Dec 23, 2013

Holiday Brunch {My Dessert Table Design}

Oh how I love this time of the year.  I look forward to the holiday events and celebrations.  This time of year we pause to spend time with the people that enrich our lives through their love, support and friendship. I enjoy decorating my home and turning it into a festive and inviting place to welcome the season and our guests.

This year I hosted a holiday brunch for a group of girlfriends.  An ornament exchange was added to make the event even more festive. The menu included brunch items such as turkey sausage quiche, blueberry coffee cake, citrus salad, doughnut hole fruit skewers and a hot tea selection. I thought it would be nice to also add a holiday dessert table.

I resist the urge every year to not put up a tree in another room of my home.  I have a collection of holiday decorations that I change out from year to year. So, instead of adding a 4th tree in our home, I was able to design a holiday dessert table with existing decor items. I used my cream and gold collection to create a backdrop that resembled a present and added other holiday decor pieces to bring the design together.

Next time your are thinking of hosting a holiday event, rethink and reuse what you have to create a tablescape to display the food for your party.

Dec 13, 2013

White Chocolate Red Velvet Cake Cookies

Just in case you do not already have enough holiday treats on your baking list this season or you need a quick recipe for an upcoming holiday event, try these. Adding a few extra ingredients allows you to make them your own and proudly respond, " Yes, I made these myself", when asked if these are homemade.

I found myself pressed for time for a cookie swap and needed to make a few dozen cookies the day of the swap. Yes, I prefer to bake from scratch, but there are those moments when being a mother of 3 takes over and I loose control of the day.  I decided to make these cookies as I thought the red is a perfect choice for the holiday season. I picked up a box of red velvet cake mix (gasp!) and made these delicious treats just in time for the swap.

(Makes 24 - 30 Cookies)

1 box red velvet cake mix
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
2 Tbsp of canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup of white chocolate chips
1 package/tube of cream cheese cookie icing

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine eggs, melted and cooled butter, and oil in a bowl.  Using a whisk mix until combined.  Add the red velvet cake mix to the egg mixture. Stir until well blended and moist. Add the cup of white chocolate chips and stir.  Drop one inch ball size dough onto a silt mat or parchment paper.  Be sure to leave a few inches of space between to allow for spreading. Use a metal coffee spoon or melon scoop to make them all the same size.  Bake for 8 - 10 minutes for a soft texture in the middle.  Place on a wire rack and allow to cool completely.  Once cooled, drizzle cooking icing on top.  Allow icing to dry for at least 2 hours before stacking.

Nov 30, 2013

Peppermint Pretzel Popcorn Munch

Move over pumpkin. Greetings and welcome to peppermint and chocolate, sweet and salty treats only available during this time of year. Staying true to my southern roots, I admittedly prefer sweet potato over pumpkin. Every year I am amazed by the number of pumpkin flavored foods and drinks presented to us in every store imaginable. Well, the same can be said about the traditional candy cane and peppermint flavored goodies now appearing in a store near you.  I may not be tempted by the pumpkin offerings, but the same can not be said about the peppermint season. I struggle with the strength to say no to a treat flavored with both peppermint and chocolate. I plan to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate with peppermint this evening before I go to bed.

This recipe uses the candy cane Oreos available at Target. Imagine freshly popped popcorn, salty crunchy pretzels, and creamy chocolate Oreo goodness all wrapped up in a sweet candy coating of peppermint.

1 pack of Candy Cane Oreos
10 oz package of Wilton's peppermint candy melts
2 bags of lightly salted microwave popcorn (no butter)
6 - 8 oz of mini pretzels

Place the oreos in a gallon size plastic bag and gently break up the oreos.  Melt the candy melts in 30 second intervals in the microwave.  As you stir, the melts will give way to a silky smooth consistency.   In a large bowl, combine the popcorn, oreos, and preztels.  Add the peppermint candy coating to the mixture and stir gently until all ingredients are coated.  Spread the mixture in one layer onto a sheet pan coated with parchment or a silt mat to help reduce clumping.  Enjoy!

Nov 27, 2013

Scandal Viewing Party {My Dessert Table Design}

Are you a gladiator?  Do you find yourself holding your breath during parts of the show like I do? This season of Scandal has not disappointed or been short on the shock factor. I recently styled a dessert table for a scandal viewing party for a couples date night. As the guests arrived, the football game was playing in the background to ease the fellas into the night's festivities.  We played a fun game of Taboo - gals verses guys and enjoyed each other's company over drinks and desserts leading up the evening's episode of Scandal. Each team created their list of words around a specific theme, which made the game even more interesting and fun. Would you like to guess who won? Let's just say that I for one am a competitive person and loosing is not an option.

The Scandal winter season finale is coming soon. Thinking of hosting a Scandal Viewing party? More details on the food and table design are shared below.

I found the perfect printables from hwtm to use as signage for the table. After seeing these, I was flooded with ideas for the decor.  Food choices were centered around sweets for your sweetheart. Names such as Seductive Strawberries, Miss You Marshmallows, Kiss Me Pops, Heart Shaped Red Velvet Treats, and Passion Parfaits were chosen to stay within the theme of the show. Candy molds were used to make the lips and mustache pops.  These molds would also be perfect for a mustache bash and a valentine's party.

I had so much fun designing this dessert table and enjoying a romantic night out with my hubby. Go ahead and host your own Scandal Viewing party for either the winter finale or for the return of the show after the winter break.  Send me pictures of your event and I would love to share them on this site or the official Create Cook Capture Facebook page.

To inquire about dessert table and design services from A Sweet Touch by Rachelle Grace, click here to send us an email.

Oct 31, 2013

Tutorial: How To Paint A Mason Jar

I am a southern girl obsessed with mason jars.  I have a Pinterest Board dedicated to the topic to feed this love affair with the ever so versatile glass jar.  I have a collection that I gathered over the years for various reasons, including my canning ventures and the cases of jelly made by my grandmother.

Have you seen the different color mason jars in the stores lately?  Or have to seen them in pictures and wondered how to paint your own?  It is simple and easy to do and provides such a pop of color to your decor.  My purpose for painting the jars was to make vases.  This tutorial uses wide mouth quart size

Quart Mason Jars
2 fl oz of paint per jar

Prepare your work surface by lining up your jars and paint.  Depending on how many you are painting be sure to verify that you have enough space on the cardboard for all the jars and room for the paint to spread once the jars are removed. Pour the 2 ounces of paint inside the jar. Based on the viscosity or flow of the paint, slightly tilt and rotate the jar to coat the inside. Rotate until the entire jar is coated with paint. Place the jar upside down and wait 15 minutes.  Pick up the jar and rotate (keep jar upside down).  Excess paint will flow onto the cardboard.  Do this for about an hour in 15 minute increments to give the excess paint time to drain.  Allow jars to rest overnight and turn upright.  Let them rest upright until completely dry before use.

Project Tip: During this project I had one container of paint that was thicker than the others and I did not like the viscosity.  The paint was not coating the jar smoothly. I could tell this as I begin to pour it into the jar.  Adding water to the paint allowed me to achieve the desired flow and decrease drying time.