Friday, July 30, 2010

cupcake topper tutorial

Whew! This summer is flying by. I have been busy with weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, visitors, regular summer fun, still settling into our house and we just had a new sprinkler system installed for our yard- yay!

Amidst settling into our house I have been crafting, which I plan to share in several tutorials. I know I promised a photoshop tutorial and it is on the way, but I am still figuring out how best to share those tips with you.

First craft tutorial: Cupcake Toppers.

I did the above cupcake toppers for the aforementioned wedding reception.

I also made some for my son's birthday party and plan to do more soon for a baby shower I am throwing.

This is how I did mine:

I had some left over circle labels from when I ordered them for my etsy jewelry shop. Through their website you can download a template of any of their labels that you order in any format you need. I downloaded it in pdf form, then imported it to illustrator where I designed my labels.

After you have designed them, just print them out. The tricky part here is getting the stickers to print out so that the designs are directly in the middle of the sticker. I actually gave up after a few prints and settled with good enough so that I didn't waste ink. Guess I'm not as much of a perfectionist as a realist. Ah well:) *You can also print these out on regular paper or 8.5x11 sticker paper, get a circle craft cutter to fit around your designs and cut and paste them in the next step.

Here is a pdf of the ones I used for my sons party:
Happy Trails

I found a scalloped circle paper cutter at my local Hobby Lobby that was just big enough to show a little when placed in between my stickers. Got it home and started punching away on the paper I had chosen to accent my sticker designs.

Then just assemble them. Place a sticker on each side of the scallop-cut circle paper and insert toothpic. Voila! Easy, versatile, and oh-so-cute!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

chocolate eclairs

These are one of my all-time favorite desserts. They are oh-so-good!!

Cream Puffs
If you are having company I would maybe double this. The filling recipe to follow could probably fill 3 of these batches and the frosting would cover 2-3 of these batches. I like to make a batch of cream puffs day sometimes when I make all this, then fill them with left over filling and frost them, because they are so good fresh.

1 C. water
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. butter
1 1/4 twice-sifted flour
3 eggs

1. Heat water, salt and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until butter is completely melted and water begins to boil. Add flour all at once, beating constantly until thickened and smooth.

2. Place dough in mixing bowl (kitchen-aid or bosch preferably). Add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Dough should be soft and be able to hold a form, but not runny.

3. Place dough in ziplock bag and cut a corner off, leaving a hole of about 2-3 inches to pipe out 3-5 inch logs. Place a few inches apart on greased cookie sheets.

4. Bake @400 degrees for about 30 minutes.

See more pictures and slightly different recipe here.


small box of cook and serve vanilla Pudding
1 Tbsp. butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 quart whipping cream (with sugar to taste)

1. In saucepan mix vanilla pudding according to directions. Melt butter in mixture while hot.

2. Transfer pudding to mixing bowl (again, preferable a kitchenaid or bosch) and begin to mix mixture and cool it down. Add vanilla. Once mixture is cool enough to not cook the egg when added in, add egg:)

2. In a separate bowl whip whipping cream until thick and holds forms well (add sugar to taste as you are whipping it).

3. Fold whipping cream mixture into vanilla pudding mixture.

Inserting filling into cream puffs

Either slice puff pastry in half and spoon filling in the middle, or pipe filling into the center through a whole (pastries will be very light, airy and have plenty of storage room in center for filling : d )

You can use your favorite chocolate frosting recipe. I used this one:

1/2 C. butter
1/3 C. cocoa powder
1/4 C. evaporated milk
Box Powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Melt butter (on stovetop or in microwave), then stir in cocoa powder. Transfer mixture to mixing bowl if it is not already in one.

2. Stir or mix in evaporated milk. Then mix in powdered sugar. Add vanilla. Feel free to add more or less of any of the listed ingredients. This is a very forgiving and easy recipe that can easily be adjusted to your liking.

Pipe or Spread onto tops of eclairs and ENJOY!!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

happy fourth

Hope you all have a great Independence Day!

For the fourth we will be enjoying some smoked BBQ pork, pasta salad, green salad, and chocolate eclairs. Mmm, mmm. Recipe and pictures to come.

Here is a link to a great photo tip for fun with sparklers and cameras. We used it last year and I can't wait to try it again.

(Above: I made my husband be do this- he hates photos:) )