Monday, July 30, 2012

Dallin: Recipient of Honorary Hogwarts Diploma

I have had almost two months off from doing cookies for the n/n's, I feel that my cookie decorating skills got a little rusty. But it was a nice break, and now I am getting back into it. I had two nephews here at the end of July and there are a few coming up in August and quite a few in September.

Dallin's birthday was last week and he is the fourth child of my brother Robert. He is another awesome nephew of mine, but of course they are all awesome.

Dallin is a very talented young man. I remember when I lived in South Carolina and got to visit his family, Dallin loved the opportunity to showcase his artistic abilities. He showed me many drawings and paintings that he had made and he definitely was very good at the young age of 9/10 years old.

His love of the arts it still apparent today. So I decided to dedicate his cookies to the arts.

First.... the comedy/tragedy drama masks. Dallin loves to dabble in acting and he even attended an acting school for a semester.

One of his favorite hobbies is watching movies, and all kinds of movies at that. So I did some movie reels to show his love of the silver screen. We just finished our home theater so anytime you want to come watch a movie Dallin, you are more than welcome to!!

His favorite movies are ones that he shares with his sister, Angela, and frankly his whole family. That is also another memory I have from my visits to South Carolina. All of the Southern Brown Family enjoyed the Harry Potter books. I remember them all reading and talking about how great they were. I think they are the ones that got me into reading them! Their love of the books naturally turned into a love for the movies, but I think that maybe, just maybe, that Dallin and Angela win the title of  Harry Potter SUPER FANS!

So I wanted to do some Ron, Harry and Hermione cookies for him.

And of course another tribute to the arts would be music. Dallin loves music and is a very talented piano player just like his sister Acacia.  So a couple of music notes in his favorite colors of blue and green are appropriate.

Another talent that this young man has, but I did not put into a cookie is his incredible fashion sense. His sister just older than him, and his sister just younger, have benefited by their awesome brother. He has been dressing them for the past few years and I must say he does a wonderful job. I really should hire him to dress me, but I am sure that I can't afford his fees. :o). Dallin used to work for Banana Republic, and I am sure that  his sisters miss his discount now that he works elsewhere. Seriously Dallin, I may hire you to come clothes shopping with me so you can make this 40 year old woman look classy. My husband does not want me to wear my slippers out of the house anymore! :)

Dallin has more talent in just one of his fingers than I have in my whole body, and I am really impressed by this multitalented man. I can't wait to see what he chooses to focus on in his adult life. I am sure that it will be impressive, and I sure hope that he continues to further his artisitic abilities so that othes can enjoy his many talents.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pimp My Jeep!

So in the last post I talked about the Baker's Cut-Up cake book. Well my kids like to look through it, and they were doing it one day and I saw this truck cake and I thought I would try to make it for my good friend Kelli for her birthday. She has a Jeep and she loves to go 4-wheeling. So this picture was my inspiration.

I did not have the correct pan size it called for so I just made a 9x13 and made my cuts from that. It turned out that it made a pimped out version of the Jeep! I used ding dong for the wheels to make it easier, they were a little too big, but the mini donuts were too small so the ding dongs kept up the pimped out look!

This also was my first time using ganache to cover the cake before covering it with fondant, and it worked out great.

I was going to be out of town on Kelli's birthday so I decided I would make it early, and I invited her and my other friends over for a movie night and then surprised Kelli with the cake.

I have known Kelli since 1998 when I was in college and needed a room to rent. I was looking through some wanted ads and found an ad that seemed good. When I called, Kelli answered and I told her I would like to come look at the house and room for rent. We set up a time and she said this to me. "If a girl named Trish answers the door just walk away!" I was wondering what the heck that was about, but went to the appointment anyway. I got there and Kelli answered the door and I took a tour of the house. I remember her showing me the whole house even her room and she had the whole The X-Files tv-series on video tape and that made me think she might be kind of a sci-fi geek. But I liked the place and felt good about living there.

Kelli quickly became a great close friend and we hung out a lot. I moved back east for a year, and then we became room mates again and then even bought townhomes next to each other. Kelli is the kind of person that would do anything for you. She has a very caring heart, and does not think about herself first which has upset me at times. Many times I had told her she needs to not always say yes. I am sure she has been better at doing that, but still to this day even after I have moved away for many years, and we don't hang out like we used to, she is willing to help me out in anyway she can.

Happy Birthday Kelli! Thanks for being a most spectacular friend this girl could ever have!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cake Inspiration

My baking and cooking comes from my Mom no question. In my eyes she is a Domestic Goddess. She is the person responsible for me wanting to cook and bake from scratch..... that is when I am  not being lazy.

I also remember this cake she made me one year.

I absolutely loved it, thought it was so cool. She also made a few more of the these cut-up cakes for some of my other siblings. So when I had my son I was determined to make a cute cut up cakes for him. The first two years I just kinda made them up and then I called my Mom and asked for the name of the book she had.

It was called Baker's Cut-Up Cake Party Book. She said she thought she got if free once for buying Baker's Coconut. In the book they use coconut to decorate the cakes. I went to the Internet searching for this book and I found two thank goodness to E-bay.

This was the original printed in 1973 and this is the one my Mom kept in a draw in the Kitchen. I remember looking through it at all the cake designs thinking they were awesome.

I also found this one printed in 1993 a little more updated and with some different designs.

Inside they have cake recipe's, icing recipe's, and directions on how to make the cake like this one called Monster Truck and I think it looks like a Jeep which was the inspiration for the cake I made my friend last week and I blog about it next.

I still make these cakes today although I usually don't do the whole coconut look and have tried one using fondant and it was a success.

Here are some pics of a few the birthday cakes I have made for my children that have been inspired and then tweaked from this book, they are pretty rough looking but my skills are getting better.



Monday, July 23, 2012

Happy Pioneer Day!

If you are reading this and you are not from Utah you probably don't know what Pioneer Day is... so here is a little history lesson courtesy of wikipedia......

Pioneer Day is an official holiday celebrated on July 24 in the state of Utah. It commemorates the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, where the Latter-day Saints settled after being forced from Nauvoo, Illinois Paradesfireworksrodeos, and other festivities help commemorate the event and the celebration is referred as The Days of '47.

While the holiday has strong links to the LDS Church, it is a celebration of everyone, regardless of faith and nationality, who emigrated to the Salt Lake Valley during the pioneer era, which is generally considered to have ended with the 1869 arrival of the transcontinental railroad.

So on with these cookies story. My cousin, technically my cousins daughter, I never know what that it officially called but when I just googled it it said that she would be my first cousin once removed. But seriously saying cousin if much easier. Anyway my cousin Camberly who lives in Colorado messaged me on Facebook and asked if I would make a couple dozen of cookies for her to take to their local Pioneer Day celebration. I said sure I could do it. She suggested wagons, wagon wheels, or bonnets. I choose to do the bonnets and the wheels.

I choose to do a royal icing transfer for the bonnets and I want it to have the gathered look to it. I was not sure how I would do that but while they the transfers were drying I indented one by accident and I thought that would be perfect to give it the gathered look and then I saw gingham cookies on Glorious Treats site a few months ago and thought they would looks so cute. My stencils stripes are more narrow though.

I have a friend in my neighborhood who is from the town my cousin lives in and they happened to be going over for the celebration so I just sent the cookies with her. I was grateful for that cause then I did not have to worry about them breaking in the shipping process. :o)

I also wanted to say that I have pioneer heritage and I am very grateful for their obedience and dedication to walk across the plains to settle here in Utah. They made many sacrifices and suffered ridicule and loss. I am pretty sure that if I lived back then I would have maybe made it through a week and then I would probably been kicked out because I would have just annoyingly been complaining all the time or would just die from exhaustion. :o)

Thanks Camberly for having trust in me, they were fun to do and I just love the pink bonnets!

Happy 24th of July!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Attention Biscoff Lovers!

I saw this a couple of weeks ago at My Baking Addiction's blog. I thought I have to try this out it is one of my husband favorite cookies. But I did not want the whole recipe in the house so I waited to make it for a women's summer social that my church held last night. It is yummy, if you like Biscoff you need to try it. And if you did not know that they make a Biscoff spread you are going to love it. My son was caught scooping it out with his fingers, it is that good! You can find the No Bake Biscoff Cheesecake recipe hereI used whipping cream instead of cool whip and it worked great!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

First Wedding Cake

A few weeks ago I got a message from a dear friend, KayLynn, from the old neighborhood we used to live in. KayLynn took care of my children during the time I left for work and my husband came home. She was amazing and willing to always help us out and my son loved her. I miss her dearly and wished we still lived close.

KayLynn's daughter was getting married and she wondered if I would do a small wedding cake. I asked my husband if I should do it since the few times I have made cakes I get a little crazy and all stressed out but I told him that I think I will be fine.

She sent me a couple of designs that they liked and I said I could do either but I also showed her a design I found in The Contemporary Cake Decorating Bible by Lindy Smith. I thought it would be cute with her colors and I have been wanting to try it out. They both liked it and so I went ahead with my preparations.

I made butter-cream flavored MMF and I LOVED it. I could just cut it up and eat it as candy.

I made a vanilla bean cake and did a raspberry cream filling on the bottom tier and a lemon cream filling on the top tier.

It was a little stressful as the day I was covering the cakes with fondant, the lovely weather decided to rain and be humid. I live in the dessert and humidity is something we usually never have and I think it made the fondant a little difficult to work with. But I powered through it.

I am so grateful to KayLynn for trusting me to do her daughters wedding cake especially since it was my first wedding cake ever!!

They added their own flowers to the top and here is a picture they sent of the displayed cake.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mia's Birthday

My good friend asked me to make a birthday cake for her daughters 5th birthday. I was flattered. First we talked about doing a Disney Princess cake but she saw the dog and cat cakes I had made previously this year and since Mia loves her dog so much she decided to do the duo.

This is the third time I have made this adorable duo but this time we get a black dog and grey kitty.
I just love the tails. :)

I made a chocolate cake and used "The best frosting I've ever had" to fill and ice the cake. It seriously is so yummy especially paired with chocolate cake!

My friend said that Mia tried to eat the animals but they were too hard. I used gum paste this time, I felt bad after she told me that cause I could have just used fondant and she probably could have eaten it. But she said they put them in a bog cause Mia wanted to keep them.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kickin it with the Kaufman's

I got to go to Victor & Driggs Idaho as well as Alta Wyoming a couple of weekends ago to go to a family reunion for my mother's side of the family.

I had not been for a few years so I was excited to be able to go and to enjoy some cooler weather than the 90-100 degrees we are having here. My mom is the only one out of her 8 siblings that moved far away from her family. 10 hours south is a long drive and so we got to visit my mom's side of the family once a year while I was growing up.

It would have been nice to go more often but my dad was self employed and having 9 kids of their own making the 10-12 hour trip north was probably not a luxury that my parents could afford. So I am grateful now when I do get to go to spend a couple of hours visiting with my extended family.

Now days we get together on a weekend around my Grandmothers birthday which was around the end of June. We always gather at my Uncle Jerry's home who has a beautiful big back yard. Cousin Roger always cooks up the most delicious meat and everyone brings a dish to share.

I figured that I should make some cookies and I wanted to bring something that I hoped my Idaho family would enjoy. There are plenty of cowboy boots worn in those parts and the Tetons are a wonderful site to see. So I made come boot and Teton cookies and then some K's for Kaufman of course!!

These were fun to make. The mountain peaks and striped K were my favorites.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th!

Quickly made some star cookies for a my sister's annual water fight/BBQ.

Trying out a different cookie recipe and used good old butter-cream frosting!

Happy 4th of July to all and don't light anything on fire!