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Valentine’s Day 2017

Things never change.

I tried to have a great Valentine’s Day for my kids, with Valentine’s Mad Libs, pizza in heart shapes, and a few desserts:

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But crazy life got in the way.

By crazy life, I mean the normal stuff: getting home late from work, taking way too long to take pictures of the kids with the Valentine’s day food, slicing my finger open on a Valentine’s day envelope…

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These had white chocolate chips inside. Yum!

Yes, I had to stop and freak out for a little bit.

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My heart-shaped waffles!

Once I put on a band-aid, I continued with the festivities– thinking it wasn’t going too bad for a school night.

I even made some brownies since my husband doesn’t like any of the other desserts:

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I began to put out the desserts, all happy that I was doing things on time…

And then I remembered that my oldest had basketball practice.

So we scrambled to eat dessert, freaked out some more, and he made it on time.

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And I survived another holiday.  Barely.  🙂

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This was a mini cake.

 

Sports Party (Part 1)

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OK, I am waaaay behind with everything I need to post, and my parties are starting to double up.  

So here’s one from a while ago……..

I was thrilled when my son asked for a really simple party theme.

I dreamt of all the extra time I would have after I finished baking and decorating all the desserts the night before the party.

Until this cake happened:Sports tiered cake a

“It’s a super simple cake,” you say?

Yes, perhaps it is.

Except I couldn’t figure out how to draw the sports balls on the trim.

I tried to do the designs with fondant on fondant, and it looked ridiculous.

I tried to pipe the designs on with frosting, and it was worse.

After a long time, I finally decided to draw them on with edible marker.

And then I just couldn’t draw the soccer ball design, no matter how hard I tried.

I know, it sounds crazy, but I just couldn’t.

Here are 2 more cakes, to distract you from my complaining:

 

Basketball cake 2a

Can you believe I got no good pics of these cakes??

 

Soccer ball cake a

 

 

So back to the original cake– it took me like 3 hours until I finally figured it out.

I must have been seriously tired.

I don’t want to see sports ever again.

Well, except for part 2 of this party post (with the other desserts).  

Promise I won’t complain– and here’s the final cake:

Football cake a

See you soon!

 

Valentine’s Desserts 2016

I love making Valentine’s Day desserts!

They are soooo pretty.

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I love these cute baking cups!

I had great plans for these brownies, but ran out of time as usual.

So I made frosting and piped a quick outline.

I took them to my son’s class and the kids loved them, so I guess they’re not too bad.

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These are my favorite mini heart cakes with white chocolate chips (and they’re low fat!!)

Did you know you can entertain an 8-year old for a long time if you let him put chocolate chips in each bite-sized cake, for several batches?  😉

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And I made Rice Krispie Treats dipped in chocolate.

I promise they were adorable, but my husband decided he needed to take the good camera to Hawaii with him.

Hawaii over Rice Krispie Treats???

Well, I had to use the little camera– hence this awful picture:

Rice Krispies Hearts

The quality of this picture makes me want to cry. But at least we have good pictures of a luau and a whale tail jumping in the bay! 😛

And finally, these little M&M cookies.

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And that’s it for now- see you soon!

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Halloween Food 2015

No cutesie desserts for Halloween this year.  😦

But I still tried to do something– in between house hunting, full time work, and taking care of the kids…

Little Pumpkin Cakes.  Even my husband liked them (which is quite rare when it comes to desserts).  

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Mousse Cups.  I’m guessing my husband liked these too, because when I went to ask him, he handed me an empty cup.

Candy Corn colors!

Oh yeah, and I went to Fright Fest at Six Flags.

The zombies came out at 6pm to scare people.

Luckily, I was walking around with my kids, so I knew they wouldn’t scare us.

Yeah, I was very wrong.  Apparently, they scare you even more when you have little frightened kids with you.

Not kidding.

How did I find this out?   Well at the beginning, I was strolling along with my                  I-know-you-won’t-scare-me-shield (a.k.a., my 8-year-old), when all of a sudden– a psycho clown came out of nowhere and chased us with a chainsaw (which was on).

I took off running and screaming, and dragging my son behind me.  

Quite the sight.

And it got worse from there…

Anyway, enough of my traumatic experiences…  here is my annual Halloween Brownie Pizza:

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Look closely and you’ll see little spiders! No, they’re not real…

And I made some Halloween dinners (not all on the same day).

As seen in previous years (2014, 2013, earlier), I obviously have a need to make yucky spiders out of food. Even though they scare me half to death:

I got this idea from the Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons blog.

I got this idea from the Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons blog.

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Some scary Fettucine Faces:

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And my Hot Dog Mummies again!

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And– the grand finale– my kids’ pumpkins!!

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Olaf Party (Part 1)

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I’m back!

Ok, you probably didn’t know I was gone in the first place… but… I’m back anyway!

After over 9 weeks of daily headaches and dizziness,  I found out I’m allergic to Alabama!  🙂

Feeling a little better now, but who cares–  here’s Olaf!

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I decided to do a very easy dessert table because we’ve been too busy.

And it worked!  Olaf was really simple to make.

My son was extra happy about his nose.  He said I made it look like a real carrot:

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And here’s the second cake (yes, there were only 2 this time– I can’t believe it!):

(Wow, lots of exclamation points in this post.  Moving along…)

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I love my new snowflake fondant cutters!

So nothing extravagant– but the kids liked it.

Stay tuned for the rest of the dessert table in Part 2!

 

Halloween Food 2014

This year I didn’t go crazy baking way too many Halloween desserts for some reason.

Maybe it was because my husband was traveling all week and I was running around like crazy after my kids.

I had to stop every few minutes to shout, “Stop [insert appropriate phrase here: (fighting, walking on the table, jumping headfirst off the couch, etc.)]!”

And in all that chaos, I somehow managed to make SOMEthing.

I had to throw this little cake together really quickly:

Ghost cake a

I made the ghosts out of white chocolate.

I also made my usual sugar cookies, but decorated a bit differently this year.

For the first time, I used colored sugar on some, and used a different color glaze for others.  I’m a rebel!

Bat cookies a Ghost cookies aBat cookies 2a

Our traditional brownie pizza (well, we started the tradition just last year):

Brownie pizza a

And I did make some cute Halloween food.  There were mummy hot dogs:

Hot dog mummies a

And deviled eggs with black olive spiders on them. 

Yes, because I like to gross myself out every year for some reason.

They were a hit with my kids.

Egg spiders a

Seriously, I couldn’t even look at these. Interesting that I feel the need to make such creepy food…

 My 5-year-old even put another egg on top and called it a “spider sandwich.”

Yeah, I’m still having nightmares about that one…

And finally, my kids’ pumpkins.  I promised I would show them off.  🙂

Pumpkins a

Robot Party (Part 1)

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This party nearly killed me.

Well, not the party– it was the robot cake:

Robot Cake 2b

He was over a foot tall…

Not like some weird horror movie where the robot comes to life and runs after me with a sharp spatula or something — it’s just that it was probably the most difficult cake yet.

I named him Dudley while I was putting him together.

I was not happy with Dudley.

In fact, I don’t think I will be making any more of these crazy cakes in the future.  I’ll stick to normal cakes.

Yes, you can blame Dudley for that…

I also made an “easy” robot cake:

Frosting robot  3a

It was not nearly as difficult as Dudley, but my hand nearly fell off from piping.

And since I had literally no time left for another cake (believe me, there are more desserts coming up in Part 2), I threw together this cake:

Robot square cake b

It didn’t look as awful as this picture! Just didn’t get a good picture of it.

Not sure why I feel compelled to make at least 3 cakes.

It’s a curse.

I know, it’s the same thing for every party: I nearly die of overbaking, then I don’t like the end products, then I post them and complain, and then I do it all over again.  

I’m so predictable.  🙂

OK, see you for Part 2!  No complaining then, I promise!

 

 

Outer Space Party (Part 2)

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The 3 cakes I made for the Outer Space party were not enough (in my mind), so I made more desserts…

Outer Space Cupcakes b

Mini cupcakes and regular size cupcakes, with fondant decorations.

I made a lot of stars because originally, my son asked for a  star party (he’s only 5, so I guess that was exciting for him).

When I asked what kind of cakes he wanted, he said, “Five star cakes!  And star cupcakes, star cookies…”  

I stopped him and suggested an Outer Space party, because I figured the desserts would be more fun…  and of course, I can’t just take the easy route.

So, I also made sugar cookies for the kids to take home:

Outer space cookies aAnd I felt bad for the adults, so I made smaller cookies for everyone to eat at the party:

Space Cookies a

I made “Asteroids,” which were actually banana cake balls:

Cake balls a

And just in case there weren’t enough desserts, I made my just-in-case-brownies:

Space brownies aAnd that was about it– we had enough!!  Phew!

Dessert table a

OK, next party coming soon!!!  🙂

 

Outer Space Party (Part 1)

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Wow, I’m really behind with these posts.  It’s been a crazy couple of months… birthday parties, trip to Disney, out-of-town guests, Easter, tornadoes, road trips, 2 graduations, a cruise… well, you get the idea.

Basically, the usual.

OK, let’s start with my son’s Outer Space party.

I decided to make easy cakes this time:

Spaceship cake 2a

This cake was over a foot long.

As easy as it seems, it took a ridiculously long time. 

Luckily, the Happy Birthday cake was a lot easier.

Instead of making it all in fondant, I used buttercream frosting, with fondant decorations:

Space cake a

 

Happy Birthday cake 2a

Then my 5-year-old wanted me to make little chocolate astronauts (I bought a mold), but  I thought they looked funny.  

He insisted.

I made them for him.

Then I hid them, hoping he’d forget. 

But of course, he didn’t forget.

I even distracted him with a bunch of other desserts.

He still asked for them.

I acted like I didn’t know what he was talking about.

He described them.

I gave up.

I took them out of the hiding place and set them out with a quick planet cake I whipped up:

Planet cake a

Yeah, I don’t even want to talk about it.  Lol.

But he was happy with it, so that’s all that matters.  Right???

OK, as long as you know that I didn’t approve of the cake…  Moving right along…

Check out the rocket piñata my husband made (it was over 3 feet long)!

Rocket pinata 2a

And let’s end with the cheese cut out in star shapes.  I was really excited about these, for some reason:

Star cheese a

See you for Part 2!

 

 

Valentine’s Desserts 2014

I disappointed myself this year with Valentine’s Day desserts.

I had great aspirations, but then the usual happened:

My son broke his pinky, my nanny had a birthday, we had 2 Valentine’s day parties, there was a kids’ party we had to go to the prior weekend, the kids were stuck at home for 3 snow days… you know how it goes.

So, without any further excuses, here are my brownie bites:

I piped the chocolate hearts out of chocolate, and made pink buttercream frosting.

I piped the chocolate hearts, and made pink buttercream frosting.

They weren’t cutesy enough for me, since I like very pink and red desserts, with sprinkles.

But no time, so I made brown sugar blondies with Valentine’s M&Ms.

At least the cupcake cups I put them in were cutesy!

Blondies FB

And that was all I did.

But in my defense, I also had to make a birthday cake, so you know…

Mel's cake

For our awesome nanny!

As I always say, I’ll do better next year!  🙂

Pirate Party (Part 1)

My son wanted a pirate party, and I figured a pirate ship cake wouldn’t be too difficult.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m insane.

I don’t know why, but it was one of the most difficult cakes yet!

Ship cake 2a

Everything was edible, except the sails. The board it’s on is almost 2 feet long.

I wasn’t completely happy with it, but my son loved it, and that’s all that matters.

Then I made a simple Happy Birthday cake:

Happy Birthday Pirate Cake a

And as I was dreaming up the dessert table, I felt like I needed to make another cake– a treasure chest!  Not sure why, considering I had other desserts, plus 2 cakes already, and the party was for only 13 boys.  

It must be my obsessive baking problem.

Well, at 2am the night before the party, I was kicking myself for having decided on a third cake.  I  had been on my feet for 18 hours straight, and could barely keep my eyes open.

But I made it anyway.

And then my husband told me the treasure chest looked awful.

Yes, he went there.  (Mind you, he was tired too.)

So I picked up the cake and threw it at him.

OK, that was only in my mind.  🙂

I actually worked on it some more (because he was right), and made it look somewhat presentable:

Treasure Chest cake a

Although I have to say, when one of the boys arrived, he immediately went to open the treasure chest.  As I gasped, wondering if it would all fall apart before the party even began, he exclaimed, “Whoa! I didn’t realize it was a cake!”  

Nice.  Win for me.  🙂

 

Silly Monster Party (Part 2)

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I’m finally back with Part 2 of the Silly Monster Party!

I just realized I never posted it, and now it’s almost  time for the next party.

Wow, I feel tired just from saying that.

So let’s get started.  Here are the silly monster cookies, packaged for the kids to take home:

Silly Monsters Cookies a

Yes, I insisted on making every single monster face different. 

I have NO idea why I make things difficult for myself.   🙂

I also made smaller cookies for people to eat at the party:

Silly Monsters Small Cookies a

(I somehow managed to forget to take a picture of them on the serving platter, so it’s a less appealing picture!)

I also had cupcakes:

Silly Monsters Cupcakes 3a

I made the monsters out of fondant.

And I made mini blue raspberry jello cups:

Silly Monsters Jello a

Yep, I drew the little faces on each cup.

Some lime cake balls:

Silly Monsters Cake Balls a

See the creepy eyeballs?

And of course, brownies.  I think of these as my emergency backup dessert– you know, in case I run out of everything else. 

Which I never do.  

But still, just in case.

Silly Monsters Brownies a

And that was all I had time for.  I wish I could’ve done more.

I know, you can say it.  I’m crazy.   🙂

Silly Monster dessert table for FB a

Silly Monster Party (Part 1)

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Yet another party!

My son wanted a monster party this year, but he’s only 4, so they had to be “silly monsters.”  I didn’t want a bunch of little kids to be scared of the cakes, after all.

So here is the second tiered cake I ever made! 

Silly Monsters Tiered cake

I made the little monsters out of fondant. The cakes were dark chocolate and orange.

And for those of you who notice details– NO, I did not leave the letters crooked.

I hadn’t attached the letters yet.  

I promise.  

OK, then I made a big silly monster (he was about  a foot tall, and the board he’s on was 20″ x 12″):

Silly Monster Cake

He was made up of vanilla, strawberry, and lemon cakes.

Seriously, I thought my hand was going to fall off while piping the frosting.  

So much craziness, but he turned out like I pictured him.  Except I hadn’t pictured me sitting there for hours working on it!

After an hour, I was cursing myself for deciding to make an extra cake.

After 2 hours, I was ready to smash him.

But anyway, I don’t want to bore you with the details of my looooong cake-decorating session.

Before I go, here is the piñata my husband made:

Monster pinata a

It was my son who requested 4 eyes– placed exactly as you see them. I know, I thought it was weird, too.

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Honestly, I told him to get a box, draw a monster face on it, and call it a day.

But nooooo… he insisted on arms, legs… the works. (I think he has some kind of piñata-making rivalry going on with one of his friends). 

Believe me, it was complicated to make, and he reinforced it to allow all the kids to get 2 turns– and even some parents.  

Silly Monsters Tiered cake 2a

OK, there you have it– until Part 2… the rest of the dessert table!

See you then!

Minions Party (Part 1)

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My son decided he wanted a Minions party for his birthday.

I, of course, said sure– how hard could it be?

Someone really needs to slap me out of my dream world sometimes.

These guys were tough to make!

Minions Cakes a

These are chocolate, white, and strawberry cakes.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that I had to do all this with a broken finger?

Yes, I broke my finger 13 days ago playing basketball with my son…

As much as I hate to have a broken finger, at least I can say I have a “sports injury.”

I mean, what if I had broken it while washing dishes or something?  Pretty embarrassing.  

But catching a basketball?  Yeah, I’m cool.  🙂

Minions Cakes 3a

I made a yellow sheet cake, because the other 2 were apparently not enough…

You do think I’m cool, don’t you?

Well…?

Umm, ok, maybe when you see the rest of the Minion stuff I did with a broken finger in my next post…

Lemon Cake

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It’s spring, so I just had to make something lemony!!

Lemon Cake 2a

Here are some facts about this cake:

1) It’s the moistest cake I’ve ever made.

2) It’s hard to describe, other than it tastes good and has a weird texture.

Lemon Cake 4a

3) It’s the kind of cake you want to keep eating, even if you’re not sure why.

Lemon 3a

 4) It’s really easy and fun to make, until you realize you don’t have lemons, the only yogurt you have is low fat, and the only flour you have is whole wheat. That’s when you get stressed out, but you continue with what you have.

Lemon Cake 5a

I wish I could I just cut the top off and eat it all.

 5) It kills hand mixers right in the middle of mixing. (Well, at least that’s what you think, until your husband informs you that you popped a circuit, and the mixer is fine.)

Lemon Cake a

I have no idea how I had the willpower to let the glaze dry before I cut it. I did make myself feel better by eating some glaze with a spoon, though. 🙂

 6) It’s lemony, so of course my husband doesn’t particularly like it. Or at least that’s what he said when he cut his third slice.

 So now that you’ve gotten to know the cake a little better—why don’t you try it for yourself? :)

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Lemon Cake (adapted from Barefoot Contessa)

  • 1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain low fat yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 1 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (I used the kind in a bottle)

For the glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon extract, and vanilla.

Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated.

Pour the batter into a prepared loaf pan and bake  at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan.

While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.