DIY Woodland Winter Cake Topper

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We are experiencing a love affair with bottle brush trees and wood slices this winter. And, as usual, crushing on white and gold, too. Our kids think Christmas is tomorrow with all the holiday blog projects lying around the house – it’s a tease for them, and almost an overwhelming reminder of the upcoming holidays for us. At least they get to enjoy some of the benefits of shooting a DIY winter cake topper – shoot the cake, and eat it too.

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If you’re celebrating a winter birthday, or want to impress guests this holiday season with an adorable DIY winter cake or pie topper, just go out and chop a tree {you can buy them already cut from Michael’s if a lumberjack isn’t in your repertoire}, bust out the gold leaf paint, and glue.

Materials You’ll Need:
Wood slices
Cake pop sticks
Mini woodland animal figures – deer, rabbit, bear, squirrel
Thin popsicle sticks
Mini banner flags
Gold leaf paint
Hot glue gun

Directions:

Dab the ends of the  bottle brush tree with gold leaf paint. You can’t mess this up – just dab here, and there and everywhere.

Write a word, name or phrase on the paper banner.

Use a hot glue gun to glue the tree, animal and popsicle stick with paper banner on the wood slice. I cut the popsicle stick in half to make it shorter.

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Glue ‘legs’ on the bottom-side of the wood slice with the cake pop sticks that will stick into the cupcake, cake or pie.

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chocolate-cake-wood-slice-rabbit-tree-white-joy-sign-diy-cake-topper

 

A Little Star Baby Shower

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When one of my besties is in town for the inaugural Reintoberfest, and she is preggers, a baby shower is certainly in order. My girlfriends and I hosted a small, fabulous group of women for a Little Star baby shower. It was a surprise…and I think we pulled if off, even with a few slips.

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

The shower was designed after one of my most favorite art prints by The First Snow. Beautiful, isn’t it?

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

We re-created the art print with an antique ladder, ribbons and fresh flowers by Vail Vintage Magnolia and DIY hanging stars that were spray painted gold and white. It worked our perfectly because it’s a gender-neutral theme, and the nursery is also star themed.

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© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

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© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

Our menu consisted of homemade French Toast casserole, egg casserole, yogurt bar with fruit and granola, fresh spinach salad and for dessert we devoured mini bundt cakes. The backdrop for our Champagne and Bundt bar was a DIY Kimi’s Little Star sign. We sipped on mimosas with DIY star gummy drink stirrer and oh my goodness they were good!

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

I made DIY star napkin rings that also served as ornament favors guests could take home. DIY tutorial to come.

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

Meredith made DIY star headbands we all adorned on our heads to represent the “bouquet of stars to place around your sleeping heads” like the art print said.

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

In our family, we say Aunt, pronounced ‘ant.’ In MN, Kimi says Auntie, pronounced ‘on-tee,’ with a bit of a flair, of course. For the shower, we wanted to emphasize her auntie ‘thing’ with custom buttons for each guest. When baby G is born, we will all be proud aunties with gifts of our own to offer him/her. It was a good laugh for everyone. I gave myself the title of auntie of crafts. Jenna was crowned the auntie of shoes. And, Jodi proudly accepted her role of auntie of reality tv. We will take our roles seriously, Kimi!

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

We played a fun, non-cheesy game that I highly recommend for a smaller sized baby shower – Who’s That Baby? I asked guests to send me a baby photo under 6 months old prior to the shower, and I had the photos printed for a photo display. Everyone had to guess each sweet baby face, and the winner was awarded a prize.

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

Another ‘activity’ and decoration was the DIY Due Date Chalkboard. Everyone had a chance to guess baby G’s due date, and whether it was a boy or girl. If you really want to make it a game, bet $ to get a pool going. To learn how to make the DIY chalkboard, read this.

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

We sent the beautiful mama home with Dear Baby, often called Wishes for Baby cards. We all wrote down our hopes and dreams for baby G, which was a great baby shower activity and keepsake for Kimi. You can purchase the Little Star cards and here and the Little Star invitation here.

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

star baby shower-invitation

Finally, what’s a shower without a posed shot, and a tassel banner?!

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

© 2015 Meredith Moran Photography

Thanks to all the Vendors We Love from this Shower
Photographer: Meredith Moran Photography
Flowers: Vail Vintage Magnolia
Invitation and Dear Baby Cards: Fleur de Lis, a paperie
Mini Bundt Cakes: The Bundt Shoppe
Art Print: The First Snow
Auntie Buttons: Share Denver

 

Gluten Free Chocolate Trifle Dessert

football-pennant-orange-bow-chocolate-trifle-dessert

Most days, we feel like we spend all day in the kitchen.

Wake up. Cook breakfast. Pack lunches. Clean up. Snack time. Lunch time. Clean up. Another Snack time. Cook dinner. Clean up.

Seriously, the amount of dishes we wash at times seems endless. We love to cook and bake for our families, but sometimes a lady just needs a break.

A break doesn’t have to mean a sacrifice in a really yummy, chocolate dessert. We made a gluten-free chocolate trifle and it was g-double-o-d, good. Our DIY football pennants added a touch of cute to the taste of chocolate-y yum! These would make for a delicious dessert at your next football tailgate or party! Plus everyone loves dessert in a jar.

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Gluten-Free, No Bake Chocolate Trifle

Ingredients

  • Udi’s Dark Chocolate Brownie Bites broken into pieces {if you want to bake a little, you can make a whole pan with the Namaste mix}
  • Whipping Cream, homemade or the store-bought kind will work
  • Chocolate pudding, KozyShack

All you have to do is layer in this order, brownie, pudding, whipped cream and repeat. No baking necessary. Then, the best part…devour. Even the non-gf people will ask for more!

football-pennant-orange-bow-chocolate-trifle-dessert

football-pennant-orange-bow-chocolate-trifle-dessert

 

Recipe: Gluten Free Peach and Blueberry Crisp

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Jenna has been eating gluten-free for many years; Jodi and I have joined our sister in the fight against gluten on our bodies in recent years/months. So, sometimes we think our palette is somewhat jaded. Are we so accustomed to eating GF that we think a pizza that resembles the taste of cardboard is actually good? Many gluten-free items are good now, and there are so many options, but at times it’s hard to get some of our favorites to taste like the real thing.

This past weekend was not only a success because we were all together {which is our most favorite times}, but also because we shared laughter and tears over a delicious, homemade gluten-free Peach and Blueberry Crisp. Whatever you want to call it – Peach and Blueberry Crisp or a Peach and Blueberry Crumble – it was a good one.

It’s sad to see summer near an end – so celebrate what’s left of it – and what’s left of summer’s ripe peaches.

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Gluten Free Peach and Blueberry Crisp
recipe adapted from Ina Garten

For the fruit:

  • 6 ripe peaches
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries

For the crumble:

  • 3/4 cup gluten free oats, ground
  • 1/4 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup pecans, broken into small pieces

Directions:

  • Immerse the peaches in a medium saucepan with boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Remove them and immediately set in cold water.
  • Peel the peaches, slice them into small wedges, and place them in a large bowl.
  • Add the lemon juice, sugar and flour. Toss well.
  • Mix in the blueberries.
  • Spoon the mixture into a pie dish.
  • For the topping, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and the butter in a large bowl. With clean hands, gently break the butter apart and mix with the dry ingredients. Continue to blend the ingredients together with your fingertips to form pea-size crumbles.
  • Sprinkle the crumble topping over the fruit in the pie dish.
  • Top with pecans.
  • Place the pie dish on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is brown and the crisp is bubbling.
  • Serve warm with vanilla ice cream….or plain! So yummy.

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Look…It’s Ice Cream Shaped Like an Avocado for Dessert!

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Avocado + ice cream.

It’s not an everyday pairing. At first thought, it sounds creamy, slightly odd and interesting.

Well, after experimenting a bit in the kitchen, we can tell you that the combination of an avocado + ice cream dessert is delicious.

We wish we could take total credit for this idea. However, if there are any Triple D {Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives} fans out there like Jessica’s hubby, you may have seen an episode where a Mexican restaurant made an exact replica of an avocado for dessert; except instead of an avocado, it was homemade avocado ice cream in a chocolate shell, and a homemade caramel and chocolate ball inside. Yum!

We would have attempted actual avocado ice cream, but we went with something easier to make {just buy and scoop}, and sweeter {not as healthy}. Plus, the gelato had the word Sicilian in it, and being of Sicilian heritage, it was a no-brainer.

At your next party, surprise guests with an avocado dessert…or at least Avocado shaped ice cream for dessert. It will be a hit!

avocado-ice-cream-balloon-dessert-diy-mexican-pistacio-chocolate-bowl

You’ll Need:

Directions:

Make the Chocolate Avocado Shell

  • Step 1: Melt the chocolate wafers. We melted it via microwave in 30-second intervals until it was melted. Stir until smooth.
  • Step 2: Blow up a balloon about the size of an avocado.

avocado-ice-cream-balloon-dessert-diy-mexican-pistacio-chocolate-bowl

  • Step 3: Prepare a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper.
  • Step 4: Make sure the chocolate is slightly cool.
  • Step 5: Gently dip the balloon in the chocolate, coating the bottom half of the balloon.

avocado-ice-cream-balloon-dessert-diy-mexican-pistacio-chocolate-bowl

  • Step 6: Place on the baking sheet. Repeat for as many bowls as you want to make. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

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  • Step 7: To release the air from the balloon, pinch the balloon and use a tack or knife to puncture a small hole.

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  • Step 8: Release the air gradually. If the air is released too fast, the bowl will be more likely to break.
  • Step 9: Carefully peel the deflated balloons from the bowl, trying not to press down or squeezing the bowl.

avocado-ice-cream-balloon-dessert-diy-mexican-pistacio-chocolate-bowl

avocado-ice-cream-balloon-dessert-diy-mexican-pistacio-chocolate-bowl

Add Ice Cream to the Shell

  • Step 1: Remove the ice cream from the freezer, and let it thaw slightly so it’s easier to mold without breaking the shell.
  • Step 2: Gently add spoonful’s of ice cream into the chocolate ‘avocado shell’ until it’s full.
  • Step 3: Press a Lindt chocolate truffle into the ice cream so it looks just like the nut inside an avocado.

avocado-ice-cream-balloon-dessert-diy-mexican-pistacio-chocolate-bowl

  • Step 4: Place the sweet DIY ice cream avocados into the freezer until you are ready to serve.

avocado-ice-cream-balloon-dessert-diy-mexican-pistacio-chocolate-bowl

avocado-ice-cream-balloon-dessert-diy-mexican-pistacio-chocolate-bowl