Friday Favorites | No. 6

Friday, February 28, 2014

Well folks, its that time again. I honestly have no idea first off, where the month of February has gone. Secondly, I have no idea how it is Friday because yesterday felt like Tuesday. I guess that happens when you have been working 7 days a week for the past 5 weeks. Days go by fast and months goes by even faster. Well it's time to slow things down for a little and recap my whirlwind of we a week.

1. This past Saturday was a crazy, but fun day at work. There were 6 events going on and before all the madness started I was able to capture this photos from our new softball stadium. It was an absolutely beautiful day in Miami.

2. I have decided to take full advantage of working in college athletics and am now working out before work at the football stadium. Lately my schedule has not allow me to exercise after work and so early mornings are the best time. On Tuesday I was up before the sun at the stadium running stairs and halfway through the sun finally came up to start its day!

3. I had a cookie order this week for a tea party themed birthday. I made small teapots and used the stenciling technique for the first time. WOW! I am such a fan of this and want to stencil everything now! They turned out great and be on the look out for a post coming your way next week about them.

4. I have been feeling like Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel this past week as have been helping my mom paint her family room and kitchen. We are almost done, but still have a small area of the kitchen left to do. However, the family room is done and looks great!

5. Lastly, come Sunday afternoon I will be on my way to a mini-vacay in Hilton Head, SC to watch Tim's sister play in a tennis tournament. Pretty much I am leaving college athletics to attend a college athletics event lol. Well all I can say is that I am just glad that I will not be working it and I can actually enjoy it as a fan! Also, I heard there is a Kate Spade outlet close by so that will definitely be on my list of things to do while I am there!

Hope you all had a great week and have a relaxing and fun weekend!

Friday Favorites | No. 5

Friday, February 21, 2014

Happy Friday all! It has been another quick week for me due to all the games that have been going on at work so this will likely be a quick High Five for Friday post...and here we go!

1. I found this new app called Waterlogue and it turns your photos into watercolor paintings. How cool is that!? I have had a lot of fun with it and love how it can turn something simple like my coffee and biscotti into a work of art (well kind of).

2. I have had a chance to watch the Olympics the last couple of nights and really enjoy watching all the figure skating and hockey. To me its the best part of the Winter Olympics!

3. Have you heard of the "Pin It Button" for Google Chrome? I came across this magical little thing on Monday while trying to pin an article on Pinterest. All you have to do is download their widget into Chrome and you life will be changed forever.

Now you don't have to copy/paste the URL and upload to Pinterest anymore. You just have to click the little "P" button that appears in the top right hand corner of your browser and ta-da! the page or photo you want is now pinned. Your welcome.

4. Sunday I am going to try to make a light box to photograph my creations in. I have done some research and can't wait to see how it will turn out. If it all goes well, there might be a how-to post coming your way.

5. The weekend is suppose to have really nice weather. I am thankful for that since we have lots of outdoor games happening this weekend!

Hope you all had a great week and have an even better weekend!

Berry Orange Smoothie

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I am usually not very hungry in the mornings before work. I tend to turn to smoothies because they are simple to make, easy to drink while sitting in traffic and keep me full until lunch. Plus, you can literately make a smoothie out of anything you have on hand which is awesome!

I bought a Magic Bullet about a month ago and I thought it might be a gadget that I use once or twice, think to myself "wow this is cool", and then never use it again. But that is really not the case. Not only do I use it a lot, but when making smoothies or other blended drinks, it's a blender and a travel cup all in one. Who doesn't love that?!

This particular smoothie came about a couple of weeks ago when I came home with a big carton of fresh blackberries from the market. I thought the next day I would make a pie or cobbler, but that morning I saw them sitting in the fridge next to some Greek yogurt and the rest is history!

Berry Orange Smoothie

{yield: 1}

½ cup of fresh blackberries
¾ cup frozen mixed berries*
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 cup fresh orange juice
1½-2 tablespoons honey (or Agave Nectar)

*I do not add ice to this smoothie because of the frozen berries. If you only have fresh berries, make sure to add a couple cubes of ice before blending.

I start by adding the frozen and fresh berries to the bottom of my blender cup. Next add the Greek yogurt, orange juice and honey and then blend until fully combined. 

Pop on a travel lid if you are heading out the door or add a fun straw to drink from if you are enjoying it at home. It’s as simple as that! 

Friday Favorites - Valentine's Day

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Friday and also Happy Valentine's Day all! This week has been filled with lots of pink, red and white colors and I'm not mad about it at all. Here are my top five moments of the week!

1. Most of the spring sports have now started their seasons and I spent my weekend working our softball tournament. I enjoyed a lot of iced coffee, good music and sunshine.

2. For Christmas I got a new clipless curing wand and am so in love with it and how it curls my hair. Not only is it easy to use, but it curls my hair so fast which is great when I don't have a lot of time in the mornings before work (I clearly have time for selfies though).

3. I had a cookie order this week and was told to do whatever I wanted (love when that happens)! I think that Valentine's Day cookies are some of my favorite to make, its just something about them makes me happy :)

4. I wanted to give my co-workers a little something today for the holiday.  Last night, I baked a couple batches of chocolate chip cookies which I cut into hearts. I had to sample one to make sure they were okay (wink, wink) before I handed them out and let me tell you...they were yummy!

5. Lastly, Tim surprised me at work today with some goodies and flowers on his way to the airport. He is heading to Charlotte, NC for a hockey tournament today and hope he makes it there safely and stays warm!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Royal Icing Recipe

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I have been making royal icing for years. When I first started, I did a lot of research on the internet and looked at countless decorating books to see what recipe would be the right fit for me. I tried many different ones, but ran into problems with them either cracking, drying with dull, flat color, etc.

So over the years my recipe has changed quite a bit. I tried to fix the problems I has having by adding a little bit of this and taking out some of that. Now, I finally have a royal icing recipe that is consistent every time I use it and am so happy I can finally share it with all of you!

Royal Icing Recipe

{yield: covers roughly 40-50 3.5 inch cookies}

5 tablespoons meringue powder
3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 kilogram powered sugar
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of light corn syrup

When I make my royal icing, I always make sure that I have all that ingredients that I will need before I get started.

Using my electric scale, measure out 1 kilogram of powered sugar (minus the bowls weight) and set aside.

In a standard mixing bowl, add 3/4 cup of warm (not hot) water to the 5 tablespoons of meringue power and whisk by hand for 30 second.

I then add 1 teaspoon of cream of tarter and mix by hand again for 30 more seconds. The cream of tarter acts as a stabilizer for the royal icing. In Miami, humid days are plentiful and are not always the best for icing cookies. Adding the cream of tarter really makes a different in how the icing sets up on the cookies.

Attach the paddle to your mixer, add the powered sugar into the bowl and mix at a low speed for 1-2 minutes or until all of the sugar has been incorporated.

Add the teaspoon of clear vanilla extract and the teaspoon of light corn syrup to the icing mixture. The addition of the corn syrup adds a nice shine to the cookies once they are completely dry.

Scrap down the sides of the bowl and paddle, then continue to mix for 8 minutes or until glossy stiff peaks form.  Be sure to not over mix!

You will need to cover with a damp cloth or use plastic wrap over bowl so the air does not dry out the icing or form a crust (which is no bueno!).  At this point I usually distribute the icing out into smaller bowls and tint with the colors I am going to use.

One things that I learned the hard way is that white royal icing (with no food color added) will not always stay white when it dries. I once ended up with almost yellowish splotchy spots all over my white cookies and had to start completely over. #fail.

(Look closely and you can see the color difference between the "white" royal icing color and the white soft gel paste food coloring.)

I now add white (yes, white) food coloring to my icing if I will be using any on my cookies to give me a pure white color. I am happy to say that I have not had any more incidents with discoloration since I started doing this!

This royal icing is easy to make and even easier to work with. Happy cookie decorating my friends!

Friday Favorites... or Saturday!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Wow! This week has flown by so I am sorry for the lack of content on the blog.  Work has been a little crazy with a  lot of events, games and tournaments happening. I am linking up with Lauren again to take a look at my top five moments of the week!

1. Monday I went over to Smashing Magazine to get a new desktop wallpaper for my computer for the month of February.  They has so many adorable ones to choose from, but I ended up going with this one!

2. Wednesday was National Signing Day for college football. We hosted a special event for our students and fans to come and hear about all the new signees. While people were eating and mingling downstairs, I had the opportunity to snap this photo from the team meeting room before fans were allowed inside.

3. Over the summer I bought this adorable small elephant necklace from a J. Crew outlet. I wore it to work this week and it made me smile throughout the busy work day.

3. One of my coworkers brought in donuts Friday morning. I love donuts (I mean who doesn't), but love them even more when they are heart shaped!

5. Working in college athletics has many of them is being able to take selfies with the mascot!

Hope you all have a great weekend!!!

Gift Ideas for Valentine's Day

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, I have come up with 6 ideas in different price ranges to help you find the perfect gift for the sweet baker in your life.  

1. KitchenAid Raspberry Ice Artisan Stand Mixer: This mixer is the perfect gift for any baker and there is nothing bad to be said about it. The color is even more amazing in person, plus it mixes up cake batter, cookie dough, and so much more like a dream!

2. Eiffel Tower Cookie Jar: I adore anything that has to do with the "City of Love" Paris and this cookie jar is just absolutely sweet and makes my heart melt.

3.Cupcake Necklace: The jewelry that Samantha Faye makes is so unique and fun. I love the simplicity of this cupcake necklace and also love the fact that she gives you the option to order it in gold, rose gold or silver.

4.Burlap Market Tote: I am a big tote girl and use them for running errands to going to the gym.  This tote design is so simple and cute. I am sure the baker in your life would be able to find a use for it!

5. Silpat Baking Mat: This nonstick mat is perfect at heat transfer that allows for even baking and your confections slide right off the cookie sheet with ease when done.

6. Pyrex Bowl Vintage Print: Etsy is the perfect place to find unique gifts for all different occasions and people. This vintage print makes me smile every time I look at it and is something I would love to hang in my kitchen.

Happy shopping!
© Perfectly Katie Bear. Design by FCD.