Birthday Party Extravaganza and Extra-Cheesy Mac and Cheese

This past weekend we threw a birthday party for my now 6-year-old step-daughter.  A few weeks ago, she and I sat down to pick out what birthday cake she wanted me to make for her party.  I will attach a few examples of the cakes she first picked out on Pinterest, along with my associated responses as I realized that this was an increasingly BAD idea.

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"Oh, that is beautiful.  But, I don't think I can make that cake..."

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"That cake is nice too, but again, I'm not that talented."
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 And this was my personal favorite (above). The cake is gorgeous, duh, but I am a self-taught home-cook, NOT the Cake Boss!!

"Um, how about I find a few cake options and you can pick a cake out from those".

Needless to say, my cake did not have fondant, or twirly lolly-pops, or bows, but I think it was pretty awesome anyway!

I found the idea for this Hungry Caterpillar Cake from Coco Cake (link to the exact post is in the picture caption).  The birthday girl wanted red velvet cake (colored purple instead of red) and purple frosting for the caterpillar head instead of red.  The "purple velvet" cupcakes did not turn out too purple - I guess purple and chocolate brown don't mix too well :)

In addition to the cake, we served our infamous baked chicken egg rolls, my famous "New York Pasta Salad", Macaroni and Cheese (extra-cheesy, recipe below) and Pulled Pork BBQ made in the slow-cooker.  

Extra Cheesy Mac and Cheese:
1 pound pasta, any shape, cooked according to the directions and drained
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
8 oz part-skim Velveeta Cheese
16oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, melt the butter, then add the flour and stir to combine.  Let cook for about 1 minute.  Add the milk, and whisk the ingredients together until they come to a simmer, and then cook for about 3 more minutes until the mixture is thickened to the desired consistency.  Add the Velveeta cheese, the shredded cheddar (slowly) and the mustard and whisk until all the cheese is melted, about 5 more minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately or re-heat in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

Baked Egg Rolls

Famous NY Pasta Salad

Not so good-looking but very good-tastin' Slow Cooker Pulled Pork