Saturday, July 4, 2009

The 4th

Yesterday, I had a huge soap box planned for today on the blog. All about how much I love the 4th and how much I love America and how I am sick of American citizens and talking heads on TV bagging on our country all the time but not raising a finger to do a darn thing about it. I was then going to go off about how the 4th of July is not a reason to get really really drunk with all your friends and then drive or ruin the holiday for everyone. Then, I got home this morning and my daughter handed me this:

It's a birthday card she made for America.

I cried.

Now there's no soap box, just me and my family celebrating the fourth and remembering why we do. During your fun filled day today, I hope your family will take a minute to do the same. Remember why we have this holiday. Remember the men and women who have made this country remarkable. Remember all who we have lost. Remember our responsibility the the rest of the world. Then, remember to have a cupcake.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The GIANT Cupcake Cake

So, for Christmas my mom got me the Wilton giant cupcake pan that pretty much everyone has seen, but I tucked it away and never made anything with it. Then Sydney was turning 6 and I thought AHA! Here's my good excuse. Of course she was thrilled because she loves anything on a giant scale, so a giant cupcake is right up her alley.

I decided to go for a pink and brown sort of scheme, but really I was just wingin' it. Sydney requested chocolate cake on the bottom and cherry chip on top. We went cake mix all the way. The only thing that was going to bug me was that I knew I wanted to layer and frost (being a frosting kinda girl) the bottom half of the cake, but I still wanted it to look smooth and neat and I didn't want to ice the whole cake. THEN I cam across these directions to make a chocolate shell for the bottom from Oh Sugar. She states she got the idea from Wilton cake decorating. Either way, go check hers out because it's awesome.

It turned out great! Probably the neatest part of the cake. Then I layered and frosted the rest of the cake and for the top in order to create jumbo sprinkles I just used the Wilton Candy melts, but turned upside down so the perfectly flat side was showing. The little white polka dots are .... yep, you guessed it, white chocolate chips turned upside down. I finished it off with Wilton's jumbo sprinkles, I just picked out the pink ones.

I had enough cake batter left over to make a dozen cupcakes so I made those up and then frosted and sprinkled. So cute and fun! This pan is a keeper for sure! My one tip is to go low and slow on the cooking time here. I baked this up at 325 for an hour. The cake is moist and did not get over done. My frosting is a bit on the messy side, but I just ran out of time to fuss with it. Sydney was thrilled when it was done, so I figured I could let my OCD go for this one day and have messy frosting.

Oh, and on a side note. Last night at 11 pm I decided to make Sydney her own birthday banner. I have seen all these awesome paper crafters making these amazing birthday banners like this one and this one.

So, I made one too. Now, I know mine looks nothing like the examples, but it was 11 at night and I'm not even a scrapbooker, so I have VERY limited paper supplies on hand. Regardless, I think it's pretty cute and Sydney LOVED IT! Not bad for some ribbon a few pieces of cardstock and then whatever embellishments I could scrounge before midnight. I wish I had thought ahead and I would have acutally made a better effort and even made it to match the cake. Oh well. So all you real scrappers, mock me if you must, but I still think it's cute.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Sydney!

I can't believe it. My little baby is turning 6 tomorrow. I don't know why, but it's hitting me hard this year. I can't believe how fast she's growing up. I really can't get away with calling her baby girl anymore. Right now she's completely sick of me because I've been smooching her face every chance I can get today. I keep telling her I just want to get as many 5 year old kisses as I can. I love this girl. We haven't taken birthday pictures yet, we will sometime in the next few weeks. In the meantime, here's some of my favorites of her from the last six years.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

I'll post pictures of the festivities and the cake tomorrow night, but for now, I just wanted to wax nostalgic for a few minutes and sniffle a bit. Happy Birthday, Syd. Your mom loves you more than buttercream.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cupcake Vivie

It's no secret. I love this face...

I love it even when she's trying to be grumpy...

I love it when she's being a goofball....

I love when she's exploring and she has her "interesting" face on...

I pretty much want to smooch it completely off when she's got the big puppy eyes going..

But here's the real secret, I want to smooch her just a little bit more when she's got her cupcake dress on. It's pink and soft and cute and has cupcakes all over and and, well, have you met me?!

Don't tell her, but when she'll let me put the cupcake dress on her instead of a Dora shirt, there's is sunshine in my soul all day.

And the bow? Forget about it, it's like the frosting on top.

You might not believe me, but I'd give up cupcakes for this face. But we have begun to realize she has inherited my sweet tooth, so it's pretty unlikely she'll ask...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Manna from Heaven

I'm pretty sure I could attempt to live on these chips alone. It might not be good for me, but I'm willing to try....

These aren't bad either....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cupcake Army

I made 150 mini cupcakes for Sydney's kindergarten graduation party today.

I made half lemon and half strawberry, both are topped off with vanilla buttercream and rainbow sprinkles.

I figured nothing shouted "Hooray for Kindergarten!!" better than rainbow sprinkles. After they were all done, they were so cute.

It looked like a little cupcake army sitting on my counter. It's a sacrifice, but I'm happy to command it for the greater good.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


I won! I totally FREAKING won! I'm so excited I could bake cupcakes all day then take them around to everyone I know! Umm.... maybe not. Regardless, thank you so much for all of your votes and your support. (Even the month's when I didn't win and you totally told me I got robbed-- 'cuz that made me wanna bake again the next month.) I'll show off all my neat prizes when they arrive on my doorstep!! Oh, and from now on out, I won't be eligible for the prize pack for winning, but Iron Cupcake is too much fun! Expect entries regardless. And to all my local friends, expect to eat them.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Olson Princess Round Up

I'm shamefully behind in letting all friends and family know what's going on. So here you go:

We had easter and easter dresses:

Sydney made an awesome Easter bonnet with silk flowes and tissue paper:

She went on a field trip to the grocery store and got to pet a lobster and be a checker:

She even had Hawaiian day at school:

I ran a 5K the day before Mother's day and Vivie was my cheerleader. This was my first 5k since Vivie was born, so it was a pretty big deal for me. I'm signed up to run a 10k on the fourth of July, so hopefully I'll be ready:

And finally, Vivie is just being Vivie. Today she wore this all morning and pretended to trick or treat. Every time she came by my desk I gave her a marshmallow. It was pretty awesome.

Coming up this summer: Elementary school talent show (Syd will be singing), kindergarten graduation, swim lessons, days a the beach, a surprise b-day trip to Sea World for Syd (shhh... don't tell) Syd's 6th birthday, the fair (and my first real baking competition entry), girls camp, the (hopefully) 10k, and of course more Vivie being Vivie-- which let's face it, is pretty the most entertaining thing on the list.

Happy Summer Everyone! What are your plans?

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Voting has opened for the Iron Cupcake:Savory contest this month!

Go vote for me! Remember you can vote for up to three entries at a time, so make sure to vote for both of mine. Make sure to check out the other entries, there are some really great ones. The egg roll cupcake is making my brain to back flips!

Here's a review of the two I made:

The Calzone Cuppie
Cupcake Vera Cruz

To vote, click on the Iron Cupcake logo on the right -------------------------->>>>>>

Scroll down to Vanessa Contessa on the right hand side of the voting, click my entries and hit submit!


Multitasking Nightmares

Something somewhere has gone horribly wrong.

I don't know where I made such a wrong turn. It could be that hour I spend playing word drop and mafia wars on facebook. Maybe it's that cumulative 30 minutes I just spend staring at Vivie's dimples and chasing her down for a kiss. Either way, I have officially lost track of using my time wisely throughout the day. This finally occurred to me when by the end of it, we had simply run out. And like a bat to the head, I knew we had entered the multitasking twilight zone when my kids were eating popcicles and taking their evening baths at the same time.

We've hit a new all time low here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Iron Cupcake Round Two: The Calzone Cuppie

After I made the first entry for this month's Iron Cupcake:Savory, I just couldn't stop brainstorming ideas. I wanted to come up with some kind of cupcake you really could eat for dinner and get away with it. Then, one morning I woke up from a dream with this cupcake idea. (Yes, that's right, I'm dreaming of cupcakes now. It has become that much of a problem.) The idea was a calzone cupcake. Really it all started when my hubby made cinnamon rolls from scratch (yes you read that right, too.) and let them rise and baked them in my muffin/cupcake tins. We started thinking about all the yeast dough possibilites and finally the calzone cupcake was mentioned. I didn't think any more about it until I had the dream, and then I became a crazy woman obsessed until I made them. So, here it is. Truly a cupcake for dinner:

The Calzone Cuppie
(makes 12 )


1 batch pizza dough***
2 cups tomato sauce (prepared or homemade)
2 cups mozzerella cheese or italian cheese blend
fresh basil (about 12 sprigs)

12 oz ricotta cheese
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

***About the pizza dough. Let me digress for a minute. If you can make this from scratch, GREAT! We make ours from scratch and love this recipe. Pizza dough is very simple to make, but is very time consuming. If you are not up to making your own, here are my two favorite suggestions.
1. Trader Joes ready made pizza dough. If you have a Trader Joe's in your area. GO GET THIS DOUGH! It's yummy, good, fresh, and a great price. Here it runs $1.29 a package. For this recipe I'd get two packages.
2. Find an independent family owned pizzeria in your area and purchase some of their dough. Most of them will let you do this. I was terrified the first time I tried this out and was sure they would laugh me out the door and I would have to leave with the shame and humility of being known as the crazy lady who can't make her own pizza dough. So, when I went, I made sure to get there first thing after they opened hoping to eliminate as many witnesses as possible to my upcoming moment of embarassement. To my shock and amazement, after I asked to purchase some dough, they just ran back to the kitchen, brought me back a bag and asked for five bucks. I was giddy! In fact, I pretty much threw the money at them and ran out before they could change their minds. I've gone countless times since and never once have I been told no or laughed at. So, my suggestion to you is, if you want to make pizza, but not the dough, try this.

Okay, back to the recipe.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Grease or spray muffin tin and set aside.

Now for the tricky part, the dough. At first I took my dough and rolled it out onto a well floured surface, planning to cut out perfect circles. For some reason, I just couldn't get it to work. In fact, I was so engrossed in my pizza dough I stopped shooting altogether. Finally, I figured out the best way to do this is to break off handful size pieces of the dough and then roll or stretch these out to the size you need to fill your muffin tin. It doesn't need to be perfect, you will be folding them over onto themselves later to seal them.

When you have stretched your dough, lay them into the muffin tin and place a tablespoon of sauce into the cupped dough. Top with a tablespoon of cheese, a fresh leaf of basil and a pepperoni. Layer with another teaspoon of sauce and then fold the dough over onto itself and seal as best as you can. Repeat with until you have filled the muffin tins.

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Cups will become golden brown and some sauce and cheese will escape. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
While baking, prepare the topping. In your mixer, combine ricotta cheese, cream cheese, salt, parmesan and garlic. Beat with paddle mixer for about 2 minutes until well combined and creamy. Place in a pastry bag and pipe onto calzone cups. Garnish with chopped black olives, grape tomatoes and drizzle with more tomato sauce. Serve and enjoy!

Let me just tell you. These are beyond fantastic. In fact they are be-tastic! These were so delicious and yes, I actually served them for dinner! In fact, all the final pictures I shot while we were about to dig in! Jon said they were the best cupcakes I have ever made! I thought that was pretty funny, considering they are truly streching the definition. Hey, I'll take the compliments anywhere I can get them!!

They got two thumbs up from my girls. Well make that two fingers and two thumbs up. We will make these again and again and I'm actually planning a party now where these are the main course and THEN just to keep everyone even more confused, I'll end the night with a dessert pizza!

Again, the voting will open soon for this month's cupcakes and I'll let you know when to go vote. The winners of Iron Cupcake this month will be awarded with these prizes:

Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS,, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson,, JESSIE STEELE APRONS; TASTE OF HOME books,; a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, .

I hope you like them and don't forget to vote!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Fairy Tale

For mother's day this year, Sydney (with the help of her daddy) wrote me my very own book. It's so awesome. She made the story up herself and Jon helped her with creating the images and writing some of the longer parts. She even let Vivie help with all the coloring (so if you see crayon anywhere, it's the evil genius contribution.) So read the story of me. Oh yeah, I'm the princess dressed in ALL BLACK in every single picture. See, I told you, awesome.

(That's me, sleeping in a bed made for a giant)

(And that's me about to be trampled by wish granting unicorn)

(Um, yeah I do!)


(Nice book choice. And once again, I totally love my goth dress.)

(Look how hot I look in this car!)

(I totally belong with the Cullens, don't you think?)

(I look pretty bad-A as a wizard, too. So it's a hard call...)

(My chef hat rocks.)

(That's actually about the proportional size of my camera)

(Yeah, long story...)

(Awww... and I really like how my goth look is catching.)

It's totally true. They are the best treasure I could ever have.
Happy Mother's Day!