Desserts/Pastries · Miscellaneous

Lucas’ Galatic Star Wars Birthday Party

Lucas' 4th Birthday

It was my Lucas’ 4th birthday the other week. And as his auntie/godmama, I’ve affectionately nicknamed him Lucasaurus.

Don’t let his charming smile, bright wit and adorable face fool ya. He can be a downright rascal—– a veloci-rascal!

Lucas' 4th Birthday

But I just adore the kid to pieces.

So last year, when I mentioned to my seester (pictured above with her super photogenic fam) that we should throw him a Star Wars themed birthday party–she was all for it.

And that’s where I was in trouble. Now some of you all may have witnessed my tendencies to go overboard with certain things and that my OCD habits can get me in a tough spot. Well–then you have not met my seesters…..and in particular, my over-the-top party planning sister, T.

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Nearly 5 months before Lucas’ birthday, she started sending me texts about deals she found on party favors, decorating ideas she found on Pinterest, signage she had created, etc. The next thing I knew it, we were headed warp speed into Star Wars mania.

As for me, I just went along for the ride hoping my desserts would get the stamp of approval by the party planning Jedi.

Lucas' 4th Birthday

But look at this little guy? How could we not get carried away?!

…Wrapped around his finger, he has us….

So then this happened.

Star Wars Dessert Tablescape

A bountiful Star Wars tablescape with desserts and goodies galore. But as much as I wish I could take the credit for all the galactic-goodness, I was only in charge of the desserts.

Seester did all the decor (that she started putting up 2 weeks before the party), cute signs, overflowing swag bags, and all the adorable touches that would have made the Jedi Council proud.

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Of course a regular Star Wars themed party wouldn’t cut it, so they upped the ante and arranged a Jedi Training Camp in order for all the padawans to prepare for their path to Jedi Knighthood.

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Lightsabers and Jedi Robes were a must, including cadet boxes to store all their goodies.

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To quench our thirst on the beautiful day, we sipped fresh Millennium Margaritas (for Jedi Masters 21+), Yoda Soda and Vader-Ade. Special props to my brother-in-law for hand squeezing the 25+ limes I needed to make the margaritas.

Trust me, we will never scoff again at those who own electric citrus juicers–DOH!

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And to fuel our Force, we summoned the Taco Master all the way from Orange County— I mean Tatooine. 🙂

Mouthwatering Carne Asada, Carnitas, Fish, Nachos….ideal nourishment to battle the Empire.

Taco Master from Tattoine

Back at our tablescape, Seester put together these cute Star Wars themed candies. Yoda Treats, Han’s Rolo, Edible Ewoks, & Thermal Detonators.

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And poor Han.

All he wanted to do was to come wish Lucas a Happy Birthday but then he got himself frozen in carbonite again.

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Seester got to employ her knife skills by carving a watermelon Death Star. Lord Vader would have been pleased.

Watermelon Death Star

Lucky for us, Chewbacca was kind enough to guard the goodies from any other Sith Lords.

Lucas' 4th Birthday

Speaking of Sith Lords, I started off my dessert contributions by molding Stormtrooper and Darth Vader chocolates to place on top of the cupcakes. They later received a bit of edible disco dust for a bit of sheen….they are from outer space after all.

Darth Vader & Storm Trooper Chocolates

They perched atop rich Chocolate Cupcakes topped with big swirls of Vanilla Bean-Swiss Meringue Buttercream and sprinkles. Some of the cuppies were also topped with vanilla whipped cream.

Darth Vader & Storm Trooper Cupcakes

I paid additional homage to Darth Vader with these Chocolate Shortbread Cookies made with Valrhona cocoa powder.

Chocolate Darth Vader Cookies

How would it be a party without Master Yoda? These were Citrus Scented Sandwich Cookies filled with a Dark Chocolate Ganache.

Delicious, he was.

Yoda Sandwich Cookies

And to keep Darth Vader company, I made an army of Stormtrooper Sugar Cookies that were decorated with Royal Icing.

They were super fun to make and all of the cutters can be purchased from Williams Sonoma.

Storm Trooper Sugar Cookies

There were also pops for all to enjoy…..

Princess Leia Cake Pops & Death Star Rice Krispy Pops

“That’s no moon-it’s a Space Station!”

Not quite Master Obi-Wan but you’re close. They’re Rice Krispy Pops shaped as Death Stars. Not only a superweapon but super-yummy.

Death Star Rice Krispy Pops

And Princess Leia Cake Pops. Lucas really enjoyed these.

Princess Leia Cake Pops

And what’s a birthday party without a birthday cake?

I just had to make a little cake for our Jedi in training although Seester called it a “gentleman’s cake”. This was a 6 inch, 3-layer chocolate cake frosted with Vanilla Bean-Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I decorated the little cake with a fondant Stormtrooper accented with royal icing, fondant lightsabers, fondant Star Wars banner, Darth Vader molded chocolates, fondant stars and a star sparkler.

Star Wars Birthday Cake

At Jedi Training Camp, there was a Space Pod and stations for the padawans to bottle their own galaxies.

Lucas' Birthday

And then it was time to don their robes because…

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Duh, duh, duh, dum, da-dah, dum, da-dah………..

Darth Vader appeared! He was powerful, all-knowing, and—

Lucas' 4th Birthday

He liked parachutes. Yup, parachutes.

Lord Vader thought it was an integral training tool for the young padawans and can be seen here strategizing with the younglings.

Lucas' 4th Birthday

Heck–Vader even cleaned up after the parachute exercises!

There may still be good in him.

Lucas' 4th Birthday

Then he showed the padawans how to properly yield their sabers and spar.

I think that Lucas is saying– “You look a lot bigger on TV but I still pity the foo’ who messes with me!”

Oh yes, that was a Star Wars–Mr. T crossover moment.

Lucas' 4th Birthday

Cake Time!

Lucas' 4th Birthday

But that sneaky Vader used The Force to make the candles relight after Lucas blew them out.

He’s quite a trickser—when he’s not serving the Emperor and upholding the Dark Side.

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Lucas and Vader. They’re BFFs now.

The Lucasaurus always wins over the Dark Side.

Lucas' 4th Birthday

It was an action packed and exhausting day but the little guy had a blast.

And of course, we prevailed by restoring balance to the Force.

Lucas' 4th Birthday

The Force is strong with this one and I look forward to watching him grow into Jedi greatness.

Until our next Jedi Episode (hopefully for my other nephew, Leonidas’ birthday)— MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!

Lucas' 4th Birthday

Miscellaneous

Bella’s Golden Birthday & Peanut Butter-Carob PUPcakes!

Bella's 5th Birthday

My Bella turns 5 today! Woo Hoo!

Yes, my little puggle can be quite mischievous and well–rather rascally. But at the end of the day she’s my super cuddly and loving little gal. Yup. She’s the Best Pup Ever. True Story.

Peanut Butter-Carob PUPcakes

To celebrate her golden birthday, I wanted to make her a few PUPcakes! After all, a mama has to indulge her little one from time to time….and well, because I somehow became one of those obsessed puppy parents 😉

Since chocolate is a definite no-no for dogs, I opted for both melted and whole carob chips in the batter along with peanut butter, honey, shredded carrots, and jarred baby food. That’s right–baby food! Organic chicken to be exact. It may sound odd but it’s a hit with the pups. And lastly, I dipped the pupcakes into a carob “ganache” and topped them with carrot sprinkles.

Bella's 5th Birthday

Needless to say, Bella loved them! Although I must admit that it was torture for her to wait until her mama finished snapping pics before she could dive into the pupcakes. She is much less concerned with documenting her Foodventures than I am but was such a good sport nonetheless.

And with that….HAPPY BIRTHDAY BELLA! Love ya to pieces!

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Peanut Butter-Carob PUPcakes
Makes 1/2 dozen pupcakes

Ingredients:

Batter
½ cup carob chips, divided
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 ounces organic pureed baby food (chicken or beef)
¼ cup smooth peanut butter
¼ cup shredded carrots

“Ganache”
½ cup carob chips
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey

Garnish
shredded carrots
carob chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in a muffin pan.

In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup carob chips and honey. Using 15 second intervals, microwave the chips and honey until melted and smooth. Be sure to stir every 15 seconds to avoid burning the carob. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk the egg, vegetable oil, baby food, peanut butter and melted carob until thoroughly combined. Stir in the dry ingredients and then the carrots and ¼ cup carob chips. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners until they are about 2/3 filled. Bake the pupcakes for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on racks.

While the pupcakes are cooling, prepare the “ganache”. In a bowl, combine ½ cup carob chips, peanut butter and honey. Using 15 second intervals, microwave the items until melted and smooth. Check and stir every 15 seconds to avoid burning the “ganache”. Working with 1 pupcake at a time, carefully dip each cake top in the warm “ganache”, twisting your wrist as needed to ensure the pupcake top gets completely coated. Allow the “ganache” to set 1-2 minutes and decorate with shredded carrots and carob chips. Repeat with the remaining pupcakes.

Pupcakes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Miscellaneous

20 Super Bowl Recipes for Game Day

Whether you’re hosting/attending a Super Bowl bash, no game day is complete without a table of goodness to nosh on. Check out my 20 Super Bowl recipes that will have your loved ones not only cheering for your fav team but also for you—-whatever the results of the game may be!


Buffalo Wings

Buffalo Wings

Fried Buffalo Calamari

Fried "Buffalo" Calamari

Mediterranean Spinach Artichoke Dip

Oven Baked Potato Chips

Oven Baked Potato Chips

Bruschetta with Smoked Mozzarella Cheese

Bruschetta with Smoked Mozzarella Cheese


Margherita Pizza with Crispy Bacon

Margherita Pizza with Crispy Bacon

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

Macadamia Nut Pesto Pizza

Macadamia Nut Pesto Pizza

Shrimp and Prosciutto Pizza with Fresh Arugula

Shrimp and Prosciutto Pizza with Fresh Arugula

Fat Tire Braised Carnitas Tacos

Fat Tire® Braised Carnitas Tacos

Turkey and Bean Chili

Turkey and Bean Chili

Onion Burgers

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Rice-Cereal Treats

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Rice-Cereal Treats

At Hoc at Home Brownies

Brownies from "Ad Hoc at Home"

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

Fat Tire Chavelas

Fat Tire® Chavelas

Mint Margaritas

Mint Margaritas

Fresh Strawberry Mojitos

Fresh Strawberry Mojito

Miscellaneous

Carrot-Carob Pupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting….Happy Birthday Bella!

Bella's Birthday Puppy Cupcakes

My little puggle turns 4 today!

Hard to believe how quickly time flies……..and to think, I used to be “Not a Dog Person”. Shame on Me!

My Bella has brought tons of love, laughter, and cuddles into my life—and yes, a tad of mischief too. She definitely keeps me on my toes. 🙂

To celebrate her birthday, I whipped up some puppy cupcakes….Carrot-Carob Pupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting! All puppy safe—I even double checked with Bella’s vet to make sure.

Bella's Birthday Puppy Cupcakes

The extra shredded carrot on top made the perfect “sprinkles” for these pupcakes. Pretty snazzy, eh?

Bella's Birthday Puppy Cupcakes

Bella LOVED them!!

Bella's Birthday Puppy Cupcakes

And because Bella’s mama loves her so much AND because I just discovered Animoto via one of my besties, I’ve made her a birthday video montage. Yup, I’m one of those puppy parents.  Though, you’ll have to excuse the abrupt end of the video–I’ll work on it 🙂

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BELLA!!!!! xoxo

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Carrot-Carob Pupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes 8-10 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcake Batter:
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Large Egg
1/4 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup Peanut Butter
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Shredded Carrots
1/4 Cup Carob Chips

Frosting:
1/2 Cup Lowfat Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1/4 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Tablespoon Honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners in a cupcake pan.

In a small bowl, mix together dry ingredients for the cupcake batter. In another bowl, whisk the egg, honey, peanut butter and vegetable oil until thoroughly combined.  Stir in the dry ingredients and then the carrots and carob chips. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners until they are about 2/3 filled. Bake the cupcakes for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on racks.

While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. Whip the cream cheese, peanut butter, and honey together until light and fluffy. Pipe (or spread) the frosting on the cooled cupcakes. Top with extra shredded carrots and carob chips.

*Although these ingredients are safe for pups to digest, please be sure to only give them moderate portions