Monday, October 29, 2012

Sesame Street 1st Birthday Party for My Lil Guy!

I've been a total slacker in getting this posted but here are the pictures of the birthday party for our son.  We did a Sesame Street theme.  I'll post separately with the details of how to make some of the food and the props.

The picture is of the street scene I made. 

  • Street Sign:  Made from cardboard tube, dowel road, green duct tape, styrofoam ball and a printout on 11x14 of the street sign.
  • Trash Can:  From Courtland Hardware
  • Stuffed Animals:  Some we had at the house and others I found on ebay to fill in the gaps.
  • Brick Wall:  This is a Halloween Scene Setter
  • Window:  Another party backdrop
  • The door and steps:  Old cardboard boxes covered in construction paper

This picture is Elmo's World Snack Bar.

  • Sign:  Foam poster board and printed out letters that my kids colored in.
  • Popcorn boxes:  From oriental trading.  Used circle cutouts from etsy shop (I will send the link later)
  • Crayons:  Bought from ebay ... they are 42" inflatables
  • Lollipop Holder:  Styrofoam block covered in wrapping paper.  The lollipops themselves were from Oriental Trading

This picture is Hooper's Store Goody Bag Shop.

  • Stand:  Melissa and Doug Lemonade/Grocery Stand that we repurposed.
  • Sign:  Made from poster board.

Each little box had a goodie for the goodie bag.  It was windy that day can you tell?  The table that had the yellow tablecloth that was about to blow away had blue, red, orange and green bags on it for them to fill up in the goodie store.

Chicken Piccata

Shoprite had a super sale on boneless chicken a few weeks ago.  It was something ridiculous like $1.69/lb.  It was like the chicken was taunting me and saying...please come buy me and make me into something delicious.

Found this recipe on  I've had chicken piccata at restaurants a few times and enjoyed it minus the capers.  Is that what the hell they're called?  They might as well have just called them crappy little green balls that are masquerading as a pea wanna-be.

Can you tell I'm tired and have been up all night?  :-)

Anyways the original recipe is here.


  • 2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half (I just cut in half and beat them with a meat tenderizer to make them thin.  To each his own)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter   (I used 4 tbsp...6 seemed a little much to me)
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed (you know my stance on capers...I didn't use them)
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  •  Little bit of minced garlic (not in the original recipe but I love garlic)
    Combine flour, salt and pepper in a tray or bowl.  Mix well.
    Coat the chicken in it on both sides.
    Heat a skillet and put in the olive oil and butter.  Melt the butter.
    Add the chicken and fry on both sides until slightly brown.
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 pan.  Place chicken in the pan.
    Take the leftover juices in the skillet and add chicken stock, parsley, garlic and lemon juice.  Mix and cook for about 5 mins on medium/low until slightly reduced.
    Pour the skillet mix onto the chicken.
    Bake for approximately 20-30 mins until chicken is down all the way through.

    Hurricane Sandy

    Living in Northeast Maryland we are all hunkered down right now has Hurricane Sandy is approaching.  I'm also on storm duty so I have to be up all night.  But the benefit I guess is that I can finally get caught up on some posts.

    Friday, October 12, 2012

    Homemade Laundry Detergent ... Lasts almost a whole year!

    Again I know this one isn't a recipe or tailgate related but I wanted to share.  I was at Target the other day and looking for Dreft detergent for the baby's clothes.  OMG!!!!  Are you kidding $20 for a little tub of it! 

    So I decided to "stick it to the big corporations".

    I decided there had to be a better way.

    I went in search of a blog that had the answer.  And I found it.  The link is here.

    Anyways I went in search of the ingredients and set out on a mission!  And it worked!  This is the best soap ever.  No breakouts from the kids, it gets the clothes clean, and its not scented so much that it nauseates you.

    BTW...I made this in July and I barely have used any for a family of 4 and this is October now.  The whole project cost me $13 for the cooke jar (one time cost) and $14-15 for the supplies.


    • (1)  4lb 12ox box of Borax that can be found in the detergent aisle (I found this at Target)
    • (1)  4lb box Arm&Hammer Baking Soda found in the cooking aisle (I found this at ShopRite)
    • (1)  55oz box of Arm&Hammer Super Washing Soda found in detergent aisle (I found this at ShopRite)
    • (2)  bars of Zote soap (I found this at Home Depot)
    • (1)  3lb container of OxyClean (I found this at Target)
    • (1)  Large Cookie Jar with lid


    Grate the Zote soap on a cheese grater.  I have a normal washer.  I've been told for the HE washers to chop it finely in a food processor.

    Take a clean trash bag.

    Dump in all the ingredients and mix around.

    Put into the cooke jar.  Use approximately 2 tbp per large load.  It won't seem like a lot but remember...there's no commercial fillers in this so you don't need a huge scoop.

    Spinach and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

    This is another recipe I found on the Skinnytaste blog.  It was good but I think I needed bigger mushrooms because all my filling kept falling out. 

    The original recipe is found here.


    • 14 oz (1 package) fresh mushrooms (remove stems)
    • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin  (I used minced garlic)
    • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
    • 4 slices center cut bacon (I cheated and used Hormel real bacon bits)
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
    • 2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    Take the stems from the mushrooms and mince them.

    Take the minced stems, garlic and olive oil and saute in skillet for a few minutes.  Add in spinach until it starts to wilt.

    In a bowl, combine skillet contents with the remaining ingredients (minus the actual mushroom caps)

    In a muffin tin place the mushroom caps and stuff with the contents of the bowl.  I found this works great because then the mushrom doesn't slide all over the place with you remove the tray from the oven.

    Cook for 20 mins in oven until slightly browned.

    Grilled Honey Lime Chicken Skewers

    Saw this recipe originally on the blog Cooking Classy.  I adapted it for the skewers since I love using them for tailgates since it means no plates or utensils needed.

    Loved the taste of these.  They went down very smooth and the chicken was really tender.

    The original recipe can be found here.


    • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast halves
    • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (I used the lime juice in the little green container so I guess I cheated a little)
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil  (Iused plain olive oil since I was out of EVOO)
    • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 Tbsp packed light-brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp onion powder
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove finely minced garlic
    • 1/8 - 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I used a little less than 1/8 tsp but I don't like spice)
    Cut the chicken into strips.  Soak wooden skewers if using them.  If metal ones are used no need to soak in water so carry on! :-)
    Throw ingredients and chicken into ziploc bag and marinade for 30 minutes.
    Take chicken out and thread onto skewers.
    Cook on grill on low heat for approximately 10 mins or until cooked through.

    Asian Flank Steak Skewers

    I love love this recipe.  I found it on the blog for Skinnytaste.  Everyone loved this!

    This will be great for tailgate because anything on a stick is easy and doesn't use plates or utensils.

    The original recipe is located here.


    • 1 1/2 lbs flank steak (sliced it to about 1/4 inch)
    • 1 1/2 cups reduced sodium soy sauce (make sure it reduced sodium or you will have a salty mess on your hands...believe me I did that the first time and it was gross)
    • 2 cloves minced garlic
    • 1 tsp fresh ginger (I used the powdered from the pantry)
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • 1 lime juice


    If you are using metal skewers ignore this step.  If you are using wooden skewers then make sure you soak in water for 30 mins.  If not you're going to have a hot mess on your hands and the skewers will catch fire part way through the cooking.  And they you'll char your hands trying to get them off the grill.  Can you tell I've forgotten this step and done that several times before??? :-)

    Cut the steak in the strips.  Mix all the other ingredients together and put the steak and the ingredients in the ziploc bag.  Squish it all around until its coated. 

    Let marinade for 30 mins or more.

    Take out of bag and thread onto the skewers.

    Cook on grill in direct heat on a low setting for about 10 mins give or take until they are cooked to your liking.

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

    Sunday Night Football Menu

    For the Sunday night football game against the Patriots it was a treat because I was able to cook during the day and bring almost all of it down to the tailgate hot and just throw in the chafing dishes.

    On the Menu....

    Slow Cooker/Grilled Baby Back Ribs
    Baltimore Style Pit Beef
    Pit Ham
    Philly Cheesesteak Dip
    BBQ Chicken Wings

    The pit beef and pit ham I cooked on the grill and sliced before I left.  Transported in the cooler and put in the chafing dishes.

    The Baby Back Ribs and BBQ Chicken Wings I cooked in slow cooker all day.  Right before leaving I cooked it on the grill for 5 mins then put in the cooler and threw in the chafing dish.

    Finally I brought a smaller round chafing dish and threw in all the dip ingredients right at tailgate.  Let it melt right then and there.  It was delicious...yum!!!!

    Adventure Time Cake Pops ... They were quite the adventure!

    My daughter wanted to do something on a rainy weekend in September.  So we decided to bust out the cake pop maker and try to do cake pops.  Oh not just any cake pops.  She had watched a YouTube video for Adventure Time cake pops and cupcakes.  So off to JoAnn's we went for candy melts, jelly beans, edible sugar sheets and candy eyes...oh and fondant.

    Cake pops .... not as easy as they look.  Yes they are not perfect but my daughter and i had a great time making them! I found the secret was to dip the stick in the melted candy and then put the pops on and let that harden so they don't fall off.

    I know this isn't tailgating material but I thought they turned out cute.  My favorite was Jake


    • Cake pop mix
    • Cake pop sticks
    • Candy melts of various shades and colors
    • Jelly beans, airheads, candy eyes, fondant and any other edible thing you want to try


    Make the pops according to the box directions.  Put two on a stick once they cool.

    Dip in your favorite colored candy melt.  Decorate with candy.

    Here's a picture of Beemo.  Made from Blue Candy Melts, fondant, edible sugar sheets, and candy confetti.


    Here's a picture of Jake.  Made from yellow candy melts, jelly belly beans and candy eyes.