Spooky and Not-So Spooky Findings

In the spirit of Halloween, below are some free printables, crafty ideas and yummy food that I have found while perusing the web via pinterest.

Click on the image to see more.

Using Cookie Cutters to Carve Pumpkins
Soda Bottle Monsters
Free Printable Treat Tags
Pumpkin Pie Bites
Monster Pudding Cups
Gory Brain Cap Costume Idea

Star Wars Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: A Recipe

This past weekend, I made Miss M her Star Wars cupcakes as she requested for her 7th birthday.  The cupcakes themselves were from a box.  Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake Mix, to be precise.  So that was easy enough.

Then came the frosting.  I have never made it by hand before.  I knew I wanted chocolate but it also had to require items that I already had on hand.  Oh, yeah, it also had to be super easy.  I did a search on my beloved pinterest and found it.  The one.  The best chocolate buttercream frosting that I have ever tasted.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe
as adapted from Savory Sweet Life
The Good Stuff:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks!) unsalted butter (softened but not melted)
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream (or whole milk)

Where the Magic Happens:
  1. Cream butter for a few minutes in mixer using paddle attachment on medium speed.  Turn off mixer.
  2. Sift all of the confectioners sugar and cocoa powder into the mixing bowl.  (I sifted before I measured).
  3. Turn mixer to lowest speed and add sugar and cocoa powder and mix until both are fully absorbed by the butter.
  4. Increase mixer to medium speed and add vanilla extract and cream/milk and beat for 3 minutes or so.
  5. Does it look alright?  If so, you have made frosting!  If it needs to be thinned out, add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time.  If the frosting needs to be more stiff, add a little more sugar.
Star Wars Stencils
Miss M really wanted something to do with Star Wars on her cupcakes.  Again, on pinterest, I searched “Star Wars cupcakes” and came up with this product that Williams Sonoma makes.
For about ten bucks, you get four stencils of Darth Vader, Yoda, Storm Trooper and the Logo itself.  The stencils are quite easy to use.  You simply place them on top of the cupcake and sift some powdered sugar, cinnamon, etc over the stencil.
Here are some helpful tips:
  • make sure you refrigerate your frosted cupcakes overnight or a suitable length of time so that the frosting will not automatically absorb your design.
  • if you are traveling with your cupcakes, do the decorating once you get to your destination.  This is what we did and it took a whole five minutes for us to decorate about 24 cupcakes.  Quick and Easy.

Overall, I was quite pleased on how the cupcakes turned out this year.  We had some leftovers but they have since been eaten up.  If that isn’t a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip Recipe: a crowd pleaser!

Made this recipe this weekend for my niece’s Confirmation Party and it was a hit!  If you love sweets, you will love it too.  Even though it is called cookie dough, it reminded me more of a thick frosting…of deliciousness.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip
adapted from Jewel Bakes
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, slightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
The Nitty Gritty:
  1. Medium saucepan melt the butter and brown sugar together.  Whisk together over medium-high heat until sugar is completely dissolved, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla.  Set aside pan and let completely cool.
  2. While you are waiting for the pan to cool, cream together the cream cheese and confectioners sugar for a couple minutes.  Slowly pour in the cooled butter/sugar mixture.  Beat on medium-high until mixture is completely combined but not separated.  Stir in chocolate chips at the very end.
  3. Serve with graham crackers, vanilla wafers, teddy grahams, animal crackers and/or whatever your heart desires!

Poor Gal’s S’more

In case you didn’t know it, yesterday was National S’mores Day!  (What is the purpose of these silly days, anyway?)  Since I absolutely love s’mores I thought I would make my version that doesn’t require a fire and uses ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

Introducing the Poor Gal’s Smore.

-graham crackers
-mini marshmallows (or regular size if you have them, I didn’t)
-semisweet chocolate chips (or a chocolate bar if you are lucky enough to keep those stocked)

Do I really need to tell you how to make a S’more?  I didn’t think so.  To melt it all together I placed it in my microwave for first 10 seconds and then checked it and continued for another 10 seconds.  After that it is all good and gooey!

Here’s what it looked like (pre-microwave):

I even put a couple scoops of ice cream on top to make it extra delish and heart attack friendly.

So next time you have a hankering for a s’more, try this out for size.  It’s the bee’s knees … or something.

Italian Beef Pizza. Oh, yes I did.

If you don’t live in the Chicagoland area, you probably don’t know what Italian Beef is.  One word, delicious.  OK, a couple more words: thinly sliced beef + spices + awesome marinade/sauce/juice = divine.

Two things you must know:

  1. A husband so obsessed with Italian Beef pizza to the point that he can’t stop talking about it even though he only had it at work a couple of times.
  2. A mother that orders way too much Italian Beef for a party and so pawns her left overs onto all that live in her vicinity, one of which was me.

These two circumstances brought me to attempt to make an Italian Beef pizza.  Sidenote: I am not a cook.  I cook because I have to, not because I want to.

Enough with the chit chat.  Here’s the recipe.

Italian Beef Pizza
  • Prepare dough.  You can use your favorite homemade dough or buy some Trader Joe’s pizza dough.  I used the one found here because it was quick and didn’t require any time to rise.  Whatever is quick and easy for you.
  • Spread some tomato sauce over your dough.  I like Contadina Pizza Sauce.
  • Add some cheese.  I like Kraft Natural Shredded Pizza Cheese (Mozzarella & Provolone)
  • Bring on the Italian Beef!  I just spread out the beef that I had in my leftover container.  I tried not to get too much juice on the pizza so as to prevent sogginess.
  • Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 15-25 minutes depending on your oven.
  • Enjoy!

Some pictures of the deliciousness:

Let me know if you try this!
Thirty Hand Made Days