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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Easter cupcakes

I offered to make cupcakes for the guys at Halliburton plus the guys out at the rig that Carter is currently working with.  I told him to just pick whichever ones he wants out of the books and I will make them tomorrow and Friday for him.  Since Friday is his birthday and its kind of sad that he has to work,  I figured this would  be a nice thing to do for it.

I have started gathering my supplies for this endeavor. I have never tried to make these fancy cupcakes in two batches before but it can’t be that hard, right?! I have made these particular Garden Party cupcakes before but I had Carter’s help with them. I don’t remember them being that hard to make, just that they took a bunch of time. I have set aside the entire day tomorrow (Thursday) to work on them. I went to CVS Pharmacy to get most of the candies. They have the best selection by far. Chocolate covered sunflower seeds were found at Cost Plus World Market. The only thing I couldn’t find today were the Kellogg’s Green Fruit Streamers. I have a sad feeling that they don’t make them anymore. Fresh and Easy had most of what I needed besides the candy. Albertson’s was my last stop for a few odds and ends.

Everything:

Closeup of the various candies:

Progress update tomorrow! So today I noticed that I didn’t have any white taffy. The AirHeads I had were all colored and I didn’t pick up any mystery flavored ones yesterday while I was out. I figured Albertson’s would have at least the loose ones. I was wrong. I tried RiteAid and CVS as well and no one had any. I bought a bag of Tootsie Rolls that I thought were white but they turned out to not be. I just dipped the red radishes into white chocolate instead and that worked out really well.

I started getting everything set up and counted out after I baked the cupcakes this afternoon.

I doubled the amount of corn flakes the recipe called for. That was not necessary.

Doubled the amounts of all the candies needed as well.

I started with the signs. Thats 8 pieces of Cinnamon Graham Crackers for two sets of the cupcakes. On the side of the cutting board, you can see that I have already shaped the gum pieces to the best of my ability. I don’t recommend using WinterFresh gum because it was very brittle. Something softer is much better.

Once the signs were chilling in the fridge, it was time to make the colored frosting and get all the bags ready to go. I doubled the recipe for each of the required colors. This was completely unnecessary and I ended up throwing away most of it 😦 The regular recipe makes more than enough to do two sets of the cupcakes.

Once the signs are solid, it is time to write/draw on them with frosting.

Shovels are done as well!

With the signs finished, I worked on frosting the cupcakes. I used Double Stuf Chocolate Creme Oreos for the topping. I used pretty much the entire bag for all 48 cupcakes. I think next time I will stick with the Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies. The creme filling in the Oreos was a little messier than I would have liked but of course, they taste better.

The lettuce was an interesting project. I wanted to use the green frosting in the bag after I made the lettuce. I decided to just take some out of the top of the bag. Next time, I will definitely remember to leave some green out of the bag to melt and pour over the corn flakes. This was another portion of the instructions that just didn’t need to be doubled. I had way too much leftover.

After I cleaned up a bit, I started working with the candies. Unfortunately, there were cookie crumbs everywhere, even though I wiped everything down. I just went with it because by this time I had been working for 2.5 hours already and hadn’t started the hardest part yet 😛 I used the good green candy (Jolly Rancher Chews) for the lettuce centers at first. Later I traded them out for Green AirHeads because the Jolly Rancher Chews look much better as the pea pods.

The bowl at the top right of the cutting board was used to heat the Jolly Rancher Chews for 10 seconds at a time in the microwave to make them easier to mold. My hands were super sore after this and I highly recommend keeping the candies warm to keep them soft. Also, use a silpat or parchment paper so they don’t stick to whatever you are rolling them on.

Starting on the red radishes. As I said earlier, I didn’t have any white candy to work with so white chocolate was the answer. I think they still came out awesome.

Working on carrots. I think the orange AirHeads were easier to work with than the orange Starbursts. Both look good though. The recipe is easier to follow if you use the Starbursts because that is what they recommend. Once I shaped the small and large carrots, I coated them in cinnamon to make them look dirty.

I used a pair of kitchen shears to cut some of the green chews into strips for the tops of the carrots. Once I got enough, I rolled them to make them smooth.

The last of the green chews went to make pea pods. These are probably my favorite of all the candy vegetables because they are so darn cute!

Completed. I am hoping to have them in baskets tomorrow but if I can’t find it, the cookie sheets will have to do!

I enjoyed making these but they were a lot more work than I remembered them being. I think the key to something like this is to have someone helping you shape the candies into veggies. That is the most time consuming and also the most difficult part. It is also the most rewarding when people see them 😀 They are definitely worth the time and effort that you put into them 😀 I will add everyone’s reactions to this post tomorrow!

Happy Easter!

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Posted by on April 20, 2011 in The Bakery!

 

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Asian Chicken Salad

I couldn’t think of anything new to make for dinner tonight. I asked Carter to choose something for me to make and started listing things: Meatloaf? No. Meatballs? No. Pasta? No. Roasted Chicken? No. Grilled Chicken? No. Then he said why not Chinese Chicken Salad? So I went to the store and got a chicken, mandarin oranges, and almonds. Now that I know how to roast a chicken, I can’t justify buying an already made one from the store so I got a raw one. I stuffed some butter, garlic and lemon thyme under the skin, salt and pepper on the outside, and chopped some carrots, celery, and onions into big chunks for in the pan around the chicken. Fresh and Easy has some amazing quality meats with no hormones and all that good stuff PLUS they don’t give you all the gross organs inside the chicken. It comes already trussed and ready to bake! 😀 I started it at 400F for the first 15-20 minutes then lowered the temp to 375F. It roasted for about an hour and a half before it reached 165F.

While the chicken was baking, I got the salad ready. I used a highly modified version of This Recipe

Ingredients for the salad:
1 head iceburg lettuce, chopped or shredded (however you like it)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
4 medium carrots, grated
5 green onions, chopped
20 Wonton skins, sliced and baked
1 cup Dole Mandarin Oranges in juice, drained (one single serving cup)
a handful of sliced almonds

Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl. Toss til combined.

Ingredients for the dressing:
6 tablespoons hoisin sauce
4 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
3 teaspoons brown sugar
1.5 teaspoons hot chile paste
1.5 teaspoons ground ginger
5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil

Mix all the ingredients in a jar and shake it til it is mixed nicely. I had to use a spoon to break up my peanut butter because I keep it in the refrigerator. It will be super thick. If it is thicker than you like, you can add a touch of water to it, like I did.

When the chicken finished, I let it cool for a few minutes and then broke it down to get rid of all the bones.

As the chicken was cooling and being broken down, I baked some wonton skins that I had sliced up in the 375F oven for 10 minutes. This gave me fantastic crispy wontons without having to deep fry them!

To put the salad together, I layered the salad mixture on the plate, then added however much chicken Carter and I wanted. After the chicken, came the oranges and almonds, sprinkled randomly around the plate. I put the wonton skins around the outside of the plate so they wouldn’t get soggy with the dressing. It turns out that this is probably not necessary because the dressing is so thick. Finally, the dressing got drizzled on top and it was done!

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2011 in General Food, Meals!

 

April Fool’s cupcakes!

Last night, I decided to do something different for April Fool’s day.  Usually you get a bunch of people pulling stupid pranks on their friends.  I didn’t want to do that.   I wanted everyone to be excited but puzzled when they saw my April Fool’s Joke and then once they realized the joke, be happy!

I went through my cupcake books because I remembered seeing a TV Dinner made of cupcakes. I found that and more! I seriously considered making the spaghetti and meatballs cupcakes from the same book, Hello Cupcake! by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson.  Then I opened up their second book What’s New, Cupcake? There I found what I thought would be the best cupcake for April Fool’s Day.  I went out yesterday and picked up the supplies I needed.  The recipes in the book call for various candies and I couldn’t find all of the exact things I needed. (apparently green nonpareils are hard to find in regular stores! I settled for Dark Green Sugar)  I ended up getting Starburst for the colored things like carrots and egg. I got Jelly Bellies for the peas. Airheads were the only green candies I could find so that is what makes up the broccoli. The cupcakes are vanilla with vanilla tinted frosting. I tried to take my time making them so that the details wouldn’t be lost.  Some of the other times I have made cupcakes from the books, I was in a hurry and something always came out off by a bit, which seriously made me angry. 😛 They took me around 4 hours from start to finish! 😀

Pork Lo Mein and Vegetable Fried Rice with Fortune Cookies for dessert (complete with fortunes!)

We put the Fortune cookies at the bottom of the Red Take Out boxes and delivered them to the guys working in the Halliburton office as well as, Ratalon’s family. Everyone thought they were adorable and said they were delicious as well! Score! 😀

Happy April Fool’s Day!!

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2011 in The Bakery!

 

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