Thursday, March 21, 2013

Balloon Cluster Decoration with Streamers

Ok, so this isn't a food recipe.. BUT it is a recipe on how to do something. That fits right? :) Well, for a church activity we were celebrating a birthday. I saw this idea floating around on pinterest and I couldn't wait to try it. When this event came up, I thought it would be perfect. But just like pinterest does, it only gives us an idea.. not step by step instructions. The girl that originally posted it told us how she made it, but I didn't have the materials on hand (wood and staple gun) or the right place to hang a piece of wood up. So I created my own and thought I would share the step by step instructions.

So here it goes:

5-7 balloons of 5 different colors
String, ribbon, or twine
a box that has been cut up one side (making it a long length) and the top and bottom cut off
streamers that match the color of the balloons


Step 1: Cut one side of a large box so that the box lays flat length wise. Cut off the top and the bottom of the box. I used a box that had pots and pans in it to give you a good comparison. If you use a smaller box, you just need to blow your balloons small.

Step 2: Blow up your balloons and tie a string to the balloon. Make sure to use enough string to bring through the back of the balloon and tie it.

Step 3: Visualize where you want each color to be. Start from the left side. Punch a hole (using something like a screwdriver) through the middle part of where you want your first color to be. For example, I had five colors and wanted them close together. I sectioned off a small section for the first color and then poked my hole in the center of that section.

Step 4: Take 1 balloon and bring the string through the hole so the string comes out the back. DON'T punch a whole bunch of holes until you get the balloons in one at a time. You never know how they'll be placed and you want to adjust as needed as you go.

Step 5: Take the next balloon, position it by the first balloon and decide where you want your hole to be for that one. (You want the hole to be where the bottom part of the balloon will sit)

Step 6: Repeat step 5 for the remaining balloons in that one color. Turn the box around and tie two strings together, then tape them. (I thought of this like how kid toys come packaged. They are always tied together in the back to keep them in place)

Step 7: Repeat this with the remaining colors.

Step 8: Add the streamers. I would highly suggest adding your streamers on the cardboard BEFORE hanging the balloon cluster up. I didn't and it ended up being a huge pain. You could staple them, or tack them in, or tape them. I taped them and a few occasionally fell down.

Ok I hope this helped! Let me know if you have any questions.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bunco Girls Night Dinner

Bunco is always so much fun! Good food, good company, and some friendly competition. Here is what we served for dinner this night.

Cheesy Chicken Tortellini

Pasta Mixture:
½ cup chopped onion                              
1 teaspoon olive oil                                              
1 garlic clove, pressed                               
1 jar (16 oz) white Alfredo pasta sauce         
2 packages (9 oz each) refrigerated
cheese filled tortellini       
1 ½ cups cubed cooked chicken                   
1 cup milk         
1 cup water                                                        
1 cup chopped green peppers
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper                 
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves

Crumb Topping:                                               
¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter melted
1 cup fresh bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat oil over medium-high heat; add onion and garlic. Cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in pasta sauce, tortellini, chicken, milk, water, peppers and black pepper. Heat until mixture just comes to a boil; remove from heat. Stir in basil into pasta mixture. Mix crumb topping together, set aside. Spoon pasta mixture into baking dish and sprinkle with crumb topping. Bake 15-20 minutes or until edges are bubbly and topping is golden brown.

Side Dishes:
Olive Garden Salad

1 bag American Blend Salad (Dole works well)
4-5 slices Red Onion
4-6 Black Olives
2-4 Pickled Pepperoncini
1/2 cup Croutons
1 small Tomato sliced
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/3 cup White Vinegar
1 tsp. Vegetable Oil
2 Tbsp. Corn Syrup
2 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
2 Tbsp. Romano Cheese
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. Parsley Flakes
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
Sugar (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a blender until well mixed (approximately 30 seconds).
If this is a little to tart for your own personal tastes please add a little extra sugar.
Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Chill a glass salad bowl in freezer for at least 30 minutes.
Place the bag of salad in bowl.
Place on top of the lettuce – red onion, black olives, banana peppers, tomatoes, and croutons.
Add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you like.
Add plenty of Olive Garden™ Salad Dressing on top.

Homemade Breadsticks

Use the dough recipe:
2 cups heated milk
2 tablespooons butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
4 1/2 -5 cups flour
2 teaspoons yeast

If you have a bread maker just put the ingredients in the bread maker in that order on the dough setting. If not just use a mixer. Melt the butter in the milk. Pour milk into mixer. Add sugar and salt. Slowly add half of the flour. Add the yeast and the rest of the flour. Knead for 5-10 minutes. Dough should be soft. Let stand for 10 minutes.


Let raise til doubled in size.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden on top.

While cooking, melt 1/3 cube butter in microwave. Mix in small bowl about 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon garlic salt. (You can alter to your liking).

Take breadsticks out of the oven and immediately baste the butter on the bread and sprinkle with cheese.

Let cool before covering or storing. 

I got this recipe from a Martha Stewart cookbook, it's delicious!

1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 7 lemons)
1 pound strawberries
16 oz seltzer

In pan, bring 2 cups water and sugar to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, 2 minutes. Transfer to a pitcher and refrigerate until cool, about 45 minutes. Add lemon juice and stir to combine.

In a blender, puree strawberries until smooth. Pour through a strainer. I didn't do this cause I like the fruit bits. Stir in seltzer.

2 cups sugar
1 square butter or margarine softened
4 eggs
½ cup cocoa
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add dry ingredients and combine thoroughly. Pour into greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. No longer. Cool and frost.

We might have to start posting all of the recipes from Bunco because they always turn out so yummy!


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