Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween treat wrap up!

Hey there! Can you believe tomorrow is already Halloween? Then we move onto Turkeys..and then CHRISTMAS!?!? Seriously. Crazy. Stuff. Today I'm wrapping up Halloween on Make. Bake. Celebrate by recapping many of the fun and easy Halloween treats I've shared over the past few weeks. So if your still in need of a cute and easy treat for tomorrow, no worries! I waited last minute myself, and ended up making chocolate covered pretzels for the girls dance classes as well as more cupcakes with ghost meringues. Chocolate covered pretzels are a favorite around here. Plus they were a great way to use up the mountain of Halloween supplies I have leftover :)

For the older class I simply covered pretzels in green and purple candy melts and then covered in sprinkles. Once they were dry I placed plastic spider rings over the end and wrapped them up in a pretzel bag. They were so simple and came out so darn cute. The kids really love these little rings.

For the little's class I used up my leftover PEEPS ghosts and placed them on the end of the pretzels "gluing" them on with melted candy melts. This idea came from my pal Christy over at Love From the Oven aka The PEEPS whisperer...who did these with some PEEP bunnies at Easter. Of course the littles loved these. Fast, easy, and adorable. I actually got a "you're the best mom" from one of them. I dunno about you...but when my two year old tells me I'm the best..I pretty much melt and will cave into any of her requests. Even if it's to eat the leftover ones.... :)

Now to recap some easy treats Halloween treats I shared on Make.Bake.Celebrate this year! 

One of my very fav and most popular Swirly Halloween Cookies... 

...then there was Candy Corn Oreo Pops and Slime Filled Cupcakes of course!

Of course Halloween wouldn't be complete without some Graveyard Pudding, watch out for bones!

Or maybe a few Monster Eyeball Cookies are just what you need...

...use up spare candy and leftover treats to make your very own Halloween Kabobs.

Here's another of my favs! Adorable melt in your mouth Candy Corn Meringues. 

If cupcakes are your thing why not shape that buttercream into a candy corn ... or let some meringue ghosts spook your kiddos cupcakes?

 Creepy Cupcakes that stare back are always fun...blink blink, blink blink.

Or take it really easy with some Candy Corn Bark! Just melt, pour, and break!

 Baking for Halloween was such a blast, and I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have!

Everybody have a fun, and safe Halloween!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Triple White Chocolate Cupcake

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mummies night in...party on the cheap!

It's been so long since I've posted anything party related! Unfortunately all our our family birthdays are crammed into the winter and mixed with holidays. With me being a party lover, baker guru and holiday extremists (lol) it kinda makes me a bit crazy starting about this time of year. Normally I get the chance to host a party over the summer but it just didn't work out this summer. Bummer. So when I decided to have a thirty-one party recently I couldn't resist to take the opportunity to throw a spooky ladies night while we were all gathered up anyway. Mummies night in, if you will ;) It was seriously a blast, I think mommies night in/out should be mandatory at least bi-monthly. A few hours of giggles, chit chat, serious convo, games, snacks, and wine was exactly what I needed. Just a few hours away form the kiddos and a great chance for daddy to take the girls on a date. The next morning I woke up so refreshed and ready to play with the girls...I actually missed them! Being a military family we live far away from family...and moments away from the kids are kinda rare. The party went over really well and I love how it all came together. I thought I would inspire you to have a "grown up" party and show you how to throw an easy and yet adorable bash on a budget, while showing you some of the things I included in Mummies night in.

My fav six rules for party on a budget:

1: Shop your house first - you will be SO surprised at what you can find right around you home that you can spruce up to fit your party.

2: Check your local Dollar Tree, Target dollar spot, and Wal-Mart holiday/party aisle! You will be shocked at what you can find for often a few bucks or less. Keep an open mind....somethings can be easily changed with a coat of spray paint, glitter, ribbon, etc!

3. Take time to plan your foods well. Food is always way more expensive then you think. I try to sit down and plan food that can be made easily, will coordinate, won't cost an arm and a leg. Remember if you making lots of different food...you might not need a lot of each food then.

4. "Invest" in party ware. This is a good idea if you love to trow parties. Several years ago we purchased nice plastic white plates from Party City. They can be purchased for about what you would pay for regular party plates twice sometimes the same price even. We now have quiet a stash of them which I keep in a plastic bin in the garage (saves room in the kitchen!). I haven't bought paper plates in several years...and they look much nicer! You can do the same with glasses, silverware, serving trays. act.  When we are planning a party I ask the hubs to bring in the party bin and I have lots to sort through and pick from. Big money saver. I have also purchased white linens on clearance that I use all the time along with white serving trays from both Target and Wal-Mart. I know white can be boring but having white plates, linens, and serving trays makes it so easy to match everything!

5. Use reusable items. If possible purchase items that you can use again. This comes is especially handy for holidays. You might buy a wreath for a Christmas party...then later hang it on your door!

6. Hit up your craft store and for cheap "tid bits" to help decorate. I will often pic up random items like scrap booking paper, ribbon, twine...etc at a craft store for cheap even if I have no idea exactly what they will be used for yet. I always end up something that needs bows, or buttons, or something special. Don't forget to go through your own craft supply and take coupons to your craft store! 

For this party in particular I really wanted to go low key. I already had lots on my plate and only  a few days to plan. I spent about $50.00 total and took about 1 day to put together. I decided on the colors because I love the chic look of purple and black and since it's so in right now I was able to locate lots of matching items in the dollar spot and on clearance at the craft store. Micheals had lots of purple and black party stuff for half off and I had an additional 20% off coupon! Whoot!

For our "drink station"....I was able to use a frame I already had and typed up "EAT DRINK and BE SCARY" to put in it. The pumpkin came from the Target dollar spot, and the candles were my sales find from Michael's. Wine and sparkling grape juice were added later of course.

My favorite part was the glittered wine glasses. I have seen this floating around Pinterest for awhile now and I've been itching to try it! It was SO easy! I had so much fun glittering these...I had to find other things to glitter. I mean hey I had extra glitter, hello! The Purple Pug would be proud!

Pretty, right?

Remember craft stores are a season ahead. So scoring cheap holiday items in the same month are pretty easy.

I wanted to keep it so low key I didn't even set up tables and take time decorating...I used a large island and decorated as I went with the supplies I had gathered! Only problem was it wasn't easy to get a nice photo of it this way...oh well :).

The centerpiece was just twigs spray painted from our back yard and .30 glittered sprigs. I wrapped a vase I had in "mummy" wrap and tied some black lace. The awesome candelabras were from Michaels. which I scored for like 3.00 bucks...I couldn't pass them up for that. They were much cooler in person.

I used one of my white table cloths and layered a piece of black halloween fabric I found at Joanne's on sale and with a coupon! I used serving trays I already had and other pieces found around the house. The purple chargers were only .80 at Michaels (I added a black doily for food safety)

I placed lots of candles around to give a warm spooky glow. I glittered the purple candle holders...I heart mod podge. 

I kept the desserts and food simple yet yummy! 

White chocolate cupcakes and devils food with buttercream cupcakes.

Purple sugar cookies, royal iced and covered with sprinkles...I added just a but of "web".
Glittery cheap spiders crawled around everywhere...;)

One of my favorite new treats! Grapes rolled in dry jello! I added a kabob stick with some washi tape to make them a bit more festive. These were a huge hit. Again using things I already had to spruce stuff up!

Chocolate covered mummy pretzels with sprinkle eyes. Pst...I made and glittered this stand. Candlestick + plate + E6000 + mod podge + glitter + clear sealer. Love it.

Here's another helpful trick! I love to line my white plates with scrap booking paper. A very easy and cheap way to spruce up the white plates and help decorate the table. These were clear plastic sheets found at Michaels...which made them washable too! Oh and they make clean up a breeze.

I also served Oreo truffles, sausage wontons, quesadillas, and chips and warm chicken dip.
For drinks we had several different wines as well as sparkling grape juice.

Since there would be lots of ladies that didn't know each other I wanted to get things started with some cheesy games. For the first game I glued some spiders to some cheap beads I found for 1.00. The way the game works is each lady got a pair of beads and then we picked a forbidden word. If you said that word and somebody caught you they got to take your beads. The lady with the most beads at the end of the night wins! We played this at my baby shower with clothes pins and it was so much fun..using the word baby of course. For our ladies night we used the word bag since we were looking at and talking about 31 bags. This game can easily be changed and it's so much fun!

For the second game we split into two teams and each team had five minutes and 2 rolls of toilet paper to dress up a designated member as a mummy...high fashion...tradition...however they chose. This was really quiet fun. I would share pictures but I don't want to lose any friends! :)

And the best part about it all...as soon as ladies night was over I moved many of the pieces to our entry way where I decorate for each holiday or season. I didn't mind buying these pieces at all since I knew they would get more then one nights use! Love doing stuff like this!

Do you have any awesome party on the cheap tricks? Please share! I hope you've been inspired to thorw a fabulous (and cheap) party! Maybe even without the kiddies ;).

Happy Celebrating!

Monday, October 22, 2012

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fondant Awareness Ribbons + Packaging Cupcakes

I receive lots of questions about awareness cupcakes. Often people are wanting ideas or asking me to make cupcakes for events or fundraiser to support many different causes. There are lots of different ways to top a cupcake for an awareness event using printable toppers, candy molds, pre-bought ribbons, chocolate ribbons,  cupcake picks, real ribbons...and so on. However, I believe one of the easiest, cutest, and most cost efficient ways to spruce up an awareness cupcakes is to make fondant ribbons. So today I'm sharing just how simple they are to make, even if you've never even touched fondant you can do it, promise

If you were attending a bake sale and you had the choice of plain cupcakes or cupcakes dressed in pink ribbons and covered in pretty pink sprinkles, what are you going to pick? The cute one of course, unless you have something against cuteness...and well if you don't like cute little pink cupcakes with sprinkles....your probably reading the wrong blog. Just kidding...kind of. ;)

Not only are these cute and easy they are cost efficient. You can pick up a small thing of store bought fondant for around $6.00 at most stores (even cheaper if you take a coupon into Michael's or Joannes). With even the smallest pack of fondant you could make dozen if not hundreds of little ribbons. If you'd rather make your own marshmallow fondant it may be even cheaper, however, when it comes to making toppers that must harden I prefer using store bought fondant...the one time I would recommend not making it. 

Here's what you will need:

Gel coloring
Smooth rolling pin (one with rings helps)
pizza cutter
Parchment paper
Square cookie cutter
Food safe paintbrush (optional)

Note: Fondant amount will vary depending on how much you are making. When making these I tore a about an 8th of a small pack of Wilton fondant off and had enough for about 2 dozen ribbons.

Step 1: Color your fondant with gel coloring. If you are making pink remember to add slowly! It only takes a very small amount of coloring to get a pretty pink.

Step 2: Roll out your fondant on a piece of parchment paper about 1/8in thick. It really helps here if you use a rolling pin with rings. Mine is a small Wilton fondant rolling pin bought in the cake aisle. If you don't have one live this two small doll rods or pain sticks placed on each side of the dough work great to help roll out the fondant nice and evenly.

Step 3: Cut your fondant into a rectangle 4 inches tall, length will vary by amount you used. I use my ruler and cutter to mark four inches on each side and then cut across to each line. Remember to wrap the excess fondant up airtight so it won't dry out.

Step 4: Now cut into 1/4in strips. If you have any that are way too thin or too wide just pull them up and stick them back into the fondant ball to roll again.

Step 5: Using a small cutter with a corner cut the little tails of the ribbon.

Step 6: Turn your strips into a ribbon. I like to take a little bit of warm water and apply it between the fondant where the ribbon meets. This will help "glue it together". A food safe paint brush works great for this but you can also do it with the tip of a clean finder.

Step 7: Now let you ribbons set for several hours, or overnight it you can. They will harden up a bit so they can be moved around easily. But they never get too hard, they will still be chewy.

Of course these can be made in any color to match any awareness ribbon! They can also be spruced up if your'd like. Maybe some edible glitter? A bit of sprinkles? Stitch imprints? Lots of options.

Now that you have some adorable toppers...let's talk about packaging up those cupcakes! 
If you are planning on handing out cupcakes as favors, thank you gifts, or selling individually...simply drop your cupcake down into a clear solo cup and wrap in a clear favor bag! Tie shut with ribbon or bakers twine...and even add a cute tag if you'd like. I have been using this trick for a long time. I was asked to bake cupcakes as a thank you gift one time and had no idea how to package them up without spending a fortune...eventually this idea came to me! Now I see it all over the net :) If your wondering if the cupcakes come out well they generally pretty much slide out. However, if your concerned about this or the cupcake is a really messy one...I like to tie on a coordinating plastic spoon. For these I would tie on a pink plastic spoon or course.

I found these adorable tags from Frog Prince Paperie's last year breast cancer awareness printable. This dessert table was probably one of my favorite ones I have ever seen...and you can print all the labels for  free here

Happy baking!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Halloween Kaboobs

Do you ever have those morning where you wake up thinking it's Friday and it's not...yea that happened to me yesterday, and it was only Tuesday. Seriously. I woke up and thought whew it's Friday, and I actually stayed in that mindset for about 10 minutes, total denial. This new schedule is beating this mommy/baker/blogger to exhaustion. June is only how many weeks away...well I guess we'll just shoot for Friday for now, counting the weeks will just make me want to cry, and then take a nap. I'm finally getting a moment to sit down and share some really fun treats I made last week. I'll skip the details of my crazy week and go straight to these little sweets on a stick, because dessert on a stick makes everything better. Even if you've just walked out of ballet feeling like the worst mom in the world...these will bring you right back to awesome status. Trust me on this one. 

Often I get asked what do I do with all the treats I make? Well as much as I would love to tell you that I have found a secret formula to make them as healthy as broccilli and completely ok to devour every last bite. I can't, because I haven't. So since calories still are evil and I'd like to keep our dentist on my side....almost everything I make gets shared with neighbors and friends, sent to school, work...or whoever else is willing try try out the crazy things that come from my kitchen. I also like to try to take items from one thing and use it for another. Like make bark, use cookies as toppers, or string them on a stick and make kabobs! I really enjoyed these because I was able to use up extra pieces of other treats to make a fun new treat with the left overs, we almost always have a bowl of extra buttercream in the fridge. Of course you may not have extra cake pops or cupcakes laying around...but it's still super easy to make. But if you are making a cake or cupcakes maybe consider using the extra batter to make some mini cupcakes and then just pop them in the freezer to use later. (here are some freezing tips) And maybe you have other fun treats that would be really fun on a dessert kabob.

I also spruced up the stick by wrapping some washi tape around about 4 inches of the stick. A perfect little spot for kiddo hands. If you don't have any wash tape but still want some color, consider soaking the kaboobs in water with food coloring. 

As I said above you can change these up to however you would like. I used mini cupcakes with buttercream, cake pops, peeps, sprinkles, and mini marshmallows. Of course you will need kabob skewers or long popsicle sticks and washi tape or food coloring if you would like to decorate them. These were so easy you probably don't even need step by step photos...but just in case here is how I made them :)

Step 1: Cut 4 inch strips of washi tape and wrap around stick.

Step 2: Unwrap mini cupcakes. Just a tip...when baking mini cupcakes 2 tsps of batter works great!

Step 3: Pipe a dot of fun colored icing onto the top of the cupcake.

 Step 4: Lay out all your pieces and get ready to put everything on a kabob! I used a mini marshmallow first to help hold everything in place and keep in from sliding.  Pst, I dipped each cupcake in sprinkles before sliding on the kabob.

These were so easy and fun to make, and the best part...I was able to use up several leftovers! The kids thought these were really super fun. And wouldn't a bouquet of these make a great centerpiece?

Have any sweet extras laying around that you'd like to kabob? Even if not these are so fun and cute it's worth baking up some cupcakes! 

Happy baking!