Thursday, November 29, 2012

In Which I Fail at Fondant... Mostly

{Tasty Thursday | Cupcakes!}
Recipes, Tips, and Inspiration from my kitchen to yours.

It's been a busy few weeks, full of baking, cooking, and food! Here's some photos of this past week's cupcake adventure...

Earlier this week, we planned on having a baby shower for a friend of mine. Well, as things are wont to happen, our shower was postponed after I had made the cupcakes. I wasn't too upset about the sudden excess of cupcakes around my house, as the fondant just didn't turn out to my liking. I thought it dried out too fast, but was still too sticky. Oh well. This was also the first time I used self-rising flour, because I didn't have time to convert my recipe to regular flour and include the other baking ingredients. I'll admit, aside from how cute they turned out, the peppermint cream cheese frosting was probably my favorite part. :)

Here's the fondant mess I made... Never again.
I'm definitely not meant to be a professional cake decorator with this stuff.

Little fondant bluebirds... I was so excited that they actually looked like birds!

All put together and ready for taste-testing!
 Because there is no way I can eat 14 cupcakes by myself, I took these little bluebird creations to my knitting friends anyway. The rest of the cupcakes received a more festive makeover.

Now, I'm not normally one to celebrate seasons way ahead of time (and it's not even Advent yet!), but I am one to work with what I have. This is the result:

Thanks to Pinterest, I learned of this super easy way to package and transport cupcakes!

Christmas sprinkles to make the peppermint cream cheese more festive!!

Christmas-themed cello gift bags to wrap up the festive cupcakes.
I brought them to my Bible study Tuesday night and gave them out to everyone there. Now I only have a few cupcakes left in the fridge, and it's a much more manageable number to eat!

Baby Shower Update: We did wind up holding the baby shower, but I had to miss it. Of course hubby decided to get sick right before, and I didn't want to risk transmitting The Plague. Pictures of our knitted creations coming soon!

P.P.S. This is officially post #100! Let's all celebrate by eating a cupcake, k? :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

In Which There is Crazy

There is the light at the end of the tunnel... and I'm afraid it may be a freight train at this point. Seriously, things are getting finished, the end of school is closer each day, but I feel like it's a frantic rush to the finish line.

This week in particular has become even busier than expected. I'm playing catch up and get ahead all at the same time. Apparently I can't say up until 2 and work off of 5-6 hours of sleep each day anymore... didn't think I was that old yet! ;) Add Thanksgiving into the mix, Christmas preparations are right around the corner, and then there's my hubby, just as busy as I am as it's gearing up to be his "busy season" at work... ah, the life of a pastor! To put it bluntly, things are crazy around here right now.

And here I am, writing a blog post while formulating my thoughts for discussion posts... and the only thing I really wanted to say right now is this: I can't wait to do some selfish knitting and take a nap at 10 am without guilt. Less than a month of crazy left! LET'S DO THIS! :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Random Thoughts on a Thursday

- There is so incredibly much to accomplish in the next month.
- I am not British, but certainly enjoy my daily tea time lately.
- The more I work with it, the more I realize just how much I'm loving metadata {the course, and the topic}.
- Autumn Leaves is one of my new favorite scents of Yankee Candle. :)
- It's so much easier to concentrate on homework when the apartment is clean and (mostly) tidy.
- What happens to the bad batches of cookies in a cookie factory? Do the employees get to take them home?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Swap Packages!

A few months ago, I signed up to participate in a swap on Ravelry. I always enjoy participating in these, and it's always a fun and exciting adventure. Shopping for someone you've never met on a pre-determined budget, trying to make things as fun, useful, unusual, and/or practical as you like.... and then getting a mystery package in return!

This swap was a small, simple 6x9 padded envelope swap. Basically, what you can fit into the envelope is fair game. We had to include a recipe and a handmade item, plus whatever else fit the budget and the envelope.

I had so much fun shopping for my assigned partner. Here's what I came up with, which I sent off to my new friend, Cati:

Halloween stickers, stamps, and notepads, fall teas, hot cocoas and ciders, some chocolate, lotion, mock cable mug cozy, and a recipe for caramel apple cookies. I was amazed at how much stuff I could find for under $10 total!

Mock Cable Mug Cozy. I never did a proper finished object post on this one...

Today, I received my surprise package in the mail. Such fun things awaited me inside that envelope!

A handmade jar opener!! I'm always having trouble opening jars and constantly asking D to open them for me, so this will definitely come in handy. Why have I never thought of making them before?!

Cute bicycle themed recipe cards! Perfect for writing down Tasty Thursday creations, or sharing recipes with friends.

Pretty notecards, which are perfect for all those times I want to send snail mail to my dear college friends.... and perfect to add to my notecard collection!

A recipe for Pumpkin Curried Soup! Yum! It sounds tasty, and I can't wait to try it out on one of these cool, fall nights. I bet it would be great for a dinner party, too.

And finally, two skeins of recycled sari silk yarn! In the prettiest fall color-- reddish orange! I've got project ideas floating around already... but clearly this is license to spend time on Rav looking up more patterns. :)

Thanks so much for the awesome swap package, Peg/LadyLisetta!!

{Also, I just realized that November 6 was officially 4 years since I've joined Rav. Many, many thanks to M and Nicole for convincing me it wasn't just a Twilight-themed fan club and that my life was not complete until I joined. They couldn't have been more correct.}

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Happiness is reading a blog, seeing a cardigan pattern you like, searching for it on Rav, and not only discovering that it's already in your Faves, but also free. :)

Happiness is a quiet evening and good cup of coffee.

Happiness is realizing people are willing to help more than you originally thought.

Happiness is knowing people in stressful and often thankless jobs haven't forgotten how to have fun and laugh.

What makes you happy today?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Splendid Fall Weekend

What a splendid fall weekend! The weather was perfect, the company delightful, and the fall colors absolutely gorgeous! First, I met up with my mom and aunts in Historic St. Charles. As a child, I always looked forward to our trips out there on Saturdays during the fall, and I was so excited to go back and explore it as an adult with a different sense of appreciation.

Daniel Boone Statue, a truly noteworthy pioneer 'round these here parts.
Main Street, Historic St. Charles

As always seems to be the case, some things are very much different than I remember them, but some things never change. Like the Ice Cream Parlor tucked back on a side street in the building's lower level. They were closed, but oh, what a treat it was to get an ice cream cone after walking around for hours as a child! ;)

The Gazebo! When I was a little girl, I dreamed of getting married here...

Two worlds colliding. The MKT RR built Sedalia in the 1860s.

Friday night two lovely and wonderful friends and I met up for pizza at Pi. Of course, we forgot to take a picture, but the hours we spent together were so relaxing and enjoyable. I do so cherish time with my girlfriends and always look forward to the next time we'll meet again.

Saturday, my parents and I spent the day in Hermann for some good old fashioned Oktoberfesting. We toured Stone Hill Winery, sampled the wines (and came home with a few bottles), and enjoyed some delicious German food. How can you say no to brats, sauerkraut, applesauce, and potato salad? :)

In the Apostles' Cellar. Named such because of the twelve archways in the room.

Some of the oldest bottles of wine vinegar.

Wine press with old, old wines in the background.

One of the many portions of the vineyard. The Germans originally planted their grapes on these hills, but they were burned during Prohibition. Replanted they provide not only grapes for the wine, but a glimpse into the past and a lovely view.

Star Crossed Oktoberfest Hat, knit for the occasion.

And of course, what's a trip without buying some new wooly goodness? These lovely purchases came from Knit and Caboodle, and I can't wait to see what they'll become! {Above: Manos del Uruguay Maxima, in the colorway Fire. Below: Classic Elite Yarns Liberty Wool, colorway Sunrise.}

Friday, November 2, 2012

Applesauce, Apple Pie, and Cookies -- Oh My!

{Tasty Thursday | Fall Favorites}
Recipes, Tips, and Inspiration from my kitchen to yours.

It's been another busy week, and who doesn't find themselves busy this time of year? With Halloween over, costumes are going back into boxes, Thanksgiving plans are in the works, and for those of you truly committed people, Christmas gifts are being crafted and prepared. (I'm not quite there yet... I've got some ideas and some of the materials, but haven't found the time to start working on them yet.)

This past weekend found me busy in the kitchen preparing a variety of different things. Most of them went to our Chili and Soup Day either to serve or sell, but the kitchen certainly smelled heavenly!

I made my signature apple pie to serve with the Chili Day meal, although this time I decided to make it Caramel Apple. Yum!!

I also made some Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies and some Pumpkin Spice Cookies to sell at the Country Store.

From this....
And finally, I still had an abundance of leftover apples. Combined with my moderate Pinterest addiction, I decided to try out the recipe I found for Crock Pot Applesauce. It was easy, it smelled wonderful, and tastes just as good! I think next time I'll use a variety of apples, including some sweet ones. The ones I used this year were mostly seconds and bruised ones, still tasty, but not as sweet.

To this!
What are some of your favorite fall recipes? What have you been busy cooking and baking?