My daughter’s second birthday party was last weekend and I had so much fun planning it and throwing it for her. I love to throw a good party, but I love putting a smile on her face even more! We had lots of kids, friends, and family over to celebrate. We rented a bounce house and the kids had a blast. Of course, there was plenty of food so I wanted to share that with you along with a few of my favorite pictures from the day.

Puppy favor boxes that included a stuffed puppy, sugar cookies with royal icing, and a puppy balloon. I added felt ears to the balloons rather than using construction paper and I created my own boxes out of little take out boxes.

My little birthday girl. She woke up from her nap and came downstairs to a party!

Her puppy cake!

Nutella Puppy Chow

 

Ham & Cheese and Bologna & Cheese bone and paw shaped sandwiches

Make a wish!

After all of that taste-testing the past few weeks she was very happy to finally dig into the ice cream, cake, and cupcakes!

The Menu

Crudites and Ranch Dressing

Fruit with Sweet Fruit Dip

Nutella Puppy Chow

 

Chips and French Onion Dip

Pineapple Salsa and chips

Bone and paw shaped sandwiches

Dogs in a blanket

Yellow Cupcakes with butter-cream frosting

Puppy Cake – Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Fondant

Easy Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, Strawberry Ice Cream, and Chocolate Ice Cream

Sources: Puppy Balloons – adapted from Martha Stewert, Favor Boxes – idea from The Container Store,

 

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Pineapple Salsa

I make a lot of salsa for my husband, but I’m not a fan of ones that have a lot of heat in them. Every once in a while I like to sweeten things up. Is anyone surprised? This is a great salsa if you’re entertaining and want something for everyone.

Pineapple Salsa

Ingredients

  • 2 cups, fresh pineapple chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • handful of cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • salt

Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times. This will give you the crushed pineapple texture. For a chunkier salsa, stir all of the ingredients together and salt to taste. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

 

Nutella Puppy Chow

When I started planning my daughter’s second birthday party and had decided on a puppy theme, I knew I wanted to serve puppy chow. I’ve never had it, but always wanted to try it. There was one snag, most are made with peanut butter. With my daughter’s peanut allergy, another solution needed to be found. Thank you Pinterest! I found this recipe and knew it would be a winner. We’re big fans of Nutella in our house anyways, and mix it in with chocolate and I’m in heaven!

This went over well at the party. Those that have had puppy chow in the past really liked the change of pace that the Nutella brought. This was such a simple, but decadent snack, I’m sure it will be made again in our household!

Nutella Puppy Chow

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 12 oz. box of hearty wheat/corn/rice cereal like Chex
  • 2 – 3 cups powdered sugar

In a pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and chocolate chips, stirring constantly. When all is melted and smooth, remove from heat and stir in the Nutella. Slowly pour the chocolate Nutella mixture over cereal in a large mixing bowl. Wash your hands and use them to stir everything together until fairly evenly coated. Wash those hands again and add the cereal to a gallon sized plastic bag. Pour in the powdered sugar and shake, starting with 1/2 cup at a time. You want to make sure everything’s coated, but not too sweet!

Source: Lovin’ from the Oven

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Bulgogi

The name of the dish sounds funny, but the taste is nothing to joke about. Bulgogi is actually a Korean dish that just means it has been marinated. It can refer to chicken, pork, or beef. When i first found this recipe I knew all of the ingredients matched up well with our palates, heck most of them I had in my pantry. I just needed to go out and buy an Asian pear, which I highly recommend using one in this recipe. While making the marinade,  tasted it and it was deliciously sweet, but had a nice undertone to it to balance the sweetness. The result is a marinade combination that I had never tried before, but will definitely put on the rotation list a lot this Summer. This is a great meal to make for during the week. Prepare the marinade and then come home in the evening and you’ll have dinner in just a few minutes!

Bulgogi

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless rib eye steak
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 Asian pear, peeled an coarsely chopped (If you can’t find, Anjou or Bartlett can be used)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sweet white wine, I use Pinot Grigio
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  •  3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 onion, cut in half-moon slices
  • 8 whole lettuce leaves, such as Boston, Bibb, or Iceberg
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Place steak in the freezer for 1 hour. This makes it easier to thinly slice.

In a blender or food processor, combine pear, garlic, soy sauce, wine, sesame oil, honey, sugar, and pepper and blend into a coarse mixture. Place mixture in a resealable plastic bag. Add toasted sesame seeds and onion and massage bag gently to combine the ingredients.

Slice the partially frozen steak across the grain into very thin slices. Add slices to the marinade and massage the bag to distribute the marinade evenly over the meat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

When ready to cook, adjust oven rack so that it is 4 inches from the heating element. Preheat the broiler to high, about 550 F. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil. Spread the meat, onions, and marinade in a single layer on the baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes, then turn the meat and broil the second side about 3 minutes. The meat should be cooked through and slightly caramelized in spots. While meat cooks, wash lettuce leaves and pat dry.

To server, divide beef among the lettuce leaves, sprinkle with scallions, then roll up the meat in the lettuce leaves.

Serves 4

Source: Hannaford Fresh Magazine, Jan./Feb. 2012