The Cupcake Project, Easter Eggs!

Ok, I know, I know – SUPER slacker over here. 2 weeks! Yikes. Sorry people!

Ok, so here is the blog I was working on 2 weeks ago and just now finished:

The Cupcake Project is back!!!

Yes, folks, we’ve started again. This month, in preparation for Easter, we made Easter Egg Cupcakes!!!

…Well… we attempted to make Easter Eggs. Hahaa.

Our good friends (and will-be-Newlyweds in October!) TC and Jane came to visit for the evening. The boys tried two new types of beer while Jane and I decorated the cupcakes I made before their arrival. I made the FunFetti style cupcakes this time, and they were perfect for the occasion!

So, the story goes that we are SUPPOSED to make the egg shape out of gram crackers and stick it to the top of the cupcake with frosting, then decorate the gram cracker egg, and finish the edges with green frosting to look like grass. But, then, there is me. And I didn’t have gram crackers, so I improvised. I melted decorating chocolate, thinking I could make that into our egg shapes instead… except I burned the chocolate. So I start again. Aaaaaand, I burned it. Again. Yup. Go me.

So, by the time Jane and TC arrived, we had to improvise. So we decided to “draw” the eggs on the cupcakes with the colored frosting, still “finishing” the look with the frosting grass. And this is what you get:

So while no, they look NOTHING like the cupcakes in the book, I gotta say they were the most fun cupcake disaster ever! We were laughing and having a ton of fun at what we were coming up with. And once eggs got boring, we got a little more creative!

A bumble Bee

The Easter Bunny

Even a Peep!!!!

Jane made the Peep just for Peep! Too cute!

The boys even got in on the action! Anthony decided to make “The Universe” on his cupcake:

And TC… well… TC made a cupcake deadicated to the “reason for the season.”

All in all, it was a fantastically fun night. And while the cupcakes didn’t really look like easter eggs, they still tasted really good! Both Jane’s family and my family got to enjoy them that weekend for Easter dessert. 😉

April’s project will be Penguins. Miranda and Alyse are coming over to help! Woot!

-Jen

The Cupcake Project Returns!

*GASP!* A blog unrelated to Peep? Can it be?

Yes, folks, it can.

As promised at the beginning of the year, the CupCake project is making a comeback. We will start this month (March) and try to do one project from the book each month. I have had a lot of positive response to the cupcake project, which makes me so happy! And I’ve had several people asking to help out! Which just sounds fabulous to me. My best friend Beckie helped out on one project (TV Dinner) and we had a blast! So here is what I’ve decided to do. I’m listing the one project I plan to do each month here (dates are NOT pre-set). If that project sounds interesting to you, and you’d like to come to my house for an evening (or Saturday afternoon maybe) and help me out, I’d love to set it up. You may be asked to bring a supply or two, but you’ll always be able to take some home! There are several projects that people have already offered to help with, but feel free to add yourself to the list! I don’t intend to limit the number of people who can help unless the group gets too big (my kitchen is small!). So let me know! Can’t wait to get baking with my friends!!!

HERE’S THE LIST!
March: Easter Eggs!
Pastels and sprinkles! Instead of decorating real eggs, we can decorate cupcakes to look like them! I’d like to make these right at the end of the month so that they can actually be used for Easter Sunday.

April: March of the Penguins
Little waddling penguins, tiny icebergs, and even a bucket-o-fish! Too cute!
Alyse has volunteered.

May: Westies
In honor of my Birthday, doing one I really want to do: Tiny little doggies on licorice leashes!

June: Sunflowers
Let’s celebrate the coming of summer and make beautiful flowers and ladybugs out of cupcakes!

July: Candy Stars and Stripes Forever
In honor of 4th of July, let’s make a cupcake and candy American Flag! (although, we can’t make them ON 4th of July – that is my wedding anniversary – so just sometime in the month of July)

August: Play Pool!
Billiard Balls made out of Cupcakes.
Alyse has volunteered.

September: Big Birthday Cake.
It is a multicolored, multilayered birthday cake made out of cupcakes – in honor of our little Peep coming into the world. (This one’s date will have to be VERY flexible. I’m hoping  to do it after the baby is born, maybe in time for an “open house” for people to come meet the baby.)

October: What a Hoot!
Halloween Owls made out of Cupcakes!
Miranda and Alyse have volunteered.

November: Larry the Turkey!
Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE Holiday. Let’s make Thanksgiving Turkey Cupcakes to celebrate!

December: Edible Ornaments
Adorable Christmas “Ball” Ornaments to decorate any holiday table!

We’ll go that far and see where we’re at. There are many more projects than these 10, and I plan on doing the whole book – but we’ll take it month by month. Leave me a comment on this blog with your name (incase I don’t recognize your screen name) and the project/month you’d like to help out with! Looking forward to seeing you!

-Jen

P.S. I blog about each project, complete with pictures. So if you aren’t comfortable being on my blog, then this might not be the project for you. Thanks for understanding!

Expanding our horizons

Anthony and I recently started to really look at our daily diets and how it effects our lives. If you weren’t already aware, I am SUPER picky. I don’t eat things that are green, except for green apples and celery. I don’t eat vegetables except for corn, celery, & carrots. I don’t eat seafood of any kind. I don’t like potatoes, or meatloaf, or most soups. I don’t like tomatoes, or onions, or mushrooms. And I’m not a big cheese person at all. But I still HAVE to have cheddar cheese on my hamburgers and Parmesan on my pasta. Oh – and my foods are almost never allowed to touch each other on the plate. I hate that. Bleh.

When Anthony and I met, I felt wonderful because I’d finally met someone who ate a lot like me! Plain, simple, and carbo loaded. But a few years ago, Anthony started to branch out, and he has FAR surpassed me. But maybe not in a good way – he hasn’t been eating all that healthily. So we decided 2 things. That I needed to branch out more, and Anthony needed to eat better. So, we’ve been trying. And it’s been going well! We’ve almost totally cut out Soda (and Anthony has already lost a pound or two because of it!) and there are more fruit and veggies in the house now than I think there has ever been.

So, in honor of making this new lifestyle a routine, Anthony (the cook between the two of us) made us dinner last week in our brand new wok! (Shout out of Thanks to my parents for buying it for him for his b-day! It’s coming in handy!)

We marinated lean steak strips in a Baja Chipotle sauce overnight. Anthony threw the meat, along with an orange bell pepper and some shrimp into the wok, and voila! A pretty hearty meal! We put that over rice, and had at it. It was so tasty! And much healthier than what we normally eat! Check out the pics!


Now, I could just stop there and pretend I ate it like it looks above. But let’s not kid ourselves here, folks. First, I don’t eat shrimp. Second off, I’m pretty sure I don’t like bell peppers. And third – IT’S ALL TOUCHING!!!!

Nope… This is what my plate looked like:Now, I did eat the pepper! I didn’t like it enough to say, yea – I’d eat that all by itself! Or even enough to say I’d eat a lot of it in one dish! But I can tolerate it enough to eat them if they were mixed in with a dish, say at a Chinese restaurant or something. So that is a start. I didn’t get the shrimp down. Smelled it and gagged. So Anthony ate it for me. But the meat and the rice were great together! And no soda, either. I had propel water. So while I’m so not saintly yet, I’m doing well on the trying new things!!! Let’s hope I can keep it up!

-Jen

Cupcake Project – Box of Chocolates

Sorry for the delay – It’s been over a week since I actually made these! But I will tell you, already, that I want to do this one again – in February when all the great Valentines day candies are out! It will be so much better!

This project is: Box of Chocolates! Here is the pic from the book.
This is the first time I’ve made Chocolate Cupcakes for the project. Gotta tell ya – it’s a welcome change from all that vanilla! And this project is also of the “Mini” kind. I love working with Mini cupcakes! They are so fun and have so much potential to be something creative. And they are so cute!
Like I said earlier – I need to do this project again near Valentines day. The candies I had available to me weren’t all that fabulous. Not a lot of reds or pinks. Kind of had to go scrounging, and it left a lot of other candies left over. But we were able to bring back the runts left over from “TV Dinner” night. The Pink Hearts were PERFECT!
I covered all of the cupcakes I could (there were several left over) with chocolate fudge frosting (yum!) and each “chocolate” was supposed to look different. Some of them had Hershey’s kisses on top, some had peppermint circles, others had flowers made out of Smarties, and some even had actual pieces of chocolate (Snickers/Milky Way/3 Musketeers in bite size) on top. I decorated the chocolates with a thin drizzle of vanilla frosting (you know, how See’s Candies does on their chocolates) and voila! I had “chocolates” to go in my box! (Oh, and excuse my scruffy look – I’d just gotten home from my Pilates Class – don’t worry! I washed my hands before baking!)
Now… Also because it isn’t around Valentines Day, “Chocolate Heart Boxes” were pretty scarce, so I improvised. I took some crinkled up tissue paper and placed that in my Cupcake garage. I placed all the little “Chocolates” in the “box” and put on the lid!

TaDa!
Elissa took the mini’s to Family Game night for the cousins all to enjoy. Ant and I would have brought them ourselves but we were on a plane to NorCal! Hope the gang enjoyed this week’s creation!!!

Next Project (and it may be a week or two before I actually accomplish it) is rather daunting: Van Gogh’s famous painting “Starry Night” in Cupcakes. Yikes!!! But it is the last project in chapter one, and from here on out, I can do them in any order I want! Woot! Wish me luck!!!

-Jen

Cupcake Project – TV Dinner & Spaghetti Dinner!

WARNING!!! MEGA LONG POST AHEAD!
(Stick with me here, people – I promise it will be worth it!)

So, for the most part, I thought I would be taking on this cupcake journey solo. Immediately I realized that wasn’t true, since Anthony has been with me every step of the way. But what I wasn’t ready for was all the people wanting to join in! It’s so neat to have people thinking that what I’m doing is cool.

With that said, this week’s project is different in 2 major ways. First – It isn’t just the normal 1 project/2-page spread that I’ve dealt with so far. It was 6 pages!!!! 2 Projects! That is 4 pages of instructions for the TV Dinner project, and the normal 2-page spread for the Spaghetti Dinner. (Don’t worry – it is super large font and has pictures!). Second big difference – I was not alone!

Meet Beckie:
Beckie is one of my best friends in the whole world. I was a bridesmaid in her wedding and she was Matron of Honor in mine. We’ve been friends for over 7 years now, and she’s been one of the greatest roommates I’ve ever had! And she was the first to volunteer to help me out with my project. We had so much fun!

We started out with teaching Beckie all the new techniques that the book taught me (because that is a rule! We follow the book, even when it leads us down an unsure path!) and got baking!

Our first project was TV Dinner. Here is what it looks like from the book:

We took it in turns and did the “peas & carrots” first. Beckie made the frosting green, and we added green runts and orange runts. It looked cool! Then came the potatoes! Mashed, to be precise. Vanilla frosting (over frosted, really) with a yellow starburst (circa Corn on the Cob) for butter, and caramel sauce to look like gravy.
Then came… the chicken bones. *WARNING* At least a P-G13 RATING for the next paragraph or so…
So the book innocently says “Trace this out on wax paper, then fill in the outlines with melted white chocolate.” Ok – so. We did that. And when you fill it out with the chocolate, it ends up looking a little… ummmm… phallic. No getting around it:Of course, jokes ensued, and we giggled a lot. But it turns out that is what they are supposed to look like! Because when put into the tops of cupcakes covered in frosting and Special K crumbs, it actually looks like a fried chicken leg! Add one last cupcake covered in chocolate frosting and jimmies (or sprinkles, or 100,000’s, or nonpareils – take your pick) to look like a chocolate pudding dessert, and voila! TV Dinner!

We had a lot of fun!
Then, we got right to work again, this time on our Spaghetti Dinner! (Obviously, it was the night of entrees). And I had the perfect Pasta Bowl my mom gave me a few years back to display our masterpiece. We put the rest of the cupcakes from the batch into the bowl. Then the instructions said to add cocoa powder and yellow food coloring to the frosting to make it “brownish-yellow” for the pasta. We were skeptical – not gonna lie. We thought it was going to look like mud.
But once again, I was taught to trust the book. It looked great! We covered the cupcakes in a thin layer of frosting and all three of us (Anthony joined in too!) had at it! It was so much fun to just be messy with frosting! We squeezed the whole bag out over the cupcakes through a tiny little hole and it really looked like Pasta!



Beckie added the “Meatballs and Sauce” which are Ferrier Roche chocolates and strawberry preserves. It looks pretty realistic. And smells so good! That really is a lot of frosting!

Thanks, Beckie, for coming over and helping me with my project! It was so much fun. Can’t wait to do it again!
Next week – “Box of Chocolates.” Oh – and if you are interested in helping me, come on over and claim a page in the book! Miranda called dibs on the “Owls” project, and Alyse called dibs on about 4 projects (don’t worry – there are still a ton of projects left untagged) and I’m looking forward to all the help! I’m loving this project.

-Jen

Buttered Popcorn Cupcakes!

Today’s battle: MINI CUPCAKES!!!

And when I say Mini, I mean teenie-weenie!! 3 of these little babies equals one regular size cupcake! A batch of batter that makes 24 regular cupcakes made 72 (count them! 72!) Mini Cupcakes. Wowzers. And I have special cupcake pans and liners just for them! Check it out!

See! Lots of Mini Cupcakes!!!Today’s project required a LOT of work. I cut 200 mini marshmallows into 3 pieces each to make the bottom part of the pieces of popcorn. I laid them out in a leaf pattern, and then put a dab of frosting in the center of each grouping. I added a whole marshmallow on top of the frosting to complete the kernel. It was cool! They really looked like popcorn!



Buttered Popcorn means both yellow and white marshmallows. Vanilla cupcakes and vanilla frosting! Yummy!

We took them to Family Game Night to share with everyone. They were a big hit!!! And I thought they were cute! My favorite so far.

Next project is a combo! TV Dinner, Spaghetti & Meatballs, & a box of Chocolates. Yay!!! I love this project!

-Jen

Cupcake Project – Bagels and Lox

This week: Bagels and Lox. This is the picture from the book:

This is the picture of my finished Product:

What do you think? This week was fun! A little more time consuming than last week, but just as fun. I think I’m getting a little better at frosting the cupcakes, and I think my “artistic liberties” with the final product aren’t all that liberal. I think they look pretty close!

This time around, we’ve got Lemon Cupcakes with vanilla frosting. The frosting is yellow, and the cupcake acts as the “plate” for the bagel. The “bagel” is made of a mini donut with black sugar sprinkles to look like poppi seeds. The “cream cheese” is vanilla frosting, the “lox” is an orange starburst, and the “capers” are green apple licorice.

And can I just say that I LOVE my Kitchen Aid. It keeps up with everything I throw at it. Or, in it, I guess. 🙂

This time around, I used the correct size ziploc bags, and I gotta say that the book knows it’s stuff. It was EXACTLY the right amount for each batch. Genius.
See! The bag is totally empty! And the cups are all 2/3 full!
Yummy Finished Product. And for some reason, I just love this picture. Go Anthony!

My taste testing, photo taking, upside down husband.
Making the donuts and the Lox:
And Voila! Bagel and Lox!
This batch made 24 cupcakes. This time around I took the whole batch to Beckie at her office to share with her co-workers who caught wind of my project and so nicely volunteered to be taste testers! Thanks guys! Hope you liked them!!!
Next project will be later this week (in time for game night) and will be “Buttered Popcorn.”
-Jen