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For those of you who follow Life Exquisite on Facebook you’ll know that my oldest daughter turned 12  last week!  I am so excited to share pictures of her birthday and even though she has already had her friend birthday party I am waiting until after the family birthday party this coming Saturday.  So you’ll have to wait until next week to see what we whipped up for her Monsters University Movie Theatre Birthday Party.  However, thinking of her birthday reminded me that I missed posting a couple of birthday parties during my time off from blogging.  Today I am posting my 9-year-olds Costume Birthday Party!

Being that her birthday is so close to Halloween this was a really easy theme because everyone was able to come in their Halloween costumes!

The decorations were basically the same for her friend and family party, but first lets start with…

The Invite…

After the invites were sent out and the day of her friend party arrived I got busy decorating!  A costume party is the perfect party for a…

Photo Booth

The photo both was more of a backdrop for opening gifts at the family party but my daughter and her friends really enjoyed it.  I have many, many pictures of them as a group, and individuals.

I then set to work decorating the table for when the costume clad troop would arrive home from school.

The cake for her friend party was my first, and only, attempt at a cupcake cake and was very simple.

The cake table was set a bit differently for her family party and she wanted her cake to be decorated to look like her birthday invitation.

The cakes were the only thing different for her parties but the games stayed the same.  First we played…

Pin The Nose On The Clown.

My daughter and her friend modeled their clown noses post game!

The next game we played was a “Minute To Win It” game where you hold a straw in your mouth and need to use the straw to pick up rings from a table and transfer them to a bowl…without using your hands.  This one was very fun and even the adults got in on the action!

My littlest didn’t quite understand that she wasn’t supposed to use her hands!

It was a simple but very fun party!

Apologies for the blurry photos not sure what my photographer…uh hmm hmm (throat clearing)…was doing:-)

 

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So sorry that I didn’t post a recipe on Monday.  I’m slow at getting back into blogging here.  I’m making up for it with sharing not one but two of my new favorite recipes!  They are so new that they just became a favorites last night!

I love Italian food!  LOVE IT!  I wish that carbs weren’t so bad for you because I think I could be completely happy with carb loaded pastas and breads making up 90% of my diet.  My favorite Italian cuisine includes white sauces and cheesy goodness!  Which brought me to last nights meal…

I found both these recipes on, where else but Pinterest!  The Confetti Chicken Pasta is courtesy of  Bake Cakery and the Breaded Cheese Sticks are courtesy of the Food Network.  You can link to theses recipes by clicking on the sites names aforementioned.  However I did make modifications to each recipe, what can I see it’s just who I am and I wanted to make these not so healthy recipes a bit healthier.

Confetti Chicken Pasta

Ingredients:

16 oz. of Whole Wheat Penne Pasta (always cook al dente in salt water according to pkg directions)
tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut in 1″ cubes
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
½ c. Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, long thin slices (mom uses red, yellow and orange…)
c. Broccoli florets
c. Grape tomatoes

Directions:

Cook your pasta and let it drain.  While pasta is cooking heat 1 TBSP of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add chicken.  Sprinkle chicken with sea salt and freshly grated pepper.  When halfway through the cooking stage add the diced onion.  (Be sure to keep an eye on your pasta during this.)  When chicken is almost done cooking add broccoli florets and bell pepper, continue cooking until chicken is done and golden on all sides. Vegetables should be warmed and soft but not soggy or mushy.  Remove and let rest in a large bowl.

Now its time for the sauce!

Ingredients:

tbsp. butter
tbsp. flour
c. skim milk (may need to add more depending on the consistency you desire)
1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes
c. Feta or parmesan cheese

Directions:

In the same pan you cooked the chicken and veggies in, melt the butter over medium heat. Toss in the flour and stir, cooking 1-2 minutes. Slowly add in the milk, while stirring to prevent any clumps from forming.  Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes and allow to simmer until you see boiling action.  Stir periodically.  When your sauce begins to thicken and bubble, turn off the heat and add in your cheese. Stir until melted.

To assemble everything add the pasta to your sauce first so it gets nice and coated with sauce and then pour the chicken and vegetable mixture in. Enjoy!  It’s soooooo delicious!

Mozzarella Sticks

Ingredients:

1 1/2 C breadcrumbs

1 1/3 C freshly grated parmesan

1 TBSP italian season

1 tsp garlic salt

4 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 C vegetable oil

6 string cheese sticks cut in halves

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Mix together the bread crumbs, parmesan, italian seasoning and garlic salt in a medium bowl to blend. Dip the cheese in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the cheese in the bread crumb mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely.  Repeat dipping in eggs and breadcrumbs one more time.
Place the cheese sticks in the now hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the fried cheese to plates covered in paper towels to help absorb grease.  Serve and enjoy!

My family told me these were the best cheese curds I have ever made and they truly were pretty yummy-licious!

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I can never decide if I like traditional red chili or white chili best. They are both delicious and are the perfect comfort food for cold winter days!

Below is the white chili recipe I received from a friend about ten years ago and it remains my favorite in spite of the countless others I’ve tried. I’m pretty sure you’ll love it too!

Ingredients:
2-3 chicken breasts
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
10 C chicken broth
2-15 oz cans white beans
2 TBSP parsley
2 tsp chili powder

Combine all ingredients in a crock-pot and allow to cook for 4-5 hours. When chicken breasts are cooked use two forks to pull apart into bite size pieces. Enjoy!

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If you love the tangy zip of rhubarb and the tangy sweet juiciness of strawberries then you just might like this coffee cake as much as we do!

Ingredients:

Filling:

3 C cubed rhubarb

16 oz fresh cut strawberries

2 TBSP lemon juice

1 C sugar

1/3 C cornstarch

Coffee cake:

3 C flour

1 C sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 C butter, softened

2 eggs, whipped

1 TBSP lemon juice

1 C milk

1 tsp vanilla

Topping:

1/4 butter

3/4 C sugar

1/2 flour

Directions:

Grease a 10.5 X 14.5 baking pan (9×13 will work but you will have to bake 5-7 mins. longer and cake will be thick.)

Preheat oven to 350•.

Prepare coffee cake filling by cooking rhubarb and strawberries in medium saucepan  covered, over low heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice, sugar & cornstarch and increase heat to medium stirring constantly while cooking an additional 4-5 minutes and consistency becomes thick and creamy.  Remove from burner and cool.

Meanwhile in large bowl combine the first five ingredients of the cake mixture (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda & baking powder) mix together well and cut in butter.  Whip your two eggs together in a liquid measuring cup and add the remaining wet ingredients to the liquid measuring cup (lemon juice, milk & vanilla) and whip together.  Stir this into flour mixture.

Spread a little more than 1/2 of your cake batter into your greased pan.  Spread rhubarb/strawberry filling evenly on top.  Spoon the rest of the cake batter on to in little dollops scattered across the top.

For topping melt the 1/4 cup butter.  While it’s melting mix together your sugar and flour and then stir into melted flour.  Sprinkle on top of coffee cake and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Enjoy!  Tastes delicious warm with vanilla ice cream!!!

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cinnamonswirlbread

As promised, I’m sharing my cinnamon swirl bread recipe with you.  It’s so deliciously full of sweet, gooey goodness that my family can down an entire loaf in one day!  This may be one of the reasons I don’t make it very often.  Probably not the best thing to eat frequently…even if we wish we could:-)

Ingredients:

One basic white bread dough

1/2 stick softened butter

sugar

brown sugar

cinnamon

Directions:

Make up the bread dough according to the directions given in the link to my basic white bread recipe.  After it has risen the first time, on a well floured surface, roll out into a long strip, about 1/4″ thickness, keeping the width so that it’s no wider than your bread pan.  Spread with 1/2 stick of softened butter.

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Liberally sprinkle on sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon.  My kids love helping with this part…

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After you have all the sugars and cinnamon on, roll dough like a large cinnamon roll.  Be sure to roll it length ways, not width.  You don’t want it to be too wide for your bread pan…

P1240760After you have rolled it, you will need to form the ends a bit to keep a nice bread shape and to prevent the sugar and cinnamon from spilling out when you lift it into your pan…

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Place in greased bread pan, and sprinkle any excess cinnamon and sugars that are on your counter on top.  P1240763

Cover and let rise 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.  Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes.  Cool in pan for about 15-20 minutes so that bread will hold its shape when removed from  pan.  After 15-20 minutes remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool the rest of the way.  When you cut into it bread will not be tightly wrapped, not sure why this is, but it’s still wonderful.  We toast it or heat in a microwave and liberally spread with butter:-)  Enjoy!

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I had so many intentions of posting my favorite Christmas recipes, and DIY crafts for you all before Christmas approached but it’s been crazy busy, as is usual for the holidays.  I haven’t even had time to take pictures of any of my outfits for you this week!  I apologize but know you all understand…and to make amends I am sharing both a recipe and an outfit with you!

Mixing polka dots with peppermint and minty green!

(Blazer & Earrings – Charlotte Russe, Polka Dot Blouse – Francesca’sNecklace – Urban Peach Boutique)

I wore this outfit to my children’s Christmas concerts and will probably where it again tomorrow to a Christmas party!  I’ve been wanting a red blazer and finally nabbed one at Charlotte Russe on Black Friday!  And I’ve already told you about my new jewelry boutique obsession Urban Peach Boutique, which is where I got this wonderful mint colored bubble necklace!  Red and Green are traditional holiday colors and some people may think it boring to go traditional but I LOVE red so adore the excuse to wear it all the time at Christmas and I love that this mint green adds a softness to this outfit!  It’s a perfect soft little twist to tradition!

Recipe…North Pole Cupcakes!!!

This is not my own original idea at all.  I found it at Kara’s Party Ideas.

I’m not entirely sure how she did hers, I didn’t follow her recipe, just the “North Pole” idea.  You can certainly visiter her site to follow her or here’s what I did…

Ingredients: 

Cupcakes:

1 Box of white cake mix

red & green food coloring

Butter Cream Frosting:

1 stick of butter

1/4 c crisco

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 c powdered sugar

2 TBSP milk

You will also need:

About 18+ mini candy canes

North Pole Printables

I wanted our cupcakes to look something like this, but red, white and green instead of rainbow…

Directions:

Mix cake according to directions on box.  Separate batter into three different bowls, leave one white and color one red and one green.  Fill cupcake pans with cupcake liners and add a large spoonful of each color, one on top of the other, to get a beautiful, colorful effect.  Fill each line about half full and bake according to directions on box.  When done baking allow to cool completely.

For your frosting you will cream the butter, crisco and extract in a mixing bowl until well blended.  Add sugar and mix thoroughly until a creamy mixture is achieved.  It will be a thick cream at this stage.  Now add your milk (for richer taste you can add whipping cream) and mix thoroughly again.  Place frosting in piping bag with a large tip (I used a Wilton #199).

Before you begin frosting stick a mini candy cane, upside down, in the center of each cupcake.  Pipe frosting, in circular motion around candy cane and working your way to the outer edge of cupcake.  After you have frosted all the cupcakes you will switch out your tip for a large round tip (I used Wilton #7) and you’ll “glue” the North Pole sign on with a bit of frosting.

They’re a hit with the kids and adults thought they were pretty cool too!

I will be taking a Christmas stay-cation with my kids and husband starting tonight and wont be back until January 2nd.  I’m sure I will be instagramming to LE’s Facebook page so you can follow me there if you’d like.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas celebrating the birth of our savior with your family and friends and wish you all many blessings in the New Year to come!

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My hubby and I decided that we are going to try a new appetizer, hor devours or snack each Sunday during football.  We love trying new things and football games are a great excuse to have those fun little snacks you may not normally have.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

If you like super hot spicy foods this dip is for you.  It’s  super HOT!  It’s super Spicy! And you will want to have a large glass to cool the fire burning in your mouth…that said, it’s pretty good.  I always feel that spicy foods are better with ranch dressing so after getting a scoop of dip on my chip I would also dip it in ranch dressing.  I guess my mouth isn’t tough enough to handle the beating it took from this dip without the band-aid of ranch dressing:-)

Ingredients:

  • 1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups cooked and cubed chicken
  • ½ cup hot sauce
  • ½ cup shredded Monterey jack cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. In a 4-cup baking dish, spread cream cheese evenly over bottom of dish. In a separate bowl mix chicken, sour cream and hot sauce – spread this mixture over cream cheese. Top with cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, and/or celery.

Football Food: (click images below to link you to the other football foods we’ve tried so far for the 2012-13 season)

Week 1 – Layered Taco Dip

Week 2 – Mini Breakfast Bowl

Week 3 – Jalapeno Popper Dip

Week 4 – Philly Cheese Steak Filled Peppers

Week 5 – Buffalo Chicken Bites

Week 6 – Wonton Chips & Dip

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