Cinderella Days! Let’s Party!

Cinderella Days!  Let’s Party!

Cinderella Days! www.mytributejournal.comI don’t know of too many little girls who don’t love American Girl dolls.  My daughters loved them and now my granddaughters are enjoying playing with their life-like dolls; (the new 14 1/2 inch WellieWisher dolls are darling) along with the books, movies and varied accessories, they create the best make-believe fun!

On a recent trip our local William and Sonoma kitchen store, I found out that the American Girl franchise has expanded the enchantment of their product to include party planning and baking books for even more fun with the real little girls in our lives!  I gave my two older granddaughters the party planning book for Christmas accompanied with a note that said we’d plan a few parties for family and friends throughout the year!  For our first official Cinderella Days of 2017, we threw a party a few weeks ago to celebrate all the things we love about our family!!

American Gilr party book.

The American Girl Party Book is full of fun and easy ideas for little girls who want to help plan a special party for their family!

American Girl dolls. "Lets Party!"

Of course, Makena and Marli’s American Girl dolls were included in our first big party event!  (I ordered their cute, little aprons with matching ones for their dolls from the fun Etsy shop, Sweet Apronz N Cupcakes.)

A week before their party, the girls and I got together and planned what we wanted to do and made a list of the things we’d need to buy at the store.  The anticipation and preparation for the party was almost as much fun as the actual event!

Americn Girl "Let's Party!"

There are several darling party invitation ideas included in the book, but one of the things I loved the most about our party was the cute, handmade invitations that Makena made–complete with scented stickers!  I mean seriously…how adorable is this!!!

Cinderella Days! Let's Party!

I’ve always been a firm believer that if you want your children to take a personal interest in a special project–get them involved!  These cute girls were a whirlwind of activity and culinary creativity as they helped make every detail of this special party come to life!

Makena and Marli had little menus, seated their “guests” with great decorum and served the food like well-trained maître d’s!  Their enthusiastic role-playing was simply too cute for words!

American Girl Party book food.

Food served in miniature size is always a hit at any party!  The menu included mini sloppy joes, ham rollups, veggies and chips…

Mini No-Bake Cheesecakes

…and mini no-bake raspberry cheesecakes–which were admittedly the most favorite entrée to make and eat!

Here’s the adapted version we made of the Mini No-Bake Cheesecake recipe that was in the American Girl Party book.

No-Bake Cheesecake recipe

Single mini no-bake cheesecake

My granddaughters loved garnishing the tops of the cheesecakes!  You could change out the jam and fruit for what you love best.

It tickled me so much to see how this activity sparked the spirit of camaraderie, organization and unabashed creativity with these two cute granddaughters…mostly it was just so much fun!  We’re all looking forward to planning our next party!

American Girl Party book!

“You rarely succeed in life unless you have some fun along the way!”  Vikas Runwal

This cute party book gave a lot of darling suggestions for fabulous party planning, but left plenty of room for children’s imaginations to run wild!

Any fun parties you’ve planned or attended lately?  We are always looking for more fun ideas!

–Mary

The Cookbook Challenge! Homemade With Love!

The Cookbook Challenge!  Homemade With Love!

It’s that time of year when we start pulling out all our favorite family recipes so we can make some for the upcoming holidays.  I thought it also seemed like a good time to try a few new ones in my ongoing Cookbook Challenge quest!

The Cookbook Challenge!

For this challenge, I chose the cookbook Made With Love by Jennifer Perillo that my husband and I picked up at a charming little bake shop on a recent trip to Catalina Island near San Diego, California.  I can’t think of anything better than a little “homemade love” to ease the stress of our busy lives!  Besides, it seems like the world needs a collective group hug–maybe if we could all gather around a really, really big table and enjoy some great food together…sigh!

"Homemade with Love" cookbook by Jennifer Perillo

As if the picture on the front cover of this cookbook isn’t enticing enough–I was further drawn to this cookbook when I read the author’s introduction page….. “I’ve taken some time-consuming, scratch recipes and crafted them into shortcuts to make good eating easier!”

♦ Roasted Vegetable Pizza ♦

This is an easy one-dish meal that is perfect for some of those last vegetables you might have recently harvested from your garden.

Start with one batch of Jennie’s pizza dough: (Makes two 12-inch thin crust or one 16-inch thick crust.)

3 cups unbleached flour

1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

1 tsp. fine sea salt

1 tsp. granulated cane sugar

1 cup warm tap water

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

In a bowl whisk 2 cups flour with yeast, salt, and sugar.  Add the water and olive oil.  Stir together to form sticky dough.  Sprinkle remaining flour onto clean counter, then scrape the dough out and knead in the flour until it is soft and smooth.  Let the dough rise in covered glass bowl in warm spot until it is double in size–about 1 1/2 hours.  Knead again for a few minutes.  Let it rise for another 30 minutes, then form into the desired crust sizes you want.  

Homemade with Love! Veggie Pizza

Spoon on homemade marinara sauce: (You can make this ahead.)

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic (your preference) 

1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes

Handful of fresh chopped basil leaves

Sea salt & ground black pepper to taste

Heat thoroughly in a sauce pan, simmering for approximately 15 minutes; be sure to squeeze tomatoes over pan when adding them to sautéed oil and chopped garlic or puree them in blender if you want a smoother sauce. 

Top with roasted vegetables: (Meat condiments can be added too.)

After spooning marinara sauce on shaped pizza dough, top with a mixture of vegetables, olive oil and a little salt that has been roasted in the oven until tender.  I have used sliced zucchini, button mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, a few broccoli florets chopped small, and a little red onion.  Sprinkle pizza top with 8 oz. of fresh crumbled mozzarella, Italian seasoning and some sliced olives.  Bake for 20 minutes in 400-degree oven until cheese is bubbling; let it cool for a few minutes, then slice and serve up dinner yumminess!!

Homemade With Love! Roasted Vegetable Pizza!

And remember…happiness is having last night’s left over pizza for breakfast!

My next go-round with this cookbook is going to be making the Lemon Buttermilk Doughnuts that are featured on the front cover.  I’ll let you know as soon as I do!

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(via Homemade With Love)

Best wishes to everyone for a very happy Thanksgiving as you gather together with family and friends and share good food accompanied by great conversation!

Jim Rohn quote on giving.

What family recipes are a mainstay to your holiday season?  Any new recipes you are thinking of trying?  Please share!

–Mary  

New Horizons!

New Horizons!

Summer is always a crazy, busy, wonderful time of year spent with family and friends, and for the most part a break from our normal routines.  Now there’s a crisp chill in the air and fall is right around the corner.  I love how each season provides a new horizon and fresh perspective with so many neat things to anticipate and look forward to…

New Horizons!

(A beautiful fall horizon in Midway, Utah)

What I Look Forward To In The Fall!

  • Getting Cozy!  While saying this might indicate pulling out fun flannels shirts and warm afghans, (there will surely be plenty of those too) fall just seems to be the perfect time for more intimate gatherings with family and friends, where you share stories of your rambunctious summer adventures over home-cooked meals and spicy, warm drinks!

Grandma Wilding's warm spice punch.

  Grandma Norma’s Warm Citrus Punch  

1-46 oz. can pineapple juice

1-6 oz. can orange juice

3 cinnamon small sticks or 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. whole cloves or 1/2 tsp. ground cloves

5 quarts water   5 cups sugar

Simmer for 1 hour, serve hot!  

♥ So Good! ♥

Ohhio knit blankets.

Speaking of cozy and warm afghans…..wouldn’t it be fun to wrap up in this chunky knit blanket from Ohhio’s Etsy Shop while sipping a warm drink! 

  • A Little Slower Pace!  Each season seems to come with its own set of schedules and “to do” lists, but with summer vacations wrapped up and gardens nearly harvested, it seems we’re more inclined to go for an early evening walk, or grab those books we never got around to reading on the beach.

Good reads!

“Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes and “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman are books I would highly recommend, if you haven’t already read them!

  • A Bedazzled Mother Nature!  No doubt, Mother Nature is gorgeous in all her varied states during each of the four seasons, but she definitely seems to give us a little extra “wow factor” come fall time!  

Fall leaves.

(Fall trees in Park City, Utah)

If your like me and want to bring a little fall foliage indoors, these DIY aged terra cotta pots are the perfect way to display your plants.  They are so simple to make.

aged terre cotta pots.

 You’ll just need to mix one cup of garden lime with one cup of water, stir together well, then using a foam brush, paint the pots with the lime paste mixture.  Let the pots dry good, then sand off some of the lime grit with sand paper around the top edges and bases of the pots and anywhere else you want to give them that aged, weathered look.  There’s really no wrong way to do this, just do whatever looks good to you.  When the pots are done, you can either spray them with a clear matte finish sealer or just them leave as is and let mother nature continue to play her magic on each of your unique, homemade pots! 

Aged terra cotta pots.

Filled with colorful chrysanthemums, I think these pots would be fun on your porch or make a great gift for those with fall birthdays!  

  • A Renewed Zeal To Always Keep Learning!  Fall marks the official “back to school” time of year.  My father, who was a beloved teacher and a dedicated learner, who audited classes at our local university well into his 80’s, instilled in me the desire to always want to be a good student….long after formal education had ended.  My dad often said, “The most valuable lessons learned—are often those taught in the ‘school of life’!”

John Dewey quote on education.

My husband and I have grown children and have become proud grandparents over the last few years; we’re both still working and are enjoying good health, so people often tell us that we’re in the “fall season” of our lives—if that’s the case, it’s all the more reason to really embrace this amazing time of year and the new horizons this stage of life brings!

I’d love to know some of the things you look forward to most as the fall season approaches?

–Mary