hearts and crafts: the very pink valentine celebration

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The little miss had her best friend, Addie, over for a pink valentine celebration. Pink cupcakes, candy, hearts, cookies, valentines, balloons, tissue paper flowers, even hard boiled eggs! There's a small part of me that hopes if I just bombard her with pink she will decide to rebel and like another color; until then, I put on my very pink, vintage, bedazzled dress and a big smile.

The valentines were placed in the froggy 'mailbox' that I had made out of a box, some green wrapping paper, and some extra large google eyes. Before the girls could open them, they had to hop like frogs on the hearts, jump or swim across the pond of bubble wrap (who can't resist popping those bubbles?!) and slither like a caterpillar or snake under the streamers. It was lots of fun. They did it quite a few times before opening their home made valentines and then about thirty more times after! They managed to squeeze in a few bites of their heart shaped pb&j's, munch on a few cookies, and lick the pink frosting off of a cupcake or two.

Then it was craft time. Pink pasta necklaces with a paper "locket" that I had written 'best friends' on. This was a big hit! After stringing the pasta, the girls pasted their pictures inside the heart. They loved it! Look how happy they are as they checked out their necklaces in the mirror. I love that pure joy!

Even weezie, our brussels griffon, had fun at the pink party. Although, I'm sure she's quite happy to have the bubble wrap pond off the floor today. Me too!

Details on the pasta necklaces and 'love bite' cookies to follow...

gingerbread s'more?

gingerbread

Gingerbread marshmallows? Oh, Jet-Puffed, you think of everything!

I couldn't resist picking up a bag of these. To be honest, they are kind of addicting

(in a really bad for you, eat too many and have a belly-ache kind of way).

None the less, I had to try to make a s'more with one.

Once you toast them it's hard to even tell what shape it is and if you put a graham cracker on top, well, it's hard to even taste the gingerbread flavor, however artificial it may be.

So, it didn't work.

That's okay!

It's made me crave real chewy ginger molasses cookies and old fashioned gingerbread. I've added them both to my baking list.

It even made me think of a great craft idea for the little miss.

Let the holiday season begin!

chocolate covered pretzel cupcake. sweet.

We made it to the east coast! I was in Harvard Square for a day and walked by a very put together cupcake shop called Sweet. You know I can't resist a cupcake especially when it's well packaged! I thought this chocolate covered pretzel cupcake looked amazing, and the chocolate buttercream didn't disappoint. Good to know they have a whole tray of frosting shots when you just need a little pick-me up.

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fifty-licks maple bacon ice cream

Maple. Bacon. Local. Good packaging.

Fifty-Licks ice cream,

you're like a dream come true.

Now available in the NE Portland Whole Foods freezer section. Yay.

***It has been pointed out that not all Portland Whole Foods are carrying Fifty Licks. You may want to call first to double check or just head to the NE Fremont &15th location.****

banana rum coconut cake and a dream

Rainy and dreary here in Portland. Yes, the daffodils are blooming and the trees are budding, the temperature is rising and I know spring is almost here. Still, I'm over it. I want need some sunshine. I've been closing my eyes and going to my happy place, floating in the turquoise waters of the caribbean with the sun working it's magic. I knew when the mister walked in the door the other night with three mangos he was feeling the same way. It was time to bake a little tropical sunshine:

Banana Rum Coconut layer cake recipe from Nick Malgieri's The Modern Baker.

Banana? Tropical. Rum? Tropical. Coconut? T-R-O-P-I-C-A-L!

I wanted to eat a slice of this cake and feel like I was sitting on the beach. I know those two are typically mutually exclusive. Who eats cake and thinks, cool, let me put on my bikini? But for today, in my little dream, cake and bikinis are friends.

The banana cake is very simple. I could tell from the picture in the book that it was going to be more on the dense side. After baking, it had risen up and I thought maybe I was wrong, but once it cooled it flattened out and my observation was correct: it was like a banana bread-cake.

The frosting is delish! Whipped cream, dark rum, and sugar. Top that off with some sweetened coconut and you're sipping a creamy tropical cocktail with your toes in the sand.

 

(peanut butter)icing on the (cup)cake

This peanut butter icing recipe is incredible.

The kind of incredible where you have to stop yourself from "trying" it while you make it or there won't be enough to frost the cupcakes. The kind of incredible that you might just want to forget about frosting anything at all and  just grab a spoon and eat it straight out of the bowl. Here is the recipe.

I'm beginning to think that my oven is running a little hot as things tend to bake too quickly. I know I have an oven thermometer around here somewhere. Is my mom yelling at the computer right now saying she bought one for me for Christmas a few years ago? Probably. I just have to locate it. Anyway.

For fear that the chocolate cupcakes would be on the dryer side I decided to forego their wrappers and slice them in half. I figured a little peanut butter goodness in the middle like a cupcake sandwich might help the situation. The result?

They look amazing, if I do say so myself, in a not-so-perfect homemade-with-love kind of way. I topped them with peanut butter cups and peanut butter filled m&m's in red...like a cherry on top!