Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like ...

Christmas... Red everywhere :) candy in red packages,lotions with red wrappers and tags,cosmetic and red teddy bears in red baskets,department stores use bright red bags for this season.Even the Santa wears RED :D well, the love I have for the color red...I just love it :) RED IS IN THE AIR! and that makes me happy :D
As we were getting out of Barnes and Noble(and a few other stores that had fabulous sales advertised :) Maani pointed towards the sea of red cars...well not quite a sea,but 5 in a row!I just loved it :)

Just thought I'd share.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cracking the code for a Cotton Crochet Cardigan!

Quite a tongue twister,eh!
Well, I wanted to crochet something for myself to wear.And I love Spring cardigans.I came across this gorgeous cardigan and want to crochet a similar version for myself.
I love the bell sleeves and the gorgeous brown color.
I looked for hours and hours online and in my collection of crochet books, hoping to find a similar crochet pattern...but so far no luck! I think I will head to the bookstore to search Crochet books.
I know the body of the cardigan is basically chain so many and then sl st at a chain,and the bottom part is the Pineapple Stitch.I wish this was enough information to crochet this beauty for myself!!! but nope...I can't seem to crack the code on this one.
Send me your suggestions and any clues or just to wish me luck ;)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

and this is why I love him ;)

...for all that he is and for all that he does for me :) as if that wasn't enough...he loves working with me in the kitchen when I am baking yummy goodies!
Gotta love a handy husband ;)
A few days ago I came across a recipe for Spinach pies,YUM! I had to try making them.
I added chicken,corn,peas, potato cubes and bell pepper cubes to the spinach and it was YUMMY!!! They were super easy and super yummy.
I researched a lot and found all the recipes related to this kind of pie..pretty similar to each other.You can view an easy version here.
Guess who helped me in the kitchen??? My handsome Jeep guy ;) ( he loves wearing his Jeep Hoodie that I got him for his birthday last year)
he made half of the pies,he did a pretty neat job!and didn't even make a mess in my kitchen
just look at the perfection ;) pretty impressive,eh!
gawd I love his hands ;)
and he laid them all neatly in the baking tray :)

Try them,they are pretty cute and fun.
pretty handsome,huh! good looking and practical,just like my Maani!!! :D

me like Cookie :D

so last two days I have been busy busy baking different kinds of cookies for Christmas :)
I have to say,I have never been this busy and enjoyed baking this much before!I haven't tried my hands on baking cookies a lot in the past but I must admit I am getting addicted to cookie baking ;) shhhh don't tell my friends :)
just look at this beauty :) wouldn't you love baking it ;) these were the lemon sandwich cookies.They smelled so fresh and ...well Lemony!
All the recipes I tried were from various cookie books.
I will be posting those recipes here soon!
Maani and Waaiz helped me packing the cookie baskets.End result was pretty cute.Not bad at all for the first time.
This morning,Maani played Santa at his office.He took several cookie baskets as presents to his co workers.I hope they enjoy them.
Last night I put on my Santa Hat and took cookie baskets to some friends.It was a lot of fun.Joy oh joy!
Here,enjoy some pictures.
a little closer
see the chocolate mint brownie square in the above picture! YUM!
are you drooling yet?
They were even pretty from the back :)
one last look before they all disappear :)
gosh these were tempting :) but I baked so much that I didn't even feel like tasting any single one of these cookies, now the boys!!! they LOVED tasting each and every one of the different variety :) They were my quality control officers since the last two days.
OK, people, now I am off to play Santa again and distribute more of these baskets...till next time,eat a cookie!

Friday, November 20, 2009

What can this be???

...can you guess!!! oooh the suspense ;)
It is a ring box that I made yesterday...with gum paste and fondant.For two very precious friends,who promised to spend their lives together...what a huge honor this was for me to be a part of this beautiful event.
My friend Jeff asked me on Monday, if I can make a ring box for him,he will be asking our beautiful friend Tina to marry him on Nov 20th.And since both of them absolutely love chocolate...I immediately knew the ring box will have a little chocolate cake inside :) MOST IMPORTANTLY, IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SURPRISE FOR TINA!!!eeeekkkk, how am I gonna be able to keep it a secret from Tina when all I wanted to do was to call and congratulate her.BUT I have a very good history of keeping secrets :D LOL! Here are my beautiful friends,Tina and Jeff ,aren't they cute together :D
and ofcourse Waaiz absolutely adores his Aunt Tina and Uncle Jeff, and they love him too.

I saw our mutual friend Monica twice this week and I had that itch to just start jumping and screaming and let Monica know,"yayyyyy our Tina is getting engaged", but NOPE!!! I had to control.Trust me it was definitely NOT easy.
Needless to say I was thrilled and honored.Jeff graciously left everything about the box on me.
I knew a Tiffany Blue color will be perfect for the ring box...I asked Ms Sharon Zambito for color matching advice...and she being a sweetheart she has always been gave some accurate suggestions :) THANK YOU MS SHARON! YOU ROCK!!!
I picked up my Tiffany perfume box and brought it in the kitchen and started mixing colors in my gum paste...finally I had started the process of measuring and cutting... I needed an inspiration,my gorgeous friend Margo sent me a beautiful Tinker Bell pin a few weeks ago and it came in a cute little box,PERFECT!!! I used that box as my inspiration.
Here are the gum paste box peaces,drying.
3 days of on and off work and waiting for the gum paste pieces to dry...finally I assembled the box on Thursday.
Friday morning I cleaned up the melted chocolate I used for attaching the pieces together and dusted the box with some nice luster dust to make it look like satin.

Then I attached the silk ribbon bow.

Finally the box was completely done!I sent a text message to the happy guy and informed him that his ring box is ready to be picked up :)
He stopped by our house a little later and was very happy to see it :) Mission accomplished!!!
A few hours later , I get a call from the happy couple,saying they loved the ring box and loved the cake :) Another Mission accomplished!!! I was at a pie competition party at Monica's house and when I mentioned this to Tina, she immediately wanted to talk to Monica.Us three girls...on the phone..all happy and joyful :) what a beautiful moment!
I loved keeping this whole thing a surprise from my friend Tina and every one else :) I love love love surprising people..and this was by far the best one ever!
Tina and Jeff, CONGRATULATIONS on your engagement.Maani, Waaiz and I are SO happy for you guys.You guys are so cute together.We wish you a blessed life together.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I think I got a little baker on my hands :)

So... everyone knows how much I enjoy baking and decorating cakes...but recently I have been baking breads,c00kies,coffee cakes and cupcakes more and more...trying new recipes and tweaking them to slash fats and carbs a tiny bit.
Waaiz has been baking with me a few years now...he loves to measure ingredients,pours them and mixes them.He likes the anticipation,the excitement and the wait for the finished product.

Here, he was browsing through a book a got as a birthday present.He found an easy recipe for chocolate chunk cookies and asked me if we can make these cookies with M&Ms,ofcourse I said,Yes :)
Look at him scraping the bowl and everything,just like a pro!

and he knows,I am so proud of him.

tada!!! look at these cookies.Perfectly done...
Now that was about a year ago...he is still in love with baking yummies for him and his dad.This weekend,he entered in a little talent contest at a Homeschool Fair.He wanted to make cupcakes and cookies!with frosting and all... umm OKKK! umm SURE,CHILD! and he did.He made cupcakes, all by himself,made the frosting with my help,baked the cupcakes all by himself,he kept track of the baking time and when the cupcakes were at room temperature,he asked me to show him how to frost them and then he frosted his cupcakes!

Can you tell which one I frosted?

I am amazed,proud and happy :)
Guess what!!! His cupcakes and cookies won first place- A blue ribbon!!! my little boy is VERY happy.
He also entered in the creative art/hobby category and won first place there too.Everyone was interested in seeing his little creations.
He has been doing this since about 3 years now,he'd take a regular toy figure and will turn that figure into some other character by paper,scissors and tape.It is so interesting and amazing to watch him draw and then cut tiny,miniature things on paper.Things and shapes even smaller than his fingertips.
Here, he took a Clone trooper and transformed it into Chubaka and there is Iron man in the background.
A Han Solo figure into Batman,
A bulldozer guy into Boba fett and again,Iron man in the background.
and Ironman figure into Superman

you've gotta love the facial expressions and the resemblance,

Oh the attention to details...

Check out the awesome flying cape

Here is the entire display.
mmmm sweet victory :)

Look at him so proud :)
I uploaded his cupcakes video on youtube despite the fact that we were in a hurry to get the cupcakes and cookies ready for the fair :)
Here are his recipes.Try them,you will love the flavor of these cookies and the moistness of these quick cupcakes.

YZ's Gameday cookies:
3/4 cups ~ -unsalted butter -soften
1.25 cup ~ -brown sugar
1 -egg
1/4 cup ~ -orange juice
1 tsp ~ pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ~ salt -
1/4 tsp ~ -baking soda
1 cup ~ Whole Wheat-flour
3 cups ~ -rolled oats
4ounces semi sweet chocolate chunks -toblerone chocolate -chopped into chunky pieces
2 ounces white chocolate chunks.( you can substitute for 1/4 cups of chopped walnuts)
Pre heat oven to 350'F.Cream Butter and Sugar until light and fluffy,about 3 minutes.
Combine,flour,baking soda and salt.Set aside. Add egg to the butter mixture,beat well.Add Vanilla extract.Add Orange juice.

Now add the flour mixture.Mix.Add oats,a cup at a time.

Then stop the mixer and toss the chopped chocolate chunks in the dough.Run the mixer for about 10 seconds to combine everything. If you want thick chewy cookies, you can refrigerate the cookie dough for 20 minutes.Or just scoop about 1 Tbsp of dough on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
They smell and taste divine!!!
YZ's Mother's day Cupcakes:
These can be made in one bowl.Easy and quick.
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm brewed coffee
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pre heat oven to 325'F .
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.Line your cupcake pan with liners and fill them 3/4 full with batter.Bake for 20 minutes.
mmmmmm YUMMY

Frost them White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.
1/2 Cup Butter,
8 oz Cream Cheese
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tablespoon half n half(optional)
2 lbs confectioner's sugar(10x)
1 1/2 cup of white chocolate chunks,melted and at room temperature.
Beat butter and cream cheese until light and creamy.Add vanilla.Gradually add powder sugar and continue mixing- about 5 miutes.If it is too thick you can add half and half by teaspoons full.Or you can use water or additional Vanilla extract.
When the frosting is smooth and doesn't look grainy,add melted and cooled white chocolate.Beat for another 4 minutes.
This frosting pairs wonderfully with Red Velvet cupcakes,carrot cake and best with these chocolate cupcakes.
Enjoy and don't forget to share your adventures in baking.Remember, you are never too old or young to bake yummy treats for your friends and loved ones and sneak a bite yourself too ;)