finding ways to use cooking, crafts, and hospitality to be a blessing for others

Monday, June 20

Tweet Baby Shower

I was blessed last weekend with a baby shower in Austin. Some of my girlfriends hosted the affair and planned a lovely event. The food was yummy, the decor was beautiful, and the guests were such a joy to be around.

My mom, sister, niece, mother-in-law and sister-in-law made the trip from Oklahoma and a friend of mine from Arizona came too! I was so excited by my friends that came to the shower and joined in the fun of celebrating Peanut's impending arrival! Since we are waiting until Peanut's birth to know his/her gender, we have yet to make purchases for the baby. Receiving gifts at this shower made welcoming this baby more real, because now we have baby things at our house!

In the foyer
a picture frame for notes from friends
One of the many beautiful bird arrangements throughout Melissa's house
Another arrangement

In the kitchen with a cute banner Mom, Stephanie (sister), myself, Anna (sister-in-law) and Leslie (mother-in-law)

Adorable and yummy chocolate cake

Banner in living room
notice the birds again :)

My niece, Jenni, eagerly awaiting the time for opening gifts. She carried in this present and was ready for it to be the first one opened (she's sooo precious!)

The hostess' put together a peanut m&m guessing game

Anna, one of the hostesses, is a skilled artisan. She shaped, fired and painted all of the birds that were stationed around the house and made miniature birds and eggs attached to sticks to give as party favors for the guests to put in their potted plants at home
a set of birds and eggs for Peanut's nursery!

party favors
Picture frame of notes that will hang in Peanut's nursery
I can't imagine a better day to share with friends. Even David enjoyed it... he texted Stephanie throughout the morning to get updates and hear about the fun we were having as he was busy laying tile at the house. The love, support and prayers were such a great gift and David and I now have a great assortment of things for Peanut. I am looking forward to moving into the house and setting up the nursery too!

Wednesday, June 15

Piping Frosting 101

piping is the term used to explain the use of an decorators icing tip

This is a short tutorial on piping frosting onto cupcakes. This tutorial is not all inclusive, but its a good introduction to the basics. I learned how to use frosting tips in a Wilton class I took a few years ago. The more often one works with tips the better you can develop a personalized technique :)

Additionally, I've attached links to other sites throughout this post to help point you towards additional guides. Have fun!

Supplies: scissors, icing bag (or zip lock bag), icing tip, and coupler (optional)

the most straight-forward approach
Drop the tip into a decorators bag and push it into the bottom of bag. Cut off a small portion of bottom of bag and push tip into hole.

Step 1: Push coupler into bottom of bagStep 2: Cut off tip of bag. Be careful not to cut too much; you only want the coupler to poke out a little
Step 3: push tip onto coupler from the outside of bag; hold in place with your hand
Step 4: Push round attachment to coupler over tip and onto coupler; secure it in place
Step 5: I like to drop the bag into a large cup, turn the bottom of bag over cup lip and fill bag with frosting. Be mindful to not fill the bag too full-- when it looks half full, you have plenty of frosting.
Step 6: Hold the bag in whichever hand you prefer. Often I will hold the bag with my right hand and squeeze with my right hand, and then steady the bag over the cupcake with my left hand. Determining the correct position to hold the bag, adequate pressure control is something you will become more comfortable with in time.
I prefer to decorate the cupcakes on a wire rack and then transfer them to a serving platter.
Finished cupcakes!

Various Frosting Techniques
the caption below pictures tells you what decorating tip I used

1M swirl

1M swirl with fondant flowers on top

Round Tip

Beading with a Round Tip

Piping an outline with a Round Tip

Star Tip

I frosted these with a round tip and then dipped them into a shallow dish full of sprinkles.

cooking school samples from one of my student's last summer

More tutorials are available here:

The tutorial on this cupcake design is available at CakeJournal
Additional tutorials:

Cake Decorating

You Tube video clip

How to do Wilton's 1M swirl

Tuesday, June 7

My Friend's Baby Shower

My friend Kristin has a new baby girl and some of our friends recently hosted a shower for her. I loved the details at Kristin's shower and wanted to share them with you.

well wishes tree

rolled crepe paper rosettes for hanging pomanders

mini banner on cake
mimicks a large banner on fireplace and the banner Sarah sewed onto the party invitations

template for well wishes tree

Sarah's blog shows you more of the cool details from the shower! Check her out!

Monday, June 6


1 package vanilla cake mix (just the dry mix)
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
½ cup warm water
½ cup vegetable oil

In a standing mixer or with a hand mixer, beat all ingredients together for 1 minute on low speed and 2 minutes on medium speed. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

This amount will yield 2 dozen cupcakes. This recipe can be adapted for chocolate cupcakes too!

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

This recipe is adapted from a Sprinkles Bakery’s recipe.

2 sticks butter (firm, but not cold)
1 pinch salt (only if you are using unsalted butter)
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon milk

In a standing mixer or with a hand mixer, beat butter and salt on medium speed about 2 minutes. On low speed, gradually add powdered sugar. When combined, add vanilla and milk. Beat until smooth and creamy. You desire to have a consistency similar to homemade ice cream. You may add milk 1 teaspoon at a time to create a thinner/spreadable consistency.

Tip: For a change, try adding ½ t. almond extract or coconut extract to the icing!

This amount will frost 1 dozen cupcakes.

Sunday, June 5

Easter Brunch

David's family visited us in April this year to celebrate his birthday and Easter! For our Easter meal we made a brunch to enjoy after church.

To make the breakfast foods a little bit more fun for this special occasion I came up with some skewered hors d'oeuvres to add to the mix.

roasted tomatoes on fresh zucchini with a dollop of goat cheese

halved cherry tomatoes with a basil leaf and fresh mozzarella cheese
balsamic vinegar is drizzled on top

pineapple, strawberries and green grape fruit skewers

These 3 skewered items were served with
roasted asparagus, scrambled eggs & diced ham and a wonderful skillet apple cake!