I was invited to be a guest vendor at an in-store bridal fair at David's Bridal last night. So I prepared the same sample cakes that I had done for the AFA fair, except on a smaller scale. Things slowed down quite a bit after the first half, but it was fun to watch the bride's try on gowns...and of course Nancy and I gave our humble opinions on which gowns looked the nicest. Even though most of these brides aren't getting married for a year or more down the road, it still gave them the opportunity to taste my product and hopefully meet with me at a later time. Also gave me the opportunity to share my business with other vendors, which is always a great networking tool.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Crepes are fun and easy to make. They are very versatile...you can make them with all different kinds of fillings and eat them for a full dinner entree with a vegetable and/or salad or serve them warm or cold filled with fruit or creams for dessert. Below I have posted two recipes...the recipe for basic crepes and also a lower fat version for those of us who are watching our calories (this is the one I usually make).
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 T. sugar
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 cups milk
2 T. butter, melted
1/2 t. vanilla
Low-Fat Crepes (WW points plus: 2 crepes=3 pts)
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1 cup + 2 T. flour
3 large eggs
1/8 t. salt
Put all ingredients in blender and beat until smooth. Lightly spray 8" pan with non-stick cooking spray. (If you spray too heavily, the crepe batter will slide off the sides of the pan.) Heat over medium heat. For each crepe, pour a scant 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan and immediately rotate pan until thin film covers bottom and part of sides. Cook until light brown. Turn and cook other side until barely light brown. (I turn the crepe when it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.) Keep crepes covered until ready to serve. Sprinkle dessert crepes with powdered sugar or top with whipped cream. Spoon a savory sauce or gravy over meat, seafood, or veggie crepes. Makes about 15 crepes.
Seafood & Rice
Any kind of berries
Pie fillings (apple, cherry)
One of our favorite fillings consists of tuna or canned salmon, rice, cream of celery soup (thinned with a little milk), and seasonings. Then we make a gravy of cream of chicken soup (again thinned with a little milk). For you WW friends, remember you can reduce the points by using low-fat soups and skim milk. Be creative with your fillings and enjoy!
These crepes are filled with fresh strawberries and just a bit of lite Cool Whip, then sprinkled with powdered sugar...yum!
I've been learning several new things lately...my latest experiment is cake pops. I had some left over icing, so I whipped up a cake mix and came up with these fun little treats...
These are chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and decorated with both semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate and various kinds of sprinkles. I will be donating them to the young women in our church ward for their garage/bake sale to earn money for camp. I had been wanting to try these, so I thought this was a perfect opportunity.
I wish someone would have come up with these things years ago. I can't tell you how many cake scraps I've thrown out over the years, and this is a fun way to use those. Actually, I think it would be better to use "slightly stale" cake scraps instead of fresh cake since mine is already very moist. They are yummy and will do OK as long as they are kept cool. The chocolate also helps to hold them together.
This is the basic recipe...
Crumble up a cake, add desired amount of frosting, or cream cheese, etc. to make a consistency that will work to roll into balls. Put them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Dip the end of lollipop sticks into melted chocolate and then into the balls. Freeze or refrigerate until firm, then dip in melted chocolate. Let excess drip off and then roll tops and upper edges in sprinkles, or you can decorate as desired. Let set right side up in styrofoam block or box that you have poked holes in. When set, you can wrap them in cellophane if desired.
Monday, April 25, 2011
It's Easter time and that means some special treats in the Leavitt home. I haven't made this for awhile, but this Easter egg bread is a fun thing to do. I basically make my basic roll recipe same as for cinnamon rolls, add a filling (this one had butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and finely ground pecans) form it into either a braid (or a ring if you want a larger version), add colored Easter eggs, let rise and bake for 30 minutes. The first year I made these, I didn't cook the eggs before adding them, and they didn't cook enough in the oven. So, it is a good idea to cook them prior to adding them. After the bread comes out of the oven, let it cool, and then drizzle glaze and sprinkle decorations on top. Then, with regular frosting, I decorate the eggs. It's a fun treat for Easter breakfast.
Here's another fun and yummy dessert that I made for Easter dinner. Since I'm trying to cut back on the high fat desserts, I made this lo-fat fresh berry tart. The crust was made from several layers of phyllo dough, sprayed with butter spray (instead of real butter) between the layers, and baked in the oven for approx. 7 minutes. When cool, I made a filling of (1) 8 oz. package fat free cream cheese, added about 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. Whip that up until nice and fluffy, then add about 1 cup of Lite Cool Whip. Spread that over the crust and arrange a variety of fresh berries on top...yum!
Monday, April 18, 2011
After some mis-communications and not being able to participate last year, I was able to have a booth at this year's Bridal Faire at the Air Force Academy. I prepared most of the week (amid a house full of visiting grandchildren), and then set up on Friday morning. The event took place on Saturday between 10 and 3. I felt that it was successful and got some good contacts and leads, both prospective brides and vendors that will hopefully refer me. I was able to experiment some more with SugarVeil, which seemed to be very interesting to several visitors. Overall, a successful and hopefully profitable day...
My friend Nancy and I at our booth, getting ready for the Bridal Faire to begin.
Background display for booth, set up day before
Display cake with SugarVeil lace over chocolate fondant. Lace made in SugarVeil silicone mat
3 out of 6 of sample cakes to taste...
SugarVeil heart piped on greased parchment over printed design...placed on chocolate fondant.
Cake was fudge marble with Bavarian Creme.
Chocolate mint with chocolate mint mousse and vanilla fondant.
Strawberry shortcake...yellow cake with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Tried new Chantilly whipped cream stabilizer which worked like a charm...whipped cream held up through entire show.
Last week was a busy week between being a guest chef at the catering classes at Sand Creek High and getting ready for the bridal fair at the Academy. I prepared and demoed simple cake decorating and dessert garnishes for classes of 13 and 18 students. They were very attentive and eager to learn, especially the larger and younger class. Here are a few pictures...
We also had drawings each day to give away the cake that I decorated...a favorite thing to do!
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Today I had an order for dipped strawberries and creme puffs...a very large order. I had previously baked all of the creme puffs earlier in the week. Today I pulled them out and filled them with vanilla and raspberry mousse. 25 dozen creme puffs all together...that's allot of creme puffs! Also dipped 34 dozen strawberries...6 dozen each of white and pink, 11 dozen each of milk and dark chocolate...that's also allot of strawberries! Got them all done and delivered by 5:30 tonight, then came home to a disaster of a kitchen. My sweet husband helped me clean and now everything is clean, put away, and back to normal. Here are a few pictures from our busy day...
28 lbs. of strawberries, carefully washed and dried
Beautiful strawberries from Costco...only 2 bad berries out of 28 lbs.
This is the best chocolate for dipping...same as I use in the chocolate fountain. I get it from Sir Chocolate in Aurora...tastes so yummy, especially the semi-sweet. You can also order it on-line.
Pink Coating...aren't they pretty?
Yummy creme puffs, filled with vanilla mousse
Completed strawberries...all 34 dozen. Strawberry boxes lined with bubble wrap are perfect for delivering the dipped strawberries.
Completed creme puffs...half with vanilla mousse, half with raspberry mousse...25 dozen
Friday, April 8, 2011
I will be teaching some simple cake decorating techniques to the students in Sand Creek's catering classes next week. The teacher also asked me if I could teach some simple garnishes, as they will need to know that for an upcoming competition. So these are the ones I will be teaching them.
Very simple, yet very effective and pretty on a plate. Everything on this plate is edible, including the small lace doily...it is made from SugarVeil, using my new lace mat (subject of another blog post coming soon). So, my class outline will include a cake demo and drawing (someone in the class will take the cake I decorate home), teaching the students 2 simple borders, and teach them these simple dessert garnishes. They will then ice a cupcake, put one of the borders around the cupcake and make one of the garnishes to decorate the top of their cupcake.
Maraschino cherry flower on SugarVeil doily
Citrus butterflies and lemon peel rose
Sugar coated grapes