Holiday Appetizer: Baked Brie

thanksgiving-appetizer-brie

One of my favorite things to prepare (and eat) during the holidays anytime is brie. You can’t go wrong with a little cheese, wine and chocolate so that’s exactly what I did to start the Thanksgiving festivities at my house this year.  This recipe is so versatile, easy and delicious, it should be at every gathering. Plus you can prepare this ahead of time and just pop in the oven 30 minutes before serving.

What you need:

  • 1 round French brie
  • 1 container of crescent rolls
  • jelly/jam(s) of your choice – I used a cinnamon butter jelly and a hot jalapeno pepper jelly – the pepper jelly was a bigger hit!
  • nuts of your choice
  • apples/crackers to eat the brie with

crescent-wrapped-brieLay out the crescent rolls into a star shape with no openings on the bottom.  Place the brie round in the center.  I shaved off a little of the brie coating but kept most of it in tact.  If you cut it all off and leave holes in the rolls, you could end up with a melted cheese disaster on your pan which tastes great, but looks terrible.

Top the brie with jams/jellies of your choice.  I highly recommend a jalapeno pepper jelly. the sweetness of the crescent rolls (and apples) complements very will with the kick of the jelly.

Top that which chopped nuts of your choice.

Fold the star of the crescent rolls to cover the entire brie, make sure not to leave any openings.  I used the 90 calorie ones so I sprayed a little butter on the top for a golden crescent finish. I doubt the only 90 calories helped any bit this Thanksgiving, but it’s the thought that counts, right?! 🙂

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Serve warm.

For the apples, a quick trick to keep them from turning brown – Soak the apples in a bowl of cool salted water for just a minute or two.  Then put in a Ziploc bag until ready to use.  They won’t turn brown – I ate tasty apples for 3 days!

Serve with wine (I had a bottle of Decadence from Cooper’s Hawk) and mint chocolate no-bake cookies.

brie-and-chocolate

Happy Holidays!

Sweet Repeats: holiday desserts

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December 1st. What happened to January – November?! As I start on the last month of 2015, I’m shocked at how quickly this year has gone by. With a second thought, I reflect on how big of year it has been for me and how much I’ve accomplished. (Sounds like a good topic for another post!)  From getting my CPA licence, to moving (twice), getting a puppy, a promotion, kicking off Lactation Cookies and buying my first home, this year has been nothing short of exciting, scary, exhausting and educational!

These days I find myself going back to old recipes, reflecting on those memories of trying something for the first time and then comparing it to what they taste like today with slight modifications. For Thanksgiving, I brought back two old favorites: pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes and mint chocolate no-bake cookies.

Both are so delicious and fairly easy to make! Having a new home with a new-to-me (but oh so old) oven, I was extremely excited to make no-bake cookies. The thought of not having to figure out if the light on the oven means it is or isn’t preheated and figuring out what temperature is the right dial turn, made this recipe even more enjoyable.  <– first world problems are rough!  Here’s a link to mint chocolate no-bake cookies and no-bake mint fudge. Below is a summary of how to make them.

no-bake-mint-chocolateIngredients

  • 18oz chocolate – I love using dark, but any will work!
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 oz Oreos (about half a family size bag)
  • 2 cups Rice Krispies
  1. Crush oreos and mix in with Rice Krispies. Set aside
  2. Microwave chocolate on low heat stirring occasionally until melted
  3. Add in extracts and quickly mix in to Oreo mixture
  4. Drop by tablespoon on wax paper
  5. Top with powder sugar, let cool then enjoy!

The second sweet repeat recipe I made for the first time in my new home was pumpkin cheesecake cupcake <– why I started with a cheesecake is a mystery to me! This one was equally as delicious and the cook time was only 20 minutes in the oven  Read the full recipe here and also for tips on the perfect cheesecake!

pumpkin-cheesecake-cupcake

What are your sweet repeats you bring back for the holidays?

 

 

 

It’s a Pawty – A Dog’s Birthday Party

Dog-birthday-party-theme-puppy

What happens when you love your dogs and you love entertaining?  Chances are, you’ve thought about having a dog birthday party, right?  This year, Emmie turned 2 and now that she has her very own fenced in backyard, a party was a must!  Inspired by Pinterest (the easiest place for inspirations!), Emmie’s “all things dog” theme was created! Since the idea was to keep the dogs outside, the party began at 9AM <— yes, a party starting at 9AM!

Dog-birthday-party-theme-cake-bone-ideasDog Bone Shaped Cake:

Who knew a little geometry would come in handy while baking a cake!!  One of my favorite types of cake (from a box) is funfetti. Hands down. Something about the vanilla cake and sprinkles combo makes a great taste and reminds me of when I was a kid. I didn’t go fancy on this one at all. Simple cake mix and frosting, follow the instructions and bake. Once the 1 rectangular cake pan and the 3 circle cake pans were done, the fun began to create this dog bone shaped cake. You will cut out 1/4 of each of the circles so you can use the 3 1/4 pieces to make the 4th part of the bone. 🙂 A birthday wasn’t complete without us singing, yes singing, to Emmie and then indulging in a cake (and mimosas!).

Dog-birthday-party-mimosas-parfait-themeBest in Show Bubbly:

A make-your-own-mimosas bar. Need I say more?! I usually buy Andre Brut for my mimosa champagne but I recently learned about freixenet – a few dollars more, but so worth it. Maybe not for the masses when you can buy Andre, but definitely a must for a small gathering.

Pupcakes Dog-birthday-party-pupcakes-peanut-butter-apples

These peanut butter apple cupcakes were made specifically with dogs in mind.  They were a huge it hit!  You can find the recipe for pupcakes here.  The frosting is made of  greek yogurt and peanut butter and topped with homemade dog biscuits (recipe). These were a HUGE hit!

Doggie Bag: treats-to-go

Who doesn’t love going to a party and taking something home?  Well when you go to my dog’s party, you will end up taking home a doggie bag of treats for your fur baby! These are the same treats that I topped the pupcakes with and the recipe is here.  Made of oatmeal, carrots, and cheese, these things are healthy and the dogs ate them up!

Dog-birthday-party-biscuits-cheese-carrots-oats

Snacks

I made “fetch sticks” out of overnight French toast and strawberries on a kebab stick.  Topped with maple syrup and powdered sugar, these were so yummy.  I made pigs dogs-in-a-blanket from crescent rolls and mini sausage links.  I had extra rolls so I filled these with nutella and they were actually pretty good!  To make the snack spread somewhat healthy, a parfait bar was a must!

Dog-birthday-party-theme-fetch-sticks-ideas

Emmie’s party was such a great success but the afternoon was even better!  As soon as I was done cleaning everything up outside, the thunderstorms came down hard (talk about perfect timing!)!  The dogs slept for hours and I even fit a little nap in the day. 🙂

Happy 2nd birthday, Emmie!

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