Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Will you be my valentine?

I mentioned yesterday that I was recycling last year's valentine theme.  In the words of my co-worker, "don't fix what isn't broken."  
You can check it out HERE.
Although I was happy to hear it was well received, and it definitely made things easier since it was an easy one to pull off-but I didn't want to completely copy it.  Even though these crafts are often very time consuming, it gives me a chance to be creative.  So, I figured there was a way to re-vamp the packaging system for my donuts.  

I already had many of these on hand.  
And I figured the plastic bags would probably have a better seal anyway.
Plus, who doesn't love some cute washi tape?!?

For the cakes, I'm going to utilize the same packaging system, just add a special tag.  
Unfortunately, I've had trouble getting my hands on Entenmanns donuts, so I will finish packing the bags tomorrow night and I will be able to update with a finished product.  Until then, I'll leave you with a preview. 

I bought THESE labels/stickers.  I followed their directions on how to create a template for their products.  It was shmeasy.

You can learn all about embossing HERE.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Monday Munchies...Valentine's Day Edition

As I type, I'm in the process of trying a new recipe!  

I stumbled across this on Pinterest and I knew I had to do this.  There are a couple different version out there, but the one I'm using calls for all store bought ingredients!  
I also ended up buying a heart silicone mold.  I do have a heart shaped cookie cutter, but I figured I'd waste a lot of cake that way, making the purchase of the mold worthwhile.  

Currently, I am baking all (60+) of the heart cakes I need by Thursday...
So far, my only remark is as follows: 
1. Definitely make sure to fill the molds so that the cake ultimately will rise above and become dome shaped, that way you can cut off and have a completely flat bottom.
2.  Cut off the top when it's warm.  Let it sit after you make the cut before you try to take it out of the mold.
3. Make sure to spray the mold really well-it sucks to have the small pinch at the top get stuck.
4.  Mine have been baking for 17 minutes, not 12 as the original stated.  

I'm looking forward to seeing this product come together!

Last year, I did a co-worker valentine.  You can see that HERE.

I'll be back tomorrow with how I plan on packaging these goodies. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Snow Days

We've had a couple snow days recently and I am still alive to tell about it!
It involved coffee, lounging around in my pajamas all day, and chaos-lots of chaos.  
Actually, I accomplished a lot of organizing on those days off.  

Whenever I find out I'll have a large amount of time at home with the kids, I always think of the "at-home" projects I could do with the kiddos.  
We already know they love baking!  
Tonight, they helped me make challah, over the weekend it was the doughnuts-which they've already requested I make again. 
But Moshe has really gotten into crafting, coloring and drawing.  He's pretty good if I do say so myself.  He's also pretty creative-we've had the spaceship going to the moon, an airplane, and of course poop, lots of poop drawings.  

A seasonal activity we've done a lot of is making paper snowflakes.  I even offered to help Moshe bling them out with glitter, but he decided he didn't like my gold glitter.
I'm sure he would love these snowflake ideas-I wish I had looked them up sooner, I would have avoided many meltdowns about how to make snowflakes.

  I don't know why I find this so interesting. :P how to cut paper snow flakes. 

My kids also really enjoyed using these Crayola window markers. 
They loved sitting at the front window, drawing while watching the snow fall. I love that this utilizes a unique and usually off-limits area and makes it kid friendly.  This activity bought me lots of quiet time! 

There's always something new to try. 
 Here are some kid-friendly at-home activities currently on my list

These look so fun...
{Guest Post}  Twelve Sensory Play Recipes by Blog Me Mom for Fun at Home with Kids
This sand always intrigues me when I see it in stores, I'll admit I'm a little afraid to have sand in my house, but on a snow day-you know what they say: desperate times call for desperate measures!
Homemade kinetic sand- Squishy, mold-able, & lots of fun!  Why waste your money on the store bought stuff when you can easily make this recipe at home!

My kids could spend hours in the tub/shower-how cool is this glow in the dark bath?!?

There are plenty of DIY recipes for playdough, or wacky science experiments to do at home.  All of these are guaranteed to ease the snow day gloom!  I had better stock up on supplies as Winter Storm Marshal is heading our way!!! 

Stay warm everyone!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Monday Munchies...

I'm in the process of finalizing my Valentine's Day goodies, which of course involved defrosting some cookie dough.  
My kids saw the dough and insisted on doing some baking with me. During the week isn't really a good time to get involved in time consuming crafts, so I promised them that over the weekend we would bake-doughnuts.  
I'm not sure why I automatically default to doughnuts, but I do.
I used a hodge podge of recipes and honestly, I'm not thrilled with the results, but I'll share nonetheless.  

Chocolate Custard filled Doughnuts  
4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoon vital wheat gluten (I used xanthan gum and substituted 1/2 teaspoon for each cup of flour)
1 teaspoon salt
2.5 teaspoon dry active yeast (1 packet)
1 cup lukewarm milk
2 tablespoon sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Combine 2 tablespoons of sugar, the yeast, and 2 tablespoons of warmed milk-let it sit for5 minutes.  To reduce dishes, use the mixing bowl for this step.

While the yeast is sitting, combine the flour, vital wheat gluten, salt-whisk together. 

Melt your butter now so it has time to cool.  

After the yeast is proofed, combine yeast and dry ingredients into the mixing bowl.  Add the rest of the warmed milk.  Once combined, add in the eggs and the melted butter.  Once the dough is combined, use the dough hook (or knead by hand) for 2 minutes.  

The dough is now ready to sit and rise for two hours in a warm location-just cover it with a towel. 

Once the dough has about doubled in size, roll it into 1/2 inch thickness.  I cut my doughnuts into 3 inch diameter.  Place them on a lightly floured pan and cover and let rise for another 30 minutes.  

Now your doughnuts are ready to go!  Fill a pot with 2-3 inches of vegetable oil, and heat to 350 degrees.  I don't have a thermometer, so I tested it out with only one doughnut in the pot.  It takes at least 5 minutes to heat, although I was being modest with the flame so as not to make it too hot and therefore burn the doughnuts.  Essentially, the doughnuts will fluff up and each side should brown nicely-in the beginning it took 2 minutes per side, but by the end it was only taking one and half minutes each side.  Remove the doughnuts with a slotted spoon and immediately roll in the sugar mixture.  The original recipe called for cinnamon sugar, but I rolled mine in powdered sugar.  

To be honest, I tried two recipes-neither of them were what I was looking for in my opinion.  This is truly custard, whereas I was hoping for more of a frosting/cream.  

The first recipe I tried used a lot of corn starch, and it went from liquid to solid in a matter of seconds-the seconds I was watching Idena Menzel sing the national anthem.  Let's just say it didn't end well.  I didn't have enough corn starch left to try again, so I had to try a new recipe.  Although I didn't love this one either, I'll share it with you.  It wasn't bad, but I'm just not that into you custard.  

3/4 cup whole milk
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Add milk, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and sugar on low heat, stir constantly.  Again, I don't have a thermometer, but once it reaches 160 degrees add the cornstarch and turn the heat up to low-medium and begin to cook.  Stir constantly until it reaches pudding consistency.Here's where things got complicated for me.  Once it reaches pudding consistency it needs to be removed from the heat or it might solidify too much-and there's no coming back from that! Once you remove it from the heat, mix in your chocolate chips.  I found that the called for amount of chocolate chips wasn't enough, or it's possible that because my chips weren't dark enough, it didn't taste like chocolate.  Thankfully, I had probably a 1/4 of a cup of dark chocolate chips laying around, and that was made a huge difference. It says to immediately put it into a piping back fit with the metal tip-but my custard just ran right out that end!  There was no way I was refrigerating it-but because it wasn't solidified enough, I couldn't get a good enough grip to pierce the doughnut.  I used a free standing tip to pierce, and then attempted my best to fill the doughnut-which was successful, just super messy.  

In the end, I had beautiful doughnuts, just not what I was going for.  However, I do highly recommend this dough recipe and I will definitely use the dough again.  

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