Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Have A Small Kitchen...

I have a small kitchen. When we bought our house about a year and a half ago, I had no idea how much baking I would end up doing. I compromised on kitchen size to have everything else we loved about this house. I don't regret my decision. But, I have a small kitchen...

I cant comfortably work in this kitchen. On top of that, I am running out of storage space.....

Can you tell??
This weekend my parents came to visit. We decided I didn't utilize the corner space well with that table. So we added an "island". It was made up of 3 cabinets and counter space. I'm so excited! Check it out...

I suppose its a little weird, but its functional for now. Until I win the lottery and can build my dream kitchen, its going to work!

Thanks Mom & Gary!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pop Tarts On A Stick

It seems that when it comes to food, if you can put it on a stick, it is that much cuter and even more delicious.
My party challenge for October featured foods for people and pups. One of my favorite "people foods" was the Pop Tarts On A Stick. It is easy peasy!
I started with some refrigerated pie crust. Roll it out and cut into rectangles. Mine were about 2 inches tall by 1.5 inches wide.
Push your lollipop sticks into the center of half of the squares. I like to use a scrap of pie dough to cover the stick, just to make sure its not going anywhere.
Now, you could get all fancy and fill them with pie filling, but lets face it, I'm lazy. I didn't have any pie filling. I used strawberry jam (homemade by my Mom!). I used about a half teaspoon per tart.
Cover with remaining squares. Shmoosh (yes, that's the official terminology) the edges together with a fork.
Bake at 450 until the edges start to turn golden brown. About 8-10 minutes.
Let cool.
For the glaze, mix together 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1-2 tablespoons milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and food coloring of your choice.
Drizzle glaze over pops and sprinkle with sugar if you desire.
Let glaze set before serving.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

To end the week on a sweet note....try these caramel apple cupcakes!

Ingredients: (for cakes)
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 stick, unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
3 honey crisp apples (peeled, and grated)
Caramel topping

Ingredients: (For icing)
8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/8 cup maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners. This recipe made 14 cupcakes.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, maple syrup, melted butter.
4. Stir in apples, fold in flour mixture.
5. Fill muffin cups, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cakes bounce back to the touch.
6. Cool completely.
7. Using a melon baller or small spoon, scoop out centers of cupcakes.
8. Fill centers with caramel topping
9. Prepare icing. Cream together cheese, butter, and maple syrup. Add confectioners sugar. Pipe onto cupcakes, and enjoy! For added deliciousness....drizzle caramel over the tops of frosted cupcakes! Yum yum yum!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sookie Turns 2!

I have been MIA all week due to a rather demanding schedule at work. I am back now and ready to share my party challenge event for October. Our yorkie, Sookie, turned 2 years old on October 8th. We decided to throw her a little birthday party. Friends, family and furballs came over to celebrate. We had a table full of goodies that everyone could enjoy....

I'm pretty excited about the banner. I made it myself, and it was my first project ever with my new sewing machine!

We offered treats for people and pups. I actually took inspiration from Posh Pixel Designs, Meet the Puppy Party. I love how she labeled the food "for the humans" and "for the dogs".

We had red velvet cupcakes(people), carrot cupcakes (pups), pop tarts on a stick (people--more on that later!), various dog treats, and a lemonade stand with lemonade, pink lemonade, and "adult" lemonade!

Here is Sookie enjoying her birthday "pupcake" while wearing her birthday flower!

I had some store bought treats for the pups, but I also made my own doggie bones for pups, and shortbread bones for people.

This photo of Sookie makes me laugh. She wasn't sure what to make of that cream cheese frosting. I call this "crazy tongue".
I cant believe my little baby is already 2 years old! Oh, how they grow up so fast!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

School of Fish

Recently I did a cookie order for a going away get together. The client wanted to do a play on a logo. She asked for a school of goldfish, but with a twist. Sharks attacked! These little guys cracked me up!

Happy school of fish....

Until the sharks arrive!! Some of them didn't make it out with all of their fins in tact!

This mini goldfish was my favorite. He was the happiest of the bunch.

Big fish, little fish!
Thanks for the order Nicole!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pumpkin Heaven In A Jar

Yesterday, I posted about apple butter. Today....pumpkin butter. I first learned about pumpkin butter on a trip to Arizona. We stopped at this adorable roadside market on our way to the Grand Canyon. This market had tons of butters, salsas, jams and jellies. I could have bought one of everything. The lovely ladies working there gave me some samples to narrow my choices. That is when I met pumpkin butter....heaven in a jar. I tried to make my purchased jar last as long as I could, but who are we kidding?
Recently, I stumbled across a recipe on another fantastic blog, Homemade By Jen. Jen posted a recipe for making pumpkin butter. I could have hugged her I was so excited! You can see her post here. To show you just how easy this heaven in a jar is, here is my own tutorial....

Ingredients needed:
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup apple juice (I used apple cider....its what I had in the house)
1 cup apple sauce (I used cinnamon applesauce...again, what I had in the house)
1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours.

Viola! Pour your butter into jars, and you are done! Make sure to store this in the fridge, unless of course you actually can them (which I did not do).
Thanks Jen for the recipe!

Pumpkin Butter
Ingredients needed:
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup apple juice
1 cup apple sauce
1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours.
Pour into jars, store in the refrigerator.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Addicted to Apple Butter

I am Apple Butter. I wanted a cute, homemade favor for my recent Autumn Harvest Party. I can always count on Martha Stewart to inspire me. I made her apple butter recipe and now I cant stop eating it. Try it yourself, its actually quite easy.

Apple Butter (Adapted from Martha Stewart)

2 Tablespoons Butter (I always use unsalted)
3 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and cut into quarters
3 cups apple cider
1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. In a large pot, melt butter and add apples. Cook under apples are slightly softened. Add cider. Bring to boil. Then reduce to simmer. Cover partially and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Preheat oven to 250. Mash apples with a potato masher.
3. Zest about 1 teaspoon from your lemon, set aside.
4. Remove apples from heat, squeeze in juice from half of your lemon. Add in the zest and cinnamon.
5. If you are lucky enough to have an immersion blender, get to blending! Otherwise, grab another bowl. Working in batches transfer apple mixture to blender. Blend, and to second bowl, until all of mixture is smooth.
6. Pour mixture to a baking dish. Transfer to oven.
7. Bake, stirring occasionally, for about 3.5 hours. Mixture should be reduced, thickened, and spreadable.
8. Transfer to jars, and refrigerate.
Yield: 1.5 cups

I personally love apple butter on some wheat bread with smoked turkey. Yum!
Also, another tip, when I made this recipe, I doubled it. If I'm going to go to all this trouble, I want an abundance of apple butter! It made me 7, 4 oz. jars. I noticed that the first day, it was pretty lemon-y. However after about 2 days, the flavors melded together nicely and its amazing!
Seriously could eat it by the spoonful. Try to resist, people will think you're weird. But if no one is all means, dig in!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happy Pop...Sad Pop

It has been a busy week. I had to take a couple of days off from blogging due to this nasty cold I had. That time of year I guess!
However, now its back to the fun! Last week I posted about some fun Jack Pops for Halloween. I also made some Happy Pops and Sad Pops....

I made these for a going away luncheon we had for a co-worker of mine.

My co-worker Mike got a new job and was leaving us. We were "Happy You Got A Great New Job" but also "Sad to See You Go".

Everybody loved the oreo pops and Mike got a kick out of the happy and sad messages!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Eat Your Vegetables!

Autumn is a time for bountiful harvest....well I've harvested these delicious veggies!

Peas, Carrots, and Tomatoes!

Your mother always told you to eat your vegetables!

Remember having to sit at the table until you cleared your plate? No problem-o now!

Guess what is even better? These baskets are available now in my Etsy shop! Go ahead, get your full serving of veggies!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jack Pops!

The other day, I'm reading blogs and come across a post by Kim at Frost Me. She had a variety of ideas for a Jack Skeleton party. You know Jack, from A Nightmare Before Christmas! Kim had posted an idea she found for making Jack Pops from marshmallows. I loved it! Check her post here. However, I like marshmallows, but really only when they are in smores or dipped in some kind of chocolate. The idea of just a plain marshmallow pop was just not that appealing. I modified this awesome idea, and used the template for his body (Check original source out here.) and made Jack Skeleton Oreo Pops!! I'm just giddy with excitement!

How cool is Jack?!
I stuck lollipop sticks in between oreos, then dipped in white chocolate. Once the chocolate was set I piped on his face with royal icing. I originally planned to use an edible food marker, but the chocolate was sweating and made it difficult to draw.
While I was on a roll, I thought I'd bust out a Jack-O-Lantern pop as well!

The chocolate got a little messy, I still haven't mastered this whole chocolate dipping business. However, I think they still turned out awesome, and of course, taste great!
Lets take one more look at Jack...

I'm so proud of him! He was a fun project to do! Try him out yourself for your own Halloween fun!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Broccoli Cupcakes?

I got the best news when I logged into my email today! Thanks to my handy dandy google alerts I found out that my Autumn Harvest Cupcakes were featured on TWO blogs today!! How fun is that?!
The first one I learned about is on Really Easy and the second is on Cupcakes Take the Cake!

I'm pretty excited about this, but also having a good laugh. Another feature on Cupcakes Take the Cake is for Broccoli cupcakes (check them out here, I'm not sure whether to be disturbed or intrigued! lol!) but anyway, that feature had broccoli. Somehow, the title also was attached to my cupcakes! Ha! Now you can look and see, clearly, mine do not have broccoli anywhere near them (for the record: Pumpkin Pecan with Cream Cheese Icing).
However, I am flattered and excited none the less!

Thanks Really Easy Cupcakes and Cupcakes Take the Cake!!
Woo hoo!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Autumn Harvest Party!

Oh how I love autumn! The colors, the foods, the smells! It may be the perfect season! To celebrate, my September party, for my monthly party challenge, was an Autumn Harvest Party. I had my friends and family over celebrate this wonderful time of year! Check out my dessert table....

Don't you love it?! I used our picnic table for a tiered effect. Although, I have dogs, so I didn't put much on the bench.

That was just the desserts. I had another table for more deliciousness.

This table was for the mulled wine (kept warm in a crock pot), chili (crock pot number 2), and since this table was closest to the fire, a build your own smore bar. The smore bar offered a variety of chocolates for guests to enjoy!

Here is a closer look at the dessert table.
On the menu....
Apple Pie Pockets
Candied Apples
Pecan Pie Bites
Pumpkin Pie Bites
Pumpkin Pecan Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (I'll get to those in a minute!)
And spiced apple cider (brandy optional!) served from my over sized mason jar in the center. We drank out of the smaller mason jars. (And somewhere, someone hums along with Toby Keith's I Love This Bar....)

Here are some closeups. I also glittered some apples for a pretty effect.

I used an old candle holder that I had to display the cupcakes and glittered apples.

Here is a closeup of the cupcakes. These toppers will be available for purchase in my Etsy shop shortly!

In the daylight photos it was hard to tell, but we also had mason jar lanterns over the table. The yard was full of candlelight as well as our little fire pit.
It was a perfect way to welcome the Autumn season!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Psychedelic Shrooms!

OK, OK, these shrooms wont make you see rainbows or unicorns, but they sure do taste delicious!

These are my "psychedelic" shrooms collection!

You saw my realistic button mushrooms here. These babies are their alter-egos!

Rainbow delicious and totally safe to eat!

Shroom on my friends, shroom on.


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