Strawberry Punch

Strawberry Punch

At our house birthday’s are a big thing. Jamison could take or leave a birthday and ignore the day all together and it wouldn’t phase him, but Alexis and I take our birthday’s seriously and we celebrate the entire day.

Alexis turned nine on June 24th. Nine. How is that even possible? How could she possibly be nine already? It seems like just yesterday she was born! Due to my class schedule we had to wait to have her friend birthday party on the 30th and I wanted a new punch to try.

A while back I saw something like this on Pinterest, but I couldn’t find the exact recipe so I just went out on a limb as I often do. I got several compliments on how good this punch was, and as an added bonus Alexis thought it was cool because it was somewhat pink.

This is a good birthday punch or party punch. It’s festive and has a nice sweet/tart ratio. If you want something that is sure to be a hit, look no further, you’ve found it right here!

What You’ll Need:
2 cans of frozen pineapple juice concentrate
1 cup of powdered pink lemonade mix
1 half gallon container of strawberry ice cream
3 bottles of ginger ale

Strawberry Punch

In a large punch bowl mix together frozen pineapple juice, pink lemonade powder, 1/2 of the container of strawberry ice cream and one bottle of ginger ale. Stir until well mixed and the ice cream and pineapple juice have melted.

Stir the punch occasionally while serving. Add more ginger ale as needed. Add the other half of the strawberry ice cream after you’ve used 1/2 to 3/4ths of the second bottle of ginger ale. Stir until ice cream melts and you can continue to add ginger ale as needed.

And the most important thing about a birthday party?

Anything that makes her giggle with glee like she is above is a very good thing.

Notes: There are so many possibilities for this punch. To make it an adult type punch, add a bit of rum or vodka. You could also add in a couple of cups of strawberry puree if you wanted a bit more of a strawberry punch.

Strawberry Lemonade Punch

Strawberry Lemonade Punch

Normally for a birthday party or something of that nature I make Banana Punch. Banana punch was the go to recipe when I was growing up for parties, showers, etc. But this year for Alexis’ birthday party I had a bunch of lemons and strawberries on hand, and in the spirit of not buying more stuff I decided to make something different and the results were stellar! You could even make this an adult punch by adding a little rum if you liked…The possibilities are endless! ;o)

What You’ll Need:
6 cups of frozen strawberries
The juice of 12-14 lemons
4 cups of organic cane sugar
Seltzer water

Strawberry Lemonade Punch: Ready For The Freezer

Place frozen berries in batches of about a cup into a blender and blend until completely chopped. A few larger pieces here and there are not a big deal. Pour into a very large bowl. (Note: It would be MUCH easier in a food processor than a blender, but sadly I still haven’t replaced my processor that died horribly. If you have a food processor then by all means use it instead! It will make the process MUCH easier and if you’re using a food processor you don’t even have to freeze the strawberries!)

Stir in lemon juice and sugar and let sit until sugar dissolves. Place into small airtight containers and freeze until solid.

Strawberry Lemonade Punch: Ready For The Freezer

Thirty minutes before you want to serve pull out one or two of the frozen containers and let thaw a bit. Place the still slightly frozen mixture into a punch bowl and cover with seltzer water and then serve.

Notes: You could do this with blueberries or peaches or pineapple or any other type of fruit that you like!

Double Onion Dip

Double Onion Dip

For a while now I’ve been wanting to try and make some onion dip from scratch and the other night when we had some friends over for dinner I decided to test my theory. Most of us have had the onion dip that you make with onion soup mix and sour cream, but I thought about it for a while and wondered if you couldn’t make a good dip without having to use the over processed soup mix and this is what resulted. It’s creamy and has the illusion of being rich, all while packed with fresh onion and garlic. I actually ended up liking it better than the soup mix equivalent!

What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a large red onion, chopped
1/2 a large sweet onion, chopped
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
A generous addition of freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of sea salt
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 – 16 ounce container of light sour cream (Note: As always you can use fat free, light or regular sour cream, though fat free would make this sickeningly sweet as the onions themselves give the dip a natural sweetness.)

Saute onion with thyme, rosemary, pepper and salt until onions are tender and slightly caramelized:

Double Onion Dip: Onions, Garlic and Thyme

Add minced garlic and cook for an additional 2-4 minutes until garlic is done.

Remove onions from the stove and pour into sour cream. Stir to mix. Store dip in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving and stir before putting out to eat. Serve with vegetables and/or bagel or pita chips.

Notes: You could use any type of onion that you like. You could also switch up the herbs if thyme and rosemary aren’t your thing.

How Sleeping Beauty and Han Solo Became a Couple…Otherwise Known As Cake Plan B

The Cake

The cake turned out nothing as I had envisioned, but they rarely do. I had to scrap the fondant plan and go with regular icing (I add in a teaspoon of almond flavoring too), because even though I thought I could figure it out, when push came to shove I didn’t have enough time to actually make it work.

For the creatures I decided to use gum paste instead and quickly found out that they were too heavy. The dragon ended up staying in gum paste, but as you can see his head sort of collapsed over onto the fire he was breathing:

Fire Breathing Dragon

I thought he was cute none the less, so I kept him.

The prince and the princess were just too heavy for gum paste and started toppling over. First thing Saturday morning Jamison’s mom, Alexis and I set off to Target to get a prince and princess. Alexis chose Sleeping Beauty as the princess, but they don’t make a prince doll, so we made due with Han Solo…(It was either him or Captain Jack Sparrow and I decided Han looked more princely! Don’t tell Princess Leia though, she might not be too happy about the match up! 😉 )

Sleeping Beauty

Han Solo To The Resue!

I ended up going with the old school chocolate cupcakes (Thanks again Garrett!) I mentioned the other day for the actual cupcakes and the middle layer of the cake. (Note: There were going to be two chocolate layers, but one of them committed suicide by jumping into a sink full of dirty dishes/water. What can you do?) The top and bottom layer of the cake are yellow cake.

Up Close

Cupcakes

All in all we had a lovely party. Alexis loved her cake and that’s all that mattered in the end and she ended up with a princess and “handsome prince” to play with afterwards. There was food, balloons, bling and Alexis and her friends had fun making merry. What more can you ask for?

Disasembled

Banana Punch

Banana Punch

When I was growing up this was the go to punch for baby showers, bridal showers and parties. It’s simple to make and it’s delicious. It always gets raves! Try it at your next party and see!

What You’ll Need:
5 crushed bananas
The juice of one lemon
4 cups of organic cane sugar
1 – 46 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 – 46 oz unsweetened orange juice
1 – 46 oz unsweetened apple juice
Ginger ale

Squeeze lemon juice over the crushed bananas. Mix together everything but the ginger ale in a very, very large bowl or in batches and freeze until solid. Take out of freezer about 1 hour before needed. Pour ginger ale over mixture in a large punch bowl and mix in a large punch bowl just before serving. As you use the punch you can keep adding more ginger ale and more frozen punch. Quick, easy and delicious!

Notes: If you can’t get juices in the exact sizes don’t sweat it, it will still taste delicious! As long as you have some amount near the above recommendations of each juice you’re fine. You can’t mess this one up…it’s foolproof! Also don’t sweat it if you can’t find unsweetened juice. Just take out some or all of the sugar depnding on how sweet you like things.

Birthday Time!

It’s hard to believe, but my little girl is turning four on the 24th of this month. Time just goes by so quickly! Most days anyway! 😉

This weekend we are celebrating by throwing her her annual birthday bash! We normally do her party the week before her birthday so this weekend is the big day!

For Alexis’ first birthday I simply ordered a cake. I was in my last semester of undergrad and had a project due that week so I didn’t have time. I was true to form, very disappointed with the cake. The theme for her first birthday was a faerie theme and I ordered a cake with perhaps the most famous faerie of all in the form of Tinkerbelle. The cake itself was ok and the decoration was ok too, but it felt somewhat unbirthday like to me because I bought it and it wasn’t stellar. To me birthday’s should be stellar and homemade doesn’t hurt either!

By the time her second birthday rolled around I was done with undergrad and I had a lot more time on my hands. The theme for her second birthday was ladybugs, so there was no question that she would get a ladybug cake!

Alexis Birthday #2 Lady Bug Cake

A bit dorky looking, but cute none the less. I made the small ladybug for her using an oven safe Pyrex bowl and we served cupcakes for the rest of the crowd.

Last year the theme was a tea party theme and I made her her own little teapot!

Alexis Birthday #3 Tea Pot Cake

I was much happier with how it turned out. I again used oven proof Pyrex bowls, but in this case I used two and put them together to make the round teapot shape. There were also cupcakes for the crowd.

This year the theme as chosen by Alexis is a princess theme. The cake this year will be a castle. I emailed Garrett over at Vanilla Garlic to ask if he had a chocolate cupcake recipe he could recommend since he is after all the cupcake expert and he graciously suggested this recipe. I baked up a test round as a sheet cake and it turned out fabulously! Alexis loved it and so did Jamison and I.

To make the castle I’m going to use layers of the chocolate cake linked above and the angel food recipe that I used last year. The cake will be covered with this marshmallow fondant recipe that I found, which I might add is to die for! The cake will have turrets, a princess, a prince, a moat, a dragon and such and who knows what else I’ll dream up or Alexis will ask for between now and then! I’m also going to make a batch of cupcakes.

Needless to say this week is going to be sort of busy. If you don’t see me around the blog you’ll know why! 😉