Tag Archives: cubiletes

DIY Thanksgiving place cards and pumpkin cupcake toppers

DIY Thanksgiving place cards and pumpkin cupcake toppers

I love squirrels!!  The icon that is, I don’t want to pet a real squirrel or anything like that, though I do find them fascinating to watch…anyways, here’s a super cute place card idea for your next fall event or Thanksgiving.  We assembled and used them for Canadian Thanksgiving this year.  Beside our little brown friend is a pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese icing and a little fondant pumpkin topper.  First a word about the pumpkin toppers, then about the friendly picketing squirrels….DIY Squirrel Cookie Place Cards for Thanksgiving or fall by dennasideas.comThe cupcake toppers turned out so cute!  They were really fast and easy to make.  I found the idea and tutorial by Nikki here on Catch My Party.  I just mixed up some marshmallow fondant (melted marshmallows, icing sugar, water and vanilla) and rolled out little balls, scored them with a knife and popped a clove in the top…..that’s all!Thanksgiving pumkin cupcakes with fondant pumkin toppers by dennasideas.comAfter I baked a pumpkin pie, I had a cup of pumpkin puree left, so I made up my traditional pumpkin and cream cheese recipes.  They were easy cupcakes and baked while the pumpkin pie baked, then just added the icing and fondant pumpkins at the last minute before serving.Thanksgiving pumkin cupcakes with fondant pumkin toppers by dennasideas.comSo I found the pumpkin topper idea on Pinterest, but this next idea was my own idea (I have to make a distinction because my kids are always asking if it’s a Pinterest idea or my own idea! heh heh).  Ikea has a cute set of woodland cookie cutters that includes this little squirrel.  A batch of The End-All for Chocolate Cookies Recipe from Lilaloa was perfect for little brown fall squirrels.  I was in a rush when I was making them, so I don’t have step by step photos.  But it’s easy, just cut out squirrels, and for every squirrel cut out a circle (plain or scalloped) for a base.  Before baking, add a toothpick to each squirrel, sliding it under the head and poking it through the little hand, so it looks like the squirrel is holding the toothpick on his shoulder.  Bake them up, and when they are totally cool, use some melted chocolate candy melts to ice the squirrel to the base.  It’s probably a good idea to add the signs to the toothpicks before “gluing” the squirrel to the base.  You can just tape the place card to the top of the toothpick.  Then it only took a line of melted chocolate on the bottom edge of the squirrel, then a few moments of slight pressure holding it onto the base to assemble.  Here they are, being assembled by my sister….DIY Squirrel Cookie Place Cards for Thanksgiving or fall by dennasideas.comThe squirrels were my idea, but I did see another fun idea on Pinterest that I really wanted to try….chocolate acorns!  I found a great tutorial here on Once Upon a Pedestal for these candy acorns.  They looked so cute!  But I couldn’t find the same kind of peanut M&Ms that she used….and I didn’t have Tootsie Rolls, so I used chocolate covered almonds and brown fondant (another idea to add to my Chocolate Almond Ideas!!).  And I asked my daughters to make them while I was working on Thanksgiving dinner!  (remember, everything’s done last minute around here….)DIY chocolate acorns for Thanksgiving or fall by dennasideas.comThe table settings looked really cute with a cookie squirrel, a chocolate acorn and a fall leaf doily at each place….DIY Squirrel Cookie Place Cards for Thanksgiving or fall by dennasideas.comI used the same set of cookie cutters and same idea to make a stand up chocolate moose, too….kinda hard to see, but he’s in the middle by the cornucopia.Thanksgiving tablescape and place cards by dennasideas.comDIY Squirrel Cookie Place Cards for Thanksgiving or fall by dennasideas.comMr. Squirrel and his friends were a hit!!  But he didn’t stick around very long…..DIY Squirrel Cookie Place Cards for Thanksgiving or fall by dennasideas.comAny squirrels that did linger around too long, and Mac the Moose, were sadly (or more like, deliciously) turned into another dessert with the leftover real whipped cream from the pie….leave overnight in the fridge, and voila!A chocolate cookie and whipped cream sandwich dessert with Thanksgiving leftovers by dennasideas.comWho knew squirrels and moose could taste so wonderful?? 😉

What to do with Chocolate Covered Almonds?

What to do with Chocolate Covered Almonds?

I’m sure that you have asked yourself this question at some point…how many cool things can I make with chocolate-covered almonds?  Or more specifically, how can I make cupcake decorations and toppers for cupcakes with delicious chocolate coated almonds?  I know that I recently pondered that profound question.  And yes, please feel free to ask…why did I ask myself that question?  Maybe you have already guessed the answer, particularly if you have a child in school who at some point has suddenly brought a rather large cardboard box (with a nice handle) full of smaller boxes of chocolate-covered almonds and has announced that they must all be sold as an important school fundraiser.

Yes, we have chocolate covered almonds for sale!  I’m afraid that last time we went through this, we bought the whole box and ate them all.  For sure I don’t want to do that again, so I started looking around for ideas to use these candies….as decorations on cupcakes.  Surely there are many other ways to use them, but I’m only interested in bakedy bake baking stuff right now….so I checked around.  And I made a list.  Yes, I am weird that way.  And one day baked the cupcakes, and finally finally got around to testing out all the fun ideas.  All 13 of them!

I wanted you to have some cute ideas, so that you’ll buy chocolate almonds from us and we’ll get rid of the whole boxful.  Or better yet, order some cupcakes from me, and I’ll make sure that they have some chocolate almond toppers!!


fly away little ladybug!

denna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, creepy spider cupcake topper

here comes a spider!

denna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, bee on a flower cupcake

busy little bee wants a taste of that delicious flower!

denna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, picnic ant cupcake

the ants come marching one by one, hurrah!

denna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, picnic critter cupcakes

our little picnic friends, waiting to come and play

denna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, bee on a bee hive cupcake

this little bee is too busy to play…

denna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, bee on a bee hive cupcake

“i must make some honey today!”

denna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, sunflower topper

“let’s find a bright sunflower right away!”

denna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, bird in a nest topper

tweet tweet, spring will soon be here!

denna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, little marshmallow sheep cupcake

baaaa! spring is already here little lamb says

denna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, football

but some have only football on their minds…

denna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, moose head in sprinkles

“summer will be here soon, and time for camp!” says Mac the Moose

denna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, choco cat cupcake topper

meow! says choco cat

denna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, polar bear cupcake

sleepy polar bear can’t wake up

denna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, north pole penguin!

“i’m waiting for winter to come again!” says litte pingu

denna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, chocolate mouse cupcake

“eek! to that!” shrieks choco mouse!

And there you have some ideas for having fun with chocolate covered almonds.  I had fun yesterday, can you tell??

denna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppersSome of my favorites…denna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, choco cat cupcake topperdenna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, polar friends cupcakesdenna's ideas: chocolate covered almonds as cupcake toppers, chocolate mouse cupcake topperIf you would like the how-to for any topper, just let me know.  They were all made with chocolate covered almonds, some had chocolate chips on them and some had nonpareils (for eye pupils).  They were all put together with candy melts, or melted chocolate.  Pretty easy!!  About half of them, like the mouse and the choco cat,  were my own brainwaves…oh, and the ugly moose…he needs some work!  Below I listed the  ideas I saw as photos pinned on Pinterest.  You can find the pin or blog link that I found each idea at by clicking on the highlighted words (none of them have instructions FYI):

ant cupcake toppers


bees, there are some really cute ideas on this blog

polar bear


penguins, there are a lot of pins for these penguins, but I found the blog source! there are a lot of other great ideas here too.

Pingu Penguin Party for a Toddler, or Fiesta Pingüino!

Pingu Penguin Party for a Toddler, or Fiesta Pingüino!

How many of you have been thinking about penguins this week?  January just seems like a good time to think about them and their habitats!  Penguins make very cute themes for birthday parties!!  Especially during a cold, snowy January….  Have you ever seen that cute little claymation penguin named Pingu on TV?  Maybe his catchy little tune is playing inside your brain right now (I know it is in mine!) and how fitting that would be as you glance over this next party!

A snowy day is the perfect time for little penguins to get together and celebrate a special birthday!denna's ideas: pingu penguin toddler partyAnd two year olds especially seem to love little Pingu!  His black and white self is a fun graphic image for a penguin party!  I found some pics of him online and changed them a bit for our party.  The rest of the graphics I used were from a digital scrapbooking kit from scrapbookgraphics.com  and I changed some of the colors just a little so they would fit with the party colors of turquoise, red, black and white (with a splash of yellow!).  We printed out some small posters, denna's ideas: pingu penguin toddler partyone of the smaller monogramed ones was just right for taping onto a frame that was already on the wall over the Birthday Boy’s high chair.denna's ideas: pingu penguin toddler partyThe small white double-sided plastic frames from Ikea are handy for many party decorations and make great keepsakes afterwards!denna's ideas: pingu penguin toddler partydenna's ideas: pingu penguin toddler partyThe tags for the treat bags and the placecards for the table were easily printed on regular paper and cut out, matching the posters.denna's ideas: pingu penguin toddler partyIn case you didn’t know, I love polka dots!!  So I already had the polka-dotted tablecloths from Ikea (the kind that are easy to wipe clean, I forget what they are called) and they just happened to be the right colors.  The party palette of colors was very easy to continue in tissue paper, balloons and crepe paper streamers.  We made our own tissue paper balls for hanging on the light fixture.denna's ideas: pingu penguin toddler partyThe centerpiece was a toy that we’ve had a for a few years, a penguin habitat that is like a wooden puzzle, you fit the pieces together to form a three-story habitat.  I saw them on sale at Toys R Us a long time ago…it looked like no one was buying them, there were so many boxes of them on for half price, and my party-mind said “cupcake holder!”  It’s been totally worth it.denna's ideas: pingu penguin toddler partyOnline I have see a cute goldfish bowl filled with light blue jello, with a few gummy fish swimming around in it…but that seemed like way too much messy work, and I wasn’t even sure if it would work out nicely (I think Martha made it work perfectly of course), so we went for turquoise jelly beans in the fish bowl with some large gummy fish in the sides.  The fish were also used as cupcake toppers along with punched paper penguins.  These cute little penguins are easy to make using an owl shaped paper punch and I’ve posted about how to make them here.  (they are cute on tags, too).  Two of them made a quick cake topper…denna's ideas: pingu penguin toddler partyalong with a paper banner which I printed and cut out from the Carnival Time digital kit (link above).  Those old-fashioned cherry stick candies on the cake gave it a “north pole” flavor (what are those candies called again?).  A fuzzy penguin puppet found a spot on the dessert table in the corner  (and more fabric from Ikea in the window).denna's ideas: pingu penguin toddler partyA toddler food that I knew we should serve was…you guessed it….fishy crackers!  Surprise to me, there are also penguin-shaped cheesy crackers.  We served them in these cute ice cube trays (Ikea)…denna's ideas: pingu penguin toddler partydenna's ideas: pingu penguin toddler partyThere was one little game at this party….penguin bob!  Color some ping pong balls with a sharpie to make them look like penguins and place in a small tub with a little water…and let the kids play!  There isn’t really a game  involved, but it still was fun for a new-two-year old!denna's ideas: pingu penguin toddler partydenna's ideas: pingu penguin toddler party(in the video, the ping pong balls hadn’t been colored yet.  I knew someone with sharp eyes would point that out to me!)denna's ideas: pingu penguin toddler partyA fun time was had by all the little penguins!!denna's ideas: pingu penguin toddler partydenna's ideas: pingu penguin toddler partyHere is a fun video of our Birthday Boy and his Pingu Penguin birthday party!!!  (I just love it!)

Josiah’s second birthday from Dustin Siggelkow on Vimeo.

Blue and White surprising cupcakes


We made blue sugar the other day.  For decorating purposes.  But I decided I needed to use it up and cook with it.  So I threw the sugar into some mini cupcakes that I was making for my girlie to take to school…to celebrate Guatemala’s birthday and her birthday.  So blue sounded good to me.  For some reason this all seemed like a good idea….the stuff to follow that is, the mini blue cupcakes topped with marshmellows (but it was after midnight so that might explain it).  I saw on pinterest the idea for sticking marshmallows on top of cupcakes, bake them 5 min. more and then you don’t have to frost them.  Ok, here goes:

ooooOk, so they looked a little funny…the edges were a bit brown, because i didn’t have any mini muffin papers…oh well, I think my girlie was pleased with them.

For our celebration here at home we had these lovely huge cupcakes:  vanilla with a bit of Tang cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and a cute surprise in the middle!  I found out how to do this trick on this fun blog: bake it in a cake.com fun and so cute and doable!!  And that’s what we ate for dessert.  Have a sweet day.

Almost allergy-free brownie recipe

Almost allergy-free brownie recipe

Almost allergy free, unless you are allergic to apples, corn, cocoa or sugar!!!  (Oh yeah, and rice, then you are in trouble!)

That would be no gluten (wheat), no dairy (milk or butter) and no eggs.

The other day I made some chocolate brownie/cupcakes for some kids that had several allergies.  Here’s the recipe I followed.  It was on the inside of the box of PaneRiso Rice “cakeand cookie mix” I bought.  I had to cut out the eggs, so substituted applesauce for that.

Almost Allergy-free Chocolate Brownies

1  1/2 cups PaneRiso Rice Cake and Cookie Mix

1 tsp salt

1  3/4 sugar (half white and half brown sugar)

1/2 cup cocoa

2 tsp vanilla

1/3 to 1/2 cup of oil

(2 or 3 eggs)  substitute about 1/4  cup of applesauce for every egg

1/4 cup cold water

(option: 1/2 cup chopped nuts)

Mix in the order given and do not over mix.  Mixture will be thick.  Pat into a lightly greased 9×13 inch pan, or into muffin tins lined with cupcake papers, or two 8″ pans.  Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Here are the ingredients in the PaneRiso Rice mix: rice flour, baking powder (with cornstarch), methylcellulose.

So if you don’t have that brand of “cake mix” it seems like it would be easy enough to make it up, though I don’t know what methylcellulose is.

My family tried out the brownies and thought that they were pretty good, my oldest even said she liked them better than the regular devil’s food cake mix cupcakes.  There’s a lot of sugar in there, and the cocoa, so they weren’t bad tasting.  Of course, the rice flour is a different texture, so if you aren’t used to that, it will seem a little “weird” (for kids!)

I made up some icing out of icing sugar, vanilla and shortening to frost the brownie cupcakes with.  Again, if you are allergic to corn, be careful of the icing sugar….there’s cornstarch in it!  But you can easily make your own from white sugar, just blender it with a bit of rice flour or something like that.  Haven’t tried it but supposedly it works.

As long as you aren’t allergic to sugar, there are still some sweet almost allergy free treats you can have!!  (actually, I’ve been reading a lot of recipes, and there really are lots of things you can do without white sugar…lots have coconut sugar and stuff like that. Maybe some day I’ll get into them….?)P.S.  I knew in advance exactly what allergies there were, and so when I labelled the cupcakes “allergy free” that really only meant for those certain allergies.  I also typed up a card that gave all the ingredients in the cupcakes.  And obviousely I would have put something more specific on the flags if I hadn’t known the allergies in advance.

Oreo cheesecake, that’s “mini and non-cupcakky”

Oreo cheesecake, that’s “mini and non-cupcakky”

I have to clarify here that the Oreo goodness I made the other day was CHEESECAKE and not CUPCAKES.  (or so I was informed by a surprised friend, when she bit into the cheesecakiness expecting cupcakiness).  Research shows that Martha Stewart calls them cupcakes, as that’s where the original recipe comes from, Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes.  Jusy sayin’…..

The photos of these delectable mini cheesecakes appeared, to tempt my eyes and tastebuds, several times on Pinterest, so I clicked into these two blogs for the recipe, half recipe here and whole recipe here.

My plan for them was for Father’s Day, since my husband seems quite fond of oreos with a big glass of milk.  And really, who doesn’t enjoy an oreo once in a while, if that was a part of your childhood?  (ok, ok, that had the possibility of being a controversial statement, that’s why I qualified it by sayin IF it was…since I know that it wasn’t a part of everyone’s childhood…etc. etc. etc.)  If you watch commercials, you’d believe that Oreos were a deeply emotional part of everyone’s childhood….but I happen to not believe everything I see on TV.  (Though the desire for oreos was an emotional part of my slightly oreo-deprived childhood.)  Anyways…..

On to the mouth-watering photos and recipe!!  (This is my own photo), but when I saw others’ photo of this:I knew I really really wanted to try this recipe!  Look at the way the oreo shows through the muffin paper, and the dark blackness of the cookie contrasted with the cream cheesy creaminesss…..oooooo ahhh!!  Ahem, stop drooling and keep reading….

Place one cookie in the bottom of each paper cupcake liner,

Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla, (oh yeah, throw in some coarsely chopped oreos)pour the batter onto the cookies, filling almost to the topBake, then leave in the muffin pans and refridgerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Here is the recipe:

  • Ingredients:
  • 42-45 cream-filled sandwich cookies, Oreos of course! 30 left whole, and 12 coarsely chopped
  • 2 pounds (4 8-oz packages) cream cheese, room temperature (I used 2 light and 2 regular)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 275°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup. (Icould have used about 45 cookies, but someone had eaten the extra ones up!)
2. With an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.
3. Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.
4. Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. You can sprinkle on some crumbs, if you like.  Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. (I think maybe 24 minutes would have been good!)  Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.


Very yummy, but veeerrrrryyyyy rich!  Grown-ups can handle them, but they seemed almost too rich for some of the kids.  The oreo cookies became soft on top but still had a bit of a crunch on the bottom layer.  They were a tad underdone in the middle after baking for 22 minutes, so I’d probably try a minute or 2 longer.  They were very “cheesy” tasting.  (depends if you like that or not).  Keep them very cold, as they are quite soft and got squishier as they warmed up.  They were a tiny bit messy to eat…

When I was doing my little photoshoot, I had frozen one cheesecake in the freezer to slice though it without making a mess.  After I took the photo, I was forced to eat it and……YUMMMM!!  They were wonderful frozen!!

Warning:  because of the richness, and because we ate more than one (ok, more like 3 at a time) there were certain side effects (how to put this delicately?), like rushing to find a restroom about half an hour (or less) of consuming this rich dessert.  There you go, too much info, I know, but some of you might have been wondering…..

My friend suggested that these would look great with mini oreos standing on end on top of each cheesecake.  I loved the idea (not the added expense though), maybe with some whipped cream, the cookie, a drizzle of chocolate or cherry…..anyways, there’s a lot you could do with these lil’ babies!!!

I love this look: Father’s Day:  In the rush of our busy Father’s Day, I left my camera at home!  So I didn’t get photos of the wonderful BBQ with kebabs and lovely salads and the oreo cheesecakes, oreo cake and lemon loaf.  Here a few leftover ones with the toppers that I posted yesterday, that I am in the process of gobbling up today:

Father’s Day free printables!

Father’s Day free printables!

Ok, here’s what I have for you this afternoon: some cute tags and toppers for you to print out and use for Father’s Day tomorrow.  I found some cool cupcake papers and made these tags to coordinate, but they’d look great with solid color cupcake papers, too.  They are only in English (lo siento!) because I don’t know how to make all the “puns” in Spanish.  But if you really would like some in Spanish, let me know right away and I’ll send you some!

(The colors look really really bright on here, but those are my photos.  Every printer will probably print them out a bit different, but the colors are dark blue, dark purple, green and orange).  All you have to do is download the file, there are 4 pages of designs, then unzip it and print! Download here

There is a page with mostly “pop” tags.  I saw this idea for putting tags on pop bottles and soda pop cans on Pinterest, of course! 🙂There is a page of cupcake toppers, too.  Some of them say “You R one smart cookie, Dad!”  because I plan to make oreo cheesecake cupcakes for tomorrow!  (just hasn’t happened yet…hopefully I’ll get it done!).  There is also a page printable for the sides of the soda bottle holder, or you could use it as a sign, or whatever else your imagination comes up with!! (the cola font is Loki Cola from dafont.com)Dad’s are special, and deserve lots of junk food and soda pop and chips and popcorn and yummy stuff….yes, that is a fake cupcake…since I haven’t made them yet, I frosted some aluminum foil…just for the photoshoot, it’s trickier than I thought it would be….

Don’t forget some drinking straws to match!


Here are some more ideas I found on pinterest, for soda cans here, and for root beer bottles here, and here.

Hope this helps you out if you are in a rush and haven’t planned anything for tomorrow yet, just get printing! 😉  Now I’m off to do some baking, um, I mean shopping then baking….