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27 August 2013

Mmm...Melty


Ever have trouble getting a slice of cheese to melt nice and evenly over a pan fried hamburger or fried egg?  Next time, try covering the pan with the lid or even a heatproof plate.  This will trap the steam and help more evenly and quickly melt the cheese. 

Mmm...tasty!



22 August 2013

Blossoms, Bows, & Buttons

I know...you're thinking "those are all girly things."  And for the the most part, you'd be right, but don't worry, I don't intend to leave the boys out today either.  But, first, the blossom, paired with a pretty "Tiffany" blue.

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The bows and buttons can both be found here.  Along with some pretty ribbon.  (No, I didn't make the doll.  She was a toy purchased for use as the topper.)

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I promised I had a few cakes that the boys would like, too.  Maybe one that is hunting themed?  Or a few cookies that are camouflaged?

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Since buttons and bows may not be the most fitting for the boys, maybe stripes and polka dots are a better fit.

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Of course, you can never go wrong, no matter the recipient, with something simple and unfettered.

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Talk to you soon!

20 August 2013

Clean Out Your Coffee Grinder


Have you ever used your coffee grinder to grind fresh chiles or other fresh spices?  Don't look at me like I'm crazy - for the freshest tasting chile powder and other spices, it's worth grinding your own at home.

The problem, though, arises when your next morning cup of joe has a nice kick from the leftover spice.  How to solve it?  Grind a handful of toasted-oat cereal or torn bread pieces for about 30 seconds.  This will absorb the leftover flavor and odor of the chiles or spices.

Mmm...tasty!


15 August 2013

Eat 'Em Up

Alligator, alligator...eat 'em up...eat 'em up!  Did you ever do this chant at a sporting event in high school?  We did at basketball games in particular.  And the entire time I was making this cake, I just kept having flashbacks.  Ah, the memories.

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This alligator wasn't eating anyone though.  In fact, I'd say the tables got turned, and he got eaten instead.  It's a rough life.  Oh, the block in the gator's mouth read "See Ya Later..." just because I know you were curious about that.

As you can probably tell, Mr. Gator up there was for a dentist who was retiring.  And, since there's a new doctor taking over his practice, she got a cake as well.

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Both the cakes were buttercream.  And, yes, the gator stressed me out.  I don't think I've been that tied up in knots over a cake in quite awhile.  But, both cakes survived the delivery trip.  Yay!

If you're not into dental themed cakes, maybe you'll enjoy these character/pop culture inspired ones.

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Yep...the quack pack is back.  Did you watch the premier last night?  No?  That's okay, I didn't either.

Cartoons, characters, and comics - vintage and new...

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Well, that's all for now.  I'm off to continuing prepping for a wedding cake this weekend.  Talk to you soon!

P.S.  Did I mention that the gator and tooth cake made the front page of my local paper?  Yeah...my cakes are famous!  Ok, well not really, but they were semi-famous in a small town for a bit.  

13 August 2013

Feelin' Flaky


Longing to achieve the perfect, tender, flaky pie crust?  Keep these tips in mind:
  • Don't mix the dough perfectly.  You actually want to have some big, distinctive chunks of butter in the mix.  And, on that note, minimize the amount of time you spend working the dough with your hands...hands generate heat, heat melts butter.
  • Plan to let your dough relax for a bit in the fridge; usually the minimum is four hours, but you can even let it go up to 3 days.  Why let it relax?  Aging the dough releases acids that relax the gluten in the mixture, and relaxed gluten produces a tender crust.
  • Keep the dough refrigerator cold throughout the process, right up until it goes in the oven.  Cold is the key to a flaky crust.
Mmm...tasty!



09 August 2013

Blink of an Eye

Umm...where did July go? No, seriously...my calendar says it's August 9, how did that happen?. I was busy in July, had plenty going on, made some good memories, but I've been seriously slacking when it comes to blogging.  I haven't posted photos of any goodies in weeks, which according to one source, is BORING. I think I should get points for keeping up with the Tasty Tip Tuesday posts though, right?

*crickets chirping*

Hmm...maybe not. But, I bet you've guessed where this is leading - yep, to one of my marathon posts.  Though in all fairness it's really not a marathon, only about 9.3 miles or 15K, so not even a half marathon, rather short really...

Hope you're hydrated, we're about to get started. And, yes, all the following creations are from July (translation, I'm still behind, but closing the gap).  *big smile*

Starting Line - we're off like a herd of turtles with this festive coconut cake I made for the 4th of July.

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Coming up on 1K, still feeling pretty good, maybe a little like a princess?

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2K marker - sun is starting to really shine, hope you remembered your sunscreen.

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There's the local gymnasium at the 3K mark, looks like the team is playing some off-season basketball.

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Sun's still shining, birds are chirping...how are you feeling after 4K?

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3.1 mile mark! You completed 5K...did it feel like a run for the roses?  There's a few more miles yet to go, let's push on.

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There's an aid station up ahead at the 6K point, looks like they might have a cozy quilt if you're feeling chilled.

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7K - headed into the woods for a little trail running, hope you opted for neon colored running gear today.

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A little over halfway there now, 8K is getting near. Maybe it's time to fuel up....did you bring gels along? If not, how about a cake ball? Highly portable and in a variety of flavors!

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9K, officially past the halfway point. One more chance to fuel up with a cake ball or two, it could make the difference between a fading finish and a strong sprint at the end...

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Guess what? You've reached 6.2 miles, 10K. Excellent job! Are you dreaming of lots of yummy, "bad for you" foods yet? Like maybe this dairy free chocolate cream pie with coconut whipped cream?

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Or maybe you're more the type to daydream about warm sandy beaches, frosty drinks, toes in the sand, and leis.  Oh, look! We made 11K.

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No time to stop and smell the flowers, you've found the 12K mark, time to finish strong!

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13K. Are you digging deep in your reserves to find the energy to finish? Maybe this character has something useful in her backpack that could help you out.

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You're at 14K.  This is no time to let your mind wander far afield, stay focused!

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Here's the finish! 15K....congratulations; grab a brew and don't forget to stretch!

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Whew! I'm exhausted; thanks for going the distance with me today.

Talk to you soon!  (Hopefully.)

06 August 2013

Great Grilled Cheese


Who doesn't love a classic grilled cheese sandwich every now and then?  It's one of the ultimate comfort foods.  Curious how you can get that great crispy finish to the exterior of your sandwich bread?  Try these tips:

  1. Preheat your pan/griddle.  Make sure it is hot - not just warm - but seriously hot.
  2. Use melted butter and brush it onto the bread rather than using cold butter that you spread on with a knife.
  3. When you put the sandwich in the pan/on the griddle, DO NOT move it around!  Just let it sit, un-bothered, for a minute or so, or until the bread reaches your desired crispness.  I know, you want to peek, but resist the urge, your patience will be rewarded.
Mmm...tasty!