31 December 2011

Pinterest Christmas

Through my friend Erin, I became addicted to Pinterest this fall. It. Is. Awesome. Better than Facebook.

This year was the year of Pinterest Christmas.

For example, the treats I made for gifts for people at school: all recipes from Pinterest.

Hot Cocoa Rice Krispies
Saltine Toffee (aka "Christmas Crack")
Peppermint Popcorn (in the baggie)
Fat Fluffy Snickerdoodles
Brown sugar and spice cookies

Besides a million recipes I want to make, I also found a ridiculous amount of crafty things to make, too!

I painted on these mugs, plus two more that I forgot to take pictures of, and a teapot, for my sister.

I knitted this blanket for my newest niece, Chloe.

I did some other projects, but forgot to take pictures. Don't worry, one of my resolutions for 2012 is to be better about blogging. :)

Happy New Year!

07 October 2011

Baby Shower

I love to bake. (Clearly. I have a blog about it.) 

I love to cook, too, but I really love to bake.

So when I was asked to be a kind-of* co-host for a baby shower for a teacher at work, I totally agreed. Over a month before the shower, agreeing to make 2 dozen cupcakes, and cookies as shower favors sounds like fun. To get ideas for the cookies, I started Googling "baby shower ideas" and saw diaper cakes. So I offered to make one for the centerpiece. Easy peasy. 

And in the month between agreeing to all of this and it actually happening, school starts. 

Then we vote to go on strike.

And stay on strike for 10 days.

And then vote to accept our contract, so we go back to school.

And then I realize that the shower is this week, the first full week back to school after the strike. 

Because I had post-strike/back-to-school-for-the-second-time-in-one-month brain, I struggled through my kind-of co-host responsibilities. For example, the night before I was going to make the red velvet cupcakes, I read the recipe far enough to realize I needed buttermilk. I went to the store after school the next day, got the buttermilk, headed home to make the cupcakes, and realized I also needed red food coloring and cupcake liners. I was at Michael's or the grocery store every day after school that week, picking up something I had forgotten the day before. Somehow, I managed to scrape together enough ingredients to make Paula Deen's red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

In all of those trips to the store, I never managed to figure out or pick up what I would need for my favorite royal icing recipe, which is the key to the 6 dozen cookies I made as favors. Using what I had at home, I made the footprints. (Yes, I know the color makes them look like radioactive Bigfoot prints.) And, I was able to get the yellow bodies on the ducks. But that was a stretch. So I Googled "royal icing recipes" and used the first one that I found that I had the ingredients for. (Royal icing has to dry for 24 hours before you can add a new color or details, I didn't have time for another trip to the store.) The new recipe I found whipped up a whole lot fluffier than my other recipe. It felt like trying to squeeze a pink marshmallow out of a piping bag. That's why the onesies look so goofy.

While waiting for the royal icing to dry, I made the diaper cake. It actually was the easiest thing I made, because everything came from Target, all in one trip. (There are more little gifties that go on the diaper cake, but I didn't take pictures of them because I wasn't sure where to put them. When I got to the party, I just kind of set them on the cake, so I'm not even sure what the finished product looked like.)

* Being a "kind-of co-host" means that I don't have to do any real hosting things: the party wasn't at my house, so I didn't have to clean before or after, I didn't help with the invitations, I didn't figure out party games. I just made stuff at home before the party, and got to the house a little early to help assemble finger sandwiches. Then I did what I do at every social event where I feel a little awkward: I drank a lot of coffee and told embarrassing stories about myself. 

08 September 2011

What I've Been Doing Lately...

... painting red feet and shoes for the "Right Foot" series starting at Discovery Church.

...making these taquitos. Seriously, I've made them once a week every week since I found the recipe on pinterest. (Also, I've been spending A LOT of time on pinterest.)

... starting school, (amid worries and talk of a strike) and having my students take the Marshmallow Challenge.

... crafting juice recipes, after watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on Netflix a few weeks ago. Seriously, watch this documentary. It will change your life.

... roasting corn in my oven. After an epic night on Fox Island with my friends, where we ate Eastern Washington corn and laughed hysterically, I've been obsessed with eating corn.

... and making a batch of birthday cupcakes with Paula Deen's Red Velvet recipe (so good!) and another batch of vanilla cupcakes with custard filling (my first custard - no one told me I could make Jello pudding and call it custard). 

05 March 2011

A Shiny New Australia

For Erin and Greg's joint "Rock Band" birthday party, I made Coconut Cream cupcakes, with "Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog" cupcake toppers. It was my first try at royal icing "runouts". I like the idea of them, but I definitely need more practice.

A ton of people RSVPed for the birthday party, so I doubled the cupcake recipe. For some reason, I decided that meant that I needed to double the frosting recipe. I nearly overflowed the mixer with cream cheese coconut frosting. Once it was in a piping bag, it looked like this:

To clearly illustrate the size, I put a regulation size cupcake next to it:

So. Much. Frosting. I feel bad throwing away what's left. I may end up putting in my coffee in the morning, and on toast, and as salad dressing, just to get rid of it all. 

26 February 2011

Is this a joke?

Seriously, Winter?

2 days of snow, plus the following day or so of nasty icy roads, is seriously cramping my style. Don't get me wrong, I loved having 2 hour delays at school. But the crazy slippery drives to school were nuts. And having to come home straight after school wasn't my favorite, either. Do not go to the Y, do not go to the volleyball game, do not go to the store and stare longingly at baking supplies. Again, I ask, "Seriously, Winter? It's dang near March, for the love."

By Thursday evening, I was going a bit stir crazy in the house. I did a Jillian Michaels workout video, I did the dishes, I did my laundry. I ate pancakes. I watched some shows on the Food Network. I chatted with the roommates that I rarely get to see. I put on my roommates boots and ran outside to measure the snow that had fallen.

9 cm. Or nearly 3 inches, for those of you non-metric folks.

And then I couldn't take it anymore, so I did this:

Yes, that is two sheets nailed over the doorway. Desperate times...
Erin's birthday is next week, and I've got big plans for her birthday desserts. I had to create an area where she couldn't see what I was working on, since Winter has decided to not let us leave the house.

22 February 2011

21 February 2011

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

I made these bad boys for Valentine's Day, using this recipe. For the most part, they worked out. The cupcake recipe called for sugar to be boiled in water, cooled, added to eggs, and then incorporated into the dry ingredients. I ended up with super liquidy batter. Not liquidy like cupcake batter is supposed to be, but liquidy like chocolate milk is supposed to be. I put them in the oven anyway, hoping that they didn't evaporate. 

They looked normal when they came out of the oven, so I filled and frosted them. They were supposed to chill for 15 minutes before the white frosting, so I took a 2-hour nap on the couch.

To be honest, I was looking forward to all the cool ideas to write on them. I whipped up my frosting, and put it in my piping bag (I love any recipe that requires me to use a piping bag) and went to town. 

I Cakewrecked these, so I scraped the icing off and tried again.

Oops... Cakewrecked for sure. (This was going to be three cupcakes that spelled out "I love you", but the "I" was so goofy I tried to change it into those squiggly Hostess lines. Not so much.)

Another Cakewreck. Misspelled. 

I finally got four of them that I was somewhat happy with to give to my Main Squeeze for Valentine's Day. Relief, finally....

Until I turned around and realized the mess this recipe had created. 

I would have had a few less dishes, except my first ganache never got glossy and smooth, so I tried to heat it over a double boiler, and then gave up and made a new batch.

Oh, and the frying pans. I'm not trying some sort of Richard Blais-Top Chef-avant garde method of frying cupcakes. We had that new pretty stove installed, but the bottom drawer didn't have runners, so it would just drop to the floor if you tried to use it. Those frying pans lived on the counter until the drawer got fixed. 

All in all, I would probably make these cupcakes again. I think I need more practice with my frosting writing. I'm pretty sure I have the bakery equivalent of serial killer handwriting.
See? Creepiest Valentine's cupcakes ever. If someone gave me these, I would think they spend a lot of time hanging out in the bushes outside of my house.