Monday, April 30, 2012


Party's "Tang Station"

Bare with me, this post is about nostalgia… as may very well be the next post too. See, when I jump into event planning, I jot down everything my mind can think of on the theme. So for Gabriel’s 3rd birthday- Astronaut Training/Space Party… My mind jotted down “Tang”. Do you associate Tang with Space Shuttle Missions? Do you know what Tang is? Tang is an orange flavored drink mix. But, beyond that, Tang has history. It’s a misconception that the drink was invented for NASA, but NASA (according to Wiki) used it on John Glenn's Mercury flight, & subsequent Gemini missions. I always remember Tang as an “astronaut” drink. And the space program is so cool to me. So naturally, I created a “Tang Station” for the Astronaut Training. 
Homemade Tang

Boy was I surprised at what a HIT it was!!! Two gallons were made & two gallons were drunk! We had plenty of leftover “Rocket Fuel” (soda- Coke & Diet Coke, Sprite, as well as apple juice boxes) but not.a.drop.of… Tang!!! So my hubby added it to our weekly shopping list. We’re still being told that the party caused people to buy Tang. It smelled so good making it… & it tastes like nostalgia. Have you had Tang?

<3 Lishie

*More fun facts (according to Wiki): The creator of Tang, William A. Mitchell, also invented Pop Rocks, Cool Whip, a form of instant-set Jell-O, & other convenience foods.

Friday, April 27, 2012

OXO Review & Giveaway!

I am extremely fortunate! As part of the OXO Blogger Outreach Program, I get the opportunity to try new products out. And this time, I was given TWO sets- 1 to use & 1 to GIVE AWAY to a lucky reader!!! 

I am ALWAYS looking for good containers for my work lunch as well as my diaper bag for Gabriel to transport healthy food options. My wishes? The containers have to be sturdy for the commute & spill-proof!!! These OXO Good Grip LockTop Containers certainly meet my criteria plus... They are freezer & refrigerator-safe!!! BPA-free & microwaveable! Awesome. The mini LockTops are perfect for salad dressings or dips. Or apple sauce, or snacks for Gabriel. And the larger size LockTop? Just.about.anything... soup, salad, pasta... you name it. I have used them all week long on a trial! And I love the GREEN tops, ha ha. LOVE.
Would you like a set for free? Well, I am giving away two sets of OXO Good Grip LockTop Containers: 
4 Good Grip LockTop Mini containers:

And 1, Good Grip Locktop 6.3 cups size:

·       Containers are perfect for dressing, condiments, spices, leftovers, and more (easy & mess-free)
·       Easy to close: Simply press outer top to easily and securely lock lid
·       Leakproof: Multiple inner locking tabs create an airtight, watertight seal
·       Durable: BPA free Tritan material resists warping, staining and odors
·       Crystal clear body and transparent lid make it easy to view contents
·       Modular stacking for refrigerator and freezer organization
·       Container bodies nest inside each other for compact storage
·       Dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe
~See OXO's website & check out OXO’s Pinterest Boards for more products & ideas!!!

To win, you MUST:

COMMENT here, on this post, what your favorite OXO product is OR what you'd use the LockTop containers to "contain" ;)
LIKE DeLish on Facebook (if you already do, tell me on the same comment!)*
*If you are NOT on Facebook, “FOLLOWmy blog here & tell me on the same comment
LIKE OXO on Facebook & tell them DeLish sent you (try to link DeLish, or tell me in the same comment below)
*MUST live in the United States~ ~I can only send packages to the 50 United States & am unfortunately unable to ship to PO Boxes.

You have until Wednesday, 5/2/12, midnight to ENTER.
Winner will be chosen at RANDOM & announced in a future post.

~Comment away!
<3 Lishie

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cookies & Cream Cake ~The Moon Cake

The Moon Cake
Cookies & Cream Cake

So for the cake for Gabriel's 3rd Birthday Astronaut Training Party, I created a moonscape, complete with a little astronaut G, a shuttle, American Flag & Planet G flag + 3 candles (a “3”, a star & a “G”) & oreo cookie craters.

I knew I wanted a rounded, moon-shaped cake the moment I saw this in Disney’s Family Fun Magazine. They have some great ideas. But I also knew that we would be having tons of people for Gabriel’s party. And some had allergies, some do not eat cake, etc., etc.  We also had the added dilemma that we had chosen the date before knowing that our niece’s Church Confirmation was So I made a small cookies & cream moon crater cake for the singing of “Happy Birthday” & the blowing out of the candles… And this was my hubby Michael’s brilliant idea… we then swapped it out for Carvel flying saucers!!! They were a huge hit. Huge. Problem-solved & everyone seemed happy (except for the birthday boy who was a little skittish toward the candle flames!)

I chose “cookies & cream” cake due to the mere reasoning that the “craters” would be Oreos halved. It was absolutely delicious!!! I made the cake using a Pyrex oven-proof mixing bowl. Be careful here. I have a huge set of glass mixing/prep bowls as well as a set of stainless steel mixing bowls & neither set is oven proof!!! Make sure the bowl you use is for your safety as well as the guests’ safety (a non-oven-proof bowl can blow up in the oven or emit chemicals into your food.

The decorations are simple- an astronaut, a space shuttle, a US flag toothpick & a little “Planet G” toothpick. The three candles were: a “G”, a “3” & a star. I also sprinkled some edible red & blue glitter & edible silver stars “over” the moonscape.

I think it turned out well, do you?
<3 Lishie

Neely's Cookies & Cream Cake
The Neely's/Food Network
  • Cooking spray 
  • 2 c a/p flour, plus more for pans
  • 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 c unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 c finely crumbled chocolate sandwich cookies
  • Cookies & Cream Cheese Icing, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray 2 (9-inch) cake pans with cooking spray and dust with flour.
In a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer, combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs and egg yolk, 1 at a time, and beat until well mixed, then add in the melted butter and combine. Next, add the buttermilk and beat until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the crumbled cookies and beat until incorporated.
Pour the batter evenly into the cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool, on a rack, in the pans for 5 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto a rack and let cool completely. Frost with Cookies and Cream Cheese Icing and serve.

Cookies & Cream Cheese Icing: 

adapted from The Neely's/Food Network

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 3/4 c confectioners' sugar
  • some Oreo cookies
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend the butter & cream cheese until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the salt & vanilla. Add in the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until smooth. Frost the chocolate cookie cake when the cake has cooled. 

*Lishie tip~ I did not "Beat in the crumbled cookies." I wanted the frosting white... So I placed WHOLE round, halves of the Oreos on instead, for the "craters".

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

World Book Night ~ April 23rd, 2012

Yes, I know my blog is primarily a food blog & maybe I should begin a 2nd blog for other interests, but the truth is, I would rather just share ALL of my loves with you, here. I LOVE to read. So when the opportunity came about to GIVE out FREE books randomly, I JUMPED at it.

What is World Book Night? (See more here.) World Book Night is an annual celebration designed to spread a love of reading and books. To be held in the U.S. as well as the U.K. and Ireland on April 23, 2012. It will see tens of thousands of people go out into their communities to spread the joy and love of reading by giving out free World Book Night paperbacks. See more here:

We each had one title choice out of 30 books. I chose "Because of Winn Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo. Why? I was introduced to the value of a book at an early age & want to instill that in young girls & boys. If you have a book, you will always have a friend, travel far & never be bored. Plus, the setting of "Because of Winn Dixie" is Florida, my home state. I gave out many of the books to a local girl scout troop & a few copies to parents I met on my book giveaway voyage.

Because I work at New York University Bookstores, also a World Book Night Pick Up location, I was given a few extra titles to distribute as well:

~Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
~Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
~Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto
~Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Here's my World Book Night Giver experience:

The Difficulty of Being Earnest

April 23,2012 / World Book Night
Give away 20 books for free.
Easy, huh?

I am a true book lover… I believe a book is the dearest gift one could give. It’s my bread & water, the one item I’d sacrifice for on a deserted island. Anyone know the Twilight Zone Episode with Burgess Meredith called “Time Enough at Last”? He plays Henry, a Bookworm who doesn’t have time to read… at all… an H-Bomb explodes… Henry luckily is saved inadvertently by his book obsession because at lunch he reads in the bank’s (where he works) vault. After the bomb, Henry regains consciousness to find everyone dead, everything gone. Despairingly, he stumbles upon the Library rubble with the books intact. But he literally falls and BREAKS his reading glasses rendering him unable to read.  The End. Did you gasp? If so, you are very like me.

So, in retrospect, giving away free books, to me, at least, seemed so easy. The thing is, many bookworms are also introverts… They tend to brighten up when they talk about books but are relatively shy in person.  In order to give away a book, one MUST approach a stranger… Two introverts= well…

I began my World Book Night at 2pm –ish on an NYU bus. I sat there, a little nervous & hesitant at first thinking, “These are students. They read. They are probably looking for a book that is fun rather than assigned.” Right? Well, I waited till the bus had a good amount of students… I took 3 books, fanned them out in my hands & stood up. I said, “Hi!!! I am giving away books for World Book Night. They are FREE. This is legitimate… Look! WBN is explained on the inside & printed on the back-side.” A couple of girls tentatively approached me… One got excited, “I’ve wanted to read that title!!!” I said, “Well, it has picked you then!” The other two girls each took a book… a boy then took one & another. All were smiling after & chatting, glancing in their new books. Where as, before, there was that uncomfortable, bus silence.

When I left the bus, I was ready & empowered again. I stopped in a coffee shop, grabbed an iced coffee & peered at the people sitting… all walks of life, many singular-seated people. I walked up to a woman quietly nibbling a bagel… I fanned the books again… She made the silent “Go Away” motion, nodding “no”. I said quietly, “they’re free books”. She looked, a second take, & recognized the title/cover picture. I had made a friend. Milannia is from Guyana and loves to read. She has a son too, like me, who she tries to instill the love of reading in as well and she talks long-distance & on-line with her Caribbean friends about books. She even recommended a book for me.

I continued to give away books to NJ bus commuters, my local Girl Scout Troop and local Hospital… And I loved every minute of it. But it was way more difficult than you’d think it would be to give away books. You should try it next year on World Book Night 2013. It is a wonderful thing.

Chocolate Dipped Marshmallow Pops with Googly Eyes ~"Area 51"

When something looks easy, beware. It probably is once you get the hang of it but it almost always takes time. Lots of time. And I can vouch that these adorable aliens that made up my Area 51 for my toddler Gabriel’s Spaced themed, 3rd Birthday Party were easy but tedious!

I wanted to infuse a little whimsy into Astronaut Training with some alien dudes.
So "Area 51" was worked into the party.

<3 Lishie

Chocolate Dipped Marshmallow Pops with Googly Eyes
  • Lollipop Sticks- Small or Large (I used Small, for tiny hands)
  • 1 bag of large marshmallows
  • 1 bag of Wilton White Candy Melts or White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 package Wilton Candy Eyeballs

Melt the candy melts to package directions (or the white chocolate chips over a double boiler not letting the chocolate touch the heat source). I used the Candy Melts. melted in a pyrex bowl, in the microwave.

While the chocolate is melting, prep your pops- place a marshmallow on each stick.

When the chocolate candy is melted, dip the entire marshmallow in it. Allow the melted candy to drip off a bit, &, using a spatula, smooth the melted chocolate around the marshmallow to take away the excess that remains. Pop the candy eye or eyes on, hold for a moment while the hot candy begins to solidify, then stick/prop the pop in something.

For display, I took the sturdy top of a beautiful gift box & popped holes in it. I then papered the box with my theme & “popped” the aliens into the holes through the paper.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cake Batter Rice Krispies ~ "Asteroids"

Party food!!!
I had so much fun coming up with the little details to my toddler,
The theme? Astronaut Training/Outer Space.
And the food, snacks & drinks were no exception! Initially I had a “Meteorite” recipe in mind for a peanut butter & tiny stick pretzel cookie… But one of my son’s little friends has a peanut allergy so I nixed it! No problem, I still had this out-of-this world delicious krispie treat to make! This snack takes rice krispie treats to the next level. AND you can whip it up for a play date, FAST, it’s no bake, or dossy it up with any color sprinkles for a party or holiday. Cadets of all ages will love it!


<3 Lishie

Cake Batter Rice Krispies "Asteroids"
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 (10 oz.) bag of mini-marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup yellow cake mix (the dry cake mix, not prepared into a batter!)
  • 6 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 1 (1.75 oz.) container of sprinkles (I used a combo of edible blue glitter, red glitter & edible silver glitter stars)
Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat & add marshmallows. Stir until they begin to melt, adding in (dry) cake mix one spoonful at a time so its combined. Stir in cereal so it is completely coated with marshmallow mixture. Sprinkle in half of the sprinkles & mix. Press into a baking dish (any size will do) and top with remaining sprinkles. Let sit for about 30 minutes before cutting.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Birthday!!! Gabriel's 3rd Birthday Blast off!

Now I do not have the typical 3 year-old. And I am so thankful for that. Why? He never asks for anything in any store, not the grocery store, not candy, nor…the toy store. Seriously. Yes, he loves his toys. Yes, he has his favorite snacks. But he is seemingly content with what he has. And, on the same token, he didn’t make any specific birthday requests. Don’t get me wrong, he loves Sesame Street & Donald Duck, to name a couple of popular kids’ themes but he is also adventurous. He has fun at the aquarium, the zoo, the farm, the science center… just about anywhere we take him.

So with that in mind, so far I can create a birthday out of an amusing idea & turn it into a wonderland. For Gabriel's 2nd birthday last year, I created a Blue Bird theme to coincide with his love of birds & nature. This year, for Gabriel’s 3rd, we blasted off to the Planet G…, Gabriel’s Aeronautic Space Academy was a one-day astronaut training camp for his little cadet friends since he loves stars so much.

Every birthday boy needs the perfect uniform… I made his tee (there’s also a dangling “3” sewed on beneath the astronaut body) Gabriel did not want to take this off that night!!!


Rocket Booster!

Rocket Man


And Jen from Jar of Designs, created his awesome invites, once again. She is the “go to” if you want to set the perfect tone for your event! Remember the invitations are very important! Just look at these!!! And, because we made up the Planet G (well, it took Pluto’s place ;) ) Jen also devised the beautiful round stickers to apply to the envelopes! Just add a flag stamp & perfect!


  I am always saying I get lost in the details & yes, again I did. I want the children to have a good time & remember it. What I do remind myself (constantly), is kids do NOT look for perfection. And I am very thankful for that… Here is some of the signage I whipped up… Thank you to Hostess {with the Mostess} for the paper plates as a wall hanging background idea. All else was from the deep black hole that is my mind! Ha! All crafted by me. The Space Shuttle signs are printed from NASA's actual web-site & the GABRIEL banner is from Oriental Trading Co.  

Happy 3rd Birthday Gabriel!
A friend has a latex allergy so a little smattering of balloons was perfect for G… Every child’s party needs some balloon-age!


Space capsule
I asked the guests to sign inside this book as gabriel's "space" time capsule

I printed out Name tags & affixed them to Giant nut & bolt robot erasers I found to match my theme & color scheme (love when that happens!)

The Moon Cake

So for the cake I created a moonscape, complete with a little astronaut G, a shuttle, American Flag & Planet G flag + 3 candles (a “3”, a star & a “G”) & oreo cookie craters. The cake was shared with family later but for the party, we used it for “happy birthday” & to blow out the candles then…. And this was my hubby michael’s brilliant idea… swapped it out for carvel flying saucers!!! They were a huge hit. Huge.

flying saucers




area 51
Tang station
What is a space training party without tang?!
And wow, was it a huge hit!!! We had to buy more because my hubby wanted it!

Food served but NOT pictured:

Rocket Fuel
Soda & apple juice boxes

Planet Pizzas

We ordered a bunch of pizzas, freshly made & delivered from a local pizzeria. YUM.


Carrots, celery, broccoli & cauliflower served with hummus to dip.

Space junk

Chips & pretzels

Birthday boy traveling on an Inflatable space shuttle!!!:

Games & Fun!

The kids were greeted with their space folder (confidential!)…
It contained An astronaut name badge & a space shuttle coloring book

They were immediately pointed to a craft table for:


Space Crafting

Creating their own planet
Getting glow sticks
Grabbing a “telescope”- a repurposed paper towel holder

Shooting Star Toss!

I drew this game on foam picture-board then cut out the holes. Bought yellow & orange bean bags separately. The kids had tons of fun throwing the bean bag “stars”

Space shuttle pinata
PiƱata swag
Includes milky ways, glitter star bouncy balls, flag mints, plastic paratrooper men, robot finger puppets, robot pencils, lollipops & more candy!!!!

Games not shown:

Tandem Planet jump

I affixed colored, cut planet printouts to foil stars, swapping Pluto with the planet g & had the children two-legged jump from planet to planet. Again, this easy game went over so well, the children lined up two & three times to do it!

Alien hunt

Guess the number of rubber aliens in the jar
I just forgot to take out the jar. Oops. 
These Area 51 guys:

Photo id

We didn’t get a chance to hang it, nor the time. Oops.




Giant robot eraser
Foam space shuttle glider 

Certificate of completion 

 I am pretty sure everyone had a great time!!! We sure did!!!
And wow, Gabriel received the most throughtful gifts. What an amazing birthday!!!
Thank you all for looking!!!
Come back for recipes!!!
<3 Lishie