and size I needed. I then laid it down on my chalkboard and drew over top of the letters with a pencil. It was just dark enough to translate to the board in order for me to be able to trace it back over with a chalkboard marker. 


Then I used a ruler to section it out, a giraffe stencil, and hand wrote the rest. Trust me, if I can do this, anybody can!☺️

Mimosa Bar

Another one of my favorite things to do is party plan. I mean, who doesn’t love a good party, right?! In less than a month my little brother is marrying the perfect girl to complete our family. I had the absolute honor and pleasure of helping plan her bridal shower a couple of weeks ago. The bride-to-be and I have many things in common including a love for champagne. It’s the epitome of a celebratory indulgence, and an upcoming wedding is most definitely cause for celebration!! A mimosa bar is super fun and so visually appealing for any shower, brunch, birthday, etc. I found these cute, rustic bottles at Home Goods for a steal and I hit up Hobby Lobby for chalkboard tags, banners, and other accessories. I had plenty of markers from making my son’s first birthday chalkboard (which I will blog about later). Here was my initial vision:

And here is the final display. 


You can’t see the MIMOSA banner above the BAR banner. I finished it off with various fruits and an ice bucket with her new monogram. It was a hit.😊