A Double Post Bonus! Chunklet’s Birthday & Forever Nigella

The namesake of this blog, my niece (Codename: Chunklet), is turning two years old today! She’s such a happy baby who loves chasing cats but can also softly stroke their fur, place her ear against their bodies, and grin at the sound of their purring.She’s very independent and has taken to feeding us bits of her food (when she’s finished with it!) Chunklet loves to slide down playground slides both on her bottom and backwards on her stomach! On her surprise visit to Chicago this week, Chunklet discovered her love of taro mini-pearl bubble tea:She loves drawing on all surfaces (including my walls!) and loves to play dress up!However, anything Yo Gabba Gabba related will make Chunklet ignore the world around her. Knowing this, I wanted to do something special for her. I got the insane idea to: 1) make my own marshmallow fondant, 2) dye the fondant myself, and 3) create Yo Gabba Gabba fondant faces to place on top of Chunklet’s birthday cupcakes! For my first attempt at working with fondant, I followed a simple marshmallow fondant recipe. Here’s the finished fondant faces!

Top L to R: Foofa, Toodee, Muno, Plex, Brobee (center)

And, for those of you unfamiliar with Yo Gabba Gabba, the green monster Brobee is made from piped green frosting because he has fur. Chunklet’s favorite is Plex, the yellow robot, so I included the most of that character.

Today is also the Forever Nigella: Salad Days! deadline.And, no joke, this salad was made truly at the last minute. For those who don’t know, my friend (Codename: Candelabra) loves Nigella but doesn’t have time to write a blog (being a surgeon and all). However, she does her best to cook along each month and will send me her results for me to post. It was probably a good thing that this month’s theme was salad because as of Saturday, we hadn’t decided which of Nigella’s salads to make. With little time left, we felt the easiest route was to go with Nigella’s antioxidant fruit salad. Here’s my result:The only problem for me was the pomegranate. The grocery store I went to didn’t have any in stock. I did the next best thing and bought a certain “POM”egranate juice in a recognizable bottle. However, my sister (Codename: Chunklet’s mom) said that 100% pure pomegranate juice could be a bit tart to drink, so I was better off getting the 100% blueberry pomegranate juice instead. I thought that would still fit in with the antioxidant salad because I was already putting in fresh blueberries as the recipes states. To add a bit of color, I also included one kiwi and a handful of organic strawberries.This was a very yummy salad, perfect for breakfast, lunch or even a light dinner if paired with a grain. It’s probably one of the easier salads that can be made for one or two people, and only chopping is required for assembly. You really can’t beat the ease and sweetness of this healthy salad! As an added bonus, no fattening dressing is required!

Here’s Candelabra’s thoughts:

First… where to find pomegranates in my town? Mangos and blueberries not a problem.But pomegranates? I went the nearest fancy food store and did not find anything labeled “pomegranates.” Now, I’ve not used pomegranates before, but was vaguely familiar with what they looked like. I found something labeled “unifruit 1 for $1.99.” They kinda looked like pomegranates. But unifruit? What the?? So I checked around, looked at some of the nearby bottles containing pomegranate juice and they seemed to match the pictures. So in the basket they went.Once I got home, I looked up a few youtube videos on how to seed a pomegranate. There is one by a Persian lady that is extremely helpful and seemingly the least messy. So I followed her instructions and SURPRISE!! Unifruit = pomegranate.

The process of seeding the pomegranate was perhaps the most satisfying exercise in this whole experience. Maybe just the challenge of getting the seeds out without making a huge mess. Like doing a dissection with minimal blood loss. Very rewarding. And they were the most stunning things I had ever seen. I will definitely be using these again…not so much for their antioxidant properties. But because the seeds are so… pretty.Cutting mangos, check (something most Filipinos can probably do pretty easily). Blueberries and a squeeze of lime juice. Because the mangos were not as ripe as I would have liked combined with the tartness of the pomegranate seeds, I thought it would be a bit too tart. But to my surprise, it all worked very well. A simple fruit salad, very refreshing. I would make this again.To see this month’s round-up of “Salad Days!” Nigella recipes, head over to this month’s host, Belleau Kitchen or Forever Nigella!

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36 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    May 29, 2011 @ 17:02:50

    The chunklet is very cute. I love the look of that salad too! I hardly ever buy pomegranate and you’re right some of those juices are so tart.

  2. Cakelaw
    May 29, 2011 @ 17:20:22

    Awww, those Yo Gabba Gabba cuppies are so adorable! As is your niece. The salad looks devine, and I have to agree, pomegrantaes are a bit of a pain to get the seeds out of, but they are so pretty, it makes it worth it.

  3. Vardhini
    May 29, 2011 @ 17:39:16

    She is so adorable .. love the salad too. Now I am craving for some salad.

    Vardhini
    VardhinisKitchen

  4. Dominic
    May 29, 2011 @ 18:25:08

    Wow. I love these double salads!!! And what a journey to find such a simple ingredient!! Thanksso much for joining in x

  5. Ker-Yng
    May 29, 2011 @ 18:27:32

    Good work on your cupcakes!! Adorable Chunklet must be thrilled with them. Love the idea of a antioxidant salad too. I didn’t know we eat pomegranate seeds!

  6. Maris (In Good Taste)
    May 29, 2011 @ 18:37:17

    What an absolute precious doll! She is very lucky to have such a doting and loving aunt!

  7. Eileen
    May 29, 2011 @ 18:40:58

    Chunklet is super cute. I hope you have a fun visit!

    I have to say I’m not a huge pomegranate fan. I don’t like the unchewability of the inside of the seeds. I end up spitting them out, which makes it a lot of work for not a lot of flavor. Maybe if they were included as part of a larger recipe, I’d like them better.

  8. Parsley Sage
    May 29, 2011 @ 18:56:16

    I’m sure you made Chunklet squeal with your awesome cupcakes! I want some of those :) The salad looks super yummy too despite being last minute. Could have fooled me. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Nandini
    May 29, 2011 @ 21:09:38

    Happy birthday to your dear cute chubby Chunklet! The cupcakes turned out pretty awesome…

  10. Ameena
    May 30, 2011 @ 00:10:12

    Chunklet is adorable…Happy happy birthday to her!!

  11. Meri
    May 30, 2011 @ 01:37:48

    Awww chunklet is tooo adorable! Those cupcakes are the cutest, I want one :)

  12. kitchen flavours
    May 30, 2011 @ 01:57:47

    Happy Birthday to adorable Chunklet! She is a beautiful little girl. The cupcakes are real cute! You did a good job with the fondant!
    Your salad looks really good and so refreshing! Wish to have some now!
    Have a lovely week, aunt of Chunklet! :)

  13. Louanne
    May 30, 2011 @ 06:35:00

    Happy Birthday to your niece! The cupcakes are terrific – Andrew went through the Yo Gabba Gabba stage, and his favorite was Plex, too. You did an awesome job on the fondant – definitely need to give it a try.
    The salad looks delicious, and I had no idea that pomegranate also went by unifruit – who knew?

  14. Yuri
    May 30, 2011 @ 07:59:27

    Chunklet is so cute! Happy Birthday to her. Great job with the cupcakes, are u sure this was your first time with fondant? They look amazing!

  15. Elaine
    May 30, 2011 @ 08:55:23

    Your niece is so adorable – Happy Birthday to her! What a great aunt you are to make those beautiful cupcakes for her birthday! You did a wonderful job and I am so impressed that you made your own fondant and colored it. Wow! The fruit salad looks so refreshing and kudos for looking all over for the pomegranate. Hope you have a great Memorial Day!

  16. Liz
    May 30, 2011 @ 09:01:03

    Aw, Chunklet is a DOLL!!! And your cupcakes are fabulous…congrats on your successful foray into the world of fondant! And your salad looks perfect for this hot streak of weather here in the Midwest…yummy and refreshing.

    Now, how are you spending the last 2 1/2 days of your birthday month????

  17. Frankly Entertaining
    May 30, 2011 @ 09:49:08

    Those cupcakes are amazing!! I’m so impressed with your first attempt at fondant! Your niece is adorable too!

  18. Maya
    May 30, 2011 @ 10:45:12

    You’re right, Chunklet is really Yummy and I just want to eat her (in a good way, you understand!). And I bet she was beyond pleased with those lovingly made cupcakes, with a pro-looking homemade fondant to boot! As for pomegranate, I hadn’t known they were also called unifruit, so that’s something new I learnt today :-). Gorgeous salad, I feel younger just looking at it – LOL.

  19. Mary
    May 30, 2011 @ 11:13:14

    What a sweet baby girl. She looks like such a happy child. I hope she had a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  20. Adriana
    May 30, 2011 @ 13:14:03

    You are the coolest aunt ever, but with such an adorable niece it’s not hard to. Your cupcakes look so tasty. I cannot decorate anything to save my life! :-P

  21. Simply Life
    May 30, 2011 @ 13:52:59

    oh my gosh! she is way too cute!!!

  22. rebecca
    May 30, 2011 @ 16:03:46

    wow she is adorable so cute and great job on the cupcakes

  23. Ronda
    May 30, 2011 @ 17:00:40

    Oh how cute!

  24. Joyti
    May 30, 2011 @ 18:10:14

    She is SOOO adorable! Her smile makes me want to smile with her. I hope she has a really wonderful birthday.
    And the salad looks delicious and very healthy. Yum!

  25. pachecopatty
    May 30, 2011 @ 19:57:27

    Sweet little niece, congratulations on her second birthday;-)
    You made some adorable cupcakes, you make working with fondant look so easy! Thanks for sharing a healthy colorful and delicious salad to inspire me to eat healthier;-)

  26. foodfashionandflow
    May 30, 2011 @ 20:18:38

    Thank you so much for your sweet comment:-) Your niece is too adorable for words. These photos are so cute and everything looks amazing. That salad is making my mouth water…

    http://foodfashionandflow.blogspot.com/

  27. Ryan
    May 30, 2011 @ 21:28:56

    Adorable cupcakes and great job on those! I’m very impressed! Your niece is absolutely beautiful! I know you all had a great time celebrating both of your birthdays.

    The antioxidant salad looks very good too and I enjoyed your friend’s comments! I will never look at a pomegranate quite the same way now! :) That was too funny!

  28. chutneyandspice
    May 31, 2011 @ 04:11:38

    your niece is absolutely gorgeous, what a smile to light up the world. I love your photo of the pomegranate, that makes me want to go and buy one for lunch. Thank you for lovely posts.

  29. Louise
    May 31, 2011 @ 05:58:17

    Isn’t she precious, Yummy, and a precocious too:) The Bubble Tea picture is just adorable.

    Happy Birthday to Chunklet, ah two, I’m sure she was thrilled with those characters! GREAT job!!!

    I’m not much of a pomegranate fan or dare I say, a Nigella fan either. However, your “throw together” salad looks quite festive!!!

    Thanks for sharing…

  30. Jessica
    May 31, 2011 @ 06:33:50

    yum yum yum! that salad looks divine! you precious baby girl is just beautiful! love your blog!

  31. Trackback: Month-long Birthday Celebration: CLOSING DAYS! « Yummy Chunklet
  32. Jessica
    May 31, 2011 @ 09:16:07

    Good job on the Yo Gabba Gabba cupcakes! Candelabra’s pomegranate picture is striking.

  33. Linda
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 07:44:28

    That little Chunklet is adorable!!! How I miss having my kids little again like that!! If I made those cupcakes for my teens now, they would think I’m crazy…as they ate them all up!!

  34. greedy rosie
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 17:05:50

    Chunklet is beautiful! But not really edible – so I’ll concern myself with the cup cakes myself. Quite like a bit of Yo Gabba Gabba myself!

  35. Grumpy Grateful Mom
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 17:28:07

    Your daughter is beautiful. And, those cupcakes look great. My 3-year-old son would have gone crazy over those. Instead he got a store bought pirate cake–bleh.

  36. Kathy
    Jun 04, 2011 @ 17:00:46

    Been away for a couple weeks and missed this wonderful post. Happy birthday to your beautiful niece! Loved your cupcakes!

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