Archive for the 'Cakes' Category

Ode to "Bacon Concentrate"

Feeling Giddy. Am I Dreaming?
My once ordinary mug is steaming.

Can it be? Is it true?
Cake in minutes from chocolate goo.

I StumbleUpon this magic trick —
tablespoons of ingredients, microwaved quick.

Not just a fan, but a devotee.
Bacon Concentrate is the food blog for me.

I am completely overcome. Is there really any wonder why I am moved to poetry today? A recipe that allows you to make cake in a coffee mug that you microwave — Brilliant! When I StumbledUpon Bacon Concentrate the other day and saw this recipe, I just loved the IDEA of it. But, I tried it last night and feel…complete. I have found what I was missing: the ability to have chocolate cake in a moments notice.

I may need to practice this recipe and fine tune it. (I am more than willing) There are many helpful adjustments and additions in the comments. (Comments the gorgeous sprinkles on the cupcakes of a post) Mr. Party MOMster was not as moved as I was. But, he’s really an ice cream guy. In the words of one-hit 80’s wonder, Matthew Wilder, “Ain’t nothing gonna break a my stride” (Feel free to click and rock a little — maybe rock is a bit strong. Tap your toe energetically).

Spread the word, it can be done, Cake-in-a-mug-in-minutes. My beloved MacGyver would be proud. If anyone has any other microwave dessert recipes — bring ’em on!

Let’s Party Mondays: School is in session!

Hey, it’s Monday — it must be “Let’s Party Mondays”. Thanks to our Pick A Party Winner, Sqkecleen, today’s theme is: Back to School

Just going back to school is a reason to celebrate. I know I will be having a Back to School Cocktail Party, myself (that is, party of one). But, if you have a late August or early September Birthday in your family, the staff and I found it to be a theme with a lot of possibilities. If you have preschoolers or kindergartners that are new to school, this is a great way to get them worked-up about this exciting milestone.

Decorations

I would score some of those bulletin board cut-outs that Teacher’s use. We have a store called Becker’s that sells all sorts of classroom supplies — they have a website as well. Get your MacGyver on and grab any school theme toys you have around the house to place in festive spots. I don’t think I’ve met a family that doesn’t have a School Bus. Wah-lah you’ve got your centerpiece.

Cake

As I suspected, Coolest-Birthday-Cakes does not disappoint. There is a great selection of school bus cakes to inspire. I had a brainstorm for a Chalkboard Cake. If I have a few minutes, I might try to pull it off. (The MOMster likes her cake.) I’m picturing a rectangular cake with dark green icing, graham cracker pieces lining the edge as a frame for a chalkboard. Maybe, half a candy apple sitting on the bottom right corner, like an apple for the teacher resting on the chalk ledge. Chalk pieces made out of pretzel rods dipped in white chocolate. I don’t know, just a thought. (Yeah, this is what I daydream about. It is a sickness.)

Game

The staff and I put the most energy into the game. Never discouraged by my failures (i.e. Cootie Clown) , we created the School Bus Obstacle Course.

This can begin as an activity. You need to have kid cut-outs on white paper and a mess of crayon, stickers, googly eyes, etc. You should have a table dedicated to this. Ask the guests to make a student. It can be them or not — whatever they want. They just need to decorate the one side. When they are finished, they bring their student to you. You need to have sticky back Velcro and put the prickly Velcro on the back of each student. Then the real fun begins — the School Bus needs to pick up the kids for school.


The paper students that were decorated earlier are scattered all over the backyard or through the house or at a park. The “School Bus” is a child wearing a yellow felt tunic (A yard of yellow felt with a hole cut through the middle for their head.) We added a foam visor that we made — we always like to kick it up a notch. The “School Bus” rushes to pick up all the students for school by sticking them to the felt and finally running across a finish line.


YOU HAVE TO HAVE A FINISH LINE. This is an obstacle course must. Red crepe paper held by two people must be broken through — it is the only satisfying way to end. I don’t time it or make it a race — they just have to finish. You can give them a sticker, a stamp on their hand or a dollar store medal to commemorate their triumph. The staff and I thoroughly tested this idea — no student was left behind!

Book

I always love to have a book to tie-in with the theme. It can be propped up as a decoration or have the guests sign the inside of it. Or depending on the audience, you can have a story time. My favorite Children’s Book Blog, the Book Nosher, who has come through for me in the past , was gracious enough to provide some quick picks off the top of her head:

  • I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas (preschool)
  • Mrs. Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate (kindergarten)
  • The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (preschool/kindergarten).

She also promised more selections on her blog as Back to School approaches — stay tuned to The BookNosher.

Alright that is my offering for “Back to School”, I know there is more, so please feel free to weigh in with your comments and ideas. All this party testing has caused a bit of a backlog in my housework. Right now my kitchen is like school on Saturday — no class.

And with that Fat Albertism, I am outta here. (Na na na gonna have a good time. Hey! Hey! Hey!)

Let’s Party Mondays: It’s a Circus!


Ahhh…Another weekend…Ugh…Another Monday…Yeah! LET’S PARTY MONDAYS!

Today’s Party Theme: Circus

This is one of my favorite party themes. I got quite goofy on this one and it was also one of the most epic battles between Me vs. the Evil Overdoer. (Also, me — but, picture me with little red horns dragging a very long to-do list).

Decorations

The grandest decoration was a circus tent ceiling. We took eight plastic tablecloths (4 red/4 white) and hung them from the playroom ceiling. They clustered in the center and fanned out to the walls. Finding a tape that would stick to the slippery plastic tablecloths, defy gravity and not mark the walls was a bit problematic. There were constant re-adjustments, even during the party (“Oh, excuse me sweetie, let me get that tablecloth off your head“). This was a circus party not a planetarium, such a heavy investment in ceiling decor was likely unwise. Advantage: Evil Overdoer

Pulling a little MacGyver, we collected some stuffed animals and turned them into clowns. The staff and I made clown hats out of construction paper and ruffled collars out of tissue paper. We had fun doing this a few days before the party to get us into the mood. Very festive results. Advantage: Me


Cake

Because I knew I would be busy decorating (raising a tent, creating a game — more to come), I decided to delegate the cake to someone else. (I was still smarting a bit from my Dino-disaster) I heard of this woman that made cakes out of her home and she was very fun and creative. The woman lived 20 minutes away. So, on the day of the a party, I ran a 50 minute errand (20 minutes there + 10 minutes getting lost + 20 minutes home). The cake did look awesome. Advantage: A tie


Game

I had played the classic childhood game, Cootie, with the staffers a few weeks before. Quick rundown, you roll dice and depending on your roll you earn different parts of the Cootie bug to build your own.

Brainstorm: I will make a Cootie Clown. We’ll roll the dice to earn different parts of the clown’s face. There were about eight pieces to the face which we needed for 6 players = 48 pieces were created. I sorted and put them into numbered envelopes. Okay, let’s play. We started with one player rolling the dice at a time. It was going s-l-o-w. I was losing them. Gave everyone dice and let them all go at the same time. That was chaos. Just gave everyone the pieces to make the face — we finished. The guests seemed happy with the results. (They may have just been glad it was over. Moving on) Advantage: Evil Overdoer

Acitivity

This was the best part of the party and, best of all, it lives on in video. We had the guest put on their own circus which Mr. Party MOMster dutifully recorded. We dragged out the dress-up bin, toys and other props to create the following acts:

  • Snake charmer (rubber snake wrapped around someone playing a whistle)
  • Tightrope walker (put a piece of tape on the floor while walking in a tutu with a parasol)
  • Lion tamer (wearing a pith helmut, throwing a stuffed lion through a hoop)
  • Lady on Horesback (Princess costume while riding a Rocking Horse)
  • Strong man (counted how many stuffed animals one child could hold — we got to 11)

We ended with a clown parade made possible by the purchase of rainbow wigs and red noses for the party. Following the parade, all the performers watched the tape on TV. It was a rousing success and we are often asked to bring out the tape to watch again and again. Advantage: ME

In the throwdown between me and the Evil Overdoer, it was a draw. But, as always the only casuality is, once again, ME. When the Evil Overdoer rears her ugly head, I am left feeling very tired and very stressed. Absolutely no fun — so not Party MOMster.

So, join the Circus with some great party ideas — the more the merrier. And don’t overdue or you’ll feel like a Party Pooper. (Speaking of, I’ve got a diaper to change. I think that also may become Party MOMster principle #3.)

PS (Let’s keep the Party going on Mondays — do the Pick A Party Giveaway!)

Nice Cupcakes…

Someone recently complimented me on my cupcakes. (My Polar Bear Cupcakes — Hey, this isn’t a Singles Bar.) And I thought I would share some of my other adventures in baking. I would say my baking credo is: It’s the thought that counts. I’m sure after seeing my work you you would agree.




If you really want to be inspired by homemade creations, a great site is Coolest-Birthday-Cakes. It claims to be “by far the World’s largest collection of ‘makeable’ homemade birthday cakes, and thanks to visitor submissions, it’s growing larger and larger by the day“. And I can’t disagree. Where else can you find Chinchilla, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Jerry Garcia and Salad Cakes?
I am so impressed by this ambitious endeavor (They did say THE WORLD). I want in. I think the Lion cake is my best work. Although Coolest-Birthday-Cakes does have a few lion submissions already. I may submit my dinosaur cake (Yes, that is what that strange green bump with a head is supposed to be) because it is so ugliful. (Thank you, Urban Dictionary —def.: The ugly equivalent of beautiful) Maybe I will rename it “Salamander”, “Mature Tadpole” or “Worm Monster”and get a unique listing. Any thoughts?

But, whether you make your own cake or buy a cake, you should follow Party MOMster Principle #2: ALWAYS SAVE THE PLASTIC DOODADS (If you have forgotten, Party MOMster Principle #1 is Having little ones create for others, fosters generosity and kindness. Ok, Principle #2 is a bit of a come down from #1, but I feel very strongly about plastic doodads.)

Why the passion for doodads?

By saving the plastic doodads, your goal is to create a decorating stash that you can turn to when an impromptu celebration presents itself. My dear Granna had such a stash. When we would go to her house to celebrate my Dad’s Birthday, I would always fish out the Circus Strong Man and other odds and ends to top the Entemann’s Marshmallow Iced Devil’s Food Cake. Good stuff — I wish I had that stash (and I could really go for a piece of cake right now) . As you can see, I come from a long line of Party MOMsters.

So, leave your inhibitions behind, get out there and get some compliments on your cupcakes (or cakes, pies, jellyrolls, whatever — Wait, we are still talking about baking, right?)

PS (If anyone has a Circus Strong Man cake decoration — let’s make a deal.)


Party Tableau from My Talented Staffers

Super Foolishness (According to Me!)