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Emoji Cookies for Valentine’s Day

24 Jan

 

I am lucky to have daughters who love to bake.  We try and reserve Sunday afternoons for baking and love trying new things.  This last Sunday we decided to make emoji cookies to share with friends.  Seeing that emojis are still so popular, these cookies were a huge hit!  I even brought some to work to share with coworkers and everyone commented on how cute they were.

If you’re looking for something sweet to gift this Valentine’s Day, these emoji cookies would be the perfect thing!  If you really, really love emojis, you need to check out our personalized emoji gifts that make great Valentine’s Day gifts, too.

Here’s the recipe I used from Karenscookies.net:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup superfine sugar, or granulated sugar, processed in blender or food processor for 30 seconds
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. Almond extract or emulsion, optional
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour.

Cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes with mixer set at medium speed (see Dough Preparation and Baking tutorial for more information on creaming times). Add yolk, beat well. Add whole egg, vanilla and optional almond extract and beat until well-incorporated. Add flour; beat at low speed just until flour is mixed in; do not overmix. Divide dough in halves or thirds and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour and up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dust work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll dough to 1/4″ thick, sprinkling with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking. Cut into desired shapes and place on parchment or silicone-lined pans. Bake in preheated oven until cookies appear dry on the surface and are light golden brown on the edges, about 10 minutes (very large cookies may take up to 12 or 13 minutes). Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks and cool completely before decorating.

For the frosting/glaze, I used this recipe, also from Karenscookies.net:

  • 2 lb powdered sugar
  • ½ C plus 2 T milk (10 T)
  • ½ C plus 2 T corn syrup (10 T)
  • 1 T. flavoring, any combination (I like 2 tsp. clear vanilla, ½ tsp. Almond Emulsion, and ½ tsp. clear butter flavoring, but you can get creative and try different things.)

Mix together till smooth. Divide up and color as desired.

You can use this icing just the way it is for both outlining and filling in. If you’re looking for more detail, you can thicken up your outline color with a bit more powdered sugar if desired. The formula is not set in stone, feel free to experiment with different ratios of liquid to sugar to get the consistency you like the best.

Hope you have fun making your own creative treats!

xoxo,

Jennifer

Homemade Chicken Soup Recipe for Cozy Winter Days

21 Jan

Soup

On those cold days of winter, if you are working or need to be out of the house all day but want some homemade soup when you get home, try this tried and true homemade chicken soup recipe which is made in a slow cooker.  My slow cooker capacity is 7 quarts so if you have a smaller one you will need to adjust the recipe accordingly.

img_6341

Ingredients:

Put all the following into the slow cooker:

1   32-oz box chicken broth (I like the Kitchen Basics brand)

8 cups of cold water

3  chicken bouillon cubes (I use the Telma brand, found in the Kosher aisle)

1 whole chicken, small or medium sized

2   12oz. bags of small baby carrots  (or 3-4 cups of carrot slices)

8 large stalks celery, sliced

1 large onion, chopped

3/4 cups barley (not quick barley)

Set the slow cooker for 4-5 hours on high.  Be sure the temperature of the chicken is at least 165-degrees when you remove it.  I place it on a jelly roll pan and break it apart to cool.  When it’s cool enough to touch, I shred the chicken pieces and return them to the soup.  Now the important part – taste the soup!  You can salt to your taste but I rarely add more salt.

SoupOnce soup cools a bit, I ladle out servings in disposable containers, label them and freeze them.  I leave enough in a larger container to put in the fridge for the week.  The frozen servings are wonderful to use in the future on a cold day when you just want one serving of homemade soup. If you prefer white rice, brown rice or noodles instead of barley, I’d recommend cooking them separately and then just adding after the soup is done.

Enjoy!

Best wishes,

Renee

 

Why Order Save the Date Cards?

17 Jan

Wedding Ring

Did you or any of your friends get engaged this holiday season?  According to new data released by the social media site Elite Daily,  Christmas Eve is the most popular day to get engaged, followed by Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Facebook compiled data from more than 2.5 million users in an effort to uncover some of the patterns — if any — associated with modern engagements.  They also found that one-third of people get engaged between November and December, and the average age of newly engaged couples is 24.

So if the big question was popped, and if she said “yes!” then the next step is figuring out the perfect date and location for the wedding.  And, of course, it’s the right time to put together the guest list so you know that the possible locations you are considering will accommodate the number of guests comfortably.

Save the Date Cards

Maybe you are already in this process, determining where and when to plan that dream wedding.  If so, you might consider Save the Date cards.  These are cards that are sent to wedding guests well in advance.  They can be sent out normally 6-9 months before the event, and in advance of the invitation.  Sometimes the cards just have text on them and sometimes they have a photo of the bride and groom.  That’s just preference as both are wonderful options.

Why should you send out Save the Date cards? They are perfect to use if you have a lot of out-of-town guests, as they need time to plan their travel.  If you are planning the big day on a holiday weekend, such as 4th of July, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve, then a Save the Date is strongly recommended so your guests will actually “save the date” and not make other plans.

Why plan so far ahead?  Airline tickets are normally less expensive the earlier they are purchased so your guests will have time and details available to book travel if needed.  Also, if you can reserve a hotel ballroom and asking for a special rate for accommodations for your guests, then they will also be able to reserve a hotel room(s) in advance. On your Save the Date cards, if you have created a wedding website, you can list the address so your guests can find these details.

Save the Date cards are not, in any way, a substitute for a formal wedding invitation.  Normally on the save the dates, you would simply provide the wedding date, city of the wedding, and state that invitations will follow.  You would order one Save the Date per couple or family so that guest list is important to know at this point!

If you did create a wedding website, you are ahead of the curve. That’s a great place to, in addition to listing hotel information, list registry details, pictures of the bride and groom, provide tips of what to do when you’re in town, state whether the wedding is casual, semi-formal, black tie preferred, or black tie required, and other specifics.  If you don’t have that information available yet, no worries.  You can list that on accommodation cards when you send out the invitations 3-4 months before the wedding.

Happy wedding planning!

Best wishes,

Renee