Wednesday, 25 April 2018

This post contains affiliate links. For more information on what this means, visit my disclaimer.

"The Pop Tart tasted like freedom, and rebellion, and independence."

Do you know who once spoke those famous philosophical words? That's right, it was Lorelai Gilmore; the fast-talking, junk food-loving, resilient as hell, single mother who I would have loved to have been the one who raised me. I only watched Gilmore Girls for the first time in the last couple of years, so I am quite late to the game, and yes, I am quite sad about it. I definitely feel like I would have stayed on track more during high school if I had grown up with the Gilmore girls as my inspiration. 

Not to mention I would have lived for seeing Alexis and Milo as a couple in real life, but that's not the point of today's post. Today's post is about Lorelai, as her birthday is tomorrow, on the 26th of April. This year she would be 50, which is insane to me as I have only just watched the series, so she's still 30-something with a college aged daughter in my eyes, but this post isn't about my inability to accept how time works



I knew I wanted to create a recipe to celebrate this wonderful woman, as her eating habits are something I admire, and often think about whenever I feel guilty about how badly I eat. Even though the above quote is from an episode where Lorelai is unsure about whether or not she likes Pop Tarts, I decided to base this recipe on them as they do continue to pop up in the series - and the revival - which leads me to believe that she does indeed like them, and therefore would appreciate this recipe that I created just for her.

Of course, though, this just wouldn't be The Small Adventurer if I didn't add some kind of twist to my creation, so instead of creating regular Pop Tarts, I made Pop Tarts-inspired blondies instead. Blondies have been on my list of things to make for a while now, and I knew adding a little frosting on top and jam in the middle to mimic the good, old fashioned Pop Tarts would make them even better - and I was right! If you'd like to make your own Pop Tart blondies for your next Gilmore Girls marathon, or for a night of bad movie watching - as you know they'd both be super proud of you for doing so - then keep on reading πŸ˜‹

                                                                                                              ~

Ingredients/Tools:
For the Blondies:
♡ 115g unsalted butter
♡ 2 cups flour
♡ 1 cup brown sugar
♡ 1/2 cup caster sugar
♡ 2 eggs
♡ 1 tsp vanilla extract
♡ 1 tsp baking powder
♡ 1/2 tsp salt

For the decorations and filling:
♡ Royal icing, piping consistency, dyed pink
♡ Sprinkles in various colours
♡ Raspberry or strawberry jam
Piping bag and skewer




Directions:
1. Spray a 9x13 inch baking tray with cooking oil, or line with baking paper (I like to do both for good measure!). Preheat your oven to 180C, or 350F.

2. Cream the butter with both sugars in an electric mixer until smooth, then beat in the eggs and vanilla essence. Add the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixture and beat until all the ingredients are incorporated.

3. Spoon the mixture into your lined tray, and smooth down with your spatula as much as possible. As this mixture is quite sticky, I laid a sheet of baking paper over the top and pressed down with my hands to smooth it down and make sure it reached all the edges of the pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester or skewer comes out clean, or at least close to it. Set the blondies aside to cool.

4. Once the blondies have cooled, take them out of the pan and cut them into small rectangle shapes to resemble Pop Tarts. How many you get depends on the size that you cut them. I got six out of mine, with some of the baked blondie mixture leftover.

5. Cut your rectangle blondies in half and spread a decent amount of jam in between the two halves, then place back together. I recommend keeping these in the fridge while you make your royal icing if your kitchen is particularly hot as you don't want the jam to warm up and start spilling out the sides.

6. Whip your royal icing until it is a thick, piping consistency, then tint it a light pink colour. If you're using liquid food colour, you may need to make the mixture a bit thicker after you've coloured it. Spoon a very small amount of icing into a piping bag and pipe the outline of your icing onto the tops of the blondies. Despite what their packages may look like, no Pop Tart is ever iced perfectly, so add some character to your icing by including some swirls and waves.

7. Add a tiny bit more lemon juice into your royal icing to make it thinner. Either spoon or pipe it inside the outlines on your blondies, using a skewer to help push it into each corner, curve and crevice of the outlines. Gently shake the blondies to get rid of any icing bubbles or clumps, then add your sprinkles before the icing has set completely.

As you may be able to see, I added some dots around the edges of my rectangles as I have seen some Pop Tarts with them, and it seemed a lot easier than the crimped edges that most other Pop Tarts have, but in the end it didn't really add much to the overall look, so feel free to skip that step if you wish!



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And you're done! I had a lot of fun trying out this new recipe, which involved a lot of winging it and tweaking as I couldn't find a blondie recipe that I was completely happy with, so I made my own! Whilst that can be a little risky when making a brand new recipe, it ended up working out really good. Then again, blondies are essentially just brownies without the cocoa powder, so it wasn't too hard to figure out πŸ˜‚
                                                                                                              ~


I usually try not to eat most of my creations as I bake multiple recipes every single week, but I honestly couldn't resist with these guys! I just kept going back for more. The extreme sweetness of the jam mixed with the subtleness of the blondies, and the tanginess of the royal icing (I tend to add quite a bit of lemon juice as I love the flavour it gives!) all go together so well, I could not get enough! 

Where do you guys stand on the topic of blondies? I certainly don't see them around as much as I see brownies, but I think they are a really nice treat! Before I go, I can't finish this blog post without including another one of my favourite Lorelai quotes, which is also definitely one of her most wisest: "If eating cake is wrong, I don't want to be right." New life motto? I think so!

Until next time,
Indya xx
SOURCES:
Pop Tart Clutch (previous Can't Clutch This product) / 
Dessert Patches / Lipstick Pens / Mini Erasers (similar) /
Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

Monday, 23 April 2018

I have not been DIY-ing for very long at all. Sure, I've been making scrapbooks and other paper crafts since I was taught how to use scissors, but things like sewing, painting, and even using a hot glue gun are all still very new to me. I make more mistakes than I get things right, but hopefully that just means I'm learning a lot and will continue to improve as time goes on. 

I will always love making pinatas, but I have big hopes for all the DIY possibilities that I could make reality in the future, so I have got to keep trying new things and pick up as many tips and tricks along the way as I can - and share them on here, of course. While they may not be particularly mind-blowing revelations, here are just a few of the lessons that I have learned since I started DIY-ing that have helped me so far.



Tell someone your idea first, or even sketch it out.
I don't think I am a particularly smart person so perhaps I just don't think about things that are really obvious, but whenever I share an idea with Daniel, he always know if there's going to be a problem while I'm making it, and he always has a solution in mind. I can assure you that he never mansplains anything to me, he just has a really practical mind and is great at problem solving, whereas all I ever think about is the end product and I never really consider how tough it's going to be to get there in the first place. 

Simply mentioning your idea to someone can help you get another person's perspective on it and they may think of things that didn't occur to you. Alternatively, sketching things out is a good idea so you know exactly what you're going for, and you have a frame of reference to come back to. I've begun sketching out some of my baking ideas before I create them and it has been super helpful. I might even try to show you some of the sketches in the relevant posts if you guys would like to see that! I personally love seeing behind the scenes stuff, so that might be kind of fun.

Wait for your paint to dry completely before doing another coat.

I am incredibly impatient so I really struggle with this, but it's such common sense, and really important too. Whenever I try to paint another coat before the first one has tried the paint never comes out as evenly and I always regret it later. To prevent myself from doing this, I just tap into my love of multi-tasking and go off and do something else like clean or bake whilst my paint dries.



Don't mix poster and acrylic paints on the one project.
This may have been a one-time thing, and when I asked my followers on Instagram, no one seemed to know a definite answer as to why, but poster paint and acrylic paint don't like each other. I know that poster paint is awful and honestly not worth the money even though it's incredibly cheap (which is why I buy it), but I already had some and I didn't want to waste it, so I used white poster paint as the base colour for a DIY project

I painted over parts of it with red poster paint and had no problem, but when I painted over it with acrylic, it cracked every single time. I'm talking 6+ coats of paint, and all of them cracked. I ended up scraping it off and painting over it again with the white poster paint, and then a different coloured poster paint and it was fine. Someone told me it may be because one is oil-based and the other water, but whatever the reason, they did not like each other!

SAND YOUR WOOD. It's tedious as heck, but so worth it.
I'm not afraid to admit that I don't have a lot of common sense. In fact, I have quite a lot of gaps in knowledge, and it's atrocious. It all stems from not being allowed to do anything whilst growing up, which was out of my control, but I am doing all I can to remedy that as an adult. I am always trying new things and challenging myself; I'm not lying when I say I want to do all the things, but I still struggle with lack of basic knowledge, such as the fact that wood needs to be sanded before you paint it. 


I started my first wood-related DIY project this year, and it took me quite a few months to complete because I kept making mistakes and not thinking of things. One of those things is that wood that you intend on painting should be sanded. I had already painted a few layers of paint on before I realised this, so I didn't bother to go back and do it, but I am glad that I now know to do that in the future.

Paint water when you've been using black paint looks dangerously like a glass of Coca Cola.
Whilst I haven't made the mistake of picking up the wrong mug yet, I am still convinced it will happen one day...





At the end of the day, I still know next-to-nothing about crafting.
I still have so much to learn about the world of DIY, and just creating in general. There are so many things I haven't yet thought about making - let alone having actually tried to make them - and that's a pretty fun thing to realise, honestly. My DIY skills will grow as I do, and I am looking forward to all the new projects and ideas that are still to come. I hope you all stick around to see what I come up with!

                                                                                                              ~

I have an image in my head of future me being a DIY pro who is confident no matter what tool she may have in her hand, whether it be a paint brush, hot glue gun, saw, or even a blow torch. I am going to try my hardest to become that person, and I am going to do it for not-that-much-younger-than-I-am-right-now me, who once was terrified that she was never going to amount of anything because she wasn't taught how to be an adult and do so many basic tasks. I am going to show myself - and anyone out there who may be going through something similar - that it's never too late to learn something new, and that you can really can do anything you put your mind to. Wish me luck!

Until next time,
Indya xx

Friday, 20 April 2018

After 6 long months, I finally have a new collection post to share with you guys! I've been waiting to share this post with you for so long, but I kept buying more money boxes, which meant I had to keep re-taking all the photos πŸ˜… BUT I am trying to slow down on spending since Daniel and I want to go on another holiday this year, so I thought now would be a good time to share this collection.




I honestly can't believe that I have shared ten whole collections on here! I knew I collected a lot of things, but I didn't really think about just how much until I started sharing them on here. I still have a few that I want to share - such as my 
cookie jars and novelty salt and pepper shakers - plus a lot of the ones I've already shared desperately need updated posts. 

Both my cups and mugs and my baking items collections have grown quite a bit since I first shared them (so have my photography skills, which is honestly the biggest reason that I want to post updated versions, as those old posts are pretty bad πŸ˜¬), but none have grown more than my Sailor Moon collection

I now have designated cubes for each inner scout plus Chibiusa, and the top of those - which is where most of the items are sitting in the original post - is reserved for Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask. It's honestly such a cool set-up that I think even non-Sailor Moon fans will appreciate it, but I want to purchase the Crystal Change Rods for Mars, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter before I share the updated version.






Money boxes have been something I have collected since I was very young, but unfortunately I lo
st that collection - and all my others, most notably my crystal collection, which I was very into - after the fires. This collection would be a lot bigger now if they hadn't of happened, but there's no point dwelling on the past. A lot of good and bad things happened because of those fires, but I wouldn't change how things are now!

I actually got rid of a few money boxes recently as I had some that didn't really fit in with the rest of the house, such as a gold skull one. It was nice and all, but it was the last remaining link to my much darker, skull-obsessed days, and I'd be lying if I wasn't glad to finally rid myself of that phase.

I try to collect things that fit in with more than one collection, so they feel worth the money. For example, I collect items that are shaped like donuts, ice cream and cupcakes, so those money boxes get to stay. I also just adore vintage cameras, Hello Kitty, and typewriters, so they get to stay as well. As for the flamingo money box, I just liked it because it was cheap and bright pink πŸ˜‚


Nearly all of these money boxes were thrifted so I'm not sure where they came from, except for the donut one which I bought from Target a while ago, and the flamingo one which I picked up at The Reject Shop, also not too long ago.






I don't actually use money boxes much anymore; I used to love the un-openable ones when I was younger because it always felt amazing when you filled one up and could finally cut the top off, but I hardly ever use cash these days, unless I'm going op shopping or want sushi for lunch, as both of those places usually have an EFTPOS minimum. I still love to collect them though!

                                                                                                              ~

Do you guys still have a money box, or do you keep all your change somewhere else? We keep most of our change in this cute sunflower bowl so we can just grab some when Daniel needs to pay for parking at school, or I feel like grabbing a sushi roll before work, but I try to put some in a money box too as I know it'll be worth it once it's full!

Even though they seem to be going out of style, I still love collecting them, and probably always will. I certainly won't be adopting a minimalistic lifestyle anytime soon, but I don't mind πŸ˜‚


Until next time,

Indya xx

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Before anyone asks, yes, it is my mission to turn everything I can think of into sushi. This is my fourth original sushi-themed creation so far, and I already have a few more in mind, so I decided to make a hashtag for them to look back on in the future. Maybe one day I'll have enough sushi-themed projects and recipes to throw an entire sushi-themed party!

This is my first time making surprise balls, so instead of trying to actually make them properly, I decided to cheat and alter their shape a little bit... but that's okay, because sushi rolls aren't perfect circle anyway πŸ˜‰ I'm not sure where surprise balls came from, as I certainly never saw them as a kid. They're basically mini pass-the-parcels, but you don't have to share with anyone else - at least, I don't think so.




I don't have a lot of mini toys lying around the house, so whilst most of these have toys inside, one of them is filled with cute stationery pieces such as mini erasers, bulldog clips, and googly eyes. 

I don't know about you, but even as a kid I think I would prefer the stationery filled ones πŸ˜‚ That's the great thing about surprise balls, though. You can fill with 'em with pretty much whatever you want as half the fun is in unravelling them!

                                                                                                              ~

You will need:
♡ A selection of mini items and toys, I used about 2-4 pieces per surprise ball
♡ White streamers
♡ Black streamers
♡ Scissors
♡ Sticky tape

Directions:
1. Organise your items into groups so you know which items will go into which surprise balls. It's best to only have one or two "large" items in each ball, and then have mostly small items. 

With your first group, pick out the largest item and wrap it up with white streamer until you can't see the item anymore. I decided to sticky tape the first layer of streamer onto the item to ensure that it stayed in place, and I did the same for the layer too.

2. Decide which item will be your second item. Sticky tape that onto your surprise ball, then wrap your white streamer all around the ball and item until you can't see the second item anymore. Keep in mind that your end shape is more of a square or short rectangle rather than a circle, so remember that when you're placing your items.






3. Continue to add your extra items and layers of white streamers until you have the right shape, and are unable to see any of the items underneath the streamers. 

4. Get your black streamer and measure a piece that is long enough to go around your sushi roll completely. My black streamer was as thick as my sushi roll, so I cut it thinner so that you were able to see the white streamer at the top and bottom, then stuck it on. 

... That's it! These guys were super easy to make. I definitely think I'll try to conquer an actual sphere shape next time πŸ˜‚ 



Have you guys ever heard of surprise balls before? If you could choose, what would you want yours to be filled with? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,
Indya xx

Monday, 16 April 2018

This post contains affiliate links. For more information on what this means, visit my disclaimer.

Ahh, Sailor Mars. My first favourite character from the Sailor Moon universe, although I have since realised how great Jupiter is with her toughness and love of baking, but this post isn't about her. It's about Sailor Mars, because her birthday is on the 17th of April! Well, if we're being technical, it's actually her civilian form Rei Hino's birthday, but anyway.



If you read my recipe posts regularly, you'll know that I have been trying to branch out in the desserts that I make. Recently I have tried and conquered jelly slice, cheesecake, and whoopie pies, but I decided to go back to basics with this post. Sometimes it's just fun to whip up a good old fashion vanilla cake, and decorate wildly. Although I did want to add some kind of new element to this post, so I decided to make this a surprise cake!

I had never made a coloured cake before, but it was a lot of fun - certainly a lot easier than colouring a batch of cookie dough, that's for sure. I love the contrast of the red cake next to the purple icing, and I think all the red decorations made the whole thing look very uniform. For any of you who aren't fans of the Sailor Moon franchise, Sailor Mars is known for her mostly red outfit and purple bow, which is why I chose those colours for this cake. Now, enough talking, onto the decorating! 

You will need:
♡ Your favourite vanilla cake batter, dyed red
♡ Your favourite buttercream frosting, dyed purple (if you can't find purple food dye, mix blue and red together!)
Cake board
♡ Red Candy Melts
3D Shoe Mould
♡ Red gumballs
♡ Red fondant 
♡ A fondant rolling pin
 Baking paper, a pencil, and scissors
♡ One large heart-shaped cookie cutter (this is a great set of cookie cutters to have)
Angled spatula and small knife
Cookie letter stamps
♡ Various red sprinkles (optional)


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 



Directions:
1. Melt your Candy Melts in 30-second increments in the microwave until completely melted. Tape the two sides of your shoe mould together so they stay in place, then lean the bottom of the pointed end of the shoe on something small so that the shoe is on an angle, and you are able to fill the mould completely without any of the melted candy dripping out. Leave it aside to set. If it's taking too long, place it in the fridge, but remember to keep it on an angle.

2. Get up a photo of Mars' planetary symbol on your computer and trace around it onto some baking paper, then cut it out, including the inside of the heart.

3. Bake your cake according the directions, then place on a cake board to cool completely.

4. Cover in purple buttercream, remembering to do a crumb layer first and wait until that sets before adding your top layer. Having a revolving cake stand makes this process a lot easier. Wipe off any excess icing that has fallen onto the cake board with a damp paper towel.

5. Roll out your red fondant and use your heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out a heart. Use your cookie letter stamps to spell out the phrase "I will chastise you" (alternatively, you could also just do "in the name of Mars", but it's up to you). 

6. Carefully slide your angled spatula under the heart and place it onto your cake. Remember that there is going to be three main decoration pieces, so choose carefully how you want them placed before you put them on the cake.





7. Roll out some more red fondant onto your baking paper. Get your planetary symbol stencil that you cut out earlier and place it on top of the fondant. Carefully using the tip of your knife to cut out the planetary symbol, then discard the excess fondant. Gently soften any harsh edges with your fingers before using the angled spatula to pick up the symbol and place it onto the cake.

8. By now, your red shoe should be set. Remove the tape and carefully take off one side of the mould. It should come off relatively easily without sticking to the Candy Melt, but go slowly just in case. Take off the other side, then place the shoe on top of the cake.

9. Get your red gumballs and place them all around the outside of the cake, if you wish. I realise that gumballs aren't the best things to have on a cake as you can't swallow them, but I am just so in love with their deep red colour that I just had to include them! Decorate the remaining areas of your cake with your chosen red sprinkles. I really love these tiny red lip candies from Kmart as they remind me of Sailor Mars' iconic red lipstick.

                                                                                                              ~

Cutting into cakes suddenly got a whole lot more fun when you have this beautiful, bright red cake waiting for you underneath! I love the idea of surprise cakes; I've already made a batch of cupcakes with fairy floss inside, but I have a whole list of things I want to hide inside of cakes and cupcakes sometime in the future, so keep a look out for those! 


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 
DIY Sailor Moon Crystal Star Pinata



If you could have anything come out of a cake when you cut into it, what would it be? Let me know in the comments below, and don't be afraid to get creative! It doesn't necessarily have to be practical πŸ˜œ

Until next time,
Indya xx


Friday, 13 April 2018

This post contains affiliate links. For more information on what this means, visit my disclaimer.

Woo, boy. This post was a long time coming! I actually came up with the idea of making emoji face lemon slice bites, but they failed twice. Both times heaps of bubbles came to the top of the mixture whilst it was in the oven and completely ruined the look of the slice; it looked incredibly uneven and pale, instead of the smooth, bright yellow that I was going for. I tried it again a second time, thinking that if I whisked the mixture by hand much slower, not as many bubbles would occur, but it made no difference.



I was super bummed as I had been looking forward to making a yellow treat that I could decorate like emojis, so I started going through the list of recipes and desserts that I wanted to try, and ended up seeing one that I could make work: cheesecake. Lemon cheesecake is already slightly yellow, so it only took a couple of drops of food gel to get these guys to be the bright yellow that emojis are known for. 

I wish I had taken some time to play around with different coloured fondant so that I could have made some different emojis, but I was exhausted after making two batches of disappointing lemon slice (well, look-wise, it still tasted delicious - and it was my first try too, so go me!) so I just used what I had prepared earlier. We all know that the heart eyes emoji is my favourite one anyway, so I'm certainly not complaining. If you'd like to learn how to make your own emoji face cheesecake bites, then keep on reading!

You will need:
♡ Your favourite cheesecake mixture, dyed yellow (as this was my first time making cheesecake I don't want to recommend a certain recipe to you until I find one I love, and this one was definitely only okay πŸ˜•)
Fondant rolling pin
♡ Black and red fondant
Small round cookie cutter
♡ Baking paper, pencil, knife, and scissors
♡ Mini eyeball and lip-shaped candies (both optional)
Heart shaped cookie cutter (also optional)


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 
Sparkling Heart Emoji Whoopie Pies


Directions:
1. This almost feels like a cop-out writing an entire post about these guys when they're pretty self explanatory: bake your cheesecake according to the instructions, remembering to add a few drops of yellow food dye into the mixture beforehand to give it that signature emoji-colour.

2. Once your cheesecake has set (or cooled, if you chose a baked recipe - this one is not), cut out small circles with your cookie cutter, plus some hearts if you would like as well, as a yellow heart is another commonly used emoji. 

I recommend greasing the inside and outside of the cutter with butter before pressing it into your mixture so it doesn't get too stuck, and wash the cutter after each use. If you're having trouble pushing it out, trying pressing up from the bottom so you don't push down on the cheesecake with your fingers.

3. Wash and dry your circle cookie cutter, then trace around it onto your baking paper. Draw in your heart eyes and mouth piece, then cut those small pieces out.

4. Roll out your red fondant, place your heart eye stencils onto it, and carefully cut around the stencils with the tip of your knife. The amount will depend on how many cheesecake bites you have, and how many you wish to turn into heart eye emojis.

5. Roll out your black fondant, place the mouth stencil on top, and cut out your mouth pieces with the tip of your knife. Remember, you will need one mouth piece for every two heart pieces if you're doing the heart eye emoji.

6. Since I had some eyeball candies to play around with, I also made a tiny mouth piece out of black fondant so that I could make the "😳" emoji. You could also make eyebrows out of the black fondant if you wish as well. For my mouth, I just tore off a tiny piece of the fondant and rolled it into a tube, then carefully placed it onto the cheesecake bite. If you have other coloured fondant on hand, then feel free to play around! Use pink for those cheeky tongue-sticking-out faces, or blue for the crying ones. There's so many options to choose from!


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Disco Ball Sugar Cookies



Behind the scenes...
If you're going to make this over two days as I tend to do when experimenting in the kitchen, I would recommend making the cheesecake on one day, and the fondant decorations the next. I made the cheesecake one day, and cut out all my fondant pieces while it was setting, but decided to wait until the next day to decorate. Unfortunately, the smaller pieces for the eyebrows and mouths had dried out and fell apart, which is why I turned to the candies in the end, even though they didn't make an actual emoji face.

Something else to keep in mind that the fondant will eventually mix in with the cheesecake, so you also don't want to wait too long after making these guys before you eat them! Right now there's a plate in the fridge of some very melted and distorted emoji face cheesecake bites, and it's honestly terrifying to look at πŸ˜‚

                                                                                                              ~

Where do you guys stand on the cheesecake debate: bake or no bake? Either way, do you have any recipes for me? I've definitely had cheesecakes that I like before, so I want to try out a few different recipes before I settle on my go-to one. Let me know your recommendations in the comments below!

Until next time,
Indya xx