3/31/15

0 4 Kitchen Design Flaws: Should It Stay or Should It Go?







I have been with my kitchen for almost 17 years. It has been by far the largest and most used kitchen I have ever lived in. It is one of those "cookie cutter" kitchens that were so much like others in my neighborhood and made the selection process very easy.  "Which of the three cabinets do you want? Oak, Maple or Alder?" We chose alder for it's warm color.  Cabinet knobs were either solid brass or nickel. Counter tops were solid surface and choices were limited.  The only wide range of choices we had were in the lighting.

So excited to move in, the first thing I did was open the refrigerator. Boom. The lights went out. Opening the fridge door blew a fuse. Grrrrrr.... called the contractor and he immediately fixed it the next day.



I opened my beautiful Kitchen Aid side by side fridge and immediately noticed DESIGN FLAW #1:


Boom.  The fridge left door stopped and banged against the counter. For the next 12 years, I would not be able to access the the fridge drawers fully because of this major design flaw.  That was why I was so thrilled when it finally died and I got another beautiful fridge, which only partially solved the problem.

In spite of our limited choices in building this home, I was adamant that we would have a double oven. The kitchen was designed to have a built in range/stove, but I insisted on the double oven.


The oven went in to what was to be a very large walk in pantry. Enter DESIGN FLAW#2:

They didn't build any storage above OR below the double oven.  Sheeze. So, here is where my baking pans, parchment, rolling pin, etc. go... in the bottom of the double oven. I hate having to unload everything each time I use this oven, which is great for large group gatherings.



In my walk in (more like "step in") pantry,  I was left with was this black hole where odds and ends would disappear....DESIGN FLAW#3.  In the evening, the pantry is very dark and it is difficult to see things, especially on the upper two shelves and the bottom shelves.



The last thing that frustrates me about this kitchen is the lack of natural daylight. In this photo, I have all the blinds pulled up and the lights on. The kitchen is on the north side of the house and the red wall blocks the sunlight from the large south window. Design Flaw #4



Over the years, this kitchen has served me well, but I think it's time for a change, don't you?



3/24/15

0 Frosting Sugar Cookie Tip: Tennis Balls

 

May contain affiliate links.  Please refer to my disclosure policy. 

I love it when someone asks me to design a sugar cookie.  I never quite know how it is going to turn out.  

Make a tennis ball?  Sure!  

With the letters USU?  (Utah State University)  Sure!

A round cookie is easy but getting the color for my go to buttercream frosting was more of a challenge. The gal who asked me to make these cookies is a tennis instructor and I wanted to make sure the colors were right. It turns out a combo of Wilton Lemon Yellow and Wilton Kelly Green did the trick.  I used the 3 step frosting technique  and wondered how I was going to make the white "curves" of the ball.

I found a Rubbermaid container and practiced pressing the edge slightly into a frosted cookie. When  I found the right spot, I marked the Rubbermaid edge with a Sharpie marker.


This made it so much EASIER to pipe the frosting with a No. 4 Wilton tip into the imprint, making perfect looking tennis balls in no time!

All was left was to write USU in Wilton Navy blue (Royal Blue + Black) with a No. 6 Wilton tip.  


Woo hoo! What do you think?


3/17/15

0 See's Chocolates & Candies & A Giveaway!


Do you love chocolate and sweets as much as I do?

Then you are in for a treat!

See's Candies have been around since 1921, using only the freshest ingredients in each recipe.




I walked into my local See's Chocolates & Candies store and this is what I found!


If you have a hard time choosing and need a gift, here are some ideas...





I LOVE these darling purse boxes! Perfect for a birthday!


Who can resist these speckled jelly bird eggs?


My favorite parts are when the See's hostess hands me a FREE sample chocolate and I get to choose my favorites from the display.


Here's what came home with me.  The Perfect Box.


Want a bite? I'm sure you do!

You can visit See's Candies locally or online and order whatever makes your mouth water.
Shipping is only $5 and FREE if your order is over $60.

Want another bite? How about a $25 See's Gift Card giveaway?
All you need to do is use the Rafflecopter below to enter.  Hurry, it won't last long! Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a post sponsored by See's Candies. I was given a See's gift card in exchange for sharing my love of chocolates & sweets to my readers. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the sweet, creamy, decadent centers... 

3/9/15

0 Frosting Sugar Cookies Quickly



I used to frost sugar cookies by hand, that is, using an offset spatula with my buttercream frosting.

Then I had to frost a million sugar cookies.

And my hands got tired.  Cookies got dropped. They didn't look very pretty.

Well, not a million sugar cookies, but a LOT of cookies.
Then I thought, "if cakes are frosted using a piping bag, why not cookies?"
Simple cake decorating supplies are inexpensive.  

Start your collection with a Wilton 10 Inch Piping Bag, which is my favorite size that fits comfortably in my hand.

Next, select your decorating tips.  The one I use the most for frosting sugar cookies is Wilton's No.16 Open Star Tip.

The last thing you will need to purchase is a Wilton Plastic coupler, a plastic ring that holds the tip in place to the decorating bag.

Before you begin, check out this AMAZING frosting bag trick that has changed the way I frost cookies:


Ready?

Let's begin!


Ummmm....Well....does it look like a shamrock?  Hmmmm....more like a green blob, doesn't it?

I have found it is best to outline your cookie, then fill it in. 

Hold the bag at a 90º angle and outline your cookie.

Then hold the bag at a 45º angle and fill it in.  I like to use a diagonal pattern.



There!  Doesn't that look better?




May contain affiliate links.  Please refer to my disclosure policy.

3/2/15

0 3 Easy Steps to Frosting Sugar Cookies


A reader of mine asked me how I was able to frost my Valentine Conversation hearts so perfectly, with clean, crisp edges.  Here's how!

1.   Frost your sugar cookie with butter cream icing, using an offset spatula.  An offset spatula is flat and has a bent blade, allowing ease in frosting cakes and cookies. Go past the edges and resist the urge to make it perfect!



2.  Dip your offset spatula in some room temperature water and shake off the excess.  Go over the surface of your cookie lightly, and watch the surface magically smooth over.


3.  Hold the offset spatula 90º to the edge of your cookie and scrape off the excess.  This gives your cookie the desired clean and crisp edge.


Now your cookies are ready to embellish with sprinkles, or additional frosting in various colors. 

Have fun!




May contain affiliate links.  Please refer to my disclosure policy. 
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