Buttercream Icing Recipe – Step by Step

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I thought I would share a more step by step process for making buttercream icing – there are many recipes out there but there are a few tips & tricks that make it easier and once you have made it a few times it’s easy to get the hang of!

Disclaimer – I am Just a Mum! I am no expert and have learnt what I know from making my kids birthday cakes not culinary school! There are plenty of other experts around for you to look at, this is just my take on it! 😉

When I was making sure my recipe was the same as others out there I noticed that there are many variations to quantities, so this is my recipe I have always used but the processes are the same regardless of what amounts you prefer.

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I used standard butter here but I often use vegetable shortening from our local kitchen store Chef’s Complements if I need the icing to be pure white as our butter here in NZ means the icing still retains a creamy/yellowy colour at best.

The first tip is that you will need either an electric hand beater, food processor or food mixer for best results. You need to really whip the butter to get it creamy and pale and its near impossible to do it by hand.

Ingredients

125g softened butter
1 1/2 Cups Icing Sugar (you are supposed to sift I never do!)
2 TBSP milk
1 tsp vanilla
Food Colouring

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I recommend using the best icing sugar you can find – some brands are definitely better than others and will effect the outcome. Also you use imitation vanilla essence but you will need to use more for flavour than a quality vanilla. Taste as you go for the flavour you prefer.

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Soften the butter in the microwave in short bursts to get it to just softened stage, not melted, 10 seconds at a time.

Add the butter to a large bowl and begin to blend on high until it begins to go pale and creamy – approx. 2-5 minutes

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Add half of your icing sugar and mix well again for at least 60 seconds – I find by adding this first portion of icing sugar and mixing it allows me to get a paler colour as the mixing blades have more to work with.

Add the last measure of icing sugar, milk, vanilla and food colouring. I doubled the recipe today so I added the icing sugar in 3 stages, adding milk to the last two stages. Continue to add food colouring a few drops at a time until you get the desired colour. Try not to overmix too much once all ingredients are together to avoid overly aerated icing.

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Once the colour and consistency is right prepare your piping bag.

There are so many piping bag sets available, you can buy them for only a few dollars to more expensive brands, and even reusable ones are available at supermarkets – with a bit of practise I find it’s easier to pipe decorations onto a cake than it is to try and get smooth icing!

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I usually use a plate to practise on before I ice onto the cake – this allows me time to get the feel of how to hold the bag – and also make sure I am happy with the tip I am using, try out a few different ones to see which one you like the best. Today I wanted to try something I have not done before with my Magical Orange Cake, I see all the errors but really I am sure it looks ok! Icing is pretty forgiving and you can always scrape bits off or just do your best and no one will be the wiser.

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When icing with a piping bag make sure you twist the top tightly and that no air is trapped in the bag and that you have a firm grip on the bag itself – there are lots of tutorials on YouTube for easy fancy ways to decorate so check them out!

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If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask and I will see if I can help.

I hope you have enjoyed this Just a Mum ‘How To’ – icing kids cakes is such a simple way to delight them on special occasions.

Thanks for checking out my recipe today – you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter for more recipes & fun kids activities. Invite your friends along too!

Have a great day and happy icing! 🙂

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Crunchy Lemon Muffins

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I really enjoy this recipe – super quick to make up and results in lovely moist lemony muffins with a tasty crunchy top. I got the recipe & lemons from my Mum and Dad so that is even better! Lovely warm or cold and can be frozen also.

Ingredients

2 Cups self raising flour
1 Cup white sugar
Finely grated rind of 2 lemons
100g butter, melted
1 Cup milk
2 large eggs

Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup white sugar

Method

Preheat oven to 200C (390F).

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Mix the first 3 ingredients in a large bowl.

In the second bowl mix together the melted butter, milk & eggs.

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Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the liquid ingredients into this. Lightly fold ingredients together until the flour is dampened. Do not over mix.

Spoon into well greased muffin tins and bake for 10-15 minutes.

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While the muffins cook, mix the lemon juice and the second measure of sugar (do not dissolve the sugar). As soon as the muffins have been removed from the tins, brush them with the lemon juice topping.

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Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container once cooled.

Makes 12 muffins.

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I hope you enjoy this easy Crunchy Lemon Muffin Recipe.

You can find more lovely recipes in the page above titled Sweet Treats and follow me on http://www.facebook.com/justamumnz for updates of my recipe & fun activity posts.

😀

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Kiwi Mummy Blog review – Star Wars Deluxe Darth Vader Costume

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I cannot tell you the excitement levels in our house when a proper Star Wars Darth Vader Costume arrived!! Currently my husband and 9 year old son are watching all of the movies so the girls have picked up on it and we seem to have star wars figurines, Legos, books & posters all over the place so it could not have come at a better time.

I was delighted to review this costume as so often I look at costume websites when various dress up days come around and wonder if they are worth the cost? is the quality ok? will it last? and most importantly for us will it do for different ages & sizes?

So the box arrived and the little ones gathered around for the grand opening – a bit like Christmas! And we were not disappointed, its the real deal. Much to our delight the mask fits the kids & the adults with a few modifications and the costume fit both my small 6 year old and juuuuust fit the 9 year old – I would say it would fit from ages of 4-7 at least quite comfortably (This one is a size Small USA size 4-6).

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Sadly our Light Saber has seen better days so we did not include that in the photos – but we had lots of “I am your Father” moments!

All we needed were some black shoes and you could use black gloves if you had some to complete the look. We modified the helmet strap slightly to fit smaller heads which was easy enough to do, and the kids said it was comfy and light to wear, as was the costume.

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To answer my questions above:

Is it worth the cost?

I believe it is, personally there is no way I could make this costume with all the detail anyway, but certainly the cost of the materials if you could even source them and the time involved why not buy one that arrives already made up & looks like the real deal!

Is the quality ok? Will it last?

The stitching & fabric work is really good, I would suggest if you have time once you receive it you hang it up for a day or so for the wrinkles to drop from the packaging, but the embellishments are well attached & of good quality. It will last as well as any costume – if its in the sandpit all day everyday it might not last as long as if you just use it for special occasions & hang it up!

Will it do a range of sizes?

As I said above my 6 year old and 9 year old got into it! My six year old is little so around a 4-5 year olds size and it was a little large on her but still looked good, so we got my 9 year old to carefully try it on and it was tight but fit – he would be the size of an average 8 year old. So you will certainly get use out of it for some years if you buy this size for them when they are young.

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You can order these and lots more awesome costumes at http://kidscostumes.co.nz. Pretty much any theme that is popular in your house can be found there. They also have their stock here onsite in NZ which is perfect for me as my kids tend to not give me a lot of advance warning of needing these things – their website states a 3 day delivery time so that is awesome and so much better than waiting weeks for something to come from overseas!

Thanks so much to http://www.kiwimummyblogs.co.nz for hooking us up – I have 3 very happy kids and I can see this costume will be one of the more popular in the dress up box!

Kiwi Mummy Blogs

Fun Physics – Egg Drop

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I saw this Egg Drop the other day on Ellen – Steve Spangler was there to show more cool experiments and I thought this one would be great to do with the kids!

It worked first time I tried it which was astounding in itself!

The basic idea is that you put an egg on a tube on a plate on a cup 3/4 filled with water and whack the plate out of the way and the egg drops straight into the water! The Laws of Motion in action! A wee bit of gravity and a super simple physics trick to amaze your friends!

What you will need:

Eggs or small round/oval fruit
Toilet roll tubes
Plastic plate or tray
Glasses
Water

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Method

  1. Fill a large glass 3/4 full of water
  2. Place the plate on top of the glass
  3. Place the tube on the plate – centring it over the glass
  4. Balance the egg or fruit on top of the tube.
  5. Set your writing hand up approx. 10 cm from the plate, draw your hand back and then firmly whack the plate exactly horizontal – not up or down just straight out with quite a bit of force – enough to clear the plate but not to knock over the glass.
  6. And watch – the egg will plop straight down into the water!

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It is so fun to do and even more fun to see the kids faces as it seems so unlikely to work!

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So how does it work? Here are the words from Steve Spangler himself:

“Credit for this one has to go to Sir Isaac Newton and his First Law of Motion. He said that since the egg is not moving while it sits on top of the tube, that’s what it wants to do – not move. You applied enough force to the pie pan to cause it to zip out from under the cardboard tube (there’s not much friction against the drinking glass). The edge of the pie pan hooked the bottom of the tube, which then sailed off with the pan. Basically, you knocked the support out from under the egg. For a brief nanosecond or two, the egg didn’t move because it was already stationary (not moving). But then, as usual, the force of gravity took over and pulled the egg straight down toward the center of the Earth.

Also, according to Mr. Newton’s First Law, once the egg was moving, it didn’t want to stop. The container of water interrupted the egg’s fall, providing a safe place for the egg to stop moving so you could recover it unbroken. The gravity-pushed egg caused the water to splash out.”

Check out more here: Steve Spanglers Egg Drop Inertia Trick

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All 3 kids & the husband had a go – little Miss 3 year old just managed to knock everything over but still had fun with the water! But the others all got it first time and we had a blast testing out the egg, an apricot, one tube, two tubes, 2 glasses, failed attempts at 3 tubes and two broken eggs. You could try different things again, a longer tube, a heavier tray, anything you think might work!

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I totally recommend you try this out, you have to see it to believe it!

Such simple household items, it takes no time at all to set up. I do recommend you do this one outside, it can get messy when you are fishing around for the egg from the glass, or spilling the water or the egg breaks. Also when handling raw egg make sure everyone washes their hands thoroughly with soapy water when you are done to avoid getting sick.

I used a piece of wood to make the area stable but on the ground or a tray will be fine too.

You can check out in the menu above for more Fun Kids Activities and also LIKE me on Facebook  or Twitter to keep up to date with my recipes & more Fun Kids Activities.

Hope you have fun with this one – let me know how you get on! 😀

Fun Maths Game for Kids – Number Swat

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My kids, like most others, need a bit of motivation with their maths sometimes and I came across this idea at our local schools Parents Maths Night (Thanks lovely Teachers, hope you don’t mind me sharing!) and thought it was great – mostly because I am super competitive so found myself and other parents aggressively trying to get the number first!…..sad lot we are! But I also knew that the kids would enjoy it too!

It is such a simple concept and very little cost or set up involved.

What you will need:

Fly Swats – I got mine super cheap – around $2 for a 3 pack
Numbers Printable
Scissors

The main reason I enjoy this idea apart from the kids think its fun is that it is suitable regardless of what level your child is up to. You can play it with those just learning to recognise numbers, those who are a little further on and the ones that are learning their multiplication & division as well. It gets them to think fast and have fun at the same time!

I used a print out from here at Amazing Worksheets. You can do as many or as few numbers as is appropriate for your child’s level. Simply cut them out – any size you desire – you can also laminate them if you want them to last longer & not fly away as much as they do get a bit of a bashing! Or alternatively use slightly thicker paper.

Here are some examples of how to use the game.

 

Number Swat

For beginner maths, simply get them to locate any number from 1-10 as fast as they can, once they swat the correct number they can keep that number on their pile – you can play along too pretending to be looking so they get the hang of why they need to be quick!

You can then extend them to thinking about what number comes next – so what number comes before 5, or what number is after 7, that sort of thing – again they need to swat quick before you do!

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Then for those practising addition & subtraction you can get them to quickly swat the right answer, again keeping the correct answer in their own pile, or use higher numbers to get them thinking of numbers up to 50 or 100.

For more advanced maths you can ask multiplication or division questions, or a random assortment of all of the above or more difficult equations again!

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Pretty much only limited to the level your child is up to. We play this with all our school kids sometimes each with a fly swat and have easy mixed in with hard questions so everyone gets a try but they have fun with competition.

You do not need to always play with them – it’s a great game to play from the kitchen while you are doing dinner or from your lazy boy chair 😉 – you just call out the questions they have the fun!

I hope you enjoy making up this quick maths game, and hope your kids have as much fun with it as mine do!

You can follow me on Facebook or here via my blog for lots of great recipes & more fun ideas for kids.

Thanks for checking us out! 🙂

Weekend Brunch – Pikelets Recipe

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I am sure every Kiwi has the Edmonds Cookbook and the Pikelet Recipe but thought I would share this one for my US friends & those where Pikelets are just an odd sort of pancake!

Pikelets are traditionally served with berry jam & cream – but honestly you can use any topping or spread you like – my kids will even use honey & peanut butter! They are thicker & smaller than pancakes and often served cold – although I try to keep mine a little warm and serve straight away – but you can also pop them in an airtight container to serve later in the day.

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This is such a simple recipe & takes no time at all to whip up.

Ingredients

1 Cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 Cup sugar
3/4 Cup Milk

Method

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl (worth nothing I never sift anything – so it all goes in and a quick whisk is the best it gets!)

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In another bowl beat egg and sugar until thick – I use my handheld electric beater but a food mixer or strong arm on a whisk will do the same thing.

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The sugar & egg should form ribbons off the beater & be thick and pale in colour

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Add this mixture with the milk to the sifted ingredients and mix until smooth. I then pour the mixture into a jug to make pouring the pancakes onto the pan easier.

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Cook Tablespoonsful on a hot greased girdle (*see below for random fact) or non stick frying pan – I sometimes use a small amount of butter on a kitchen paper towel to lightly grease or cooking spray. Turn Pikelets over when bubbles start to burst on the top surface.

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Cook both sides until golden. What I do next is something my Mum always did – not sure where she got the idea from! But I always lay a tea towel on a plate in half and lift the tea towel to add the pikelets to and cover again to keep them warm.

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Serve the pikelets with a lovely berry jam and whipped cream – or maple syrup, marmite & peanut butter for the less posh amongst us!

Feel free to add crazy faces with sultanas or chocolate chips!

Feel free to add crazy faces with sultanas or chocolate chips!

This recipe makes 8-10, I usually double it. Great recipe to add food colouring too if you are needing green something for St Patrick’s Day!

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I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have since I was a little girl.

(*) So a girdle – I had to double check my recipe – surely the mean griddle??? But no apparently not – in Scotland its called a girdle, in Ireland its a griddle & the Welsh call it a bakestone – well that’s what Google told me so what do you call it??

For more recipes & fun ideas for kids I would love for you to head over to My Facebook Page and hit LIKE – I upload something most days and would love to share with you more of my families ideas.

Hope you have a wonderful day, let me know how you get on with this recipe in the comments below – if you cannot see the comments – open the post & they should appear!

Enjoy 😀

Top Deck Chocolate Slice

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I have seen this recipe for a brownie using Cadbury Top Deck Chocolate in so many places online recently so had to try it! I was assisted today by my lovely Junior Chef Miss Six so it is an easy recipe for the kids to help with as well. ❤

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It results in a chewy yummy brownie type slice that is really easy. You can easily replace the Top Deck with any other chocolate you like – the white chocolate gives a lovely contrast to all the dark chocolateyness of the brownie – or you could add nuts or just plain white chocolate – it is a versatile recipe.

Ingredients

220g block Cadbury Top Deck Chocolate
1 cup self-raising flour
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
½ cup shredded coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Method

Preheat oven to 180˚C (355F). Line a slice tin with baking paper.

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Chop up chocolate and set aside.

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In a bowl add the dry ingredients and mix well.

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Then add the condensed milk & chocolate and blend well.

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The mixture once blended is super sticky & thick! So expect this, it’s totally normal but a bit odd! Just scoop it into the prepared slice tine.

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Bake in oven for 20-22 minutes, I needed longer as mine was in a smaller tin and thicker so test it and use your judgement. When cool cut and dust with icing sugar.

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I hope you enjoy trying this decadent treat. Let me know how you get on with the recipe.

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Thanks for stopping by 😀