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January 18, 2018

Easy Flower Adorned Heart Cake | Homemade Valentines



My sister and I grew up enamored by cake decorating.  We spent some favorite mornings at our Aunt Joanie's house watching her decorate wedding cakes.  From the ages of 7 on, we often spent our Saturday mornings making our own creations out of buttercream.  About 10 years ago, I became intrigued by more 'homemade' looking desserts and cakes (ala Barefoot Contessa), likely as I was establishing our own home and style and craving that home-y feeling.  


In this iPad era, one of the only thing Emma is allowed to watch videos of is DIY creating.  She loves watching playdoh video creations and has recently become fascinated by watching cake decorating videos, too.  Of course, I'm happy to encourage any hobby that interests her - especially in the kitchen.  I've dusted off my pastry decorating skills and we've really enjoyed making buttercream creations.  We created our own Youtube Video you can see in the post below.

Do you remember the decadently simple, Dripping Chocolate Heart Cake I made for Valentine's Day a couple of years back?  We transformed it this year to be covered in Buttercream Flowers.


I came across these new Flower tips recently and (like Emma) became hooked to watching videos of them and how easy they seemed.  Could you really make a pretty flower by just one squeeze on the pastry bag?  


Obviously Emma was swooned by the idea, as well, as we sometimes struggled to make pretty roses and flowers with our standard tips.




Making this cake was so much fun.  It came together so quickly and easily - I can't tell you how excited we were!  It really felt like magic.  I know that we are all can be a little intimidated by things that seem like a "professional" should do, but I would love for you all to give this a try.  It is so rewarding - and really beautiful.



I tried to match my buttercream (recipe coming soon) to the flowers and the bay leaf.  The colors were achieved by a pale pink + yellow for the roses, and a deep green + yellow for the leaves.



Supplies Used :


Flowers Tips, 5 for $15

Large Leaf Tip

18" Disposable Pastry Bag

Heart Pan (chocolate cake recipe & technique here>)

Small Sheet Pan

Parchment Paper (it helped to tape it to the pan)

Large Pink Bakery Box

Rose Satin Ribbon

Heart Tag

Shop all of my Baking Supplies here >


You can use any shape, but the heart is so sweet for Valentine's Day.  Here is the recipe to make this Dripping Chocolate Heart Cake.  Spoiler Alert : I used a boxed cake mix.


Step 1 : The biggest tip is to pipe the flowers on a parchment lined baking sheet, then chill them in the refrigerator.  This allows them to harden.
Step 2 : Then, you can place them on the cake wherever you like - and you can pick the best ones.  Go through



Step 3 : Pipe leaves in to fill in spaces.  The leaves really do work magic to make it feel complete.



Step 4 : Add small real berries or flowers.  I love this detail - you could use anything.








These flowers were my inspiration - a soft peachy pink Roses with deep bluish grey Privet Berries and Bay Leaves.

I'll show you how I made these arrangements later this week.




The Heart Cake got wrapped in a Large Pink Bakery Box and tied with a beautiful ribbon.


I used the 2" Rose Satin Ribbon + a Light Pink Heart Tag.


Shop the entire Valentine's Collection, here >



Supplies Used :


Flowers Tips - Set of 5, $15

Large Leaf Tip

18" Disposable Pastry Bag

Heart Pan (chocolate cake recipe & technique here>)

Small Sheet Pan

Parchment Paper (it helped to tape it to the pan)

Large Pink Bakery Box

Rose Satin Ribbon

Heart Tag

Shop all of my Baking Supplies here >



January 17, 2018

The Valentine's Collection | Launching Tomorrow at 8am Central


Each year, after the rush of the Holiday season, slow, cold January settles in.  I was so ready for slow.  Now, as a quiet blanket white covers our town and in the midst of bleak winter months come big bunches of the palest pink roses, tiny hearts on pink packages tied with ribbons, cozy dinners by candlelight, and homemade chocolate treats adorned with flowers made by tiny hands.  

Like last season's Holiday Collection, I focused on finding tools for you to be able to create heartfelt moments for your loves.  There are pretty boxes to fill, easy pastry projects the make, luscious ribbons, pretty linens for your table, charming tags and the softest pillows.  All for you to create a little lovely magic for your family and friends.

The Valentine's Collection will launch tomorrow, Jan 18th at 9am Central.


















The Valentine's Collection will launch tomorrow, Thursday, Jan 18th at 8am central.

January 09, 2018

Family Dinner Goals | Easy Weeknight Recipes


Since I started this "Family Dinner Goals" series (yesterday), I thought I would go back through my recipes and pull out our favorite for easy weeknight dinners.  These are all our go-to's any week, any season.  Most are from simple, fresh ingredients and can be made in 30-45 minutes.

The best weeknight meals are sheet pan recipes like this Lemon Roasted Salmon & Vegetables.  If you don't care for fish, you can also do this with Chicken.  



You pile everything on a sheet pan, drizzle with lemon and olive oil, salt & pepper, then put it in the oven.  Add some garlic bread spread with goat cheese or mozzarella and you've got a yummy meal.


Lemon Roasted Salmon & Vegetables

 

Apricot Chicken with Couscous    |    Chicken Fricassee





 


 


 

Grilled Chicken with Penne (can be made with roasted chicken)   |   Poached Salmon & Vegetables









This becomes a weeknight dinner when you make a big batch of meatball and keep them in the freezer. Our all time favorite sauce has 3 ingredients (canned tomatoes, butter and 1 onion cut in half) and only takes 30 minutes to simmer.



What is dinner without dessert?  After dinner, we usually indulge in warm baked cookies (from the freezer), a scoop of ice cream, or these Mini S'mores baked in the oven.  I love these little traditions that feel like a reward at the end of the day - for everyone.  

Family Dinner Essentials :


I am obsessed with my Plastic Kitchen Containers.  I use them for fresh ingredients (grated cheese, fruit, chopped veggies) and for soups and sauces going in the freezer.  I even empty all of my frozen vegetables and fruit into them (instead of the bags they come in) to keep them organized.   In the freezer (and the fridge), they stack perfectly on each other, making it easy to find what I'm looking for.
 

I use the glass containers for leftovers and to send to work with Mike.




Sheet Pans + Parchment are the easiest tools to use for dinner.  We are constantly roasting chicken breasts, vegetables (carrots, green beans, broccoli, asparagus) and toasting bread on sheet pans.  The clean up is so easy.

I hope to be adding more new recipes soon.  I feel like we've get into our happy routine of favorites, but I'm ready to start exploring new ideas.  I'll keep you posted!

Next, I'll share some everyday centerpieces from the grocery store and your yard... my favorite thing to do.

You can follow along with this Family Dinner Goals series, here >
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