That’s How the Cookie Crumbles

My Kitchen Needs a Video Crew on Thanksgiving

Penguin cookie decorated as a turkey for Thanksgiving
Penguin cookie with Thanksgiving turkey decorations

Rushing to finish my Thanksgiving cooking list, Pumpkin Pie, Frosted Apple Pie Slices, Sweet-potato Puff, and a bowl of Romaine Crunchy Salad, I skidded out of control.

I hit the first curve when Shep reported on Fox News, “Just in! ALL Romaine lettuce – RECALLED!”

Yikes! Hubby ran to Wal-Mart to return two packages of Romaine bought for Thanksgiving’s Romaine Crunchy Salad. I ran to our favorite neighborhood grocer for gourmet lettuce to replace Romaine.

Then, as I rushed to whip the sweet potatoes with my KitchenAid, I flipped the speed to high with my left hand and I pulled the lock lever to lock the mixing bowl with my right hand. Unfortunately, I had not seated the bowl into the locking groove at the bottom of the mixer stand.

My sweet potatoes went flying. The bowl flipped and wedged against its base at a 45-degree angle. The motor froze.

I panicked, of course. Fortunately hubby saw this as an opportunity to employ his engineering skills and ran to the garage for tools.

He entered the kitchen armed with a giant paint-stir stick in one hand and a rubber mallet in the other. Within minutes, my mixing bowl was freed, and my KitchenAid was safe to operate. Continue reading That’s How the Cookie Crumbles

Best Ever Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving turkey art
Happy Thanksgiving! Give thanks!

Do you time travel back in your mind and pick out your favorite,  best-ever times? I do that with everything. I have a Best Ever Hall of Fame —  best ever birthday, best ever Christmas,  best ever vacation, etc., which brings me to my best ever Thanksgiving!

I’ve thought about my best ever Thanksgiving and what made it so memorable and am going to pass along the how-to have the best ever family celebration.

    • Invite family into your home like honored guests. I love that my family practices hospitality.
    • Add a surprise element to your celebration. Maybe a new centerpiece, a great menu item, name cards, a game or activity, special invited guests — something unexpected.
    • And if you are a Thanksgiving dinner guest, don’t come with empty hands or an empty spirit. Add to the festivities or to the menu — pitch in and enjoy.

My best ever Thanksgiving came as a surprise years back when we celebrated at my daughter Wendy’s for dinner with our family tree and her husband’s parents, which makes a group of 18-25 children and adults. Continue reading Best Ever Thanksgiving!

Yummy Frankenstein Cake for Boss Franky

Frankenstein cake
Hallmark inspired Frankenstein cake

Decorating my Frankenstein cake for Franky was inspired by art on a Hallmark gift bag.

Legendary Boss Inspires Cake

I baked a Frankenstein cake for my Boss’s birthday. He earned himself the nickname Franky, aka, Frankenstein, from his boss.

Franky’s career in journalism was noteworthy, but his transition to the corporate world was bumpy. He embellished his reports to an extent that his articles, though fascinating reading, no longer passed the fact-checking test. His writing created nightmares in the board room. On those occasions, the company president who hired him, exclaimed he had created a monster, Franky.

For Franky’s office party, I baked a chocolate, Frankenstein cake with my go-to chocolate cake recipe, Hershey’s Chocolatetown Special Cake.

I whipped up some green butter-cream frosting. Topped the butter-cream with drizzles of melted, milk-chocolate chips for Franky’s face, and covered marshmallows with chocolate for his ear bolts.

SPOOKY: For cobwebs on your Halloween desserts, partially melt marshmallows on stove top or in microwave. Stir for a uniform texture. Pull apart and finely string across your dessert. Don’t heat it too hot to handle.

My $300 Italian Butter Cream Frosting Continue reading Yummy Frankenstein Cake for Boss Franky

Frosted Apple Pie, Secret Family Recipe

frosted apple pie
Legendary, frosted, apple pie – fresh from the oven!

Butter-cream frosting for more than cupcakes!

We frost apple pies in our family.

Frosting my apple pies began by accident.  I had baked my usual pan of apple pie slices for a family celebration. I always glaze apple pie slices in the final minutes of baking with butter cream frosting.

Soon, my family was frosting their apple pies like I frost my pie slices. They gave me credit for the idea, but  I had never thought to frost an apple pie — just pie slices — until they took my recipe up a notch.

Now, I frost my apple pies, too. The frosting glaze is yummy, and it adds glamour to a pie that can look rather plain otherwise.

My FROSTED PIE how-to is simple

Bake the pie as normal. Five to 10 minutes before the pie is ready to come out of the oven, whisk up 1/2- to 2/3-cup of butter cream frosting: 1-cup powdered sugar, 1-Tbs. butter, 1-Tbs. milk/cream/water, and 1/4 tsp. vanilla.

You may need to balance the amount of cream or liquid, more-or-less, with the powdered sugar so the frosting is not too thick to drizzle and not to thin to make a rich glaze.

Continue reading Frosted Apple Pie, Secret Family Recipe

Hippie Cake Art!

Do Not Eat the Cake Before the Frosting
Cake and squiggles art

Eat Cake! And Frosting!

To each his own cake fetish. Some scrape frosting off the cake and eat it sans frosting. Others heap on frosting and ask for the slice of cake with the most frosting or the slice with the most roses.
It’s always fun judging a cake’s success after a party, which I do whenever I’ve made the cake. I look at the leftover dessert plates to see what the ratio of leftover cake to frosting is. If the plate is scraped clean, I know the cake was perfect.

But if there are globs of frosting on the plate, it’s back to the cookbook for the next cake.


Cake inspired my art montage

I took a photo of a tie-dyed, ice cream cake that I had sprayed with my favorite wild colors. Next, I masked out the background of the cake stand, leaving just the cake top.

I brought the simplified cake image into Illustrator and did a live-trace. Then, I brought the image into Photoshop and added squiggly lines made from paths in Illustrator.

Truthfully, the graphic is all over the place and the colors are bizarre; however, the making of the cake art was fun and a great exercise of thought when staring at a digital art board void of pixels.

As a final touch, I added a thought balloon because I question the philosophy of eating the frosting before the cake. I believe they should be eaten in unison.
The basic elements I used for this design were: a photo of a cake, tie-dyed with my favorite tie-dye colors, squiggles, a cartoon thought balloon, and a comic book font.
Illustrator and Photoshop Files

Here’s a fun video from my granddaughter’s Starbucks birthday party at the lake. She wrapped her cake in fondant under the tutelage of her Aunt Wendy and decorated it, Starbucks style.
When Gwen served the cake to guests, one wanted a piece of cake without the frosting and one wanted only frosting, so they shared a piece of cake: one ate the frosting and one ate the cake. Perfect social solution for teenagers.