Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Yule Log

 I was on a small baking frenzy this last week, I think it is just about over!  Anyway I had to make a dessert for our church Christmas party.  I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, and then I just got an inspiration to make a Yule Log.  One of my sons is always asking for that "rolled up kind of cake", which is a lot of work, that I don't usually have the time or energy for, but I was in the mood this day.  We had seen a beautiful Yule log cake in a bakery a week or two ago, and I noticed the cute little mushrooms on it, which I didn't realize was a traditional part of the Yule Log decorating... Anyway after I got my inspiration to try one of these, I started googling recipies and came
 across several interesting ones.  Martha of course had the mushroom recipe.  I didn't really search anywhere else as her recipe was pretty clear and concise, and not a tremendous amount of work!  I didn't like her cake recipe so I used a different one from Easy French Foods.  The Yule log is a traditional french Christmas dessert and can be decorated many ways, including santas, or dancing elves atop the log.  I didn't have any dancing elves on hand, so I opted for the mushrooms.  I thought they came out pretty realistic looking.  Merry Christmas!
Here are the mushrooms before going into the oven.  Once they are dry you simply spread melted chocolate on the bottom of the cap, and add a stem.  I cooled them upside down in an egg carton till I needed them.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Meet Kissing Bunnies Cloth

I recently talked with Michelle of Kissing Bunnies Cloth.  I was really interested to know about using fleece for diaper covers, etc.  She makes some really cute fleece longies as well as diapers and other items in her Etsy shop.  She first started using fleece as she has a wool/lanolin allergy.  It works and is waterproof because it is made from polyester, the weave is so tight that it is both waterproof and breathable. The pattern she uses  is from  Christine Stevens, another etsy mom.  Michelle says, "  I really like her longie pattern because it is slim on the legs and still allows the child to wear a cloth diaper or none at all."  After trying many types of diapers and doing some embroidery (so much that her machine died!), Michelle discovered fleece longies, she says they make fantastic all day pants, or overnight pants.  

Michelle has been sewing for a long time, and started sewing diapers when her little man was about 4 months old.  A back injury has kept her from doing many things that she used to, so sewing has become her way of keeping busy while staying at home with her children.  I like how she puts it, "I sew almost everyday, it is kinda like my zen. Keeps me calm and rational with my back issue and my lack of movement.  My body may be much quieter than it once was but my heart will just not let me stop. Got to keep busy somehow! This is my solution."

Michelle now sells exclusively on Etsy and at craft fairs. I asked her what she loves about selling her creations,
she replied, "I love that people buy my items. I really love that people sometimes find me and come back to see what else I have made. I love being able to stay home with my little man and keep him out of daycare, and still supplement my fabric stash. " 

 Please check out her fleece longies, wrap diapers and all her different creations in her Etsy shop Kissing Bunnies. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Painting on Cakes Using Luster Dust

When I started the idea for this post, I was actually going to blog about the cake recipe, but I had so much fun decorating the cake, that I decided to switch it up and talk about the decorating.  I will give you the link to the recipe however, as this is one of the best cake recipes I have made, and I make a lot of cakes!  The cake itself is chocolate with a terrifically pallet pleasing salted caramel frosting.  This may sound like a bit of work, and it did take a little extra time, but the flavor of this frosting is worth the effort.  This blog has great pictures of the frosting making process, but the recipe is found here at Blackberry Farm.

So on to my cakes...  I discovered using luster dust several years ago while poking around at the bakery supply store. I am not really much of a cake decorator, but I like to experiment with new cake or cookie decorating ideas.  A friend had actually won an amazing fondant covered cake at an auction while we were out of town, it had polka dots on it that were iridescent gold.  She bought it for a birthday cake for someone, and in traveling back home some of the polkas got smudged.  I have this philosophy that I can fix anything, so I told her I would fix it. this is what led to my trip to the bakery supply.  The sweet lady that runs the shop told me you simply mix the dust (made from some undefined powdery sparkly wonderful substance) with some kind of alcohol; she suggested vodka, but use whatever you have on hand.  Then paint it on your fondant, or frosting.  When the alcohol evaporates, you have a slightly sparkly luster dust design on your cake or cookie.

I used a salmon pinkish colored dust and an apple green for this cake and the little cake for my sweet at the end of post.  I just mixed with a few drops of my little travel size vodka bottle, that I hide with my baking supplies, so no one drinks it, and started painting on a viney design with pink blobs that were supposed to look kind of like rose buds!  After finishing the painting I sprinkled pixie dust all over the cake, just to give it a fun, magical fairy tale look.  The pixie dust, also known as Disco Dust and the Lusters are manufactured by CK Products

The painting on the cake was pretty straight forward, I noticed it was easier and the colors came out stronger if the dust mix was a little on the thick side. The more vodka the thinner and lighter the color would appear.
I made the big cake in the pictures, but I also made my GB her own personal cake for her one year birthday celebration.  

Now on to the best part, getting to see that little rose bud eat her cake....


Monday, December 12, 2011

Meet CarpeDiemTreasures

I like to review Etsy shops when I can, so today I want to introduce you to CarpeDiemTreasures.  I love all things vintage, and as I was shopping for something on Etsy I happened upon their shop.  There was a vintage item that I just had to buy, but not in the sense you would imagine.  While stocking many amazing vintage items, CarpeDiem also creates pendants from vintage sheet music, maps or any other interesting vintage paper item.  The pendant I saw happened to have the word Winter in a piece of old sheet music, and I couldn't resist buying it for a friend as that is her last name.  

CarpeDiemTreasures has wonderful service, great communication and not only that, but my pendant arrived in a sweet little hand made origami box.  I didn't even have to gift wrap it, I just handed my friend the box.  They are a mother daughter vintage loving team, and have many vintage items as well as their recently added handmade section with origami pieces and pendants from vintage maps . Check it out!

Find them on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter. happy shopping!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Healthy Recipes - Avocado Pear Salad

My wonderful mother in law is here visiting for the Thanksgiving Holidays, we were in the kitchen, having a good time, making chicken pot pie with Thanksgiving leftovers and drinking tea.  As I perused through the fridge for something to go with this yummy cold weather meal, I noticed the fridge was a little bare.  I dug further and grabbed out a few ingredients, 5 to be exact, and made this amazing salad.  We just celebrated Thanksgiving, but the beautiful greens and subtle reds of this salad fit right in with Christmas.  We found it a delightful blend of fruit and tart, I hope you like it too.

Avocado Pear Salad

1 Avocado sliced and diced into bite sized pieces
2 Ripe Pears sliced and diced into bite sized pieces
5 Green Onions chopped
1 Cup (approximately) Crazins
Briannas New American Salad dressing to taste

That's it!  Just mix all these things together and chill for a bit while your dinner cooks, and serve it up with your meal!