Birthdays Make Me Crafty

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while then you already know how I feel about birthdays. To sum up for the new kids: I like them a lot. (example, example, example)

I had a string of birthdays recently, and it brought out the craftier side of me that apparently had been napping for the past couple of months. I love a good craft project so I sort of ran with it. It started with my gal L’s birthday. I had planned a specific project for her birthday since it was a milestone year and I was going to visit her in San Fran (read about it here). My plan was to make a scrapbook of her birthday weekend. I prepped the book prior to leaving for the trip and the plan was that I would run to the store, print out the pics, glue’em in (I brought some supplies with me) and I would give it to the birthday girl just before we all left. It was a flawed plan. We were jamming in super fun activities until the moment we left for the airport. So I had to finish it when I got home and mail it instead.

A book to remember our magical weekend gallivanting all over San Fran together and celebrating birthdays.

A book to remember our magical weekend gallivanting all over San Fran together and celebrating birthdays.

Not too long after that came two back to back birthdays. First was one of my best buds C. Second came my co-worker R. I attempted to try something cool for C that I had seen on the internet, and Pinterest, a millions times. An ombre layer cake in a mason jar. All I can say about this endeavor is that it was horrible lol. EPIC PINTEREST FAIL.

UGH...started off decently with the ombre cupcakes. But look at this shizzzz. HORRIBLE.

UGH…started off decently with the ombre cupcakes. But look at this shizzzz. HORRIBLE.

Ugh. Just looking at the picture annoys me. I couldn’t possibly give this monstrosity to C. It ended up in a mushed pile on my counter that was later eaten by my roommate.

I ended up admitting defeat on the whole ombre thing and making a mason jar cake instead. I filled it with some nutella as an added perk. To make it extra special (and because I turned into an unstoppable craft machine for like 2 weeks) I printed out tiny pics of us from our years of friendship and made a little photo-tree topper for the cake.

Apparently we are incapable of making attractive faces.

Apparently we are incapable of making attractive faces.

As you know, I love a good theme. As it happens, my coworker R shares my love of Doctor Who…so it struck me with the idea of making her some Doctor Who cupcakes for her special day. Basically it gave me an excuse to craft and indulge my nerdiness.

The Doctor Who Gang

The Doctor Who Gang

I printed small pictures of each of major characters from the new reboot of the series, including a 3D Tardis so that I could use them as cupcake toppers.

I used my awesome little cupcake screw thingy and filled them with some Tardis blue buttercream icing (recipe from my Gram…thanks Gram).

I got this little tool from some weird Chinese overstock website I found 2 Christmases ago

I got this little tool from some weird Chinese overstock website I found 2 Christmases ago. Icing piped in with my super sophisticated ziplock bag.

Vanilla and Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting and blue buttercream filling

Vanilla and Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting and blue buttercream filling

All in all, the birthday crafting went over really well. Everyone seemed pretty pleased with their birthday surprises.

Also, if you’re interested in making the white cake the recipe is super simple:

-1.5 c flour
-1 c sugar
-2 eggs
-1/2 c milk
-1 3/4 tsp baking powder
-vanilla

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Add everything else. Bake for 20-30 mins at 350.

 

Sunday Funday

So turns out that I wrote the majority of all my blog posts while I was wasting away of boredom at my old job. Now that I have a new job I have way way less free time lol. But I have a moment now so I figured I’d slap something up.

I had a fairly whirlwind weekend this past weekend…which was a nice change of pace. On Saturday afternoon my bestie and I went to this cool terrarium making party at a local glass shop where she blows glass (I hang with a talented crew lol). We got to make wet and dry terrariums. NOTE: every single time I think or say terrarium I confuse it with a house for spiders…I think they sound the same). Anyhow–I was pumped because a wet terrarium is essentially creating a Jurassic Park type scene in a jar! Spoilers mine has a pterodactyl in it! Boom.

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It was our other friend K’s birthday this weekend so we had some extra fun activities planned. We spent a fun hour kayaking on the Charles River. It was a murky chilly type day but it was really fun.

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We couldn’t really continue the party because we all soaking wet, but a bunch of us met up later that night to eat tacos and watch Game of Thrones. My contribution was cupcakes. But not just any old cupcakes…these were the stuff 90s kids dreams are made of. They were vanilla cupcakes with purple frosting and pop rocks on top! You can hear them snap crackle and pop on you plate…and then comes that creepy-but-awesome blitzkrieg of pop that happens the second they hit your mouth lol. They were really fun!

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Overall, it was a solid weekend with my lady pals 🙂

Sometimes I’m a Spaz in the Kitchen…

So those of you who’ve met me know that I am not the model of balance and grace…quite the opposite in fact. And this has been especially true lately. An alternate title for this post was actually going to be “That time i became Frienemies with Pancakes” but then that didn’t fully encompass the span of my clumsiness.

So I had avocados and corn on the cob left over and I needed to use them. I found a great recipe for Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad (here) that would be perfect. Incident One of being a spaz. EVERYONE knows that when you de-pit an avocado you ‘chop’ the pit,not STAB. Even as I was doing I was thinking…this is dumb Kristine….and then OWWWWW. Yup…I stabbed myself in the hand. Nice going, champ. Kitchen Fail ONE.

Not even a week later the spaz in me struck again. I was just giving voice to my love of pancakes by whipping up some chocolate chip pancakes NBD right? WRONG. The pancake was essentially finished cooking when I gracefully flipped one right outta the pan. Without thinking I grabbed it to toss it back in…another genius plan. My middle finger, with laser sharp accuracy mind you, landed firmly on the molten core of a chocolate chip. OH.MY.GOD. That biz hurts….A LOT. I got a big ugly fiery hot blister on my that stayed on my finger for 2.5 weeks. I’ll spare you the photos…which exist because obviously I need to send things like this to people like my mom lol. I have a bit of a mixed history with pancakes. About a week before I returned to America from Peace Corps, I was fixing myself a batch of pancakes when I flipped a pancake onto the stove. MESSY. In my attempt to clean it up I rubbed my hand all up on the still-on-the-active-burner frying pan. I still have the scar on my hand as a momento. So this latest debacle places us firmly the frienemies category.

And I’ve been dropping just about everything I touch (and weirdly things I don’t touch at all) in the kitchen ever since.

Here’s a little something I whipped up the other day for my cousin’s baby shower. I made some chocolate cupcakes with Diet Pepsi frosting (Diet Pepsi being one of her fave things).

For the cake I just used a box and prepared it as instructed. HOWEVER, if you can sub out all the ingredients the box says to add with a can of soda for an extra light, lower fat, cake.

You can find the recipe HERE. Its a chocolate glaze that actually tastes like Diet Pepsi. I let the glaze dry and then dusted them with powdered sugar.

A Salute to the Muffin Tin Part 1

This week’s post is something new. It’s not a chronicle of this week’s crockpot magic, but instead its a 2 part salute to another amazing piece of cookery: the muffin tin. Do you catch the part about this being a 2 parter? Get ready.

I feel like the muffin tin is underutilized in general…the name alone sort of hinders it from really reaching its true potential in my opinion. They can do so much more than muffins. As you are about to find out! They are also excellent at making cupcakes! Now, I understand that this isn’t much of a stretch from the norm (you’ll get more of that from part 2) but for most people its a major use for this item.

Cupcakes are the best. You can be as creative or conventional as you want, and whose day isn’t a little better after eating one? As it happens, my friend had a birthday today (Happy Birthday Schmidt!). What better way to celebrate than to make some super fun cupcakes. FYI the main point of this adventure in cupcakery isn’t the recipe (I totally used a box) but the execution.

Now, if you’re going “box” cupcakes you can do no better than funfetti. The recipe allows you to take funfetti to a whole new level by making them….wait for it….TIE DYE. Here’s how to make some cool tie dye cupcakes of your own.

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First you want to prepare the cupcakes per box instructions. Then you want to portion out the batter into individual bowls (the number of bowls is equal to however many colors you want). Then you want to add food coloring to each batter bowl and mix until you get the color you want.

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Then you want to spoon different colors into the cupcake liners. You can pick and choose which colors you want per cupcake. Just glob it in there and the messier/more carefree you are the cooler your tie dye will come out. No need to swirl them.

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See how cool they look when they’re done!

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Its really cool when you take a bite and see all the different color combos.

They are a tasty and fun way to enjoy a favorite treat. I guarantee everyone will love them!

Stay tuned for Part 2!