June 20th, 2016
Archive for Hot Tips
These napkins wrapped around plastic flatware and tied with a ribbon are a festive idea for your next barbecue, picnic, or even a Christmas party. It’s so easy for guests to grab one little bundle when their hands are busy with a plate of food and a drink. And they also look really cute in a basket placed on your food table.
They’re very easy to make. Start by placing a napkin on the table with the side you want to show on the outside of the roll-ups facing the table. (I wanted the red side of this watermelon napkin to show, so the red side is facing the table). Fold the bottom corner of the napkin about 3/4 of the way up.
Place the plastic flatware on the middle of the folded napkin.
Fold the left corner of the napkin over the flatware.
Roll up the napkin and tie with a ribbon or raffia.
Place the napkin roll-ups in a basket and display on your food table.
Here is a set that I did using real silverware for a farewell brunch we had when my son left on a mission to Italy. I bought the Italian flags at a party store, and I purchased ribbon in the same colors to tie around the napkins.
And it’s BERRY, BERRY GOOD!
I’m talking about Triple Berry Salad—a perfect compliment to your next summer barbecue! But let’s talk berries for a minute. Have you ever purchased some berries at your market only to bring them home, store them in your refrigerator, and then when you get ready to use them, you discover they have mold on them? It’s happened to me on more than one occasion, especially with raspberries, and that’s why I took notice when somebody sent me an email about how to prevent berries from turning moldy. The suggestion was to wash them in a mixture made up of 1 part vinegar and 10 parts water. The vinegar apparently kills any mold spores or other bacteria so that your raspberries will last at least a week and strawberries can go almost two weeks without turning moldy. You place the berries in the mixture, swirl them around, and drain them. The tip claimed that rinsing them isn’t necessary because the vinegar is so diluted you can’t taste it.
I decided to give it a try—mainly because I was a little skeptical about not being able to taste the vinegar. So I purchased some blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries for the big berry experiment. I then mixed up 1/4 cup of vinegar with 2-1/2 cups of water, and swirled the berries as directed. After draining them, I did a taste test. There was a faint vinegar aftertaste when I ate the blackberries and raspberries. There was no aftertaste with the blueberries which probably has something to do with the smooth outer skin they have. I decided to give the berries a rinse in plain water, and after doing that I was no longer able to detect a vinegar taste. Of course if you were planning to put sugar on the berries, I don’t imagine the vinegar taste would even be an issue.
Okay, now that you have an option for keeping those berries looking great, let’s get started with the salad. You’re going to need raspberries, strawberries, blackberries or blueberries, spinach, blue cheese crumbles, a package of glazed walnuts (those things are good!), and some dressing. I didn’t include any quantities in this recipe because the amount of each ingredient you want to use is really a personal preference. As you can see from the photos, I used lots of berries, but if you would rather use more spinach and less berries, that works too. Wash the berries. Cut the strawberries in half, or if they are large, cut them into quarters.
Wash and dry the spinach. In a large bowl, place a layer of spinach and then a layer of berries.
Top with some blue cheese crumbles and glazed walnuts.
Repeat the layers as you like.
I love berries!
And I LOVE this salad!
Now all we need is dressing, and then we can eat! I could make a dressing, or YOU could make one, but it just so happens that there are two store-bought salad dressings that go really well with this salad—so let’s go that route. And when it comes to salad dressing, it seems like people are either vinaigrette-lovers or fans of the creamy-type dressings. In our family, my husband is definitely a vinaigrette-lover, and I go for the creamy-types. So for you vinaigrette people, I recommend Girard’s Raspberry Dressing:
And for you creamy-type people, definitely get Brianna’s Poppy Seed Dressing. You can’t go wrong here:
Of course if you really want to do it right, get both!
Recipe Adapted by Winner Dinners/Origin Unknown
strawberries, cut in half or quartered if they are large
blackberries or blueberries
blue cheese crumbles
1 package glazed walnuts
Girard’s Raspberry Dressing or Brianna’s Poppy Seed Dressing
Wash the berries. Cut the strawberries in half, or if they are large, cut them into quarters. Wash and dry the spinach. In a large bowl, place a layer of spinach and then a layer of berries. Top with some blue cheese crumbles and glazed walnuts. Repeat the layers as you like. Serve with salad dressing.
I found these Sugar Sheets at Michael’s and decided to give them a try. They come in different colors and can be used to decorate cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. You can cut them into any shape you desire with cookie cutters or cooking shears.
The sugar sheets require moisture to adhere to your baked good, so you need to put them in place while the icing is still moist. This means that you should have your design figured out ahead of time.
When using cookie cutters, press down hard onto the sugar sheet.
Then pull the sheet up while continuing to hold the cookie cutter in place.
After you’ve cut out your shapes, ice your baked good, and then carefully place the cutouts where you want them to go.
I used my sugar sheets cutouts on these Chocolate Cherry Cookies. Didn’t they turn out cute!
To make these cookies, I used the recipe for Chocolate Mint Cookies, but I replaced the Andes mints with Andes cherry jubilee thins. I bought the cherry ones at Target right before Christmas, but they can also be ordered from amazon.com: Andes Candy