Thursday, October 31, 2013

"Stabbed in the Brain" Cupcakes

My husband came home from work the other day and told me they were having a Halloween potluck at  his office with a contest for the most creative Halloween dessert. He then asked if I would make "one of my little creations".  I googled and searched Pinterest and saw some cute stuff - witch fingers, Frankentstein marshmallow pops, etc. but was not feeling overly inspired by anything. That is until I walked into Joann Fabrics and saw a package of Wilton butcher knife decorations. I was already making cupcakes for my son's class, so this is what I came up with. Kinda cute, kinda gross.....

I just used a boxed cake mix (*gasp*) for the cupcakes and made some buttercream frosting.  I used a tiny bit of red food coloring to make a fleshy color. Then I piped on the icing in a brain-ish pattern, stuck on some Wilton candy eyeballs, stabbed the brain with a Wilton butcher knife decoration and added some Betty Crocker red decorating get for the blood. 

Now to see if I win the most creative Halloween dessert contest........


Places I'm Partying:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Stamped Grill Spatula

So what do you get for the man who has everything? 
When contemplating this question a few days before Father's Day, I recalled a great idea a friend of mine sent me a while ago for a pancake-type spatula stamped with "I flippin' love you". So cute, right? I decided to make it a bit more manly for Father's Day and stamp it on a grill spatula - not only a grill spatula, but one with a spatula on one end and a bottle opener on the other - the perfect gift for my husband.

I found the grill spatula/bottle opener at Home Depot for $4.98!
You could pair this with a Bobby Flay Grilling cookbook, such as our favorite - Grill It - for an even better gift!


Places I'm Partying:

The 36th Avenue Photobucket

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Princess Tiara Cookies

We just celebrated my daughter's 3rd birthday and I cannot believe how fast the time has gone! She has been keeping me very busy lately (as evidenced by my lack of posting lately). 

As an avid crafter, I always try to go all out for my kids parties with the decor, etc. I decide on a theme and make banners, tissue pom poms, tablescapes, themed food, cookies, etc. However, this year my 6 yr old had other ideas and begged for a Chuck E. Cheese party. I thought I would miss having the party, but, man, it was so nice to just show up, party,  pay a bill (probably less than what I would have spent anyway), and leave the clean up to others. Sure beats slaving away trying to have my house perfectly cleaned for guests, making all the food & decorations and having to clean up the aftermath. 

So, when at a school fundraiser a few weeks before my daughter's birthday, I saw a birthday party at My Gym in the silent auction, I bid on it and pretty much stalked the auction item for the rest of the evening. I ended up winning with an obscenely low bid. Probably helped that I gave the stink eye to anyone else who hovered around MY party.

We showed up, had a fun party, ate cake and went home. I really don't know what I was thinking all those years having the parties at my house. 

The only "work" I had to do for the party was to make favors. And as much as I love my kids getting bags of trinkets - especially the little ink stamps they can stamp all over their faces before we go out in public, the little bottles of bubbles they can open and spill all over the car, the paddle ball games with elastic that breaks and snaps kids' hands causing 30 minutes of crying - I choose to make cookies.

My daughter requested a "pink princess party" so I popped over to to check out their selection of princess cookie cutters. I chose the Crown Cookie Cutter and made these cute princess-y cookies.

I just stuck them in clear treat bags, tied them with a pretty pink ribbon and viola! Party favors!

Check out some of my other parties and cookies:


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Low Fat Vegan Zucchini Muffins

I became a vegetarian my freshman year in college and remained one for about 10 years. At some point I started eating some poultry and seafood again, but never went back to red meat or pork. When earning my Masters degree, my research concentration was cardiovascular physiology, so am very familiar with how important a whole food, unprocessed diet is to proper functioning of our bodies and our health. However, knowing this and living by it in recent years have been two very different things. 

I have been guilty of going to the Chic-Fil-A drive through after taking the kids to gymnastics, or whipping up a batch of tacos from an Old El Paso kit. I would try to lose those extra pounds doing diets involving powdered shakes and soups, or eating Lean Cuisines and drinking diet pop. I knew it wasn't healthy and it nagged at me in the back of my mind, but I was doing what I had to do as a busy mom, right??? Problem is, I still had the extra pounds, was tired and my allergies were kicking my butt.

I had heard about the documentary Forks Over Knives and finally got around to watching it. The case presented and the overwhelming scientific evidence that a whole-foods, plant-based diet can basically save your life really affected me. Especially being high-risk myself with family members from both sides suffering from strokes, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. I decided to give veganism the old college try. I am not saying I am going to have a perfect diet, but I am going to make a real effort to follow a low-fat, vegan diet.

I think my biggest challenge will be getting the kids to have open minds about new foods. They will happily eat a vegetarian corn dog as long as they don't know it is not an actual hot dog in there. I am not making my kids vegan too, but do want to cut out the processed foods from their diets. I figured muffins would be a pretty safe bet for the little ones. They love zucchini bread so I searched for vegan zucchini muffin recipes. Most of them had a lot of oil, but I was able to adapt a recipe for oil-free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins from Happy Herbivore to make these muffins and they turned out FANTASTIC! 



  • 1 1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Large Banana
  • 1/2 Cup Applesauce, Unsweetened
  • 1 Cup Raw Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Cup Shredded Zucchini (about 1 large zucchini)
  • 1/4 Cup Vanilla Rice Milk (or other non-diary milk)


  • Mash banana in a large bowl and stir in applesauce. Add sugar and mix well. Add vanilla rice milk, vanilla and zucchini. Stir until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon).
  • Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and stir until completely moistened.
  • Line muffin tin with paper liners and fill 3/4 full.
  • Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until toothpick poked in center comes out clean.

Note: These were very sweet so you could probably decrease the amount of sugar to 3/4 cup if desired.

Bon Appetit!

Places I'm Partying:

The 36th AVENUE

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Desperate Craftwives Spring Crafts Roundup

Spring is in full swing around here! The kids are on Spring Break this week so I am going to put my crafting aside (even though I have a couple great Easter project ideas gnawing at me). But I don't want to leave anybody hangin' so here is a little roundup of my Spring projects from last year!

These Floral Embellished Eggs were super easy to make using styrofoam eggs, pins and little paper flower embellishments! 

My Salt Dough Easter Egg Garland is hands down my most popular post of all time. It has been featured on Baby Center, Retail Me Not, Tatertots & Jello, Chickabug,, and more!

My kids loved these cute Bunny & Carrot Easter Cookies! The carrots are kind of like eating vegetables, right?

I made this Spring Wreath using "mambo" yarn and it was a quick & easy project! Not sure I'd have the patience to make a yarn-wrapped wreath with regular skinny yarn!

Want to get the kids involved in making some Spring decor? These Coffee Filter Flowers were the perfect craft for little ones. They made a nice bouquet for Grandma on Mother's Day.

And, of course, the Magic Jellybeans. Have your kids plant them the Saturday before Easter, water them, and they will be amazed when the jelly beans magically bloom into Lollipop Flowers on Easter morning!

Happy Spring! Thanks for visiting my blog! I'd love to have you follow along or "Like" the Desperate Craftwives Facebook Page!


Places I'm Partying:

The 36th AVENUE

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pizza Party Favors

After years of begging, I finally gave in and let my son have his birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. I thought he had given up on the idea because when we went to his first party there last year, he was sitting up near the stage eating his pizza when the Chuck E Cheese character on the stage came to life and scared the bejeezus out of him. Then after we moved him to the other end of the table and convinced him that Chuck E Cheese was just a mechanical mouse attached to the stage, not a real giant mouse that could get him, a guy in a giant Chuck E Cheese costume came out and started making his rounds with the kids. My son almost fainted! But, like many other "traumatic" events in a young child's life, he got over it quickly, and resumed his campaign to have his own party there! Fortunately, he conquered his fear of Chuck E Cheese and had a great time (although he refused to go on the stage with the robotic one).The party was pretty much effortless. We just showed up with a cake and some favors.  I knew the kids would be cashing in all the tickets they won playing games for little trinkets, so I decided to keep it simple with the party favors and just made cookies for the kids to take home.And seeing as it was a pizza party......PIZZA COOKIES!

I used my favorite recipes for the cookies and icing:
The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies and Sugar Cookie Icing

We also had a special guest with a dairy allergy, so I made a batch of dairy free cookies that were super yummy!


1 1/2 Cups Butter Flavor Crisco
3 TBSP Water
2 Cups Sugar
4 Eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla
5 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Salt

Cream Crisco, Water and Sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla until well mixed.  Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover dough with saran wrap and chill overnight. When ready to bake, roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thickness, cut with a circle cookie cutter and bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Allow to cool before icing.

DAIRY FREE ICING: Mix 2 cups of powdered sugar, 1 tsp  clear vanilla, 4 tsp almond milk or soy milk and 4 tsp corn syrup until well blended. Add food coloring as desired. Add almond milk by the tsp to thin icing if it is too thick.

I decorated these pizza cookies by putting a layer of red icing in the center and letting it set, then used a squeeze bottle to squirt the "mozzarella" icing and adding a few green sprinkles before it set. Then once that layer was dry, I went back with my red icing and made the "pepperoni".

Then I just bagged them up and added a little tag I made using PicMonkey!

For these pizza cookies, I used the plain circle cookie cutter from, although they have a really cool Pizza Slice Cookie Cutter and I would use that next time! I might even get motivated to make a little pizza box instead of a clear bag.


Places I'm Partying:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Magic Jellybeans 2013

I was in Michaels yesterday and I saw the adorable little flower lollipops they always have for sale around this time of year. It reminded me of the awesome "Magic Jellybeans" I planted with my kids last year. When they woke up on Easter morning to find our Magic Jellybeans had grown into flower lollipops overnight, they were amazed! I will totally be doing this again this year and thought I'd re-post to hopefully inspire some of you to do the same!

I came across this adorable printable at Nothing But Country and knew I had to do it with my kids for some Easter fun. I printed out and made the little envelope, filled it with jellybeans and secretly ran it out to the mailbox.

The Saturday before Easter, I had my son get the mail and thankfully our Magic Jellybeans had "arrived" in our mailbox just in time for Easter. 

I had placed a piece of floral foam in the bottom of an old, chipped, dirty cute little pot I had living in my garage and filled it with potting soil. The kids ripped open the jellybeans and planted them.

Next, we watered our magic jellybeans and set them outside the front door. 

The kids were so excited to see what they would find the next morning once the magic jellybeans grew.

Hope your kids enjoy this little bit of Easter "Magic" as much as mine did!

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