Friday, May 11, 2018

Realistic Pretend Bakery

I had so many people ask me how I made all of the pretend food for my daughter's bakery, that I decided to do a little "tutorial".  I didn't take pictures during the process, but I will do my very best to explain each and every step for you.  There was definitely a bit of trial and error in this project so I'm hoping my tips will help it be even easier for you!  I've broken down the supply list for each specific item of food.


Here's what you'll need:

Written out supply list: Expanding foam (Touch 'n Foam Max 3x Fill), gloves, lightweight spackling (I used about 32 ounces for my whole project - cheaper at Lowe's or Home Depot than Walmart), Cupcake liners (I like the foil ones so the paint won't show through and also because they come with paper liners in between that I used for displaying the little chocolate desserts), cardboard, muffin tin, paint colors of your choice, large cake decorating coupler, large cake decorating tips (I used the closed star one on the right for my cupcakes), disposable decorating bags. 

Okay are you ready for the process?  First things first, gather your supplies (duh).  Cut cardboard circles to fit into the bottom of your cupcake holders.  I glued them down using some elmer's glue just for peace of mind.  This was actually my second batch of fake cupcakes (those were definitely my trial and error batch and are now in the trash).  The first ones I didn't do this and the bottoms were rounded and not as sturdy.  So don't skip this step!

Now to prepare for the foam part which is really pretty darn fun!  Have a large clean work space.  Get some paper towels torn and ready to go to wipe the gunk off the tip of the foam.  Get your gloves on.  Guys, this stuff is RIDICULOUSLY sticky.  You MUST wear gloves!  The instructions on the foam say to shake it for 30 seconds, which I did.  If you get a different brand read the instructions on the back.  On my first batch of cupcakes, I used a different brand (the container was red) and didn't like it.  It didn't expand as much as the Touch n' Foam and the tops of everything were much more bumpy than round.  

Okay back to the fun part - SLOWLY spray the foam into the liner.  Only fill them half way full.  This stuff really expands.  When I sprayed, I tried to keep the straw in one place rather than circling around so there would be less bumps on the top.  Now watch the foam expand.  It's really cool!  Give it a few hours to harden.  (At this point I moved on to making the donuts/bagels).

Now that the foam is hard (I picture myself doing a cooking show here and pulling out the already hardened "baked cupcakes" haha), you'll use a serrated knife to cut a bit of the tops off to create a surface for the "frosting" to adhere to.  If you plan on just using the cupcakes for a display and not to be played with, you could probably skip this step.

Next step is to paint the cupcakes.  I mixed some tan, yellow and a bit of brown to get a "cupcake color" and I mixed black and dark brown for the chocolate cupcakes.  Allow the paint to dry.  Remember that first brand of foam I used?  Yeah, paint did NOT work on it.  The paint separated into little circles and looked awful, I fixed the problem by having my blowdryer on the whole time while painting them so the paint would dry before it could separate.  BUT this new brand worked perfectly with the paint!

Next step is to do the frosting!  Wahoo!!  Now here is where I made a judgement error that I'm saving you from doing.  I decided to frost them all with the plain color and paint them later so I wouldn't have to mix up a bunch of different colors and deal with changing out the bags and such.  Don't be like me.  That was a bad idea.  Painting them after the fact took easily 14 times longer.  SO divide your lightweight spackling (Yes, it must be the lightweight kind!  I tried two other products and they just didn't work as well) into some styrofoam cups.  Add acrylic paint to them and stir until well combined.  Now put your large cake decorating tip and coupler (I used the closed star for mine, but you could use whichever one you want) into the disposable bag.  Now put the "frosting" into the bag.  A trick to keep the outside of the bag from getting covered in frosting is the flip the top of the bag down.  To frost the cupcakes start on the outside and work your way around the cupcake, as you reach the point where you started, continue around making sure to overlap the lines a bit.  Continue doing this until you get to the center.  Squeeze a little bit extra in the center to get a pretty finish.  Set the frosted cupcakes aside (if you move them out into the sun, they will harden faster).  You could add some glitter or beads for (sprinkles), but I didn't want to mess with that.  That's it!  You did it!


 Here's what you'll need:
Written out supply list: Expanding foam (Touch 'n Foam Max 3x Fill), gloves, paint colors of your choice, freezer paper (wax paper might work too, this is just what I had on hand), spray on varnish.

While I already had the expanding foam out and gloves on, I decided to play with it a bit and see what else I could create.  I tried little circles for cookies, but they ended up being waaaay too tall after they finished expanding.  But the donuts/bagels turned out pretty well.  They were originally going to be bagels, but have since switched to donuts as per my daughter's request.  Any-who, to make them, you'll want to once again have some paper towel pieces ready to go to wipe off the extra foam on the tip.  Now again, SLOWLY spray the foam making a circle.  Let go of the trigger a little before you reach the end as it will continue to spray out leaving you with a large bumpy side.  This takes some practice, but luckily this foam goes a really long ways and you'll get to make plenty of them lol.  Don't make the inner circle too big.  I though the foam would expand a ton and fill the circles, but the didn't I would have the "hole" be about as big as the bottom of a cupcake tin.  Let them harden for a couple of hours.  Now you can paint them.  When I painted mine, I mixed yellow, tan and a bit of brown.  Then I made it a little bit darker, painted over it again and used a paper towel to blotch it off.  Once your paint is dry, finish by spraying the varnish over the top.  This will make them shiny.

Small Chocolate Cakes

Here's what you'll need:

Written out supply list: Silicone muffin tin, Plaster of Paris dry mix, Lightweight Spackling, Paint colors of your choice, plastic bag (or cake decorating piping tip, coupler and bag).

These were probably the easiest thing to make.  I followed the directions on the back on how to mix the Plaster of Paris.  I believe it's 2 parts dry mix to 1 part cold water.  I poured it into the muffin tin and allowed it to harden.  Once it was totally hard, I took them out of the molds and painted them "chocolate" (mixed black and brown).  Once the paint was dry, I put some of the colored lightweight spackle into a baggie, cut the tip of and piped on some "frosting".  Done!  You could spray it with varnish if you'd like it to be shiny and to protect the paint a bit more.  I'm considering doing this.

You could use this same method for lots of different treats.  Her bakery is small so we didn't need a gazillion things.


Here's what you'll need:
Written out supply list: Cake decorating spatula, Lightweight Spackling, Paint colors of your choice, styrofoam (I got mine at the dollar tree.  They come it packs of 2.  I used four for my cake), Gorilla Glue.

To make my cake, I started off with 4 styrofoam circles.  I used Gorilla Glue to stick them together.  I put just a little circle on the styrofoam between each layer and then put a heavy put on top to hold them in place until it was dry.  I colored my lightweight spackling with acrylic paint and then used the spatula to spread it around like frosting.  I wanted it to look more rustic like frosting rather than fondant, so I swirled the "frosting" back and forth a bit.  Spackling is really workable so you can mess around with it.  I put some freezer paper underneath the cake so it wouldn't stick to the counter.  It is a bit hard to get all of the edges while trying to hold onto the "cake".  You could use a popsicle stick or something stuck into the bottom to hold onto if you wanted.  Let the "frosting" dry completely.

Now get a serrated knife and cut a slice out (You don't have to do this.  You could just have the cake be a display, but I wanted to have once slice that my daughter could serve).  I used the knife to carefully dig a little ravine for the middle "frosting".  Paint the styrofoam to make it look like cake.  I mixed black and brown for the chocolate color.  once the paint is dry, pipe on some frosting (I used a plastic bag with the tip cut a bit) then spread it out with the spatula.  Allow it to dry and you're done!

Petit Fours

 Here's what you'll need:

Written out supply list: Styrofoam, Toothpicks, Lightweight Spackling, Cake decorating spatula, Paint colors of your choice, cake decorating piping tip, coupler and disposable bag, spray on varnish.

Now, if you had a square silicone mold, you could fill them with Plaster of Paris, but I used a couple of the styrofoam circles I had and cut them into little squares using a knife.  Then I pushed down the edges and corners just a little to round them out.  Stab the bottom of squares with a couple of toothpicks to make it easier to decorate.  Color your lightweight spackling to make it whatever color you want.  I was using leftover pink "frosting"so I painted over them after the fact.  Use the spatula to spread the frosting on the top and sides of your styrofoam squares.  I stuck the other end of the toothpicks unto some left over foam donuts to hold them up while drying lol.  Allow the frosting to dry (if you put them outside in the sun it will dry pretty fast), then pipe some colored "frosting" on the tops of your petit fours.  After that dries, spray them with varnish to make them shiny.


Here's what you'll need:

Written out supply list: Freezer Paper, Plaster of Paris dry mix, Paint colors of your choice.

Okay I lied, these were actually the easiest thing to make.  In a styrofoam cup I mixed some Plaster of Paris.  This time I didn't pay attention to the "recipe" on the back since I knew I wanted it to be a bit thicker.  I actually mixed some up and once that was mixed well, I added in some more dry mix and only stirred it around a bit so there would be some clumps left in it to make the cookies look more realistic.  I poured it onto the wax paper and allowed it to harden.  Once they were hard, I painted them.  Done!


Here's what you'll need:
Written out supply list: Expanding foam, gloves, Small bread pan, Paint colors of your choice, Aluminum Foil.

This bread is actually using the foam I used from the first batch of cupcakes.  You can tell it's more lumpy which was fine since it's more of a sweet bread anyways not to be confused with "sweet breads".  I don't know what the bread will turn out looking like with this other foam, but I think you should still use this brand since painting on the other one was a beast.

Line your bread pan with foil.  Or just buy a disposable pan.  Fill your loaf about 1/2 way full.  Allow the foam to expand and dry.  I had to pull the foil out after a few hours and cut a little slice in the bottom to allow the foam underneath to harden.  If you were using a disposable tin that you wanted the bread to stay in forever, you may want to put some cardboard down there to ensure the bottom would stay flat.  After the foam was dry (I waited a day or two just in case), I removed the foil and painted the bread.  You could spray it with varnish is you want it to be shiny.

WHEW!  Was that helpful or just overwhelming???

As for the canopy on top, I sewed it and then hung it with white shower curtain rods. And I built the little bakery display using a 1x12 board that was 10 feet long I also used a 1x2 and a 1x4.  The wood cost about $25, but I do have some leftover 1x2 and 1x4.  This is what it looks like before sanding and painting.  If plexiglass wasn't so expensive, I would've put some on the front.

I hope this was helpful for you.  If you decide to make some pretend food, please send me pictures!

Friday, February 24, 2017

St. Patrick's Day Burlap Bunting Banner

My husband goes out of town often and while he's away I like to host girls' nights.  Usually everyone brings some food item and we all sit and chat, but this last time I decided to do a craft night and we all made St. Patrick's Day bunting banners.  I LOVE mine and wanted to share how we made them.

Supply List:
Gold Dot Burlap
Cream Burlap (or whatever other color you're wanting to use).
Green Paint
Green Yarn
Small Hole Punch
Painters Tape
Scissors or Rotary Cutter
Template (Click HERE for a template for the triangle and shamrock)

Just so you're aware the gold dot burlap is a bit more expensive than normal burlap.  On sale it was still $9/yard at Joanns.  Good thing you don't need too much for one bunting banner eh?  The triangles we made were about 7 1/4" tall and 6 1/2" wide to give you an idea of their size and how much fabric you need.

First you'll need to cut your triangles.  A little tip for cutting burlap in a straight line is to find one thread (in this case at 7 1/4") and pull it out.
 Then you're left with a perfectly straight light to cut along.  Amazing right?  You're welcome :)

After your triangles are cut, the next step is to paint your cream burlap.  I wanted a combo of stripes and shamrocks for mine, but feel free to mix it up and do whatever combo you want.  Total I had 6 gold dot triangles, 3 striped and 2 shamrock triangles.

For the shamrock, I simply printed it off on cardstock paper.  Used scissors to cut it out and then dabbed the paint on with a foam brush.  Make sure you have something under your fabric because the paint WILL go through to the other side.

Line your triangles up like this to save you some time and to make all of your stripes even.
 Using painters tape, make your stripes.  I had my painted lines 1" thick.  I found adding the tiiiiniest bit of water to the paint helped it go on a bit easier.
Allow the paint to dry and chat with your friends.  I also like to use a blowdryer to help speed up the drying process cause I'm impatient.

Using a small hole punch, put holes in the top two corners of the triangles.  Then thread the yard (you could also use twine or ribbon) through the holes.  Put a bit of tape at the end of your yard to help you get it through the holes.  I personally liked the look of having the green yard showing in front of the triangles, but you could put them behind if you prefer to hide it.

 Hang it and admire your cute adorable new decor!

Monday, January 23, 2017

DIY Spice Rack

I just finished making this spice rack and I gotta tell ya, I LOVE it!  Just looking at it on my counter makes me happy.  The most expensive part of this project was the glass jars and even then, they were quite affordable.  I ordered them from Hobby Lobby and got them when their glassware was 50% off.  The small jars were 65 cents each the middle jars were $1 and the large jars were $2.  I could I NOT buy a gazillion of them?!?  Here are the links to the jars I used.  I will warn you that the small jars aren't really perfect.  The opening is a bit small and the jar is slightly too small to fit an entire 3oz container of seasoning.  So that was a bit disappointing, but......for 65 cents they're perfect.

To make my spice rack I measured the space on my countertop to see just how big I could make my spice rack.  After all you don't want to build a shelf, go to set it up and realize it's too big.

These are the supplies I used:
1 - 1x6 8ft board
1 - 1x4 8ft board
1 1/2" finishing nails
Wood Glue
Clamps (If you have them)
Paint/Primer (I just bought a little sample size)

I used my 1x6 boards as the frame of my shelf.  I cut them to size and then used wood glue and finishing nails to put it together.  Clamps help to hold them in place, but aren't necessary.

I set my jars up so figure out where my shelves needed to be.

I attached the shelves once again using wood glue and finishing nails.

Due to height restrictions, my small jars couldn't stand up straight.  With them having to be laid down, I knew they could just roll off so I needed some sort of lip.  I had some little molding in my garage that I cut to size and attached to the front of the top two shelves leaving about 1/4" sticking up as my lip.

Then I just sanded and painted my shelf.

Then all that was left to do was label and fill the spice jars.  Black chalk stickers are adorable, but so expensive AND I don't have fancy handwriting, so instead of using those, I bought these full label sheets from Walmart and decided to print my own stickers.
I bought this Fiskars paper punch from Joanns.  It was 30% off and I had a coupon for 20% off my whole order.  WIN!
This is where it's nice to have Photoshop.  I cut some colored paper and with my punch and scanned them onto my computer.  I used those scans to create a template in Photoshop (making sure to add plenty of bleed).  Then I added the names of the spices, printed the labels and punched them out.  You'll notice some of the larger shapes have small text.  Those were used for the small labels, I just didn't want to mess with the template.

Then I added the labels to the jars and filled them with spices.  Set them all up in my new spice rack and admired the beauty.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Pork Carnitas with Apple Salsa and Lime Sour Cream

You guys, this meal was phenomenal!  You NEED it in your life.

For the pork carnitas I used this pressure cooker recipe by We Call Him Yes Chef

I did make a couple of modifications to his recipe.  Rather than cutting the pork into 2" pieces, I cut my 3.5lb pork shoulder into 4-5 large chunks.  I seared then on the saute setting on my instant pot and then I cooked it on manual for 45 minutes and then did NPR (natural pressure release).  I made these changes because I wanted my meat nice and shredded rather than in chunks.  I'm sure you could also do this recipe in a slow cooker and do it in 6-8 hours.

The thing that really MADE this dish was the apple salsa.  I know, it sounds weird, but trust me - it's amazing!  Here's my recipe for the apple salsa:

- 1 poblano pepper
- 5 sweet peppers
- 3 green onions
- 1-2 granny smith apples - peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 lime
- 3 Tbs or more chopped cilantro (base it off your liking)

Cut the green tops off of the green onions.  Slice peppers in half lengthwise.  Place peppers cut side down.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast at 475 for 12 minutes.  Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the skins and seeds and mince them.  Check the heat of your poblano pepper, generally they are mild, but every so often you'll get a HOT one.  Chop the white part of the green onions making sure to discard the root ends.

Add peppers and green onions to a bowl.  Add granny smith apples, the juice of 1 lime and the chopped cilantro.  Stir until well combined.  Season with salt and pepper.

I also made lime sour cream for the carnitas.  I simply mixed 1/4 cup light sour cream with the juice of a quarter of a lime.  Easy peasy, but delish.

Serve carnitas with additional lime wedges and top with more cilantro because you can never have enough cilantro.

This is my recipe I use for the Mexian Rice.  It is so so easy and so so good.  I double the recipe so I don't waste the tomato sauce:


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ranch Chicken Recipe

Ranch Chicken is easily one of my most requested recipes and yet it's embarrassingly simple.  Get ready, your life is about to change haha.

2-3 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Cup Crushed cornflakes
1 Cup Grated parmesan cheese (not the powdered stuff, the REAL grated parmesan)
1 Ranch Seasoning Packet
1/2 Cup Butter, melted

Combine crushed cornflakes, parmesan cheese and ranch seasoning packet in a large bowl.  Toss until it's evenly mixed.  Dip your chicken breast in the melted butter then put it into the bowl with the cornflake mixture.  It won't stick amazingly well, so pat on some extra coating and place it in a pan.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

**I personally like to cut my chicken breasts down the middle length wise so I have more coating to chicken ratio.  I also double the coating cause that's the best part!**

Also, Costco and Walmart both sell containers of ranch seasoning which are less expensive than the little envelopes you buy.  Costco's is by far the best deal.  You get a 15.7 oz container for under $8.  It's only 40 cents more than Walmart's 8oz container.  You're welcome :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Decorating Ice Cream Cone Christmas Trees

We did this with my kids last night and can I just say, it's soooooooo much better than doing gingerbread houses!  While gingerbread houses are adorable, I feel like they are so challenging for little ones to make.  These ice cream cone Christmas Trees are easy and cute and fast too!

Buy a box of sugar ice cream cones and treats to decorate your "trees".  I hit up Winco for our goodies so I didn't have to have large bags of all the treats.  I think I spent about $8 or so on the candies and we have a LOT of leftovers.  

My frosting recipe is easy peasy and sticks to the tree, holds the candy in place, but is still easy for the kids to squeeze out.

Frosting Recipe
1 1/2 cups softened butter
2 tsp vanilla
32 oz bag of powdered sugar
4-7 tsp milk (depending on how thick you want your frosting)

Mix softened butter and vanilla together until combined and whipped up a bit.  Slowly add in HALF of your powdered sugar.  I do this in my kitchenaid mixer and wrap a towel around the bowl so I don't get powdered sugar everywhere.  Add 3 tsp of milk and mix together.  Check your consistency.  Add in another couple cups of powdered sugar and mix.  This is really where you go back and forth between powdered sugar and milk until you get the perfect consistency.  It's better to err on the side of a little thick than too runny because it's always easier to add extra milk, but once your powdered sugar is gone, you won't be able to thicken your frosting back up.  Add some green food coloring and you're ready to go!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Rustic Wooden Box Centerpiece

Yesterday's project was making a rustic wood box centerpiece for my table.  I use these pieces of wood from an old fence to make the box.  If you have a saw, you can whip out this box in no time.  Here's the wood I used.  Don't mind my MESSY garage. 

I simply cut two boards the same length ( I did 29" since that was the longest I could go before the color changed).  Next you need to cut the bottom piece.  That piece was 29" MINUS the width of two boards.  All I did was cut it 29" and then place two pieces of wood side by side on top and drew a pencil line for my new length and the chopped it.  Last you need your side boards.  Well that's easy too - It's the width of your bottom board (or the width of all of the strips if they are equal.  One of my fence pieces was a little wider than the other two).  I used 1 1/2 inch finishing nails to put the pieces together and that was it.  I did use some clamps to hold the pieces in place while hammering.  You could do it without clamps or just have someone hold the wood in place for you.

Here's the finished product.  The candles are from Dollar Tree - WIN! and I got the greenery from Joann's.  It took 5 bunches FYI.  They were all 50% off so I got them for $16.  Sadly the table runner I bought was waaaaay too long so I'm off to Joann's to buy some burlap and make one of my own :)