Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Me Like to Eat COOKIES!

Ok, so tell me ONE good thing about the cookie monster?  I mean, we all love him, but why?
He ain't never learn to spoke right, and he LIVES on Sesame Street for crying out loud!  He has a googly eye and only eats cookies.  Well, he tries to eat them, but gets them all over the floor because he has no teeth.  He's the rebel of the show.  They keep trying to do skits on healthy eating, how to say your letters, how to be nice to one another... Then Cookie comes along and ruins it all.  How can we expect any less from our kids if we force them to watch this big fat blue terror?
I mean, look at him!  I still love him.

Which brings me to the great cookie blog post: three (scratch that, four) of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes.  These are by no means "MY" recipes.  I mean, does anyone create their own anymore?  Don't you think it's funny that people take ownership of a recipe that Betty Crocker really came up with?  All that to say, I don't deserve any credit. 

On with the cookies.  The first recipe is a new one I'm loving.  It's for chocolate chip cookies the size of your head.  Well, maybe your kids head.  Big, delicious and chocolaty-what more could you want?

Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.


The next is for a really great basic chocolate chip cookie.  Soft and delicious.  My friend Stephanie gave me this recipe and it can also be found on All recipes with the title below.  Stephanie uses mini chocolate chips and I really like them that way, too.

Award Winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.


The next recipe is for Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies.  I LOVE these.


  Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats (I use regular)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 
 
 Ok, I said three.  But I couldn't leave this one out.  These are the kind of chocolate chip cookies that don't really flatten.  They stay big and full and chewy and gooey.
My friend Dani gave me this recipe.
Chewy, Gooey Chocolate Cookie
3 c. flour
3/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
*1 c. brown sugar
*3/4 c. sugar
*1 c. butter or margarine
1 bag choc chips

Use an ice cream scoop to shape cookies.
350 degrees for 7 minutes switch racks 7-8 minutes more

--Dani's secrets:  set your butter out ahead of time and let it be real 
soft at room temperature (i never microwave it).  add the ingredients 
starting with the starred items (cream the butter quick, then add the 
sugars).
 
Well, there you have it!  Four chocolate chip recipes for your baking and eating pleasure.  The dough is just as good, but since the salmonella threat is out there right now, be careful ;)  Me hope you like them as much as Cookie do.
Tina 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

So much to do, so much done!

What a month!  A lot of work, but also a lot of reward.  Not necessarily monetarily.  Money is nice, but the business insight we received, the things we learned to create and the growth required to do it all made it great.
We totally see God working in our lives and know that it's only by His grace that we can breath let alone be good wives, mothers, daughters, friends, etc.  Can I get a whoo whoo!?

A few posts ago, I had asked for your help in picking a fabric for a friends bag (here's the link in case you haven't seen the post  http://sweetfloweret.blogspot.com/2010/08/your-help-would-be-fob-ulous.html).

Well, I ended up buying THREE of the four fabrics I showed you.  I loved them :) 
Majority ruled in the voting.  I did end up picking SPA for my friends bag.  Here's a pic.  It turned out cute!


Another friend saw the fabrics and wanted me to make her the same bag using PARADISE.  So I did!

And another wanted a bag to give as a gift, but I told her that I couldn't do it in such a short time-frame so I made her this wristlet and key fob set instead.  I love this.  I think it's because of the fabric  (MEADOWSWEET 1).

September begins next week and it's going to be a crazy fun whirlwind of good things!   Oh, I can't wait for apple cider, pumpkin goodies and crunchy leaves.



Sunday, August 22, 2010

If I ever see another onesie again...

Most of you know through our Facebook posts that we had a rather large order of products placed late last month. A few weeks later, our order is complete and we're ready to get them to the shop this week.  A lot of people we've spoken to recently in passing have asked us to post some pics of the stuff that we're dropping off at the boutique.  Your wish is our command.  


Here is the list of what was ordered with corresponding pictures for you to gander at:

3 dozen key fobs

4 polka dot hair flowers

4 lace hair flowers

2 dozen (cursed) onesies

1 dozen sets of hair button barrettes

1 dozen sets of hair buttons pony tailers (not shown)

2 dozen rings




Lotsa stuff!


So, yea, we've been busy but it's been a lot of fun making things that we know are being purchased.  Did I mention how much I loved working on the onesies?
Our purchase a product page has been lacking since we've been so super busy with this order.

Anything that you see and would like can be made custom for you.  Just shoot us an email and let us know what we can do for you (just not onesies.  Kidding.)! 
Thanks!
 












Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Eat Your Heart Out

A few weeks ago I promised you the recipes I used at the baby shower I threw. I said something like "check back soon for the recipes". Now I realize that everyone has a different definition of soon but mine tends to be "weeks" instead of "days or hours". Oops! So as promised (but a little late) here are the recipes for Stuffed Strawberries and Salted Caramel Cupcakes. Yum! 



Stuffed Strawberries  Adapted from Allrecipes
  • Large container of strawberries, washed and dried with stems removed
  • 1 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • About 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
I found a recipe similar to this on Allrecipes.com but I didn't like all of the ingredients so I kind of adapted it to my tastes. You can just taste the filling as you go along until it tastes good to you. Combine all ingredients (except strawberries) in a mixing bowl and beat until you get a good consistency for piping. You may need to add more or less sugar depending on the consistency and taste you want. 

Next, cut a deep X in the strawberries almost to the tip. Fill a pastry bag (or a ziploc bag with the tip cut off) and a star tip with the cream cheese mixture. Pipe into strawberries slowly and carefully shape them back into their original shape. Chill until ready to serve. 



Salted Caramel Cupcakes  

I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, JoysHope. (www.joyshope.com) These cupcakes are so good, just looking at the picture is making me want to go whip up a batch right now. The hardest part of the whole thing was finding the squeeze bottle pictured below. 




I mean seriously people. It's summer. How hard is it to find a ketchup or mustard squirt bottle?? Apparently, it's REALLY hard. I finally found that one at HomeGoods but I'm sure you could find a plain clear one at a restaurant supply store too. And see that super cool icing gun on the right? That is my secret weapon for getting really pretty icing on my cupcakes. If you make a lot of cupcakes, you need one. Tell your husband "Gina said I NEED this." He'll understand...it's for the cupcakes. 


Okay the recipe. I love that this recipe is kind of cheating. You can use a boxed cake mix and it will still be really good! Just be sure to make your own icing because it really is easy and tastes so much better than canned. If you don't believe me, try it once and I think you'll be hooked! 


One box German Chocolate Cake mix and the ingredients to make it
Sea Salt
Caramel Ice Cream topping
3 or 4 Heath Bars
Vanilla Buttercream Icing (recipe below)
Squeeze bottle


Make the cake mix according the the directions on the box. While cupcakes are baking, you can crush the Heath Bars. Just use a hammer and smash them right in the packages. Fun! Then transfer to a bowl. Next, make the salted caramel. Pour the caramel into a glass Pyrex measuring cup and add 1/2 tsp of sea salt for every 8 oz of caramel. Warm in the microwave for one minute. Remove and stir. Try not to lick the spoon after you stir. It's hot. Trust me, I know. Transfer caramel to your squeeze bottle. 


As soon as you remove the cupcakes, squeeze some salted caramel into the cupcake. This step really makes the cupcakes good so don't skimp on the caramel! After they are cool frost with vanilla buttercream (recipe below) and roll in crushed Heath Bars and drizzle with remaining caramel. 




Vanilla Buttercream


1 stick of butter softened
1 pound of powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
3 Tbs. milk


Beat butter until soft and creamy in bowl. Add vanilla and slowly add powdered sugar until smooth. Slowly add milk until it is the consistency you want. You may not need all of the milk, check consistency after every TBS to make sure it's not too runny! I always turn my mixer on fairly high at the end and just let it beat for a minute or two to whip the frosting and get some air in there so it's nice and fluffy. 


Okay there you have it! Recipes to jazz up any party. Now you need to find an excuse to have a party so that you can make these SOON. (Like days or hours soon...not weeks!) Hope you enjoy! 


Gina

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Your Help Would be Fob-ulous

I love bags. I have at least 7 or 8 that I use all of the time. You should see them all over my house. One for the gym, one for the pool, one for everyday, one small for running out, one for the library... The list goes on.
This past weekend, a friend asked me in the hall at church if I would make her a bag. She told me what she wanted... An open shoulder bag that could sling over her shoulder and that's easy to reach into while holding a baby. I sent her a pic of this bag...
She said that's what she wanted.
Now for the fabric and where I need your help. I LOVE looking at fabric. There are so many options out there that it's hard for me to choose. I picked out four fabrics and need you to vote on the one I should pick for her.
DON'T base this on your like, but the description of what she gave me.. "muted like earthy tones, but the colors do not all have to be boring. I like floral and whimsical."
Trying to find fall fabrics is pretty hard right now, which is surprising since it's right around the corner.
I'm not a muted tones type of girl. This is as muted as I could get ;) The big box shows the fabric that would be on the outside of the bag and the smaller box is the lining fabric. Why don't I just send this pic to her and have her pic? What's the fun in that?

I will strongly consider the majority vote, but will ultimately make the decision. If you are among the voters who picked the fabric I pick, you'll be in the running for a key fob made with the fab fabric. Put the name of your choice in the comments below...
Don't know what a key fob is? It's the cool accessory that allows you to wear your keys on your wrist when you're out and about AND help you find them in your purse. If you're like me, you have a Mary Poppins bag, and finding keys can be a chore. Here is a pic of key fobs we made for the boutique.

Thanks for your help ;)
Tina

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

They Like Us, They REALLY Like Us (We Hope)!!!

Hi Friends,
As many of you know, we had a great experience at a lovely boutique last week. They bought 40 flowers on the spot and placed an order for TEN DOZEN more items (onesies, key fobs, rings and more flowerettes). We're going to be busy!
In celebration, we are doing a giveaway. Hold your breath, wait for it, wait for it...
A re-purposed bag with three lovely, large sweet flower pins attached.
The bag is super cute and is a great size. If you live far away, we will ship it.
Here's the deal... You will be entered if:
*you "like" us on facebook
and/or
*you follow our blog
and/or
*you "share" our fb page or blog to your other friends on facebook

Each of these will give you an entry so that you can potentially have three in the drawing.
The drawing will take place when we reach 120 friends on our Sweet Floweret page on facebook, or 120 followers on our blog (to celebrate the 120 items that were ordered at the boutique-we are OH SO clever, aren't we?).
We are going to be bugging you until we hit our goal, so please like us sooner than later. Even if you don't like us, please like us. Guys, you can like us too. We know it's not in a weird way. We won't think you're girly. Just sensitive.

Cute bag. Who's massive bulging bicep is that? She must work out.
Hey Gina, you can't enter or have the bag, so stop asking.

Thanks for playing all!

Baby Shower Pom Pom's Minus the Cheerleader

This past weekend I threw a baby shower for my good friend Kate and thought I'd share some of the details with you. I needed lots of help with ideas for this shower because I have been out of the loop with throwing parties (moving to 3 states in 4 years will do that to you) and because this was my first time ever hosting a baby shower!

I decided to go with a yellow and turquoise theme and I'm so glad I did. There are so many fun things to do with colors and it looked to summery and festive in here. It's so festive that I'm having a hard time taking everything down!



I tried to do as much with yellow and turquoise as I could (is it just me or is turquoise really hard to spell?) and thought it would be fun to make tissue paper pom poms. I used the instructions HERE and it made such a difference in the room. Martha's instructions are pretty easy to follow but I do have a few words of advice. Maybe some caution so you can learn from my mistakes, which were plentiful.


Try to make them the day you are going to hang them up. I made this little guy on the right a few days before I was going to decorate because I wanted to see how hard it was going to be. As you can see, he didn't look so good by the time I was ready to put everything up. It was okay, just not as nice as the others.

Another thing is to make sure you remember to trim the ends before you separate the layers. I forgot to do this twice and then found myself trying to reassemble the folded paper to cut the ends. Not the easiest.

Also, be REALLY careful when you are separating the tissue layers. You want to pull them all the way up to get a full effect but if you pull too hard, even slightly, they will rip. (Take my word for it)



All in all, these were really easy to make and really added a lot to the room. I have a feeling every party I throw now is going to involve some sort of pom pom. My poor kids.



Back to the color theme, I added some pom poms to the table, the lemonade stand with lemons on the bottom (so cute huh? No idea where it came from...I borrowed it from a friend), the sunflowers and the candy in yellow and turquoise.



Instead of cake, I made Salted Caramel Cupcakes and made little cupcake toppers with the color theme.


Everything came together so nicely and it was really a fun shower. I was so happy to be able to do it for my friend and happy she had a good time! My next post is going to include recipes for the cupcakes, the mocha punch and the cream cheese stuffed strawberries...so check back in a few days for details on those yummy treats!!

Gina
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