Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Monster Mash.......



When I saw the Wilton monster cutters at our local store I just had to pick them up.   They were too cute.  I love anything Halloween.......I love anything for that matter.  We'll just say I like to shop.

Halloween is such a fun holiday though.  I have such great memories of Halloween from when I was a kid.  It was so fun to go door to door getting candy.  Sometimes we would sneak and return to the same house to get more. Those were good times.  Times when people handed out homemade popcorn balls and such.

Now there are too many crazies out there and you have to inspect all the candy your child received.....I don't mind searching though...that's when I can steal the candy I want :)

My favorite memory from Halloween was when I wanted to be a vampire and hand out candy.  My step dad built me a coffin....yep.....it was AWESOME!!!!!!

We had black lights set up and a fog machine. I laid inside the coffin and opened it as the kids walked up.....good times.  That was the year it was "UNCOOL" to trick-or-treat.

Now I have kids and it's COOL to trick-or-treat every year.  One of the many rewards of being a mother.

What's your favorite Halloween memory?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

When Zombies Attack..........



Making these Zombie Hello Kitty cookies got me thinking.....and it's ALWAYS bad when I start thinking. What's a baker to do when zombies attack?

There are many things y'all should know in life.  The most important thing, may be knowing WHAT to do in the event that zombies attack....YES.....zombies.

I've watched enough zombie movies with my son to know,  it COULD happen.  There are many survival guides out there providing us with lists of what to do in the event of a zombie apocalypse, but what about us bakers?  We don't have stock piles of guns hidden in our oven like Mr. and Mrs. Smith.  We need a list for us...after all when zombie's attack, I'll be in my kitchen......baking in heels.

It's up to me to save us all.....so ladies pay close attention to my list so you'll know just what to do.

THE BAKER'S TOP 5 WAYS TO SURVIVE A ZOMBIE ATTACK


1. Have zombie appealing food. (Witches Cauldrons with eyes and  bloody bonescreepy eyeballs, or monster cookies) Pop on over to Kristan and Calley's blog and learn how to make those. These zombie appealing treats may come in handy. Everybody's taste change.......lets get those zombies to like these great treats instead of brains.....Hey it may work.....these treats rock!

2.  Never trust anyone.....you never know whose been affected......even your mom.  You're friends may think she's hot, and bakes the best treats..... but DON'T trust her.....she could be a zombie.

3. Have many weapons on hand.  If you are lucky enough to have a secret stash of guns in your oven, well good for you, but those of us who actually use our ovens, don't and we need other weapons. Cooper cookie cutters work well to throw at a zombies. They are sturdy and will keep their shape better. After all, we don't want to ruin our cutters on the zombies. In the event we manage to destroy them all, we will go back to cookie-ing.

4.  Use stashes of royal icing to coat the floor.  We all know how sticky this icing is and how hard it dries.  This is sure to stop a zombie in their tracks. If you are like me and hate sticky things, have one of your children put this down. Kids love sticky and it ALWAYS finds them. This will be a fun activity for any child.

5. Last but not least, the HIGH HEEL SHOE.  Now those who aren't baking in heels may have a problem with this one.  Myself, on the other hand will have this one in the bag.  Pull off those stilettos and use the heel to base of zombie's neck destroying the brain stem.  Don't worry about the blood. The red will give you beautiful red Louboutin soles. It's a win win situation.

Now that the ZOMBIES are all DESTROYED.......
~Throw on your heels and get to baking~
*disclaimer- do not try this on your mom at home! She is NOT a zombie, she is a hot baker with really cute heels!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Eye of Newt and Essence of Spider.......


Halloween brings so many fun things. There's the candy....we all love that.  There's the costumes where we can dress up like we are still kids......or a sexy version of a Disney princess/fairy tale character, which seems to be the choice costume among women today (giggles). 

For the cookie/cake decorator it brings some NOT so fun things....like dark colors that do NOTHING for your nails.....seriously my nails were horrible from the black food gel.

Saturday I took the day off from decorating and went to have my nails done.  I brought Miss B and  
Miss P with me and made a girls day out of it.  Hey, a girl's gotta have nice nails.....and cute shoes.  That's a RULE in this house.  It's the one rule my daughters DON'T complain about :)

BUT......from now on it's gloves when coloring icing. 

Now.....on to the cookies.


You will need:


Wedding cake shaped cookies
orange royal icing
black royal icing
piping bags
#1 tip
#2 tip


First outline your cookie in orange royal icing.  Let dry about 15 minutes then fill with orange flood icing.  Let dry about 2 hours.

next pipe on spider and web with black royal icing using a #1 tip.  Outline cake layers in black royal icing.


Next pipe white dots on bottom layer of cake using a #2 tip.  Make various sizes of dots.  Be sure not to make dots to close to each other like I did or they will run into each other. Then take black royal icing and #1 tip and place dot on top of white dots to make eyes.  

Next pipe vertical lines with black royal icing and #2 tip.  Allow cookie to dry 6-8 hours or overnight. 

For another cute eye catching treats check out:
Confessions of a Cookbook Queen's Peanut Butter Eyeball Truffles

Friday, September 23, 2011

Daisy Cupcakes for Miss B..........



My daughter has been asking me to make her some carrot cake cupcakes.....okay more like begging.

I just started decorating cookies maybe a month ago and honestly, I didn't feel like making cupcakes at all.

To prevent her from growing up and saying I wasn't mother of the year I just had to do them.....not that ten  years from now she would even remember that I didn't make them.    Just in case she did I figured I better get in that kitchen and make some cupcakes for her.

She's a very sweet, kind girl. She always helps others. BUT......boy,  is she a BLONDE sometimes.

That girl keeps me laughing all the time.

Just a few days ago she came to me and asked me if I remembered a place from when she was a little girl.  She described the place as a park that had a dinosaur footprint in the ground.  I could only assume she was talking about our zoo, who had put in that new exhibit where the kids could dig for dinosaur bones and such. .....totally MAN made by the way.

I described the place to her the best way I could to see if we were on the same page with the location.  Apparently we were NOT.

She said NO this was a real dinosaur footprint.  I said Miss B, we have never seen a real dinosaur footprint in our life.....not EVER!

"What", she exclaimed.....I've been telling all my friends for the past two years about seeing dinosaur footprints.  I couldn't help but LOL.....that's laugh out loud in teen talk.

She was so upset and all I could do was laugh.  Apparently I was not funny either.  I knew I had to make those cupcakes to make up for laughing at my daughter's mistake.....just in case ten years from now she does remember I didn't make them.

I had to be sure to get a few pictures for proof as well.

Now I know they aren't "fall" themed cupcakes, but it's what Miss B likes.

She loves lime green and her favorite flower is a daisy.

So in my heels, which are very cute I may add, I went to bake some cupcakes for my oldest daughter.

Miss B......if you're reading......thanks for always making me laugh.


To make Daisy cupcakes you'll need:

Cute babies in cupcake pj's
a box of your favorite carrot cake mix (or make it from scratch)
cream cheese frosting
white fondant to cut daisies
yellow fondant for flower centers





Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
2 8oz pkgs of cream cheese softened
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp pure vanilla

Cream butter and cream cheese. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Add powdered sugar a little at a time until well combined. Place in fridge and allow to get firm again. Right before you want to pipe your cupcakes take frosting out of refrigerator and whip it a bit in your mixer. Pipe on top of cooled cupcakes.


For more great cupcakes you should check out Kristan's blog, Confessions of a Cookbook Queen. She always has the cutest cupcakes.

~Throw on your heels and get to baking~

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Everyone SCREAM...in Our Town of HALLOWEEN....


Halloween wouldn't be complete without Jack Skellington in this house.  My kids all love him.  He's eerie and creepy....all the things a teenager loves.

I really think The Nightmare Before Christmas gets played at least once a week.  I don't like anything remotely scary.

 It's the closest thing to a scary movie I want to see. Now I know it's not really a "horror" film, but it's as close to one as I'm watching.

I can't watch scary movies.  Not happening!  It's bad enough my mind is constantly wondering....thinking crazy things.  I think I'm scared of everything.  Which is the reason I don't watch the news at all. I'm constantly thinking something bad is going to happen.  Wondering if someone is going to break in and slaughter us all.

I bet all the years of watching scary movies contributed to my warped sense of thinking.....I know it did. I still get scared watching Nightmare on Elm Street.......you know it scared you back in the day too.

And camping in the woods......nope.....Jason cured that.

So I will stay in my nice, safe, slaughter free zone at home and bake you cookies.  Things are much better this way.

To make Jack Skellington cookies you will need:
round scalloped edged cookies or shape of your choosing
purple royal icing
white royal icing
black royal icing

For recipe on Royal icing see my royal icing tutorial.

Instructions
Cut, bake, and cool cookies.

In center of cookie make a circle outline in black royal icing.  Don't worry your circle doesn't have to be perfect...Jack's face isn't completely round.  Let dry for about 30 minutes.


Fill circle with white flood icing.  While icing is still wet add eyes, nose and mouth on Jack. 

outline cookie with purple royal icing. Let dry 15-30 minutes. 

Fill cookie with purple flood icing. While icing is still wet apply a few semi circles in black for webs. Drag toothpick through lines to make spider web.  Let dry overnight.  

~Throw on your heels and get to baking~

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Royal Icing Tutorial.......

First I want to say there is no exact way to make royal icing.  Everyone does their's differently.  Some add more sugar, some more extract, and some more meringue powder. You need to find the one that you like. This is the recipe I use.....It's what works for me. 

Royal Icing
4 Tbsp meringue powder 
4 cups confectioners sugar(sifted)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp clear extract


First combine meringue powder and water. Using whisk attachment. Whisk on med/high speed.


Whisk until foamy.


Add confectioners sugar a little at a time. I do this 1/2 cup at a time and combine thoroughly before adding another 1/2 cup.

Scrapping down sides as needed.


 After it's all mixed together, add clear extract of choice. 

Now mix on med/high speed until high peaks formed about 5-6 minutes.
 Picture below is a "NOT READY" picture so you can see the difference. 

Now, it's done. High peaks. 

Attachment will stand alone in mixer. 



Add water a little at a time to get the consistency you need. 


Okay moving on to consistency of royal icing.....

Now everyone has different opinions on what consistency icing should be. Find what works for you. The humidity where you live also is a factor in your icing consistency.  So use trial and error when making it. This is just the way I do it.....it's what works for me. 

Just so you all know I TOTALLY hate doing video tutorials.....COMPLETELY.

First of all I hate how I sound. Have you ever listened to a recording of yourself? Yeah, you know exactly what I'm talking about. 

Then there's the issue of looking ten pounds heavier in a video. Yep, you really do. It was not the extra cookies or cupcakes I had to eat so that they wouldn't go to waste, nope its the camera.
So forget me getting in front of the camera....NO WAY....sorry, you get to look at a boring plate instead.

BUT.........
I did make the tutorial for you. Nothing major or detailed, just a simple look at how your icing should appear......just ignore the sound of my voice.

And before you ask.....yes, I'm from New Orleans.




video

Hope the tutorial was informative. I'm new to this and you never know what to say when your on camera.....need some cue cards and a helpful teenager.....hmmm, maybe for next time. I know just the teenager that would do great on camera, maybe because she is constantly recording herself and taking pictures with the "duck" face....you know the pose. 

So.... Miss B if you're reading......I've got a job for you.....but please, no "duck" faces.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble......

I love cookie cutters.  There's just something exciting about them.  Maybe it's because they remind me of momma a little bit, I'm not sure.

 There are so many different ones out there.  Most cutters are fairly inexpensive, but some of them can be quite costly.  If you're not careful though you'll be broke in a matter of months.......or if you're as OCD as me and need them all, in a matter of days or weeks.

One of the blogs I read every day is The Sweet Adventures of SugarBelle. The blog writers name is Calley and she really has a fantastic eye for things.  She will take a simple cookie cutter intended for one thing and make something totally different.  One example is her gumball machine cookies.  Truly amazing.

I've made many of Calley's cookies. I've even made quite a few on my own, but as they intended to be.  If its a bat cutter I make a bat,  an owl I make an owl, etc. 

This time I decided to try something new, to do something different.  I needed to use my cookie cutter for a cookie that it wasn't intended for.

After all.....It's what all the cool kids are doing. 

It couldn't be too hard right? Like making out pictures with the clouds right?  Well...it was harder than I thought.  After a bit of searching through my cutters.......four hours later......a light bulb went off.  My light bulb takes a bit longer than most to go off.....I'm slow.  I took my copper ice cream cone cutter and made a witch. 

 I know it's not extremely creative, but hey I'm new to this.  I gotta start somewhere right?  Maybe one day I'll be as creative as all the cool kids but for now you get a witch from an ice cream.

To make the witch cookies you will need:
Ice cream cone cookies
royal icing in green, black, white and reddish brown. (I was going for a reddish color but this was what I got)
tip #2
icing bags 

First cut, bake, and cool your cookies on a wired rack. 

After cookies are cooled pipe outline of hat in black royal icing with a #2 tip.
 Next outline the witch's face in green royal icing
Thin out some of the black royal icing. I normally use about a 10 second icing for this. Meaning, when you let the icing fall back into itself it takes 10 seconds until it's smooth again. Fill in hat with the 10 second icing. 

While the black icing is still wet I piped three rows of 10 second icing in white on top of the hat.

Then drug a toothpick through it several times to form a cob web. (while still wet)

Next fill in witch's face with green flood icing. Allow to dry for an hour or two.
Next I piped the first layer of squiggly lines for the witch's hair with royal icing. Let the hair dry for about an hour.

 
After that dried I piped a second layer of hair, filling in the empty spaces and giving it a more 3D look.
Then I piped on the face. I messed up on the eyes as shown below. Somehow I didn't fill in the entire eye white.....so after it was dried I used a toothpick to remove the center part of the eye and filled in with white then black dots for the pupils.
I added a purple band around hat after it was dry, but totally forgot to take a picture....Hey I can't remember everything. 

After the cookie has dried overnight display on a black background with some Halloween spider web decorations......Just like the cool girls do and take a pretty picture. 


Hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Please leave loving, good job, pat on the back comments because its the nice thing to do......You know your momma would want you to. 


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fall is in the Air.......


I just love this time of year. The weather is so nice. It's not as hot and there's finally a breeze.  It's the time of the year when you know it's getting close to the holidays.

Halloween is drawing near.  Is it too early to start decorating?  I think I will have my husband get the decorations out tomorrow......

Tonight, I'm home alone .....yes he's working all night....again. Which leaves me home alone with the five kids.  Normally that means someone's sick. It never fails, if he's gone then one of us is sick.

Tonight was not an ordinary night! Yippie for a night of healthy kids.  The babies even went to bed on time.  What more could a girl ask for?

With everyone in cooperation mode we sat down to watch Black Swan.....not a movie for kids....at all! After my daughter getting a bit more of an education then I wanted her to have at twelve years old, I tried to turn the dvd player off.  Now keep in mind that anytime you want to turn something off so your child doesn't see it....the remote NEVER works.....not ever!

After finally getting the movie stopped we went in search for a new one.

My daughter picked out one that was going to be funny, which to me equals stupid and boring to mom.  This time I was wrong.....yep I admit it I was wrong.  Now please don't go advertising this to my husband. He's still at that stage where he really thinks I'm always right.  No really, he does.  I'll never tell him otherwise.  It's just better that way.

Well the move was called You Again. It was very funny and I think I laughed the entire movie.  My girls on the other hand fell asleep before it was even over.

The movie was over and it was time to COOKIE!!!!!! It was quiet and I was all alone in my kitchen with no distractions.....AHHHHH.

I couldn't wait to make some halloween cookies. Nothing major but just wanted some fall colors to work with.

I started by baking scallop edged square cookies using roll out dough.

I baked them and let them cool.

While the cookies were cooling, I mixed up a batch of my favorite royal icing and colored it.  Now everyone has a personal preference on the consistency of their RI.  Some use the same consistency for outlining and flooding and some don't.  I prefer to use two different consistencies.

I'll do a tutorial on royal icing soon.

While you are waiting for your cookies to cool, color your icing your desired color.  Here I chose to use orange and black.

I outlined edge with a stiffer RI and let dry about 20 minutes. Next take your flood icing and fill in the cookie.

For dots: I used wet on wet technique. You apply the dots when the orange icing is still wet. I squeezed harder for the larger dots and lighter for the smaller ones.  Using the wet on wet technique your icing will lay flat.  Then I just let the cookies dry overnight.

For the spider web cookies: I also used wet on wet technique. After flooding the cookie with orange icing, I piped lines in the upper corner. Then just simply take a toothpick and drag through lines, giving a spider web effect. Repeat until you work your way to the edge of the cookie.

It was late and I didn't take pictures of the process. I'll be sure to get more pictures next time.

Friday, September 16, 2011

HOOAH.........



I am so excited to say some of our boys are home!

It was with great pleasure that I made these cookies. I've been very busy with these so I haven't had much time to blog.

When soldiers come home they are greeted by many loved ones, given welcome home parties and such. For the single soldier it's very different. They go back to the barracks. Our FRG (family readiness group) does a great job getting together welcome home baskets for our single soldiers. I wanted to be a part of this.

No way was I missing out on making some one's homecoming special.

I was on a mission to find a good cookie to do for them. After doing the 9/11 memorial cookies for a week I didn't want to see any more red, white and blue....not for a bit anyway.

I didn't want anything too complicated or time consuming, after all I needed 200 of these.

Callye, of Sweet Sugarbell's had made some camouflage cookies a few months back so I searched her blog and found them!

After following her tutorial and the cookies were dry, I added HOOAH to my cookies......HOOAH.......the Army's word for everything and anything. It means anything.....except "no".

You can learn how to make these here.

 Allow cookies to dry overnight before adding wording.


Then I printed out HOOAH and used the the push pin trick....my handwriting isn't steady, especially with the insane amounts of coffee I consume. Just lay the print out on the cookie and use a push pin to mark the letters. Then connect the dots with the royal icing.

Welcome Home Soldiers!





~Throw on your heels and get to baking~

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Princess costume for Kristan ..........



I'm sure many of you know Kristan from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.

I read her blog every day. She always tells such funny stories. Her blog always starts my day off good.

If you haven't read her blog stop now and go check it out... Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

So anyway I was reading her blog today as always and she had the cutest little witch cupcakes....she always comes up with cute ideas. She told a story about one Halloween when she was a kid. It's super funny as usual. Y'all should read it..... Glamorous Witch Cupcakes

After reading her blog today I just knew I had to come up with a princess cupcake just for Kristan.  After all, every girl deserves a princess costume for halloween.....with a real princess hat.

I made cupcakes and covered with a round piece of fondant. Next I cut a flower shape and placed it on top of rounded piece. Ice cupcake with buttercream icing. Lay fondant on top and shape skirt a bit. Next i just sculpted the body and head. Then I made the hat. Last but not least.....sprinkle with disco dust.

Every princess needs sparkles!

Hope you liked your princess costume....better late then never.

*note* candy and trick or treat bag were scrapbook embellishments I purchased last year.

~Throw on your heels and get to baking~

Sunday, September 11, 2011

REMEMBER 9-11.........


Ten years ago today America was changed forever. Our hearts were broken.

Terrorists came into our country and destroyed lives. They had no regard for the lives they took. They thought they would crush us....they thought it would make us weaker, but HATE never wins! It only made us STRONGER!

AMERICA will always stand TALL, stand PROUD......and AMERICA will always have HONOR!

Brave men and women went into those buildings to save lives.....to search for survivors. They didn't think about anything but saving others. True HEROES....Honestly, hero doesn't even begin to describe them.

There will never be a day that goes by that I don't remember what happened.

Unlike the terrorist, I will never let HATE consume my heart.  I will treat others with LOVE, RESPECT, and KINDNESS.

Today let us remember those lives that were lost. Let us remember to always have LOVE , RESPECT, and KINDNESS in our hearts.

WE WILL NEVER FORGET.

They are FALLEN.....but NOT FORGOTTEN!
_______________________________________________________________________

To make a 9-11 Remembrance cookie......

Make pentagon shaped cookies and let cool. I cut mine out by hand.

Next use a stencil to draw out the design on the cookie with a food marker. I use Wilton food writers

Then outline your cookie with black royal icing. I also outlined the white and blue parts (shown below)

Then I filled in the white areas, let dry about an hour. Then I did the red, blue and black.  If your colors have bleeding issues wait until each color dries about an hour before filling in the next.

Then with a #2 tip outline around all areas with black royal icing. With a #2 tip write REMEMBER in white royal icing under the twin towers as shown below.


Let dry. 

Hope you all enjoyed my ten days in memory of 9-11

~Throw on your heels and get to baking~

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Stars and Stripes cake........


It's such a beautiful day.......and I have the best husband in the world.  I can't begin tell you how lucky I truly am.  There aren't many good men out there anymore....no seriously, I think I may have gotten the last one. 

I am so proud of him.  He's an American soldier.....what's not to love right?  He just got back from his second deployment. It's so good to have him home. It's with him in mind that I make most of my desserts. 

This patriotic themed week in memory of 9-11 was near and dear to my heart.  I have such a deep love for my country and those who serve it. 

It was a great pleasure to do this project in memory of 9-11.  I'll never forget that day nor will I forget those who lost their lives and those who make sure something like this will never happen again. 

I was so excited to make this cake. I always love baking and creating something pretty, but this time was different. This time I got to use my new Cricut cake machine!

As always my husband buys me the neatest little gadgets. I guess it's the only thing he can enjoy in the cookie/cake making process.....other than eating all my creations. So it should have been no surprise when this new toy of mine showed up at the door.

It sat on the shelf a month in my baking supply closet.....secretly I just didn't feel like reading the instructions.

My husband is always trying to do things for me.....guess he's working on brownie points or something, I'm not sure. Well I didn't have a star cutter small enough for the stars I needed. So my husband got the new Cricut machine out for me and set it up......he even read the instructions, which to men I believe is totally taboo. He even cut out the stars for me....that did earn him brownie points.

The machine was easier to use then reviews I read online. The fondant didn't tear or get jammed up. Guess I should have tried it out a while ago instead of believing what I read somewhere online. I did stick the sheet of rolled fondant in the freezer for a few minutes to harden just a tad.

How many of you have one of these handy little machines? Don't you just love it?

If you don't own one you can get one here.

 I highly recommend purchasing one. They are very easy to use....after all my husband was the one who used it to cut out the stars.

I can't wait to use it for other treats I whip up in my kitchen.

~Throw on your heels and get to baking~

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