Friday, September 16, 2011

Babies... babies... babies

One of my good friends is throwing a baby shower this weekend and asked me to make some cookies for her to use as party favors. The color scheme of the baby room is pink and green so those were also the theme for the cookies. I tweaked the cookie recipe a bit so I am excited to hear how they taste!

Looking forward to making many more "baby-themed" cookies 
for my friends at work who are expecting! I even
bought special cookie cutters. :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering 9-11

Wow, it has been forever since I have posted something on here. My apologies... I spent the last week in July and the first week in August studying abroad in England. It was the most amazing learning experience I have ever had and I'm so eager to go back! Not too long after I returned it was time to start back teaching, as well as, graduate school. Therefore... my life has been CRAZY! Here are a few pictures from my trip:

So what's new with Award Inspirations? I have been busy making 70+ keychains for birthday gifts!!! I might possibly be getting another order from a local daycare. :) This has been a lot of fun and gives me a break from doing work! (woo hoo!)

And... this weekend my friend Heather is having a Remembering 9-11 party and asked me to make something creative. With limited time these days I decided to try my hand at making an American Flag out of cupcakes.  Here's how it turned out:

I even got to use some of the new edible glitter I got at a tea shop in England!

I hope everyone takes some time this weekend to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. Many people lost the ones they love in this tragic event. It's a day we will never forget.

God Bless the USA!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Zebra Print Cookies

I made my first attempt at zebra print cookies! I have been meaning to try this for awhile but I've been super busy and haven't had time. 

I started out with this cookie cutter: 

To get the circle in the middle of the cookies I used a biscuit cutter and traced around it using these edible markers {thanks for the markers ZestyBaker}:

I then flooded the cookies with the white icing, as well as, the outside with the red icing. After letting the cookies dry for about 30 minutes I attempted the zebra print. I think zebra print is something that I just have to continue to practice with but it was fun and the cookies were delicious!

What do you think I should try for my next cookie?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Burp Cloths (set 1)


Last week I was asked to make some burp cloths for a friend's sisters... that's right both of her sisters are pregnant! 

I have made burp cloths before but only for boys so I was ecstatic to find out that she wanted both sets for girls. AND what made it even more fun is that she let me pick out the fabric and design of the burp cloths. It was fun to play around with bows and full length cloths. It made me super excited to do more....

Another set of burp cloths will be coming this week, as well as, some cute gift-giving ideas for baby showers!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cake Pops

 About 3 weeks ago Sarah {the Zesty Baker}, Ford, John and I started a bible study. We are using the book Can You Hear Me Now by Tommy Nelson. It's really awesome because it guides you through every question, discussion, and bible verse ... and we are so lucky to have Sarah as our amazing leader. :) We alternate meeting at each others houses each week, and Sarah and I always try to have some kind of goodies prepared. This week my goal was to try cake pops. Surprisingly they were quite simple once I got the hang of coating the outside of the balls. 

These cake balls are chocolate with a vanilla white chocolate outside. The first batch I made were plain white. I shared them with my study abroad group and everyone loved them! The second batch of cake pops I wanted to do a design with. Sarah came over last night and we colored the chocolate and played around with some designs. 

A little extra thanks to Sarah for being my craft photographer! She does an awesome job doesn't she?


I have already started to make a list of different flavors I want to try! 
Red velvet cake with cream cheese 
Funfetti with vanilla
Strawberry with cream cheese
Chocolate chocolate-chip with vanilla   .... (to name a few)

 So I am sure you are like, "Why does she have a picture of a spatula on her blog?" Well, during our first bible study Sarah and Ford shared a "pass the pen" strategy they learned during their marriage counseling which helps with communication. We decided we were each going to get the other couple a pen alternative. Sarah and Ford got John and I a loofa {see theZestyBaker}. John and I decided to get Sarah and Ford a spatula... also known to Ford as a spu-tu-lu. Ford shared a story with us about a time he and his mom were out shopping and he called a spatula a spu-tu-la. We all died laughing when he shared this story so John and I thought it would only be perfect for their gift to be the one-and-only spu-tu-lu. They thought it was great! 

If you aren't in a bible study, I definitely recommend it. We both (the Bakers and the Wards) thought we had great marriages before, but each week we all agree our marriage gets better and better. Not to mention we are able to support each other in the growth of our relationships with God. What an amazing experience it's been so far.. and it's only been 3 weeks!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sweet-n-Salty Treat

John and I love our apartment complex... for the most part... but lately it seems like everything has broken. About three weeks ago it was the knob on our dryer, last week we woke up and the ice maker had broken in our freezer and water was pouring onto our floor, and this week our microwave crashed. Luckily, we have an amazing maintenance crew that typically comes the day you put in a request. In particular, there is one maintenance man that John, Harlow, and I love! Harlow doesn't stay in a crate during the day so whenever he enters he says that Harlow happily greets him and stays by his side. (Maybe it's because he's a frequent visitor these days.. haha). Whatever the case, he is amazing and always gets our problems fixed ASAP... so I wanted to do a little something special for him. I needed something simple and sweet, so when I heard about this little treat I was super excited!

It's the perfect combination of sweet and salty.

Here's what you need:
*You can use any kind of M&M's but I bought the peanut butter to give them the taste of a Reeces Peanutbutter cup. 

Step 1
Set your oven to 275 degrees. Lay out a layer of pretzels on a baking sheet.
Step 2
Place a Hershey's kiss on top of each pretzel.

Step 3
Bake for 3 minutes.

Step 4
Immediately press a M&M into each kiss.

Step 5
Set them in the freezer (or refrigerator) for about 15 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened.

Step 6

Keep them away from your husband, kids, or significant other!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Harlow's Birthday and Beach Trip Cupcakes

This year we spent 4th of July weekend at John's family beach house in Swansboro, NC. I wanted to make something fun and unique to celebrate the holiday, as well as, Harlow's 3rd birthday! Instead of spending a ton of money getting a dog cake from a bakery, I decided to make my own. I originally set out to make a cake but once I finished the batter I realized I didn't have a cake pan small enough to fit the little bit of batter the recipe made, so I had to make cupcakes instead. 

Here is the cupcake recipe:

1 cup white or whole wheat flour 
1 tsp baking soda 
1/4 cup peanut butter 
1/4 cup vegetable oil 
1 cup shredded carrots 
1 tsp vanilla 
1/3 cup honey 
1 egg
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
Mix together flour and baking soda. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into a cupcake pan and bake for about 20-30 minutes. 

Here is the Cinnamon Frosting recipe:
Combine the following ingredients and blend: 
12 ounces nonfat cream cheese (room temperature) 
3 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp vanilla 
1 tsp honey

To add some decoration to the cupcakes, I used small dog treats from PetCo. 

 Happy birthday little Harlow!
 As for us humans, I made raspberry lemonade cupcakes and used a beach theme to decorate them! They were super easy and a uniquely delicious cupcake!

Raspberry Lemonade cupcakes:
1 cup frozen Rasberry Lemonade Concentrate, thawed*
1/8 cup water (or milk)
White cake mix
3 egg whites
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Non-stick spray

Mix all ingredients well. Spray your cupcake pan with the non-stick spray. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. 

I used a lemon butter cream icing, but you could use whatever your heart desires!

To decorate the cupcakes I used a fruit roll-up for the towel, teddy grahams for the bears, and umbrella toothpicks for the umbrella! Glue the teddy bears with just a dab of icing and it's ready to eat!


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Congrats Blythe and Destry

My sister-in-law, Blythe, and her boyfriend of three and a half years, Destry, got engaged last night! He proposed in the wine cellar at Angus Barn, which is where they first met. Blythe was at a provider meeting and Destry is one of the wine cellar masters at Angus Barn. It was fate! 

Earlier this week Destry and I had arranged for everyone to come over to John and I's place for cookies and champagne after the proposal.Here is a little glimpse of the evening:

Thanks (again) to Krista for another lovely cookie cutter! I have been waiting for this engagement to use the flutes! 

I used sugar to imitate champagne bubbles!

A cookie champagne toast!!! 

And a real toast!

The ring!!

Our family!!

We are so happy for both of them and wish them many, many, many wonderful years of marriage!! CONGRATS! CONGRATS! CONGRATS!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

It's Wedding Season!

I was asked by a Ward family friend to make 3 dozen wedding inspired cookies for a shower she was throwing. The bride's colors were off-white, dark pink, and gold. I couldn't figure out a way to make gold (other than gold glitter, which I didn't have) but I found a delicious little way to make off-white.... lemon juice! It was actually quite coincidental because I was doing it more for the flavoring but what a wonderful surprise. The cookies were fun to make, especially the wedding cake ones because I had yet to use the new wedding cake cookie cutter that Krista bought me a couple of months ago! A special thank you goes out to Sarah Baker {theZestyBaker} for coming over to help cut out the cookies and help man the oven!

 Here is a mix of the cookies: 

A few of the wedding cakes:

Wedding Dresses:

Wedding Rings:

This week my goal is to figure out a way to make Harlow 
a dog cake for her birthday (July 2nd)! 
I'll share the results if I find anything simple and cute!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Banana Nutella Brownies

About two weeks ago I bought some bananas and Nutella to try my hand at making homemade crepes. Well, a couple of days later I went to the fruit bowl to get the bananas and there were no bananas.... then I went to the cabinet and there was hardly any nutella left. Since there is only my husband and me in our home and I knew I hadn't eaten them up... I knew exactly who to ask. Low and behold my husband had found his new favorite snack! Needless to say I did not get to make crepes.

The next grocery trip I got more bananas and nutella. As soon as I got home I went to my Big Oven app (those of you who don't have it MUST get it!! It has tons of amazing recipes) in search of the crepe recipe when I found a homemade Nutella Brownies recipe. I decided to add my own little touch and put bananas in it as well. THEY WERE SO SIMPLE! And John said they were absolutely delicious! So delicious he refused to take the leftovers to share at his cookout tonight...

Anyways, I definitely recommend these!! They were quick, simple, and heavenly!

Here are the main items you need:

** And bananas ... if you choose to add them!
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8-9 inch square cake pan.
2. In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup of flour and 1/4 tsp salt. 
3. In another bowl, beat 2 eggs, 1 cup nutella, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla. Use your mixer for about 2 minutes to make it easier.
4. Melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter in a cup.
5. With the mixer on low speed, add flour mixture, alternating with the butter.
6. Add 1-2 bananas to the mixture (optional). 
7. Scrape the batter into the cake pan. 
8. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost clean (I look for a few crumbs on the toothpick). 

So we figured out there are 2 ways to eat the Banana Nutella Brownies
1. When they first come out of the oven. They are very chocolaty, almost like a hot molten lava cake!!

2. Or... wait about 2 hours (or the next night) and they are more like gooey brownies! 


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Sewing Projects

Last summer after John and I got married and moved in together I noticed he was somewhat of a hoarder, particularly with his t-shirts. (Love you babe!) He literally could have completely filled up three drawers with graphic t-shirts, all of which were extremely important to him. The only way I could convince him to get rid of some of them was to make a t-shirt quilt. I started the quilt last summer and have gradually been working on it throughout the last year. Today I finally was able to finish it up!
The quilt was HUGE, which I think is why it (a) took me so long and (b) made me frustrated numerous times. Next time I am going to try to make "baby" quilts.

After I finished the quilt I started on some keychain orders with the new ribbon I purchased.  These are so fun and easy to do!

Enjoy Sarah and Brittany!

 Hope you enjoyed your first day of summer. I was certainly looking forward to spending my first day of summer at the pool but I think I had just as great of a time exploring my crafty side. :)

What did you do?