Saturday, July 1, 2017

Unicorn Bark


Unicorn Bark is one of the easiest and prettiest
party treats I have ever made.  Children and
adults are all fascinated with this sparkly treat.

For our Unicorn birthday party, we just had to
make some Unicorn Bark.




I started by melting about 2 C. white candy melts,
and about 1/4 C. of varying colors of candy
melts.  I had purple and yellow candy melts,
but had to color the aqua and pink ones, using
white candy melts and gel food color.  After
I had melted and stirred all of the colors, I gave them all
a quick ten seconds in the microwave again, so they
were all equally warm.  Then just dollop your colors
onto parchment or wax paper, and fill in with your
white candy melts.


Using a toothpick, swirl the colors together.  Don't mix
too much as you want to have pretty distinct swirls.


This is where the fun begins.  I literally have tons of
bottles of sprinkles.  I just can't pass a cute bottle,
and I finally organized them so I don't have to open
each box to find the ones I want.


These are some of the ones I used for the Unicorn Bark.



Sprinkle the bark with your desired decos while the
bark is still warm so that the sprinkles will adhere.


You can break it up and bag it if you want.


It really was prettiest in a large piece,
so you might want to break a few pieces off 
to demonstrate how to do it, and then let people
break off their desired amount.  

Have fun with this.  Of course this could be
Fairy Bark, or Easter Bark, or Halloween Bark,
or Christmas Bark depending on what colors
and sprinkles you use and what you decide to call it.

It is just magical!



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Unicorn Birthday Party


I am obsessed with all things Unicorn!
So magical!!

Jacquelyn turned 5 and wanted a birthday party
on her actual birthday.  Generally I have helped her
mom with a large combined party for Jacquelyn and
her cousin, but this year she wanted her own party.



Her birthday was Monday and we have our youngest
son getting married on Friday, with guests coming in last
night, so a party on Monday seemed pretty crazy, but
we decided to pull it together, and fulfill her dreams.


I started with the horn and ears, as they would need to harden.

I have always made my own fondant, but I had taken a
cooking class and was introduced to Satin Ice, which 
can be purchased on Amazon.  It is wonderful for small
projects as my one pound tub has stayed soft and pliable
for almost a year now.  


For the horn, I took one of my metal baking cones
and wrapped it with a thin snake of fondant.  I
let that dry overnight and then sprayed it with edible
gold spray.  That wasn't as gold as I wanted it,
so I used gold lustre and painted it on with lemon extract.
You won't get the bright gold effect without using
some sort of alcohol, and I had lemon extract
with has a high alcohol content.

The ears were just triangles of fondant, which
I again painted with the gold lustre and then brought
the two bottom points together to create a curve.


Sweet gift bags were made from plain paper sacks
with silk flowers glued to the top and golden
horns glued inside the sack, along with golden
ears.  Eyes were then drawn on.  I glued a little
tissue onto the inside of the front of the sacks
to make them prettier.



Of course one needs Unicorn bark for a Unicorn party,
and for someone like me who has shelves and shelves
of sprinkles, this was a lot of fun.


The bark was broken and bagged for each of the guests.


My daughter found a Unicorn pinata for the party.


Silverware and ice cream cones matched the color scheme 
of the cake.






The birthday girl was crowned with a Unicorn headband,
and even had a Unicorn shirt for the day.


It ended up being one of the cutest parties!

Now on to the rest of the celebrations
for the week!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I have
been crazy busy since the last time I posted, but
I had been saving pictures of ideas and events
we have done.  Alas, my phone fell to the bottom of
Lake Powell, and the only photos that were saved on the 
cloud were those I had tried to delete last year!  Maybe
I can retrieve some from family members that I sent
photos to!  

My BAD!!!





Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring Berry Pavlova


This light and luscious meringue cake is perfect
for spring, when you feel the sunshine and the flowers
burst forth in their gorgeous colors, and you
crave something sweet but not heavy.


Layer upon layer of meringue is stacked with a
sweetened whip cream and cream cheese filling 
and loads of fresh berries.


You can make it for a crowd, or in individual servings.
(I made a couple of individual ones so that hubby,
who wasn't invited to the party, could have a dessert.)



The meringues are easy and so pretty.  I usually
make an extra one, in case one breaks while I
am removing it from the parchment paper, and sure
enough one did, but we loved eating it plain.


Fresh flowers from the garden adorn the cake, and
also the very first tiny leaves of my mint.

Spring Berry Pavlova

12 large eggs, room temperature
(You can place them in a bowl of warm water
for ten minutes to get them to room temperature
if you are in a hurry.)
3 1/2 C. granulated sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1 T. lemon juice or white vinegar
1 T. vanilla extract (I prefer clear)

Heat oven to 200 degrees

Cover large baking pans with parchment paper.  
I used 15x21 pans, so I could get all of the meringues
in the oven at once.
Trace 5 - 7 or 8 inch circles on 
pans.  Flip the parchment paper over so you
don't get the pencil marks on the bottom of
your meringues.  I used 7 inch circles.

Separate egg whites, being very careful
to get no yolk in.  I separate one egg white and then pour
it into the large bowl, one at a time to make sure I
don't get any yolk in.  Place the whites in a bowl
that is clean from any trace of oil, or they won't 
whip and achieve their volume.

With the whip attachment, begin whipping the whites.
Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and cornstarch together.
When the whites just get to stiff peak stage, begin
whipping in the sugar, a little at a time.  This actually
goes pretty fast despite the amount of sugar.
When you finish adding the sugar, the egg whites
should be stiff and glossy.

Remove the whip and fold in the lemon juice
and vanilla.

Spread the meringue on your parchment paper,
almost to the edge of your circles. 
They will grow a little so don't go past
the circles.  You want the meringue about 3
/4 to 1 inch thick.  If
you have any remaining egg white mix, 
make individual rounds on
the empty spaces of your pan.

Bake for 2 hours at 200 degrees, then turn off the
oven and let the meringues rest in the oven, without
opening the door for at least 2 hours.  You can leave
them in overnight if you want.  Remove from oven 
and let cool on pans.

Pavlova Filling

2 1/2 C. whipping cream
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat whipping cream until stiff.  Set aside
Whip cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together until
smooth and creamy. 

Fold whipped cream and cream cheese mix
together.

Assorted fresh berries
Spring flowers for garnish

Carefully peel cooled meringues and layer
with filling and fresh berries.  Meringues are
fragile, so handle with care and don't press
down on them.  Garnish with fresh flowers
and mint if desire.  Leave plain, or sprinkle
with a little powdered sugar.

The meringues will absorb the moisture of
the filling, so I would recommend putting
the pavlova together no more than an
hour or two before serving.  (I made this
six hours before, and we lost a lot of the
fabulous crunch of the pavlova.  It still
tasted great, but they had softened more than
I wanted.)

The meringues will crumble a little as you
cut them, but that is ok.



Right before taking it to the party, I decided
a little spring snow would be fun, so I
sprinkled it with powdered sugar.  I don't really
know which look I like better.  You decide.



Thanks for coming to visit.  
Wish we could sit down with a slide of Pavlova
together!




Thursday, February 23, 2017

My Life Story


There is so much to celebrate in life, and yet we
remember so little of what happens.  We are admonished
to record in journals what happens in our lives and then
to write our life stories in our church.  

I decided this year would be a great year to get that
published, with my sixtieth birthday.  I can always
write volume two later!  

In 2000, I started writing my life story, and printed it
out.  I used journals, and planning calendars and day timers
that we had kept over the years.  That really helped, as it
gave me specific dates and activities.  Now we keep everything
on our phones, and having had phones and computers crash,
all of that is lost.  I couldn't have produced a lot of what
I was able to write based on memory alone.



I finished the majority of the writing that year,
but continued to add to it.  

Those who follow me regularly know that this past
year and a half I have written and published numerous
life stories of both of my parents, my grandparents,
my aunt, my mother's and father's love letters to
each other, and my mother's short stories.


After doing my parents' books, I realized that the pictures
tell half of the story, so to complete my life story, I had
to dig through all of my pictures, my files, my discs
and add photos to my life story.  That was as much work
as the writing, but I scanned hundreds of pictures into
the computer, and then cropped and edited them so 
they could help tell the story.


I had the good fortune of reading someone's blog
and they recommended using Lulu.com to
publish their blog.  I tried Lulu out before I had
even finished writing my dad's life story.  I wanted
to see how their work was.

Of course, you know I was thrilled.  I could print
one or one hundred, I could edit and add to, I could
receive discount flash sale coupons, I could send others
to their site to order these family history books.

It was as simple as creating a word document and
turning it into a PDF file as you save it on the 
computer.  


The completed book has 520 pages in it.  It started
with 320 before the pictures were added.  Of course, I
would have loved to have made most of the pictures
larger, as they are my favorite part, but it was already
too big.  This book was so large, that I had to
upload it in two parts, but it worked perfectly.

The cost for the book would have been $100, but 
Lulu.com offers one day flash sales throughout the
year - usually 20-30 percent.  On Black Friday, they
offer their best sale, and that was 40 percent, so the
book cost me $60.  I made one for each of my children
and gave them to them as a gift.  As I told my family,
even if you don't read it, look at the pictures - they will
tell a lot of the story.

Start to write your life story now, as people you would
want to talk to and ask questions will be gone.  Your memory
gets overloaded, and you forget.  

As my husband loves to say, "Those who are remembered
are those who are published."  Let generations to come
know who you were and what you believed and did.

What would you give to have written documents
of those who went before you?  Maybe they came
across the plains, or maybe they crossed the ocean.

I hope you get inspired to write your own
life story and publish it.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

S'Mores Tall Cake




There are some desserts that you make and then
just dream about until you make them again,
and this S'Mores Tall Cake is one of those.  


I created this for my son in law's birthday
in January, and since hubby and I were 
both trying to be good (after the Christmas gain)
I sliced the delicious cake, wrapped it up,
and sent it away.  Well, next morning he was
begging for some, and I was wishing I had a
bite or two also.  I can't tell you how many times
he asked, so when we were doing dessert with
friends after going out for Valentine's dinner,
I decided we would make this again.


Dark, moist and delicious chocolate cake
(an easy homemade one) filled with Marshmallow
Frosting (easy again),  chopped Hershey's
Milk Chocolate Bars, and crushed graham crackers,
and then frosted with Chocolate Frosting, and garnished
with more Hershey's bars, more graham crackers,
and finally toasted marshmallows.


I am a frosting girl, so I have been known to eat out
the filling layers with just a little bit of cake
attached!  This cake is so moist, that I loved
the cake, the filling and the frosting!

Chocolate Cake

 




Indulge in this moist, decadent cake anytime, 
but be sure to save a little for the next day!






Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Desserts Only Valentines Table



Sometimes a table is inspired by one thing
and when I saw these gorgeous placemats
I knew they would be so fun for a tablescape.

We were getting together after going
out for Valentine's dinner, and I was providing
dessert, so I set this simple table without a dinner
plate - just in honor of dessert.  


Pink and gold are perfect to decorate
the Valentine's Day table with.  I really had
a hard time covering up the fun heart in the
middle, so the dessert plate stack sat to the upper
left corner.


See, this is just too hard to cover up!


My darling pink and gold polka dot cupcake
pedestals match perfectly placed atop a white
and gold polka dot plate.


 Of course we had to use some gold flatware.


Love these sparkling pink votives.


 The pink goblets came out for this
table.  My niece gifted these to me.
They were my mother's and she had
inherited them.  I always think of both
of them when I use them.


I have had these pink script blossoms
for years and they were a fun addition
to the table, and they don't wilt.



Company is coming over for dessert and
I am going to share that with you soon!

Hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

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