Dance of the Cupcakes


I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving last week. I really enjoyed being back home and spending time with all of my brothers. I saw Frozen on Friday and really enjoyed it. The story was adorable, the songs were catchy and the animation was incredible- seriously unbelievable. They have truly come such a long way in animation. To watch the snowflakes form in Fantasia and then in Frozen is remarkable. What is also amazing is how Fantasia was made almost 75 years ago and is still impressive. Never one of my go to movies but when I sit down and watch it the artistry in Fantasia never ceases to amaze me.

Still stuffed with turkey from last week we took it easy on the food for Fantasia. I picked a few items that reminded me of different pieces and focused on the sweets. It was only my boyfriend, my brother and I for dinner but treats I could make a ton of and everyone loved me at work today ;-)

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The Design-

There is so much going on in Fantasia and so many different elements you can include. I tried to represent them in the menu as opposed to the design so it didn’t look to busy and cluttered. I choose to go with the Sorcerer’s Apprentice as it is probably the most well know of the Fantasia sequences. I used buckets from the dollar store and filled them with blue and silver basket filler to mimic the water splashing. I also used blue and silver tinsel on the table top to have a similar effect. I chose to use a large cupcake tower accented with blacks and greys to mimic the “cliff” Mickey climbs as the water overtakes him. It also reminded me a little of bald mountain.

The Menu-

My original plan was to make a dish that represented every segment in both Fantasia and Fantasia 2000. I came up with a lot of great ideas but didn’t want to go through all that work for only a few people. That may make more sense for a larger gathering or party. If you would like some ideas on what to make don’t hesitate to reach out.

What I did make:

Conductor’s Batons (Chocolate Dipped Pretzels)

The Nutcracker Suite- Dancing Mushrooms (Cubed Mozzerella and halved cherry tomatoes)

Carnival of the Animals- Flamingo Sandwiches

Dance of the Hours- Hippotatoes and Cupcakes

Night on Bald Mountain and Rite of Spring- Lava cakes

Sorcerer’s Apprentice- Mickey’s Hat Cupcakes

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Flamingo Sandwiches-

I was inspired by the flamingo picks you sometimes get in drinks or sandwiches- but of course I went bigger! I was going to make them with my brand new Cricut but I was having some issues with Craft Room so I just printed them and cut them by hand.

The recipe I found online is no longer there. I am going to see if I can find the print out before I share so I can give credit where it is due- watch for an update!  Both my boyfriend and my brother LOVED them! They probably gobbled down 6 sandwiches between them- so much for my lunch today ;-)

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The Hippotatoes were a lot easier than I had thought.

I baked potatoes as usual, waited until they cooled enough to touch and cut a line at one end where I wanted the mouth to be- once I had a big enough gap I used a melon ball to CAREFULLY scoop out the bottom of the mouth.

I placed toothpicks with chives for the teeth and peppercorns for the eyes. I used the same melon baller to get a shallow scoop from the bottom of the potato that I cut in half and used for the ears. As a last touch I added a pad of butter for a tongue- be sure to do this last or it will melt.

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Check back later this week for a tutorial on the cutest cupcakes ever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve Got No Strings- Puppet Tutorial


When I was in Middle School I had to do a Spanish project where we had to make a sock or potato puppet of a famous Spanish speaker- me being the overachiever I was (ok, ok am) I made a beautiful nylon puppet of Paloma Herera (a ballet dancer with ABT) with yarn hair and a beautifully painted china face. Every other ‘create your own’ project we were assigned that year I made a puppet- My teachers ended up with elaborately detailed versions of Johnny Tremain, George and Martha Washington and Hester Prynne. I had completely forgot about these until I started thinking about what I was going to do for Pinocchio.

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Instructions-

Find an old pair of nylons. Cut off about 8 inches from the toe. Fill the toe with stuff about 4-5 inches- this well be the body.

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When you have the body of the puppet as big as you want it stop stuffing and cut the remaining length of the nylons in half- these will be the legs.

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I used a simple loop stitch starting at the body and running down the leg until it reaches the desired length. I then started to round off an end and cut off excessive fabric. (In Middle School I would use hot glue to affix the nylon- the thread is a cleaner, less sticky and cooler way to do it.)

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To save time I did use hot glue to put together the fabric for the clothes. (The glue doesn’t bleed through cotton like it does nylon resulting in less burnt fingers.) I picked out some fabric squares from the bargain bin at Joann’s. If you have time and skills it will definitely look much cleaner with a stitched outfit but as I said I was short on time. I even stuffed the fabric directly instead of making nylon arms and just hot glues it to the body.

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For the head I took a wooden ball- found in the wood department of any craft store. I added curly doll hair (also from the craft store.) When adding the hair add it in rows starting from the base (where the head would meet the neck) when you get to the top style it as wanted.

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Attach the head to the body with a little hot glue. Draw or paint a face on and add any details or embellishments as wanted. For Pinocchio don’t forget a wooden nose.

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Give a Little Whistle


… and always let your Conscience be your guide!

I have to say I LOVE Jiminy Cricket and there are very few people who don’t know the immortal ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ but it is often forgotten what film they came from. Based on the novel Adventure of Pinocchio by Italian Author Carlo Collodi, Pinocchio follows the adventures of a wooden boy, brought to life by The Blue Fairy, who wants more than anything to be a real boy.

For this dinner I went back to the movie’s Italian roots. I went with primarily coastal Italian seafood as a nod to the time that Pinocchio and his creator, a wood carver, Gepetto spend in the belly of a whale.

The Design:

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My inspiration for the overall design was Stromboli’s puppet show. I hand made some nylon marionettes- tutorial to follow and placed them in a puppet theater. This was a cardboard theater from Shindigz which I purchased for the occasion. It is reversible with a circus scene on the other side (this could be used for a Dumbo night as well.) Amazon has some amazing puppet theaters  which are definitely the direction I would have gone in if I had children and knew it would be used beyond one night. Melissa and Doug has a great one as well.

I chose the starry backdrop as homage to the iconic ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ and added a few wooden elements (found in the Wood section of Joann’s Fabrics) as a tie in to Gepetto’s work shop where Pinocchio was created.

 

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The Menu:

Pinocchio’s Nose Breadsticks

Monstro’s Mussels and Fried Calamari

Stromboli

Cleo’s Crackers

The Coachman’s Cannolis

With the holidays coming up things have been a little crazy at work so I took some shortcuts with this menu. I used a refrigerated can for the breadsticks and the Stromboli crust- I had planned on making a cannoli cupcake but ended up just picking some up from the bakery.

The Mussels:

For the mussels I used a recipe that my father has created and perfected over many years.

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Chop shallots (2) and onions (1) into 3/4 inch size pieces

 

Dice pancetta into once inch by 1/4 inch pieces

Cut plum tomatoes (about 6) into about six pieces

Chop garlic (5 cloves) into 1/4 inch slices

Heat up a little olive oil in pan – add pancetta until it gets crisp (a little softer than bacon)  once pancetta is set add onions and shallots – in a couple minutes add garlic – saute until translucent.

Add a cup of white wine – reduce down until alcohol has cooked off about 2-3 minutes.

If you have a lemon squeeze juice of one half in now along with a stick of butter

Add salt (kosher or sea salt,) pepper, and parsley (if you have some on hand) to taste.

Add tomatoes cook for a minute

Add about a pint up to a quart of chicken broth

Bring heat down to and let simmer for at least an hour

When ready to serve mussels – bring heat up to a boil – add mussels (they only need to be pre-rinsed) make sure they get down into broth. They should begin to open after a few minutes – all together they will take from 5-7 minutes to open and be ready to serve. Do not attempt to eat unopened ones.

 

 

 

The Calamari:

I was very apprehensive about the calamari. Every time I told someone I was making it they warned me how difficult it was. I actually thought it was pretty easy. I bought whole squid from the grocery store, cut them into rings, dipped them in egg and then dredged them in a flour mixture. I mixed salt, pepper and a tiny bit of paprika into about 1 1/2 cups of flour and coated the calamari. I put them in preheated oil and fried for about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

The Stromboli:

I took some shortcuts with the Stromboli as well. I took a roll out refrigerated pizza crust lightly spread sauce on it and filled it with all my favorite Italian cured meats and shredded mozzarella cheese. I then rolled the dough and meat in a spiral and baked for 30 minutes.