Category: Cooking

GoBo Bakesale – Halloween Cookies

Bo was nothing short of amazing – at 12 he was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia. Instead of living out his last year in the hospital, he opted to get out of the hospital to “live life to the fullest and enjoy every day” going to school, the beach, sporting events, etc – even speaking to his classmates. These cookies are all packed up and headed to a fundraiser in Wisconsin for the organization that works to carry on Bo’s message.

Halloween Themed Cookies for Go Bo Bakesale

Halloween Themed Cookies packed up and ready to go to the GoBo bakesale!

 

I am so, so humbled to be participating in this event along side of some of the world’s greatest cookie decorators – with representation from ALL 50 states as well as 8 other countries! It’s amazing how much this young man continues to pull the world and community together with his powerful message of living life to the fullest. I encourage everyone to check out the Go Bo! Foundation and for those of you who are in (or near) Wisconsin, you should also attend the bake sale. I’m positive it will be nothing short of AMAZING!

Another Cookie Explosion Post

I’m guessing most of you can guess what happened to my blogging time.  It’s been spent in the kitchen…  I tend to think that my cookie skills have improved – there are a few designs in here that were done more than once – like these turtles:

Ninja Turtle Birthday Cookies Cedar Rapids IANinja Turtle Birthday Cookies Cedar Rapids IA

I love seeing improvement from order to order.   I love learning new things.  I love that I have convinced myself to take part in more events in the cookie community, even if I’m a little shy about my skills and humbled to be surrounded by such great bakers/decorators!

Anyway, here are the majority of the cookies that were done since last time I blasted the blog with cookie pictures…   here’s to hoping I don’t go another 7 months between cookie posts next time!

If you haven’t already, you should probably go like our cookie page on facebook.  🙂

Mommy Went to India

I ended up in India for a couple weeks for work.  I absolutely love visiting India.  It’s an eye-opening experience.  Even better than going to India – is sharing the trip with others who had never gone before.  After you’ve been there a time or two, you aren’t as shocked by the little things — the crazy traffic, the animals in the middle of road, the sheer difference in the way of life…  although I can’t say I was completely oblivious to these things, the reaction of someone who has never been before is absolutely priceless!

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There are also the differences in religion…  visiting temples is always amazing.  Unfortunately we didn’t have a Hindu guide to explain everything to us.  Ironically enough – both of our drivers over the course of the trip were very devout Christians.  I still had the best experience visiting Hindu places of worship on a previous trip.   I went through with a coworker who was able to explain things so I could be more involved, and although I’m still not 100% sure as to what I was doing, it was far more fulfilling than just walking through and admiring everything.  Even still – they are  beautiful – the architecture and sheer age of them is astounding!

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There are some gorgeous Mosques and Christian Churches as well.  We did go through the church pictured – and met some adorable school children.  Smart too.  One asked me for some American money…

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We also visited Mysore Palace.  This wasn’t my first trip there, however it is the first trip where I went inside.  It is truly gorgeous.  We did the audio tour – and although it was very informative, it was almost too much information.  It was absolutely gorgeous on the interior.  No photos allowed inside though, so unfortunately I still only have exterior pictures!

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It was also the first time I rode an elephant at the palace…  Not only did we get to ride the elephant, but we also had the opportunity to be blessed by him (placing his trunk on our heads) and also were given the opportunity to climb outside of the ‘cage’ on his back for riding and sit on his head directly.  Apparently that’s meant to bring you incredibly good luck.  I don’t know if I ended up with any luck, but we did end up amassing quite a crowd in the process!!

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Elephant blessing Emily

Elephant blessing Emily

As we left the palace, we encountered a group of village children who were visiting the palace as well — these kids didn’t ask us for any money, which was a nice change, however they did ask our names and where we were from – and they were SO giggly, telling us how beautiful our names were…

You do run into quite a few beggars, and it is incredibly hard to keep your emotions in check.  It’s SO hard to say ‘no’.  Especially to the kids or those who are very clearly disabled…  But if you gave money to everyone that was following you around and asking for it, you would be broke in a heartbeat.

Although we had no extra cash to give him, this little kid was the recipient of my coworkers leftover coconut - and he was SO happy to have it and guzzled it down quickly!

Although we had no cash to give him, this little kid was the recipient of my coworkers leftover coconut – he guzzled it down quickly!

For those who haven’t gone before — the shopping experiences there are definitely very different and much more high pressure than they are here in the US, but once you really understand the way of life, it makes sense.  We’re Americans, in their country – we are seen as rich by comparison, and they definitely don’t want to lose our business.  They negotiate prices and when they see us, they intentionally start high — and it’s usually easy to know when you’re being over charged.  Most of the time it was the difference between $2 and $5 though, and really – if you can afford it, it wasn’t worth the argument.  Especially if the item you’re buying is worth the $5 to you.  They need that extra $3 more than we do…

My friend Emily and I both had some mehndi done on commercial street while shopping.  She had her hand done, I did my feet.  Only problem was that I then had to walk around barefoot for the rest of the day.  That and when I came home to Iowa it was cold out, so nobody here really got to see it – but I loved it!

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And then there’s the clothing.  Everything that the girls in India wear just seems to be so much more beautiful and unique – especially compared to our old-navy and target inspired wardrobes here.    I wish I had taken better photos of some of their clothes.  I did, however, bring back quite a few super cute outfits for Averie to wear…  One she wore to see the Easter Bunny, the other she wore in a video I posted a little while ago.  Emily and I did at least try on some sarees though…

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I think my favorite part of the whole trip though, was a brief moment where I got to catch up with my girl back home…  even if she was too busy painting to really pay attention to me!

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All-in-all, it was a great trip.  Lots of fun was had.  I came home well rested (thank you BA for the upgraded seats on the flight!) and with a renewed outlook on life (it’s so much easier to declutter your crap out of your home after seeing how materialistic you must seem!).

Sorry for the late, almost cliff-notes version of my trip!

I definitely can’t wait until I get to go back again!  I’m missing Indian food already….

 

Cookie Catchup (Jan-Feb)

FAIL!

I was so planning on doing better at blogging the last couple of months.  But then the market happened. And then another market happened…  And then I was travelling for work.

Excuses, excuses.  No good, I know!

So, without further ado – here’s another ‘blow up your RSS feeds with images’ sort of post to get me current, and hopefully make it easier for me to blog more frequently again!

Averie coloring a spongebob cookie I drew up for her

Averie coloring a spongebob cookie I drew up for her while I worked on an order of spongebob cookies!

Patrick and Spongebob Cookies

Patrick and Spongebob Cookies

Gymnastics Cookies for a Party by Amy Lynn Events

Gymnastics Cookies for a Party by Amy Lynn Events

Averie made a puppy cookie

Averie made a puppy cookie

Mustaches and Ties Cookies

Mustaches and Ties Cookies

Mustache Cookies on a Stick!

Mustache Cookies on a Stick, and a kiddo that needed her bangs trimmed 🙂

Iowa Hawkeyes Wrestling Cookies

Iowa Hawkeyes Wrestling Cookies

Butterfly Cookies

Butterfly Cookies

Gymnastics Cookies (see Sugarbelle for the originals!)

Gymnastics Cookies (see Sugarbellefor the originals!)

Little People Cookies

Little People Cookies

Mini Swirled Flower Cookies

Mini Swirled Flower Cookies

Hockey Cookies in a gift box for Valentines day

Hockey Cookies in a gift box for Valentines day

University of Iowa Sports Cookies

University of Iowa Sports Cookies

Some of our cookies packed up by a customer with other goodes for valentines!

Some of our cookies packed up by a customer with other goodies for valentines!

Adventure Time Cookies

Adventure Time Cookies

Puzzle Cookie(s)

Puzzle Cookie(s)

Love Letter Cookies gift box for valentines day

Love Letter Cookies gift box for valentines day

Purple Princess Castle Cookies and Cupcake Cookies

Purple Princess Castle Cookies and Cupcake Cookies

Super Hero Birthday Cookies

Super Hero Birthday Cookies

Mix Tape Cookies

Mix Tape Cookies

Blank Coloring Cookies - these went to Averie's school for a Valentines Day project.

Blank Coloring Cookies – these went to Averie’s school for a Valentines Day project.

Super Hero Cookies Valentine Gift Box

Super Hero Cookies Valentine Gift Box

Meat Cookies Gift Box (original credit goes to someone else!)

Meat Cookies Gift Box (original credit goes to someone else!)

Dinosaur Cookies Gift Box

Dinosaur Cookies Gift Box

Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers cookies for the Super Bowl

Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers cookies for the Super Bowl

Averie Working on Cookies

Averie Working on Cookies

Pink Castle and Cupcake Cookies

Pink Castle and Cupcake Cookies

Whale you be my valentine Cookies

Whale you be my valentine Cookies

 

Note: for more info about cookies, visit 

www.acookiefamily.com

 

 

A Cookie Family at NewBo City Market

This all started in January — when I got an email on Friday, January 4th from NewBo City Market confirming my market space for Sunday, January 6th.

I immediately went into a panic.  I did NOT sign up for that…  …or did I?  A quick check on their market signup site answered that one quickly.  Umm.  Oops.  I did.  I had intended to sign up for the weekend before Valentines day.  But somehow in my haste of checking prices and availability, I managed to sign up for the first Sunday in January as well.

I wasn’t going to back out, so I panicked instead.  I called Las.  I called Emily.  I called my mom.  And then I quickly had an ‘aha’ moment and remembered that my neighbor ran an event planning business, so I made plans to touch base with her for some serious help.

I’m a planner.  I don’t do things at the last minute.  Anyone that’s seen Averie’s birthday parties (here and here) knows this!  Everything needs to color coordinate and look nice — nevermind the number of cookies I still needed to make, and the fact that icing takes up to 24 hours to dry, I didn’t even have a table to put them on!

So my neighbor rescued me, and I will be eternally grateful that I didn’t have to think about table coverings and plates and stands…  And while she packed up some things for me to use on the tables, I spent 48 hours in a sea of cookies coupled with panic.  I didn’t have labels, I didn’t have a sign saying who we were or how much they were, I didn’t even know what to charge!

In the end, everything worked out okay…  but geeze I was stressed!

A Cookie Family at NewBo City Market

So that was the first market.  Then there were some orders.  Then we did a SECOND market, you know, the one I had already planned to do…  *shaking head*.

I was much more organized the second time around.  Averie had helped me make a banner, and I had all of the little things done that I knew I needed.  I had ordered the tablecloths, I had bought runners and coordinating ribbons, I had plates of my own, I had labels and a heat sealer…  All of my ‘OCD’ planning was (mostly) covered, and I was much less stressed out.  Well, until we pretty much sold out right away on Saturday, but… I’m not complaining there 🙂

A Cookie Family at NewBo City Market

I’m going to imagine that our next time around will be the smoothest yet.   We are still discussing when that will be yet, but I’m kind of missing it – and I’m ready to go back soon!!  I didn’t do all that planning to only set it up once you know!! 🙂

Note: More information about our cookies is available at www.acookiefamily.com

Got a New {cookie} Toy!

Although I think we’ve been doing a pretty darn good job on cookies, there are a few areas that I thought could use improvement — one was consistency on larger orders — making sure things were the same size, etc.

The other was spacing and writing out words/letters.  I don’t have the best handwriting.  I’ve tried royal icing transfers for these, but it just at times gets to be too much work.

So after much researching, and internal debating, I finally purchased something I had been drooling over.

KopyKake

A KopyKake.  A nifty projector that projects images DOWN onto the surface you’re working on.

Some people call it cheating.  After having used it a couple of times – I definitely wouldn’t say that!  You still have to be able to work well with your medium before you can successfully use the machine, and it takes PRACTICE to figure it out!

Averie picked out my first project to try — putting a My Little Pony on a Cookie.

My Little Pony Cookie

 

I was pretty happy with how it turned out.  She was only unhappy because I used an old cookie that was leftover from a market, so the cookie was far too hard to eat.

I’m excited to see what else comes out of this — I have a feeling I’ll slowly find more and more ways to use it — I can see it coming in handy for other crafts and scrapbooking too!!

Note: For more information about our cookies – visit www.acookiefamily.com

December 2012 Cookies

Well, December was busy in cookie-land. That’s for SURE!  But we made it.  We survived November AND December.  And I only came out slightly sleep deprived in the end! I’m hoping if I “cheat” and post a slew of photos of all of the cookies that I did in December that I’ll be current enough that I can get back on track.   So for your viewing pleasure – here’s a quick photo run-down of the cookies that went out our door last month:

Hockey Jersey Cookies for a RoughRider Party

Hockey Jersey Cookies for a RoughRider Party

Rose Cookies

Rose Cookies

Grateful Dead Bear Cookies

Grateful Dead Bear Cookies

Purple Stocking Cookies

Purple Stocking Cookies

Basketball Cookies

Basketball Cookies

Leaning Tower of Pisa / Welcome Home Cookies

Leaning Tower of Pisa / Welcome Home Cookies

Blue Man Group Cookies

Blue Man Group Cookies

Pink 3rd Birthday Cookies

Pink 3rd Birthday Cookies

Pink and Silver Cookies

Pink and Silver Cookies

Stocking Cookie Pack

Stocking Cookie Pack

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

Chocolate Heart Cookies

Chocolate Heart Cookies

Christmas Light Cookies

Christmas Light Cookies

Giant Silver Snowflake Cookie

Giant Silver Snowflake Cookie

Blue and White Snowman Cookies

Blue and White Snowman Cookies

 

How do we find time to make cookies?

I’ve had quite a few people ask “How do you have the time to make all those cookies!?”  I guess I don’t really think about it – I come home from work and I make cookies.  Sometimes I stay up late to make cookies, but most times we work on them right after we’ve had dinner, or on the weekends.  Which really leaves the only challenge of keeping Averie from sneaking the cookies and knocking them off the counter…

The good news is that Averie loves cookies.  She loves helping make cookies and loves doing her own.  In fact, when we had our first cookie-free night in quite some time last week and I asked what she wanted to do her response was: “Well, can we make cookies?”  (I did redirect her to something else…)

Even more good news is that our methods of using squeeze bottles make it super easy for her to get involved.  And the other good news? I’ve learned to put her cookies into deeper baking dishes — she doesn’t like to go ‘light’ on either the icing or the sprinkles!  I think I’ll be vacuuming sprinkles up off the floor for the next 10 years after letting her do them on the table itself.  I don’t understand where those things hide or how they randomly resurface!!

I’m kind of excited to see how she comes along in her cookie decorating skills too!

We weren’t kidding when we named our business A Cookie FAMILY.  We all get involved!  Which is great, because if she didn’t enjoy spending time with us while we worked on cookies, we would have far less time to spend ‘cookie-ing’!

Super Hero Cookies • The Twins’ B-Day

These were some of my favorite cookies yet — though it might have helped that they were for some of my favorite people!

My nephews had a super hero themed birthday party and my sister-in-law asked if I would bring some cookies.  Of course the answer to that was ‘yes’, and of course they had to be super hero cookies!

I love cookies with bright pretty colors.  Even the leftover mess after all was said and done made me feel cheery!

The comic book word cookies were my sister-in-law’s idea.  I added in the specific super hero cookies.

The party was a blast — there were capes and masks for all the kids that didn’t come already decked out.  A photo-op area (as modeled by my youngest nephew above), and cupcakes and food like crazy!!

Oh – and kids like crazy.  LOTS of kids.  And they had lots of things for them to do.  There was a little park there, the kids ran an obstacle course, played musical chairs, pin the tail on the donkey and did a pinata.

My brother and his wife definitely handle the chaos better than I do!  The kids had a blast though!!

 

Lemon Vanilla Sugar Cookies

Once in a while it’s nice to deviate from the standard basic vanilla sugar cookie.  I’ve been pretty swamped lately with cookies, and I wanted to give something new a try — so I made a single batch of dough, something I RARELY do, and lemonized it.

I struggled for a while about whether I wanted to put vanilla or lemon royal icing on the lemon cookies…  I went with lemon in the end.  And of course it only makes sense to make them look like lemons!

I didn’t hear a bad peep from any of my friends at my Lia Sophia / Jamberry Nails party I had yesterday, everyone seemed enjoy them…  and the taste testing happened early enough in the party that I don’t think the champagne interfered with anyone’s opinions!