Monday, November 29, 2010

Turtle Pie

Today I am recovering from Thanksgiving.  Don't get me wrong, I had a wonderful holiday.  But you know how it is.  The house always needs cleaning.  The laundry needs washing.  All those things that just don't get done while you are vacationing.  With the kids back in school I'm able to catch up on the stuff that I neglected over the long weekend.

In my Thanksgiving post I teased y'all with a picture of turtle pie.  I'll be honest, I considered not posting a recipe at all.  Turtle pie is not exactly a decorative dessert.  I suppose, however, that it is a thing of beauty in it's own right.  Besides, I was asked for the recipe by one of you lovely readers out there.  So, here goes.

I found this recipe many years ago in a magazine.  I tweaked it to suit my tastes and have been making it ever since. 

 Start by combining 1/2 cup of milk, 1 1/3 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, and 1/2 of a bag of little

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to wish all of you a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving.  I hope that all of you are surrounded by loved ones and great food.  What a great combination! 

I thought of y'all as I made this pie last night.  It is one of my family's favorite traditions.  You can't have Thanksgiving around here without turtle pie.  I'll share a slice with you along with wishes for a blessed holiday!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

$35 Gift Card Winner

Thank you , thank you, to all of you that commented and entered the giveaway.  You set a blog record for comments!  It is always so much fun for me to read your comments and learn something about you.  I'm totally impressed with those of you that are already finished with your gift shopping/making.  I haven't even started yet.

Thank you also to CSN Stores for sponsoring this giveaway.

I know you are all dying to know the who the winner is, so......

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gifts and Giving

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is one week from today?  Already there are adds everywhere about Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.  I'll be honest, the last thing I want to do the day after Thanksgiving is battle the crowds to find a good deal.  I'm much more inclined to participate in Cyber Monday.  It's much more peaceful.  It's easy to locate everything from counter stools to the perfect toy without fighting traffic in the process.

To  kick start the gift giving spirit I decided to make a little gift bag set.  I also have a gift for a lucky winner to start their Christmas shopping with.  First, lets start with the cake!
 I baked the cake in a small loaf pan.  Then I cut two 2" slices for each bag and stacked them.
 Crumb coat these with frosting.  I wanted one bag to be standing and the other to be lying down.
 Knead some modeling chocolate until soft.  Roll it out into a thin sheet.  Measure and cut for the four sides of the bag.  My bags were approximately 3 1/2 inches tall, 3 inches wide, and 2 inches deep.  This photo shows the front of the bag and one side.
 I used a ball tool to mark the crease in the side of the bag and bent it slightly. (I know, this picture if fuzzy.  I'm so sorry.  I didn't know it was this bad until it was too late to take another.)
 This is the really fun part.  Mix up a small amount of silver luster dust and vodka.
 "Ink" a Christmas stamp with the vodka paint.
 Stamp the modeling chocolate with the desired pattern.
 Isn't that cool?
For the lines, I marked with a ruler and hand painted with the vodka paint.
 Attach the chocolate pieces to the cake.  The frosting should be sticky enough to hold it on.
 Gently squeeze the two sides of the bag together.  Continue until you have all four sides.
 Here is the back of the bag.
 For the handle, roll a long, skinny snake of modeling chocolate.  Fold it once and twist it into a rope.
 Gently smash the ends of the rope to the inside of the bag.
 For the white bag I used white modeling chocolate.  I was able to roll out three sides at once which allowed me to easily make a continuous pattern on the bag.  Since this bag was lying down, I only made the front, two sides, and the bottom of the bag.  The lettering on this bag was applied with a stamp and the ribbons were painted by hand.
Add a handle.  I made a single skinny snake for this bag.
At this point the bags look a little naked.  They need some tissue paper.
 Roll out some fondant very thin.  Cut it into a long strip.
 Arrange it in the bag to look full and fluffy.  It is difficult to tell in the picture but I tinted the tissue in the white bag with silver luster dust.
 Here is a close-up of those lovely, silver holly leaves and the "Season's Greetings".
These were so much fun to make.  I think I'm ready to tackle that shopping now.  How about you?  Here's something that may help to get you started.  I'm giving away a $35 dollar gift card* to CSN stores, just in time to take advantage of Cyber Monday sales.  Here are the details:
- To enter, leave a comment below telling me if you are a Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopper, or both, or neither. Make sure fill in the email field for winner notification.  Addresses will not be published.
- Entries will be accepted until Noon, November  22, EST.  Winner will be chosen at random and announced Tuesday, November 23.
-You must be 18 or older to participate and be a resident of the US or Canada.
Good luck everyone!
*The card does not cover shipping costs.
Entries are now closed.  Winner will be announced Tuesday, 23.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Skinner Leaf Cookies

My husband tells me that I have too many hobbies.  He might be right.  Anyone who checks out my shelving unit full of craft supplies would probably think so.  I also have a whole cabinet in the kitchen dedicated to cake decorating stuff. (not counting the pans, that's a seperate drawer.)  Once in a while, my different hobbies collide!  I'll explain...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Baking Cakes With a Flower Nail

I was asked about this recently so here's my two cents on baking with flower nails.  I stumbled upon this use of a flower nail a few years ago.  It is now standard practice in my kitchen.  When I bake a cake I place a flower nail upside down in the cake pan.  The purpose is to promote even baking of the cake.  Ever have a cake that gets done on the outside but takes forever to bake on the inside?  This is especially a problem with large cakes.  Yes, there are heating cores that you can use.  I have one.  You'll see why I like the nails better in a minute.  Here's how I do it.
 Place the flower nail in the pan and spray with non-stick spray.  (I took these photos in Texas. See, no green counter top.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kitchen Remodel - Phase 1

In case you have been wondering why I have been MIA for a few days (and even if you haven't), I'm going to tell you.  I have been working on my kitchen.  I'm a do-it-yourselfer with a fixer-upper house.  My last house was a fixer-upper too.  The kitchen was the first thing I tackled in my Texas house.  I was painting cabinets before the first box was unpacked, literally.  It had been fixed up for so long that I had  forgotten what it was like to have a messed up, ugly kitchen.  I miss my fancy convection, double oven, sigh.  (See Farewell to My Kitchen, have a tissue handy.)

I have been in this house for approximately 4 months.  It was high time I did something about my ugly kitchen.

Monday, November 1, 2010

White Modeling Chocolate and Roses

I have been thinking for a few years now that I really needed to try making white modeling chocolate.  I don't really know why it took me so long.  It's not as if it takes hard-to-find ingredients or anything.  Now that I finally did it, I'm so glad that I did. 
 Just like the dark modeling chocolate, the ingredients are super simple.  All you need is white chocolate and light corn syrup.