Margarita Dip (non-alcoholic, of course!)

Need a quick, yummy, summery dip? I came across this and it's DELICIOUS! This would be a great dip for a Mexican-themed party or any summer get together. Serve it in a bowl or margarita glass with a sugar-coated rim. I think this would also make a great non-alcoholic dessert served in margarita glasses for the kiddos (and for the adults like me who don't drink:)).

Margarita Dip
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup frozen margarita drink mix, thawed
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream, whipped

Directions: In a medium bowl, beat together softened cream cheese, margarita mix, orange juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Fold whipped cream into mixture until well blended. Cover and chill 1 hour to blend flavors.
To serve: dip rim of glass bowl or cocktail glass in grenadine syrup (or corn syrup). Shake off excess and dip in colored sugar. Spoon dip into bowl and serve with your favorite fruits!


Blooming Snacks

The girls had a ball making their own little mini "gardens" for snacktime today. It was a warmup for a party I'm doing this weekend (I'll let you know how it turns out:)). PARTY UPDATE: Major success! I made the little garden at the top as well as a fruit garden on half a watermelon with watermelon/cherry/pineapple flowers.

INGREDIENTS: (you can really use anything, it's a great way to clean out the fridge)
Sliced Cheese
Thinn sliced ham

Cut apple in half and core it. This is going to be the base for your "garden" and also a tasty way to end your snack. You can fill the center with peanut butter or cream cheese if you want.

Cut cheese into flower shapes. If you don't have pastry cutters, let the kids use butter knives to cut flower shapes out of the cheese.

Slice ham into strips and cut grapes in half. You're ready to assemble! Here's a little assembly video:

In case that didn't make sense, my daughter has some instructions of her own:

Happy Cooking!

I love church cookbooks!

For some reason, I am a church cookbook fanatic. I LOVE THEM!! Well, our congregation recently put one together and my fabulous friend who coordinated it was nice enough to send it to me in digital format to share with you all. You can download it here. There are some serious talented ladies that contributed to it. Enjoy!

In case the above link doesn't work, you can also get it here:
Ward Cookbook.zip
Free file hosting from File Den


Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Cake

I wasn't going to blog about this cake, but I've converted many a cake-hater with this little number (unless you hate peanut butter, then you're out of luck:)). I've worked on perfecting this recipe for over a year, it's easy and the yummiest, fudgiest cake you'll ever find!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Cake
1 box Chocolate Fudge cake mix (or any chocolate cake mix)
1 (3 oz.) box instant chocolate pudding
2 C. sour cream
5 eggs
1 C. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C. chocolate chips (I recommend ghirardelli)

In a large bowl, beat first 6 ingredients until well blended. Mixture will be thick. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into three greased 9” pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-40 minutes. (Keep an eye on them so they don’t overbake). Cool completely. I actually like to pop them in the freezer for easy assembling.

Peanut Butter Buttercream Icing
Ingredients2/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
2/3 cup butter
1 3/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
6-8 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approx. 2 lb.)
Cream shortening and butter with electric mixer.
Add peanut butter, milk and vanilla.
Gradually add 6 c. sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.
Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add more sugar (or milk) as needed until icing is desired consistency (should be firm enough to hold a shape but still smooth)
Keep icing covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Re-whip before using.

First of all, if you don't have a canvas decorating bag and an extra-large star tip, I recommend getting one (you can get them at Wal-Mart, under $5 for all). The tip is Wilton size 1M. I use it for EVERYTHING. It makes super-fast, gorgeous cupcakes and is the very easiest way to decorate a cake (no crumbs!).

Place a small dab of frosting on a cake platter, set first cake layer on top (it's easiest to assemble if the layers are frozen but not necessary). Pipe out (or spread) frosting over top of layer and add next layer. Repeat with final layer. Spread a layer of frosting on the very top and sprinkle chocolate shavings on top (or chocolate chips or chopped reeses peanut butter cups!).

Using your large star tip, make stripes up and down the sides of cake. This is super-easy and you have no frosting crumbs! Hooray!

To finish, draw "S" shapes all around the top edge of the cake. Voila! You have decorated a professional looking cake in 5 minutes! Enjoy!

Holiday Playlist

My grandmother hasn't been doing well...to cheer her up, I rounded up a few of my musical friends and made an album of Holiday songs fo...