Posts Tagged ‘Family’

My Sister is Getting Married. And, Soon!

September 18, 2010

You know KC Jennie is getting married soon. In October. Remember? I made these for her bachelorette party.

Yep yep.

Well, my sis Michel is getting married in November! This week things have been getting more “real” and exciting as the bridal shower is tomorrow! My goofy family is making all the food AND desserts, so I will hopefully have a really fun shower post for you.  My contribution is nectarine sorbet and some cupcake decorating.

Two batches of nectarine sorbet?  MADE.  This is the only documentation I have.  Yet.  I’ll try to snap some pics when I’m serving it tomorrow.

In related news I finished up my shower gift-buying. I spent about 30 minutes staring at cake pans and OXO gadgets at Bed, Bath & Beyond. I resisted buying anything for myself, which I can assure you, was a true act of will power. Just look at this…

Dino Mini Cake Pan.  Love.

After ogling dinos and mini tart pans (why are mini versions of things so adorable?), I regained focus and picked out a few registry pans.  What I’m most excited about though is this…

Love Flo Braker.  And want this book.  Sigh.  Good thing it’s already wrapped all pretty so I can’t steal it for myself.  I hope my sis will like it!





Boulevard Beer, or KC Love Part II

August 27, 2010

My darling of a roommate gave me a ride to work today. Thank goodness, as I didn’t want to be lugging the above on the el. I normally walk around with a lot of stuff as it is… cans of soup (lunch), books, gyms shoes, etc., etc.. I thought I would scale back when I switched to a smaller handbag, but that didn’t really happen. Now I just carry bagS, and my once adorable chic-ish purse is now a bulging, unzippable, nightmare blob. Hang a coffee thermos from my strap, throw a 12-pack in my arms and you got my Friday morning, teetering-into-work look.

But about that beer. Boulevard Brewing Company is based in Kansas City and seems to be most beloved for its unfiltered wheat beer. If that’s not your thing, they have a billion other brew varieties. Yes, a billion. If you are ever in the KC area, you should visit for a tour and tasting (info on their site here). Our group was partial to the Bully! Porter. As far I know Boulevard is not distributed in Chicago (sadness), but I have found it in other Midwest cities like Minneapolis. This sampler was purchased on my most recent KC trip for my sometimes beer-brewing, often beer-drinking, baby brother.

Um, my baby brother is 22. And moving away. To study bioengineering (what the heck?!) like a smartypants. Or maybe just to escape his crazy family which includes THREE nutty older sisters. Even I can admit, that’s a lot of nutty. Happy escaping, Miguel–Cheers!

P.S. Due to kitchen “issues” that involved bailing water with plastic beer steins across the hall and into our toilet, baking has been on hold for the past couple days. All is well now though, so cookies soon!

Did you know…

August 16, 2010

they grow peaches in Michigan? Neither did I. But they do! At places like Fruit Acres Farm in Coloma. So my sister J and I drove up yesterday to pick peaches and shop at farmers markets and drink peach tea. It was a bit of a hike but the drive goes pretty fast when you talk about boys and online dating. Poor J… there really are some weirdos out there.

Not like us. We’re totally normal.

So we picked a ton of white and yellow fleshed peaches.  What do you do with a bunch of peaches when it’s too hot to bake?  Maybe one day soon I’ll be able to turn on my oven. People want peach cobbler. I want peach cobbler. In the mean time though, I made a batch of peach lemonade.  I fed it to my friend Liz while she talked about her fear of contracting exotic diseases.  She’s a nurse, and also totally normal.  I think she liked the lemonade.  It’s tart and summery, and so so simple.  Go juice some lemons…

Peach Lemonade

1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
flesh of 2 peaches, pureed
3 cups water
1/3 – 1/2 cup sugar or sugar syrup (I used my extra rum syrup from The Cupcakes), depending on your taste and the sweetness of the peaches

Mix all your ingredients together and serve over ice. Ta Da!  Summer in a glass.

P.S. Have you watched Austin & Santino on Lifetime? Yes, Lifetime. No? Please do so. While sitting in an air-conditioned room, drinking Peach Lemonade.

Holiday Cookie Exchange

January 10, 2010

My last post was about Thanksgiving.  And this one is Christmasy.  And it’s… January 10.  Yikes.  I spose in addition to my resolutions involving driving automobiles and daily vitamins, I should consider posting in a timely manner.  With relevant stories and recipes.  But I had to post these pictures even if it is a bit late.  My family hosted a holiday cookie exchange, and it was super great.  I was blown away by all the delicious cookies people brought.  And the decorating!

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bars White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies Orange Spice Sandwich Cookies

Poppyseed Kolachky Coconut Snowmen Iced Snicker Doodle

Andes Chocolate Mint Cookies Raspberry Truffle Peppermint Bon Bons

I had a blast.  I think others did too…

The Cookie Exchange

A very belated thanks to all the cookie exchange participants!  Everything was delicious.  And a very belated wish for a Happy New Year!

I think some sort of baking event needs to be planned for Valentine’s Day.  A cupcake exchange?  A cupcake decorating party?  Something.

Oh, and my sis J and brother decorated those gingerbread houses.  Pretty good, eh?

Bye for now.  I’ll be seeing ya… more… in 2010!

Happy Thanksgiving & Ma’s Guest Blog

November 26, 2009

Fellow thankful and grateful Americans: Are you currently unable to move from your couch, tryptophan coursing through your veins, pants unbuttoned? Have you spent most of your day watching Home Alone or football, only breaking to re-eat or nap? When you doze off do you have visions of yams and dancing green bean casseroles in your brain?

I have just the thing for you… PIE! So here’s my Ma to talk about one of the pies she made. She’s awesome, but a bit blog-shy. Take it away Ma…

Hi, I’m Carly’s Mother. I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. My memories of Thanksgiving are filled with thoughts of my own mother baking many delicious treats. My favorites were always the pies! She made everything from lemon meringue to chocolate cream. With family out of town, this year our Thanksgiving gathering was smaller than usual, but we had a great time. And great food!

Normally, for Thanksgiving we do traditional pumpkin, but this year we added a French Apple Pie. My husband “hinted” that I hadn’t baked an apple pie in a long time, so here goes…

French Apple Pie

Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook

For Pastry:
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon shortening
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 Tablespoons cold water

For Filling:
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of salt
6 cups of thinly sliced tart apples (about 6 medium-sized apples)

For Topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 425°

Mix flour and salt (for pastry) in a medium-sized bowl. Cut in shortening until well-combined and crumbles are pea-sized. Add water, 1 Tablespoon at a time until mixture is moistened evenly.

Form a ball with your dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out—two inches larger than inverted pie plate. Fit into plate.

Prepare your Filling. Mix dry ingredients together and then stir in apples. Spoon into pie crust. In a new bowl, mix Topping ingredients together until crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of your pie. Bake for 45-50 minutes until brown and bubbly.

Easy peasy, right? And delicious. Be sure to serve with ice cream.

Thanks Ma, you’re the best! And happy holidays everyone.

Fall Love

October 10, 2009

Today my family and I braved the cold to celebrate Fall and pick/eat a crazy amount of apples.  I hadn’t been apple-picking since I was a kid, but my little sis suggested it so off we went to Keipur Orchards in Maple Park, IL.  Despite the freezing temps we had a lot of fun.  I thought it would be a bit late in the season, but Keipur still had a ton of apples and varieties–some of which don’t even have harvest dates until late October/November.  We ended up with yummy Jonathans, JonaGolds, Ida Reds, Empires, and Blushing Goldens.

Oh yeah.  Their bakery/shop?  Awesome.  This apple cider donut coated in cinnamon sugar I devoured?  Awesome.  Everything from pies to caramel apples looked super yummy.  I nabbed some apple cider and my sister picked up some just-blended peanut butter.  Definitely a Saturday well spent.  There are a ton of orchards in the Chicagoland area, you can check them out here…

And some baked apple goodness coming soon!

The Holiday Weekend in Pictures

September 7, 2009

Banana Cupcakes

How was your Labor Day Weekend?  Too short?  But filled with good things like family, food, beaches, and puppies?  Sounds just like mine!

I baked with my Ma this weekend–she’s a food expert.  We made those yummy and oh so sophisticated Cappuccino Flats.  They were actually very simple, which was for the best, as I was super distracted by puppy cuteness.  I mean SERIOUSLY…

Okay, okay.  I’m done.  Let’s talk about cookie and coffee goodness.  Here…

Errr.  I just can’t help myself!  Cutest puppy ever!  I wanted to steal him.  Anyways.  Here we go, for real this time…

Cappuccino Flats

Adapted from The Ultimate Cookie Collection

For cookies:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1 teaspoon warm water
1 egg
6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

For Dipping:
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 Tablespoons shortening

With a hand mixer, cream butter and shortening until light and fluffy.  Mix in sugars.  Add coffee, egg, and cocoa powder.  Mix until combined.

Combine flour, cinnamon, and salt in a separate bowl.  Gradually add mixed dried ingredients to the butter.  Batter will be sticky.

Spoon half of batter onto a sheet of plastic wrap.  Using the plastic wrap to help you, form the dough into a 6” long log.  Wrap in the plastic and repeat with the remaining batter.  Refrigerate until firm, 1-4 hours.  I only refrigerated for 1 hour, and then put the batter in the freezer for 30 minutes right before slicing.

Preheat your oven to 350°.  Remove dough from fridge or freezer, unwrap, and slice logs into 1/4” slices.  Place 1” apart on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes until firm.  Cool on a wire rack.

Melt the chocolate with the shortening on low power in the microwave, stirring every 20-30 seconds.  Dip cookies half-way into melted chocolate.  Place back on wire rack until dry.  If humid you may need to toss them in the fridge for a bit.

This recipe makes 5-6 dozen.

Note:  The dough gets more difficult to cut as it warms and the more you handle it.  If baking in shifts, I recommend putting the dough back in the freezer until ready to cut/bake.

A Tart for August

August 31, 2009

My amazing kid sister graduated yesterday!  Congrats J!  Not only did she graduate, but she was class valedictorian(!) and gave a great and very sweet speech.  So proud!

So of course the family celebrated.  We cooked, and we baked, and we ate lots of good food. It was such a great Sunday, I hardly thought about the weekend ending.  Some of us were so tuckered out from food & festivities, we even needed a bit of a nap after dinner.

I powered through though and made a crostata.

“A What-A?” you may be thinking to yourself.


Does it help if I all-caps it?  Sorry.  A crostata is a sort of rustic, free-form tart.  If you’re intimidated by the thought of baking a pie, make a crostata instead.  It’s super easy, and just as delicious.  Your friends will be impressed.  You can do it!  Make this before summer is gone and the peaches and blueberries disappear.  A sad thought…

Rustic Peach & Blueberry Crostata

adapted from a Tyler Florence Recipe

Don’t even think about making this recipe without the lemon zest.  Seriously.

For Pastry:
2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and divided
1 large egg yolk
2 Tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

For Filling:
2-3 large peaches, pitted and sliced
1 cup blueberries
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon flour

For Glaze:
1 egg whisked with 1 Tablespoon water
2 Tablespoons sugar

Start by preparing your crust.  Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest in a large bowl.  Using a pastry cutter, food processor, or two forks (old school method), cut the butter with the flour mixture until combined and crumbly.  Add egg yolk and 2 Tablespoons of ice water.  Mix together until just combined.  Try forming into a ball.  If still crumbly, add more ice water, one teaspoon at a time.  You don’t want your dough too moist, so don’t go crazy with the water.  Form dough into a disc and wrap with saran.  Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

To make the filling, combine the peaches and blueberries in a mixing bowl.  Pour the lemon juice over the fruit, and toss with the sugar and flour.

Preheat your oven to 400°.

Now it’s time to assemble your crostata.  Sprinkle your counter and rolling pin with flour.  Remove dough from fridge, and roll out, about a 1/4” thick.  This should get you a circle with a 12”-14” diameter.  Transfer the crust to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Spoon the filling into the center of your crust, leaving a 2” space from the edge, all the way around.  Brush the egg onto the fruitless edge of your crust, and then fold up the sides.  You should have an exposed fruit center.  Pinch together any cracks in your crust, and brush with more of the egg wash.  Sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons of sugar.  Bake 30-35 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

Cool on a baking rack.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.  Or else.

Pie Carnage.