I meant to add this at the end of the peanut butter ice cream pie post... but forgot.  Forgive me.  Take it as a video if for any other reason than for "just because".  I like pie?  Do you like pie? You don't? You might want to see a doctor about that.  No really.  Well, suit yourself.

Real quick, I also wanted to share this quick tidbit I saw on LX TV's First Look last night (you know, that show that's on after SNL with the Brazilian Q-T, Pedro Andrade).  I watched it because it was what was on when I got home from work last night but when I saw the plug, I was kinda hooked (and Pedro's not too bad to look at when decompressing after work either, ha).  So, last night their show was all about stuff you can buy online and they filmed it from the ETSY headquarters in NYC.  Fitting don't you think?  (Hello dream job numero uno!)  Anyways, they featured an online store for a business that has pies baked in mason jars, called "All Jarred Up". You can even like them on facebook...!).  Now, I've heard of mailing cupcakes in jars (which I conveniently sell in my ETSY store - ahem, wink wink, plug plug), and I've even heard of cup-pies (pies baked in cupcake form), but this is pure genius!  Check it out!  Great for shipping to friends/family who don't live in-state, or heck even for a surprise for those who live nearby.

Anyways, back to my point - Sunday Video Edition!  I know "I Like Pie" is only a one-liner in this song, and the rest of it has nothing to do with pie, but trust me, it's worth it.  It might even make you smile.  I mean seriously, "Hi, I'm a guy, I like pie." = 'nuf said, you had me at... well, pie.

Hi, I'm a guy, I like pie.


Pie in the Sky

The other day, I go this recipe in my inbox from myrecipes.com.  I signed up to receive their daily recipe suggestions a while back and have actually used it fairly often.  (cheesecake, party of one I use on a quite regular basis - like a "you need cheering up today, have an individual cheesecake!" kind of frequency.  Why hello 'Nilla Waffer crust, it's nice to see you again.)  It's not all desserts, those are just what I gravitate to, because of my sweet nature, naturally.

Anyways, they always have crazy bad for you but delicious looking desserts that are surprisingly easy to make all considered.  I am a huge peanut butter fan (not so much on the chocolate, but they do compliment each other quite nicely).  I had an unhealthy attachment to Jif and PeterPan brand as a child.  I used to make up my own Jif commercials in my head and whisper them to myself as I spread a layer of the peanutty spread on white bread for lunch.  And I also thought if I ate enough PeterPan brand I could possibly morph into Wendy and venture off to Neverland (especially with the help of the fairy dust I got at the Disney Store).  Ok, enough about my odd obsession with peanut butter....

The recipe the other day was for Frozen Peanut Butter Pie.  I saw this and my heartbeat began to speed up.  This recipe was made for me - I have to make it.  Tonight.  I made a few substitutions (creamy pb instead of chunky and chocolate chips as a garnish since I didn't have any bark to curl and all my peanuts  got turned into peanutella months ago; and I used chocolate "Teddy Grahams" that I crushed in the food processor (sorry guys, it was painful because they're just so cute) instead of chocolate graham crackers for the crust).  And I also didn't have a "deep dish" pie pan so I ended up splitting it up and using half the filling/crust for the pie and the other half for some tarts and party of one cuppers.  I snuck a bite this morning and let me just say, it's a good thing I'm having company on Sunday for Memorial day because otherwise I would have to somehow justify being on a "peanut butter pie" diet.  What? Peanut Butter is good for you.  Kinda.  Close enough.

All in all, I highly recommend you make this.  Especially if you're even a sliver of the peanut butter fan I am.  (Or a cool whip fan - my grandma used to keep tubs of cool whip frozen in her freezer so it was always on hand to add to desserts or fresh fruit.  And I'd be lying if I said I never witnessed her, or myself, take an extra spoonful to eat.)  It's the perfect "ice cream" pie for summer (hopefully weekend we actually have a semblance of something close to summer weather instead of this miserable rain we've been having).

Go here to view a picture of how it turned out on the Smashed Muffin facebook page.

What are some of your favorite summer desserts?


It's Not Official Until It's FB Official

It's so official, you can put it up on facebook folks.  A selection of my handmade cards will be available on consignment.... this is big news people, BIG news.  (Well, at least to me it is.)

As of start of business tomorrow morning, you will be able to purchase my handmade cards at Lenny & Me (1459 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60622).  For directions, go here, now!  I'm so excited so excited so excited so excited.  And you should be too.

Go here to buy my stuff!!!

This reminds me of the time I sold my very first cupcake.... I feel a story-time coming on, kids.
It was middle-end of February.  I had made penguin cupcakes for a friends birthday.  We meet up and had pizza at Piece for dinner (loooove their white pizza) and then headed out to Map Room for some spirits (I believe Unibroue's were on special that night - so tasty!).  We had each had our fill of pizza and cupcakes - especially since these also included a donut/hole tucked inside underneath the frosting (to create the shape of the body & head). So you may have guessed it, but yes, this means that I carried my cupcake courier of leftover cuppers all throughout our galavant-ing - even into the Map Room.  When the night came to a close, I got some extra long stares while shivering at the bus stop to return to my (then) apartment on the north side.  These arctic animal treats were going on quite an adventure all in one night.  Anyways, the bus finally arrives and I get on.  At the next stop, a boat load of people pile on.  I'm in one of those seats where you're facing seats going the other direction, so of course, someone sits down next to me perpendicularly. I'd never met this person, or seen this person in my life, but he looked at me like he knew me - or maybe it was more like he wanted me to think he knew me so that his odds of reaping the benefits of the tasty critters in my lap would improve.  (I'm sure some imbibing was involved to enhance these efforts as well, but oh well).  "What arrrre those?!" he exclaimed.  "They're cupcakes." I said. (Duh).  "How much would you take for one?"  "You can just have one..." I offered but he was already obnoxiously digging in his pockets for change.  "How's 50 cents?"  Heck yea I'd take fiddy cent.  After a few stops he left and had already scarfed down the remains of his donut lined penguin. But boy do I thank that random, probably not sober, stranger.  His purchase prompted my very first bakery sale.  And now, with my cards having retail presence, I'm feeling even more grateful.  Watch out world, cuz Smashed Muffin is here to stay!

This guy was my first cupcake sale.

So, the end all message is : visit the ETSY shop, or heck, just stop by Lenny & Me!  ;)


It's Not OCD, I'm Just Obsessed.

So, I was just browsing some of my fellow bloggers posts and came across these videos posted from Playing Grown Up.  I got so excited, I just had to share.  Read the post/watch the videos here (or just watch below).

The New Girl
Zooey Deschanel is my "bangs" hero as well.  And I also watched the trailer about 3 times in a row.  She's another one I'd like to be when I grow up.  I'm obsessed with her.  Is that weird?

Zooey Deschanel = amazeballs
and i'm uber jeals.

Vote for Pedro
And the Napoleon Dynamite animated series looks great especially because of my renewed obsession with Wilson Phillips.  Nice rendition, ND.  Can't believe the whole original cast is doing the voices.  Awesomeness!

Are there any TV shows/movies you're looking forward to....?
(Aside from the given, Parenthood.  I'm obsessed only slightly.  Oh who am I kidding - I'm in total withdrawal right now since it's not on!  I need my Braverman fix!) 

1-2-buckle my shoe

Some friendly advice to get pumped for summer from your friend muffers.  (like my new nickname?)

1) If you haven't signed up for the Tasting Table Chicago Newsletter, I recommend that you do so now. I know what your thinking.  Not another newsletter sent to my inbox daily that I'll never read and just end up deleting a month after receiving it because I still haven't looked at it.  I was wary myself, but believe me, this one is worth it!

2) If you haven't tried/don't know what Co-Op Hot Sauce is, you are probably going through life feeling like there's a missing piece out there somewhere that will complete you.  Trust me, Co-Op Hot Sauce is that missing piece.  It's delicious and it promotes a great cause.  A few winter holiday seasons ago, everyone that got a gift from me, got a bottle of Co-Op Hot Sauce.  I ordered a bunch of them and not only did a Co-Op employee personally drive them out to deliver them to my (then) home in the suburbs, but they also gave me an extra case on the house for ordering so many.  Told you, missing piece.

3) The weather is finally starting to turn around a bit.  And you know what that means.  Summer apparel can finally be dusted off from the far corner of my (and your) closet.  My favorite summer accessory, is my TOMS shoes.  I am lucky enough to have a couple pairs, but the leader of the two would probably have to be my pink sparkle TOMS.  The summer styles are out - so start shopping now!  And remember, for every pair you purchase, a pair of shoes gets donated to a child without shoes.  So it's a win-win.  (Speaking of, Win Win was a good movie - go see it, while wearing your new TOMS).  You get a new pair of shoes guilt free because someone else is benefiting from your purchase as well.  Plus, with theses comfy cozy slip ons, you won't need to worry about buckling your shoe!  (Okay, okay, so some of them have laces, but you get my point).


Tastes Like Summer

Tonight I made an extremely tasty, no bake, lemony vegan tart treat.

I combined a couple recipes to get there, but overall it was super easy (granted you have a food processor) and very "nom" worthy.

The "crust" is essentially a combination of nuts (I used pine nuts and almonds cuz it's what I had) and pitted dates.  By the way, dates are way weird, right?  They look like giant, brown, wrinkly, wobbly thumbs or something.  Blugh.  However, in a vegan pie crust, they are delish.  Once blended, the nuts and dates make a paste that reminds me a lot of larabars.  If you've never had a larabar, you've never lived.  Ok that was harsh, but seriously, try one, stat.  I recommend cashew cookie.  Which you probably could make from home if you really wanted using cashews, dates and maybe a dash of salt.

LaraBars = YummaBars

Anyways, enough going off tangent.  

The filling is a combination of silken tofu, fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, dates, vanilla and cardamom.  (I didn't have any cardamom handy, so I just used a dash of cinnamon).  Kind of like a lemon curd - especially if you refrigerate it for a bit.  I also added some strawberries on top.  And voila.  You have yourself a citrusy, ready-for-summer-weather-to-finally-get-here-and-sick-of-the-rain treat! 

Tastes Like Summer

So there you go.  If you would like the complete recipe, post a comment at the end of this post or on the Smashed Muffin facebook page about your favorite summer treat(s).


You're Life Is Bits And Pieces, But It'll Turn Around

Go see this movie.... stat.pronto.rapido. (i.e. NOW!) I laughed my patoottey off. (yes, i realize patoottey isn't a real word) And I kinda feel like I'm a dead ringer for Kristen Wiig's character right now. (Thank you Kansas City Star for summing it up quite nicely - Annie crafts intricate cupcakes for no one and moves back in with her mom in a state of financial and emotional defeat. She's a woman, her nosy roommate observes, whose diary reads like "a very sad handwritten book.") I'm almost there. 

But anyways, go see it. You'll laugh yourself silly. And we all need a good laugh once in a while. I might go see it again tomorrow. (not really, but maybe)

Don't forrrrrget..... someday somebody's gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye. Until then baby are you going to let them hold you down and make you cry. Don't you know? Don't you know things can change. Things'll go your way if you hold on for one more day.  FYI, Wilson Phillips is the new soundtrack to my life.

One more thing. I just wanted to say...
Gracias. Por favor y gracias hasta si senor manana no necesario adios.
(yes this is spanish gibberish - what can i say, i took french in high school.)


Fresh Links, Tea Parties & Chronicle Books, Oh My!

I've been a neglectful blogger again this week, intending to post earlier in the week but, as usual, time got away from me.

So, Friday the 13th or not (at least for a few more minutes), here's my random Friday night post.

I wanted to share a link to a website I recently stumbled upon called Minted. A couple of weeks ago they had a promotion going on where if you signed up for their newsletter, you got 25 address labels free.  (In the end you basically have to pay for the shipping).  I signed up and it was love at first sight. Their designs are so simple and clean, yet easily customizable.  Today I checked back in and found out that they are partnering with one (if not, the one) of my favorite book publishers, Chronicle Books.

To say that I am obsessed with Chronicle Books does not even begin to describe it and how crazy I go for their products.  They.Are.The.Best. Plain and simple.  And they're books are a crafters (and bakers!) dream come true.  Whenever I'm in a book store (or let's be real - TJ Maxx where I get books on the cheap), and I find a book I'm attracted to, 90% of the time I look on the spine and sure enough, that spectacles logo is there to greet me.  

So in retrospect, it all kinda makes sense. There's a reason I stumbled upon Minted.com, because it was yet another connection to my fav publisher.  And because I like it, you should like it too.  (kidding)  

Ok that's enough outta me for now.  Since it's Friday, I thought I'd post a video for no other particular reason than I wanted to. And cuz it's Friday. And cuz I feel like this song has been stuck in my head all week.  Especially this line: "There ain't no party like my nana's tea party."  Like a broken record in my brain.  But I'm a FOTC fan, so I won't complain too much. ;)


Mom's Favorite Sticky Buns

I know I know.  Another Hallmark Holiday is in our midst.  However, I do think it is important to take the time to appreciate dear old mom's.  I mean shoot, if it weren't for her, none of us would be here, right?

So today I'm making my mother her (and conveniently enough, my) favorite "Easy Sticky Buns".

Sticky Doughy Goodness!

Recipe compliments of Ina Garten (another one of my mom's favorite ladies).

Makes 12
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.
Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. (I was able to make this stretch with only one puff pastry sheet - never resist the urge to improvise with what you have and make it your own!) Brush the whole sheet with half the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of the raisins. (We used extra pecans in the filling too for some extra crunch!) Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down. Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2 inch and discard. (We always use the ends, cuz why not... they may not look as great, but they still taste delish!) Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon), and cool completely.

Before they went into the oven...

I would post a picture of the finished product... but we were too busy eating them.  So instead, I'm leaving you with an overly cheesey and ridiculous video.  It's nothing new, but for some reason whenever I hear the words, "Mother's Day", this song gets stuck in my head.  Damn you Lonely Island and your catchy genius.  Happy Mom's day to all the mother's out there!

We love mothers... err, yea.


What A Difference A Cheese Sandwich Can Make

This one is gonna be a short one because I have to leave for work in a bit, but I wanted to take a moment to praise the simple goodness of the almighty cheese sandwich.  Today in particular I am singing its praises because I will be enjoying it for lunch (now) and for, well, lunch (later on my break at work).  When I was a little girl, I used to make cheese sandwiches almost daily.  A light smear of mayo, a slice of american or cheddar (I preferred the "orange" cheese varieties in those days) and voila!  The perfect cheese sammie. (Or ballerina sandwich, as I used to call them. Not sure why I used this name, as I'm certain this sandwich would not be typical in a normal ballerina's diet, but let's be honest, I was never your "normal" prima ballerina.)  My love for ballerina sandwiches has always remained, but it was particularly re-ignited when I was reading the series of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo books a while back.  I distinctly remember reading the first book in about a day and being terrified in my old creaky apartment while powering through to get to the end.  I came to a chapter where Listbeth talks about taking a break from researching to make a cheese and pickle sandwich.  Genius!  Thus, my weekly intake of cheese sandwiches was reinstated.  Today, I added some cornichons (gherkins) for some extra pizzaz!  Yum!

So do yourself a favor.  If you're every having a bad day, or just feel like a quick pick me up, make yourself a cheese, err I mean, Ballerina Sandwich, Smashed Muffin Style!  ;)

The Ultimate Ballerina Sandwich