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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!!

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