Saturday, April 27, 2013

Winnie the Pooh Cookies

Thanks to a picture of Magnolia Pancake Haus posted on Instagram, I found out that my friend/colleague from college Jessica also lives in San Antonio!  We had the greatest job ever working as a "Supplemental Instructor" and at "Tutor Zones" at Texas A&M, but we hadn't really spoken since we graduated.  After we touched base with each other, she saw my cookies and contacted me about making Winnie the Pooh cookies for her niece's 1st birthday party.

Now, if I'm being completely honest, I was a little freaked out about making a character cookie.  The cookie has to be spot on and just the slightest element being off will ruin the look of whole cookie.  But, I put on a brave face and set out to conquer this fear!


Happy Birthday, Sakura.  You are one very loved little girl and very lucky to have such a wonderful aunt! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Battle of the Flowers Cookies

Every time I make cookies, I always end up with tons of extra icing.  I normally try to either use it to create come other cookies or unfortunately, it goes down the drain.  After this happened several times, I went to the internet to search something useful to do with the extra icing.  I realize I could just figure out how to not make so much icing, but that's another story... Thanks to Sweet Sugarbelle's tutorial, I decided to make lots and lots of roses. 

The end result was this:

Now to some, this may look like a boring, monotonous, burdensome task; however, to me, it was bliss.  I loved tuning out the world, burying myself in the task, and just piping for days... maybe just an hour or two.  Ok, on to the cookies!

This time every year in San Antonio, it is time for FIESTA!!! As a non-native San Antonian (not sure if that's a word), I had no idea what Fiesta was and I asked people about it.  And I found out most people didn't know and it got simplified down to just being parades, music, a drunken festival, and getting a day off of school for the Battle of the Flowers.  After this, I decided to look into it and see what Fiesta is really about. From the Fiesta website:

"In early 1891, Mrs. James Slayden, the wife of a congressman, began a campaign suggesting that a 'Flower Parade' be staged based on a parade she had observed while in Spain. Wanting to honor the fallen heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto, Mrs. Slayden concluded that April 21st would be the best date for the parade...  Today, the Battle of Flowers Parade holds the distinction of being the first celebration held in Alamo Plaza and is considered the founding event of Fiesta San Antonio."

In a nutshell, Fiesta began a with the Battle of the Flowers Parade to celebrate and honor the lives of the brave men who fought and died at the Alamo and San Jacinto, but now it has transformed into also celebrating the rich and unique culture of the city of San Antonio.  Hope you enjoyed the little lesson, but seriously, on to the cookies!

You may recognize these cookies from Reese's Rainbow Party.  The extra icing was from her cookies, but I thought these were the perfect complement to the Battle of the Flowers cookies, especially the lace ones that reminded me of papel picado.

I'm so happy (and relieved) that I finally know what Fiesta is.  I've always been proud to be a Texan and I am now also proud to be a San Antonian (again, not sure if that's a word)!  If you're in town, hope you can make it to the parade tomorrow!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Happy Bachelorette, Mandy!

One of my closest friends from college, Mandy, is getting married!
Without Mandy, I wouldn't have the group of friends that I was blessed enough to graduate from the best university in the world with, Texas A&M.  I was the shy one and she was the bubbly, outgoing one that helped me come out of my shell and become a part of the coolest group of girls to ever grace the 3rd floor halls of Legett!  I'll never forget when I realized we were in the same Logic class together (yes, I took Logic because it meant avoiding Calculus), and I drummed up the courage to mention it to her when I saw her in the hallway of our dorm.  She was so sweet and said to find her next class and go sit with her.  I was so pumped!  Then, I walked into the classroom and saw her sitting at the very front of the class, and I immediately became a little less excited.  I am not a "front-of-the-classroom" kind of girl.  I'm more of the "find-a-spot-in-the-middle-and-try-to-blend-in," because God forbid I should get called on in class! But from there, a friendship was born and I can honestly say my friendship with Mandy and later the other ladies helped mold who I am who I am today.
Her bachelorette party is this weekend and I am so unbelievably excited to not only be reunited with my girls for the first time in awhile, but also to make the cookies for the event!  I chose to make some corsets and then some X-rated cookies that are a little too "PG-13" to be on the blog!

Mandy, I am so happy to help you celebrate one of your last nights of freedom, but I am even happier that you and Chris found each other! I wish you nothing but a lifetime of falling deeper and deeper in love with each other!

I LUFF you!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Texas Wildflower Cookies

I love springtime in Texas.  It isn't too "cold" (I realize my native Texan definition of cold is much different than others') to go outside anymore, but the sweltering heat of summertime hasn't set in just yet.  But most of all, I love springtime in Texas for the wildflowers.  Beautiful bluebonnets, colorful Indian Blankets, and vibrant Indian paintbrushes line every highway and fill previously empty fields.  It adds so much color and life to areas that are usually a monotonous shade of green.  

It is definitely a "rite of passage" for a Texan to take pictures in bluebonnets, and James had to endure two different sessions. The first was over Easter weekend at our family lake house and the second was with some friends at a local park.

Photo-bomb from Sophie
James with some of his best buds: Brady, Mark and Fox.  Yes, he wore the same outfit because I liked the way it looked.  Also, in my mind, I built this up to be this adorable picture with all of them sitting there and smiling at the camera.  Needless to say, it was more of a try-to-just-get-them-all-to-sit-still-and-who-cares-if-they're-smiling kind of experience.
So, on to the cookies! I knew immediately I wanted to make some bluebonnet cookies this spring, but I also wanted to make another wildflower to compliment it.  After trying to sketch an Indian paintbrush for what felt like an eternity, I threw in the towel and decided to do Indian Blankets instead.

I tried two different cutters to get the bluebonnet shape.  The first was a carrot cutter and the second was two flower shapes that I squished and then pieced together.

Enjoy these beautiful wildflowers while they last! But once they're gone, at least we can still have some cookies!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

One Big, Happy (Cookie) Family

When I first started this cookie adventure, I stumbled across some pretty impressive cookie decorators that have become my mentors, unbeknownst to them!  Lila Loa is one of these said mentors and she is amazing!  Every month, she hosts a challenge to help you stretch yourself as a decorator.
This month, the challenge is to take this certain cookie cutter and turn it into anything but its intended purpose.  I was so excited by this challenge and immediately dove into sketching out various ideas.  Somehow, I eventually stumbled upon the idea to do caricatures of our family!  
Any guess what the cookie cutter was?
A ring!
Here's some more shots of our big, happy cookie family!
At first, I just did Kevin, James and me...
Then, I decided I had to add Sophie, a very important member of our family.
Kevin with a baseball, his favorite sport, and a calculator (he's an engineer)
Sweet Melissa, me, with baking tools in tow
James with his sippy cup and beloved Wubbanub, Travis

I had to get a close-up shot of Travis!
I'm pretty in love with the cookies and excited to see the other ideas that other cookie decorators come up with.  If you want to see them, head over to Lila Loa's website.  I might try to get in one more idea before the challenge ends!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month and I wanted to make some cookies to help raise awareness.  From the Autism Society website:

"In order to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about autism, the Autism Society has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970's.  The United States recognizes April as a special opportunity for everyone to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community."

The most recognized symbol for Autism is the puzzle ribbon, and that's where I found my inspiration for these cookies. That and, since I'm new at this, the help from the ever so talented Sweet Sugarbelle.

Visit the Autism Society website, to see how you can help raise awareness and make a difference this month!