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Harry Potter Holiday Party Ideas

Harry Potter Holiday Party Ideas 0

 Once December rolls around, it’s time to start planning parties, especially themed parties! As a Harry Potter fan, I tend to strongly associate Harry Potter with Christmas. I love the imagery of snow gently falling on the brightly decorated Hogwarts and Hogsmeade Village. J.K. Rowling does a masterful job of describing the decadent treats that Hogwarts students hungrily devour during the holiday season and it makes me hungry just reading about all the delicious wizardly confections.
 
                  It has definitely inspired me to host my own Harry Potter Christmas party with as many wizarding treats as I can concoct!
 
                  I love the idea of the Hogwarts Express being the centerpiece of any Harry Potter party! The iconic train takes students to and from school, snaking across the countryside in all its vintage glory. The train is easy to reproduce in cake from when using the Nordic Ware Train Pan. Red velvet faithfully reproduces the train’s scarlet hue and a dusting of powdered sugar tops off the winter wonderland scene! Eating a bite of the Hogwarts is the next best thing to riding it!
 
 
                  Harry and his friends love to eat pumpkin pasties when riding the Hogwarts Express and as a treat at many Hogwarts dinners. As an American, I wasn’t sure what pumpkin pasties were, a misspelling of pastry? But as it turns out, pasties originate from Cornwall and are savory handheld meat pies and were a lunchtime favorite.
                  Most pasties are meat-filled savory pies, which I think makes a fascinating combination with pumpkin. I love the idea of mixing together pumpkin puree, cheddar cheese, garlic, sage and onion powder for an appetizer. Then making a pumpkin pie filling for dessert. It’s the best of both worlds.
                  To get a uniform size, I use the Norpro Mini Pie Mold to fill, cut and seal the mini pasties. Using regular pie dough works with both the savory and sweet pumpkin pasties. If I want bite-sized pumpkin pasties, I use a round ravioli maker to fill and seal the pasties.
                  I wanted to make my cauldron cakes as mini bundt cakes. I made mini chocolate bundt cakes in the Nordic Ware Bundtlette Pan, filled the centers with green chocolate mousse and piped acid green buttercream icing to make the little cakes look like an overflowing cauldron. It’s an easy idea to modify and make your own, plus it tastes delicious!
 
                  As much as I love the baked goodies, every Hogwarts feast needs a main meal! One of Ron’s favorites is roast beef and mashed potatoes with a side of Yorkshire Pudding. Easily roast mouth-watering beef with the Prepara Silicone Roasting Rack. Mashed potatoes are even easier with the Tovolo Potato Masher, we even have red for Gryffindor and blue for Ravenclaw!
                  Yorkshire pudding is fun to make and fun to eat. Similar to American popovers, this delicious side dish is made with a rich, eggy batter that pops over the pan, you can use either a popover or muffin tin. The popovers rise dramatically when they are in the oven and deflate rapidly once they are removed from the oven. They have a hollow center that absorbs gravy and makes a delicious side to roast beef and potatoes.
                  I’m off to start planning and baking my delicious Harry Potter Christmas Party. Let us know in the comments how your recipes and themed parties turned out!
 
Pumpkin pasties ideas came from the Bijouxandbits blog.
  • Jackie Miller
The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe (and the Fun Baking Tools You'll Need)

The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe (and the Fun Baking Tools You'll Need) 0

Whether you’re making the holidays sweet with treats to gift to friends and family or you’recreating confections for fun, this delicious sugar cookie recipe will win the day! Use fun baking tools, like spatulas and measuring cups, to make the job easy and oh so enjoyable! 

 

  • Alan Olmstead
Fun Holiday Products

Fun Holiday Products 0

It’s almost Christmas, a time that brings families together, produces a plethora of baked goodies, and gift exchanges with loved ones.

 

 Set a dramatic dessert table with a snowbound train as the main centerpiece. The Nordic Ware Train Cake Pan evokes sweet memories of decorated Christmas trains and will delight children and adults alike. The heavy-duty non-stick pan bakes up a train with your favorite cake batter, releases easily from the pan and is fun to decorate and eat!
It’s also a fun alternative to making a gingerbread house or a unique addition to a gingerbread village. Get your kids together and have a blast baking and decorating your cake train.
Host a cookie baking party with the Noel Cookie Cutter set! The cute cookie cutters make Santa, an elf, and a reindeer. Mix the batter with a fun Christmas themed spatula, we have Christmas tree and snowflake patterns for extra holiday cheer!
Shopping for a wine lover? They’ll love getting a cute collection of Christmas-themed wine charms. You’ll be the toast of the party when handing out the charms to your guests. The six silicone charms come in six different colors and designs, including Santa, a nutcracker, and snowman! The charms easily attach to the wine stem, so you don’t have to worry about spills or scratches.
 
Do you love unique Christmas kitchen accessories or know someone who does as well? Whether you prefer a roly-poly Santa or adorable snowman, we have spoon rests, salt and pepper shakers and scrubby holders for the enthusiastic holiday and Christmas collector!
  
  • Jackie Miller
Bundt Cakes for Thanksgiving, Christmas and All the Days in Between

Bundt Cakes for Thanksgiving, Christmas and All the Days in Between 0

The Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt Pan has a beautiful spiral design that shows off a Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake with a sticky butter rum glaze. It’s best to find and use a recipe that integrates fresh vanilla bean pods for get exceptional flavor. A butter rum sauce really sets off the flavor and the spiral shape of the cake is sure to wow family and guests!
A hearty caramel apple bundt cake becomes a stunning dessert showpiece when it’s baked in the Nordic Ware Crown Bundt Pan. The nooks and crannies of the crown bundt cake soak up your caramel glaze that pairs beautifully with an apple spice bundt cake. This is sure to wow guests at the Thanksgiving table and have them clamoring for seconds.
 
The clean lines and elegant design of the Nordic Ware Anniversary Gold Bundt Panmakes it a delight to bake a cranberry orange bundt cake. Sprinkle candied cranberries on the top and base of the bundt cake for the perfect Christmas cake!
While this last pan is not a traditional bundt pan, it’s sure to start a family baking tradition! The Nordic Ware Gingerbread Cakelets Moldbakes six bite-sized gingerbread figures that kids will love to help make, decorate and eat! Dust off your favorite gingerbread cake recipe and start baking these delightful mini cakes with your kids today!
We’d love to hear what cake recipes you use with your bundt pans and which bundt pan shapes you prefer to use when baking holiday cakes!
  • Jackie Miller
Hello, Fall: 8 Coffee & Tea Accessories to Warm You Up

Hello, Fall: 8 Coffee & Tea Accessories to Warm You Up 0

The best way to usher in the fall is to prepare yourself with all things cozy. It's the perfect time to stock up on coffee and tea accessories so that you can enjoy a warm cuppa during cool mornings or chilly evenings. Check out some new gadgets that will make this job easier while you're at it. Once the mercury drops in earnest, you'll be glad for the ability to make coffee, tea, or hot chocolate!

1. A Stirring Tea Infuser

loch ness monster tea infuser

Why not let the Loch Ness Monster infuse your cuppa with flavor? Tea infusers are handy for steeping loose leaf tea and tea bags. That you can also use the OTOTO Baby Nessie Tea Infuser to stir your beverage is just a bonus.

2. The Perfect Kettle

white tea kettle

A kettle is one of the most essential tea accessories you can have if you enjoy your daily dose. Add to your kitchen decor with Chantal's vintage tea kettle, featuring durable—and comely—enamel and steel.

3. Your Own French Press

white french press

Perhaps you need something a bit stronger to get going in the morning. In that case, start collecting coffee accessories to feed your vice. Make your next cup in a French press, and you'll never want coffee any other way.

4. Something for Your Honey

honeycomb-shaped honey container

No, you don't have to buy something for your love-bug—although you certainly can. However, flavoring your tea with honey is easy-peasy with a handy honey jar and dipper. No mess, no muss, no fuss!

5. Convenient Tea Filters

tea filters

Not everyone wants a tea infuser hanging out in their mug. No problem! Just snag a box of tea filters. Stuff a bag full of your favorite loose leaf tea, then let the bag dangle in your cup. Once you're done, just toss the whole thing.

6. A Scuba Pal

scuba guy tea infuser

Of course, some folks love nothing more than stuffing a proper infuser with their favorite leaves. Try a fun scuba guy, who comes with his own little raft. It's one of the cutest tea accessories you can own, and unlike Nessie, it merely sinks down to the bottom of the cup and steeps in peace.

7. A Milk Frother

hand milk frother

Forget about going to the coffee shop every morning. Invest in coffee accessories that allow you to make your favorite gourmet drinks at home. With a milk frother, you can enjoy the creamiest lattes without spending money every day.

8. A Single-Serve Coffee Maker

single-cup coffee maker

Why not invest in kitchen tools that make your life easier? You can use a single-cup machine to brew coffee or tea. There are no pods, which is better for the environment, and you won't waste a whole pot of coffee.

Tongs n' Things has all the tea accessories you need. How do you prepare your cuppa? Which gadgets are you eager to try?

  • Alan Olmstead
Homemade Hummus Recipe

Homemade Hummus Recipe 0

Why get store bought hummus when you can make delicious hummus at home for a fraction of the price?

Hummus is a creamy, delicious dip packed with fiber and protein. The two main ingredients are chickpeas and tahini, which you blend together for a no-frills hummus. Since you are making the hummus from scratch, it’s easy to customize the flavors to your liking. You can make roasted garlic, caramelized mushroom and onion, basil pesto, and since it’s Autumn right now you can even try your hand at a pumpkin hummus! The flavor possibilities are endless and are only dictated by the type of hummus you want to eat.

The fastest way to whip up a batch of hummus is using canned chickpeas. You are welcome to use dried chickpeas, but you have to rehydrate them first. They have to be soaked in water overnight (use twice as much water as you think you will need, the chickpeas absorb a lot of water), then boiled to a mushy softness the next day.

Tahini is now fairly easy to find in stores, I picked up my jar of Tahini at Trader Joe’s.

 

Basic Hummus Recipe:

1 (15oz) can of chickpeas, drain but save the chickpea water

¼ cup of tahini

¼ cup lemon juice

1 to 2 cloves of garlic

¼ to ½ cup Reserved chickpea water

 

(I have the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and water all dumped into the food processor. I love how easy it was to blend everything into a creamy dip) 

Simmer the drained chickpeas until they get tender and start to fall apart, I simmered them for about 10 minutes. This helps get a really smooth and creamy hummus.

To get a well-blended hummus, use a food processor or blender, if using a blender add more water. The mixture may get too thick for the blender. Add the water first, then the chickpeas and the tahini. Blend and then blend some more, you want a light and creamy hummus.  

This picture shows the hummus almost finished being blended. It’s not as creamy and smooth as it could, so I blended it some more for a smooth, creamy texture and taste.

If you are serving the hummus right away, drizzle a little olive oil and if you feel like it, crack some sea salt and peppercorns over the hummus for an extra kick.

Store the hummus in the fridge, it will last about a week.

I love eating hummus with pita bread and also using it as a sandwich spread, which adds a wonderfully nutty note to my sandwiches.

Now that you have the basic recipe what flavor combinations will you make? I’m going to try roasted garlic and maybe a spinach artichoke hummus for my next batch of hummus.

 

Recipe inspired by BudgetBytes Blog

  • Jackie Miller