Friday, December 30, 2011

SUGAR OVERLOAD!!!

SO much going on this time of year.  In the kitchen as well as out - but let's talk about baking.  I have been busy with several types of pastry this month.  Pie, cake and cookies.  Here's the rundown.

My brother was in town for a visit from California and I thought it the perfect occasion to make a pie.  Especially considering we are celebrating the news that he is going to be the dad of twins in the coming year!  Our fave around here is my Ginger Apple Crumb Pie, but I saw a really interesting idea on Pinterest to bump it up a little.  Instead of regular crust on the bottom, I used a tube of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls (who doesn't love those??), rolled out and molded to the pie dish.  Forgive the photo.  The crust blends right into the counters!  But LOOK at all those yummy bits of cinnamon-y goodness that will become part of the pie!

I then went on with the rest of the recipe as usual, which is really more like an apple pie bottom and filling with a crisp topping.  And of course, the ginger makes it amazing!  I also add raisins when inspired.  So I baked her up.  Next time, I will reduce time a little as the cinnamon rolls wanted to burn a little more than a regular crust.  But then, the BEST part...a drizzle of that sinful sugary icing that comes with the rolls.  Ay-yay-yay..be still my heart!!  It is simply delish - although very sweet.  But, that's what pie us for, right?


Also this month, a dear friend and excellent client requested a birthday cake for her fisherman husband.  I love her for giving me free reign with designs, which allows for some clever twists on things.  This is a choco-mocha cake with cookies and cream filling and vanilla buttercream icing.  Topped with painted chocolate figures.  I tried to make the fisherman resemble the birthday boy and think he turned out pretty great!



Also on the menu was my first attempt at iced cookies using royal icing.  I can't believe I have never done this before as cut cookies with royal provide a virtual wonderland of creative possibilities.  My cooking club was having a cookie swap, so this was my chance.  I made a spice cookie, versus a traditional sugar cookie, which was delicious.  But, I ended up running out of time, so did not get to try any fun, intricate designs using the icing.  I just did a basic flood and sparkled them up with some gold lustre dust (sorry, forgot to photo!).  However, I did use some of the dough to make house cookies for the kids to decorate - a la gingerbread houses.  A great idea from Pinterest and a good activity while the Mommies enjoyed a little holiday "cheer" ; )




Up next, the reveal of our fabulous new hardwood floors.  Although not a DIY project, I am too excited about them not to share!

I hope you all have a safe and happy new year!  Until next time!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

GOOD doggie!!

I have never been a dog person.  We had couple of dogs when I was young, but they weren't MINE and they were relegated to the backyard.  Cats were always more up my alley.  I think because I always believed they always shared the same sarcastic and jaded outlook on life that I did.  You know, there's just something about cats that gives that impression.
Well, now that I am the matriarch of a houseful of boys, the inevitable question of "when can we get a dog?" has arisen.  So we are going through all the prep work...getting allergy tests, getting our much coveted hardwood floors BEFORE a dog comes (I do not want to train a puppy on carpet!), researching breeds, etc, etc, etc.  And you know what?  I am getting pretty psyched to have the patter of 4 little feet in the house  (just like having twins again - NOT)!  Maybe I'm reading into this too much, but perhaps I am dog-happy because I am at a better place in my life.  You know, I can now share that licky, waggy, yippy enthusiasm that a puppy brings - and also delight in the joy that he or she brings my boys.  We'll see how happy I still am when in the midst of training and poop scooping.  But, that will be a good time to introduce the boys to the responsibilities of pet-owning, right?
Another dog lover recently asked me to create some cupcakes with a dog theme for her daughter's birthday.  We decided on a combo on puppy faces, bones and paw prints and I am THRILLED with how these turned out!  Pupcakes are constructed with halved oreos for ears, marshmallow for the snout, Starburst for the tongue and jelly beans for the nose and eyes.  And lots of buttercream fur!  Paw print and bone are fondant.
Aren't they precious??  I just want to lick that puppy's face off!  I hope I won't have doggie breath after!

Until next time!