Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lauren's Farmer/Cowgirl 3rd Birthday Party

When I first asked Lauren what kind of party she wanted, she told me she wanted a Paw Patrol party. She loves Paw Patrol, so no problem.
But then she changed her mind about 37 times...first it was all about ladybugs...then Frozen, then Snow White, then Princesses in general, Frozen again, Curious George, and then back to Frozen. My "Lauren's 3rd Birthday" board on Pinterest is all over the place!

Lauren and Olivia are city kids but they both love being in the country. They love everything about it - the animals, the freedom, running in the grass and the dirt...oh the dirt!

With this in mind, we helped Lauren out a little bit by booking her party at a farm. She was super excited when we told her, and then announced that she wanted a Frozen Farm party!

In true birthday party fashion, I had several late nights getting everything ready. But the night before was the longest.

My original cake and cupcake plan was to make a barn cake, farm animal cupcakes and cowboy hat cupcakes.
But as all the party work piled up, the cake seemed unnecessary and too time consuming, so I scrapped the barn and decided to just make the cupcakes.

I know I've mentioned in previous posts just how hot our house is. Well that night was no different. We were right in the middle of what seemed like a never ending heatwave, so we had to work with quick with the 50+ cupcakes that all needed to be covered in buttercream.
Around 11 pm, with all of our doors and windows open, we got started. I was going to make the cow, sheep and pig cupcakes and Dave was going to assemble the cowboy hat cupcakes.

These were what the cowboy hat cupcakes were supposed to look like...

NOT my cupcake! the cake, we ended up not making them. Why? Because they were an absolute nightmare!!
First of all, the gumdrops were a weird shape (not at all like the picture), so we had to try and reshape them - not an easy task. Then the licorice we bought kept breaking and wouldn't wrap around the gumdrops. Dave made late night run to the gas station to get some different licorice. We thought we had a winner because it didn't break when we wrapped it around. But, we couldn't get it to stay on. So after several attempts we threw the towel in.

As the time passed by, rather quickly might I add, I started on the sheep cupcakes. In my head they looked awesome, but in real life, without beating around the bush, they looked like crap! It didn't look anything like I wanted it to, and the icing was melting right off the cupcake.
Ok, so no sheep. And I decided not to make the cows. By this point we were so fed up with cupcakes. I swore that I wasn't going to eat any of them.

So now that the animals and hats weren't happening, we threw around a whole bunch of other ideas. We decided on a tractor pull apart cupcake cake. As we pulled all the cupcake liners off and started to place them in the shape of a tractor, we realized that we didn't have a board big enough to hold the tractor.
By this time it was after 1 am...

Long story short, I ended up making pig cupcakes. Just pigs. Lots and lots of pigs.

 I think they look a little a funny - they remind me of pink versions of the Angry Birds pigs, which are actually pretty cute.  But considering all the cupcake chaos that took place and the fact that it was close to 3 am by the time I got to bed, I was happy with them.

For the eyes I used Wilton candy eyes, the ears were watermelon gummy candies cut into triangles, and the noses were rockets with black piping gel nostrils. I ended up placing them in cupcake liners because it seemed wrong to serve them without. I think that was the sleep deprivation talking!

I think we had cupcake nightmares for about a week after! 
But at the end of the day, Lauren loved them! And really, that's all that mattered!

Here are some pictures from her party.

I made barn and tractor goodie bags for the kids that had farm animals, a bandana, play-doh and some treats in them. They also each got a cowboy or cowgirl hat that they wore on the tractor ride around the farm.

We had water and pink lemonade (not shown) to drink at the watering hole.

To snack on, taters (chips) and hay (veggie straws)

The pitchforks (forks), shovels (spoons), troughs (plates) and bandanas (napkins).

We didn't get pictures of all the food, but for lunch we served slop (pizza), and we also had farm fresh produce (veggies and dip and watermelon). And of course the sweet livestock (cupcakes).

Around the farm.


Someone looks guilty...

Lauren LOVED this goat!

And this calf!

Best buddies!

 For part one of Lauren's Birthday click here.

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Lauren's 3rd Birthday: Cookie Monster Cake

On July 3rd, our lil' gal turned 3. I'm not sure how that happened, because I'm pretty sure we just brought her home from the hospital!

The birthday girl...still wearing
her hat from her farmer/cowgirl party!

If you've read any of these posts, you might remember that for Olivia's birthday I made her a cake for her actual birthday and one cake and some cupcakes for her party.
So of course to keep it fair, I had to do the same for Lauren!

This year Lauren totally understood the whole birthday thing and was super excited about it.
When I asked her what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday, she had quite the idea.
This is how our conversation went down:
Me: Lauren, what kind of cake do you want for your birthday?
Lauren: A Cookie Monster cake...with Elmo inside.
Me: You want a Cookie Monster cake with Elmo inside???
Lauren: No...I want a Cookie Monster cake with Elmo cupcakes inside.

Well, she got the Cookie Monster cake, but there were no Elmo cupcakes inside...Sorry kid!

 I've never made a character cake, so I went to straight to the best source of help...Pinterest!
I got some ideas, decided on what tip to use*, grabbed my supplies and got started.

During the weeks leading up to Lauren's birthday we were going through a major heatwave, which didn't help the temperature in our house - no matter the season, our house is ridiculously hot. I had to work pretty fast, but as quickly as I could make those blue fur stars, they melted!

The cake was a 6 inch chocolate cake and I tinted my usual buttercream royal blue. For his mouth I used a whole lot of black piping gel (which we didn't eat) and his eyes were made from giant marshmallows** and piping gel pupils.

Look at those sneaky little
Olivia fingers creeping up!

Other than his mouth, which I had no idea how to do, I was super happy with this cake!
And even though there were no Elmo cupcakes inside, Lauren loved it all the same.

Check back next week for a post all about Lauren's Farm/Cowgirl 3rd Birthday Party!

*While researching how to make this cake, I saw some tutorials done with the grass or multi-opening tip and some with a star tip. I ended up using a number 16 star tip.

**This may be something that everyone knows, but putting icing sugar on the marshmallow slices makes them way easier to work with! It took me longer to figure that out than I'd like to admit!

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Orange Oatmeal Muffins

You've probably noticed, that most of my recipes include the words fast, simple and easy. With an almost 18 month old and a 3 year old, life is crazy busy and unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time to mess around with complex recipes.

These orange oatmeal muffins have been a staple of mine for quite some time. Making these muffins is as quick and easy as it comes. With only 6 ingredients, one of them being a buttermilk biscuit mix, they mix up in no time.

When Lauren was a baby I made these all the time. I'd double the recipe and freeze them. I found it super helpful to have a supply of things like muffins on hand for those 1 am, 2 am, 3 am, 4 am (you get the idea...) feedings.

These muffins are a little on the heavier, drier side, quite similar to a scone actually...which isn't a bad thing.
The orange flavor is quite subtle, but for a stronger flavor try adding more zest or juice. I may be wrong, but I would think that adding more juice, may also make them a little more moist.

I actually found two versions of this recipe. One of them calls for 2 tablespoons each of orange and apricot juice. The other version is two tablespoons of orange juice, which is the one I used this time.
Either way, we're not juice drinkers here and never have it on hand, so what I do is use the juice from the orange that I've zested (zested is a word right?!) That way, I'm not wasting any fruit and what's better than freshly squeezed orange juice?

My juicer! I love this thing. I use it all the time!

Oranges, oatmeal, and a sweet dusting of sugar on the top makes for a pretty tasty snack!

Orange Oatmeal Muffins:
(Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers)

1 1/2 cups buttermilk baking mix - I used Bisquick
3/4 cups uncooked old fashioned oats
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup Splenda or sugar
1 large egg, beaten
4 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 1/4 tsp sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tin with 10 - 12* muffin liners.

Combine all ingredients (except 1 1/4 teaspoons of sugar), in a large bowl; stir until moistened.

Spoon 1/4 cup of batter into each prepared muffin cup.

Sprinkle each with 1/8 teaspoon of sugar.

Bake until golden, about 12 - 15 minutes.

*I usually make them on the smaller side, so I typically get 12 muffins.


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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Another Lazy Sunday

Well, another week has come and gone and today's post for Oatmeal Orange Muffins is sitting there waiting to be half edited, and maybe about 1/4 of the words written.
But I have a good reason why it's not done - my "baby" turned 3 on Friday!!

Everything I do for Mommy, Can I Lick the Spoon?, other than baking, is done between 10pm and 1:30am. That's pretty much the only time that our house is quiet (the girls are usually sleeping) and I can focus on it.
Three times a week I'm up at 5am to run, so the nights before my run, I don't stay up.
The time I have to work on here is limited!

This week was different.
As I mentioned above, Lauren turned 3 on Friday and her party was yesterday, so all my late nights were spent doing party things. And thanks to an injury, I had to take the week off from running, which I guess was a good thing (?!), because it gave me extra time to not sleep...and stay up way too late planning a farm party.

Party at the farm!

It was a great day, and I think a 3rd birthday party is a pretty good reason to not finish a post about muffins...don't' you?
And to be honest, I was too lazy to do it this morning!

So...over the next few weeks, I'll be posting about her farm birthday party, the cake she requested for her actual birthday and those orange oatmeal muffins.