daisy cupcake cake

I was wandering through the craft store about a week-and-a-half ago and saw these Wilton pleated cupcake liners. They made me immediately think of flower petals. I grabbed them up and this past weekend I whipped up this fun daisy cupcake cake. It would be perfect for Mother’s Day or a garden party!

You’ll need:

  • 16 pleated cupcakes
  • 4 regular cupcakes
  • yellow and orange gel food coloring
  • 3 cups white icing
  • resealable plastic bag
  • yellow, orange and green M&Ms
  • optional: 8 yellow flower petals cut from cardstock
  • Dairy free option: Use yellow Duncan Hines cake mix, white Pillsbury icing and Skittles

And here are a few tips:

  • Fill the pleated cupcake liners about 2 tsps more than you would a normal liner otherwise your cupcake will be short and you’ll have to compensate with a sugar rush of icing
  • For the swirl effect, tint two bowls of icing, one yellow and one orange, and then spoon them side-by-side into a resealable plastic bag (I used a gallon size) making sure both colors come down to one corner, snip the corner and swirl

And when the day was done… only crumbs were left. It’s funny because this little project made me think about when I was a little girl and I would pluck a daisy to see if “he” loved me. You remember… he loves me {pluck}, he loves me not {pluck}. Well I can assure you that my boys loved once I finally released them to snack these up! By the way, I didn’t let them eat them all… I pawn my sweets off on my mom’s office friends on most occasions. What?! Everything I bake can’t stay here! {wink}

Happy Wednesday everyone and so sorry for the mini hiatus! I was actually working like crazy on two new collections, a baby shower and a birthday, plus another mini collection and some fabulous Easter crafts. I’ll share everything very soon!

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half birthday cupcakes

I mentioned a few days ago that my little guy, who is a June birthday, would be celebrating his “half” birthday at preschool this week since all the winter birthday kiddos get to bring in snacks and celebrate during the school year. I think it’s really a nice gesture on his teacher’s part (thanks Mrs. England!). So although I found some wonderful allergy-free ideas (my little guy has a severe dairy allergy), I decided to go with what I knew his friends would like… cupcakes.

But then I was at a loss. I kept asking what “theme” he might want on his cupcakes and he just wasn’t excited about anything (something we’ll have to work hard on by his next birthday since I’m not sure what will beat his dino-roar party in the eyes of this dinosaur loving boy!). So at the end of the day I got silly. {wink}

He and all his little buddies got a cupcake and a half, or better a cupcake and a mini cupcake. His cupcake had the number four in his favorite color, blue (ooohhhh, these cupcake wrappers would go great with our deep blue sea collection too), on the large cupcake and his small cupcake was the half symbol (it still makes me smile!). And all his little friends got two cupcakes too. I’m sure the moms were loving me that afternoon!

The dots and the numbers were just fondant and I promise if you can use a cookie cutter you can make these yourself. You can find white fondant in the baking section of your craft store and I recommend gel food coloring if you want to tint it (it stains your hands so use a resealable plastic bag over your hands to massage in the food coloring). Just tint, roll it out like cookie dough, cut out your shapes and ta-da you have adorable cupcakes! By the way, for dairy free cupcakes, I used Classic Yellow Duncan Hines cake mix (with apple sauce in place of oil… just my preference) and Pillsbury’s chocolate and dark chocolate icing (that’s right, no dairy!).

As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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allergy-free AND yummy

Do you remember the kids in school that were lucky enough to be born in the summer so they got to have pool parties and outdoor adventures? Well I wasn’t one of those kids. My birthday is in February and although I grew up in the South, it was still too cold for any extended amount of time outdoors. That said, my boys are those lucky kids! But being born in the summer does have its disadvantages. You miss out on the classroom party that all the winter kids get. I know… I would much rather have the pool party in the summer too!

To make a really long story short, my youngest is celebrating his “half birthday” in preschool this week. Yep, half birthday. Sooooo, I’m on the hunt for some yummy allergy free goodies (my son suffers from a severe dairy allergy, plus he can’t have nuts for now either) to make. I may go with the good ole cupcake, but we’ll see. In the meantime, these are a few of the fabulous things I found!

And although I might not make them for the big “half birthday,” these nut-free granola bars posted by Brooklyn Supper for Babble’s Family Kitchen will be a yummy snack for the everyday!

If you have little ones who suffer and have a wonderful recipe to share I’d love to hear about it. You can find me on facebook and twitter!

As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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“allergy-free” Santa pops

I love weekends when I just get to play in the kitchen and the craft room without any looming deadlines. This weekend was a bit of half-and-half, but I still managed to watch a few Christmas movies and make a few goodies with my boys. And for those of you with little ones like mine, that suffer from severe food allergies, this goody is for you. It’s easy, fun and completely dairy and egg allergy-free.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Double Stuff Oreo cookies (Vanilla is best when you’re using light colored icing and Double Stuff makes it much easier to apply the lollipop stick without the cookie breaking)
  • Pillsbury white icing
  • red Starburst candies for the hat
  • sugar crystals/sprinkles for the trim
  • red and blue mini icing tubes (not gels) for the eyes and mouth
  • resealable plastic bag
  • lollipop sticks
  • wax paper
  • cooling rack (very helpful if you have one)
  • optional: #46  icing tip, connector for mustache (or you can just slit the resealable bag)
  • optional: 4″ cello bags for gifting

Here’s how you make the pops:

  1. Open your Oreo cookies and place a lollipop stick, longways, into the filling. Press down so that the lollipop stick is even with the filling.
  2. Place white icing in a small bowl, a heaping tablespoon full for each cookie you plan to dip (I recommend no more than two to three at a time), and microwave it for no more than eight seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir. It should be completely melted. (Don’t overdo it or the icing will dry with a crystallized look and won’t be as yummy.)
  3. Using a spoon, place a small amount of warm icing on the cookie over the lollipop stick and put the top back on. Allow the icing to set for at least 30 seconds.
  4. Tilt your bowl on its side and dip each pop. Again, I recommend only doing two to three at a time because you don’t want your icing to cool and you don’t want to have to reheat it.
  5. Place the cookies on the cooling rack with a piece of wax paper underneath for easy cleanup.
  6. Quickly spoon another tablespoon full of icing over each cookie. If the icing is still warm enough it will coat, drip and dry flat.

Embellishments:

  1. On a sheet of wax paper, gather your goodies: Starburst, sprinkles, tube icing, and a small amount of white icing in a resealable bag. I used the flat side of a #46 icing tip with a connector for the mustache, but you could slit your resealable bag in a straight line. You’ll just want to play with it on the wax paper a few times before applying to the cookie to make sure you have the cut correct.
  2. Heat one red Starburst on a small piece of wax paper in the microwave for eight to 10 seconds. Each one will make one Santa hat. While warm, careful not to burn your fingers, mold the Starburst into a triangle. You can dampen your fingers if you need to work with it a bit.
  3. To apply the sprinkles, lightly dampen the bottom rim and the top point of your triangle with your finger. Add the sprinkles, pushing any that landed on the center section back into place before they dry. 
  4. Pipe on a few drops of red icing for the mouth.
  5. Pipe on the mustache with the resealable bag (if using the icing tip: cut corner of bag, insert connector, attach tip to outside of bag with closure and fill with white icing).
  6. Attach your hat with a small amount of icing. (Tip: Use a flat spatula or butter knife to lift it off the wax paper so the candy doesn’t stretch.)
  7. Pipe on eyes.
  8. Allow Santa to completely dry for at least three hours before inserting into cello bags.

If you’re not up for the Santa pops, my boys loved the simple snowflake sprinkle ones just the same. Just add your sprinkles before your icing dries and you’re all set.

I’m so excited to be able to serve my youngest, who as most of you know has a severe milk allergy, a super fun treat that all the kids will want. Please share with any other moms who have little ones stricken with food allergies and as always, I hope you’re inspired!

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“sorry, I can’t eat cow milk”

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I took lots of pictures of my boys last night (our neighborhood trick-or-treat), but this picture of my sweet little four year old boy trying to read the label on a candy package made my heart hurt this morning when I was looking through them. You see, he has severe milk allergies, not lactose intolerance, but immediate sickness, burning tongue and hives, severe allergy.

So at each house last night he would go to the door with huge smiles and say “trick-or-treat!” He would then peer into their candy bucket and either say “sorry, I can’t eat cow milk” and walk away, or he would squeal with joy and jump around because they had things like Twizzlers or Gummy Worms. Although he went through the entire night in good spirits and never once got sulky (my little trooper), it tore my heart out and I wanted to hug him each time he walked away empty handed.

The reason I’m telling you this is because I know there are many of you out there with little ones who suffer from food allergies, whether it be milk, egg, nut, or all three (see allergy free Halloween treat ideas). And since this time of year can be hard with holiday school parties and family gatherings I want to offer up some recipes and ideas so that our little ones can join in the fun too. And I promise, I’ll share things that are yummy for everyone so that by including the family member or child with food allergies, you’re not sacrificing taste.

And if you have a recipe (on a blog or not) or know of a resource that is allergy friendly, please share it with me here, by e-mailing us at customercare@celebrationshoppe.com (“Food Allergy” in the title) or on facebook. {And Maura at 36×37, I’m coming for that fabulous allergy free chocolate chip cookie recipe of yours!}

Happy Friday everyone!

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allergy free Halloween treats

the-celebration-shoppe-candy-corn-cupcake2-wl

Each year we get together with all of our neighbors and I host our annual Halloween block party. The premise is that everyone brings their favorite Halloween or fall treat and we all reminisce about the summer and tell any plans for the upcoming winter (besides hibernation of course!).

the-celebration-shoppe-candy-corn-table2-wl

This year I used my Candy Corn collection and gave it a little lighter twist from how I styled it in August for the shoppe.

And since I couldn’t control the desserts, or their ingredients, I made mostly dairy and nut free goodies. As many of you know my youngest has severe food allergies and I can’t stand for him to feel left out! There is nothing worse than that little face looking at me with sad eyes and asking me “Mommy, is that my kind?” His “kind” meaning made with soy milk or vegan butter. Of course unless I made it myself the answer is typically “I’m so sorry baby…” And any mother with a child who suffers from food allergies can attest that it breaks your heart!

the-celebration-shoppe-candy-corn-cupcakes-wide-wl

All of my desserts that night were inspired by the yummy candy corn and the first on my list was a cupcake… imagine that! By the way, Brach’s candy corn has milk in it, but the Kroger brand is dairy free (has egg though)!

So using a Duncan Hines Butter cake mix and Smart Balance Light vegan butter (be careful that you get the light; the others have dairy in them) I whipped up these cupcakes. My only advice on the butter is to use a little less than the recipe calls for because it has a very buttery taste.

And if your little one also has an egg allergy, which my little guy did for the first three years of his life, try making your cupcakes out of a brownie mix instead. Just make according to the recipe and fill your cupcake liners higher than normal. I would also suggest that you either use the tin/silver liners or you use cupcake wrappers, like we create for our collections, to hide the wrapper as brownies have oil in them and will discolor your wrappers.

For the icing I simply used Pillsbury Cream Cheese icing and tinted it using gel food coloring (liquid food coloring  thins your icing). Using resealable bags with a slit corner (for easy cleanup) I just piped one layer at a time. It was as simple as that!

the-celebration-shoppe-candy-corn-krispie-pretzels

Next I made rice krispie treats, a dessert every kid… and let’s face it, every adult loves! These were gone in a flash! I used the normal ingredients, but in the place of butter I used Smart Balance Light vegan butter again.

candy-corn-rice-krispie-treat2

  1. While the treats are still warm mold them into triangles and insert lollipop sticks. Do this before you ice them or your could crack your icing, plus you want to form the treat back around the stick so that there aren’t too many pockets of air. 
  2. Gently push down, don’t crush the cereal, on the top of your treats. You’ll want a flat surface, or as flat as you can get it, for icing.
  3. Using a #7 tip, a connector and a resealable bag, outline your treats with white icing, leaving no gaps or your icing will run.
  4. Melt a small bowl of white, yellow and orange icing (one at a time) in eight second intervals. Carefully spoon the icing into the sections and pull icing to the corners with a toothpick. You want your icing warm, but not too hot and soupy or it will remelt your marshmallows. 
  5. Allow treats to dry completely before inserting them into cello bags.

I also served dairy free licorice, candy corn inspired pretzels sticks (made with tinted “real” milk chocolate so I’ll share those in a separate post) and my little guy’s favorite, gummy worms. My oldest will eat anything sweet so I knew he was covered! {wink}

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As for decorations, instead of using my cupcake picks in the actual cupcakes, I hung them from tree branches to create a dramatic and tall centerpiece (you all know how much I love height on a table!).

the-celebration-shoppe-candy-corn-vase-wl

And filled the glass apothecary jar, turned vase, with what else… candy corn!  You’ll notice that candy corn was also the fillers for the rice krispie treat bowl and the pretzel jar. Inexpensive and bright, just my style!

I can’t let you go without pointing out the crepe trim on the cake plate (shown in the first and third images). I just made tiny folds back and forth to give it a ruffled look and then attached it to my square cake plate with just a drop of hot glue here and there. It looked lovely, only took minutes and came right off with a light tug.

As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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Easter egg cupakes

easter-egg-cupcake-idea

Are these not yummy looking?! And I love how they used graham crackers instead of baking sugar cookies. What a time saver!

Read all the details about this great idea from Duncan Hines. And for you moms out there like me who have a little one with food allergies, most Duncan Hines cake mixes are dairy free… and so are the Nabisco brand graham crackers! {wink}

Happy baking!

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pilgrim hats & indian corn

pilgrim-hats-indian-corn-treats

I think I have my kid thanksgiving table ideas almost solidified (I found the most beautiful fabric to make tepees out of) and I can’t wait to share them with you… but that requires that I actually get to my craft room and that doesn’t look promising with the amount of work on my desk this week. So until the weekend…

Anyway, I thought I would share a few of the wonderful ideas of the web in the meantime. These very cute pilgrim hats (the best part is I found a striped chocolate cookie, Kroger brand, that is dairy free so I can make these for my youngest too with a little melted dairy free chocolate; I can’t stand for him to be left out) and tepees are from Family Fun.

Next is the pilgrim hat placecard idea from Better Homes & Gardens. If I didn’t already have my placecard craft completed (one of the only components) I would strongly consider this one. Cute!

And last but not least, indian corn cakes from Taste of Home made with Reese’s pieces no less! Yummy!

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giggling to gobbled!

the-celebration-shoppe_turkey-cookies

Okay, I swear my obsession with the Thanksgiving turkey cookie and cupcake are going to end soon, but before it could I needed to get into the kitchen myself. And I did just that with my two little ones this week. These are mine. I call them the giggling gobblers. All smiles and happy… little did they know they were about be “gobbled!” {wink}

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And this is what they likely looked like (thanks Alex!) just before the terrible end. Feathers flipped around, wide eyes, melting chocolate, mouth screaming… Ahhhhhhhhh!! Just trying to help you guys get in the Thanksgiving spirit. {giggle}

Oh, and if you’re interested in making the before version, here’s what you’ll need (just so you know, they’re kind of big… but could be fun as a placecard at your Thanksgiving kid’s table):

  • Sugar cookies (round and large flower shapes)
  • Chocolate and white icing (we used Pillsbury cream cheese since there is no egg or dairy)
  • Candy corn (we were lucky and found a dairy free store brand at Kroger)
  • Yellow and orange food coloring (I recommend gel so that you don’t thin your icing)
  • Optional: M&Ms for the after version

And here are the easy steps:

  1. Outline and flood a flower cookie (chocolate or yellow depending on your version) and a round cookie.
  2. Once they’ve almost set, stack them and start decorating.
    •  Candy corn feathers, or
    • Pipe orange outline, like leaf veins, using a plastic bottle (like we did) or a #2 tip would work the same
  3. Pipe on the eyes and add a candy corn nose

Remember, not everything you bake has to be perfect. Enjoy your little ones in the kitchen; it makes for great holiday memories!

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creepy mummy cupcakes

mummy-cupcakes

Okay, so they’re really not that creepy. They’re actually kind of cute and oh so easy to make. You’ll need:

  • white icing (cream cheese is best!)
  • #46 icing tip
  • resealable bag (freezer weight)
  • connector
  • Skittles (for dairy free) or M&Ms

And here are the simple steps:

  1. Snip the corner of your resealable bag, insert a connector and fill with icing. Add the tip, you’ll be using the flat side, and connector ring. (You can find these in the baking section for a dollar.)
  2. Place your Skittles or M&Ms (AKA eyes) on your cupcake.
  3. Starting at the bottom, pipe rows of icing overlapping every once in a while to give it the appearance of strips of fabric.

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. Happy baking! (Oh, and you can find the batty napkins in our Halloween decor.)

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