A family “Cupcake Wars”

Disclaimer: We’re just a bunch of sisters who like watching Cupcake Wars on Netflix or Food Network (when we’re at a hotel with cable TV).  We have no official relationship of any sort with anyone officially affiliated with the TV show.

December 22, 2015, welcomed the second annual Lopez family Cupcake Wars.

Last year’s Cupcake Wars was our first.  Alli (age 8) and I went up against Lex (13) and Ana (my twin-not-twin).  Alli and I got the kitchen first.  We used this recipe that I found on Pinterest for the cake part, and used store-bought buttercream frosting.  For the decoration, we used some gingerbread men-shaped toppers we found in Target’s baking section.

Cupcake Wars 2014 - 1

I was proud of myself for not ruining the recipe and for cutting the corner of a Zip-loc bag to squeeze the frosting out.  The alternative would be using the standard butter-knife to  frost.

Ana and Lex used a “death by chocolate” recipe and store-bought chocolate frosting.  For decoration, they used a Reese’s cup, a (different) store-bought gingerbread topper, and yellow sprinkles to make a baby Jesus in a manger.  They got the major creativity points.

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Some behind-the-scenes pics (with Papi photo-bombing)…

In the end, ALLI AND I WON!!!  The judges had a tough decision, but landed on the gingerbread cupcakes because WE’RE AWESOMER THAN THE OTHER TEAM’S!  Just kidding, the delightful taste of the gingerbread surprised them, so they chose us.


 

This year, the we divided into the same teams.  I pinned a bunch of ideas, and together Alli and I picked a fun Princess Leia design.  We didn’t follow the recipe, just the picture for the decoration.  We used this site for both our peanut butter frosting and chocolate cupcake recipes.

Cupcake Wars 2015 - Leia.jpg

Every homemade frosting I’ve tried to make thus far in life has failed, Cupcake Wars 2015 being no exception.  The only difference this time around was that the frosting tasted awesome, despite its lack of fluffiness (it’s consistency was more similar to soup than frosting).

In light of that, Alli and I quickly made up two more cupcake designs: a simpler Christmas-themed one, and a Chewbacca that would use the store-bought frosting.

I panicked over our batter for no reason, as it baked just fine.  When I was celebrating evading imminent failure, Ana and Lex began their baking.

They used this chocolate cupcake recipe and made homemade caramel cream cheese frosting (from a recipe I can’t find).  I thought my frosting tasted great, but theirs was AWESOME.  They used strawberry tips for noses, chocolate chips for eyes, and pretzels for antlers.

Cupcake Wars 2015 - 2

Some behind-the-scenes baking… Nothing much has changed.

We made a HUGE mess.

Cupcake Wars 2015 - BTS 5

Then it was time for the judges to taste.  Something went wrong with Ana and Lex’s batter, because the cake was dense and dry.  However, their Christmas-related creativity and frosting were favored over Alli’s and mine.

In the end, they couldn’t choose a winner.  The competition was a draw. Next year, Alli and I shall reign champions!

Cupcake Wars @ Unreached by the Frost

Have your own Cupcake Wars, a great indoor winter activity for all ages! Comment your own stories of family baking/cooking competitions and rivalries!

Why A Muppet Christmas Carol Is the Best Christmas Carol Ever

It seems that everyone has their own version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

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The classic from 1951
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A Christmas Carol starring Mickey (Bob Cratchit), Donald (Scrooge’s nephew Fred), and Goofy (Jacob Marley)
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That weird one where Jim Carrey was everybody
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Barbie’s was one of the worst

But the Muppets’ is the best A Christmas Carol.  When you pop a version of Dickens’s story into your DVD (or VHS if you’re cool) player, pick this one. Here’s why:

Gonzo quotes straight from Charles Dickens.
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Gonzo plays Charles Dickens (Rizzo plays himself), and not only does he tell the story, but he quotes so much from the book!  Other Muppets and Scrooge quote as well.  This movie isn’t just filmmakers telling a story from memory, but filmmakers striving to tell Dickens’s story.

The villagers
The Muppets do such a great job living with humans, and the humans do a great job living with Muppets.  It’s like that’s the way the world was made.  Below are three of my favorite villager moments.
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Exhibit A: The Baby Band during “It Feels Like Christmas”.  Check out the beginning of it here on Youtube.  Watch the two babies on the right in the front row, and you’ll see what I mean.

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Exhibit B: The classic singing vegetables. “If he could be a flavor you can bet it would be sour!”

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Exhibit C: The carolers. “He must be so lonely, he must be so sad, he’s really a victim of fear and of crime, look close and there must be a sweet man insiiiiiiiiide!  NAH!”

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“How would the bookkeepers like to suddenly be UNEMPLOYED?!”
“Heatwave!  This is my island in the sun!”
I’ve seen the movie a dozen times, but this part still makes me laugh.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
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He’s super scary, but he doesn’t infiltrate your nightmares (like Jim Carrey’s).  He’s the best Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come in A Christmas Carol‘s movie history.  He’s creepy and dark, but not downright evil (like Pete in Mickey’s).

Why do you think (or not think) that the Muppets have the best A Christmas Carol?

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Photo cred:
Classic – http://derekwinnert.com/scrooge-1951-classic-film-review-552/
Mickey’s – http://amdoar18ani.ro/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/mickeys-christmas-carol-10.jpg
Jim Carrey – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kihm2da45sE
Barbie – http://www.amazon.com/Barbie-Christmas-Carol-Kelly-Sheridan/dp/B001B7CNZQ
Gonzo – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/552042866797617145/
Baby Band – https://muppetmindset.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/weekly-muppet-wednesdays-bobby-benson/
Vegetables – http://blogs.disney.com/oh-my-disney/2014/12/23/the-muppet-christmas-carol-is-the-gift-that-keeps-on-giving/
Heatwave – http://muppets.disney.com/muppets-most-wanted