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Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Favorite Food at Thanksgiving...'s NOT turkey!  My favorite food at Thanksgiving (and Christmas and any other time i can get ahold of the ingredients) is Cranberries!  You know, cranberries!  On most tables it is a dark red gel shaped like a can and sliced into disks.  Well...not our cranberries!  My grandma has made them with the same recipe for years and my whole family LOVES them.  I have memories of my mom and I freezing the leftovers and pulling them out to scoop and eat like sherbert in the weeks to follow.  They are so good, that I actually stock up on fresh berries when they are available and keep them in my freezer! 

You, lucky readers are going to be able to try them yourselves if you want to.  How? I am going to share grandma's super easy recipe!

No nuts in this one....we had a guest with a nut allergy
 Grandma's Cranberry Sauce
2 bags of fresh cranberries, rinsed
1 large can of crushed pineapple, with juice
1 large orange, peeled and seeded
1 C walnuts
1 C granulated sugar

This is SO easy you won't believe it!
Place the first 4 ingredients in a food processor and pulse until everything is blended and chopped to a nice uniform consistency.  Stir in the sugar. 
That's it!  Yeah, I know, super easy, and addictively delicious!
If you let it sit overnight in the fridge, it's even better the second day.  It's also great frozen served alone, or with a little vanilla ice cream! YUM!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Day of Firsts!!

Monday, my daughter turned 1!  I know, can the year go by that fast?!  She's practicing walking on her own, but so far can only do it holding onto something.  It's really cool watching her challenge herself though and she develops the balance to stand unassisted.
There she is, pushing herself - and dressed as a lion for Halloween!  Soooo cute!

So, we had a party for her birthday on Sunday, and I have been inspired by other bloggers and my tweeps to do a more interesting set up.  Our theme was pink...suggested by my new friend Cineca of Dreamin' N Details Design, we used all different shades of pink.  Oh...and EVERYTHING was pink!  She wore a pink outfit, complete with tutu! 

Look at that grin! Adorable!!!
The food was pink...though I didn't think to take pictures of the food.  We had PINK lemonade with frozen strawberries floating in it, served in a punch bowl for extra pizzaz! PINK watermelon, PINK cranberry sauce (homemade from my grandma's AMAZING recipe!!  I'll share that too), roasted RED skin potatoes (not pink, but darn close!) and chicken empanadas.  You're right, empanadas are not pink, but the dip that I made to serve along side them was!  Amazing dip by the way!  We love it at my house.  Oh...and I almost forgot.  My kids both LOVE yogurt and strawberries, so I layered them in a trifle bowl...looked like dessert, but healthy!  And...for the Pièce de résistance...the dessert table!!! 

Ok, so I didn't know that a "sweet table" was a thing until recently!  Having seen postings from other blogs and following party planners and other crafty people on twitter such as The Party Muse, Crafty Workin Mommy, Kara's Party Ideas, and lots of others!  I know my set up does not come anywhere near comparing to these fine ladies' work, but I was pretty tickled with myself!  Especially since I put it together using mostly found objects from around my house (an my mom's!), I thought it was a pretty great first attempt.

Another first for me was the cake.  I always make my kids' birthday cakes myself, and I think I do a decent job.  While I'm no "Ace of Cakes" I can do a decent job creating what I am going for.  Check out my son's volcano cake for his 5th birthday this summer!

Technically flawless??  NOT HARDLY!  But my 5 year old was pretty thrilled with it and so was I.  :)  But, after seeing tweets from @THEToughCookie about her cake that was to be featured on Martha, I had to check it out.  She decorates her cakes with cookies!!!  How cool is that?!?!?  So, I had to try it... again, hers are way better (check them out at One Tough Cookie's website) but I was pretty excited about this!

This is her little smash cake...

And this is the cake that was served to the guests!

And of course, we had PINK ice cream to serve with it! Peppermint and Cherry Chocolate Chip!  I know, at this point I think everyone thought I was crazy with the pink!
Tha party was a hit, and Emily LOVED her cake, well, at least the pink frosting on it! :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chocolate Martinis!!

Girls night Wine & Chocolate Party, with chocolate martini favors!  Thanks Jaime!  These were fun!!


I was in such a hurry trying to get these ready, that I only had a chance to take a quick pic with my phone!  I hope they enjoyed them!

Pikachu Party Favors

Happy Birthday Cole!  Thanks April, it was nice to see you again.

Moving / Housewarming Cookies

These were created for a Realtor to send as a congratulations gift to clients when they close.

Friday, November 19, 2010

...and We Have a Winner!!

Congrats to Kelly Quinn Mallozzi!

She is the winner of our Thanksgiving giveaway and is getting 2 dozen treats!! 
1 Dozen dessert pops from Dreamin' N Details Design and
1 Dozen decorated cookies from The Sweetest Thing!!

Yum, Yum!!  Lucky Girl!
If you didn't win this time, no worries, there will be more giveaways in the future!  In fact, there will be free cookies sent to the person who has sent us the most soon we reach 200 fans on our facebook page! 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Accidents!

Have you ever had a happy accident?  My husband didn't know what I know, when you mess something up, but the result is actually really great!  Well, that happened to me yesterday.  I was in my kitchen baking up dozens of cookies.  I had several orders to fill, plus trying to get lots of extras ready for a Ladies Night Out event where I will be selling my yummy sweets.  On my list was, of course, Chunka-Chunka-Chocolate-Love!  They have GINORMOUS chunks of chocolate and are unbelievably yummy, especially with pecans!

This is what they usually look like! Uh-mazing!  I CANNOT make extras of these for the house, because I WILL eat them!  When I first started making these, the first few batches spread too far and came out exceedingly thin.  Then, someone turned me on to the beauty of refrigerating the dough just before the cookies go in the oven...perfection!

But, yesterday, my first batch came out looking like this...

Not enough spreading! They are super thick, not necessarily bad, but different than they usually are.  I tasted them, shared them with some friends, and they are great! As I was making the dough for round two, I realized what I did to the first batch to keep them from spreading....I COMPLETELY forgot to put in the brown sugar!!  I was chatting with my mother-in-law and got distracted.  I am seriously ADHD!!  So, now it seems I have two different versions that look a little different, but both taste outstanding!!  In fact, my 12 year old niece prefers the one with less sugar!!  So, now available from The Sweetest Thing, Original Chunka-Chunka-Chocolate-Love, and 50% less sugar Chunka-Chunka-Chocolate-Love!  And here I thought I had 3 dozen cookies that I couldn't sell!!  Yippeeeee for happy accidents!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thanksgiving Giveaway!!!

I am so excited!!  Are you excited?!  The holidays are upon us...Halloween has come and gone, Thanksgiving is in two weeks, and we have about 6 weeks until Christmas, then (my birthday!!) the New Year!  I am super excited to be teaming up with Dreamin N Details to kick of the holiday season with a double dozen giveaway just in time for Thanksgiving!  The winner of this giveaway will get not 1 dozen, but 2 DOZEN yummy goodies shipped right to her (or his) doorstep.  1 Dozen decorated cookies from The Sweetest Thing,

AND 1 dozen dessert pops from Dreamin N Details!  Check out her amazing Oreo Cheeseake Pops! 

Yum!!  I can't wait to get my hands on some of those!!
 If you'd like a chance to have all these goodies to share for Thanksgiving (or keep all for yourself!) Here is HOW TO ENTER:

Complete the following 3 steps...

1. Be/become a fan of Dreamin' N Details on facebook

2. Be/become a fan of The Sweetest Thing on facebook

3. Post the comment
"I am a fan of The Sweetest Thing and Dreamin' N Details"
on BOTH facebook pages.

The above steps MUST be completed in order to be entered into the contest. 
To increase chances of winning, entrants may also:

1. Post about the contest (with a link) on your own facebook page for your friends to see.

2. Tweet about the contest (with a link).

3. Suggest both Dreamin N Details and The Sweetest Thing to your own facebook friends.

Up to 4 entries are available to all.  If any of the 3 additional methods are completed, please be sure to post a comment on this blog letting us know.  Contest closes at Midnight EST on Wednesday November 17th.  Winner will be chosen at random and notified Thursday November 18th.  Specific designs and flavors are at the discretion of Dreamin N Details and The Sweetest Thing. 
Good Luck & Happy Thanksgiving!!! 

Here come the brides....

Sunday, November 7th, The Sweetest Thing made an appearance at our very first Bridal Show.  The week leading up to it was spent gathering materials and baking over 600 Sweet Spots in 4 different shapes to give away as samples.

At the show, we spent about an hour and a half setting up our booth space, and I was quite pleased with how it turned out...

Our sweets were very well received and I heard tons of positive feedback and compliments.  Talk about an ego boost!  Go me! ;) 

We set up 5 different styles of placesettings, with cookie favors, and even a cookie place card, or place-cookie!  That way the brides could see some examples of how well the cookies compliment any style of wedding.  Cookies are the perfect favor!  Nobody throws them away, they don't end up in a junk drawer, guests won't leave them on the table when the leave, and they can be customized to perfectly coordinate with the wedding theme or colors.

We met over 100 brides, along with their fiances, mothers, maids of honor, mothers-in-law..... I can't wait to help some of them make their tables pop with some custom cookie favors!

Friday, November 5, 2010


Get yourself an awesome cookbook - dedicated to gorgeous decorated cookies, cakes, etc... !  Go the The Cookie Sheet blog and enter now.  It ends soon!!!  Good luck to you, but I REALLY hope I win it!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tips & Tricks for Better Cookies it has occured to me, that maybe I should blog about how to get cookies to turn out better.  I have had several people ask me how I get my cookies to come out the way they do - that being, well formed and beautifully cooked. If I do say so myself. (Sheepish grin here) The decoration is really the impressive part if you ask me, but people assume they can't do that part, and only ask for tips on the baking.  So here they top tips for baking better cookies.

Tip #1 - USE PARCHMENT PAPER!!  I use parchment paper for 2 purposes.  I roll my dough out on it, and I bake on it.  I like it for rolling dough because that way I don't have to try to remove the cut shapes from my counter while trying not to distort them.  I still flour the surface (the paper) for rolling, I just roll them on the paper and cut them there too.  Then, once my parchment is full of cookies, I DO NOT put it directly in the oven (see tip #2) but I will bake them right on the paper.  Why?  Again, no transfer means better shapes, but also - they NEVER stick!  If you have ever broken or smooshed a cookie whilst scraping it off your cookie sheet, you will understand!

Tip #2 - Freeze the cut shapes!  I put my cookie sheet full of raw cut shapes into the freezer before they go in the oven.  Seems a bit odd, I know, but it really keeps the dough from spreading while it bakes.  Basically, I leave them in the freezer for the same amount of time I would bake them.  I rotate 3 cookie sheets.  One is in the freezer, the second is in the oven, and the third is cooling on the counter.

Tip #3 - This one, I just discovered this week!  When you chill the dough (and you HAVE to chill the dough to make it easier to work with) chill the dough flat!  I had been just sticking my dough in a bowl in the fridge all this time.  Don't get me wrong, it chills it just fine, and it works okay....but my new method is much better.  I take the pile of dough and plop it onto a long sheet of plastic wrap as soon as it's mixed up.  Then, fold the plastic wrap over it and flatten it out so it's about an inch thick.  I wrap the plastic around it so it's all covered, and then I can stick it on a tray in the fridge, and stack more flat dough on top if it.  It takes up less space in the refrigerator and it rolls out so much faster when you aren't starting with a lumpy pile scooped from the bowl.

Tip #4 - If you want very well formed cookies, you need to prevent them from spreading as they bake.  We are already adding the extra step in the freezer, and of course, rolling right on the parchment it will be baked on so we don't have to transfer them.  So, take it one step further and minimize the chemical reactions that cause spreading.  (Sorry, but I am a science geek through and through!) Specifically, drastically reduce or even eliminate the baking powder from the recipe.  My recipe orginally had 2 teaspoons of baking powder.  I have modified it over time and now I barely use 1/2 teaspoon!

For all you pros out there, these probably aren't tips at all, because I imagine you already know these things.  But, maybe I can help a few home bakers to perfect their holiday baking.  If you have any other great tips, please share them with us in the comments.  I am sure my readers would love to see what others have to say as well.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Scooby Dooby Doo, I See You!

These were custom made for a little Scooby lover's birthday.  Happy Birthday Clayton, and thanks for the referral Angela!