Weekend in Review – Cookies + Chuck E Cheese

Pretty quiet weekend.

We had ground beef homemade tacos on Friday night and I baked cookies.

Mini knows I bake and we normally have cookies in the jar, but we ran out. And she still asks me every night after she finishes her dinner if she can have one, and the sadness on her little face when I tell her we don’t have cookies breaks my heart. So I whipped up some chocolate and vanilla ones.


Saturday I worked on icing the cookies per their shape. I did a few different themes so I could practice using different decorating techniques, and even tried using my airbrush.

I haven’t really practiced with it in a while, and I can see that I need to do some more work before I claim to be  a pro. My stencils moved while I was airbrushing so that was a fail but at least I am getting the pressure to a point I am comfortable with. (You can see what I’m taking about in the red polka dot bow tie, and the blue stripe tie, a little bleeding underneath the stencil.)


I also did a couple different themes so I could practice some flat lays. I’m still working to get the lighting just right and utilizing my backgrounds to really make a good picture. I’m getting there, right?






Sunday we slept in after having gone out to hibachi for dinner Saturday night (thanks Groupon! +  leftovers for later)

We had a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese and after that it was family nap at home.

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Weekend in Review- House Warming

This weekend was fun! 

We had some guests come in late Friday so we worked to clean up the house and make sure everything was presentable for the little party we threw on Saturday.

And the occasion for the party was a little house warming. Mainly for our friends who hadn’t seen the place, some because they moved a few hours away. It was nice.

D got on the grill and made some burgers; we had turkey ones, beef ones and black bean ones (for our vegan friends!). He also grilled 10 lbs of wings, 2 ways. 

I made a few things myself:)

The cheese ball that I made for baby girls birthday 

Cut some fruit up for a colorful healthy option

Made a power green salad with Craisins , red onions, chopped almonds, and orange zest

Cooked 2 platters of a very cheesy Mac n cheese

Who doesn’t love chocolate strawberries?

And almond sugar cookies

Ands 3 tier display of rum cake bites
The festivities were to start around 1:30 but everyone showed up like an hour after that which was great because we were still preparing food. 

I also put together a rum punch and we had some Beer and mini water bottles.

We played Jenga, spades, listened to music and chitchatted about lots of stuff. Babygirl got to play with lots of people and I was happy to entertain.


Our last guests stayed until almost midnight!

Later that night me and my friend went out for a little. Our boys had taken off on Friday night so we decided we needed some time to ourselves as well.

And Sunday was a day for rest. We napped and snacked on leftovers in front of the living room tv cuddling under blankets on the couch. 

Somehow my phone screen ended up cracking, and now looks like a spiderweb of shattered glass. I tried to get a new one Sunday night but was told after arriving to the T-Mobile store that I would have to wait for my claim to process. I was irritated that it cracked in the first place as I didn’t break it myself and now was looking at paying my deductible to get a new one. Not how I planned the end of my weekend. I tried waiting at Barnes & noble hoping my claim would process before T-Mobile closed for the day, but I was I was out of luck once again. At least I got 2 new books and a Java Chip Frapuccino out of it? I’ll be heading to the store after work today to pick up my new phone (after giving them money I didn’t plan on spending for that 😦 )

Weekend in Review- Cake & Kabobs

i love my 3 day weekends.

we let baby girl stay home on friday and ran some errands.

later we went to a tournament basketball game, baby girl was not excited for pictures.


saturday D had to work an event so little mama and me tried to organize the house a little bit. you know, some sweeping and mopping and shower scrubbing. a little mirror cleaning and sink + counter washing.

later we grilled some food for game night. im still doing the pescatarian thing so i made a black bean burger + some shrimp and green pepper shish kabobs.


  
i also made this rustic stars & sprinkles cake.



we actually didn’t even play any games it was more like dinner + hang out at our house. which is cool too. i fell asleep on the couch. i might have even snored.


sunday we realized that the time change happened and were sleepyheads. didn’t make it to church.

we went to an open house that could be promising, but didn’t beat out our top house picks. i put it at the bottom of the list anyway; the master bedroom was pretty awesome.

later we went to the championship game of the tournament.


and then monday happened.

 

 

S’mores Cupcakes

Sometimes in a girl’s life, Aunt Flow will come and be very demanding. She will demand that you lay down because you are in pain, and demand that change your outfit to accomodate her, and sometimes she will demand that you eat chocolate. It’s not me, it’s her! I swear!! She said I need to eat the chocolate, and spoon the peanut butter out of the jar into my mouth, and eat the ice cream while I watch chick flicks in my sweat pants…

She came to visit and she demaded that I eat cupcakes. She said I had to have s’mores too, so why not combine the two??!! I think the little sheep I count to fall asleep even turned into smores cupcakes, that’s how bad I wanted these little babies! Like come on, who wouldn’t want one of these things?!

I combined a few different ideas that I found to make them, but they consist of a graham cracker crust, marshmallow filling, milk chocolate frosting, graham cracker crumbles on the top and some chocolate chips on the inside. Woooooooo. Needless to say the people at my job love me because I can’t finish them by myself so they get to indulge with me!

[ They have been coming back to me all day to give me these “phenomenal” reviews! One person, bless her heart even told me I have a “God given talent,” she made my day for sure !! ]

Can you tell I’ve been trying to practice my food photography? You eat with your eyes first and I’m trying to get better at capturing that first bite 😉

(making the graham cracker crust)

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i caved and bought one of these. it is kind of awesome. i couldn’t find the plunger one that pushs the cut cupcake out after you core it, but i made this one work 🙂 now im super excited to make all kind of filled cupcakes and muffins!20150115-150114-54074824.jpg

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adding the marshmallow filling …20150115-150115-54075416.jpg

homemade milk chcolate frosting ❤ ❤ (Aunt flow was very happy for this)

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Orange Bar Cookies

i have been so busy trying to keep my sanity that I haven’t been taking pics of all the awesome and yummy stuff i’ve been making, case in point these orange bar cookies 😦 😦 😦 i wanted you to see the yummy goodness, the visual appeal of these citrusy sweets.

anyway. got this recipe from the man i got the vanilla from! they have this awesome website where you can buy their products, and they give you recipes to use them ! how nice right ?!! (btw their almond pound cake with the almond frosting is as the french say “magnifique” 

http://www.mannixvanilla.com/Orange-Bar-Cookies.html

orange bar

I basically did everything the recipe said, except I baked mine in a mini cupcake tray and in a mini square silicone mold. only took about 20 mins. i like that this way they all have some of that little crusty goodness along with the slightly chewy center.

if you don’t have vanilla infused orange extract, im sure you could use regular orange extract, or a mix of both orange and vanilla extract and they would still be yummy.

cookie tip: if your cookies get a little hard, put them in a tupperware with a slice of bread. the bread will get hard while your cookies get soft again !

Holiday treats -pretzels

Not only do I have a fun stand mixer I also have come into some vanilla, like some gooood vanilla extract the kind you don’t find in the store and have to ask someone to get for you. Not only that, I have some gooood almond extract. So with those ingredients what’s a girl to do? BAKE!!! [ I know you had to see that coming 🙂 ]

And it’s the holidays so why not? I’ve got a number of people that I would like to show my appreciation for so baking it will be. Nothing says I appreciate you more than me throwing on my apron and whipping you up something to make your soul happy, or at the very least your tummy. I think the effort of doing it yourself makes it taste better too.

With that being said, I’ve started off my holiday treat making with a easy but well loved treat. Chocolate covered pretzels. Seriously easy and everyone can’t get enough !

I found this super cute mold to make it look like wrapped boxes made of chocolate but practice makes perfect with molds like these. You have to make sure the chocolate is the right consistency or else it will be hard to use in the mold. Honestly when I tried to pry them out a lot of chocolate stayed back soooo I think my consistency was too thick. I tried to be fancy and do the ribbons in a different color but that was a little tough too.

pretzels

These other types I’ve had in mind since last year, and only recently I figured out a way to accomplish them:

Chocolate covered, candy cane dusted pretzels !!

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Last year I couldn’t figure out an easy way to break the candy canes. I tried freezing them to make them more brittle, I put them in a bag, covered that with a towel and tried a hammer but really the pieces were way too big to use for my purpose. So I ended up just crisscrossing red and white chocolate lines over top of the regular chocolate. They came out super cute but didn’t have that extra little something that the canes would have offered.

This time around I read somewhere, probably Pinterest, to use a food processor or coffee grinder. DUHHHHHH.  My poor coffee grinder that had been sitting collecting dust in a cabinet, neglected by me as I had no good coffee beans to grind, now found purpose ! I broke the canes up into maybe 3 or 4 pieces and grinded them up into a coarse dust and small pieces. And after melting and applying the chocolate to the canes I just sprinkled the cane dust on it lightly. I probably could have rolled the canes in the dust but then I would have needed to have more ground up canes, and I just didn’t have the energy to do all of that.

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Hope everyone enjoys these 🙂

[In case you were wondering I got the cute pretzel treat bags at Joann’s.  They always have a sale on their holiday baking items, so that was good too]

Kahlua Frosting

I frosted my rum raisin cupcakes !

[[I hosted my dinner last night and cooked a turkey lasagna(post later) , and served my cupcakes as dessert. They loved it. They kept getting up to get more lasagna and said they really enjoyed the cupcakes, so I was happy, because I did everything from scratch]]

I had big plans for how I wanted to top the cupcakes which included a chocolate ganache filling or small top coat, but with cooking, and hosting, and the time factor it just didn’t happen. there’s always next time.

But this Kahlua frosting did happen. I’m sorry I didn’t take pics of the process 😦

 

KAHLUA FROSTING

3 cups powdered sugar

2 sticks butter softened (its important for it to be softened so it will mix well/easier)

1/4 cup & 1 tsp Kahlua

1 tsp vanilla

 

Put the butter and sugar in first, started whisking it together til I saw a frosting-ish consistency. (start with your mixer on the lowest setting !! or else you will end with powdered sugar everywhere ! lol)

[don’t think you can get this consistency without using a mixer, stand or hand though. unless you want to put that kind of whisking, whipping arm moving effort in, then be my guest]

Slowly added in Kahlua.

Added in vanilla at the end.

 

At first I was ready to frost them because it smelled so good, but the consistency looked off; the butter in it wasn’t ready yet. Dumped it back in the mixer for a little longer, til it really had that whipped look to it.

[I wanted to frost them all pretty like you see fancy bakers do, but whatevs I just put it in a ziploc bag, cut the tip and asked my friend to frost while i handled the dinner cooking. ]

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Apple Pie Mini Pies /Muffins

If you caught my last post about my thanksgiving turkey maybe you saw something yummy to the left of the flowers. It was our Thanksgiving dessert. Which I made for the first time ever, with some coaching from my grandma.

I personally can eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday of the week. Maybe that’s a bit of a reach but seriously what is a dessert without chocolate? .. Ill wait.

Unfortunately not everyone feels this way including most of the family present at my dinner. As a host, I decided I’d cater to their personal faves, which included apple pie.

I always like to try a little twist on things I make, so instead of big regular apple pie, I decided some cute little apple pie mini pies/tarts would do the trick. Please excuse my poor basket weaving crust on top, it was my first time after all.

I used a pre made roll out crust, but in the future I want to take a stab at making my own.

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One roll out crust was enough to do the bottom and the top “basket weave” effect for these little mini pies.

The recipe that i had was more than enough apples so I used the excess and made some apple pie muffins.

The second roll out crust did the muffins. I think I made about 6 muffins.

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Clearly I overfilled a few of them, but they were fabulous none the less. They even got the approval of the original apple pie eater himself.

To be honest I think not only was it my first time baking an apple pie but it was my first time eating it, and I’m pretty sure it was everything i think  a pie should be?

Hold on, let me go eat some more to be sure 🙂