Monday, October 31, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Hallowe'en (and Bonus Bento!)

It's Hallowe'en! The Muffin has been so excited about it this year, which is actually pretty funny, because most people here don't even celebrate it. But The Muffin figured out early on that Hallowe'en = Lollies And Cookies. And she was totally sold.

So this tin really isn't the healthiest one ever - but hey, it's Hallowe'en.

Top Row: Cadbury Screme Egg; Twisties Ghosts; banana slices.

Bottom Row: Carrot ghosts; Strawberry Ghost (a whole strawberry dipped in white chocolate, with mini choc chip features); Jelly orange (the juice from the orange is made into jelly, and then put back into the scooped-out orange skin halves to set).

The After Shot:

She ate everything except two carrot ghosts and a smidgeon of jelly.

To see what other mummies made for their little monsters today, check out The Muffin Tin Mom's blog.

But Wait - There's More!!

Bonus bento: this is what The Muffin had in her lunchbox today:

Pumpkin cookie (somewhat overzealously decorated by The Muffin herself - for some more of her Hallowe'en cookies - and mine - see the other post I wrote today);
Ham and cheese sandwich Ghost, and string cheese ghostlets.
Ham and cheese sandwich Witch Hat;
Sliced apple with Jack-o-Lanternish face, which I quite accidentally arranged into a head-and-body shape (I was just trying to fit it all in), and then added sultana hair after I noticed.

Hallowe'en Fun

Happy Hallowe'en everyone! Or, you know, everyone who celebrates it. Actually Hallowe'en is not that big here in Australia. It's after eight pm as I write this, and we've only had one set of trick-or-treaters knock at the door...

The thing is, a lot of people here dismiss Hallowe'en as "an American thing" that is "not relevant to us". I find this kind of funny, because a) Hallowe'en did not originate in America, and b) having fancy dress parties and eating cute and funny-looking cookies is Completely Relevant to me, at any rate! Others object to Hallowe'en on religious grounds, which is fair enough.

At our house, we do celebrate Hallowe'en. We don't take it at all seriously, and we don't even always have/attend a party - we just think it's a bit of fun. And an excuse to make these:

I got the idea for these from the Donna Hay feauture in our weekend newspaper, but I lost the picture before I made these, so I have no idea how close mine are to the original...

Awesome, brilliant idea from LilaLoa, executed somewhat haphazardly by yours truly. You should check hers out, they're great.

The whole set:
I didn't do lots of different types this year. We weren't having a party or anything, so these were pretty much made for Husband to take to work, plus some for us to eat. The green "eyeball soup" cookies are a Sugarbelle design, although I decided to make my eyeballs out of sugarpaste so that I could have all different sizes. Check hers out here. For the pumpkins, I just kind of did my own thing (not that it's very original or anything, but I kind of like them).

Oh, and these are some of the cookies The Muffin decorated:

I was quite impressed with her Jack-o-Lantern, especially since she used a piping bag (usually she uses a squeezy bottle, which is much easier for her to control).

So the moral of this story, ladies and gentlemen, is this: No matter what your beliefs, no matter what you think of All Hallow's Eve and those who celebrate it, remember this: Life Is More Fun When It Involves Cookies.

Thank you.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Yummy Foods

This week's theme (for me) was "I have leftover potato and various halves of pieces of fruit etc in the fridge and I can't think of a theme they fit in with and frankly I'm feeling a bit lazy". So, feeling that this would not fly as a theme suggestion in The Muffin's view, I suggested a "Yummy Foods" theme. This involved me dragging out all the stuff I wanted to use up, and letting The Muffin choose.

She had to choose at least one vegetable, at least one fruit, and at least one protein. Here's what she ended up with:

Top Row: Leftover steamed potato; Salami arranged into a "flower"; Bertie Beetle (from her showbag).

Bottom Row: Apple slices arranged into a "flower"; Vanilla yoghurt; Banana slices.

The After Shot:

This tin, whilst not the most exciting one ever, was still well received (and why wouldn't it be, considering she chose what went into it?), and declared yummy.

To see what other mum did this week, go to The Muffin Tin Mom's blog.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Royal Show Entries 2011

Wow, I can't believe I'm posting this so LATE. I'd been planning to post about these toward the end of Show week, while we were away on holidays. But I found myself trying to upload things using Husband's mobile phone's internet connection, which was So Slow that I gave up. And since we got home, I just seem to have been awfully busy!

Anyway, enough excuses - on to the sugary goodness...

I entered into three Classes at the Perth Royal Show this year: Decorated Biscuits (cookies), Patty Cakes (ie cupcakes), and Macarons.

The macarons were a nightmare. I made about twelve batches of the little buggers, wailing "Why did I write "macarons"? What On Earth Was I Thinking??" My macaron issues could easily fill a whole post, so I won't go into it here. Suffice to say, my macs tasted fine, and looked okay, but I was never in danger of winning any prizes! The ones I entered were the plain coloured one (at the front), and the back two pinks (the darker ones).

I was far happier with my cupcakes and my cookies. For the cookies, I decided to go with a Christmas theme:

All the decorating is royal icing, except the holly on the pudding, which I made from sugarpaste. I was really happy with how these turned out, and the judges must have agreed, because I Won! Woo hoo! The competition was a lot stiffer this year than it was last year, so I was really pleased.

Finally, for the cupcakes I decided on one of my favourite themes: Alice in Wonderland. After many preliminary sketches, and much elimination, I settled on these six designs:

You know how so often you have a clear idea of how you want something to look, and then when you make it, it doesn't turn out that way? Well this cupcake turned out Exactly as I'd imagined it - don't you Love It when that happens? I realise the Alice-Down-The-Rabbit-Hole cupcake design is not exactly an original one - it's been done by many, many people, including Planet Cake - but I've noticed that most of these designs use just a couple of flat white frills. I really wanted my Alice to have lots and lots of extra-poofy, voluminous petticoats.

Shhh - don't wake the Talking Flower - she might think you're a weed...

And don't tell the Queen that we've been Painting the Roses Red:

With all this cake, would you like a cup of tea? Or perhaps just half a cup...?

I also made a Bread-And-Butterfly with some little flowers, and a tabletop with a "Drink Me" bottle and tiny gold key.

Here's the whole set:

Most of the decorations are modelling paste, except the key, the red "paint", the "butter" and the little flowers' centres, which are all royal icing. The "Drink Me" topper (shown here sans cupcake) was sitting on top of a buttercream swirl for the Show to heighten the tabletop look.

Anyway, in case you're wondering - yep, these won their Class too! :o)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Hearts for Dinner, and a Clever Little Cookie

Happy Muffin Tin Monday everyone! This week we were out at lunch time, so we went for a simple Hearts theme for our MTM, at dinner time:

Top Row: Sausage; Spinach leaf hearts; Yoghurt with heart sprinkles.

Bottom Row: Cucumber hearts, and carrot sticks; Shepherds pie; Banana chips.

The After Shot:

Madam was Not Amused at having to eat a piece of cucumber. I reminded her that the rule of Muffin Tin Monday (in our house, anyway) is that she has to eat one thing (or a bit of it, if it's big) from each compartment. You should have seen the performance, facial-expression-wise. This kid should be on the stage. But she Suffered through one small piece of cucumber, all the same. Probably scared I wouldn't let her eat the banana chips if she didn't. :o)

To see what other mums fed their kiddies this week, check out the Muffin Tin Mom's blog.

But Wait - There's More!

Look what my Clever Girl did:

These were The Muffin's entry into this year's Perth Royal Show (decorated cookies class). She received no help at all with these - mixed her own icing colours and everything. She didn't get a prize, but the judges said she came very close to getting the Honorable Mention over an eight-year-old - and she's only four! I think they are beautiful, and I am a Very Proud Mummy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Show Day!

Today we went to the Perth Royal Show! To say that The Muffin has been looking forward to it is a Massive Understatement, and we had a fantastic day. As we had lunch and dinner at the Show (we stayed for the fireworks, which were Awesome), we had our Muffin Tin Meal for breakfast:

Top Row: Yoghurt with vanilla; Banana slices.

Middle Row: Weetbix Bites (berry flavour); Weetbix Bites (apricot flavour).

Bottom Row: Home-made muesli x 2.

The After Shot:

This was a pretty big breakfast - all those little compartments of different cereals add up! So although there's a bit of muesli and milk left over, she actually ate really well.

Oh, and by the way, we actually did do Muffin Tin Monday last week, but I was soooo busy with my Royal Show baking (which I will post about later this week, I promise) that I just didn't have time to link up. But I thought it might be appropriate to put last week's photos up today too, as our theme was The Royal Show! (did I mention The Muffin was hanging out for Show Day? Seriously, we have heard nothing else for weeks...)

So here's what we had last week:

Top Row: Fairy bread Ducklings (representing the baby animal nursery); Strawberry Shortcake Showbag containing strawberries; Macaron shell with a ferris wheel drawn on with Gourmet Writers (representing Sideshow Alley).

Bottom Row: Yoghurt with sprinkles (representing the Dairy Pavilion - one of our favourites, as they give out heaps of yummy samples); two Apple People in a teacup (representing the Spinning Teacups ride, which is The Muffin's favourite); Bread and cheese Horse with a cheese "Best In Show" ribbon (representing the animals on show).

Here is a better look at the "Showbag":

I just folded up a piece of baking paper and popped a Strawberry Shortcake sticker on (seemed appropriate to the contents, which were fresh strawberries). Two fitted in, and I popped a third one underneath the bag.

The After Shot:
'Nuff said.

Go to The Muffin Tin Mom's blog to see more Muffin Tin yumminess!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lolly Shop Cupcakes!

The Muffin and I decorated these for our cousin's 10th birthday party, and christened them "Lolly Shop Cupcakes"!

There are Freckle cupcakes (no frosting, just melted chocolate spread on thinly and covered with 100s & 1000s), twisty marshmallow cupcakes (with pink cherry flavoured buttercream frosting), Jelly Belly jelly bean cupcakes (with lemon buttercream frosting), Mini M&M cupcakes (with chocolate buttercream frosting), and Mini Licorice Allsort cupcakes (with chocolate buttercream frosting). The cupcakes themselves are light and fluffy lemon cake.


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