Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Muffin Tin Monday - Fish Dinner

I've been a bit slack lately with Muffin Tin Monday - not about doing them (I'm not sure what The Muffin would do if she missed out), just about posting them. Sorry about that.

In the Sugary household, Muffin Tin Monday has mostly moved to dinner time - due to The Muffin now having school and ballet on a Monday, dinner is the only meal she eats at home (apart from breakfast. But I am so not organised enough for creative breakfasts - we're lucky if we get to school on time as it is).

So this is what The Muffin had for dinner last night:

Top Row: Bread roll (which she christened "a Clam" after it was split & buttered); Fish cut out of a fish fillet (the offcuts are underneath); Tinned apple ("Sand").

Bottom Row: Fish eggs (aka peas) with a fish pick; a crepe with a shell pick; "Seaweed" (spinach leaves).

The After Shot:

She asked me to cut some of the fish up, then she put the rest in her bread roll and ate it as a sandwich. The leaves were dipped in the sauce. When she was finished with the savouries, she filled the crepe up with apple and ate it burrito-style.

To check out more Muffin Tin Meals, go to The Muffin Tin Mom's blog.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Owly Bento

This was what The Muffin had in her lunchbox today:

Top: Cheese and Vegemite roll; dried cranberries; half a banana.

Bottom: Owls made from Truefruits, with sprinkle eyes and candy-coated choc chip beaks. They are perched on a branch cut from a Simply Fruit bar, with spinach leaf leaves and dried apricot moon. Plus three strawberries.

In retrospect this was probably way too much food for her for one day -it sort of looked half empty, but because there was a lot of dried fruit, I guess it was "bigger" than it looked. She did eat most of it.

Anyway, she loved the little owls!

I will be linking this to What's For Lunch Wednesday over at BentoLunch.net.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Once Upon A Time...

...there was a beautiful, clever, funny little princess. Her mummy called her The Muffin, even though that wasn't really her name ('cause that would be weird).

And this year, she turned five.

For her first ever "friends" (or kids') party, she wanted a Princess Party. She chose this theme approximately 50 weeks ago, after having spotted the photo on the box of my Wilton's Romantic Castle Kit. Yes folks, she tailored her entire party theme around her choice of cake, and has been planning it all year. This Is So My Child.

In fairness, she is also a big Cinderella fan, so I'm sure that helped her decision somewhat.

We decided on purple, pink, white and silver as the colour palette (unoriginal, but Oh So Princessy)...

There were savoury foods, obviously, but really who knows (or cares) what they were? Let's be honest: it's all about the sugar.

I was pleased with how the cookies turned out, even though I didn't notice until JUST NOW that I failed to add the white outline to one of my shield/coat-of-arms cookies! But as far as I'm aware, neither did anyone else, so I am choosing to believe that.

There were also cupcakes, simply frosted with raspberry buttercream, and each topped with either a silvery-purple sugarpaste crown, three sugarpaste blossoms, or a Wilton's princess cakepop pick (they work well on cupcakes!).

I almost always make fruit skewers for parties, as they provide a healthy option whilst generally still being hugely popular. This time I wanted them to be a little prettier than usual, and I must thank my mother for stepping in and cutting all the little flowers and things out (even though the whole time she was saying "This is taking For Ever", and "I still don't really get what these are supposed to be"). In the end I think they looked great! (Thanks Mum!)

We had really pretty Paper Eskimo "Princess Girl" balloons, (but not the spotty ones, because I used those for the Spotty Party last year) and I even went all Martha Stewart and made these big tissue paper pompom thingies:

And can I just say: So Much Easier than I thought they were going to be! Instructions at yes, you guessed it, Martha Stewart. I see a lot more tissue paper pompom thingies in my future...

And oh yeah, here is the cake:

This was made with the Wilton Romantic Castle Kit, so there is significant plastic. Also as you can see, the design is fairly simple. I had originally planned to pipe little green leaves around the flowers, and a leafy border around the bottom of the whole castle, but I just ran out of time. Funnily enough though, in some ways I think I'm quite happy I didn't add anything else - I think it has a kind of pale purity that might have been lost by the addition of another colour. (Yes, that is my story and I am sticking to it). Plus my little princess and her friends all LOVED it.

The little flowers were cut from sugarpaste with a blossom cutter, each with a tiny silver cachou in the centre. The little crown over the doorway is a candle. All the other pink and purple bits are royal icing sprinkled with sanding sugar.

On arrival, the kids all decorated their own crowns (the templates for which I found here).

This is The Muffin's finished result:

The little princesses (and one very handsome prince!) played musical cushions, pass-the-parcel, and Find Cinderella's Lost Slipper. When the time came to leave, they all took home a loot bag filled with lollies, Disney Princess lip gloss, a castle hair clip, princess stickers, and a pretty eraser (and no, I didn't give the boy lip gloss! He got a toy horse, eraser, and knight-and-dragon stickers instead).

My little Muffin had the best time! I'm sure that in years to come, she'll be wanting parties at the newest coolest party place, or wanting to hire hundreds of dollars worth of party entertainer, but I love that for now she is just so happy to eat pretty cookies with her friends. Happy Birthday, sweetheart!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Over the Rainbows

Finally as promised, here are the photos of my beloved Muffin's fifth birthday party - the first one, that is!

(nb: Cake pop idea from Bubble & Sweet)

The Muffin had decided that she would like "a night party" with the family, just like the big girls (her older cousins) have. This is generally a simple get-together, where everyone brings some sort of finger food along to share for dinner. We decided on a Rainbow theme for this party, partly because it's a bright, happy and Super Easy theme to do, and partly because The Muffin and I had both fallen in love with Sweetapolita's Rainbow Doodle Cake post, and really wanted to try it out.

So I baked the cake, following Sweetapolita's recipe. The only change I made was that whilst I did fill the cake with lemon Swiss meringue buttercream, I thought it would be too soft for the outer frosting layer. It was 39 degrees Celsius on the day of the party, and SMBC is just too soft for Australian summers - I learned that the hard way! So I coated the cake in white chocolate ganache (Planet Cake style), before covering it with white fondant.

Then I let The Muffin loose with my food markers. She had a lovely time!

(please excuse the extremely attractive great cavernous hole left by one of the fattest birthday candles ever...)

When the cake was cut, it really did cause a sensation!

One thing to keep in mind if you decide to make this cake: whilst it is easy, it does take a really long time to bake (unless you have heaps of tins the same size). I only have two 8-inch cake tins, so I had to bake the cake in three batches. Not difficult, just a bit time consuming, that's all.

Another idea I'd been dying to try out was one I found over at Bubble and Sweet. Her little smiley cloud cake pops are so adorable! My version turned out a little messier (I stuck the rainbows on in a hurry while the party was actually on - I know, I am just So Organised) - but I was still really happy with the result! The Muffin helped me make the little rainbows out of fondant, too.

The Muffin and I also made some small rainbow-shaped cookies and iced them with white icing. Then when they were dry, we drew rainbows on them with the food markers! We were very pleased with these, and I couldn't believe it the day after the party when I realised: We Had Completely Forgotten To Serve The Cookies!!

So I had an idea: as The Muffin started Pre-Primary on her actual birthday, she was taking cupcakes in to school to celebrate with the class. A little change of plan re cupcake paper colours and decorations, et voila:

Rainbow Cupcakes!

Our table decorations were very simple: we simply had one helium balloon in each colour of the rainbow, each tied to a clear cellophane lolly bag with just a few lollies and a very simple novelty (it was a gesture - we don't do full-on goody bags for family parties). These we lined up along the back of the food table so that the balloons floated in a line next to each other in rainbow colour order. It looked surprisingly effective!

We had great fun with this party theme, and the best thing was how excited The Muffin was at being able to help with it all (and I think she did a great job, too!)

Of course, the following weekend (ie yesterday), she also had a Princess themed party with all her little friends - but that's another story...

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