Monday, October 29, 2012

Fancy Halloween Sugar cookies

Last week we made our annual Halloween cookies. Every year we have so much fun making the dough together, cutting out the shapes, and finally decorating them! And every year Riley gets better at her decorating skill. In the past I have taken the time to actually color the frosting orange for the pumpkins and ACTUALLY draw on the faces..but I have since decided not to use artificial food coloring in my baking, and this way Riley is more involved with making the faces! I know what you are thinking: "dont those sprinkles have artificial colors in them?" why yes, they do, but I have a large supply of them and I figured we would use up what we have and then look into getting "naturally colored sprinkles" (they are kinda pricey and not apart of my budget at the moment) 

Riley insisted on putting "clothes" on the ghost

first taste...success

Mr. Pumpkin, unsure of his future..

 I hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween! Happy baking! -Jess

Fancy Sugar Cookie Dough
2 1/2 cups unbleached All purpose Flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup (2sticks) unsalted butter, Room Temp
3/4 cup Organic Sugar
1 Large egg
1 tsp. good quality Vanilla Extract 

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. In bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. add vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Shape dough into two disks, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour and up to 3 days. 
To bake, Preheat oven to 350F. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough 1/4 inch thick. cut into shapes and place on parchment lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm (about 5 minutes) Bake until just beginning to brown..12-15 minutes. let cool completely before frosting. 

Royal Icing  
4 TBSP. Meringue Powder 
1/2 cup water
1 LB Powdered sugar 
1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract 

Combine meringue powder and water, beat until combined and foamy, Sift in powdered sugar and beat until combined, add extract. if using a stand mixer, beat on high for 5 minutes until glossy, stiff peaks form. cover with plastic wrap touching icing until ready to use. Once cookies are cooled, frost them by dipping into frosting or spreading with an off-set spatula. decorate with desired sprinkles and let set uncovered over night or until frosting is dry. store in airtight container at room temp for up to 1 week. 
*NOTE: we use ganache to cover the chocolate bats, therefore I only make half this icing recipe when making Halloween cookies, however during Christmas, when we only use icing, I do make a whole recipe and still end up with some left over. enjoy!  

Friday, October 26, 2012

D.I.Y. Fancy cat pumpkin

Last week I spotted these adorable cat pumpkins on the Ruche facebook page. You can take a look at the painted pumpkin project here. I didnt actually follow the directions, but Riley had fun and we made it work with what we had. We have been making all our own decorations this year and it has been a lot of fun! She is so crafty! I will be back in a few days with our fancy Halloween cookies! 
 Happy decorating! xoxo-Jess

 Here are some random pictures from our annual "Halloween card photo shoot" silly kid

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

random pictures + not-so-fancy cheesy broccoli & potato soup

 We have been doing a lot of Halloween crafting around here, but this one is my favorite! When I was in kindergarten we made these ghost feet and I was so excited to dip Riley's little feet in some paint and make her some ghost feet too!

 Over the weekend we got to see some fancy miniature highland cattle in town. This one was sporting a very fancy "princess" tiara.

 Best apron EVER! such a thoughtful wedding gift from a thoughtful lady..Thanks Odessa!

 This munchkin makes all days good days (even when she is a pain in my rear)

 wedding flowers still going strong on my kitchen table! so pretty *sigh*

Pear and Gorgonzola salad for lunch...yum 

yummy cheesy broccoli and potato soup + the best dang cola I have ever had=cozy Sunday night dinner. (I know this is a bad picture but my camera died right after I took it and I couldn't just wait and let my soup get cold!)

Cheesy Broccoli & Potato soup
I dont normally add carrots to the soup, but since I had a bunch on hand I thought Why Not! 
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 Large carrots, chopped

1/4 tsp pepper(more to taste)
dash of cayenne pepper

1/4 cup flour
5-6 medium potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups milk
2 cups broccoli, steamed 
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

In a large pot or dutch oven, melt butter, add onion and carrots and cook until tender. Add flour, pepper, cayenne and stir until smooth. Add broth, milk and potatoes, stirring constantly until starts to boil and thicken. Reduce heat and cover. let simmer for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in cheese and broccoli, stir until cheese is melted. for added texture I like to mash with a potato masher until most of the large potatoes are mashed. add more cheese, salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy with a nice cold cola! happy cooking-Jess 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Best day EVER part 2

my fancy sister in law is baking a baby cousin for Riley in her belly! hooray for babies! 

I'm back with another non-fancy treat post! It has been one week since our wedding and I am still in love with that day and everything about it, I don't think that feeling will ever fade. Today we went into town for the first time as a married couple, which really is no different, but it was extra awesome when the lady at the health food store remembered I was getting married and I got to talk about the wedding and all the fun stuff for a good 5 minutes! I also got to say "my husband" over and over again which just makes me giddy :)  I figured since this is MY blog and no one is forced to read it (except for Ryan), it's ok for me to ramble on about our fancy wedding! So let me tell you about it!
Our wedding was mostly DIY. We used hay bales for seating at the ceremony site and covered them with random sheets and blankets. My fancy wedding planner is also my new sister in law/made of honor,Amber, and she did an amazing job helping create our dream wedding on a tiny budget. Our fancy photographer, Justin, is also Ryan's cousin and he did a fantastic job! I cant wait to see all the pictures! All of the food was catered by my awesome mom. she and my sister, Jack, slaved away days before the wedding making green chili & cheese tamales, and pork tamales. My mom worked all morning the day of the wedding making salsas, Spanish rice, beans and nopales (cactus salad). everything was wonderful! I took it upon myself to make all the desserts which included, chocolate mustaches and lips (to match our invitations), chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache, lemon cupcakes with lemon glaze and I converted my infamous lemon loaf into a bunt cake for Ryan and I to cut into. It was great. we also had s'mores and I made tomato jam as wedding favors for our guests (using tomatoes from our garden!). I painted trays from the dollar tree with chalkboard paint (thank you pinterest) and we used them to display our menu and as signs for the gift/favor table. We used an old bathtub as an ice chest which just might be my favorite thing ever! We used my moms old birdcage as a card holder and I think it looked so cute! all the banners and decorations were made by me and Riley, (shes an awesome little helper) Ryan and I decorated the Jam jars with burlap and twine and Ryan made the labels for me because I was too cheap to buy custom made ones :P I made Riley's crown out of flowers and a wooden wreath I found at the dollar tree. All our flowers were purchased from the local grocery store the day before the wedding and put together in old jars by, well, I don't really know who did them because I was instructed to stay in my apartment all morning, but i am guessing it was a team effort (Amber and Felecia?) So many people came together to help us out and we really could not have done it had it not been for every ones hard work.. our moms, our aunties/uncles, dad,cousins, grannies, our friends and our sisters. we had such a great team! I almost forgot to mention my awesome bouquet which was made the night before by my awesome mom, with some assistance from my BFF Melinda! I also must add my awesome 'MRS' necklace that was custom made by Rachel of PoppyandFern! I am in love with it! and in case anyone was wondering, my dress is from Ruche, my frustration with finding the perfect dress almost made me loss my mind, but Ruche to the rescue! It was perfect and I am so glad I had second thoughts about my original dress (which was also awesome, just not perfect) my boots are vintage Durangos I found on Etsy four years ago(when we were originally planning on getting married) Another awesome Etsy find was Riley's mustard cardigan. so perfect! (thank you fancy Mother-in-law). Riley was so cute walking down the aisle with her birdseed and wearing our wedding bands around her neck. What a great kid we have! We also had a fancy mule ride provided by some of our awesome neighbors, to take our guest to and from the ceremony site. It was such a magical day filled with all the people who mean the most to us. We truly are thankful and even though Ryan said many time leading up to the wedding "I cant wait for this to be over" when it was all over he sadly said "I wish we could keep celebrating!" ha! It was a little bittersweet to have everyone here and now have our home be so empty, we miss everyone!!! But it was a great time and lots of lovely memories, we only wish we had more time with everyone. Thank you to all who came and shared the love. we love you all so much! xoxo The Sitters
special thanks to Melinda for taking most of the pictures you see here, and anyone else I stole pictures from via facebook :)