Monday, December 30, 2013

Apple beignets / fritters, sugar free, spelt flour

I hope you had a wonderfully delicious christmas and I wish you a happy and healthy new year!

I made theses lovely apple beignets / fritters (difference??) for New Year's  Eve. It uses a quick puff pastry recipe that is not a lot of work and has great results. Apple beignets in the Netherlands are always completely covered in refined sugar which tastes amazing but as I no longer eat it I covered these in Coconut blossom sugar. It gives it a surprisingly slightly spicy taste. Great for a party or when you want to fool yourself that anything apple has got to be healthy somehow :)

Eat them the same day, they will be at their best

Read on for the recipe.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Felt ornament traditions and how to trace a child's hand

I like to make my own ornaments. Partly because it is cheap and partly because they are pretty especially felt. Last christmas was the first time our family contained 3 people and I decided we could do with a good Christmas tradition. Wanting it to be something doable not just in times of stress but also when my little girl gets bigger and wants to help, I decided to make an ornament based on her. Showing how much she has grown and a remembrance of that particular Christmas.

It's year two and I have two ornaments to show you:

I trace her hand first on paper and then cut it out of felt.

Tracing a 15 month old child's hand is btw not easy! So instead I rub a lot of coconut oil on it and press it on paper. I then trace the oil print. Works like a charm!

Then I make a little dolly wearing the same clothes as she does at Christmas. 
The hand sort of represents angle wings because for the most part that is what she is :)
I also write the year on the back and right now I'm using a pen to make the face because everytime I try to embroider it, it is just ugly...

I also finished my bird ornament: 

Pretty right ;) 

Do you have a Christmas ornament tradition? I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Sugarfree speltflour gingerbread recipe, good for cookies, cakes andhouses!

Amsterdam canal house
It didn't last long...

This is the best gingerbread recipe I have ever tried, sugar free or not. It doesn't rise very much but just enough to make a soft cookie. It is tough enough to build a house with but not so hard that it breaks easy. It has a really yummy taste, though that is my opinion of course (And my family's). It makes a pretty golden cookie and can be used for anything really. I have made a gingerbread house with it, cookies and cake crusts. It is made with spelt flour which contributes to the lightness of the gingerbread and coconut blossom sugar and maple syrup to give it a rich taste.

(I always feel really weird typing sugar free and then saying it contains sugar... I have sworn

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Easy felt flower diy

To complement a butterfly costume, I made a felt flower hair clip. It's really easy to make and versatile as you can make it in any color combo you like.
I'll make some more pics when I make another one.

Materials needed:

thread in the color of the top petals
Two sheets of felt in a color of your choice
A pom pom thingy 1 cm diameter (0.4 inch though 0.5 is fine too)
A hair clip (see pic) no larger than 5 cm or 2 inches

There are six petals to each level and all our the same size.
The bottom of the petal is 2 cm wide, 1 inch will work. The length is 5 cm, or 2 inches. 
Just draw a petal (with those measurements) that you find pretty on a piece of paper and use that to cut 6 petals of each color.

Cut a square out of the bottom petal color. The side should be the same length as your hair clip. You are going to sew your flower on here and attach it to the clip.

Bottom petal circle (light pink in pic):
Take three petals and sew the corners together. Do the same with the other three. You now have two circles of petals. Lay them on top of each other as seen in the pic above and center them on the square. Sew the petals on the square by whip stitching the inner circle.

Upper petal circle (dark pink in pic):
Take one corner of a petal and fold it over so the corner is now resting in the middle of the petal. See pic. Whip stitch back to the new corner. 
Take a second petal and attach the corner of the first to the bottom center of the second. Now fold the corner of the second petal as you did the first.
The corner of the second petal should be touching the new corner of the first. 
Whip stitch to the new corner of the second petal and repeat with the next 4 petals. The last petal should be attached to the first. You should now have a circle of petals that have one side folded over and are arranged as seen in the pic above. 

Center the second circle of flowers on the first and whip stitch on the square in the same way as before. 
Put the pom pom in the center and attach by pulling the needle through the square and the center of the pom pom leaving a good piece of thread behind. Then plunge right back through just next to where your needle came out. Tie a knot at the back of the square.

Your flower is done. You only need to attach it to the hair clip. 

Lay your hair clip diagonally on the square. My clip had a tiny hole on either side. I folded the corners of the square over and sewed them onto the holes. The other two corners I cut off .5 cm or 1/4 inch from the side of the clip. I linked these pieces by going under and over the clip tucking the corners in at the side. This way the clip is attached to the flower without being able to see it.

I probably should have made some more pictures to explain but it really is quite simple.

Let me know if you make one! 


Birds, butterflies and bees

It took me two days to make my daughter's wishlist for Sinterklaas and I don't mean two afternoons but morning to night. I've become one of those moms who tries to get every toxic thing away from my baby and subsequently spends hours a day researching anything from food and toys to lotion and detergent. Aaaaargh. The more I read the more I want to change what I buy and use. Between those tough and long searches for companies that still have a bit of integrity I did a bit of crafting this week and bought a lot of presents for others and for me :)


 I finished my nieces butterfly costume. Sadly I didn't have an appropriate sized mannequin to show it on so I hung it on mine.

The wings I got at ikea, I would not have been able to make them for that kind of money. They cost 5€!  I did embroider some swirls on them just to make them prettier. 

The hair clip is really simple to make, I'll post a tutorial of that later. It's made from felt and has a small clip on the back so it can easily attach to a small child's hair without the risk of it falling out or pulling too much.

The skirt is a layer of tule, a layer of organza and some more tule. I ruffled the top hem of each layer and sewed them onto some elastic. I hope she fits it.... Might have been smart to ask her size.

I started on these nice bird ornaments for the Christmas tree. I also thought of making penguins and snowmen but just couldn't think of something cute and easy that could be made in lots of different colors.

I was inspired by the bird ornaments that Larissa Holland of mmmcrafts makes so I thought I'd try my own version. Hope to have something pretty before christmas is over lol.


This made my day:

My Bee's wrap came today! I just couldn't stop smelling it. The combination of wax, jojoba oil and tree resin is intoxicating in a non toxic way :)
It's a "fresh, easy, natural" way to wrap stuff like cheese, sandwiches or veggies. You can also cover a bowl with it. I bought it to wrap cheese because it always comes in plastic and I just read those can be harmful. (Looking at the package I found it is toxic so good call!) The warmth of your hand will actually help mold the wrap and when it cools off again, it stiffens and seals. I love it! Now I won't be needing as much plastic wrap and this will last me a year! Yay!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Amazingly scrumptious chocolate pudding recipe almost sugar free

Oh my, I just made the most amazingly scrumptious chocolate pudding! It is based on this recipe by Joy of Baking but as has become my signature thing at the moment, it is almost sugar free. This by the way does not mean it is healthy like veggies or fruit. It just doesn't contain evil refined sugar... instead I have used maple syrup and stevia. Besides not being toxic, it is also dead easy to make! Yay!

Amazingly scrumptious chocolate pudding 

Makes enough for 4 people, it's very filling
Prep time: 1,5 hours including refrigeration

Goodness I need to learn how to make pics of food... Even mickey isn't looking too happy... It tastes much better than it looks, promise!
- 2,5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 100 ml maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon stevia (95% steviolglycoside)
- 3 large egg yolks
- 315 ml milk
- 100 ml whipping cream
- 40 grams of dark chocolate in pieces (choose chocolate of good quality)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 15 grams of butter in pieces

Mix the cornstarch with the cocoa and salt in a heat proof bowl. Mix it really well by scraping the back of the spoon over the side of the bowl until there are almost no lumps of cornstarch left. Add the stevia and the maple syrup and whisk well. Then whisk in the egg yolks until it's a uniform paste. Set aside.

Put the milk and the cream in a saucepan and bring up to boiling point. Take it off the heat and slowly whisk it into the chocolate paste.

Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan. Cook until it thickens, keep stirring! When it has the thickness of pudding, which it will be really quick, take it off the heat and beat vigorously for a few seconds.

Stir in the butter, chocolate pieces and vanilla extract until well blended.

Pour or scoop it into a clean bowl, press a piece of baking paper over the top and refrigerate for about an hour. (The baking paper will keep it from forming a film and it won't stick.)

After the hour take the bowl out of the fridge, remove the paper and beat vigorously again. Your pudding is now done and ready to eat! Yay!

You can eat it right away or cover it and refrigerate again until needed.


Friday, November 15, 2013

My Child doll restoration

Cleaned, make-up redone, but still missing fingers on her left hand

My Child dolls are so pretty! I've had mine since 1989 and after some hard core googling I found she was in pretty great shape for her age. She didn't have too much pilling, her skin wasn't sagging as bad as it could have, she still had clearly visible make-up and her hair was still in its original parting. The latter made me really happy because I saw the instructions for redoing a parting and it's a lot of work!

So to clean her up I used the instructions on Marisa's page.

To wash your My Child Marisa's preferred method is the washing machine but I had an inkling she didn't have a front loader. I certainly would not recommend washing your doll in a front loader where she (or he..) will tumble and smash around. I don't think that will be good for the head or joints.

Before, as you can see she still had a lot of make up!

First I bound the doll's hair so it wouldn't get tangled. As I have a My Child with two curly pigtails and an all-round fringe, I tied up both the pigtails and just let the fringe hang loose.

I put the doll in a dish washing tub with some mild detergent. I splashed her around a bit and then let her soak for 30 minutes. She had quite a grimy face so I left her face down.
After the half hour soak I did as Marisa instructed and pulled her out, squeezed her limbs and then put her back in to soak up the water again. It's a mild way of washing and strongly urge you not to rub the skin. This method works fine.
For the face I used a method that strongly resembled torturing. Not that I'd ever done any before but I almost felt sorry for my dolly! I pulled her up out of the water by her shoulders and then smashed her face first back in. It worked like a charm though! Her face is bright and clean again, and her make-up stayed on.

When I thought she had been cleaned enough I emptied the tub and filled it with clean water. I repeated the washing techniques just to get the soap out. I also just rinsed her under the tap.

After having washed out the soap I let the doll soak in fabric softener solution for about 5 minutes after which I started on the hair.  
Washed and combed
(to see examples of different hair do's and make-up see HERE)

Marisa said it would take patience, and she was not kidding. I recommend using gloves to do this. It is not good for your hands.
 I hung the doll with her hair over the now empty tub (like they do at the hairdresser) and poured fabric softener onto her hair. I splashed a little water on it and worked it into her hair. I left the pigtails in.
After leaving the fabric softener in the hair for 5 minutes I got a comb and started brushing the fringe first. Starting at the tips and working back to the roots a little piece at a time. The fringe is short so it went pretty quick.
Next I took one of the pigtails out and started brushing the same way. I used my fingers to separate 1/4 inch pieces of hair. I found that combing tiny pieces at a time actually went quicker than trying to comb through bigger parts at once.
Take care not to comb the fringe into the pigtail!
After combing all the pieces of one pigtail I put them all together and combed it all at once into a nice pigtail again. I then kept it together with a hair clip. Repeat for the other side :)

If needed I scooped some fabric softener water out of the tub still under her head and poured it onto the hair.
After I was able to comb through all the hair with ease, I washed the fabric softener off and squeezed as much water out of the doll as possible.

Yay all done cleaning!

I decided not to put the hair in curlers so it has remained slightly frizzy. My doll's hair is just very curly. I cannot seem to find pictures that resemble her. All the My Dolls I can find have a much straighter fringe... Putting the hair in curlers might work to give it a more styled look. Might have to try that sometime.

After leaving her siting on a thick towel in front of the heater for 2 days it was on to the make-up!

I used make-up to redo the doll's make-up but I have seen people mention watercolor pencils. Whatever you choose don't try any type of pen. The lines will be way to hard, the make-up should have a soft look to it.
There were two types of US doll make-up as the guide on ebay will tell you:
"Lips could come in a shade of pink or peach, and eye makeup was either peachy brown or grey/black. (They [sic] grey/black eyeshadow only came with pink lips.)"

My doll had the grey/black eyeshadow and pink lips. The lips were ok and I only lightly touched them up with a corresponding rouge I had. I also used this to slightly highlight the cheeks.
For the lashes I used brown waterproof eyeliner pencil as that seemed to match the original and the eyeshadow I accentuated with a bit of grey shadow brought on with a tiny brush.


Good as new!
   After restitching her left hand where the thread had come loose leaving her with no fingers, I put her back in her original dress. She comes from the last US series, so she doesn't have shoes...

The only downside of all this: now she is too pretty to let my one year old play with her! LOL. O well at least she will be able to when she grows up and in the meantime she sits on a shelf in my bedroom looking pretty :)

I intend to make her a new dress though. If I ever get around to it I'll let you know!

Do you have a My Child laying around or have you restored any? I would love to see what they look like! The dolls are so pretty and should definitely be treasured. They don't make them like this any more!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sugar free marzipan

I'm surrounded by tule en organza. My baby's playpen is filled with it as she happily swims through it loving the feel of it. With Sinterklaas on the way, Christmas not long after and carnaval in the new year I've been caught up in the making of ballet type petticoat skirts.
It requires a lot of sewing and gathering... Luckily that's what you read all over the internet so I was prepared. Mine aren't as much work as most tutorials online and after I'm done making all 4 of them (!!) I'll be sure to post my version.

Right now though I want to share my recipe for sugar free marzipan. As the season of eating lots of candy has started I wanted to make some responsible snacks for the holidays. The first of which is this great marzipan!

Sugar-free marzipan

200 grams white almonds, ground to a fine powder
150 grams fresh mejool dates, without pit or skins (see below)
1/2 to 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons of dutch cocoa powder 

The skin of dates can be pretty tough and if you are not making this in a food processor it's especially important to remove the skins. It takes a while but the result is way better. Also remove the pit of course and take care to have the correct amount of dates. The weight is without skins and pits!

If you have a food processor go ahead and put all ingredients except the maple syrup in there and ground to a fine paste. If you don't have one mash the dates with a fork, add the almond powder and extract and knead it by hand to a nice dough. Lastly add the syrup a little at a time until you get a nice marzipan that's not too dry and not too sticky.
Wrap the marzipan on plastic and leave in the fridge for an hour. 
When it has firmed up roll small balls from the marzipan and dust them with cocoa. 
Cover and leave in the fridge overnight. This helps the marzipan set and gives it a nice texture so don't skip! ( I know it's hard...:)

You can also dip the marzipan in tempered chocolate or color it and make figures.

I'm planning on using natural foodcoloring to color the marzipan next time. I'll show the result of that in a few weeks. 

Make it pretty and enjoy a guiltless snack!

My room right now, just three more to go hahaha

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What I've been up to including but not limited to baking

Once again I ate a soapy piece of food. Usually this mistake keeps within the cake bake circle of things but today it found its way into my pancakes. I wanted to make a cornmeal pancake of some sort so I searched the internet for a promising recipe. Everything looked fine and tasted great dripping with syrup but a piece on its own had that all too familiar taste of having eating a particularly unnatural bar of soap (though really I have no reference, thank goodness :) You would think I learned from my previous mistakes but while I was adding soda to the batter I did think it was a bit much and did it anyway. My hubby had doubts I didn't make a mistake and looking at the recipe again he was right. It wasn't supposed to be baking soda but baking powder.... grrr. It was a good recipe though, you can see it HERE.

Banana Pumpkin Bread
Luckily a lot of recipes of late worked fine. I made some great pies for my mother-in law including a nice banana pumpkin bread so the baby had something sugarless to snack on. I'll add that recipe later. All the guests on her birthday commented on the nice pies but really I didn't care much because I LOVED them. Both were from Ken Haedrich's book Pie, which as you might know is the best pie book ever! I had chosen a Pumpkin Cheesecake and a Mocha Ricotta as I know my in laws don't like anything too sweet. The Mocha came with a great rich Mocha Chocolate sauce too, yummy!
Left a Pumpkin Cheesecake, Right a Mocha Ricotta
Yesterday we had nice tiny quark cakes, like cheese cake but made with quark (obviously). I also made a great banana bread that I sadly don't have the recipe of. I thought I could remember it but I didn't.

I have also had some non bake related projects going on of which I'll post some pics soon. I've made my baby a cute winter coat. Ever shopped for a day for 1 article of clothing and come back empty handed because they just didn't have your vision? My baby needed a new coat but somehow every girls coat is either pink, too frilly or has texts like "I'm the cutest girl you'll ever see" which is true but not something I want my 1 year old to wear. So I searched through my stash of fabric (which has become surprisingly large) and found a cute purple wool felt. I used it to make a coat for myself a few years ago and thought it would be perfect for her. It's now waiting to have the sleeves shortened and then it will be ready for winter.  

I've also become a web editor for the anthropologists professional association where I hope to become the main contact person for all universities and institutes related to anthropology in my country anyway. Also I get to blog, which is just fun!

Lastly I started restoring one of my oldest dolls today. She's been with me since 1989 and she has soft skin, pretty eyes, curly hair, a cute button nose and sweet dress. Her name is (don't laugh...) Pipi (pronounced pee-pee, I was 5 don't judge ;). Her face was dirty but I didn't know how to clean it, also I had no idea who she was or who made her. So I googled the only terms I could think of: '80's dolls'. And TADA! there she was. Pipi is my My Child doll, produced by Mattel in the 80's. They have quite a hardcore fan club and I have seen some awesome OOAK make over dolls. I found a site that had directions on how to clean her and fix her hair so I did that today. She now sits on the couch in front of the heater to dry.
I cannot believe she is 14 years old. I can still remember standing in front of a huge row of My Child dolls in what must have been a Toys R Us. They had so many different ones, with different skin colors and clothes and hair. The funny thing is all those choices and I did actually choose my child. Pipi is pale and blond in a pretty pink dress. If she's had blue eyes instead of brown she would have been a perfect likeness of my real child.
Pipi is looking nice and clean again with soft hair, but it's not as nicely curled as I've seen in some pictures of restored dolls. I wonder how she looked right out of the box and hope to find some pictures when I'm at my parents tomorrow.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

With a love of food comes responsibility

Did you see photographer Peter Menzel's series of one weeks of groceries from around the world? It's all over the internet and you can check it out HERE if you haven't seen it. Beware, it's a reality check.
I started at the top thinking 'Wow Mexicans eat a lot of fruit and veggies, good for them! Though it might be wise to cut down on the coke dudes...'. USA's huge amount of junk food I found quite shocking, would they eat that every week?? Yuck. They also drink a disturbingly small amount of water... just like Australians eat way too much meat and that German family must be drunk most days... At first I found it funny to just see the difference in what people from different countries eat, every family is different of course but it gives a nice comparable overview. When I got to Mali my gaze shifted to the amount of food versus the number of people and when I got to Chad it just made my heart ache.

Looking at the difference we must be able to eat less. How much do we not need. We don't need to eat chips, drink fizzy drinks or put sauce on everything. However I can live with that difference if only we would do something about the waste we in the (mostly) Northern hemisphere create. Look at the packaging! After Chad has eaten all it's food (which definitely does not take long) it just has a few sacks left which they most likely reuse. Japanese on the other hand probably have more waste than food. Ever wonder where that goes and what that does to our atmosphere? Not only does Chad's population not have enough food while we so clearly have too much, we are polluting their air while they don't even know it. Our concern with other countries also clearly shows when, as I look at the pictures, I know where all the countries with lots of food are... I had to look up Chad.

Bottom line: Waste as little food as possible, recycle, have a compost bin in your yard and also one for rain water, try to keep your fast food intake to a minimum and bring your own bags to the store. Instead of paper or plastic, you can say: Here use mine!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

2 minute chocolate mug cake, no eggs, no butter

Ever sat on the couch in the evening wishing you could devour a piece of chocolate cake? Now you can! It's quick, easy, not much mess and really good! From searching through your cupboards for ingredients to eating you scrumptious cake takes 10 minutes max. :)

2 minute Chocolate mug cake

What you will need:

- a microwavable mug

- 5 tablespoons of selfraising flour
- 4 tablespoons cane sugar or caster sugar
- 2 full tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- pinch of salt

- 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil (no olive oil, I like to use rice)
- 4,5 tablespoons water

Add the dry ingredients to your mug and mix well. Make an indent in the flour mix and add the wet ingredients. Stir until you have a smooth batter. Microwave on high (800 watt) for 2 minutes. Done!

Top off with powdered sugar, frosting, whipped cream or chocolate chips. Cute to look at, great to eat!

This also makes a really good housewarming, birthday or shower gift. Buy a suitable mug for the occassion, add the dry ingredients. Add some chocolate chips for a decadent touch. Put the wet ingredients in a sealable bag. Make a nice card saying how to make the cake and attach together with the wet ingredients to the mug handel. Wrap in plastic foil and you have a cute, inexpensive gift!

Make it pretty!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Upside down pumpkin pear pie recipe

Do you ever wish you were back in middle school when life was easy and it kept you from eating too much and moving too little. I just can't figure out who I want to be and it's driving me mad. Do I want to be 'just' a mommy or do I want a career and if I go for the career how do I juggle my kid and my job in a way that I feel comfortable with. And about that job... what the heck do I want to do and how do I get it. I've been taught my whole life that I can be whatever I want to be if I work hard enough. Sure. I went to university, I traveled a lot as a "poor" student and had a ball. Then I got my degree (eventually) and have stood at a cross roads ever since. When the world is your oyster or whatever, there is just too much choice. It bums me out. So I spent a while watching old home videos which surely didn't make me feel better because my parents were barely 5 years older than I am now and they were already living in a different country for my dad's work. Plus the images remind me of why I actually don't really like living in the Netherlands and would give anything to get my entire family to move to a place where there are still more trees than people and the ground isn't so horribly flat. Could I move thousands of miles away and be happy? Is it worth taking the risk? Be it going or spending a lifetime wishing I lived somewhere else...

 If everyone could click on a banner on this page maybe I'll earn enough doing this not to have to pick and choose ;)

Anyway together with this dilemma I also cut off a flap of skin on the top of my index finger while putting a desk together which makes typing awkward (ever notice how weird that word is?) and completely ruined a batch of muffins because I once again (you would think I would only make this mistake once...) I added too much baking powder making those things taste like soap... yuk.

But you gotta love life for all the things you could do, one being Halloween! They don't really celebrate that here but it's a good reason to make pumpkin treats. I love pumpkin :) I just read it contains almost no vitamins so it's not a great veggie, but hey, it's not unhealthy...

I spend a minute deciding if I would make this pie with pears or apples. I chose pears because I had just bought a new type of pear with red colored flesh. It seemed very Halloweeny. When cutting it up I tried a piece and noticed they were quite tart and not soft at all as you would expect from a pear. If you can't find a pear like this I would suggest using apples instead as the acidity really offsets the sweetness of the rest of the pie.

Pumpkin pear pie

- 2 tart pears (or 2 tart apples if you wish)
- 2 handfuls of sugar
- 1 can of pumpkin (425 grams) or buy a pumpkin, peel, scoop out the seeds and cook for 10 minutes after which you can puree it easily.
- 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 100 grams oatmeal
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 handfuls of almonds, sliced

- Springform (where the sides come off)
- baking paper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Peel, core and slice the pears thinly. Put baking paper over the bottom of the springform and then put the rim on. Grease the paper with crisco or some vegie oil. Sprinkle the sugar over it and lay the slices of pear in a nice circle on top. Set aside.

Divide the can of pumpkin over two bowls.
Add 1 egg, the condensed milk and the spices to bowl 1.
Add the other egg, the honey, oil and oatmeal to bowl 2.

Mix both bowls well.

Pour the contents of bowl 1 on top of the pear and use the back of a spoon to smooth it out.
Sprinkle the almonds over the top.

Now add bowl 2 in dollops over the top, and then spread that out carefully with the back of a spoon too. Try not to push it into the other layer.

Bake the pie for 45 minutes in the conventional oven (so no turning the air fan on, that will just dry the whole thing out). After 25 minutes turn the form so the side that faced the back now faced the front of the oven. That's just to get even heating. Test the pie by inserting a knife in the center, if it comes out clean it's done.

Leave the pie in it's form for 10 minutes. Then run a knife around the edge and take the rim off. Take a plate and lay it on top of the pie, use it to turn it over. Peel the baking paper off and tada, done!

I suggest leaving the pie covered in the fridge for a day before eating with some whipped cream. It will give the tastes time to settle and fully immerse themselves in the pie.


Ps I promised a picture of my daughters winnie the pooh birthday cake but my hubby downloaded it to his computer and erased the card... I'm waiting for him to send the pictures to me.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sophie the Giraffe cake

Our baby turned one this week! We gave her some books, car window stickers and winter accessories. She loved unpacking them and somehow understood that the wrapping was just that, wrapping. Not the gift. Maybe our wrapping paper wasn't pretty enough...
We are celebrating her birthday this weekend so I had no issues with making a birthday cake for another little girl who turned one at almost exactly the same time as our baby girl. I know her mommy from lamaze class and it wasn't until the follow up course that we found out she had been next door on the delivery ward! We had both come in for pain killers. After 16 hours I'd had enough.... so with a nice little pump on my arm which didn't help with the pain at all but did make me relax a little, my delivery finally went into hyper drive. So did the rest of my life, how this year has flown by!

Anyhoo, the order was for a Sophie the Giraffe puzzle cake. So once again I used my trusty method of finding a picture online and tracing it off my computer screen onto thick paper. I decided to make Sophie out of off-white fondant. I used cake tools and my fingers with the pic on my computer as reference to make her look a little 3D and then painted her brown spots on. It worked really well, better than I expected. I just have an issue with her eyes, which could have been better. They just don't say friendly/ happy to me, but black spots...

I also made a ribbon on the side of the cake with the same spots and a little bow for extra detail. The rest of the decoration is made out of marzipan and the inside is chocolate mud cake with a lemon butter cream, yummy!
I did notice that the number 1 is really unrecognizable on a cake. It might have been better to say 1 year old but that didn't fit anymore. Next time I'll have to find a more suitable 1.

Now I get to make my own baby's cake! I'm quite excited because it's going to be something really different. I don't want it to have too much decoration on it because I don't want her eating that so I've decided to leave it plain and add Winnie the Pooh and Piglet silhouette figures. Next week I'll show the result of that.

Monday, August 26, 2013

How to: Black and white Mickey Mouse/Disney cake pops

My mom ordered cake pops but gave me the choice of how they would look. Those are nice orders because I can try out ideas I have without spending too much money on it. Of course I did not charge her for the fact that they weren't all the same and much more work than your standard cake pop, so it's a good deal for both of us (in my opinion anyway). 

I wanted to make black and white Fab 4 cake pops (sorry to me that will never be the Beatles..) with a color accent. Unfortunately I didn't have green or blue fondant in the house so I kept those black and white. I actually like them this way too. I think Donald Duck is very recognizable, Goofy could use a green hat and maybe some ears though.
Mickey would probably have turned out better if his buttons had been red. Wouter didn't recognize him at all, even with Minnie right next to it... Minnie turned out great in my opinion. The heart shaped confetti worked great as a bow. 
I also made these pops with the intention of adding as little sugar as I possibly could. I therefore tried to stay away from buttercream and Candy melts, instead using a sugarfree cake recipe, ganache and chocolate.
It was a good try with fairly satisfactory results!

For those of you who are interested in a more thorough description of what I did, I added a how to here. Otherwise you can stop reading and maybe pin my picture for me :)


The filling consists of Honey Ginger Cake. I found the recipe on Homemade Baby Food where they also have a lot of other great sugarfree cake recipes.
I had some white chocolate ganache which I had taken out of the freezer the day before. After I crumbled the cake to pieces, I used this to stick it back together. The cake is quite moist on its own and I found that I probably could have rolled satisfactory balls without adding the ganache. Anyhoo... I rolled the mixture into balls which were way too big and then coated them with a bit of wholewheat flour just so they wouldn't be so sticky. I put them into a egg tray with plastic wrap over it and used yellow Wilton Candy melt to stick a lolly pop stick into them. (I used Candy melt because you cannot temper that small amount of chocolate.) I put the tray into the freezer for at least 15 minutes so the pops would be hard and easy to work with (hmmm sounds weird, hard and easy... you get what I mean right?)

While the pops were in the freezer I made the Mouse ears. I used chocolate drops and an apple corer. This made a nice round piece of chocolate that wasn't too thin. I also tempered white chocolate (don't know how? Check here).
I coated all the pops in white chocolate first. A quarter of the pops I put on a piece of baking paper, those were going to be the Goofy's and half I added ears to. Because the pops came from the freezer the ears needed to go on quickly, because the chocolate sets really fast. It's good though because you don't risk the ears falling off before it's set.

I wanted to use the gold balls as in the picture above for Mickey buttons. I had it all set up but then completely forgot to stick them on after dipping. When I remembered the chocolate had long since set. It beats having to draw them on though, so I would definitely do this next time.

After all the pops were dipped in white chocolate I put them in a pop holder thing and put them back in the freezer. Meanwhile I tempered dark chocolate.
Mickey, Minnie and Donald have their top half in dark chocolate and Goofy the bottom, though because his stick is on top what you're doing is the same.

Minnie got two heart shaped confetti candies on top her head and I made the spots on here dress with a lollypop stick dipped in chocolate. That's also how I made the lines on Goofy, though I think I'll use a brush for that next time.
Mickey's buttons are made from yellow Wilton Candy Melt, but as I said before I'll use the gold balls next time.

Goofy's hat and Donald's hat and bow are made from white fondant.

Make it beautiful!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The budget wedding cake

My last post might have given off the impression that I thought the bride and groom were seriously underpaying for their cake. This was not my intention and while there were some parts where I was doing work I wasn't being paid for (like getting all the cakes the same size) overall the cake and the time I spend on it reflects the budget. So I was happy with that!
Now I'm on to the birthday of my baby girl which is super fun!

As she is turning the very young age of just 1, I don't want to give her a really sweet, packed full of evil food coloring, cake. After a quick and fruitful search on google (baby first birthday cake recipe were my search words) I came across a wonderful site full of lovely baby cake recipes.

My eye immediately fell on the honey and ginger cake which sounds and looks yummy. I'm really excited to make it and have decided to use it for my mom's cake pop order which is for Friday.

So here is the recipe if you're interested:
No it's not, I checked out the disclaimer and they might not be happy if I print the recipe here but you can check it out on their website: Homemade baby food recipes

I´m going to make Disney´s Fab 5 cake pops with it. I haven´t quite decided on how to stick the cake together to form the balls, I´m thinking cream cheese or maybe melted chocolate, or ganache... not sure. I have a bunch of ganache in the freezer so that would be a good choice. It might taste weird together though. I´ll have to try.

Anyway here is my Fab 5 cake pop idea:

I'm hoping it will be pretty easy. I want to make them as a birthday treat for when we go on our family reunion weekend next week. The idea looks cute...

Monday, August 12, 2013

What I'm up to: wedding cake!

I make cakes for a living now, though I don't actually make enough for that to be completely true. I've made a fair few though and sometimes even have the feeling I know what I'm talking about. If you do the same, you might recognize the moment when you realize you really did not charge enough for the cake you're making. Usually it happens quite late, probably during the decorating process, but today I got it while making the batter for the second cake. sh...#(@*)$*..t

I'm doing a wedding cake, sort of. The happily engaged couple are just out of college and thought the wedding cake prices were too steep. If you're marrying, going on your honeymoon and moving within the same month I can see how you need to keep to your budget and since I know them I suggested to make normal cakes. They won't be stacked and they won't be as luxurious as wedding cakes usually are but it could work and instead of paying 800 euros they only have to spend 200 excluding 3D flowers which cost extra. They were happy with the idea and then came with (I have to secretly admit) a brilliant plan to buy a cake stand which they will sell again after the wedding.
The cake stand

So they'll have 4 cakes that look exactly the same but have different tastes on the inside. I charged a little bit for that because it's one order but while I was making the batter I thought: if they are not all the same flavor, they won't all be the same height because they don't rise in the same way. hmmm. Do I have to fix that? Or do I treat them as separate cakes and thus it's not my problem they are not exactly alike. hmmm. So that was one moment when I figured maybe I should have charged just a little more because time is money, and if you don't want to pay for it, then I shouldn't be spending more time on it, right?

The other problem with this cake is that this was their idea:
I´m not sure where this pic comes from so I cannot credit. If you recognize it please let me know!
It´s a very pretty 3 tier cake with 3D flowers and swirly things. They wanted their cake to look like the middle tier which I thought would be very gorgeous. So I told them the price of the roses and the 5 petal flowers and they said Ok we want one rose and one other flower. ....
I figured I should not beat around the bush as they say about a wedding cake so I said very clearly and in these exact words (except they were Dutch): It will NOT look anything like this then... you do understand that right?!
Yes they did.

I have to make a pretty cake so I told them that flat decoration was included and I could make a bunch of flat 5 petal flowers so it at least looks a little like the pic. This was my idea:

Two 5 petal flowers are 3D the rest is flat. It looks ok in the pic but I hope it turns out that way on the cake too... It's one of those moments that I wish the bride and groom had spend just a little bit more on it. It would have maybe cost 20 euros more to have just a few more flowers to get it to look really nice. Now I have to make a presentable cake with limited means AND limited time. I will not spend wedding cake time if I'm not getting paid accordingly. That's fair right?
I'll show the outcome next week :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How to: Baby painting with 100% natural edible finger paint recipe

For father's day I wanted to have Baby paint her daddy a picture. As she is only 9 months and puts everything in her mouth I figured it would be a good idea to make her some edible paint.

I googled how to make edible finger paint and found a wonderful page which made a good paste which tastes disgusting and gave me a good idea of what to do with it. To me it seemed smart to have a yucky taste as I really didn't want Baby to try and like it. However the recipe did use chemical food coloring and I am not a big fan of those. I already knew how to make food, which has a base of fat (like butter), naturally yellow, with curcuma/turmeric/curcumin powder. It's yellow powder made from the root of the curcumin and you can find it at your local supermarket in the spice rack. However I really didn't know how to make the rest of the colors.

I used a page which I cannot find anymore, figures... But it had two ways of making natural food coloring, by juicing or boiling. This great article basically says the same and more:

It also links to this blog which has lots of diy natural food dyes.

I made the finger paint substance first and colored it later, as the recipes suggest. This however left me with very drab colors because I just couldn't add enough natural food coloring without ruining the paint. Therefore this recipe combines the two. The only downside is that it makes quite a lot of each color.
Do take into account that these colors are always going to be quite pastel.

The red in my picture was made with berries and completely disappeared when Baby painted with it, so I recommend beets.

All colors are true except the purple which I made with wilton food coloring.

100% natural edible finger paint, especially great for babies

Colors and corresponding juices:

- Pink/red: beet juice (can come from a can of beets) or you can pulverize raspberries in a blender and strain out the liquid. 

- Green: Spinach juice or just spinach pureed with water UPDATE: I would use wheat grass powder for this now, it's very vibrant even in small quantities and the plus side: it tastes grassy and not particularly good.

- Orange: carrot juice

- Purple: Cook a red cabbage until the water is very dark or use grape juice.

- Blue: Cook a red cabbage until the water is very dark and then stir in baking soda, a little at a time until the water turns a pretty blue hue or pulverize black or blueberries and strain the liquid.

- Yellow: turmeric powder, found in the spice section of the supermarket, (this works great but I have found that it darkens over time)

You can also make brown by straining a few black tea bags, or coffee, or adding cocoa powder to water. But I DO NOT recommend this for babies. It will contain a whole lot of caffeine and you don't want your baby eating that.

1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cup juice for the color you need, see above
Unflavored gelatin, check the package to see how much you need
1/4 cup cold water

Mix together gelatin and water and set aside.
Cook cornstarch mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it boils. It’ll become thick as you’re stirring.
Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin mixture.
Pour into smaller containers and let cool.

I bought a canvas board and taped the letter of Baby's name on it. I dropped dabs of different colors around the board and put her on it. She then had a blast painting it. I turned the board a few times so she got all sides. I had a little baby pool standing by to put her in afterward because she painted herself too :)
When the paint was dry I pulled the letters off making it a very pretty picture for her daddy on daddy's day.

I'm not sure if it will keep because of the natural food coloring but right now it's doing ok. I think it turned a little darker over the course of 4 weeks. It might be better to make a good picture of it just after it's made so you have that if it does go bad.

UPDATE: 6 months later and it is still ok. I'm looking at the real painting right now and just comparing with the picture above: I think it is slowly fading probably due to sunlight. That seems logical to me so I stand by what I say above, make a picture!
Also my niece has told me numerous times that she thinks it is ugly, lol :) Luckily I don't.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Cream cheese frosting, made easy

Recipe of the week

Cream cheese frosting 
enough to top a small pie


75 grams of cream cheese
50 grams margarine, room temperature
80 grams powdered sugar

Make sure the margarine is really at room temp otherwise you'll get lumps. Margarine tends to be a lot more solid at room temp than butter which is why I use it for this frosting. Something needs to hold it up with all the mushy cream cheese!

Put the margarine in a bowl and mix until it's light and fluffy.
Put the cream cheese in and add the sugar too. Mix another 5 minutes.
Keep the frosting in the fridge until needed.

You can top your cake or cupcakes by using a piping bag or just dollop it on with a spoon as I did in the picture.

Easy right!

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My grandmother's pancake pie - easy and delicious

So last Friday I delivered my very first wedding cake. It was amazing if I do say so myself. Four tiers, carrot cake, champagne butter cream and fondant decoration. Luckily the bride and groom thought it was gorgeous and delicious too which is what matters in the end. Lots of the guest gave great comments also, check out the picture below to form your own opinion :)

I did find out that making wedding cakes takes a lot of time and a lot of material. I ended up charging way too little but as it was the first ever, that was ok.

Anyway, with all that work comes little time for other things so my dad baked me a pancake pie using my grandmothers recipe. He figured that I would have something to blog about without the work! Do I have an awesome dad or what?

This recipe refers to a Dutch Pancake Pie which to Americans and many other people probably, will look more like a crepe pie. The pancakes are thin and a little different so I'm just going to give the recipe for those as well. I'll blog it separately so check it HERE.

Grandma's Pancake Pie

- Pancakes (see recipe here)
- Jam, your favorite flavor(s)
- Instant custard and the ingredients you need to make it
- OR just use ready to use custard if they sell that where you live
- OR make your own custard if you feel up to it

You need to make the pancakes first. After that, go ahead and make your custard. It has to be a pudding. I'm not sure if instant custard is the same everywhere so you'll have to check the package to see how to make it.
It's easiest if you use your custard while it is still runny.

Now comes the super easy part:

Take a pancake and put it on a large plate with an edge. Pour some custard on it, or if using ready made just smear on there. Take another pancake and put it on top. Smear jam on that one and cover with another pancake. Now repeat until you have enough custard left to pour over your entire cake. (skip this part if using ready made custard) Pour the last bit over the top when it has congealed a little.

Let the cake stand until it has cooled and then pop it in the fridge.When it's cool dust some sugar over it and you're good to go :)

The wedding cake :)
 Make it beautiful!

Dutch pancake recipe

Dutch pancakes

(makes about a dozen)

These pancakes are typically eaten as dinner or made into a dessert. Or use it to make my grandmother's pancake pie!


- 200 grams of self-raising flour
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 250 ml milk
- 250 ml buttermilk
- butter or oil

Sift the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a hole in the middle and break the eggs in it. Pour the milk in and mix with a hand mixer into a smooth paste. Keep mixing on low speed and add the buttermilk.

Leave the batter to sit for 30 minutes.

Heat a bit of butter or oil in a frying pan. Use a soup spoon to pour batter into the center of the pan. Pour until 3/4 of the pan is covered and swirl the pan to cover the rest.

Bake the pancake on medium heat until the top is almost dry and the bottom is lightly browned.
Flip the pancake and bake until the bottom is lightly brown too about 2 minutes.

Put the pancake on a plate.

Repeat until you used all the batter and have a nice stack of pancakes.

Eat the pancakes, rolled up with molasses, powdered sugar or regular sugar if you want them really Dutch. Or use butter, maple syrup etc.

In The Netherlands the above is the classic pancake but they are also regularly made with all sorts of additional ingredients. Just a few really yummy ideas:

Apple: Thinly slice an apple, put a few slices in the pan and pour the batter over it. Bake as stated above.

Cheese: After pouring the batter in the pan, put a few slices of cheese on top and bake as stated above.

Bacon: Add bacon to the pan, pour batter over it and bake as stated above.

Raisins: Soak raisins in hot water for 10 minutes, squeeze the excess water out and sprinkle them on the batter after you poured it in the pan. Bake as stated above.

Banana: Add slices of banana to the pan and pour batter over them. Bake as stated above.

Also think about combo's like apple and bacon, my absolute favorite pancake!

You can basically add whatever you like to Dutch pancakes :) Then smother it in molasses syrup and you're good to go.

These pancakes make awesome desserts too. Just like crepes actually. Smear some nutella on a pancake, roll it up, microwave it for 30 sec on high and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Easy and super yummy!   

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Recipe of the week: Healthy chocolate mousse, no added sugar, vegan and super easy!

Recipe of the week

I've spend the last two days working on a 4 tier wedding cake and a cake for my dad's woodworking class. At first I thought the wedding cake would take up all of my time, but when my Dad agreed to the same base cake as the wedding cake I figured it would be fine. After baking, filling and coating 5 cakes in two days I found that it is fine to make an extra cake. I could easily fit it into the wedding cake schedule and I found it takes less time than making them back to back. I hope I'll stay stress free....

Anyhoo... there are recipes that are way simpler than making a 4 tier 70 people carrot cake filled with champagne buttercream, coated with white chocolate ganache and decorated with fondant (gosh that sounds awesome :)

So Healthy Chocolate Mousse. Normal chocolate mousse is generally ok but this is really healthy. It only contains 3 ingredients and no sugar!

Healthy Chocolate Mousse, no sugar and really easy
(2 servings minimal)

Ingredients and supplies:

2 bananas, really ripe but not brown
2 avocado, ripe
6 tablespoons of Dutch cocoa

The avocado has to be really ripe otherwise this recipe will not work. Pick a dark green, heavy, firm avocado without bruises or soft spots. Then do this:
It should be a yellowish green, then it's perfect.


Cut the avocado in half, like the picture above. You should be able to pull the seed right out, and peel it by hand easy. If not your avocado is not ripe enough and you will probably have some lumps in your mousse.

Put the avocado in the bowl and mix until there are no more lumps and it's a light fluffy green stuff. Mash the bananas into the avocado and mix well again until you have a mousse like substance. Add the cocoa and mix another three minutes at high speed.

Divide the mousse into bowls and put them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Or put the entire bowl in the fridge and eat it all yourself :)

Make it beautiful! 

Monday, May 27, 2013

How to: temper chocolate the easy way using a microwave and no thermometer

How to: temper chocolate the pretty fail safe easy way using a microwave and no thermometer.

Check it every 15 seconds and give it a good stir

So everyone always says that tempering chocolate is really hard, but it's really not.

First of all what is tempered chocolate?
It's when the chocolate breaks, like a chocolate bar does. It snaps. If you melt chocolate and don't temper it or don't do it right, it doesn't snap but bends like a gummy bear does when it's completely cooled and back to solid.

Secondly you need to understand what you're doing when you temper chocolate so you understand why you're doing what you're doing:
Chocolate in its solid state is like New York, buildings on a grid. When you melt it, it's like a big storm went right over New York and there's trees and cars and mess everywhere. When it starts to cool down, nothing happens to that big mess, it's fixable but you need something that is going to clean everything up and get everything back in place. For this you need solid chocolate. Solid chocolate knows how to be a grid, it knows how to be neat and orderly and it will tell the rest of that melted chocolate to clean up. That will get New York looking good again and your chocolate back in snapping instead of bending stage.
And by the way, if you overheat chocolate it's like a fire broke out and burned that entire mess... you're never getting New York back or your chocolate. You'll have to start over with new chocolate.

I'm sure a scientist would have a much better explanation but you probably get the concept, right?

So how to temper chocolate:

Break your chocolate into pieces. They don't have to be super small about half an inch squared.
Take 1/4 of the chocolate and cut or grate it fine. It doesn't need to be a flour consistency, just small enough to easily melt.

Put your 3/4 chocolate in a microwaveable bowl and heat it on half power (400 watt on mine) for 1 minute. Stir and heat again for 15 seconds. Take care not to coat the side of the bowl when stirring because the thin film on the side will burn.
Repeat the stirring and 15 seconds heating until only small clumps of chocolate remain in a yummy bowl of molten chocolate. Stopping when small bits remain will keep you from overheating and burning the chocolate.

Take your bowl out of the microwave and add the finely chopped/grated chocolate. Stir so everything is combined and leave it for a few minutes. Repeat until no pieces of chocolate remain. It can take quite a while to melt everything and the chocolate, even though it's liquid will feel quite cool.

If it just doesn't want to melt, or you want to reheat the chocolate because it's gotten too firm to dip or pour or whatever you want to do with it, just reheat it for 10 seconds. Don't reheat it too much or long because then it will be that big mess again and you'll need more solid chocolate to get it tempered again.

Any leftovers can be reused, and tempered again. 

And try not to drink the molten chocolate, that's not good for you. Really yummy, but not good.

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