Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sweet Memories and Sweet Potato Pie

Today, I should be celebrating my dear mother's birthday.  Instead, I'm enjoying her favorite pie and having sweet memories of her.

Cancer took her from us suddenly three years ago.  We were unaware that she had cancer and it happened to fast to even worry.  By the time we found out, it was spread too far for treatment. We had two short weeks to spend with her.  I flew down from Germany and visited her daily in the hospital until she died.  

I don't want to focus on the last days with her but, the wonderful years I had with her.  There are so many wonderful memories of my mother.  She was a single mother of two girls, but she never let that stop her from being a great mom.

I remember singing and laughing together.

I remember the many vacations.

I remember always getting lost on those vacations. Momma called it "exploring". She never wanted to admit we were lost. 

I remember the teenage drama.  I gave a lot of that.

I remember her buying my first pair of heels when I was around thirteen years old. (I've always loved heels)

I remember her comforting me when my heart got broken for the first time.

I remember her being at my side when I gave birth to my first baby.

I remember our trip to Paris. That was unforgettable! 

I remember her being in the kitchen always baking.  

Momma loved to bake.  One thing that was a big tradition around the holidays was sweet potato pie.  That was something we always had for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It's a favorite in our family. 

My grandmother gave mom the recipe. Mom gave it to me and today I'm going to share the recipe with you. 

Sweet Potato Pie

One homemade pie crust baked (or you could use a store bought one)
2 sticks of butter
5 lbs sweet potatoes, boiled and pealed
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 egg yolk
3 Tbsp evaporated milk

1. Boil sweet potatoes until soft.  Allow potatoes to cool. Skin will peal right off. 

2. Bake your pie crust according to your directions.

3. Mix all ingredients together with a mixer.  It will resemble mashed potatoes....no lumps.

4. Put filling into pie crust. 

5. Bake at 350 until brown (about 10-15 min)

Now go bake a sweet potato pie and enjoy it with those you love the most.

Sharon McCown

~Happy Birthday Momma.  We will always miss you and we will never forget the many wonderful memories we have with you.~

Monday, November 26, 2012

Spa Day Cookies

The Thanksgiving vacation is over and the kids are back to school this morning. They had so much fun being off of school. 

Late nights.

Slumber parties.

......and lots of "Spa" nights.  They would stay up late with their four year old sister and have make overs. They did hair and nails but, the part they liked the most was the blue-green face mask. They may have went through an entire tube of it.  

They had a great time and my table, carpet and hardwood floors survived all nail polish spills! That's a big plus around here. 

As always I made cookies.  If a cookie can be made for an occasion, I make them.  Everybody loves to eat cookies at a sleepover right?

Today I'm going to show you how I made the girl. It was pretty easy. The main thing is to wait in between sections so you have dimension. I used a jelly bean cutter I got in a Wilton set last Easter. You can purchase the set here from Karen's Cookies.

1. First bake and cool jellybean cookies                                                
2. With a FOOD SAFE marker draw the face, neck and towel on cookie as a guide.
3. Outline towel and fill top and bottom sections of towel, leaving the center unfilled. Allow to dry about an hour.

4. Fill in center of towel with flood consistency icing.
5. Outline face and neck. Fill in face with flood icing, leaving the neck unfilled. Allow to dry about 2 hours.

6. Drop two black non perils onto face for eyes.

7. Fill in neck section with flood icing add a mouth with pink icing, a little thinner than piping consistency icing. Allow icing to dry a few hours.

8. Apply blue greenish icing a little thicker than flood consistency onto the face, avoiding the eyes and mouth. Let dry.

There you have it!  Cookies for your girls when they have their spa day at home.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hungry Hungry Hippo Cookies

I wake up this morning to post my blog. You know, the one I was up late last night writing. Yeah, that one. The one that only had a single period saved.


It's a bloggers nightmare.  So here I am sitting at my computer, starting all over again. For the record, my memory isn't as good as it was ten years ago. So, for me, this is going to take twice as long to remember what I was talking with you about.

Christmas...that's right it was about Christmas presents.

Can you believe that tomorrow is Thanksgiving?  It seems like things move along way too fast. I feel like it was just Easter....now it's time to shop for Christmas presents.

If you have kids and they're anything like mine, they ask for a million different things.  Most of which I try to have show up under the tree.

Well Little Mrs. Bieber (that's my four year old who thinks she is going to marry Justin) is constantly adding to her list.  The list is extremely long.  Normally no biggie.  She hasn't hit me up for a pony yet, which I would totally find a way to fit into the garage. (Please don't tell her that)

She ask for things I can make happen.  Her normal list includes a Barbie or two,  My Little Pony, etc.
Well as she was telling me her NEVER ENDING list, she came to the last item.

A HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPO GAME! I said WHAT? I pretended it would go away and be removed from her mind.  I know she's probably thinking what's the big deal with that game that mommy's having heart palpitations.

So I look at her and I did what I never do, I told her No.  She looked up with her big brown eyes and asked why, just like all children do.  The truth......I've gotta tell her the truth. The game is too darn noisy.  Everyone's trying to get the marbles (choking hazard) so fast that it makes a bunch of noise and marbles go EVERYWHERE.

She looks at me and replies "Cool!"

For the record, she still isn't getting the game BUT,  I did make her some Hungry Hungry Hippo cookies. That's what a nice mom does. They were a total hit and she's given up on the game. Mostly because she loves her momma and doesn't want me having a mental breakdown from noisy games or a broken hip from slipping on a marble.

Cookies always make her smile.

Lets get to how I made the cookies. I didn't have a cutter to make the hippos, so I had to improvise. Sweet Sugarbelle made some giraffe cookies a while back and I thought it would work perfect for hippos. I used a oval and a carrot like she did for one of her giraffes but, I stretched out the carrot a bit wider and trimmed off the scalloped top of my carrot for the hippo.

Below is a step by step on how to make the hippo cookies.

1. Locate your oval and carrot cookie cutter. Stretch out the carrot cutter a bit wider.

2. Cut the carrot and oval cookies out of your dough, then piece together.

3. Outline your cookies

4. Fill in top section of hippo and allow to dry for about an hour

5. Fill in the ears and the bottom section. Allow them to dry for 3-4 hours.

6. Add eyes, eyebrows, and nostrils. Let dry.

**You can add some white circle cookies for marbles like I did. These you won't trip on and break a hip.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Scarecrow Cookies

I'm so glad it's Friday!

Today is the last day of school for the kids until their Thanksgiving break.

I'm ready for Thanksgiving.  There's going to be fried turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce (that only my hubby eats), green bean bundles.......the list goes on and on. We certainly have a feast.

Wanna know what I'm more interested in? Take a guess?

You got it.....the Dessert. It's the best part of the entire meal. That's why it's last. You always save the best for last.  My favorite dessert is grandma's chocolate pie. You can find the grandma's chocolate pie recipe here.  I'll be making two or three pies. That way I'll be sure there's enough....for me, just in case I want to enjoy more than one pie piece.

We'll also have cookies. Lots and lots of cookies.

Scarecrow cookies are great for Thanksgiving.  Don't you agree?

I used my snowman cookie cutter from Coppergifts. They have fantastic cutters. I just took a circle cutter and trimmed off the top of frosty's hat before baking. I wanted the scarecrow to have more of a rounded hat.

To make these scarecrow cookies just follow the instructions below. I used a #2 tip for all of the outlining with the exception of the detail on the button eyes and the straw coming out of the hat. For those I used a #1 tip.

Are y'all ready for the big Thanksgiving feast? Is your favorite thing to eat dessert too?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sleeping Baby Face Cookies

Let's talk about babies. 

I just can't get enough of my little man. He is so stinking cute.  I swear by the time he is a year old he is going to be so sick of kisses from me.  I think I kiss him like a million times a day.  Really, it's that much.

It doesn't help that I'm his favorite person in the whole wide world.

Really, he told me himself this morning. He said mom, you're my favorite. It was totally in baby language, but I understand cooing perfectly clear.  My husband will try to argue this with me because he thinks he's the baby's favorite person but, he's wrong. 

He's wrong A LOT!

Since I'm his favorite person I have to hold him all the time. This is why my photographs are still dark. I haven't unpacked my cookie room stuff yet. Therefore my lights are still packed.  It's a good reason to not be done....right? 

Hold adorable baby or unpack cookie room? Hmmm that's a tough one.

Maybe I could have my husband unpack because he's NOT the favorite parent so he has more time to do things. Sounds good.

So now that you know why my pictures are looking less than acceptable, we can move on and decorate cookies. 

Cute, sleeping baby face cookies. These are pretty simple to make.  You can do the hats in any color you'd like. I went with blue and green because I'm all into boy stuff right now. 

1. With a #2 tip outline hat with blue royal icing.

2. fill and let dry

3. Add details to hat with a #1 tip and green royal icing. 
With a #2 tip outline bottom half of cookie with flesh colored royal icing for the baby's face.
 4. fill in baby's face with flesh royal icing and let dry
 5. Outline baby's hat, add facial details and add a circle for pacifier. Let dry.
 6. Add small dot of icing on top of pacifier. Let cookie dry.

Now that we are finish decorating cookies, I can go back to holding the baby. Can't you see what a distraction he is?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ruffled Baby Bottom Cookies

It's Friday!!!!

I love Fridays. Well, except when I got absolutely NOTHING all week. This was one of those weeks. 

My house is a wreck. The laundry is piled up on the sofa (waiting patiently to be folded) and there are boxes everywhere in my kitchen.

I'm one of those people who hate mess. Seriously....I am. I know that sounds crazy coming from someone with six kids, but it's true. 

When things start getting out of place around the house I start getting all crazy and upset. I start picking up and mumbling about how mistreated and unappreciated I am around here. Then everyone knows mommy's in "crazy cleaning lady" mode and they get to picking up all of their things.  

I really think they all are plotting against me to see how long it takes until I snap.....and something tells me it won't be long. 

My husband sometimes calls me Bree. You know, as in Bree Van De Kamp from Desperate Housewives.

He thinks he's funny but, he's not. At least when you stop over at Bree's house it's clean and let's not forget, she did try to kill her husband. So, he really should think before name calling.

Don't y'all agree?

The reason things got a little messy this week was because I got a new cookie room!

One point for the hubby (he needs all the points he can get).

We've been moving boxes of baking related things into the new room.  I'm so glad to have my own space again to do what I love.

Last year we lived on post (military family) and I turned our dining room into a cookie room. We have since moved and bought a new house. He turned one of the six bedrooms into cookie room......and I still have a dining room! It's always nice to  still have a place to eat.

Well as we were moving boxes around I came upon boxes of the girl's baby things. Boxes and boxes of baby girl things. Things I will never use again since we are done having babies. 

Want to know what I think the cutest things on baby girls are? Yep, ruffled bottoms. There is just something about ruffled bottoms. 

So after going down memory lane, I wanted to make ruffled bottom baby cookies. I sat down and began to think and it finally came to me.....an Elmo cutter! 

That's right Elmo. I turned the cutter upside down and it was perfect. 

Here's how you make the cookies:
(Please excuse the horrid photography, I haven't unpacked all the lighting and such that I use for my picture taking)

1. Bake and cool Elmo shaped cookies. 
Turn the Elmo cookie upside down.
With a #2 tip and pink royal icing outline the cookie.

2. Fill with pink 10 second royal icing and allow to dry several hours.

3. When cookie is dry add ruffles with stiff royal icing and a #102 tip. Allow to dry a few hours.

TIP: The stiffer the icing the better the ruffle. These came out sloppy because I did NOT use stiff enough icing. For proper looking ruffles look at my ballerina cookies.

4. After the ruffles were dry I added a white trim to them with white royal icing and added a bow at the top of the ruffles using a #1 tip. Then I added baby feet with flesh colored royal icing and a #2 tip. For the toes I used a #1 tip. Allow cookies to dry overnight.