With Lovin’ From The Oven

I have felt majorly depressed the last few days. Why you ask. Well, summer is quickly coming to an end, and that makes my heart sad. I thoroughly enjoy having my sweet children home everyday.

Ok, before you roll your eyes, just hear me out. We all have our moments. The boys yell at each other, at me, at their big sister; I need alone time; everyone gets bored; I have begged and pleaded ten thousand times for the toys to be put away. BUT at the end of the day, I only have them for so much time, and I really do love having them home. We get to sleep in a bit, have fun playing outside, have pj and movie days, go out for froyo just because, go on fun outings with special friends, make special summertime memories…swoon…

Ok, what does any of this have to do with end of summer and this post?? Well, when I get in a funk baking calms me, cheers me, and just plain makes things better. I was thinking about the end of summer and school beginning. Then thoughts ran to ideas for making all of our new teachers feel special. In walked these super adorable retro oven cupcake holders.

I figure goodies are always a great way to start off new relationships…especially with special people that my children will be with for much of their days for the next 9 months.

I was browsing the internet for something, who knows what, and came across these fabulous printables. I LOVE retro. I LOVE ovens. I LOVE cupcakes. Match made in heaven. The Retro Oven Cupcake Holder is one of many printables made by the ultra clever Claudine Hellmuth, claudinehellmuth.com. I was able to put the whole thing together in less than 15 minutes.

And sitting in my kitchen just waiting to have their photo taken were a few delicious Key Lime Pie Cupcakes. If you like citrus, you have got to have one of these. Graham cracker crust on the bottom, lightly coconut and key lime flavored cupcake, filled with creamy and tart key lime curd, topped with whipped cream cheese frosting. Yum.

So, I went from being depressed to being very excited to have a new project and some new special teachers with which we get to bless in the upcoming weeks. I am now going to go have a fun day with my kids, and try to forget that summer is ending until the last day of summer:)

Angry Birds Cake Pops & Cake

Do your kids love Angry Birds, or does the thought of angry birds bring back visions of the old Hitchcock thriller The Birds? My younger boys love to play all the different Angry Birds versions and had much input on this project. If they had been around when I actually made them, I’m sure there would have been much more input:)

I used chocolate covered sugar wafers for the toppled wooden towers. The name and little piles of “rock” are made using some tiny candy coated chocolates I have in my stash of sprinkles. The sling shot is chocolate fondant.

The eyes of the cake pops are sugar pearls. I used a black edible marker to color in the pupil of the eyes and the eyebrows for the pigs. And the beaks are some orange triangle sprinkles that I found in a pack at Michaels.

I, a good friend who was helping me because I was running late as usual, covered a styrofoam block with white butcher paper to make the cake pop stand. I quickly found this font and cut out the words using my handy dandy Silhouette Cameo and adhered them to the block.
In the end, I heard that the birthday boy and everyone at the party enjoyed the cake and cake pops. But, seriously, who wouldn’t enjoy chocolate cake with chocolate filling and buttercream frosting…well if you wouldn’t enjoy it don’t tell me because I might not want to be your friend.

Teacher Appreciation and Lemon Curd

Wow! The last year has sped by at super sonic speed around here. It seems like just yesterday I was trying to put together end of the year teacher gifts. How can it be that we are already here again??? Ok, enough time spent on thinking about how fast time is flying…time to get busy doing something about this year’s teacher gifts:)In walks this super cute, portable cupcake. Just.Plain.Fun-in-a-jar

What teacher wouldn’t love finding one of these sitting on her/his desk? This particular cupcake is made with my Princess flavored cupcake – a lightly citrus flavored cupcake, homemade lemon curd, and a fabulous Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting. You could even gift teachers with jars of homemade lemon curd to use for topping lots of things at home.

Lego Man Cake Pops

Do you have little boys in your life? If so, you must make these cutie pie Lego men for them. You will instantly become the coolest person ever. Guess how I know this? I made these a few weeks ago for a little fella’s birthday, but my boys were way into them before the birthday boy ever got a look. Once my boys realized I was using a food-safe marker to draw on the faces, they were hooked. They couldn’t get enough giving me ideas for what kind of faces to draw. It was super fun, for them and me.

The process is fairly simple. Make the cake pop mixture by mixing together cooked cake and icing. To make the Lego men, I took a fairly large amount of the mixture and rolled it out using my rolling pin to about 1″ thick. I used a small circle cookie cutter to cut out pieces. Then I used firm pressure to roll the circles in between my hands to make a cylinder (like a tiny soda can). Freeze those pieces for about 15 minutes. Dip a lollipop stick into melted chocolate and insert into the bottom of the cylinder. Squeeze a small dot of melted chocolate onto the top of the cylinder and top with a mini M&M. Freeze those for about 15 minutes. Dip the entire cylinder into yellow candy melts and gently tap off excess. Freeze for another 15 minutes. Use a food-safe marker to draw faces of your choice.

Have fun with the faces. I am not good at drawing, but I let go of that for a little while and used a little creativity – and my little ones – to make some cute faces. Enjoy!!

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Are there recipes you’d like to see on here? New things I should try? I’d love to hear from you.

 

Healthier Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

A few weeks ago, over Spring Break, I made it a point to make a few special breakfasts for the kiddos. I make a lot of cupcakes, cakes, and desserts for other people, and my kids tend to not get many of those treats. As my youngest walked into the kitchen one morning and saw these cooling on the counter, he excitedly said, “Are those for us?” Precious… I was thrilled that I could finally tell him that these chocolate treats were not only for us, but that they were also for breakfast. I wish I had my camera to catch his smiling face. And because these were made with whole wheat flour, ground flax, and yogurt, I didn’t feel bad about letting them have chocolate muffins for breakfast.

The sprinkling of coarse sugar on top really does make a difference for these muffins. It adds a great crunch, so don’t skimp on the sprinkling:)

These muffins come together very quickly. I’ve since made a few extra batches, cooled on a cooling rack, and put into freezer bags in the freezer. Warmed for 20 seconds in the microwave, you’ve got a quick treat for breakfast or snack. I may have been using these to fulfill chocolate cravings… Enjoy.

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