Easy Homemade Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

2 large eggs

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

12 cupcake liners

Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick butter), softened

1 cup creamy peanut butter

3 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/4 cup milk, plus as needed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a sperate bowl.  Add in the milk and mix until smooth.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients into the wet, and mix until well combined.
  4. Divide the mixture equally among the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 18- 20 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Place the cupcakes into a cooling rack before frosting.

Frosting:

  1.  Cream together butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add in half the confectioner’s sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Beat in the remaining confectioner’s sugar until the frosting is creamy, spreadable consistency.

 

 

Classic Candy Apples

Ingredients

12 red or green apples

3 cups of sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 cup of water

1/2 tsp of desired food coloring

24 sandwich cookies such as Oreos, without filling

12 lollipop sticks

waxed  paper

candy thermometer

 

Method

  1. Rinse and dry the apples.  Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and coat with cooking spray.
  2. Place the cookies into a large Ziploc bag and roll with a rolling pin to crush. Set aside.
  3. Insert the lollipop sticks into the top of each apple, then place onto the baking sheet with the sticks standing straight up.
  4. In a large saucepan, combine sugar,  corn syrup and water over medium heat.  Bring to a boil. Continuing cooking until the candy thermometer reaches 300ºF.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully stir in desired food coloring. Dip each apple, one at a time into the candy mixture then twirl the apple over the pan to let excess drip off. Decorate.

Decoration:

1.  Roll the apple in the crushed cookies immediately after dipping. Let it set.

 

 

 

 

Rastaman Vibration

During my visit to Jamaica, I also got a chance to visit the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, exploring the history behind Reggae, the genre of music indigenous to Jamaican culture. Located at 56 Hope Road, the museum is dedicated to Robert Nesta Marley, who is considered a pioneer in reggae music. The coolest thing about this museum is it was the former residence of the artist and also housed his recording studio, which produced many of his famous hits. The museum was also the scene for a failed assassination on Bob Marley’s life. Below are the few pictures I took during my visit!

Got my ticket ready 🙂

The museum’s entrance painted in the traditional colors of Rastafarianism, which reflected on Marley’s lifestyle being a member of the Rastafarian movement

There was also a mural featuring pictures of Bob Marley and his bandmates!

And a second mural featuring Bob Marley and his seven sons, all of whom have followed in their father’s musical footsteps.

There is a courtyard featuring the lion of Judah, which symbolizes Haile Selassie, the emperor of Ethiopia, known as Jah (god) to rastas.

The focal point of the museum is a life-size statue of Bob Marley, which measures 5 centimeters and 7 inches (Marley’s height).

However, the greatest lesson I learned on this tour was life is not about wealth or possessions, it is about love, peace and doing right by others,
a mantra relished by Bob Marley through his music.

 

Skeleton 2.0

Art is about self-expression, from the stroke of a paintbrush to a black and white snapshot of an exciting new city. Artists can create masterpieces that tell their story. As an art studio minor, I am exposed to various techniques from mixed media to mosaic. Today I will be sharing my first independent art project, the mosaic human skeleton.

First I gathered all my materials, then prepped my work station to start the project.

Next, I arranged the pieces of color paper onto the skeleton to create the mosaic effect.

 

I continued to arrange different colors onto the skeletal layers, to build-up the mosaic effect.

Overall, I enjoyed the challenge of this project because of its attention to detail and the use of color resulting in a beautiful creation I’m proud to call my own 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saint Jago de la Vega Cathedral

Traveling is about making new discoveries! The world can be anyone’s oyster from the rural vineyards of France to the remote beaches of the Caribbean. Traveling brings both new memories and exciting opportunities to learn about different cultures! The island of Jamaica is a luscious scenery featuring both vast mountains and tropical rainforests. The third-largest island of the Greater Antilles, Jamaica is the birthplace of reggae music and jerk chicken! Apart from its delicious food and feel-good music, Jamaica is also home to many historical sites that tell the story behind the island’s rich culture. Located in the parish of St.Catherine, in the city of Spanish Town is Saint Jago de la Vega Cathedral, one of the oldest Anglican churches outside of England!

Not only is this a beautiful monument but one of my favorite places I visited while in Jamaica. Below are a few snapshots I took!

From the brickwork structure to the intricate wooden details, the outside is not only appealing to look but a great church full of history!

While the inside of the church is graced with beautiful wooden beams and white molding that lace the walls furnished with dark wooden benches and various religious artifacts

But the most intriguing part of this cathedral would be the graves that encompass its structure.

Overall, Saint Jago de la vega cathedral is definitely worth a trip because it not only makes a great background for selfies but immerses you in true Jamaican culture.

 

 

Animated Photoshop Portraits

I never imagined being an artist, but thanks to professor Ryan I can proudly say that my creative side has taken flight! Today, I will be sharing one of my favorite CT101 projects called the Animated Portrait, using https://giphy.com/ and Adobe Photoshop!

First, I selected a google image (over 2000 pixels) and adjusted the size of the image by clicking on the tool button in the drop-down menu. Next, I selected large in the options.

After setting the image size. I created my animated gif using a few easy steps!

  1. First, drag the image from the browser onto the desktop
  2. Launch the Adobe Photoshop application. Click on file then open to set the image inside the application.
  3. Select the crop tool, the fifth tool located on the toolbar by hovering the mouse over the image, both the crop tool and perspective crop tool   will appear. Click on the crop tool to remove any unwanted areas.
  4. After cropping, click the image tab on the menu bar at the top of your screen. Scroll to the adjustments option then click on the hues and saturation command
  5. Next, adjust the colors of your image either using the hue slider to change the range of colors in the image or the saturation slider to make colors more vivid or dull. Below depicts my play on increased saturation!

6. Click on file, then save as and rename the image as “number two” then convert the frame to a JPED by selecting the option in the drop-down menu below

7. Next, go to https://giphy.com/  and select the create button located on the top of the page. Choose the photo or gif option and select the file named “number two”

8. After the image uploads onto the site, click on the filter button and set the desired filter! Below depicts my use of the bad tv filter.

9. Click on the continue to upload button and add in a source URL, if desired. I will be using https://chelsearomena.com.

10. Once the source is set, click the upload button on https://giphy.com/

11. Congratulations your gif has been created. And can be used for a wide variety of screen displays now!

 

 

Confetti Cake Pops

Ingredients:

1 box of  Betty Crocker strawberry cake mix

1 container of  Betty Crocker vanilla frosting

1  pack of 4″ lollipop sticks

1 bag of white chocolate candy melts

1 cup of rainbow sprinkles

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare cake mix according to box directions
  3. Let the cake cool completely, then crumble by hand until it resembles fine crumbs. Mix in frosting a little at a time until thoroughly combined.
  4. Form the cake mixture into rounded balls and place them onto a plate.
  5.  Melt 1/4 cup of the white chocolate candy melts in a heatproof bowl and stir until smooth.
  6. Dip one end of the lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and then insert into the cake balls
  7. Freeze for at least 20 minutes
  8.   Melt the remaining white chocolate candy melts and set aside
  9. Remove cake pops from the freezer. Dip them into the white chocolate mixture and let the excess dripped off. Swirl or gently tap if needed
  10. Decorate with rainbow sprinkles and let them set.
  11. Cover with a clear treat bag & ribbon for gift-giving, if desired or store in an airtight container

 

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 sticks butter (1 cup)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 0z bag)

2 cups white chocolate chips (12 oz bag)

1 cup chopped walnuts

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cream together butter, sugars and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition.
  3. Combine flour and baking soda in a small bowl then gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  4. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes then remove to a wire baking rack and cool completely

Fudgy Candy Coated Brownies

Ingredients:

2 sticks butter  (1 cup)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4  large eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup m&m candies, for topping

cooking spray

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream together sugars, vanilla extract. Add the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Set aside
  3. Melt the butter and chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and stir until smooth.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the sugar mixture and stir until fully combined. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder.
  5. Pour the batter into prepared baking pan and sprinkle candies on top. Bake for 30- 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let the pan cool completely
  7. Remove brownies from pan, and with a sharp knife cut into squares and serve

 

 

 

 

Decadent Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 stick butter (eight tablespoons)

2 cups  granulated sugar

1 1/3 cups light brown sugar

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

9 slices of canned pineapple in juice, drained

9 maraschino cherries

Method: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream together 1/2 stick of butter,  granulated sugar, vegetable shortening, milk, and vanilla extract. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside
  4. Melt the remaining 1/2 stick of butter in a skillet pan over medium heat. When melted, sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter, ensuring an equal distribution over the entire surface of the butter. Arrange the pineapple slices on top of the sugar, making three rows and then place maraschino cherries in the center of the slices.
  5. Pour the batter evenly over the pineapple slices and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  6. Run a knife along the edges of the cake pan and place a plate on top. Invert the cake onto the plate.
  7. Let the cake cool off slightly before serving.