27 March 2009

The First Seven

The First Seven

I found this over at a blogging friend's blog. I thought it was an interesting and different idea.

The first SEVEN people to respond to this post will get something made by me!

My choice.

For YOU.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:
- What I create will be just for you.
- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!
- You will receive your item before the end of the year.
- You will have no clue what the item is going to be. It could be a story or poetry. It could be a piece of handmade jewelry or a cheesecake. I may draw, paint, collage or crochet something. I might bake you something and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!
- I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

The catch?

Oh, the catch is that in order to receive a gift, you have to re-post this and make and send out seven surprises of your own, so if you aren't gonna follow through and make something for seven others, you get nothing from me. And you need to send me your mailing address!!Ready, set, create! :)

26 March 2009

Em's Potato-Corn Chowder is AMAZING!

I haven't done much baking recently...but earlier this week I made this AMAZING Potato-Corn chowder that I found on another blog, http://www.therepressedpastrychef.com/.

I highly suggest that you check out The Repressed Pastry Chef's blog - she has AMAZING recipes and pictures of every recipe she posts. I am going to try out her Oreo Pie that she made for Pi day (Pi = 3.14 = March 14).

Em, the Repressed Pastry Chef, has graciously allowed me to share her Potato-Corn Chowder on my blog, and for that I am grateful!!


Em's Potato-Corn Chowder


3 large potatoes
4 cups chicken broth – divided use
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, sliced wide
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup shredded cheese
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 small can (11oz) whole kernel corn – divided use

Optional for garnish
Additional shredded cheese
Fresh green onions or chives
Crumbled bacon bits


Peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes. Boil in 3 cups of chicken broth until the potatoes are fork tender Drain the potatoes reserving the broth (you’ll probably have about 1 1/2 – 2 cups left). Set both aside.

In a large pot pour the vegetable oil and saute the onion and garlic until tender. Stir in the chicken broth reserved from cooking the potatoes, add the flour, salt, basil and pepper. Mix very well. Gradually add another cup of chicken broth, then the 1/4 cup shredded cheese and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, add the cornstarch and stir... the cornstarch will be lumpy and that’s okay... use an immersion blender to mix everything really really well. Add the milk, cream, half of the corn and half of the potatoes. Use the immersion blender again just for a short amount of time – about 10 seconds. Add the remaining corn and potatoes and heat through but do not bring to a boil.

Garnish with shredded cheese, green onions, chives and bacon bits if desired.

**I added 2 cans of corn and pureed most of the potatoes. I also LOVE cheese, so I used 1/2c super sharp cheddar cheese. I also used 1/2c lite cream and 1/2c skim milk and this chowder came out perfect! Maybe decrease the amount of pepper as Danny said it was a bit peppery. Oh and I also used or normal blender as we don't own an immersion blender and it worked just fine, just a little messy!**

And so it beings...

...the baby boom of 2009. We knew that this was coming, but it still takes you by surprise.

Tuesday night my friend Nichole had her twin girls delivered via c-section sometime around 8pm. They named their daughters Jillian and Allison. I know Allison's middle name (Michelle) but last time I spoke with Nichole Jillian's middle name was a toss up between Grace and Irene. Both girls and Momma are doing well in Portland, ME!!

I then find out that my cousin Jen gave birth to her 4th son in Nome, Alaska yesterday morning at 6:59am AKDT (which is 10:59am EDT). His name is Justus Parker (Justus is pronounced like Justice and is German for Justin. It's pronounced YOOS-tus in Germany.) , Just like his brothers he will be called by his middle name so we will call him Parker. Originally his middle name was Pavian, but then they were told that Pavian means baboon in German.

Go ahead, google Pavian...the first thing you will see are pictures of baboons. I'll wait...

Yeah, so they didn't think that their son would like to be called a baboon for the rest of his life, thus the name change!

Now we're waiting for a ton more babies to come along - I believe the next one will be Baby Drew Christian - his Daddy is the Uncle of Parker!!

Just found out that this weekend we're heading up to Plymouth, NH to pick up a hospital bed for Danny's grandfather. Ever since he was released from his last hospital stay, he's been sleeping in his chair at home because he can't lay down flat. Needless to say, Grandpa isn't getting much sleep, so since we have the big truck int he family we'll go pick up the hospital bed and then buy Gram a single bed, so both beds will fit in their bedroom. Then we'll move beds around in their house until Gram is satisfied. It was a sad time for Danny yesterday because he said that by us going to get this hospital bed, it means that his grandfather is dying. He's known this since November 2008, but this was what solidified it for Danny.

18 March 2009

New Look

So I think I have found a look that I like....what do you think?

11 March 2009

My first few cakes....

It all started in early 2008 and me wanting to learn how to ice a cake. No matter how many tubs of icing I would buy at the grocery store, I was never able to cover a cake. Never.

So I went to my local AC Moore store and signed up for the Wilton 1 class...and boy did I learn how to do more things than just ice a cake!

I now LOVE making and decorating cakes. I haven't experimented with Fondant that much, but I hope to change that soon because I believe that once I get the hang on fondant, anything is possible!

This was the first cake I decorated in class. As you can see, this cake was made the same week that Zoe flew up to visit us!!! It's a yellow cake with chocolate pudding filling and butter cream icing.

This cake I made for my friend Nichole's birthday. Again it's a yellow double layer cake with chocolate gnache filling (YUMMY!!!!) and butter cream icing. I still need to work writing on a cake, but this cake was DELICIOUS!!!

I made this during our Wilton 1 class....I knew that Danny's grandmother LOVED clowns, so while I was at home I added "Happy Spring" to the cake since it was sooo close to it being spring time and then we delivered it to her house!

This is Danny's Gold Star cake I made for him after he won a sales award for work. He works so hard and is so good at his job that both the award and cake were well deserved. He now has 2 plaques hanging up in his office for his amazing achievements at his job!

I have a made a bunch of cakes since I started taking the Wilton classes. I've completed the first 3 classes, now I just have to find time to take the 4th class. Eventually, when we have our house built, I'll frame and hang up my Wilton certificates. It was a lot of hard work for both me (decorating wise) and Danny (because he had to taste test everything before I could submit the cakes in class!).

Little by little I'll share all my cakes with you, even the ones people paid me to make. I'd love to make more cakes and sell them but I don't want to make this a full time job to take all the fun out of it. Maybe just something to do on the side for fun!

10 March 2009

Babies Galore and One Very Special Baby Shower

I don't know if you have noticed or if it's just this time in my life, but I know a ton of people having kids this spring.

It all started with my cousin Lorah who had her first baby in November 2008 and Hailey is just adorable!

Then in January 2009 my other cousin Arielle had her daughter Aaliyah.

But the best surprise of all was when our friends, Scott and Nichole (and their 5 year old son Collin), told us that they were expecting...twin girls!!!! They are due towards the end of April but they will be delivered in the next few weeks.

I had the wonderful honor of hosting a baby shower in their honor in January, well before her due date because we were all expecting that she would soon be on bed rest (she had a tough pregnancy with her first child).

The theme was going to be "Two Peas in a Pod" and I decided I was going to hand make most of the items that we wanted for the baby shower.

It was quite an undertaking, especially since most of these items were made during the month of December, at the same time I was making my Christmas cards (approximatly 75 cards had to be made for me) and Danny's grandparents Christmas Cards (I made 50 cards for them) and we invited about 85 people to the baby shower.

As I find pictures of everything I made for the baby shower, I'll post them, but for now here is a list with some pictures included:

Baby Shower Invitations
(if you are interested in the template I used to print off the text on the inside, let me know and I'll email it to you)

Thank you cards (I used my Cuttlebug to cut out the Thanks line of text for the front of the card)

The message on the inside of this card said:

Thank you for the gift
that we will soon see.

Mom says it's really great,
and you picked it just for us.

Mom is sending this card of thanks
because we have yet to arrive.

And even when we do, we won't write good 'til we're five.


as a Thank you for coming to the baby shower

Baby Sock bouquets
as center pieces

Baby Shower Bingo
(I created approximately 52 Bingo cards with 1 baby item on each square, no card was a like. If you want that document, let me know and I can email it out to you!)

M&M Guess Game

(Fill up a bottle (or as many babies as Mom is having) with M&M's making sure you count how many M&M's you use. Who ever guesses the correct number (or closest without going over) wins the bottle as a prize!)

Baby Shower Cake
This was a 2 layer half chocolate half vanilla cake with the baby heads made out of vanilla cake. I used only butter cream icing for the entire cake (including the filling) with Nilla Wafers as the ears. To make the bow and hair, I used a hot glue gun to glue yellow yarn and a pink bow to skewers and then pushed the skewer through all layers of cake.

The shower was a huge sucess and the parents received many things that they need for when their precious girls are born!!!

Fruit Pies

I made my first blueberry pie in August 2005 probably because blueberries were on sale at the store (yes, despite living on the New Hampshire boarder with Maine, I didn't go blueberry picking up here until I met my hubby). I gave this pie away, but before I did that I was smart enough to take a picture of it!

I think it came out pretty good! I am sure that Nichole and Scott really enjoyed it.

Ever since I moved in with Danny (February 2007, we got married June 2007) I have been baking him (and our neighbors and his family) fruit pies like crazy.

I really don't like fruit, let alone fruit pies. But I do love picking fruit. Every fall we go apple picking at a local orchard and at the same time we usually pick up a pumpkin if Danny's grandfather hasn't given us one by then. In the summer we go blueberry and raspberry picking. We really can't wait to get our house built so we can plant fruit trees and bushes.

Danny reaching for a high up apple this past fall, 2008.

These pumpkins were carved on our first Halloween together, October 2006. We didn't carve any this year because we were so busy, but we did get a HUGE pumpkin from Danny's grandfather to put on our deck step!

New Idea

I have decided that it is about time that I put pictures of the cakes I've created onto a blog so everyone can see them, not just friends on MySpace.

So little by little I'll place pictures of the cakes I've made along with other crafts I've felt inspired to make.

Comments are greatly appreciated!