Saturday, June 17, 2017

Galaxy Cupcakes: How To

I had a bit of a tough task this past week.  We planned on attending the Cincinnati Astronomical Society's picnic and I wanted to create a theme-appropriate dessert to share.  After searching the internet for some inspiration, I decided to make Galaxy Cupcakes!  These are perfect for stargazing parties, astronaut themed birthdays, and even an Astronomical Society picnic!

Here's what you need:

Cupcakes - any kind will do, my favorite is confetti, so that's what I made.
Icing - vanilla is preferred, but cream cheese or at other white base would get the job done
M&Ms- you'll need different sizes (you can see I opened the peanut butter ones already)
White Sprinkles - tiny nonpareil will work best
Food Coloring - I used blue, dark navy, and brown, but you can use blue and a bit of red. 

Let's get started!

Start with a plain cupcake.

Next, frost the top in a spiral, this helps with the "galaxy" effect.

Third, sprinkle with some sprinkles for stars!

Last, add a large yellow M&M for the "sun" and then mix the other sizes to represent planets.  I mix matched the sized, but tried to keep four different colors (blue, red, green, and orange). 

Here they all are, packed up for the picnic!  No two look alike!

Enjoy and happy stargazing!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

How to Wrap Baked Goods

I love baking during the winter because it not only warms up the house a bit, it smells fantastic too.  One of my go-to baked goods is banana bread - when I bake a few loaves of my mother's recipe, the delicious banana-y scent reminds me of my childhood.  Her recipe is so delicious, I eat it for both breakfast and dessert!   

Not only do I make baked goods to eat myself, but they can be great gifts too!  Just a few items from the kitchen (like bakers twine) and your baked goods can go from good to great!

Loaves:  First wrap a baked bread loaf in plastic wrap.  The plastic wrap keeps any crumbs from falling off and keeps the bread moist!  Next, cut a piece or parchment paper the width of the loaf and long enough to completely wrap it.  Lastly, tie with some bakers twine. 

Plate of Muffins: Place muffins on a plate neatly, you don't want to crowd them!  Then wrap the plate of baked goods with plastic wrap and tie off with bakers twine!  

Individual Muffins:  Take some care when wrapping individual muffins with plastic wrap, you don't want a wad of plastic wrap attached to your muffin because you used too much!  For a fancy look, place plastic wrapped muffins in cupcake wrappers and then tie with bakers twine. 

Do you take time to wrap your baked goods?  What types of baked goods are your go-tos?


Thursday, January 5, 2017

5 Simple Tips to Create a Cozy Home

I love the Holidays, but I really enjoy the time after Christmas and New Years.  That time of year when you have a few minutes to take a breath and enjoy life without the pressures that come with the Holidays.  The Christmas tree is down and decorations are stored until next year, and you are able to start fresh

However, there is a little magic that comes with holiday decorations, I always feel like my house seems cozier during the Holidays.  I want to keep that feeling throughout the entire Winter season so I am going to share a few tips on how I keep my house cozy and warm!

1.  Add Pillows - Adding a pillow or two to your favorite chair or couch is a great way to add a little softness to a space, and are really comfortable!  Added bonus:  You are prepared for any impromptu pillow fights! 

2.  Grab a Blanket - Using a blanket during the cold months isn't just great for your heating bill, they create a soft, cozy and inviting space.  Also, fort making is allowed!

3.  Use low lights - Don't turn on the overhead lights, choose the side lamps, candles (real or faux), or string lights instead.  Soft lighting creates that cozy homey mood that you're looking for!

4.  Make a Hot Beverage - Warm drinks like coffee, tea, and hot cocoa are always my go to beverages when it's cold outside and I want to snuggle up with a good book or movie!

5.  Scented Candles or Melted Wax - Plug in your Scentsy or light some scented candles.  I love that I can make my house smell like vanilla or sugar cookies without having to bake!

There you have it - 5 simple tips to create a cozy home!  How do you keep your home feeling cozy and warm in the short cold winter months?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

DIY Mocha Icing

Espresso is the base of most fancy coffee drinks - lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and mochas.  One of my favorites is a mocha - hot chocolate mixed with espresso.  I found an easy way to bring espresso to your dessert with two-toned mocha icing.

Bill of Materials
Chocolate Icing
Vanilla Icing

First mix your icings - one spoon full of vanilla in the chocolate and one spoonful of chocolate in the vanilla.  This mix will provide the chocolate base needed, but with a light chocolate and dark chocolate. 

Next add about a shot of espresso (approximately two tablespoons) to each bowl of icing and mix thoroughly!  The smell is delish!

Use icing, as you normally would on cakes, brownies, coffee cake, etc.  Your kitchen will smell like a coffee shop!

I made these a delicious mocha treat for Easter.  I used the two toned icing to decorate egg shaped brownies.  Yum Yum!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Decorated Easter Egg Brownies

This year for Easter I wanted to decorate eggs and make a fun dessert - I didn't have time to do both so I compromised!  I made egg shaped brownies and decorated those!  I guess you could say I got my "cake" and ate it too! 

Bill of Materials
Egg Shaped Cookie Cutter

First, I baked a sheet of brownies per the instructions.  As soon as they came out of the oven, I used the thick cookie cutter to cut the brownies into the egg shape and allowed them to cool.  I wanted to cut the brownies before they cooled all the way so they wouldn't get too flaky before trying to cut. 

Then, I removed the brownies from the pan by removing the surrounding brownie and using a spatula to lift out each egg.

Next, I iced the brownies using vanilla icing.

Decorating time!  I used the M&M's to decorate shapes and patterns to create fun Easter Eggs!

This dessert would be a great activity for older kids as well! Try different candy, or different colored icing - mix it up!


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