Category Archives: Themed parties

Chicken Chili



I realize that Halloween was on Monday and that we have all moved on to Thanksgiving and Christmas baking, but please indulge me. I have this one last post from the Halloween Birthday Party!! This was a big hit and can be served anytime.  No scary holiday needed…. I named it Ghost Chili for the party.  This has a great southwest flavor to it. I used styrofoam cups that I painted themed words on with puffy paint.  The styrofoam not only helped to keep the chili warm but it was a super easy clean up for after the party!

1 onion chopped

2 garlic cloves chopped

4 boneless skinless chicken breast

3 cups water

14 oz chicken stock

salt and pepper

2 tsp cumin, chili powder

1 tsp marjoram

4 cans drained and rinsed white beans

1 16 oz package of frozen corn

2 cans green chiles

juice of one lime


Salt and pepper the chicken breast and cook in a saute pan approx 5 min on each side.  Remove from pan and let cool.  In a dutch oven heat 1 tbs olive oil and saute the onion and garlic. Add all the remaining ingredients except the lime juice.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Shred the chicken breast with 2 forks and add to the pot.  Simmer for 1 -2 hrs.  Just before serving add the lime juice to brighten the flavors.


Halloween Sugar Cookies!


These cookies are a labour of Love.  They do take quite a bit of time but they are so worth the effort when they are done!  These are the cookies that I used for Steven’s Birthday bash this weekend and his Grave Yard Cake

I use Martha Stewart’s Sugar Cookie recipe for all my sugar cookies.  I have been using it for years and it really is the best sugar cookie recipe I have ever used.  I am a bit of a Groupie…… I mean really who doesn’t love all things Martha?? I couldn’t really consider myself a True Preppy Girl if I didn’t, right?

4 cups AP flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 cup unsalted butter room temp

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

In a mixer blend sugar and butter till creamy and fluffy.  Mix in eggs and vanilla.  Gradually add in flour and baking powder.  Mix till combined and dough is formed.  Divide dough in half and form 2 disks wrap in cling film (saran wrap) and chill overnight. (or at least 1-2 hrs) I like to make my dough one day and cut out and bake the next.  With my busy schedule this seems to work best for me.  When you are ready to bake. Take the dough out of the fridge for 10-15 min and let rest.  Pre Heat oven to 325.  Lightly flour your rolling surface and roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut out shapes.  For this party I made, Candy Corn, Pumpkins, Tombstones, Ghosts, Coffins.  Only re roll your scraps once or you will over work the dough and they will be tough and not as tasty.  Bake the shapes for 15 min. Cool on a wire rack.  Once the cookies are completely cool you can frost them.  For these cookies I used Ashley at Kitchen Meets Girl’s recipe.

3 cups powder sugar

6tbs milk

6tbs corn syrup

1/2 tsp almond flavoring

1 tsp vanilla flavoring

Combine all in a mixer. Divide into batches and tint to the colors you plan on using. (use Gel food coloring or you will thin the frosting out too much with the liquid kind)  This is a bit unwieldy to work with, but once you get the hang of it you will love it.  The trick is to use a bottle to apply it.  You know those Ketchup and Mustard plastic bottles that you can keep refilling, yeah use that!  She forgot to tell me that little trick and the first time I used it I called her crying and screaming How do you control this Stuff?!! It was EVERYWHERE!!!!!  She laughed and goes “oh yeah it is really messy. Use a bottle.”  Now you would have thought I could have thought of that myself….. But it was one of those days.  Needless to say she is still one of my best friends! I first outline the cookies to make a dam.  Let that dry about 30 min.  Then you can flood the middles.  I had every intention of making the Tombstones more decorative and write names on them.  These were for a surprise birthday party and I did not have the time I needed before I had to stash them away.  Even though they were not as “fancy” as I would have liked them to be they still were great and the party went off without a hitch!!!

Graveyard Cake and Surprise Happy Birthday!


Steven celebrated his 19th Birthday in style this weekend!  We were able to pull off a GREAT surprise birthday party for him!! For my next few posts I don’t have the pictures for each step like I normally do. I was trying to work as covertly as possible all week.
This cake is super easy and anyone can make it.  You can even use a box cake if you like.

1 Chocolate Cake baked in 9 in pans
1 batch butter cream frosting tinted black (or a tub of vanilla frosting and add the black food coloring, I said it was easy)
Halloween sprinkles
1 package Halloween Oreo’s

In a food processor blend the cookies to make the “grave yard dirt”.  I liked the orange filling ones better I think it has an ethereal look to the “dirt”.
Level the tops of your cakes so they will stack flat.  Spread a layer of frosting on top of one cake and sprinkle the Halloween sprinkles on top.  Place the second layer of cake on top and spread a layer of frosting on top.  Don’t frost the sides.  Spread the “dirt” on the top of the cake.  Place the tombstone cookies and ghost cookies on top.  Spread the rest of the “dirt” around the bottom edge of the cake.  Viola you have a Spooktacular Cake!

Fathers Day Luau


June 19th and the heat of the summer is on!! I love a good themed party and nothing says summer fun like a Tiki/Luau Party!!!! So with a few cute decorations and fun and festive menu I was able to turn my Midwest Home into a Tropical Paradise!  My Dad was in town visiting and we got to have a double family Fathers Day with my Dad, Steve and my two Step Son’s! Steven Jr, whom lives with us full-time and Kevin who we get every other weekend. It was a great treat to have all the men in my life at one table!!

Our Tiki menu consisted of:

Pineapple Pulled Pork ( since I did not have a whole pig to roast in the ground, I just used a boring old mainland Crock Pot)

Spicy Coconut Rice

Coconut Fruit Salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad and Basic (but oh so yummy!) vinaigrette

Tiki Punch

Strawberry Spinach Salad


The amounts you use will depend on how many salads you want to make. This was for my Father’s Day Luau and I made 6 Salads that day. So you can use as much or as little as you want!

Baby spinach leaves washed drained and pat dried

salt and pepper to taste

feta cheese crumbles (this photo does not show the cheese as my Dad does not like it. It was fathers day after all)

fresh sliced strawberries

fresh blueberries

sliced toasted almonds

In individual salad bowls fill 3/4’s of the way with the spinach, salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle the feta cheese, blueberries and sliced strawberries and then top with sliced almonds.  The basic Vinegarette taste fantastic with this!

Spicy Coconut Rice


This sweeet and spicy rice is so worth the calories and the extra workout to burn it off! I took a standard rice recipe and jazzed it up for this Polynesian extravaganza!

1 can of coconut milk ( you can use light, the rice just won’t be as creamy)

2 cups water

1 cup fat free chicken broth

3 cups risotto rice

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup of spring onions greens only

2 tbs red pepper flakes

zest of 1 lime and juice of the same lime

Combine coconut milk, water, chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add rice and stir. Reduce to a simmer and cover and cook 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked through.  In a mixing bowl stir rice, coconut, pepper flakes, and green onions.  Serve with the Pineapple Pulled Pork!