4 Simple Halloween Treats

I just realized Halloween is creepin’ up on me (ha, get it!), and I almost started to stress about. I mean, what cute treats am I going to make this year? What adorable crafts will I think of? Who knows (really), only time will tell. I’m totally last minute lately but instead of freaking out, I ‘m just sort of rolling with it.

The good news is, I have a few great Halloween treats already here on the blog for you. I bet you’re nothing like me, and totally ahead of the game.

So, if you’re looking for something cute to make the kiddos, or prepping a party and looking for Halloween party food–I’ve got you covered with these four ideas. They are really easy to make (and you can even cheat and buy store bought cupcakes like I did!). Just click the links at the bottom to go to the individual recipe.

Halloween Treats

Halloween Ghost Cupcakes  | Mini Pumpkin Milkshakes | Monster Eye Lollipops | Cyclops Mini Cupcakes

Will one of these four sweet treats make a debut at your Halloween party? If you make any of them, be sure to share a photo on Instagram and tag me (@HostessTori) so I can check them out! 

DIY Ice Cream Cone Wrappers

Fall, schmall. It might be mid September but here in So Cal it’s 97 degrees. And honestly, even if it was cooler, I believe ice cream is a year-round treat. Are you with me?

DIY Ice Cream Come Wrappers

I’m always looking for simple ways to add a fun touch to things and that’s how I came up with these easy ice cream cone wrappers. In under 5 minutes you can transform an ordinary ice cream cone into a unique one! All you need to do is print them, cut them out, and wrap them around the cone. Simple :) They would also be fun if you’re hosting an ice cream party! (more…)

6 Things your party guests want you to know

tori-tait

I love to play hostess. Inviting people into my home and welcoming them with food and drink is my love language. But not everyone feels natural in that role–I totally get it. In fact, for many of you, the idea of all that planning, prepping, and entertaining might make you feel completely overwhelmed. Heck, that’s the reason I started this blog back in 2007! I want to share tips and inspiration that takes out the overwhelm and leaves you confident and excited to send out those invites or to cook up a special weeknight meal.

But, even I am guilty of the occassional overthinking, overplanning, and overextending myself (just ask my husband and kids!). And I’ll admit I may have had my share of  “company is coming” freak-out moments. But despite the slip ups, overall, I like to keep things simple which translates into a less-stressed hostess and a more welcoming atmosphere for your guests.

So, as you start planning those inevitable holiday gatherings I urge you to try your best to keep things as simple as you can and take pressure off of yourself to “do it all” or make everything “prefect.”

Believe me, you’ll be a better hostess and your guests will have an even better time. In fact, here are a few things your guests wish you knew.

guests

1. They are thankful you are hosting (and they don’t have to)

They didn’t have to make sure their toilets were clean, they had drink ice on hand, or have to be the ones cleaning up tonight’s mess, tomorrow. So basically you’re already their favorite person because you’re willing to host at your home.

2. They can’t tell if you baked the pie or if it came from the store

They won’t be able to tell one way or the other so make it easy on yourself and grab food at the market. Just take it out of the packaging and present it in a thoughtful way. (You know, like Sarah Jessica Parker did in I Don’t Know How She Does It.)

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Mini Cheesecake Bites

I have a little confession: I was always scared to bake a cheesecake. I am not sure why, really. I guess I just assumed it was tricky, required a special pan, and was going to taste bad. But none of those things are true. This simple recipe for mini cheesecake bites is my proof. I am so glad I decided to develop this recipe because it was easy and the reward was delicious!

Mini Cheesecake Bites

I wanted to come up with a creative dessert that was easy to make but would impress guests at our recent family dinner party. I like being able to serve bite-sized desserts on a platter so guests can take one (or two) and pass them around. This also works out really well for the dishwasher, because there is less to clean up after everyone has gone home.

cheesecakes bites

Gather a few ingredients and get ready to bake (you’ll find the full recipe below). Don’t be intimidated (like I was) at the idea of making your own cheesecake from scratch. I promise it wasn’t difficult and it tastes way much better than the no bake-versions I had tried in the past. The star is the Philadelphia Cream Cheese which is made with, fresh milk, real cream, and no preservatives – nothing else tastes like it.

cheesecake

See, no special pan! I simply lined an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. You’ll want to let it overhang about 2″ on each side so you can later “lift” the baked cheesecake out of the dish. If your parchment paper isn’t big enough, just use two pieces that criss-cross the pan. The bottom part of the dish will be your graham cracker crust layer. Then, you’ll pour in the creamy cheesecake mixture on top before putting it in the oven.

easy cheesecake

It bakes low and slow for about 30 minutes at 325 degrees. This ensures your cheesecake top doesn’t crack. But don’t worry too much about it even if it does because you’re going to top it with drizzled chocolate and candy bar pieces so no one will even notice.

candy bar cheesecake

While it’s baking, cut your favorite candy bars into bite-sized pieces. You’ll use these for your cheesecake toppings. You’ll need about 48 pieces.

recipe for cheesecake bites

After it comes out of the oven, let it cool for about 15 minutes and then place it in the freezer for another hour, (be sure to cover it with plastic wrap first). This cools it down so it can harden a bit, which will help you cut the cheesecake into nice 1-inch pieces.

recipe for mini cheescakes

Once you have cut your pieces, add a drop of chocolate sauce or fudge to each piece and then place a candy bar on top. That’s it. Easy, right?

mini cheeseake bites

Place these mini cheesecake bites on a platter or use a cake stand. I promise, they won’t last long!

Mini Cheesecake Bites
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Created By:
Serves: 16 Servings when a serving equals 3 pieces

Ingredients
  • For the crust
  • 1½ cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • For the cheesecake filling
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 8-ounce PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Bricks, softened, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For The Topping
  • 5 Tablespoons chocolate sauce
  • 48 Candy bar pieces

To Make
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with overhung parchment paper.
  2. For the crust. In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter, and mix until all of the crumbs are moistened. Press the mixture in the pan and press firmly into an even layer.
  3. For the filling. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese (I used the paddle attachment in a stand mixer but you could also use a hand mixer) until it is light and fluffy. Next, add in the sugar, salt, cornstarch, eggs and vanilla, beating to combine well after each ingredient is added. The mixture should be very smooth. Pour the filling into the prepared pan on top of the crust. Place in the center of the oven and bake until just set (about 30 minutes). You’ll know it’s set when it doesn’t jiggle in the pan. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before covering the pan with plastic wrap and placing in the freezer for an additional hour to harden up.
  4. To Make The Bites. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, uncover and remove from the pan using the overhung parchment paper to “lift” it out. Using a sharp knife, slice into about 48 1-inch squares. Top each bite with a drop of chocolate sauce, then place a piece of candy bar on top of each one.

 

Mini cheesecake bites topped with candy bar pieces

DIY Cactus Ring Toss Game

DIY Cactus Ring Toss Game

Looking for a fun family game? This DIY cactus ring toss was a huge hit with my family! We like to play games together often (and we’re also a pretty competitive group so it gets interesting), indoors or out. Since summer is winding down, we’ve been trying to play more outdoor games and that’s what inspired this DIY cactus ring toss game.

DIY Cactus Ring Toss Game

The cactus trend is still going strong and I thought making a cactus ring toss game just screamed summer–so viola! It was really easy to make.  We were playing within 30 minutes of putting it together (it’s triple digits with a dry heat so the spray paint basically instantly dried). We put ours in a pot so you can technically play this indoors or out (or even take it to the park for a picnic).  (more…)

Sip Sip Rosé :: Free Printable

sip sip Rosé free printable

Hip, Hip, Hooray! Or should I say Sip Sip Rosé?! It’s Friday and that means it’s time for a big exhale. It’s been a looooooong week over here. We’re trying to jump back into work and school starting after some time off. Also, our pup is also pretty sick after having and emergency surgery (think Marley and Me situation) so we’re trying to get back to his normal self).

This weekend will be full of photoshoots and some special projects but I’m definitely going to make time to sip a glass of rosé and take a breather. How about you?

I’ve had a hard time finding a rosé I love at the local market. I would LOVE your suggestions! So far my favorite bottle has been this 2015 Sauvetage Rosé I found on ClubW (I might have ordered about 12 bottles this summer). But I’d love an option I can run to the market and grab on a Friday like today.

(PS if you want to check out ClubW wines, I highly recommend them. You can use my referral link).

So tell me … what’s your favorite go-to Rosé to sip? Friends share wine recommendations. It’s totally a thing, so dish.

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