Monthly Archives: February 2016

Academy Awards 2016!!!

 

We love the Academy Awards and like to have a nice meal and dessert while watching the show. For this year’s awards celebration, we chose to highlight walnuts and strawberries throughout our meal. Hope you enjoy this unique brie cheese appetizer, our salad entrée, and strawberry shortcake ice cream cake. Also offered are an easy Academy Award banner idea, a plant update and, of course, the bears!

HONEY AND WALNUT BAKED BRIE

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We found this great recipe for brie in puff pastry on-line. It’s unique because the brie is sliced sandwich-style and the walnut/honey mixture fills what becomes the ultimate cheese sandwich. Hmm . . . we hear Brie is a favorite for this year’s Academy Awards. Oh wait! That’s Brie Larson, favored to win Best Actress for her performance in “The Room”. Good luck to all of this year’s nominees.

http://www.puffpastry.com/recipe/50003/honey-and-walnut-baked-brie

WINNING SALAD

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Champagne vinaigrette coats this delicious salad which combines strawberries, walnuts, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, and Dole Spring Mix Salad. Check out our crispy chicken or shrimp recipes in the links below to make this salad a great entrée!

https://funclesarts.com/2015/08/17/mystery-solved-fun/

https://funclesarts.com/2016/02/06/super-weekend/

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE ICE CREAM CAKE

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What you need:

  • 1.5-qt strawberry ice cream
  • shortbread cookies (we used Pepperidge Farm 5.5 oz.)
  • toasted walnuts, ground
  • 1/2 tub of whipped topping
  • 5 ounces strawberry jelly (we prefer Polaner All Fruit)
  • sliced strawberries (fresh or frozen)

How to prepare:

  • Spray loaf pan with cooking spray.
  • Line pan with parchment paper or wax paper, overhanging the pan on all sides.
  • Put a layer of ice cream in bottom of pan.
  • Add a layer of sliced strawberries on top of ice cream.
  • Add a layer of cookies; 6 cookies work well for first layer.
  • Repeat with second layer of ice cream, sliced strawberries and cookies. Use cookie pieces to fill in if necessary.
  • Wrap up and freeze overnight.

Invert ice cream cake onto platter. If cake will not release, place pan in warm water for a few minutes.

  • Mix whipped topping with strawberry jelly.
  • Frost cake with topping mixture.
  • Sprinkle with crushed nuts.
  • Decorate cake with strawberries.
  • Re-freeze.
  • Enjoy!

This ice cream cake idea has limitless possibilities! Combine your favorite wafer cookie, ice cream and fruit for an easy, delicious dessert. Our next mashup might be chocolate wafer cookies, coffee ice cream and bananas! What other combinations would work?

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 NAPKIN BANNER

We made a banner out of these fun movie-themed napkins found at Party City. Simply string a ribbon or wire between two points and place the napkins over them. These napkins could serve multiple purposes. They can be used as place cards for a sit down dinner or to identify food options at a buffet. Just use white chalk to fill in details on the napkins.

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DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!

There have been a lot of unbelievable, shocking, comical and jaw-dropping “performances” this year. But enough about the presidential elections! The Oscars honor the best in moviemaking.

Here is a printable ballot for this year’s Academy Awards. Print out enough ballots for your party and have everyone vote for their favorites. Offer a prize for the person with the most correct choices. Maybe a bottle of champagne?

http://www.ibtimes.com/oscars-2016-printable-ballot-watching-88th-academy-awards-home-2323593

More fun stuff!

For more ideas, check out last year’s blog at:

https://funclesarts.com/2015/02/21/oscar-oscar-oscar/

PLANT UPDATE

Our amaryllis plant has really grown and grown.  A fun project for the winter months, we highly recommend planting this remarkable bulb. They are available at garden centers or online.

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FOOD ART

These strawberries have been photo-brightened to look their best, just in time for the Oscars!

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THE BEARS

The bears featured at the top of the blog are dressed up and ready for the Red Carpet!

Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin

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Warming Up for St. Valentine’s Day

The northeast is bracing for bitter cold weather. Our hope is that you all find warmth with family and friends this St. Valentine’s Day weekend. Plus, it’s a great excuse to eat some chocolate! This week, we share our take on some delicious chocolate truffles, some ideas for using last week’s woven heart baskets, a plant update, and of course, the bears!

EASY TRUFFLES

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Ingredients:

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  • one 8 oz. package light cream cheese, softened
  • three cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • three cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • cocoa powder, chopped walnuts, coconut, dried fruit sprinkles

How to make:

  • Beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  • Gradually beat in confectioners sugar.
  • Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla.
  • Refrigerate 1 hour.
  • Form into one inch balls.
  • Roll in toppings of your choice.

Varieties for truffles are almost endless. Chocolate and orange go great together, so replace the vanilla with same amount of orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest. We also stuffed truffles with dried fruit – tastes like a decadent “Chunky Bar”.

WOVEN PAPER HEARTS

Last week, we introduced this easy paper craft. Here are a couple of ways we used these hearts for St. Valentine’s Day this year.

Decorative Banner

Displayed “clothesline style” with photos and cards, attached to twine with painted clothes pins, they add great dimension to a holiday banner. We used a variety of different papers to make the hearts for a fun display.

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Gifts

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The woven hearts were mass-mailed to great-nieces and great-nephews filled with stickers, candy, hair clips and toy cars. We placed the filled hearts in treat bags secured with painted clothes pins adorned with heart stickers.

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Here is the link for how to create these paper baskets.

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/Heartbasket.shtml

For more St. Valentine’s Day ideas, check out last year’s post:

https://funclesarts.com/2015/02/13/happy-st-valentines-day/

PLANT UPDATE

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Our Amaryllis is growing like crazy, and now requires a stake for support. A saleswoman at a big-box store gave us a great, money-saving idea on what to use for stakes. She suggested we buy marshmallow s’mores sticks, which cost 19 cents for a package of four. These wooden sticks are 31 inches long, easy to cut and they work great for a light-weight stalk! Helpful tip!

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FOOD ART

Last week’s tomato. Tomatoes are sometimes called love apples! Great for St. Valentine’s Day!

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THE BEARS

The bears show their “light side” by playing with a strand of heart-shaped lights!

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“In dreams and in love, there are no impossibilities!” – Janos Arany

Enjoy!

Roy and Kevin

Super Weekend!

It just doesn’t seem right that the Patriots are not in Super Bowl 50. Still, it’s a great event, and we will be tuning in for Lady Gaga’s national anthem, the game (go Broncos), the commercials and Cold Play’s halftime show.

Food is always a great part of Super Bowl Sunday, and in this week’s blog, we share our Crispy Baked Shrimp, served with our Amped-up Coleslaw.

We also feature this week’s Amaryllis report, our indoor/outdoor garden update and, of course, the bears!!!

CRISPY OVEN-BAKED SHRIMP

This tasty, oven-baked shrimp looks and tastes fried, but has a lot less fat and calories. Easy!

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Delicious as a sandwich, too!

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Ingredients;

  • 1 lb. bag large, raw, deveined shrimp, 31- 40 ct.
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs, separated – 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic Herb Mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

How to prepare:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Defrost shrimp, peel and remove tail.
  • Pat shrimp dry and place in bowl.
  • Mix flour, chili powder and Mrs. Dash.
  • Coat shrimp thoroughly with dry mix.
  • Add beaten egg to shrimp mixture and toss.
  • Add 3/4 cup bread crumbs to the bowl and toss to cover shrimp completely.
  • Place coated shrimp on parchment-lined sheet tray.
  • Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup crumbs over shrimp.
  • Bake 10 minutes.
  • Flip with spatula.
  • Bake 5 more minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Hearty Coleslaw

This coleslaw is delicious. The broccoli slaw adds crunch and fiber.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of a 12 oz. bag of Dole’s Classic Coleslaw
  • 1/2 of a 14 oz. bag broccoli coleslaw (we use Mann’s)
  • 1 cup of light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard

How to prepare:

  • Mix the 2 coleslaw blends together.
  • Combine mayo, mustard and lemon juice.
  • Toss dressing with slaws and chill.

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Great with the crispy baked shrimp!

ST. VALENTINE’S DAY IS COMING!!!

Woven Paper Heart Baskets

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Roy learned these woven paper heart baskets from the PBS show “ZOOM!” Here is a link with details on how to make these baskets:

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/Heartbasket.shtml

Check next week to see how we decorate and fill these charming hearts for St. Valentine’s Day.

PATIO & PLANT UPDATE

The bears ventured out onto the patio during today’s snow storm to clear off a sign!

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Good thing they were able to warm up afterwards.

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Weekly Amaryllis Report

The Amaryllis we received as a gift is thriving!!!  It travels with the light throughout the day – early morning light on our office printer; mid-day light on the office counter and sunset in the apartment. Amazing growth in one week! Thanks Chris and Bernard!

This is where we started:

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Here is this week’s growth! (Feed me Seymore!!!)

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FOOD ART

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The Bears

The bears have packed up their PATS gear and said goodbye and thanks for a great year! Now, they are focussing their energy on the UCONN Huskies! (The bears are always so um … subtle… with their decorations! (Yeah it’s the bears who do that!) GO HUSKIES!!!

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Enjoy!!!

Roy and Kevin