Tuesday, February 28, 2012

{What's Cooking?} Gluten Free Brownies 'n Berries Dessert

We had friends over for dinner this past weekend that follow a Gluten Free diet for health reasons. While many of the foods that our family eats are gluten free, I had never consciously prepared a gluten free meal before. It turned out great! We grilled out (meat and veggies) and also served a white bean dip with veggies, fresh fruit, a Quinoa Pilaf, and Gluten Free Brownies 'n Berries for dessert. Everyone especially loved the dessert (the kids all wanted seconds), which was super easy to make. Did you know that Betty Crocker has gluten free mixes? I didn't until this past weekend. Well, I found this recipe on the Betty Crocker website, made a few of my own adjustments, and the final dessert was a winner.

{Image: Betty Crocker}
The recipe that I found was for a Brownie Pizza (pictured above). While I loved the idea of a brownie pizza and will probably try it out next time, I decided to go with a more traditional brownie dessert instead. I baked the Gluten Free Betty Crocker Brownies as the package instructed using an 8x8 baking dish. Once the brownies were baked a cooled, I covered them with a cream cheese "frosting" (see below) and topped with freshly cut strawberries and blueberries. Then I covered the dish and refrigerated for about 2 hours. So easy and super yummy!

Cream Cheese "Frosting":

- 1  package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened (I used light cream cheese)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cute As A Button and Ruffled, Two!

Today I am excited to share a dessert table that I designed for a baby shower this past January. The guest of honor was already a mother of two girls and was expecting her third AND fourth (yes, twins!). One boy and one girl. So exciting! I wanted to keep the theme gender neutral, casual, and bright and cheery. I came up with the theme Cute As A Button and Ruffled, Two!

After choosing a theme, I decide on two main gender neutral colors: a bright yellow and an aqua blue. I also used white as my neutral base. I added ruffles that I made from white crepe paper streamers to the cake stand and serving pieces (see my post about this, here) and then finished them off with mini paper fans that I made and/or a little ribbon.

Cute As A Button printables were created for the dessert table (will be available in the Sheek Shindigs Etsy Shop, here, soon!) and embellished with mini paper buttons.

I also made paper fans and embellished them with Cute As A Button stickers to hang above the table for a little extra fun. You can find instructions on how to make these, here.

The main attraction of the table was the button cake. To create, I simply purchased a double-layered 8" cake from my local bakery and decorated it with edible sugar buttons myself (buttons are available in the Sheek Shindigs etsy shop, here). This was an easy and inexpensive way to dress up a standard, store-bought cake. I created a coordinating cake topper by accordion folding a 7" x 1 1/4" piece of paper, embellishing it with two mini paper buttons, and attaching each end to a white candy stick.

In addition to the button cake, there were cupcakes, cake balls, and mini meringue cookies for the guests to enjoy.

What a fun day it turned out to be for a special woman and her growing family!


Sheek Shindigs: design, set-up, decorations, desserts

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

{Etsy Shop} Edible Image Ideas

 A few months back I added a new product to the Sheek Shindigs etsy shop, Edible Images. Edible Images are flat-printed edible designs that can easily be applied to many different food items, such as cakes and cookies, for a professional looking finish. To apply, you simply remove the design image from the backing sheet and apply to your food item. When placed on your food product, these edible designs absorb moisture from the food product and becomes soft, blending in with the food item. The result is an exact, colorful rendition of the original image in a completely edible format! The Sheek Shindigs etsy shop currently has two different designs in stock:  Carnival Themed Edible Image sets and Superhero/Comics Themed sets. You can check them out in the Sheek Shindigs etsy shop, here.

I thought that I would share two different ideas for decorating with these edible images. The first idea uses the Carnival Themed Sheets to make fun and festive Mini Carnival Sandwich Cookies. Aren't these cute! They just make me smile.

Decorating idea by Charra Jarosz

To make:

1. Prepare your favorite cookies or use pre-made. You will need 3 cookies for each sandwich.
2. Top your first cookie with an icing "filling" (color of your choice) and place the second cookie on top. Place another layer of icing on the second cookie.
3. Take your third cookie and attach a carnival themed image using icing or rolled out white fondant.
4. Add the third cookie to the top of your sandwich stack.

The second edible image idea uses the Superhero/Comic edible image set to add bling to an Embellished Superhero Cake. Cake decorating not your thing? No problem! Start off with a  cake purchased from your local bakery and just add these SUPER embellishments yourself.

Decorating idea by Charra Jarosz

To make:

1. Make a cake and cover with fondant or icing, your choice.
2. Roll out white fondant and attach the Superhero/Comic images to fondant using a light application of lemon juice. When the liquid has dried, cut the images with scalloped or plain circle cutters.
3. Let fondant pieces dry overnight.
4. Attach image-covered fondant pieces to cake with dabs of icing.
Have fun!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Etsy Shop SALE!

If you are planning a party for your little princess, fairy, dinosaur dude, or space/robot lover you will want to check out the Sheek Shindigs Etsy Shop's newly reduced prices. All pre-packaged party items have been reduced up to 40%! This includes invitation sets, cupcake kits, party hats, plates, and decor. Stock up while you can, here!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

An Event to Honor and Remember

Over the past two weeks I have had the honor of working on a very special project with an extraordinary group of people called Autumn's Army.This past December a family in our community suffered the most devastating loss that a parent can imagine. The Hoeft family lost their precious 5 year-old daughter, Autumn, to brain cancer.  Autumn's Army is "a group of concerned parents, family, teachers and school administrators, neighbors, classmates, friends and sometimes complete strangers that decided to band together" to help Autumn's family as they struggle to rebuild their lives without their daughter. This amazing group planned and organized a Tribute Dance and Silent Auction to benefit the Hoeft family and I was asked to help out. Sheek Shindigs designed and donated a dessert table for the event. The event's theme was based around two of Autumn's favorite things: pink and butterflies. I decided to use both of those elements to design a table that would honor Autumn and her memory. This is the table before the desserts were added:

I wanted the table to be simple and reflective of a little girl. I found the most adorable butterfly lamps at Home Goods and knew that they were meant for the table. I trimmed several of the serving plates and part of the center cake stand with white ruffles that I made from crepe paper. As a focal point for the table, I created an inexpensive butterfly "picture" by painting a blank canvas (bought at a local craft store) and embellishing it with paper butterflies that were donated by Megan of  Embellished Paper. Megan also donated the cupcake wrappers for the event. Thanks, Megan!

The dessert table featured pink and white cupcakes by a local vendor (Hopelessly Delicious Cakes and Candies), cake balls (Sheek Shindigs), and AMAZING cookies by my talented friend, Nicole. Yummy!

It turned out to be an amazing night for a more than worthy cause. Much thanks to Autumn's Army for all of their hard work and for bringing our community together. Thank you to the vendors and friends that donated items for the dessert table and/or the event as well as everyone that came out to support the family. I know that Autumn was smiling down on you all last night. While I never personally knew Autumn or her family, her story and the impression that she has left on myself and our community is one that I will never forget. Autumn's story has reminded me to slow down and cherish the time that I have with my children. They are truly a gift from God. She has reminded me to be thankful for my family, our health, and life in general. And, Autumn's story has renewed my faith in our community. Thank you, Autumn.
You can read about Autumn's story, here.

Vendor Information:

Dessert Table Design, set-up: Sheek Shinidgs
Cupcake Wrappers & Butterflies: Embellished Paper
Butterfly Canvas: Sheek Shindigs
Butterfly Lamps: Home Goods
Cupcakes: Hopelessly Delicious Cakes and Candies
Cookies: Nicole Soderberg
Cake Balls: Sheek Shindigs
Printables (food/donor labels): The Homespun Hostess

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hand Crafted Valentine's Ideas

Only a few more days until Valentine's Day. Are you ready? I thought that we were all finished with our Valentine's cards and projects until ..... my daughter and I went to a Valentine's playdate/party the other day and I fell in love with the craft that the hostess (and fellow party lover) had waiting for us. I almost immediately came home and googled my way to its original source, Fiskars, and was delighted to find the craft instructions as well as a few other fun ideas.

{Image: Fiskars}
Charlotte and I made the "I'm bananas for you!" craft together at our Valentine's playdate and we both had fun doing it. It wasn't one of those crafts where the child has to basically sit back and watch while the adult does all of the work. It was age appropiate (she is 3 years old) and the final result was so cute. My friend had all of the shapes for making the monkey pre-cut and ready to assemble before we got there. She also provided banana chips in place of the candy bananas which I thought was a wonderful idea, especially when you are dealing with a group of 3 year olds that already have more energy than they know what to do with. Thanks Nicole! You can find the DIY instructions over at Fiskars, here.

{Image: Fiskars}
Check out this "You're Grrrrrreat!" Lion Lollipop cover from Fiskars. I mean, really! These would be so cute for a younger group of children, like a preschool class or playgroup.

{Image: Fiskars}
And what about this "You Rock" Valentine's idea? I know that my oldest son (8) would LOVE getting a package of Pop Rocks to try out and I feel like the presentation of this Valentine's craft isn't as juvenile looking, perfect for your grade-schoolers.

{Image: Fiskars}
For all of these craft ideas and more, visit Fiskars, here. Have fun!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Sweet Valentine's Giveaway Winner.....

Congratulations to Steffie for winning the Sheek Shindigs Sweet Valentine's Giveaway! And thank you to everyone that participated. Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ombre Cake Balls Cake

This weekend Sheek Shindigs is helping out with a local fundraising event. In addition to designing a dessert table for the event, I am donating 150 cake balls. {YIKES!} Needless to say, cake balls have been on my mind A LOT over the past couple of days. I have rolled, dipped, and decorated myself a new appreciation for the art of making cake balls. While I am happy with the way that mine turned out, they are by no means perfect. I am not sure how the pros get theirs to look so round and flawless? I guess practice, practice, practice.

Anyway, in my search for cake ball inspiration I came across this amazing Ombre Cake Balls Cake by Gabbi Loubiere of Brew-Ha, Ha on Brides.com. Isn't it stunning!

To create, "Gabby baked bite-size 'balls' of cake in flavors such as tiramisu cheesecake and funfetti; then, she dipped each cake ball in white-chocolate ganache that had been dyed in pale shades of peach, blush, and yellow. The cake balls were affixed to a five-tier base and served alongside extra platters of cake balls for guests to help themselves to". I adore this idea. You could also create a cake ball "tower" using the same design and replacing the cake layers with styrofoam. Place your cake balls on a stick and then skewer/secure them into the styrofoam. It's a simple idea but I know that I have many more cake balls of practice ahead of me before I can pull off a project like that!

What other fun ways have you displayed your cake balls?

Monday, February 6, 2012

{What's Cooking?} Sweetie Pies

One of my favorite local bakers, Dina of Buttercream Bakehouse, recently sent me a Valentine's Day recipe that I know you will love: Sweetie Pies. Aren't they cute!

In addition to their cuteness, Dina's Sweetie Pies are easy to make, even for the novice baker. The only tools that are required are your oven, a heart shaped cookie cutter, and a fork. And no need to make a homemade pie crust. The pre-made boxed versions at your local store will work perfectly for this recipe. Stop by Buttercream Bakehouse, here, for Dina's recipe and tips and tell her that Sheek Shindigs sent you.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

{DIY} Confetti Shooters

What a fun idea for your next party: {DIY} Confetti Shooters! I found this idea over at You Are My Fave and Pizzazzerie and had to share with all of you.

{Image: You Are My Fave}
This is a great way to re-use your push-pop containers. Other than push-pop containers, all that you need is a 3/4" dowel, confetti, tissue paper, and some tape.

{Image: You Are My Fave}

For complete instructions, stop by You Are My Fave, here. And, for push-pop containers, visit the Sheek Shindigs etsy shop, here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

{Free Printables} Super Bowl 2012

Are you ready for some {Super Bowl} football? My boys are! All they have talked about this week is watching the big game on Sunday and what they want to eat while they watch it. Whether you are hosting a Super Bowl bash or just hanging at home with your family, these FREE Super Bowl 2012 Printables will add some sheek to your football shindig. Simply print and "assemble". Then sit back and enjoy the game!

Pizzazzerie and Anders Ruff have teamed up to offer these footabll party printables as well as some game day planning tips.

Stop by Hostess With the Mostess for these Football Party Printables. These would also be great for a football themed birthday party.

The Celebration Shoppe is offering a complete set of Super Bowl printables, here.

Living Locurto's free printables offer simple designs to show off your team pride on the big day.

Go Team!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Sweet Valentine's Giveaway!

To help you get ready for Valentine's Day, I am hosting a Sweet Valentine's Giveaway from the Sheek Shindigs etsy shop. But first, to serve as a bit of inspiration, check out these gorgeous Frozen Raspberry Champagne Push-Pops from Courtney Dial's new book, Push-Up Pops. LOVE THEM! I mean really, LOVE THEM!

Image: Kyle Dreier
Wouldn't these be perfect for Valentine's Day! I can't wait to dive into Courtney's new book, available on March 1st. Until then, stock up on your push-pop containers and paper straws to get ready and ENTER TO WIN this week's GIVEAWAY! One randomly chosen winner will receive 25 Red Heart Paper Straws and 15 Push-Pop Containers from the Sheek Shindigs etsy shop.


1. Leave a comment about how your would use your push-pops
2. Post about this giveaway on your facebook page and let me know about it.

You can enter to win a total of 2 times. All entries must be received by 11:59pm on Thursday, February 9th. Good luck!

Up, Up and Away Baby Shower

I am completely in love with every detail of this Up, Up and Away Baby Shower from Jessica of Jessicakes, her sister-in-law, Kim, and her cousin, Jamie of Jamie Zanotti Photography.  This talented trio put together one adorable baby shower for their expecting cousin, Ashley.

The shower was designed around the baby's hot air balloon themed nursery. What a cute theme idea! Kim designed these gorgeous invitations and the rest followed. I love the colors, the balloon and cloud details sprinkled throughout the decor (check out the cloud straws!), and the overall soft, yet not too "girly", feel.

Isn't the cake AMAZING! Jessica shares her plans, templates, and how-to's for this cake and many others over at her blog, here. 

The super cute paper lanterns were created by covering regular paper lanterns with paper scallops. Genius! I want to make some, NOW.

What a talented group of women. I can't wait to see what they come up with next!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Groundhog Day Push-Pops

My 5 year old son came home from school today so excited to have learned about Groundhog Day. He can't wait to see what the outcome is tomorrow. I have been so busy that this one honestly just slipped by me....almost! Lucky for me, I have some push-pop containers in stock waiting to be put to use AND I found this fun idea from Sweetology: Groudhog Day Push-Pops. Aren't these so clever and fun!

Whether he sees his shadow....

or not...

these are sure to make the day a bit brighter. Visit Sweetology, here, for Groudhog Day Push-Pop directions. And, stock up on your push-pop containers at the Sheek Shindigs esty shop.