Tag Archives: Summer

Summer Food Storage Problem?

Summer Food Storage Problem

It’s summer and it can be HOT & HUMID!!!

Did you ever make homemade muffins and have them stick together when you store them?  Well, here’s your solution!

Sweet Stackers create layers in your container.  No more sticky desserts, muffins, cookies….even left over pizza.

They come in four different sizes that fit many major brand containers.

Plus, they work great in your pantry, fridge or freezer.

 

Just keep layering…

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Voilá!

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Tomato Harvest Bruschetta

Loving my veggie garden this year because with all of the rain – comes a huge harvest of tomatoes!  For Labor Day weekend, I made a few different recipes using tomatoes.  Bruschetta was at the top of my list!  So easy to make and you don’t need plum tomatoes.  I used the large juicy big boy-type tomatoes!

Tomato Harvest Bruschetta appetizer

Slice a baguette thin and place on a cookie sheet in one layer.  Place under a hot broiler for just a minute or two until they start to brown.  Flip to the other side and repeat.

When they come out of the oven, drizzle with olive oil and rub the top surface with a sliced garlic clove.

Toasted Baguette

Using 3 or 4 large tomatoes, slice a tomato side ways (so that the top half of the tomato has the vine) and squeeze the juice and seeds over the kitchen sink.  Repeat with the bottom half to remove seeds.

Dice the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, S&P to taste.

Fresh basil!  Pull 10-12 fresh basil leaves, roll them up together and slice thin.  Add to the tomato mixture and stir.

Scoop the tomato mixture on each toasted baguette slice.

SweetStackers food storage tray inserts

A fresh tomato appetizer perfect for late summer.  Ready to serve or transport to a party!

Sweet Stackers Food Storage trays appetizer

Sweet Stackers are reusable, stackable trays that insert into a container your already own.  The classic Tupperware 9×9 inch container and 8×8 inch Sweet Stackers tray set is pictured.   Two layers of bruschetta in one container without a soggy mess.  Ready to transport to a party or picnic!

sweetstackers.com

or

Sweet Stackers Etsy Shop

Promising Ice Cream….Sandwiches!

The first week of school is coming to an end.  My little one has started Kindergarten and had a rough morning.  Day 1, excited, but clung to Dad as she was getting on the bus.  Day 2, tearing up, got in line to get on the bus, then made a quick turn to run back to me.  Day 3, crying most of the morning, crying to the bus stop and needed me to hold her hand onto the bus.  Of course, she has a great day and is super smiley when she gets off of the bus!  But with all of the tears this morning, we promised her ice cream when she gets home.  Hoping to distract her from her anxiety.

But I have really, really wanted to make homemade chocolate chip cookies and tada – I had a great idea!  Ice Cream Sandwiches.

PK Ice Cream Sandwiches

Actually tried a new chocolate chip cookie recipe from Allrecipes and they were delicious!  They turned out to be the perfectly shaped, with a thin crispy outside and soft chewy middle.  I baked these an extra 2 minutes, but followed the recipe exactly.  They made 45 cookies using a 1 inch cookie scoop.

SS Cookie Rack

Love the versatility of the Sweet Stackers risers.  They elevate cookie racks at the perfect height to save space on the kitchen counter tops!

Once cooled, I transferred the cookies to a staging container to keep them extra fresh.  Sweet Stackers neatly organizes the cookies in tiers.

Sweet Stackers Cookie Container

Time to fill the cookies!  Place a good round scoop of ice cream in between two chocolate chip cookies (they bottom of the cookies touching the ice cream).  I used a smaller container to store 12 ice cream sandwiches separated using a Sweet Stackers tray.

Even though I was in a cool room, the ice cream melted quickly.  I suggest placing the container in the freezer and adding one or two sandwiches at a time.  But even is some ice cream dripped, the container and trays wipe down easily.  The trays also made a nice surface to work on.

SS Ice Cream Sandwiches

There were extra cookies for a later treat!

The kids had a great day at school and were very excited about this yummy summertime treat!
Sweet Stackers convert your food containers to multi-level using stackable trays.  Available in 4 sizes and designed to fit major brand food storage containers. Visit the Sweet Stackers Etsy Shop today.  

 

Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint cookies are NOT just for the holidays!  In fact, they are perfect for summer when the berries are harvested.  By preserving summer berries, we are able to enjoy them year round.  These thumbprint cookies are so easy, using a handful of ingredients and buttery delicious.  Use any flavor jam, but the homemade sweet U-Pick Raspberry Preserves are the perfect topping!

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies Homemade Preserves

Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • ½ cup raspberry preserves (or any flavor jam)

 

Using and electric mixer, cream the softened butter and sugar on high.  Add the almond extract.  Lower the mixer speed and gradually add the flour.  Refrigerate the dough for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  Make an indentation using your thumb in the center of each ball.  (I make two thumbprints at 90 degree angles, to make a better circle)  Fill each center with about 1/4 teaspoon of preserves or your favorite jam.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges are lightly browned.  Remove to a cookie rack.

Sweet Stackers Jam Filled Thumbprint Cookies,

Sweet Stackers – No matter what time of year, Sweet Stackers come in handy to store jam or jelly filled cookies.  Thumbprints are very popular holiday or Christmas cookie.  You don’t want to mess up the jam toppings or have them stick to other cookies!  Sweet Stackers convert your air-tight containers to multi-level using corrugated plastic stackable trays.  They are an inexpensive storage solution and can easily be wiped down and reused.  Visit sweetstackers.com to learn more about this product or shop on Amazon or my Etsy shop.

Look!  3 dozen cookies without a sticky mess in 1 container!

Sweet Stackers Cookie Storage Trays

 

 

U-Pick Raspberry Preserves

The weather was absolutely perfect this past weekend!  Cool, low humidity and the perfect time to pull out the big pot to do some canning.

PartyKitchen Homemade Raspberry Preserves

During the week, my kids and I went raspberry picking to a nearby farm.  Raspberries were just in season to start picking.  For a low volume day, we still ended up filling 5 pints.  My kids helped themselves to plenty of raspberries while picking.  So once we arrived back home, I picked through them and layered them on cookie sheets to freeze them for later use.

Freezing Raspberries

In the past, I had canned blueberry jam which lasted us all winter.  The kids especially loved adding a small dollop to plain yogurt (which I feel is way healthier than eating other yogurt that is filled with sugar).

Raspberry Preserves were so easy to make and only took 2 ingredients – raspberries and sugar!  Raspberries are considered to be a low pectin fruit, though I was able to get it to thicken enough.  Somewhere between a sauce and jam.  But boy, it is delicious!  I secretly was grabbing a spoon and pulling out a jar from my fridge…yes eating it by the spoonful!  But don’t tell…

Can’t wait to use it in future recipes (keep an eye out!), spread on toast, mixed in yogurt, topped on ice cream!  Oh my!

(or just eat by the spoonful…if you can’t resist)

U-Pick Raspberry Preserves

Raspberry Preserves

2 lbs. fresh raspberries

4 cups sugar

 

Combine the berries and sugar; let stand until the juices begin to flow about 10 minutes.  In a large saucepan, bring to a slow boil until sugar dissolves.  Stir frequently until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat.  Ladle hot preserves into sterilized jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace.  Place the 2 piece cap on the jar.  Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Star Spangled Tartlets

Happy Independence Day!

This is the perfect dessert to take to your 4th of July parties or BBQs!  The little tartlets are star-shaped and filled with red cherry filling and blueberry filling.  Very patriotic!  Sweet Stackers made it easy to store the bite-sized desserts stacked and in one container without messing the tops.  They are ready to transport to a party!

Homemade Blueberry Filled Tartlets

The tartlets were very easy to put together because they were made from refrigerated pie crust.  Preheat the oven to 350º.  Rollout the dough.  Using a 2.5 inch star cookie cutter, the star-shaped dough pieces were gently pressed into a lightly greased mini-muffin tin and baked for 7-8 minutes.  Remove the little tartlet cups to cool.

Star Shaped Pie Tartlets

The tartlets can be filled with any flavor pie filling.  But, to keep with the patriotic holiday, I wanted to alternate red and blue filling.  I actually had some cherry pie filling on hand and I filled half of the tartlet cups with a little dollop of cherry.  Then I made a batch of homemade blueberry filling.

Blueberry Pie Filling

  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 TB corn starch
  • 2 TB butter

Place all ingredients in a heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened.  Remove from heat to cool.

 

Once the remaining tartlets were filled, the following cream cheese filling was piped on top.

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter , softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Using an electric mixer, on high, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.  Lower the speed and add vanilla, then gradually add the sugar.

SweetStackers Star Spangled Tartlets

 

Sweet Stackers are a handy way to store bite-sized desserts and cookies in one container to maximize the container space.  The stackable trays convert your food storage container into multi-level.  Tartlets fit perfectly in two layers in a 3″ deep container without messing the filling or having them stick together.  Visit sweetstackers.com for more details on the product, sizes available and where to purchase them.  Great thing is that they are reusable and ready to use for your next summer party!

Hope you enjoy the holiday with your family & friends!

Freshly Squeezed Lemonade

My dream is to have a lemon tree someday!

There is nothing more summer than a refreshing glass of lemonade.  Maybe this is a silly post to some people, but I have never made freshly squeezed lemonade before.  On occasion, I have resorted to buying the powdered or frozen forms of lemonade.  Never again, because it is so easy to make your own!

Freshly Squeezed Lemonade

Freshly Squeezed Lemonade

  • 1 cup of lemon juice (approximately 6 lemons, squeezed)
  • 1 cup simple syrup
  • Pitcher full of water

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water.  Heat until the sugar dissolves (do not boil).

In a large pitcher, add the lemon juice and simple syrup.  Then completely fill the pitcher with more water and ice.  Everyone’s taste buds are different, so you could add more simple syrup if you need it sweeter or more lemon juice if you need it more tart.

Note: to cut back on sugar, I dissolved ½ cup of sugar in 1 cup of water. 

I infused the lemonade with a couple of ripped leaves of basil in my glass and a garnish on top.  I am sure you could do this with other herbs too!

What do you add to your lemonade?

 

 

Fresh Herb Greek Yogurt Dip

Hooray for Summer and the kids being off of school!  It was a great day to pick some fresh herbs from our garden.  All of our radishes were ready to harvest too.  This fruit & veggie plate made for a super healthy afternoon snack with my girls on the porch.  We didn’t limit ourselves to veggies, we even tried it with peaches and plums.  I love it when they at least try a new veggie they wouldn’t eat before!

I don’t think you can get any healthier than this dip!  It is only made from Greek Yogurt (which I think has the same taste and consistency of sour cream).  I chopped some fresh chives, thyme and dill and added a little salt to taste.  The kids were pleasantly surprised that they liked it!

 

Fresh Herbed Greek Yogurt Dip

Fresh Herb Greek Yogurt Dip

1 cup Greek Yogurt

1 TB chopped dill

1 TB chopped thyme

1 TB chopped chives

S & P to taste

Combine all ingredients and serve with veggies and fruit.

Fairy House Birthday Cake

The spring fairies must be visiting my garden!  The flowers are blooming and my daughter has been busy building fairy houses in our yard.  She just turned 7 and to celebrate, I wanted to make a fairy house cake for her party.

A few years ago, I bought a beautiful story book called Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane.  It was about a little girl who went into the forest on an east coast island to build fairy houses made only out of natural things.  My daughter enjoys the idea so, that we still go on walks to collect sticks, bark, rocks and even seashells on vacation.  You may not collect anything living.  She then builds these cute little homes for the fairies, tucked into hidden places in our gardens.  I thought it would be very fitting if she had a fairy house cake for her birthday!

Chocolate Fairy House Cake

The idea was to make the cake look like a tree stump fairy house.  It had 4 layers of chocolate cake, two 9″ layers of dark chocolate boxed cake mix and two 9″ layers of german chocolate cake mix.  The layers were alternated light and dark to add interest when you cut into it.

The chocolate ganache frosting was very simple to make.  I was inspired by a recipe from Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman).

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 24 ounces bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Heat the heavy cream until very hot (not boiling) and add the chocolate chips.  Stir over heat until completely melted.  The mixture will turn smooth deep chocolate color.  Remove from heat and pour into an electric mixer bowl.  Refrigerate until completely cooled, but do not let harden.  After 2 hours, the bottom of the bowl was just slightly warm to the touch.  I added the vanilla and started to beat the chocolate using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Tree Stump Fairy House Birthday Cake Detail

The chocolate ganache frosting filled between each 9″ chocolate cake layer and the sides of the cake.  I covered the sides of the cake and then stroked from the bottom up to create the look of bark.  The door and windows were a graham cracker, cut with a knife to shape.  They were trimmed with a tube of orange decorative cake icing.  The vines were piped using a tube of green decorative cake icing.  The edible sugar flowers were packaged by Wilton.

Butterscotch Pudding Chocolate Ganache Fairy House Cake

To vary the color of the top of the cake, I made a box of butterscotch pudding and spread this over the top of the cake to look like the inner part of a tree.  The fairy figurine that adorned the top of the cake was purchased at a local craft store.  A piece of wax paper was placed down underneath to separate her from the cake.  The fairy figure will make a neat keepsake on my daughter’s bedroom shelf after her party.  The springy butterfly party plates napkins matched perfectly!

Happy Birthday!  Stop growing so fast!!

 

Peach French Toast Casserole

I was on the hunt for a healthy French toast casserole recipe since we were having guests spend the night.  A breakfast casserole is great because it can be prepared ahead of time and I could actually enjoy my time with them in the morning.  This recipe stood out right away because it was covered with fresh fruit and needed to be refrigerated overnight.  A perfect summer breakfast recipe…or really any time of year!

Peach Berry French Toast Casserole

Peach French Toast Casserole

  • 1 large whole-wheat baguette (about 8 ounces)
  • 8 whole eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups sliced peaches, fresh or frozen (I also added some strawberries and blueberries)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced about 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cut entire baguette into half inch slice and place at the bottom of a greased 9×13 casserole dish.  Whisk 8 eggs, milk and vanilla into a medium-sized bowl.  Pour the egg mixture over the bread.  Toss fruit with lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.  Layer the fruit over the bread and egg mixture.  Sprinkle the remaining two tablespoons of brown sugar over the top and sprinkle cinnamon.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.

Top with maple syrup or yogurt.

Peach French Toast Bake