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Monday, December 31, 2012

Wood Grain Tool - Made My Way

I saw the use of this tool on "Cake Boss", they didn't show how they made it so...I made it up!
You will need: Glue Gun, Electrical tape, Floral tape, kitchen sheers, wire cutters, measuring tape, 5inch skewer (I cut a 10inch in half for this) and floral wire.

I pulled a little less than two yards of wire,

Folded that in half several times

Open a hole at either end of the wires to surround your skewer and add some glue (just a little) and roll between your fingers to set and keep it in place.
 
Apply the glue when you first turn it on so that it won't be so hot, just when it begins to get soft in your gun (test it so you won't burn your fingers).

The glue will cool quickly so aftewards wrap that portion with electrical tape.

Then cover that tightly with floral tape all the way down your skewer and end back at the top where you began.

Cut all of the loops open with your shears and stretch the curled ends out (I used the flat end of my wire cutters).

Use the shears to even out the wires if you like.

Apply gentle pressure and make stroke marks until you're satisfied with the look...


This is a small strip I did, and you have woodgrain!

Grooms "Cake"

Made this from rkt (rice krispy treats), fondant and caramel buttercream. Got the idea when I bought a miniature table for my daughter for Christmas. I also wanted to try out a woodgrain technique I saw on "Cake Boss", worked really well and saved me some time from the way I did it before.




Friday, December 28, 2012

Each Day Is A Beautiful Day

"Lord Help Me This Day"
 
Lord, may all I do and say please you in every way;
Let my motives be pure in your sight, that your son may be lifted up today.

May your precious word cover my every thought and reaction,
that this day may unfold to your satisfaction.

Use my eyes to see in man only the good;
Place your guard at my tongue to speak only that it should.
 
Open my ears, Lord, for discernment; use my hands as you will.
Guide my feet along the path of righteousness,
that I may know when to be still.
 
My life is completely yours, Lord, as  I live under your sovereign control; Lord, help me this day, to live your way as your plan for my life unfolds.
-Teresa A. Miles
Published in: "The National Library of Poetry"


I wrote this poem while living in Italy. We were there for six and a half years and it was the most beautiful time of my life. Every day I woke up was just beautiful, the people, the places and I still keep in touch with friends there today.

My child was born there and I was blessed to be a stay at home Mom. Though I did inform my husband that when we had our first child I wouldn't be working the first 3 years, which was a blessing from God because had we not been overseas I probably would have had to work and miss all the wonderful bonding my daughter and I did while there. And so my focus was my child and working for God....that's it. I'll share the wonderful story of my daughter’s birth at another time :-).

My husband grew tired of me almost daily just in awe of the mountains but they had such a majestic look and feel it was impossible for me not to be in awe each day I woke up. Nothing like being awaken at some odd hour in the morning and studying the word and admiring Gods creations, it gave me a wonderful appreciation of who God is and what He could do through me. That is how the poem came to be.

 

"Dolomite Mountains",


 
So remember, even if you’re not in Italy, everyday is a beautiful day because God touched you this morning and woke you up. Some think they wake themselves up but as an old Pastor once put it... "If you think your alarm clock woke you up this morning, go put it in a grave yard, set the timer, and see how many people get up"... LOL! I thought that was pretty "straight to the point". We have no power unless God allows it. And if you stop and truly take a look around you, you'll come to the reality that no "human" could have ever created such beauty because we're always screwing things up sooner or later...and you know, that's the TRUTH :-).
Enjoy your day today for tomorrow is not promised.
 
James 4:13-16
"Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that. As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil"

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Dutchess

This is one of many more wedding cake designs to come. Cake decorating seems to have ENDLESS possibilities!

My daughter likes to name my cakes so she calls this one "The Dutchess".



We can match your wedding dress with your cake! Call us! Hand sculpted mannequin with RKT covered in our home made marshmallow fondant.
Necklace made with isomalt sugar...sweet!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Chocolate Caramel Cappucino Pecan Pie

Decided to experiment with a pie I've never made (this flavor). We all make pecan pies differently and I have an issue with following recipes :-). Thought I'd share this one and you can make it your own by adding things you like. Just remember, baking is a science so don't experiment too much if you're not sure the ingredients will blend well you don't want to waste your money.
"CHOCOLATE CARAMEL CAPPUCINO PECAN PIE"
1 cup dark Karo Syrup
3 tbls good unsalted butter , melted (I use "Plugra", you can buy it at Whole Foods)
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup Ghirardelli chocolate (melted, less if you don't like rich chocolate flavor)
1 tsp Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp of strong coffee (I use an Italian blend, they're all good to me)
1 egg
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
This butter just gives your baking a more rich flavor, you can use any unsalted butter. This cost about $4.99 per 8oz block.
Whisk all ingredients by hand and bake at 350 for about 1 hour 15 minutes in a deep dish pre-made pie crust or make your own. Bake on a cookie sheet just in case it bubbles over. Pie is done when lightly touching center and it barely bounces back. It will completely set after it cools.
Don't be like me and OVER bake it (as I did the very first time I ever made a pecan pie). My Mother thought it was HILARIOUS, no one told me that I wasn't suppose to bake it until the jell part didn't move anymore. I'd only eaten pecan pies AFTER they were set and I thought you bake them until that happens. I think I needed a chisel to break into that pie after I was done over baking it...but, it was still good! :-). I also have a good story about my first "Peach Cobbler" but...that will be for another time.

Enjoy!
 

Happy Birthday Jesus!


Our tradition for the past 7 years has been homemade waffles on Christmas morning (smoked apple bacon in the mix today, yummy!). But this year we've added a new tradition to remind us of the "Reason for the Season". Today was much more special since we got up and before opening any gifts, sat down, each taking a turn, husband and daughter to read portions of the Birth of Jesus story.

Reading that first thing really brought it all home. For years I'd already broken the habit of rushing to the Mall and stressing out to buy gifts that would please everyone (I just began baking and NO one complained). Even though I was raised in a Christian family, taught exactly what Christmas was all about, once on my own it became so commercialized and the focus was ONLY on gift giving. So much so that it all but dulled the memory of the only precious "Gift" that really mattered and that was God sending His son to die on the cross for my sins. It would be a no brainer to give up my life for my child, but to give up my child for others?? UH...NOT GONNA HAPPEN!

The Christmas story is so much more precious to me now than ever before. As I get older I'm not so focused on the gifts (though I'm not going to kid myself, I do have a few special request in mind each year, so as Steve Harvey would say... "Don't Trip, God's Not Through With Me Yet").

Here's the Christmas Story....enjoy! And have a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

Luke 2:1-20

The Birth of Jesus

 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to their own town to register.

 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Easy Gluten Free Christmas Cookies

If you have a friend who loves desserts but gluten free, try these quick and easy gluten free peanut butter cookies.
 
Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe
 
1 Cup Peanut Butter (Good peanut butter)
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp Vanilla
1 Egg
Mix all ingredients and bake at 350 on greased baking sheet or baking paper for 10-12 minutes. I made these with Chunky peanut butter. You can add coconut and different flavorings as well.
 
 


For variety I split this batch and added a little Ghirardelli chocolate. It's the best chocolate to use for gluten free recipes (to me).


Once you add the chocolate your mix will seize but that's ok,


makes it perfect for scooping.

This batch made 18.





Once cooled decorate as you wish with white and dark chocolate and some festive sprinkles! Quick and easy!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Presents and Presence"

Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
 

I recall as a young woman on my own, sitting in my first tiny apartment (immaculate...I was a clean freak!) around Christmas Eve, starring at my tiny, very well decorated and lit up Christmas tree with tears in my eyes.
 God had blessed me to take very good care of myself, had a job, bills paid, food in the fridge, nice clothes in my closet a vehicle (that ran) and excellent health. Yet I was sitting and crying not because of the lack of presents because I could have purchased anything I wanted (un-fortunately I also received my first nice, red and shiny CREDIT CARD that year also). Young people, if you are reading this, pay cash and "JUST SAY NO THANK YOU!"...you have to pay that money back and the bill will haunt you down no matter how many times you move...but, I digress.
 Again, wasn’t the lack of "presents" that had me down, but the lack of a "Presence". As a young Christian I had yet to tap into the vast resources of the very presence of Jesus Christ. I tried to fill my life with everything except the one thing that could satisfy any and every need I could ever have. And that was the endless fountain of the word of God. I had it right there, open (As decor') on my coffee table between two lovely knick knacks. Even though I was a young Christian and sometimes didn't understand the word, just opening and reading it somehow gave me a peace, I never understood that until now.
 So when or if you are already on your own, no family around and you are a Christian or not, tap into the endless life saving and life changing resources of God. Don't allow the lack of presents or a presence, distress you. God is a constant and available presence, who is just waiting for you to call on Him.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

LOVE IS TO......

 


So many people at this time of year find themselves discouraged because they feel a lack of love. If you're reading this blog at this time that means YOU ARE LOVED!

The "Holidays" tend to do that to folks because they feel no one cares for whatever reason but for most it's lack of feeling loved and no encouragement. If you don't know who God is I'm here to tell you your only TRUE encouragement will come from God the Father. I got up this morning feeling a little discouraged myself and then I was led to the book of Ezra 3:8. It talked about Zerubbabel, the recognized leader of the exiles. Basically he allowed himself to be dictated by the lack of encouragement. His success depended on the quality of encouragement he received thereby allowing discouragement to get the best of him. I like this quote because it's SO true.

 
 


Remember that last part "Don't Give Up", Satan would have a party this morning celebrating that fact if you did....don't give him the satisfaction. Just remember this if nothing else, man will ALWAYS disappoint you (loved ones, friends, co-workers...etc) because we are made of flesh and blood and that's just the way it is and will ALWAYS be. But if you give God a chance you'll see that HE will never disappoint. Not saying things won't happen in your life that you won't like, or your life will be "Perfect" (there's no such thing) because God uses EVERYTHING good and bad to grow us up and make us stronger and make our lives better. We may not like it all but I tell you the truth, when it feels like my life is failing all around me and people are just bumming me out, there is NO PLACE better I'd rather be than in the word of God. His word always encourages me (and sometimes sets me straight when I'm CLEARLY in the wrong too :-0).

This morning when I awoke discouraged and opened His word, I had no plans to read the book of Ezra, but God brought it to my attention. It's not a "Magical" book, but I just said a little prayer, asked Him to speak to me and there it was. I was allowing the lack of encouragement from man to bum me out...end of story and we've all been there right?

Don't let that happen to you today or anyday....there is always someone you can turn to and always someone who loves you, even a total stranger like me (ahhhhh...that's a poor imitation of Angels singing :-). If you don't own a Bible, you can still call on God to speak to your heart.
 
So be encourged, BIG HUGS))))))!...ahhhhh! :-).

 

 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Simple Royal Icing

 
FANTASTIC! ROYAL ICING  RECIPE!
 
 
These cookies I covered in fondant with royal icing accents covered with sugar.
 
    INGREDIENTS:
2 pounds powdered sugar (no need to sift)
1 cup water
2 teaspoons corn syrup
1/2 cup of Meringue Powder
I mixed everything in a Kitchen Aid but a standing mixer or even a strong hand mixer should work. Combine meringue powder and water until foamy. Add powdered sugar and corn syrup, mix until well blended. Scrape down sides of bowl then beating on medium-high until icing is smooth and glossy and will form stiff peaks.
 

You can tint any color you like and it keeps in an air-tight container for about a week. I keep mine refrigerated or even frozen until I need it. It won't freeze like ice so you can take it out even after a couple of day's in the freezer and be able to stir it. Add a little water at a time to get the consistency you need for piping. This recipe is pretty thick.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Tree Cakes Tutorial

Needed a pan that would help the trees bake standing up so I used my mini wedding cake pan.

Used one commercial baking sheet and cut in half.



 
Fold to make a cone shape being sure to close the ends as much as possible and then taping together.





 
 
Cone will be tall so just cut it down closer to baking pans level.


 

I used a heating core for the smaller cone to keep it stable while baking worked perfectly!

Spray the cones VERY well and use one scoop of mix for the small cone and 2 for the largest.





Due to the weight of my mix the cone sank in the pan, couldn't have that happen, I would be baking a crooked tree! But if you know how to use buttercream you can hide a LOT of  mistakes :-).

So I took a wad of foil, poked a hole in the center and stabalized my larger cone...

Worked out perfectly!



Bake at 350. Thirty minutes for the small and five minutes more for the largest.
 



Let cool for a minute before peeling the baking paper off, freeze, trim the bottoms so they'll sit flat and....

decorate!
And if you just want to skip all the baking and make it SUPER easy on yourself, just slap an ice cream cone on your cake and decorate away!....I prefer cake myself :-).