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Friday, April 22, 2011

Edible Bird's Nest Favor

Here's a last minute Easter favor that I made for my brunch guests.  This could also be used as a place card holder or if you change it up a bit it would make an adorable favor for a 'welcome to the nest' shower.

Recipe for Edible Bird's Nests

1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1-12oz package of chow mein noodles

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium low heat, add marshmallows.  Once the marshmallows are partially melted, add chocolate chips.  Stir until marshmallows and chocolate chips are melted.  Add chow mein noodles, stir until noodles are coated.  Let mixture cool slightly, until mixture can be handled and just warm to the touch.

To mold nests, spray the inside of custard cups of desired size (I used a set of bowls with a mouth that measures about 5" in diameter) with well oiled hands, press about a cup of the mixture into the bowl making a slight well in the center.

Allow to cool about 20 minutes and place in a clear glassine bag with your favorite candy.

Happy Easter to all my 'peeps'!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

{Tutorial} Easter Candy Topiary

I love topiaries, I think that they are an elegant touch to any table scape. I make them for almost every holiday.  Since I have been asked on many occasions for an instructional of my candy topiaries, I thought I would share it with you:

    • container (ex: pot, watering can, vase) with well fitted foam base
    • round foam ball in desired size (I used a 4")
    • dowel (I used a chopstick, but have used a thick candy cane, a twig...get creative)
    • tissue paper cut into 1 x 1 squares
    • candy of choice
    • glue gun
Be sure that the foam is secure inside the container that you are using as the base of your topiary.  Place the dowel into the foam ball securing with a bit of hot glue. Center the dowel into the base foam, securing with hot glue.

Start by gluing the candy onto the squares of tissue, it only requires a dot of glue.  Once you have all the candy glued onto the tissue, start gluing each piece onto the foam ball as shown. Continue doing this until the ball has been filled.

Finish by embellishing your topiary with ribbon and grass filler, moss or whatever you have on hand.

These are a great addition to any dessert table, used as centerpieces and makes for a great hostess gift!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

{Real Parties} Garden Spring Fling

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but I'm ready for spring!!  So when I had to come up with a theme for my mother's birthday party it was simple.  Her only request was that it be a picnic style party at a beautiful botanical garden here in Virginia called Meadowlark Gardens.  She could not have picked a more perfect location.

I decided on having a simple menu of sandwiches, crudite, an orzo pasta salad and fruit.

My mother and father both love to garden, and since we were having the party at a botanical garden, I thought I'd use a garden theme.  I looked everywhere for an antique wheelbarrow with no avail so I opted for this old fashioned tricycle to hold the sandwiches.  The sandwich choices were ham & havarti on a pretzel roll, smoked turkey on a french roll and shrimp salad on croissant.

I love crudite in individual servings so when I came across these mini terra cotta pots I thought it was a perfect fit for this picnic (plus, I'm not sure about you but if it looks cute...I'm more likely to eat my veggies).

I decided to try my hand at making a fruit bouquet.  It wasn't hard but in the future I know to vary the sizes of the honey dew and cantaloupe.  I ended up doing some additional cutting at the end to fill in gaps.

Delicious and a perfect way to serve pasta salad for a picnic...big hit!

In lieu of a traditional birthday cake, I chose to make cupcakes.  My neighbor made the most wonderful log cake that I think melds perfectly with the garden theme.  I found this birdcage that is actually meant as a jewelry stand, my neighbor suggested I place the 'birthday girl's' cupcake in it...and she says she's not creative!!  Lastly, I decided to try my hand at cake pops.  Yummy, and so easy! Thanks Bakerella!

Lemon cupcakes

I love the way the cake pops turned out.  I found some cake pop petals by Wilton that I embellished with some of my own flower cutouts.

Here's my mom (the birthday girl), my dad and my baby Jack.

Happy Birthday Mom!! We love you!

Photography: Jonathan Hill