Saturday, May 29, 2010

How to Make Cheeseburger Cupcakes

I came across this idea a couple days ago online, and decided to give them a try as my contribution to a pot luck picnic we were invited to.  I found a great tutorial online, but ended up doing mine a little bit different.  So, I thought I'd share my own process here!  These are super fun to make and eat, and I thought was a timely post for all of the Memorial Day weekend parties or upcoming barbecue's you may be hosting or attending!  Enjoy!

In addition to water, oil, eggs, and sugar, here are some items you'll need:
- Chocolate cake mix
- Vanilla cake mix
- Sesame seeds
- Frosting (yellow, green, & red)
- White cupcake liners (optional)

Step 1) Bake a batch of vanilla and a batch of chocolate cupcakes, according to package directions (or recipe if you make them from scratch)

2) Slice open the vanilla cupcakes with a very sharp knife.  (These will be the buns)

3) Slice the "burger patties" from the chocolate cupcakes.  The other tutorial I read used the tops, but I figure, hamburger patties are more flat, not domed on the top.  So, I cut off the top and used the bottom.  You want about a half inch of patty.  I found that mine looked best when cut about a half inch up from the bottom.  I tossed all my un-used cupcake pieces into a zip-loc baggie and put them in the freezer...I figure they'll be great when I need a little cake fix or ice cream topping down the road.  I hate to waste cake!

4) Squirt some frosting to the bottom bun. This will be your "glue" to hold the patty to the bun.  It doesn't really matter what color you use because you won't see it.  In hindsight, I think I would have liked to use a can of chocolate frosting's brown to blend in with the burger patty, plus I could have frosted all the cupcake tops that aren't used!

5) Stick the burger patty to the "glue."


6) Time to make the "cheese."  I used the frosting tip that looks like a long slot, with yellow frosting.

Make a square to represent the cheese slice.  Keep in mind that you'll probably only see the 4 corners, like you would on a real cheeseburger.  So, make sure the corners stick out far enough so they are seen once you put the top bun on.

7) For the lettuce I used a tip like this to make it extra "leafy:"

 Just squeeze on some green for lettuce....I made sure it stuck out on the flat sides of the cheese slice.

8) I used the tip with just a round hole for the ketchup.  In the end you'll just want to make sure that some of each color extends on or past the edges of the "meat," and that there's still enough on the center/top for the top bun to stick to:


9) Set the top bun on...


10) The tutorial I read used orange juice to make the sesame seeds stick.  However, I felt that mixing the visual of burgers with the taste of cake was confusing enough to the taste buds to also add fruit flavor to the mix. I took a suggestion posted by another person online, and mixed up some simple sugar instead. Just mix together 1 part water with 2 parts sugar.  (I used 1 Tbsp water and 2 Tbsp sugar and had more than enough)

Brush a little simple sugar on the top bun with a basting brush.

11) Sprinkle on the sesame seeds.  Promise me you won't leave out this step...they really MAKE the whole thing!  They don't really taste like anything so they won't affect the flavor.

12) This is optional, but I thought it was a good idea to set them in little paper liners, not only to make it less messy for people to pick up and eat, but because they look like real burger wrappers.

And you're done!  :-) Now if you can figure out how to make the main course look like dessert, you'll REALLY confuse your kids!

ID Mommy Tip: Cleaning Up Garage Sale & Thrift Store Finds

You already know I'm big on garage sales and thrift stores...I love the thrill of the hunt, and not knowing what little treasure I might find.  But, another one of my favorite parts about garage saleing is restoring old, beat up items and making them look all shiny and new again.

Last week I posted a home recipe for tarnish remover, which has worked great on some of my tarnished silver finds.  Today I'll share a few more ways that I clean up old stuff.  Unfortunately these items are pretty much the opposite of my tarnish remover post when it comes to eco-friendliness, but they really do work great.  If anyone has any good (safer) home remedies to replace these, I'd love to know about them!

I usually start with just a sponge and water, but when that doesn't cut it, these are a few of my favorite things:

Bestine - This is something I only know about and own because I'm a designer.  It's made to thin rubber cement, and you can get it at art supply stores, or online.  My last can lasted me 10 years, and I just recently purchased this can.  It works great to remove sticky stuff like price tag goo.  It's really nasty, cancer-causing, flammable stuff, so keep it away from the kids.  But, it works great.  You can also find other cleaners that do the same thing like Goo Gone.

Steel Wool - This stuff is great for removing rust and bringing back the shine on your steel or even chrome stuff.  For a couple bucks you'll have enough to last your whole life, unless you're shining up something huge like a car.

Magic Eraser - They aren't kidding when they call this "magic."  It's my favorite thing to use on beat up'll remove the little colored lines you see on toys that were caused from crashing into other toys.  Here's an example of what it did on a great vintage Fisher Price schoolhouse I got for $0.50 cents:

Just be sure to wash off the toy well after using the eraser, and keep the Magic Eraser out of your kids' reach, because it does have a chemical inside that will burn your skin!

The Dishwasher - When it comes to cleaning and sanitizing little plastic toys like Legos, I like to either dump them in a big bowl of hot, soapy water and then rinse them in a colander, OR, just put them in a mesh laundry lingerie bag and run them through the dishwasher.  Those little bottle baskets work well to for small items.  The dishwasher works great for larger items too, and you can do the "sani-wash" to kill any cooties.

The Laundry Machine - Of course I wash all clothes that I get for the kids.  But, I also put anything and everything of the plush variety in there...stuffed animals, toys, blankets, you name it.  I have lost count of how many toys I've run through the machine that are labeled, "surface wash only," and have yet to actually wreck anything.  Many baby item's I've purchased like my swing, bouncy chair, strollers, play mats, and bassinet all have been designed for the fabric to be easily removed and washed, making them look like new!!

Hasbro Playskool T.J. Bearytales Animated Plush Bear
Batteries - You'd be surprised the great toys people get rid of, which their kids stopped playing with, just because they never got around to changing the batteries.  I wouldn't either, if I didn't have rechargeable ones, because they do add up with all the toys.  I found a TJ Bearytales bear in a big box of $0.50 cent stuffed animals, asked if it worked, and they said, "yeah, it just needs batteries."  I took it home and popped in some of my rechargeable batteries, and now we have an awesome, expensive toy for next to nothing.  It was worth the gamble to find out at home whether it works, as they quit making can find them new on Amazon for around $150-$200! (or much cheaper used on Ebay or CraigsList!)

Super Glue - All moms learn the value of super glue from the moment their baby starts moving.  From this moment on, things will break, and you will be expected to fix them.  Now you can not only fix the stuff your kid breaks, but the stuff other people's kids break, too!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fun Friday Finds

Last night I got to enjoy the rare and elusive thing we call a "date night," celebrating my husband's birthday...our first in the over 4 months since our 2nd child was born.  I'm talkin' the real deal here: leaving the house with a small purse that held only MY belongings, driving in our little VW Beetle that won't even seat our whole family, a 2 and a half hour meal at Solera where we got to actually converse and eat all of our own food, followed by a walk around downtown Minneapolis, topped off with a FULL EIGHT HOURS of sleep!! HUGE thanks to my parents for giving our boys yet another time of their lives so that we could reconnect (especially since my hubby has been traveling for 17 out of the last 27 days), and another big thanks to Toby for picking last night to sleep longer than he ever has!  Wahoo!  Three cheers for Gramma and Grampa!  Hip-hip-hooray!!  Hip-hip-hooray!!  Hip-hip-hooray!!

So, enough bragging about my hot date...time to share some fun Friday finds!  Here are a few cool things spotted this week on the blogosphere, hand picked by IDMommy for your viewing pleasure...

Plum Organics have teamed up with Boon to create this cool package with their built-in spoon!  For $3.99 you can get the spoon, which screws on to the Plum baby food pouches.  You may remember me posting previously about the Boon spoon, which Toby did finally get in his Easter basket this year. I personally prefer to make my own baby food, so I am excited to try out the Squirt spoon.  But, this is a great alternative when you're out and about for even more convenience, if you don't want to worry about filling up the spoon. (via Daily Candy)

Here's a fun building toy idea that mixes art with architecture. (via Inhabitots)

I may not have a beautiful dress with poofy sleeves in my closet, but one of my favorite t-shirts has a plate of tater tots on the front, with the words "give me some of your tots" written in ketchup.  I got it at a garage sale for $0.50 cents...from a 10 year old boy. Yeah, I know, this 30-something year old Mom loves Napoleon Dynamite just as much as 10 year olds, but I can do whatever I wanna do.  GOSH!  That's why I just had to share this sweeeeet wall mural that Design Mom did for her son's bedroom.  Check out the great tutorial!  Makes me want to erect a tether ball in the back yard and make myself a dang case-a-dilla!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Living in Minnesota, it's always extra sweet when the warmer months roll around and we are finally able to get out and enjoy the yard. (Well, AFTER the snow melts and I finish the daunting and disgusting annual task of cleaning up a season's worth of dog poop, that is.)

Yesterday we got out Sammy's "gazillion bubble machine" that he got from Santa (who told us he found it for half off just after the previous Christmas), and had some fun playing in it's 4,000-bubble-per-minute output.

We blow bubbles just about every time we set foot out the back door, however, it was pretty fun to just be able to flip a switch and dance around in a GAZILLION bubbles!

...we even got to watch this ant carry a caterpillar up a 90 degree incline. Impressive, I must say.

Then I got a phone call with a request for a showing a couple hours later, so went back into my familiar "showing rush" of cleaning, staging, and rushing the kids and dogs out the door.  Fortunately we were able to enjoy the great outdoors even still, with a picnic at our neighborhood park.  So, it wasn't all that bad.  Bubbles, bugs, and picnic lunches...3 great ways to enjoy some nice weather!

Let Baby Chew on This!

If you have kids, and you wear jewelry, you probably have experienced the dilemma of keeping the two apart. I know before I had kids and noticed that my nieces couldn't keep their hands and mouths off of my jewelry, I thought, "someone should make jewelry that's made for kids to chew!" Luckily, many people have done just that. Here are a few examples...

Momma's Jewels creates some pretty jewelry that's designed for baby to chew, even with rattles inside. I like these pretty bangles, that don't look like toys at all. (Via Inhabitots)

"Oh Plah," which is French for "here you go," is designed to stand up to your baby's teeth, and is even eco-friendly. When you're done with it, the company will pay for the shipping for it to be returned and recycled into another toy! (via Eco Child's Play)

SmartMom has some colorful coordinating "teething bling" bangles and pendants. While they are made to look like stones, these pendants are made from a soft, chewy silicone, safe for baby's mouth. If you're looking for a fun baby shower gift, give the new mommy the gift of an online shopping trip, and let her pick out her own with a gift card! An especially fun gift for the non-first-time mom who already has all the usual baby stuff.

Hmmm...I think I have an outfit that goes with this one. On second thought, maybe I should get another color, and then have an excuse to get a new outfit to go with it too! ;-)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

ID Mommy Tip: Home Made Tarnish Remover Recipe

I picked up this pitcher on Saturday at the thrift store. I paid a little more than I normally would for a thrift store item, at $7.99. Not because I thought it had any value whatsoever, but because I just thought it was really neat. Not sure if or how I will ever use this to pour anything, but I just really liked the contrasting raw materials of silver and cork, and the chain that holds the little cork in the spout. Just a cool piece!

I realized I had packed away my bottle of tarnish remover already (during a day of closet de-cluttering, since we're trying to sell our house). But, I wanted to shine this up a bit. So, I did some online searching for a home made tarnish remover recipe.

I found one that seemed to work pretty well, so I thought I'd share. It may come in handy if you want to polish up some silver, or find something cool like I did at a garage sale or thrift store that needs a little TLC!

I had to triple the recipe in order to totally submerge this, because it is a large item and I had a big bowl. But, here is the single recipe:

Dissolve 1 Tbsp salt and 1 Tbsp baking soda in 6 cups of warm water. Pour it into a bowl that has been lined with tin foil. (This is not to protect the bowl; the tin foil is actually a part of the recipe!) Drop in your items to be cleaned, and let them soak for an hour. Here's my bowl:

(You can see I also dropped in the napkin rings I got last week at a garage sale too!) After an hour, remove, wash off, and buff dry!

This didn't get my pitcher completely spotless, but really did a good job of getting that blueish-black tarnish off. I was surprised how well it worked. I'm thinking if I had let it soak longer, it may have gotten even cleaner. I'm sure this has been sitting around tarnished for a long time. The napkin rings came out really nice!

Here you see the before and after. Not bad for items you have in your kitchen! So there you have it...a cheap and eco-friendly way to remove tarnish from your silver!


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