Posted in Baking, Cookies, Gardening, Ordinarylife

Cookies for Spring

I made cookies this weekend.

I found these gorgeous gardenging themed cookie cutters at Plastics Warehouse and have been dying to use them.  (I can’t resist cookie cutters – although I don’t actually like to eat biscuits……) Spring seemed like the perfect time, I just added a couple of flowers.

Spring Cookies
Spring Cookies

 

What do you think?

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Posted in Baking, Cookies, Food, Ordinarylife

Iced Sugar Biscuits – a few tips

For Little OL’s party I also made some iced rainbow sugar biscuits. Cupcake Mummy suggested a do a tutorial, but I won’t.  I don’t have the time or patience to take photos of the process and there are already tutorials on the internet that explain it very well – that is how I learnt.  Also, I don’t feel like I have enough experience to “teach” somebody else how to do this, I am also just starting out and learing as I go.

Here is a link to a blog that has very good tutorials and tips.  I use her as my “go to” most of the time – Sweetopia

EDITED – I don’t know how I forgot to add this link – her tutorials are also fantastic!  The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle

I will however give some pointers that I have picked up that make it easier for me.  My first one is that I don’t use piping bags; I have found that ziplock freezer bags work the best for me. They are cheaper, I always have them in the house, and because they close at the top my hands don’t get covered in icing, which no matter how I tried to fold the other bags always seemed to happen.  If I am doing delicate work or the outline then I will use a nozzle if not, if I am just doing the flood work (middle part) then I will just cut a tiny bit of the corner off and use it like that.  If you don’t have the nozzles (or enough nozzles) you could just be very careful and cut a very small bit off the corner. I have done that and it has worked.  Then, don’t over fill your bags; it is much easier to work with smaller amounts in the bag and just refill.

Zip bags
Zip bags

If I am working with a few colours I will keep the nozzles face down resting on a damp cloth (I just use paper towel.  Don’t let it get too wet or it will affect the icing in the nozzle, but by having it just damp the icing doesn’t harden while you are using a different colour.

Damp kitchen towel
Damp kitchen towel

The other things that I keep nearby are a damp kitchen towel, to wipe the ends of the nozzles when necessary and a few toothpicks.  If you get a bubble in the icing prick it while still very wet and it won’t leave a small hole.

a damp cloth at hand
a damp cloth at hand

I have tried making Royal Icing using an egg substitute and with real eggs.  The taste was pretty much the same, however I find that the egg substitute clogs the nozzle more than real eggs. This is a real pain in the butt so now I use real eggs (for these biscuits I used THIS recipe – the one at the bottom of the post using eggs).  In America they use meringue powder, but I have not find it here. The egg substitute I used was Actiwhite and I found it at the Baking Tin in PE.

Rainbow colours
Rainbow colours

On all the tutorials they talk about the 10 second rule, what they mean is that if you drag a knife through the Royal Icing it should take 10 seconds for icing to be smooth again. For delicate work I use more like a 15 to 20 second rule.  For the flood work 10 secs or a bit less if fine.  Sometimes for basic shapes, like squares or circle I will use 10 seconds for both and the pipe the outline and fill it all at the same time. This way you do not see the outline line, but it still seems to hold its shape.

I have a couple of books that I use and I always use the biscuit recipe from The Biscuiteers book but mostly if I need advice or help, I Google it.  All my answers seem to be there.

Good luck and if you have any great pointers or tips to make my life easier when icing biscuits, please feel free to share!

I found an example of rainbow biscuits HERE and a tutorial.  I used that to make Little OL’s birthday biscuits.  I am really happy with the way they turned out, but I wish I had double checked it before I started.  I had forgotten that she iced all her biscuits white before putting on the colours.  But oh well.  I like them anyway.

Rainbow Biscuits
Rainbow Biscuits
A hand cut biscuit, using a template I made.
A hand cut biscuit, using a template I made.
Posted in Baby OL, Baking, Children, Cookies, Family, Food, Ordinarylife

3rd Birthday Party – Rainbow theme

Here are a couple (ok, a few more than a couple) of photo’s from Little OL’s 3rd Birthday party.

I have known what theme i wanted for her 3rd birthday for over a year.  In fact ever since I saw THIS and post by Sweetapolita.  Oh wow! I wanted to make that cake.  This from a girl who at time had NEVER made a cake from scratch.  As I knew what theme I wanted I have been preparing for a while, gathering ideas and odds and ends.  I bought the candles about 8 months ago, I knew if I left them I would never find them when I really wanted them.

Rainblow Balloon Banner
Rainblow Balloon Banner

Yes, I blew up all the balloons – phew there were a few light headed moments…..

The Colouring in station
The Colouring in station

I figured that not all the kids would want to play in the splash pool or slip ‘n slide so gave them something else to do – I also was worried that if it rained they would be very bored.  I sprayed masonite clip boards with a glitter varnish and put each kids name on them. The kids then got to take the boards home with them.  I also designed and printed off a whole lot of rainbow themed colouring in pages.

Party Boxes
Party Boxes

I made these boxes using my Silhoutte Cameo.  They were the first things I have made with it and it was much easier than I was expecting. The machine has been intimidating me….

Rainbow Jelly
Rainbow Jelly
Rainbow Cake Push Pops
Rainbow Cake Push Pops

I made these the same why that I did the cake.  Easy but pretty time consuming.

THE CAKE
THE CAKE
THE CAKE - a rainbow suprise
THE CAKE – a rainbow suprise
It was very popular.....
It was very popular…..
The Birthday Girl enjoy the splash pool
The Birthday Girl enjoy the splash pool
Posted in Baking, Cookies, Family, Feb Blog Challange, Food, Ordinarylife

FBC – Favourite Baking Recipe

Every summer we would go camping for the entire 6 week school holiday and for weeks before hand my mom would try and stock up on baked goods.  I believe she found this recipe in a Your Family magazine and it was my favourite.  In the end she took to hiding the biscuits from me because otherwise I would finish them before we even hit the camp site.  She has since passed the recipe on to me and I now make them quite often. They are really easy and yum!

My mom says the original recipe called them Melting Moments or something like that.  I don’t know why I have in my mind Angels Delights.  My mom has long since lost the original magazine page, but thankfully typed this out.  She called them Piped Biscuits in the copy she gave me. 

Piped Biscuits 

250 g Butter

80 ml icing sugar – sifted

375 ml Flour

125 ml Cornflour

Cream butter and icing sugar until soft and creamy.  Sift flour and cornflour and work into butter mixture. 

Spoon dough into piping-bag fitted with medium rose tube.  Pipe “S” shapes, circles and finger shapes onto a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake at 180°C. 15 minutes.  Cool.

Makes about 18.

Optional extra (and well worth it) Dip ends of biscuits in 100 g melted chocolate, leave to dry.

 

My one tip is that they are much easier to pipe when the butter is a bit softer – as in it really must be room temperature.  Also, it is easier if you don’t over fill the piping bag. Rather put a smaller amount in it and refill.

I hope you enjoy.

Yummy Mummy – your custard biscuits remind me a lot of these except yours are even easier to make and Mr OL prefers your recipe… 🙂

 

Posted in Baby OL, Baking, Children, Cookies, Family, Feb Blog Challange, Food, Ordinarylife

Feb Blog Challange – Superpower

So today’s prompt for the February Blog Challenge is if you could have one superpower what would it be.

I think I would like to freeze time, not for ever, just for particular moments.  Like for those extra special times where you are lying cuddling with your child, between all the tantrums, melt downs and normal daily noise. For those wet kisses and “I love you”s that seem so rare.  For those date nights or shared bottles of wine with somebody special.  Those little moments that you just wish could last for ever.  Maybe even just the power to etch them into your memory, so that when all the normal chaos of life is going on you can take a deep breath and feed on those moments.

That would be my superpower if I could have one.  For now I just have to rely on my shaky memory and my camera.

Gorgeous Helping Hands
Gorgeous Helping Hands
Mommy, stop taking photos of my hands!
Mommy, stop taking photos of my hands!
Posted in Baby OL, Baking, Children, Cookies, Crafts, Family, Food, Ironman 70.3, Quilting, Sewing, Training, Washi Tape

A handmade Christmas (almost)

This year I decided to make a few of the Christmas gifts, I however ran into a few snags along the way. Actually that is not entirely true, I only ran into one snag but it was pretty major, I ran out of time.

Next Christmas I need to plan better.  This year, although I knew what it was I wanted to make I underestimated the time required to make them. That and the fact that I left it all to the last minute, I am training for a ½ Ironman and I decided to take cookie orders all kind of played against me.

I am however very happy with the gifts that I did manage to make, the others, oh well, the intended recipients will never know that there were actually a few other gifts planned for them.

For both the grannies I made a cushion cover each, out of clothes from Little OL’s first year.  I intend to make a quilt out of the blocks I cut, but realised that I have a few blocks extra, so made 2 cushion covers.  (I still need to make the quilt)

Baby Clothes cut into blocks

I personalised each one a little by making sure at least one block was from an item of clothing that they gave to Little OL.

Baby Clothes Quilted Cushion Cover

Baby Clothes, Quilted Cushion

For my mother-in-law I also baked biscuits.  I saw this tutorial on line with this colour scheme and idea for the Christmas trees and thought it was stunning.  I deviated a little as I was trying to do it from memory but am very happy with the way they came out.

Pink and grey Christmas Cookies

For the Blog Secret Santa that Stiletto Mum was running on her blog I also made a couple of handmade items.  The first item is a notepad I covered.  I used a normal cheap notebook then decorated the cover a bit using dress-making pattern paper, paint, washi tape, printed letters and a fineliner pen.  I am very happy with the way it turned out and hope that the person I gave it to like it.

Handmade notebook cover

The second is a “Best of my Days” calendar using a printable from Ashley at Under the Sycamore.  I printed quite a few of these and gave them to some of my friends and family as well.  Follow the links to have a look – I did not take a photo of them.  (also just a note to add that Ashley’s blog is one of my favourites!!)

There were a few other items that I made as well, but forgot to take photos off – like Christmas Cookies for Little OL’s teachers and cards.

I had planned on make more Christmas Cards but…. next year. My word for 2013 is going to be “DO”

I hope you all had a very good Christmas and a that 2013 brings all you hope for.

Posted in Baking, Cookies, Ordinarylife

Latest iced cookie attempts

Lately a couple of my friends have been requesting cookies.  Normally I say no.  It is hard work, takes time and generally just ice cookies for fun but over the past month of so I have said yes (extra cash for Christmas……)

Here are some pictures of the ones I did for a Pamper Party.

Lingerie Cookies for a Pamper Party.
Lingerie Cookies for a Pamper Party.

 

White Lingerie Cookies
White Lingerie Cookies

 

Black Lingerie Cookies
Black Lingerie Cookies

 

Pink Lingerie Cookies
Pink Lingerie Cookies

 

 

 

Posted in 30 Days of Gratitude, Art, Baby OL, Children, Cookies, Family, Food, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Triathlon, weather

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 15 to Day 19

Day 15 – I am grateful for the ladies at my art classes I go to. I have been going for over 11 years and it is more about the social aspect that actually getting any painting done.

Day 16 – I am grateful that it is Friday!

Day 17 – I am grateful that I get to spend the day with Little OL.  She is getting cuter and cuter each day.

Day 18 – I am grateful to Mr OL for watching and entertaining Little OL so I could do a triathlon in the morning and finish decorating over 100 Christmas cookies that a friend ordered.

Christmas Tree Cookies iced and ready for wrapping.

Day 19 – I am grateful that it feels like summer is well and truly here!  I woke up this morning and it just had that summer feeling about it. When I was out in my car at lunch time the temperature said 30 degrees (which made me grateful for air-con). But I love summer!!!!!

Wrapped Christmas Tree Cookie