DIY Oktoberfest Heart Cookie Cake

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During Oktoberfest, one of the most loved traditions is to buy and take home a lebkuchen, or gingerbread heart cookie, with a special phrase on it. These cookies are strung with ribbons as souvenirs and can be worn around the neck or given to your favorite loved one.

Since I was having an Oktoberfest themed birthday, I knew I needed to include these cute cookies in some fashion, but I really wasn’t too keen on gingerbread. Instead, since it was a birthday and all, I decided to make a heart shaped cake in the form of a lebkuchen!

Using a square pan and a circle pan, you can cut the circle in half and easily make a heart shaped cake. Any cake will do, though I tend to be partial to a yellow, butter cake for birthdays. A chocolate frosting covers the top to look like gingerbread, and piped decorations make the lacy pattern and cute phrase!

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To make an Oktoberfest heart cookie cake, follow my instructions below. I’ve also included links the recipe I used for a yellow butter cake with chocolate fudge frosting from Tessa’s Layered cookbook (seriously SO AMAZING).

Continue reading “DIY Oktoberfest Heart Cookie Cake”

How to Throw an Oktoberfest Themed Party

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If you’ve been a loyal reader from the start, you will know that we like a good themed party here at Bunny Baubles. After cycling through some of our favorite decades (20s, 60s, and 80s party themes from previous birthdays), Megan and I decided it was time to visit a world-famous festival for some new party inspiration. Willkommen to Oktoberfest!

I visited Germany for the first time about three years ago and fell completely in love with it. The incredible food, welcoming culture, and gingerbread cities drew me in and left me wanting to go back immediately. One thing we made sure to visit while we were there were the beer gardens. Though it wasn’t Oktoberfest when we visited, you could get an idea. Beer being slammed down on to tables in huge mugs (one size only), piles of hot pretzels in baskets, people from all over the world crammed into long tables conversing in a multitude of languages, and blue and white covering every surface imaginable.

Oktoberfest, being a party in definition, makes for the easiest theme! For my 26th birthday this year, I held my own Oktoberfest party complete with food, drink, decor, and traditional games. Check out my party tips below to throw your own celebration. Invite over as many friends as your space can hold, don the tables in blue and white, boil up some wursts, and load up on beer, because it’s the perfect time to throw a party!

Oh, and thanks to everyone who helped me celebrate my birthday this year! I am so thankful for having incredible friends and followers who wished me happy birthday.

Oktoberfest Decorations

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When it comes to Oktoberfest, blue and white are king. Get long tables with benches or lawn chairs and lay out blue and white tablecloths. Decorate the table with Fall items like pumpkins and leaves, and put out pitchers of pretzels to snack on. I got my tableclothes, German flag banner, plates, napkins, pitchers, etc. at Party City.

Hang up a backdrop and make cute props for your guests to snap a photo with. We went with a beer stein, mustache, German flag, green hat, and some other adorable items.

Blue and white checkered banners or German flags are also traditional, and can be strung above your table or along the walls.

Oktoberfest Food

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Overall, a German feast really isn’t that hard to put together and allow your guests to self serve. Boil up bratwursts ahead of time so they are fully cooked, then throw them into a chafing dish to keep them hot all afternoon. Traditional sides like red saurkraut (I made 4 batches for 30 people) and German potato salad (I made 2 batches) can be prepped and then placed into chafing dishes to keep them hot. The recipes I used are linked above and were AWESOME. Make sure to also serve soft pretzels and grain mustard!

For dessert, gingerbread cookies in the shape of hearts are usually strung on strings and hung throughout the beer halls. Instead of cookies (since I’m not a huge gingerbread fan and this was a birthday), I made this cute Oktoberfest Cookie Shaped Cake (tutorial to come!).

Oh, and beer. Lots of beer.

Oktoberfest Games

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Most Oktoberfest games are centered around beer and drinking beer, no surprise there. In order to keep the party from getting TOO rowdy, I liked to have a few games that weren’t so focused on the drinking part. I had planned to have the party outside and play corn hole and hammerschlagen, but the weather didn’t cooperate so I hosted a stein holding contest in the kitchen. To play any of these games, see the rules below:

Corn Hole
You set up two corn hole boards (rectangular boards with holes in them) across from each other about 27 feet apart. One player stands behind one board, and the other behind the opposite board. Players take turns throwing four bean bags across the court, trying to get them either on to the board (1 point) or in to the hole (3 points). The first player to 21 wins. The game can also be played with 4 players where teammates stand across from one another and the players on the same side take turns throughout the round throwing their bean bags. Drinking rules: Take a sip of beer every time the other team makes a point. Finish your beer if you lose.

Hammerschlagen
A stump from a tree about 2 feet high is placed in the center of a ring of people. Everyone hammers a nail slightly into the stump and remembers where they placed it. Players take turns flipping a hammer, catching it, and then hitting at the other players’ nails as the hammer comes down from the flip. (Safety glasses are encouraged.) The aim of the game is to hammer everyone else’s nails in so the top of the nail is flush with the stump. The last player with a nail up wins. If a nail falls over the side of the stump, it can be counted “out” if the head of the nail is below the side of the stump. Drinking rules: You must drink a sip of beer every time someone touches your nail. Finish your beer if you get out.

Stein Holding Contest
Two or more large beer steins are filled with beer or water and handed to the contestants. The contestants raise their arms out in front of them parallel to the ground and hold the beer up as long as they can. Your thumb cannot be on top of the handle. The first person to drop their arm loses.

Oktoberfest Outfits

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The traditional garb of Germany for Oktoberfest is dirndl for the ladies and lederhosen for the men. Men can get off pretty easy with a pair of brown shorts, a button up shirt, and some suspenders with a piece of paper as a connection point in the front. The ladies have a bit more to do since their outfit consists of a skirt, apron, white peasant shirt, and a laced up vest. I made myself a complete outfit from scratch for pretty cheap (most dirndl’s are pretty pricey!) without spending a whole lot of time. I will be posting a tutorial soon!

Grandpa’s Herb Roasted Chicken

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In early September I visited Chicago for back to back wedding weekends. While I was there, I had the pleasure of stopping in and spending the day with my grandpa. He lives in the most beautiful modern home that he designed, overlooking a scenic, wooded backdrop. I love visiting that house as I have so many memories of it, and my grandpa has been doing some serious remodeling that is making it a dream house for mid-century lovers like me!

While sitting around the kitchen table, Grandpa Tom pulled out his old recipe binder filled with tried and true recipes that he loved to make for him and Grandma Ginny. Some of them I had remembered, and my Aunt Marilynn mentioned that she had made many herself out in California. One recipe that really got me excited was Grandpa’s roasted chicken.

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This roasted chicken recipe was so simple and fresh sounding, I just had to take advantage of having a full family around to help me eat it! Stuffed with lemons, limes, and onions and glazed with butter and sesame oil, the chicken gets SO juicy and tender. I added my own twist by covering it with herbs, which I felt added a little more flavor into the chicken and made the skin extra special.

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If you need something easy to make that will feed a family, look no further than this chicken! It’s about 10 minutes of prep and an hour of baking – you can’t find a simpler, homemade dinner. Thanks Grandpa Tom for the visit and the lesson on cooking!

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Click below for the recipe for Grandpa’s Herb Roasted Chicken.

Continue reading “Grandpa’s Herb Roasted Chicken”

Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onion Chutney

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Upon opening my September Degustabox, I was completely pumped about finding two jars of chutney in there. I quickly realized that I had never used chutney before and was unsure of what I could actually do with it. Further research proved that chutney is totally versatile! You can:

  • Pour it over soft cheese and serve with crackers
  • Marinade meat for a flavorful dinner
  • Mix it with mayonnaise for a twist on a sandwich
  • Dip dumplings or empanadas in it
  • Simply serve it on the side with most meats like lamb, pork, and sausage

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Essentially it’s like a jam mixed with a condiment mixed with a salsa. It’s a sauce, in a way, but it’s thick enough to stand on it’s own. With the suggestions of serving it with cheese or on a sandwich, I thought – let’s go cray and squeeze it between two layers of a gooey grilled cheese sandwich.

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Now I love grilled cheese. My family was never one to make grilled cheese out of Kraft singles since we always had sharp white cheddar, parmesean, shredded mixed cheeses, some sort of deli cheese, and Velveta on hand. We live like 15 minutes from Wisconsin… Kraft singles would be a travesty of cheese. Many weekend meals consisted of my dad broiling slices of french bread with mixed cheeses on top, while my brothers preferred going with sharp cheddar and Velveta on wheat bread for a truly cheese-oozing treat.

Over the years, I’ve experimented with many breads, cheeses, and forms of frying (butter vs. oil vs. mayonnaise). Medium soft cheeses tend to result in a more melty texture, and I like to mix a couple of cheeses that have varying intensities in flavor. For bread, I actually like the nutty flavor that a whole grain bread gives to the sandwich, plus it holds up to all of the heat. And you won’t catch me using anything but butter in the pan. Slapping down a pad of butter, just slightly toasting one side of the bread, and then flipping them and adding more butter to the pan gives you crispiness all throughout the bread which I think is key. Plus butter gives you the best flavor. I then add a generous amount of cheese to the slightly toasted sides, and throw the two halves together. Toast on both sides and you’re golden.

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Today, I also am adding in a caramelized onion chutney. The sweet and salty flavor of the chutney is perfect when paired with creamy cheese and nutty bread. I have tried other jams, apples, and meats in the mix, but I have to say this is my favorite combination.

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What are your favorite ways to make grilled cheese? I hope you’ll try this one and let me know what you think! As always, if you want to try out a box of surprise groceries next month and cook along with me, you can try Degustabox for only $10 this month! Click the link below for the offer.

Only $9.99 for a first month Degustabox full of delicious full size goodies. Try today, shipping is FREE!

Click below for the recipe for caramelized onion chutney grilled cheese.

Continue reading “Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onion Chutney”

Lace Trimmed Swing Dress Sewing DIY

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Not to worry y’all, that “summer bod” that you may or may not have worked for is ready to take a vacation, and it’s time to break out the “Fall bod”. Haven’t heard of it? It’s the one that can be hidden away beneath drapey sweaters and blanket scarves, cuddled up in leggings and swing dresses that look ultimately flattering on everyone, no matter how many PSL’s you devour. This body is ready to be stuffed with pumpkin nutella muffins, only to be disguised under this perfect lace trimmed swing dress.

Since it’s crazy hot in Houston into the Fall season, I am always looking for pieces that can be worn transitionally. For me, the easiest way to achieve this is with dresses. I can pair them with boots and a jacket for a cooler day, or just pull one out with some heels for a sunny afternoon.

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Clothing Details: Lace Trimmed Swing Dress – Made by Me (similar lace trimmed dress, similar lace trimmed dress) || Floral Pumps (on sale!) – Guess || Mint Earrings (similar mint earrings) – Forever 21

I stuck to a neutral color palette and a flattering swing shape to make this dress as versatile as possible. Though you can still see some curves, a swing dress is as comfortable as wearing sweats (I actually made mine with sweatshirt fabric!). I also love that the length is long enough to lounge in or even ride a bike.

In order to give this dress a little personality, I added lace to the hem and the sleeves to give it a particularly feminine look that feels very me. Appliqueing the lace to the top of the fabric is very simple to do and can be done on any dress you already own! To simplify this project and just get the lace trim look, check out the last step of the tutorial.

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Are you feeling ready for Fall? I know it’s technically still Summer on the calendar, but September was always when the leaves started to change in Chicago and was one of my favorite times of the year. September in Houston is a bit different, fully still feeling like Summer, but as it cools down just a touch I am getting as much time outdoors as possible!

I took these photos in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston with a couple of other bloggers that I’ve met on the Houston blogger scene. There are so many colorful walls and cute coffee shops, it’s hard not to have a great time! In case you were wondering, the blue and gray wall is at 1659 Westheimer, and the colorful artwork wall is at the intersection of Park Street and Westheimer.

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Click below for the lace trimmed swing dress tutorial.

Continue reading “Lace Trimmed Swing Dress Sewing DIY”

Beer Brewing in a Small Space

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Y’ALL I MADE BEER! It came out tasting just like a beer you would buy at the store, and I made it in my little apartment. I loved my experience so much that I’m giving a free kit away to a lucky reader! Check the end of the post for entry details.

But I digress. Once I was asked, “If you could only choose to drink beer, wine, or cocktails for the rest of your life, which would you choose?”. What a horrible question, right? But, after mulling it over for a few minutes, I decided that beer is possibly my favorite of the three. Don’t get me wrong, I love wine and cocktails, but beer comes in so many fun variations and has an easy going, relaxed demeanor that I have come to pair with weekends.

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When Craft A Brew reached out to me about their beer brewing kits, I was too excited about it. I had never brewed beer before because I thought I would need a ton of equipment and space to do it, but their kits make it incredibly straightforward and doable in a small apartment. Notice, I did not say easy. I was thankful to have someone help me out, since there were quite a few steps to the process, but we had a lot of fun!

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I ordered the OG Orange Golden ale which is a Belgian beer with orange and citrus flavors. The brewing went exactly as it was listed in the instructions, though I did have a little trouble with siphoning, so we just poured the beer from the gallon jug into the bottles. Once I had the beer bottled (make sure to buy swing top, Grolsch-style bottles to bottle your beer) I waited another 3 weeks to taste it. The kit lists 2 weeks, but I went on vacation and was assured that more time would only make it better.

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And… THE BEER WAS A SUCCESS! During brewing I was overtly obsessive over making sure every square inch of bottle, pot, funnel, etc. that the beer touched was sanitized. Because of this, I naturally worried that I had missed a spot and that the beer would be contaminated with germs, which can leave you with a really bad tasting beer. Fears aside, the beer turned out perfectly.

I would say the OG Orange Golden ale has the flavor profile of a wheat or Belgian beer, but definitely with a touch more hoppiness. Though it sounds a lot like Blue Moon in the description, I found that the citrus flavors were much more muted, and the beer overall was less sweet which I liked. Successful beer calls for a party!

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I invited my beer brewing helpers, Megan and Ben, and Kyle to share a beer together over some barbecue, because who says no to grilling and beer? We all enjoyed tasting the home brew and agreed that it tasted better than most homemade beer we had tried! I think I’ll call it “BB OG – Hoppy for the Weekend”… I’m basically a brew master now.

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So, have I convinced you to try your hand at brewing? Well you can win a Craft A Brew kit by following the instructions below! I am giving away one Craft A Brew kit to a lucky reader so make sure to follow the steps in order to be entered into the giveaway.

Craft A Brew Kit Giveaway

The winner will win a Craft a Brew kit of their choice which includes everything needed for brewing.

  1. Check out Craft a Brew’s website and find a kit you would be interested in.
  2. Follow/like Bunny Baubles on at least two of the following sites: Wordpress emails (see the link in the sidebar), Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Bloglovin (if you follow on more than 2 you get an extra entry for each!).
  3. Comment below which ways you follow me with your user name, if applicable, and which kit you want to win!

UPDATE: The giveaway has ended. Thank you to everyone who entered! There were over 50 entries, and the winner is Janet Schwartz-Micheaux!

Dreaming About Brunch…

After the longest short week of my life, all I can think about is reading my two new favorite books (just received Layered and Styled as early birthday presents!) and a big, delicious brunch. My intentions are to throw some veggies in the mix… but sometimes sprinkles just win me over.

These are the recipes I’m drooling over for the weekend, anyone have anything in mind for tomorrow morning?

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Cherry Tomato, Spinach, Leek Quiche from The Food Charlatan

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Asiago Bagels from How Sweet Eats

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Shakshuka from Tori Avey

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Potato Pancakes with Salmon and Creme Fraiche from Urban Cookery

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Superpowered Orange Juice from Minimalist Baker

Chocolate Milk Pancakes with Cinnamon Peanut Butter Syrup 7

Chocolate Milk Pancakes with Peanut Butter Sauce from Bunny Baubles

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Ham and Cheese Spinach Puffs from Eat Well 101

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Spicy Bacon Bloody Mary from The Novice Chef

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Pumpkin Nutella Swirl Muffins from Bunny Baubles

Hope y’all have lovely, relaxing weekends!

xo, Julia

Tout Suite Houston Mushroom Toast Copycat Recipe

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If you’ve ever been to Tout Suite Houston (which if you live in Houston, you must go) you will know there are a lot of great choices for brunch. From trendy avocado toast with chili flakes to an awesome fried chicken benedict served over hash browns, there’s really no going wrong. What do I order? Time and time again I have ordered the mushroom toast.

Though it seems like a simple concept – sourdough, fluffy cheese, herb infused mushrooms – there’s something so special about it. I suggest it to everyone, and they are always surprised at how good it is. Since I love a good breakfast at home just as much as going out (breakfast in PJ’s really hits the spot), I decided I wanted to try to remake this fabulous mushroom toast.

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Starting with a really crusty, gorgeous load of sourdough bread is key. Lightly toasted and topped with mascarpone to make a solid base. Tout Suite uses gournay cheese, but for the life of me I could not find that anywhere. Mascarpone is similar but less salty and much more available in the grocery stores. By adding salt into the mushrooms you can achieve a similar flavor.

Next comes the main event. I used butter, because I’m a baker and that’s what we do, along with tons of freshly cut baby bella mushrooms and various herbs. To make this a showstopper, the real key is topping the toast with lemon zest. I tasted it the minute I took my first bite and knew it was something really special. Lemon zest is a secret weapon that draws out flavor and freshens so many dishes. It shouldn’t be a secret – ADD FRESH LEMON ZEST!

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I think that the result is a perfect copycat of the mushroom toast at Tout Suite. Crunchy, savory, tangy, and overall just delicious. This simple recipe can be replicated for an easy weekend brunch and will really impress anyone you’re serving. Plus we can sneak some veggies into breakfast and feel pretty proud of ourselves. I think that’s how Tout Suite get’s me to buy so many macarons and cupcakes every brunch I have there…

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Click below for the recipe.

Continue reading “Tout Suite Houston Mushroom Toast Copycat Recipe”

DIY Painted Pun Tee

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If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you will quickly see that I am a sucker for a really bad (good) pun. I am also guilty of ditching my cute clothes for a super soft tee shirt and PJ shorts the moment I finish dinner every night. So puns and baby soft tees, a match made in heaven, come together in this perfect “Some-bunny’s Sleepy” sleep top that I cannot (and will not) stop wearing!

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After being so successful in painting a really durable pillow case for my couch, I trusted the gold paint enough to take it to my clothes. Using large stickers and one of the comfiest tee shirts in the world from Uniqlo, I just simply stuck the stickers on, painted over them with gold fabric paint, and then peeled them off. EASIEST DIY EVER. I can guarantee a pretty much 100% success rate on this one.

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You can use this method to make any pun or cute phrase you want. These would make great gifts for bachelorette’s and Christmas too, so make sure to pin it for later if you aren’t dying to make one right away!

Click below for the full tutorial.

Continue reading “DIY Painted Pun Tee”

The Best of Bunny Baubles August 2016

Happy September, y’all! Like every month this year, I feel like August has flown by. Though I’m not going to miss the worst weather of the year in Houston, I am going to miss that Summer feeling. There’s just something about Summer that is carefree and playful. We did a lot of rose drinking (and eating) this month to beat the heat, while wearing the lightest and brightest clothes I could design.

With that, September is here – the month of my birthday! – and lots of exciting things to come. I’m looking forward to lots of Oktoberfest beer drinking, pretending it’s cold enough to wear boots with my dresses, and cooking up some family comfort food.

Check out my August favorites to make sure you didn’t miss a moment of DIY lovin’! Any plans for Labor Day weekend to wrap up the Summer?

 

What We Sewed

Cropped Lace Tank Top by Bunny Baubles 1 Lace Pleated Skirt by Bunny Baubles 8

Cross Back Tank Top || Pleated Lace Skirt

What We Ate

Mango Sorbet by Bunny Baubles 7

Avocado Fries with Chipotle Aioli by Bunny Baubles 5 Southern Red Velvet Cake by Bunny Baubles 9

Mango Sorbet || Avocado Fries with Chipotle Aioli || Old Fashioned Red Velvet Cake

What We “Drank”

Raspberry Cucumber Rose Cocktail by Bunny Baubles 5 Rose Gummies by Bunny Baubles 8

Raspberry Cucumber Rose Cocktails || Rose Wine Gummies