The Crazy Kitchen: April 2011

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Easter Cupcakes Creme Egg Brownies Carrot Cake Easter Nests Cookies Cookies

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Wot? No Bunting..

Today I've been feeling a little fragile after the Royal Wedding celebrations yesterday. I wouldn't say that I have a hangover exactly, my old body is just feeling a little tired after all that partying.

I watched some of the wedding coverage in my pj's whilst making a last minute Fascinator, Blue Peter style out of a yoghurt pot, some glue, felt & feathers. After my shower we headed down to our local where members of CHEF (the Charity that raises money throughout the year to put on an all expenses paid Christmas Party for the elderly folk in the village) were holding a Family Fun Day.

I was a bit disappointed not to see any Bunting when we got there, I had the strings of bunting from Silver Jubilee in 1977 in my mind, but it wasn't to be. They did, however, have an inflatable assault course, face painting, a Paintball Shooting range, Beat the Goalie, BBQ and an Ice-Cream van. The pub has a small caravan site attached along with a Pitch n Putt and a playground with slide and swings so there was something for all the family and plenty of space to run about. Sam played football with his friends and used up plenty of energy on the inflatable assault course, whilst Hanna ran around with her friends up and down the slide. Jack overcame his fear of going down the slide on his own and was soon chasing Hanna up and down. At the same time the Mums and Dads enjoyed catching up on some chat over a drink or two.

During the afternoon I nipped home & picked up a few boxes of ice creams for the kids and my Royal Wedding Cupcakes to share around as a wedding wouldn't be a wedding without cake. We also cracked open a bottle of pink fizz to toast the happy couple (not that we need an excuse to open a bottle of fizz!)

When the Fun Day finished our party continued into our neighbours house......and when it was time to leave there it continued back at the 'Party Kitchen' in our house - named as there is often a bit of a party going on in there as for the past year, since we extended, it is no longer too small to swing a cat in.

We are lucky enough to have some very good friends in the village where we've lived for the past 7.5 years and the children have lovely friends, always in and out of each others houses, just as I remember when we were growing up, and just how it should be.



  

Cheers!
  

Screwballs are best eaten with a medicine spoon!
  

My Prince

Card School at the Neighbours'


Dancing into the night in the Party Kitchen
One lonely Groom
  



Friday, 29 April 2011

Flashback Friday - Silver Jubilee 1977

It has been rather a rushed Flashback Friday this week (again), reminded by the lovely Mummy, Daddy and Me makes three on Twitter during our #MonkeyKissers conversation (don't ask!).


I wanted to find a photo from Charles & Di's wedding but I couldn't so the next best thing is a photo from The Queens Silver Jubilee Celebrations in 1977. I was coming up to 7 years old (yes I am THAT old)......that is me at the front in my big homemade hat & red cardy.









Tomorrow we will be going to a Family Fun Day in our village but unfortunately I haven't made any red,white & blue top hats (or red cardigans) for the occasion but we do have Union Jack cowboy hats, flags & cupcakes.








Why don't you join Cafe Bebe & the rest of us reminiscing & having a laugh or cry over old snaps.




Thursday, 28 April 2011

Review - Silverwood Multisize Cake Pan from Lakeland

A couple of months ago I was looking around at cake tins as I needed some  to make Jack's birthday cake. I had in mind that I wanted to make a 2 tier cake, either round or square. I've got a load of cake tins, both round and square but they were either not deep enough, the wrong size or the sides sloped in. 

My Mum gave me a Lakeland catalogue when she came up to visit one weekend and when I was browsing through it I spotted exactly what I wanted - a Silverwood Multisize Pan.


The problem was that it was £25.99 which to a cheap-skate like me seemed rather a lot for a cake pan. I thought about it for a while and then took the plunge and ordered it, along with a few other bits that I 'needed'.

I decided to make an 8" cake for the bottom layer with a 6" cake for the top. The pan comes with 2 panels that can be moved within the frame to make any square or oblong cake from 1" up to 12" (why anyone would want to make a 1" cake is beyond me).

8" cake
I then made two 6" cakes - AT THE SAME TIME...how good is that! So now this one pan has taken the place of an 8" pan and two 6" pans which makes me feel much better about spending £25.99 as I felt I then had 3 pans. But it didn't stop there..... the other day I had the urge to make a banana bread, or rather the banana's were resembling elongated pieces of coal & were destined for the bin if they didn't get used up. I'd printed out a recipe a few days earlier that I'd seen on Cooking, Cakes & Children and thought I'd give it a go. I've got a small loaf pan but once I'd mixed the batter up it no way looked like it was going to fit in there and Banana Loaf would not be banana loaf if it was in a round tin so I assembled my trusty Multisize pan and positioned the inserts to make a loaf tin. So now it has taken the place of FOUR cake tins. That has got to be well worth £25.99 (my husband will read this post so I'm hoping I've done my best to justify paying almost £26 on a cake pan now - plus a few other bits).

So if you're looking for some cake pans I would really recommend you buy this, you won't regret it. And do you know what the best part about this tin is? It folds FLAT, yep no more cupboards so full of pans that every time you open the door they all slide onto the floor with such a crash that the baby wakes up. Ok so maybe that part isn't true, I still have my cupboard full of pans and I use and need each and every one of them  (that is for the benefit of my husband again).

The only downside that I have found is that some of the cake seeps out of the sides when baking but that may be down to my poor pan lining skills.

My multisize cake pan creation
If you want to buy this pan you can find it on the Lakeland website here, and for a limited time (until 2nd May) they are offering Free Delivery on orders over £20, and if you order over £59.99 they will send you a free Star Swirly Cupcake Stand (worth £10.99).

You can also buy an extra pair of dividers for £8.49 to give you even more options - for example you can bake NINE 4" cakes at one time. Oh and did I mention that the box also includes a recipe for a fruit cake in sizes from 6" up to 12".



This is NOT a sponsored post, I paid all twenty five pounds an ninety nine pence of my hard earned cash to have this pan in my possession.

Arrive in Style at The Royal Wedding

Less than 24 hours left until the Wedding of the Year.....


For those of you off to a street or garden party , Family Fun day (like we are) or just a get together with friends and family, why not let your little one travel in style to the big event.


I saw the new Little Tikes GB Cozy Coupe today on the Little Tikes Facebook page and it reminds me of the Mini Cooper



I would love to get one of these for Jack but I'm not sure my husband would be too happy as he already says that the garden has more toys than Toys R Us!

So if you want your little one to arrive in style and turn heads at your street party tomorrow give Little Tikes a call on 01908 268480 or visit their website to check availability. It is also being sold in some Toys R Us Stores. RRP £59.99. 

The age recommendation is for 1.5 yrs - 5yrs.

According to the Toys R Us website their stores are open from 9am - 6pm on the Royal Wedding Bank Holiday so there's still time to get one.



Sure to be the coolest set of wheels spotted at street parties up and down the country, the new GB Cozy Coupe from Little Tikes is finished in red, white and blue and even sports the striking Union Jack on its roof. Just like the well-known Cozy Coupe from Little Tikes, the new GB Coupe features a removable platform and parent grab handle for toddler’s safety.  There’s also a high back seat, storage in the rear, opening and closing door, 360ยบ spinning front wheels, ‘ignition switch’, an open-and-close gas cap and durable tyres for plenty of ‘motoring’ role play fun.  Friends will be lining up to have a go in the GB Coupe and this kid-powered car is certain to be the talk of the Royal Wedding celebrations. 

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Royal Wedding Cupcakes

If you didn't know already, the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton is taking place on Friday. I'm not a Royalist but I'm happy to celebrate the occasion for the sake of my children, and in this house 'Celebrate' means 'Cake'. So for the sake of my Children I have made some celebratory Royal Wedding cupcakes.


I came across a post for Royal Wedding cupcakes on Made with Pink and they had some cute little flags on their cupcakes. I had seen some like this on Ebay but what I liked about these flags is that I could make them myself, for free. All I needed to do was to print the template out in colour and with a bit of gluing & sticking to a cocktail stick, hey presto I have flags. Ok they may not be great, which probably has something to do with the lack of a Pritt stick in the house and so I had to use some watery glue that made the colours of the flag bleed a bit, but beggars & choosers and all that......


I made up a batch of lemon cupcakes (baked in Union Jack cases purchased from Ebay) and iced them with vanilla buttercream and decorated with some red, white (not that you can see it) and blue edible glitter (also purchased from Ebay) and popped a flag in each.


So what are you waiting for, the Royal Wedding is only hours away so you'd better get baking........for the sake of your kids.


Lemon Cupcakes


110g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
2 large eggs
150g SR flour
125g plain flour
60ml semi-skimmed milk
juice of 1 medium lemon
1 tbsp Greek Yoghurt





  • Cream the butter & sugar together
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition
  • Combine the two flours in a separate bowl. Combine the milk, lemon juice & yoghurt in another bowl.
  • Add half of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture & beat well. Add half of the milk mixture & beat well.
  • Repeat with the 2nd half of flour and then milk mixture.
  • Fill the cupcake cases approx 1/3 full
  • Bake at 160 degrees for around 20 minutes
  • Cool on a wire rack before decorating





Vanilla Buttercream


110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
60ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
1tsp vanilla extract
500g icing sugar, sifted



  • Beat the butter, milk, vanilla & half the icing sugar together until light & fluffy.
  • Beat in the remainder of the icing sugar.





Thanks to my old friend @shazpaz I have now made some Wills n Kate cake picks to adorn my mini cupcakes



Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Igniting Passions.....of Interest!

I've been tagged by the lovely The Boy And Me in the new meme created by Kerry at Multiple Mummy :
 Igniting Passions.....of Interest!
It came about after Kerry nervously went out to dinner with people that she didn't know and as these people were retired school teachers (an ex Head & OFSTED inspector & a lecturer of Sociology) she felt as though she wouldn't have much to offer in the way of conversation due to her recently acquired role of 'stay at home Mum'. She needn't have worried though as she soon felt at ease and the conversation started flowing.


It got her thinking,however, about her interests.....what ignites her passion........and then came the meme.


So, what are my interests? Well, this was a difficult one, one that I've had to think long and hard about because...well...basically I don't think I really have any interests. I like to watch TV but don't have any favourite shows (except Home & Away & Neighbours but does that really count as an Interest???), I like to read (usually only when I'm on holiday) but ask me what books I've read & I couldn't tell you, I like to listen to music (sometimes) but I don't really have a favourite band.......etc etc, blah blah....


Well here goes :


Baking
I have a whole load of cookery books, many of which are for cakes & baking. More recently (since discovering Cupcake Wars on TV) I have found a new love of Cupcakes, both eating (unfortunately for the waistline) and making. I wouldn't class myself as being particularly skilful or arty but I do try and here are a few of my creations


Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
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Crafts
Whilst living in the US and working part-time in Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores I found a passion for crafts, which is hardly surprising really considering the amount of sales they had & me being a bit of a bargain hunter I couldn't not buy almost everything on offer. Needless to say I didn't have a lot left in my wage packet by payday, but I had an enormous set of overflowing craft drawers!  I made Christmas decorations and cards, birthday cards and gifts and even tried a bit of glass painting. None of my creations were great but I enjoyed it. Being surrounded by fabulous fabrics during this employment also led me to my next interest :

Sewing
In my pre 'Work at Home Mum' days I also used to like doing a spot of sewing, I find it hard to believe now how I actually found the time having 2 little ones at home but somehow I did, and I really enjoyed it. I made Hanna a pair of dungarees when she was first born, I made Sam a quilt with squares cut from his old clothes and Roman blinds and curtains when we first moved into this house - in fact 2 of the blinds are still in use. I don't have the time or inclination to do any sewing at the moment but maybe in the future I will find that passion again.

My Business
I suppose you can call this one of my Interests, and had it not been for my interest in crafts I may not have even started this business in the first place. After returning the the UK to live I was disappointed in the lack of nice Party Bags on offer, all that I could find were themed plastic bags, not at all as exciting as the cellophane and paper bags that I had seen in the US. This led to me starting up my own Ebay Business in 2005 initially selling cellophane bags and Pre-filled party bags. I still stock the Cellophane bags and am always on the lookout for new designs to sell, however my Business has changed quite a lot in the 6 years since starting out, and these days most of my Business comes under Munchkins and Poppets with Splash About. Konfidence and Zoggs swimwear being amongst my most popular lines.


Well there you have it, I suppose I do have a few interests after all.

Thank you to The Boy And Me for tagging me and to Multiple Mummy for creating this Linky in the first place.

If you want to join in with this Linky then please head over to Multiple Mummy and add your post, she will be more than happy to have you.

I would like to invite the following to join in :

@mummyandbeastie
@mummymummymum
@mum2alesha
@relucthousedad

Chocolate Bunnies & Cartwheels

As I have already mentioned in my previous posts, we were away over the Easter weekend staying in a caravan in Devon. I didn't want to repeat the fiasco of  last year so I was more organised and had prepared some plastic Eggs for an Egg Hunt. (Sadly I lacked a bit of forward thinking as the Easter Baskets were still filled with Eggs & wrapped in cellophane for Easter Morning!)

Some of the eggs had a foil wrapped chocolate bunny inside but I had quite a few left that didn't have anything inside. Rather than have tears & tantrums when the kids (mainly my 8yr old daughter) opened some to find no chocolate I thought it would add to the fun to have some forfeits inside for the adults.

I left my daughter in charge of the forfeits and after a while she had come up with 7 which she placed inside some of the empty eggs.

We held the Egg Hunt on Saturday afternoon with friends and family in the field by the side of our caravan. I ran around the field scattering them about, not wanting to hide them too much as I would then have to remember where I'd hidden them. We then unleashed the kids to go in search of eggs. It didn't take long before they came back with armfuls of eggs, opened them & ate the bunnies.

Hunting for Eggs
Hunting for Eggs

Collecting the Eggs
It was then the adults turn to pick an egg to see if they were unlucky enough to find a forfeit. It worked out quite well with each adult picking one forfeit, except Uncle Martin who was unlucky enough to get 2.

The kids loved watching the adults make fools of themselves and everyone had a great laugh joining in.

Here you can see some of the attempts at the forfeits, of course I didn't include any photos of myself 'Hopping around the field twice' as it's my Blog and my prerogative!

Daddy doing his 'Do a handstand, a cartwheel and a forward roll'


Uncle Martin getting some assistance with his forfeit 'do a handstand for 3 seconds'

The forfeits (written by 8yr old Hanna) :

  • Hop round the field 2 times
  • Do 14 Cartwheels
  • Do a handstand, a cartwheel & a forward roll
  • Spin around until you are dizzy
  • Run around the field 10 times
  • Do a handstand for 3 seconds
  • Run inside, get a newspaper, bring it outside and stand on it

The Egg Boy

Monday, 25 April 2011

Family Fun - Cricket Set

Over the Easter weekend we went away to Devon and stayed in a caravan on a lovely site overlooking the bay at Berry Head, near Brixham. There's a good amount of grassy areas, one of them being directly outside our caravan and my eldest, Sam (10) decided to buy a Cricket Set from the site shop so we could all have a game.


The set was bought on Saturday morning for the bargain price of £4.99 and consisted of a wooden bat, 4 wooden stumps & bails and a red tennis ball.


 




Thankfully the ground was soft enough to push the stumps in by hand as we didn't have a mallet and Daddy doesn't like it when we hammer the stumps in with the bat! Myself and Sam took it in turns to bowl and bat and I showed him my excellent batting skills. Jack came along and wanted to join in with the action and had a few goes at throwing the ball to Sams bat, until he decided that a better game would be to throw the ball at Daddy whilst he was napping on the grass.
  



Later on my Brother and Sister in Law and friends of ours and their son came over for the evening so we all joined in with a great game of Tip n Run. Everyone took turns batting and bowling, some of us took it maybe a little too seriously, and play was halted for a while as one over enthusiastic batter *ahem me* hit the ball a little too hard, hitting a flag-pole & bouncing into a large bush, never to be seen again. Play was resumed when Daddy found an old 'seen better days' tennis ball buried in the grass.






All in all, everyone had great fun playing together, something that we probably don't do enough of, and it didn't cost the earth to be able to do so. 


We thought the Cricket Set was excellent value for £4.99 and had everything needed to play a game of Cricket, Tip n Run or even Rounders. In our case it would've been better if there had been an extra ball but I'm sure not everyone is as good careless as me.



Update : This was our entry for the Toys R Us Toyologist and we have made it onto the shortlist of 25 other great entries, final 10 Toyologists to be announced Monday 16th May at 12.00.

14th May : added to Showoff Showcase



ShowOff Showcase

Sunday, 24 April 2011

silent sunday - 24th April 2011








Silent Sunday

Friday, 22 April 2011

Flashback Friday - First Easter

I have been a bit better organised this week & prepared this weeks  Flashback Friday post on Thursday!


It was taken on Good Friday 2009 when Jack received his first ever Creme Egg at just 2.5 weeks old. We were on holiday in Devon and the staff gave all the children a creme egg when we checked in. Of course, being such a good Mummy I ate it for him so I could tell him how good it was. We went the following year and again received Creme Eggs, this time I had to share Jacks with him but I'm guessing that I won't get a look in this year.




And I couldn't resist posting this photo from the same holiday, and no doubt Jack will be joining Daddy, Uncle & big brother this year in a spot of bad dad dancing......

















Why don't you join Cafe Bebe & the rest of us reminiscing & having a laugh or cry over old snaps.




Thursday, 21 April 2011

Operation Easter Bunny

Easter preparations are well under way in this house and I am ready for the 'big day', unlike last year. For the last 2 years (and also this year) we have been away over the Easter weekend to Devon, where we have stayed in a caravan on a small site. My Brother and Sister in Law live not too far away and come over on the Saturday night to join us for a drink in the 'Club' and stay over.


After a couple of wines (!!) we all squeezed ourselves into the caravan & trundled off to bed......not until early the next morning when we heard 'I wonder if the Easter Bunny's been' did we realise the error of our ways. My brother & Sister in Law were asleep in the kids room and the Easter Eggs were still in the boot of the car....it was time for 'Operation Easter Bunny'.


I suggested to the kids that maybe the Bunny had left the eggs in our bedroom....so off they went, excitedly, in search of chocolate.


We then had to move fast, there wasn't going to be much time before we were found and and the game would be up......I poked my head around the door of the bedroom where my Brother & SIL were sleeping & quickly briefed them, they opened the window, and waited. meanwhile my husband was outside in his pj's suspiciously removing a large black bag from the boot of his car, wandering around the outside of the caravan and shoving it through the open bedroom window.


By this time, our bedroom, and the bathroom, living area & cupboards had been ransacked in search of chocolate Eggs, to no avail (obviously!). I then suggested quietly knocking on Auntie & Uncles bedroom door to see if they were awake, as maybe the Easter Bunny wasn't aware that they didn't sleep in their own room that night and had left the Eggs in there by mistake. After a quick rummage under the beds and a root through the wardrobe the Eggs were located and we had 2 happy children, phew, mission accomplished - Operation Easter Bunny was a success.


I have absolutely no intention of going through that again this year, all that thinking is not easy when you have a bit of a thick head (ok, yes I had a hangover!). So this year, I have made up some Easter Baskets filled with chocolate goodies for the children, along with a basket full of filled plastic eggs for an early morning Egg Hunt in the field next to the caravan. I WILL be organised and intend to hide the baskets in our wardrobe and put them in position once the kids are asleep on Saturday night. I MUST NOT leave them in the boot of the car this year as they are likely to be a melted mess in this weather.


So here are my Easter baskets costing a grand total of £8.42 (Sam & Hanna's) and £6.67 (Jacks), and contain the following :


Plastic Basket £1
Milka Bunny £1
Smarties unboxed Egg 3 for £4
Boxed Egg with Mug £1.99
Boxed Egg £2.75 (£1 Jacks)
Haribo Eggs 3 for £1


And a basket of filled (most) plastic eggs ready for the hunt


We now just need to make sure we put the plan into action.




Happy Easter
x

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