February 8th, 2012 |

Sweets for My Sweets

With Valentine’s Day coming up next week, I have been trying to decide what sweets I should make this weekend for all of the people I love.  I think cookies are on my short list and there are three options that I think are pretty darn cute….

The first are these heart shaped cookies from Cookies & Cups with a hole in the middle for a straw.  Cookies and Milk…does it get any cuter?!  These would be darling for a Valentine’s Day party, as well.

I’m a sucker for anything on a stick, or with stripes….so these two options shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone!  These cookie pops from Woman’s Day are very cute, and could be packaged in cellophane wrapped up like a bouquet of flowers.

These double-decker, striped cookies from Bake at 350 Degrees had me at…..well, the stripes!  I love how bold and graphic they are, and seem to be simple to make.  Click over for her simple instructions here.

What are you baking for Valentine’s Day?

 

January 27th, 2012 |

Super Bowl Desserts

Can you believe that the Super Bowl is next weekend already?  January can be such a boring month, so Super Bowl Sunday can be a great opportunity to gather friends for some snacks, cocktails and fun.  My sweet tooth got the best of me today as I was searching for creative food ideas with a football theme…..take a look at the ideas I have put together!

Football whoopie pies….darling, delicious, this idea from Make Merry Events is sure to please a crowd! For a quick dessert, make (or pick up some store-bought brownies) and use a cookie cutter to cut them into the shape of a football.  You can embellish them by piping white royal icing on to them. For a more mature crowd, these turtle bars sound DELISH!  Everyone loves a root beer float!  I love the idea of making a root beer float cupcake!!

Are you throwing or attending a Super Bowl party this year?  If so, what do you plan to make?

Images: football whoopie pies (makemerryevents.com), football brownies (bhg.com), turtle brownies (bonappetit.com), root beer float cupcakes (bhg.com)

 

January 19th, 2012 |

HGTV.com Game Night Feature

This post is a long time coming!  Last Fall, I was asked by the editors of HGTV.com to come up with some unique ideas for hosting a Game Night party for a feature they were doing on entertaining ideas at home, during the winter months.  I was thrilled to be asked, and of course quickly whipped together some ideas that I think you can all re-create for your game night.

I added a graphic impact with bold black and white striped tablecloths throughout the party.  I wanted a playful centerpiece for our dinner table, so I added black dot stickers to the side of a white vase to look like a dice.  A pomander of red carnations filled the vase and made a bold statement.

I tied the napkins with a little tag featuring playing card characters, and each placesetting included a cupcake accessorized with a fondant dice from Two Sugar Babies housed under a mini glass dome.

I created a small dessert table that would be readily available to guests so they could grab desserts in between hands.  Desserts included poker chip cookies from Allyson Jane, brownie bites accessorized with fondant dice, a jar of red hot candies from Candywarehouse.com, and cupcakes decorated with mini playing card cupcake toppers (which I whipped up in about 2 seconds!).

I hope you enjoyed viewing my ideas for hosting a fun game night.  What are some of yours?

January 18th, 2012 |

Game Night!

Most of us find January to be a bit of an “in-between” month.  The spirit of the holiday season has come to an end, and we are still a whole month away from the pink and red candy and candle-lit dinners of Valentine’s Day.  As I look out the window, snow is falling everywhere, and there’s no way I’m heading out the front door without bundling up in my Uggs and warm winter coat.  The idea of playing in the snow seems appealing for a while, but if you’re like me, you prefer to avoid the freezing temperatures. Which can only mean one thing, it’s time to get creative with some fun indoor activities!

Throwing a game night or poker party is the perfect bridge in your calender between the holidays and cold weather.  Gather up your closest friends to play some Blackjack, Texas Hold’em or even some good ole’ Crazy Eights! You can make a memorable night out of the spontaneous occasion with these cute and creative dessert ideas to set the casino mood from Kelly’s feature on HGTV.com! (more details coming tomorrow!)

I’m in love with these jam-filled playing card cookies! You can switch it up with whatever type of jam your guests desire from strawberry to apricot. I would recommend sticking with red jams such as strawberry or raspberry, and dark jams such as blueberry to create the classic red and black poker night theme!  You could even divide your guests up between the card shapes of hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds for a fun and competitive team event of Spoons (my personal favorite card game)!  Check out this recipe for the full how-to.

Image via Mocha Cafe

January 16th, 2012 |

Cake Pop Displays

I have been surfing the web looking for creative ways to display cake pops for a couple of client events I have coming up.  Cake pops have become a staple on dessert tables, so finding new ways to display them is always helpful!  I came across this gorgeous display by Sweet Lauren Cakes and not only do I absolutely LOVE the custom built stand, but I also love the pink ombre effect of the cake pops.

Edging tiers of a wedding cake creates a stunning effect and nice texture to any dessert table.  I tried this concept for our Mod Fish baby shower last year.  You can see our step-by-step tutorial here.

There are some darling ideas out there for kids parties too…..how much do you LOVE this hungry caterpillar display from Pottery Barn Kids?

Images: tiered cake pop stand (sweetlaurencakes.com), wedding cake (via pinterest), vase of cake pops (neimanmarcus.com), cake pop tree (abeeinourbonnet.com), hungry caterpillar cake pop display (potterybarnkids.com)

January 12th, 2012 |

Breakfast with the Babes!

It’s a fun week over here!  We welcomed our new contributor, Casi from CupcakeMag on Tuesday, and today, we are welcoming another new contributor, Jane Carlisle.  A senior at DePauw University, Jane is doing a college internship with WH Hostess and The Party Dress this semester.  She’s learning the ins and outs of both sites, and I am sure you will see plenty of inspiration from her in the upcoming weeks!  xo Kelly

 ***

After being home in Chicago for over a month on winter break, as well as beginning my internship with WH Hostess and The Party Dress, I sincerely began to miss all my close friends back at DePauw.  Not to mention, my famous campus radio show I co-host every Tuesday morning with two of my best friends during the semester called “Breakfast with the Babes!” This got me thinking, now that the craziness of the holidays has finally come to an end, what could be better than a fun excuse to gather up all your closest babes for a darling, chic breakfast? Not much if you ask me, I can’t think of anything better than kicking back with a mimosa in hand and nibbling on a delicious stack of pancakes.  A girly breakfast filled with a bright pink and orange color palette is the perfect ticket to bring your girlfriends together.

I absolutely adore the idea of these fun pancake doodles.  You could do anything with this from the traditional circle and heart shapes to something as funky as a shape of a high-heeled shoe!  It could even be fun for your babes to each design their own doodle!

Not to mention, fresh fruit is a must at any breakfast, and the darling assorted fruit presentation inside a carved out watermelon would look fabulous as a centerpiece.  Add a hot pink grosgrain ribbon around the green skin to add that extra girly touch! For a sassy twist on the classic breakfast cocktail, the blushing mimosa will look fabulous against a pink and orange table.  Just add a touch of pineapple juice and grenadine to the classic drink for the blush look! This “Breakfast with the Babes” theme would be perfect for a darling bridal shower or sweet 16!

Images:Pancake doode (moredesignplease.com),Watermelon fruit display (downtown.tumblr.com), Blushing mimosa (myrecipes.com),  Table setting (dexknows.com),
Flower arrangement (bestweddingsites.com)

December 14th, 2011 |

Chocolate Matzo Toffee

Looking for a yummy treat for Hanukkah celebrations?  This chocolate matzo toffee recipe from Maggie Hemsworth of Delish Catering Chicago that was featured in the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine is a MUST!

Ingredients

5 sheets lightly salted matzo crackers

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter cut in to small pieces

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 (10-oz) package of bittersweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted

½ tbsp. sea salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 275°F. Line a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Place matzos on cookie sheet – you will have to break some of them up to for an even layer. Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved and begins to bubble. Pour the sugar mixture over the matzo crackers. Spread out evenly with an off-set spatula. Place in over and cook for about 17 minutes, until the toffee glistens.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Place back in oven and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread chocolate evenly over the toffee mixture, using an off-set spatula. Sprinkle with the almonds and sea salt. Place in refrigerator to cool, at least 2 hours.

December 6th, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Modern Gingerbread

Gingerbread cookies are a staple this time of the year, but why not update them a little bit by piping on some modern, graphic patterns?!  Our assistant editor, Charynn of Two Sugar Babies, created some examples for the holiday magazine.

Choosing two of the trendiest patterns on the market right now, Charynn used a piping bag to frost these cookies with both a clover pattern and a chevron.  Cute, right?!  (and yes, I will be using this as inspiration for my Christmas cookies this year!)

I also love the idea of decorating cookies with initials.  They could make a darling placecard for a holiday dinner, or a cute gift idea! (make one for each member of the family and wrap them up on a cute plate….so simple, so cute and thoughtful!)

December 1st, 2011 |

TPD Magazine: Peppermint Icing

Speaking of cupcakes…..have you tried this peppermint icing recipe that Jill from Modern Cupcake shared in the holiday issue of The Party Dress Magazine?!  It’s so simple and completely delicious!  Love it for holiday cupcakes, but I am also inspired to try it as the filling for my whoopie pies!

December 1st, 2011 |

Christmas Cupcakes

With a few Christmas parties/dinners on the horizon, I find that I am searching for unique ideas for decorating cupcakes.  I came across a few new ideas that could work for both kids parties and adult holiday celebrations.

Candy can be used as an accessory to decorate cupcakes.  I love the wreath made of jelly bean topped cupcakes, it makes for a delicious and festive presentation.  You can also use gummy trees and red hots to form a bough of holly.  These snowman cupcakes are TOO cute.  The use of licorice for earmuffs is darling, and so simple!  I typically leave the fondant toppers to my contributor, Charynn of Two Sugar Babies, but if you are looking to expirement, I think these 4 ideas are simple to execute and make a big style impact!

For the adult crowd, I what to try infusing peppermint into my cupcakes this season.  This peppermint mocha cupcake has my name written all over it and I can’t wait to try it out!  And last, but certainly not least, cover an upside-down ice cream cone with green frosting to look like a tree!

Images: jelly bean wreath cupcakes (cutefoodforkids.com), wreath and holly cupcakes (allyou.com), fondant christmas cupcakes (shindig parties to go), snowman cupcakes (allyou.com)peppermint mocha cupcake (bakersroyale.com), christmas tree cupcakes (bhg.com)

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