Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Easter Special... FREE DVD!


Buy any 2 Instructional DVDs and
receive a copy of our
Design Gallery DVD for FREE!

Instructional DVDs include Perfecting the Art of Buttercream,
Flawless Fondant, Successful Stacking
and Boxes and Bows.

The free DVD will not show up in your shopping cart at checkout, but you will receive a confirmation email that you have qualified for the free gift.

Offer expires April 12, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Lasagna!


Daring Bakers want Sharon to cook?
As in food?
As in gather ingredients, chop up stuff;
take the pans out and do something with all that to create.......
a meal??

Do they know me at all?
Sharon does not cook much. At all. OK, never.
Sharon does not care for cooking.
Sharon gave that up decades ago when the obnoxiously
picky eaters she lives with proved it to be a futile effort.

And to add insult to injury they want me to make lasagna? Do they not know I am married to a 100% pure blooded Sicilian who will eat no other Italian food besides his mamma's? Did I do something to piss off the Daring Bakers?

Well, being the stubborn me that I am, I did not let these obstacles deter me from my challenge. I expected to either throw it away cuz it would totally suck, or end up eating it myself for a whole week until it was all gone.

The March 2009 challenge was hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge. If you want the recipes, click on the hosts' sites above.

For this challenge we had to make our own homemade spinach pasta, and use a recipe for bechamel sauce and a meat ragu. Alrighty then! The only thing I have used my pasta machine for is fondant and gumpaste. But make the pasta I did. I totally screwed up the recipe and had to add about 3 more eggs to make it kneadable and non brick-like. I knew this was gunna be bad from the get go.

I made mine as rolls, rather than the traditional layered casserole because, well, that's how I roll. HAHA. I crack myself up sometimes.

J saw the green pasta and asked what the heck was that? I told him I was making lasagna (which he does like) and that it was broccoli pasta and he would love it. I told him it was broccoli because he loves broccoli and if he knew it was spinach he might not even try it.

Well, later that evening as the lasagna is baking he comes into my office and says,

J: Mom, that stuff has spinach in it?

Me: Getting nervous and pretending I did not lie earlier: Yeah, it does.
J: You said it was broccoli. I saw a package in the garbage can that said spinach.
Me: (Busted!) I did? Oh, I just said the wrong thing. It tastes just like broccoli. You won't even taste it in the lasagna. Trust me, you will like it.
J: Yeah, whatever.

OK, so I know for sure he's gunna hate it.

And hubby hates all things white sauce and not made by his mom Gina. But, I must forge on as any true Daring Baker would do. I will get my photo shots for the blog, get credit for the challenge, and move on with my miserable lie filled life.

OK. At least he agreed to try it. He looks miserable. But he does that a lot when I take pictures.

What do you think J-Man? He gave it a thumbs up, but in a cool teenager kinda way. (See the one little thumb up?)

He likes it! Hey Mikey!

And guess what else. Sit down. P-Daddy liked it too! I nearly fainted. I did not tell him it had white sauce in it. God, I am such a dishonest person. I need to go to confession.

SO, for the first time in about 20 years, 3 people in my household liked and ate the same thing on the same night! Check the Book of Revelations cuz the end of the world must be coming soon. Or Hell is frozen over. Something freaky is going on for sure!

So does this success mean Sharon is going to start cooking on a regular basis?

When pigs fly!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How to Make Baby Booties

Who doesn't love a cute little baby bootie? No, I don't mean their butts, but those are dern cute too!

I'm talkin' bout those cute baby shoes you can use for toppers on your baby cakes!

Here is a step by step tutorial on how I make them using the cutter set you can find HERE:

I use gumpaste for mine, and I highly recommend the Nic Lodge recipe. But some folks do use fondant with success. Cut out 2 soles. There is no left and right foot. Cut them the thickness of the cutter itself. I let those dry one day before I proceed.

Then cut out the toe flap. Don't go too thin or you will have "toe issues" when you apply it to the sole.

I thin the edges slightly.

Then I fold up that flap that I thinned.

Paint with water for glue.

Then I apply the sole (the sole cutter is marked as to which end is the toe). That wet flap is going to go under the bottom of the sole itself.

See how that flap is wrapped under the sole? Many people do not do it this way. They do not thin it, and just wet the to flap and attach it right along the outside edge of the sole. That does not work too well for me, but many people do it that way. So try both ways and see what works best for you. I stuff the inside of the toe with a little cotton to get a nice shape. If your toe flap is rolled too thin, the sole will break through, or you just will not get a good clean look. I let this dry a while before moving on to the next step.

Cut out the back flap piece.

Clean the holes out with a round piping tip.

Thin the edges a bit.

Bend up that flap and wet it with water.

Attach the back flap starting in the middle and then wrapping the 2 sides forward.

I had to prop the shoe up here to take the picture, so I could not actually show you doing it with my hands. These photos were taken many years ago before I even knew how to turn a camera on, so I apologize for the poor quality.

Stuff the shoe to help it hold its shape and let it dry a full day. Then you can go back and add the laces. Do not try to thread and tie the shoe laces like a real shoe. Make them like a dress bow. One loop on one side, one on the other, and a faux knot in the middle. I use my clay gun , using the smallest round disc, to make the laces. (See first pic above.)

Ain't that cuuuute? You can learn how to make this package cake and bows HERE.

These make a nice keepsake for the mom to be. They will last indefinitely.

Customers go nuts over these little things. You will be a superstar cake decorator when they see these!!

Give them a try. They are really fun to make. You can also get creative and modify them a little to make sneakers and Mary Janes.

Love your cakes.
You made them.
God made you,
And God don't make junk.
So you don't either!

Happy Bootie Making!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Day at the Zoo

Hi Ya'll! Hope you are having a nice weekend. This post has nothing to do with cake whatsoever. So if you stop reading now I will not be offended. I can't be offended because I have no way of knowing if you stop reading or not. But if I did know you stopped reading, my feelings would be hurt, so please keep reading. I think you will enjoy the pictures.(Click on them to enlarge, because some of them are pretty good if I may say so myself!)

My hubby P, my youngest son J, and I took advantage of the arrival of some beautiful spring weather and spent the day at the Audubon Zoo. Apparently so did the other 2 million people that live in the Greater New Orleans area. It was packed. Despite the crowds, we had a wonderful day at our nationally highly ranked facility. ( Which I am very proud of because when I was a kid, the place was a total dump. They did a major improvement project about 25 years ago or so and it is a world of difference.)

We are fortunate enough to be one of only a few zoos in the nation with white Bengal tigers.

So sweet and peaceful.

I though this little fellow was cute.
Some kind of bear walking right towards us.

Oh, a little to the left. No, a smidgen to the right.

Ah, yes, that's the spot.

Watching the apes is one of my favorite things at the zoo. They don't do much, but their mannerisms and facial expressions are so human like, it fascinates me.

Yeah, he scared me a little.

Here are my 2 apes. They are very uncooperative with picture taking. This photo is out of focus because my camera focused on those 2 guys in between them (pro photog I am not.) But I am blown away by the exact same facial expressions they have here.

Now that is better. I had to threaten them with cooking dinner to get some nice smiles out of them.

The zoo has a brand new exhibit about dinosaurs. They are life sized robotic things, kind of like you see at Disneyworld. They move and roar and stuff. Not sure what kind this is.

This is the dreaded T Rex.

And my little monster in front of a smaller one. He really loves the Jurassic Park movies, and enjoyed this exhibit a lot.

A nice shot of rhino butt for your enjoyment. This was taken just moments after he sprayed his territory about 4 times in a row. That was lovely to watch.

Looks like a decoy, doesn't it? He was gorgeous.

What ya'll lookin' at?

A black bear walking in the swamp water. Nasty.

J-Man and P-Daddy on the climbing thing. J makes Dad do everything with him. He is at that age where he is separating from me and all about his dad. Sniff. Sniff.

OK. The giraffes were my absolute favorite yesterday. They were out and walking all around, very close to the viewing area. They were very interactive with each other and I was just mesmerized by them. This is the baby who kept just walking in this big circle.

Close up of the baby. I named him Lagniappe. Get it? Cuz lagniappe is a little something extra thrown in ?

Two adults who stayed side by side the whole time. I think one was courting the other. See the little tongue sticking out? Cute! There were 2 other adults out and about also.

Love this shot for some reason. Aren't they magnificent creatures?

Here is the lovey dovey couple literally "necking." Right after this pic was taken, one of them did something really disgusting. The whole crowd went "EEEWWE!" My trance was broken. Time to move on to another animal.

J-Man was really into the raccoons for some reason so I had to take some pics for him.

Here is one foraging with his front paws. They would not stay still long enough for me to get any good shots.

Big ole swamp alligator with algae growing on him. He was huge. That's good eatin' in these parts! (But not me. I don't like alligator; too chewy.)

I saved some room on my photo card hoping the elephants would come outside and they never did. So I didn't get any pictures of my all time favorite zoo animal. Next time!


It did my spirit a lot of good to get out in the fresh air, do some walking, and spend some time with my 2 guys. It would have been totally perfect if my other son had been there, but alas, he is away learning crap in college that he may or may not use later in life.

I hope you enjoyed the photos. Support your local zoo. The animals need you and it will do your heart good.