Category: Desserts

How to host an easy, unique and FUN dinner party for under $10!

What can you do with some broccoli, a box of refrigerated pie crust and an egg?

Before I tell you the answer….Have you ever noticed how much everyone loves a mystery?  Right? The element of surprise is a necessary ingredient in almost every area of our lives.  We need mystery and fun and surprise to keep us from living a life of boredom.  Books and movies are perfect examples…there is always a PLOT TWIST!  And…if there isn’t?  Well, we know we can count on that book or movie being a flop.

This unique dinner party is just the thing for dinner party boredom.  It has mystery and fun written all over it.  And best of all you get to join in the fun instead of slaving away!

So…back to the broccoli, pie crust and egg question.  The mystery of this party is to have your guests bring the groceries.  Yep!  You read it right!  You give each guest a list of 3 or so items that should cost no more than $10 total.  You mix up the items so they are wondering “what the heck?”  For example:  broccoli, pie crust and an egg.  Everyone is instructed to arrive with their groceries at a specific time so the party can get started.  This is where it gets even more fun and also where the creativity kicks in.  No matter how specific you are on the shopping lists you give out …and I do recommend that you be very specific…inevitably you get something that is different than you expected and you are forced to use creativity to come up with an alternative plan.  Other variables are… missing ingredients due to missing guests or other unforeseen or unplanned for things. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have a few key items in back up just in case and it is really important that you confirm with your guests that they will be there, be on time, and bring their items.

This particular party menu was an appetizer made of a block of cream cheese with pesto sauce poured over it served with baguette slices, followed by a mixed green salad and a create your own pasta bar. For dessert we made apple dumplings that we served with ice cream.  I chose items that could be used in multiple courses and dishes.  For example the store bought pesto was used for the appetizer and also in the pasta sauce, there were a few leftover crackers from our appetizer that I crumbled into the salad and the dried cranberries were served as part of our appetizer platter, in the salad and even as a garnish with the dessert!

The important part is to make a plan and then be flexible in how your plan plays out.  Make sure that everyone is involved doing something whether it be setting the table, stirring or chopping etc. You can even let them find the dishes, silverware, platters etc. If you see someone standing around give them a task even if they don’t ask!  I promise you everyone wants to be a part of the fun!  Remember it is all about the fun!

I really hope you will take this idea and run with it and if it sounds like fun yet is more than you want to take on…you are always welcome to hire me to plan and execute it for you!  I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do than have a party or help you with yours.

Oh and in case you are still wondering what we did with the broccoli, pie crust and egg…the broccoli was steamed and used as one of the ingredients for our pasta bar, the pie crust was used for the apple dumplings and the egg was beaten and used to “wash” the apple dumplings to give them a crackly glaze.  Mystery is now solved and it’s on to the next one.  What will your next mystery dinner menu be?

Here is to adding a dash of mystery and a bit of fun to your next dinner party,

Suzi 🙂







Easy Toffee Pretzel Bark – A fabulous gourmet snack!


Toffee Pretzel Bark

Toffee Pretzel Bark

This makes a great party snack. Serve in baskets or put in small treat bags tied with ribbons. You can also use colored candy melts to coordinate with the occasion. I sometimes use colored sprinkles in place of the toffee.


  • 5 cups mini pretzel twists
  • 1 1/2 white chocolate candy melts (approximately 10 oz.)
  • 2/3 cup toffee bits


  1. Line a 1/2 sheet baking pan (13" x 18") with parchment
  2. Spread pretzels evenly over the parchment, they will overlap slightly
  3. Pretzels on parchment
  4. Heat white chocolate candy melts in microwave on high for 1 minute, stir, heat for an additional 30 seconds, stir until smooth
  5. With a large spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the pretzels
  6. Sprinkle toffee bits evenly over the chocolate
  7. Allow to cool
  8. Break apart and serve or store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag
  9. Toffee Pretzel Bark in bags
  10. Enjoy!
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How to make “Apple Dumplings” an Easy and Classy Dessert!

Don’t be fooled…these Apple Dumplings look difficult….. but they are soooooo easy!  Just watch and see….

Apple Dumplings close up

Apple Dumplings with Raspberry Sauce

*Raspberry Sauce In a small saucepan, mix 1 12 oz. package frozen raspberries (unsweetened) and 2/3 cup sugar. Cook over medium heat until boiling...mix 1/3 cup water and 1 Tablespoon corn starch together, stir into boiling raspberries and sugar, stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly. Mixture will continue to thicken as it cools.


  • 6 Rome Beauty Apples (or other)
  • 2 Packages refrigerated pie crust rolls (4 crusts total)
  • 1 cube (1/2 cup) softened butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 Tablespoon water


  1. Remove crusts from the refrigerator
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  3. Peel and core apples - cut the bottom of the apple about 1/4 inch so it will sit flat
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon
  5. Fill the hollowed cores with the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon mixture
  6. Cut 3 of the crusts in half, roll each into a ball, knead until until mixed together
  7. Using a rolling pin, on a lightly floured surface (granite counter works great), roll out to about 8 inches in diameter (so it will cover the apple completely)
  8. Cut 6 small pieces of the remaining crust, about 1 1/2 inches square, place on the top of each filled apple, covering the core
  9. Place apple upside down in center of dough circle
  10. Carefully wrap and pinch dough around the apple making sure dough overlaps a the bottom
  11. Place apples, pinched side down, on a baking sheet
  12. Using a pastry brush, brush with egg wash (egg/water mixture)
  13. Using a sharp knife, cut out 12 leaves, "score" each leaf with a line down the center and marks to resemble leaves
  14. Roll 6 small pieces of dough to resemble stems, pinch and flatten at one end
  15. On top of each apple, place a "stem" and 2 "leaves"
  16. Brush leaves and stem with egg wash
  17. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes
  18. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes until apples are soft and crust is golden
  19. Serve with
  20. *Raspberry Sauce and vanilla ice cream, if desired
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I hope you will push out of your comfort zone and make these “Classy” Apple Dumplings!  Remember, if you can dream it… You can do it….and I just showed you how!  You can do this!  Confidence comes with practice!  You’ve heard the saying….If at first you don’t succeed….try, try, again!

Helping people gain confidence in the kitchen is my dream!  I’ve put off doing this because I was scared 🙁  I may look confident but to be honest….putting myself out there like this is SCARY!  I’m taking my own advice and just doing it!

My greatest desire is that you find your passion and “just do it”

Yours in living your passion,