Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Cupcakes & Cookies

In our house, we love to bake... and to spread around the sugary goodness!
Here's a peek of our adorable Halloween bake spread.  And, since it's the first holiday since Lilian's been in pre-school, we made up adorable tins of cupcake/cookie samplers to give her teachers and the school staff as gifts (as well as some for our family/employers, etc.)
I think they came out totally adorable and Lilian had a lot of fun being our little helper.

The purple cupcake & the spider are double chocolate chip: one with buttercream frosting and the other with chocolate.  The crumb topped one is a pumpkin cheescake cupcake.  The one that is frosted like a pumpkin is red velvet, with orange-dyed cream cheese frosting.  And the sprinkled chocolate-frosted is a banana chocolate chip cupcake.  On the right is a sugar cookie painted with icing to look like a candy corn (and has the tag/card attached that says all the flavors and a Halloween message) to be the gift tag.  The cute tins are about 6" across (by the way, these are mini cupcakes) and were purchased for $1 a piece!  We lined them with tissue paper, but one piece of tissue paper cut up lined six tins.  So this was an altogether pretty inexpensive gift idea, but it looks totally adorable!  Plus, Missy is a FANTASTIC cook/baker so they taste fabulous.

Making the candy corn cookies.

In the end, we decided we liked them better without faces, though it is cute with it too.

(Lily took a bite out of the one with the face)

To package the cookies, I just cut the bottom off a zip lock bag... then I punched holes along two sides, and used ribbon to "lace" it up.  I then put the card on the ribbon and tied a bow!  Then we just used a small piece of packing tape rolled on the back of the cookie, and stuck the whole "gift tag" on the lid of the tin!

The finished product.

Our "gift tags".

Since these are mini cupcakes, I think each batch made almost 50... and Missy baked 4 batches, so our house had between 200-300 cupcakes in it!  I swear every surface in the kitchen had cupcakes on it all day/evening!

Luckily the pumpkin-cheesecake ones can be stacked!

Mmmm... spiders!

Lilian got to help at various stages: she helped Missy mix the ingredients before they were baked, and after I frosted the banana ones, she helped shake on the sprinkles.  She just loves to help out in the kitchen, and is getting really good at remembering the names/amounts of all the ingredients needed.
While Missy was making the spider faces on the cupcakes, Lilian wanted to do one too, so we gave her one of the orange cupcakes, and she made her own spider!  She LOVED him.

Hello.  I'm the cutest cupcake in the world.

Lilian's spider.

Not bad for a 3 year old.

While I was taking photos of all this stuff, Lilian decided to be a ham and asked me to take a photo of her... and she's incredibly cute, so here she is:
My Little Peanut

So, I hope Lilian's teachers enjoy her cupcakes.  I know we had fun making them, and I think they turned out super cute!  And delicious!

Most of the tins, before we closed them up.


By the way, I think all of the sprinkles used and the eyeballs on the spider are all made by Wilton (and can be purchased at Michael's or wherever Wilton is sold).  The pumpkin stem is a "Mike & Ikes" candy cut into pieces.  The spider legs are red licorice strings.  And the frostings/cupcakes/cookies were all made/baked by Missy!  If anyone would like recipes, let me know and I can get them from her and share!

Are you a teacher?  Do you usually get gifts for holidays other than Christmas?  Would you like to receive a homemade cupcake sampler?

Did you bake for Halloween?  I'd love to see what you made!  Comment with photos/links to yours!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

One of my Favorite Days Of the Year - APPLE PICKING!!!

OK... so this is going to be a photo-heavy post, but it's been a while anyway...

I love autumn.  I mean i REALLY love autumn.  It's like I come alive again every year when the weather gets cool, leaves turn orange, pumpkins are everywhere, and everything smells spicy.  And we have a tradition of apple picking.  We go once a year (I thought we went every year, but looking back at photos, I think we went in 2004, then skipped 3 years, but we went every year from 2008-2011) and then we have people over our house to bake pies and do autumn-like things!  It's definitely one of my favorite days of the year - one that SHOULD  be a holiday.  "National Autumn-apple-picking-day."  Way better than some other holidays that already exist.

So here are some apple picking photos from throughout the years... they get funnier after Lilian is born, because in those 4 years, there is a LOT of growth!  :)   It's fun to look back at old photos and watch her grow...

So here goes...

2004 - Missy and I went with our friend Nadine (and Brian and Jaclyn) in Harding, NJ.

Aw man, I LOVED that Hoboken NeighborHoodie!

One of my favorite photos of Missy of all time!

2008 - Lilian was about 3 months old, we went late in the year that year - November.  Lilian's dad "B" came and brought his niece "T" and we went to Seven Ponds Orchard in Water Mill, NY.

She's TINY!!!

Our friend MARY knitted that apple hat & i LOVED it!

(Click on any of the photos to see them larger).

It's the cutest apple in the tree!

2009 - This year B's sister "L" came with us, and brought her two children "B" and "J".  They were (I think) 6 and 8 at the time.  Lilian was about 13 months old.  We went September 13 this year at The Milk Pail in Water Mill, NY.

These photos are all out of order... peeling apples comes AFTER picking them!

Me & Peanut

LOVE this photo!!!

2010 - I wanted to go apple picking as my birthday celebration... and one of our best friends, Ashley, came with us that year.  Then we went back to Joe's house in Bridgehampton and made pies (and drank lots of beer.)  This year was at The Milk Pail again.

Apple tossing!!!

I designed REALLY pretty pies this year.

Lily never wants to LOOK at the camera for photos. This hasn't changed.

And 2011 - We went last weekend (10/8/11), back to Seven Ponds Orchard (where we went in 2008. Prices are better and staff is friendlier!)  And... you can compare the "apple of my eye", school bus, and height photos to the ones when Lilian was itty bitty... how fun!  B came out again, along with our friend Lizzie (and her friends B &B).  The day ran really late... and Missy ended up baking the pies all by herself at midnight after I went to bed, but they were some of the best apple pies I ever tasted!  This year WON in the pie taste area.

Look how big she got!!!

(Again, this comes later... but you can figure that out!)

Group shot taken by an anonymous stranger.

OMG, cutest photo ever!  TWO smiles, even! (Lily and her dad)

Lily tried to PULL the wagon with Lizzie & B in it... it didn't happen.

One of the RARE poses I got. She hates standing still for photos!

Apple picking can be sexy...

So... 2012.  Who wants to come apple picking with me?!?!
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