Cookie Monster Cupcakes

I love cupcakes, and I love cookie monster so why not make cookie monster cupcakes? I made these because I wanted to try something new and it doubled as a birthday gift, so why not?!

What you’ll need:

1 box of cake mix (Betty Crocker never lets me down)

2 cans of ready made vanilla frosting

Blue Food Coloring

Vanilla Candy Melts

Oreos (cut in half to make the mouth)

Chocolate Chips

Mini Chips Ahoy (I used the ready to go cup! Worked out great because I used most of them.)

Wilton #233 tip

These were surprisingly painless! Don’t let the frosting fool you; the tip does all of the work for you. After baking the cupcakes and waiting until they are completely cooled, you’re ready to frost! Using a piping bag, your wilton tip, and a couplet never hurts, you will frost the cupcakes. Alls you’re creating is a grass like texture to represent cookie monsters hair.

Once the cupcakes are frosted you’re half way there! Take a couple chocolate chips, dab some frosting on the back of them, and then stick it onto the BACK SIDE (flat side) of the candy melt. On some of the cupcakes, I placed the eyes so they looked like googely eyes to add some fun effect. Next carefully place onto the cupcakes.

Now, take an oreo, cut it in half, and only use one side to stick onto the cupcake as the mouth. If you use both sides of the oreo it might not stay as well.

In the last step you will take the mini chips ahoy, agin dab some frosting on the back, and stick onto the oreo mouth.

Many cookie monster cupcakes are much more complicated than this, and while mine didn’t come out perfect, I thought they were pretty darn cute! Hope you enjoy!

Heres a picture of the cupcake that was my guideline:

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The end result:

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Homemade Tamales

Last weekend I blogged about my dad’s side of the families annual tradition of making peanut brittle and this weekend it was my moms side of the family’s tamale making tradition. I’m definitely a diverse individual if you couldn’t already tell. (Haha)

While, I don’t have a recipe for the tamales as there is too many steps involved, I figured I would share some pictures of our tradition.

This tradition was created by my grandma and it has been kept alive by my mom and aunt. My grandma watches from the couch now ( I think I want her job). Every Christmas Eve is spent at my grandparents house eating tamales, beans, and rice so a couple weekends before Christmas the tamale process begins, which is about 2 full days.

The first step is making the chile. Whole chiles are bought and all night is spent cleaning each chile individually, taking out the seeds, and then cleaning them. From there fresh chile is made adding spices like cumin and blending everything together to its perfect consistency. (Trust me when I say it’s a much longer process than these 2 sentences)

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We make 3 types of tamales: chicken, beef, and chile and cheese. After the chicken and beef are cooked and shredded the assembly can begin. The masa (Spanish dough) is spiced up with the homemade chile and so we begin.

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We take the oja (cornhusk) which is used to wrap the tamales. (The picture below is them soaking in warm water to make sure they are clean. They are drained and dried before we fill them) First, we feel for the soft side of the oja. This is the side that you want to spread the masa on.

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Leaving an inch or two at the top and bottom the masa is spread evenly. We then add the meat or cheese. For the meat we add 2 olives, and a spoonful of chile. For the cheese ones we add 2 slices of pepper jack, jalapeños, and a spoonful of chile.

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Then you can fold them up. By folding each side of the oja, folding the bottom tip of the oja, and pinching the top, you have created a tamale! (The extremely condensed version)

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I love this family tradition because it brings everyone together and each year I have a greater respect for the hard work and time that my mom and aunt put into this. After roughly 5 hours of nonstop spreading masa, and 24 dozen tamales later, I still have to wait another week and a half to eat them!

Tony’s Original Deli

This past week my dad and I had a sub sandwich on our minds and knew exactly where to go: Tony’s deli. A tiny deli and revamped bottle shop, Tonys is an authentic Anaheim deli that has been serving since 1972. It closed a couple months back but now under new ownership and is tasting better than ever.
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If you’re looking for fresh sliced-to-order deli sandwiche this is the place to go. While they have a variety of meats including Turkey, Pastrami, tuna, ham, salami just to name a few, their most popular sandwiches are the “big mikey” and the “Werner”. Each sandwich is piled high with roast beef, ham, and turkey.

My favorite is the Werner but with just roast beef. The jack cheese almost fools you for provolone but the thickness and it’s sweet aftertaste distinguish it from the latter. The Russian dressing and onion roll really gives the tender meat a kick and begs you to eat more! I have never had roast beef that has been so pink and that has melted in my mouth like this one. Most roast beef leans more toward the brown color and has too much fat on it which really has me passing it by.

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You can’t forget the potato salad that comes with your sandwich! Hands down the best potato salad I have ever had. If you like a potato salad that has a spice and a kick this is it.

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While the sandwiches are a bit pricey you definitely get what you pay for. They also serve bottled soda pop ranging from classic coca cola to bubble up and vanilla cream. I like that Tony's has brought back a nostalgic feeling to Anaheim and it's visitors.

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http://m.ocregister.com/articles/tony-505258-deli-franklyn.html

The battle of the cranberry sauce

As Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, I have Trader Joes cranberry orange relish on my mind. I said relish NOT sauce.

My boyfriend and I were talking about cranberry sauce today and he was telling me how he has never had a liking for it. When I asked him why, his answer was: “My dad pops it out of a can and just slaps it on his plate.” Well, my question was answered.

Nobody wants cranberry sauce out of a metal can that has been on the shelf for who knows how long. Filled with preservatives and excess sugar this is not real cranberry sauce.

This Thanksgiving try something new, take a trip to your local Trader Joes and purchase a container of cranberry orange relish. Fresh cranberries pop up in every bite and there is a sour and sweet taste that complement each other. Don’t forget to serve it chilled! 🙂

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Gluten free cookies from Mother’s Market

This weekend I tried something new from Mother’s Market gluten free aisle: cookies. I’m a cookie fanatic so a good cookie is hard to come by.

First off: the oatmeal raisin cookie
This cookie tasted just like any other oatmeal raisin cookie bursting with cinnamon flavor and chunks of raisins. Rather than being soft these cookies had a bit of a crunch to it. I liked it, it gave the cookie some character.

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Second: the chocolate chip cookie.
First bite was good but the second bite disappointed. The salt to sugar ratio was a little confusing. It almost had a bit of a sour after taste and the cookie had a pretty airy texture.

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Overall, I would definitely recommend the oatmeal raisin cookie. I loved the packaging of these cookies and how the ingredients were labeled clearly on the front.

These cookies also came from a local bakery in Laguna Beach, CA which made me happy that I was able to support them. Maybe I will have to venture out that way and visit the actual bakery!

I think it’s time for me to create my own rendition of gluten free cookies…

The future of Starbucks?

Every foodie loves a good cup of coffee…well except for me. I’m not a fan of coffee unless it’s blended in to a frappe drowned in sugar and whip creme.

I was shown this article and I found it so entertaining. The future of Starbucks is predicted to be a more tea bar like atmosphere and the first teavana tea bar has already opened up in the upper east side of New York City. I love myself a good cup of tea so I can’t wait to see this expand!

I really think we are living in a society where health is consuming a larger priority in our lives. The change from coffee to tea would therefore make sense. (Of course, nothing in excess isn’t good including tea).

What do you think about this change? Do you think Starbucks tea shops will survive?

Check out the link below for pictures and commentary on the new zen tea bars which I’m sure will soon pop up on every street corner just as it’s coffee shops have!
Starbucks Tea Bar