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bird bread finishedI saw a photo on Facebook of bird bread a while back. I knew I had to give it a try at some point. When I decided to go with a Wish It Were Spring Theme for my book club gathering, it seemed like the perfect thing to make.

Of course, by then I could no longer find a link to the recipe or directions, so I decided to wing it (yes, pun intended).

It wasn’t hard to do but if you are looking for uniformity, that would so not be my name.

bread dough ingredients

Ingredients. Plus you’ll need mini chocolate chips and slivered almonds.

Start by scalding milk with oil and sugar.

Once the milk mixture has cooled to lukewarm, you can add in a package of yeast.

 

Sprinkle yeast over the milk and let rest for a minute.

Stir in yeast and four cups of flour.

 

Place the pan in a warm area, cover with a tea towel and let the yeast do its thing for about an hour. I like to put my pan in front of the fire. It is warm and makes the dough smell heavenly.

Punch the dough down again and start pinching off pieces about the size of a golf ball.

bird bread dough ballsYou’ll have a couple dozen balls when you are finished.

bird bread roll outThen roll those balls into a long rope. I found about 12 inches worked well.

bird bread folding in knotYou are basically going to tie a knot with the dough. Just fold one end under and one end over.

bird bread on panIt will look something like this when you get it pulled together. The end that is “over” is the head and the “under” end is the tail.

bird bread cut tailfeathersTake a pair of clean kitchen shears and cut little slices into the tail. This makes the feathers.

bird bread tailfeathersSee? How cute is that?

bird bread almonds for beakUsing slivered almonds for the beak

bird bread beak inBeaky…

bird bread eyes with chipsAnd mini chocolate chips for the eyes (you could use cloves, but chips sounded tastier to me!).

bird bread ready to bakeAnd your birdy should look like this when you get done. Let the dough rest about ten minutes then bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.

bird bread bakedAnd it looks all golden brown and lovely like this. Oh, and poke the chips so the narrow end goes into the dough instead of the flat end. It works much better!

Bird Bread plated 2Tweet, tweet!

Bird Bread

2 cups milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup sugar

1 package active dry yeast

4 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/3 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tbsp. salt

Scald the milk, oil and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat (bring heat to nearly a boil, but don’t let it boil!). Set aside and cool to lukewarm (think temperature of a baby’s bottle). Sprinkle yeast on top of milk and let rest for one minute.

Add four cups of the flour and stir until just combined. It is going to be sticky. Cover with a tea towel and set in a warm place for an hour.

Remove the towel and add baking powder, baking soda, salt and final 1/2 cup of flour. Stir to combine.

Pinch off golf ball sized pieces of dough and roll into ropes about 12 inches long. Fold each rope into a knot (just like tying your shoe) with one end up and one end down. The up end will be the bird’s head, the down end will be it’s tail.

Place on a baking sheet.

Using a clean pair of kitchen shears, cut feathers into the tails. I made about four half-inch slices.

For the beaks, poke a slivered almond into the head where it looks like  beak should go. Add mini chocolate chips (pointy-end facing the dough) for eyes.

Let the dough rest for about ten minutes (preheat oven to 350), then bake for about 12 minutes, until the bread is golden brown.

You can’t help but smile with one of these little birds on your dinner plate!

She Who Loved These Little Birds

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As I mentioned yesterday, I recently held a “Wish It Were Spring” themed luncheon for my book club group.

Today, as I stare out at a fresh covering of snow on the ground, I truly wish it were spring.

Here are a few decorating ideas I incorporated to add some bright pops of spring color to the gathering.

Here's the table, set with a cheerful tulip cloth and bright pink and yellow napkins.

Here’s the table, set with a cheerful tulip cloth and bright pink and yellow napkins.

 

I hauled out a set of antique Noritake china and some sherbert cups I found in an antique store when Captain Cavedweller and I were living in newly married poverty.

I hauled out a set of antique Noritake china and some sherbert cups I found in an antique store when Captain Cavedweller and I were living in newly married poverty.

I used seed packets (Forget Me Nots) to make placecards. I thought they were fun and added a little charm of their own to the table.

I used seed packets (Forget Me Nots) to make placecards. I thought they were fun and added a little charm of their own to the table.

The centerpiece was a nest with a bird and eggs (and a miniature nest with a teensy little bird).

The centerpiece was a nest with a bird and eggs (and a miniature nest with a teensy little bird).

 

And I risked life and limb entwining dogwood branches around the chandelier. I loved how it looked when I finished. One of the guests called it whimsical. I had to agree. In fact, I wish I'd left the branches up there.

And I risked life and limb entwining dogwood branches around the chandelier. I loved how it looked when I finished. One of the guests called it whimsical. I had to agree. In fact, I wish I’d left the branches up there.

Stay tuned the rest of the week for some of the recipes I made for the party!

She Who Needs More Whimsy in Her World

 

 

 

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Recently, I hosted the wonderful girls from my Book Club for lunch. Wanting to make the gathering fun, I decided to go with  “Wish It Was Spring” theme and incorporated that in the food and decorations.

I’ll be sharing posts all this week about our spring-y celebration.

For today, though, I thought it would be fun to share this old song. It sure makes me smile.

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If any of you are hosting a gathering this weekend for the Super Bowl, here are some fun food and entertaining ideas.

Keeping in the football theme, here area few ideas for a Super-Duper Super Bowl Party!

Fun Football Burger from Hungry Happenings. If you don't want to freeze your buns off cooking burgers now, I found some great sliders in the freezer section at the grocery store.

Fun Football Burger from Hungry Happenings. If you don’t want to freeze your buns off cooking burgers now, I found some great sliders in the freezer section at the grocery store.

Try some spicy deviled eggs from Southern Living. They're sure to be a hit with your football fans!

Try some spicy deviled eggs from Southern Living. They’re sure to be a hit with your football fans!

Yummy Bacon Double Cheeseburger Dip from Too Stinkin' Cute.

Yummy Bacon Double Cheeseburger Dip from Too Stinkin’ Cute.

Taco Bites are always a crowd pleaser.

Taco Bites are always a crowd pleaser.

Porky Pie Pockets are super easy and good to make and can be eaten with one hand while the other is madly waving to cheer on the winning team.

Porky Pie Pockets are super easy and good to make and can be eaten with one hand while the other is madly waving to cheer on the winning team.

Tortilla Wrap Appetizers are also quite tasty and easy to make.

Tortilla Wrap Appetizers are also quite tasty and easy to make.

I love this idea for serving popcorn from Divine Party Concepts. You can also use canning jars for serving drinks, snack mix or candy.

I love this idea for serving popcorn from Divine Party Concepts. You can also use canning jars for serving drinks, snack mix or candy.

Football Whoopie Pies from The Finer ThingsFootball Whoopie Pies from The Finer Things

Rice Krispie Football from Life, Love, Beauty

Rice Krispie Football from Life, Love, Beauty

Truffle Cupcakes from Taste of Home

Truffle Cupcakes from Taste of Home

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberries by Calligraphy by Jennifer

Chocolate Covered Strawberries by Calligraphy by Jennifer

Football Brownies from Betty Crocker

Keep the decorations simple and to a minimum. Most likely the people coming to your house could care less about centerpieces and much more about the snacks and how well they can see the game. Use team colors for some streamers or balloons. If you want to do something fun, put prize slips inside balloons and let guests pop them at half-time. Prizes could be things from the dollar store or even a coupon for a free coffee. Nothing elaborate or that will break the bank.

You’ll have enough mess to clean up without spending hours taking down a bunch of decorations. Fill jars with candy in the favored teams colors and set them around.

Do light a few candles so your home smells inviting. Make sure your bathroom is spotless and be sure you are stocked up on the basics.

Plan to have plenty of seating, loads of extra napkins and put out a few garbage cans where people can see them. They are much more likely to pick up after themselves if you make it easy for them.

For the non-game watchers who get dragged along, set up a TV in another room with some fun movies. If kids will be attending, make sure they have a play area with plenty of activities. If the gathering is large, you may even want to hire a babysitter to keep an eye on the kiddos.

Most of all, remember to have fun and please, if any one drinks – make sure they don’t drive.

She Who Needs to Get Crackin’ on a Menu

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blue jelloThe madness all started with blue Jell-O.

Well, blue Jell-O with whipped topping mixed in, to be exact.

I saw this photo on Pinterest the other day. Someone wrote a description about how it would be the perfect dessert for an Airplane Party.

Okay. I get their basic thought about the clouds and blue sky, but seriously – what airline do they fly?

My idea of an airplane themed party would go something like this:baording passInstead of invitations, send a boarding pass. Make sure it states the boarding pass must be presented for entry and the gate (door) closes at a very specific time.

security guard

The day of your party, guests will arrive to find a large, scary-looking man at the end of your sidewalk demanding they remove their shoes, jewelry, wallets, cell phones, and empty their pockets and purses into plastic buckets, after making sure they have their boarding pass in hand. You can enlist your kids to carry the buckets inside the house and place them randomly in one room. Make sure your kids confiscate all food and beverages. If you want to make the party even more fun, have the kids knock over one or two buckets, ensuring the contents combine.

Once guests have surrendered all their personal belongings, line them up like criminal suspects outside your door where a second large, scary-looking man waves a metal detector over each one to make sure they aren’t fibbing about those empty pockets. He must also ask to see those boarding passes. Should anyone try to sneak through without one, they will be dragged back to their car and ordered to leave immediately. Make this ritual of boarding the plane even more fun by telling the scary man to work at the pace of a snail heavily medicated with sleeping pills. Oh, and you could also turn on the sprinkler by the door to liven things up, should anyone begin to look bored.

If and when the guests make it inside the house and actually find their shoes and valuables, escort them to a room where you have uncomfortable plastic chairs placed in two rows, back to back, not conducive to friendly conversations or idle chit-chat. Let your guests know the party will definitely start on time and to enjoy the wait.

Since you’ve had your kiddos appropriate all snacks and beverages from the guests’ personal belongings, let junior make a few bucks for one of his school projects by offering a handful of prepacked snacks and bottled drinks available for sale at extortionist pricing.

At whatever time you’ve printed on the boarding pass that the gates will close, lock all the doors to your house and close the blinds. If people you invited aren’t already inside, they didn’t really want to come. And the friend banging on the door with some excuse about having a flat-tire – just leave them standing outside, getting soaked by the sprinkler. There is no excuse for being late. Once gate is closed, it is closed.

Every fifteen to twenty minutes, announce to your guests that the party will begin soon, right on time. If anyone complains about the party being late to start, let them know that the gate had to close at least an hour before the party was ever planned to begin.

Once they’ve grown restless and despondent, announce that you are ready to begin seating for the party. Have those surly-faced guys from out front stand at the doorway to your dining room and enforce the seating chart you’ve so carefully arranged. The guests must once again present those boarding passes to be seated.

It is vital to the authenticity of your party to make sure you have at least five more chairs wedged around your dining room table than space could possibly accommodate. If there is any way to make sure at least one tiny person is nearly smothered between two larger people, you earn double hostess points.

As your guests look around the empty table, allow your kids to serve the meal – a choice of packaged peanuts, crackers, and bottled water, juice, or soda in the little 12-ounce sizes. If your guests would like anything resembling a meal or any other type of beverage, they will have to pay accordingly.

At intermittent moments, have your kids walk by with plastic ball bat and hit random guests on the elbow. This make certain they get that whole “seated on the aisle” experience.

After an hour of being trapped at the table, have those big scary guys rock the  chairs the guests are seated in around a bit. You want to give them a little turbulence before the evening is through.

When you announce the party has ended, smile graciously and encourage everyone to come back again soon as they run, not walk, out the door.

Glance out the window and wave as they all stand around, trying to find their car keys. Consider it lost luggage.

Your kids can take out the pile of keys they collected earlier and dump them on the sidewalk. Make sure the scary guys pull your offspring back to safety before the free-for-all begins.

Pat yourself on the back for a great airplane party experience.

***

And that is how I envision an Airplane Party.

She Who Would Never Really Host A Party Like This (or ever, ever recommend it)

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sunflower cupcakes finished

As the finale for the sunflower themed party I hosted last week, I made sunflower cupcakes.

I started with a basic chocolate cupcake (you can make whatever flavor you like) then mixed up a bowl of buttercream frosting (see recipe below) and tinted it yellow.

sunflower cupcake base coat

Cover the cupcakes with a thin layer of frosting then fill a decorating bag or tube with frosting. I used Wilton Tip #101.

sunflower cupcake petalStarting in the center, pipe “petals” all around the cupcake. Just keep layer them one on top of another going around in circles.

sunflower cupcake frostedIt will use a lot of frosting, so be prepared.

sunflower cupcakePlace a mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in the center and ta-da! You are ready to go!

Buttercream Frosting

1 cup butter

5 cups powdered sugar

1 tbsp. vanilla

4 (or so) tbsp. milk

Beat butter on medium speed until light and creamy. Slowly incorporate four cups of sugar. Add in vanilla then mix in two tablespoons of milk and beat for about three minutes. If the frosting is too stiff, add more milk. If it seems thin, add more sugar.

She Who Had Too Much Fun Making These

 

 

 

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sunflower party theme 1Last week it was my turn to host our monthly book club meeting.

I decided to go with a Sunflower Party theme. We don’t have to do themes, but it’s fun and it helps me direct my jumbled thoughts.

I’ll be sharing some recipes and different things I did for the party this week.

Today, I wanted to share the sweet little sunflower pots I made for each place setting and then everyone took home with them.

These took about five minutes to make and turned out really cute.

Supplies you need  - Reese's Pieces, mini clay flower pots, small sunflower stems (I used silk), tissue paper, wire cutters, scissors.

Supplies you need – Reese’s Pieces, mini clay flower pots, small sunflower stems (I used silk), tissue paper, wire cutters, scissors.

Cut tissue paper into small squares.

Cut tissue paper into small squares.

Wrap around your index finger and stuff into the pot, fluffing out the edges.

Wrap around your index finger and stuff into the pot, fluffing out the edges.

Stick a stem in the pot and hold it upright with one hand.

Stick a stem in the pot and hold it upright with one hand. If you are using silk stems in a bunch, use the wire cutters to remove them and cut to length. Mine were about four or five inches tall.

Then use the other hand to pour in the candy.

Then use the other hand to pour in the candy.

And that's it! How's that for a fast and fun party favor?

And that’s it! How’s that for a fast and fun party favor?

She Who Had Way Too Much Fun With This…

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