Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cheese to Please

I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of copywriting students at WSU today, and I brought them a little snack - slices of pumpkin pie made out cheddar cheese wedges, assorted crackers and ranch dressing-flavored cream cheese.

The topic of today's presentation was: How to think visually. So naturally I shared a slideshow of my food art attempts and tried to explain the concepts behind the creations. After all, great creative always starts with a solid concept, right?

I'm not sure if I taught them anything, but at least I fed them.

UPDATE: In 2013, I created a simple tutorial for these pumpkin pie cheese appetizers. You can find it here, at SheKnows.

* The crackers I used were Triscuit Thin Crisps Chile Pepper (triangles), Chicken in a Biskit (rectangles), and Chex Mix Bold Party Blend (wavy sticks). I attached them to the cheese wedges with dollops of ranch dressing-flavored ream cheese.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Macaron anyone?

The first time I successfully made my first french macaron, I was hooked. Those crazy, cool, sweet & crunchy morsels of joy are are addictive. In more ways than one.

The folks at She Knows just posted a gallery of my many macaron adventuresTake a tour. I hope they inspire you to try them yourself someday. If not, I hope they at least make you smile.

As I went through all of my photos last month, gathering images, it suddenly occurred to me how many FREAKIN' macarons I've made in two years. Geez. No wonder my house is such a mess. ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mashed potatoes & gravy for dessert?


Here's an easy idea to amuse (and possibly confuse) your Thanksgiving guests: cheesecake mashed potato bites with caramel gravy and chocolate pepper flakes.

The best part: you don't have to bake a thing, if you don't want to. I bought a cheesecake, some shortbread cookies and a bottle of caramel sauce, and assembled these in less than 30 minutes.

Find the instructions and how-to photos here, at SheKnows.com.

Make plenty. They'll want seconds.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Peekaboo Pumpkin Pound Cake

You say "Pumpkin!" 
I say "Pound Cake!" 
Pound Cake!
Pound Cake!

OK. Enough cheering. Let's eat. 

This is an easy-peasy, pumpkin-pleasy dessert with a surprise baked into every slice. Wanna know how I did it? Hop over to She Knows for the recipe.

P.S. The brown butter icing on this bad boy is my all-time favorite. That Martha Stewart knows her stuff, y'all.

Friday, November 9, 2012

I'd like a grande gobble latte, please.

Here's a gobbledy-good idea to make your Thanksgiving feast more festive - turkey coffee spoons. 

Made with caramel, chocolate and colorful sanding sugars, these little birds will bring just the right buzz to your favorite hot beverage.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Anniversaries by Apple

This is the type of wedding anniversary gift chart that my husband would prefer. (Although, as often as Apple announces new products, this will be outdated six months from now.)

We just celebrated our 17th anniversary, and bought ourselves new iPhones. Not terribly romantic, I know. But, we tend to buy "joint" things that we needed or wanted anyway, and then call them gifts.

Marriage is all about love & compromise. Eric loves his Apple products, and I'm willing to compromise. Who needs a set of china or gold watches anyway?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Mess-Free Apple Bobbing

I was never very good at math, but here's how I solved a recent word problem:

Halloween party + 27 fifth graders + 30 minutes + tiny classroom  = Trick or Treat Apple Bobbing

I created this game for my son's class. Something quick, easy and fun. 

While everyone sat at their desks eating copious amounts of party snacks, I had each student come up to the apple-bobbing bucket, put a pair of plastic vampire teeth in their mouth, and attempt to "bite" an apple prize out of the bucket. The apples were silly items I had gotten at the dollar store and wrapped in red tissue paper. Students either got a trick or a treat. Some of the treats included: cotton candy, cookies, and inflatable halloween toys. Some of the tricks included: rubber snakes, whoopie cushions, toothbrushes and bars of soap. 

See, even word problems can be fun.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lego Man Costume

There couldn't be a more perfect Halloween costume this year for our Lego-lovin' Gus.

Eric really took his cardboard construction skills up a notch. He made this whole thing out of blue cardboard, red foam board, hot glue and Smoothfoam™. The legs were a challenge. It wasn't until after we saw Gus shuffling at the school costume parade, that we decided we needed to cut the backs of the legs open so that he could actually WALK and go up stairs. Poor kid. He was a Halloween trooper once again. I promised him last night, one of these years, we'll make him a costume he can actually walk, see and move in. He didn't seem to care. He loved it just the way it was.

Everything was handmade, except for the head. We bought one of those Lego containers that you can use to sort & store Lego bricks, cut out the insides and drilled larger eye holes. It fit perfectly. We used a red sweatshirt for the arms, and stuffed them with some of Eric's old, 4-inch vacuum tubing from the woodshop.

Now that Halloween is over, and we have no storage space left for a costume this size, I think it's going to go on permanent display in Gus' room.

I started to take photos of how Eric made this and then I gave up. Oh my lord, it was very meticulous and involved lots of calculations, cutting, scoring, tabbing and gluing. I don't know how that man's mind works, but I'm just glad it does. There's no way I could have constructed something like this so perfectly. Anyway, here are a few photos of the process and the finished pieces. Knock yourself out if you want to attempt one yourself!

Calico Cat Costume

Ever since we got our calico cat, Cake, in April, my kids have been on a calico kick. So it wasn't surprising that Bea wanted to be one for Halloween this year.

Yes, I could have put her in a white sweat suit, added some spots and drew some whiskers on her cheeks. But we all know that's not gonna happen. It's just not.

Instead, I used a laundry basket, an old bike helmet, upholstery foam, three yards of fur and two cans of spray glue. I'd like to say I had a plan in mind when I started, but I didn't. I just started cutting and gluing and furring as I went along. Plan schman. Just dive in and see what happens. In the end, it turned out pretty cute. And almost functional. Bea could move her arms and legs freely. And she could see. Mostly.

Bea loved her costume, and all of her friends at school enjoyed "petting" it. I can't say that our cat loved it. She went sprinting across the backyard when a 4-foot version of herself tried to grab her.

Bea's buddy, Morgan, was a black cat. Two, cute kitties!

Here are some photos of how I made the costume. Disclaimer: I am not a professional. At all. Just an insane mom.

I started with a tall laundry basket, and glued an old bike helmet on top.
Added some foam ears and a rounded head.

Covered everything in shaggy, cream fur, using spray glue.
Added a pink felt nose on the snout.

Added pink felt ears, and lots of furry spots.

More furry, random, calico-like spots on the back.

Added the tail.

Covered some pink gloves in fur.

Covered some pink slippers in fur.

Added some large, goggly eyes.