Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Time for a GIVEAWAY - $55 CSN Stores

And the Winner is....
Commenter #2 Lisa - "I would definitely buy a food processor. I've been wanting one forever."

Congratulations Lisa, I will be sending you an email with your prize!

Have I got a midweek surprise for you! It's time for another GIVEAWAY! The great people at CSN Stores are offering one of my readers a $55 gift certificate!

CSN stores have a ton of items such as bed sets, kitchen tables, lighting, bakeware items and much much more. They have 200 + stores where you will be sure to find something to spruce up your house! So hurry on over to their sites and see for yourself.

GIVEAWAY: Entering for this is simple! One, you have to be a follower of this blog. Once you're a follower, leave a comment below telling me what you would buy with your gift card! You're officially entered to win!

You have until Sunday, October 3rd, 11:00PM (CST) to enter the contest.
Any entries received after this time will not be considered.
One lucky winner will be chosen and posted sometime on Monday, October 4th.
Winner will be chosen using random.org

Good luck & happy shopping!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cupcake a Week: Cute as a Button Cupcake Skewers

I have been dying to share my latest cupcake creation with you all! I actually submitted this into a "cupcake skewer" contest over at Pizzazzerie. It seems the latest trend to be popping up on dessert tables are the cupcake skewers. Take a mini cupcake, add it to a stick with a little decoration on top and you have yourself a pretty unique dessert display!

So here's where my "cute as a button" design inspiration came to be for my cupcakes skewers. You may remember The Big Reveal twin's gender party and the Cowboy Cake I recently made for my friend Kelly's baby shower. Well on September 1st the cutest pair of twin baby boys I have ever seen were born! So I thought it was only fitting to welcome these babies into the world with yet another sweet treat! I went to visit Kelly and the babies this week and took this cupcake skewer bouquet. So I bet you're wondering if I got some pics of the littles ones...of course I did. So let me introduce you to....

Mack & Miles Morgan

Aren't they absolutely precious! Kelly said she tries to keep them positioned alphabetically to make it easier, so Mack is on the left and Miles is on the right!

Mack's the tiny one! He was sleeping when I got there, but soon woke up so I could hold him.

And Miles was just hanging out, looking around, sweet as can be while his little brother napped. I can't wait to go back and spend more time with these little guys!

Since I had a blast creating the "cute as a button" cupcake skewers I've put together a step-by-step photo tutorial on how to make the fondant buttons in case you want to make one of your own. Its super easy!

Roll out fondant in your favorite colors

Using these 3 decorating tips you can make both a large & small size button:
Ateco 806 (or Wilton 1A...just a large round tip)
Wilton #3
Wilton #12

Use the bottom of tip 806 and cut out round circles for the large button

Take the bottom of tip 12 and gently press into the center of your larger circle to create a smaller circle in the center

This is the result

Use tip 3 and flip it upside down to create 2 tiny holes inside of the center circle
Button # 1 is complete...easy enough right?

To make a smaller button, cut circles using the bottom of tip 3

Flip tip 3 over again and make 4 tiny holes in the small button
And that's all there is to making small & large fondant buttons

Then just go to town making more buttons in multiple colors
and there you have your super "cute as a button" cupcake toppers

I created a super easy and simple DIY canister to place the skewers in. Using a recycled can I added 2 strips of construction paper around the center in different colors, one slightly wider than the other. I used a black marker to write "cute as a" and then glued on a fondant button. That's all there is too it. Throw a little shredded paper inside for some extra color and to help hold the skewers in place.

Be sure to stop back by next week when I'll show you "how to assemble a cupcake skewer".

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Today there's a birthday boy in our house! My hubby, Randolph turned the big 33!

So yes that means we got 33 candles for his cake!

And I sang happy birthday to him. It was our birthday celebration, party of two, plus the dog!

His request was for a German Chocolate Cake with "frosting all over the outside and lots of nuts"! Here's the recipe I used off the box of Baker's German Sweet Chocolate. Let me just say, it is one rich, moist and delicious cake...amazing!

Make a wish!

His comment after the first bite: "this bread stuff is really moist"...oh yes, my husband refers to cake layers as "bread"....I have no clue why...but that just cracks me up....this isn't a sandwich you are eating...it is CAKE! Does anyone else's husband do this too?

No matter if he refers to it as "bread" or "cake" I still love him either way!

Happy Birthday "R"...Love you!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Here's one of my favorite super simple and very yummy granola bar recipes that makes the perfect snack after a long run! I made these for my marathon team a few weeks ago after they ran their 20 mile training run. Loaded with oats, peanut butter and almonds they are a great source of getting carbs and protein back into the body quickly after burning so many calories.

My sister first told me about this recipe when a co-worker made them for her. The recipe is from Giada of the Food Network, my all time favorite chef so I just knew they were going to be amazing! These bake up to be a pretty soft and chewy granola bar and they definitely don't last long at my house.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars (Giada DeLaurentiis)

-vegetable cooking spray
-1 egg white
-1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
-1/3 cup brown sugar
-1/4 cup honey
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
-2 cups old fashioned oats
-1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted, *see cook's note
-1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips

  • Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray a 9 x 9 baking pan with cooking spray. Lay parchment paper in the pan, allowing the excess paper to hang over the sides. Spray the parchment paper lightly with cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, using a hand beater, beat the egg white until frothy. Stir in the peanut butter, brown sugar and honey. Add the melted butter, oats and almonds. Stir to combine, then add the chocolate chips.
  • Using a rubber spatula, spread mixture into the prepared baking pan, pressing lightly to form an even layer. Bake until the edge of the mixture begins to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 1 hour. Cut into 1 1/2-inch squares and serve.
  • *Cook's Note: To toast almonds, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.
After trying this recipe I guarantee you will no longer want to buy store bought granola bars!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cupcake a Week: Peanut Butter Pupcakes

Meet Tillman. This is my 11 year old baby that stares back at me all day long. Don't you just love these eyes? He's my only means of communication during the day since I work from home. He keeps me company laying beside my desk sleeping the day away, snoring occasionally while I stare at my computer for hours on end. He's got a rough life...sleeping, eating, wagging his tail, taking walks and sleeping some more. I'd love to be a dog for a day! Don't let his size scare you though, he is seriously a big teddy bear and the sweetest dog you will ever meet. He loves to cuddle and is spoiled rotten. He knows how to give you that sad puppy dog face when you are eating a plate full of food, anxiously awaiting to lick up any scraps. So I thought I would spoil Tillman a little more and make him a special batch of "pupcakes"...you know cupcakes for dogs!

These pupcakes were super easy to make and include some great ingredients like peanut butter, honey, apples and whole wheat flour. Any dog is sure to love these, Tillman sure did. I made larger size cupcakes, b/c well my dog is huge and pretty much swallowed these whole in one bite, but if you have a small dog I recommend making them as mini cupcakes!

Of course I had to document with photos Tillman's first taste of a pupcake...

A little bribery to get the drool going...

Open wide, be sure to release pupcake before your fingers get caught inside of those canines!

The entire pupcake is inside his mouth, all in one bite.

Gulp. Pupcake is gone...mmmm mmmm good!

These eyes get me every time, I just love looking at them, so precious.

Can I have another pupcake? Of course I gave in and gave him not 1 but 2 more pupcakes!

If you love your pup make them a batch of pupcakes today!

Peanut Butter Pupcakes (recipe adapted from bakespace.com)

Makes 16 standard size cupcakes

-1 apple, finely chopped (I used granny smith)
-2 cup water
-1 egg
-3 cups whole wheat flour
-1 tablespoon baking powder
-2 tablespoons honey
-1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

  • Combine all ingredients in bowl except peanut butter and mix well.
  • Mix in peanut butter.
  • Spray cupcake pan with cooking spray.
  • Fill cupcake pan about 2/3 full with batter.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
Another of of Tillman's favorite treats are these Honey Love Biscuits.

Do you have any great recipes for dogs? I'd love to hear about them, I'm always looking for special treats for my pup!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Birthday Cakes

This weekend was full of birthday cakes! My friend Jennifer turned 30 so she was definitely deserving of a special bday cake! She requested a yellow cake with vanilla buttercream, she's a simple gal.

I decided to decorate with fondant and thought it would be fun to do a monogram with her initial, plain and simple.

And here's the other birthday girl, Abigail who was turning 2!

This was a yellow cake with an Oreo filling and vanilla buttercream and lots of girly touches with pink and purple bows and flowers.

All of the decorations are made out of fondant.

It's time to blow out the candle!

Make a wish! Abigail seemed to enjoy eating the fondant flowers more than the cake!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cupcake a Week: Hamburgers

I am a burger lover...the more toppings the better as far as my burger goes! So when I first came across the idea for hamburger cupcakes on Bakerella's blog last year I was completely blown away by her creativity. I have been dying to make these bite size burger cakes ever since but just haven't had the perfect opportunity until this past weekend.

A friend I run with was having a football party grill out fundraiser and asked if I would make her some hamburger cupcakes! Of course my response was YES! These cupcakes were so fun to make and were a huge hit at the party!

Here are some step-by-step photos for assembling the perfect burger cupcake.

Bake a batch of vanilla cupcakes and then remove the paper liners.

Use a serrated knife and slice each cupcake horizontally to create the top and bottom half of the burger bun.
Bake a batch of brownies in a 9 x 13 pan. Once the brownies have cooled use a round cookie cutter, about 2" diameter to make your burger patties.

Place your "buns" and "burgers" on a tray in rows to make for easy assembly.

Make a batch of vanilla buttercream and tint in 3 colors: Red = ketchup, Yellow = mustard, and Green = lettuce. Place icing in piping bags fitted with tips for easy decorating. I used small round tips for the ketchup and mustard and the Wilton 104 tip for the lettuce.

Place the burger on the bun.

Add a squiggle of ketchup.

And a squiggle of mustard.

And some lettuce. Don't worry about being perfect with the icing, just squeeze it out and swirl it on allowing for some to overhang the edge of the brownie.

Add on the top bun and sprinkle with a few sesame seeds. Looks like the real deal from McDonald's doesn't it...only much sweeter!

And the burger assembly continues.

With football season just getting started these would be the perfect addition to any tailgating party. Or the perfect excuse to indulge in two desserts at once...cupcakes and brownies all in one bite! YUM!
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