Thanksgiving Dinner Cupcakes!

Guys. I’m dropping out of college and opening a bakery. Seriously.

Not seriously, but I feel like I could after this project.

This week, I was determined to make these Thanksgiving Dinner Cupcakes that I found on a pin that took me to this website: http://makebakecelebrate.com/thanksgiving-dinner-cupcakes/ . I made all of them except the sweet potatoes, because I didn’t have any marshmallows and no one would have understood that one if I just did it without them. Now that you’ve seen that picture, take a look at my slightly modified but still adorable version:

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Even though I’m obviously a master fondant sculptor, I guess I’ll go through them to make sure you get the full effect of the cuteness. Starting top left and going clockwise: mashed potatoes with gravy and a pat of butter, a turkey leg, stuffing, green beans and corn with butter!

So this endeavor started like, a week ago when I started trying to figure out how I was going to get a hold of all the ingredients I needed. This is definitely the biggest project I’ve taken on, and I hope it’s not bigger than you guys were expecting of me. I think you guys can do it though. It took a lot of time, but all of the steps are easy enough that I know you can do it. And it was a great Saturday afternoon project! If you’re ever bored on the weekend, this is a fun way to pass the time. Saturdays at my school are boring. I go to a suitcase school and all my friends are home. I, however, am two hours away so I need a lot of these time-passing projects.

… try doing homework? Yeah, let’s just move on…

Anyway, it took me forever to acquire all of the ingredients. I ended up getting the cupcake mix and vanilla frosting at Walmart, the eggs and butter at 7-11, and the fondant and icing colors at Michael’s. It was also one of the more expensive projects, but it shows in the result so I guess it’s worth it. You can get the fondant in the colors that you need, but that’ll give you WAY more than you need for this project, so I suggest getting these products. Not necessarily these brands or anything; this is just what I picked up.

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This way, you can buy one little box of fondant for like $7 and then icing colors to dye it whatever color you need. I only used half of the box of fondant for 15 cupcakes.

SO..the very first step is to bake the cupcakes. I did this in my laughably small and poorly equipped dorm kitchen. I forgot cupcake liners at Walmart, so I was praying that the kitchen would have them, and I ACTUALLY FOUND SOME but they were mini. Who in the world, may I ask, uses mini cupcake liners, and what in the world are they for? Regardless, I had to just butter the cupcake pan and do without liners, which worked just fine.

Also, it’s so funny when you’re baking in a dorm. Students just come by and look longingly inside at the food you’re making that didn’t come from the dining hall. So many people came by going “OH MY GOD IT SMELLS SO GOOD IN HERE!” and I was like yeah, that’s just me making the cutest cupcakes you’ve ever seen. Here’s a picture of the little guys while they were baking:

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After I baked as many as the batter would allow, (it was around 20 or so but I ate the ugly ones and some were sacrificed for the stuffing ones so there were 15 to work with) I brought them back to my room to finish the project there. I set up three stations, and by stations I mean paper plates. There was one place for frosting, one for yellow fondant and one for green. I thought that was the least messy way to do it. By the way, you’re about to get REALLY freaking messy.

Okay, at your frosting station you’ll need a paper plate, a bowl for mixing, and the brown icing color that came in the package from the picture. You’re gonna be using all vanilla frosting to make it easier, but you’ll be dying some of it brown. Your mashed potatoes, corn, green beans and stuffing all need to be iced white, so go ahead and do that. Now, in your mashed potato cupcake, take a spoon and dig a little hole in the center. Not too deep, but into the cake part. Now take a little dollop of brown icing and drop it in! There are your potatoes and gravy! In the original, the baker used caramel syrup, but this was easier, less messy for the eater, and just as cute in my opinion. We’ll do the butter soon. Next, pick out the one that you want to be your turkey leg, and ice that one in brown.

That’s all for the frosting station! Right now you should have five frosted cupcakes. Three completely white, one brown, and one white with some brown in it. You’ll also need one un-frosted one. I’m assuming that you’re only making one batch of these, even though that may not be the case. Now, we’ll move on to the yellow fondant station, where you’ll need a paper plate, a chunk of fondant (the size of the chunk depends on how many you’re making) and your yellow icing color. This is where you get messy, but it’s fun! Take a few drops of the yellow icing color and mix it into the fondant, kneading it with your hands until it’s all worked in. If you need more, feel free to use it until you get the shade of yellow you’re looking for, but the stuff is so concentrated you probably don’t need as much as you think you do.

Now you start shaping your little pieces! First, we can finish the mashed potatoes. All you need for this one is a thin square a little bit smaller than your gravy. It might be a little sticky, but I think that once the icing color dries a little bit it got easier to work with. Just place the square right on top of the gravy pool, and voila! Mashed potatoes with gravy and butter. I don’t actually put butter or gravy on my mashed potatoes but I’ll admit it looks much tastier in cupcake form.

Let’s do the corn next since it’s also yellow. Start rolling out long yellow pieces about the length of the cupcake.You’ll probably need 6-7 of those, and some need to be longer than others if they’re going across the middle vs. the sides. Now, flatten them out a little, but not completely, and then get a toothpick .Or, if you’re a very resourceful college student like myself, you’ll get a tooth flosser. Gotta do what ya gotta do. Now just make little indentations in the fondant to make it look like individual corn kernels, and lay them on top of one of the cupcakes with white frosting. I’m under the impression that frosting helps the fondant stick, but I could be wrong because the pat of butter for this cupcake sits on top of the fondant. By the way, make another pat of butter and sit it on top of the fondant. If you’re having trouble following, take a look at the picture at the top of this post to help you out.

And don’t worry about your hands! The icing colors wash right off, most of it without even using soap. Once you’re done making the mashed potato cupcakes and the corn cupcakes, you’ll be done with the yellow fondant, so you can go ahead and wash your hands. You’ll want to get that off before you start working with the white fondant again, because just touching it with dye on your hands will color it.

Now, we’re moving on to your green fondant station. Take another chunk of fondant, again the size depends on how many you’re making. The set of icing colors I bought was a set of primary colors, so mix the blue and yellow to make green, and then do the same thing you did to dye the fondant yellow. Wanna see what my hands looked like after this step?

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That’s how you know this was a fun project. I think my hands are permanently tinged green. Once you have the shade of green you’re looking for, start rolling them into what you find to be acceptable green bean shape. Once you have around 8-10 of those, find your toothpick and make lines down the middle of them, like you can see in the picture at the top of the post. Just place them on one of your two remaining white cupcakes however you like, and that completes your side of green beans!

The last thing you have to do with the fondant is for your main dish, the turkey leg. Cut off a decently thick slice of fondant, maybe about a quarter inch. Use your toothpick to draw out the shape of half a bone and then punch it out like you used a cookie cutter. If you have a tiny bone shaped cookie cutter, go you. I just used the toothpick kind of like a saw and did what was necessary to reshape it after it was out. Then, place it in your brown cupcake! I suggest putting it off to the side as opposed to right in the middle. There’s your turkey leg!

Finally, we’ll do the stuffing. I saved it for last not because it’s best, but because it doesn’t require fondant. In fact, it’s probably the worst in my opinion, in terms of looking like what it’s supposed to. Remember that plain, unfrosted cupcake I mentioned way back at the beginning? You need it now. I want you to just crumble it up, all over the top of the last white iced cupcake you have. All it is, is chunks of cake on top of the frosting! To make it look darker, like real stuffing, I took the most well done parts from the bottom of the plain cupcake and put it at the top. I think that people will at least be able to tell what it is in context with the rest of them.

So that was my biggest undertaking so far. It took me about four hours overall, not including travel time for the ingredients. It was less than $15, and I still have plenty of icing color and fondant left over for another project. I actually don’t know if I can save fondant, so that might be a waste but at least I have more dye for next time.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving this week, and I hope that we can all remember the real meaning of this day. Honestly, take a minute to be thankful for what you have. I know everyone says that every year, and even sometimes not at this time of year, but how many times do you really sit down and do it? I know I don’t do it as much as I should. I’m thankful for my amazing, supportive family, my friends from home who still manage to keep in touch even though we’re all over the east coast, my friends at school for making me feel so at home, and I’m thankful that I have a passion and the inspiration to keep it going. After all, that’s what keeps this blog alive! 🙂

So, next Sunday is December 1st, and that could not be more perfect. Obviously, that’s the usual day that I post, but for the month of December, I’ll be posting a new craft or recipe EVERY DAY UNTIL CHRISTMAS. I told you you were gonna be overwhelmed by all the Christmas. You didn’t even know what you were in for. You still don’t even know what you’re in for. You won’t even know which things to try because there’ll be so much. Oh yeah, get ready.

See you in the Christmas season!

Love,

Nicole

PS- Gobble Gobble

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Pumpkin Place Cards!

In reality this craft is in no way a “card,” but I was pretty sure you guys would know what I was talking about if I put it that way. We always have Thanksgiving at my house, and every year my mom and I try to do something cute to tell everyone where to sit. It’s not that they couldn’t figure it out by themselves, but we have fun with it. One year we glued pictures of our guests’ heads onto pictures of turkeys. This year, I found this craft on Pinterest:

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It was inspired by a pin I saw that used this idea, but then when I clicked the link it took me to a blog, and once I finally found the post where she did this, it really only got me a link to where I could buy a kit. I didn’t want a kit. Where’s the fun in that? So I hunted around a little bit, and ended up finding a blog that did something extremely similar, just not pumpkin themed. The girl was doing some simple DIY decor for her apartment. When I pinned it to my “For the Blog” board on Pinterest, I put the link in the description to that final blog where I actually got the instructions.

SO…my available resources were rather sparse this week. I happened to have card stock because I bought a big pack of it a few weeks ago, but (oddly enough…) it wasn’t orange. Luckily, last year on a random trip to Michael’s I came across a simple 6 pack of washable paint, and I knew it would come in handy so I bought that too. Of course, there was no orange so I had to mix red and yellow. For future reference, it takes a whole lot more yellow than red to make a good orange. Clearly I have to go back to third grade art.

Why do you guys read my blog? I have zero clue what I’m doing.

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Anyway, after I finally got an acceptable orange, I literally just painted full sheets of paper. I only did one side, and it worked out just fine. It probably actually worked better that way, because on the unpainted side I used a pencil to mark where I was going to cut, etc. It just basically looked like this:

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I don’t think it has to be perfect. The streaks aren’t a problem at all, and it’s really hard to make sure there are none there anyway. Don’t worry about it. Then, after you let the paint dry, hold the paper horizontally (I believe the technical term when I was growing up was “hamburger” style versus “hot dog”) and cut the paper into strips about 1 inch wide. You should end up with about 11, but to make one pumpkin you only need 4. Cut those strips in half, and you should have 8 little ones.

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Now, take your little strips and punch holes in both sides with a hole punch. Take a piece of string (I used green embroidery floss) and string it through both holes. To secure it, I just taped it down because it was easier than tying a knot big enough to cover the hole. Pull the string tight enough that the paper bends, making this shape in the picture below. I know this step is kind of confusing. I hope the picture helps.

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It looks the same on the bottom as it does on the top, so don’t worry about that. Now just gently pull the strips apart, and you’ll have your round shape! It should look like this:

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And now for the little leaf! It’s the most important because it’s the part that the name actually goes on. I just used a regular piece of paper for this part because I didn’t want to waste my card stock on such a little thing, but I did just wing the shape. I just drew a raindrop shape on a piece of paper, colored it with a LIGHT GREEN sharpie, and then cut it out. I emphasize LIGHT GREEN because the dark green was too dark and I couldn’t see the name at all. But before you put the name on it, punch a hole through the round side, not the pointy side. Then you can write the name on it. Then, with the slack that you have from the string, tie your leaf to your pumpkin. And that’s the final step! If you’d like, you can cut off the excess string. Here’s a picture of my leaf right before I put it on

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Cute, right?! This one actually ended up breaking because there was so little room between the hole and the edge of the paper. I had to make a bigger leaf and hole punch it again with some more space.

So tell me, HOW CUTE IS YOUR PUMPKIN?!

Custom Plate Design

Happy Sunday!

This craft has been on my list for a long time, but it just seemed kind of useless to me. It still is pretty much useless to me, but it was fun to make! It’s a make-your-own plate, using only a sharpie and a cheap dollar store plate. I got mine at Christmas Tree Shops, which is probably more expensive than the dollar store, but hey, it was on my mind. The things I do for my faithful readers.

Anyway, I decided to make it relevant by giving it an Autumn/Thanksgiving theme. Here’s a picture of the final product:

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I thought it came out really adorable, aside from my weird mishap with the N and the K that I’m sure you can see. You see, I completely lack artistic ability. The dots were my idea, and that’s about as creative as I get. Dots. So what I ended up doing was tracing the “be thankful” from a font I found online. My art teacher in middle school showed us a cool technique for tracing that I actually ended up using here. Shout out to Mrs. Slotkin for teaching me something in middle school!

First, you have your template, like mine here. It’s just a simple piece of paper with the words I wanted typed on it. Don’t color it yet though!

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Next, turn it over and trace it like the picture below. Press pretty hard with the pencil! I did it wrong the first time, because I traced it from the front, and then duh, it came out on the plate backwards. Then, I was online looking at ways to type backwards on the computer so I could print it backwards. My parents should probably save the college money for my sister.

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After you trace the back, flip it back over and place it where you want it on your plate. NOW color it the way I did in the first picture. The pressure from coloring this side will press the tracings from the other side from the paper onto the plate. Now, you can trace THAT with your sharpies, and decorate your plate however you want!

You can skip that whole thing if you know how to draw.

Here comes the weird part. There’s always a weird part. The directions said to put it in the oven at 150 degrees for a half an hour, and the design would bake in. First of all, my oven wouldn’t go that low, so I did 170 degrees for 25 minutes. Second of all, when I took it out, I took a wet sponge to one of the dots to see if it worked, and it came right off! So I started looking at other people’s pins of the same project, and THERE’S A TYPO IN MY DIRECTIONS.

It’s supposed to be 350 degrees for 30 minutes. I’ll be trying that again as soon as I post this to see if that works better.

Anyway, four days until Halloween! Who’s pumped for candy and strangers ringing their doorbell? Definitely me. My Halloween was cancelled two years in a row due to those pesky natural disasters. My mom is a kindergarten teacher, and she said her students don’t even remember what Halloween is. Let’s pray that there’s no snowstorm, tornado, hurricane, tsunami, sharknado, etc. this year.

On that note, have a wonderful Halloween, dress like a slut, eat candy til you puke, but just make sure you don’t do anything that keeps you from being back here next Sunday morning for the next post 🙂

Stay wonderful ♥

~Nicole

PS- Here’s the top five pins!

dandelion gorgeous pin house pinquote pinshoes fashion pin tiger cute pin

S’more Bites

Before you say anything, I know I’m a slacker. I ended up getting sick this week, and then of course it was homecoming and I was very tied up with lots of wholesome, school sanctioned events.

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Don’t worry, there will be a bonus post right after this to make up for my absence last Sunday. I know you’re all terribly angry and missed me deeply. Another reason that I’m posting a second thing though, is that this one is going to be pretty short. Seriously, I picked a recipe that was so easy that there isn’t much to say about it.

This week’s recipe was S’more Bites. If you’d like to see the original pin, feel free to visit my board just for this blog! 🙂 It has all of the pins I’ve posted about, and also some ideas for new ones that I might do. If you’re the curious type that liked to try to find their Christmas presents before Christmas, then you might also be the type who might be interested in this link:

http://www.pinterest.com/paranormal627/for-the-blog/

Mostly I’m just desperate for new followers…ANYWAY S’mores Bites. Super cute and super easy. Here’s a picture of all of my ingredients. I made the mistake of buying semisweet chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate, and that was the downfall of these guys. There’s always a downfall when I do something, I think. Also, don’t worry if you don’t have a scruffy, marshmallow-loving dog. You can still do the recipe without one. Actually, you might be better off -____-

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So as you can see, you only really need three ingredients. First, you melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, and then you crush your graham crackers. Side note: have a better method than me. I had this really clever video of me pounding graham crackers in a little plastic baggie with my fists but I would have to post it separately and it’s not worth it. Just use some sort of utensil or meet an unfortunate fate. After you have your melted chocolate and your safely crushed crackers, here’s a pictorial description of what you do. ImageImageImage

And that’s it for me today, guys! Last but not least, I’ll post my top five pins for this week, and be on my way 🙂 Don’t forget to come back in a little while for your bonus post. It’s not autumn-themed, but I think you’ll like it!

Stay Wonderful♥

~Nicole

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Bite Sized Apple Pies

Hello darlings!

I want to start by showing you my five favorite pins from this week. I think I’m going to start doing this with all of my posts, because it might inspire you! 🙂 These aren’t going to follow my pattern of easy things that I can show you how to make (or how NOT to make) but they’re still fun! I’ll do a food one, a clothing/accessory one, a home decor one, a wedding one (my very favorite even though I’m a good five years from acceptable marriage age) and maybe a random, like a cute puppy. Or Channing Tatum. We could all use some Channing Tatum in our lives.

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As we recover from the fainting that I’m sure we all just did, here are my top five pins this week 🙂

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Hotline in Nude by Chinese Laundry $70 pinned from Heels.com

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Glen Oaks pinned from Houzz.com

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Cilantro Lime Shrimp pinned from Lanascooking.com

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Elegant Sweetheart Ball Gown Wedding Dress $299 pinned from weddingdressbee.com

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Pinned from “Best Earth Pics” on Twitter

Those are the pins from this week that made my heart hurt I wanted them so badly. Yes, I even want the elephant. Better get rich quick. And move to Africa.

Anyway, the challenge this week was Bite Sized Apple Pies, as you may have deduced from the title of the post. I thought I would make a fall-themed dessert to celebrate the beginning of October 🙂 Each week this month, I’ll be taking on a Halloween or autumn themed pin. I have them all mapped out already and I’m so pumpedddd!

This week’s apple pie pin took me to this link: http://cookinupnorth.blogspot.com/2011/09/bite-size-apple-pies-from-taste-of-home.html and it’s a cute blog by a lady named Laurie who really REALLY enjoys her home “up north.” Now, care to venture a guess as which end result belongs to me and which belongs to Laurie?

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Honestly, even though they aren’t exactly pretty, they tasted pretty delicious. The most amazing part of the whole thing is that when I brought all of my ingredients down to the kitchen in my dorm building, I neglected to bring the recipe. And the dorm kitchen has the weirdest assortment of useless items that I’ve ever seen. There’s no peeler and no brush thingy to spread stuff, but you better believe there was a whole drawer dedicated to grill utensils. There’s no grill anywhere near my building. So, I had to spread my melted butter like this:

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and peel my apples like this:

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And the counter space that you see here is the only counter space in the whole kitchen. And I thought my room was small.

Anyway, let’s start at the beginning. Here’s the recipe Laurie used, with my edits.

  • ½ c sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • If the grocery store happens to somehow be out of cinnamon, (what?!) just substitute cinnamon sugar. It eliminates a need for sugar, and you don’t have to mix them together so in the end it saves time.  
  • 1 pkg refrigerated pie crust (mine came with two 8-inch round crusts, worked perfectly)
  • 3 tbsp melted butter divided (Don’t know what “divided” means- didn’t bother with it)
  • 2 medium tart apples sliced into 8 wedges each (I got green apples because I heard they’re “tart” but Laurie used red ones)

If you do it my way, you can just unroll the pie crust on a lightly floured surface. What’s that? You didn’t get any flour because that wasn’t in the list of materials? Join the club. It’s okay though, it didn’t make a difference to me. Then, melt your butter and brush it all over the crust. Next, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar all over it, and slice it into 8 slices, about one inch thick. Now, you can set that aside.

BUT DON’T SET IT ASIDE ON THE STOVE BECAUSE THE OVEN SHOULD BE PREHEATING (at 425, by the way) AND THE STOVE WILL BE HOT ENOUGH TO MELT YOUR CRUST! Yeah, it’s a good thing the package came with two pie crusts. I only got to make half the recipe though, which meant that an apple went to waste.

Next, you need to deal with your apples. If you have a handy dandy apple slicer like I have at home, this should be a piece of cake. At school though, it was a little bit harder because I had to use an old dull knife to cut through the core of an apple. Since there was no peeler, I also had to use that same knife to peel the skin off. Laurie said that she kept the skin on because she liked the color, but I was worried it would make the texture a little tougher or something, so I peeled it off. Then, all you have to do is roll each little apple up in the slices of dough you just made, and brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with some more cinnamon sugar. If you’re me though, and you’re brushless, you’ll find a slotted spoon and dip each pastry in a bowl of butter. I actually thought it was pretty clever of me.

Then you just pop them in the oven for 13 minutes! If everything had gone as planned, which it never does of course, this would have been done in under a half hour. Regardless, they were delicious and easy. Look at these cute little guys!IMG_1597

Well, I hope you enjoy your Bite Sized Apple Pies, and I hope you have an absolutely fabulous October! Keep track of how many days are left until Halloween with my nifty countdown in the sidebar 😉

Stay wonderful ♥

~Nicole