Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Day (Gimme Some Sugar)...

Okay, so I didn't get a chance to do another post before Christmas - hands up who's shocked. Noone? No, I thought not. I swear, I left everything so late this year - Never Again. (or, you know, never again until next time...)

And I mean really late. Like, I started decorating my Christmas cake at 10pm on Christmas Eve. Luckily the design I had decided on was a simple one, so it was actually doable:

And then I forgot to take a photo of it before I stuck a knife in it. Sigh. Still cute though, right?

NB: The idea for the "North Pole" sign came from "the decorated cookie", although she used a lollipop stick with washi tape, whereas I used a candy cane with the curved part chopped off.

Other goodies we enjoyed on the day included a pavlova with lemon cream and cherry syrup, topped with fresh cherries and raspberries...

The idea for the pavlova's unusual shape was taken from my Donna Hay magazine, where it was called a "Christmas Wreath" pavlova (although hers had a totally different flavour profile).

And yes, it's a terrible photo - I'm sorry about that, but that's the trouble with not being able to take photos at night... (Although guess what? Thanks to my beloved husband, I Now Can!!! More on that later...)

My four year old daughter and I also decorated a gingerbread house this year:

I'm a bit ashamed to say it is an IKEA flat-pack model - but there is a reason for that! I was totally going to bake my own house to decorate with The Muffin. Then I saw that IKEA was having a decorating competition with their flat-pack version, so I thought I'd do two - an IKEA one by myself (in order to attempt to Win The Competition), and a "proper" one to decorate with The Muffin. So I bought one. Flash forward to a week before Christmas, the competition deadline had passed me by, I still hadn't finished my Christmas shopping, and I had four other desserts still to make for Christmas. So I devised a cunning Revised Plan: Bugger Having Two Gingerbread Houses, Stick With The Prefab.

Anyway, with the pressure suddenly turned off, The Muffin and I had such fun decorating this, and my mum joined in too. This side of the house (the front) is the most stylish, so I'm sure our little house wouldn't have won any awards! But that's not really the point, is it? The point is, I had fun with my little girl, and we both ate too many lollies. And what could be more Christmassy than that?

Hope you and yours had a fabulous Christmas, and that Santa was good to you (he certainly was to me!)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The End of The Beginning

Here in Australia the end of the school year happens right about now - our long Summer holidays happen over Christmas (obviously. You know, on account of it being Summer...).

Anyway, the point is, my little girl has Finished Kindy. She'll be heading off to Pre-Primary next year. And whilst I'm actually not one of those people who says "wow, the last five years has gone so fast", I must admit that my baby is getting to be quite a big girl now!

So here are the thankyou/Christmas gifts I made for The Muffin's teachers:

The sleighs are chocolate cookies (made from LilaLoa's recipe, which is Soooo Good), held together with royal icing. To make them, I used a sleigh cutter for the sides, and a square cutter to make the little squares and rectangles I needed for the inner "box" part of the sleigh.


It was actually easier than I thought it would be. I kept the decoration of the sleighs simple, as I didn't want to have to burst into tears if they all just fell to bits, but I needn't have worried.

The little sleighs are filled with home made goodies - gingerbread snowmen/trees, rum balls, lime and Malibu truffles. Also each had either a candy cane or a Starlight mint.

The kindy held a graduation morning tea to celebrate the end of kindy, so I took cupcakes:

They were white chocolate cupcakes with lemon vanilla buttercream, and I made the decorations from sugarpaste (with a little CMC added, so I guess technically modelling paste?) Please forgive my ultra-dodgy photo, clumsily doctored using Picnik! As per usual, I was in a rush and didn't get a good photo before the event...

Only two days 'til Christmas! I have one or two more yummy things up my sleeve, so hopefully I'll have time for another post before the big day... Hope your Christmas preparations are going well!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Christmas Times Two

Okay, so I missed Muffin Tin Monday, again. But we didn't miss out on doing muffin tins, I've just been super disorganised busy the last week or two, what with (among other things) the END of kindy, the leadup to Christmas, and the Great Nit Debacle (oh. my. lord, I am so over washing bedding...)

So anyway, the point is, here are our muffin tins from the last two Mondays!

Last week: Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer tin:

Top Row: Carrots (reindeer food); Rudolph banana sandwich with M&M nose; All Of The Other Reindeer pasta (Elk pasta from IKEA).

Bottom Row: String cheese nibblets with Rudolph's Nose Pick (ew, just realised how that sounds...!); Yoghurt snow; Tomato sauce for dipping pasta in.

The Muffin wanted to know what the cheese nibblets were (to do with the theme). My mother (bless her little cotton socks) said "They are reindeer footprints", which my child was delighted with. Probably because Nanna said it. So thanks for that Mum, because I was drawing a blank! Probably would have said "snowballs" or something.

The After Shot:

Everything went except a few carrots.

This Week: Snowy theme (The Muffin's idea):

Top Row: Cranberries (because they are generally Christmassy); Prunes (tenuous link: Prunes are dried plums, ergo voila: Sugarplums!); Marshmallow snowman with pretzel arms.

Bottom Row: Apple salad; Snowman ham & cheese sandwich with ham & cheese details; Yoghurt snow (again. Yes, we are getting mileage out of "yoghurt snow" this year. But today it was All Sparkly And Glittery, although you can't see it in the photo.).

The After Shot:

This tin heralded the beginning of our school holiday MTMs. This means that this tin was The Muffin's lunch, rather than just a snack. I was mildly surprised she left some salad. I know, this shouldn't seem surprising, but The Muffin actually loves this salad (it's the only one she does like, mind you, so don't go getting all jealous or anything). All it is, is grated apple and carrot, plus chopped English spinach leaves, with a squeeze of lemon juice. Super healthy, and normally she scoffs it. The apple and lemon makes it quite sweet, so it's a good way to get some raw vegetables into non-salad eaters. I think this tin was just a lot of food for her, to be honest.

To see what other mums fed their small people this week (and indeed last week), why not head over to The Muffin Tin Mom's blog?

This is our last tin before Christmas Day, so if anyone actually has enough leisure time to read this before the Big Day, Merry Christmas! Hope you & yours have a wonderful and safe day.

And if you come back here later in the week, you will see Cupcakes! And Christmas baking!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Christmas Treats

Okay, so very briefly, as it's late and I'm knackered...

It's Muffin Tin Monday! Today I was doing Christmas baking, so when The Muffin got home from kindy, she had a Christmas Treats themed tin:

Top Row: Banana slices with candy cane cutouts; Pear with a gingerbread man pick; Mini pudding truffle (recipe here - and this time we tried out the new Cadbury Melts, and they are sooooo much better than Nestle!)

Middle: Little cup with various sprinkles.

Bottom Row: Ham and cheese "clothes"; Gingerbread man shaped bread and butter; Candy cane.

The idea of the little bread men was that she could use the cheese and ham clothes and the sprinkles to create her own little people. Here's what she came up with:

I particularly liked her little man with its hat. She said the white star was for its mouth ("because I ran out of round sprinkles") but I think it So looks like a little moustache! :o)

The After Shot:

The Muffin loooooved this tin! I have a cute theme planned for next week, too, and hopefully I'll be able to include some more challenging foods in that one! (do I dare incurring her wrath by including cucumber again??? You'll just have to come back next week to find out!)

To check out what other yummy mummies served up this week, go to The Muffin Tin Mom's blog.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I Made Cupcakes.

These ones were my first attempt at something I've been thinking about for a while. In the event, they Were Not Worthy. But the icing was sensational: Rose Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I used Sweetapolita's SMBC recipe, and seriously, I could eat a bowlful of this stuff with a spoon...
These ones were rich pear and chocolate cupcakes with coffee buttercream, topped with a macaron shell. They were yummy.

So there you are. Not terribly exciting, I guess, and the Search For The Topkapi Cupcake continues, but at least it's cake, and not just snack foods in a muffin tin! :o)

Around here, the Christmas Baking has begun, so stay tuned for more sugary goodness in the next few weeks.

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