Tuesday, March 27, 2012

{ April Fool's Fun }

The post I'm about to link you to is disgusting.

If you are a queasy weasy, I recommend not clicking.

If you are dark and twisty, go on.... be like me. You know you wanna click it.



This is my variation of the Kitty Litter Cake, which is so, so, SO perfect for April Fool's Day.

I made it for my nieces last year. The oldest refused to eat it.

The younger ate it, along with her boyfriend who I was meeting for the very first time.

First impressions are fun!

The Bean ate it, but closed his eyes when it came to the kitty 'treat'.

Haha.. I love it.

Too.much.fun.

Try it. Go on now, tryyyyyyyyyyy it.

CLICK HERE, c'mon CLICK!

You know you wanna!

Your family may never be the same.

Oh, and the boyfriend? He's still around. Good news, eh? 
I guess her family didn't scare him.

How odd!

Tina 

                                                                      

Saturday, March 24, 2012

{ Peach Banana Smoothie }






The Bean loves smoothies, as I mentioned in this post.

I was buying them at restaurants and coffee shops until I realized how EASY they were to make.

I make them for him nearly every day. I know he's getting all his fruits that way.

Hand him a bowl of fruit, you'll come back to a full bowl of fruit.

Hand him a smoothie, you'll come back to a, HEY MOM, IS THERE ANYMORE? shout.

The original recipe I posted it good for a host of fruits. 

The norm that I make for him is Strawberry Banana or Strawberry Banana Blueberry.

I've also thrown in grapes.

For this one, I went way outside his normal box and made it with peaches & honey.

It made for a tasty change.

Here's what you need:

Peach Banana Smoothie 
Recipe by Tina @Sugar Bean Bakers

1 peach (or nectarine)- peeled, pit removed & sliced
1 banana (also peeled ;) 
1/3 cup  yogurt*
1/3 cup of milk**
1 Tablespoon honey
splash of vanilla
4 ice cubes
(mine are the 1/2 moon size from my ice maker)

In a blender/processor that can chop ice:

blend until you stop hearing the ice clink around. Usually about 1-2 minutes.

Taste, you can add more honey if you need.

 *for this recipe you can use plain yogurt, peach, vanilla, or honey
also note if you use Greek Yogurt, you may need a little more milk as it is thicker.
I prefer Greek yogurt. I love Greek Gods Yogurt.


**use any milk you like, Fat Free, Skim, 2%, Whole, soy, etc.
I actually used Almond Milk for the one in the photo.


You can adjust the ratio of milk/yogurt for the consistency you like, this is how
the Bean prefers his. It's not too thick, not too thin.


This makes one large smoothie or 2 small smoothies.

The Bean drinks it all.

ALL.


Tina

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

{ Cookies for Katniss }





So, imma nerd.

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you'll realize this.

I'm totally about to geek out over the upcoming Hunger Games movie.

photo from The Hunger Games Wiki 

I held off on reading the books for so long because of the subject matter. Kids killing kids?
Yeah, not my cuppa.

But it was.

It is totally disturbing, but it's also awesome.

And that trailer? Amazing on a plate? YES.

Katniss is from District 12, the poorest of the 12 Districts. 

Katniss photo from The Hunger Games Wiki 


She's from The Seam, which is like the poor area of the poor.

She hunts for most of their food, but still the pickins' are slim.

After the Reaping, Katniss has visitors come and see her before she is shipped off to The Capitol.
One of the visitors is Mr. Mellark. Mr. Mellark owns a bakery in the town square. His son, Peeta,
Peeta photo from The Hunger Games Wiki 
is the other Tribute from District 12. Mr. Mellark comes in & wishes Katniss luck, says he'll keep an eye on her little sister, Prim, and hands her a white package full of cookies.

Katniss has never eaten cookies in her life. She's taken aback by the gesture, but, in true Katniss fashion, throws the cookies out the train window.

Knowing what she was about to go through, she was wary of a kind Peeta. Well, she's wary of everyone. And wouldn't you be too if everyone's goal was to kill you? Yeah.

While Peeta didn't grow up really wanting for much, he didn't have the best childhood. His mother, was anything but kind, and he worked hard in the bakery every day. However, he was considered upper class in the District.

While only the upper class of District 12 would be able to purchase cookies at all, I still imagine that they would be made of basic ingredients. The "rich" of District 12 are anything but rich. No fancy schmancy expensive chocolates or high shelf ingredients.  I didn't want this to be a truly oatmeal cookie though either. I imagine that the wheat flour (which you may easily substitute for all white flour if you wish) and the oats are inexpensive fillers, since white flour costs more. 

Whole wheat flour, oats, white flour, eggs, vanilla, soda, sugars, salt, and butter.

That's it.

Nutty, buttery, and oaty.

Still yummy, but rustic.

This is what I imagine Mr. Mellark gave Katniss.

Cookies for Katniss
by Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers

1 stick butter (1/2 cup), melted
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1 cup white flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

Beat the sugars into the melted butter, add in the eggs, salt, soda, and vanilla. When well blended, pour in the flour & oats a little at a time.

I used my large Pampered Chef cookie scoop, this makes about 3 inch cookies. I got 18 from this recipe.

I recommend using parchment, but otherwise, grease your cookie sheets.

Bake for about 13 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. 

Allow to cool a few minutes, then move to a cooling rack.


I almost didn't post this, because I've seen a couple other bloggers post Mr. Mellark's cookies,
but I'd put so much thought into what they should be (in my imagination), that I went ahead and
made these up.

I made my own Mellark Bakery bag as well. 




Should you like to use it, I've linked it here.




Right click>Save as 
for the full resolution file.
The file is only 203KB

Fold in on the dotted lines, then fold them in once more, fold in half, and you'll have a bag.
Tape the sides with scotch tape.

I started to use staples, then wondered if they'd have staples in District 12.
Then I wondered if they'd have scotch tape in District 12.
Well, that's just silliness. How could you go with out scotch tape, apocalypse or not.




I cannot wait for this movie on Friday!

And very looking forward to the production of Catching Fire & Mockingjay.

Wanna read the books? Check them out here:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins



And may the odds be ever in your favor.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

{ Luck O the Irish Pop }



I really wanted to call this Erin Go Braughopcorn, but was afraid I was the only one who would find the humor in that.

Get it? 

No?

That's exactly why I changed the name.

This is another super quicky for St. Patrick's Day.

Just takes a few minutes (plus drying time) and a few ingredients.


You'll need:

2 bags of popcorn 
(a variety that is light on butter)
6 squares of Almond Bark
2 Mint Cookies (Mint Oreos/Grasshoppers/Thin Mints, etc), finely crushed
Andes Mints (I used 6 you can use more), chopped
Assorted Green Sprinkles
Oil


Pop the popcorn. 


I used 1 bag of Pop Secret's Homestyle & 1 bag of 94% fat free (affectionately known in this house as "cardboard corn"). The Homestyle has just a little butter flavor and a little salt, so it gives this mix a buttery/sweet/salty combo.

You can use whatever popcorn you choose, but the heavy butter/movie theater style is not recommended.

Melt your Almond Bark, 30 seconds at a time, in the microwave. Mine took about 1 1/2 minutes to fully melt. Add about 1 Tablespoon of oil and stir until very well blended.

Pour/Spoon over the popcorn. Stir to mix well. 



Sprinkle on the Andes, the cookie crumbs (I used Mint Oreos), and the sprinkles.

You can also use more cookie crumbs than I did, if you wish.

And allow to dry before storing or bagging for gift giving.

You could also throw in chocolate chips, mint chocolate chips, green M&Ms, other small candies.

I didn't have nearly the amount of sprinkles I would have liked, but, it still tastes good!

*note to self, buy green sprinkles

 I hope you enjoy this recipe, which, in my heart will always be Erin Go Braughopcorn.

Have a lucky day!

Tina

Friday, March 16, 2012

{ Leprechaun Cakes }

These leprechaun cakes will be a purfect advencha fer yew and yur wee ones to make on St. Paddy's Day!


Ok, I can't type in an Irish accent.

It's not easy, man. You try. Seriously.
Go on now...

This is just another quicky recipe that would be big fun to make while wearin' the green tomorrow.

Like the Mint Oreo Brownie Truffles, these went in to school today for a bake sale.

Someday I will make something that actually stays in this house.

Maybe.

Easy to make- you use the same idea as the Rainbow Cake
(which would also be awesome-as a cake or as cupcakes- to celebrate St. Patrick's! Top with "Gold" (yellow) icing for the gold at the end of the rainbow).

Just whip up a white cake, then divide it out into how many shades of green you want (I only did two), leaving white as well.

Then layer into your cupcake liners, as shown in the Rainbow Cake post.

Bake according to the box, and top with some yummy green tinted buttercream icing. You can find that recipe here.



Then, take a bite... the fun is inside!



Each one is a little different, but they are all pretty!



An easy activity or a special treat for St. Pat's!

And if you are eating these, pinching is totally illegal.

Seriously.

Tina

Thursday, March 15, 2012

{ Mint Oreo Brownie Truffles }


Remember how I said the Pie Pops were for school?

Well, guess where these little gems are headed?

Yeah... the same place. Only not math class this time.

A bake sale for the Drama Club.

The Bean? Yes, yes, he's a complete and total Drama Llama.

He loves to act. He acts at school, at church, he does summer productions in a local college's kid's theater, and he goes to their drama camp as well.

Where did he get this passion for drama?

Me? dramatic??????????? NEVAH! 

*faints away like Scarlett O'Hara*

More likely even, it's that only child LOOK AT ME! syndrome.

Yeah.

But, yes, the Drama Club at school is having a bake sale.

Which much like the message I got the other day means: MOM.SCHOOL.BAKE.NEED.

I'm a lucky girl!

Since Saturday is St. Patrick's, I decided to go with the chocolate mint theme.

The Chocolate Mint Cupcakes I posted a couple weeks ago are now officially the most popular post on my site. 

Ever.

Seems like a winning combo then, eh?

Mint Oreo Truffles
recipe by Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers

For these, you'll need:

Brownie Mix for a 13x9 pan

(and ingredients to make them according to box)

Cool Mint Oreos

Dipping Chocolate

Andes Mints

Mix brownies according to box, then pulverize one row of Cool Mint Oreos.

I used my Ninja. You can use a food processor, blender, or manual labor, if you so choose.

Then stir into your mixed brownie batter


Mix well, then pour into prepared pan

My box said to bake 28-32 minutes. Bake these about 25 minutes.

I always under bake mine. It makes them gooey and fudgey and amazing.

For this recipe, it makes them easier to roll.

(and gooey and fudgey and amazing) 

When cooled, cut off the hard edges. We are only using the (gooey, fudgey, amazing) center.

I'm sure if you throw the edges at some children, they will eat them up. 
Waste not, want not and all.

I use a small Pampered Chef scoop, which is probably a teaspoon/teaspoon and a half. 
However, you can make these bigger or smaller, up to you.

Then roll until smooth...ish.

 This is a good time to get kids involved. The Bean normally loves to roll cake balls, buckeyes, etc, but he is currently nursing a bad knee, so I didn't make him stand and help me.

Melt up some chocolate. I used 6 blocks of Chocolate Almond Bark for these, plus 12 Andes Mints.

I've already sung praises of my Wilton Pot, but... in case you missed that post, read it here.

(Spoiler: I LOVE IT)

Yes, we've already established that I am messy, I know.

I added about a Tablespoon of vegetable oil to my chocolate. When melted smooth, you can start to dip.


use a fork, as I suggested here, to remove the truffles, it allows the chocolate to fall through the tines. Tap, tap, tap off the excess as you remove.

I squished up 2 extra Oreos and sprinkled them, along with green sugar crystals on top when finished. Dip a few at a time, then sprinkle or the chocolate will harden and your toppings won't stick. 

And that would be sad. 

So sad.



These are super sweet with a cool, minty after bite.

Wee Leprechauns, they love 'em, and regular sized people do too!

Tina






Tuesday, March 13, 2012

{ Pie Pops }


Tomorrow?

Major holiday.

Do you all have your plans in order?

SUCH AN EXCITING DAY!!!!!!!!!

OH EM GEE!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, it's finally that time of year. 3.14 day!

It's Pi day!

WOO! I'll let the excitement wash over you for a second.

I'll wait here.

*cue Jeopardy music*

.
.
.

Did you know if you flipped 314 it kinda looks like PIE? (CAN'T TYPE BACKWARDS!)

Write it down. I just blew your mind, didn't I? Yeah. That happened.

Ok, now that we've gotten that out of the way, here's the skinny.

Can a day associated with pie be correctly termed skinny?

Probabbbbbbbbbbbbbly not.

However, the Bean came home telling me that if he took pie into math class tomorrow he'd get extra credit.

*read: MOM.PIE.MAKE.SCHOOL.

Even thought the boy carries an A in the class at the current moment, I've said "When extra is offered no matter when, no matter where, TAKE IT".

Look where that got me.

*Dramatic Sigh*

He did help. For like 5 minutes. And then I got annoyed. And sent him to play in traffic.

Or to play with video games.

Something like that.

Bakerella made the most adorable wee baby pies on a steeeek.

I'm sorry, I can't say on a stick without thinking of Jose Jalapeno and Jeff Dunham.

Actually, I can't SAY on a stick. It comes out on a steeeek. Every. Time.

I can't help it.

Wait. Pie? Yes. Pie.

These little pies by Bakerella are so stinkin adorable, I had to try them.

I didn't take step by step photos because Bakerella already has gorgeous pics on her site.

I made Apple Pies on a Steeek.

I'm sorry. Really, I am.

I finished mine up with a sprinkle of cinnamon & sugar.

They are cute,  tasty lil morsels.

Is good.

Happy Pi Day to all, party hardy, my friends for this day comes but once a year.

And it's not like you can eat pie ANY OTHER DAY of the year!

Wait.. you can?

*faints*



Oh, the calendar? Yes, it's totally Angry Birds.

Tina

I’m partying at the Pi Day Pie Party at Crazy for Crust today. Come party with us!


Shared at:
Oopsey Daisy

Monday, March 5, 2012

{ Reese's Cupcakes }


I'm a youth leader at church.

Please tell me that you aren't shocked. If you are shocked, I'm probably doing something wrong here ;)

I work with the teenagers, who I adore! I know so many people complain about today's teens, but those bad ones? They are the exception, not the rule. Teenagers are generally quite awesome.

This has been my experience both with my kids at church & the groups I've worked with at the Bean's High School.

And they like me, so there's a bonus!

Anyway, one of our lovely ladies turned 18 yesterday!  I let her decide what type of cupcake I would bring to Youth Group last night.

I'd given her some ideas and she was intrigued by mention of Peanut Butter Buttercream.

So, chocolate with PB Buttercream it was.

I've mentioned this before, and you've probably noticed, but I can never leave well enough alone.

At the grocery yesterday, I thought, what if I top them with the teeny tiny mini Reese Cups.

Which led me to, what if I plop a miniature into the batter?

So, I did both.

This was never intended as a blog post since I'd just made the Buckeye Cupcakes, but they were so good, I had to share!

I'm not a huge sweets eater, I think I've said that before too. I like to bake for people I love & I like seeing how happy it makes them, but this cupcake? Yeah, I could totes eat more than one.

Oh, and Snickerdoodles are another exception.

But that's a different story.

Mmmmm... Snickerdoodles.

Since I wasn't going to post this, there is no step by step, <insert sad face>, but it's super simple.

Put your cupcakes in the oven as usual, but after baking 5 mins, pull them out and pop a Reeses Miniature (the gold foil wrapped size, you know, with the foil and paper removed!) into each one. Then continue baking as usual. This way, the Reese's Cup will still sink to the bottom, but it will not harden.

Once cooled, ice with Peanut Butter Buttercream & then pop a Reeses Mini (the tiny size that comes in the bags at the checkout line) on top if desired. You can also sprinkle with chocolate jimmies or add other finishing touches.

Here's what you get:


It's hard to see, but it's in there!

A little shout out to my newly minted 18 year old youth grouper:

Happy Birthday, Tiff! I love you! :)

I'm going to miss her so much when she goes off to college. *tear*

Maybe I should eat another cupcake. You know... for comfort.

Friday, March 2, 2012

{ Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! }

Today you are You,
that is truer than true.
There is no one alive
who is Youer than You.

-Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka, Dr. Seuss

It's an exciting week of birthdays for me.

Yesterday, Ron Weasley, today, Dr. Seuss.

At least Dr. Seuss was a real person, so I'm making progress.

There's probably lots you didn't know about him, so you can read up here.

Like, did you know a lot of his books are filled with imagery from Springfield, Mass, where he grew up?
Did you know he attended Dartmouth College, was editor in chief of the Dartmouth magazine, The Jack O Lantern, until he and his friends got caught drinking (it was prohibition and against school rules). He kept working on the magazine, but under a different name. Can you guess what? Yes! Seuss- his middle name (and his mother's maiden name). 

I didn't know any of that either. Until I visited the link above.

Also, the honors he has been given over the years include two Academy awards, two Emmy awards, a Peabody award and the Pulitzer Prize.

Whoa.

He passed away in 1991, but his legacy will live on, in vivid color.

Being Dr. Seuss, you can not do dull. You must do BRIGHT and HAPPY.

And so I did.

These cupcakes are made with a white cake mix. You could do yellow, but your colors might be off a bit.
I recommend white.

Mix up as many colors as you like:


If you want SUPER BRIGHT colors, you can use gel coloring. I used regular in these.

Then spoon into your pans. I used a baby spoon to make sure I had enough of each color for every cupcake. If you have leftover, you can always go back and add more. Way easier to add to the cupcake papers rather than remove.

Ask me how I know.

Yes I'm messy.
Yes my pan is stained.
It's how I roll.

After baking, you'll have this!
Pretty tie dye!

I've done these cupcakes for several different occasions, using as many as 7 colors and as few as 3. 
Here I used 5. I think it's a  nice number.

Then I just whipped up some buttercream that I colored orange, in honor of The Lorax, and topped with lots of different colors of sanding sugar.



Done-ya!

Wanna see the inside? 'kay.


Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss
Can I call you Ted?
I hope cupcakes make you smile
Or did you want ice cream instead?
I really hope you don't
I haven't any here
I'm afraid that cupcakes
are all you are getting this year.

Impressive, right? I just made that up, right here on the spot.

*bows*

My wording skills are endless.

or not.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

{ Cocoa for Ron and You! }


Pin It


I've often professed how much I love Harry Potter.


Love is an understatement. I'm slightly obsessed. Ok, not slightly.

I've made something for both Hermione & Snape's birthdays.


There's been chocolate frogs, and tons of other Honeyduke's treats.

The Bean's 8th birthday was a huge Potter celebration that included House Sorting, Wand Choosing, Potions, Charms, House Cup and more!

Many of things will be repeated this July when I host a birthday party for Harry himself.

He'll be 32 this year. Thought you needed to know.

So today, March 1, is Ron's birthday (he's 32 today as well).
Happy Birthday Ronald Bilius Weasley!

Now Ron, he loves food.

Period. 

All food. Tons of food. Food. Food. Food.

I heard Hermione was making him a cake, so I decided just to make him some cocoa.

Cocoa is mentioned several times in the Potter series.

The Harry Potter Lexicon has listed these times:



Dumbledore came down in the middle of the night for some cocoa, but found the Petrified Colin Creevey instead (Chambers of Secrets10)

when Ginny Weasley was sent to the hospital wing after her ordeal in the Chamber of Secrets 
Dumbledore suggested that she be given a cup of hot chocolate (Chamber of Secrets Chapter 18


Homemade Cocoa
 this is for one LARGE cup or 2 small ones

1 1/2 cups of whole milk*
1 Heaping Tablespoon Unsweeted Cocoa Powder
1/2 Tablespoon chocolate chips (semi sweet)
2 Tablespoons White Sugar**
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

Whipped Cream

*To make richer and creamier, you can sub in some half and half or heavy cream for a bit of the milk.
**note, this is very sweet, you may want to start with 1 Tablespoon of sugar, then add more as you like


In a heavy saucepan, whisk milk over medium heat. Whisk vigorously to make frothy.


Add in all of the other ingredients, except whipped cream, and whisk until smooth. Heat until very hot, but do not bring to a boil.

Pour into mug & top with mounds of whipped cream, chocolate chips, caramel syrup, marshmallows, or whatever you wish.

Oh and leave some for Ron.

This should get his sweet fix in for a while.

If you are feelin' spicy, throw in a dash of cinnamon.

Ron approves.



Tina
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