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Out of Office….

by Emma on May 15, 2012

in Uncategorized

Hey guys, guess what? I’m on vacation with some of my family.

Yeah, I know. Vacation. It’s awesome.

I am visiting the beautiful state of Hawaii for the very first time, and loving it so far (we just landed yesterday morning). This means two things: 1. My week is probably going to be pretty awesome. 2. I will not be able to cook or hang out with you guys this week. Bummer.

BUT. We gots lots of stuff happening over at A Beautiful Mess; lots of pretty projects and travel photos. So if you’re online already (and I already know you are…..) then you should go hang out over there this week.

xoxo. Emma

16 comments

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

by Emma on May 11, 2012

in Dessert

Weird fact about my life: I have made cream cheese frosting every week for over a year now. Well over 52 times I’ve made the same cream cheese frosting recipe.

No, I’m not just a crazy cream cheese lady. I own a small catering business and we serve Red Velvet cupcakes at our local shop every weekend.

Every now and again, you just want to change it up. Not because you’re dissatisfied with a classic but rather… I dunno… variety is the spice of life? Trying new things is good for your soul. Adventure is out there. Hit me baby one more time.

Ok. That got weird. Sorry about that.

Cutting to the chase: this is not my usual cream cheese frosting. This is a little, teeny tiny bit more fancy; because you use real vanilla beans instead of extract. Why is that more fancy? Because vanilla beans are expensive dude. And expensive=fancy. Duh.

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting, makes enough to frost two dozen.

Needed: 1/4 cup (half a stick) softened butter, two 8 oz packages of softened cream cheese, 3 1/2 cups powered sugar and 1 vanilla bean.

In the bowl of a mixer cream together the butter and cream cheese. Split your vanilla bean down the center and using the tip of your knife scrap out all the beans (this will look more like a paste, but they are actually tons of tiny little flecks). Mix together the vanilla beans and cream cheese. Now begin adding your powder sugar, one cup at a time, mixing in between. Scrap down the sides of your bowl as needed. The best way to ensure you don’t get any lumps in your frosting is to sift the powder sugar before adding it (or whisk it in a bowl) breaking up all the lumps. But hey, if you don’t do this and get a few lumps, no biggie.

Have an awesome weekend everyone! I’m leaving for a little vacation tomorrow; going to Hawaii for the first time. Wish me luck, as this pale gal tends to burn. ;) xo. Emma

27 comments

On Displaying Photos

by Emma on May 9, 2012

in Craft

Lately I’ve gotten the itch to display more photos in my home. Maybe it’s because this is my first house and I really want to make it my own. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and more sentimental. Maybe it’s because my sister and I wrapping up our photo book and have been absolutely drowning in pretty pictures. Or maybe it’s just something in the air. I don’t know.

I especially love finding ways to display my iPhone photos. I just got my first iPhone this past November and I can’t really say how thankful I am that my sister practically forced me to get one. (I am an extremely cheap person and I didn’t want to increase my monthly phone bill, but for me, it’s totally been worth it.) I don’t always get to drag my SLR camera around with me, or the battery is dead, or I just forgot it at home. But I always have my iPhone, so I can always take  quick picture of any special moment or event. And lots of these photos end up being displayed in my home or in projects I make for people I love. There’s a very good chance that the look of these pictures will someday be dated; but the memories and little details that I’ve been able to capture with them will always be priceless to me.

Anyway, I’m getting all Hallmark commercial on you, sorry. Main points: me like pictures, me like iPhone. End.

I created a magnet set with a bunch of instagram photos I printed from Postal Pix. It’s basically the same project as this, but with photos. You could use any kind of instant photos (iPhone, instax, polaroid, etc.) or even printed off 4×6 photos.

Thanks for letting me gush about photos and share project #23 from my 2012 craft challenge. xo. Emma

16 comments

Upside Down Coconut Cream Pies

by Emma on May 7, 2012

in Dessert

My mom asked me to make a coconut cream pie for a birthday party this past weekend. I adore trying new things and I love experimenting in the kitchen; but I do get just a touch nervous to make new dishes for the first time that I then will be serving to a big group of people. What if it doesn’t work? What if it tastes awful? Or worse, what if it tastes awful but no one tells me….

My family is absolutely full of good sports so I generally don’t worry too much about subjecting them to my cooking adventures. My parents are probably two of the most positive and supportive people I know—I hope to be that kind of parent someday too (assuming I take the plunge into parenthood someday).

So I looked up a recipe to try and made it. I add my own twist to the presentation. I had a little more filling than I needed, as I was using a store-bought crust (I was super busy that day—get off my back) and I think it was a touch smaller than homemade pie pans. So I filled a few shot glasses with the extra filling, chilled them and topped them with crumbled graham crackers and sweetened coconut flakes.

To me, these ended up being even better than the pie. Because of the size the filling takes hardly anytime to set and I love mini desserts! You could also top these with a little whipped cream if you feel like it. Anyway, random but fun serving idea for cream pies this summer. I will probably have to try this will a chocolate cream pie soon. :) xo. Emma

23 comments