Monday, June 22, 2009

Party Favors on a Budget

I found a great way to save money when packaging a party favor - use lollipop bags!

At the last event I held, the guest of honor was a very spirtual person. As a party favor, I purchased mints from Oriental Trading Company called "Testamints". Each mint comes in a wrapper with a Bible quote on it. I purchased lollipop bags (used for homemade candy) to put the mints in. The bags were much smaller than standard sized party favor bags and came with a fancy twist tie. Twenty bags were only a dollar! Gift bags are usually very pricey, so using the lollipop bags cut costs big time. The ribbon I bought was on the discount rack at a local store - the perfect color by luck - two rolls were also one dollar. I made up forty favors for under fifteen dollars. Wow!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Recipe: Baked Brie with Apricot Preserves

Baked Brie

Plan on preparing this dish 1 hour before serving, as it needs to cool.

What you will need:
1 wheel of Brie cheese
1 stick of butter
1 cup of apricot preserve
1 package of defrosted frozen filo dough (at least 6 sheets of dough)
Oven-safe serving dish
Fresh fruit for garnish
Preheated oven at 375 degrees

Take a large wheel of brie cheese and spread apricot perserves generously on top.
Melt one stick of salted butter.
Take several sheets of filo dough (already defrosted) and brush butter on each one. I used six sheets.
Place the brie in the middle of the first sheet and wrap it and fold it until the whole wheel is covered. Flip the cheese and repeat this process until the cheese is totally encased. Make sure that when you put it in the oven, the side with the perserves is on top and that the filo dough is smooth on top.
Place brie in the oven-safe dish you will be serving it in. I usually bake and serve this delicious treat in a low CorningWare French white platter. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees until the filo dough is light brown, about 20 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake it or the cheese will run out.

Garnish with green grapes and strawberries and serve it with ritz crackers. Yum!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Goal Achieved!

While looking through what I call my "life list", I flipped to a page where I read that I had listed my goal for my first hosted event to be achieved in June. I am happy to say that on June 7th I held a surprise party for a friend and was able to get him to the house by telling him it was a fundraiser for Our Lady's Kitchen. Its funny how things work out!

One day after church, I had mentioned to his wife that I knew his birthday was coming up, and I offered to do a party in celebration. When she asked how we would get him to the house, I told her about the fundraiser. She liked the idea so much that she requested the guests to donate to Our Lady's Kitchen in lieu of gifts. The really funny part was that she only wanted wine, cheese, and cake. Almost exactly what my first blog back in February said! The wine and cheese soiree was a hit.

I prepared my favorite baked brie, a recipe I seem to recall getting from my idol: Martha Stewart. We celebrated with about thirty people and raised a good amount of money for a wonderful community charity. When the party was nearing the end a small group of us gathered on the veranda and shared laughs about some of the questions I had asked about the birthday boy. His wife admitted to not knowing what his favorite pie was or his favorite scent. Luckly she knew his favorite color, so the banister in the grand foyer was draped with laural garland and teal ribbons. Later he told me that he noticed the color right away, that is after he got over the surprise of his young and gifted grandson playing "Happy Birthday" and all of us singing. I just love the feeling of achievement.I feel like I'm at the top of my game, and yet, this is just the beginning.

Thought of the day: Arriving at one goal is the starting point of another. Goals keep us in motion and moving towards our dreams. What goals have you set for yourself? How challenging is the climb to reach your goal?

P.S. Stay tuned for my baked brie recipe!