Tag Archives: monkey

Easy Breezy Brunch

My Mom/Gramma celebrated her 70th birthday over Labor Day weekend.

We knew all along, obviously, that we wanted to do something extra special to celebrate and toyed with the idea of a surprise party, a gathering at a fun Mexican restaurant overlooking Lake Hodges, a formal dinner party or appetizers at sunset. We decided {just 2 weeks before the party} that it would be a beachy brunch.

I sprung into action and set out to find all things turquoise, blue and green! I picked up these simple seashell notecards at Michael’s for just 75¢ a pack, quickly drafted up the inside, printed them and popped them in the mail.

The same day I found the invites, I also picked up four colored glass bottles at Ross on clearance for $2.49 each…

You can see a couple of them in the pic above ~ the other two were perched on the mantel and in the entry way. I also found a cute, beachy sign that said “Sands Of Time” that I leaned up again the bottle that greeted the guests at the front door {unfortunately no pic, but that was also just $2.49}. The turquoise branches were recycled from Elliott’s party in May.

The tablecloth was just a huge piece of burlap that I bought at Home Depot thanks to the idea from my good friend and fellow party planner, Lisa! It was less than $4 and fit the table perfectly. I liked the fact that it was rustic and wrinkled and gave the impression of sand on the beach.

I tried to keep the menu easy and delicious, of course. I chose to do a couple of the breakfast casseroles that can be prepared the night before and taken from the fridge to the oven the next morning for stress-free entertaining. I did one with sourdough, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and feta adapted from here. Then I did one with the hash browns, sausage, onions, red peppers and cheddar. {see how it comes together in the link above} They were both a huge hit. I named the menu items after San Diego beaches ~ Coronado Breakfast Casserole, Wind N Sea Breakfast Casserole, Fiesta Island Fruit Salad and Mission Beach Monkey Bread.

We sipped on champagne drinks ~ mimosas {OJ} and hibiscus {cranberry juice}

For desserts I made the cake batter blondies, picked up some mini cupcakes and a mini new york cheesecake…

I used some coordinating ribbon {75¢/roll} and made some little picks for the desserts.

It was great to see so many friends from throughout the years…

{Playing “Happy Birthday” on the maracas!}

Singing, making a wish and blowing out the candles…


I really did enjoy throwing this together at the {last minute}. I did what I could here at home like make the paint chip buntings, plan the menu, make the blondies and shop for a few decorations. I made my grocery list, shopped in San Diego and knocked that out the afternoon before the party via Trader Joe’s and Albertson’s. What I love about brunch is that it is extremely affordable ~ all the groceries for about 40 people were approximately $75. I decorated and prepped the casseroles the night before so all I had to do before the party {started at 11am} was put together the fruit salad {bought pre-chopped melon and added grapes} in the glass jar, make the monkey bread and plate the desserts.

Invites, paper plates, napkins, utensils, cups and decor were about $30…everything else I already had or utilized from my mom’s already beachy house!

It was the easiest, breeziest {to-go} party and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

Mom/Gramma, we hope you enjoyed visiting with all your precious friends and neighbors. Here’s to a wonderful, fresh new year ahead for you! We love you very much and are fortunate to have you in our lives.


I could never stay long enough on the shore, the tang of the untainted, fresh and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought. ~ Hellen Keller

The sea, once it casts it’s spell, holds one in it’s net of wonder forever. ~ Jacques Cousteau

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

A “PW” Weekend

Wow! I’m recovering from another awesome weekend.

A “PW” weekend, if you will…

It consisted of “P”lentiful “W”orkouts….

….all because of several “P”ioneer “W”oman recipes that I tried.

We took a little drive and played in some “P”owdery “W”hite!

There were a couple “P”igskin “W”ins to determine this year’s Superbowlers.

So I guess you could say that it was a “P”erfectly “W”onderful weekend!

On Saturday night I made Pioneer Woman’s “most favorite burger ever (for now)”. You can find the recipe here.

They were delish and a nice departure from the turkey burgers with cheddar and horseradish that I’ve been making for the past few years now! Jay was pleased that I finally made some HAMburgers with real ground BEEF!

Here is a “before” pic:

Um, let me just say that what you see above is 2 pounds of meat…PW uses 2 pounds of meat for TWO burgers! What? I mean I know cowboys work hard and all and can put some food away, but WOW! Those’d be some GRANDE burgers! Half pounders are MORE than enough for us!

Here is the “in process” pic:

And, my friends, here is the “after” pic when these babies are all dressed up and ready to go:

Please don’t tell PW that I served her fave burgers with Ore Ida Seasoned Crinkle Fries! Shhhhh!

I tell you, I have a whole new appreciation for the Kaiser Roll! I usually use toasted english muffins for my burgers, but kaisers are a tad crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside! I followed PW’s orders and buttered and toasted them and OMG! Sorry, little english muffins, but these were fantastic and the tabasco mayo, caramelized onions and bleu cheese put them over the top. I used fresh baby spinach as my “green” just so I could feel like there was some sort of healthy component to this meal!

After this scrumptous dinner, I ran to Target to get Holden some boots for the snow since we had a little mini road trip planned for Sunday morning. This is what I found:

Lovin’ all the Paul Frank stuff at one of my favorite stores these days!

I got up early Sunday morning and made some Monkey Bread. Another evil concoction that PW has on her blog!

Now this stuff is like a drug so be careful!

After we ate the sinful Monkey Bread, we headed to Frazier Park for some fun in the snow!

It was a blast and only about 45 minutes away!

And the weekend wouldn’t be complete without me trying PW’s Quesadillas de Camarones.

The quesadillas were good…Jay said the shrimp was “not evident”…hmmm, I think the camarones should be evident in a quesadilla named after them so next time I’ll add more of the little critters. He also wasn’t a big fan of the green salsa, so next time maybe some homemade red salsa to go alongside. After indulging in the monkey bread earlier in the day, I felt guilty about adding butter to the pan to brown and crisp up the tortillas…but I had to follow PW’s orders. Next time I may try to make them a little more figure friendly….I tried to go a little lighter on the queso, too. But overall, they were good!

I also made some quacamole….I can’t blame PW for that. That was all MY doing, unfortunately.


2 ripe avocados

1/4 onion (red or white), minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small tomato, seeded & chopped

bunch cilantro, chopped

juice of 1 lime or 1/2 lemon

salt & pepper to taste

dash cumin

That’s it! Mix it all up and dig in with your favorite tortilla chips.

I think I’ll have to incorporate more “P”lentiful “W”orkouts into this week’s agenda because there are a couple other visions of yumminess I’d like to try on PW’s blog…it’s a vicious cycle!