March – Frozen Food Month

March is “Frozen Foods” Month. I am the “loves to cook more than needed and freeze the extra” sort of person. On nights when I don’t feel like cooking, I pull open the freezer and there, just waiting for me, is a delicious “left over” – it feels like Christmas morning!

Well wrapped room temperature food (homemade or store bought) seals in the flavor and keeps items fresh, and makes them freezer ready. (There are some foods and sweets that can not be frozen, but these are few). Once in the habit, this is a great saver! Bagels, for example, freeze beautifully. You can buy several – in many places you have discounts at certain quantities, and wrap them individually; once wrapped place them all in a freezer -grade ziptop bag, pop in the freezer. When ready, just take one out, slice, place in your toaster oven or toaster, on a medium toast setting.

When you’re trying to make something last, like banana bread, and you only want a portion out: Cut the banana bread into quarters or thirds. Wrap one protion for fridge storage and then individually tightly wrap the other portions and once again, to ensure they will not get frost bite, zip them up in an airtight freezer bag.

When ready, take your frozen item out of the freezer and let come to room temperature. (If you’re in a hurry a microwave can shorten the defrost time. Just use it cautiously; start at 10 second intervals. Or let thaw a little and then pop in the toaster / toaster oven until warmed). Enjoy!

Thawing of Winter/Budding of Spring Cake Blog

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For the East Coast it has been a very long, very white winter. As March begins, so does the thawing and the change of putting on snow boots to rain boots. Gone is the white landscape to a now muddy one. There are cold days and there are warm days. And there are lots of children and dogs and cats with muddy feet and paws! As “our own back yard” is frequently our source of inspiration – the muddy shoes and paws and the thoughts of springtime planting were all there when this cake took ‘shape’.

Thawing of Spring

Thawing of Winter / Budding of Spring Cake

We turned a basic chocolate cake into a ‘mound’ then we covered it in various types of chocolate ‘dirt’, and finally adorned it with a simple little gum paste flower. This cake always makes me smile and serves as a reminder that spring and Easter are just around the corner…!

Winter Weddings

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It might seem odd to be talking about winter weddings in February, but winter is still with us for another six weeks (give or take until March 20th), and it’s inspiration is abounding in the bakery. As well as the fact that it is very common now-a-days for couples to be engaged 9 months or more, so this might help inspire those planning a winter wedding.

What makes a wedding cake ‘winter’? First and foremost, ‘cool’   colors (not as in ‘that’s cool’, but as in a ‘cool color pallette’, usually   blue based as opposed to red (warm) based).

Winter cakes can be a combination of white on white or white on ivory with no other colors. This makes an elegant, refined statement.   To clarify all pattern, flowers, ribbon (etc) are all ‘white’.

A variation on this is to use silver, icy blues and/or bling; very particular metalic’s can work as the metalic evokes the sense of something being covered in ice.

Like making a color picture into black and white to completely change the feel and look, most cake designs can be ‘winterized’.

Winter Recipe – Snowball Cookies

These tasty treats are not too sweet, easy, great to do with kids, and are just plain yummy! Enjoy!

Tasty and Delicious!

Tasty and Delicious!

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, room temperature

½ cup powdered sugar (optional)

½ cup coconut shreds (sweet)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 ½ cups flour, sifted

¼ teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl (preferably a stand mixer or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until soft.

3. Add sugar, and beat again until light in color.

4. Stir in the vanilla.

5. Add in flour and salt – in about 3 portions, mixing until incorporated, so that hte flour goes into the dough and not onto you!

6. Shape into balls – you can use a small spoon or ice cream scoop to help you get the all the same size.

7. Place on un-greased cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

8. Allow to cool until they’re comfortable to touch. (You don’t want them too cool as the coconut will not stick onto the cookies, but too warm and they will melt).

9. Roll them in the coconut peals. For extra sweetness – first roll them in powdered sugar, and then in the coconut.

10. Eat!

A ‘Sweet Heart’ Treat

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DSC_0974 For a home-made sweet treat – our tip for Valentines Day is:

Pick up a large size heart shaped cutter from your local craft store and make rice krispie treat hearts. To do this make up the krispie treats and spread the warm mixture into a 9 x 13 pan lined with greased parchment paper- and leave an overhang (enough to grab it out). *Tip: You really want the parchment paper to make cleanup an absolute breeze and to get the treats out of the pan. Otherwise, you will be kicking yourself that you didn’t use as much as recommended.*

Set aside for at least 4 hours or overnight to cool.

For packaging, I suggest getting a little box or plastic plate and setting a doilie ontop – this is your presentation’s starting point. Using your heart shaped cutter, cut out the pieces and lift one by one onto the plated doile. *Tip: It might be helpful to have a spatula / knife to excavate the excess krispy  treats – to get enough ‘elbow’ room for lifting the first heart out with ease.* Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar and artfully arrange a few raspberries or strawberry slices.  Voila! A sweet for your sweet! Enjoy! And Happy February!

New Year, New Cheer!

Welcome  2014! It’s a new year – time for fresh resolutions, or old resolutions that are refreshed and re-energized. So many resolutions revolve around ones-self, and changing habits. Well, what I love about living somewhere that is ‘wintry’ in January, is that the weather is often such that I want to be home or at the bakery, and having the slowdown after the holiday order rush, I can pause and (hopefully) reflect before taking action.

Eloise's Pastries Liver Chip Cookies

At the bakery we are all about enjoying delicious items made with the highest quality ingredients – and that same standard goes into our Dog Liver Chip Nibbles. These morsels are made with human-quality ingredients, are gluten-free (for those dogs who have any sensitivity) and preservative free. And puppy approved! We had many neutral party  taste testers, and my oh my were they pleased!!!

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Now, how, are you wondering does this go hand in hand with the new years resolution theme? Perfectly. As you are making a decision to go for more walks, get your house more organized, the dog a new trick or improved manners, having a good -for your dog treat, that he wants to work for, will make you feel good too. And your dog will think you’re a hero!

As we sell Dog Nibbles online and locally, we will not be sharing that recipe. However, we are sharing some healthy human-delicious treats that you can share with your dog – as a refreshing snack after that walk you both enjoyed!

bananas-1Bananas – most dogs love bananas. While healthy they do have sugar, so make sure to keep it all in moderation – like a small part of the banana for your pup, and the rest for your smoothie!

 

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Scrambled eggs – Yep, plain unsalted  no butter scrambled eggs and their coat will have a beautiful sheen!

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Carrots – one for you – one for them :)!

 

 

Red-Tomatoes

Red Tomatoes – and the lengths they’ll go to get them! But wait, that’s a story for another blog! Let’s just say many dogs love tomatoes. Caprese Salad (tomatoes, cheese,  a drizzle of olive oil and basil leaf), one for you, and one small one for your canine companion.

Tips & Savings Idea for the Savvy Budgeting Bride

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Tips & Savings Idea for the Savvy Budgeting Bride

The holiday season is ‘the season’ for engagements – statistically speaking. With this in mind, we know there are a lot of new brides out there trying to educate themselves about realistic costs, discern their wedding vision, etc. When we were contacted by Jenny from The Insider, about sharing this article, we thought “absolutely!”. 

Our tip: if you are trying to keep to a finite budget and want your cake adorned with flowers – consider going fresh instead of hand made sugar flowers. The beautiful hand made creations are very timely and can quickly add up (financially speaking). 

Gingerbread Spice Muffins

gingerbread_muffinsThese tasty treats are perfect as a dessert for a holiday party, afternoon snack, or just when you need to take five minutes out of the holiday rush with a cup of hot tea or coffee, before heading back into the fray!

While this recipe is a modified version of our holiday gingerbread muffins, they are sure to be a delicious treat!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 F.
Place paper baking liners in each traditional size muffin cup.
Beat brown sugar, molasses, milk, oil and egg in large bowl, using spoon.
Stir in remaining ingredients just until flour is moistened.
Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Immediately remove from pan to wire rack.
Serve warm, or cooled with a little cream cheese icing!