Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Butterfly Cupcakes

Em and I are on a cupcake kick (well, Emily is always on a cupcake kick...I am just catching on!) We did these cupcakes for Ellie's first birthday party and they were oh-so-beautiful! Not only were they beautiful, but they were really fun to make. We got this out of the Hello Cupcake Book again.

What you'll need:
Candy melts - whichever colors you'd like your butteflies to be.
We used green, yellow, pink, orange and brown.
Wax paper
White Nonpareils (got these at Michaels)
Chocolate Chips

First, cut your wax paper into pieces (large enough for two wings) so it's easier to move the wings around when you are finished and you don't smear the chocolate all over when you are trying to do the next one.

Make yourself a butterfly wing pattern on paper.

Stick your candy melts (about 1 cup is enough for 8-10 sets of wings) in freezer duty zip lock bags and microwave in 30 second intervals until they are melted through. Massage after each 30 seconds.

Take your chocolate bag and snip a small end off the corner and draw one butterfly wing. Then grab your next color and fill it in. Smooth around to fill the entire space with a toothpick and then pull part of the choclate through your color to get the swirl pattern.

You have to work really fast because the chocolate dries really fast. If you wait too long, you can't pull the color through or sprinkle the nonpareils on top. I would strongly recommend only doing one wing at a time. This sounds tedious and, well, it is. But if you have two people working on it, it won't take ALL night...just most of it. ;)

Once the wings have all dried, peel them off the wax paper and place them on your cupcake, propped up by chocolate chips. And Voila! You are finished and you have some super cute cupcakes that you won't want to eat because they're so cute! No worries though- all the little kids will eat them. They have no problems eating all your hard work. ;)

Em even did a little cake with the butterflies as well- and it turned out so beautiful. Ellie didn't appreciate it much now, but she will in a few years. :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Italian Pasta Bake

I tried this recipe out of my Simply One Dish magazine from Pillsbury. I got a subscription to the Pillsbury monthly recipe magazines and am FINALLY getting around to using them!! See, all that money wasn't a waste. ;) Joe and Bade really enjoyed it and it seems relatively healthy...lots of veggies anyway.

What You'll need:
1 1/2 c. uncooked mostaccioli or penne pasta
1/2 lb. bulk pork Italian sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium stalk celery
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow squash
4-5 sliced mushrooms (or one small can of mushrooms)
10-15 quartered pepperoni slices (opt.)
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz.) (You can also do one large can of spaghetti sauce in place of the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes)
1 can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano (14.5 oz)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 350 F. Spray 8 in. square pan (I used a round corning ware dish). Cook and drain noodles according to package directions.

In a skillet, cook the sausage and onion over medium-high heat, stirring occassionally until sausage is no longer pink and onion is tender. Drain. Stir in zucchini, squash, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and mushrooms. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cook 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in pasta. Pour into baking dish. Cover and bake 15 minutes.

Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered 5-10 more minutes until casserole is bubbly and cheese is melted.

I've made this a few times now and it is super yummy. The second time, I had a lot of spaghetti sauce on hand, so I used a jar of that instead of the two cans of tomatoes. It tasted just as good and was a good way for me to use some of my food storage. :)