Friday, March 30, 2012

Easter & Spring Craft

Hi there!  Time for a craft project at Desserts by Annie!  I just realized that in 2 weeks, we will have been married for 6 months!  So I have made this decorative "G" for our last name.  Just in time for Easter and Spring!  

I made one of these for winter with red berries and it lives on my t.v. console.  So when it started to warm up, I wanted to make one with more cheery colors.  Let's get started!

What you need:
  • Wooden letter (you can get these at Michael's or Walmart)
  • Paint of your choice
  • Paintbrush
  • Fake styrofoam "berries" floral  (Michael's or Walmart)
  • Tacky glue
  • Decorative butterfly

First, I painted the front and back of the G in purple.

Here are the "berries" floral and butterfly that I used.  

I used scissors to cut off branches of the floral, then gently pulled off the little styrofoam berries.  I separated most of the berries, but left some in little clusters.  Do whichever you prefer, or a mix of both like I did.

Now, when you pull apart the berries, some of the coloring will come off.  Either glue that berry white side down, or you could use a similar color marker to gently fill in the white space.  Don't worry if it's not the exact same shade.  You won't notice once everything is glued on.

Here is a berry that I colored with a pink marker.

All the berries waiting to be glued onto the "G".

I used Tacky glue to glue the berries on.  I applied it in small sections, and then placed the berries on.  I made sure to mix up all the different sizes and colors.  But you should do it however you like!

Since I use Tacky glue, it will dry clear and you will be able to see some purple in between.  So I left a little space in between some of the berries.

All the berries are glued on.

These butterflies I got had little clips on the back.  I gently pulled the clip off.  Put a good amount of glue on the butterfly, since you will be gluing it on top of the berries and it is not a smooth surface.

Place the butterfly on your letter wherever you think is best!  

Let this dry completely overnight.

Here is the finished product!  

Close up of the butterfly.  

Place this letter on a bookshelf, shelf or on your Easter dessert table!  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cinnamon & Sugar Bread

Hi there!  I know I have not been posting very much lately.  I managed to leave the battery and charger for my camera somewhere, and luckily was able to have it sent to me but it took awhile to get here.  So I have not been able to take pictures for almost 2 weeks!  But I am back and have lots of pictures now.  So today I wanted to share with you some bread that I made.  

Cinnamon and Sugar Bread!  YUM!  We made this bread at the bakery that I used to work at.  And there is this restaurant by my house that I love their cinnamon french toast!  So many different ways to enjoy this bread too!  I eat it just sliced while it is still warm out of the oven, toasted with butter, as french toast and especially as bread pudding!  

Cinnamon & Sugar Bread

Use this bread recipe.  

For the cinnamon sugar mixture, I mixed 3 tbsp. sugar and 1 tbsp. cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside.

  • Follow the directions for mixing the dough. 
  • Proof in a bowl for 1 hour in a warm spot. 
  • Turn the dough out onto the counter and press the dough into a rectangle.  (Picture below)  I use a 9"x5" loaf pan and I make the dough line up with however wide my pan is.  I just use my hands to press the dough into a rectangle, but you can use a rolling pin too!
  • Sprinkle all the cinnamon sugar mixture onto the dough and spread out.  Leave an inch at the top without any cinnamon sugar so it will stick together once you roll it up.  
  • Start rolling the dough from the opposite end, tucking and rolling tightly into a log.  
  • Once you have rolled it all the way up, pinch the dough together at the seam.  
  • Place the dough seam side down in the cooking sprayed pan.  Eggwash the dough.
  • Preheat oven to 400 °.
  • Let the dough proof for 30 minutes.  
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature is 190°. 

Cinnamon & Sugar mixture

Dough pressed into a rectangle.

Cinnamon mixture on the dough leaving the inch border at the top.

Start rolling up the dough.

Pinch the dough together so it stays together while baking.

All set to go in the pan.

Dough placed seam side down.

After 30 minutes of proofing.

Once the top of the bread has started to brown, I insert the thermometer into the side and continue baking until it reaches 190°.

Actual temp 178°, Set temp 190°... not quite done!

Cooling on a rack.  

Mmm... ready to enjoy!  Use this bread to make Bananas Foster Bread Pudding... amazing!

And I had to throw in a couple of dog pictures!  Bailey just turned 1 year old on Monday.  The card we got her was made out of raw hide and had edible ink on it!  What a great idea.  And she LOVED it!  I got it from Walmart and it was only $1.50!  She doesn't seem to like too many kinds of treats, but she loved this!  

Birthday girl :-)

Oh and by the way... I only took the picture of her with the ribbon bow.  I took it away from her right away because I knew she would want to eat it!  She liked to try and eat everything these days.  

We went to the dog park yesterday and she had a blast!  I think she is still tired today because she isn't her normal crazy self.  Just moving a little bit slower today.  But I don't mind considering she normally has a TON of energy!  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Springtime!

Happy 1st Day of Spring!  This is my very first post that I am typing outside.  It's after 7pm, still light and warm enough to sit in a t shirt and shorts!  Who could ask for a better day for the beginning of Spring!  It actually seems more like the first day of Summer, but I'll take it!  

Bailey (my dog) is sitting outside with me.  She basically follows me around all day long.  Even if I need to get sometime quick, she tags along every time!  She is still pretty shy, but opening up more and more everyday.  She probably only barked twice, maybe 3 times in the first week and a half that we had her.  Well, that is starting to change!  Every time she thinks someone is coming to the door, she runs over and starts barking like crazy.  She is my little guard dog!  Though I doubt she would actually do anything, but lets keep that between me and you!  ;-)  

Today I am sharing a classic recipe with you.  Chocolate Chip cookies!  Who doesn't love Chocolate Chip cookies?!  If such a person actually exists, I would gladly eat theirs for them! 

I have actually been making these Chocolate Chip cookies a lot lately.  They are my absolute favorite recipe for this kind of cookie.  My hubby loves them as well!  Once I find a recipe that he really loves, I tend to make it more often.  I will eat just about any dessert, but he is a little more picky.  He is not a big sweets guy, but he is always a good taste tester anyways!

I will tell you right now that this recipe is by weight.  It may be a bit intimidating at first to make a recipe by weighing instead of using measuring cups, but it really is best for baked goods!  Some recipes I am easily able to convert into cups, but this one is best the way it is.  The only thing you need is a kitchen scale.  They are quite inexpensive and are a great tool any baker and cook should have!  

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 5 oz. butter
  • 4 oz. sugar
  • 4 oz. brown sugar
  • .12 oz salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 10 oz. flour
  • .12 oz. baking soda
  • 10 oz. chocolate chips

*This is the creaming method.  One of the most used mixing methods, especially for cookie dough!

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In mixer, cream the butter, sugar, brown sugar and salt until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Gradually add the flour and baking soda, just until combined.
  5. Mix in the chocolate chips.  Do not over mix!  Just until combined!  
  6. On silpat lined baking sheet, scoop out a 1 1/2 inch ball and place them about 1 inch apart.  I do a total of 12 cookies on one sheet.  
  7. Gently press down the dough so it flattens a bit.  (See picture below).  
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly brown around the edges.  
  9. Enjoy!

Butter, sugar, brown sugar and salt.

After they have been creamed.

After the eggs and vanilla have been added.

Flour and baking soda mixed in.

And the chocolate chips!

Shaping the dough balls.

Flatten the balls just a bit!  This gives the cookies a little head start at spreading out before baking.

Fresh out of the oven!  

I really love these cookies!  I have made many different Chocolate Chip cookie recipes and I found this one to be my favorite!!  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!  

Happy Spring!!  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A little bit of everything

Hi there!

Well, since getting our dog Bailey last week, I have not been doing too much baking.  I have made a few loaves of bread (which I am really getting into!) and I made some yummy chocolate chip cookies because they are one of the hubby's favorites.  

I am back in Pittsburgh for a bit.  I had to get a physical as a part of my immigration process.  You can only get the physical from a doctor that they approve of.  And it just so happens that there are only 2 doctors to choose from in the state of Pennsylvania!  Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.  I am lucky that I live in Pittsburgh so it was relatively close.  It would suck living in the middle of the state and having to travel hours just to go to the doctor!  But I got my physical yesterday and headed home.  

I got home and looked at the paper they gave me(it was one of those papers where there is a couple of sheets and you write on the top one and it transfers to the rest).  Well... I realized that the doctor was supposed to have me sign after he filled everything out.  And I did not sign.  Sigh... So I drove almost 2 hours round trip just to sign the piece of paper.  Better that I caught it now, and not after they already sent it in to the immigration office.  That would have been a major delay!

The drive wasn't a total waste though.  I stopped at Walnut Street in Shadyside (a trendy little area close to Pittsburgh) to do a little shopping.  I got some mini cupcakes at a bakery called Prantl's.  They are known for their Burnt Almond Torte.  I got Burnt Almond, German Chocolate, Chocolate Sour Cream and Red Velvet. I didn't have my camera so I have no pictures!  :-(  But they were yummy!

Last night, there was a crazy lightning show!  It lasted for hours.  It didn't rain at all while I was still awake, but it had rained over night.  I took some little videos with my camera.  They barely do it justice, but I thought I would share.  It was so cool to watch!  I love a good thunderstorm!

Oh, and please don't mind the tv noise in the background!

Now that we have a new dog, I had to get us all new Easter baskets!  This little one in front is hers, and then there is one for my hubby and me!  We have other baskets, but they don't match.  I have my Easter basket from when I was a kid (my Mom gave it to me a couple years ago) and I waited too long last year to buy Jeff one, so all I could find was a bucket!  Haha, so he had an Easter bucket instead of basket.  But since this will be our first Easter since we have been married, I wanted to get new baskets.  These actually were a gift from my Mom.  We saw them at Michael's the other day and we had to get them!  Haha.  

We saw them when we first walked in.  We had checked out, and as we were walking out we saw them again.  So we had to go back and buy them.  I love that they are such pretty Easter colors!  

I stopped by Grove City Outlet Mall the other day.  It is a huge outlet mall about an hour north of Pittsburgh.   I got this purse from Fossil.  I love all the different fabric used and the colors are perfect for Spring and Summer!  I recently went from a big purse, to a smaller cross body purse.  I don't usually change my purse too often because I normally keep a bunch of stuff in there and it takes too long to switch.  But then, I found that sometimes I couldn't fit everything into the small purse.  So... this is my new purse.  I love it!

I also LOVE stopping at the outlets.  It is conveniently located right along my drive from Pittsburgh to Canada.  Such great values.  Sometimes you find things from the season from the year before, but everything is priced so well that what does it really matter?!  I do a lot of my clothes shopping there these days!  I actually recently saw a shirt at the J Crew there for $20 that I bought almost a year earlier at the J Crew at the mall for $50.  I mean c'mon now!  The exact.same.shirt.

Oh, and I had to put some pictures of Bailey on here!  She loves to sit on the couch like this and look outside.  Whenever one of us leave, she either waits by the front door or sits on the couch and watches out the window for us to come back.  

I mean, this is so cute right?!

She is such a sweet dog, but she can be quite a handful too.  First of all, she doesn't like to go outside by herself.  We have a small fenced in yard.  Enough room for her to run around and play a bit, but she wants someone out there with her.  The past few days, she will wait for us to walk out the door before she will so we don't trick her by shutting the door as soon as she goes out, and we stay inside.  She is very smart!  Haha.  Also, she just wants to be with someone 24/7.  It has been almost 2 weeks that we have had her, so I get that it's still new, and she didn't come from a good home.  But boy, can she be exhausting!  And I know this is nothing compared to having kids!  

But for now, she is my kid.  It's funny, because at night I lay on the couch and my hubby sits in a recliner.  The dog loves the couch, so she will lay with me most of the time.  The hubby sometimes gets a little sad that she won't come sit with him.  He is so good with her.  He will lay on the floor with her, but most times she just wants to be around me.  I tell him it's just because there is much more room on the couch, so we can both sit on there.  But I have been back in Pittsburgh for awhile, so he is getting some good bonding time with her!  

Here are the Chocolate Chip cookies that I made the other day.  So yummy!  I will share the recipe with you soon.  I left it in Canada so I have to get it first!  :-)  

Last of all, here are a couple pictures of my Mom's chickens and their eggs.  She got them last summer when they were just a day or two old, and right before Christmas they started laying eggs.  Now, my parents get between 5 and 8 eggs a day!  They always have lots of fresh eggs and even give them to neighbors and family because we can't eat them all!  She has 8 chickens in total.  4 of which are called Easter Eggers, and they lay different colored eggs!  Each chicken will have their unique color of eggs.  They can be green, blue or pink.  All of hers happen to lay green eggs, but they are have their own, unique shape and color so she can tell whose eggs are whose!

The chickens running around the yard!

Lots of eggs in her basket!

Anyways, that has been a little of what I have been doing instead of baking lately!  I love to bake, but also love so many more things.  I like that I can share those parts of my life and hobbies on here too!  

Hope you have a great day!  Come back soon!