Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Think Tink

Here is the cupcake display I made for kalei's friend H's 3rd birthday. H is super into princesses, and her face just lit up when she saw her cake!! (I know, Tinkerbell is a fairy and not a princess...) It was a lot of work, I won't lie, but I had a blast with it and it was so worth it to see how happy it made her!

I used a new and improved vanilla cupcake recipe I have been working on, and a Swiss meringue buttercream icing. I had never made this type of frosting before, and holy cow it was good!! A little time consuming, as it requires about 15 minutes of beating (thank you Kitchenaid for your glorious stand mixers!!) but totally worth it. And it can be frozen and used later too, bonus!! The Tinkerbell dress is covered in marshmallow fondant, and her head, hair, and body are entirely made of fondant, all skewered together with, well, a skewer :o) I made her wings with Wilton Colorflow, which I think is similar to royal icing, but was a lot easier to work with. (I first attempted the wings with royal icing, and they just shattered). It is hard to tell in the picture, but I painted the pink part of her dress with Wilton shimmer dust to make it sparkly. It looked really cool!

You can find the frosting recipe at this site, http://www.dyannbakes.com/. I love this site so much!! Her videos are so awesome and helpful, especially for a visual learner like me! If you like to bake, and want some good tips, you should definitely check it out :o)

Happy "leftovers" eating!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Hot Chocolate in the Desert

I love how it is getting extremely close to Christmas, and yet it is still too hot here to wear jeans. I know I complain about this often, but dangit, I want to wear a sweater this year. Just once... I remember last year, standing outside waiting for all of the kids to get off the bus at the school where I worked, and being freezing every morning! But that was Yuma, and El Centro is still just HOT.

But not too hot for Hot Chocolate Cupcakes!! The inspiration for these came from the insanely good hot chocolate that Jay makes for us every year, with cinnamon, nutmeg, milk, and double the chocolate. YUM!!! So of course this had to become a cupcake too. It turned into a sort of tweak-as-I-go-along recipe, as I wanted to get the taste as close as possible to that of the real thing. I think this is pretty close to what I ultimately came up with.

HOT CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES: Makes 12 standard size cupcakes

1/4 cocoa powder

1 packet Nestle rich chocolate hot cocoa mix (dry)

3/4 C all purpose flour

1/2 C sugar

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 large egg

1/4 C plus 2 TBSP warm water

1/4 C plus 2 TBSP buttermilk

2 TBSP canola oil

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 C Kraft mini marshmallows

1/2 C semi sweet chocolate chips (I used Hershey's Special Dark)

2 tbsp light Karo syrup

1 TBSP butter

2 tsp heavy cream

1 C heavy whipping cream

1 - 2 tsp sugar, to taste

1/4 C chocolate shavings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners

In medium bowl, combine cocoa powder, hot cocoa mix, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.

In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the egg, water, buttermilk, and vanilla.

Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients, and mix on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Fold in the mini marshmallows.

Divide batter evenly in the cupcake liners.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean (a few crumbs are ok).

let cool for 5 minutes in pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Fill cupcakes with fudge filling, and top with sweetened cream and chocolate shavings.


Melt chocolate chips, butter, and Karo syrup in small pan over low heat. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the cream. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before filling the cupcakes.
Note - putting the fudge in the fridge will harden it, if this happens, just reheat to soften.


In large bowl, beat cream on high speed just until soft peaks form. Stop mixer and add sugar. Continue beating on high until thick enough to hold its shape. Dollop or pipe on cooled cupcakes, top with chocolate shavings.

I wasn't too sure what the marshmallows in this recipe would do, whether they would stay put and create pockets of gooeyness throughout, or just melt into the batter. Turns out it was the latter, which made for an all over gooey moist cupcake. I have to admit I was a little confused though when I bit into the cupcake and all the marshmallows had dissapeared... :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lazy Day

It has been kind of a lazy past couple of days (which is a always a nice change!) Kalei has not been feeling too great, so we have been taking it easy. Yesterday we were able to go and see the Bee Movie with Kalei's friend L and his family which was super duper fun. It was too cute, L called Kalei on the phone to ask her if she wanted to go with him. Seriously, I am planning their wedding already. He is the cutest thing ever! So of course we had to dress Kalei up super cute :) Much grouchiness ensued after the movie however, so we were not able to get a picture of both of them :( The movie was great though, and the kids absolutely squealed with laughter all the way through. I don't know what is up with the negative critic reviews, I thought the movie was really good and funny, and it definitely kept the kids attention, and there wasn't anything offensive in it. Oh well...

Kalei and Jay were both up most of the night due to Kalei tummy troubles (while I slept blissfully on, unaware of any of it - I know what kind of mommy am I?). We stayed home from church today so that they could both get some needed rest. It was nice just to relax and hang out together as a family. Jay is taking the rest of his personal time for the year off these next few days ( he won't be able to use it once the holidays start) so we are really taking advantage of the time to have fun together. Tonight we took Kalei to the park to play and get out of the house for awhile, and we had a blast. Jay brought along the slackline so we took turns with that for awhile. Jay has gotten really good at it and can walk all over the line now, frontwards and backwards, and can even turn around. I, on the other hand, am still getting the hang of just balancing once I am up. I did manage to take an actual step a couple of times today though. Woohoo!! Kalei loves walking on it too. I am amazed that she is not completely freaked out by getting up there. Her balance is pretty amazing!

Kalei is in bed and I am just hanging out making cupcakes (surprise surprise!) while Jay is out with his dad, who is staying with us tonight after a fun weekend at the dunes with his brother. I had some left over glaze from a earlier cupcake project that I didn't want to go to waste, so I decided to experiment with a new cupcake recipe tonight. It's not nearly as much fun to do the same thing twice as it is to try something new :o) I am really excited about them! Assuming they turn out, I will post pictures and the recipe tomorrow when they are all finished :)

Baby Shower Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for a surprise baby shower for a friend of mine last week. It was so fun! This idea came from the Wilton 2006 Yearbook, the same one that featured Kalei's "lollipop" cupcakes. In the yearbook it uses pink for the blankets as well, but since my friend is having a boy, I just made more of the other 3 colors. I haven't used much fondant in a long long time, because I just don't think it tastes good enough to warrant all the work. When I found this recipe for marshmallow fondant however, I decided to be brave and give it a shot. The recipe made it sound like it was going to be pretty time consuming and messy, but actually, it was a really quick and easy! (Especially with my mixer :o) And since it is mainly made from marshmallows, it is much cheaper and tastier than the regular kind too. Kalei had fun playing with it as well. After I let her taste some of it, she started calling it "taste playdough". :oD

At least these babies didn't take 9 months to make!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Simple and YUMMY Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Chicken pot pie is not the sort of thing I typically think about eating, let alone making. Just way too high in fat and calories and all that stuff I would rather save for candy, chocolate, cupcakes, cookies, um that list goes on and on! But for whatever reason I have been CRAVING it lately. A quick search on the web produced countless recipes of course, and I found one that looked like a good balance between being simple, quick, and edible. I wanted a recipe with a homemade gravy, since I am not a huge fan of most cream of ________ soup bases. Anyway, I made this recipe for dinner tonight, with a few small changes, and holy cow it was awesome! I will definitely be making it again.


1 C potatoes, diced

1 C chopped onions

1 C celery, diced

1 C chopped carrots

1/3 C melted margarine ( I used olive oil instead, it worked great!)

1/2 C all purpose flour

2 C chicken broth

1 C half and half

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

4 C cooked chopped chicken

2 pie crusts, store bought or home-made (I used store bought and they were good)


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Saute onion, celery, carrots and potatoes in butter for 10 minutes.

3. Add flour to sauteed mixture, stirring well Cook one minute stirring constantly.

4. Combine broth and half and half

5. Gradually stir into vegetable mixture

7. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly

8. Stir in salt and pepper; add chicken and stir well

9. Pour into shallow 2 quart casserole dish and top with pie shells

10. Cut slits to allow steam to escape.

11. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly and cooked through.

I halfed this recipe, and used crust on the top and bottom because it was just easier. I also added some frozen peas and corn, because I like a lot of veggies. I think next time I am going to either use milk instead of half and half, or up the broth and cut down on the half and half. Maybe that would offset the "badness" of the pie crust a little... :P



So remember the chocolate cupcakes with strawberry mousse I had promised? Well, they happened, however all of my pictures turned out blurry. Darn it, I guess that means I will have to make them again... Hehehe :o) I for sure will though, because they were, as Kalei would say, "Totally boss!!"

And the other thing I promised - check this out!

It's so pretty!!! I LOVE my mixer!! Basically I owe my sister a lifetime supply of cupcakes, and more. I have used this thing several times a day, everyday. It has made my hobby/obsession/insanity even more fun! YAY!!

We're Back :o)

Actually, we have been back for quite awhile... but trying to get caught up after a trip is always a challenge! Kalei and I had TONS of fun in Mesa. We were able to hang out with many of our friends that we haven't seen for over a year. It was neat to me that Kalei had such a great time playing with all of her old friends. We miss all of you so much!!

We have always known that Kalei just loves puppies (or any other animal really) but as you can see from these pictures, she is actually CRAZY about them! It's so cute :) As long is there is a puppy around to chase her, wrestle with her, and give her kisses, she is one happy kid.

Kalei and Spud. Spud seems pretty happy to play with her too!! Maybe we should get a dog too...?

Kalei and me with Spud's mom and dad (Kalei was not happy about leaving!)

Kalei and her friend K. When they weren't arguing about who is bigger, faster, stronger, etc. etc. they had a lot of fun together and got along well...

REALLY well! Apparently, Kalei likes boys too!

Kalei with her friends J and E. She was trying really hard not to smile for the camera.

Now that's more like it!

We are really fortunate to have a kid who is GREAT in the car! I love taking road trips with Kalei. She is so patient and happy when we are driving. She sings songs and tells stories, which keeps me entertained too! I am also greatful for the invention of the portable dvd player... Kalei and I only made one bathroom stop on the way to Mesa. The trip home was a different story. We made several potty stops, a lunch stop, an Ikea stop (I NEEDED Ikea meatballs!) , and a stop at the pizza place in Yuma by our old house to get pizza and breadsticks to eat for dinner that night. Phew! We were both pretty crazy by the time we got home :)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Little of This, a Little of That, but Mostly a Lot of Pictures

Kalei and I are leaving for a weekend long trip to Mesa, AZ tomorrow, and at the moment I am trying to pack, post all of my pictures, and watch Grey's Anatomy all at the same time. There are so many fun pictures to share and I wanted to make sure and have them all up before we left! Since I am so short on time, I will just let the pictures do all the talking, and that way you don't have to listen to (or rather, read) my endless ramblings :) Enjoy!


Kalei getting ready to go

Playing carnival games

Sliding down the bouncy slide for the millionth time :) She was fearless on this thing!

Kalei and good friend L aka "Nacho"


Kalei checking out her treats from Greatpa and Omie Jet

More treats

Getting ready - as my mom would say "You have to suffer to be beautiful!"

She just loves being Sally!



My birthday girls night out! I had such a fun birthday :o)

Haircut day + 2 days in a row off of work = mohawk

Cute picture of Kalei on "Mohawk Day"

Stay tuned for my next post coming up after my trip...Dark chocolate cupcakes with strawberry mousse filling + strawberry cream cheese frosting, and pictures of my new kitchen gadget. 3 hints - it's blue, it makes cupcakes at a wicked speed, and it came from my awesome sister!! See you in 3 days!

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