Little Pumpkin Baby Shower

So I must point out that my blog tagline is “A blog about cooking, kids and trying to find the time to be crafty.” Well, it’s been 4 months of blogging, and I have yet to find the time to be crafty… until this baby shower. Hopefully more to come in the crafty department.

This past weekend I had the honor of co-hosting a baby shower for my dear friend and neighbor, Chantelle.  We decided to throw her a Little Pumpkin themed shower, but took it in a sophisticated direction. We focused on a fall color palette: gold, burnt orange, bronze, robin’s egg blue and burgundy.  We used really fun fabrics – gold chevron, robin’s egg gingham, burnt orange and burlap. We accented with painted pumpkins and had a variety of simple flower arrangements.

For food, our main attraction was a chili bar. We had vegetarian chili and meat chili and all the fixings you can think of: baked potatoes, corn bread, tortilla chips, french bread, cheese, crackers, sour cream and chives.  We also had a cheese tray, veggie tray, pretzels with mustard dipping sauces and mushroom onion tartlets.  Our signature drink was an apple ginger sangria (in both the regular and virgin varieties).

Me and the mommy to be
Me and the beautiful Mommy-to-be

Baby's breath and chevron
Simple baby’s breath bouquet

Pretzel rods and mustard dips
Pretzel rods with mustard dipping sauces

Cupcake stand of chocolate pumpkin cupcakes
Cupcake stand – foam rectangles, covered with fabric (wrapped like a present, secured with push pins = no sew!)

Little pumpkin baby shower spread
The spread – painted pumpkins, flowers and food!

Pumpkin baby shower spread2

Food cards
Food place cards for every dish

Chili bar
A small part of our Chili Bar (wish I had gotten a better picture of it all!)

Fall flower arrangement
More fall flowers

Baby shower mad lib
We played a Mad-Lib game – it told the labor and delivery story and was hilarious!! I made bags for each of the word types, had people submit words, and then I drew them to put the story together.

Mushroom onion tartlets
Mushroom Onion Tartlets – I found this recipe in my Kitchen Aid Mixer recipe book and it is fabulous (I was lucky to also find it online so I don’t have to re-type it! LOL)

Cheese plate
Love a good cheese plate! We had white cheddar, pepper jack, swiss, herb goat and honey goat. We also had fig preserves and an assortment of crackers to go with it. Delish!

Chocolate cupcakes with pumpkin frosting
Chocolate cupcakes with pumpkin cream cheese frosting topped with shaved chocolate (I didn’t make the cupcakes so I don’t have the recipe – I’ll try to get it and post it)

S'mores station
S’Mores station – The home we had the shower at was just beautiful and had an awesome outdoor fireplace. This worked perfect for our s’mores station!

Advice for the mommy to be
We also had an advice station for people to leave the new parents advice for the adventures of parenthood.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting

I decided to do some more experimenting with cupcakes last weekend (yes, I’m behind on the food posting!)  The chocolate cupcake was basic, but the star of this show was the cookie dough frosting!  I found this on Pinterest and had to try it out – success!  It is definitely not your typical frosting – it is exactly like chocolate chip cookie dough without the eggs.

I modified the recipe slightly – I opted for a little less flour.  Next time I make it, I will add a little white sugar too to sweeten it up a little more.  These were a great variation from your standard cupcake icing, especially if you are a cookie dough lover!

DSC_1117

Cookie Dough Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temp
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
6 to 8 tbsp milk
2 cups mini chocolate chips

1.) Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer. Add vanilla.
2.) In small batches, add flour and salt and mix until combined.
3.) Add milk until desired consistency is achieved.
4.) Ice cooled cupcakes.

Recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Caramel Corn Cupcakes

I am not a baker – I am a wanna be baker.  I feel like I’ve got the cooking thing down, but baking is such a different animal.  There’s too much science involved – you can’t just add a little of this or that; the measurements have to be exact.  But nevertheless, I want to bake.  Especially cupcakes – I love everything about cupcakes!  I should also add that we found out a couple of months ago that my oldest son Brogan has tree nut allergies, so no more baked goods from a bakery (unless it’s a nut-free bakery). This means that anytime someone at his preschool brings baked goods for the class, his teacher lets me know and I send him in with his own.  So I really need to figure this baking thing out.

I will be experimenting through this blog.  Some things will work (like these caramel corn cupcakes!!) and I’m sure some things won’t. I’ll spare you all the failures (unless they’re so bad it’s funny).

Now on to these beauties I made yesterday… driving home from work last week I was trying to think of an original cupcake idea – something that I love in it’s natural state that would make a good cupcake.  Caramel corn. I love caramel corn! I could eat myself sick with that stuff! This had potential – incorporate a corn flavored cake with a caramel flavored frosting, delish!  So I went to Pinterest and realized my original idea wasn’t so original.  But I didn’t find exactly what I was after so I decided to get brave and modify. It got a little rocky when I was mixing the batter and it broke, but I got really, really lucky and the cupcakes were still amazing!  Still not sure why it broke (I’m sure there is a scientific reason), but I guess no harm, no foul.

Cupcake3

Caramel Corn Cupcakes

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted (if you can’t find your sifter (like me) just use a little less flour)
1/3 cup cornmeal (make sure it’s not self-rising)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 small/med cobs)
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with paper liners.
2.) Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together; set aside.
3.) In a food processor, puree the sour cream and corn. Set aside.
4.) Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars and syrup together until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
5.) Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
6.) Add the vanilla and sour cream/corn mixture and mix until fully combined.
7.) With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, scraping down the sides between each addition. Do not over mix.
8.) Scoop batter using an ice cream scoop into cupcake liners until they are 3/4 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Cool completely before icing.

Yields 24 cupcakes.
Modified from Sweet Corn Cupcakes

Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting

2 sticks of butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 box powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 to 2 tbsp half and half

1.) Cream together butter, brown sugar and salt.
2.) Add powdered sugar slowly, scraping down sides as needed.
3.) Add vanilla and half and half 1 tbsp at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Caramel corn cupcakes2

I also got ambitious and made the caramel corn to go on top. This didn’t turn out as great as I had hoped – I think I used too much popcorn, and I didn’t add the caramel sauce immediately (so it started to harden). The taste was fine, but it just didn’t get evenly distributed throughout all of the popcorn.

The quote of the day came from Brogan:

Brogan: “What are you making?”
Me: “Caramel popcorn”
Brogan: “Yum, [very confidently] it comes from camels!”
Love. this. kid.

Caramel Popcorn

1/2 to 1 gallon of prepared popcorn (I used two bags of natural, lightly salted microwave popcorn – may have been just a little too much)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

1.) Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2.) Prepare popcorn and set aside.
3.) In a sauce pan, bring brown sugar, butter and syrup to a boil. Reduce heat and boil a slow boil for 5 minutes without stirring.
4.) Remove from heat and add baking soda, salt and vanilla. Stir well. Pour over popcorn immediately.
5.) Lay popcorn out on greased cookie sheets and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.
6.) Store in large ziplock bags.

Caramel sauce boiling

Caramel sauce done

Caramel popcorn

Original Recipe