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June, July, & August 2018 are currently fully booked.*

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27 April 2011

Easter Extravaganza

I hope you all had a blessed Easter, and that you were able to spend it in the company of those precious to you.

In lieu of cakes this week, I thought I'd share some of the dishes my family partook of during our Easter celebrations, as well as some of our egg-y creations.  So without further ado...

First things first, we had to dye eggs...all 306 of them.  And of course, all that creativity made us hungry!  Luckily, we had some delicious finger foods on hand, like these bacon appetizer crescents.


I'd say the nourishment worked.  We had some beautiful and very colorful eggs...including some dyed using silk, several that had hand drawn embellishments, and even a few "origami" ones.

Silk-dyed Eggs

"Origami" and Hand-Embellished Eggs

We had our egg-dyeing adventures on Friday, which allowed me to spend most of Saturday preparing Easter dinner for our group.  One thing I love about cooking for the family is that I get a chance to try out lots of new recipes; seldom do I offer the same dish twice.  After all there are too many ways to experience food out there, no reason to stick with the same dishes all the time!  My family is a wonderful test group (for the most part) and seldom complains, although they do ask that I stay away from overly exotic ingredients - they have their limits on adventurous eating it would seem...

So, in order to keep from going too far afield from the family's preferred taste profile, I made a mustard rubbed, panko-crusted pork loin as the main dish for our meal, accompanied by an assortment of sides, including Italian Smashed Potatoes, corn, and Classic Baked Macaroni & Cheese.  All of the dishes were pretty good, but I think they were slightly overshadowed by two of the other choices I offered - 

The bacon and caramelized-onion asparagus (get the recipe here)


And the no-knead bread.


Both of these received rave reviews from the crowd though they couldn't be more different in terms of time requirements.  The asparagus was a microwave recipe that took all of 15 minutes to prepare; the bread 18+ hours!  (Guess it just goes to show that input time is not always a deciding factor in deliciousness.)

I didn't slack off when it came to desserts either.  After all, they are the most important part of the meal, right? 

I made sure to offer up something for everyone, including Easter-themed sugar cookies, Almond Bark Drop Cookies, Lemon Cheesecake, French Silk Chocolate Pie, and Shoebox Apple Tarts.

French Silk Chocolate Pie

Shoebox Apple Tarts

Admittedly, there may have been a few sugar highs in our group after dessert, but at least they weren't induced by the beheading of innocent chocolate bunnies.  In fact, I can honestly say that no chocolate bunnies were harmed in the creation of this meal.  As for Peeps...well, that's another story...

Ta-ta for now!

22 April 2011

Hey Peeps!

Easter is almost here!

Are you still in need of a fun (and quick) Easter themed dessert?  Do you love Easter candy?  If so, have I got a treat for you.  And you only need four of which is the perennial favorite, Peeps!


These only take about an hour to make, start to finish.  They involve no measuring and very little prep work - actually the only thing you have to do before beginning assembly is melt the chocolate.  Doesn't get much easier than that!  And as an added bonus, the assembly process is very kid friendly, so it's a great opportunity to involve the whole family.

Bird Nests
Yield:  Approximately 36 Nests


  • 2 - 12 oz bags white chocolate chips
  • 1 - 16 oz bag pretzel sticks
  • 40 Peeps candies
  • 1 bag mini candy eggs (I use Mini Robin's Eggs)

  1. In a large bowl, melt the white chocolate chips; set aside approximately 1/2 cup.
  2. Stir the pretzel sticks into remaining chocolate until well coated.  (You'll have some breakage, but don't fret, it adds to the "nest" look.)
  3. Place 36 scoops of the pretzel and chocolate mixture onto wax paper.  Use either your (clean, freshly washed) hands or two forks to arrange each scoop into a 3-inch nest.
  4. Dip the bottom of a Peep candy into reserved white chocolate and place onto each nest.  Use melted chocolate to attach candy eggs.  (Reheat the chocolate if it becomes difficult to work with.)


Happy Easter!

20 April 2011

Joyeux Anniversaire

Or as it translates to English, "Happy Birthday!"

To me!  Yep, my birthday was this past week...and no I won't tell you my age.  Let's just say I'm old enough to know better, but still too young to care.

I'm sure you're expecting a fabulous cake creation that I made for myself, but truth is I didn't want a birthday cake this year...I wanted something different, something sinfully sweet and delicious, but not something I'd be willing to make any day of the had to be would require some deep thought and a little research....

But lucky for me, A was kind enough to bring me this cute cuppie fresh from...well, I'm not sure where it was fresh from, but I got a candle!  Woohoo!  (And, yes, we broke out the good china for the celebration, as you can tell.)


And while I loved the creme-filled cupcake A provided, it still wasn't quite what I was looking for, plus I had to supply something in the celebration/fancy dessert category to the attendees of my birthday party, so back to the drawing board.

Of course, while I was determining what I wanted my birthday confection to be, I also had a couple of cake orders to complete.

Like these petit fours...


Let me just say, they were perfect for contemplating celebration recipes.  Lots of detail work...definitely more time consuming than I had originally planned (beginner's optimism, I suppose), but once I figured out the best method for completion (and recruited my trusty sous-chef), things went by without a hitch.  In the space of about 5 hours, 48 of the little darlings were completed and ready to be delivered...but I still didn't have a dessert decision made.

Auspiciously for me, I also had this golf themed cake to complete...


And it just so happened that my repeated attempts at creating a 3D golf ball light enough to stay on the side of the cake also resulted in a dessert epiphany.  You see, staying up until the wee hours completing cake designs often leads to me drinking copious amounts of caffeine...either in the form of soda or coffee.

And when it comes to coffee, I'm completely addicted to iced blended coffee drinks, particularly of the caramel persuasion...and so I give you my creation...


Caramel Macchiato Cheesecake! was so good! Rich and creamy, with a hint of espresso flavor, topped off with homemade caramel and whipped cream, it was exactly what I had in mind.  Here's a slice of heaven for you...minus the "candles" (a.k.a matches*).


Have a great day! And don't forget to check back later in the week for an Easter themed recipe!

*Sometimes you just have to improvise!

13 April 2011

Boots and Bare Feet

Just a couple of cakes to share with you today, dear readers.  I absolutely adore both of them - although they couldn't be more different.  Hope you enjoy them too!

Boots, bandannas, belts, and buckles...all the trappings of a cowpoke, even if he is only 3 years old!  This was my first attempt at making cowboy boots and a belt buckle from gumpaste.  I'm pleased with the buckle, but as always due to my desire for perfection, the boots could use a little spit and polish.


Bare feet and toes in the sand.  Hula girls and hibiscus flowers.  Sounds like a dream vacation to a tropical destination, doesn't it?  And while that would be lovely, unfortunately, that's not in the plans today (though check back with me in a couple of months).  But as a consolation, here's a playful beach themed 1st birthday cake that may have you dreaming of footprints in the sand and warm azul waters in no time at all.


Anyone up for a frozen concoction to help us hang on?  *wink, wink*

Until next week,

06 April 2011


Before anyone says anything...I realize that the following is probably not a true, authentic recipe for true, authentic churros, but as Shakespeare's Juliet said, "What's in a name?  That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet." And she was right - deep fried pastry dough, dusted in cinnamon and sugar tastes just as good regardless of its name.

Keep in mind that these are not the massed produced, ultra crispy versions you'll find in some food outlets or school cafeterias.  While they do crisp up on the outside, they retain a fairly soft texture inside, making them an excellent, if somewhat, addicting snack food and a wonderful accompaniment to a cup of coffee.

Homemade Churros
Printable Recipe
Adapted from "First for Women" Magazine


Yields: Approximately 8 servings

  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided use
  • 5 tsp. cinnamon, divided use
  • 5 large eggs
  • Vegetable Oil, for frying

  1. In saucepan over high heat, bring milk, butter and water to a boil.  Stir in flour, 3 Tbsp. sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon.  Reduce heat to medium-high.  Cook 2 min, stirring constantly.
  2. In a food processor, puree the cooked dough mixture and eggs until smooth; about 2 mins.  Dough will be very thick and slightly sticky.*  Spoon into a pastry bag with a large star tip. 
  3. In a deep fryer or large pot, heat 2" oil to 375°F.  Working in batches, on a greased baking sheet, pipe 4" teardrop shapes; slide into oil.  (Or if you want to spare yourself one less dish to wash, simply pipe dough directly into the oil.  This is my preferred method, in case you were wondering.) Cook 1 minute; flipping once to ensure even frying.  Drain on paper towels.
  4. In a bowl, gently toss churros with the remaining sugar and cinnamon.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Happy baking!

*Experience has shown me that churro dough is not the easiest to remove from your food processor and utensils, but don't be afraid...the end results are sooo worth the clean-up time!