Monday, July 18, 2011

{What's Cooking?} Double Chocolate S'mores Cupcakes

 No summer is complete without a few S'mores filled nights, especially if children are involved. While I have indulged in my share of the original form, I just recently tried my hand at the newly popular cupcake version. The other week I came across an original s'mores cupcake recipe over at Martha Stewart from Jennifer Shea of Trophy Cupcakes.  While Jennifer's recipe is AMAZING, I wanted to simplify her version, making it a little easier for my kids to help out with the preparation process and allowing us more time to enjoy the yummy treat. I combined Jennifer's graham cracker/chocolate crust and topping with a box of Devil's Food Cake and an easy-to-whip-up Marshmallow Frosting. Here is what I came up with:

Double Chocolate S'mores Cupcakes

- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 20 squares...I used my food processor)
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- miniature Hersey bars
- 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips, coarsely chopped
- 1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix
- 1 8 ounce container Marshmallow Cream
- 3/4 cup softened butter
- about 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl. Stir until combined.
- Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup and pack using the bottom of a small glass. Reserve the remaining graham cracker mixture for the topping.

- Place a miniature Hersey bar in each muffin cup on top of graham cracker crust. Place muffin tins in the oven for about 5 minutes, until crust is golden and chocolate is melted (the chocolate may hold its shape...just spread the melted chocolate out over the graham cracker crust). Remove tins from the oven.

- Prepare Devil's Food Cake mix as directed and fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full with cake mixture.
- Combine remaining graham cracker mixture with chopped chocolate chips and sprinkle over each muffin tin, completely covering the top.

- Return muffin tins to the oven and bake for about 18-20 minutes, until tops are firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place muffins on a wire rack to cool completely.

- Prepare Marshmallow Frosting: Mix 8 oz of Marshmallow Cream with softened butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla using an electric mixer on low speed until thick and creamy. Top cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting and Enjoy!

* A facebook follower suggested filling the cupcakes with the Marshmallow Frosting instead of topping them with it. I love this idea as well!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Homespun Hostess Giveaway Winner....

This week's Giveaway winner is Kimbra. Congratulations to you and a special thank you to Sara of The Homespun Hostess for sponsoring this week's Giveaway!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Go Green!

Want your next Shindig (and all of the others to follow) to be Sheek and eco-friendly? Investing in some basic reusable party goods is a great way to begin your future of Green Entertaining. Not only will these reusable party items save you money in the long-run, but they are earth-friendly as well. Double score! has some great suggestions for a starter kit:

Image: Parents
Durable plastic tumblers:
Melamine divided plates:
Cloth drawstring good bags:
Fabric banner:
Felt party hats:

Monday, July 11, 2011

{What's Cooking?} Ice Cream Cone Cakes!

Here's a fun twist for your next Ice Cream Party: Ice Cream Cone Cakes! Get the look of an ice cream cone without worrying about the melted mess. I want one!

Image: My Recipes

These would be perfect for a summer party, playdate, or just because you want to brighten someone's day. They will definitely be making an appearance at our house before the end of the summer! Here's how you can make some to enjoy yourself:
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • 10 flat-bottomed ice-cream cones
  • Frosting (see recipe, below)
  • Optional: colored sprinkles, 10 maraschino cherries with stems
- Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
- Beat butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat at low speed after each addition just until blended. Stir in vanilla. Add egg white, mixing well.
- Fill cones to within 1/2 inch of the top; carefully place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes; cool completely on wire racks. Spread evenly with Frosting. Top with colored sprinkles and a cherry, if desired.

Frosting Recipe:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add buttermilk; beat until spreading consistency. Stir in vanilla.

Recipe and images from

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Homespun Hostess Giveaway!

I apologize for my absence this past week. Keeping 3 precious kids occupied for the summer is hard work (and lots of fun!). I am still trying to figure out my summer "work" schedule. Anyway, this week's GIVEAWAY is a great one sponsored by Sara of The Homespun Hostess. A few months ago I featured two of Sara's fabulous parties, a Cupcake Themed Party and  A Candy Shoppe Party. Not only can Sara put together an amazing party, but she also offers adorable printed party papers and digital DIY party collections in her Etsy shop to help make your next Shindig a fabulous one!

Sara is generously offering this week's Giveaway winner a free printed or printable party package of their choice. Pretty awesome, huh! There are so many great themes to choose from, whether you want to host a summer Pool Party, an Under the Sea Birthday Party, or a Backyard BBQ! Visit The Homespun Hostess Etsy Shop, here, to check out everything that Sara has to offer.

To enter this week's Giveaway, become a follower of the Sheek Shindigs blog if you aren't already and...

1. Visit The Homespun Hostess esty shop and leave a comment here.

2. Become a follower of The Homespun Hostess on facebook.

3. Become a follower of Sheek Shindigs on facebook.

You may enter to win up to 3 times. This Giveaway will be open for entries until Thursday, July 14th at midnight. A random winner will be chosen and announced on Friday, July 15th. Good luck and as always, thanks for following!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pottery Barn's Entertaining Ideas

As a HUGE Pottery Barn fan, I am always thumbing through the season's newest catalog for great decorating and entertaining ideas. I was recently looking at their online site when I came across the Pottery Barn Entertaining Ideas section. Have you seen this? They offer some great entertaining ideas which include themes, a party overview, how-to's, recipes, invitations, videos...even a playlist! It is worth stopping by and checking it out, here. Here are a few of my favorite themes:

Mojitos and Tacos

A Wine and Cheese Tasting

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Red, White, & Blue Polka Dotted Breakfast Celebration

I am excited to finally be able to share the 4th of July Breakfast Celebration that I created to inspire you for the upcoming holiday. I wanted to create something that was patriotic, fun, budget friendly, and easy to re-create. Since breakfast is a favorite in our house, I decided to design a 4th of July Breakfast Celebration. After all, what better way to start your July 4th celebrations than with a fun and patriotic breakfast with your family!

I created this Red, White, and Blue Polka Dotted Breakfast table by using items that I already had at home (small blue-rimmed plates, white milk glasses, red ribbon, red and white striped napkins, blue polka dotted fabric, a white and blue striped pitcher) and some inexpensive extras (white and blue striped straws, marching children cupcake wrappers, fun candles, gumballs). Then I dressed up some of my kids favorite breakfast foods with a little red, white, and blue flair to turn them into the stars of this patriotic breakfast party.

To liven-up our outdoor table, I used blue and white polka dot fabric that I already had (from my son’s pirate themed party last fall) to make place mats and beverage towels. For a fun table centerpiece, I filled a glass apothecary jar with red, white, and blue gumballs. So inexpensive and super easy! I used small canning jars dressed up with star wire garland (bought at my local craft store for $1.49) for vases at each place setting and used freshly cut hydrangeas from my garden to dress up the table.

The breakfast menu featured homemade blueberry muffins with a dollop of whipped cream on top, cinnamon buns sprinkled with red, white, and blue, a patriotic fruit and yogurt parfait, mini waffles, and fresh fruit. I added candles to the muffins and cinnamon buns for a little something “extra” that reflected the spirit of the 4th!

My two youngest are still not ready to handle the traditional 4th of July sparklers so I created these kid-friendly "sparklers" for the kids to play with and enjoy. They are extremely easy to re-create and very budget friendly. Wouldn't they be cute as party favors?! Check out the DIY tutorial, here.

And lastly, I set up a decorative metal flag that we already had in our home to serve as a photo backdrop for the celebration. You could re-create this by using an actual American flag or by simply providing small flags for your guests to hold while they have their photo taken. My two youngest cuties thought that this part was so much fun and I will cherish this photo for many years to come.

Feeling inspired to create your own July 4th shindig now? I hope so!

A special thank you to Kerri Gibbs of With Love Photography and Design for taking all of the amazing photos! Kerri was great to work with and made this celebration set-up really shine. Thank you, Kerri!

Vendor Information:

- Design, set-up, tablescape, baked goods, DIY Sparklers - Sheek Shindigs
- Cupcake wrappers, candles, and wooden cutlery – Sheek Shindigs Party Shop

JP Creatibles Giveaway Winner....

Congratulations to this week's JP Creatibles Giveaway winner, Lindsay. I would love to see what you end up using your credit towards. Happy Celebrating!