Monday, September 17, 2012

Give Away! With Ché and Fidel

As much as I'd love to be giving away something, it's not yet my time... I'm just not that organised! But Jodi over at Ché and Fidel is! Oh my how she is! Have a look at this line up! Quick go enter now! Entries close tonight at 9pm.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Apple Cookies

Ready for the oven... minus a few bites!
I got my very first real deal cake decorating piping set and have been itching to use it for months! And thanks to the inspiration of one superb sugar cookie decorator Sugarbelle; these apple cookies have been my maiden voyage so to speak.

I got my sugar cookie recipe from Sugarbelle too. It's especially simple, and  with a few little tweaks for my temperamental oven, I think my cookies turned out quite well. On with the decorating!

I decided to make apples, as another gift for the wonderful staff at Day Care. All teachers should receive an apple from the kids (or their parents) don't you think?

I piped the outlines first.
White for the whole apples and red for the cut apples.
Flooded (filled) in the rest.
A couple hours later piped in the stems and seeds and hastily  popped on the little leaves.
Popped each one in a little celo bag and tied with a bow! Whaa-laa!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Toblerone Dip

This is not my recipe, it's my cousin's, but I mentioned it in Billy's birthday post so I figured I should pop it up. It's so simple and delicious! (I am a sucker for Toblerone so it's very necessary to buy extras!) Thanks cousin Maddy (and Mummy) for the recipe.

  • 2 tubs of vanilla Fruche
  • small tub of pure cream
  • 1 bar of Toblerone chocolate, grated

Fresh Fruit:
  • banana
  • apple
  • strawberries
  • melon
  • pineapple
  • grapes
  • whatever you like...

  • Combine dip ingredients and allow to sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  • Cut up the fresh fruit into pieces.
  • Dip fruit and eat, yummy....

Chocolate-chip cookie dough truffle pops!

Cake pops are so hot right now it seemed only natural I give them a go. It's only been a few months worth of dreaming about them and wondering what excuse I might have to make some. Then a delightful double banger of an excuse popped  into my Facebook inbox: Baking Our Blues Away.

Not only would I get to finally make some pops, but I get to make them for someone else and hopefully make their day! How could I refuse? Challenge accepted.

I chose to make the pops for the beautiful, caring and passionate teachers at my boys Day Care. Even though I don't think any of them are technically "blue" it seems like a very thankless job - taking care of other people's children all day. Which seems like a ridiculous concept, but it's very easy to have tunnel vision when it comes to your kids. I know I'm guilty of forgetting what their teachers do each day and thanking them regularly. I will remember to do so more often from now on.

 To the pops!

The chocolate-chip cookie dough truffle recipe (sans egg for eating raw) was courtesy of Bakerella. I spotted it on Pinterest, where I find most of my mouthwatering cooking temptations. This one actually came to fruition a lot quicker than most! Simple recipe. Totally fun to make. Absolutely delicious! Teachers at day care, you are very lucky I didn't eat them all! Plus I had to smuggle them out of the house quick smart or I would have had cookie-dough-flavoured-chocolate-covered-kidlets (and husband).

Since I am not a cook. I won't go into the details and how-to's. (Bakerella does a fine job of that anyway.) I will simply note a couple things that made my pop experience work (or could work better).
  • Make extras. As I mentioned above I was very tempted to eat as I worked, which would have resulted in minimal produce.
  • Make them out of sight of children and husbands, or any other strays in your house at the time for fear of the same result as above.
  • I made them a couple days in advance and they kept fine in the fridge. Hidden.
  • Plain sticks look much better than coloured. But I didn't have any, hence the coloured sticks.
  • Little celo baggies and ribbon turn them into very cute individual gifts. Perfect for this situation.

Hope you try your hand at making some pops, they are the bomb!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rainbow Birthday Party

In my previous post I mentioned this party was months in the making. I was not kidding! But it all paid off, the party was a hit! The kids were just amazed and so excited and all thanked us for the wonderful party! Awwww... what a bunch of sweet hearts! It just made me absolutely melt.

Everything turned out just how I had envisioned and I loved every minute of the preparation just as much as the party it's self. All the happy little faces, the constant activity, even the fact that my little one year old had no idea it was all for him. And I could not have done any of it without the help and support of my wonderful family.


Rainbows are pretty easy to work with. They are everywhere, but I didn't want to just use a whole lot of tacky ready made decorations and party supplies. So I started with Billy's invitation. My own design. Postcard style. Printed in bright rainbow colours on a textured heavy weight card. Then I created party treat bags to match. These were made of bleached calico and rainbow fabric, tied with a red ribbon and thank you message iron on transfer. I also drew a rainbow scene and printed out a little leprechaun for each guest to colour and play "pin the leprechaun on the rainbow". I completed all of these in "my spare time" and received many an imploring look from hubby doing so.
Clockwise from left: Pin the leprechaun on the rainbow colouring in cards.
Rainbow fabric treat bags. All the kids opening the treat bags filled with rainbow goodies.
Decorations on the day were really quite simple. Rainbow coloured streamers and balloons - a no-brainer. Miniature table was made by my handy Dad. Surrounded by little colourful chairs just right for little bottoms. Table was set with a bright purple table cloth (my oldest sons favourite colour) and a rainbow coloured bamboo table runner I got for $5! I can't even remember where! Plates, hats and napkins (and streamers, balloons and piñata ) were bought from a local party shop. Like I said, the market is flooded with brightly coloured and rainbow themed supplies, and since I am time poor I opted to just buy these elements. It also made it a little easier to toss everything in the recycling after knowing I didn't spend a lot of time painstakingly making little hats too.
Clockwise from left: Table set and ready for guests.
A single row of balloons in order. Ceiling of streamers. Rainbow piñata!
The food was loads of fun to prepare! I got most of my inspiration from Pinterest totally kidding myself that it would be some what healthy. Two rainbow fruit platters with Toblerone dip was barely touched. Layered rainbow jelly cups were prepared a few days in advance having to with for setting, and well hidden in the back of the fridge from hungry little boys (and husbands). Topped them with whipped cream on the day. I searched for giant swirl lolly-pops and found them for $2 each at K-Mart. In hindsight I should have found some half the size, as my 2 1/2 year old licked the colour off the tip and that was it. But all the cousins kept them for their interstate flights home two days later (Good thinking Mum's and Dad's).

I separated the coloured popcorn and put them into little ice cream cones. The cones were not consumed. I'll probably put them into little paper cones next time, they will fit more in and not waste unnecessary food. As for beverages; I didn't really want to serve soft drinks to a bunch of kids (kind of outweighed by the giant lolly-pops, I know!) so I found some different coloured juice poppers and made little cloud shaped sleeves for them. Then added bigger bendy straws and little colourful paper ribbons to them. Just because there wasn't enough colour on the table already!
Clockwise from left: A rainbow food explosion! Poppers in sleeves.
The birthday boy digging in. Rainbow fruit platter and Toblerone dip.
Now for the pièce de résistance... The cake! This is what spurred on the whole rainbow theme in the first place. Originally spied on Whisk Kid months ago, I set about acquiring all the necessities to make said Super-Epic-Rainbow-Cake. My making-of details can be read here and I have to say, this was the funnest cake I've ever made! And that says a lot because funnest isn't even a word! Not only was it fun to make but super fun to see peoples reactions when one seemingly plain white birthday cake is sliced open to reveal seven layers of rainbow awesomeness! The cake was devoured and everyone thoroughly impressed. 
Clockwise from left: Seven layers of rainbow awesomeness!
Make a wish Billy! Waiting patiently. One little candle.
More on the activities of the day and some fun photos of the kids can be seen here.
All-in-all; a perfect birthday party! Happy 1st Birthday my darling baby boy! xx

A few of these photos were courtesy of Tara Chiu Photography
The rest were courtesy of my husband Tim.
Thank you both!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Rainbow Cake

photo courtesy of Tara Chiu Photography

I've been doing a lot of "research" in planning Billy's first birthday party. Pinterest definitely comes in handy for "research". I came across this on Whisk Kid and it definitely is a super and epic cake! In fact, it is solely responsible for the following few months of preparation for the RAINBOW PARTY! Yep, you heard right. Months. A labour of love. And to tell the truth, I loved every minute of it! Despite the imploring looks I'd often receive from my husband that said "Seriously? You just did that?" My one year old is not even going to know the difference, but; Yes I Did!

So, back to super epic rainbow cake. It seems I'm not the first to try my hand at this amazing treat. Thank goodness too, because I picked up a few handy tips from fellow cakers. And, also for that reason, I'm not going to bore you with the finer "how-to" details. I'll just tell you what I found helped and worked:
  1. Betty Crocker vanilla/white cake mix and ready made icing. Betty has been doing it longer than me so I put my trust in her and it paid off in taste and time. Thank you Betty.
  2. More than one cake pan. This is not a must, as each layer only takes about 12 minutes to cook anyway, but it would definitely help to speed up the process if you are in more of a rush and I was.
  3. Good rainbow colours. Like I said, I initially did my "research" and so invested in a set of Americolour food colouring gels. I got some from Spotlight and then Googled them to get a few more on-line. Sorry I forget where, but if you just do the same you'll find somewhere close to you for postage. They make for bright vibrant coloured food. I tested them on Easter Cookies and was happy super excited with the result. Then my family got to eat rainbow coloured food for a week till I got over the excitement.
  4. An under-layer of royal icing to coat the cake before the real icing works wonders to eliminate those pesky cake crumbles showing through. Unless you are particularly fond of speckled cake of course. I wanted the inside to be a surprise so I needed it well hidden. 
Then I just had fun. The cake kind of evolved as I worked on it. It was a bit slow, as mentioned above I only had one cake pan. But that's OK, it was all part of the excitement and anticipation for each layer. I was in love with the rainbow look, but have since seen some pretty impressive alternatives, oh my the possibilities are endless! My family's birthday cakes will be coloured layer cakes from now on!

mixing colours

one down, six to go!

royal icing coating and stabilizing skewers

One little candle and rainbow coloured sprinkles

the goodie table


Birthday Boy

Monday, February 20, 2012

Free Crappy Portrait

Aaaaaages ago I sent in our photo to Free Crappy Portraits and requested one of our very own. So long ago now I totally forgot about it, until today. Not only have they supplied us with an AWESOME Free Crappy Portrait, thoroughly identifying us and poor Mavis' story, but they put us on their website! How cool is that?!

I know!

Here is our (awesome) crappy portrait - thanks sooooo much Nick P. You did good.

I highly recommend you request your very own Free Crappy Portrait. They won't disappoint!