Archive for October, 2012


Broken Glass Cupcakes

Bloody Glass Cupcakes

What better way to celebrate Halloween than by eating some bloody broken glass? I made some for my office Halloween pitch-in. I didn’t take pictures along the way this time because I wasn’t sure how well they’d turn out, but I do want to show them to you and give some tips in case you’d like to make some yourself.

This idea came from Martha Stewart, but I didn’t use much of the recipe. I just used a box of strawberry cake mix and pre-made cream cheese frosting for simplicity, which is good because the candy glass part ended up being fairly time-consuming for me. The recipe for “caramel glass” on Martha’s site didn’t seem super dependable, so I went with this one for candy glass on eHow using corn syrup, sugar, water, and vanilla. I could only find corn syrup tinted slightly yellow, though, so my glass is yellowish. It would be even cooler if it was totally colorless.

The recipe walks step by step through mixing together the ingredients, boiling them in a pot, using a candy thermometer to wait until it reaches 300 degrees… but I wasn’t prepared for how quickly the temperature would rise after it reached about 250. I turned around for a minute or two to mix my cupcakes, and suddenly my candy was burning! That was a huge mess. The second time, I kept a constant watch on the thermometer for the last twenty minutes, and it came out great. All I had to do once it hit the magic temperature was pour it onto a non-stick cookie sheet. I waited for it to cool overnight, and in the morning, I dropped the sheet on the floor to shatter it into pieces. If I had a mallet, I probably would’ve used that to break it up.

Bloody Glass Cupcakes

Once I assembled my baked and frosted cupcakes, I stuck the pieces of glass in and drizzled a bit of strained cherry preserves on each one. They turned out quite yummy, too, and were a hit at game night with my friends, getting a couple of people a sugar rush from eating a bunch of glass, which is really pure sugar.

I also brought some to work for our Halloween pitch-in and competed with my coworker Melissa’s adorably spooky creations.

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Healthified Nutella

Healthified versions of delicious things FTW!  I’ve tried several recipes from the amazing Chocolate Covered Katie, and several more that I plan on trying because there are so many simple yet yummy looking things. This recipe for homemade Nutella is the simplest and healthiest one I’ve seen so far – not much sugar, lots of hazelnuts and chocolate.

  • 2 cups raw hazelnuts
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
  • optional: 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I used soymilk)

First step: roast the hazelnuts for 10-14 minutes at 400F. Skin them by rubbing them with paper towels – this was the most time-consuming part for me, because there were a lot of stubborn skins. But you don’t have to get every last skin if some just won’t come off.

Skinning Roasted Hazelnuts

Then, put the hazelnuts in a food processor and blend them for a couple minutes until they’re smooth.

Skinned Roasted Hazelnuts

Add all the other ingredients and blend a couple more minutes.

Blended Nutella

And just like that, you have your nutella!

Better than Nutella

You can stick in on bread or ice cream or wherever, but my favorite way to eat it is just straight up with a spoon. Yummm…

Movable Mini Mummies

I loved this idea from Camilla Fabbri for movable mini mummies and thought they were so cute that I wanted to make one. It was tough tracking down the supplies, but this weekend I ended up making two.

Poseable Mini Mummy

What I used:

  • muslin (a type of fabric – ordered a scrap from ebay)
  • flexible plant tie wire (found this at Lowe’s)
  • wire clippers (the boyfriend had these, which was handy)

Wire Clippers, Muslin, and Flexible WIre

First, I shaped the wire into a person-like frame. If you can find thicker wire or wire covered in more rubber/plastic, I recommend using that, but I had to work with what I could find. I just ended up with a skinner mummy. (Also, I ended up giving my mummy more of a torso after I took the below picture, but you get the idea.)

Shaping WIre Mummy

Then, I cut my muslin into strips about half an inch wide (in some spots more and others less). I started out cutting a little ways and then ripped the rest of the strip to speed up the process, as Camilla suggested. With those I began to wrap my mummy, tying the strips’ together as I went and trimming off the ends.

Wrapping Mini Mummy

The wrapping process was kind of trial and error for me. I learned that the tighter you go, the better, and if I ended up with wider strips I cut them down more so they could better wrap the small frame. When I was done, I just dabbed on some hot glue to finish it off (but you could use another strong glue) and dabbed some more hot glue in spots that looked looser.

My finished mummy is very charismatic and was ready for a photo shoot.

Poseable Mini Mummy

He can do all kinds of yoga poses.

Mini Mummy Yoga Pose

I also made a tall, dark, and handsome chummy mummy friend for him.

Poseable Mini Mummy Buddles

Their names are Yummy Mummy and Mummy’s the Word.

Poseable Mini Mummy

I brought them to work, and I think I’m going to give one to a friend once she gets back from vacation. Here’s Mummy’s the Word hanging out at my cubicle.

I’ve gotten multiple comments that they look like they’re made out of medical or masking tape, but nope – they’re real fabric. Dummy mummies. 🙂

In honor of the season premier of Doctor Who a couple months ago, I felt the need to make Dalek cakes. The BBC recipe was my inspiration, but I couldn’t find “dariole moulds” (who has those?!) so I looked at a couple of other versions of daleks and came up with my own thing. It was so much work and frustrating enough that I only made one I was happy enough with, but I thought I’d share it with you:

Chocolate Dalek Cake

Not very exciting, I know, but it does resemble a dalek and is delicious.

Ingredients for Dalek Cake

I used all of the above to assemble my dalek. First, cupcakes baking.

Chocolate cupcakes

Then I stuck the cupcake upside-down using a bowl for a stand, attached a chocolate donut and mini muffin on top using frosting between them, and frosted the whole thing. Then I added the chocolate chips for the button things on the bottom and head and broke up pocky for the arms and eye. The hardest part was attaching all these and trying not to have them fall off!

At our series premier party, we had this cake and other chocolate cupcakes I made, fish fingers and custard, and blue Tardis juice. 🙂

Also, I made over a Guess Who game using the stuff the brilliant Karen Kavett put together for Guess Who: Doctor Who Edition. I basically just printed all her great templates out, cut out the cards and faces (and cut them to be smaller since this modern version has smaller plastic frames), and put them in the Guess Who board. I used a more modern version of the game and didn’t paint it, because I was going for more of a fun factor than professional-looking.

Doctor Who Guess Who

Then I printed out her outside and taped/glued that to the box, adding black where the design didn’t cover due to the different box size.

Doctor Who Guess Who box

It is really fun! I played it with my friend Aryn and we loved it. In what other game can you ask “Are you a human?”

Tea Variety Wreath

Tea! My friend Aryn loves it even more than I do. And I saw this great idea by kojo designs to make a tea wreath for your kitchen, allowing you and your guests to see all at once all the different kinds of tea you have. I pretty much had to make this for Aryn for her birthday.

Tea Kitchen Wreath

I used:

  • about 12×12 in. of cardboard (for mine it was a cardboard amazon package)
  • scissors
  • enough clothespins to cover it
  • various kinds of decorative paper (I used 3 sheets of one kind to cover the wreath and about half a sheet of two other designs for the clothespins)
  • tape
  • hot glue
  • glue stick
  • tea

First, I cut my cardboard into a roundish shape that measured fairly evenly across, then used a bowl to trace a circle for the middle and cut that out as well. Then I taped some decorative paper over that. The back looks rather messy with various paper taped all over it, but that doesn’t particularly matter since you will be hanging it to only show the front.Covered Tea Wreath

Next, take a different design of decorative paper and measure it to be about the same width as the clothespins, then cut them into strips.Measuring Paper for Clothespins

Then, glue the strips onto your clothespins with your glue stick. I cut the strips to be slightly longer, glued them on and let them dry, and then finally trimmed them to the edge of the clip to be more precise.Gluing paper to clothespins

Use hot glue to attach the clothespins to the wheel. I arranged mine how I wanted them before starting to glue.Tea Wreath with Clothespins

Another thing I’ve realized with hot glue is that you often don’t need very much. I started out doing a line of hot glue on each one, but soon found that just 3 small dabs on each clothespin make them stick great.Tea variety wheel

Finally, hot glue on a ribbon, attach your tea, and hang it up to display your goodies. I added a bunch of tea I had, but left space for Aryn to add hers too.

Tea Variety Kitchen Wreath

And now I shall leave you with a quote from one of my favorite movies, Mary Poppins.

Mr. Dawes Jr.: In seventeen hundred and seventy-three, an official of this bank unwisely loaned a large
sum of money to finance a shipment of tea to the American Colonies… Do you know what happened?

Mr. Banks:  Yes sir, yes I think I do.  As the ship lay in Boston harbor, a party of colonists,
dressed as red Indians, boarded the vessel, behaved rudely, and threw all the tea overboard.  This
made the tea unsuitable for drinking – – even for Americans!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Warm Salad

I just wanted to share with you an easy step-by-step of my new favorite recipe, a combination of two of my very favorite foods. I found it at Oh She Glows on a page with another recipe, but I love this recipe so much that on my blog it gets its VERY OWN PAGE! I’ve made it twice already since I found it not long ago and probably will make it again soon!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Warm Salad

I had never had a warm salad before, but it is tangy and fresh and delicious. I promise that if you do not completely hate sweet potatoes, black beans, or cilantro, and especially if you love them like I do, you with love this dish.

To start, you will need:

  • 2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (2 large or 3 small-medium)
  • 1 large onion, preferably red, chopped  (1.5 cups chopped)
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional, I left it out because I don’t like it)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3-4 tbsp fresh lime juice (Juice of 2 limes), to taste depending on how much you like limes
  • 1/2-1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cups cooked black beans, drained (14-15oz can)
  • 3 tbsp minced fresh cilantro or 1-2 tbsp dried (I’ve tried it both ways and it didn’t seem to actually make a big difference to me)

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Place chopped sweet potato and onion onto baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Mix to coat and season with a sprinkle of salt.

Peeled and Cut Raw Sweet Potatoes

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, remove and toss veggies to ensure even cooking. Bake for  another 20-25 minutes until veggies are tender and slightly brown around the edges. Remove and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by mixing the following ingredients together in a bowl: 1-2 tbsp olive oil, salt, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, and cumin. (MAN I love all those things.)

Lime Cilantro Dressing

Now before adding the sweet potatoes, mix in the drained and rinsed black beans and stir well. This gives the dressing a chance to flavor the black beans.

3. When the veggies are done cooking, place them into a large bowl. Add the dressing/black bean mix and stir well. Enjoy warm!

This makes about 4 servings, but I usually split it in half and use it for two full meals. If I can stop myself from eating most of it. 🙂

Sweet Potato Black Bean Warm Salad

My Life Goals

I love making lists. I have a ton of them on listgeeks.com. I was probably around 14 when I made my first list of things I wanted to do in life, and I have been mentally adding and crossing things off for a decade now. I recently found my old one and it looks something like this, with my completed items crossed off:

  • travel overseas
  • ride an airplane
  • ride a train
  • go to Florida
  • go to England
  • meet Julie Andrews
  • go to California
  • go to New York
  • go skydiving
  • go on a cruise

I have been able to do a lot of the things I wanted to do in the last ten years. Just this week I spent a few days in New York City and met my favorite celebrity, singer/actress/writer Julie Andrews, at a book signing for her new children’s book, which crossed off two things! I no longer want to go skydiving, as I floated in a crazy skydiving simulator and I’ve gone bungee jumping and looved it. I have a trip planned to California in a few months. And a cruise will probably happen in the next couple of years.

me at the top of the Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand

A few months ago I wrote out an updated list of all the things I want to do now, and since then I rode in a hot air balloon and met Julie soon after seeing a Broadway show. As you can see, much of it involves traveling, exploring, and trying new things.

  • meet Julie Andrews
  • re-visit New Zealand
  • move to a different country
  • live on the US West Coast
  • ride in a hot air balloon
  • ride a motorcycle
  • visit Japan
  • go skinnydipping
  • visit a real, old castle
  • visit Toronto
  • see a Broadway show in NYC
  • go on a cruise
  • go scuba diving or snorkeling
  • marry the love of my life
  • try skiing
  • visit the Louvre
  • ride in a horse-drawn carriage
  • see a movie at a drive-in theater
  • kiss in the rain
  • make a souffle
  • Go on the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg
  • see Julie Andrews’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • ride over the Golden Gate Bridge
  • go on a road trip with no predetermined destination
  • lie out on a nude beach
  • go parasailing
  • try a raw, vegan food diet for a week
  • go waterskiing

Manhattan skyline at sunset

I am looking forward to doing all this over the years, adding more items and crossing them off. And now I have a poll for today, as I am curious…