Sunday, January 18, 2009

Last Minute Desserts

Yesterday, we were invited to a last minute dinner party for a dear friend's birthday. I offered to bring dessert as I often do because I love to bake!  

As soon as I hung up the phone I realized that a birthday cake was in order and panicked because of the limited amount of time I had, so I decided to go old school... 
Devils Food cake with homemade buttercream frosting... and simple decorations of shredded dark chocolate and rainbow sprinkles... Let's just say there were no complaints! 

Then, as the cake was cooling, I decided to whip up some cookies because not everyone likes chocolate cake... so I went to one of my staples - chocolate chip meringues. 
Both of these desserts were plated and ready to go in less than 3 hours.
Meringue Recipe 

8 egg whites (room temp)
2 cups white sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz. chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Separate eggs (discard yolks, or use them for something else like key lime pie) and let stand to get to room temperature. Whip on high speed in mixer until frothy. Add cream of tartar to sugar. Gradually add sugar mixture to eggs while whipping on high until peaks hold (2-3 minutes). Add vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips and add a few drops of food coloring if desired.
Scoop mixture into a large zip lock bag and seal bag. Snip one corner of the bottom of the bag to create a disposable piping bag (easy clean up!). Pipe 1" meringues onto greased cookie sheets creating pointed tips if possible. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Makes about 4-5 dozen (depending on size). *To easily 1/2 or double the size of the recipe, use 1/4 cup of sugar for each egg white.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

KISS - keep it simple "silly"

Wrapping (and buying) gifts is something that I have always enjoyed. I feel like if you can make the effort to purchase a thoughtful gift, you should also make the effort to package it beautifully. Believe it or not, many people actually judge "a book by its cover"... 

I used to store several rolls of wrapping paper so that I always
 had the right theme (birthday, baby, wedding, christmas, etc.), but then I also had to have the matching ribbons and bows for each paper. My husband would roll his eyes at me and my piles of supplies... so, I decided to simplify... I think we all came out as winners!
NOW... I wrap ALL gifts in brown craft paper (similar to parcel packaging paper, but often a little more flexible), and then just stock beautiful, higher quality ribbons. I try to buy my ribbon on sale at craft stores (Michaels, AC Moore, etc.) and also try to use colors specific to holidays rather than patterns. For example, I don't buy Christmas Trees,  but rather Red and Green polka dots. Or I don't buy Baby Bottles, but rather Pink and Blue stripes. 

Pictured are a few samples of my Christmas gifts for this year!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


As a new mom, you may think I'm nuts for starting another project, but "it's better to be busy than bored"... right?!

I hope to use this blog to share my creative ventures - paintings, photography, ceramics, baking, wrapping, and other things that I can come up with. I can't promise they'll be amazing but I usually have fun along the way.

For my first post, I thought I'd go straight to the heart by sharing my favorite creation - my baby girl, Lily! Tomorrow she turns HALF... also known as 6 months and man, has time flown by.