Thursday, June 28, 2012

Canada Day and Fourth of July Fireworks!

With Canada Day and Independence Day around the corner, I just wanted to remind everyone how to set up a fireworks display, and the safety precautions needed when handling fireworks.  Enjoy the party!! 


Remember what fireworks were like when we were young?  They've come a long way from the days of the Burning School House.  Fireworks that are available to the general public nowadays are actually quite impressive and reasonably affordable.  Here are some tips for setting off the most impressive fireworks display.  
  1. Get as many people involved as possible (friends, neighbors, family).  More people pitching in, means more fireworks.
  2. Lay your fireworks out in a row, on a table or on the ground, and spend some time organizing a firing order.  You can let your guests get involved in this part.  You want to start off with a fairly big bang to get your audiences attention.  Then shoot off your smallest fireworks, gradually getting bigger and louder as you go.  Now, throw in your second most impressive firework and call that your pre grand finale, after it goes off pause for about 10 seconds.  This will have everyone thinking that the show is over start back up with a few more small to medium fireworks.  Then, all at once, set off the big guns and this will be the grand finale that will make everyone's jaws drop.  
  3. Get set up while it's still light out.  Set chairs/blankets out at a safe distance.  Line up all your fireworks in their proper firing order, set up, and ready to ignite.
  4. This is a great idea: use a road flare to ignite the wicks, you can get a road flare at any automotive store and they are only about $5.  Road flares burn for about 20 minutes, which is plenty of time to light all your fire works, they give off a lot of light, and they add about a foot to your reach.  One more advantage to using the flare is it won't blow out with the wind and that is important for timing.
  5. Be safe, have fun, and enjoy the show!!     

Vesna ♥

Friday, June 22, 2012

Canada Day Food - Appetizers, Snacks, Desserts, and Drinks

Canada Day is on it's way!  It's not necessary to have a formal dinner when celebrating any particular event.  Money and time spent, not to mention the stress of it all is not worth it.  So just do up some appetizers, snacks, some desserts, and drinks, and get the party under way!  Scroll below and prepare these for your Canada Day party.


At my Canada Day party last year, I cut up some red bell peppers, arranged some of the peppers in the shape of a maple leaf in the middle of the platter, and thick solid  lines on either side to create the Canada flag.  Serve with ranch dipping sauce or Greek yogurt.  This was a healthy appetizer that everyone loved and still talk about to this day!!

Below are little sandwiches I made for the party.  I happened to find some maple leaf-shaped cookie cutters in my kitchen drawer from a bridal shower gift one year.  I knew they would come in handy!  Just use white Wonder Bread and fill the sandwiches with Philadelphia Cream Cheese (original - whipped) and strawberry jam.  So good!  I'm craving it right now!!!


Red pistachios and jordan almonds can be served as snacks.  And don't forget the ketchup chips!


Serve red and white fruits: raspberries, cherries, strawberries, watermelon, dragon fruit, and pineberries (strawberries that taste like pineapples).


Make these patriotic desserts, you'll have everyone singing, "Oh Canada!" 

Start off with something simple.  Dip strawberries in white chocolate, and then dip into red sprinkles.

savvy mom

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

Oh She Glows


·         Homemade or store-bought graham crackers
·         1 tub non-dairy cream cheese (or regular if you prefer)
·         1/2 cup- 3/4 cup icing sugar (confectioner’s)
·         2 vanilla beans or 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
·         1 pint strawberries, hulled and diced
·         Sugar, for sprinkling

1. Make your homemade graham crackers in advance or simply purchase graham crackers from the store.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Slowly add the icing sugar to taste. Add in a couple scraped vanilla beans and maple extract or a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice if you prefer. Store in fridge. You can also make this in advance!
3. Hull a pint of strawberries and dice.
4. Lay your graham crackers onto a large serving plate and spread with cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle on diced strawberries and sugar.
Notes: The homemade graham cracker recipe made about 13-15 maple leafs, so you may want to double the batch. I had leftover cream cheese frosting, so 1 tub should cover about 25 maple leafs depending on how much you use.
Be sure to bake your graham crackers a couple minutes longer (I think I baked mine for 17-18 minutes) so they were extra crispy once cooled. That ensures that the cream cheese frosting won’t make the cracker get soggy (it will get a bit soft after 20-30 minutes, but not too much).
Cosmopolitan Slushy
Susan Quick, Real Simple


·         10 ounce (1 1/4 cups) citrus-flavored vodka
·         1/2 cup Rose's lime juice
·         2 cups cranberry juice 
·         4 ice cube trays



1.      Combine vodka, lime juice, and cranberry juice in a pitcher with 2 cups water and stir to blend. Divide between ice cube trays and freeze at least 4 hours or overnight (the drink cubes will freeze only partially). Just before serving, empty trays into a large bowl and using a fork, break up cubes to loosen ice crystals (the ice will be slushlike). Spoon slush into tall stemmed glasses and serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Camping Birthday Party - Cake

Birthday's are exciting - you get to see all your friends and family, watch the joy on the kids faces as they play and open presents, and most of all, eat cake!!!
When attending a birthday party, I would say that the birthday cake is what I look most forward too, and it's not just sinking my teeth into that yummy, sugary frosting that gets me excited, it's the presentation.  Below is the cake that was made for our toddler's camping birthday party.

Cake By Kristen

In my research, I've come across some other people's fun camping desserts.

Kitchen Bliss

Sarah McHenry @

Icing Adventures

Rate My Cake

Cakes By Kali

Cake Picture Gallery

Sandy's Creative Cakes

My Girlish Whims

Bump Smitten

Hope this inspires you to get creative for hosting your camping birthday party!

Vesna ♥ 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Father's Day Gifts

Only a couple of more shopping days left until Father's Day!!  If you're like me, you'll wait until the very last minute and rush out the door Sunday morning.  Below are a few of my favourite gift ideas:

Stake Barbecue Tool
Buy At:
Price:  $30

Roller Rock Glass
Buy At:
Price:  $21

Buy At:
Price:  $32 (Anthony Logistics Shave Kit)

The Original "WORLD'S" Professional Tour Poker Table Set 
Buy At:
Price:  $159

Nespresso CitiZ Automatic Espresso Maker and Milk Frother
Buy At:
Price:  $299

Canon 8 X 25 IS Binoculars
Buy At:
Price:  $360

Armani Exchange Black Ceramic Chronograph Watch 
Buy At:
Price:  $350


Bedhead Mens Light Blue Plaid Cotton Sateen Pajamas
Buy At:
Price:  $138

Game of Thrones - Season 1
Buy At:
Price:  $40

Have a great Father's day everyone!

♥ Vesna ♥

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Camping Birthday Party - Food

The simpler the better is what I suggest for camping-inspired parties.  Go for the classic hotdogs and hamburgers, you can never go wrong.  But if you want a little twist to the traditional, try these recipe's:

BBQ Feta and Hot Banana Pepper Turkey Burgers
By: Jena-Rator

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Ready In: 25 mins
Servings: 4


1 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup seeded, chopped banana peppers
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste


1.  Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.
2.  In a bowl, mix the turkey, peppers, and feta cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.  Form the mixture into four patties.
3.  Cook patties about 8 minutes per side on the prepared grill, to an internal temperature of 180°F (85°C).

Grilled Spicy Lamb Burgers
By:  Alan Hollister

Prep Time:  15 mins
Cook Time:  10 mins
Ready In:  25 mins
Servings:  4


1 pound ground lamb
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon sherry
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon molasses
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 ground black pepper
2 pita bread rounds
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled


1.  Preheat grill for medium heat.
2.  Place the lamb in a large bowl, and mix with the mint, cilantro, oregano, garlic, sherry, vinegar, and molasses.  Season with cumin, allspice, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper - mix well.  Shape into 4 patties.
3.  Brush grill grate with oil.  Grill burgers 5 minutes on each side, or until well done.  Heat the pita pocket briefly on the grill.  Serve burgers wrapped in pitas with feta cheese.

Chicago-Style Hot Dog
By: bonmot

Prep Time:  10 mins
Cook Time:  5 mins
Ready In:  15 mins
Serving(s):  1

1 all-beef hot dog
1 poppyseed hot dog bun
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon sweet green pickle relish
1 tablespoon chopped onion
4 tomato wedges
1 dill pickle spear
2 sport peppers
1 dash celery salt


1.  Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, place hot dog in water, and cook for 5 minutes or until done.  Remove hot dog and set aside.  Carefully place a steamer basket into the pot and steam the hot dog bun 2 minutes or until warm.
2.  Place hot dog in the steamed bun.  Pile on the toppings in this order: yellow mustard, sweet green pickle relish, onion, tomato wedges, pickle spear, sport peppers, and celery salt.  The tomatoes should be nestled between the hot dog and the top of the bun.  Place the pickle between the hot dog and the bottom of the bun.  Don't even think about ketchup!

Bon Appetit!

♥ Vesna ♥

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Camping Birthday Party - More and More S'mores

A camping-themed party is not a party without those delicious treats that we've all come to know and love, S'mores!  They are so simple to make and such an important part of the whole camping experience.  All you need is:

1 large marshmallow 
1 graham cracker
2 to 4 pieces of a chocolate bar (try Cadbury's Dairy Milk, Neilson's Jersey Milk, or Hershey's Skor Bar).  

Before you start roasting your marshmallow, have your graham crackers and chocolate ready.  Place the pieces of chocolate on one graham cracker, set the other graham cracker aside.
Now, heat the marshmallow over an open flame until it starts to brown the edges and melt.  
Pick up your graham cracker with chocolate and place the marshmallow on top.  Quickly grab the other graham cracker and sandwich the marshmallow in on top of the chocolate.  
Allow the marshmallow to cool before eating.

Instead of making s'mores by the fire, you can opt for a simpler version, the s'more trail mix.  Here's the recipe by Betty Crocker:

2 cups of Golden Grahams Cereal
1/2 cup of small chocolate-covered pretzel twists
1/2 cup of miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup of cocoa roasted almonds
1/4 cup chocolate-covered raisins

S'mores for dessert anyone?  Try this s'mores-inspired cupcake recipe from Annie's Eats:

1 1/2 cups graham crackers (approx. 1 pkg out of the Honeymaid box)
1/4 cup sugar
5 T unsalted butter, melted
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
Marshmallows (you'll need about 100 mini marshmallows)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. In food processor, pulse graham crackers until they are fine crumbs. Add sugar and melted butter and mix until well combined. Add approximately 1 tablespoon of crumbs to the bottom of each liner. Use a small circle object (I used a shot glass) to press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of each liner. Bake for 5 minutes and remove from the oven. Divide the chopped chocolate evenly among the cupcakes. Add approximately 4 marshmallows to each tin.

2 cups plus 2 T sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt in your mixing bowl. In a small bowl, add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and whisk together. Add to dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Increase speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add boiling water and beat on low until just combined.

Spoon batter evenly into cupcake liners, filling each about 3/4 of the way full. The marshmallows will float to the top but that's okay. Bake approximately 18 - 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcake comes out clean. Cool for about 5 minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

8 egg whites, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large Hershey bar
In a clean stainless steel mixing bowl or double boiler, combine egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar. Whisk frequently, heating the mixture over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 160 degrees. Transfer egg mixture to stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Begin mixing at low speed, gradually increasing to medium-high speed as the mixture becomes thicker. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Add in the vanilla and mix until just combined. Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and frost as desired.

Using a kitchen torch held about 6 inches away from the cupcakes on a non-flammable surface, brown the cupcakes lightly as desired. Keep the torch moving so you don't catch any spot on fire. Just like toasting marshmallows by a campfire, slow and steady is a better approach than sticking the marshmallow to close to the fire, you're going for lightly toasted frosting not black and bubbly marshmallow. Garnish with chocolate bar segments.

Enjoy all the s'mores recipes!  I know you will!

♥ Vesna ♥