Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Funny Halloween Story...

On Thursday at school, my 1st graders were lined up in the hallway near the gym, waiting to walk back to the classroom from music. One of the 4th grade classes was waiting to go into the gym for their class. Around Halloween, our PE teacher does some activities with the human body - learning about bones, skeletons, etc... So things are a little bit fun and different. Inside the gym was completely dark, with some spooky noises coming from inside.

All of the sudden, the door nearest to where my class was standing opened and out scurried a black, furry mouse. (Not real, of course, but the kids didn't know.) The 1st graders SCREAMED at the top of their lungs! I didn't even know what was happening until they screamed, but it was hilarious! After all of the screaming, the PE teacher realized that it was not just 4th graders sitting in the hallway, and came out to apologize. I think most of my kids really were pretty scared, although one of the boys informed me that he wasn't scared, he just screamed because everyone else did!

The story continued when, on the way back from lunch, the PE teacher followed me to my classroom. She went inside and started to get something out of a bag. I went in to see, and she pulled this out of her bag...

It's a brownie that looks almost exactly like the mouse that came out to scare us! So funny and so yummy! Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh...the white stuff

Does anyone else remember that Weird Al song based on the New Kids on the Block song? Sometimes when I think about Oreos, that song just randomly pops into my head! Ok, maybe that's just me. In case you haven't guessed, this one is all about Oreos, specifically, Oreo balls (the cousin of cake balls).

When I got this recipe from a friend at work (thanks, Jessica!), she warned me to be careful, because people invite her to parties just so she can make these Oreo balls. I think she might have been right!

Here's the basic recipe...
  • Crush up some Oreos and a block of cream cheese in the food processor.
  • Roll them into little balls and put the balls in the freezer for about 1/2 an hour.
  • Dip them in white chocolate (I used vanilla almond bark).
  • Optional: Roll in sprinkles.
Here's how mine turned out...

 I don't have a food processor, so I decided to use the smoothie maker. FYI, this was not a good idea. The cookies all got stuck in the bottom, so I had to do them a little bit at a time, then transfer them to a mixing bowl and mix in the cream cheese with the hand mixer.
After rolling out about 1/2 of the mixture, I decided to add peanut butter to the rest of it (Did anyone else get the idea of eating Oreo's and peanut butter together from watching the new version of The Parent Trap?)

To keep the plain and peanut butter ones separate, I did orange sprinkles on the ones with peanut butter and left the other ones plain.
I know these ones are not the most beautiful (I am working on finding a better way to dip them) but look at the ones with sprinkles...

Now I don't mean to brag, but doesn't this picture look like it belongs in a magazine?!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The One With Funny Foods

I guess in Texas, they even show their state pride in the waffles...
(Yep, that was really a waffle I ate in San Antonio)

And here is what happens when you leave oddly misshapen cupcakes sitting around the house for too long...
(Yep, that really is a cupcake)

I thought these were funny...hope you do, too! 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The One With All The Cake Balls!

Wow! This week was full of cakeballs. You might be thinking, What is a cakeball? Well, they are just what they sound like - a little ball of cake and frosting mixed together and then covered with chocolate.
There are 3 basic steps:

1. Bake a cake, crumble it up, and mix it with frosting. Any flavor of cake or frosting will work - chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, the possibilities are endless! If you really want to get crazy, throw in some peanut butter or cookie dough!

2. Roll the mixture into little balls and put them in the freezer for a while. (The freezing makes it easier to dip them in chocolate later). Here is what your hands will look like when you are finished...

And here is what the cakeballs should look like...

3. Once the cakeballs are frozen (about 1/2 hour), melt some almond bark or other melting chocolate and dip the cakeballs in. They can be rolled in sprinkles afterwards or just left plain. You can also put them on a stick to make cakepops. Here are my attempts.

This week I had 3 "orders" for cakeballs. All different, all delicious...

1st - Cookie Dough and Sugar Sprinkles. These don't actually have cake in them, just cookie dough (as requested by Danny for his birthday).

2nd - Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Frosting. Not the prettiest looking things, but still very tasty...

3rd - Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Sprinkles. These ones turned out the best looking, I think...

What other ideas do you have for interesting cake/frosting combinations?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Aunt Sal (Part 2)

I have had this pumpkin butter sitting in my pantry for kind of a long time. 
Many times, I have thought Hmmm....what can I make with this? But since I have never really had pumpkin butter, I had no great ideas. (The recipe idea on the jar said to make pumpkin soup, but that doesn't really sound like my idea of a good soup).

I have also been wanting to use my fair trade baking cocoa (bought from the fabulous Greenheart shop):

As I was wondering what kind of real birthday cupcakes to make for Aunt Sal (as opposed to the "fake" ones for the kids at school), suddenly a fantastic combination idea popped into my head - chocolate cupcakes with pumpkin butter filling and cream cheese frosting. (Wow, I felt like a real baker - being inspired by ingredients and just making up recipes on the spot!)

Since I am not a real baker, however, I did have to look up some recipes. I found this one for chocolate cupcakes. And while I was searching for cupcake recipes, I found a really good spiced cream cheese frosting recipe. It was so good, I think you will all want to make it, so instead of just the link, here's the actual recipe (from

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened

  • 1/4 C. unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 C. powdered sugar

  • 1/4. t. vanilla extract

  • 1/8 t. ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 t. fresh ground nutmeg

  • Basically all you do is mix all of the ingredients together. Yum! (I did not save the leftovers of this to eat like fudge later, but I may or may not have squirted some of it directly into my mouth from the frosting gun (after frosting the cupcakes of course!)

    Instead of using my normal weird orange coring thing to scoop out the middle, then fill the cupcakes, I decided to try something new. The frosting gun has a skinny, pointy tip, like this...

    So I put the pumpkin butter in the gun, then poked it into the cupcake and smooshed some out. It was kind of tricky because I couldn't see how much went into the middle of each cupcake, but when the top of the cake started to bubble and break open, I figured there was enough inside!

    Then I frosted them, which by the way, if you are frosting cupcakes, I found out it is a BAD idea to leave them in the tins, because afterwards, you will have to take them out and you might mess up the frosting. Just a little tip for you!  Next I put a candy corn on the ones with pumpkin butter inside. Some I left unfilled, just in case they didn't turn out quite as tasty as I thought they would be!   

    We took them to Cracker Barrel to celebrate Aunt Sal's birthday, and I think they were a success! Here is the birthday girl, enjoying her cupcake...

    Happy Birthday!

    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    Happy Birthday Aunt Sal

    Every year, my mom bakes cupcakes for me and my aunt on our birthdays (except for last year, when she FORGOT my birthday) and brings them to school to share with the kids and other teachers and whoever else we want. This year for Aunt Sal's birthday, she got me to help her with the cupcakes. I have to admit, we did use a boxed cake mix (but it had boxtops, so at least I felt good about it) but we made the frosting, so that counts for something.

    I had some leftovers of the fancy cupcake papers that didn't work the last time, so I decided I would try again. I filled them up pretty full, since they were so short last time. Remember, they looked like this...
    So this time, we put them in a baking dish instead of just on the baking sheet. I thought maybe that would help.

    But instead of being short and pulling away from the edges, they got super huge and overflowed, like this...
    I guess after 2 failures, it's time to throw away the fancy papers, and NEVER buy them again!
    Luckily we only did a few in the fancy papers, and the rest turned out great!