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birthday cake appetizers OOAK

I recently celebrated my 39th birthday, so I had some friends over.  The occasion made a good excuse to try some of the recipes I’ve had pinned & they were enjoyed by all.

Along with the beautiful cake, I had cheesy olives, coconut balls, lasagna rolls, & deviled eggs.  I was working up until people arrived, so all of my pics are after the eating had commenced.

party food OOAK

Naturally, the cake was the jewel in my crown.  I made Betty Crocker’s Orange Cream Poke Cake.  It was delicious & everyone raved about it.

The only changes I made to the recipe were to make it a layer cake instead of a sheet cake, add mandarin oranges & shredded coconut, & instead of orange juice in the frosting, I used some of the juice from the can of mandarin oranges.  I topped the frosting between the layers with the coconut & oranges, then used more of the oranges as decoration on top of the cake & around the edge.  I also piped frozen whipped cream along with the oranges using a plastic sandwich bag.  (Put the whipped cream in the bag, snip off the corner, & squeeze it out.)  I also used french vanilla cake mix instead of plain vanilla, & I will stick with plain vanilla the next time.  It wasn’t bad, I just don’t think it was the most complementary flavor.

My one suggestion for this recipe is make your frosting ahead of time.  It is made with a box of jello mix & a box of pudding mix added to whipped cream, among other things, so it needs time to set-up.  When I frosted my cake it was too thin, so I had to keep adding powdered sugar to it to stiffen it up.  I had extra, & later noticed the leftover icing had thickened to a much better consistency for spreading.

EDIT: 4/17/2014 – I made this cake again, using Golden Vanilla cake mix & letting the frosting mix chill in the fridge for a few hours before using it.  The Golden Vanilla was a good swap, but the frosting did not get much thicker.  It will still too thin for a frosting a layer cake.

spinach lasagna rolls OOAK

My guests’ second favorite dish was the lasagna rolls.  I used Kraft’s Spinach Lasagna Rolls recipe.  The only change I made to this one was doubling the recipe.  I must have overstuffed them because I only got nine, while the original recipe made six.  I did forget the cheese on top & that made a difference.  The were fine right out of the oven, but got a little dry soon after.  More sauce would have helped as well.

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My favorite was the Cheesy Olive Appetizers.  I had something similar at a baby shower & couldn’t get enough of them! Cheesy & salty, mmmmm.  I followed this one to the letter.  Based on the comments, I do recommend using real butter instead of the margarine or a spread.  One commentor said he substituted margarine & his melted flat instead of staying round.  In that vein, be sure to give them plenty of freezer time.  Mine were in there for hours & stayed round when cooked. The ones I had at the baby shower were flat, but I don’t know how she made hers. (The hostess was also a caterer, so she wouldn’t tell me. 😛 )

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The Pineapple Coconut Snowballs were really easy.  The only change I made was adding crushed pecans.  It was a perfect touch.

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Last but not least, I made Paula Deen’s Traditional Southern Deviled Eggs.  If you can believe it, this was my first time making deviled eggs.  They are a must at my family’s dinners, so I’m not sure why it never occurred to me to make them before.  It was an easy & straight forward recipe, & I didn’t make any changes.

Have you tried any of these recipes?  What are some of your favorite birthday or party foods?