Monthly Archives: January 2011

Fun with Frosting Friday…. gingerbread people!

I have a couple cupcakes/cakes planned for this weekend, so hopefully my Fun with Frosting Friday post will be a bit more interesting in the upcoming weeks!  This week I’m showcasing some gingerbread people I made with my niece over Christmas…cheesy, but cute.

The photo was taken with my old camera phone- thankfully I got a new phone (a BlackBerry!), so hopefully my camera photos from now on will be of better quality.  Can you see the Little Miss Redhead gingerbread gal in the mix?

How they were made:

  • Rolled out dough that was in the fridge for about a half hour (do not allow to get to room temp!)….we just used the store bought Pillsbury gingerbread dough…I know, I know, I’ll make it from scratch next time!
  • Roll the dough with a rolling pin on parchment paper (or a lightly floured surface) a little less than a half an inch thick
  • Cut out the shapes with cookie cutters and place on an un-greased pan about 2 inches apart (they will grow)
  • Cook per recipe (about 30 minutes)
  • Allow them to fully cool
  • Decorate!  Have fun with various frosting colors, candy and decorations!

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Now for a cake I’d like to make…well, this thing looks pretty intense, but awfully yummy!

Robot Cake

Found on: http://blonde.net/blog/category/cakes/

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Little spaces…UPDATES!

If you are a dedicated follower, you might remember when I did a post back in October on Little Spaces with a big heart , well as promised (and requested!), I have some updates for you!  Below you will find some inside photos of my little camper that I have up on my summer property.  The camper was found (with a FREE sign) at a neighbor’s house down the road & I fixed it up.  Check out the original post for the before/after photos of the outside.

As you can see it still needs a good paint job inside, but still kinda cute, no?

It is a great little guest house, indeed!

At the risk of sounding like a total hick (I swear I’m not…), I think my parents were a little envious of my camper.  So what did they do?  They went out & bought their own!  They are planning on driving it to Colorado to visit my brother in the Spring!  How fun!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They had the seats reupholstered and cute curtains made to match!

 

Well, there you go- little places that were fixed up with big hearts for all to enjoy!

 

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Fun with Frosting Friday…Yin & Yang

This week’s Fun with Frosting Friday post is a super easy and fun one I’d suggest that anyone can do!  I did these cupcakes for my bosses & if you knew them, it would make sense & was actually rather perfect.  Their birthdays are very close in dates, so I brought the cupcakes in & they loved them!

Yin & Yang Cupcakes!

I apologize for the picture quality, it was taken on my camera phone!

Ingredients:

Cake/cupcake mix, white frosting (1 tub), chocolate frosting (1 tub), 12 World candies (I got them at my local grocery store), 1 package Swedish Fish, cupcake wrappers

How I made the cupcakes:

  • Mix & bake your favorite cupcake mix (I used chocolate)
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool
  • With a frosting knife, spread the white frosting on half of the cupcakes
  • I’d suggest you spread the chocolate on second (no real reasoning, but it seems to be easier to cover up mistakes in blending when it goes on second…) over the other half of the cupcakes
  • Place the fish and globes on either side of the cupcakes & you’re done!  That easy!

NOTE:  feel free to place whatever you like in the middle of each side of the Yin & Yang, depending on the recipient!

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    Traveling Times…Quebec City!

    Between Christmas and New Years my boyfriend and I went to Quebec City for a few days and had a wonderful time.  We did not do a whole lot of reading-up before we went (I had been once back in my teens) & instead decided to simply just take in the scenes and go where we wanted/do what we wanted.  Thankfully, we ate at some amazing restaurants, saw some pretty sites and kept warm in the freezing temperatures!

    Here are some of my Quebec tips on the old section (where we were):

    What to bring: warm clothes!  It’s really cold up there by the St Lawrence River, so make sure you bring layers- long underwear, thick socks, boots, hats, mittens, etc!!  And a camera!

    Where to stay: we had a great time at the Hotel Clarendon.  I’d really recommend it.  The rooms aren’t huge, but that really shouldn’t matter, unless you are planning on staying in your room most of your vacation… The Hotel Clarendon is one of the oldest hotels in the city, very conveniently located in the old section, a good price, clean, and the staff was pretty friendly.  Tip: don’t let the valet park your car- they use the same public parking lot that you would & charge $25 a day, instead of $17.  If you have a tall car (I ran into this issue….), there is another parking garage just outside of the old section gates that you can fit under!

    What not to miss:

    Live statue on Rue du Petit Champlain

    • Rue du Petit Champlain– adorable street filled with shops, cafes & restaurants.  The items/food on this street are a bit “tourist” priced, so I would suggest just browsing!
    • Citadel– okay, so we honestly didn’t actually make it to this, but we tried.  We got a bit lost on our way & ended up just walking around it instead.  It looked interesting, so I’d suggest you go if you’re into old cannons and learning about the history of Quebec City.

    Metal horse installations along St Lawrence River

    • St Lawrence River– the whole old section is along the river, so it would honestly be hard to miss… What I mean is to just take a moment to walk in the park or along the boardwalk and take it in. Photo from: Trekearth.com
    • Chateau Frontenac– to stay at the hotel is rather pricy, but if you get a deal- go for it!  I stayed there when I was a teen & I remember how gorgeous the rooms were- down to the littlest detail!  Even for just a moment, I’d suggest you just go and check out the lobby.  They have tours you can go on with people dressed in period clothing, which is kinda fun.  Their weekend brunch is a must per all the travel books.  The statue of Sameul de Champlain is beside the hotel & the boardwalk is all along the front of the hotel, but unfortunately was closed for construction when we were there.

    Statue of Sameul de Champlain

    • Carnaval de Quebec– if you are able to go, go!  This is Quebec City’s winter festival- it’s cold, but lots of fun.  I went with my parents back when I was a young teenager and while yes, it was extremely cold (I repeat: bring WARM clothes….snow pants, too!), there was lots to do & see.  There’s a big parade that they close down a bunch of streets for, ice sculpture competitions, a room of the ice hotel on display, dog sled races, music, and lots of other events/activities.  It’s typically held in late January to early February.    Oh, don’t forget to get your photo taken with Bonhomme (the King of the Carnaval)!

    Restaurants:

    Le Petit Chateau

    This restaurant was delicious.  They had a deal for a 3 course fondu meal that we did & were very pleased with.  The restaurant is located just a couple buildings down from Chateau Frontenac.  Their cheese fondu, the first course, is the best I’ve ever had.  The second course is a bouillon with some misc veggies that add good flavor to the broth (we got it with salmon) and the chocolate fondue, the final course, was very good. 

    The Charles Baillairgé Restaurant

    “Enjoy a cozy atmosphere with the charm of yesteryear.”

    This was the restaurant at our hotel, Hotel Clarendon.  It received very good reviews & there was a fantastic deal for a 4-course meal if you were a guest, so we jumped on it!  It was a fabulous French meal & we enjoyed yummy maple creme brulee for dessert!  I would suggest going for dinner & skipping their breakfast/brunch, though!  The bar next to the restaurant (also part of the hotel) has live jazz Thurs-Sunday.

    Misc tips: since we were only there for a few days, my boyfriend and I spent most of our time in the old section of Quebec & didn’t really go into the “newer” section.  If you have any interest in venturing over into those parts, I’d recommend getting a travel book on the city or looking up “must see” places on-line.

    Here are some miscellaneous pictures my boyfriend and I took while we were there…in no particular order…


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    Fun with Frosting Friday….Huh?????

    I unfortunately have absolutely no time to do a Fun with Frosting Friday post today because I’m completely swamped at work….and I don’t really have any cakes/cupcakes to showcase….I clearly need to do some baking!

     

    Today I’m going to post an image of a cake I found a couple weeks ago in the grocery store that just absolutely baffled me…any ideas on what the heck it is?  

    Cousin It?  A Christmas Monster?  Snuffleupagus?

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    New Year’s Resolutions?

    2011!

    I have mixed feelings regarding the topic of New Years Resolutions.  While I think it’s great to have resolutions, why must we only make them in the beginning of the year?  It’s just a new date, after-all!  That being said, I always manage to still make a few “promises” to myself that I’ll start in the new year…

    This year I’ve made the following “promises” to myself:

    • Join the gym….I feel like everyone and their mother, brother & sister make this resolution, but I didn’t make it because I wasn’t working out- I really made this resolution in order to fulfill my next promise…saving money.  I had been taking a number of yoga, zumba & pilates classes at various gyms & studios, so I joined a gym that had all these available, as well as weights, machines, etc.  Much more economical.  By the way, I’ve already fulfilled this promise- joined on Monday & going back tonight!
    • Save money….don’t we all wish we had just a little more in our savings accounts than we actually do?! To do this I’m going to: work on cooking more at home (versus eating out), bring my lunch to work more often (I really struggle with this one), buy less clothes I don’t actually need (and donate some that I don’t wear anymore, too), and cut down on miscellaneous expenses like buying coffee & late-night pizza slices.
    • Be a better me…this one is more personal, so I won’t get into detail, but I essentially am just going to work on being the person I would like to be- putting my best foot forward.

     

    What’s your New Year’s Resolution?

     

    If you don’t actually have one, that’s okay!  But if you’re looking for some ideas….here are some common ones:

  • Drink Less Alcohol
  • Get a Better Education
  • Get a Better Job
  • Get Fit
  • Lose Weight
  • Manage Debt
  • Manage Stress
  • Quit Smoking Now
  • Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
  • Save Money
  • Take a Trip
  • Volunteer to Help Others
  • Spend more time with family & friends
  • Enjoy life more
  • Learn something new
  • Get organized
  • Fall in love
  • Start a diary
  • Run a marathon
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    Yummy appetizers….Blue Cheese & Pear Crostinis

    Hello 2011!  Sorry for the lack of posting this past week…I was on vacation in Quebec City!  I’ll do a post on my adventures later this week!

    My post today will be a yummy appetizer I made for Christmas that was a huge hit….Blue Cheese & Pear Crostinis!  I made up my own recipe, based on a somewhat similar appetizer I had at The Farmhouse Tap & Grill in Burlington, VT.  Here’s what I did:

    Ingredients: loaf of French bread, 1 pear, 0.25 lbs Blue Cheese (I used Danish Blue), honey

    Directions:  (to make approx 28-30 crostinis)

    • Cut about the loaf of bread into 1 mm thick slices…the amount of slices you cut depends on the length of your loaf of bread…I cut about 28-30….and ate 2 because I couldn’t fit them on my pan….oops
    • Place slices into oven (on a large pan) at 350 for about 15 minutes or until lightly toasted
    • Cut the pear into small cubes and put into a bowl
    • Cut the block of Blue Cheese into slices & crumble pieces into bowl of pear cubes, blend

    (NOTE: try to have about equal parts of pear cubes & blue cheese)

    • Scoop out a hearty (table)spoon-full of the mixture onto the toasted bread slices
    • Place into 350 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes or until the Blue Cheese has slightly melted, remove from oven
    • Put the crostinis on a serving platter & drizzle honey over them
    • Serve warm & enjoy….mmmmmm!

    A perfect blend of sweet, tart & saltiness!

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