Friday, November 25, 2011

How about some Pie & Dinosaurs

Yeah, I know that doesn't go together, but that's how my week has gone this week. It's Thanksgiving and I have been blessed with two Mom's who enjoy cooking and let me be part of it, one of them from birth, one of them by choice. I have learned over the years to listen to everything they tell me about cooking and also about life. You remember those teenage years when nothing they said made sense. You thought you knew more than them, besides how could they know what it was like to be a teenager. Now it warms my heart to stand beside them in the kitchen and relive memories I had as a kid. Both of my Grandmother's have gone to live in Heaven, but both of their houses bring back some of the fondest memories of my childhood. One Grandmother was always cooking and I spent many days and nights at her house, the other Grandma liked to have fun, and the days and nights spent at her house were less frequent, but none the less special. I remember the smells, the tastes, even the feel of their hands. It's amazing how a smell in a grocery store can take you back 25 years. This week all of these things have come rushing back to me. I spent the day in the kitchen with my mom and my 18 month old daughter. I kept thinking the entire time about Sophie and how these are the moments that have made me who I am, and that I'm shaping her life just like my mom has done mine. It was so very special to have those moments, both with Mom and with Sophie, and I can't wait for those many more years of memories to be made.

Sorry, I'm digressing a little bit, I guess just feeling a little thankful for everything that I have. So, back to Pie and Dinosaurs. A friend of mine contacted me a few weeks ago and asked me to do some cupcakes for her grandson's birthday. If I haven't said it before, I'm saying it now, I love doing cupcakes, especially for little kids! I love the look on their faces when they see them for the first time, it just warms my heart. So I agreed to make cupcakes for her. One thing, they had to be Gluten Free. You see little Austin who is turning 3, has Celiac Disease. I had made gluten free cupcakes before, but not by request from someone, basically because I just wanted to see how they tasted (and they tasted pretty darn good). So this was the week. I had the cupcakes baked, and was ready to start decorating. She asked for blue & green decorated cupcakes and told me that he liked Dinosaurs. So after doing the Monster High cupcakes last week I decided to do the dinosaur ones basically the same way. Here's what we ended up with.

I made Gluten Free Chocolate and Gluten Free Strawberry.  They are iced with Vanilla Buttercream and topped with Royal Icing Discs. Now that I have learned this technique, I am totally using it for everything!! (thanks Mighty Morgan!) So the Dinosaurs were a hit!

Now, onto Pie. I have been contemplating what I'm going to do for my upcoming Christkindle Market at The Winery at Versailles. When I called to get info about it the lady told me it was a German Christmas market where you can find all kinds of unique and special gifts for your home and for friends and family. Hmm. Unique?  Are cupcakes unique enough? That's what I keep asking myself. So I've been researching different things to do with cupcakes (hence the sudden influx of cake pops). So today I started looking into this again, and came across something a little different than cupcakes. Pie. In a jar. Yep, that's right! Baked right in a jar. Well I couldn't resist that so after raiding my pantry for pie filling, canning jars, and calling everyone in my family trying to find my Grandmother's Pie Crust recipe I settled with one I found online and got to cooking. I decided to start with a few to see just how difficult they were (from the sarcasim sensed in the blog post I was reading, I wasn't really sure how well this was going to turn out!) I mixed up the crust, cleaned the jars, buttered the insides, filled them, carefully tried to make dough tops like they so elequently had done online, needless to say mine didn't end up looking anything like theirs, and in the oven they went! As they were baking I kept thinking to myself, these don't look so great. I sure hope they taste better than they look. Out of the oven they came, bubbling over with cherry pie filling goodness. I could hardly wait for them to cool before diving in to see how they tasted. All I can say, is I think I have added pie cups to my menu!! They were amazing! Not too pretty to look at, but I didn't really care!! I can work on that part!

Don't they look like they are just oozing with goodness!! Oh believe me they are!!

So that's my week so far. From Dinosaurs to Pie it's been a pretty good week. I have had a great time with my family and friends and tomorrow is another day full of cooking and spending time with my family. I hope all of you have had a very Happy Thanksgiving! See you next week!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Frosty the Snowman

I figured after my last post that I had this cake pop thing figured out. So it's time to experiment! I used a white cake, buttercream frosting, and white chocolate to create Frosty the Snowman cake pops. I saw a picture online similar to these as cupcake toppers and decided to do it as a cake pop instead. This was one of the first few that I did. He didn't turn out quite as good as I had hoped, but I figured for a first time, at 10:00 at night, with a 6 year old hovering over me they looked pretty decent. Besides, the girls at work that sample them really don't care what they look like! I'm sure there will be many more to come!!

Isn't he cute with his little scarf blowing in the wind!

Keep checking back, I've got a few more cake pop ideas in mind!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ta Da!!!

It's finally happened! I've finally gotten something to work that I have been struggling with for months! I've tried and tried and tried with no success. It's been a long, messy, chocolatey road, but finally it worked! I present... The Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cake Pop!!!  TA DA!!!
 Now I have to give credit where credit is due. I wouldn't have succeded at this without a new website/blog that I came across last week while trying to find decorating ideas for some cupcakes I did recently. The writer of the blog is known as Mighty Morgan at  Her creations are amazing! To say the least! She has done some cake pops recently from candy left over from Trick or Treat so I decided to try the same. And what an amazing idea! Following her direction I decided to take on cake pops one more time. And with much success! I'm so happy that these turned out, I'm almost tempted to make some more just to start decorating them! I just have to show you some more!!

I was trying to make Rudolph and his reindeer, however, I realized I did not have any pretzels for antlers. So next time, you'll have the Reindeer too!

So now it's time for me to start raiding Aiden's candy bag and see what else I can come up with! I can't wait to see, and taste!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

When Opportunity Knocks

I can't believe it's been almost two months since I last posted on here. Obviously alot has been going on. After having a very successful year at the Sidney Farmers Market I decided to take some weekends off and spend it at the toddler gymnastics class at the "Y" with Sophie. This past weekend was my first big weekend back at it. It never fails, you hope and pray for busy weeks, and nothing, but then you know you have a busy weekend coming up and everything hits all at the same time! I have been planning this past weekend for the Sidney Charity League Christmas Bazaar for 6 months. I had no idea how many cupcakes to plan for since I had never been to the Christmas show before. From what everyone told me, it's huge and I should plan on a very large crowd. So with a little bit of help I prepared 26 dozen cupcakes. Yes, 26 dozen, that's 312 cupcakes! I thought that I was ready, had everything planned, had time to get them all prepared.

Then the phone rang. It was Wednesday afternoon.

You see I had gotten information about a Christmas Show at The Winery at Versailles and had called and planned on setting up for the show December 3rd. Little did I know that phone call would lead to an even greater opportunity. Later on that day I got another call from The Winery, asking if I make cakes or tortes. If any of you know me, you know that I do not do cakes! In fact I'm horrible at them! Just ask my husband. I regretfully told the lady this and figured that would be the end of the conversation. Not the case. They had a dinner event planned for Friday and Saturday night and their dessert caterer had cancelled on them. They needed 65 Chocolate Tortes by Friday night. Did I mention I don't do tortes or cakes. To my surprise she asked me if I would be able to do Chocolate Torte Cupcakes. Well I must have been delusional because I excitedly replied, "Absolutely!" "No problem at all"! Friday?! You mean this Friday? Two days away Friday? The Friday that I have 312 cupcakes to get ready?! Yep! That was the one! I replayed the conversation in my head as I Goggled "Chocolate Torte Cupcakes". Yes, I use Google for everything! I found 5 different recipes. For someone who has never had a Chocolate Torte, this was taking a shot in the dark. But as a great friend of mine always says, "What could go wrong?" I was ready, I could do this. I've got 24 hours to pull this off. Oh yeah, did I mention I had to have them ready by 7:00 am on Friday morning? And I have 312 cupcakes to have ready for Saturday? I can do this.

The chocolate cupcake part I was comfortable with. I can do cupcakes, no problem. It was the chocolate mousse filling I was concerned with. I consulted my mom, and proceeded with what I thought was going to work. Who knew that making chocolate mousse was such a time consuming process. I finished the first batch and thought to myself, "Boy, I hope I don't have to do that again anytime soon." Little did I know that I would be doing it all over again 30 minutes later when I was 6 cupcakes short of chocolate mousse filling. There actually was a point where I thought I may be able to scrape enough off of the already done cupcakes to put it on the 6 that were still naked. That's just how tired I was at that point. It was 11:30 pm on Thursday night. Did I mention that I had to have the cupcakes ready at 7:00 am the next morning, have myself ready for work, have Aiden ready for school, and have Sophie ready for the sitters by 7:00 am too? And it's 11:30 pm.  It's going to be a long night! So I got my 2nd batch of mousse made (definitely not as good as the first) but it will work. I dressed the cupcakes and was still considering at 1:00am Friday morning how to top them. You know how you get a brilliant idea in your head. You can picture it, and then when you try to do it, it just won't work? Well that was me at 1:00am Friday morning. I had this awesome idea for what to do on top, and when I did 4 cupcakes and realized it wasn't going to work, I gave up. Now what? I compromised with a simple top and finished up the 66 cupcakes just before 2:00 am. I went to bed thinking, this is all happening for a reason. I wouldn't have been given this opportunity if it weren't supposed to happen. I knew that getting my name out there, especially through a very well known business, was important if I wanted this business to continue. I figured even if I get a few calls out of this it would be worth it. I tucked my cupcakes into their boxes and off to bed I went. Four hours later, I was up, dressed, kids ready, cupcakes packed and delivered. I thought to myself, that wasn't too bad :o)

So now it's a waiting game. My business cards were given out to 65 new people. Let's just hope that those 65 people make the long night all worth it!

There's a saying, "No rest for the weary." Ultimately means that no matter how tired or overworked you are, you must keep going to persevere. Definitely the definition I'm living by!

Oh, and yes, I got the 312 cupcakes done for Saturday and the 3 dozen Monster High cupcakes done for Sunday. So now, it's time to rest. At least until the phone rings again!!