How To Craft Your Own Wine Bottle Cookie When The Mail System Fails You...

Do I win for bloglands longest title evah? I would hope so! Well, I am not even sure there is a competition going on, but if there is (and there should be) I want to win it! I am just competitive like that. It's sort of a condition I have, over-competitive-ness. I do believe I have toned it down a bit since-oh like high school. My HS pals would likely vouch that I was a little tightly wound when it came to being competitive in high school sports, namely volleyball & basketball. It was like I HAD to win, I was possessed! It ruled my every thought on game day, and when we didn't win, it was devastating! I cannot tell you how many times I nearly lost my voice screaming and cheering for my teammates! Man, those were the days, I miss those days! I blame part of my competitive nature on the fact that I played on pretty good teams, (ahem, 1998 Nevada State Volleyball Champs-wow I'm getting old), so that bred my competitive nature. You know nature vs. nurture sorta thing, like maybe I was born at a baseline a bit competitive but then because of my team sport environment, I developed an "overly competitive condition." I'm pretty sure that term will make it on WebMD soon enough! Wow, why did I start talking about this? Oh yes, in defense of winning the longest title award, duh!
Okay, so why such a long post title you ask? Because I wanted to emphasize that although the planning and carrying out of these cookies too a long time, the end product was worth it.
So I got this order for wine bottle cookies (obviously) and I had about a week and a half to turn out 50 of them in time for a 40th birthday party being held on the East Coast. No biggie for the most part except when you don't have the cookie cutter...sooo, I order one thinking if I get it on the sooner end of things, I should have no problemo getting these guys done. Unfortunately, I was on the longer end of the shipping spectrum. It took me a week to get my cutter, yikes, and since I have to leave 3 days before they are due for shipping time, I had to get creative with cutting to finish these cookies. So here is how it all went down.
I used 2 cutters:
2x3" rectangle & 1x1.5" rectangle
Here are my series of cuts...
 smooth all of the seams so that the cookie bakes nicely together
 there you have it, ready to be baked & decorated...
Okay, so although preparing these cookies to be baked and decorated took significantly longer than normal, it was so worth it. I loved the size, look, and the true to real life proportions I achieved by cutting each one individually. But what I liked even more was that when I did receive my wine bottle cutter in the mail, I was SO happy I didn't wait for it! It was TINY! You know, I don't know what kind of ruler people use but the advertised 5.5" cutter was more like 5.5 cm. Yet another reason we should all just be on the metric system, so much easier! So anyway, a little panic, a little creativity & a little extra time to create something I was pretty darn happy with! Happy baking, happier eating!


Owl-lo Kitty

You are stumped, right? You want to know why I am naming this post part owl part kitty. Well duh dolls and dudes, that's because I used a Hello Kitty cutter to make these adorable owl cookies. I got an order for these little owls and thought long and hard about what shape to use. Then unsuspectingly, I was perusing my local cake & candy supply and stumbled upon the Hello Kitty cutter duo. Suddenly it came to me, Hello Kitty's head looms just like an owl! I felt that I was channeling my inner SSB when I had this lightbulb of a moment! I feel that I must admit, I probably would not have bought the HK duo otherwise, I guess I'm one of those weird people who just doesn't love HK!
Okay so there you have it, this is me thinking outside of the box, which doesn't happen much with my type A personality/Capricorn-ism and all. Hope you all enjoy! Happy baking, happier eating!
Disclaimer: my customer sent me a photo of an owl cake that she wanted the cookies modeled after. Although I spent a great deal of time searching for the original source, the only way I could find the image was on google images and then when I clicked on that, it just brought me to another photo upload site, no original source, so I am so sorry that I am not able to give real credit to the original design :( 


The SA & The Birthday Cake

Yep, that's what I'm sayin since we're movin to the SA, from the LA. That's just how I roll, I'm a lazy talker. I like abbreviations it makes talking easier. Now don't think just because I'm a lazy talker that I don't talk much...highly the opposite, I have jabber jaws pretty much. Especially in the morning and especially after a few sips of Joe, and basically it is this feature alone that makes my hubby love me so.
Quick tangent...why do they call a cup of coffee a cup of Joe? Okay, and since we are on the topic of tangents, did y'all know that tangental thinking/talking is part of a psychiatric evaluation? Yep, that's right, I remember learning that when I was a wee little medical student, and now I catch myself tangenting (likely not a word) ALL the time! So I am thinking I likely have some sort of disorder, but I will unlikely abandon my tangental talking, it's sorta just there.
Okay, where were we...yes, yes talking about the SA. So we recently visited the SA to get a grip on the place and figure out where in the world we are gonna live when we move. We did a lot of looking and can I just say, where the heck has Texas been all of our life! First off, it's March and 80 degrees, secondly, there are amazing places to live that are oh like 60% less than LA, and lastly, the people are so dang nice! Since we were there during my hubby's bday, I wanted to get him a sweet treat to celebrate with. So I ordered some cupcakes from this doll's bakery...Kate's Frosting! Her cupcakes...YUMMY!!! Her service...AMAZING! Her bakery...ADORABLE! She was so sweet and had the cupcakes delivered to our hotel so my hubby had a tasty surprise waiting his arrival. In case I haven't mentioned it, I must emphasize, the baking world is INCREDIBLE! It never ceases to amaze me just how nice and thoughtful everyone is. So if you guys are ever in San Antonio...stop by Kate's Frosting, you won't be sorry you did!
The other highlight of our trip...our hotel. I hesitate to give our hotel a shout out in fear that the next time I go, it will get super busy, but I have to share them. Havana Hotel. It will seriously transport you to Havana circa 1950 or whenever it was cool and hip and vintage (oh and safe). Not only is the hotel cool, but they have this delicioso restaurant called Ocho (we may have eaten there 3 times in 4 days), that has a simple yet complex menu featuring a Latin twist on American favorites. Well atleast that is my interpretation :) I'm no foodie! Finally, they have this hip cigar & cocktail lounge in the basement that is super dark and has these great couches and lounge chairs scattered about. Love this place! Oh and did I mention it's on the Riverwalk? Not the touristy Riverwalk part but the cool calm Riverwalk part. Seriously peeps, stay there!
They had so many cool chairs there as well!
 My fave! Bull horns are really strong apparently, I won't lie, I was a little scared to sit on it for fear that the horns would break and I would be on my a**!
So other than eating, drinking and sleeping, we did a lot of apartment searching which although we think it is exciting, it is unlikely exciting to you all.
This is us, thinking about eating! This is our standard, "we are trying to take a picture of ourselves on vacation and look natural while trying to push the camera button." Trust me, same look every photo!
 This may have been what the hubbs ate 3 times in 4 days...
 This may have been what I ate 3 times in 4 days...Pollo Tinga Torta! Everything about it was delectable!
 I only had one of these, as our server said, this cocktail is heavy on the rum, light on the mixers...agreed! I ordered it solely for the fact that there was coconut milk and nutmeg in it! So creative!

Oh one more shout out before I go. Boxcar Creamery, you must go. It is (as the name suggests) in a boxcar and the surrounding area is so cute!

So as you can see, we are so happy with our upcoming move and we can't wait to explore the rest of the SA! Now I leave you with the photos of the birthday cake I made for my hubby. I was going for a simple yet modern white on white design with little sayings or dates that are important between the two of us. I know we are sooo sorta that couple that loves to use pet names and celebrate all sorts of special dates, its just fun like that! So this year for his birthday instead of me thinking I will be super creative and do some crazy sweet rich elaborate cake for just us two, I decided, hey why don't I allow Barry to choose the cake he wants (novel idea I know)! So he got out a bunch of my books and searched through the recipes until he had it narrowed down and came to the conclusion that the "Aunt Sassy Cake" from Baked Explorations (you simply must buy the Baked books...AHHH-MAZING!) would be his 2012 birthday cake. It is a pistachio cake with honey buttercream...YUM! Anyway, I hope you enjoy and thanks for following along! Happy baking, happier eating!
my initial canvas

 Many of these were cracked...like I say, baking is a true labor of love ;)


short & sweet

Just a quick lil guy I worked up last night as I was finishing up a set of cookies for my favorite little almost 2 year old!
I have been wanting to do a cookie like this for some time, and I thought about a heart one for Valentine's day, but of course, I ran out of time! So I just whipped it up last night and I love it! I was thinking...(scary I know) how perfect would this be to give out as gender announcement favors at a baby shower or as a baby shower favor in general! You could even do pink...that would be adorable!
Well nighty night blog world, happy baking, happier eating!


Wedding Pics (from 9.10.11)

So you know like 6 months ago when I did both my sister's and BFF's weddings and I told you I was a terrible blogger-baker and forgot to take pics? Yeah well, I got some pics to share with you all! I still don't have any from my sis's wedding, but here are a few from my BFF's wedding, what a beautiful day!
 Here are the two lovebirds...
 Vanilla butter cake with strawberry filling and Swiss meringue vanilla bean buttercream
 Remember the 150 mini strawberry shortcakes I told you about? Welp. here they are!
And finally, just a really cool picture to leave you all with, I think the photographer did an AMAZING job. Please check out her FB page @ Misty Kinser Photography, you can see all of her amazing photos that she took that day! Happy baking, happier eating!


What is that expression..."red with envy" hmmm...no that is not it..."green with envy!" Let's face it people I am green with envy and it's driving me bonkers! Why you may ask am I a deep shade of envious green??? Because there are so many talented freakin bakers out there, that's why! As many of us are, I am A-ddicted to reading, scanning, searching other baker-blogs, but it is like torture because as I said, there are so many talented freakin bakers out there! It seems like everywhere I turn I see yet another totally talented gal whipping up some sweet treats! But don't get me wrong, I am not envious that there are crazy talented people everywhere, I am just jealous because every time I read a new blog post it makes me want to run out of work, hit the road and start baking! I only wish I had more time, (and lately more energy) to bake more and more and more!
So what does being GREEN have to do with RED you may wonder? Well nothing actually, but since I wanted to write this post that is all about red velvet treats in February which is a red month (would you agree) and now instead I am writing it in March which is definitely not a red month, I was just trying to think of some way to tie red back in to my post, but I am pretty sure I have now just successfully confused you all! Right? Right! As a side note, am I the only one who thinks months are color specific (please say no)? You know like February=red, June=yellow, on and on and on?
Okay so what did I do with all of this red velvet cake? Made pretty things for pretty parties that is! The first one I made was a birthday cake for a gent named Eric Garcetti. He is a guy who is running for mayor of LA. His interests surround the whole green living, green energy so I thought how fun would it be to tie this into his cake. Now please note that the windmills on top were totally my hubby's idea, he is awesome isn't he! For those of you not familiar with California, we love those windmills! Apparently they produce energy and they are all over the rural areas of CA so Barry figured they were a key component of any green living cake!
 yes, those are sugar cookies :)

The other red velvet beauty I made was another birthday cake for a husband of a girl I work with. She pretty much said do what you like, so I went ahead and had a little creative fun with it. I realize, decorating for adult males is kinda tricky! You can't be all cute-sy, you gotta be all manly and sophisticated. So here is what I came up with...
Finally, you know I did those Valentine day cupcake treats that were of course red velvet as well, and I made some cute little red velvet heart cake truffles for a dear friend who just had a baby and also happens to be a fabulous referral service for me!
Happy baking & happier eating!