Saturday, January 14, 2012

It's almost a rainbow of sprinkles...

A few months ago this brand new, orphaned spice carousel came my way and I knew I could find a use for it sooner or later.  After Christmas, I tend to go a bit nuts around the house, tossing and purging cupboards and closets.  It's also when I came up with this idea for the carousel:

I have a lot - and I mean a LOT - of different sprinkles for desserts.  Apart from simple sprinkles in solid colours, I've also got them in different shapes for different holidays.  Because of the size of the two jar openings, either to sprinkle or spoon out, I knew not all of them would work.  I got out all my miscellaneous containers and jars, realized I had 12 that would fit and started to fill them.

I'm very happy with the results.  The carousel sits beside my microwave, on the opposite side of the kitchen from my usual photo spot and it's adorable to look at.  While it's not a true rainbow of colours, I think it's still pretty cute. :)

Apart from saving cupboard space, the other bonus is that when I look at them, they inspire me with future baking ideas. :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Two-Tiered Red Cakestand - I couldn't resist!

I love the colour red and I'm a sucker for a good deal, especially when it's an item like this!

My daughters like to tease me about how many cake stands I own.  I know my fascination with them started with the first, simplest one that I inherited from my paternal grandmother.  During the 50's in Toronto, there was a chain of bakeries called the "Women's Bakery" and for a time my grandmother worked in one very close to our house.  When the location closed, the staff were allowed to keep some of the store items and my grandmother kept an absolutely simple, heavy glass cake stand.  When my mother was downsizing years ago, I inherited the cake stand and my collection began!

Although I'm on a very tight budget right now (see "Expired Union Contract", "Pig Headed Mayor", "Future Income Uncertainty" etc.), I couldn't resist a trip through my local Winner's store yesterday to see if anything was left in the deep discounted Christmas section.  This stack caught my eye, especially because I knew the pieces would create the stand above.  I'm guessing that more than one person picked them up and put them back again because they weren't in a box with a photo:

The plates didn't have the lovely red sale sticker, but after one of the staff checked the price for me, I knew I wasn't going to leave it there!

At my house, red isn't a Christmas colour.  It's the colour of my favourite appliance, it wraps around the lower half of my kitchen walls and it just makes me happy to be surrounded by it.  And hey, Valentine's Day is just a few weeks away!

Monday, January 2, 2012

A new year, new cookbook inspirations

Another holiday season is over, along with all the rushing, baking and angsting that you didn't make everything you planned to!  Ah well, Valentine's Day is coming up and there will be lots of opportunities to try new things this year.

For me, it will include the "The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook" -

I had been eyeing this cookbook on Amazon for a while and with the "Look Inside" feature, really liked the variety of recipes included and how the book is laid out.  I had it on my "Wish List" and my lovely daughter surprised me with it for Christmas.  This doesn't ever mean that another cookbook will replace my Ina favourites (I shudder at the thought!), but I do enjoy other cookbooks that are equally well made in terms of how they describe a recipe.  For me, a good cookbook doesn't mean overly long ingredient lists or complicated instructions.  I'm much happier and more successful using a cookbook that focuses on the best ingredients you can possibly find and has recipes that have obviously been tested so many times that it's hard to fail.

The other reason I was interested in this cookbook is that my daughters and I visited one of the Magnolia Bakery locations in NYC the last time we were in the city.  If you're a fan of Sex and the City as the three of us are, you'll probably remember the episode when Carrie and the girls visit the original Magnolia location in the West Village and sit outside enjoying their cupcakes.  We were only one block from the 49th Street and 6th Avenue location, so there was no way we were going to miss these cupcakes on our visit.  Here's what we bought to share - clockwise from the top left, they were Red Velvet, Lemon Curd, the Classic Carrie (vanilla) and S'mores:

And, five minutes later, this is the after - thanks to Megan for recording this massacre ;) :

We all agree that the Carrie was "meh" (vanilla cake and frosting), but the S'mores was our all around favourite.  I also love the fact that you can go a bakery in NYC that stays open until midnight!