Sugar Swings! Serve Some: December 2013

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Top Sugar Swings Posts of 2013

WOW, hard to believe 2014 is coming this week! We've had an awesome Christmas holiday, and lots of visiting with family as well as some general downtime - always nice! I was checking out my blog posts from 2013, and reminiscing a bit on all the treats I've done this year.  I've even forgotten about some of them!  Since there are "metrics" on everything these days, I thought you might like to see the Top 10 most viewed posts by you guys from the year.

 Starting at #10

#10 Heart Shaped & Homemade Hostess Cupcakes - these were super fun and made by baking a marble in the pan to give it the heart shape.

#9 Lego Ninjago Pretzel Sticks - pretzel snacks were HUGE this year.  I made these character pretzel sticks for my kiddos who are a bit obsessed with Lego Ninjago.  Huge "mommy is the best" points with this one!

#8 "Deviled Egg" Mini Cakes - these little cakes were part of a fun picnic party around the blogosphere and are made to look like deviled eggs, but are really tiny little sweet cakes.

#7 Despicable Me 2 and Monsters U Pretzel Snacks - You guys like your pretzel snacks! These were for the new movies that came out this summer (supposed to be minions, Mike Wazowski, and Sulley).  Very easy, just made with square pretzels and candy melt.

#6 Tri-Color Halloween Bundt Cake - This is one of my favs from the year too, a bundt cake that was colored with spinach, beets, and sweet potato.  To halloween it up a bit, just add some eyes!

#5 Hula Bunny PEEPS - what better way to celebrate the spring season then with some marshmallow PEEPS! These are dressed up as Hula girls, complete with grass skirt and coconuts!

#4 Birds on a Wire Graham Crackers - another of my favs from the year are these Birds on a wire.  The birds are just jelly beans in all different colors.  So colorful and fun right?

#3 Rainbow Lego Men Pudding Snacks - and you guys also love Lego! These are made from an ice cube tray and some tinted vanilla pudding.  So easy.

#2 Patriotic Flag and Graduation Hat Pretzel Snacks - like I said you LOVE sweet and salty!  More pretzel snacks 1) flags and 2) graduation hats made from mini Rolos or mini Reeses peanut butter cups.

AND Drumroll please……

The #1 viewed post from 2013 was…...

Thing 1 and Thing 2 Meringues !!! Also a big favorite of mine, which came about because I messed up another recipe.  I kinda love it when stuff like that just falls into place - Oh and maybe being a Dr. Seuss treat had something to do with it!

I hope your 2013 was a great year.  Thanks again for always stopping by, reading, commenting, sharing, and pinning.  I can't wait to see what 2014 brings!  Happy New Year!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Ornament Cookie and Pretzel Snacks

It's almost Christmas!!! Woohoo!! And this is it for me, one last treat before Christmas day.  And it's a really simple one too, some little ornaments made from mini vanilla wafers, pretzels, cheerios, and your favorite sprinkle decorations--you may have this stuff at home already. 

I keep seeing these mini vanilla wafers in different colors at my local food store, which make great little round colorful ornaments.  If you can't find the tinted ones, just use regular mini vanilla wafers.

Attach the wafer with melted candy melts or chocolate to a pretzel base.  

 Then attach a cheerio with melted candy as the ornament loop.  Decorate with sprinkles/candy in any way you like.  And ta-da, little tiny and tasty ornaments.  Sweet and salty always a big hit a parties.  These got gobbled up super fast.

Only 3 days until Christmas! My big kid is 9 and the little ones are 6 so this is such a fun fun FUN time right now.  They are big enough that life in general is so much easier but they are still into all the fun kid stuff.  Plus we have been doing some construction in our house, and we're 99% done - just in time for Christmas! YAY!!  Life is great.  And how crazy that 2014 is around the corner??   Going to try to log off for a bit and do that quality time thing.  

I do want to take a moment to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas if you celebrate, and a very Happy Holiday season to all.  I appreciate all the interactions, comments, and friendships over the years, as well as all the sharing of my stuff around the interwebs! You guys are the best.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Grinch Cereal Treats

I can't go a christmas season without the Grinch.  It's just impossible.  And by The Grinch, I mean the old cartoon, not the movie.  (Jim Carrey I love ya, but you can't beat the old animated movie!)

I did these Grinch cupcakes ages ago:

And I love how many have done the Grinch cupcakes similarly.  Do you ever google your stuff to see what comes up?? or maybe that's just me :) Anywho, I wanted to try something else grinch-y this year and I've been on a cereal treat kick lately because they are so easy and most people love 'em.  These are just the basic rice krispie treat recipe, and tinted chartreuse.  (in case you are wondering, 5:1 lemon yellow to leaf green food gel).  Here's a great mixing chart for colors!

Cut out rectangles and then cut/taper a little for the Grinch head.  Once you are happy with the shape, add yellow candy melt eyes, flat round sprinkles for the red eyes, and black candy melt for the mouth.

Add a little more light green candy melt for his tuft of hair.

And that's pretty much it.  

And if you feel like it, do his pal Max the dog and Cindy Lou Who!

Well if Max and Cindy Lou were zombies! Ah well, at least I tried.  Not all of the things I think up come out exactly as pictured in my head.  Happy week before Christmas!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Wrapped Christmas Present Krispie Treats

Is Christmas really less than 2 weeks away?? That seriously is crazy talk.   But it is what it is, and it comes faster every year.  What can you do?  So I made the kids (and you!) some mini presents to get into Christmas mode!

Very simple to make too.  Made from squares and rectangles cut out from krispie treats (I used cocoa krispies but you can use whatever flavor you like).  I have a bunch of holiday sprinkles in fun shapes so I thought I could use them to make it look like wrapping paper.

Just dip the sides of the treats in some melted candy or royal icing, then while still wet add the sprinkles.  My Type A personality forced me to line them up in neat little rows, but feel free to add them more randomly if you prefer!

Once the candy is hardened, you can add cute little bows on top.  I used taffy and/tootsie roll.  Melt in the microwave for about 5-7 seconds then roll out the candy and cut out strips to make bows.  Add a big round sprinkles/candies on top to finish the "bow" effect.

And you get cute little wrapped presents!

So cute and tiny - make some for your elf on the shelf! (If you do that thing, we personally have banned the elf here - too much pressure to remember that every night and he kinda reminds me of a creepy little clown).  But I'm sure he would love to leave some little wrapped edible presents around your house!

Fun right?

OK off to do some online shopping before it gets too late to get stuff delivered.  Santa apparently has A LOT of shopping still to do!  Oh and don't forget to enter the Give the Gift of Gingerbread Giveaway - it's open until December 17th!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Peanuts Gang Gingerbread Men - Gingerbread Blog Hop and Giveaway

Another fun Blog Hop and Giveaway for you, brought to you by Beth from Hungry Happenings and Jill from Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons.  This one is a Gingerbread Theme!

A Gingerbread Party??! Well how could I not join in?!  Gingerbread and this time of year go hand in hand, so for this one, I did gingerbread men all dressed up as our favorite Peanuts characters.  

I've done character gingerbread men before, like Super Hero Gingerbread MenDisney Princesses Gingerbread, and Star Wars Gingerbread Men, and I always have fun doing them.  We just watched A Charlie Brown Christmas the other night, which the kids love, so I figured they would be perfect this year.

I used a pre-made mix for the gingerbread, just to speed the process up a little.  Then just roll out and cut the gingerbread cookie forms out.  Sometimes I even do these ahead of time and freeze the cut out cookies (un-iced) so that I can do them later.  Because Snoopy and Woodstock are smaller, I cut out a section of their middle before baking, then just put the "head" and "feet" parts back together.  It worked out well!

The detail is done with royal icing (white for Snoopy, yellow for Woodstock, and flesh colors for the gangs' heads, hands).  The rest of the detail is done with candy melts in various colors.  You could always use royal icing for the colors too, but I have candy melt in a plethora of colors, so this works better/faster for me, versus tinting a whole bunch of icing colors.

Hopefully you recognize your fav characters, but just in case here they are:

Snoopy and Woodstock were tough in gingerbread men form, but I'm ok with how they came out.

I always wonder if Lucy and Schroeder and Linus and Sally ended up together and married.  Maybe the girls finally wore the boys down.

Peppermint Patty has always been one of my favs! Yes Sir!

Pig-Pen came out better than I was thinking he would!  I used edible food writer to add the "dirt" on is face.  I didn't even know Frieda's name until I looked it up, and Franklin just sits back and observes the silliness going on.

AND now onto the Give the Gift of Gingerbread Blog Hop and Giveaway! WooHoo!  Look at this really fun giveaway - I really wish I could partake!

The Give the Gift of Gingerbread Giveaway will run from December 11 through December 17, 2013. Entrants must be US residents, 18 years or older Void where prohibited by law.  Enter via the Rafflecopter entry form below.  One winner will be chosen to win the entire prize pack and will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing information. If the winner does not respond in 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.

Enter Here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And Please check out ALL the fun Gingerbread Stuff from this awesomely awesome group of bloggers! I know I will be visiting them all today.

Use the links below to hop from blog to blog 
to see these wonderful gingerbread themed recipes

Thanks to our amazing sponsors, you have a chance to win all of these prizes:

Shabby Apple - Choice of a Dress (from a list) $100 value
Wilton - Gingerbread Decorating Prize Pack $50 value
Cheap Cookie Cutters - $50 Gift Card
Sweet Works - Candy Prize Pack $25 value
Easy Lunchboxes - lunch box set $22 value
Karen's Cookies - $20 gift card
Sweet Simple Stuff - Cake Pop Prize Pack $20 value
CandiQuick - CandiQuick Prize Pack $25 value

Here are all the FB pages to make it easier for you too, GOOD LUCK!!  And a big thank you to Jill and Beth for doing all the leg work and including me in the party.  I really hope you like the Peanuts Gang in Gingerbread form.  Hard to believe it's only 2 weeks to Christmas! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Layered Christmas Cupcakes and a Christmas Favorites Giveaway (Kitchen Aid Mixer AND Cupcake Supplies)

So I have cupcakes and free stuff for you today!  CUPCAKES and FREE STUFF (Specifically a chance for a Kitchen Aid Mixer and some really fun Cupcake Supplies)?? AND a fun SCAVENGER HUNT! What is this madness I speak of? 

Well first off, the cupcakes (hang with me to get to the awesome free giveaways).  One of my most popular posts of all time (well of all my blogging time anyway) are these striped layered christmas cupcakes.  If you look at the pics you will see they are one of my first posts, a throw back to 2010!  In blog years, that's pretty much like 20 years. 

But I really appreciate all the viewing, sharing, featuring, pinning, and especially the links back that many of you all have done with them, so to thank you, I did another layered cupcake and giveaway for you (be patient that's coming soon!).  

This one is a spiced cupcake (from a box mix).  To make slicing the cupcakes much easier on you.  Freeze them.  Like for awhile.  Overnite if you can.  Then use a serrated knife and cut layers into equal sizes.  Add your favorite frosting.  I used vanilla buttercream tinted red and green and added some between the layers.  Depending on how much you like frosting you can add a thick layer or go with thin layers.  Then frost the top - I went with a simple rose design using the 1M wilton tip.

OR if you don't like the layered look, you can just pipe the roses on top and add some fun sprinkles.  Sprinkles always win. Always.

But you can add a surprise and add some tinted red, white, and green icing inside too.  Way more fun.

NOW onto the FREE STUFF!  

Well some chances for free stuff! Karyn from Pint Sized Baker and Dieter's Downfall organized this super fun Christmas Favorites Giveaway and Scavenger Hunt with a bunch of us.  There are 2 giveaways, and a scavenger hunt!

First, some really cool CUPCAKE SUPPLIES from yours truly and Ladie's Home Journal.  LHJ is offering 2 of their favorite cupcake pans by Nordicware (worth $29 each) and a subscription to LHJ for one year for you and a friend! And I also have some really fun cupcake supplies that I love and hope you will too.
You get 2 of these Nordicware and a subscription to LHJ for you and a friend!!
You also get a cupcake book with recipes and pics of 80 cupcakes, a christmas cupcake kit, 2 Duff candy writers, cellophane party bags, a Wilton Cupcake decorating tip set, 3 packs of Wilton holiday candy toppers, Paula Dean cupcake stencils, and some holiday cupcake wrappers
Enter for the Cupcake Supplies Pack Giveaway here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
AND the 2nd Giveaway!

Yep you read it right a KitchenAid Pro Mixer!  Woohoo!  

Enter here for the KitchenAid Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


One way to enter the giveaway is to visit all the blogs for a scavenger hunt to decode the Secret Holiday Message. When you visit all 19 blogs, you'll have to put the words in order to decode the Secret Scavenger Hunt message and enter to WIN the KitchenAid Professional Mixer!

My clue is: SANTA

Record this word and head over to Nancy over at A to Zebra Celebrations for the next clue.

Here are all the FB pages to make it even easier for you!

A ginormous thank you to Karyn for organizing ALL of this, so many emails, FB messages, and even a Google Chat late last nite! And please be sure to visit all the other amazing blogs sponsoring the Kitchen Aid Pro giveaway as well as their own giveaways (meaning potentially more free stuff!).  We are all doing this for our awesome readers and to say THANK YOU to you all this holiday season.  The links are below!