SprinkleBakes inspiring food artists everywhere

How in the world had I not known about SprinkleBakes Blog before I got this cookbook?  I mean seriously.  This Heather gal is ridonkulously talented.  Not really sure what that word means, but according to my husband it means, like, way better that ridiculous.  Not only is Heather’s blog freaking gorgeous, she makes some pretty outstanding sweet treats.  And she just came out with a book.

When I first flipped through the book I thought I would ever be able to make anything from it.  My lack of baking and decorating skill almost blinded me to just how amazing this book is.  Just as I was ready to hand over the book to my more-talented sister-in-law, I decided to take one more peek.  Aside from the pure eye candy in the book and completely unusual recipes, Heather also has tons of helpful tips throughout.  For people like me.  I can handle something like making icing.  Decorating with it is still another story.

I can promise you that I don’t own any other cookbooks, especially of the baking variety, that include chapters on sculpture.  One of the reasons that I am so drawn to Heather, and am now an avid follower of her blog,  is that she is a true artist.  I’m guessing she could knock out some pretty insane art on a canvas.  But how awesome is it that her works of art are made of sugar!?!  And she shares her techniques with us.  I’m just going to pretend that these sections that are a little out of my league are a magazine where I can gaze at the pretty, pretty pictures and not be expected to take any action.

I mean!  How fun does that recipe sound?  I may attempt something like this if I had a baking spotter with me in the kitchen.  This is one of the most gorgeous cookbooks that I own and it is super informative while being completely inspiring.  This would make a great gift for your girlfriend who is awesome in the kitchen and has a playful side to her.  I’m sure upon reading this book they would want to step their game up even more.  And I’m not telling you when, because I don’t want you to hold me to it, but I’m going to try my hand at making some meringue.  I just know I could nail it from the way Heather wrote the recipe.  So am I the only one who didn’t know about her blog?  The styling of her posts is is my favorite!

Buy SprinkleBakes

SprinkleBakes Blog

*I was sent a copy of this cookbook for review with no other compensation.  All opinions are mine.  This book is so pretty!

 

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2011 Holiday Gift Guide Day 1: Entertaining Ideas

Welcome to the first day of my 2011 gift guide!! I have a love hate relationship with holiday decor.  I like it modern or vintage or vintage modern but not a lot in between.  These pieces want to be in my house.  And I’ve learned over this past year that although my children like the Charlie Brown franchise, I LOVE it (set you DVRs for Thanksgiving night for an all new movie on Fox and the Thanksgiving movie on ABC).  One day when we move in to a bigger house I will be hosting Charlie Brown Christmas pajama movie nights for the kids and their friends complete with hot cocoa, hot toddies and yummy treats.  Until then I will enjoy it with my kiddos snuggled up tight on the couch!

Personalized Ornaments by Paloma’s Nest

Acrylic tray with holiday insert package by Nico and Lala (no longer available but similar tray here)

A Charlie Brown Christmas (Remastered Deluxe Edition)

Modern Santa Collection by West Elm (Boo. Gone. But I LOVE this mug!)

 

I love entertaining at home but find it hard to spend the money on decorator pieces for myself.  But who wouldn’t love to get one of these gorgeous items as gifts?!

Tart Server by Sabre

Striped Salad Servers by French Bull

Candy display by Pottery Barn Teen (n/a but another option here.)

Plaid Round Platter by French Bull

Turquoise Tiered Server (turquoise is gone but other colors available!)

Footed Beverage Jar at Sur La Table

Sweater Mugs

The Handy House Stainless Steel Drinking Straws with Cleaner

Black Vinyl Doily Coasters

Mustache Bottle Charms

Spanish Wine Glasses  {as seen in Rachel Ray Magazine!}

Glass Pitcher

The BrewTender Tabletop Beer & Beverage Dispenser – Chrome  {Perfect for the tailgating sports fan!}

 

Need small gifts for a teacher or service provider or just need something to round out a gift  basket, these foodie gifts are sure to please!

Honibe Honey Drops

Rick’s Picks Phat Beets

Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup   {My sister brought these to my house on their last visit so we could try them out.  They were super fun!}

P.O.P. Candy {Remember them from my Halloween post?  I adore this candy.  Super rich, fresh and herbal!}

Pink Champagne Biscuits

Honibe Honey Sprinkles {Freeze dried honey!}

Lovin’ Spoonful Sugar Set by Savory Spice Shop  {I use the Spiced Sugar every single morning in my coffee – aromatic and delicious!}

Peach Preserves with Rosemary

Hot Chocolate on a Stick by Ticket Kitchen

 

Pretty Delicious by Candice Kumai

Pretty Delicious: Lean and Lovely Recipes for a Healthy, Happy New You

Seriously the prettiest cookbook I have ever seen and the perfect gift for so many people on your list!  With an eye on healthful cooking, and fresh ingredients, this is perfect for all those diet resolutions that we profess every year.

Thanks so much for coming over to the new blog!  Please remember to change your readers to the CupcakesAndCutlery.com address (sayonara Blogspot!).

Happy Holidays!

The Food Allergy Cookbook – Entertaining your Special Guests

Food allergies are totally on my mind right now.  My oldest son, the one with multiple food allergies, is about to start Kindergarten.  I have high anxiety for how the teacher and school will handle them.  I’ve been emailing with the school nurse and she was able to calm my nerves a bit, but until we actually get started and get in the swing of things, I don’t think I will really be able to ease up.  Finding out about my son’s allergies at age 1 was a life changer.  When I was asked if I wanted to review the cookbook, The Food Allergy Cookbook:  A Guide to Living with Allergies and Entertaining with Healthy, Delicious Meals by Carmel Nelson and Amra Ibrisimovic I said absolutely.  I am always looking for recipes my son (and the rest of my family) might enjoy.
These ladies learned of their food allergies a lot later in life and had to relearn how to cook for themselves with little help from doctors.  Although a lot of the recipes in this book are off limits for my son due to his egg allergy, I have learned how to adapt recipes to make them work – often with great results.  Most of the recipes featured are free from the top allergens so if you are comfortable with your own allergies and how to modify a recipe when necessary, this would be a great book for you.  This book is also perfect for the sympathetic hostess who is looking to be able to readily accommodate guests with food allergies.     

Not only does this book share individual recipes for main courses, side dishes, desserts, etc., but also includes full menu suggestions for holiday cooking and entertaining.  The only downside to this book is the food photography.  Not all of the photos are as appetizing as they could be.  But I certainly might just be spoiled by reading With Style and Grace daily.  

My favorite part of this book is that it is not dumbed down or simplified.  There is a variety of gourmet or ethnic themed recipes just without the usual allergens.  Aside from the recipes, the book also contains kitchen tips, suggestions for traveling with food allergies and also dealing with the medical community who may or may not be well versed in living with allergies.  This book was a labor of love for the two authors and I am grateful they took the time to do it.
Buy the book from Amazon.
Sharon
All photos are mine
I was sent a copy of the book for review.  All opinions are mine.

Blogher 11: Best of the Expo and Sponsor Suites

With breakfast on the first morning over, it was time to checkout the Expo floor.  The expo floor is the part of Blogher where all the sponsors show off their newest products and programs.  It is also where they laden you down with so much free stuff that you beg people for bags to carry it in with promises of being their best friend.  Note:  Pepsico has enough bffs but will still give you a bag if you need it.  Quick, go buy Pepsi and chips!  Yes, that is my puffy, tired face on the right and of course we run in to this pretty lady within 30 seconds of entering the Expo area.   How adorable is Tera Rae Stephens?!  She is the best hair stylist in all the land.  But she’s so much more than that, too.  She’s always been a cheerleader for me and she has a great business-y mind.  You really are getting more than just a cut and color with her.  And she promises to teach me how to do those amazing beachy waves…
I was immediately attracted to the Glad booth with all its lovely florals and pink.  Upon closer look, I found what I think is the most beautiful cookbook ever created called Pretty Delicious!  Using vintage-esque florals and sweet eyelet details, the printed recipes are gorgeous and trumped only by the amazing photography.  This is quite possibly the best bridal shower gift idea ever! And the best part, the recipes actually sound good and are healthy for you!  Bonus!  The author, Candace Kumai (a total cutie) was in the booth sharing recipe cards of some of yummy dishes created exclusively for Glad To Go.  I can’t wait to try her Roasted Fig and Blue Cheese Salad!  Glad To Go is their newest container.  And I must say it is rather brilliant.  It is basically two containers that secure together with one lid.  So if you want to take a salad along with you, the dressing can go in the separate, smaller container which fits right in to the middle of the same lid that closes the container.  Perfect for kid’s snacks and even some craft supplies.  I don’t see them yet on their website but they will surely be out soon (Check out this little video to see more about the cookbook and the new Glad product!)
For even more loveliness you simply must check out her blog.  It is pure eye candy!!!!!!!
Follow Candace on Twitter
Lowe’s was out in full force with a two story booth that resembled a house.  They were there to showcase a few of their different programs, one of which was Lowe Creative Ideas magazine and website.  I knew Lowe’s was more lady friendly but had no idea they were such a great resource!  Check out this photobooth frame project and this spray painted stencil rug that could also work as a tablecovering or photo backdrop.  Lowe’s had teams on hand to interview people about creativity.  Here is my pal, Amy being interviewed.  Doesn’t she look like a natural?  And she’s totally TV cute.  I’m pushing for her own show…  I’ve signed up for a free subscription for Lowe’s Creative Ideas magazine and can’t wait to be inspired!  
Later in the day they also held a bloggers challenge.  They put together teams of bloggers, gave them materials from the store and let them get creative with them.  The team pictured above, including the super funny Angry Julie, put together a really fun tablescape set up.  They used buckets as seats and some clear tubing for drinking straws.  What a fun idea!!!!   
And they also made sure that I knew about the kid’s workshops they hold at each location called “Build and Grow Clinics“.  The police car is one of the crafts they have coming up and even has a working light on top.  What kid wouldn’t love that!?!  Check with your local stores for dates.   
There was a time (a very short time) where I would only let my son watch PBS cartoons.  Luckily Dinosaur Train was on at that time.  He didn’t even remember about the shows he was not allowed to watch any more.  He learned so much about dinosaurs from this show it blows my mind.  But until now, there has been a relative lack of themed toys to go along with the show.  I was super excited to see this bingo set on the Expo floor along with some other great card games for young kids.  And my kids thought I was the coolest because I got a picture with Buddy.    
These cool Wall Tracks by Hot Wheels are sure to be a hit at Christmas.  Out now, they retail for about $30 for a starter set and they are hung on the walls using those rad 3M sticky tabs that don’t damage the wall surface.  The sets can be added together to make large installations and can even be put in corners.  They are a really fun way to let the kids get really creative.  
Needing some extra energy, Amy and I checked out the Hershey’s S’mores Suite.  They had S’mores makers all around the sweet and it was the perfect afternoon sweet treat.  They even had an area decorated like you were at a beach campfire enjoying your s’more.  You can check out more pictures of the suite here. 
I fell in love with the invitation designs by Paper Culture.  Everything about the company is cool and modern and so ridiculously lovely.  They have added some gifts in the form of personalized bamboo plaques to their standard paper offerings.  They are SO well done.  How rad are those boy name plaques?  They make them in various sizes and would make an awesome keepsake baby gift.  If you don’t know about Paper Culture be sure to go check out their designs.  With Christmas coming up, I can’t think of a more perfect place to buy your family Christmas cards.  
A highlight, for sure, was meeting Wendi McLendon-Covey, the newest Hillshire Farm Spokesperson. She was super funny and warm and she was right by some yummy food samples.  I had to get a photo with her because Bridesmaids (remember her from that movie?) might be one of my favorite movies.  I love that she is their spokesperson.  Go meat! 
One of my favorite things to have happened at the conference was that I got in to a very intimate private session sponsored by Hillshire Farm about food photography and styling.  I learned so much listening to the esteemed panel of professionals they put together.  I left there so inspired and it really made me want to be better.  Sara Remington shared some amazing photos from her portfolio and I was super excited to hear that she doesn’t use a lot of crazy equipment.  She urges food photographers to keep it simple and use nature lighting.  And I had seen William Smith on Food Network before and loved hearing his tips for styling food.  He was funny and friendly and, like  Sara, says keep it simple.  Oh and work fast.  Food doesn’t like to sit around.  
There are a few more items from the show that I want to share, but they are so good, they deserve their own post.
If you are a blogger and thinking about going to Blogher, do it.  At least once.  Such an amazing experience! 
Sharon
all photos are mine.