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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Cinnamon Apple-Berry Shortbread Trifle

Disclosure: Thank you to Cost Plus World Market for sponsoring this post. Product and/or compensation was provided to me to share my ideas and tips, however, all opinions are fully my own.  #sponsored #worldmarkettribe #discoverworldmarket #HolidayGetaway


It's a known fact within my family that I have a reputation for making THE WORST apple pies or any pie for that matter.  Ironically, I love to bake.  I can bake a cake, a batch of cookies....I'm even known in some secret circles that shall go unnamed as The Cupcake Queen....but do NOT ask me to make a pie.....trust me.


Considering our house is the 'family gathering' home during the holiday season, I'm always on task to come up with delicious creations.  I love to make my house look as festive as possible, as well.  Since we are at the time of year where we will be hosting and attending more holiday season gatherings and since it's well established that I can't make pie....I turn to a tried and true, easy go to.....DESSERT TRIFLE.  It's like pie, that fell apart, and someone threw it in a bowl and made it look pretty and taste amazing.....am I right???  I'm right.





Preparing to make this recipe, I knew I could count on one of my fave shops, Cost Plus WorldMarket (Pentagon Row – Arlington, VA) to find ingredients to make my trifle along with, the festive decor I was looking for to zshuzsh up my dining room buffet!



It's clearly pumpkin season right now and trust me when I tell you that Cost Plus World Market is rocking ALL the Pumpkin Food right now  So, I might be in the minority, but I feel like fall is the time to apple all the things.  I love apples!  That being said, I definitely wanted to use apples in the trifle, and knew they would need to be flavored properly.

  So, I headed to the BakingProducts section of the store and grabbed the ingredients I needed.  All ingredients in hand, I was ready to make my dessert!
Cost Plus World Market always has a great variety of Cookies and Cakes on their shelves.  For this particular recipe, I chose a pack of Bahlsen Leibniz Shortbread cookies for my trifle.  




With a few short steps to follow, this recipe is super simple to make.  First step is to peel, core and chop about 6-8 apples.  I know there are different apples that can be used for baking, but I just say  use your favorite.  For my recipe,  I chose Braeburn….because that’s what was on sale! LOL.







Next, combine your apples with brown sugar, spices and vanilla flavoring.







The next step is to add a few tablespoons of butter to a pot, melt it, and add your
 apples, allowing them to cook covered, until softened, between 10-15 minutes.




You will know your apples are ready when you can insert a fork into them…..feel free to taste the apple, they should be tender but not cooked (you want cooked, not mushy – we aren’t shooting for apple sauce)


Once you have cooked your apples through, remove from heat, add your dried fruit, cover and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes.  This will allow the fruit to reconstitute and plump up.




Next, set the fruit mixture aside or allow to cool in the refrigerator.Trifle desserts are simply layers of deliciousness in a fancy footed bowl.  So, not complicated…….just like the Dr. Oetker's Vanilla pudding mixture I whipped up!  It’s super easy, you just add sugar and cold milk, whisk constantly over medium heat until thickened.




Here’s a little tip I learned, it’s important to keep whisking while the pudding is heated.  The directions on the back tell you what to do, but I kind of feel like I somehow missed the memo that it was serious, because I stepped away from the pot for like 2 minutes to find my pudding started to stick to the bottom of the pan!  Luckily, I was able to save it, but had to run the pudding through a mesh strainer to get out a few clumps.


You can’t really see the lumps here but you should end up with a smooth texture. Once the pudding is finish, you can set it aside for a few minutes and cool before starting to build your trifle.




As the fruit and pudding are cooling, you can make a flavored whipped cream easy.  It’s important to use a cool bowl and cold heavy cream.  I like to place a glass bowl in the fridge for at least 10 minutes before I start making my cream.  

To make, add Heavy Whipping Cream and Torani Vanilla Syrup and beat on high with an electric mixer.  Be sure not to over mix or you’ll end up with butter.



his is also a good time, to chop your pecans for your topping….unless you’re allergic to nuts…..then, you want to leave them out.

Next you can start building the layers to your trifle, starting with your shortbread cookies.





Next, add a layer of pudding , then whipped cream followed by the fruit.








Continue adding your layers in that order….shortbread, pudding, cream, fruit until you get to the top of your bowl.


You can finish the top with whatever layer makes you happy, I finish with a bit of whipped cream and chopped pecans and topped it with a Bahlsen Leibnitz shortbread cookie!



YUM!




While I was shopping, I also found great fall décor.  I picked up a few additonal items to decorate the buffet in our dining room where we always display desserts and hors d'oeuvres for our family gatherings.  Every year, I make it a special focal point of the room by brightening it up with new décor each season and holiday.





I am SO READY for fall....and this Be Thankful banner will remind us all to always be grateful for the things we are able to have in our life.



Don't you just love apple cider in the fall?  I do - and I serve it warm in these glass footed mugs....a little cinnamon stick is great for a bit of added spice.  Just swirl it around in your mug for some added flava'!...and I love how the metallic leaves garland set an autumnal tone.



I could NOT pass up these twig branch spoons....they look rustic yet chic....and have a bit of a rose gold hue to them that makes them a winner in my book!  They're perfect alongside the Be Thankful napkins.



You can serve your desserts in these small Weck canning jars and place them on a wire stand for guests to gnosh on their dessert.  They're a staple in my home for easy and mobile desserts and snacks.



 The star of the show is the dessert presented in a trifle bowl of course!!!






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dessert, trifle, shortbread, Cost Plus World Market, fall desserts, apple desserts, jar desserts

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Cost Plus World Market is making holidays super fabulous this season and is also offering a Giveaway trip to The Christmas Market in Germany.  Enter here for more details and for a chance to win: www.worldmarketsweepstakes.com 






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Links to Cost Plus World Market items featured in this post: 



Friday, July 21, 2017

Make Your Own Fidget Spinner Display Stand




Are your kids totally into the fidget spinner craze?  I know mine are.  We definitely have quite a few of them all over the house...which means, mine are always looking for their spinners.  This got me thinking, they need a great way to store or display their spinners.  Luckily, I received an offer from my friends at Oriental Trading Company to share some creative ideas using spinners.  So....I am.

I knew I wanted an easy way they could display the spinners creatively.  All summer, my kids have been watching videos on how to modify or customize their spinners.  I found my solution - a wooden frame, a metal hook, and paint.






My kids were super excited about this craft.  I hadn't told them that I had a box full of new fidget spinners for them.  We worked on this on a Sunday afternoon and it provided a few hours of fun away from video games and bickering....and bad snacking.  I had the kids sand down the edges of the wooden frames to avoid splinters.






Once sanded to smooth, they painted their frames.  My kids got so creative...my son used his favorite video game character, Sonic the Hedgehog as inspiration for his frames.  My daughter wanted to do paint splatter technique on hers.












Once the frames dried completely, we used a bed of E6000 to adhere the frame backer in place.  You will need to allow time for the glue to dry and set - about 20-30 minutes.








Once the frames were completely dried and set, the metal disk was glued in place and the magnetic hook set in place.  You can also make the frames without the use of a washer and just glue the magnet to the frame backer.  The washer just gives the hook extra support.






Once done, the kids were able add the spinners to the hook.  There's a small peg in the back of the square wooden frames that allowed each frame to stand up.  A picture hook can also be added to the back if you want to hang the frame on a wall.




This spinners frame display is definitely an easy project to make and a great summer craft!  Not only do they make a great way to store the spinners, but they're a great way for kids to showcase their artistic talents!  I'm sure we'll be creating more of these in the days to come as my kids come up with creative and unique ways to customize their fidget spinners!











LET'S GET SOCIAL!
Are your kids loving the fidget spinner craze?  Have any questions on how to make this or other summer crafts?  I'd love to hear from you!!!
Visit me @cwbdparties on 
InstagramFacebookTwitter and Pinterest 
and tag me when share your best crafting moments using craft ideas from my site!

(I was provided with free products from Oriental Trading Company for this post. The reviews of the products are solely my own honest opinion and may not reflect the views of others.)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Host a Backyard Crab Boil Party




Here in the great state of Maryland, summer is NOT summer unless there are delicious, steamed and seasoned blue crabs on the table AT LEAST once a week!  If you're a crab lover or of seafood in general, why not call up your best group of friends and host a summer crab boil right in your backyard.

PARTY ELEMENTS THAT INSPIRE: 

  • Utensil Cart
  • Nautical Inspired Napkins and decor
  • Chalk Paint Tray for Crab Dipping station
  • Twine wrapped Mason jars



















THEME
Crab boils are great because the menu is simple, and while the whole eating experience is quite messy, the cleanup is effortless.  My family absolutely eats crabs on a weekly basis during the summer....I was seriously not kidding.  I personally am not a fan.  I grew up in Connecticut and I prefer my crustaceans a little on the Lobstah side so, I don't really get into the business of cracking open crabs.  So, I'll usually toss in a few shrimp or snow crab legs to the mix to satisfy my palette. Still, there's a lot of fun to be had by gathering together friends and family and enjoying a tasty seafood spread.  Here are my tips on organizing a festive summer crab boil.



DECOR

This party is all about the food.  So, there is really no need to go all out with decor.  Small nautical touches here and there, will add the perfect details you need to make this affair festive. I worked with Oriental Trading Company to add just a few decorative touches around the yard. Set up your party space in advance of cooking your food.  Hang a simple Nautical fabric pennant banner along a plain wall or structure in your yard for a pop of color.  A fun sign, fish netting, sea shells, and small lanterns can add a bit of whimsy and character to the overall decor.



FOOD

Order your fresh, in-season crabs and cook within a few hours of purchase.  If you aren't sure how to steam them your own, you can purchase them steamed and seasoned from your local seafood purveyor.

Crabs on their own are not very filling, so you may want to toss in a few small potatoes, smoked kielbasa, shrimp and corn on the cob - we cut our corn into thirds and quarters....it's a great way to stretch the meal.  Cooking everything is pretty much a one pot deal, which is why it's such a great way to feed your guests.

Start by filling a large stock pot with enough water to cover your potatoes and sausage.  Once cooked through, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Alternately, you can cook the potatoes and sausage separately and pour out onto the table along with the crab, corn and shrimp.  Sprinkle a bit of crab seasoning over the entire spread for additional flavor. The crabs and corn should be cooked in the same huge pot of water along with crab seasoning, like Old Bay (make sure to bring your water back to a boil, if needed).  The crabs take about 15 minutes to cook through and will be done when they turn bright red.  You can add the shrimp during the last 3-5 minutes of cooking, they're done when they've turned bright pink and opaque.


TABLESCAPE
Eating crabs are plain out messy....that's the fun of it (so, I'm told).  Roll out a disposable plastic table cover under some kraft paper (brown packaging paper works well, also) or newspaper on a long table.   You will need something to protect your table from the crab juices and spices.

Keep plenty of napkins or wet wipes on hand.  If you like the feel of cloth napkins, these navy anchor print nautical napkins from Oriental Trading are a perfect addition to your table setting.  I rolled ours up and placed them at the table in large tin buckets with paper napkins, a wooden mallet and fork.  The shells from the crabs can be placed in the buckets.  You can also place shells into large bowls to leave room for eating.  Any extra napkins or utensils you have can be placed on a separate table or cart out of the way of your main table.

Place a painted wooden tray out on your table to present different dips or sauces you like, to go with your crabs.  At home, we make a no fuss dip out a cup of ranch dressing, a cup of sour cream, a squeeze of half a lemon and about a tbsp of Old Bay Seasoning....stirred and blended to taste....super simple.  You can also put out melted butter with a bit of garlic, extra crab seasoning and fresh cut lemons.

Tip: The bugs love when food is out....be sure to place Citronella candles and Oscillating fans around the perimeter of your party space to keep insects at bay.



BEVERAGES

Speaking of lemons, the easiest beverage to enjoy with this meal is fresh squeezed lemonade.  Serve the lemonade in tall wide mouthed mason jars wrapped with a bit of twine.  The twine helps guests grip the glasses easier, as their hands will most likely be pretty messy from eating.  My husband, who I consider easily one of the most genius people I know, used a glass baking dish as a tray to hold the mason jars.   Keep extra lemonade at the ready in a glass pitcher or dispenser for guests to go back for refills.  If you're looking for a delicious lemonade recipe, you may want to try my Watermelon cucumber Boardwalk Lemonade.



FAVORS
I never like to send guests home empty handed and always love to have small favors as guests leave.  Crab shaped lollipops are a fun way to say thank you for sharing in all the great eats, good times and laughter.


Don't let your summer end without putting some of these fun party ideas into action.  A crab boil is the perfect and practically effortless way to entertain.  So, gather those closest to you around the table to enjoy good fun and company.  I hope you were inspired today to create a fun food-filled bash for your seafood loving pals.





LET'S GET SOCIAL!
Have you used any ideas from this party or others from our posts?  Have any questions on how to plan or setup a backyard soiree?  I'd love to hear from you!!!
Visit me @cwbdparties on 
InstagramFacebookTwitter and Pinterest 
and tag me when share your best party moments using any of my party ideas!



(I was provided with free products from Oriental Trading Company for this post. The reviews of the products are solely my own honest opinion and may not reflect the views of others.)

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