play doh cupcakes

Over the weekend Saucy fashioned two batches of special cupcakes in pretty playful theme.

The Sprout's second birthday was celebrated with that sweet-smelling, colourful childhood-favourite plaything. Who the heck is Saucy kidding... even adults lurrve to smoosh it between their fingers. A theme cupcake was in order.

It was easy to make Saucy's Superkid Cupcake recipe, the three colours are nice and "doughy." Dark pink - almost red, blue and bright yellow. The perfect colours were achieved with Wilton pastes. Make sure you get the "no taste" red when you are attempting to achieve a dark tint like this in batter or frosting. Royal Blue and Daffodil Yellow were used, although Saucy added a little Buttercup Yellow to the gold frosting because it was just a titch (is that a word? Saucy says it all the time) too bright. She wanted the nice, deep but bright yellow that Play Doh does so well. It almost looks a little dirty.

Remember, professional grade food pastes deepen in colour after sitting for a couple of hours. Keep this in mind when you are decorating cakes and cupcakes. Ease up on the dye when you are pretty close to your desired tint. Let the air do the rest of the colouring for you. And yes, this holds true in airtight storage containers, too.

For this noodle-effect with the blue and yellow frosting, make sure you squiggle your pastry bag with a nice small tip (Saucy used the Wilton #6) after you pipe the white base but before you fill it with yellow, dig?

Another tip: let the noodles set on the white frosting for about twenty minutes before you frost the peak with yellow and do the sprinkling. A little crust will form on the base and the noodles and if you add the sprinkles to the peak immediately after piping, excess sprinkles won't stick to the parts you don't want them... they'll roll right off.

And that, Dear Friends, is your cupcake for today. Resist the urge to smoosh it between your fingers.

pocket pies

We interrupt this blog redesign for...

These handheld beauties were made with the Williams-Sonoma pocket pie mold. Loopy cannot resist gadgets like this if she hits the big mall after her orthodontist appointments. She willingly offered up Saucy's birthday gift card to try these super cute individual pies.

Loopy and her peeps got together after school to make pocket pies for one of the Cheerios whose grandma passed away this week.

J-Woww documents everything... she's going to be a famous photojournalist someday, Saucy can just tell.

Hey wait! Those are Saucy's reading glasses! Not cool. Kinda funny, but not cool. Take those glasses off, Cabana Boy.

Saucy puts all of the peeps to work, nobody has idle hands in the kitchen. If they aren't rolling dough or peeling apples and pears for the pies, then they are shown how to use the food processor and put to work making bread crumbs.

Beegie looks different than the last time you saw her here, doesn't she? She is still awfully cute, her face covered with flour.

Flour fight!

Force feeding!

Loopy tied to the kitchen drawer while she wasn't looking.

In spite of their shenanigans, they managed to turn out some really nice pocket pies, even using an egg wash and sprinkling the unbaked pies with sanding sugar. The pocket pie mold is easy to use and surprisingly quick. The recipe on the box yielded seven individual pies - but Saucy used her own pastry recipe and got four pocket pies:

1 and 1/4 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup very cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 to 5 tablespoons very cold water

In food processor, chop the flour, sugar and salt with the cold butter until it is coarse like pea meal. Add the ice water, one tablespoon at a time but do not over-process. Turn mixture into a bowl and gather it into a ball without handling it too much. Cover in plastic wrap and place in fridge until ready to use.

This recipe makes one 10" round crust so Saucy makes two batches of it if she is covering her pie with pastry. She ended up making four batches today to end up with eight pocket pies. Next time, she's going to give the box recipe a whirl and see how it goes.

Reader, you are never too young to get into the kitchen to whip up some lurrve for a peep who's at a low point. Piping hot pocket pies were delivered to the door of the Cheerio in need. Nothing will ease the pain of losing a grandparent, but pocket pies put a temporary smile on the face of a friend today. Loopy and her peeps did good, don't you think?

these things take time

Sample #1

Sample #2

Tonight in a moment of near frustration, Uncle Bug reminded Saucy that these things take time and that getting this website moved over and running the way you'd like is sort of like baking... it's going to take time and you are going to have to find the right recipe and mix up the right ingredients... and you get the drift.

Uncle Bug is tied up with a paying gig. The nerve! As if he doesn't enjoy being his sister's beck-and-call-guy when it comes to this stuff, now the jobs that actually pay cold hard cash are more important.

Because Saucy has a dream: a dream of several blogs running simultaneously into one homepage that will post the most recent when you arrive on the domain. Then, say, you could just move over to the cupcake blog or the crafting blog or the event blog... and see the most recent post in that category. Sounds way cool and professional, doesn't it? And for those of you who ask Saucy to bookmark recipes and ideas in a handy format... that sounds like what you want. With a search bar within each separate blog... do you see where she's going with this, people?

To the untrained nobody, it sounds like something that you can *poof* whip up in no time flat. But then again, to the bakers in the crowd, it's unreasonable to expect a fantastic new concept in cheesecake to be "whipped up in no time flat," so there's the catch.

Reader: what do you find the most desirable when you are navigating a blog or a website? Spill it, so Saucy and Uncle Bug can take these things into consideration. This is your hangout, too.

Please bear with Saucy as she makes this transition. In the meantime, cheesecake sounds pretty good right now, doesn't it?

it's moving time

Saucy has finally outgrown Blogger. The storage space is full and the templates have run their course, so she's found a new home on the world wide intertubes.

It's the long weekend in Canada and she will be spending it sorting, dusting and packing her virtual belongings and getting her new digs set up to receive visitors next week. Yes, there will be a housewarming party - complete with cupcakes and door prizes. Don't worry, the address will still be the same, it will just be a new house when you arrive.

In the meantime, as always happens in a move, things were located in the kerfuffle and it's time for a bit of a yard sale. Check out the Etsy for some never before listed (and some reduced) items.

Let's tidy this place up, people. The movers will be here any second.

forty eight

Forty eight years ago The Fan and The Secret Weapon were married. Of course, they weren't known as "The Fan" or "The Secret Weapon" at the time, but she was (and still is) his Princess.

These anniversary stuff-cakes are fit for a Princess, don't you agree? Lemon pound cake with lemon filling, baked with a crumble topping and frosted with strawberry lemon buttercream then filled with a shot of cream cheese frosting... and sprinkled with extra-fancy decorations.

Because you see, The Fan was a Princess on her wedding day. Look at the tiara that The Secret Weapon made for her to wear. Someday, maybe someday, Loopy will wear that tiara when she marries Joe Jonas.

Let Saucy show you how to finish a stuff-cake so the two types of sprinkles don't get all mixed up:

Fit one pastry bag with a large tip (Saucy's fave is the Wilton 1A) and pipe two swirls around the outside edge of the cupcake. Decorate with your first sprinkles now, not later.

Using a different bag, fill the "hole" in the frosting with a nice shot of the cream cheese frosting. Now, you can decorate that part with a different sprinkle. It's a nice effect, especially if you mix and match them for presentation:

Now, please join Saucy as she raises a cupcake to toast her parents on forty eight years of marriage. To The Fan and The Secret Weapon, congratulations *cupcakes clinking*.

watermelon soup

Saucy grew up eating cold watermelon soup... at family gatherings on the Russian side of the family, it was called kvas. A quick internet search for accurate spelling revealed that kvass is actually a fermented yeast-based alcoholic drink, similar to a beer or ale - found in Russia.

Saucy figures her family enjoyed far too much of the vodka-laced watermelon soup they favoured and simply called it kvas, so who knows? It's a mystery.

To enjoy a cool refreshing serving (bowl or glass) of this kvas, you will need: a ripe watermelon, cold fresh tap water, sugar, salt, and the juice of a half lemon.

Optional ingredients include: cucumber, vodka, white (Riesling) wine, Triple Sec (orange) liqueur, cilantro, peppermint leaves, sour cream, or feta cheese. Read on.

You will need to use some of the sugar and water to make a simple syrup. Simple syrup is just that - a softly boiled syrup of equal parts water and sugar. Make this ahead of time and cool it. There should be no granules of sugar in simple syrup.

Today, Saucy made a simple syrup of 1/3 cup sugar to 1/3 cup water. Later in the summer, Saucy will make it in larger quantities and have it on hand for use in cocktails and punches. Most bartenders keep a simple syrup handy... if stored in the fridge, it will keep for several weeks.

You will also need water for the soup base. This is where the cucumbers come in. During the summer Saucy also keeps containers of water in the fridge, each one infused with different things: melon balls, lemon or lime slices, or cucumber slices. Today for the soup, she grabbed the cucumber water...

... and she squeezed a half lemon that she had on hand, too.

Cut a medium - to - large seedless watermelon in half. Divide the halves into quarters. As neatly as you can, cube the melon into nice, even pieces. Place them in a large glass mixing bowl. The odd sized off-cuts can go into your blender. About 1/4 of the melon should be cubed and the other 1/4 should be placed into the blender.

At this point add the lemon juice and salt to taste. The puree should be salted enough that it enhances the flavour of the melon but doesn't taste overly salty. It's a fine line so add your salt lightly and keep testing. For a batch this size, Saucy would use no more than 1/4 teaspoon.

A light foam might form on top of the puree, skim it off. It can go down the sink.

Pour the puree over the cubed melon. You can run it through a sieve but this won't be necessary if it is absolutely seed-free and pureed well. Sweeten to taste with the simple syrup. Stir the mixture gently. There will be some bubbles, but the will disappear.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate well. The kvas should be served within a day - it is best made in the early afternoon for an evening get together.

As an adult, Saucy enjoys her watermelon soup with feta cheese, garnished with cilantro. As a child, she enjoyed it as it was made - plain. That is, until she was old enough and realized that the adults and children were enjoying their soups from different sources... the adult soup had a fair amount of vodka in it. This would easily explain Aunty Virginia making snow angels on the front lawn at Baba's birthday party every August... a story for another day.

Wonderful variations of this basic kvas are (aside from a generous spiking with fine Russian spirits): add a dash of Triple Sec is a nice alternative to vodka, or a nice Riesling. Sour cream can be substituted for the feta cheese as a topping for a traditional Russian cold soup.

Enjoy some of this traditional fare of Saucy's family on a hot day... perhaps on the upcoming long weekend. If you decide to add the vodka or Triple Sec, skip the cheese garnish - and watch your Aunties closely.

we're into it, for summer

Time to get outside, enjoy the nice weather, and get in shape for swimsuit season. Loopy and Saucy splurged on a couple of pairs of Sketchers Shape Ups while in Calgary on the weekend. Will they work? The mere act of getting out and walking might be what does the trick but Saucy is game to give it a try anyway.

Asian treats and groceries from Chinatown! This weekend's finds include strawberry Kit Kat bars:... and more bottles of Ramune, the Japanese marble drink. Just remove the cap, invert it, and use it as a tool to release the marble into the neck of the bottle to open the drink. The marble with swirl around in its confines while you take sips.

Loopy lurrves Japanese Pocky sticks! Saucy does too. These won't help getting ready for swimsuit season...

Oh, maybe just a few... strawberry flavoured!

Hair Tinsel... Beyonce wore these to the Grammy Awards. These fine strands of mylar are woven and tied to the base of about ten hairs on your head, near the crown. If attached securely, you can wash and gently brush your hair and they can last for weeks. Saucy took Loopy to a salon to have a few pieces put in at $7.50 per set of three.

Unamused, Saucy hit eBay when they got home from the Salon and ordered a pack of 2800 assorted strands for $16.99 (with free shipping) from a vendor overseas. They arrived quickly and Saucy has been practicing her hair flair on any visiting Cheerio that stands still long enough. She has this brilliant idea to master the tight little knot required, teach a few of the Cheerio mothers and some of the Cheerios... and have a fundraiser called BEAR HAIR FLAIR next year... what do you think of that, Dear Reader?

Oh, and unless your hair is quite short, make sure you order the 1 metre lengths... anything shorter is just too fussy to work with. There are plenty of instructional videos on YouTube.

Saucy cashed in her Shoppers Optimum Points for a set of Harajuku Lovers Summer Cuties scents. G, Love, Angel, Music and Baby, all dolled up for the beach and smelling like summer. Too cute for the vanity!

Jewelry artist Tarina Tarantino turned Saucy and Loopy onto embellished tiaras, over the top Hello Kitty necklaces and hot pink hairdos. Now, she has a line of cosmetics:

The packaging is glitzy and stunning... Saucy and Loopy are enchanted. An overwhelmingly beautiful selection of pinks for eyes, lips and face. Time to stock up! Can you imagine the photo shoot possibilities? Where on earth can Saucy find a hot pink wig so far away from Halloween?

Loopy lurrves her Tokidoki messenger bag and laptop case. The patterns are so cute and fun:

Now, Tokidoki has created a line of cosmetics for Sephora. It's bright and playful, just like the brand. Tokidoki means "sometimes" in Japanese... but this stuff is cute all the time.

Lastly, Saucy is way into her May scrapping challenge. She did four more layouts today alone. They're drying right now so she'll take pictures tomorrow. Luckily, she's also working digitally:

Reader, Saucy and Loopy enjoy a good tip from you. What are you into right now? Spill.