Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wilton Class 3

This is the second attempt of a covering a cake with fondant. And it was a way better success than the first.

I finally got to take the Wilton course 3 cake decorating class back in May and for the last class you had to cover a cake in fondant and decorate it. I think it turned out cute. I then took it to my family reunion and shared it with everyone there. It was a lemon cake with raspberry filling.

Now I have done all four courses that Wilton offers. After taking all the courses you can then become an instructor if you want and that was something that interested me at first but then I found out they cut the pay so not sure if it will be worth doing but I may still consider it after I practice all that I have learned over and over again.

If you like to decorate cakes but not sure how, you should take the classes. The classes are fun although you think the classes are cheap but all the extra's you have to buy add up!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Belated Father's Day

So I totally did not get my Dad some cookies made for actual Father's Day last Sunday. He lives 5 hours away from me but I get to see him tomorrow so I thought I would try to ask for forgiveness by making  him these cookies.

I love my Dad he is the best I could have asked for. He has worked hard all his life and is 80 years old and still working. He has had heart problem in the past decade but has made it through a few surgeries and is still taking care of his role of Patriarch of his huge posterity of 80+. I am so thankful he is here and hope to have many more years to come.

My Dad has worked so hard all his life he has been pretty much self employed most of his working life. He was the editor and chief of a local paper and owner of a print shop all of my life and then after selling the paper they continued on with a book and supply store that was started along the way. My father worked early in the morning until late at night. He was gone a lot but living in a small town was great because he would  come home for lunch often and was always home for dinner even if he had to go back to the "shop" after to get all the work done.

I have wonderful memories of having to stuff the "newspaper" with local ads every Wednesday and I am sure I complained about having to do that when I was young but I am so thankful for my father teaching me the importance of work and being responsible. Sadly in this day I think parents fail at those things because they want to give their kids what they didn't have but unfortunately that is not going to help them at all when they try to enter the workforce!

Two other memories I love of my dad is how he would read books to me and my younger brother at night before bed and laying out on the trampoline looking at stars.  Thanks Dad for being such a great example to me of how to live my life right and for all the love and support you have and continually give to me and my family. My kids love to go to Kanab to visit Grandma and Grandpa Brown and I am so grateful for the love that they have for them because I wanted them to love them even more than I do!!

My Dad lived in Hawaii for 2 years about 60 years ago while serving and LDS Mission there and he still loves to talk about Hawaii today. My parents have been able to go back a few times. He still is in contact with a man he taught all those years ago, which i think is amazing. Dad also still sports the Hawaiian shirt so this cookie is totally fitting.

Dad still enjoys playing tennis with is older brother on Saturday's. They take turns winning!!

And a couple of manly things my Dad has always done is take care of his yard, with the help of mom. Their lawn and garden are amazing! They live in 90-100 weather in the summer. Right now my grass is dying but I am sure their is green as can be.

My dad also loves to watch tennis, football, basketball and volleyball. Now that he is "semi" retired he gets to spend a lot of time watching sports on the television.

My Father can also fix pretty much whatever is needed to be fixed, he may not do so much anymore but he is still pretty handy and has even helped me with projects at my home! I think all 9 of his children have learned that if we don't know how to do something just try to figure it what, that is what your noggin is for.

I hope that my Dad enjoys these cookies, and hopefully he will share them with my kids on our road trip tomorrow because I told them he would! :o)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Butter Mints Patriotic Style

Yes another patriotic post. I am really not that patriotic but it's that time of year and what better way to show some patriotism then in sweets!

This would be an easy treat for 4th of July. But you may not want to bring them to an outdoor event as they are made of butter and can melt. I made them for some ladies I visit so it is a good thing to drop off to your friend or family to let them know that you care!

I have made these a few times at Christmas (in Christmas colors) and everyone was so impressed and thought I was amazing. But really these are the easiest things to make anyone could do it, including my husband and if he could do it, anyone can!!

I bought a candy cookbook , Sweet Confections by Nina Wanat nine or so months ago and the few things I have tried have been amazing. The cookie dough fudge is sooooo good!! You may not want to make it because you will eat it all!

Anyway I took a few pictures and put this little tutorial together for you.

All you do is combine the butter, powdered sugar, cream and mint extract in your mixer. Turn it on and mix it until it all comes together and clumps around the paddle. 

Take it out and divide it up into how ever many colors you want. (if only doing one color put coloring in to bowl while mixing) I use gel food color such as Americolor. Where gloves and tint your dough to desired colors by kneading and pulling.

Take smaller portions and roll it out to 1/2 diameter rope on a clean surface.

Use a knife and cut into half inch pieces.

Set out on a pan with parchment paper and let it dry out over night.

I also decided to do a patriotic twist.
Roll out same size of rope in all three colors.

Then mush together slightly and roll out again into longer rope.

Cut into pieces and lay on pan, dry overnight.

And you are done! Store in an airtight container, or just set them out and they will be gone in 30 minutes!

Butter Mints

by Nina Wanat - Sweet Confections
makes about 1 1/4 pound

4 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cream
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon mint extract
Food color as desired
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place powdered sugar, cream, butter, and mint extract in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on low with a paddle attachment until thoroughly combined. Increase the speed to medium, and beat until the mixture clumps around paddle. 
  3. Divide the resulting "dough" into batches, on batch for each color of mint you are making. Apply drops of food coloring to each bath,aiming for pastel colors. Knead one batch with gloved hands, until the color is uniform Wash the gloves, and repeat for each color.
  4. Roll the dough into 1/2 inch wide ropes, and then cut each rop into 1/2 inch long pieces. Arrange the peices on the prepared baking sheet so they don't touch each other. Let sit out uncovered overnight to dry. Store in an airtight container.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Firework Cookie (Tutorial)

Had to do some cookies and thought I would do something patriotic, since July will be here before I am ready. I turn 40 two days prior to the 4th and so this year July will come faster than I really want it to!

This is my first tutorial so forgive me if it is a little rough. These are simple to do. You can purchase a firework cookie cutter like this one or this one.

I did not have either of these but a leaf cutter will do just fine.

Here is the leaf cutter as you buy it.

All you have to do is just stretched it out a bit and voila! Don't worry just squeeze it back and you have your leaf again.
 Items needed:

  • White, Red, Blue 10-12 icing (or any colors you want, black looks cool to, looks more like night fireworks)
  • #2 tip
  • firework cookie or round cookie
  • toothpick or clean pin

Ring Version

  1. outline cookie
  2. flood cookie
  3. use wet on wet technique immediately add center color
  4. pipe red rings
  5. pipe blue ring
  6. place toothpick or pin in center of blue dots
  7. drag from center out edge, continue around cookie to make bursting form
Then pick up cookie and tap firmly on table or counter to help icing to smooth back out. (I used Karen's meringue powder butter-cream icing on these and it was a little too thick, but I usually use  a cookie crazies glaze, you can see the modifications I do to the recipe's here.

Dot Version

Round cookie Version

Great cookies to share for your patriotic BBQ, picnic or gathering coming up soon!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Out of the 37 nieces and nephews I have, not one of them is born in the month of June, crazy eh? So no n/n's cookie post this month.

So today I thought I would share what the kids and I did, we made homemade fruit popsicles. Our local Winco was having a big sale on fruits so I bought a bunch and we have been enjoying fresh berries and fruits all week. But I was afraid that some of the fruit was going to go bad, I know I could have just froze them but with the summer heat headed our way I figured the kids and I could make healthier, tasty versions of the frozen treat for the hot summer days.

I did not use a recipe just blended up different fruits, added Greek yogurt and milk to some and used bottled peaches and juice from my storage as sweetener. (I did add a little bit of raw sugar to the ones with yogurt cause they were a little too tart, could have used honey or agave but was to lazy to get out the honey)

I also strained the berry flavored ones so that my kids would not complain about the seeds.

** I updated this post with some recipes**

Yogurt Pops:
1 cup fruit cut up (whatever is in season, or your favorite combo)
1 cup Greek yogurt or yogurt, vanilla or flavor of choice (add a splash of milk if too thick to pour)
1 Tbs honey or sweetener of your choice

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Pour into Popsicle molds or use small paper cups like Dixie, put in your stick and freeze for at least 3 hours. Store in an freezer bag or airtight container.

Juice Pops:
1 cup fruit cut up
1 cup 100% fruit juice

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Pour into Popsicle molds or use small paper cups like Dixie, put in your stick and freeze for at least 3 hours. Store in an freezer bag or airtight container.

and this next one is a protein power pop

Chocolate Banana Power Pops:
1 banana cut up
1 cup water or milk
1 scoop chocolate protein powder

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Pour into popcicle molds or use small paper cups like Dixie, put in your stick and freeze for at least 3 hours. Store in an freezer bag or airtight container. You could also use vanilla powder and do all kinds of variations but I prefer the chocolate over the vanilla.

Some of the combos I did were.......

blackberry, raspberry, peach
strawberry, blueberry
mango, pineapple, peach
mango, blueberry

So if you want to make a healthier version of this frozen treat this summer you should! It's also a great activity to do with your kids, my son loved helping count out the cups and putting the sticks in.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

“Space, the final frontier." Lindsay's 1st voyage!

Lindsay's Birthday was last week and I got her cookies to her on time but I am so slacking on getting posts done lately.

Lindsay is the first born to my brother McKay, I mentioned him just a couple of weeks ago in Ella's post he has two lovely daughters that were born in May and I have done Abby's cookies back in March so only one left in that family to do. :)

Most memories I have of Lindsay she will not remember since she was under 4 years old when we hung out the most. I got the opportunity and privilege to live in the basement apartment of my brother and sister in law's home while I was attending college for a time. Something I am really grateful for and so glad they gave me a discounted price. :)

Now I shared a story before when Aunt Natalie was taking care of little ones on Brady's post. But the time I got to care for Lindsay was a little different. It went a lot smoother and I am sure that Lois, Lindsay's mother, was so grateful for that. I remember them calling me every night  to make sure things were OK with little Lindsay and I while they were having a little vacation in NYC.

Lindsay was a few months over a year old  at the time and I like to go to movies and so I thought well I will just take Lindsay with me to the movie, we need to have something to do. I had seen other people take their kids to the movies and I thought it should be no problem as long as she does not start screaming. Now that I am a mother I am wondering what in the world was I thinking 15 years ago. Taking an infant to the movie usually is no big deal cause they will sleep through the whole thing but when those babies get a little older it is near impossible to get them to be quite for 1.5 to 2 hours.

I know you are thinking well you probably took her to a Disney movie of some sort to keep her occupied by song and animated color.......................... Ummmmm NOPE!

I officially introduced my 1 year old old niece to the movie SCI-FI world and took her to see Contact starring Jodie Foster and Mathew McConaughey, a little film about contacting other places that has supposed extra terrestrial life but if I remember right she actually contacted her father who died when she was 9. Anyway I don't remember, I saw it only once and you don't care....right?
I don't know why I wanted to see this movie. Maybe it was because I enjoyed SCI-FI flicks, maybe I liked Mathew, maybe I liked Jodie Foster's acting, I can't remember. And why did I think Lindsay would enjoy it? Maybe I thought she would enjoy space because her father enjoys Star Trek, who knows!!

Anywho, Lindsay did amazing, she slept for a little bit and I gave her a bottle but at one point she was getting a little fussy so I just went to the side of the theater by the entrance hallway and just did the soothing bouncing thing. (If you are a parent you know what I am talking about) and it worked like a charm. In my book the movie going with a baby was a success. It became one of those moments that I thought, "oh man having kids is going to be a breeze!!".............. Yeah I know, silly single girl, who longs to be married and have kids. :)

So with that experience I am officially going to take credit of Lindsay's enjoyment all things SCI-FI and while I am at it I will take credit for her love of makeup and fashion as well. Look......I have evidence. I found these pictures to prove my influence on her at a young age.

OK, OK enough of me thinking that I am awesome! Let us focus on who really is awesome and that is Lindsay! She is a wonderful 16 year old that impresses me with her smarts, spirituality, friendliness and dedication to health and exercise. I wish I was as dedicated as this young woman is.

Here are her cookies........
Some lovely lipstick, nail polish and eye-shadow cookies to show her love of all things girly.

Lindsay turned 16 and her awesome Dad put zebra stripes on the old Subaru she gets to drive. I have not seen the real thing but I hope to soon, sounds awesome, what a cool dad! Seriously all I wanted when I was  sixteen was to have a car on my 16th birthday!

And here is something that I can not take credit for at all, I have no influence on Lindsay with her musical abilities, she must have got that from her Mom! Lindsay plays the violin quite beautifully and I got to hear her and her younger sister play in church on Easter Sunday.

The whole gang together. I did not take a single shot of the horse but Lindsay LOVES horses and animals, unfortunately she is allergic to cats and I think dogs but not horses. Lindsay also does the Vaulting sport that I highlighted in her sister, Abby's, post. Click here to see Lindsay doing some crazy stunt on a horse. She is the one who looks like she is being swung out from the horse on the left.

Happy Birthday Lindsay I hope you enjoyed the cookies and that you actually ate one, I made them healthy with part whole wheat flour and organic raw sugar! :)

** Disclaimer** - I do not actually think that I influence my nieces and nephews in anyway. They get all their wonderful qualities from their parents.....who just so happen to be my wonderful brothers/brother-in-laws & sisters/sister-in-law's! :o)

Carousel Cake

For my daughters third birthday a few weeks ago I had planned to make her a barbie cake since she has been liking barbies lately and she said that was what she wanted. Well about a month or two before her birthday in a week where I made a few to many trips to Michaels and Joann's my daughter spotted the Wilton Carousel Cake topper box and kept saying she wanted it.
So I looked to see how much it was and it was $24 for the just the plastic top, poles and horses and I was not going to spend that much money on it. I am cheap! Anyway I looked at the box and inspected it to see if I thought I could do it and thought I possibly could so when a 50% off coupon came available for JoAnn's I purchased the carousel topper.
Then I found this version of the Wilton cake on a website and started my planning from there.

Ok so I did not think it was going to take me two days to decorate this cake but it did indeed.

I did not want to use the colors they used on the box and in the picture I found, so I found my inspiration from a piece of scrap book paper.

How long did it take to color my fondant you ask? Well about 1.5 hours. I could not believe it, I had a hard time getting the dark pink color pink, and the purple was supposed to be the taupe color but I just gave up on it because my hands and arms where so tired of kneading the fondant! I learned that I should color my fondant the day prior but I did not have that luxury because I did not start until the day before my daughter birthday.

I made my own MMF (Marsh-mellow Fondant) because it taste so much better but my fondant was too soft. I needed way more powdered sugar kneaded into it but I was tired of adding to it so I gave up and started decorating. Here is the smoothed butter cream before adding the stripes.

It took another hour just to roll out and cut the strips of fondant to cover 3/4's of the cake. It would have been faster if my MMF would have been stiffer but these are things I need to learn right?

Since I spent all my time on the cake I made no dinner so we went to dinner and then got the kids to bed and then I stayed up to midnight to get to this point. I had also got the just the top of the topper done as well.

Saturday I finished it off about and hour or two before we celebrated by decorating the horses, and had my hubby help me attach all the balls to the topper edge.
It was finally all done.

My favorite shot.

The happy birthday girl who loved that cake!

Brother thought it was cool too!

And then it was time to cut it and I was seriously sad, I did not want to cut it after all the time I had put into it. Enter sad face. :o(

But the chocolaty cake was so good and so my sadness went away!!

My favorite part was the chocolate cake. My kids favorite part was of course the MMF balls that bordered the cake. They were downing them, it probably gave them a tummy ache!