Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Recipes Are Coming!

I will be launching my third annual "The 12 Recipes of Christmas" tomorrow. There will be another round of fantastic recipes for you to try during the holidays. I make each and every one of these recipes and they have all become cherished at our house. I will have some new recipes that I just discovered this year, along with some old favorites that make our Christmas special each year. I hope you will all come along with me and discover a few favorites for your families, too!

Friday, November 19, 2010


I have a confession to make. I have a new addiction. It's not Bejeweled Blitz or Facebook, (though some in my family may argue otherwise).

I can't stop buying chocolate chips! I currently have eight (8!) unopened bags in my pantry, and that doesn't count the four opened bags I have in there as well. (Or the two bars of bittersweet baking chocolate.)

I can't help it. I love to bake with them, and when the good quality ones go on sale, I stock up. I have nothing against the store brands, in fact I'll purchase them when nothing else is on sale or they are on sale for a great price. But when Nestle's, Hershey's and my all time favorite, Ghirardelli's go on sale, I can't seem to help myself.

In my defense, they are not all semi-sweet. Some are dark chocolate or bittersweet, some are mini's, and one is even white chocolate. And let's face it, this time of year every store puts the name brand chips on sale. And, the manufacturers have all put out coupons, making the savings even greater. So I have lots of chocolate chips at the ready for all kinds of baked goodies. Now the question is, what do I bake first?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Few Cakes

I know my blogging is erratic at best, but I'm trying to get back into it. I am planning on having my 12 Recipes of Christmas again starting in December, and need to get back in the habit of posting (semi) regularly.

I have been making a lot of desserts and cakes lately. In fact, I took a Wilton's beginner cake decorating course back in August and really enjoyed it. It was a gift from my husband who knew I would love it, but probably needed a little nudge to get into it. A lot of it I already knew, but there were some new techniques and tips that I took from the class and has helped improve my cake decorating skills.

I made this cake for my friend Lola who had a little girl in July. This was actually the "graduation" cake I made for my Wilton course. I was really happy with how it turned out. I used a technique called pattern gel transfer to "trace" the outline of the sheep onto the cake. I was really pleased with how it turned out and enjoyed giving it to Lola's family to enjoy. It was a vanilla cake with almond buttercream.

This was my son's 11th birthday cake. He is a big Cubs fan and wanted a big cake to celebrate with. He had a laser tag party with several of his friends, three of which are White Sox fan. They ate the cake, but it did take a little prodding. This is a chocolate chocolate chip cake with vanilla buttercream.

This was my daughter's 8th birthday cake this year. She had asked me several months before her party if she could have a four tiered cake! I told her sure, and she proceeded to sit down and draw a picture of how she wanted her cake. She had an arts and crafts birthday party in our basement and the girls were thrilled with the cake. Half of it is chocolate chocolate chip, the other half vanilla cake. All with vanilla a buttercream.

I made this cake for a cake walk at my kids' school. It is a 6-inch chocolate chocolate chip cake with chocolate buttercream icing. It is "wrapped" in Kit Kats and topped with M&M's. This cake was popular and went quickly!

I plan on sharing more cakes soon. I still have a few more that I am proud of and have never shared here. Hope you have enjoyed seeing them as much as I enjoyed making them.