Christmas inspired by Sweets

Ok, so have you heard of Bakerella?  You know those cake pops I make all the time?  Well she started them.  She just posted cute whimsical gingerbread and snowman heads.

I would like to say that this whimsical  take on Christmas is one of my favorite ideas. I really wish I could afford to go out and buy all new Christmas decor for the house and make it look like these cookies. I have decided that if we end up moving cross country again after we are done with grad school, i will sell all current decor and start all over with new "candyland" decor.   Well not all of my decor has to go, I already have giant candies and big balls that can stay.

Back to bakerella... a few years ago, she attended the best Christmas party ever.. I wish I could get an invitation.  She went to a house in which I aspire to decorate like.  Here are some inspirational whimsical Christmas decor pictures for you to drool over.

Oh and might I mention that normally her kitchen looks like this...

A pink island and colorful candy decor.  I have since asked Rich if I could have a kitchen like this in our first house... he said yes!!  Pink island, here I come.  Ok in a few years when we have jobs and money for a house and a bucket of glossy pink paint.

Just in case that wasn't enough Christmas whimsy for you, here are some more ideas I have my eye on.
I want my house to look like you walked inside of a gingerbread house, or into whoville.. I am drooling over theses images today.

Hope your Christmas decor is magical!

Julia Child's Cheese Souffle

As many of you might be.. I am enamored with Julia Child and I too own the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  While flipping through the book one day I decided to attempt the fabled Cheese Souffle!

It was spectacular... I would advise to have many people over, otherwise you will eat half of it yourself and be cheese sick.  It is so cheesey and fluffy and warm and full of homemade goodness.. make it!

  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2.50 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 0.50 teaspoon paprika
  • 0.50 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 4 large egg yolk
  • 5 large egg white
  • 1 cup gruyere cheese

  • -Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
  • -Butter 6-cup (1-1/2 quart) souffle dish. Add Parmesan cheese and tilt dish, coating bottom and sides.
  • -Warm milk in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming.
  • -Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until mixture begins to foam and loses raw taste, about 3 minutes; do not allow mixture to brown).
  • -Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 1 minute.Pour in warm milk, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • -Remove from heat; whisk in paprika, salt, and nutmeg.
  • -Add egg yolks 1 at a time, whisking to blend after each addition.
  • -Scrape souffle base into large bowl.
  • -Cool to lukewarm. DO AHEAD; can be made 2 hours ahead.
  • -Cover and let stand at room temperature.
  • -Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff but not dry.
  • -Fold 1/4 of whites into lukewarm or room temperature souffle base to lighten.
  • -Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions while gradually sprinkling in Gruyere cheese.
  • -Transfer batter to prepared dish.
  • -Place dish in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
  • -Bake until souffle is puffed and golden brown on top and center moves only slightly when dish is shaken gently, about 25 minutes (do not open oven door during first 20 minutes).

  • Serve immediately.

Family Cookies

Earlier this year I got on a sugar cookie kick and mad a whole bunch of specialized cookies.  I customized these ones for each family member. Sorry for the such dark photos.

Here is the whole batch I always use this recipe and tutorial 

Johnny Cash cookies for my moms husband

80's cookies for my mom, she really cant get enough of the 80's

Soccer Cookies for my little step brother who is 8

And "groovy" cookies for my 11 year old sister who is into that stuff right now

Lowcountry Highrollers

One of my good friends is a member of the local roller derby team, and they have a bake sale to support thier venue rental and other costs of the game.  I volunteered many times to make these goodies.

 Sugar Cookie roller skates

New Years Last Year

 Ok, so this one is really really late.. but whatever.  This party was totally last minute and cost maybe $15, everything else I had on hand

Banner was made out of black and white scrapbook paper and I printed out the words on regular paper. I also used the paper for labels, wraping around the vases and labeling water bottles (not shown) (cost $5). Blower set was at wal-mart for $2

The whole party was inspired by these cookies that I just had to make when I saw them ( Cost = free, I always have flower sugar eggs and butter around) recipe
 Centerpiece was vases I had laying around placed on a cake stand with black and white ornaments I got in the after christmas sales for $1

Rum Balls, always a holiday favorite (rum = $4)

 Chocolate dipped marshmallow penguins ( marshmallows $2, chocolate was on hand)

 Upclose of cookies

Oreo truffles ( oreos $3, cream cheese and chocolate on hand)

Ok so that is like $17, sue me.  We also bought champagne but everything else was byob.

Proof that you can have a low cost great looking party in 2 days!!!!

Bacon Party Idea Boards

Rich's 29th birthday is just around the corner and we will be having a bacon party!  Here are the invites and idea boards for the party.  I am so looking forward to this one!

For most of my parties that we have at home I send out an Evite, because it is easy and it sends out automatic reminders 2 days before the party.. it makes planning/ inviting people easier because a lot of times I am stuck in lab and dont have time to go around and pass out invites, they are easy and customizable.  I particularly like the Kevin Bacon pic i chose for this one =)

The Decor Idea Board

The food idea board

1. Maple Bacon doughnuts instead of cake
2. Bacon Pecan Pralines
3. Bacon Lettuce and Tomato cups
4. Bacon meatballs for sliders
5. Bacon Jam
6. Bacon covered potatoes
7. Bacon goat cheese pops

Halloween Cookies

Sorry I am a couple weeks late at posting these cookies.  October and November have been overwhelming in the school and family department.  I did have time to make one halloween treat to pass out to labmates and friends this year.  Its funny that such a simple recipe was such a big hit.  I had a lot of fun making them.

Chocolate Skeleton Cookie Cutouts
Recipe Modified from here.

5 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. cocoa powder (dutch-process or natural works)
2 c (4 sticks) regular salted butter
2 c. sugar
2 egg
2 tsp. vanilla

Cream together the butter and sugar until light an fluffy (1-2 full minutes). Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.

Whisk flour and cocoa powder together and then slowly add to the butter mixture by spoonfuls with mixer at low speed. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl as needed.

Form dough into a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for 30min.

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment or a silicone baking mat if you have either of those.

Lightly dust rolling surface with coco powder. Roll dough about 1/4 inch thick.
Cut out shapes and place on baking sheets. Pop into the freezer for 3-5 min, then put directly in the oven. This helps hold the shape.

 Bake for 8-10 minutes, until set.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell with chocolate cookies when they are done, so just watch for the dough to not look “wet” anymore and the edges should be holding their shape nicely

Royal Icing (i use this recipe because I have Meringue powder laying around and it is easier and less waist of egg yolk, but the next recipe works just as well)

    * 3 tablespoons Meringue Powder Easy-Add Meringue Powder
    * 4 cups (about 1 lb.) confectioners' sugar
    * 1/4c  warm water, plus more to thin it out


    * 3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
    * 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    * 4 cups confectioners' sugar
    * couple tables spoons of water for thinning 

Happy Therapy!!!

Thanksgiving Desserts

So since we have been at graduate school we have not returned home for Thanksgiving.  Last year we were able to have our friends over for a pre-thanksgiving before everyone left to go home.  Since everyone would have their faves at home I decided to take this as an opportunity to try out new Thanksgiving recipes.  We did it potluck style and it was so much fun.. here are dessert the creations.. They were yummy.

First up is a Chocolate Pumpkin Tart from Martha Stewart. 

 My new holiday staple.  I loved this cake so much I am probably going to make it a family tradition.  It is an Upside-Down Cranberry Cake 

Hope Your Thanksgiving planning is going well, maybe you will feel adventurous enough to try something new this year that will become a family tradition for many generations to come.

30th Birthday Stache Bash

Our good friend Matt was turning 30 and didnt want to "make a big deal out of it".  Well I cant just let a milestone birthday go. So we threw him a stache bash.  I got most of the printables for the old school barbershop look from this etsy shop.
 I made chocolate mustaches from molds I found at Michaels
 Cake pops, one of Matts favorite treats.
 Pecan logs.. also one of Matt's Faves.

 Oreo Cheesecakes!

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Well remember my idea board for the one year old birthday party?  Well here are all of the pictures.
Here is the invite!

Here is the birthday girl in all of her glory.  We made her outfit using this tutorial, and her onesie was made using freezer paper tutorial and the name was out of fabric ironed on with wonder under. 

The full table!
 Water bottles labeled with scrap book paper
 Pink Popcorn using this recipe
 Strawberry Lamb Cupcakes with Marshmallow buttercream.  Strawberry cupcakes can be found here. The buttercream recipe can be found here.
 Chocolate dipped pretzels
 Sugar cookies
 High chair with tutu and balloon, and the birthday girls cake.

 Lamb Cake!
 Birthday Banner, with pictures of each month of life! This was a big hit! We used scrap book paper, ribbon and glue to make it

 Cake with the cute sparkle pink candle
Birthday girl with at the beginning!
 In the middle
At the end!