Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Very Hungry Cake

The cake was not difficult. I used a bundt pan and I baked 2 cakes in that and one in a small round pyrex dish for the head. Then I cut the cakes in half and made the shape of the caterpillar. You will just have to cut and position until it looks right. I used the Martha Stewart Swiss meringue buttercream for icing. It has a nice texture and smoothes out very easily. The sun was a scrap of cake and the rays were pretzels dipped in the icing. I put it all on a sheet pan and used extra icing like paint to decorate the tray. All in all I would say this was the easiest cake I have made. And almost anyone could do it. Good luck

Friday, June 3, 2011

Chickens...I really have gone mad.

About 12 weeks ago I decided I was going to get the chickens I have been longing to have now for several years. Things were coming along just fine. We had 4 pretty little chicks. Buffy, Pearl, Aster, and Clementine.

They grew fast and were a nice distraction for Poppy. Yes, here is where the BUT comes in...ROOSTER alert. So we go to the lovely chicken man and he switches out the rooster for another hen. OK. Well he talks me in to taking another chicken home in addition to the 2 babies I picked up the week before. So I go from 4 to 7... eeek. Adding Daisy, Cleopatra and Rosebud.
Anyway then we have the week from hell. We get home with our not rooster and our new other chicken Daisy. And not home 10 mins when the 5yr old walks in with a limp chicken...so after much screaming and crying and a long bout of hysterics we bury the new chicken. Oh boy. I guess avoiding the death talk when the fish died is a mute point now. 2 days later I go to check on the babies only to find another limp chicken which I try to revive to no avail. So now 2 dead chickens.
What am I thinking?
SO the 5yr old is now super protective of the remaining chickens and well I have just decided that chickens are as low as they can be on the food chain and pretty much everything eats them. So I hope for the best. They are really cute. And I cant wait to get eggs. Our eggs will be in a rainbow of colors. We have 1 blue layer, 1 pink, 1 speckled, 2 brown and 2 white. I hope they will taste as good as they will look.
If you want to give your kids a lesson in life and death I guess chickens is the way to go. And they get to learn about where their food comes from. Love it!

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Party

My little man turned one recently and I love to throw a party. I felt inspired by the Hungry Caterpillar book and so here is what we came up with...

Cute invites

Obviously a Caterpillar cake was essential

Caterpillar food

Cookies for sure

And a few caterpillar decorations

So the garland is cheap paper plates I painted in the style of Eric Carle (meaning all splotchy and not very even) and I found a Happy Birthday sign at the $1 store so I pulled it apart and used the letters. I used construction paper for the facial features. This was a really fun project to do with my 5 yr old. She did some of the painting and glueing.
We got the paper for the table and the napkins and party hats from the Eric Carle museum. They were really cute.
On the table we had all the different pieces of fruit. 1 apple, 2 pears, 3 plums...
I made caterpillar sandwiches. You could put anything in them but I did ham and cheese so the grown ups had food too. The faces were a cherry tomato, with cucumber skin for the antennae and cucumber for the eyes I used the lid from a squeeze bottle for the cutter. HINT: the cucumber is difficult to stick to the tomato so they each either have to be very dry(difficult) or I used guacamole for glue. Use whatever is easiest.
We did fruit caterpillars with honeydew melon and watermelon.
The cookies were the goodie bag this time. It was a butterfly and a poppy. As for the cake well maybe that is another blog. But if I forget and you need instructions I would be happy to help. Just ask...

There was some grown up food and drinks because, well, one year olds don't care and 5 yr olds just want you to go away... hehe. So spinach pie, asparagus soup and salad. Oh and a few pink bubbles.
In truth you could really go a lot crazier than I did but he is only one so I kept it low key. But there is a Very Hungry Caterpillar board game that would be fun. We had a super cute craft planned but never got around to it. The craft was gluing really big pompoms together with giant googly eyes to make a caterpillar. You can also do it on a big craft stick (tongue depressor) for the little kids.

Kids are a gift and this is my way of telling mine I truly believe they are my jewels. It is a labor of love. And super fun! Love you P&A

Friday, March 18, 2011

Peanut butter cookies

Untangle your panties people. I know peanut butter is the enemy but these are the best cookies I have had in forever. It is a little like short bread but with extra protein. Plus you can decorate them however you want with a few sprinkles. So cute and so tasty. These were very easy and so a winner when I want to bake with my daughter(5). Also it is a big batch so I bake 12 and then scoop and freeze the rest on a cookie tray and then put them in ziplock bag. When we want some cookies we pull them out and put them on the tray and while the oven heats up they get soft enough to squish. I did not create this recipe but I love it and I did add vanilla. We can't stop eating them. I do have to stress PLEASE do not take these to school with you. It could be dangerous for the kids with peanut allergies and even if there isn't any kids with allergies the crazy peanut nazis will kill you with their dirty looks and passive aggressive bullshit.

Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Cream the butter for 2 minutes. Add the sugars, cream for 2 more minutes. Mix in the peanut butter and egg. Mix together the dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir into the sugar butter mixture.
2 Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
3 Preheat oven to 375°F. Shape dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Place about 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten in crisscross pattern with a fork. Bake until light brown, 9 to 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for a minute; transfer to rack to cool completely.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
For chewier cookies, bake at 300°F for 15 minutes.
This recipe is from simply recipes.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Some days are just harder than others... right!?

So we have pretty much been the luckiest parents ever when it comes to sleeping, and crying. Both kids not criers and big sleepers... 9 months so far! BUT
Last night went something like this

8:59pm Poppy goes to sleep (2 hours late)
10:30 baby wakes
12:00 Awakened by Poppy screaming (growing pains)now she is in my bed
1:30ish Awakened by husband coming home
2:30 Awakened by baby(teething)
3:15 baby sleeps
4:30 awakened by baby again (keep in mind it takes me at least 30 mins to get back to sleep)
6:30 awakened by Poppy who wants breakfast, wakes baby.
8:30 first huge knockdown crazy tantrum. (wrong pancakes)
10:30 second huge tantrum(I moved the candy)
1:30 next crazy tantrum (I moved her shadow!?)
4:30 WHAT!... another freaking huge tantrum(I made the wrong dinner, which she loved once she ate it)
Still up (10:00pm) after doing groceries, crafts, making bread, 3 loads of laundry and 3 bathrooms. Just finished dishes. Pop. Yes that was the sound of a bottle of bubbly wine which I will now try not to drink all of. Hehe. We decided at bedtime tonight that instead of getting mad and using "yucky" voices we would just stop when we felt annoyed and sing a funny song. Lets hope tomorrow brings a different set of challenges. Skida marink a dinky dink, skida marink idoo, I love you.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Comfort in a hurry

Mmmm mini meatloaf... yes you can have meatloaf in 40 or so mins.
My gang loves meatloaf. But I rarely make it because it takes forever to cook.That is probably because when I really want to make a meat loaf I get beef, veal and pork... lets just say it is very large. Then there is gravy. You get the idea.
Well today I decided to put the meatloaf in a cupcake pan and bake mini meat loaves. OOOhhh why didn't I think of this before. For a weeknight dinner I also like to add veggies into the meat and... well they love veggies but I can get an extra serving in by adding a few things. Heres what is so great all of us can have the same dinner. The baby will eat all of that without needing to puree or mash it. SO it is a whole family meal.
So give it a try. They were moist, tasty and cooked really fast. Perfect with the mashed potatoes/parsnips and the broccoli. Yay for mini food.
Oven 350º
1lb of extra lean beef
2 carrots
1 onion
1 cup Broccoli stems from the broccoli you serve with dinner otherwise you can use a zucchini or leave it out
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup flax seed meal
2 eggs
1/4 cup ketchup
4-5 splashes worcestershire
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tsp dried parsley or fresh if you have it or any other herb you like
generous shake of 21 seasoning salute from Trader Joes
1/4 tsp salt
An additional 1/4 cup of ketchup and 4 big splashes of worcestershire mixed together, keep to the side
Put the oatmeal and the flax seed meal in a food processor and process for 30 seconds or until it breaks up a little ( you can do it more if you like). Add to a large bowl.
Put the onion, carrot, broccoli in a food processor and process until it is VERY fine.
Add to the oats. Stir.
Add the meat, eggs, seasonings and sauces and gently smush with your hands until it is mixed.

Form the meatloaf or minis and smear the remaining ketchup mix over the top.
You can make one big loaf or 12 cupcake size ones. One large one will take 1.5 hours at 350º cupcakes about 35-40 mins. Please get them to 160º

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Caterpillars and such

As a mom I have found there are certain go to items you have in your bag of tricks... this became very apparent when my daughter was wanting to make the same craft AGAIN today. This particular craft is caterpillars made with craft sticks, colorful pompoms, googly eyes and pipe cleaners. Basically a dollar tree one stop shop craft. Some how we always have these things on hand and when she was about 2 I came up with this idea and well... I guess we have made it dozens of times. Guilty! I even took it to pre school once as the small group activity. They loved it.

But it got me thinking what else am I doing that we ALWAYS do??? I think we all have some dinners we know our kids will eat (in our house cheese fondue is a winner), books we know will calm them down songs or movies. When we were in Seattle we went to the Zoomazium (or pandemazium as I like to call it) now it is the Atlantis Aquarium, but I know it is a winner every time. So I am wondering about other moms and their "go to" lists. Things that will make you and your kids happy. Is it a special park, the beach, library? Kids are hard but they like routine and repetition which is so funny because they get bored so easily. Why is it they will do something over and over again and still want to do it some more? Hello...how many moms know every word in the Aristocats or Finding Nemo? I honestly don't know how we stay sane, I really did not want to make caterpillars today. lol.

For this craft you will need a bag of colorful pompoms, some craft sticks(colored ones are better), pipe cleaners, googly eyes and craft glue. Stick the pompoms to the stick add eyes. Cut a pipe cleaner in half and then fold it in half and spiral the 2 ends with your thumb and middle finger till you get a curly Q. Glue this on last and do not move it for at least an hour if you have a clothes peg laying around clip it on to the antennae to hold them while the glue dries but not essential. Think about doing a whole learning pod with this... caterpillar, cocoon with cotton wool or paper mache, then butterflies(I will cover this one later) read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and then get yourself one of those kits where you can watch a butterfly emerge from a cocoon... so cool
You can buy all of this at your local Dollar Tree or a Michaels. Good luck.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years Thoughts

When I was a kid I remember going to the same party every year with my aunt and uncle at my uncles parents house. We played what ever games we could and ate buffet, sang old timey songs and generally had a "raucous" time. I was young but I have no idea what age I was but I do remember trying soooo hard to stay awake for the bells and whistles. One thing I remember doing(I guess they woke me up) was going around the neighborhood banging pots and pans and yelling Happy New Year. And sometimes we would do it at midnight and then at 1am because that was the "real" midnight". I have never seen anyone do this in the US. So I was just wondering as the New Year came and went this time does anyone ever do this any more. It was so much fun as a kid and one of my best memories of NY Eve along with the silly old music they played... Bye Bye Blackbird etc. But even now when I hear the old songs like that I think of the times I spent New Years this way. I really do have the best aunties ever! Happy New Year all.....................