Saturday, April 28, 2012

An Ode to My Kitchen Aid

My trusty kitchen aid!
  So do you have a Kitchen Aid?  I do and I love it.  I remember growing up my mom did not have one, she used her food processor or her hands.  Imagine that, mixing with your hands.  No way.  I remember making mousse by hand in college and I thought I was going to die.  No way, kitchen aid all the way for me people.
My amazing laptop that I have no clue how to use most of the features on .

  Anyway my mom got one when I was in high school and I started taking those Wilton classes at Michael s.  Back then the only one was like 30 minutes away and I went every week.  I used my moms kitchen aid to make my big batches of icing.  Way back then I actually measured things, wow.  Anyway my mom was super nice to let me use it, because if you knew how different we are in the kitchen, you would understand.  My mom keeps everything in a certain place, her kitchen is spotless. Me on the other hand, not so much.

  I mean I keep stuff cleans, ish, I have to scrub a bit before I bake, but whatever, my house will be clean when Pork Chop moves out and I can take his room over as my own personal space.  Come on 18, only 11 more years!!!

See how clean and shiny it is? Usually there is lots of chocolate and icing sugar on it.

  Anyway when I was getting married and setting up my home, I knew I wanted a kitchen aid.  My goodness was I happy to put it in my buggy at Wal mart and take it to my new home, where we have used the heck out of that sucker.  Back then I did not know there were different kinds, maybe there were not as many as now, but I got what I got and was thrilled.

  I now find myself wishing that I had the larger one.  There is a seven quart one that I have been desperately trying to get Hubby to sell a kidney for.  But to no avail.  I was actually about to get it this year for my birthday, but then the stupid condo board made us pay them $1000, and my car needs tires and life just got in the way.  So it's not meant to be any time soon.  I will survive, I mean really life could be so much worse.  I just have to suck it up.  Maybe I should write to kitchen aid and tell them how much I need one, which really won't matter.  There are people in the world that cannot afford rent, me not getting another mixer will not really matter.

This is the company that made my super cute decal.

  So as I mentioned before I am not the cleanest of people, or bakers for that matter.  My little kitchen aid was covered in splatters and you know stuff.  Poor Hubby would do his best to clean it off when he wanted to use it.  I made sure my bowl and attachments were always clean, but the body of it, there was chocolate and icing sugar and what not.  I would make attempts to wipe it, but it needed a deep cleaning.

 I finally had to do it, I am teaching a class and need my mixer, so I took it out and got to work.  I used an S.O.S pad, those things are amazing.  I got that sucker clean in less than 10 minutes and all sparkly and new for use.  Then I got the idea to pretty it up.  I have seen people who get custom paint jobs or decals.  I am on a spending freeze so I used what I had.  And what I had was this decal.

This is about the time Hubby saw me, and he got upset.  Also you can see my steam punk outfit in the far left there.  That stupid dress form is heavy so it is staying there until I am all done.  Also the wall O' sprinkles on the right.  
  I had gotten a laptop last year, because I was becoming a blogger and our stupid home computer sucked.  So I got a cheap one, at the store the guy was all what do you want to do on it.  And I told him, blog, look at the Internet, and it had to be pretty. He gave me a funny look and started talking to Hubby.  Usually I would take offence, but really I had no clue, still don't.  When hubby picked out a nice cheap one that would do what I wanted, the guy told me the colour choices.  Black, silver or red.  I wanted red, and of course they were sold out.  Sigh, so I got silver.  So then I went on Etsy, which is amazing and found a decal that spoke to me.  The store, showcase 66 was amazing.  Because of my odd shape laptop and the name being so big, they did a custom die cut for me.  They sent me two different sizes and told me to just the keep the other one.  Can you see where this is going?
And this is what I should have said to Hubby when he got upset, but I would say it in a nice way.

  So I took that and cut out the middle cupcake, it was all that would fit.  As I was doing this Hubby comes down the stairs and this happened.

Hubby: Are you kidding me?!

Me: What, isn't it cute?

Hubby: No, and it's my mixer too.

Me: But who is going to see it? No one watches you mix stuff.

Hubby: Your doing this for that darn cupcake class aren't you!

Me: Yep it has to looks it's best.

And does that not look fun?  Well at least until it gets covered in chocolate again right?

  I said that last part as he rolled his eyes and I posted it on Facebook, just to prove how awesome it was.  Then he gave me crap for tagging him as every time someone liked it or made a comment like "this is awesome" he got a notice.  I told him it was just my people supporting me.

  He doesn't get me at all some days.  If we get a big red seven quart kitchen aid, I will let him put spider man decals all over that sucker.  I promise! See how I try to support him?

 And just a small update, he said he wants Avengers decals on "his" mixer.  Little does he know they will have to be cute, anime Avenger decals.  Man I hope I can find those if the time ever comes!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Steam Punk Outfit, part 2

This is one of my better pictures, which is sort of sad if you ask me.
  So I posted a while back about how Hubby is a comic book nerd.  And I also posted about how I have to support him in all things, as that is what a good wife does.  This led me to the problem of how to make supporting his nerdiness fun for me.  I found a way, because you knew I would, and I shared about it a bit here before.  And that post also became my second most viewed post to date, which is crazy!  You all are fun!
These are my cute boots, they have a low heal and they zip up on the inside so I don't have to untie them, thank goodness!  Also ignore my horrible basement walls, I try to.
  So in the last post I shared how I had made my skirt, jacket, belt and purse.  Well not really shared, I just showed you pictures of how they are looking and told you lots of details, because I forgot to take pictures.  This should not surprise you, I get in the zone and just go.  So this time is no different, be warned.

  Firstly I wanted to share the cool boots I am planning to wear.  I say planning because knowing my luck after an hour in them my feet will hurt, but I have high hopes at least.  I had planned to wear my paddock boots, you know those riding boots that are short and lace up.  Only because they sort of looked like something that would go with my outfit.  But, they are really big now, when I lost weight I lost about 1 shoe size.  Not a big deal when riding, but walking for a while in them is not the most comfy thing.  So I went on line and googled and what not, and everything I found was costly or not available here or whatever.  Then I found some cute things on pintrest which brought me to Clockwork Couture.  I was so excited to find these boots, for the price and shipping cost how could I not be.  And they also had lots of other stuff I wanted, but you know, one thing at a time right?

Okay, so it is really dark, but these are my spats, those are gears in real button holes, which I will never do again.

  So I got my boots, and I had big plans to make spats.  I had this vision in my head of spats that would match my outfit, but the buttons would be huge gears.  So again off to google I went and found this info on a site called Thread Banger.  I watched it a few times and felt confident with a few adjustments I could so do it.  So I did, I went to work using the green fabric I had and some thick interfacing.  My first attempt turned out okay, they were not perfect, but you know not horrible either.  Until I went to put button holes in them.  I spent like an hour putting button holes in, then sat down to use my seam ripper to open them up.  But the fabric was bulky and layered because I messed them up.  Then it happened, my seam ripper slipped and I ripped one of the spats in half.  I was done, so I packed it up to try again another time. Also I may have cut my finger too.  Just so you have some sympathy for me. I physically hurt myself to help support Hubby.  (That should count for something.)

  I got back to it a few weeks later and took my time.  I measured much better, ended up having to put a bit of a pleat in to make sure they fit better, and I did my button holes again.  My mom told me to put a pin at the end of the button hole and that would stop the seam ripper from going too far.  And it worked.  Then I lined up my gears and sewed them on.  At this point I will say, I would not do them this way again, because unless your dumb like me, you would have realized how hard it would be to put gears, which have all these bits poking out, into a button hole.  So whatever, it works, but I will try to put them on then slide them down over the boot.  So once the gears were on I attached some elastic under neath it to hold them in place a bit.  And I was never so glad to be done with something in a long time.

Okay it seems my basement does not allow for good pictures, or my whole house for that matter.  I spent I swear like 20 minutes taking pictures and these are the best ones.  I hate that!

  Next I wanted to show you my super easy earrings.  I just found two matching watch gears and stuck them onto some earring backings.  I know; I must be a genius right?  Well no, a genius would have taken the stupid pin in the middle of the gear out so they lay flat, but whatever, I am hard core steam punk, we like pins in our gears.  ( And yes, I fully admit to having no clue about steam punk, other than it looks cool.)

  I have plans to make a sort of tie for my shirt so I figure I needed a tie tack.  And I found a really nice gear and stuck that to another earring blank, because I am too lazy to try and find a real tie tack blank.  It will work, or at least it better.

Okay this is the best out of like 20 pictures, this gear has watch writing on it, and I promise a better picture when I get it outside.

Then I also added this cute key charm I found at Michael's to my pocket watch full of gears, we can say it is the key to my air ship.  Because that is so something a real steam punk person would say, right?  I know, I'm still not cool.

I showed you the watch before, but I added the key.  And see that cool book, it is not a book, it is a box!  How cool is that, I got a few different ones to put my steam punk stuff in when I am done.
See how cool is that?
  So that is just a short update as to what I have been working on.  I have started and almost finished my under dress blouse thingy, sort of worried how it will turn out as the fabric is a bit thin.  And I might add, according to the stupid pattern I am a size 18.  I usually wear a 12.  So that pissed me off, and made me eat lots and lots of chocolate.  Which you cannot blame me for, I have a size 18 to fit into now. But it is almost done, so pictures of that and the rest soon.

  I also scored a huge lot of watch parts to use to make my goggles, I just have to get the sewing done so I have room to spread out my stuff.

  Also I saw on Clockwork Couture that they had these really cute parasols, and they totally rock.  So I wanted one of course.  And of course I am not to be spending money, so I went on Kijiji which is like craigslist, and found a white one for $10,  so I have plans to age it and make it awesome.  Or ruin it, one or the other, who can really say how it will all go down right?

 So we are getting there, and Hubby still hasn't picked an outfit, he has been warned that the lion costume may be what he has to wear if he does not decide.  That would be awesome! I always wanted to own a lion.

Okay, not really.
The DIY Dreamer
I'm Lovin' It at TidyMom

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Smores On A Stick

I am so sorry that my pictures are horrible.  I used to at least try to get one nice picture.  But after 3 hours of dipping and wrapping these I was just done.
  I have been dreaming about these for a long long time! You all dream about sugary treats right?  Wait, don't answer that, I don't want to know!

  So I have had these on my  mind obviously, and that is because I have been obsessed with marshmallows ever since I first tried to make them a little while back.  Seriously, I think about all the ways I want to make them, and how I want to make lots of them.  So I finally did it.  I made some.  And I am so glad I did.  My pants, not so glad, they are getting a little mad at me.  Oh well, I can always get new pants right?

This is just the first pan,by the end my whole table was covered in icing sugar.
These are the two cutters I used, it is amazing how many more you get with the smaller cutter.  But I loved how big the big ones were, so much good stuff!
  So my motivation for these was simple, I wanted to make s'mores but I hated how messy they are and I knew that there was an easier way to do them.  And the very day before I made these I saw another blog where the person made these with store bought marshmallows.  So I knew it had to be good.

 To start out I made 3 batches of marshmallows. Yes I said 3!  My thinking was, if you are going to do it, do it right, and make enough to share.  I wanted some for both of my jobs, some for the trampoline place we are going to, some for the tutor and if I have some left over, some for me.  Okay who am I kidding, I ate myself silly before they were even dry. And I made these before my self imposed spending freeze.

  To make these I used the recipe from Martha Stewart that I posted about here. I really like this recipe because there are no eggs, and I am getting to the point where I can whip up a batch in half an hour.

If this picture was not so crappy you would be able to see the melted candy melts and the graham cracker crumbs.
  So I made three pans of them, let them dry over night then cut them out.  I have been wanting to make shape marshmallows for a while, but I hate the thought of all the waste, it's not like you can put the scraps together again. And there is only so much I can eat before I get sick. So I did squares, I just used two of my fondant cutters.  I made one pan with the large cutters, I got 24 out of it.  Then the little ones, well I got lots more, I think I got about 40-50 out of each pan.  And their were even a few scraps, so I just dunked them and ate them.  That gave me the idea that I so need to do a chocolate fondue with these home made marshmallows.  I so need to do that!
This is the lollipop stick, I had to hold it in the marshmallow for a few seconds to let the chocolate set and hold it.
  So I cut them all out and then melted my candy melts.  I also added some paraffin crystals as I didn't want too thick of a coating.  I figure thin was better, and I liked how it turned out.  I also wanted to add some graham crackers and could not decide how to do it. I thought a whole cracker would be too much to bite into, then I thought about just crushing them up, but then again, it would be chunky.  So I opted for ground graham crackers.  I just used my small blender to grind them up, if I was smart I would have gotten a box of the crumbs.

  I will never be accused of being too smart.

  Just so you know.
I ended up using a whole box of the crackers for this, I was surprised how much I used.

These were my first two, I was very happy how they turned out.
  So I started by dipping the lollipop sticks in chocolate then putting them into the marshmallow.  I found I had to hold it a few seconds or it would push back out, I figure the marshmallow is like a little sponge and you know, was too spongy to hold the stick.  Anyway after doing that I let it set for a minute then got to dipping.

Another amazing picture or my baby ones.
  I found the marshmallows very soft so I had to be gentle when dipping.  I would dip one, then tap off as much chocolate as I could, then press it into the cracker crumbs. Then onto the parchment paper to dry.  They worked out great!
This is my little army of Smore pops, and that was less than half of them.

These are the large ones, they were so good!

  I ended up running out of crackers and could not convince Pork Chop to go to the store with me.  He is now allowed to play at the park with his friends, so it is going to be harder to bribe him into the car.  What am I going to do when he is older and no longer wants to talk to me or be in pictures and you know be cute?  I may have to have another one, or get a puppy.  Either way.

Anyway, the sprinkle topped ones were great too, just not a smore like great. If that makes and sense at all.
I was too lazy to look for cute sprinkles, so I just took the only non holiday sprinkle I could find on the Wall O' Sprinkles.

  And of  course I just wrapped them up in lolli pop bags.  And I love that they stay nice and fresh as the chocolate keeps the marshmallow nice and soft. I will make these again for sure.
The one on the right, that is for me, the tiny ones, those are for everyone else.  I deserve the biggest!

Skip To My Lou
a to zebra
Our Delightful Home

Friday, April 20, 2012

Just some random stuff

Just a few of the over 400 daffodil pops I made for charity.

  So things have been crazy around here. I am finding I don't have as much time to do things with Pork Chop or Hubby; and I want to.  Like sleep and watch TV, and sleep.  You know all the exciting things.  So I thought I would just post some things that have been happening and what not.  

  I spent a good few days making some chocolate daffodils for a friend, she is putting on a cancer fund raiser.  Originally there were to be 250 people, then it went to 400 and when it hit 500 I was stuck.  I did not think I could make that many, and as it turns out I couldn't.  I managed to make 422, and sent the mold to my friend so she could make the rest.  I so wanted to make them as my mother in law is living with cancer, maybe some good karma will come of it and she will live to be 100, and buy me a pony.  What?  It could happen, she knows I love ponies!

I saw this at Walmart and had to have it.  I figure I can put all my little baking things in it.  Each little container comes out and has it's own lid.  Pork Chop got one too for all his Lego and Halo guys.  Mine is better though.

  So for the first time since Pork Chop was born, and I have been back at work, I took the Easter Monday off.  Usually I have to work it and then we have to find someone to watch him as daycare and school is closed.  So this year I was all "I will take a vacation day and we are all set." Then the Thursday before Good Friday I mentioned it to the day care, which is newer to us, and she told me she is open on the Monday.  Sigh, I cannot win.

  So I still had the day off, so I took Pork Chop to Hubbies work where they hold an Easter Egg hunt.  He told me his strategies in the car, the whole way there.  Going over how some girl last year stole the golden egg, because she was listening too closely to what his dad told him.  So this year he was going to try to listen to what her parents were telling her.  I tell you he had it all worked out, he was so determined!  Then we got there, the girl was not there, and there was no golden egg. He was crushed.  I think he got over it fast though.

There he is, he was the kid with the least eggs, he was so excited that he ended up missing most of them.

 The kids got to decorate cookies, which he liked, and was all "I can do this!" Because he is my kid, and I have been making him decorate cookies for years. And then in true Pork Chop style we took them home and he never ate them.

Amazing pic Hubby took, which shows my huge belly.  Thanks Hubby, I will get you back.
 Then a few days after Easter we finally decorated Easter eggs.  It is a tradition we have, that is also where I get all those cool colourful egg shaped cups for my baking.  Seeing as it was after Easter and I was so lazy this year he got to decorate five eggs, and they were raw because no one will eat boiled eggs but me, and even then Pork Chop complains about the smell. ( Like he smells like rose's right!?)

Pork Chop doesn't need his stool any more, but he still uses it.  I mean he is getting way too big!

And those are our sad eggs, that went right back into the egg carton for me to make home made cake mix things with later.  And two points if you can see the "box mix" hubby uses.  I am not the only one in the family you know.
  So that is about it, I have been busy, not had much fun time.  We were also in a parade, and once Hubby sends me the pictures he took I will post all about it. Also I am putting together a class to teach kids how to decorate and make cupcakes for charity.  And yes they will be from scratch, I am not that bad!  Pork Chop and Hubby are coming to help me, I told Pork Chop he is going to be a teacher.  He is really excited, so I hope it goes well. And I hope he doesn't freeze up like the time the we went to the launch of the Toronto Rocket, he was not smiling in even one picture! Also if no one is killed I will post about it.

  I also have some pictures of my steam punk outfit to take and post and some sewing to do.  I plan to have it all done by the time Pork Chop hits high school.  If nothing else, I set reasonable expectations.  Also I am going to try and cut down on my spending.  (Stop laughing Hubby!) I have been spending way too much and have to try and stop it, so my baking may not be as big, as I want to use what I have.  Unless I win the lottery, find a new rich man (sorry Hubby, it's for the family) or Hubby finally sells that kidney.  He is so stubborn, you don't need two of them. Oh well, I will also take donations in the form of chocolate, or money.  Either is good. But I prefer chocolate.

  Hope you all enjoyed my post full of babbling.  At least you got your dose of Pork Chop pictures!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cupcakes for Pork Chop's Hockey Team With Edible Image Cupcake Toppers

Go Hawks!

Before I get started I am also guest posting today at Whisked Together!

 Oh man has it been busy around here lately!  I have been working and trying to do some charity stuff, bake, talk to hubby and try to not kill Pork Chop.  It has been crazy.  I will update you with some of the fun, we were in a parade and I made some fun treats and I have gotten a few things done for my steam punk outfit, so all in all, lots to talk about.

  So this weekend that just past Pork Chop had his hockey banquet, which is not as fancy as you would think.  When I heard about it I figured I better make something, as I send stuff to the team for no reason at all, and now there was a reason.  I also had no time, I mean I was so not going to make fancy stuff, so cupcakes it was!

  Firstly, just so you know, I made box mix cupcakes.  I am not ashamed, when you are not a morning person, even though you start work at 7am every day, you do what you have to.  So I made a box mix of chocolate cupcakes, and then homemade butter cream and some fancy edible image toppers.

  So, I won't explain the cupcakes,  basically I cracked some eggs, mixed some stuff and baked it. All good.  Although, I was not prepared and I only had Halloween cupcake liners, they still looked good.

This is one full sheet of icing, unlike my child I don't eat the left over bits.
  So to make my cupcake topper I got Hubby to print out a bunch of the team logos, I found them on google of course.  Then I scanned them and printed them out on my edible printer.  I did two pages and that was plenty.
This is the super cool fondant cutter I got from Wilton.  I got it at Michael s just before Christmas, we were there looking for craft gifts for Pork Chop.  We didn't find anything so I had to use my coupon, you cannot waste those.
  I am sure you could just put the images on the cupcakes but that might not be as easy as this.  I made the toppers a few days before so they would dry out.  I took pre made fondant and mixed some gum paste into it.   It makes for a harder product when dry.  So I used my new Wilton fondant cutter, it looks just like a paper cutter, just cooler.  I cut the pictures out into strips then rolled out some fondant onto the plastic plate.  Then I brushed some water onto the fondant and smoothed on a strip of logos.
I found it nice to roll out the fondant on the cutting plate, it is removable. 
  Once they were on I used the cutter to cut them all out, and then put them on a lined cookie sheet to fully dry out.  I then rolled the fondant back up and rolled it back out and did it over again until all the logos were done.  I left them to dry for a few days.
They just need to dry for a day or so on a flat surface.
  When I give out cupcakes I like to use boxes, but they can get costly.  As it is I pay for them at the warehouse and it comes out to about 74 cents each with the insert, so I don't do this often.  Anyway, I always fold them and put them all together first, it doesn't take too long.  But if you do it as you are putting the cupcakes in you can get icing on them and you know make them messy.
All my pre folded boxes, those are the inserts on the bottom right.
For the icing I just made a simple butter cream.

Butter Cream
I just usually toss stuff in a bowl:

-1 cup butter
-2 TBSP vanilla *
-milk and icing sugar as needed

Cream the butter and add the vanilla, then add some milk.  Add some icing sugar and alternate between the two until you get it as thick and as much as you need.

*when I make butter cream that is going to be all white I use vanilla bean paste, it looks cool
My swirly cupcakes.
  I tinted the icing yellow and put a nice swirl on with a large fluted tip.  I like lots of icing.  Icing makes everything better.
Just press the topper into the icing.
And then all I did was put the logo topper on, it sticks right to the icing.
And you have a fleet of cupcakes to wow the 7 year old hockey players in your life.
I had Pork Chop put them out at the table for his friends, but he got so excited he flipped one.  So I got mad and told him to stop if he could not be careful.  Then I felt bad, because it's just a cupcake.  So he put the rest out, and he actually took one home.  He never does that.  Although he has not looked at it since, at least it's there.

a to zebra
The DIY Dreamer

Lil\'Luna HookingupwithHoH I'm Lovin' It at TidyMom