Monday, August 22, 2011

StarCraft II Protoss Cupcakes

For my husband's birthday back in July I made this cake:

I got the idea for the cake from 2 different sources, but I turned it into one big towering birthday cake. In this post I will describe how to make the Protoss symbols that I put on each cupcake. I made 50 cupcakes and one 8 inch cake for the top of the tiers.

For roughly 54 candy symbols, you will need:

1- 14oz bag of candy melts in the color of your choice. I bought mine at Michael's craft store.

1- 7oz bag of M&M candies. I also bought mine at Michael's because they have a section in their store which sells specific M&M candy colors.

1-Protoss symbol template: Right click and save the image below. It is sized to be printed on a regular 8.5 in x 11 in piece of paper.

Several sandwich sized ziploc bags.

Several pieces of wax paper cut to the size of the template.

Double boiler to melt candy melts. I made mine by adding water to a small pot and putting a metal bowl on top of it.

Plastic Spatula



Turn your stove onto high heat and assemble your double boiler. Pour the entire bag of candy melts into the metal bowl.

Stir constantly with the spatula until completely melted. Set it aside for about 5-10 minutes to let it cool down a bit.

In the meantime, print out your template and cut several sheets of wax paper to fit over the template. Clear some space on your counter and lay the template flat with a piece of wax paper on top. Next, cut out a tiny hole on one corner of the ziploc bag. Keep in mind, if you don't let the candy melts cool down a bit it will melt the ziploc bag. Pour some of the candy melt into the bag, squeeze excess air out of the bag, and zip it closed.

You need a tiny hole because each Protoss symbol is rather small. It is better to start with a hole that is too small, which can be fixed, than one that is too big and needs to be thrown out.

I start by outlining the symbol, then I go back and fill it in. You need to be kind of quick while doing this. You don't want the candy melts to turn hard before you finish. As soon as I finish filling in a symbol, I add the M&M in the correct spot.

After I am done filling in all the symbols, I move the waxed paper into the fridge so the candy melts can turn hard. Then I put a new piece of waxed paper over the template and continue. I was able to make 54 symbols out of one bag of candy melts. Make extras, because some will break. 

I ordered 50 black cupcake liners from the internet because I could not find any in stores. Then I frosted each cupcake with dark blue frosting. I was lucky to find frosting that was all ready dark blue since my local Aldi's had a whole bunch of 4th of July themed stuff on sale. If you cant find dark blue frosting, then dye some vanilla frosting with food coloring. Once your done frosting each cupcake, then add a symbol on top.

 I will explain in a later post how I built the top tier of cake and made the Protoss Nexus.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Favorite Rice. A Recipie Concocted with My Favorite Things

This is my absolute favorite rice ever. I can't believe that I never posted this before. It is full of flavor and is a meal on its own. It is inspired by the traditional Spanish rice cooked with cubed meat. Or try this with bacon, lots of it. Just make sure you drain all the grease out.

1 can of whole kernel sweet corn
1 can of dark red kidney beans is preferred, or pinto beans work nice too.
1 chicken bouillon
1 small can of tomato paste
1 link, 14 oz of smoked sausage. For lack of a better term, I use the kind of link sausage that resembles the Hillshire Farm brand. My preference is the beef kind but use what ever flavor you desire.
1 TBS of olive oil
1 TSP of minced garlic
1 TSP of dried Italian herbs
1 TSP garlic powder
salt and black pepper to taste
Rice- I think I used 3 cups. Read directions to see how I figure out how much rice to add to my pot.

Get a big pot and start heating the olive oil. Once it gets a little hot, turn down the heat to medium and add the garlic. My goal is to extract the flavor of the garlic and cook it until it turns translucent without burning it. If you burn it then start over. I will stir the garlic, remove the pot from heat, stir some more, and add it back onto the heat, several times to ensure that it will not burn.

Once it gets translucent, remove the pot from heat and set aside. Now start cutting up the sausage. I start by slicing it into circles and then cutting each circle into four pieces. Use the entire link of sausage.

Once it is all cut, add it to the pot and place the pot back onto the heat. Stir constantly until the sausage turns a little brown.

Next add the entire contents of the cans of tomato paste, corn, and beans.


Add the chicken bouillon and stir everything until it is well incorporated.

Now here is the part that is hard to explain. I never measure how much water to rice ratio I use when I cook. So I cant say how much water I added to my pot exactly. The only way I can describe it is to add enough water that it rises approximately 1 inch above all the corn, beans, and sausage mixture.

Now it is time to flavor the water. Add enough flavorings that the water has a slightly over flavored taste. You want this because the rice will absorb a lot of the flavor and it will taste like nothing if you don't add slightly too much. I used dried Italian herbs, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.

Before you add the rice double check the flavor of your water mixture. Now I add enough rice to the pot that it touches the surface of the water. I think I used about 3 cups but this could vary depending on the pot size you used and how much water you added.

JAdd enough rice that you can see it barely coming to the surface when it settles. This is so important. I do this to ensure that my rice never comes out mushy. The worst thing you can do is add too much water which results in mushy rice. Mushy rice can not be fixed. However, rice that is too hard due to lack of water to cook in, is easily fixable by adding more water. In this recipe, I do have to add water a few times but I do it in small increments like 1/3 cup at a time.

Turn the heat down to medium and put a cover on your pot so the rice can steam.

Cook it for 6 minutes at a time and then stir the contents.

Repeat this until the rice is cooked. If you notice while stirring that there is no liquid, add 1/3 cup of water. Rice cooks relatively quickly. When it is fluffy, and no longer hard to the bite it is done.

Traditionally, at least in my family, rice is cooked in what we call a "caldero". However, I find that when cooking with this type of pot, the rice burns and creates a crust on the bottom that is just gross to me. Some people love the crunchy burnt crust and eat it. We call this crust the "con con". My family is from the Dominican Republic :). When I cook with a nonstick pot I find that my rice doesn't burn (if you stir properly) and I actually have no waste.

Top it off with some finely chopped cilantro and enjoy!