Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Carnival


We went to my daughter's elementary school Halloween Carnival this weekend. It was a great way to kick off all of the Halloween festivites.

 Here are some of the decorations...it is a large carnival and there is no way to capture how elaborate and well done this carnival is. You would really have to see it in person.

 Entrance in to the Haunted House below...

My daughter and I worked the Lollipop Guess booth for 30 minutes during the carnival. The decorations below were made by one of the moms in my daughter's class and she did an amazing job creating the black house and cutting it out!


 My daughter and I  working the Lollipop Guess booth. This is one of those rare pictures of her and I together. As moms, you know that we are always behind the camera and rarely in front of it.

My daughter entered in a cake decorating contest and decorated this cake. Not bad for a kindergartener. 

 I made some Cake Pops to donate for the bake sale at the Halloween Carnival. I al glad I got started early as it was time consuming. I made vanilla and red velvet.


 I bought some of my Cake Pops at the bake sale. There were lots of sweets to chose from.


Last but certainly not least I snapped this picture of the sunset. You can see the Pacific Ocean which was gorgeous on this particular night.

You can follow me on twitter @BakingByMSC

~MSC

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kitchen Organization & Help Me Decide ....


I am currently spending my morning deep cleaning my kitchen. It started with a simple reorganization of my pantry and then quickly turned into a much needed reorganization of all cabinet spaces. I set aside this deep gray colored magnetic board in my pantry. I have been carrying it around trying to decide what I want to do with it. I agonize over where to hang things on the walls. Help me decide what to do!

Here is that magnetic board hanging on the kitchen wall. My plan is that wherever it hangs, I want to print out some nice black and white photos (just a couple pictures) and use some cool vibrant colored magnets to hang them casually. The second photo is of a framed white and white picture that currently hangs on the wall. So tell me......which do you like better?

#1 ...


... or #2 below.



 Below is my pantry after reorganizing. Some of my white dishes were getting scrunched around and I reserved the entire bottom shelf for all of my white dishes. The shelf extend further back than the picture shows. The second shelf from the bottom holds three different sets of mixing bowls to the left and the right is all of my daughter's snacks and bars she takes to school. The third shelf from the bottom contains pasta, sauces, bread, peanut butter, and chips that are neatly tucked away in a blue canvas bin which is hiding to the right and can't be seen in the photo. The next shelf going up has cereal, dinner foods, etc. The very top shelf has a blue crate that hold my springform pans and other cake pans that I use often. I also have my secondary green apple mixer, a juicer and hiding to the left is my Cupcake Courier.




While cleaning, I was admiring these simple storage containers I picked up at Target about a year ago. When I get home I remove all snack bars and fruit leather from their boxes and put them into these containers to keep the pantry neat and it also allows us to see what we have.

I rearranged the large cabinet above my fridge. It works great for storing large items that I don't use often like the Crock Pot, Coffee Maker, Drink Container for parties, etc. I had a couple of these things on the top shelf of my pantry, but I wanted to tuck them away to make more space, so after reorganizing this space I was able to fit everything in.


Please tell me which wall hanging you prefer from the first two photographs!

~MSC

Friday, October 14, 2011

Magical Erasers

I am convinced Mr. Clean put some real magic in these cleaning erasers. They are such a blessing I don't know what I would do without these. Great for touch ups on the walls but today I discovered how great they are for my white cabinets! I tried them out a few weeks ago in my bathroom. With white cabinets and the use of hairspray and other sprays for my hair I noticed a stubborn build-up of product that was impossible to clean. The magic erasers took care of the problem instantly. I don't know why I didn't think to use it elsewhere in the house besides the walls before!



I recently saw a commercial advertising the newer and stronger magic erasers for the bathroom. I saw them at the commissary and picked them up. I started today by cleaning out the microwave and then I usually move onto the cabinets when I notice that very sticky build up above the stove and microwave. In the past I was never able to fully clean the top side of the cabinets like I wanted. I broke out my magic erasers for the bath (which I recommend because they are strong and don't crumble) and went to town on my cabinets and they are as clean and good as new!

Do you use magic erasers? Any tips for using them or have you found any good uses for them?

~MSC

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tips for Making a Cookie Pizza

I have been eyeing this cookie pizza recipe lately and finally decided to make it. 


I scaled the recipe down to half and began whipping up the cookie batter. I love that this is a peanut butter cookie pizza. I added some milk chocolate chips to the batter although the recipe did not call for that. I really can't resist peanut butter and milk chocolate together.


 Using a baking sheet that I sprayed with baking non-stick spray, I formed the cookie dough into a ball and began pressing it out to form my pizza shape.

** Tip # 1: To get a cookie pizza that bakes properly without leaving crunchy thin sides and a gooey underbaked middle, you need to flatten your dough to the thickness of a chocolate chip. Since there are chocolate chips in the cookie dough you can press down until you feel the chocolate chips hit the bottom. (I hope that makes sense.) This ensures that your cookie will bake evenly especially in the middle.

** Tip #2: For outer edges of the cookie pizza, if you leave the edge even with the rest of the cookie, you batter will expand in the oven and therefore give you brown, thin, and crunchy edges. To prevent this (in the photo below) you can see I add extra batter to the edges.






You can see in these photo that the extra dough expanded while baking and in the end made an edge that was even with the rest of the cookie!
I hope these tips help!
~MSC



Monday, October 3, 2011

Delicious Fudge

 After seeing this photo I was inspired to make fudge for the first time. When I think about fudge, I think about chocolate. I usually prefer a more interesting fudge rather than just chocolate. I wish I could say the idea of using cupcake and candy papers was mine, but from the photo in the link above you can see where I got the idea and it is a fabulous one!


I used both full size cupcake papers and small candy papers (full Reeses Cups size) and they both worked well. I was unsure if the fudge would stick to the paper so I sprayed most of them with a non-stick baking spray. I couldn't tell which pieces were sprayed from the ones that were not as the papers peeled off with ease. Whew....I was really worried about the sticking!


Want the link for the recipe? It is called the Boardwalk Quality Maple Walnut Fudge which is on AllRecipes.com. Click here for the recipe. I made one minor change by using vanilla butternut as my flavoring of choice in place of the maple extract.


~MSC
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