Stylish Playdates

Why host a playdate? Because kids and moms deserve organized fun where kids play and moms play catch-up.

Playdates don’t have to be structured, and shouldn’t be most of the time. But every once in a while, perhaps a few times a season, have a playdate with kids and their moms. Host a gathering filled with a craft, a game, and a bit more to eat than pretzels. The children will be excited about the play, activity or holiday celebrated, treats served, and special memories are sure to be created.

This time also builds mom-to-mom relationships, giving you a chance to chat with each other about things that touch your lives: charities, hobbies, or passions, all while enjoying a cup of tea or glass of wine. It doesn’t need to be spectacular, but can be easy, with simple crafts, and recipes and you’ll find it well worth the effort.

 

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!!

Let's go green together! Kids love, love,love this project! Just take some of your recycled tin cans, washed and dried of course, and turn them into works of art using squares of oragami or scrapbook paper and glue. Then, fill it up with soil, plant some seeds and voila! a sustainable work of art! IMG_0872IMG_0873

For more great tips and party ideas...check out my book! Order yours today !!

Pre-K Parties_COVERjpg


Valentines Day Playdate

Share the love with the littlest of cherubs and host a Heart's Day Playdate, filled with crafts, love, and a cocktail for cupid! DSC00478festive tags made from fingerprints and shades of pink, hung with pretty ribbons on an all hearts tree.Hang them to dry for a lovely display, then the children can take their words of love home! DSC00444Chenille stems twisted into hearts are strung together with clear line and separated with pretty pearls. Perfect for hanging from mantels or doorways for a decorative hearts on a string touch. rockcookies2CU_00004yummy sugar cookies are a sure way to anyone's heart, but especially the little ones. Dot the purple and pink icing on the cookies and then with a fork swirl the colors together for a tie-dyed look. How sweet it is!!     and who can resist a cupids cocktail? Serves 4 8 oz. vodka 2 oz. raspberry juice 2 oz. mint simple syrup 2 oz. pomegranate juice mix all ingredients in  shaker filed with ice, strain into glasses and serve! DSC00498      

Countdown To Christmas!

Countdown to Christmas!

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Spring Fairies


Summer Days

 

Butterflies fly away on these colorful and tasty treats. The just right way to celebrate a summer playdate or warm weather birthday.Kids will certainly be all aflutter for them!

Summer Days are perfect for outdoor craft projects, and these colorful water bottles are ideal for kids to decorate with whimsical stickers and foamy shapes.

 

 


Snow Day!


It’s official, you just got the 6 a.m. call and school is cancelled because of snow. Now, what to do with the kids all day?! Here are a few easy, fun, and accessible crafts, recipes and ideas, to help you get through!

Let’s start with breakfast, since there is no rush to get out the door, whip up a batch of pancakes, throw in some chocolate chips, vanilla extract, bananas, blueberries, raspberries, raisins, or a combo of any of the above. Paired with fresh fruit and warm syrup will give them a healthy start as well as energy for a long day ahead!

Another favorite in my house are Bananas Bunny, named after my grandmother as we used to have them growing up at her house. They make a great topper for waffles, oatmeal, or a piping hot stack of pancakes.

 

Bunny’s Bananas

Serves 4

2 ripe bananas, sliced in ½ inch thick rounds

2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter

½ teaspoon cinnamon if desired

Put all ingredients in a small bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes. Mix lightly and serve.

 

Crafts are a good place to start, I’m sure you have a few things around the house that can prove to be useful. One of my favorites is a Paper Snowflake Tree. Glittery and bright, it will get you through the dull wintery blues!

 

You’ll Need:

White Construction Paper

Scissors

Craft glue

Foamy paint brushes

Glitter in shades of blue or crafter’s choice

Hole punch

Ribbon or raffia

Branches

Bucket 

  1. Cut out intricate (or not!) paper snowflakes (see below). On a covered surface, using foamy brush apply a very light coating of glue to flake.
  2. Sprinkle snowflakes with glitter until the entire flake is covered. Let dry.
  3.  Hole-punch an edge of the flake and string a piece of ribbon or raffia through the hole for hanging.

To Display:  Cut some branches from out of doors, bring them inside and place them in a deep bucket or vessel to house the sparkly snowflakes!

Tip: Foamy sheets also work well for glittery snowflakes.

Tip: Setting the flake on a paper plate before sprinkling the glitter helps with clean-up!

 

Snowflakes:

Fold paper in half. Fold it in half diagonally. Fold in half again, and then into quarters to form a triangle. Draw a design using a pencil. Cut out design. Remember, all snowflakes are different, so get creative with your designs Unfold paper to reveal design! Lay flat under a few books to flatten before glittering.

 

Decoupage

Decoupage is an easy craft that will provide children with hours of pleasure and can be adapted to suit most ages. Wrapping paper, paper doilies. Newspapers, and magazine cuttings, make an excellent collection for their masterpieces, I keep a box of old scraps in the wrapping paper closet so I always have on hand.

 

Kids can cover small buckets to house pens and pencils or hair accessories, glass jars, tin cans, and large shoeboxes to hold their schoolwork and favorite artwork.

 

You’ll need:

Bucket or box

Assorted papers

Modge podge glue

Foamy brush

Scissors

  1. Tear and or cut pieces of paper.
  2. Apply a tin coat of modge podge to a section on bucket or box. Create a pleasing pattern by pressing papers firmly onto surface. Continue until bucket or box top is covered.
  3. Apply a top coat of clear drying modge podge to secure papers. Let dry.

 

Tip: Use decorative edge scissors for a fancy effect.

Tip: To personalize your project, cutout letters to spell out your name or initials

 

Suggested papers for decoupaging:

Leftover Wallpapers

Wrapping papers

Newspapers

Scrapbooking papers

Doilies

Origami papers

Magazines

Comic books

 

Paper Lanterns

Another fun craft with paper, like paper chains, paper lanterns are traditional and a fun way of using paper to make three-dimensional objects. Decorated with ribbons beads or glitter, they look great strung across a mantel or window.

 

 

You’ll need:

Sheets of paper in various colors

Scissors

Glue or tape

Ribbons, beads, gems for decorating

  1. Cut a piece of paper about 1 inch wide from short side of paper. This makes the loop for hanging.
  2. Fold paper in half lengthwise. Begin cutting strips, by cutting up from folded edge, stopping about 1-inch from the top, and again about ¾ inch apart, all the way down the paper. These strips create the flaps of the lantern.
  3. To make lantern, unfold paper and form a tube shape. Glue or tape edges of paper together on top and bottom, gently push down on lantern to form shape.
  4. Decorate top and bottom rims with ribbons, beads, etc.
  5. Glue ends of hanging loop to the top of the lantern. Let dry. Hang!

 

Tip: These make great party decorations, try using printed papers for a festive look, snowflakes for winter, tropical flowers for summer!

 

 

Lunch

Keep the fun going with make your own pizzas. I keep a supply of frozen pizza dough on hand for quick and easy meals. Some sauce and cheese and your all set. For a bit more fun, break out the cookie cutters and have them cut out a few shapes.

 

Snow Time 

For fun in the frosty winter wonderland, mix red food coloring with water in a spray bottle to add a blush to your snow people. Although my kids ask for a few different colors and they use the snow as a beautiful white canvas. Sand buckets make durable molds for building snow forts and igloos.When they get too cold and want to warm-up. Make a batch of Hot Chocolate, a treat sure to make them all warm and fuzzy inside. Play a movie, one that suits everyone’s taste, and serve little bowls of popcorn for viewing treats.

 

Other games and activities:

Talent Show

Kim’s Game—memory game

Pass the parcel

Hide and seek

Charades

 

 

Instant Hot Chocolate Mix

3 cups Dutch–processed unsweetened cocoa powder

4 cups superfine sugar

6 cups nonfat dry milk

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional)

 

To make mix: Whisk together all of the dry ingredients and sift mixture through a fine sieve or strainer, twice. Store in an airtight container.

 

To make one mug:

1/3 cup hot cocoa mix

1-½ cups boiling water or hot milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

 

To make: Place 1/3 cup of mix into a mug, pour water or hot milk on top, stir until dissolved. Top with suggested toppings. My family loves these as extras on top. After all, it's a Snow Day!

Whipped cream

Marshmallows, large or mini

Chocolate chips

Oreo Crunchies


Happy Tom Turkey!

 

This is such a wonderful time of year. So much to be thankful for ... our friends, family and children, who all make our lives beautiful. Let's thank them all with these easy, colorful, and tasty projects and recipes which will leave them thankful for you! 
  
Tom Tom Turkey
 
I remember growing up making these pinecone turkeys with my brothers, and now I can't resist making them with my children! Make a bunch and use them for placecards at the table, or line them on a mantel or windowsill for a grouping of gobblers!
 
 
 
You'll Need: 
  • Large pinecone
  • feathers in bright colors
  • red and brown chenille stems
  • google eyes
  • medium pom-pom
  • orange fun foam
  • scissors
  • glue
 
 
 
Step 1:
Glue the feathers into the back of the pinecone to create plume.
 
 
Step 2:
Glue eyes on the pom-pom. Cut pipe cleaners and twist to make feet and gizzard. Glue on all turkey parts.


Summer Playdate

School's Out. It's Summertime!!

What better way to welcome the long lazy days of summer than to host a playdate. Invite your children's friends over for an afternoon or morning of fun in the summer sun.

Set out an easy menu, with things the kids can grab on the go. I love these ham, tomato, and cheese pouches. I use pizza dough folded into min-muffin tins, easy to prepare and ready in minutes, my kind of entertaining!

I also adore this tiered tin tray. It's perfect for lots of outdoor entertaining in summer. Ham and cheese pouches on top, and cruidite and grapes arranged in silicone baking dishes on the bottom,  makes for a healthy nibbles on the go. How easy is that?

And when warm weather hits, ice-pops are a must!

I like mixing it up a bit and experimenting with different fruits and flavors. These colorful cold pleasers are mango-watermelon. I add a bit of water to mango nectar, pour into the molds and add chopped up watermelon. The frozen fruit adds color, flavor, and an icy suprise! 

 

And I always have a craft, a little something for the kids to take-away, to start their summer off with a splash! How colorful and cute are these water bottles? I picked up a bunch of bottles along with stick-on foamies in different themes at the craft store, and presto -- an instant craft.

I think I like the bugs the best. How about you?

 

Speaking of bugs, I got a little wingy with the cupcakes, but how adorable are these sweet treats!

 

 

 


Mother's Day Bucket of Blooms

 Happy Mother’s Day! Here’s a really cute, easy idea that will have your mom smiling throughout the year. For my mom, my kids and I created the darling decoupage bucket you see here. The fact that it’s personalized makes it extra special, whether it’s used as patio accent planter, a stylish carryall for her desk or in the kitchen. Either way, this is a great gift that you know she’ll love.

All supplies are available at your local craft store and it’s a very kid- and cost-friendly project. Here’s what you need:

1 galvanized tin bucket

 Tub of Mod Podge

 A foam brush

Scrapbook papers in similar colors – your mom’s favorite!

Scissors

Stenciled letters or trace a letter printed from computer and cut out of colored paper

First, cut the scrapbook paper in various small sizes. Cover over a small section of the bucket with a good portion of Mod Podge. Start layering on the pieces of paper in a decorative pattern. Work your way around the bucket until it is covered with colored paper. Let dry. Cut the initial out or the word “Mom” and apply with Mod Podge to the center of the bucket. We used the initial “M” for my own mother, Mary. (Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!)

Then, simply fill with beautiful blooming flowers or a cute topiary or fill with stamped stationery or your kids’ homemade projects from school. Wrap with clear cellophane, tie with a matching ribbon and you’ll have the best present around!

 

 


Easter Egg Hunt

 

Spring has Sprung! Everyone is anxious for time out-of-doors in the fresh air. This playdate is a perfect way to welcome spring in an easy to pull-together
festive setting.
 
Children no matter their size, I find, can't get enough of finding treasures, and an Easter Egg hunt is the perfect occassion to get them outside hunting for treats
to fill their baskets. I love the look on their faces when they've found a treat glistening in pastel foils, or a brightly colored egg getting them ready for the egg roll.
Serving the grown-ups a refreshing springtime cocktail and chocolates makes everyone enjoy the afternoon in true spring spirit!
 
 
Plan this playdate for a spring afternoon after the big kids get out of school, this way the running of errands will be done for the day, and everyone can relax and enjoy the fun. There are also conference days when school is not in session, giving you plenty of time to host. Either way, you can take advantage of the longer days of
glorious spring sunshine.
 
When getting the word out, be sure to mention the hunt is going to take place outside and to dress the children appropriately, with jackets, and boots to navigate the spring's wet, muddy ground. Also, request that each child bring a basket or bucket to gather treats and to carry their craft project home.
 
 
 
 
The Hunt
 
Since it is a hunt, I have instilled a few helpful hints to ensure the little ones get their fair share. I like to have fragmented starting times.
This allows for the little ones to gather some treats before the bigger kids come running. Also, I always put out a plastic egg or a treat bag 
with each child's name clearly marked. This assures each child gets something just for them and the treats are distributed evenly. Have a few extra baskets or buckets around
for those who have forgotten thiers. Get the grown-ups involved by having go and check on the kids during the hunt, champagne-in-hand.
 
 
 
 
 
Pretty Paper Eggs 
 
This festive craft is easy and certainly less time consuming than boiling eggs and mixing up dyes. Plain paper eggs can be found in craft stores or on the craft internet sites.
Cover a table with brown craft paper or newspaper and set down small shallow bowls filled with modge podge, paint brushes, and containers of small squares of tissue paper in different colors and patterns. Have the children coat the top half of the egg with modge podge and artfully arrange a layer of tissue. on the glued egg. Next, coat the paper with a top coat of modge podge. Flip the egg over and decorate the other half. Empty egg cartons work well to house wet eggs.
Display the masterpieces by hanging on fresh branches brought in from the yard, or lay them in a bed of colorful shredded paper for an easy centerpiece.
 
 
 
 
The Treats 
 
Sweet to eat these tweet inspired cupcakes are a Easter egg hunt favorite. The grass is coconut mixed with a tiny bit of green food gel. Add jelly beans to the center for the egg-stra-special topper. My kids made them, happy, messy bakers gone wild for spring!   

 

  


Valentine's Playdate

Love and friendship are in the air! It’s Valentines Day – a most perfect holiday to host a playdate. It’s also the perfect time to get-together and spend time socializing over the cold winter months with your friends and their children.

 Get started by sending homemade  “invitation” valentines their way, pick a day, starting time and you’re off! Planning this heart-filled playdate is easy: Plan a few lite bites for the adults, a simple menu for the kids, top it off with a heart-felt craft and life is rosy!

 

ADULT MENU

 
 

Hearts are all around here, and so easy to make. Red pepper tortillas have been cut out using heart-shaped cookie cutters, lightly fried in vegetable oil, and sprinkled with salt. Serve them with a garden fresh dip, or add a few tablespoons of sour cream to bottled Ranch dressing to thicken. Garnish with a tiny heart.

 

Red Hot Punch

Making a punch for your playdate is like serving a party in a bowl. It’s easy to make, while a festive bowl of Valentine’s punch lets your guests serve themselves and frees you up to enjoy the playdate! The jewel-toned pomegranate seeds look like tiny red hots as they float about the punch for a most colorful libation.

 

Serves 4

1 bottle (750ml) brut champagne or sparkling wine (chilled)

4 oz. St. Germain Liqueur

8 oz. cranberry juice (chilled)

1- 4 oz. package of pomegranate seeds

 

Decorative ice ring, or 2 cups ice cubes

 In a punch bowl or glass drinks dispenser, combine liqueur and cranberry juice. And pomegranate seeds. Slowly pour in champagne, add the ice ring or cubes, and serve.

 

TIP: For a mocktail, substitute 24 ounces of ginger ale and 12 ounces lemon seltzer. And for a suggestions on home to make a decorative ice mold or ring, see my book,PUNCH.

 

 

Hearts On Fire Pizzas

 

Kids just love shaped food, and these pizzas are so easy to whip up. Use cookie cutters to make heart-shaped pizzas cut from pre-made pizza dough. Add a little sauce and cheese and presto! Pizza for little ones and a craft to boot!

 

 

Serves 4

1-10 inch pre-cooked pizza dough

4 -inch heart cutter

½ cup marinara sauce

¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Place pizza dough on work surface or cutting board and press heart-shaped cookie cutters down firmly to cut shapes. Spread sauce and sprinkle cheese evenly. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and starts to bubble. Let cool before serving.

 

 

TIP: To cut hearts, lay cookie cutter on top of dough, with the bottom point in the center, cut out and work your way around the dough, one dough yields 5 hearts.

 

 

Tie-dye cookies

 

Swirls of sugary colors make these shortbread cookies a hearts-on favorite. Heart shaped sugar cookies have been iced, and then dotted with pink and red icing. The tie-dye effect is made by taking the small end of a spoon and joining the red and pink together in a swirling motion.

 

 

Makes 24 cookies:

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

21/2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. salt

vanilla icing

1 tube red icing

1 tube pink icing

 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

 

1. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon or whisk to blend.

 

2. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. On a lightly floured surface, shape the cookie dough into a ball. Place in self-sealing plastic bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

 

3. On a lightly floured surface roll the dough into ¼ inch thickness. Cut out heart shapes. Transfer to cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

 

4. Ice the hearts with vanilla icing. Put dots of red and pink icing all over hearts, using the back of a spoon, make swirls to connect the pink and red and create the tie-dyed effect.

 

TIP:  If you’re short on time, used packaged sugar cookie dough, found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. Kids also like to help decorate the cookies if you want to add another craft to the party.

 


Vanilla Icing:

½ cup unsalted butter

1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted

3 tbsp. water

 

In a medium bowl, combine butter and vanilla until smooth. Stir in confectioners sugar ½ cup at a time alternating with water until fluffy and smooth.

 

 

 

Strawberry Lemonade

A valentine twist on the classic lemonade, its light pink color and sweet taste gives new meaning to sweethearts!

 

Serves 8:

1 quart lemonade

1 container frozen strawberries, in syrup

2 cups seltzer

1 pint fresh strawberries for garnish

 

In a larger pitcher filled with 3 cups of ice, pour lemonade, thawed strawberries, and seltzer. Pour into glasses, garnish with fresh strawberry, and serve.

 

 


KIDS CRAFT

 

Hearts on a String

 

Hang your messages of love for all to see! Ideal for little ones of all ages, these foamy hearts can be covered in glitter glue, ribbons, stickers, or smaller, colorful self-adhesive hearts.

 

These hearts on a string are showcased on a tree of white branches. A base of Styrofoam set in a bright red bucket secures the branches, and shredded paper in a valentine’s shade of pink fill the base for a perfect finish. This makes an ideal setting to put their artworks on display, put it on the kitchen counter, table or sideboard.

 

You’ll Need:

Foamy sheets in shades of pink, purple, red and white

Heart shaped cookie cutters

Decorative foamy hearts with adhesive backs

Craft glue

Glitter in shade of pink

Hole punch

Ribbons

Scissors

White branches

Styrofoam square

Red bucket

Pink paper filler

 

To Make:

On a protected surface, trace and cut out different sized heart shapes. Layer them together in pleasing patterns, glue and glitter where desired. Let dry. Hole punch the top centers of hearts and string a ribbon through to hang on tree.

 

TIP: For glitter, place heart on paper plate, glue and sprinkle glitter. Let dry. Gather the unused glitter from plate and pour gently back into glitter tube.

 

 

 


Summer Fun

 
Summer Fun
 
It's a warm sunny, summer day, and a perfect day for a playdate!
 
Break-out a pitcher of lemonade and let the fun begin.
easy summer fun is the focus here, a simple menu for the kids and adults, paired with a festive craft, make it easy to entertain in perfect summer style!
 
Activity
 
Whirly Pin-Wheels
 
These festive pinwheels will add pizazz to any bike or camp backpack!
 
To make:
Crafted from soft, foamy sheets, which come in a rainbow of colors, can be found at any craft store, making this craft just right for any age. 
 
You'll Need;
 
Wooden Clothespins
4-inch squares of foamy sheets
Chenille stems
Pony beads
Tacky glue
 
How-to:
1. Take a 4-inch square of foam and cut a line diagonally from each corner to the center, stopping 1/4 inch from the center.
2. Cut the chenille stem in half, and fold one corner of each side towards the center. Poke the stem through the corners, string a pony bead on the stem, and bend the top of the stem down around the bead.
Glue or wrap the long end of chenille stem to clothespin.
 
 
Menu
 
Childrens
 
Sparkling Cherry Bombs
Star shaped Sandwiches
Brownie Pop-stars
 
Adults
 
Mini Pizzas
Mixed green salad
Nantucket Lemonade
 
Recipes
Sparkling Cherry bombs
 
2 liters orange flavored sparkling water
1/2 cup cherry juice
cherries for garnish
 
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Fill with ice, and serve.
 
Star shaped sandwiches
 
Make a variety of sandwiches, some summer favorites are mozzarella and tomato, turkey and cheese, and tomato and mayonaise. With several differnet sized cookie cutter, press firmly into the bread, and so that the cookie cutter cuts through the bread. 
 
Brownie Pop Stars
Prepare a packaged brownie mix, when all of the ingredients are mixed, add 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Spoon mix into star shaped silicone baking molds. Bake according to instructions. Let cool. Pop out brownies form forms, and insert a lollipop stick on the side of each star. 
To serve: fill a small bucket with jelly beans or small candies and poke pops into  to arrange.
 
Adults Menu
 
Fresh Tomato and basil pizzas
 
3 large red or yellow tomatoes
1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
6 basil leaves
1 package pizza dough
olive oil
1/2 cup grated cheese
4 ounces sliced parmesan  cheese
 
Divide and roll pizza dough into 6-inch mini-pizzas
 
In a saucepan heat 3 tablespoons olive oil, saute yellow onions until soft, and remove.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the tomatoes until soft. Add basil, and parmesan cheese, remove from heat.
 
On top of each pizza place a spoonful of the onions, and then tomatoes, and top off with a few slices of parmesan cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
 
Nantucket Cocktails
 
Island Girls
8 oz. cranberry juice
8 oz. vodka
4 oz. ginger-ale
2 oz. lime juice
lime slices for garnish
 
 
Mix all ingredients in a large pitcher, add ice, pour into glasses and serve immediately.


May Flowers

In springtime, the weather can be unpredictable but this playdate’s  activities and menu will adapt perfectly to an indoor setting, as well as out in the spring sunshine. Children love these artist inspired pots, a great combination project of recycling and gardening all in one!

Activity

Blooming pot

To Make:

The supplies for this craft can all be found at the local craft store, I have even found them in the bigger grocery stores. To make things easier for the little ones, I pre-cut the origami papers into squares and rectangles.

You’ll Need:

         Tin cans that have been emptied and cleaned. One per child.
         Oragami papers in bright colors or patterns
         Modge Podge glue
         Paint brushes, small foam ones work best
         Potting soil
         Seed packets

 
How-To:
Cut the origami paper into squares and rectangles. Coat the tin with a layer of Modge Podge, using the paintbrush. Arrange the origami papers onto the tin by pressing firmly. Brush on a top layer of glue, and once the tin is covered, set to dry. It will dry clear.
Once dry, Fill the can about two-thirds full with potting soil. Sprinkle 6-8 seeds on top and press seeds into soil. Water lightly and set in a sunny place.
 
Eats

Kids

Lemonade
Cheeseydogs in pastry
Fresh fruit
Artist cookies

Adults
Asparagus and ham wrapped in pastry
Hummus dip and crackers
Pink Lady Punch
Recipes
Lemonade

         1 cup simple syrup( see recipe below)
         2 cups fresh lemon juice
         8 cups cold water
         6 cups ice cubes
        
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher or large vessel and mix well. 
 
Simple syrup
Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is clear, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. The syrup will keep, refrigerated in a sealed jar or container, for up to 1 week.

CheesyDogs in Puffed Pastry

         1 package turkey or beef frankfurters
         1 roll pre-made cresent rolls
         8 slices American cheese

On a clean surface, slice the hot dogs lengthwise about 2/3 of the way through. Fold cheese and place it inside hot dog. Unwrap the crescent pastry and roll-out flat. Roll each hotdog in a piece of pastry. Lay on baking sheet, bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Artsy Cookies

Light and fluffy with a shortbread-like consistency. Yummy!

         1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
         1 cup sugar
         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
         2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
         ¼ teaspoon salt
         Vanilla icing(see recipe below)
         Tubes of colored icings

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla. In another bowl, combine the flour and salt. Stir with a whisk to blend.

3. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a round log, cut into rounds about ¼ inch thick. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Cool completely.

4. Ice the cookies with vanilla icing, and decorate with the colored tubes of icing.

Adult Recipes

Asparagus and ham in puffed pastry

An easy way to entertain elegantly, I pick up grilled asparagus spears and slices of balckforest ham, and a roll of pastry. Much like the cheesydogs, I wrap an asparagus in ham, then roll the combo in a sheet of pastry dough. Pop in the oven set at 350 degreesF for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Take out and serve. Simple, right?

Punch

         Punch Bowl and Glasses
         2 bottles(750ml each) chilled zinfandel or rose wine.
         ½ cup apricot brandy
         ½ cup Cointreau
         1 cup orange juice

Combine chilled ingredients in a punch bowl and add ice cubes. Serve.

 


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