I Am Baker

Let Earth Receive Her King!

I absolutely love our new home.  I love that we have a space we can grow into and that we can truly make our own.

Trying to figure out how I want to design things hasn’t been an easy task because I am not a good interior designer!  But I really enjoy the process.

And one of the newest challenges of late has been designing a fireplace mantle!

Christmas Mantle

I have got SO much respect for people who can put together a beautiful mantle.  I am not one of them!  Its hard working with scale and color and, well, design stuff.

So I opted for homey.  Personal.

Christmas Mantle

 

Fresh flowers in a red mason jar nestled in an inexpensive fake garland with multi-colored lights.

Christmas Mantle

A red and green “love” garland.  The kids and I made it last year.  We named every single person we could think of and said a prayer for them.  Then we put simple quotes like, “Jesus loves you!” and “God is Love!”.

If you look close you can see ‘Grandpa Dennis’ in there.  We still miss him so much!  I try so hard to help him stay fresh in the kids’ memories.

Christmas Mantle

 

Now don’t you dare laugh at my awesome chalk board skills!  As you can see we have a pretty tall space above the mantle and I had NO IDEA how to fill it.  I just happen to have these 4 foot high chalkboards so I decided to write something on it… something significant to us.  And celebrating the birth of our King is as significant as its gets!

Its going to be fun figuring out how to use this space in the future.  I have a feeling there will be a “mantle” pinterest board in my future… :)

 

I Am Baker I Am Baker

Chocolate Curls Christmas Cake

I know I said I would stop with the red and green but apparently I was totally lying.  Sorry.

I made a white cake, tinted some frosting red and green, then melted some chocolate.  Have you ever made chocolate curls?  I had tried once before.  It was a major fail.  I am pretty sure there were even some comments mocking my skills, and if they werent totally right I might have been upset.

Ok, so looks like I still have not mastered this technique.  I could not get one single perfect swirly curl.

I blame the red candy melts I used.  And the warm December weather. And that one boy in 2nd grade who called me 4-eyes. *cough*

Clearly I have issues.

In addition to sharing this sweet little Christmas cake with you, I also wanted to give you a chance to share something with someone you love.  Say that sentence three times fast.  Or dont.  Just remember I am not an English major.  I am not even an English minor.  Words. Good.

 

Would you like to win a brand new Motorola DROID RAZR smartphone?  These things are awesome.

  • 8-megapixel camera and an HD display that makes movies, photos, magazines and websites appear with vibrant clarity
  • are near-field communications(NFC)-enabled
  • battery that allows for up to 32 hours of normal use and double the internal storage to 32 GB
  • run over 4G LTE, combined with Chrome for Android, meaning customers can enjoy blazing fast speeds that make downloading documents or surfing the Web a breeze
  • Global Ready

Not only would I love to give an iambaker reader this beautiful phone, but I would love to give you a $50 Verizon Giftcard to be used towards your bill or any phone accessory!  All in all, this gift is worth over $250!

A Beautiful New Smartphone.

A $50 Verizon Giftcard.

A sweet little cake.

Its the recipe for a perfect Christmas folks. ;)

Official Rules

To enter simply follow the instruction through the Rafflecopter widget below!  I gave you LOTS of chances to win! (It can take a moment to load, so please be patient!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I Am Baker

Some Things (Silver Rose Cake)

I hope you will forgive me interrupting your regularly scheduled program, I just need to take care of some business.

First off, the sweet little Silver Bell’s inspired Rose Cake above was seen in an ad in the latest issue of Sweet Paul Magazine!  I am a huge, huge fan of those great guys and hope you will be too.  In addition to the digital version, you can even find a copy of their magazine at Anthropology (and many other stores!)

In other not so fun new, my email was hacked into.

It has been nothing short of a huge problem, as the hackers took over my account and I no longer have access to any of it.  I had used that account since 1999 and also used my email as file storage.  (I dont recommend doing that, its not the best way to store important info!  Dont be like me.)  Contact files, business accounts, personal files, personal emails.  I had stored and filed away every important email I have gotten in the past years, and they are now gone. (Even an email I got from Martha Stewart years ago that I had saved because, hello, it was from Martha Stewart!  Well, maybe it was from her people, but you know.  Practically same thing.)

My email provider was AOL and they basically told me I was out of luck and refused to help regain access to my information.  They were unprofessional, unhelpful, and downright rude.  In addition to all that the hacker also sent out numerous emails “from me” asking for money.

My apologies if you were one of the un-lucky recipients of that.

I will be getting you new and improved email information shortly!  In the mean time you can reach me at manda2177@gmail.com.

Hope you all had wonderful Thanksgiving, and I look forward to sharing the Holiday season with you.  Christmas is definitely my favorite time of year!

*If you want to make a cake like this, here is a good tutorial as well as this video tutorial.

I Am Baker

The Reason For the Season

IMG_6303.family

This was us in front of the giant tree in Animal Kingdom, Disney World.  I know I look outrageously huge, but I am going to shamelessly blame it on the baby.  

At least for the next ten years or so.

We had such a fantastic time and I miss it terribly!  I want to share pictures with you, but am trying to ween it down from about 800.  I will be posting picks to my flickr page for awhile… and at the rate I am going its gonna take me all year.  I only have time to edit 5-10 a day!  Oh well.  

Sadly, I was totally unable to get myself organized enough to send out a Christmas card this year.  Am considering doing a baby announcement instead… if you want to be on the list shoot me an email! 

manda2177@aol.com

Since we were so lucky to see both my family and Chad's family while in Florida, we are celebrating Christmas at home alone this year, just the kids and Chad and I.  

We have also chosen to not do gifts this year, and are really hoping to instill in our kids the reason for the season… JESUS!

We hope you have a wonderfully blessed and fruitful Christmas, and are able to truly celebrate being with friends and family!!!

 

 

I Am Baker

Christmas Tree Cake {Surprise Inside Cake!}

UPDATED: Tutorial HERE

When I first saw this cake on Martha Stewarts webiste, I was smitten.

Beyond smitten.

Kids_rufflecake_l

Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart.

It was more likeobsessed.

I wanted SO badly to do one myself… but never knew how to add my own twist on it.

I think I found a way.

IMG_5535.stamp

I decided to try and put trees in the midst of all those ‘ruffles’.

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But then, I took it a step further.

A Surprise Inside Cake!

The inside of this precious little cake that nearly killed me to cut into I loved it so is a red and green striped ornament!

IMG_5577.stamp

A precious little green and red striped ornament… all INSIDE the cake!

IMG_5601.stamp

 

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And there you have it… A Christmas Tree Red and Green Ornament Inside Cake! Easy peasy.

I really hope you try making a ruffle cake of your own. Martha gives pretty easy directions and its a really forgiving design andtechnique. The different ways you can make it yours are endless!!!

Here are two verysimilartutorials to give you and idea of how it all comes together!

Faith Cake Tutorial

Heart Cake Tutorial

Hope that helps, and THANK YOU for all the wonderfully supportive and thoughtful kind words!

I Am Baker

Holiday Goodies

I am busy, busy, busy trying to get ready for a big vacation to Florida (and yes, that includes lots of DISNEY WORLD!) and preparing some fabulous holiday cookies, cakes, and sweets for you before I go.

But in the meantime, here are some holiday cookies and cakes I would love to share!

IMG_0704.holidaycookies

These are one of my most favorite designs ever… those little leaves are just piped out royal icing!

IMG_8423.perfect

A fun (and EASY) Christmas cake. You can so do this one.

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My favorite surprise inside cake ever, the Faith Cake. I even did a tutorial!

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And you really cant go wrong with the best ever sugar cookies and glaze icing.

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And these cookies… well, let me just say.

They are perfect. They are delicate. They are satisfying. They must be eaten in groups of three.

Well. You may be able to eat just one.

I am incapable.

IMG_3892.nutroll

I even have some of these delightful treats… and I hear they are gluten free!!

I dont know that for sure. I am not quite sure I could define what gluten is if asked. But someone told me these were. And Ibelieveeverything I hear.

*True story, when writing this post I kept writing "glutton" free. I definitely would be interested in a glutton free cookie.

IMG_3761.cookies

I will be back soon with lots of new recipes and designs for you! If you have any Christmas/Holiday goodies, yummy treats, amazing crafts, or glorious sweets, feel free to leave me a comment so I can check them out while driving across the United States.

Believe me. I will have lots of time while driving from Minnesota to Florida!

I Am Baker

Christmas Gift Idea for Kids {CONTEST CLOSED}

To see the winners click HERE.

 

Yes.  I know.  Its not even Thanksgiving yet.  I know.  I'm sorry.  I have to get my shopping done early this year.  I cant wait to tell you more about THAT! (really, its actually kinda exciting)

I just got done ordering some personalized coloring books for my kids and thought to myself, "Self, I bet other people would like to share this with their kids too!" So here I am.

I was hanging out at frecklebox.com and really liked the assortment of gifts they offer… that are completely personalized for you and your family.

I dont know if you know this about me, but I am slightly addicted to personalization!

Anywho, I would love to give two readers the opportunity to enjoy a personalized gift as well.  Just leave a comment!

 A couple rules.  There is a $20 max including shipping.  That really should not be a problem as I just ordered special treats for all of my kids and it was less then $21.00 for everything!

Picture of Holiday Fun 1 Personalized Sticker

Stickers!

(which I totally want for myself… wouldnt they be cute on my shipped boxes of cookies??)

Picture of Mucky Duckies Personalized Puzzle

Puzzles!

Picture of Dinos Chore Chart

Chore Charts! (ok, maybe mom would like this more then kids…)

all images are property of frecklebox.com

Just visit their site and see if you want anything!  They have:

Just to name a few. ;)

Now, frecklebox.com does NOT know me, they have no idea I want to give away an item or two from their site.  I am not being compensated from anyone for any of this.

I truly just want to give another family one of these neat personalized gifts.

Leave a comment to be entered.  Contest closes… uh… I am not sure yet as hubby is out of town and life has been hectic around here and tomorrow we are at church and out and about all day and did I mention how exhausted and fat I am? and I want all of my readers to be able to enter so there are at least seven participants.  Well, six if you exclude my mother.  Ok, fine.  Five.  My dad reads too.

Good luck!

 

I Am Baker

Don’t Let This Happen To You.

christmas cookie

Its ok, its ok, I know.

I have been there.  When I was first married I did not even know how to turn on the oven.  But a little youtube and hunger go a long way in the teaching department.

So, in honor of everyone out there who burns toast and forgets at add cheese to lasagna and says that scrambled eggs are their favorite only because that’s the only way they can make them… this is for you.

I want YOU to shine this holiday season.

I am going to share my favorite sugar cookie recipes of all time.  I have made lots.  I know what works and trust me on this one, this is by far the best sugar cookie recipe ever.

If you make this, people will be asking you for your recipe and they will be trying to sneak just one more.

I will also share my no fail sugar cookie icing recipe.

BONUS: I am also going to give you a secret tip in how to make beautifully decorated cookies.

Amazing Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1-½ cup Butter (I Use Unsalted)
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 2 whole Eggs Yolks
  • 4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 teaspoons Almond Extract
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder

Instructions

  1. In a mixer, beat butter and sugar until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add in 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks and mix until combined.
  3. Add in vanilla and almond extract; mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly (about a cup at a time) add flour to butter mixture and combine. You can use a mixer or not, just depends on how strong you are. ;)
  5. I usually just mix ingredients until they are combined, as I have heard that if you over-mix this dough it will get tough.
  6. Put dough in some Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. When you are ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out, cut out cookies, and bake for 6-8 minutes.
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Awesome Cookie Icing

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Confectioners Sugar (powder Sugar)
  • 1-3 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1 drop Lemon Juice (fresh Or Processed)
  • 1 Tablespoon Light Corn Syrup

Instructions

  1. Combine powder sugar, corn syrup, and lemon juice in a bowl.
  2. ******This next step is important!******
  3. If you need a thicker frosting, say for outlining your cookies, add LESS milk.
  4. Just a drop at a time. If you have already outlined your cookies and need a to fill in or ’spill’ your cookies, you can add more milk (as much as you would need) to make your frosting very runny.
  5. If you are using food coloring, be sure to use LESS milk. Most food colorings are liquid and can make your frosting more runny. If you are using a gel food coloring, your milk quantity can remain the same.
  6. If you want to add different flavors, you can add drops of vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon, etc. to flavor your frosting.
  7. If you want more SHINE, use more corn syrup and less milk. This frosting will stay good for days in the fridge.
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Now… would you like to do this?

christmas cookie

or this?

christmas cookie

Its easy.

(please say the next sentence in your head without pausing just to get the full effect) Really and truly I cannot tell a lie I promise you from the bottom of my heart you can do this and you can do this well it really is easy.

Its just dots.

Get a zip lock bag, put some icing into it, cut off the tiniest tip possible from the corner of the bag and just put some dots on your cookie.

Do any design you want… I promise it will look good.  Do a cross or a tree or a word or just outline the cookie in dots.

That is one of my favorite tricks!  Dots.  Lots and lots of dots.

Find more cookie ideas or inspiration!

Go forth and conquer!

I Am Baker

Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Spice Cookies

This is one of my most favorite cookies I have ever made.  Its got amazing depth of flavor… sweet and spicy, soft and chewy.  The perfect cookie!

With great pleasure, I am so excited to present to you my Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate (if you dare) Spice Cookie!

Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Spice Cookie~ Seriously AMAZING!

These cookies bake up large, so you would expect a big heavy flavor. But surprisingly, they are light and refreshing! A perfect compliment to egg nog or Christmas Tea or milk!

Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Spice Cookie~ Seriously AMAZING!

Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Spice Cookie

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar*
  • 1 1/2 cups whole oats*
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips*
  • *I used ultra fine bakers sugar, organic whole grain oats, and a high quality cocoa chocolate.

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In medium bowl sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and all spice. In separate large bowl, cream together shortening, brown sugar, and white sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Combine well.
  3. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Then add oats, cranberries, and chocolate if you so desire.
  4. Use 1/4 cup and scoop onto cookie sheet, you should get about 6 per sheet.
  5. Bake for at least 8 minutes, but most likely will bake for 12.
  6. If you chose to not add the chocolate chips directly to the dough, you can melt chips in the microwave and drizzle or dip the cookies after they have cooled.
  7. This would also be excellent with white chocolate!
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Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Spice Cookie~ Seriously AMAZING!

These cookies would also fair with paired with white chocolate.  I am a huge white chocolate fan so I pretty much say that about every cookie I make.

Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Spice Cookie~ Seriously AMAZING!

You can make this cookie three ways:

1. Put the semi-sweet chocolate chips right into the batter.

2. Dip the cookies in melted semi-sweet chocolate chips.

3. Drizzle the cookies with melted semi-sweet chocolate chips.

After eating all three submitting the various cookies for testing, I decided that I liked the drizzle cookies the best. It was ‘just right’ in terms of consistency.

 

I hope you will try them, because I know you will love them!