June 16, 2016

HONEYdew mojito pops

ej-mojitopopNot a being a huge fan of “mint”, I figured I would have a tough time with this month’s Improv Cooking Challenge ingredients, MINT & MELON… That is, until a friend was describing her favorite drink: Watermelon Mojito. I thought, hmmmmmmmm – I could play around with that.mintnmelon

So I did…

But then I came across a recipe for honey-lime simple syrup. And it was obvious that the mint leaves should go into that, instead of being blended with the fruit.recipecard

I love my blender! It made short work of those honeydew chunks.pouringpopsI did have some difficulty pouring directly into the molds, though (& that was before the rum!)

My two “of-age” tasters loved the popsicle!enjoy

I even made a batch without rum for the teenagers. Again, rave reviews.thumbsupExcept from me – I just do not enjoy mint & lime.notafan


But, here are some more MINT & MELON recipes developed by my friends:

June 13, 2016

It’s a Grad Grad Grad Grad World!

AlecGrad (1)It was with great pride we celebrated our middle child’s passage from high school to life beyond. (What I may have been proudest of, was my lack of tears – unlike when our oldest graduated 4 years ago...)

AlecGrad (3)No, not really! We are so blessed by Alec’s studiousness (is that even a word? if not, it should be!) which earned him a few honorsAlecGrad (2)and scholarships to his school of choice: Grand Canyon University. There he plans on a major in something or other Information Technologies… (nerd, huh?)alecgrad

We had a party, of course.

alecgradpartyIt was delicious! I’ll post another couple blogs detailing the event. Here is the post on the sweet items. You can read about the savories here. And here is a little bit about the décor.

Deets on those sweets…

We decided on four types of sweets for the graduation party: the cake, dipped Oreo®s, Pirouline® diplomas, and copycat butterfinger bonbons.

gradcake (1)Alec decided the cake flavor(s) – I had already chosen Red Velvet with custard filling, but he said no, if you’re gonna have chocolate, make it chocolate! gradcake (2)OK.

I must say, however, that he made the right choice. He picked the raspberry filling and it was all perfect! gradcake (3)WinCo bakery for the win.


dippedoreosNext graduation (should be about 2 years from now…) we will again make dipped Oreo®s, dippedoreos (8)but we won’t be using candy coating – that stuff is waaaaaaay too sweet! We’ll be dipping strictly chocolate.dippedoreos (9)


I was so thankful my Aunt Margaret came over to help me tie ribbons around these dark chocolate-filled “dipomas”.diplomas

A few years ago I pinned a recipe for homemade butterfinger candy. I never tried it until just before Christmas. For the graduation party I had this notion I would form it into perfectly round balls and then dip them into chocolate for a plate of some beautiful truffles. Not quite. But they sure were popular!butterfinger(My sis helped me dip them in the dark chocolate – I alone get credit for their beautiful shapes!)blobs

I guess I should also include the beverages in this post:piroulinediplomas (4)By far the most popular was the coffee punch. We made it with Toddy® coffee & vanilla bean ice cream -- it was delicious!

waterNext was the fruit-infused water. That’s always my favorite on a warm evening. We went with fresh blackberries & blueberries & cantalope & some purple basil.

sweetzSuch a tasty event – you should’ve been here!


Can’t leave without showing a picture of Duncan helping with clean-up after the party…20160527_221519Silly cat! Guess he loves him some decorator icing, huh? Open-mouthed smile

Savoring the Savories

Since we planned 4 “sweets” for Alec’s graduation party, I figured we should probably try to balance it with 4 savory items.

My mom rolled large flour tortillas & two different fillings for the pinwheels. I was grateful she helped out because 1) I’m terrible at slicing things evenly & 2) I had absolutely no more refrigerator space!pinwheels

My sister baked delicious mini pretzel dogs and brought a couple different-flavored mustards for dipping.DSCN3895These were the most popular item, for they were quickly depleted.

I was planning on baking some Bacon-Swiss gougères as I did here, but Alec specifically requested tapenade. So, I had him butter a bunch of baguette slices and we toasted them. Lovely base for his beloved olive spread…tapenade

Lastly, I made the Asian Chicken Salad that we auditioned earlier in the month.  I had the graduate prepare the won ton wrapper cups, and we stored them until time to fill.mandarinshicksalad


Esprit décor

I just wanted to post a couple items we made for Alec’s graduation party. His high school colors were purple, black & white. His college colors will be purple, black & white. AWESOME!gradhats (3)Aside from driving to 7 different WalMarts on 3 separate (stifling hot!) days to find enough purple plates & napkins, these little graduation hats were the most time-consuming project of the celebration.gradhats (2)I had envisioned a lovely string of purple bulbs with a black hat affixed to each. Since there were to be 20 bulbs, I decided the cutouts in brim of the hat would say: C – O – N – G – R – A – T – U – L – A – T – I – O – N – S - - A – L – E – C.                     Lovely in theory, but the mortarboards were too broad for the spacing of the lights. <sigh>gradhats (1)However, we hung them along the enty arch to welcome guests. (You just couldn’t read what it said…)gradhats (4)

The second project I used the electronic cutter for was the name cards for our refreshments.namedI totally love the little grad cap cutout!

alecgradThe exhibit on Alec’s gift table was made perfect with the easel I borrowed from my friends’ antique shop. We used it to display his lovely framed praestantia award. And I loved that I could utilize my Wolf dressform to show off the cap, gown and honor cords from the graduation ceremony.