Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Party Post: Cowboy Baby Shower

You may remember the adorable Mickey Mouse birthday party I posted in the fall that my friend and her sister-in-law planned. Well, my friend just had her second little boy and her sisters-in-law hosted a super cute cowboy baby shower. Hence the cowboy cupcakes and invite I posted earlier. I guess it's a pretty good sign that I'm getting follow-up requests from past cupcakes :)

Now on to all the pictures and details of this great shower.

Great tablescape!

The old-fashioned coke and root beer bottles were such a good touch.

All the food was labeled with cowboy boot decorated tags.

Such a cute name for the chocolate oatmeal cookies.

Even the napkins match!

The adorable diaper cake was the centerpiece for the buffet table. They even found a mini cowboy hat for the monkey.

The sheriff star banner was adorable.

The gift table was even decorated to match.

These were pictures of the new baby with his great grandfather's cowboy hat (the same hat sitting on top of the frame.) Precious.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Cowboy Cupcakes

Recently, I was asked to make some cupcakes for a friend's baby shower with a cowboy theme. They said they would be using red and brown for decorating with focus on bandannas, cowboy hats, and sheriff stars. I also had the adorable invitation to help use as inspiration.

Based on the size of the guest list for the shower, the hostesses asked for two batches of cupcakes - one in the new mom's favorite of yellow cake with chocolate frosting and one chocolate cake with whatever frosting I wanted, so I picked cream cheese frosting.

I really wanted to play up the bandanna component on the cupcakes, ideally I wanted bandanna cupcake liners, they would have been perfect. Unfortunately, the only place I found that had red bandanna cupcake liners was a shop in California and there wasn't enough time to have them shipped...so I improvised. I bought some red bandannas at Hobby Lobby and after trying a few different ideas, I settled on tying strips of the bandanna around the bottom of the cupcakes (I just used a plain red cupcake liner). Even though it's not originally what I had envisioned, I think they turned out really cute.

Since I don't have a lot of time these days, I wanted to do something pretty simple for the decorations so it would be quick and easy to get done. I found the cowboy boot picks at Hobby Lobby and decided to use those for only one batch of the cupcakes, to use them for all of the cupcakes it would have been a little too much.

I couldn't find any other pre-made toppers any where, so I decided to make some toppers for the other batch of cupcakes. The fastest and easiest option was to make chocolate cowboy hats. I used the same method I used to make the chocolate butterflies...I found a graphic I wanted to use, taped it to a cookie sheet, covered it with wax paper, melted the chocolate in a squeeze bottle and traced over the designs, then put them in the fridge to set. (It's much faster than royal icing toppers (which would have required days to dry) and faster than fondant (which I didn't have time to color, roll, and cut).

I used decorating tips to frost the cupcakes with a simple swirl design. Half of the chocolate frosted cupcakes also got red and yellow sprinkles, all of them got the cowboy boot picks. Half of the cream cheese frosted cupcakes got chocolate sprinkles, all of them got the chocolate cowboy hats.

When you grouped them all together it created a great visual that went very well with the party theme.

I'll post pictures of the party decorations next...you won't want to miss it, the ladies did a really good job!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Coming Soon!

So once again, my free time has been devoted to working out wedding details and I've gotten behind on my blog posting...sorry!

However, there are some very fun posts in the work that should be up later this week, so please don't give up on this little blog yet.

Here's a sneak peak:

* Cowboy Cupcakes
* Cowboy Baby Shower
* My AMAZING Bridal Shower
* A Simple Healthy Sweet Treat
* And more!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Parmesan Garlic Herb Chicken – My First REAL Recipe

A couple of weeks back I had a few things in my pantry and fridge that I wanted to use up and I couldn’t think of a recipe that would work (and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time searching for a recipe). So, I decided to create my own recipe.

I think I’ve mentioned before about one night a week my fiancĂ© comes over to my place for dinner; I thought it would be a great experiment…worst case, it would be a disaster and we order pizza. But that didn’t happen…

The experiment was a SUCCESS!

We definitely did not have to order pizza. I was very careful not to say anything about dinner or give any indication that I had just made up my own recipe because I wanted to get an honest response from my fiancé. Sure enough, a couple of bites into dinner, the following exchange occurred.

Him: “This is pretty good.”
Me: “REALLY?” (Perhaps with an overly excited expression on my face.)
Him: “Yes, why? What did you do? Did you change a recipe?”
Me: “No, I MADE IT UP!”

He liked it! YAY!

It’s a pretty simple recipe and fairly healthy (even healthier if you leave out the cheese, but the cheese surprise when you cut it open is pretty tasty).

Parmesan Garlic Herb Chicken
(Original Recipe by Michelle)

4-5 (depending on size) boneless skinless chicken breasts (thawed)
~ 1/3 cup white cooking wine*
~ ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon dried parsley flakes
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch of salt
6 garlic cloves
1-2 tablespoons reduced fat cream cheese
1/3 cup shredded parmesan

Heat oven to 375 F.

Whisk together the white wine and extra virgin olive oil in a large bowl with a lid (or in a small bowl if using a plastic bag to marinate chicken). Then whisk in the seasonings and add 2 garlic cloves. Add the chicken and place in fridge to marinate for at least one hour or as long as you like.

Chicken Marinating

Mix cream cheese and parmesan in a small bowl.

(I had one of these mini cream cheese tubs left so that is what I used for the cream cheese)
Combined cheese mixture

Remove chicken from marinade and place on plate or cutting board. With a knife, cut a slit in the side of the chicken (it’s usually best to start at the thickest part of the breast). You can make the slide just the size of the knife for just a little bit of filling or as big as you want to get more filling in the chicken.

I used my fingers to stuff the cheese mixture into the slits in the chicken. Make sure you stuff it as far back as possible and don’t fill the slit with cheese all the way to the end of the chicken or it will all just ooze out while the chicken bakes. Press together the end of the slit to try and avoid any oozing.

Place chicken in a baking dish and pour the marinade over the top. Add four more cloves of garlic (make sure they are scattered throughout the baking dish and not all in one place). Place a sprig of fresh rosemary on top of each chicken breast.


Bake for 35-45 minutes or until done.

Post Oven
Serve. I paired it with some garlic and spinach pasta in a marinara sauce, but it would also be great with veggies or rice.

*I know most people say not to use cooking wine and that you should never use a wine to cook with that you wouldn’t drink; well I don’t drink wine so I probably couldn’t tell a difference and it’s often easier to buy cooking wine at the grocery store than to make an extra trip to the liquor store and then be stuck with the rest of the bottle of wine. Also, if you don’t like to use wine in your cooking I’m guessing you could easily substitute it with chicken broth or more extra virgin olive oil; but I haven’t tried that out specifically. If you do try a substitution for the wine, let me know how it goes.

This is my first time writing a real recipe, I’ve tried to read through it to make sure it makes sense, but if you have any questions please let me know and I’ll try to clarify the directions as needed.

Give it a try and let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback!