Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I hope everyone is doing well, and enjoying the Holiday season! I love Thanksgiving, but I have to admit, I have been a slacker in the kitchen this year. I'm just super busy, because we are moving in a few weeks! To ALASKA!!! Yes, in November. At least it's not January. I'm from Alaska, born and raised, so I'll get used to it again. So now you can see why we've been so busy!
Through the business, we were able to fit in a few traditional dishes that we always have each year. My husbands favorite is my Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie. It's a fun twist on the classic pumpkin pie that always gets gobbled up fast. It also has a delicious vanilla frosting to top it all off. Hope you enjoy!

My Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

For Crust
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (this year I used arrowroot cookie crumbs. It really doest matter what kind of cookies you use. Gingersnap cookies would also be nice too.)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

For Filling
1 1/2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbs. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

For Topping
1/4 and 1 tbs. cup sour cream
2 tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine all crust ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread crust mixture into bottom of pie plate and firmly press, using your hands or a flat utensil to the pie plate to form the crust. Set in fridge.

In a large bowl, combine all filling ingredients. Using an electric mixer set to medium speed, mix until completely blended and as lump-free as you can get it. Pour mixture into the prepared crust.

Bake in the oven for approximately 1 hour, until set. Allow pie to chill in the fridge for at least 3 - 4 hours (overnight is best).

When it's closer to the time you want to serve, mix all topping ingredients together until thoroughly blended in a small bowl. Spread topping evenly over the pie.

Return pie to the fridge until ready to serve. Cut pie into 12 slices.

Hope you all have a safe and happy thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Birthday Monster Bash

Hi everyone!
It's so nice to be back! I have been crazy busy with everything going on lately. Logan's 7th birhday was a couple of days before Halloween, so there was plenty do do, with preparing for his birthday, then his party, and of course Halloween! And to top it all off, I have been having trouble downloading pictures from my camera onto my computer. I bought my computer when Logan was around 1, so that tells you how old my poor computer is. Young for a child, but ancient in the technology world!
So I finally was able to get the pictures downloaded and I can finally share the best (If I dare say so myself) birthday party I've ever planned.
While browsing through party ideas on Pinterest I found a bunch of neat ideas for a Monster themed party, and knew that I had the perfect theme! Logan was all for it. He loves spooky stuff for his birthday, with how close it is to Halloween.
First I will show you the pictures, and then I will  be share with you my tips and tricks as to how I was able to pull it all of with very little stress. Also a first!
 First up, are these cute monster cutlery holders.They really add an interesting focal point to the decorations, and are so easy and inexpensive to make! I show how I made them here.

 Nest is this very creepy, yet still delicious soda pops. The kids all got a kick out of the strange names on the labels.

And...last but not least, the Monster cake! This was my favorite to make and it was so delicious! All the kids wanted to eat a chocolate truffle eyeball!

I decided that I didn't want to take away from the cake by adding candles, so I made a monster hand out of white chocolate dyed with food coloring to hold the candle. Here's my honey lighting the candle.

I just love the excited look on his face.

 And the wonderful birthday boy blowing out the candle!

And when the kids were ready to leave, they all got one of these adorable treat backs that I created out of consttruction paper, and paper bags. Logan helped me color the party hats on the monster heads. I was so pleased with how they turned out!

 The party was great! All the kids had so much fun, and by doing these things I was able to stay organized and stress free:

1. I  got inspiration and was able to stay organized using Pinterest, and Google Docs. Great sites to help you keep track of everything.  I used Pinterest to find ideas, and to keep them all in one place. I used this pinboard to keep track of ideas for the party. It saved me a lot of time, and gave me so many great ideas. I used Google Docs to create a shopping list and menu. I love using a word document for lists because it's so easy to change things when you need to.
2. Once I got my ideas all together on those sites, I set to work. I always plan ahead. For this party I started about 2 months ahead. People always tease me about my penchant for early planning, but it really makes my life so much easier.  Just pick a project every few days in your spare time. You will be surprised about how much more relaxed you will be when you do a little here, a little there.
3. Don't go overboard with the invites. I initially wanted to invite over 10 kids, when my hubby  reminded me what a handful a group of young kids can be. Logan and I pared down the list to 8, and 6 made it. That was the perfect amount if you ask me. Remember to always invite more people than you want to come, because there will always be a few that can't make it.
4. Don't forget the party games! I googled monster party games, and found a lot of great ideas.
5. And finally, keep it simple. I had to go back to my lists several times to get rid of things that wern't necessary. I don't know about you, but I always plan way to much food. I'm glad I did go back and change ideas here and there, because it made this less hectic.

So that's how we did it. Simple and almost stress free. Hope you enjoyed looking at the party photos, and that the tips will help you with your next shindig!