Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dinosaur Chocolate Chocolate Cake

The Cake.

The centerpiece of a party... I wanted it special & fun & I wanted to make it myself for Gabriel's Dinosaur party. And, funny as it sounds, since the kids were dressing as dinosaurs, I did not want the cake to be dinosaur shaped. So, incorporating Jen's beautiful dino silhouette, I created this bunting- thought the upside down "R" & pinwheels were a cute touch. Some grated/shredded chocolate for "dirt", dinosaur candles & speckled jelly bean "dinosaur eggs" (which ALL of the children wanted) were finishing touches.   

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake Recipe
Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting Recipe

<3 Lishie
Gabriel's Mom

Monday, April 29, 2013

Lava Cake Pops

I think these little cakelets were the guest favorite of my son's dinosaur party! And they are really easy to make.

Lava Cake Pops
All you need:

  • 1 chocolate cake recipe
  • Wilton's Candy Melts (in orange)
You can either make cake pops, or, as I did, brownie pops. Or you can make mini cupcakes without the wrapper & turn the cupclakes upside down.

After the cake has cooled, add the "lava". Drizzle the melted candy over the cake pops.

These are the perfect size for little hands. And, as I found out, large hands too because all of the daddies loved them!!!

<3 Lishie
Gabriel's mom

Friday, April 26, 2013

"Fossilized" Cinnamon Sugar Cookies


So my son Gabriel just turned 4 & we had a big dinosaur party. The kids all became LittleOsauruses & had a great time. One of the treats I made were these cookies. They were a hit! Here's how I made them...

Besides the itemized baking list below, you'll need a plastic dinosaur with rather large feet. Give him a dishwash-detergent bath in the sink first...

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies
adapted from Taste of Home
  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c confectioners' sugar
  • 1 c vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4-1/3 c a-p flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon + a little more to "sprinkle"
In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugars & oil. Add eggs & vanilla; mix well. Add flour, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar & cinnamon. Cover & refrigerated for 3 hours or until easy to handle.

Roll into 1" balls. Place on greased baking sheets; (normally, at this point, you would flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. However, to make the "fossils", I...) Here's where that plastic dinosaur's roll comes in... STAMP the the 1" ball down with the dino's foot. Bake at 375° for about 5 minutes, take the sheet of cookies out & STAMP them again with the dino's foot. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon. Bake at 375° for 5-7 more minutes or browned a little. 

<3 Lishie 
Gabriel's mom

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dinosaur Excavation Jell-O


Got pluots? Anyone, anyone? My subtlety may be lost but I found it punny. Pluots are fruit- a cross-pollination of plums and apricots nicknamed dinosaur eggs. So since Jell-O is fruity... hopefully you see how my mind came up with this! Ha!
Anyway, these cups were a huge hit at my son's dinosaur party. Most children love Jell-o & these fit the theme nicely, color-wise & "activity-wise". I used orange & lime Jell-o to match my green & orange color scheme. Made the Jell-o in small, clear cups. Placed the cups in the refrigerator... waited about 30 minutes, then added a gummy dinosaur to each cup.
The children quickly excavated those dinosaurs from that Jell-O & finished off the cups!
This technique can be used for so many themes! For an Ocean theme- blue raspberry Jell-O with Swedish Fish... For a Pirate theme- blue raspberry Jell-O with an orange slice on top for a sail... For a sleepover party- any color Jell-o to match your theme with a gummy "teddy" bear... For a Monster Party-any color Jell-o to match your theme with a gummy worm... For a Picnic- any color Jell-o to match your theme with gummy cherries...I could go on & on...

<3 Lishie
Gabriel's mom :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Celebrate, Roar, Gabrielosaurs is 4! Gabriel's 4th Birthday Party!!!!

I make a huge deal of my son's birthdays. Why? He is important to me & with each year passing, each day, I love him more & more & want him to have friends & a wonderful life. I want him to celebrate life. See, my son has autism & he is non-verbal. But, autism does not have him. He's the sweetest, happiest child I've ever seen & he is social. He seems to run on the peripheral of everything, watching in & feeling part of it all at the same time. He enjoys other's happiness. And how much more to make him happy than to throw a fun-filled party?!

This year, I dubbed, the Year of the Dinosaur. 

And rightly so. Everything has been dinos with us- Valentine's, Easter eggs, etc. And Gabriel seems to love them! We are even redoing his baby boy dino room into a big boy dino room! 

So for his party, I made the little ones dinosaurs themselves. I ordered masks then hand made foam dino feet to match the masks. They even had name tags:  "_____OSAURUS" They had to ROAR to get them ;) And they kept on roaring all through the party... to the dig/scavenger hunt at "the excavation site" (a tub of orange sand filled with tiny plastic dinos) The kids had a checkoff list paper of the 4 kinds of dinosaurs they could "hunt" & collect in their plastic baggy... to take to create air dry clay "fossils" by stamping either the "hunted" dinos they found or some of the other objects on the table (including plastic centipedes, bats, etc.) Then onto coloring personalized GABRIELOSAURUS dino pages & crafting w/ dino stickers on constuction paper. A huge T-Rex was awaiting them (DinoSAWus!!!) for pictures... And besides pizza, they had all sorts of dino-themed foods to snack on... Carnivores (pepperoni pizza), Omnivores, Herbivores & Snackivores!!! The favor- a big plastic dinosaur to adopt & take home! A Roaring good time!!!
Click HERE for recipe!
Welcome Wreath
Dessert table- Carnivores, Omnivores, Herbivores & Snackivores!!!
Prehistoric Punch!
(Click HERE for recipe)
Lava Cakelets
Click HERE for recipe!
Excavate the dino from the Jell-O (Pluots are dinosaur fruit)
Click HERE for recipe.
Fossilized Cookies
Click HERE for recipe.
Snack Quarry (Click HERE for recipe)complete with shovel to dig out, Boulder Blocks (Click HERE for recipe) & Triceratops "Party Horns"
Celebrate, Roar, GABRIELOSAURUS is 4!!!! Cute pinata we didn't bash ;)

Dinosaur Gear
Masks & Handmade feet!
Excavation Site
Checkoff list paper of the 4 kinds of dinosaurs they could "hunt"
Excavating fun!

Crafting table
Personalized GABRIELOSAURUS coloring pages & crafting w/ dino stickers on constuction paper
Some finished clay Fossils
Uh oh!!!! Big T-Rex Dino SAW us!!!!

Dinos get presents too!
The favor- a big plastic dinosaur to adopt & take home!

Us with the birthday-saur
More beautiful SIGNAGE by The Doodle Jar/Jar of Designs
Follow the prints to... the party!

 And this is how he celebrated on the actual day at school:

If you enjoyed this post, please consider giving my Dinosaur birthday a "Cupcake" on Catch My Party!
I <3 my Gabrielosaurus!
<3 Lishie

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dinosaur Pull Apart Cake

Happy birthday to my boy, Gabrielosaurus! This was the first celebration on his actual birthday (4/17) at school. Pull-apart cakes are great for class celebrations- theme's there, without the cutting! This was easy- you can do it!!! My little dino had a great day!
<3 Lishie

Dinosaur Pull Apart Cake 

  • 1 Chocolate Cake Recipe
  • 1 Vanilla Frosting recipe
  • green food coloring (or whatever color your dinosaur wants to be!)
  • green (or matching sugar sprinkles)
  • Bugles
  • 2 white chocolate chips
  • Eyes (you can make them with a toothpick & paper!)

24-25 cupcakes
Favors for the class <3
Dinosaur mask, dinosaur pencil, dinosaur stickers, dinosaur eraser & a personalized dinosaur coloring sheet
Mix the vanilla frosting with the food coloring to get the color you want; Frost the cupcakes. Place in the pattern above (pictured). add the green sprinkles, the bugles for the spine & claws... the eyes & the 2 chips for the nostrils.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Egg Cups with Asparagus, Gruyere & Ham

These are so adorable! I was happy to use my muffin tins for more than my cute cupcakes for once! These are perfect for a quick breakfast but elegant enough to serve at a brunch. Asparagus season is now, so buy up those slender stalks because they are perfect for this recipe. And they are sure delish!

<3 Lishie

Egg Cups with Asparagus, Gruyere & Ham
  • 12 eggs, beaten
  • 1 c cooked ham, chopped
  • 1 c asparagus, chopped into 1" pieces
  • 1/2 c gruyere, shredded
  • 1/4 c milk
  • fresh parsley
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  
Spray 12 muffin tin cups with cooking spray.
Mix together all of the ingredients.  Add the mixture evenly to all 12 cups.  Bake for 13-14 minutes or until puffed and browned.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bee Cupcakes

My son had the most wonderful experience for two months of Saturdays... An ice skating class managed by high school juniors & seniors at the local high school. The school's mascot is the Fighting Bee so for the ice skating end party, I only thought it appropriate to make bee cupcakes! They came out pretty cute I think!

Bee Cupcakes
1 Chocolate Cupcake recipe
1 Chocolate Frosting recipe
cupcake liners

yellow icing
candy eyes
Nilla Wafers, halved
yellow sugar crystals

Pipe alternating yellow/chocolate/yellow/chocolate lines for the stripes.
Pipe two "dots" of chocolate to affix the candy eyes.
Stick the two halves of one Nilla Wafer cookie for the "wings".

For some alternate cupcakes, simply frost with chocolate & dip into yellow sugar cystals.

For more fun, I printed these ice skating bee stock pictures (google image search) on labels & then affixed them to toothpicks to add to the yellow crystal cupcakes <3.

<3 Lishie

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Strawberry Muffins

It's finally feeling like Spring in the Northeast (well, even if it is a bit more like a summery spring, but I am not complaining!!!) These strawberry muffins are just the right amount of sweet to make you smile. They are the perfect breakfast or brunch fare.

<3 Lishie

Strawberry Muffins
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2, six muffin tins.
In a small bowl, combine oil, milk, & egg. Whisk lightly. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder & sugar. Toss in chopped strawberries & stir to coat with flour. Pour in milk mixture & stir together.

Fill muffin cups. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the tops bounce back from the touch. Cool 10 minutes & remove from pans.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Rustic Banana Upside Down Cake

I made this cake a while ago. And I promised to blog it then forgot! It is so tasty, perfect to use up overly ripe bananas... And it is not too sweet, so it is perfect for a breakfast or brunch get together. My cousin Kelly made a gorgeous, non-rustic version & that's where the idea came from.

<3 Lishie

Rustic Banana Upside Down Cake
  • 4-5 ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1 & 1/2 light brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 TBsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 TBsp (I use canola) oil
Preheat oven to 350.

In a prepped, floured & greased cake pan, place the banana slices all along the bottom in one layer.  Sprinkle the brown sugar all over the banana slices. Set pan aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients. Pour into the pan, over the banana brown sugar layer. 

Bake 40-50 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow pan to cool then carefully, placing the serving plate on the top opening of the pan, flip the cake out so the banana slices are on top. Serve & enjoy.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Today is National Caramel Day

April 5, 2013 is

National Caramel Day

It’s National Caramel Day! Americans began making sugary syrups in the 1600s, but the delicious chewy caramel we know and love today was a more recent innovation. Caramel candy emerged during the 18th century and quickly became one of the most popular sweets on the market. In fact, Milton Hershey’s first business was the Lancaster Caramel Company!
To celebrate National Caramel Day, MAKE THIS DeLish DeMaria treat!!! YUM
 Stuffed Brownies

Parmesan Asparagus

I love asparagus. They're beautiful little stems of goodness. And right about now, they are coming into season which means... skinny, perfect stalks good enough to munch on raw (which I do) as I prepare it.

Here are two ways to enjoy the one recipe.
<3 Lishie

Parmesan Asparagus
1 lb. bunch of fresh asparagus, trimmed*
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
3 TBSp fresh garlic, minced
1/4 c parmesan grated

Place the asparagus in a plastic bag combined with the olive oil, garlic & parmesan- make sure the marinade coats all stalks- for an hour in the refrigerator.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast for 10 minutes, turning the asparagus stalks at 5.

Grilled  perfect for summer
Heat up grill. Grill 10 minutes, turning the asparagus stalks at 5.

*Bend one asparagus stalk gently at the bottom & where it snaps, the piece gets discarded. Line the rest of the bunch up with this first stalk &, using your knife, cut the rest at the same break off point.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Stovetop Ham Mac & Cheese with Asparagus

I was thrilled. Oh so happy. Easter meant leftover ham. I hardly ever get to make ham at home since the hubs doesn't really like it much! I gladly accepted leftover, slick slices of my sis-in-law's spiral ham...

Then I made this meal, for one... Leftovers of this await me as well :) 

<3 Lishie

Stovetop Ham, Mac & Cheese with Asparagus
  • 1 lb. medium pasta shells
  • 1-2 TBSp olive oil
  • 1 small, red pepper, diced
  • 1 small bunch of fresh asparagus, trimmed & diced into 1-2" pieces
  • 1/2 lb. thick-sliced ham 
  • s & p, to taste
  • 1 c mixed, shredded cheddar cheese
Cook pasta al dente (save 1/2 c of cooking water before draining.)

In a deep-sided saute pan, heat the olive oil. Add the pepper, asparagus & ham. Saute until the veg is tender. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 c of the cooking water... Add the pasta to the saute pan with the ham & veg... Quickly stir in the shredded cheese. Add as much of the reserved cooking water as needed to thin out the cheese & combine the ingredients. Serve!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Slow-Cooker Brisket & Onions

Some meals have "seasons"
& I think beef briskett goes along with Passover like corned beef goes along with St. Patrick's Day. The supermarkets think so too since it these cuts of meet go on sale to coincide with the respective holiday. Place price aside, & brisket is the perfect cut to make in the slow-cooker. It's a tough meat that benefits from the long braising time.

This meal was oh so good.
This was break apart, delicious.
Don't wait for a holiday, make it for dinner soon.

<3 Lishie

Slow-Cooker Brisket & Onions 

slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 medium carrots, cleaned & peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 first cut of beef brisket* (4 lbs.), trimmed of excess fat
  • Coarse salt & ground pepper
  • 2 c low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 TBSp chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, lay the carrots on the bottom. Season brisket with salt & pepper & place, fat side up, on top of the carrots in slow cooker. Place onion & garlic on top. Add broth. Cover & cook on high until brisket is fork-tender, about 6 hours. Remove brisket & thinly slice against the grain. Serve with onion & some cooking liquid; sprinkle with parsley.

I served with herb-buttered noodles, alongside.

*Lishie (& Martha) tip- For this recipe, look for the leaner first cut, or "flat cut."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Cupcakes

I love to bring something special & fun for dessert if I am not hosting & when I saw these cheesecake cupcakes, I knew, they were it. They taste like cookies 'n cream ice cream but even better. Oh.so.good. If you are afraid to make cheesecake, do not be afraid to make these- they are easier & a perfect serving size in a little wrapper.

<3 Lishie

Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Cupcakes
from Kuntal's Kitchen
  • 42 cream-filled sandwich cookies, such as Oreos, 30 left whole, and 12 coarsely chopped
  • 2 lbs. (4 8-oz packages) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 c sour cream
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 275°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.

With an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, & beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.

Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream & salt. Fold in chopped cookies by hand.

Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.