Wednesday, December 30, 2009

turning a new leaf

For some reason, there has been so much negativity floating in the air as we uproach the new year. I myself was stuck in the middle of the swirl, but is hoping to breathe clean air, for this is definitely not how I want to start my new year. Anyway, I have a whole week off which leaves more room for baking and spending lots and lots of time with family. Here are some stuff I've made over the Christmas holidays.
You're not reading it wrong, this is a happy birthday set =)
I also made Dora cupcakes for Mikka's birthday. I have to give A some credit for helping me with this project because he practically baked and iced these babies. He did a great job, didn't he??
2009 was a good year for me and A. The new year is coming and I can only hope for better things to come.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

random acts of kindness...

While getting gas this morning, A found a MasterCard on the ground. We could have just thrown it in the garbage, allow the person to report a missing credit card and get a new one in the mail, but since we couldn't help thinking that some unfortunate individual must be looking for this card especially on a day like today, we went one step further. You can't believe the information you can access through With facebook profiles and pictures, we were able to return the card to the rightful owner. It was an amazing feeling being able to help.

Which reminded me of a segment at The Star's online website on Acts of Kindness. I came across this page one quiet night at work while browsing through random news. It was a very refreshing and uplifting read, it somewhat restored my faith in humanity. A nice bit to read on your free time =)

As the most celebrated season nears, I was swamped with more mini cupcake orders...
This is not exactly healthy but it adds to the holiday menu.
Yes, I used baby bokchoy and carrots for my sinigang. They're about the only two types of vegetables left in my fridge so don't judge me. They were still very much like sinigang =)

Another look at the ribs =)
And lastly, to complete my holiday baking for today, I made some leche flan.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

red velvet cake balls

I had so much leftover red velvet cake from yesterday's cupcake order and I thought, what best way to preserve and store the cake than making them into cake balls. The cake stays fresh and moist for at least two weeks.
Take a closer look. Yum!
Gaining so much weight from all these treats! Gotta do some running on the threadmill. Somebody take them away from me!!

what's for lunch?

A made his classic stir-fried garlic beef with mushrooms for lunch. Soo yummy! =)
I was determined to make bread today. with yeast. I know! I woke up feeling hopeful that I will be able to pull this off, or at least make something resembling bread. I halfed The Pioneer Woman's recipe for dough to make cinnamon buns and rosemary rolls. Quite a challenge to do in my tiny kitchen but here they are before going in the oven. Goodluck, rolls!
Instead of using her maple frosting, I made the regular cream cheese frosting. They look like cinnamon buns, right? They taste like cinnamon buns too haha. They made me warm and all gooey inside =) <3

And finally, the rosemary bread rolls. I added garlic on my butter just for the heck of it. It reminded me of Jack Astors' garlic bread. It's not as pretty as PW's but they're very good =).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

mini cupcake lovin'

I've been spending lots of time in the kitchen lately. I'm having lots of fun planning new recipes and making healthier meals for A. Here are some pictures of what we're having for dinner lately =)
I cheated a bit in making these. I found some ready made blackbean sauce but it tasted more sour than we're used to so I added a little bit of soy sauce and some sugar. Yup, that did the trick =)
I forgot how much I love baby bokchoy and the only way I know how to cook these is the way my mom makes them -- lightly steamed, with a little bit of garlic and soy sauce. I have to be creative since A is so afraid of vegetables. He really liked this though =)
I had an order of going away cupcakes. This is actually the first time I made mini cupcakes and I loved how they fit perfectly in my decorative window boxes. Look how cute!
And last but not the least, more mini cupcakes for a christmas themed work party. I think I'm in love with mini cupcakes <3

I've recently discovered The Pioneer Woman and wow! What an inspiration! She has a cookbook that's out in the bookstore now and I can't wait to get a hold of it. I guess in a way, I kinda feel like Julie Powell idolizing Julia Child. I don't look at myself as a professional and there's still so much to learn. There's so much more I want to do and just knowing that there are these phenomenal women out there who are able to do what they love gives me hope. If you haven't heard of her, come visit her quick! You'll thank me for it. =)

Monday, December 14, 2009

FBC Christmas Party

I took some pictures from our work party which was a lot of fun. Here's a Snapfish link for those of you who don't have facebook. Click here. You can also click on the photo for the Facebook link. Happy viewing!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

the cookie project

I guess it pays to practice baking cookies especially this time of the year. I had to make 8 dozen cookies and planning for their presentation was a pain. But I had so much fun even with a mangled finger (check last post). This is the cookie project I thought would never end!
A twist on classic shortbread
All wrapped and ready to go =)
Sorry, I can't get enough. I love these wrapped packages!
And of course, I had to make some decorated sugar cookies as well
This came about by accident. I had tinted cookie doughs without really planning what to do with them. I had these clear boxes and I thought, what better way to pack them than stacking them into a tree-like (more like cake-like) form. They are also less sweet than the other batch of sugar cookies I made so the cream cheese frosting in between was just perfect.
Again, excuse my love for good packaging. Won't these look cute as wedding favours?? Imagine them in white, or better yet, pink and chocolate =)
After much deliberation, here's the final Thomas the tank engine invites in cream-coloured lined linen envelopes.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

thomas train invites

I never realized how much I use my hands until I almost cut off the tip of my finger two days ago. It's so bad I probably needed stitches but being a self-diagnosing medical professional, I opted against waiting countless hours in the emergency department. I would take a picture but I don't want to gross anyone out. It still hurts and I haven't been able to do much since but at some point, I have to start baking again. Thank God, I taught A well. He might have to do some dough kneading for me for the mean time.
On a side note, I'm working on an invitation project for a Thomas the Tank Engine themed birthday party. Here's sample #1 with Thomas printed on glossy photo paper.
Sample #2
I love how you can see the sparkles of the cryogen white cardstock in this next picture. Click the image for a larger view.
Speaking of birthdays, we celebrated A's birthday yesterday.
Happy birthday, Baby!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

cookie project #2: traditional shortbread

Willing to embark on my next cookie project, I thought I'd go back to basics and start with the traditional shortbread.
The Recipe
These look more like peanut butter cookies but I didn't want plain round shortbreads so I tried this.

And some cute shaped ones like these =)
They look crumbly but the flavour was better than I expected. Very light and buttery. Mmmmmm....
Here's the recipe:

8 oz/250 g butter at room temperature
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup all-purpose flour

1. Preheat over to 300 F/150 C. Grease a cookie sheet
2. Cream butter and confectioner's sugar until light and fluffy. Sift cornstarch and flour together and add to the creamed mixture. Knead well.
3. Roll out between two sheets of baking paper to 1/3 in/1cm thickness. Cut into squares or use cookie cutters for shape.
3. Bake for 30 mins. or until pale golden. (I only did 18 minutes for my cookies and they came out just as I wanted)

Update: Lately, I've been baking my cookies at 350 F for 11 mins. Try it for shorter baking time =)

Monday, November 23, 2009

toopy and binoo cupcakes

What a crazy weekend! (again!) A friend from work asked if I could take on this endeavour and I thought, hey, I've tried pretty much everything anyone's ever asked me to do so why not? I love fondant modelling but it always make me wish there's more time to do everything else. Here's a picture of my workstation.
To be honest, I'm not sure who Toopy and Binoo were, but I was surprised at how easy I found them online. I guess they must be really popular with kids.
Here's the gang with that creepy looking rag doll thing.
To complete this order, I asked my talented bestfriend to make a matching Toopy and Binoo cake. Here's what she made.
If you like to view her other cakes, here's the link to her facebook page.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

confessions of a beginner cookie maker

First of...the good stuff.
Love, love, love pink and chocolate together! <3

I have a confession to make. As much as I love baking and learning new stuff, I'm actually a very nervous, and quite disastrous cookie maker. Cupcakes -- after experimenting with a couple different recipes, I have managed to learn how to bake with confidence. I could even put them in the oven without an oven thermometer and use my standard time for almost every single type I make. Of course, there will always be off days. Believe it or not, there are some days I get so "off" that I have to stop and think awhile before I can get my butt back to baking. The cupcake pops of last night were proof.

Cookies are an entirely different story. I love them, I've tried making them, and each time, gets more disastrous than the last (true story). The only cookies I have perfected so far are sugar cookies and even that took me a couple of takes to really get the hang of it. And everytime I bake them is not like riding a bike at all. I get nervous everytime worrying that they will not be as perfect as I planned. The good thing is, there are so many recipes and so many more lessons to learn in baking and I am more than ever, up for the challenge.
Today, I start my journey of baking and learning more cookie recipes. The trouble with being a disastrous cookie maker is, I am left with a whole bunch of ruined batches I either feel bad throwing out or feel bad attempting to eat. A is usually stuck being an unwilling cookie taster volunteer.

Project #1: The Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

Looks promising, huh? Although, any expert cookie maker probably know parchment paper is not necessary for this particular cookie recipe. I didn't bother to take a picture of the after 16 minutes of this batch because I can tell you right now, it wasn't pretty. I had to do the whole thing over and reduce my time to 13 minutes and here's the result.
Not bad, huh? A gave me a star for doing this after two tries =)
Not so cute shaped cookies need nice packaging
I love window boxes!
And more pictures! Sorry, I can't get enough of them =) Doesn't good packaging say, "I care"???
On a lighter note, a birthday suprise for a dear friend cheers me up =)

Thanks August Empress for the cool background!