October 23, 2014

Around the World Party (+3 Delicious Gluten-Free Recipes!)

Recently I had the opportunity to sample several new gluten-free seasoning packets from McCormick. And, with those packets, I decided to try out some new recipes and host an Around the World party. I chose three countries and three recipes and decorated each table according to the cuisine. It was a lot of fun!

For my menu, I made Taco Cups, representing Mexico, Currywurst representing Germany and Stir-Fry Beef & Broccoli, representing China.

I first ate currywurst and chips this past July when we visited Berlin. Yum! I've been wanting to recreate the dish at home since. When I saw the packet of McCormick Gluten Free Chili Seasoning Mix, I knew it would be a great starting point for the recipe. I served the currywurst with a side of chips in individual ramekins. This made for the perfect grab-and-go party food! I decorated my table with a German flag, a globe and some Germany map coloring sheets (for the kiddos!).


1 Package McCormick Gluten Free Chili Seasoning Mix
2 C. Ketchup
1-1/2 C. Water
1 T Curry Powder (or more, to taste)
2 T. Minced Onion
1/2 t. Paprika
1 Package Cooked Kielbasa (2 links)

Slice kielbasa and set aside. Mix ketchup, water, curry, onion, paprika and chili mix and pour into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add kielbasa. Simmer on low for 20 minutes. Serve over oven-baked chips (aka fries).

The next stop in our Around the World food tour was Mexico. And, the McCormick Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning Mix was the perfect place to start.

These zesty taco cups, served in muffin papers, were another great party food. The decor consisted of a map of Mexico and a banner made of mini Mexican flags. Simple and festive!

Taco Cups

1 Package McCormick Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning Mix
3/4 C. Water
1 lb Flank Steak (cut into bite-sized pieces)
1 T. Oil
12 Corn Tortillas
Non-stick Cooking Spray
3/4 C. Refried Beans
3 C. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Small Can Sliced Black Olives
Green Onions, to garnish
Sour Cream, to garnish

Mix water and taco seasoning mix and set aside. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook and stir for 3 to 4 minutes. Add water and taco mix and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Set meat aside.
Spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Tear each tortilla in half and line each muffin form with the two halves. Place the tortilla-lined muffin pan into a 350 degree, pre-heated oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes until tortillas are crisp at the edges. Remove from the oven and place 1 T of refried beans into each cup. Top with a spoonful of meat mixture. Add 1/4 cup of cheese to each muffin. Sprinkle olive slices on top. Bake taco cups for another 8-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove and garnish with green onions and sour cream. Place each taco cup into a muffin liner and serve warm.

China was our last stop, and the food was delicious!

The stir-fried beef and broccoli, made with McCormick Gluten-Free Brown Gravy Mix, was a hit with everyone (my 3-year-old went back for seconds...and then thirds!).

Stir-Fried Beef & Broccoli

1 package McCormick Gluten-Free Brown Gravy Mix
1 Cup Water
1/4 teaspoon McCormick Black Pepper, Coarse Ground
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
3/4 Pound Flank Steak, cut into thin strips
2 cups Broccoli Florets

Mix Gravy Mix, water and pepper in medium bowl. Set aside. Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add beef; cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in broccoli and gravy mixture. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 to 8 minutes or until broccoli is tender-crisp. Serve over cooked rice, if desired.

The party was a lot of fun and totally gluten-free. Yay!! Have you tried these new gluten-free seasoning mixes from McCormick? If so, I'd love to hear your recipe ideas!

Get rid of the gluten, but not the flavor with McCormick Gluten-Free Recipe Mixes! Visit the Recipe Collection at allrecipes.com to discover more flavorful gluten free eating and meal ideas!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of McCormick Gluten-Free Recipe Mix. The opinions and text are all mine.


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October 9, 2014

Black & White Halloween Ideas

Today I'm sharing a round-up of black & white ideas for Halloween, created by some of my favorite crafty friends! For my contribution, I made a trio of printables, especially for this spooooky month. Bats and candy corn and freebies...oh my! 

(Get the set here!)
To see a few other fun black & white ideas and tutorials, click directly on the photos below!

The Happy Housie That's What Che Said... 52 Mantels Bombshell Bling The Cards We Drew Dimple Prints Giggles Galore Girl Loves Glam Giggles Galore Image Map  
Girl Loves Glam | The Happy Housie | That's What {Che} Said | 52 Mantels | Bombshell Bling | The Cards We Drew | Dimple Prints | Giggles Galore

Who's hosting a Halloween bash? These projects make me want to get something planned!


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September 9, 2014

Rustic Shower for a Baby Boy!

Several weeks ago, I hosted a rustic little boy baby shower for one of my dear friends. In fact, it's a friend who I'd previously hosted a bridal shower for almost exactly 2 years ago! Isn't that fun?! I love love love showers and I adore celebrating the special events in life (marriage! babies!). The shower turned out to be so cute and a lot of fun. It almost made me want a baby boy :). 

Last week, I shared the dessert bar with you, which was styled on my brand-new Sauder dresser. You can read all about it here.

My shower co-host was another dear friend who runs a local bakery. She's SO talented and made all the desserts for the party. They were tasty and so pretty! I love the ruffled cake, especially. And, one of her new cupcake flavors is chocolate chip cookie dough. And, yes, it was as good as it sounds! If you live in DFW, check her out here.

Of course, I had to decorate my mantel for the occasion! The cute banner was a Groopdealz find from a vendor called The Paper Shoppe. It looks like blue lettering, but really it's silver letters on kraft paper. So cute!

My friend and I bought a wood burner for the occasion and had fun personalizing some wooden accents for the shower. The mom and dad are Angela & Adam, hence the A2=H (for baby Hamilton). Cute touch, huh?

The lemonade bar was one of my favorite features! We put out a big pitcher of lemonade (plus tea and water) and added fresh fruit and flavored syrups. Everyone made their own lemonade concoctions. Super easy and refreshing!

To keep with our rustic theme, we gathered our mason jars and used those for the drinks. Easy-breezy! The flavored syrups were found at World Market.

The tissue paper garland was an easy craft project and I love how it turned out! In fact, it's still hanging on my chalkboard door :). The tutorial I used is here.

No shower is complete without food. Homemade pimento cheese, chicken salad, veggies and the cutest little individual fruit parfaits made for a yummy spread! We used our wood burner and small wooden tags to label the food.

Another sweet touch was using baby pictures of the mom and dad. We hung these on a chicken wire with a free printable I snagged here. The great thing about this free printable is that it's completely customizable! You get to pick the name, monogram and both colors...and then you print it on cardstock. Such fun, inexpensive party decor!! Plus, it made a nice gift for the new mom to use in the nursery.

Details, details! Basically, we tucked paper flowers, rustic decor or baby's breath everywhere we could! The color palette stayed consistent with navy + neutrals (and the smallest pop of yellow). 

Instead of a game, we printed out color sheets in A-Z. Each attendee colored a page and added a sweet message to the new baby. After the shower, we laminated the sheets and made them into baby's first ABC book. It worked out really well! 

No party is complete without paper favors! For this shower, I made homemade salsa and canned them in little 4oz jars. To complete the look, I designed 2 inch circular labels for the tops. Cute and fairly inexpensive, especially if you find a deal on the jars. Salsa can be made for pennies/ounce. My homemade salsa recipe can be found here.
If you're interested in some Temper Tantrum salsa labels for your upcoming shower, shoot me an email and I'd be happy to customize these for a small fee! 

Don't you just love baby showers?! Now I can't wait to meet baby Hamilton!!


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