Have you ever been to one of those parties? Everyone brings 5 of the same thing of a product that they love, or something that you handmade that you love. Each person pulls five names, and everyone goes home with 5 different things (hopefully). Sometimes you have to do some trading at the end if there are people left at the end that didn’t have their name called enough, and end up with some of the same thing. But that is fun too, because most people are willing to trade to get the things that really interested them. It’s kind of fun, and us moms really like it because when do we ever really get five little gifts chosen by our friends? If you haven’t been to one, you should throw one yourself. Your friends will love it. I co-hosted for my second year with my friend. Our friends requested we do it again this year. We had our party closer to Christmas last time, but this year my friend had the brilliant idea to do it before Thanksgiving, since the holidays get so crazy. Last year was at my house, and this year was at hers, so that was nice to take turns. We had a theme for the food and decor, mostly some gold accents, and miniature finger food. She did the appetizers and I did the desserts. I went to Pinterest to find inspiration. Here are the links to the desserts I made:
Salted Caramel-Cashew Cookie tarts:
These were good, but very rich and heavy. Maybe that is a good thing, because it keeps the portion control in check. The mixture of the caramel with the cashew butter is so yummy. I had some left over and saved it for the kids to put over vanilla ice cream. I could not find Kraft caramel nibs at my local grocery store, so just use kraft caramels and chop them up a bit to speed up melting them in the microwave. I used a wooden dowel from Pampered Chef to get the cookie dough to mould perfectly in the mini muffin pan. Worked like a charm, not so much with the next recipe.
Shortbread Tarts with Cream Filling:
Ok, so these I had a bit of a problem with. The filling is great! It makes a lot and has a great lemon flavor. However, I had difficulty with the shortbread. I just could not get them out of the mini muffin pan in one piece. I followed the directions and sprayed my pan accordingly. I gave up and used mini phyllo cups as a substitute. You can find them in the freezer by the pies. They worked just fine, and had a nice crisp crunch. These were gone at the end of the night. Hands down favorite. None left at all. I topped mine with a raspberry and two blueberries.
Pumpkin Pie Bites
These were good, tasted like a decent pumpkin pie recipe. I didn’t do pumpkin faces, instead I topped with some whipped cream that I added some sugar and cinnamon to. I just used a biscuit cutter and cut out circles from two ready made pie crusts for the crust. I used the extra dough to cut leaves, and sprinkle them with cinnamon-sugar. Those will get a little soggy from the whipped cream, but they make a cute presentation. Not the best picture in the world, but I was losing light.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Chalkboard Sign
So I brought those signs to the party as my $5 favorite thing. My friend had originally cut those to use for something else but she didn’t like the stain she used so she gave them to me (yes!!!). You can get the wood at Home Depot for $5.95 if you do not have a crafty friend like me. It comes 24×48. Choose smooth wood, like the kind in the bottom of a drawer. You do need a miter saw to cut the angles, and the hole at home. After using my chalkboard paint on one, I ended up switching to the chalkboard spray paint. It covered better, and was faster overall.
After the paint was dry, I went to my Silhouette and made a design close to one I had seen online. I really like the “Bergamot Ornaments” font on http://www.dafont.com. It is great for a chalkboard design. It provided the cute lines and swirls. Just make what you like. There were a ton of sayings, and cute fonts online, and designing is the most time consuming for me, just deciding takes so much time! So go with something that appeals to you, and you will be thrilled. Cut it out in vinyl on your Silhouette machine. Make sure there is a box around the saying because you want the negative image. Season your chalkboard with regular chalk, all over and wipe off. Weed out the letters. Apply the stencil to your board with transfer tape, and use a chalk pen to stencil in your design. The chalk pen is cleaner, and easier to work with. It will come off with water, but I have always found I can still see it a bit when it has been wiped off. If you want to do a different design on the back, that is a great idea too! Finish it off with a ribbon you like. It was a very inexpensive gift, and I think my friends really liked it. It did take some time, but homemade isn’t always fast. We don’t do it because it’s fast, right? Thanks for checking out my blog!