Sunday, July 12, 2015

Making it work

Todays post is all about making all things possible even when you don't have the right tools.
For me as a cake decorator it is all about the client. Their wants and needs to make the celebration special. It is all about them, and at the end of the day my job is to create the cake as close to their expectations as possible.

When making and decorating the cake I take into consideration all the tools and equipment I might need. I'm not sure about the rest of you bakers but I do not have every single tool and gadget out there. It would be impossible. So this is where I improvise as best I can without sacrificing quality.

For instance I took 2 (Two) orders for a Bridal Shower cupcake cake. Funny how I had never done one of these before and all of a sudden I had two requests in a week. Having seen many on the internet (pinterest) I set out to make mine with just a bit of my own unique spin on them.

I decided the dress should have some extra jewelry beside the bling sash. Now because I do not have an excess of funds nor do I believe in on hit wonders I set out to make my own pearl necklace and brooch with what I had on hand. Oh! and of course they had to be edible.

Taking some old fondant and a favorite pin I proceeded to make my own mold by placing the pin in the fondant and placing it in the freezer for 5 min or so. I then popped the pin out viola my own mold. I then placed some fondant in the mold, placed that in the freezer for 5  more minutes and viola! I had a brooch I could use for my cake. The pictures below will give you the visual.

 The necklace used about 35 fondant balls (depending on the size of your necklace) and measured approx. 12" long before the end decoration. I even made earring to match. See the pictures below for a simple tutorial. I took simple sewing thread and made my necklace. the earring were free form.

so there you have it. Making it work with what you've got and all things are possible.

Until next time eat well. live well

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy 2015


Happy New Year everyone! May we all have a blessed healthy happy 2015.

 I know it has been quite a few months since I have even written or thought about my blog; 7 months to be exact. What with the new year and all I thought this would be a good time as any to restart writing, sharing... whatever it is we do on our blogs.

 I have been blessed this past year as far as cake and catering orders. Just enough clients to keep me happy baking and out of trouble. I did a few birthday cakes as well as anniversary, graduation, bridal shower and everything else in between. Soooooooooo instead to make a long story endless I just figured I would post a few of the pictures and leave it at that. One of my new year resolutions was to pay attention to my blog to look here for future posts on anything and everything food.

These are just a few of my favorites look for more from me in 2015.
Until then eat well live well.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Minion Cake

Just wanting to share a cake I made for my niece's birthday. She is such a fan of the minions and Despicable Me that all she wanted was a cake of Tim or Kevin her two favorite characters.

Loving a challenge I jumped right in and volunteered to make this for her, even though I had never made a character cake. I shy away from them as you need to get them spot on as everyone knows that the character looks like. Having said that I decided to give it a go.

I baked 3 layers of 6" cake then in a stainless steel bowl placed some batter in, that would be the top of his head. Good stacked and buttercream coated we were off and running. I will mention that I stuck a skewer right in the middle of the cake being sure to go all the way to the bottom; this would give stability to the cake and make sure that even if it swayed a bit it would not topple over.

Now it was time for the hard or more difficult task. Covering and decorating this cake. I had watched tutorial after tutorial on making a minion cake and felt ready to tackle the task. I rolled, covered, stuck down and glittered everything I was supposed to and after 6 1/2 hours we I had a minion cake I was proud of. See if you do not agree.

I took pictures and keep looking at it. He is just so darned cute. I am hoping my niece is happy with her cake. (I trust she will be). It was truly made out of blood sweat and love.

So here he is my Minion Cake.

Hope you like him . Feel free to leave a comment below

Until tomorrow eat well. Live well

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Home made Granola

Ok I'm in. Home made granola a deliciously delightful treat, snack, meal .......
I had seen this  recipe via Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) and thought wow that looks delicious and really easy to make. So when I was asked to include some granola in a wedding breakfast basket I thought here is my chance to use the recipe.

It is easy, a one pot wonder as we say because all the ingredients go into one bowl then you bake it in 1 pan and 45 minutes later you have this great granola that you can put in your cereal mix into your yogurt or just put in a baggie and you have an instant snack.

Thank you Ina Garten you have done it again.

Please note that the add ins can be suited to your particular tastes. Add or subtract the fruit, nuts as you wish.

Here is how it all comes together


4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

2 cups sliced almonds

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup good honey

1 1/2 cups small diced dried apricots

1 cup small diced dried figs

1 cup dried cherries

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add the apricots, figs, cherries, cranberries, and cashews. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container

Delicious! Enjoy! if you make this please leave me a comment saying how much you enjoyed it and if you changed any of the ingredients.

Until tomorrow eat well, live well

Butternut Squash Mashed Potatoes

Still on the hunt for new and different vegetable side dishes. Something that does not include roasting or steaming (not that there is anything wrong with either method).

Looking through my refrigerator full of veggie choices I picked up a Butternut Squash and thought mashed potatoes, that's different. Something I hardly ever make since I am not a big potato fan (I much prefer rice as a starch). I believe I'm on to something so lets get started.
Here is what you will need:

1 butternut squash peeled deseeded and diced
1 diced red onion
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 apple (I used a pink lady but any firm cooking apple will do) peeled and diced
salt -pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tbsp. poultry seasoning
4oz. Colby jack cheese shredded
1/2 cup chicken broth
Start by sautéing the onion and garlic in a small bit of oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook until soft and translucent. Set aside to cool. In the meantime place butternut squash in a pot of water and boil until soft (about 10 minutes). At about the 8 minute mark toss in the diced apple and continue cooking. I wanted the apple to cook but still retain just a bit of its crunch. Drain the butternut squash apple mixture then return to the pot.

Add the onion garlic mixture, ginger and poultry seasoning.

With a emersion blender puree the mixture. Add up to 1/2 cup of chicken broth if the squash is too thick. I did not puree the mixture smooth I like a bit of texture to my "mashed potatoes" but that is entirely up to you. Make it as smooth or as chunky as you like.

Now fold in most of the cheese (leave a bit for topping.) until it is melted. Place in a baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and if you like add a little bit of bread crumbs to the topping as well.

Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for 15-20 minutes just until the cheese melts and get a bit golden.

Now I did not get a picture of the finished product as my family dug in before I could snap one but you get the idea.

It turned out to be a hit. Soft and creamy yet still with a bit of texture as the apples were a little crisp and there were some chunks of squash.  I was pleased as I attained a delicious healthy dish without adding a bit of butter or cream. Score one for me. Oh and I was pretty pleased with myself because I had found yet another new use for Butternut Squash.

Hope you give this one a try. If you do please leave me a comment saying that you did and if you enjoyed it as much as my family did.

Until tomorrow eat well, live well

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pizza de Broccoli Rabe and Prisutto

Today's post is all about America's favorite food. Yes, I am talking pizza. Personally, (I know you are all going to think me crazy) but I do not really like pizza. Never eat it order it or even think about it.
I am not sure when this hate-hate relationship with pizza began but it has been with me for at least 45 years or so.

Don't get me wrong, I love pizza dough, sauce, cheese and any or all the topping one might put onto a pizza, just not all together. There is something about the combination that leaves me, well with a bad stomach. I don't care who makes it I just don't like it.

Having said that I was in Italy for quite a few years and while I was there I must admit I did have pizza a few times. Over there the pizza crust is paper thin the toppings are sparse and the Italians eat their pizza with a fork and knife. I was swayed a bit but not to the degree where I could say I had found a new love in eating pizza.

But I digress as we are talking about the love of pizza. Here is a pizza I came up with filled with all my favorite things. Broccoli Rabe, prisutto and cheese. How could you go wrong. Its basically a broccoli rabe sandwich so whats not to love.

Here's what you need:
1 store bought pizza dough (or your favorite home made recipe)
5 oz. Philadelphia Italian cheese & Herb cooking cream
1 small head sauted broccoli rabe
1 tbs olive oil (for broccoli rabe sauté)
2 cloves garlic chopped (for broccoli rabe sauté)
Salt –pepper (for broccoli rabe sauté)
4 oz. Italian prosciutto
4 oz. pignoli nuts
1-2 tbs olive oil (for drizzle on pizza)

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees
In a skillet saute broccoli rabe with 1tbsp olive oil & 2 cloves chopped garlic salt and pepper until wilted. Set aside to cool.
Spread pizza dough out to fit a 12 pizza pan.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Layer (frost) 5 -6 oz. cooking cream onto pizza crust
Top with broccoli rabe, prosciutto and pignoli nuts.
Place in 500° oven 10 min cooking until dough is crisp and browned.

What you will have is the crispiest most delicious pizza that will convert any pizza hating critic.
Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
Leave me a comment letting me know if you tried this,

Until tomorrow eat well, live well.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Stuffed Acorn Squash Cups

Today's post  is all about breaking out of the same old same old veggie side dishes for dinner. Getting in the produce aisle and looking for inspiration.  These cute acorn squash just jumped out and said "pick me pick me!"  I couldn't resist  thinking I could use them as individual little vessels for a meal. They are just the right size for a single serving, and their cup like shape would hold just about anything I wanted to stuff into them. Yup they were coming home with me.

 Here are the ingredients I put together for their filling. You can modify any or all the ingredients to suit your needs. Even add some ground meat to the mix and viola! An entire meal in one fell swoop. Don't we  love that being as busy as we all are these days. I love to cook but sometimes I do not want or have the time to spend all day in the kitchen.

2 small acorn squash
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 onion ,diced
1/2 stalk celery, small diced
handful of fresh or frozen cranberries and raisins
salt, pepper, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon to taste (I hardly ever measure these ingredients)

Sautéed the garlic, onion and celery until just translucent. Set aside.
Onto those cutie squashes. Cut the tops off  the squash and save to the side. I also removed a bit of the bottom (so they stand flat in the baking dish).Remove the seeds and any membrane. Hollow out so you have a nice well so to speak where you can place your stuffing mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Any extra squash meat can be chopped up and tossed into the stuffing mixture.

Now return your cooked veggies back to the stovetop and add the cranberries, raisins, seasonings and because I thought it would be extra delish added some par cooked rice. Heat through just until the cranberries start to pop and everything starts to come  together as one.
Cool the stuffing mixture  so you can handle it and divide equally among the acorn squash.

Don't they look great. Now add a bit of water to the bottom of the baking dish, cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. You can check doneness by piercing the side of the squash with a knife. If it slides in easily they are good to go.

Hope you try this soon. Leave me a comment and let me know if you did.

Until tomorrow eat well, live well

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