Monday, January 11, 2016

Forest Friend Baby Shower Cookies

Happy New Year! A new year and new beginnings. I have made a resolution to try new things with my baking. I am starting by conquering my fear of baking cakes and I will be taking the Wilton Method cake classes starting next week! I am super excited and will be posting pictures of my progress on my facebook page.

Last year I had several request for pink and gold bridal shower cookies. It's fun to see trends like this with treats and I have to say it is one of my favorites. However a new trend has emerged with baby showers...Forest Friends!
Forest Friend Baby Shower Cookies
Forest Friend Baby Shower Cookies

And I LOVE IT! Nothing is more PNW than cute little forest friends and critters! Here are some tester cookies I made for the showers this month and I hope you enjoy them!
Owl Cookies
Owl Cookies
I have several "owl" cookie cutters that I use but this one might be my new favorite. It is so sweet and cute. I like this one more than my other ones especially because it is the perfect mix of fat and fluffy if that makes any sense haha. I can't wait to use this cutter to make valentine's day owls. WHOOOOO LOVES YOU???

fox cookies
Fox Cookies
What's a forest without Mr. Sly Fox. So cute and sneaky at the same time. One of my favorite forest friends but I have to admit I am biased because my dog often gets called a "little fox" so these ones are dedicated to her.

Racoon Cookies

It's not a forest party without Mr. Sneaky Raccoon - always up to no good....probably with his friend the fox! I used the same cookie cutter for Raccoon as the Fox. This is technically a "basic cat face" cookie cutter but it is also very versatile. I love this sequence of the Raccoon because the shifty eyes really captures his personality don't you think?
Forest Friends All Together
I forgot to take a picture of just the squirrels but here they are all together with their forest friends.

Hope you enjoyed the blog post! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

HO HO HO! It's that crazy time of year again where we drive ourselves a little mad with all the holiday hustle and bustle. Christmas time is especially busy in my kitchen. This year I almost didn't have enough time to bake for myself and gifts for friends and family! I found time and luckily got it done though! *phew* 

I watched a bunch of TV baking specials this year which is something I typically don't do but I was really inspired and learns A LOT from these fellow bakers. I had no idea what "pate a choux" was ( I do now) or how to make petit fours. 

tacky sweater cookies
Tacky Sweater Cookies
So my New Year's Resolution is to branch out and explore more baking recipes and styles. I also want to concur my free and resistant of cakes so I have signed up for the Wilton Method classes at my local craft store and I actually could not be more excited! 
This year I baked many shapes and designs but probably one of the biggest crowd pleasers are the Tacky Sweater cookies. These cookies are always a big party hit! Especially since ugly sweater parties have become more and more popular every year. 

The hardest part of making these cookies is coming up with all the different designs. I try to channel my inner "tackiness" to come up different ideas for the sweaters. These featured above are just a few of the ones I did. Check my other blog posts for other designs. 

Holiday Cookie Dessert Platter
 Here are some other holiday cookies I made this year. I did a variety of Santa Claus faces, mittens and stockings, snow flakes, snowman and wreaths just to name a few. I have a whole drawer full of cookie cutters dedicated to holidays and christmas is about half of them! 
Holiday Cookie Dessert Platter
Another treat I made for the first time this year was Red Velvet Whoopie Pies! Nothing says "holidays" more than red velvet! I made it from scratch too. Did you know that red velvet has cocoa powder in it? That is what gives it that distinct taste...I did't know that until I made it. These were a party hit too this year. They are small and easy to eat and a perfect mix between cookie and cake. 
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

And lastly, the dessert I have really been working on this year and trying to perfect are my French Macarons. Man those buggers are little stinkers! They are so delicate and easy to mess up. Luckily I discovered earlier this year the right cookie time for my oven - we bought a house this year which means learning curve with the oven. 
Mini "Mac"
One thing I still struggle with these guys is their size. I for some reason can't get mine to be bigger than a quarter and I would like them to be more like a silver dollar size. Because they are so small, filling them can be quite tricky especially if you want to combined flavors like a chocolate ganache with a raspberry fruit filling.
French Macaron Tower
For this holiday season I made Chocolate Peppermint which I made with the red dye on top of the tower. In the middle a Chocolate Spiked Eggnog which ended up tasting more like straight gingerbread according to my professional taste tester aka my husband - lol. I kind of agree with him though. It was eggnog spiked with rum, anyways that is the flavor in the middle. And lastly I made a apple pie which was my favorite. It had really bits of apple in it and lots of cinnamon yum yum. 

Some other usual suspects made it to the party too. Those were my chocolate and vanilla cake pops and cupcakes. 

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! See you next year... as they say in show biz...THAT'S A WRAP! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thanksgiving Cookies 2015

I can't believe where this year has gone already and another holiday season is quickly coming upon us. In preparation I made some holiday cookies for thanksgiving. I hope you enjoy them!
Thanksgiving Cookies
Assorted Thanksgiving Cookies

Turkey Cookies
Gobble Gobble Turkey Cookies

Fall Leaves

Thanksgiving Cookies
Thanksgiving Cookies

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Veteran's Day

Today is a very special day for Americans. Today we pay tribute to all the brave men and women who have fought for our freedoms. These individuals give their lives to serve their country and it is important that we give gratitude for their service.

So here is to our Nation's veterans and active military members. Thank you for protecting our country and keeping us safe! We also pay our respects to those who have fallen while serving.

Custom Military Cookies
Custom Military Cookies
I had the opportunity to make some very special cookies for a very special veteran. He is in the Airborne army. When I asked the fiance what that branch does specifically. She told me that he is a paratrooper basically. Which is so impressive to me!

Camouflage Cookies
Camouflage Cookies!
I have several members in my family and friends who have served in the military.

Veteran's Day Cookies
Happy Veteran's Day

God Bless America

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween 2015

Halloween was one of my favorite holidays growing up. It is so sad that many people don't go around the neighborhood trick or treating with their kids. I remember my mom and I doing the "mall thing" one year and afterwards she was like "never again..." it was PACKED with people and kids, impossible to get to the lady in the store passing out the candy and when you DID make it to the front all I got was a lousy Tootsie Roll or Dum Dum. 
My husband and I just bought our first house this summer. So when October rolled around I was excited beyond belief for Halloween however no one else in the neighborhood seemed to be. I guess it is just a Washington thing that we don't take part in all the decorating like some other states. 

Since we are in a new neighborhood I had no idea how many kids even lived in the neighborhood let alone how many would make it up to our street. But just in case I bought a costco sized bag of candy. Most of the trick or treaters came later in the even around 630 or 7. 

Unfortunately, we were only able to hand out candy to 2 groups of trick or treaters before we had to go to our own festivities. They were so cute though! The second group had some little guys, maybe 5 or 6 years old, they of course were superheroes. The WSU Cougars were playing #8 Stanford and it was a big deal. So I set a bowl of candy out for the kids so they would come back to us next year. 

Here are some new desserts I made for halloween. I really loved the way the cake pops turned out. Halloween colors are just so fun. I also made rice krispy treats and to spice up the design a little bit, I decided to try my luck at writing and it turned out pretty good in my opinion. Not quite as good as when I do buttercream frosting, but still legible right?

Hope all you ghosts and gobblins had a fun night! Until next year!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Me and My OMies

If you don't know this about me, I am a true believe in yoga. I started practicing yoga after I graduated college and moved back home about 5 years ago. I remember thinking how I liked yoga -how hard it was - but also a little weirded out about the spiritual aspect of it.

After practicing yoga more regularly, I started to really understand the meaning and the power of yoga. And I am totally hooked more than ever. I started to go to a "real" yoga studio and not just 24 Hour Fitness. Let me tell you, it makes a big difference.

Bala Yoga Owners Mike & Gabriella
My yoga studio is definitely a community. You get to know the instructors and the "regulars" who practice with you. You definitely become a part of something bigger. I watch other people in the room make progress as well as reflect on my own progress. 5 years ago I could barely call down dog a "resting pose" and those scary arm balances where I thought I was going to snap my wrist... well they are some of my favorites now and I consider them "play time." I love yoga. I think it is so much fun and I love how my body surprises me every time I practice. I feel stronger than I have ever been in my life.

Warrior 2 Pose & Tree Pose Cookies
My yoga studio, my tribe, my community, celebrated their 5th anniversary. They had an awesome DJ jamming the flow with us, a dance party in the middle of class (stay light hearted friends) and a potluck afterwords to celebrate!

Tree Pose Yoga Cookie
Find Balance in All Things
I made my gluten free sugar cookies in honor of yoga and the studio I practice at. The owner actually sent me the link to these AWESOME cookie cutters and I will share it with you! Check them out by Yummi Yogi  I chose just a couple for the party even though they are all so cute! Warrior 2 and Tree pose are a couple of my favorites.

Be Fierce Little Warrior

Fire within Me

warrior 2 yoga cookies
Me & My OMies <3

Yoga Themed cookie platter
Yoga Cookies

OM Shanti Shanti OM

Zen Out

Balla Tribe in the House!

OM Cookies

yoga cookies

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

yoga theme cookies
Yoga is a journey. I have come to understand that now more than ever and I can't wait to see where the journey continues to take me. Sometimes its a love-hate relationship with our bodies but yoga we can honor those loves and honor those hates and send them love and patience. Thanks for "zenning" out with me. Sending yogi love to everyone!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Vegan Sugar Cookies with Vegan Buttercream * Nautical Themed Cookies

I often get asked for alternative solutions for treats for people who had special dietary needs. I recently solved the issue a Gluten Free cookie options. But recently I was out to brunch with my girlfriends when one asked if I had a Vegan option for sugar cookies. This was the second time I had been asked about vegan specific desserts.

I know Gluten Free and Vegan desserts are "trendy" right now but it got me thinking. I know several local bakeries around town that have vegan desserts. One of them also does a sugar cookie but it is made with ROYAL frosting which is actually derived from eggs. Personally I still love my fluffy buttercream frosting look, so I scoured the internet and by that I mean Pinterest and found a recipe for the sugar cookies.
Vegan Sugar Cookies 
If you want to recipe from Sarah Bakes HERE it was super easy. I did modify the recipe slightly. Instead of using coconut oil I used Earth Balance, Vegan Soy-Free "Butter" you should be able to find this at any super market. Yes it is more expensive I will admit.
After making the dough, I placed it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes and honestly next time I don't think I will at all. It made the dough a lot tougher to work with and so my forearms got a workout. 
Ok so I rolled them out and used my cute new nautical cookie cutters, the anchor, a sailboat and a starfish. The recipe made exactly 10 of each, so 30 cookies. 

So now I have my cookies and it is a question of how to make the "buttercream" WELL my friends I will tell you! 

Vegan Buttercream Recipe 
1 cup (2 sticks) Earth Balance Vegan Soy-Free "Butter" at room temp. 
4 cups Powdered Sugar 
2 tsp vanilla
1-2 tbsp So Delcious Vanilla Coconut Milk creamer also at room temp.

Place butter in electric mixer and cream the "butter" for about 2 minutes, until it is smooth. 
Add in about 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Add in vanilla. Gradually add in "milk" and alternate with the powdered sugar. 
If the frosting is really stiff continue to add more "milk" until it is soft enough to pipe. 
Add decided food coloring and you are ready to frost! 

Nautical Themed Vegan Sugar Cookies
Vegan Sugar Cookies

Vegan Sugar Cookies with Vegan Buttercream
Nautical Themed Vegan Sugar Cookies

Starfish Vegan Sugar Cookies

Sailboat cookies, Vegan Sugar Cookies

Anchor Vegan Sugar Cookies
AHOY! Anchors away!
Hip-hip- HOORAY for vegan sugar cookies! These cookies are free of nuts, dairy, soy, gluten and eggs! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!  

Thanks for stopping by my blog!