Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Baubles, Tennis, Birthday & More

I had the pleasure of making cookies for a thirtieth birthday party a few weeks ago. The birthday girl's mom contacted me directly and wanted to surprise her daughter with the cookies. She gave me a list of interests of her daughter's as well as the meaning behind some of those interests. The cookies were customized based on the stories and some had special meaning to her family. In the end the mix worked well together despite the varying shapes and colors.

I am always a fan of the little black dress with pearls cookie:

And the tennis rackets were a favorite of mine (first time I have made those!)

(These are all Instagram photos - you can find me on Instagram at onepreppycookie.)

Finally I worked in a few "bauble" cookie designs I had originally done for a friend's Stella and Dot party...

The bauble cookies (and colors) are also among my favorites.

Thank you Pat and Mary Jo!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ballerina Birthday "Cookie Cake"

Recently I was asked to make cookies to place on top of a plain Costco sheet cake. Having had those cakes many times over the years, I knew the size I was working with. The birthday girl's mom asked me to spell out "Happy Birthday Bella!" in cookies, with the main focus being a ballerina. She decided to have the ballerina's outfit match that of the birthday girl's on her big day and also to add a number one. Pink, purple and yellow were the main colors of the party and I added a bit of glitter to the letter and number cookies to make them even more fun. The ballerina is the largest sugar cookie I have baked to date and was hand cut. Thankfully it all worked well together.

I loved the way this turned out and think it's a great idea to file away for the future.

Thank you Susan!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Memories in the Sand (Dollar)

Last night I made my first sand dollar cookie...

And it got me thinking. When I was a little girl we used to spend our family vacations together on Kiawah Island in South Carolina. The beaches are beautiful and I have many happy memories there. One year there was a devastating hurricane and I remember my parents being concerned about what the island would look like the next time we returned after the storm. Thankfully the beauty was still there, but something had changed. Somehow the ocean floor had become PACKED with sand dollars. Never having "felt" a sand dollar before, the art of scrunching our toes in the sand to find the little buried treasures was perfected. The thrill was the same time after time and we would wave them in the air triumphantly to our family members looking on from their beach chairs. We never experienced the same thing there again was the sand dollars, but it is a memory I know we will always have.

We had a similar thrill on our honeymoon during a boat outing we took in Turks & Caicos. During one part of the trip we docked at this small deserted island:

Turned out that the sand was full of sand dollars. The childhood toe scrunching in the sand began and the memories returned. Thankfully everyone else on the boat found the same joy in it and we ended up spending over an hour looking for the treasures. (Cue the triumphant hand waving when you found one.) Sometimes it's the little things that make the most impact in your memory.

So what may seem like a simple cookie sometimes has a great deal of meaning.

Thanks for reading my little story this morning. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday weekend!

PS - My mom's birthday was yesterday and while we celebrated last night I still wanted to wish her a happy birthday on here. Hope it was a great day mom! xoxo

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Get in Shape Girl!

I am not a person who loves to work out. I took dance lessons the majority of my childhood/teenage years but I don’t think I once went on a run aside from the annual required mile in P.E. I can probably count the number of times I went to the gym in college on my two hands. I’ve never been the heaviest person and never the smallest. I’ve gained the better part of thirty pounds in my adult life three times and have lost it twice (I’ve been half-heartedly working on that third time around for a few years now.)

Post-college I’ve gone to the gym on and off, spent a lot of time walking and a little time running. I’ve always belonged to a gym, but most years it seemed more like a monthly donation. :) In the year leading up to my wedding I joined a fitness boot camp and lost about thirty pounds for the second time (the first time had more to do with dieting) however showering at the local YMCA after a 6 a.m. workout just didn’t work for me long term. Another problem? I didn’t enjoy those workouts. They were necessary and effective, but my heart was not into them for the long haul.

Over the years I have learned that there are two things that work for me when it comes to exercise – accountability and enthusiasm. I am not an at-home video girl and need the accountability component of other people in the room (not to mention people who ask me where I’ve been when I miss a class.) And I have to like what I’m doing.

Two days into 2012 I joined a new gym close to where I live and started attending their Zumba classes. I’ve tried these classes in the past but just never gave them a real shot. The past few months have been a different story. Going to the classes consistently has enabled me to learn some of the routines, making the hour fly by instead of me watching the clock. I’ve made friends along the way who fill the important role of asking me where I’ve been when I miss a night and thanks to a few excellent instructors, I have managed to have a lot of fun. It’s to the point where my day does not seem complete without an hour of Zumba. I will never be the best in the room but trust me, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about moving and having a good time. I feel better than I have in a long time and make better eating choices as a result. Yes I have lost a few pounds this year, but I am mostly proud that being active makes me an all-around healthier person.

My point in telling you this? That when it comes to exercising, it’s all about finding what you love. For some that may be running and others it’s lifting weights. Whatever it may be, consistency will pay off. Zumba has reminded me of how much I love to dance and has created a wonderful outlet. Time that I used to dedicate to watching TV has now been reallocated to doing something positive (sorry Bravo!) Here’s to me keeping up what I’ve started this year. Wish me luck!

What works for you when it comes to exercising?? I would love to hear!

PS - In an ironic twist one of my favorite instructors is also an aspiring cake decorator! You can follow her along on her journey here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Playing Catch Up

Friends! I'm still here...and I know I have been a terrible blogger. The truth is that I have been so busy with life and baking that my journal of sorts has taken a backseat. Do you ever feel like you need a week-long vacation in your house just to catch up?? I am feeling that way right now and am very much looking forward to the long holiday weekend ahead.

Luckily the busyness has been filled with many special events and fun times with friends...

I have so much to show you though! Showers, weddings, recipes, tutorials and of course COOKIES galore are on deck so please stick with me and I promise I will eventually catch up. :)

Hope you all have a great week!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tinkerbell Cookies

So many things have changed since I was little. Minnie Mouse apparently now wears a pink dress, the cartoon Muppets are practically vintage and there is a list of Disney Princesses a mile long that I have never heard of. That being said when a friend asked me to do Tinkerbell cookies for her daughter's third birthday party, I was already ahead of the game thanks to a local little girl who has subjected me to the updated Tinkerbell videos way too many times. I knew she had undergone a little bit of a makeover since the 80's and for once didn't have to do much research on the animated world of 2012. My bachelorette bustier cutter quickly turned into Tinkerbell's mini green dress and we were in business!

The party included every detail a Tinkerbell-lover could dream of and I was happy to be a part of it.

Thanks Amy...and happy birthday once again to Little Miss Paige!

Monday, May 7, 2012

You Are My Sunshine

Yesterday I attended the first birthday party of our good friends' daughter. I have known her mom since high school and over the years have seen her creativity amaze many people. (I need to convince her to showcase some of her masterpieces on this blog ASAP.) Every birthday party she throws for her children is full of thoughtfulness and detail, each component always homemade with love. Yesterday's "You Are My Sunshine" party was my favorite one she has thrown yet and a perfect theme for the precious birthday girl's personality.

Per usual no detail was spared. (Only my iPhone camera came along, but you can get the idea.) Kudos to a patient husband for executing the ceiling decor!

I was impressed to hear that an 11 year old at my friends' church has created her own truffle business, contributing these beauties to the party. I am thinking I need to collaborate with this girl sooner than later! :)

And of course I could not pass up this opportunity to make some fun cookies in honor of the birthday girl...

Thank you for a fun afternoon K and family! I always love spending time with you all, not to mention getting to see what you've created.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Corona Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Lime Frosting

HAPPY Cinco de Mayo! And happy Derby Day too! I have a busy day ahead that includes visiting with some of my favorite people. Since I will be seeing one set of friends this morning and another for dinner this evening, I decided on baking a last minute batch of cupcakes to bring along to both events. I already made these this morning so you have plenty of time to do the same if you're looking for a last minute "Cinco de Derby" treat.

Being that Corona and lime seemed fitting today, that's the theme I went with. The outcome tastes great, especially the FROSTING. (Yes I just had one for breakfast. So did my husband.) Enjoy!

Corona Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

For the cupcakes:
1 box french vanilla cake mix
4 eggs
1 stick melted butter
1 bottle Corona
3 limes, zested and juiced

For the frosting:
(Note: I used a LOT of frosting as I was going for a Georgtown Cupcake look. You could easily get away with cutting this in half to frost 2 dozen cupcakes.)
8 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
2 packages Neufch√Ętel cheese, softened (or cream cheese)
1 stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
2 limes, zested and juiced

For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350. Mix the cake mix with the eggs. Add in melted butter. Pour in bottle of Corona and finally the lime zest/juice. Mix each ingredient until combined. Bake for approximately 22-26 minutes. Allow to cool. Yields 24 cupcakes.

For the frosting: Mix all ingredients together. Beat for at least three minutes until the icing is fluffy.

Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes as desired. (I made a few quick fondant toppers but a little slice of lime would look great too!)

Have fun this weekend!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Birthday Balloons

May is a big month in my family. We have Mother's Day and a few birthdays. (When you have a small family, a "few" birthdays is a big deal!) Hopefully I will be able to do a lot of baking throughout the month of things other than cookies. I have a few unopened cookbooks that need some attention and a few family members who deserve a nice cake.

I have mentioned this before, however this party theme made me think of it again. Sometimes the simplest themes make the cutest party. The same thing tends to happen with cookies...sometimes the most simplistic designs look just as good as the most intricate. When a friend asked me to make coral and pink balloons for her daughter's birthday party, I was really looking forward to it. It was my first attempt at the color coral and now I know will not be my last. She asked me to match the font on the invitation and that was that. Simple yet cute!

Thank you Katie!

**Wishing my brother Jeff a VERY HAPPY birthday today!**