Egg Roll Stir Fry

When I was doing Whole30 I used a few different ‘Egg Roll in a Bowl’ recipes and they combined and evolved into this dish. I call it Egg Roll Stir Fry!

The best part is that you can sub whatever meat or veggies you want and it will still turn out great. Some things I use to change it up are edamame, ground pork, or ground beef. If you want to go meatless just use the entire bag of coleslaw. You do you!

Ok, let’s do it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 green onions
  • Juice of half a small lime
  • 1/2 bag coleslaw
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Steps:

  • Prep work: Dice up your onion, pepper, green onions and carrots (if you can’t find them in matchstick cut).
  • Heat 1 Tbsp of your sesame oil in a pan over medium heat.
  • Add in your ground turkey. Cook for about 4 minutes until nearly cooked through. (If you use a meat with a higher fat content, drain the majority of the fat after cooked or it will get really greasy)
  • Add your garlic, onions, green onions, carrots and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes.
  • Add ginger, salt, pepper and Sriracha. Cook until fully mixed together, about 1 minute. (Use about half of the Sriracha, or none, if you don’t like your food spicy)
  • Add coleslaw, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice and the other tablespoon of sesame oil. Cook about 3 minutes until coleslaw softens up a bit.

That’s it! Enjoy!

It’s a perfect light dinner and on the healthier side.

FUN EXTRA: If you want to make this into actual egg rolls, you can! I have several times and it’s a crowd pleaser. Just roll into egg roll wraps (secure the edges with water), brush with oil and bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes on each side. Dip into sweet and sour sauce and you have a perfect healthy-ish appetizer!

Slightly, Samantha

Easy Caramel Sauce

Hey pals! Today we’re talking about how to make caramel sauce. If you’re like me, you have been intimidated by this for years. Or maybe you’re like…buying this at the store is easy. Here’s why we’re doing this… it is really easy if you follow the instructions and pay attention to it. AND it tastes so much better than store bought. If you buy an actual homemade jar of caramel from a gift shop, it’ll be expensive! This makes a lot more than it seems and will be good in your fridge for 2 weeks or your freezer for 2 months.

bet

If you want to see this in action, check out my YouTube video!

Between measuring and making it from scratch, it’s under 15 minutes. SERIOUSLY. This isn’t like those recipes that say ‘Prep Time: 5 minutes’ when you have to clean and chop 2 onions, 3 peppers and 8 carrots, measure 14 spices and sauces & that ends up taking 30 minutes. This is measuring out THREE ingredients (4 if you want salted caramel) and dicing a few butter cubes.

I’m not going to lie to you…I’ve burnt 2 out of the probably 20 batches of this that I’ve made. Not because it’s hard to do. Because I probably got distracted on Instagram. Or one of my dogs decided it was important to start barking at a rabbit at an ungodly hour. IF you pay attention and don’t leave the saucepan, you’ll be absolutely fine.

!!PSA!! Read through the whole recipe first and get prepared before you make it. I used to always just start following instructions when I had ingredients out. It’s a bad plan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp butter (cold, dice it up into chunks)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (room temp if possible)
  • 1 tsp salt (if you want salted caramel)

Tools:

  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spatula (or rubber, I don’t recommend metal)
  • Whisk (or real big fork?)

Steps:

  • PREP WORK: Measure everything out and have it sitting next to the stove. Otherwise, you’re going to get stressed out.
  • Put your sugar in a saucepan. Turn stove to medium heat.
  • Constantly stir the sugar until it’s completely melted with no clumps (if there’s a few small ones, it’ll be okay). Note: It takes 5-6 minutes. I’d set a timer just to reference. The first 3 minutes you won’t see much action. DON’T TURN UP THE HEAT. I SAID MEDIUM. Keep stirring. It’ll happen. You can kind of “chop” up clumps if you get them.
  • Now you’re going to reduce your heat a little bit- about 1/4 of the way from medium to low.
  • Grab your whisk. Toss in your butter. Note: It’s going to bubble up like crazy, don’t panic.
  • Whisk for about 2-3 minutes until it’s fully incorporated. It’ll seem like it is incorporated quickly but there will be a small layer of butter on top. Keep going for at least 2 minutes. You’ll notice it gets a little thicker, that’s good!
  • Turn the heat down now to about halfway between medium and low.
  • Pour in the cream while whisking. Mix until fully incorporated, about 1 minute.
  • Let simmer for 45 seconds. DON’T KEEP STIRRING. Just leave it be.
  • Remove from heat. (add in salt and stir until incorporated if you want salted caramel sauce)

That’s it, you did it! I meant to tell you not to wear a big sweater while doing this. You’re literally standing over a hot saucepan for about 10 minutes. It gets super toasty.

Now you have an awesome caramel sauce to use on apples, cupcakes, caramel apple martinis :), brownies, sundaes, THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!

Enjoy,

-Slightly, Samantha

Street Corn Dip

I love Mexican street corn. And I loooove DIPS! Dips. all. day. every. day. I make a more basic cold version of this in the summer (stay tuned) but it’s cold so I thought I’d warm it up for us! This one is creamier and will keep ya nice and toasty. Let’s do it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bags (14oz ea) of frozen corn
  • 1 block of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 1 lime
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup cotija cheese
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like it pretty spicy!)
  • 1 tsp chili powder (I like the hot mexican version, but regular works too)
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Tajin (garnish)
  • Cilantro (garnish)

Steps:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  • Prep is easy on this one- just dice up your jalapenos. Don’t forget to remove the seeds unless you’re super brave.
  • Cook the corn in a frying pan on medium-low for about 7 minutes until warmed through.
  • Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the juice of one lime. Mix well. Add the sour cream and cream cheese. Mix until smooth. *Make sure your cream cheese is super soft or it won’t mix in smoothly… If you need to soften it quickly, cut up into a couple of chunks and put in the microwave at 50% power for 30 second intervals until soft.
  • Add in your jalapenos, 2/3 cup of the cotija cheese, garlic, cayenne pepper, chili powder, paprika and then the salt/pepper to taste.
  • Transfer into your baking dish. Add the additional 1/3 cup of cotija cheese and tajin on top (to taste). If you don’t have Tajin, no worries. It’s not crucial. You could do chili pepper or paprika or just leave it out. I like having something on top. It’s nice to have a little extra flavor kick in some bites. And it’s pretty.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Then broil on high for 3-5 minutes to get a crispier top. KEEP AN EYE ON IT. That broiler can be a sneaky little jerk.
  • Top with cilantro to garnish if you’re feeling fancy.

ENJOY! Share! Tell your friends! Let me know what you think!

Slightly, Samantha

Marble Leaf Sugar Cookies

Why wait until Christmas to make sugar cookies? LET’S DO IT NOW! I love the marble technique in royal icing and it’s so much easier than it looks. This is another one where the messier it gets, THE BETTER IT LOOKS!

The recipes I used are from Baking With Josh & Ange. It’s Angela Kinsey from the Office and her husband and they are so cute and funny and have great recipes. Her husband, Josh, is my favorite kind of food blogger. He makes things so easy! Check out their YouTube channel for great tutorials and the best part- OFFICE CAMEOS!

Recipes Links: Sugar Cookies & Royal Icing

I’ve found that a half batch of icing is plenty for one batch of cookies. The best part about sugar cookies is that they BAKE IN 6 MINUTES. They’ll literally be done before you even finish cleaning up your counter.

I used leaf pie crust cutters because that’s all I had lying around. These work fine for cookies you just don’t use the stamp part to leave leaf indents on the top. I got these a few years ago in a set from William Sonoma but they still have a similar set. They’re great to have on hand for pie crust accents on your fall pies as well! If you want actual cookie cutters, here’s a cute, affordable set from Amazon.

I was inspired by Chelsweets Marbled Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies from a couple years ago. I always thought these were so cute!

I split the royal icing into a couple of batches to do this. The colors eventually start running together so you’ll want a fresh batch and you go along through the cookies. Add water in small bits, about 1/2 tsp at a time, until you get the consistency you want. I think for our purposes you’ll want it to be like a shampoo-like consistency.

Add in about 4 drops of a few different colors of food coloring. I used red, orange and yellow. Use a toothpick to swirl the coloring into the icing and help get that marbled look. Then you just dip the cookies in! It takes a few to get used to it. You want to lean the edges all down in a rotation to get the icing completely to each edge. Then when you pull up, let the excess fall off before you tilt the cookie back and set aside.

I do have a little bad news. These take FOREVER to fully dry and harden. Like, several hours. I usually leave them to dry overnight. I know, it’s annoying. But, then the icing ends up being super firm and you can pack them up on top of each other and there’s no mess or worrying about ruining any of them. So, you win some, you lose some!

To give my batch of cookies a little variety, I did the second half with just standard white royal icing and this cute fall sprinkle blend from Joann. I only used one of the two styles because my dogs ate a full tube of sprinkles while I was out to dinner. #rude

You can easily do this year round with any shape/color combo that comes to mind. Happy baking!

Slightly, Samantha

Fajita Stew

I’ve made it pretty clear that I love fall and soups and stews!! Here is one I’ve been working on for a few months. It’s based on an Ancho Beef Stew I found in Better Homes & Gardens Fall Recipe magazine. That one called for a couple things I couldn’t find in stores so I gave up, started tweaking it to my liking and voila!- my Fajita Stew!

FYI- I put the instructions at the end for a crockpot version. I know everyone loves crockpots but I’m a big fan of using a dutch oven for soups, stews and pasta dishes. If you don’t have a dutch oven, I highly recommend this one from Target. It’s really heavy duty, high quality and easy to clean.

Here’s what you need-

  • 1.5 lb diced beef (I use a mix of stew meat and chop suey)
  • 10 oz chorizo
  • 1/2 yellow onion (any onion will work, I just like yellow)
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp hot mexican chili powder (regular would be fine as well)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bottle Mexican beer (the darker the better!)
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 2 cups water

Ok, here’s how you do it!

PREP WORK: Just do this all before you start. Trust me!

  • Chop your onions, peppers and potatoes (and garlic if you’re extra fancy have fresh garlic and don’t just have a jar of minced garlic).
  • Measure out your flour, chili pepper, cumin & water.
  • Pop open that can of tomatoes and beer (maybe a beer for yourself too IDK).
  • Preheat your oven to 300 F.

MAKING THE STEW:

  • Brown your chorizo on medium heat (break it up like you’d do ground beef) in a large oven safe pot dutch oven (at least 5qt). This should take just a few minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.
  • Brown your stew meat in 2 batches. Give it a good hit of salt and pepper. You want all sides to get a little brown/crispy. Transfer to your bowl with chorizo. Set aside.
  • Drain almost all of the fat from your pan. Just leave a little bit to cook your veggies. Cook your onion and peppers for about 3-4 minutes. Just until the onions are becoming translucent.
  • Add garlic. Cook for about a minute.
  • Add your flour, chili powder and cumin. Cook about a minute. It’ll seem pretty dry but try to get it all mixed together as best you can.
  • Add in tomatoes. Mix until everything is incorporated.
  • Add in your beer in 2-3 installments. Mix each time until incorporated.
  • Bring to a boil then add in your chorizo, beef and potatoes.
  • Add in your 2 cups of water. Bring to boil again.
  • Cover and transfer to the oven.
  • Bake for 1.5-2 hours until potatoes are tender.

HEY CROCKPOT LOVERS! I know 70% of you are annoyed that this isn’t done in a crockpot. Good news. You can do it that way if you want! Just do the first 3 steps in a pan then instead of putting everything in a pot moving forward go right into the crockpot. All of it. Just right in. Mix it up well and then cover to cook. Low 6 hours. High 2-3 hours. BOOM!

This makes a ton and reheats well! ENJOY for days! 🙂

-Slightly, Samantha

Banana Bread

You know who loves banana bread? THIS GIRL. If you don’t, you just haven’t had a good one or you’re a monster! I mean.. it’s basically like having cake for breakfast or a snack. And I’m an adult so I can eat cake for breakfast if i want to! If you really want to do it right, mix in chocolate chips. This time I just put them on top with some pecans. It’s called balance, people. #HealthyAF

It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s delicious! Here’s what you need-

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup butter (one stick- SUPER soft but not melted, leave it out on the counter for a few hours)
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium bananas)

Ok, so let’s talk about the bananas real quick. They need to be ripe. REAL RIPE. Honestly, I was alarmed when I found out how ripe they should actually be for bread. I always used them when they had like one little freckle on them. (WAHOO THEY’RE READY. No. Just no.) . This recipe is perfect for when you get ambitious and buy a bunch of bananas and then only eat 2 out of the 5 in the bundle and you’ve let them sit there for a week or so and they look like they might make you sick if you eat them…that means they’re perfect for banana bread! Ok, back to how to make this guy!

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Quick prep work: Sift together (or just whisk/mixup, let’s be real) the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl. Mash your three bananas in a small bowl with a fork until it looks like baby food.
  • Cream the butter and sugar in a stand up mixer. Basically that means mix it on med/low until it’s all mixed together and smooth-ish.
  • Toss your egg and mashed bananas in there. Mix on low until incorporated.
  • Mix in your flour mixture on low by large spoonfuls until incorporated.
  • Mix in the milk on low until fully combined.
  • Throw it all in a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. (Check with toothpick, it should come out clean. TBH, mine usually takes an extra five minutes)

*If you want to be fun an adventurous, add some toppings! I added chocolate chips and pecans. You could really add anything on top of here. Fruit, nuts, different kinds of candy chips, the sky is the limit!

*TIP: If you want to make your life easier, cut a strip of parchment paper to place in your greased pan. If placed sideways, you’ll have little paper wings for you to easily pull your bread out! I like when things are easy, you do too. Take the tip.

That’s all! Enjoy your cake bread!

-Slightly, Samantha

Mummy Pull Apart Cupcakes

YOU GUYS! This one is EASY. I’m serious. So easy. It’s SUPPOSED to look messy! Spooky. Easy. Messy. Fun. Perfect for a Halloween party or just a fun October baking day!

Recipes- The best chocolate cupcake recipe of all time and chocolate buttercream dyed black

**I only made a half batch of both recipes. A full batch makes about 30 cupcakes and I only needed 15 for this project.

I first placed these out then traced their shape on a cardboard piece to cut out. You want some sort of slim base for these because the marshmallow gets really messy! Don’t mind the one I had to even out on top. Lesson learned, don’t overfill your cupcakes! Only fill about halfway.

Use your buttercream to frost a nice thick layer across the entire cupcake surface.

The sprinkles aren’t really necessary but I had this sprinkle blend leftover from my Spooky Unicorn Cake and I thought it would be a festive touch. For the eyes, I took two oreos and pulled one side off (as cleanly as possible, trickier than I thought!) and added chocolate chips.

This is the after the first layer of marshmallow. Take a cup of mini marshmallows and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and let cool a little until the mixture starts to get stringy when you pull it apart. Start taking small clumps and pull it apart slightly to drape over the cupcakes. Work quickly because the marshmallow will cool quickly.

I did the same thing with a second cup of marshmallows to add more coverage and depth. I let it sit for a bit so the marshmallow would harden up then I cut the extra “cobwebs” off to clean it up a bit.

That’s it! 🙂

-Slightly, Samantha

SPOOKY UNICORN CAKE

Halloween is upon us and I am pumped! I made this “spooky unicorn cake” for a friend’s daughter’s birthday party and I’m so happy with how it turned out. She wanted a witch/unicorn hybrid and this was born! I created a two-tier cake with a funfetti/chocolate spider web bottom and a chocolate/vanilla frosting witch/unicorn top! Here’s how I did it-

Prepping The Cake & Frosting-

  • Bottom tier: Three 8″ Funfetti layers dyed neon purple
  • Top tier: Three 6″ Chocolate cake layers dyed black. It’s important to do Chelsweets’ small batch recipe if you’re doing a 6″ 3-layer top tier. A full recipe would have a lot of wasted batter.
  • Frosting: Make two full batches of American buttercream.

Assembling The Cake-

You want to put a generous layer of buttercream between each cake layer. Then you do a really thin coat over the three layers. This is called a “crumb coat” and basically just holds all of the crumbs in so nothing gets into the outer layer when you’re smoothing it out. You want to let it chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes (or freezer for about 10 minutes) to set.

While the layers set, you want to dye a small bowl of buttercream electric green. Dye a larger bowl of frosting with the same black you used for the cake. I added about 1/8 cup of cocoa powder as well. This helps darken the buttercream and who doesn’t love chocolate?! Smoothing out the top layer of buttercream takes PATIENCE. You won’t just smooth it out in one swipe. It takes me about 3-4 times around while filling in spots along the way. Then you smooth out the top after the sides are done. If you have a bench scraper like this laying around your kitchen, it will work just fine for these 3-layer tiers. If you ever do a taller cake, I’d suggest getting the Wilton smoother I have pictured above. I learned how to do smooth frosting from this Chelsweets video. She gives a lot of really good tips!

After you have the bottom layer smooth- you need to add support for the top layer. I use either plastic straws or wooden skewers typically. Just cut them to the height of the cake and press 3-4 in the bottom layer.

I didn’t catch a good photo of the final spiderwebs on the bottom tier but watch my time lapse video @SlightlySamantha on Instagram to see it in action. It is SO EASY. I’m serious. Just take a cup of mini marshmallows and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir them around until they cool a bit and get “stringy”. This gets messy…. pick up a clump with your hands and just start stretching bits around the cake. Keep going until you get the amount you want around the cake. I thought this part was going to be a lot easer said than done. But it was the easiest part of the whole cake! For real.

Unicorn Horn & Ears-

So I’m not going to lie, these were a little more tricky. This was my first time working with fondant. I had to have my husband roll it out because I bought way too much (to be safe) and it was a huge hard brick. I’d suggest getting two of these small packs of black fondant. It’ll be much easier to roll out and you won’t waste any. I meant to get purple fondant for the ears and hat accent but the white fondant packaging is deceiving and I clearly didn’t feel like reading. Wilton does make other colors in those small packs so that would probably be better for you! I just made a tapered “rope” out of the fondant to wrap around a wooden skewer. This helped it secure into the cake as well. Then I just cut a basic oval shape for the ears in black then a smaller one in white. I put the ears in the fridge to harden up a bit while I secured the horn and decorated the cake with frosting. You’ll want to wait and put the ears in after you frost so you can nuzzle them in and then they’ll be secured with frosting. I did a couple little dallops with my frosting bag behind the ears then as well to really make sure they were secured.

OR if you don’t want to mess with fondant at all (and save a lot of time), I found this really cute cake topper set on Etsy that I think would look great!

Unicorn Mane & Final Details-

Now you’ll take your remaining buttercream and dye it. I used the orange that was in the same neon pack the purple came in. You could probably use the green too. I just happened to have that Americolor green I linked above and it is extra bright. I used a Wilton 1M (purple), 2A (green) and 4B (orange) for decorating the mane. I got them in this decorating set. Honestly, any 3 tips will work. I’d suggest that they are at least all different tips so they all “pop”. I use these piping bags that come in bulk but you can get smaller packs at any craft store or online as well. Lastly, I added a few handfuls of this Halloween sprinkle mix. The little eyeballs give it any extra spooky touch!

That’s it! If you have any questions, please let me know. As a self-taught baker, I know it can be frustrating trying new techniques. But practicing is half the fun 🙂

-Slightly, Samantha

Sammy’s Six- Soups & Stews

It’s FALL, it’s FALL, it’s FALL! Even though many of you are sad to see summer go, I am not. I constantly get heat for this but summer is my least favorite season. Please don’t unsubscribe. I am a fall/winter gal and it’s JUST WHO I AM. You’re in luck though. Since we’re diving into my favorite time of year, I have several things to share. I have been making soups year round for the last couple of years. I don’t care if it’s 95 degrees outside, you can likely find soup simmering on my stove. I am that dedicated to soup life. I’ve tried dozens and dozens of recipes. I’m here today to give you the top 6 soups/stews in my rotation. You’re going to LOVE these this fall!

  • Zuppa Toscana– These are technically not in any specific order but this is my FAVORITE. Here’s why- It’s lighter on cream and it has kale (SuPeRfOoD), basically healthy AF. And SO flavorful! It’s a Whole30 recipe (I SAID HEALTHY AF) but I use heavy cream and butter instead of coconut milk and ghee when I’m on that YOLO diet. Use hot sausage instead of mild to really amp this one up.
  • White Bean, Ham & Tortellini Soup– 2 words: COMFORT FOOD. It’s creamy. It’s hearty. It’s like a savory hug in your mouth. I go a little heavier on the broth and cream to make it soupier. That’s a word. I googled it so it must be true.
  • Beef Bourguinon– AKA fancy beef stew. This is like a beef stew that got upgraded to first class in flavor. It’s a slow cooker recipe therefore your whole house will smell like heaven and you don’t even have to clean. Bonus: It calls for wine. That’s a clear green light to have some (or the rest) of the bottle in my book. CHEERS!
  • Country Potato Soup– This one is from a little American treasure, queen, icon, legend Joanna Gaines. I feel like honestly that’s enough said. Nom.
  • Chicken Enchilada Soup– Some people think soup is boring and tacos are life. They’re half right. If that’s you, I’d happily welcome you to get in on this. It will convert you to soup. This one gets extra points because it’s very similar to the Chili’s version. If you’re feeling lazy then scoot right on over to one of Chili’s 1,600 locations and you’ll be set. But actually just do it because it’s a 20-minute recipe!
  • Thai Shrimp Soup– I love trying new types of soups that just weren’t around growing up in the midwest in the 90s. Some have been better than others… BUT THIS ONE stands above the rest. This blog is called DamnDelicious and to be honest it describes this soup perfectly. Fresh, flavorful and quick. Are you sold?

That’s all she wrote (literally)! You’re set for the season. No matter what mood you’re in you can find an option on this list. It’s just the truth. Happy Souping! (Ok, fine that one isn’t a real word..) MUAH!

-Slightly, Samantha

Toy Story Birthday Party- Cakes, Cupcakes & Decor

Toy Story has been a popular children’s birthday party theme since I was a little kid. My friend Ashley has a one-year old who is in LOVE with it. I’m talking can-watch-all-day-every-single-day in love, love, love. SO when she was planning his first birthday party it was obvious that the theme had to be Toy Story. That’s where I come in… I wanted to make a really festive smash cake for the little guy and then cupcakes for the guests to eat as well. It is easier than it looks and I’m here to share all of the tutorials and tips I found to make this possible.

First and foremost, you need recipes! My absolute favorite cake and frosting recipes come from Chelsweets. I used her Chocolate Cupcake recipe for the cupcakes, Funfetti Cake recipe for the smash cake and her Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe for all of the frosting. I did one full batch each of both the chocolate cupcake and funfetti cake recipes and three batches of buttercream. I baked four 6″ cake layers of the funfetti cake and there was batter leftover so I did about 8 cupcakes with that batter. Can you have too cupcakes? Nope, not possible. You could probably cut the recipe in half and be perfect for three 6″ layers and it would just be about an inch shorter. Her recipes are FOOL proof.

Now the fun part!! I know frosting and decorating cakes seems daunting. Here’s the good news- I specifically went with designs that are flaw-friendly. Trust me:

Assembling the cake: If you’ve never assembled/frosted a layered cake, I highly recommend you watch Chelsweets video. She shows you exactly how to do it. But don’t get too caught up on it being super super smooth because as you can see in the photo, the sides are covered in sprinkles. I swear mine was a hot mess and it was so nice to be able to just push forward! After I frosted the cake, I immediately rolled it in sprinkles. That goes exactly as it sounds. I poured this sprinkle blend into a baking sheet and literally rolled it around. Be gentle with it but feel free to place handfuls of sprinkles on the sides if it doesn’t evenly stick. (Do this quickly after you frost because this type of frosting firms up pretty quickly, which I have learned the hard way more than). Lastly, I just piped small rounds all over the top and a little border on the bottom with some blue frosting (I just used standing blue food coloring). You don’t have to completely cover the top because you’ll be pushing the aliens onto them and snuggling them in which will even it out a bit. You can always go back and pipe little bits in if you feel like it’s too sparse. I used a Wilton Star Tip for the piping. Any frosting tip will do but star is probably the most forgiving (which is the best in my book!). I made the cake topper myself but there are so many cute ones on Etsy to choose from. I don’t own cupcake stands so I found these disposable stands at Joann Fabrics.

Making the aliens and pigs (aka Hams): I got this silicone mold from Amazon and it worked out great! Luckily they make Wilton Candy Melts in a Vibrant Green that is the exact color I needed. I got them from Joann Fabrics but you can get them from most craft/baking stores or Amazon (If you cannot find the Vibrant Green, then I would suggest getting white Candy Melts and Americolor Electric Green food coloring). I just melted a handlful in 30 second intervals in a measuring cup until it was smooth enough to pour into the mold. Once the mold is full, tap it down on your counter a bit to smooth out as many bubbles as possible (It’s impossible to get all of the bubbles out but they’re minimal, don’t panic). Put this in the freezer for 5-7 minutes and you can pop them out and do the next batch. This part is a little tedious. My tip is to invite a friend over for a glass of wine and make them help you/entertain you (Sorry Andrea!). Then use a little leftover melted candy melts to put the candy eyeballs on. I just used a little toothpick to dab it on. You have to work quickly with this because the candy melts harden faster than you’d think. Make sure you find the extra small, “mini”, eyeballs. The large ones will be harder to fit on the aliens. For the pigs, I just used pink Candy Melts (they have several pink colors, any would work) and little black gel food coloring on a toothpick to fill in the eyes but I don’t think this is an absolutely necessary step.

HOME STRETCH- Decorating the cupcakes: I attempted to do a yellow/blue/red swirl and it turned out rainbow so I would suggest doing just all one color or a small batch of each colored frosting. I used a Wilton 1M tip to pipe rosettes on top of the cupcakes. This is another spot where any type of tip/piping technique will look great! You’re going to put additional aliens/pigs on the top so you won’t be able to see much of the frosting design anyhow. I ran out of time to make enough of the aliens/pigs so we used little toy soldiers on the additional cupcakes. You could really do them all with these, they looked so cute!

Decor: My friend found so many cute things for her party and I got a list of the Etsy shops she purchased them from. Every single one of these was perfect, on time, exactly as pictured and such a great addition to the party. And as a bonus, you get to support some small businesses! 🙂

That’s a happy one-year old!

This high chair banner came from GraceNGoods on Etsy. So cute, durable, great quality! You can’t see but he is also wearing a Toy Story t-shirt that was customized with his name. You can find it at ProjectPartyShop on Etsy.

This backdrop was PERFECT for taking photos with the birthday boy and also just really tied everything together. It came from LoveItHangItDesign on Etsy. Lastly, you can get the disposable cow print tablecloths in a 3-pack from Amazon. It was so nice to be able to just pickup the mess and toss it out.

If you’re thinking about planning a Toy Story themed birthday party, I hope this helps! If you have any questions, please let me know 🙂

-Slightly, Samantha