Sunday, November 28, 2010

Quick and Easy Holiday Decorating tip

You are probably busy, running around all day, working, trying to get everything on your "To Do" list accomplished. With Christmas quickly approaching there just doesn't seem to be enough time to do everything. Christmas quickly coming up also mean you or someone you know is probably doing a lot of holiday baking.

I don't know about you but I bake when I am stressed. I'm guessing for others, baking is stressful. So if your boyfriend/girlfriend/in-laws/other miscellaneous family or friends are visiting and you want to impress them with wicked baking skills all you need is a tub of frosting and some sprinkles. Oh sweet sprinkles. How you can make anything look festive. 

What you need: 
Sprinkles, any shape, color size depending on the holiday or your mood
A tub of frosting an flavor
homemade cupcakes or cookies OR store bought or cookies  

See this sad,pathetic cupcake? He is all naked and vulnerable and DANG IT! He doesn't like it one bit! 

So mister cupcake, this is what we will do. COVER YOU IN SPRINKLES!
I feel the holiday spirit blooming already. 

There are so many varieties of sprinkles. I had no idea. When I was little my parents only bought the colored sugar. I never knew about the delightful world of sprinkles. There are all sorts of colors of jimmies like the one pictured above. Really, you could find any shade you desired if you looked hard enough.

There are sprinkles shaped like snowflakes. I feel like I'm in a blizzard of sprinkles.

Here is the standard colored sugar. There are so many colors available. Red and green (and white if you so choose) make this ordinary cupcake extraordinary and christmas like.

You can smear a cookie, store bought, homemade or semi-homemade with some frosting and throw on some nonpareils! What exactly are "pareils" and why can't these little guys be them? Just doesn't seem fair. 

There are these large confetti sprinkles just hoping to help some poor old Scrooge feel the Joy of the Holidays with their giant size and colorful appearance. 

And finally here are some festive red jimmies, some white stars and green tree sprinkles. 
It's so festive it makes me want to slap a clown carrying christmas presents. I don't really know what the means but thats not the point. The point is, they turned the plain cupcake into a christmas extravaganza in a mere 2 seconds. 

No need to stress over doomed christmas baking! Just buy some sprinkles, and slather on a good layer of store bought or homemade icing and cover that sucker with sprinkles and everyone will think you are a baking genius. 

Bake it Pretty has a fantastic selection of sprinkles and other baking goods. I'll probably end up in the poor house because of them but at least they will be able to stay in business.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Peppermint Bark!

Tis the Season for lots of candy, chocolate and baked goods. I am making peppermint bark cookies later so I decided to make my own peppermint bark. (Just an FYI, I just got a new camera after an unfortunate accident with the washing machine and I went a little crazy taking pictures of the peppermint bark.)

Also I used Almond bark for the bottom layer so that it would set nice and hard. You don't have to do this, you can temper your bottom layer of chocolate or just keep the final product in the fridge so it won't get too soft. 


5 Candy Canes (I used 3 red and white and 2 red, green and white just for some extra color)
16 oz Almond Bark or baking chocolate
16 oz White chocolate chips

You will also need:
A double boiler and a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Begin by crushing up the candy canes, I took 2 of the red and white candy canes and crushed them up to a really fine powder. 

Then I crushed 2 of the candy canes with green in them and 1 red and white candy cane into large chunks.

Then using a double broiler melt the chocolate. Be sure to not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl, do not let the water boil - we want a simmer and to stir the chocolate! 

Once it's all melted, throw in candy candy cane powder. Stir it around then pour on to the cookie sheet and spread out in an even layer. Pop it into the freezer for 20 minutes to let it set.

Once the chocolate is set, begin melting the white chocolate. When it begins to melt, stir constantly and for the love of all that is chocolate, avoid burning. 

Then pull the chocolate out of the freezer and carefully pour the white chocolate over it and smooth it out. I was impatient and melted my white chocolate too soon so when I was ready to pour it, the chocolate hadn't set yet so they marbled a little. But it's ok! It just makes it even more pretty. 

After you have an evil even layer of white chocolate over the chocolate, sprinkle the crushed, colorful candy canes. Place in freezer for about 30 minutes then move to fridge until set.

Once it is completely set, break it apart and store in an air tight container.
P.S. I used a smaller cookie sheet, which resulted in thicker hunks of peppermint bark but thats ok too because I'm cutting it up for chunks in a cookie. 

Check out the awesome pictures. Told you I went crazy with my camera. 


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's not food! But... its cute!


I knitted it as a birthday gift, which was much loved! 
its a cupcake with a cherry on top.

So... I don't have a recipe, or I should say pattern (as i'm suppose to call it).  I did this with cream colored yarn and  a combo of speckled pink and fluff pink yarn.  EVERYTHING WAS KNITTED USING STOCKINETTE STITCH.

I dont have a pattern to give out because I didn't make it with a pattern but you can find patterns out there on other sites, such as.... Knitted Cupcake pattern
Bittersweetblog- knitted and crochet patterns
Littlecottonrabbits- free decoration pattern
knitforyourlife- free pattern

BE CREATIVE... you don't have to follow every instruction.  If you dont like the way it looks, make the next one the way you want it.  

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Tis the season for Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

One of my favorite parts of autumn is sipping on a Pumpkin Spice Latte. I almost wish that my favorite coffee shops would serve them year round, but then they wouldn't seem so special.

It appears I'm in good company with a couple of lovely bloggers who love Pumpkin Spice just as much as I do!

Amanda, of Vintage Dutch Girl, made the prettiest little printable Keep Calm, Drink A Pumpkin Spice Latte. Clever, right? I will be printing one of these out to hang on my wall a.s.a.p.! You can download the pumpkin spice loving printable here on Vintage Dutch Girl.

Vintage Dutch Girl

Mollie Johanson of Wild Olive designed this embroidery pattern showcasing a love for Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I can't wait to sew this one for myself! You can download the pattern over at Whip Up.

Wild Olive

Today also happens to be National Cappuccino Day, but I think we should all celebrate it with a nice pumpkin spice latte. Who comes up with these holidays anyway? Can I declare tomorrow National Brownie Day? Enjoy the pumpkin spice!

xo. Nicole

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chocolate pie - FAIL

I had pie crust I needed to use and chocolate I wanted to use. I found this recipe, grandmas chocolate pie, not my g-ma, her g-ma. I thought it would be easy to make. A no brainer. Well apparently, I have no brain. 

My pie was a failure. A complete failure. I shouldn't even show you this but even thought the pie looked terrible and was a little lumpy, it still tasted pretty darn good. 

I've been using this crust. I rolled it out, no problems there. I preheated the oven, no problem. I put the pie crust in the pie dish, no problem. Then I put it in the oven and thats where things started to go wrong. 

The oven ruined my pie. Lets take a look at a crappy picture that just emphasizes my failure. 

Please note the giant air bubble in the center of the crust, even though I pricked it many times with a fork. Also note the edges of the pie crust, which have decided they do not want to stand tall and proud and have folded over and sunken into the air bubble center. 

Oh what's that? You want a closer look at failure crust? Well here ya go!

I call this one Fail of Life. 

After this failure, I thought well its not too bad, I can just finish making the filling and pour it over the crust and make a sort of chocolate tart. 

Yes! A Chocolate Tart is the solution to my failure. I have found the answer!

Then I began making my filling. I melted my chocolate, added the milk and sugar, some flour and a few egg yolks, I added everything I was supposed to and began to cook the filling. I made sure the temperature was just right and whisked my little heart out, trying to make sure that no lumps would form but guess what? Failure pie decided it wanted lumps despite my attempts to keep lumps out.

I then decided I didn't care anymore and just poured the lumpy disaster into the crust that gave up on life and called it a day. I didn't even bother making the meringue that the recipe called for. I couldn't bear anymore impending failure. 

Lets take a look at the completed pie now. 

See the lumps?  They are there, mocking me. 

Here is a large, complete view of my failure. Feel free to gawk and point and giggle a little. 

Here is the recipe if you so choose to try and make this pie. Don't let the ugly appearance of mine keep you from making this pie. It still tasted great. Hope it works out better for you than it did for me.  

Grandma’s chocolate pie
1 pie 8 inch crust, pre-made or homemade
Filling ingredients:
4 tablespoons of cocoa or 1 1/2 squares of baking chocolate
3/4 cups of sugar
5 tablespoons of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
2 egg yolks, beaten slightly
1 tablespoon of butter

Meringue ingredients:
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of sugar

Mix your sugar, flour, salt, cocoa, eggs and milk (all except vanilla and butter) with a whisk.
Cook while stirring on medium until it bubbles and thickens, about five to 10 minutes. If it becomes lumpy, just beat out the lumps.
Remove from heat and stir in your vanilla and butter. Meanwhile, poke holes in your pie crust with a fork and bake it at 350 until it’s brown, about 20 minutes.

Beat your egg whites with salt and when they start to get fluffy add the sugar. Pour the chocolate custard into the baked pie shell and top with the beaten egg whites. Bake it until it the peaks on the meringue are lightly browned, about 10 minute.  

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Bill Cosby loves it. Horses hate it. But me? It made me puke.

As a child, the mere sight of Jell-O made me sick. Who wants to look at something so transparent and jiggly? Shouldn't food have enough substance that it doesn't look like your strange uncle who's had one too many beers and is now trying to dance on the kitchen counter at Thanksgiving? Yeah, I thought so too.

My parents forwent the popular treat during the 80s. My grandmother pushed the ever popular Jell-O molds at family dinners to the back of the table where I couldn't see. The adults went to extreme measures to keep jell-o out of my line of sight.

They weren't always so quick on the draw though. As a young child, I spent some time in the hospital. What do they like to serve you while you're in the hospital? Jell-O. My family warned against it to the nurse, but when she brought out that lunch tray, there was a big piece of the wiggly stuff in front of me. As she removed the lid, it jiggled just a bit and I threw up the breakfast that I didn't eat. Well, they tried to tell her.

To the Jell-O representative currently freaking out, my opinion has since changed, so relax. You do remember Jell-O shots, don't you?

Do you have a funny food story? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

xo Nicole

Cinnamon sugar Almonds

Love Almonds? Love almonds covered in cinnamon and sugar?  I love them. Even thought I am mildly allergic to tree nuts, I love them. A few asthma attacks and some benadryl later, I'm still eating these by the handful. Health risk, sure, but totally worth it. 
Here is a very simple recipe that takes under an hour to make!

I used a 3lb bag (or approx. 9 cups) of almonds. Feel free to use less or more depending on how many people will be eating them. Also this recipe isn't like the cinnamon sugar almonds you get from the fair, these ones are not really sweet, its more like a large hint of sweet. Feel free to add more sugar than I did if you want!

1 - 3lb bag of Almonds, or about 9 cups
1 egg white + 1 tablespoon of water, lightly beaten
1 cup of sugar (feel free to add more if desired)
2 1/2 tsp of cinnamon (add more if desired)
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice (completely optional but I highly recommend it!)

I begin by spreading the almonds in an even layer on two baking sheets (the ones with a lip) and roasting them in the oven 350ºF for 30 minutes. Watch your nuts and stir them after 15 minutes so they roast evenly. Don't forget your nuts! Once I did and I burnt all my nuts. I was sad. Don't let burnt nuts ruin your day. Ok sorry enough saying nuts.

Pull the roasted almonds out of the oven (don't turn it off just yet thought!) Dump them into a very large bowl and pour over the cinnamon, sugar and optional chinese 5 spice. Then very quickly add the beaten egg white and start stirring! If you work fast, the egg won't scramble and you will get fantastically coated almonds.

Once everything is combined, here you can add more sugar or cinnamon if you want.  If you do, do it fast. The egg yolk works as the glue for the cinnamon and sugar so if it dries, the extra sugar won't stick as well.

From here, I cover one baking sheet with parchment paper and pour all the almonds onto the cookie sheet and cook for an extra 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes. Let cool completely and store however you like!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...