Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter treats

I decided to go ahead & make marshmallow eggs I'm not a huge fan normally but have wanted to try out making marshmallows for awhile. Very easy & not messy at all. Plenty of people try to say it is!

I used this recipe:

Next time, I'd use a lot more vanilla, but other that, I liked it fine. I dipped in dark chocolate too. Fluffy & tasty!

I also made peanut butter eggs (soooo good). I like this recipe but they are very soft so you have to keep them in the fridge. I'd probably try another one next time to see if it ended up stiffer. The graham cracker crumbs are a nice addition, maybe I just need more.

I printed some free printables & bagged them up.

I also made my Great Aunt Rose's famous pepperoni bread. I have memories of only getting this on Easter growing up. It's rich with pepperoni and fluffy ricotta with a slight sweetness in the dough - that sweetness is my strongest memory of this. This always tastes better if it sits a day, so I made it Friday night. And when I went to bed the whole house smelled of pepperoni!

My Italian friend Marsha tells me this is called Pizza Rustica and is the star of Easter lunch in Italy. I googled some recipes and it is quite similar, but the other recipes use a lot of meats. I might try one of those next time, because who doesn't love cured meats?

Check out her recipe, handwritten, longform. I love it but I did rewrite for myself in short form. You can see my Mom's notes on the side. These kinds of family things mean the world to me!

For history's sake, I'm still calling it Pepperoni Bread since that what she always called it.

Slight changes, I used shortening instead of lard. Tasty still but lard does give it a special extra punch of porky flavor. Also, I barely used any milk in the dough.

Great Aunt Rose's Pepperoni Bread

3 cups all pupose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
1/4 lb + 2 level tablespoons lard
5 large eggs mixed with a fork
milk - enough to make an easy dough (it will be lighter if not worked too long)

Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in lard and and eggs. This can be done in a food processor easily but I use my handheld pastry cutter. Add milk as needed, work until smooth. This dough will be sticky. Cut dough in half and on a floured surface, roll out into 2 12" rounds or make 2 rectangles to fit a long cookie sheet. Place one piece on a well greased cookie sheet, stretching carefully to edge.  Preheat oven to 350, make filling.

1 1/4 lb. pepperoni - sliced or chopped small (use good pepperoni, you will appreciate it!)
2 strips of bacon - cut into small pieces
1 1/4 lb. ricotta
5 large eggs mixed with a fork
1 egg mixed with water

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl (by hand). Put mix evenly on dough, do not get too close to edge, leave about 1". It will be about 1" tall. Moisten the dough edge with the eggwash mixture. Place top crust over the mix and turn bottom edge up over the top & pinching together, seal well. Brush eggwash over the top. Sprinkle a little sugar & black pepper over the crust. Poke holes in the crust with a toothpick before baking.

After 15-20 minutes in the oven, pinch top again to prevent crust from cracking. (I did not have to do this). Bake another 30 minutes at 350, then 30 minutes at 325 or until it is well done & browned. If the top is getting too brown, place a piece of tin foil over it. Your house will smell like pepperoni by the end of this & you will be very hungry!

Cool the pan on a wire rack. When cool, remove from pan. Keep in a cool, dry place until the next day when it can be wrapped in foil. If weather is warm, it should be kept in the fridge.

We've always served this cold, on Easter day or as a nice afternoon snack.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Jory's owl moon 2nd birthday party

A longtime online friend passed away from cancer in September 2011 at a very young age. She had an obsession with owls. I can't help but think she played a part in me introducing owls to my son since she was on my mind so much this Fall. Thank you for your inspiration from above, Diane Naegel. ♥

Jory loves them so combining 2 of his fave things - owls & moons - for his 2nd birthday theme seemed like a great idea. I made a pinterest board for inspiration & it helped immensely. I'm now officially addicted to it!

I made 2 flavors of cake - vanilla, colored vanilla (always a hit), and chocolate. I baked on Wednesday night & froze them so I could assemble on Friday night. I highly recommend baking in advance, it's easier to carve & one less thing to worry about.

invite - printed the text on plain white cards, cut out the rest

cake ready for assembly


inspiration for carving

messy but carved

crumb coated

my feather technique - pipe dots, smash with the round part of a spoon (found similar technique on pinterest)

owl feet (people loved this touch)

welcome sign - made with leftover letters & paper

table (minus all the food, oops, got busy). How cute is that owl fabric?
I need to find something to make with it so he can remember it.

The night sky backdrop my husband made - thrift store sheet,
clearance tie dye kit at Michaels & glitter spray for the galaxies.

galaxy detail:

I also had the husband cut out & spray a crescent moon:

Owl lanterns - I got the idea off pinterest

Owl lantern tree - branches from the backyard, pebbles are some
long lost craft project I found in the basement

I had my husband cut out a giant 2, then blew up balloons & poked through. Love this idea!

owl, moon & J cookies

cheese & pineapple hedgehog (an English birthday tradition).
Bought owl cutouts on etsy & glued to toothpicks.

Homemade cheez-its (more like flaky cheese crackers, but in a cute moon shape).
I used my Mom's 1970s canape cutters - which I think is awesome.
Retro baking items are my most treasured possessions, especially from family.

Got the lanterns off, banner is fabric I bought &
cut out in pennant shapes. I used premade letters on the banner.

Favors - I bought molds at my local cake & candy supply, painted & filled molds.
I designed & printed the labels as well.

favor crayons (off etsy):

favor bags - I packaged the crayons, had bubbles with his face on them,
owl stickers, and sewed little bags with my banner fabrics:

and last but not least - the cake...My biggest achievement to date!
The sticks are brown sugar cookies, thanks pinterest.

our family
his shirt was from Happy Family -

Monday, April 2, 2012

jungle cupcakes - take 2 & 3

Jungle cupcakes, take 2: These were for a friend of a friend's 1st birthday party. Since I try not to use fondant, I used only buttercream & some candy eyes (a small cheat).

sample of theme I was trying to match:

cute, right?

Jungle cupcakes, take 3: These were a friend's daughter's 1st birthday, 3 flavors. This time I made candy animals, which with different backgrounds kinda wins me over from straight buttercream animals. Love these!

Matching the theme: