Friday, February 3, 2012

Superbowl CupCake Tree

If you've seen my wedding blog, you've seen a Cupcake Tree transformation before. I gotta say, I love the CupcakeTree! We have used the same one for three weddings now and it's still just as sturdy as when I bought it! Bonus, it folds to a slim box between uses!
Since I knew Tresha of Pink Princess Cakes would be bringing some cupcakes to Superbowl this weekend, I decided to decorate it yet again! 
I started with a naked tree:

photo credit

(except I'm not using the bottom level)
I have used wrapping paper in the past but didn't have enough on hand and wanted to do this before shopping again, so I found a leftover rectangle green Dollar Tree tablecloth. (which, fyi is big enough to cover all the layers if cut logically, but if  covering the risers, I think another would have been nessesary, but 2x$1 is better than 2x$3 a roll for wrapping paper!) I cut around each circle and scotch-taped the plastic on.

(you can see where other paper was taped on and removed from before).
Next I used some white Duck tape, yes duck tape, not duct tape for the edges.
I worked in small sections, smoothing it on around the perimeters as cleanly as I could.

I opted not to cover the risers between layers this time, it wasn't worth the time, and besides, the guests will be paying more attention to the goodies than the cardboard. I do wish I had some end caps though.

The cheap plastic table cloth does allow some of the tape tears to show through, but once it is covered in cupcakes, no one will notice, nor care!

Next, I moved on to the top layer, I had a fun idea. 
I traced the sides of the circle and free-handed a football shape. I traced the template onto a piece of cardboard and cut it out.
Ellie woke up from her nap and came to help.

The brown cardstock really wasn't flexible or large enough, so we scrapped that idea. I found some brown wrapping paper though! (I taped the top layer circle to the underside of the football shape. (the circle has the holes for the risers to hold it into place securely)
Once the brown paper was down, I freehand cut some ball tip stripe things. I traced the better stripe twice onto a fresh sheet of cardstock as well as some threads.

I cut them out and ran them through my xyron. I stuck them on....
and assembled the tree.
I will be getting some white number stickers for next to the yard-lines.
I can't wait until it's covered in cupcakes!
I will update the post with final pics with and without cupcakes, I just wanted this to get posted before the big game!

Lactation Cookies (unless youre not breastfeeding, in which case theyre Tasty Cookies)

Chocolate Almond Lactation Cookies

Oatmeal, flax seed, brewer’s yeast and almonds have all be found to boost milk supply. It is also important for nursing moms to consume plenty of calories, and with a baby to take care of; these cookies make for a great snack. This recipe yields about 40 cookies.

It is important to note that many moms worry about supply unnecessarily. As long as a baby is breastfed exclusively, having plenty of wet diapers and gaining weight, milk supply is not likely a problem. If you are concerned, it is best to speak with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. It doesn’t hurt to eat these tasty cookies though!

Kitchen Tools Needed

• Oven and kitchen timer (not pictured)
• A medium bowl (see photos for size examples)
• A large bowl
• A mixer
• A whisk
• A set of measuring cups
• Rubber spatula
• A #40 dishing scoop OR 2 spoons
• Cookie sheets
• Cooling racks
• Fork
• Metal spatula

Ingredients Needed

• 1 1/2 c. flour (whole wheat or all-purpose)
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 3/4 c. rolled oats OR 1 c. steel –cut oats
• ¾ c. almond butter or peanut butter (before starting, see TIP, also, if doubling recipe, use entire 16oz jar)
• 1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
• 1 c. flax meal
• 3 T brewer's yeast (often called “nutritional yeast” in stores)
• 1/3 c. water
• 1/2 c. sugar
• 1/2 c. brown sugar
• 2 tsp vanilla
• 2 large eggs
• 2 c. (12oz) chocolate chips, any variety
• 1 c. chopped almonds (or other nuts, however almonds can help with milk production)

TIP: If using natural nut butter that requires stirring, simply pour the entire jar into the large bowl and use mixer to stir, then measure out what is needed and put excess back into jar prior to step 3. This saves hassle with a butter knife and the bowl and mixer are going to get dirty anyway.

1) Preheat the oven to 350* F
2) In the medium bowl, gently whisk together:
• flour
• baking soda
• cinnamon
• salt
set aside 

3) In the large bowl, beat the following:
• nut butter
• butter or margarine
• sugar
• brown sugar
• brewer's yeast
• flax meal
• water
• vanilla
until creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to fully incorporate all ingredients, dough will be wet and creamy.
4) Mix in the 2 eggs until combined.
5) Add bowl of dry ingredients, about a cup at a time, mix until fully combined.
6) Mix in the nuts and chocolate chips completely.
7) Slowly, add oats, about ¼ cup at a time, until all mixed.
8) Using the scoop or 2 spoons, form balls about 2 inches in diameter, place about 2 inches apart onto a cookie sheet and flatten each ball slightly with the tines of a fork. This ensures even baking.
9) Bake for about 12 minutes, they will be soft, but hold up to a metal spatula when done.

10) Allow to cool on pan no longer than 2 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Note: The taste of warm brewer’s yeast can be bitter, so some moms prefer to let them cool completely before eating.

TIP: Mixing and baking cookies is a lot of work for possibly sleep deprived moms, this dough freezes well: simply place formed and flattened balls in step 7 onto parchment paper and into zip-top bags and freeze. Whenever needed, simply place as many onto a cookie sheet as needed and bake for 12-14 minutes at 350*F

Tip: Some fresh baked cookies and/or some frozen cookie dough balls would make a great gift for a new mom, or a mom who is struggling with breastfeeding.

• Cookies should be stored in an air tight bag or container and will last up to 2 weeks fresh. Frozen dough will last at least 2 months.

• For a boost in milk supply, consume 4-6 per day. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Label organization.

Yes, I know it's extreme (or awesome?) to organize organization supplies, that's how I roll. (just don't look at the rest of my house)
I relocated my computer and printer and a few other things organizing my craft room (yes it's been like a year and still hasn't been completely done yet) when I found a binder and my bin of printable labels.

I got a million labels(like 10 packages) at a yardsale for $1 (for all) last spring. They were just in their packages stuffed in this bin and when I needed to print some, I'd always grab the wrong one or more than one package would come out.
First I thought it'd be cool if I could hole punch them for the binder, then I thought of some page protectors I had.
I started by taking some dividers (half a package I had leftover from another binder I made) I had and putting them in page protectors so they'd be the same size with the tab sticking out. (I found in the past dividers don't work with the extra width of page protectors) I simply cut a slit in the edge of the protector where the divider tab would go and slid them in.
Next, I separated the labels into piles, I had lots of return address size and to: address size. I also had some large shipping labels and cd and file tab labels. I opened packages and slipped a stack of label sheets into page protectors. It took about 2 protectors per package of labels. When they were all in the binder I made labels with for the tabs, a binder cover and spine label.
The binder cover is sort of boring but when I get my household binder finished I will decide on a design theme for all my binders and remake the covers/spines to match.

All the packages went into recycling! (after cutting out the Box Tops for Education!)
I have accessed the binder since creating it and I did overstuff the page protectors a little, but it was so nice knowing right where to look!