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Showing posts from December, 2016

Happy New Year!

As we enter the new year, I want to wish you all good health, peace of mind and happiness.  Whatever goals you set for yourself in 2017, may you be able to reach them. This past year may not have been great for many of us for many different reasons, but we shouldn't lose hope that good things are always on the horizon.  Good things come our way when we least expect them, and we need to be able to recognize them when they do. I don't make resolutions at the beginning of the year because I try my best to live a good life throughout the year.  Living a good life doesn't mean one has to have the best of everything all the time.  Living a good life is all about being content with the good things in our lives.  It's up to us to look inward and realize that we are indeed blessed for what we have. Happy New Year!!

Winter Snowflake Cake

Cakes can be made for any type of celebration.  Recently I had the pleasure of creating a Snowflake Cake for a fun holiday party, and I thought to myself that the cake's design could easily lend itself for any kind of winter get-together.  All you really need to do is bake the cake layers, bake a snowflake cookie or two if you wish, get a snowflake cake stencil and whip up a large batch of Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  Putting it all together is when the fun begins.  Tinting the buttercream is completely up to you.  Leaving an all-white cake will certainly make it look frosty and snowy, but if you brighten it up with a bit of red gel paste coloring or any other hue, your cake is sure to stand out and be worthy of any dessert table. This is what I used for my Winter Snowflake Cake Eggnog Cake  (baked in two 9x2" round cake pans for approximately 45 minutes) Swiss Meringue Buttercream  (two batches) Baked & Iced Snowflake Cookie (optional) Snowflake

Christmas Sugar Cookies

This year's Christmas cookies for family and friends were some of my best-loved to date.  I really enjoyed making these iced sugar cookies because they were decorated with only a handful of colors and a few flourishes. I wanted to keep the spirit of Christmas by showcasing some of my favorite images and shapes of the season, such as Christmas trees, snowflakes, ornaments and stockings. I only need to go back to my childhood and remember what mom used to do for us kids on the days leading up to Christmas.  The tree would be decorated with those multi-colored lights that looked so beautiful when lit at night, and our stockings would be hanging on a doorway or wall, along with die-cut images of Santa and candy canes. For me, nothing evokes Christmas more than the color combination of red and green.  Whether you have ornaments, lights, Christmas cards or desserts showcasing these colors, you're bound to create a festive atmosphere once you display them throughout the

Beautiful Ring Cookies

The idea of handing out beautifully iced ring cookies as favors for a special celebration, is brilliant.  Every admirer of precious stones can find numerous occasions on which to gift these to close friends and family, be it for a wedding, a wedding shower, an engagement, or even a special milestone birthday.   What I love about creating this type of cookie design is that you can tint the icing of the precious stone to match someone's birthstone, or perhaps the recipient's favorite gem color. If you want to make your cookies sparkle like these rubies, amethysts, emeralds and sapphires, I highly suggest using fine sanding sugars that match the color of the royal icing.  Not only do you want this for the stone itself, but for the ring band as well.  The platinum rings were dusted with a good amount of silver sanding sugar.  However, if you want to make gold bands for the rings, use  a sparkly gold sanding sugar.  Nothing is more important than starting out

Favorite Martha Stewart Living Special Issues

Everyone needs a bit of inspiration around the holiday season, and I'm no different.  At the beginning of December, I pick up the well-worn special issues of Martha Stewart Living magazine that I've collected over the years, and I begin to find that little something to spark my holiday spirit. What I love about doing this is that I get to sit back and remember the recipes, ideas and projects that have worked for me in the past.  I try to recall who liked what, and which treats were by far the winners of that particular year. Keep in mind that some of these issues go back well over a decade, but make no mistake: they are as useful and inspirational today as they were back then. I can't say that I have every single Holiday Special Issue from MSL, but the issues pictured in the collage above, are certainly my favorites.  Below are the ones which I feel are must-haves from Martha Stewart Living. Everyday Food magazine published their special issue of 51 favorite

Saying Goodbye

We welcome pets into our homes for many different reasons, but everyone will agree that they greatly improve our lives and our well being.  The act of rescuing a pet and giving it a good home filled with a lot of love, is one of the most selfless acts we can ever do as human beings. Eighteen years ago we rescued a cat named Izzy, who was quickly named Mistress (aka Ms. Kitty), and brought her into our first home in Haddonfield, New Jersey.  She and Lion instantly became the centers of our universe. I can best describe Ms. Kitty as one of the most inquisitive, smart and very in-tune cats that I've ever come across in my lifetime.  She was always near me in the kitchen, watching me prepare our lunches and dinners, as well as desserts. Her favorite spot in the entire house was resting in front of my giant spice rack.  We used to joke that she was judging my technique and recipes, to make sure I wasn't skipping steps or messing things up.   I can't tell you