Quick ‘n Easy Summer Smoothies

I know it’s the end of summer but gosh was it HOT today! It was the perfect day to blend some strawberry banana smoothies. Here’s a quick way to quench your thirst! You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of sliced frozen strawberries (I slice and freeze mine at least a day before or you can pick up a bag in your frozen food section)
  • 2 bananas (sliced in thirds)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water

Toss everything in a blender and blend away. We get 2 full glasses from this batch. Enjoy!DAWN - WIN_20140831_190135

 

Yummy Treats for Work

It’s been a crazy first quarter at work and I finally got around to baking some treats for my team using my BRAND NEW KitchenAid! Wow, I didn’t know what I was missing out on without one. 😀 I was craving chocolate and browsed my Pinterest Board and found a recipe with my favorite sweet combo—chocolate and hazelnet. You have got to try this Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Bars recipe—everyone loved them! Thanks to Maria!

Brown butter chocolate chip hazelnut cookies

Instead of using a pan, I pulled out my Wilton Brownie pan that my sister-in-law gave me for Christmas last year. It worked great! If you use something similar, make sure to reduce the baking time, I left mine in for about 17 minutes instead of the 25-30 min the recipe calls for and they turned out perfect. I took them out of the pan right away and let them cool on a rack. Be sure to spray that pan thoroughly!

Wilton Brownie pan

Also, let me tell you, this was the first time I have ever browned butter and OH-EM-GEE! It smelled SO good! I also loved the taste of the sea salt on the cookies. I will definitely make these again. Since I am a big fan of hazelnut, I will probably do 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1 cup of chopped hazelnuts next time. I used Chiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips but I would love to make a dark chocolate version. These tasted great right out of the oven too.

Enjoy!

Rockstar Birthday Cupcake Picks

I love making my own cupcake toppers for special events and parties. Since this little girl loves guitars and singing in her own pretend rock band, I personalized the toppers with pink and black guitars, microphones, and stars. I used pink-colored toothpicks and taped one design to the toothpick and then took the reversed design and glued it to the other piece. I also used giftwrap tissue paper to make fringe. Always save yor tissue paper! They can be used in so many projects. To glam up the cupcakes, I used silver liners and put silver crystal sprinkles along the edge of the cupcake. Pearlized silver jimmies also work great.

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Piggy moon cakes

Which one to eat!

Which one to eat!

So cute!

So cute!

Ready to go in the oven!

Ready to go in the oven!

Here’s my first attempt at making piggy moon cakes.  The filling is made from dried lotus seeds and the eyes are red beans.  The recipe was simple to follow but took some time  to shape the piggy’s nose and ears.  They were a big hit at Thanksgiving.  I will definitely make this again!  The recipe is courtesy of Run Away Rice.  It even includes a video with step by step instructions.

Get Your Caffeine Fix with Starbucks Mocha Cupcakes

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Here’s another cupcake I made for the Autumn Bake Sale. Everyone knows I’m a big fan of Starbucks so my creativity went wild when I thought of ways to create a Starbucks cupcake.

I took a coffee/chocolate cupcake recipe (using real Starbucks coffee) and baked in regular cupcake liners. After the cupcakes were cool, I peeled off the liner and placed the cupcake in a 4 oz coffee cup. I topped them with Better Creme chocolate whipped icing and sprinkled crushed oreos on top. Try mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, or chocolate shavings! I then cut Starbucks straws in half and stuck them into the cupcake for decoration.

For the logo labels, I printed two logos on a piece of paper and cut them out by measuring the coffee cups. They worked out great!

Follow my creations board on my pinterest for more of my creative ideas!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and Fondant Pumpkins

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In the spirit of Autumn and Halloween, I decided to make these Pumpkin Spice cupcakes. To save time (since I was making 3 batches of cupcakes for the bake sale), I used a 2-ingredient cupcake batter and made a cinnamon cream cheese frosting from scratch. I also handmade small fondant pumpkins with whole cloves for the stem to decorate the cupcakes. These were a real hit at the bake sale!

Pumpkin fondant cupcakes

Cupcake:
Mix pumpkin spice cake mix with a 15-oz can of pumpkin. Don’t add anything else mentioned on the cake mix box. Note that these don’t rise as much as regular cake mix. Bake as directed on the box but be sure to keep an eye on them while baking so they don’t burn and do the toothpick check.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (from the Cake Blog):
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened 8 oz cream cheese, softened 4 cups confectioner’s sugar 1 tsp vanilla 1 tsp cinnamon

Beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until combined. Then, gradually add in sugar one cup at a time, add vanilla and cinnamon. Refrigerate to thicken up the icing before piping.

Pumpkin fondant

Fondant Pumpkin Decorations:
I have to give credit to CatchMyParty for inspiring me to create these. I used white Wilton fondant and colored it with red, orange, and brown gels. To create the indentations on the pumpkins, I used Wilton’s fondant cutter but you could definitely use a knife or toothpick.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Black & Gold Graduation Cupcakes

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For my sister’s graduation bbq, I decided to look for a savory bbq cupcake recipe. I found this BBQ Maple Cupcake recipe online and tried it out. The guests loved it!

For decorations, I browsed the internet for some inspiration and decided on a black and gold theme. I made gold fondant stars with sugar sprinkles, black fondant graduation caps with gold tassels, and sprinkled some with gold rice krispy balls I found at Do It With Icing. I also mixed it with some small gold stars I found in the baking section of Michael’s.

I had a lot of fun making these little graduation decorations. To all the 2013 grads out there–Congrats on such a wonderful accomplishment!