As much as I really enjoyed working on this Bambi themed dinner it was really difficult to do in the dead of winter. It has been bitterly cold, snowy and rainy winter as usual here in the Northeast and I want nothing more than to ‘Sing A Gay Little Spring Song’ As I mentioned in a previous post I had worked on the dinner during the holiday season- I did want to hold on posting this as I had been working on a woodland theme baby shower. I used a lot of the same elements in the baby shower as the dinner and this is a great example of what I have been talking about with adapting the dinner to a larger party.


One of my main goals in choosing the menu for this dinner was to keep everything as earthy and simple as I could. The fresh flavors definitely transported you to the forest. I also made my first foray into pasta making! I was always intimidated by the process but even without a pasta machine it was surprisingly easy. It was a little time consuming but definitely worth it.


Stuffed Mushrooms

Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad

Apple/ Butternut Squash Soup

Brie and Pear Grilled Cheese on Focaccia Bread

Pumpkin Filled Ravioli in a Browned Butter Sage Sauce

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream



IMG_2055Stuffed Mushrooms- This is a go to recipe for me and unfortunately I don’t have exact measurements.

Clean Mushrooms and Remove Stems

Mix equal parts Italian Breadcrumbs and Shredded Parmesan Cheese in a bowl. Add a pinch of fresh parsley.

Fill Mushrooms with Mixture. Place in an oiled pan. Drizzle Oil over the top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.


Strawberry Goat Cheese SaladIMG_2047                                Another Easy non-measurement recipe.

Wash and Pat Dry Fresh Spinach

Add Chopped Pecans, Chopped Strawberry and Crumbled Goat Cheese to Taste.

Toss with your choice of balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette dressing.



Butternut Squash Apple Soup 

(recipe from Just A Taste)

1 cup diced pancetta
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
2 medium (about 3/4 pound) Yukon Gold potatoes
2 medium Granny Smith apples
1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (3 1/2 to 4 cups)
2 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
2 to 2 1/2 cups water
Sour cream, for serving


Cook the pancetta in a 6-quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until crisp, then transfer the pancetta with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve 2 tablespoons of fat in the pot. (Add vegetable oil to equal 2 tablespoons if your pancetta is very lean.)

Add the celery, carrots and onions to the pot, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until softened but not brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook, uncovered, stirring for 1 minute.

While the vegetables are cooking, peel and coarsely chop the potatoes. Peel, core and coarsely chop one apple.

Add the chopped potatoes, apple, butternut squash, stock, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to the pot. Simmer the mixture, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Purée the soup in four batches in a blender until smooth. Return the puréed soup to the cleaned pot and thin it with an additional 1/2 cup of water, if necessary. Heat the soup over low heat until warmed throughout then season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.

Cut the remaining apple into matchsticks then spoon the soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream, a few apple matchsticks and the reserved pancetta.


Pumpkin Goat Cheese Ravioli in Brown Butter Sage Sauce

This was my first time ever making homemade pasta. It was definitely a lot easier than I had anticipated. I didn’t have a pasta roller so it ended up a little thicker and chewier than it would had I not rolled it by hand. As I am new to this I am not going to share the pasta recipe I used- use your favorite or do a search for your favorite chef’s recipe.


1 shallot diced                                       1 can of pumpkin puree                               1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese                       1 pinch of salt                                             1/2 t nutmeg

Sautee shallot in a pan over medium heat until they are golden brown. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.

Place half of the rolled dough on a floured surface. Drop a teaspoon of filling about 2 inches apart. Carefully place the other sheet of dough over the filling. Use a knife or pasta cutter to shape ravioli. Use tines of fork to tightly close the dough.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add ravioli and cook until they begin to float (this should only take a few minutes). I used a strainer to cook a few at a time and carefully lift them out. When they are all cooked add 4 Tablespoons of butter to a large skillet on medium-low heat. Slowly brown the butter. Add Ravioli and Sage until ravioli is golden brown on both sides.


Pumpkin Maple Cupcakes

Here is another case of my cake mix doctoring. For the cupcakes I used a yellow box of cake mix, followed the instructions on the box, added a can of pumpkin puree and a teaspoon of cinnamon and a half teaspoon of nutmeg- bake as directed.

For the frosting I used my favorite buttercream recipe. Cream 2 sticks of butter in a mixer. Add 6 cups confectioners sugar. Add Maple syrup until frosting reaches desired consistency.

For the little acorn toppers use chocolate or frosting to connect hershey’s kisses, Nilla Wafers (the mini wafers are best) and Butterscotch chips.


As with the menu I wanted to keep the decorations organic and fresh as well. One of my favorite design elements is burlap and lace. It is really so simple but has such an earthly elegance to it. I have used this design for western parties, baby showers and even fall dinners. Burlap is fairly inexpensive and you don’t need very much lace- definitely a suggested element to keep in your supply closet.

A staple of any rustic wedding are the wood slices or country rounds. I don’t believe I have ever had more compliments or asked where I got something more than I have had on these. You can get wood slices (also called country rounds in some places) at most craft stores. Amazon also has them for somewhat decent prices- you can find them here.

My stuffed Flower and Thumper as well as some flower branches to complete the picture.



I am very excited to finally be able to bring some of the abstract party ideas to life. This was a work baby shower so the decorations weren’t as elaborate as I would have done for a private event- but there are some great examples on how I adopted the menu and added a few elements.

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The Mommy-to-Be is gluten free so our entire menu was made with her in mind. I adapted some of my favorite recipes to use gluten-free ingredients or no gluten at all.

Pear and Gorgonzola Salad

Cheese Plates

Antipasto Skewers

Stuffed Mushrooms

Hedgehog Cheese Ball

Assorted Sandwiches

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Chocolate Covered Marshmallows

Candy Acorns

Owl Cupcakes



We also had little owl party favor bags. I filled them with gluten free pretzels to evoke the idea of an owl sitting on a twig.

And my favorite added element- the make your own trail mix bar. I have talked about how much I love food bars in my last post so I wont bore you by saying the same things over and over but they are so fun!!!


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This bar was made up of an assortment of nuts, dried fruit and candy chips. My favorite part of this bar was the adorable Bambi brown bags. They were inspired by Jettabees Deer Treat Sacks – you can find her Etsy store here.







I’ve Seen A Peanut Stand

I’ve seen a rubber band/ I’ve seen a needle that winks it eye but I have never seen a dinner as easy as this.

I have never been a huge fan of Dumbo- but it makes a great theme for a dinner or party. Carnival/ Circus themed parties are very popular right now and stores are filled with supplies- making it specifically Dumbo definitely gives your circus party a little more direction.


Like I mentioned in a previous post I did this dinner amidst the craziness of the holidays – and I must say this was perfect to adapt into a super quick dinner. If you are not doing dinners in order this is a great one to do on a night when you are strapped for time.

It is also great for a large party because everything is so easy.

What I did-

Made Popcorn in My FunTime TableTop Popcorn Maker - microwaveable popcorn would work too

Bought Animal Crackers

Bought Cracker Jacks

Made Soft Pretzels with Fleissman’s Pretzel Mix- (I was so surprised how easy it was!) The mix only makes about 9 small soft pretzels so if you are having a party you may be better off with frozen ones- or plan on spending a lot of time folding pretzel dough.

Warmed Up Frozen Corn Dogs- Found in the Freezer Section of your local big box store (Costco, BJs, Sams) I have a strange affinity for these and look for any excuse to have corndogs for dinner- but in hindsight I wish I had made it a little more special by making corn dog cups- Just use your favorite corn bread recipe and a muffin tin and put pieces of hot dog into the middle before for you bake… so yummy!

Warmed Up Frozen French Fries

Used my Cotton Candy Maker- again this can easily be purchased to make it even easier.



The packaging and presentation of the food is definitely what will make your event stand apart. The striped bags above (purchased from Oriental Trading) are perfect for peanuts or popcorn. Crackers, cookies and french fries are super cute served in cones. These can be purchased or are easily made- contact me if you would like a template. And I love my tiered circus tent cupcake tower- I have had this for quite a while and don’t remember exactly where I got it but I have seen it at party stores and Oriental Trading.




As you can see- I kept it super simple. I wanted to get the circus feel without using some of the cheesy decorations out there.

Table- One of my favorite design tricks to dress up boring table cloths is to pick out a few coordinating ribbons and drape them over the table. I like to make them different lengths to really add contrast to the display.

Tent- I LOVE my hoop canopy. This is definitely not the last time you will see it. It always adds an air of fantasy. I like to tie different color tulle to the hoop for different events. The red above made it feel like a circus tent but pinks and purples instantly evokes fairies and princesses.

Dumbo- So you have the circus elements what can you do to make it specifically Dumbo? Add Pink Elephants of course! I used my Create A Critter Cricut Cartridge for these. I hung plastic fillable ornaments to mimic the bubbles that dominate that scene.

Crows, Clowns and Trains also evoke Dumbo for me.



What Can you do for your Dumbo Themed Party?

Serve on a Train- Casey Junior is one of my favorite things in Dumbo- Use cardboard boxes to create train cars and serve a different item on each ‘car’

Hot Dog Bar- I love having different food bars at parties they give your guests an opportunity to get involved with their food and are always a hit! My biggest advice here is to get creative- add the ketchup, peppers and chili that you know everyone will love but also put a few out of the box options- I am always surprised at how popular the ‘different’ items are.

Other Circus Snacks- Funnel Cakes, Corn on the Cob on Sticks, Caramel/Toffee Apples, Salt Water Taffy, Chili Fries- don’t forget to personalize it by adding your favorite carnival treat!

Create the Fun Atmosphere of a circus by hiring performers. Clowns are always fun for kids! Balloon Artists, Acrobats and Animal Tamers are all great options. Don’t forget the carnival games, if you have a larger budget these can be rented at almost any party rental place, or get creative and make your own games- ring tosses, balloon darts, potato sack races, egg relays, duck ponds, and can knock downs are all really easy. Obstacle courses require a little more work and forethought but are so much fun!!

If you are in the Boston area and need help hosting your next event check out If you aren’t but need a little extra help flushing out some ideas don’t hesitate to  contact me!



Fantasia Cupcake Tutorial


I LOVE making cupcakes- it really interests me how many different flavors and decorations there are for this little dessert. I find it so relaxing and fun to play with flavor profiles that I usually opt for simpler decorations that reflect the flavors used. Today, however, I will show you how to make simple but adorable adornments for your cupcakes. The alligators and hippos are perfect for any jungle themed party and the Fantasia Mickey’s are just so cute even I keep trying to find excuses to make them.


Because today I was focused on what was going on the cupcake I was far less worried about what was in them. I used a box cake mix to make the cupcake. I tend to use the boxes when I am short on time or making cupcakes in bulk. I also like to use them when I am creating new flavors- the boxes are designed for the home cook to make errors and when I am creating new flavors making mistakes is something I definitely do. What I have learned from the thousands of cupcakes I have made- your cakes can be the perfect consistency with amazing flavors but people will always remember the frosting. Make as many cupcakes from the box as you want but ALWAYS make a fresh frosting. That is what I did with these.

Choose your favorite cake mix (I used Duncan Hynes Devil Foods Cake) and follow the baking instructions. Let the cupcakes cool fully before frosting (I like to make them the day before and store in an airtight container over night.)

My Famous Buttercream

2 sticks of butter room temperature *It is very important that you let the butter sit out for a few hours before using*

3-4 cups Confectioners Sugar

A Pinch of Salt

A Dash of Vanilla Extract

A Few Tablespoons of Milk or Cream

This recipe can be adapted to any flavor you want by switching out extracts, using other liquids instead of milk and adding any mix-ins you want

1. Cream the Butter in a Stand Mixer. Put it on Medium Speed and Let it Mix until Butter is Light and Fluffy.

2. Add Confectioners Sugar- for a smoother consistency sift sugar before mixing.

3. Add the Rest of the Ingredients.

4. Let mix for a few minutes until it reaches the desired consistency. Add sugar or milk if needed to thicken or thin as needed.

*Another Tip- For Professional Looking Cupcakes always pipe the frosting on. You don’t need professional pastry bags and tips, in fact I prefer just a regular gallon ziplock bag with the corner cut off. Best thing about it- you just throw the bag away when you are done- No clean up!!!!*

Now that you have baked and frosted your cupcakes it’s time to decorate them.


What You Will Need:

Hippo- Nutter Butter, Orange Fruit Loops or Apple Jacks, Black Decorating Gel

Alligator- Wafer Cookies, Green Frosting, Green Fruit Loops or Apple Jacks, Buttercream Frosting in Ziplock bag, Wilton Color Spray Green, Black Decorating Gel

Sorcerer Mickey- Nilla Wafers, CakeMate Glitter Icing, Wilton Pearl Sprinkles, Mini Oreos


How To:


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1. Take the Nutter Butter and Your Plastic Bag of Butter Cream- put two dots of frosting near the top of the cookie. Put the Orange Cereal into the frosting for the ears. Hold in place a few seconds for it to set.

2. Make Two more frosting dots this time on the other side of the cookie where it is flat. Place the cereal flat onto the cookie for the nose.

3. Put two more frosting dots on the top of the cookie. Closer to where the ears are.

4. Take the Decorating Gel and make two little black dots on the white frosting- this makes the hippos eyes.

5. Enjoy all the complements you will get about your hippo cupcakes.


The Alligator:

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1. Take a Wafer Cookie and spread frosting onto the top of the cookie.  You can tint the frosting green when you are making it by using green food coloring but if you dont want to make a huge batch you can just use Wilton’s Color Spray in Green.

2. Place the cereal loops on one end of the cookie, sticking into the frosting. These will be the eyes

3. Take your buttercream (Mine was in a sandwich bag with a tiny bit of the tip cut off to make a very small hole) and pipe a zigzag onto the sides of the cookie. These will be the teeth.

4. For further detailing use your gel decorator put two small dots into the center of the cereal loops and the tip of the cookie near the death to add pupils and nostrils.

5. Enjoy your adorable snack.

Sorcerer Mickey Hats

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1. Using a Nilla Wafer as your base pipe on the CakeMate Glitter Icing in concentric circles (like you would ice a cupcake.)

2. Place Wilton Pearl Sprinkles into the icing. (If you sprinkle them they dont really stick well so I placed each sprinkle individually.)

3. Add Mini Oreos to either side of the ‘hat.’

4. Take Lots of Pictures!


If you have any questions comment in the section below- I will be more than happy to answer anything.

We’re Back!

I am very sorry for my delinquency in posting. I have mentioned that I am an event planner and as you may have guessed Dec/Jan is my busiest time of year. I thought I had it all figured out and I would be able to keep up with the blog- but the happiest season of all definitely got the best of me. I have a few dinners I did during the holidays I haven’t gotten around to posting- These will be great posts which will have a bunch of time saving short cuts. You will see those throughout the next week starting with Dumbo this Monday!

Dance of the Cupcakes

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving last week. I really enjoyed being back home and spending time with all of my brothers. I saw Frozen on Friday and really enjoyed it. The story was adorable, the songs were catchy and the animation was incredible- seriously unbelievable. They have truly come such a long way in animation. To watch the snowflakes form in Fantasia and then in Frozen is remarkable. What is also amazing is how Fantasia was made almost 75 years ago and is still impressive. Never one of my go to movies but when I sit down and watch it the artistry in Fantasia never ceases to amaze me.

Still stuffed with turkey from last week we took it easy on the food for Fantasia. I picked a few items that reminded me of different pieces and focused on the sweets. It was only my boyfriend, my brother and I for dinner but treats I could make a ton of and everyone loved me at work today ;-)



The Design-

There is so much going on in Fantasia and so many different elements you can include. I tried to represent them in the menu as opposed to the design so it didn’t look to busy and cluttered. I choose to go with the Sorcerer’s Apprentice as it is probably the most well know of the Fantasia sequences. I used buckets from the dollar store and filled them with blue and silver basket filler to mimic the water splashing. I also used blue and silver tinsel on the table top to have a similar effect. I chose to use a large cupcake tower accented with blacks and greys to mimic the “cliff” Mickey climbs as the water overtakes him. It also reminded me a little of bald mountain.

The Menu-

My original plan was to make a dish that represented every segment in both Fantasia and Fantasia 2000. I came up with a lot of great ideas but didn’t want to go through all that work for only a few people. That may make more sense for a larger gathering or party. If you would like some ideas on what to make don’t hesitate to reach out.

What I did make:

Conductor’s Batons (Chocolate Dipped Pretzels)

The Nutcracker Suite- Dancing Mushrooms (Cubed Mozzerella and halved cherry tomatoes)

Carnival of the Animals- Flamingo Sandwiches

Dance of the Hours- Hippotatoes and Cupcakes

Night on Bald Mountain and Rite of Spring- Lava cakes

Sorcerer’s Apprentice- Mickey’s Hat Cupcakes

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Flamingo Sandwiches-

I was inspired by the flamingo picks you sometimes get in drinks or sandwiches- but of course I went bigger! I was going to make them with my brand new Cricut but I was having some issues with Craft Room so I just printed them and cut them by hand.

The recipe I found online is no longer there. I am going to see if I can find the print out before I share so I can give credit where it is due- watch for an update!  Both my boyfriend and my brother LOVED them! They probably gobbled down 6 sandwiches between them- so much for my lunch today ;-)

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The Hippotatoes were a lot easier than I had thought.

I baked potatoes as usual, waited until they cooled enough to touch and cut a line at one end where I wanted the mouth to be- once I had a big enough gap I used a melon ball to CAREFULLY scoop out the bottom of the mouth.

I placed toothpicks with chives for the teeth and peppercorns for the eyes. I used the same melon baller to get a shallow scoop from the bottom of the potato that I cut in half and used for the ears. As a last touch I added a pad of butter for a tongue- be sure to do this last or it will melt.

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Check back later this week for a tutorial on the cutest cupcakes ever!















I’ve Got No Strings- Puppet Tutorial

When I was in Middle School I had to do a Spanish project where we had to make a sock or potato puppet of a famous Spanish speaker- me being the overachiever I was (ok, ok am) I made a beautiful nylon puppet of Paloma Herera (a ballet dancer with ABT) with yarn hair and a beautifully painted china face. Every other ‘create your own’ project we were assigned that year I made a puppet- My teachers ended up with elaborately detailed versions of Johnny Tremain, George and Martha Washington and Hester Prynne. I had completely forgot about these until I started thinking about what I was going to do for Pinocchio.



Find an old pair of nylons. Cut off about 8 inches from the toe. Fill the toe with stuff about 4-5 inches- this well be the body.

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When you have the body of the puppet as big as you want it stop stuffing and cut the remaining length of the nylons in half- these will be the legs.

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I used a simple loop stitch starting at the body and running down the leg until it reaches the desired length. I then started to round off an end and cut off excessive fabric. (In Middle School I would use hot glue to affix the nylon- the thread is a cleaner, less sticky and cooler way to do it.)

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To save time I did use hot glue to put together the fabric for the clothes. (The glue doesn’t bleed through cotton like it does nylon resulting in less burnt fingers.) I picked out some fabric squares from the bargain bin at Joann’s. If you have time and skills it will definitely look much cleaner with a stitched outfit but as I said I was short on time. I even stuffed the fabric directly instead of making nylon arms and just hot glues it to the body.

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For the head I took a wooden ball- found in the wood department of any craft store. I added curly doll hair (also from the craft store.) When adding the hair add it in rows starting from the base (where the head would meet the neck) when you get to the top style it as wanted.

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Attach the head to the body with a little hot glue. Draw or paint a face on and add any details or embellishments as wanted. For Pinocchio don’t forget a wooden nose.


Give a Little Whistle

… and always let your Conscience be your guide!

I have to say I LOVE Jiminy Cricket and there are very few people who don’t know the immortal ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ but it is often forgotten what film they came from. Based on the novel Adventure of Pinocchio by Italian Author Carlo Collodi, Pinocchio follows the adventures of a wooden boy, brought to life by The Blue Fairy, who wants more than anything to be a real boy.

For this dinner I went back to the movie’s Italian roots. I went with primarily coastal Italian seafood as a nod to the time that Pinocchio and his creator, a wood carver, Gepetto spend in the belly of a whale.

The Design:


My inspiration for the overall design was Stromboli’s puppet show. I hand made some nylon marionettes- tutorial to follow and placed them in a puppet theater. This was a cardboard theater from Shindigz which I purchased for the occasion. It is reversible with a circus scene on the other side (this could be used for a Dumbo night as well.) Amazon has some amazing puppet theaters  which are definitely the direction I would have gone in if I had children and knew it would be used beyond one night. Melissa and Doug has a great one as well.

I chose the starry backdrop as homage to the iconic ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ and added a few wooden elements (found in the Wood section of Joann’s Fabrics) as a tie in to Gepetto’s work shop where Pinocchio was created.



The Menu:

Pinocchio’s Nose Breadsticks

Monstro’s Mussels and Fried Calamari


Cleo’s Crackers

The Coachman’s Cannolis

With the holidays coming up things have been a little crazy at work so I took some shortcuts with this menu. I used a refrigerated can for the breadsticks and the Stromboli crust- I had planned on making a cannoli cupcake but ended up just picking some up from the bakery.

The Mussels:

For the mussels I used a recipe that my father has created and perfected over many years.


Chop shallots (2) and onions (1) into 3/4 inch size pieces


Dice pancetta into once inch by 1/4 inch pieces

Cut plum tomatoes (about 6) into about six pieces

Chop garlic (5 cloves) into 1/4 inch slices

Heat up a little olive oil in pan – add pancetta until it gets crisp (a little softer than bacon)  once pancetta is set add onions and shallots – in a couple minutes add garlic – saute until translucent.

Add a cup of white wine – reduce down until alcohol has cooked off about 2-3 minutes.

If you have a lemon squeeze juice of one half in now along with a stick of butter

Add salt (kosher or sea salt,) pepper, and parsley (if you have some on hand) to taste.

Add tomatoes cook for a minute

Add about a pint up to a quart of chicken broth

Bring heat down to and let simmer for at least an hour

When ready to serve mussels – bring heat up to a boil – add mussels (they only need to be pre-rinsed) make sure they get down into broth. They should begin to open after a few minutes – all together they will take from 5-7 minutes to open and be ready to serve. Do not attempt to eat unopened ones.




The Calamari:

I was very apprehensive about the calamari. Every time I told someone I was making it they warned me how difficult it was. I actually thought it was pretty easy. I bought whole squid from the grocery store, cut them into rings, dipped them in egg and then dredged them in a flour mixture. I mixed salt, pepper and a tiny bit of paprika into about 1 1/2 cups of flour and coated the calamari. I put them in preheated oil and fried for about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

The Stromboli:

I took some shortcuts with the Stromboli as well. I took a roll out refrigerated pizza crust lightly spread sauce on it and filled it with all my favorite Italian cured meats and shredded mozzarella cheese. I then rolled the dough and meat in a spiral and baked for 30 minutes.

Pinocchio Preview

Just wanted to give you all a little preview of the Pinocchio Dinner Party that I had on Sunday. I will hopefully be posting the menu and decor tomorrow with a tutorial on how to make these adorable puppets later this week!



Snow White’s Caramel Apple Cupcakes

I am sorry I am a little late getting this tutorial to you. Holiday Preparations are in full swing and this took a backseat to the dreaded Christmas Shopping. Without further adieu Spiced Cupcakes with an Apple Filling and Caramel Buttercream.


Step 1- Make the Cupcakes.

Unfortunately I do not have an exact recipe for you. We had a slight cupcake disaster in the kitchen that lead to half the boxed mix ending up on the floor so I made it up from there. But I did just reveal my secret- Boxed Cake.

I love to use the boxed mix as I experiment and create recipes. The box is designed for people to screw up. It is made so that it will still rise even if your measurements are a little off. So I use the box a few times to test flavors and then I turn it into a recipe. Check out The Cake Mix Doctor she has an amazing blog and books to give your cake a homemade taste. Once you try a few of her recipes you will get the idea and be able to create your own.

Here is what I did- I used a boxed spice mix. I added an extra egg. Substituted apple juice (cider would work as well) and Sour Cream for the oil. I also added a little applesauce to the mix- This is a very popular oil substitute as well. I also added a dash of vanilla. Bake the cake as directed. Make sure you let it cool.

I like to make the cupcake the day before to give it ample time before frosting. Just make sure you store it in an airtight container so you don’t loose freshness.

Step 2- Make the Caramel

I made a homemade caramel for the frosting. It also needs ample time to cool so it is advised that you make it the day before. Make sure you have everything on hand. Caramel can turn in the just the few seconds it takes you to locate an ingredient.  If you are using store bought caramel (in which results will be just as good) just omit this step.



Take 1 cup of brown sugar (you can also used granulated white- but I think the brown gives deeper flavor) and melt on moderately high heat- whisking constantly until it begins to boil.








Add 1/2 a cup of butter to boiling sugar and whisk vigorously until butter has melted.

When all of the sugar has melted (there shouldn’t be any clumps) remove the pan from the heat.







The image to the right is the caramel (with no lumps) cooling for 5 seconds before the next step.

SLOWLY add whipping cream. The caramel will foam. Whisk the whipping cream in until you reach your desired consistency.





Pour caramel into a glass bowl or jar and set on the counter until it reaches room temperature.


You can cover and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Just make sure you return it to room temperature before making frosting.






Step 3: Easy Apple Pie Filling

So I took another short cut here and made my apple pie filling in a bag. This filling can be as gourmet or as simple as you would like. You can use my recipe or feel free to use your favorite.

Peel and dice 2 apples into1/4″ cubes. Granny Smith is the most popular as it holds up the best- but I had Macoun on hand so I used those.

Put Apples into a Gallon sized ziploc bag with 2 Tablespoons of flour, 1 Tablespoons of butter, 1/4 brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. Seal bag and toss it around to mix ingredients.

* I use less butter and no water when I make these for cupcake filling as I dont want the filling to seep into the cupcake*

Put it in the microwave for 3 minutes or until apples are soft. That’s it! You can use this for pie filling, add it to your cupcake batter, or just eat it as a snack ;-)


Step 4- Fill Cupcakes

I used to struggle with this step- it is like anything practice makes perfect so don’t kick yourself if it doesn’t look awesome- don’t worry it will still taste amazing.

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Use a melon baller to scoop out the center of the cupcake. Insert the filling. You may need to break off a little piece of the scooped out center so it fits then simply place it back on the filling- it does not need to line up perfectly.


Step 5- The Frosting

*Important bring 2 sticks of butter to room temperature before beginning. It is best if you leave it on the counter as melting butter will make the frosting less creamy and its hard to heat without melting- If you have to soften in the microwave for 5-10 seconds at a time*


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Cream 2 Sticks of Room Temperature Butter. (That is whip the butter until it reaches a creamy and fluffy consistency.) Add 3/4 of a bag (32oz) of confectionary sugar and SLOWLY mix into butter. As it begins to get clumpy add 1/2 a cup of caramel. Mix until smooth.

*If this does not yield the desired consistency add a little milk to smooth it or add more sugar to thicken it*

Step 6- Frost the cupcakes

I frosted my cupcakes for this dinner two ways.

1. I used a can of red frosting with a star tip to create an apple affect. I added a cinnamon stick for further detailing



2. I used a ziplock bag to pipe on the homemade caramel frosting. If you would like to use the apple technique with the caramel frosting simply add red food coloring when mixing the caramel into the butter and sugar. You can put the frosting into a pastry bag with a star tip. If using the ziplock bag technique fill bag about half full and seal. Manipulate frosting in your hands to warm it up a bit to give you a more malleable consistency. Snip off a corner of the bag and squeeze out the frosting in a circular motion.

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There you have it. Please comment if you have any questions. Enjoy!

With a Smile and a Song

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The great Julie Andrews once said, “Let’s start at the very beginning… A very good place to start.” (I am also a little bit of a theatre geek- sorry!)

I vividly remember getting my first copy of Snow White, it was my 7th birthday and my aunt had wrapped it up along with a pair of earrings. At the time my ears weren’t pierced and I was very confused until she explained that she was taking me to go get them done. We went to the piercing pagoda in the mall and I sat there clutching my VHS as I got my very first pair of earrings.
I have always liked Snow White, but it has never been one of my favorites- I think it is a little too scary for my tastes. What I do love about it is the design elements. Everything from the movie has become so iconic- the cottage, the mirror, the apple are all so distinctly Snow White. That made deciding how I wanted to design the buffet table very difficult. I decided to do both an Evil Queen themed table and a dwarves’ cottage table.

For this table I took the Evil Queen’s primary colors- purple and black and draped fabric to give it a regal look.


The Mirror- I found in the wood working section of Michaels and spray painted gold.

The Platter- This is Disney Park Authentic piece which was sold by the Disney Store last year- it can still be found on reseller websites such as ebay.

Spell Book- I had made the spell book and poison apple as decorations for a fairytale themed murder mystery party I hosted last Halloween. The book is a piece of thick cardboard covered in fabric with paper I had printed on and aged with tea.

Poisoned Apple- A painted artificial apple. You can find fake apples at any craft store. I put some tape where I had wanted the eyes and nose before I sprayed it with green paint. I sprayed it from the top only and made sure it really saturated so it dripped.

Crown- I purchased from Love Crush Boutique on Etsy. I bought it about a year ago have moved since so it got a little smushed.


The Dwarves’ Cottage

I went very earthy with the tones. The actual cottage was painted for the fairytale event last year. I used burlap and lace for the table covering. I added baskets and flowers to  really get the cottage feel. The lanterns are from Christmas Tree Shop. I added a few birds from Michael’s as a reference to Smile and a Song and Whistle While You Work. One of my favorite images is Snow White in the forest with a bluebird on her finger.



The Menu:

Autumn Apple Salad

German Jagerschnitzel and Knodel (German Hunter Style Chicken in Mushroom Sauce and Potato Dumplings)

Gooseberry Pie

The Queen’s Poisoned Apple Cupcakes- tutorial to follow


As much as I wanted to I didn’t want to overload the menu with apple, instead I tried a balance of traditional Bavarian food and apples. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is based on Snow White a popular German fairytale published by the Brother’s Grimm in 1812.


Autumn Apple Salad

This is one of my favorite salads and I can’t say I really have a recipe for it. But here is a list of what I put in it.

Chopped Braeburn Apples

Sliced Almonds

Gorgonzola Cheese

Dried Cranberries

I used Mixed Greens for this dinner but I also like it with Spinach.

Dressing of Choice- I used Newman’s Own Cranberry Vinaigrette.

This is great with grilled or roasted chicken to make a more substantial meal. Whenever I have leftover roast chicken I make this salad the following day.

I served it in a cauldron on the Queen’s Table. If this was for a larger event I would have done more of a salad bar style with the same ingredients. If you got a wooden toy train or even a cutout you could serve each individual item in a different wooden bowl propped up with black cardstock circles attached to represent the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train.




Jaegarsnitchzel and Knodel

One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Doc tries to ask Snow to make him apple dumplings. I was already making gooseberry pie and apple cupcakes so I didn’t want to add those as well but I decided a potato dumpling would be perfect. The traditional German fair is something they would eat and it’s delicious.

I got both the schnitzel and dumpling recipes from Bavarian Kitchen.

I used chicken instead of veal as I knew one of my guests won’t eat veal. Another adaptation for picky eaters would be to omit the sauce and serve a breaded cutlet.

You could also do a chicken and dumpling soup.


Gooseberry Pie

As I have mentioned I hosted a Fairytale Murder Mystery for
Halloween last year (photos from that event can be found on My Website) I made a mixed berry crumble and called it gooseberry pie for simplicity sake so I decided that I was going to make the real thing for this.

I bought gooseberries from Amazon. Oregon Fruit Gooseberries in Light Syrup, 15-Ounce Cans (Pack of 8) And began a search for the the perfect recipe.

I decided to get fancy and make seven individual pies for each of the dwarfs. I should have stuck with the recipe. The Gooseberry has so much moisture that getting them out of the cups was a disaster. I was able to save a few and put them in ramekins but when I make this again I will drain the berries longer and make a whole pie.

Poisoned Apple Cupcakes


These were an amazing success. I will provide a tutorial on how I made them in my next post.


Having a Snow White themed party?

Make the event unique from the very beginning by sending out a mirror shaped invitation. For a personalized spin add the birthday girls picture in the mirror – on your birthday you are always fairest in the land.

One of the elements I love from Snow White but was unable to include in this dinner is the Wishing Well. Make a wishing well out of cardboard- spray the bottom with grey or brown and after it has dried completely use painters tape to mark out uneven squares- spray again with the stone affect paint for a cool 3D look.

A Green Apple Punch served in a cauldron or individual vials label poisoned are popular and adorable.

Games/ Activities

Last night we played Apples to Apples in honor of the Queen. I had left my Disney version at my family’s summer home but that would have been even more perfect! You can find it on Amazon.

Pin the bow on Snow White OR Pin the Crown on the Evil Queen

Pass the poisoned apple – A Snow White version of Hot Potato

Seven Dwarves Bowling or Ring Toss- Disney’s Family Magazine came out with this cute toilet paper craft a few years ago. They can be incorporated into either game.

Mining for Jewels- you can do this a few ways for younger kids bury jewels in a sandbox and have them dig to find them. Or send older children on a scavenger hunt!

Decorate a Magic Mirror Photo Frame- Have kids decorate a frame and give them a picture to put in it as a favor.

Another cute craft is making a dwarf beard with cotton balls.

I have never been a fan of bobbing for apples but it is a party favorite.


A great favor for little girls are Snow White headbands. Buy headbands at the dollar store and use red ribbon to create the iconic headband.

Also cute are a treat bag of Hersey’s kisses with the label True Love’s Kiss or Magic Kisses.