Friday, February 26, 2010

A Peaceful Moment

Last night on the news they were saying there was going to be another big snowstorm overnight. So I woke up extra early this morning to see if they were right. Sure enough, they were!! I also woke up to find out that NYC schools were closed. Grreeeaaattt!!! Just what us moms love! I can just picture a sea of disappointed, panic stricken faces throughout the city.

Well no reason to wake anyone up! Figured I'd take advantage of the short lived peace and quiet I would have today. When I looked outside the window, I couldn't believe how much snow had fallen! I decided to take my camera, head out and capture the moment.

This is the first thing I saw, or actually didn't see when I walked outside my building. Where'd the steps go??


It was so nice being one of the only few people outside knowing that behind all these windows, everyone was still fast asleep.


There's snow everywhere...


snow to the left of me,


snow to the right,


it was everywhere!




It was soooo quiet outside - a true winter wonderland.



Hard to believe, but these big lumps are actually the bushes outside my building.


Could these 2 actually be attempting to go to work?? Such dedication.


He's already working... what a trooper!


This guy must have been up real early. Showoff.


Let's see if I can find my car - here it is, buried with the rest of them. Awww, poor thing.


Look at the trees - so beautiful.






As I head back home,


I try to savor these last few peaceful moments in solitutde.

For fear of what lies ahead of me.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Baking For A Baby Shower

My friend Karen was throwing her sister a baby shower and asked if I would help her with her dessert table. She wanted me to bake a baby carriage cake and some mini cupcakes. The color scheme was green apple and chocolate brown. Love that combo - would taste great too! They were also trying to incorporate baby blocks into the design.

Since part of the theme was baby blocks, instead of regular round mini cupcakes, I decided to do mini square cakes to make them look more like blocks. I ended up doing 72 blocks - 36 with green letters and numbers and the other half with brown. When I was planning this project, I really didn't think it was going to take me all that long to do. Boy was I wrong!!!

To make things go quicker (so I thought), I ended up buying a mini brownie pan from Wilton. Normally, I LOVE Wilton products, but in this case I have to say, it was no time saver. In fact, it was a complete time WASTER!! Even though I measured the batter with an ice cream scoop so they'd be the same size, it didn't happen. I ended up having to trim each and every one of these little guys!!


Next time (if there even is a next time) I'm going for the regular sheet cake with my ruler and knife.

So here goes...

The night before I baked, I colored the fondant green and brown. I tried to buy chocolate fondant at NY Cake & Bake but they didn't have any. Of course not. That would have been way too convenient.

After I colored the fondant, I cut out the letters and numbers using small fondant cutters.


I thought this was going to be easy but each one stuck to the cutter so I had to poke each one out. Did I mention it was 2am at this point?? That night I also covered my cake board with fondant,


and trimmed the edges with brown ribbon.


The next morning I started baking. I swear, I think I went through at least 16 bars of butter! Between the cake batter, filling, icing, and glaze I almost passed out from the butter/sugar scent that was wafting through my kitchen.

Once I trimmed (errrr!!!) all of the blocks, I put them on a rack,


made a glaze (deadly), and glazed away!


While they were still wet, I put a fondant letter on each block so when they dried, the letters would stick.



The glaze made it like a glazed doughnut. Oh yeah!!!

Wouldn't these make cute scrabble pieces?? Just need the little numbers in the corners.


After the glaze hardened up a bit, I piped a border around each mini cake to simulate a block. I decided to mix the colors - brown trim with green letters



and green trim with brown letters.



Next it was time to tackle the baby carriage cake. For this I used Wilton's baby carriage pan so I wouldn't have to start sculpting myself. Yep, took a bit of a shortcut on this one. But hey, after those blocks I think I deserved it!


First I filled the cake with a pineapple buttercream I made earlier. Then I had to tint the other buttercream to match the fondant on the cake board. Then the piping began. I piped and piped and piped. This took a while because the buttercream was getting really soft from the heat of my hand. So periodically I had to stop and put it back in the fridge to stiffen up a bit. You can definitely tell where the icing wasn't holding it's shape anymore. Slipping here, sliding there. I was worried I was going to run out of icing and didn't have enough confectioners sugar to make another batch even if I wanted to make more (and I didn't). I really had to s-t-r-e-t-c-h it out.

I made it - just barely!!


Time to put it on the board.


Woo Hoo!! I was done!! It only took me all day, but I was done!!

Or so I thought.

"Hey, it's Karen, I'm coming over - centerpieces and party favors!!"


To be continued...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fashion Week NYC

** I wrote this post yesterday morning and got so busy I never got around to clicking the Publish button!! **

I have a lot of baking to do today for a baby shower for tomorrow. So, I figured while I am waiting for my butter to soften so I can start on my next batch of cupcakes, I would use this time to tell you about my experience at Fashion Week last weekend. Multitasking - gotta love it! Guys, men, boys, if you're of the male species, you should really try it sometime!

Somehow the hubbs got tickets to a fashion show during Fashion Week at Bryant Park. I really don't know how. He may have told me but I already forgot. We were supposed to go together last Friday. That's when he told me the tickets were for. I had to completely rearrange schedules because it was during the day and I had to make sure I had coverage for my girls - picking them up from school, watching them after school, giving them dinner, etc. I also had to get myself ready which involves my hair!! Never a fun task especially when my time is limited.

So, just as I am getting my coat on, the hubbs comes out of his office (aka "the cave") and says "Uh Oh, you're not going to believe it". I give him the look. With a chuckle he shows me the tickets and they are for the NEXT DAY!!! Did you hear my screams?!? You must have.

With some more schedule rearranging, I ended up going the next day with my friend Pam instead. Always turns out to be a great day when you're hanging with your best bud.

I have to apologize in advance for these horrible pictures you're about to see. Don't know what happened but these are probably some of the worst shots I've ever taken. Not even Photoshop could help.

The event itself was a really fun experience. It was very exciting and very New York.


Tents are set up in Bryant Park and this is where the different fashion shows are held.



Once you are inside, you don't even feel like you're in a tent - it feels like a real building. It's amazing to me how Bryant Park can be transformed into so many different venues.


We ended up at the Academy of Art University's show.



Honestly the highlight of the event was the whole buzz around the show, the music, and the people watching. Once the show actually started, we really weren't thrilled with any of the clothes. Doesn't look like they were either.


There was safari









and more ruffles


The seats were really small and fit tightly together.


I definitely felt like my butt could have used an extra half a seat. I was just a little too close to the stranger sitting to my left.

Even though we didn't see any famous designers, we did see this guy outside...


My girls will be so jealous.

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