Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year Clock Cakes

Happy New Year! Woot woot....Cheers!
A few years ago I made these simply adorable "Time Cupcakes"  and had to share the most simplest of ideas for a New Years treat.
These Southern Red Velvet Clock adorned cupcakes are perfect for the "Big countdown" and take minutes to decorate.
So how did I make all these gorgeous time pieces you ask? Rice Paper, that's how.  Our local grocery store has a bakery department that offers cakes made with your photos.  If your local bakery offers "Photo Cakes" made with your photos, then you can get these clock photos made there.   For one sheet, it costs about $8 depending on your store, but if you need to order these online, there are places that also do it for about $8 too.
What I did~
I went online a did an image search of clocks.   I copied clocks to my picture file on my computer and then transferred them to a picture document.  I made sure that I had at least 16 photos on each page and then took that page into the bakery to have it copied onto rice paper.  I simply cut out the clocks and placed them in the center of my frosted cupcakes, pushing them down slightly.  It was that simple and they were that cute! 
*note~ Rice paper can dry out and become brittle so you do not want to let them sit around for days.
*note~ You can also do photos of your family member that is celebrating a birthdayand put them on cupcakes too.  I did this for my hubby's 50th...
That's my hubby when he was so little.  Isn't he a cutie!
Okay, so you may be looking at the band photos and thinking...What? How is this related to a cupcake post?  Well you see, the band below is "100 Monkeys" and had some popular actors in it.

 Jackson Rathbone (Twilight Movie Actor as "Jasper") and Jared Anderson who is well known as the chicken sandwich in Burger King commercials and many other movies too.

 Here are my cupcakes, back stage with the band.  Yep....
(Yikes, one is falling! Casualty!)

...and here I am, back stage too. Boy was I stoked to be there! And I'm hoping they loved my cupcakes too!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Elves On The Shelves Part 2

I love Elves on the Shelf. Nothing makes your Christmas countdown a little more merry than these  happy cheery guys. And when it comes to home, office or business, I love coming up with new ways for bringing happiness to my children, family, friends and customers.  Here are a few ideas that we created for my Pizza Factory Restaurant but most are just as easily adaptable to home also.  Be creative and let the Christmas spirit flow... 
This year I really wanted to do a little something different than we did last year.  I decided to do a Pizza Factory 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway using things I had at my Pizza Place or something Pizza related as you'll see below with the Chocolate Pizza.  My customers and Pizza Fans have been jumping on the band wagon and getting into the "Christmas Spirit" by commenting and adding great messages to our Posts. Feel free to check out our facebook page for all the neat comments, some of them being really entertaining and some being powerful when chatting about Bullying, a cause close to our heart.
I'm starting with the biggie!   This was our 12th day of our 12 days of Christmas giveaway.  Who doesn't like free Pizza?  And for a year, well, that's a whole lot of dough!  I posted this contest at midnight and a few hours later, we already had so many comments to win.  This was the most fun we've had in many years.  Normally our business would give to the Angel tree and buy gifts for a few local children along with jackets.  Though we still did and had a lot of fun with our Angel Tree kids, the 12 days contest left me feeling so excited and happy for our winners.

Our 11th day giveaway was for this wonderfully delicious and sweet Chocolate Pizza weighing in at 1 lb, 8 oz. I also threw in some cookies that we bake at our restaurant.  What really sparked the Sweet day was this little apron that was sent from a talented apron maker Aimee Broussard.  If you need one, click here to check out her link.
If they're out of stock, be sure to check back next year to pick one up.  They're too cute! (and magical!)

Then, to top it off, my sweet Auntie Sissy from Texas gave me this A-dorable mini mixer clock.  Talk about elf heaven!  

Look at those mini cookies.  My son walked in a saw them and couldn't help but smile.  Then he asked me to bake them since he wanted to try elf cookies. To make them, I took a little extra dough from my left over cookies to make these along with aluminum foil that I folded into a cookie sheet.

On our 10th day of Christmas, I gave away a $10 gift certificate that I classified as a whole lot of dough.  Below is our "Dough ball fight" that corresponded with the giveaway.  "Someone got hit with a whole lot of dough.  Maybe you'll be hit with some too!"

Here is something I actually have been seeing a lot of lately.  Yep, the wrecking ball.  I had to borrow the idea.  For my day 9 of the giveaway, I gave away a $9 pasta dinner but said we'd not allow this little guy to "Wreck" Christmas if they told us their favorite Christmas song and why.

For our 8th day of our Christmas Giveaway, we gave a medium pizza along with our $8 anti-bullying shirt.  If you really want to see a powerful community spirit, check out our facebook page for the comments to this post specifically.  It was so good that I ended up giving a pizza bread to every person that left their good ideas to support a bullied person. It was really heart warming on a very sad and touchy subject.
On day 7 of our giveaway, we decided to give Five dollar bucks to 7 lucky winners. 
On day 6 of our giveaway, this is where I introduced the elves into our posts.  Prior to that, I just posted the giveaway items with a photo of the food, to mix it up a bit.  Here is the elf pointing to the giveaway.  This day happened to be for a 6 piece serving of Chicken wings.

Day 5-  was a $5 gift card to promo that we just started selling and taking them.
Day 4- was our world famous Spumoni Cupcakes, a 4 pack of them.
Day 3- was a 3 topping mini pizza
Day 2- was a 2 topping mini pizza
Day 1- was a 1 topping pizza bread
All in all, this was by far the most fun that I've ever had with these little elves. If you have a business and use these ideas, you are sure to get a few more followers to make it worth your time.  However, we did it so we could bless our customers, keep it fresh and keep it full of excitement.
Make sure to check my previous elf on the shelf ideas that my daughter put together for us last year.  They're fun, witty and talented!
Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Cupcake Tip

Have you ever wondered how Cupcakerys, Bakerys and Sweet Shops have big beautiful cupcakes but no matter how you bake yours, they're much smaller.  Well, I have a secret for you.  It's not you.  It's not your oven, and it's not even your batter. 


I've been baking cupcakes for a long time.  And when I started professionally with my company "A Sweet Cure Cupcakes,"  I asked a lot of questions but unfortunately never found my cupcake liner supplier to have the right answer.  Generally they showed me a catalog with all sorts of sizes of liners but  never offered much more than that.  Then one day, low and behold, I saw liners in a store classified as "Texas Cupcake liners." Say what?  I love Texas!  We all know that everything is bigger in Texas too.  However when I questioned the lady at the checkout, she said this is how the pros do it.  This gives more cake to your cup and makes your cupcakes bigger, plus you can charge more for them too.  
So I came home and got right to work.  I baked them up and compared them. 
I'm one happy cupcake maker and my customers are even happier.

 The end (until we meet again!)

Happy baking, eating and cupcake making...

Monday, December 9, 2013

New York Bucket List

Last year I won a trip to New Jersey. I decided to extend my trip a few days and had a friend take me on a quick tour of Manhattan, NY. And though the trip was just that, quick, I fell head over heels in love with the City that never sleeps, and it quickly became the apple of my eye. So this year, when I won another trip to New Jersey (this I'll talk more about later), I decided to make a bucket list of items I wanted to experience in New York and this time, I'd get my hubby to come with me.
Before our trip to NY, I had asked my husband to give me his list of to do's and I started to jot down mine. I went through maps, locations and also googled food ideas to gather a quick itinerary. Some of the things I googled were:
Things to do in NYC, What to eat in NYC and Must do in New York.
I came up with my list and correlated it to some of the hot spot recommendations. I went to AAA auto club and picked up free tour maps and books. I recommend this highly if you are a member. My hubby and I had quite a large list compiling and we were trying to figure how we could see what we needed to see on a budget. If we took a taxi and went to each place separately, it would cost a small fortune. So we decided on a "Hop on, Hop off" bus. There are many to pick from but the one we chose was the City Sights NY. We decided on the package that cost about $99 each and it included 48 hours of tours, which also included 4 different bus tours and a by sea tour that was valid for 4 days. All in all, we had only budgeted 2 days in NYC and realistically could have used a whole extra day to do the sea tour also. On this tour we checked off many things from our list and actually experienced many of them first hand by getting off the bus too. We also paid $20 extra for a pass to tour the top of the Empire State Building. If you are staying at a hotel, check with your concierge for discounts and also for an early morning pick up from the bus company at no extra charge.
My Top Ten NYC list
1. Hop on, Hop off bus (see all the sights, learn the area, hear the history, go back and visit your favorite spots)

2. Empire state building at night (if you are looking for romance, this is a must but be warned, take a jacket because it is cold)
3. Central park carriage ride. (you can negotiate price slightly, but they are more willing to give more time than money off)

4. Time Square. Find out if they have an opera at night and try to see one. It is quite spectacular and it is free.

5. Lombardi's Pizza in Little Italy. It is the oldest Pizza place in the US. Take a free tour to the ovens to see how the pizza is made.

6. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge. It's a nice jaunt and you are sure to work off your pizza!

7. St. Paul's Church, next to the new Freedom Tower. There is a free “911 memorial” on the inside. It is a must, then walk right outside to view the new Freedom Tower. Trust me, bring some Kleenex.

8. Battery Park. If you do not make it to the Statue of Liberty, you can see her beauty and take photos from here.

9. The Flat Iron District because of the vast history, great shopping and spectacular buildings.

10. The “View in the Marriot at Time Square. It is a spectacular 360 degree revolving rooftop restaurant and bar on the 48th floor. It will cost you $8 pp plus at least a drink each. The coasters come with a complete map to tell you what buildings you see as your view is constantly changing. This is a great way to learn what is where from the very beginning of your trip.
If you can make some other pit stops, I recommend: Fao Schwartz toy store and make sure you see the big piano, Serendipity 3 for a nice frozen Hot cocoa dessert, Mangia restaurant near the Waldorf Astoria and Central Park (it is a nice reasonable Italian restaurant with incredible food. They also have a deli area if you’d like to pack a picnic and eat in Central Park), Crumbs bakery in the Theater district for their style Cronut called a “Crumbnut”or you can head to the Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho for the real thing but be prepared to be there at least 2 hours before opening to get one.

Easy Gingerbread Roll

Christmas is near, parties are happening and now is the time for Quick and Easy.  Yesterday I had two parties in a row and decided one dessert could be a little more detailed but the other had to be simple.  I searched through my pantry and found two boxes of Krusteaz Gingerbread mix.  I was thrilled.  I had wanted to do a pumpkin roll but decided to try and make a gingerbread one instead.  To my delight and the delight of the party goers, it was a complete hit, yummy with all the nice flavors Christmas has to offer and delightfully simple.
Trust me, you'll love it, gingerbread lovers will love it and everyone else, well, they'll love it too.
 So enjoy and happy baking~
Easy Gingerbread Roll recipe:
2 boxes Krusteaz Gingerbread cookie/ cake mix
(make batter according to directions for cake)
Bake in a jelly roll pan, 10 x 15, that's been lined with waxed paper and greased (This way the roll pops right out and doesn't stick to the pan.) Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Check to make sure it springs back when touched.  Cool slightly.  On a thin cotton pastry towel, sprinkle with powdered sugar and invert roll onto towel.  Roll up from one end to the next and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.  Make cream cheese mixture.
Cream cheese spread:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 box cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix ingredients until smooth. Carefully unroll cooled cake and spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Re-roll cake using the towel to help pull it together as you roll. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour or freeze. Once ready to serve, cut off ends to make it look pretty.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

 Wrap to cool.
Open roll, spread with cream cheese mixture and re-roll.
 Serve this bit of deliciousness, or eat it all yourself. I won't tell but trust me, this is big enough to eat as much as you want and big enough to still have some to serve to guests.  Just saying.
For more recipes, party planning, decorating and fun, check this blog out for more ideas.  Heck, you may want to be a follower too.  I hear good things come to those who follow, for example, contests, prize giveaways and such.  Feel free to follow me on facebook too @

Friday, November 29, 2013

Elf on the Shelf

It's almost here.  Christmas is right around the corner and now is the time to plan, organize and have fun. I'm not talking turkey or planning dinner, not talking cleaning or setting the Christmas table, I'm just talking about the little things to make your holiday extra fun and special for your youngsters, hubby, friend, possibly your employees but especially for the "Spirit of Santa" in you.
These pictures may leave you wondering about the commercial type photos.  I own a restaurant.  It's called Pizza Factory and it's a franchise in Phelan, California.   So if you are ever traveling through, stop by and say Hi. (Did I mention our Pizza, and everything else there Rocks? After 29 years, I could still eat it every day!)
So my daughter Erin,  who was managing the restaurant for my hubby and myself decided that the three little elves on our Christmas Tree needed to get into a little fun mischief around the place.  Our employees and facebook fans were always super excited every morning to see what they'd do next.  They had some great adventures and I'll share a few of them here.  (Feel free to see what they'll be up to this year also at www.facebook.com/pizzafactoryphelan )

Hopefully these little sweethearts and fun seekers can inspire you  to do the same around your home, work place or your business.  Share away our little Christmas adventures with your friends and family too...

Elf on the shelf photos and captions~

What happens after hours...goes onto facebook. Sneaky little one having some fun! Pizza factory is a FUN place even for elves!

Meanwhile, back at the Pizza Factory... Another elf spotting last night. I bet they were getting ready to watch....______________________________?

We've always known Pizza Factory was a great place for a date night but this really takes the cake, or should I say...cookie!

 And the saga continues~ more elf games...

 If the Pizza Factory's open sign comes on at 3am, Don't trust the elf. Buddy, the elf on the shelf that's been up to all sorts of fun things in the restaurant this week is a practical Joker and we aren't sure he can make a superb pizza like your Pizza Factory crew can. Just saying. 

Now we're talking! These little elves really know how to have fun at the Pizza Factory!

Looks like the elves found our office. It's always entertaining for us to see what they'll do next. Funny, silly elves!

Lost and found watch. Thank you Buddy for the heads up!

I believe Buddy wanted to remind us what a great gift and stocking stuffer Pizza Factory Gift Certificates are. And I agree Buddy, I think they are too.

 And what are these three Little ones up to? Oh dear....
 Oh no, someone snuck a photo of a deliciously sinful Pizza Factory pizza plug in here...(insert drool here,  and lick the screen too if you'd like but the real thing is way more delicious!)

From our family to yours, we all want to wish you a very merry, blessed and love filled Christmas. May the spirit of it fill your homes and may Jesus be the reason for the season.
 And if that certain little someone in your life deserves something a little special for the holidays, possibly you can be enticed with this ever so adorable apron, made and tailored especially for him or her. My dear friend Aimee is not only a talented seamstress (I think she works at the North Pole too), but you'll enjoy her incredible website also.  Check her out. You'll love her. Your elves will too.  Trust me, Buddy has been pining for one of these babies and he is going to be so elated when his Surprise Apron arrives!


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Nutty-Mallow Vodka Shot

Nutty~Mallow, for when you crave a little peanut butter and a little marshmallow, in an adult sort of way. Delightful, but potent. Yummy, nutty and smooth. Save some in the refrigerator and have a power punch pudding with a kick.   That's all I've got to say about that...now for the recipe~
1/2 cup Marshmallow vodka
1 Tbs peanut butter
2 Tbs coconut milk (the cream off the top)
1 tsp agave

 Mix peanut butter and vodka until mixed well and smooth.
Add coconut cream, agave and mix well.

Pour into three shot glasses.  Enjoy or refrigerate for a delicious creamy pudding. Beware~potent!

Enjoy responsibly. Yum!