Sunday, January 29, 2012

sweet & salty football snacks....!

Football snacks

...so these are almost too easy to make into a post...and i'm sure you've seen these around before....but what the heck it's the super bowl next sunday (or the big game....can you still not say super bowl because it's copyrighted??)

....i've made these a bunch of times for parties and they are always a hit....a sweet and salty combo snack!....you'll need pretzels....any shape will work but i use the square ones....and candy melt/wafers, and m 'n m's.....

...then make them the team colors....for those of you not into football the NY Giants are in (woohoo!)....and the New England Patriots....and they pretty much have the same team colors---i was really routing for the Raven's last weekend so there would be another color combo to throw into the mix (it's kinda sad that i pick teams based on treats i'm thinking of making.....but i digress)....

....the patriots are wearing their blue uniforms and silver helmets...so i spray painted some white m 'n m's silver with some leftover duff silver cake graffiti....it's like edible spray paint....


....and used some candy wafers in blue and white....just pop on top the pretzel and bake at about 185 degrees until the wafers are just melted....about 5 minutes or so.....


....then add some non-pareils in coordinating team colors.....and an m 'n m on top....




....and you get some super simple and fun party snacks...that you can make the day of or make way ahead of time!.....oh and....

GO GIANTS!!!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

gnome cupcakes .....!


 ...more specifically homemade chocolate cupcakes with swiss meringue buttercream with edible gnomes....i think gnomes are the new zombies...!

...so we've all been sick...sick, sick, sick.....which sucks....so i made cupcakes for the kids...and i guess me too.....you know you forget how bad it is to have broken sleep day after day.....we're going on a week or more with coughing, puking, nebulizer treatments....and just grumpy kids and mom/dads all around....fun!

...so saturday i had a little energy spurt so i made martha's one bowl chocolate cupcakes and tried swiss meringue buttercream for the first time too....

gnome cupcakes

....the gnomes i made a couple weeks ago...they are made out of these....


....when i found the chocorooms in a dollar store...i knew they were going on some cupcakes!....and every time i see bugles...they remind me of gnome hats so figured i'd give it a go....dunk them in some melted red candy waters/melts....(tap off the excess)....and let dry on some wax paper ....


.....the heads and bodies are made from hershey bells (found on sale post christmas--so score!).....dip the bottom of the bell in blue (or whatever gnome color outfit you prefer)....and the top in skin toned candy melt (i just added a little orange to white until i got an ok color)....


...then attach the hat with some candy melt...and add beards (white candy melt)....nose, arms (skin toned candy melt)...and eyes are made with an edible food writer....and you get youself a little gnome army!....

candy gnomes

....also a note about swiss meringue buttercream aka SMB (which is basically a meringue with lots of butter added in)....lots of sites say this stuff is the bomb...totally different than regular buttercream and once you go SMB you'll never you back....so had to try it (finally!)....most recipes say you can't really mess it up---even if it looks like you are.....

....the recipe i used i cut in half....and it came out great....!.....first time making it and all....it's light and silky as everyone says....not super sweet....i was icing the cupcakes the next day so i stored it in the fridge.....most recipes say you can do that and to just let it come to room temp and re-whip it.....i did this and it looked like lumpy wet soup!...wish i had the pics, and i was about to toss it and call it a learning experience when i did a last google search to see if i could find any info....one site said to take 1/4 of the icing and nuke it for 10-15 seconds....then add it back to the bowl and whip it up....i was kinda skeptical...but it totally worked!....go figure...because it really looked like a loss cause.....


gnome cupcakes 

...and you get some really cute and totally edible gnomes with some mushroom friends sitting ontop some luscious swiss meringue buttercream grass....

...oh and since valentine's day is coming up...figured my gnomies needed a lady friend to hang out with....!

...thanks for stopping by and have an awesome and healthy week! 

p.s. for those of you with kiddos....this frosting was not a hit with my kids....it's not very sweet like regular buttercream and the silky texture threw them off a bit.....so we'll be sticking with good old buttercream around here for most of the treats....that said the 40+ year old really liked it....said it reminded him of whipped cream.....and maybe i'm a kid too because i think i prefer regular buttercream....don't get me wrong.....these cupcakes with SMB were really good....but i think for cupcakes i like it a little sweeter....i do think this would be great on cakes though...just my 2 cents!

oh and if you like them, vote for them over at Celebrations...the voting is open Jan 30th-Feb 13th! Thanks!!!



please stop by these fun bloghops too!

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

flying heart cupcakes.....!


...so i know it's a little early for valentines day treats....actually not really if you check out the retail stores these days....lots of red, pink and white candies all over the aisles now....(although you might be able to find the random christmas candy on sale for like 95% off too!)

valentines day cupcakes

....and although they do fit in with valentines day...i had my 4 year old girlee girl old in mind when i made these....which are in celebration of her heart day.....on january 16th it will be 4 years since her heart transplant (she and her twin will be 5 in april)....and we've taken to celebrate it as if it's her second birthday...well because it is...!

valentines day mini cupcakes

....and why flying hearts?? (and actually some heart & arrow minis too!).....well i remember drawing hearts like this when i was little for some reason.....

....and more importantly....it's a tribute to my shmoopie's donor....i don't know the circumstances around what happened....but i do know my little one would not be here if not for her donor's family...which made the decision to donate probably under extremely difficult circumstances...

....and if you are part of a donor family.....a sincere THANK YOU to you!...you may never know who was the recipient of the donation, but as the mom to a kid that was on the receiving end......a thank you just doesn't seem enough.....but we will always be eternally thankful for donor families that make those decisions....so virtual cupcakes made in your honor will have to suffice....i wish i could give you one in real life!.....

flying valentines day cupcakes

....and these are also another check-off on my 2012 pinterest to do lists!....i saw this idea awhile back to make heart shaped cupcakes here....by baking with a marble between the liner and pan....neat, right?


....frost with your favorite icing.....and top with a bunch of these.....



...and for the minis...i didn't even do the marble thing....just piped a heart shape onto the cupcake with icing....then dip into sprinkles....


....wings and arrows are made with white, red, and pink candy wafers.....(add them to a zip lock bag, nuke until all melty, snip off an end of the bag....and "pipe" out the shapes....let harden for 10 minutes or so).....add some extra candy off the wings so you can stick that part into the icing when you decorate the cupcakes...it will stay in place easier.....


...and you get some heart shaped cupcakes topped with lots of sprinkles...which are the best kind IMHO.....and of course you can absolutely use these for valentine's day too!

valentines day cupcakes

....a favorite pic of my and my shmoopie.....hard to believe it's been almost 4 years since her transplant (and she's doing absolutely fantastic)....bakerella's recent post hit squarely home for me.....what a great role model for my little one....or anyone actually!!....


...anyhoo....thanks for stopping by and please consider becoming a donor if you are not already....so many people waiting on lists...this is one case where demand significantly exceeds supply....visit the Donate Life site here for more info....

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

matcha and cherry chip cookies....!


....so i almost forgot about these cookies since i made them around the holiday rush time....!...but they were really simple and very good...totally post worthy....

....awhile ago i saw these homemade matcha chips and cookies here from une deux senses (beautiful pics on her blog too!)....and since i love anything green tea/made with matcha...knew i had to give them a go....

....i had sweet matcha powder leftover from this post...and added about 1/4 cup to about 2 cups of vanilla candy wafers....(just melt candy wafers or vanilla chips in the microwave until all melty...then dump in the matcha powder and mix well)....

....add to a zip lock bag...snip off an end and "pipe" out the matcha chips.....you may need to re-heat the mix in the microwave if it starts to get to stiff....


....let them set for about 20 minutes or so....and you get a bunch of green tea matcha chips....!...so easy....i'm thinking of doing these "homemade" chips with some other stuff...like other teas or powders....


....mix these in with your favorite cookie batter (i used the original toll house cookie recipe)....

....and the cherrry chips i already had....



....and you get some yummy cookies with homemade matcha chips and not so homemade cherry chips...!

matcha chip and cherry chip cookies

....you definitely get the green tea flavor coming through in these....and if you like green tea you must make these!...and the cherry chip cookies were good too...i kinda liked the red/green thing for christmas time....but i ate many more of the green tea chip cookies than the cherry chip ones...

...can't wait to see the flurry of valentines day goodies coming up....fun stuff....and thanks as always for stopping by....have an awesome week!

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Monday, January 2, 2012

simple vanilla cupcakes....!

....so the first post of 2012! woohoo!...and figured it should be something healthy simple and something i've been meaning to do all last year...so i can scratch something off the 2012 to do list.....these are glorious treat's "perfect" vanilla cupcakes....

vanilla cupcakes with blue buttercream

....calling anything perfect is pretty ballsy right?....because what these days is perfect?....ok maybe bradley cooper (did you know he speaks fluent french???)....but aside from that not much is perfect, right..?

....and i've tried a couple from scratch vanilla cupcake recipes---but something was always not quite right....like i love the magnolia vanilla cupcake recipe but they never bake up nicely for me....i've tried 2 or 3 times....so i always thought its got to be me...not the recipe right?....these are my last attempt at the magnolia recipe...


....the flavor was really good....but they look terrible (i ended up taking the liners off for this post)....i had a feeling it was something about the butter---from scratch cupcakes with butter never bake nicely for me....but maybe i do something wrong...because i always end up with cupcakes looking like this!)...so then i always end up going back to doctoring up store bought mixes....


....but glorious treats promised an easy recipe with cupcakes that "looked beautiful and tasted perfect"...! so i pinned them awhile ago and finally got around to trying them....and guess what...this is what i got...!


....yay!....perfect looking vanilla cupcakes.....which i then could not wait to frost in some of my go to buttercream....(just tinted with a drop of liquid blue food coloring....because there is something about this color blue that i love, and i mean LOVE!)....

vanilla cupcakes

.....and then immediately tried....YUM!....they were fluffy with the texture of boxed mix cupcakes and not too sweet....very good and moist........and they really did bake up great....her recipe is simple and uses oil versus butter....so if you really like the butter flavor in cupcakes....you may want to keep searching....but i like this one and am going to try it again......i may add some vanilla bean next time or just use a better quality vanilla because i'd love to taste more of the vanilla flavor in them....but all in all a great recipe!...

vanilla cupcake

.....and you get some really simple and "perfect" homemade vanilla cupcakes to start off the new year right way....!

vanilla cupcakes

...thanks to glorious treats for going through batch after batch of vanilla cupcake recipe and taking the hard work out for me....! much appreciated!...and i'm sure you probably know her blog already (she's even been on martha!)...but if not swing by for lots of great goodies and awesome pics...!

...oh and if you have any tips on making from scratch vanilla cupcake recipes with butter or the technique to make them....please let me know what magic you whip up in the kitchen to get perfect looking cupcakes!...and happy new year...!...hope 2012 is off to a great start for ya....!

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