Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Cupcake Bouquet



This is super fun to make and even more delightful to give to someone. Before I became a mom, I was a dental assistant in a pediatric dental office. It was a really fun job, but the people I worked with are what really made it great. I have remained really good friends with one person in particular and today was her birthday. A perfect occasion for a cupcake bouquet. Here's how:


Find terra cotta planting pot with Styrofoam ball that will fit as pictured. There are several sizes to choose from, I chose the largest.I got mine at Michael's, but am sure you could get them cheaper at Wal-mart or even Home Depot. Cut up assorted colors of scrapbook paper and mod podge the entire pot. This is the best part. I added ribbon on the rim just because.




I had to trim the ball a bit in order for it to fit nice and snug.




I used confetti cupcake mix (Duncan Hines), but in the future will probably try to get a little fancy with the taste. The project itself took a few hours so an easy cake mix worked best for me. You can use popsicle sticks found at a craft stores to stick the cupcakes into the styrofoam. I used skewers cut in half just because I had them around. Stick them into the ball as desired. I was able to fit 14 cupcakes, but wish that I had put more in. Using a hot glue gun place tissue paper to cover up the rest of the styrofoam.



The final step is to frost the cupcakes. You get could really fancy with this part. I just used the sea shell frosting tip and a dash of sprinkles on each one. The thing about this project is you could go really simple or really make it fancy ,and either way it would still look great.

Tips:
  • The styrofoam ball was about 20 dollars at Michael's. I wouldn't go without their weekly 40% off coupon.
  • I used some card stock and some just regular scrap book paper. I would recommend only using the flimsy scrap book paper. It sticks better.
  • Before frosting check for hot glue strings all over.If you are going to give it to someone, give it to someone you really like because after all the time you put into it, you will hate to see it go.
It sure made my kitchen look lovely for a day. Let me know if you try it. I would love to see what people come up with.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spaghetti Sauce to Remember

You can thank the Phoenix Firefighters for this one! It starts to tickle you taste buds as soon as it starts to simmer. By the time you get your first mouthful you can't eat it fast enough. It is has some bold flavors with pepperoni, Italian sweet sausage, and of course garlic. Some might even say you have to call the fire department to put out the crazy tastiness going on in your mouth. Yummy!

This recipe feeds a fire crew!

Ingredients:
3 cans 28 oz peeled tomatoes
1 can 28 oz tomato sauce
1 bundle fresh parsley
1 small pack sweet basil spice (found in the spice aisle, or sometimes with the Mexican food spices on the Asian/Mexican foods aisle)
1 sweet onion chopped
2 bunches of garlic minced
1 pack of sweet Italian Sausage
1 stick pepperoni sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper

Directions:
Pour 1/2 cup olive oil in large pot. Saute pepperoni for 1 minute, add onion, saute for 1 minute, add garlic and saute for two minutes. Meanwhile brown Italian separately and then add to pot. Add all remaining ingredients including salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 3-4 hours and try to refrain for sipping it gone before plating.
Cook spaghetti as directed, serve and enjoy!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mirror Mirror on the wall.......

.....what's your best food storage recipe? That doesn't really work does it?! Hmm. Well let me explain my question. I would like to have some sort of food storage for rainy days, job layoffs, or some sort of emergency. Liking and doing are two different things. I am yet to actually do it.

Food storage should consist of foods that are actually enjoyed by the family and can be easily rotated. In my efforts to accomplish this I have come up with only ONE recipe so far that meets this criteria. Of course pasta and canned spaghetti sauce is always good to stock up on, but not craved so much at my house. Obviously flour, sugar, and other dry goods can last a while, but I am searching for meals that will not need too many items from the fridge or freezer to complete the meal.

I would appreciate if you would help by just listing an idea. You don't even have to give me a recipe. Just tell me what you would keep on hand for your family that would work and hopefully that will inspire me. Thank you.

Here is an example of my food storage recipe:

All you need to do is brown 1 lb of hamburger with one diced onion and combine the pictured ingredients for a delicious taco soup. I am working on canning my own hamburger using a pressure cooker and if that happens that I really don't need anything from my fridge!

1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can ranch style beans
1 jar of your favorite salsa
1 can of corn
1 can of Rotel
and 1 lb of cooked hamburger meat with onion

Combine and simmer for 30 minutes. Top with your favorite ingredients such as sour cream, cheese, or even lettuce and eat as if it were soup. This is a great meal full of good protein and nutrients. I always have leftovers and often turn it into a casserole by smashing corn chips and layering on the bottom and top with cheese and baking in the oven until it melts.
Now, please allow me to take the time to thank my good friend Louise for this lovely award:

Here are the rules:

Thank the person who gave you the award: Thanks again Louise! I am so flattered that you thought of me!

Paste the award on your blog (check!)

Link the person who nominated you for the award (check check)

Tell 7 interesting things about yourself (not as easy as I thought)

1. I am not one of those super crafty talented people that can just create things out of nothing, so cooking and having blogging friends that cook is a wonderful thing in my little life.

2. I was crying myself to sleep several times in the last months over my husband possibly getting laid off as a firefighter. Thankfully his job was saved (for now.)

3. I am ready for another baby even though we have had several disasters created by just one baby today.

4. Once I had raspberry lemonade creme brulee at a fancy restaurant and I have been dreaming of the day we could afford to go back there again.

5. I include the question :" what did you order, or make today?" in almost every conversation with almost everyone. I love food and I love to talk about it.

6. Now that I am a stay at home mom I am becoming a bit of a hermit and that worries me slightly.

7. All of the best conversations I have ever had have been at a dinner table or included some sort of tasty treat while talking.


Nominate 7 bloggers or less

I too hate this part of awards. I don't mean to be ungrateful, but I just want to pick everyone and not bug the people that don't want to participate. Just know that I love everyone, but feel these people have inspired me lately.

1. suburbsanity

2. myburningkitchen

3. homemade heaven

4. year on the grill

5. sidewalk shoes

6. pulsipher predictions

7. countryfriedmamma


Monday, March 1, 2010

Chinese Chicken Salad


Ingredients for the salad:

2 whole chicken breasts
1 whole ginger root cleaned and trimmed
1-2 heads chopped lettuce
1/2 pkg. rice sticks
3-6 green onions diced
1/2 c. toasted almonds
1/2 c. sesame seeds toasted


Cook the chicken in water with ginger and salt til done. 20 - 30 min. Fry rice sticks(see pictures) in hot oil and drain on paper towel. Cut up cooled chicken. Combine above and add the dressing. See below.

BEFORE:
AFTER:


The rice sticks are really quite fun to make and eat. They can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store near the soy sauce, chow mein noodles, etc. Follow the instructions on the package to cook.


For the salad dressing:

4 T sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Alpine touch
4 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 c olive oil

Combine all but the oil and heat for 30 sec or so in micro and stir so sugar dissolves and spices blend. Add oil. Refrain from adding the dressing to the salad until you are ready to serve.