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“My blog is a collection of tidbits about the things I love... sugar cookies, baking, great food, cute stuff, and life in Happy Valley. Check back often for updates!!”

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A Snowy Day Pleaser

posted Friday Feb 26, 2010 at 03:41 PM by Anne Yorks — 2 comments

Is it snowing where you live? It is snowing here in Happy Valley! We have not received the tremendous amounts of snow other parts of the country have, but it is messing with my shipping times and it’s not making me happy!

So, since my New Year’s resolution was to maintain a positive attitude about things that normally make me mad, I have decided to post one of my favorite dinners for a snowy day. This always makes me happy no matter how many times I’ve shoveled the driveway. Darn wind!

Doggie Stew is a Family Favorite recipe. I’ll admit it sounds weird…but don’t go judging it before you try it. I think you’ll really like it a lot. Plus, it’s affordable and so easy to make.

Here it goes. I had a few helpers to do the demo. My handsome brother and my adorable little girl!

First, collect your ingredients:

2T Olive Oil
1/2 Onion
Hand-full of Parsley or Celery Leaves
1 Pack of Hot Dogs
Hungarian Paprika
Salt
Pepper
Garlic (3 cloves minced)
5-6 Potatoes
Water
More Hungarian Paprika

This recipe is so easy, because you probably already have most of the ingredients at your house. Our family likes the Hebrew National hot dogs best, but these Nathan brand did the job. They were BOGO at Giant.

Add olive oil and garlic to pot. I use my wonderful dutch oven.

Chop your onions and add to the pot.

Add a hand-full of parsley or celery leaves.

Cut hot dogs into little rounds. Like the size of a piece of Rollo candy. (make sure 2-year-old doesn’t eat uncooked hot dogs. I looked over and she was munching on one. gross)

Once the onions are translucent, add the hot dogs and a little water to the mix, enough to cover the dogs. Also add the celery leaves, salt and pepper. It is now also time to add the Paprika. I think it is important to use Hungarian paprika. The flavor is fantastic.

We add three tablespoons to start, but usually end up adding more once the stew is cooked.

Next peel and cut 5-6 potatoes. Add them to the doggie mixture and then add water, enough to cover the potatoes.

Cover and bring to a boil and then let the entire pot simmer on low for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are softening. Don’t over boil. You will turn your potatoes to complete mush. It’s edible, but not as good.

Add more paprika (to taste).

Doggie Stew is enjoyed best the day after it is prepared. Always eat with a piece of buttered bread. It’s so yummy that way!

I know you won’t find this recipe on the Food Network or the movie Julie and Julia, but try it. It will make your next snowy day warmer!

Have a sweet (and warm) day,
Anne

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Secret Keeper Girl Cookies

posted Wednesday Feb 24, 2010 at 09:43 PM by Anne Yorks — 1 comments

At the end of last year, the coordinator for the Secret Keeper Girl events contacted me about doing a special collection of cookies they could use as gifts, etc. Since I had already purchased all four books for my niece’s birthday, I was familiar with the program and super psyched to give their logo a try.

Have you heard of Secret Keeper Girl? It’s an awesome set of books and a program targeted to 8-12 year-olds, a.k.a. tweens. There is a blog, a set of books, a touring group that is sweeping the nation, and a ton of cool resources on www.secretkeepergirl.com. This is a blurb from their website:

“What is a Secret Keeper Girl? Well, she is lots of things! A Secret Keeper Girl values modesty, she surrounds herself with wise friends and she embraces Godly beauty. But, the most important thing for you to know is that a Secret Keeper Girl is a masterpiece created by God.”

Not only are these books super cool, but the authors make ‘mom’ resources available too. Wondering how to talk to your daughter about modesty, healthy body image, friends, and so on…these books offer lots of opportunities to open up the communication lines.

This may be one of my favorite cookie sets to make. Take a look.

Here is an overview of the cookie set. It was inspired by the artwork on their site. Daisies and Butterflies and all things girlie!

And here is a solo photo of the logo cookie I did. It’s pretty close to the actual logo. I tried to mimic the font and I included the flower that dots the ‘i’ in ‘Girl’. I even stacked a mini daisy cookie to add a little dimension to the rectangular shape. …

The pink daisy cookie is similar to the daisy in the Flour Box logo. I use tip #14 to create that fun detail on the petals. Icing lovers really like this cookie…

The purple butterfly cookie. I should do a tutorial on this cookie. The ‘double flood’ technique used to create the design on the wings is actually easy to do. Maybe I’ll save that for a post for another day.

If you get a minute check out www.secretkeepergirl.com. You don’t have to be a mom to spoil a special little girl…these books are great coming from a friend, aunt, or nana!

Thanks for taking a look at the cookies! Still working on the St. Patrick’s Day collection. I’m getting closer to my final product. I’m also working on a few custom orders. Of course, I’ll share the pictures with you right away!

Have a sweet day,

Anne

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To Infinity and Beyond

posted Sunday Feb 21, 2010 at 03:33 PM by Anne Yorks — 2 comments

“To Infinity and Beyond” is the mantra of a very popular spaceman…who happens to be very popular to a special 3-year-old boy I know. His mom is the scarf lady. Remember this post from a few weeks back? She custom made this for me…

And now she also makes these. I think this might make a cute gift for my little girl for Easter.

So, she asked me to make her some rocket ship cookies for her little man.

“Anne, can you make rocket ship or star cookies for the party?” asked Kim.

“Sure, but wouldn’t Buzz Lightyear cookies be so much cooler?” I replied.

Cooler and way more challenging. I did lose a little sleep over this project. But in the end I was pleased with my effort. First, I drafted a sketch of the cookie. Next, I created a ‘stencil’ out of plastic to hand-cut each of the cookies. He was huge, almost 8 inches tall. That’s a gigantic cookie. Buzz has a lot of moving parts. I had to simplify things a tad to make the design work.

Here is a close-up of his chest.

Not too bad, but I think this is one design I’m going to retire. Of course, what does retirement mean these days? Jay-Z, Michael Jordan, Brett Farve (heart is now beating faster), and the list continues of people that supposedly retire, but don’t. So maybe there will be another Buzz cookie someday.

Anyway, the kids loved the cookies. That’s all that matters. They also loved Rocketball and Pin the Star in the Galaxy. How cute!

I am currently working on finishing St. Patrick’s Day designs. I hope to have something to show you this week. Plus, my next e-newsletter will be going out on Thursday. This will keep you up-to-date on all my cookie antics. If you’re not on the mailing list…go to this site’s homepage and click on the tab on the right. All I need is your name and email address. Rest assured that your email will not be shared. And, I only send one or two emails a month depending on the number of holidays.

Have a sweet day,
Anne

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Bon Voyage!!

posted Friday Feb 19, 2010 at 04:04 PM by Anne Yorks — 2 comments

Traveling is awesome. I have traveled by car, plane and train, but my favorite mode of travel is cruise ship. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to cruise to a meeting or to church? I could deal with that. Stop at the pool or the buffet or play a little shuffle board while waiting to reach my destination. Yep. Sign me up. Plus, the little umbrellas in the drinks are so cute. Perfect for a Barbie doll on a rainy day. I would save my umbrella and give it to my little girl to use with her dolls.

This week I did a custom order for some travelin’ folks. A group is taking a one month trip to Thailand for a missions swap. Sounds kind of cool. I can’t imagine what an experience like that would be like. My customer let me choose the cookie shape and design. I went with a vintage suitcase cookie. I ordered a cookie cutter for the order, but unfortunately it arrived the day after I had hand-cut the cookies. Ugh. What timing!

When I was mixing the icing color for the main section of the suitcase, I was a little nervous. I am actually really pleased with the yellow/brown color. I think it is just right.

[FYI…Toph is eating one of my cookies as I write this blog and he just exclaimed, “Damn, these are good!” I think he is happy with his marriage choice right now.]

My favorite part of the cookie was the ‘Thailand or Bust’ sign hanging around the handle. You can almost see it in the picture if you take a close look. The black string on the sign isn’t even touching the suitcase. I iced it so that it really looked like a string. I think that is cool. Next time, I’ll try to get a better picture of that. I was rushing to take the photos because I had to get the ordered prepared for delivery.

If I were going to Thailand, I’d pack some cookies to bring to the people there. I would then attempt to exchange them with a local baker so that I could try some of their cookies. I really see cookies being an amazing peace offering.

I have a few more custom orders to show you. One of them was the biggest challenge of my career (thus far). I actually lost sleep over it. I’ll post it soon!

Have a sweet day,

Anne

P.S. Topher offered to post an article on my blog. I’m going to allow it, but I wanted to warn you. I can not be held responsible for his words. I can only imagine what he has to say. It will be a treat for you and me I’m sure!

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A Cookie Challenge for the Championship

posted Wednesday Feb 17, 2010 at 08:29 PM by Anne Yorks — 2 comments

This must be the week of challenging custom orders. I am beginning to wonder if someone has started a facebook group called ‘Stump the Baker at Flour Box’.

Well, Ha Ha! You’re foiled again you mysterious group of people that probably don’t exist! Because I did it…I created a custom order for the Duquesne Men’s Swim Team for the Atlantic 10 Championship.

I have to admit, though, I was stumped for a day. Swimming is a tough sport to turn into a cookie. There isn’t a ball or racket or helmet or jersey. So what did that leave me? A pool – not a very interesting cookie. A swim cap? Not so good.

So here’s what I went with: a speedo (yep! I went there), a swimmer dude, a Duquesne ‘D’, and a personalized cookie for each team member with their name and swim category.

Here’s the overview pic:

And here are the individual close-ups:

The Speedo…

The Duquense ‘D’. This cookie took a serious amount of concentration since I had to freehand them. I think the hard work paid off.

The swimmer dude…

And the personalized cookie:

Of course, there are always challenges in doing names…and this order was no different. A few of the names included SMITH and HILL and KOVACS. And then there was this name: WOLLENSCHLAEGER. This is no joke. I had to put Wollenschlaeger on a cookie. I did it, but it took me two tries. Here’s the final cookie…

Good thing they don’t put their names on the speedo. Don’t think that one would fit.

Well, that’s all I got for today. More tomorrow. I have a few more ‘custom’ orders that I’m dying to share. But for now, I’m pooped and I am going to zone in front of the tv. I need to catch up on the current episode of Damages. The web is being woven and I don’t want to miss a second!

Have a sweet day,
Anne

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