Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Rainy Day Projects

Even though there's been lots of rain over here in Sacramento, I am enjoying staying cozy and warm during...my spring break from pastry school! You thought spring break was supposed to have lots of sun and cocktails? Maybe, but not over here! Instead, here are some things I have been working on around the house, with my new business, and just for fun.

An assortment of prints used as wall art over our stairwell
New canvas prints over our headboard made with fabric and canvas
A new modern wedding cake design
Loving the painted silver cake for different cake styles!
Enjoying mornings with the hubby playing some guitar...over the couch in a very Romeo way. Haha.

Breakfast sandwiches with homemade cheese bagels
What have you been up to on these rainy days?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Little Sparkle with a Lot of Love

I am especially fond of personalizing photo cards, just like Henry and I did with these Christmas cards from Tiny Prints.

It's obvious that I am a huge fan of Tiny Print's great products! In fact, I was inspired by one of their invitations to create a very romantic yet chic and sophisticated table setting. Naturally,  delicious desserts and cakes came along as well!
Often times, Valentine's Day events quickly become very playful and whimsical, but I wanted to make this party really modern and more sophisticated while still keeping it very much about love and romance. 
 A trip to the craft store and a few bunches of fresh flowers later, a gorgeous table was set. Red, pink, and gold truly paved the way for this chic event filled with tea and desserts.  
Every good party always makes their guests feel extra special. In this case, individual packages of macaron pairs were provided as edible Valentines. To make them, I simply filled a favor box (available at most craft stores) with a square of pretty paper, two macarons, and sealed the top with a beautiful gift tag to match the invitations.
Adding to the excitement is my small business's, Paper Heart Patisserie, first collaboration appearance! All of the macarons and cakes were made by Paper Heart Patisserie and designed especially for the event. 

Gosh, who's ready for tea and dessert now?

Thank you SO much to Tiny Prints for this incredible collaboration opportunity! I'm still swooning and very giddy about it all!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Valentine's Day Sweets!

Valentine's Day is less than one week away! Although everyday should be a the perfect occasion to let someone know you love them, this holiday's festive hearts-galore theme is pretty adorable. Here are some ideas for sweet treats to celebrate the day.

Vanilla cake jars and rose vanilla cupcakes

Don't forget the perfect sized cake for two! Date night dessert? Yes, please!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Low-Fat Cilantro Lime Shrimp Quinoa Pasta

My husband and I don't tend to eat a lot of pasta at home. We love it, but we just don't consume it much. If I cook pasta, I feel like I need a better grain as its main ingredient just so I can get a better health kick out of my starch.

When I stumbled upon quinoa pasta last year (Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta), I was interested in how it would taste. Whole wheat pasta lets me down now and again, but quinoa pasta-- it didn't disappoint. Naturally, it's not the same as regular pasta, but the bite and flavor is great. Also, we love quinoa! Win win.
Last night I quickly whipped up this shrimp pasta dish with some leftover low-fat bechamel sauce I had from a previous meal. The cilantro lime was an unsual mix for pasta, but we both just loved it. It was filling and delicious with the perfect amount of zing and freshness from the cilantro.
Curious? Give it a-go and let me know what you think! If you prefer regular pasta, feel free to use that instead!

Low-Fat Cilantro Lime Shrimp Pasta
makes enough for about 4 servings

For the sauce:
4 tbsp (1/4 cup) of unsalted butter
4 tbsp (1/4 cup of AP flour
2 cups of fat free or skim milk

1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
salt and pepper for seasoning

1.  In a medium sauce pot, melt the butter on a medium flame.  Whisk in the AP flour thoroughly and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
2. Slowly pour in the milk as you continuously whisk the mixture together. Whisk out any lumps. Bring the sauce to a boil-- stir constantly-- and then simmer it for about 15-20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. When the sauce has cooled down for about 10 minutes, mix in the sour cream and season again, if needed.

For the shrimp:
1/2  lb. shrimp, cleaned and deveined
3 tbsp lime juice
zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 red onion, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Line a baking sheet with foil and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Toss the shrimp and the remaining ingredients in a clean bowl until well combined. Transfer the shrimp onto the baking sheet-- keep the shrimp in a single layer.
4. Roast the shrimp for about 8-10 minutes until they are pink and start to curl. Remove and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil (don't forget to season the water with salt!). Cook 8 oz. pasta according to the instructions on the box. Drain the water, but reserve about 1/2 cup.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss to combine. Add the pasta water to help the sauce "stick" to the noodles. Toss in the shrimp and garnish with additional chopped cilantro, pepper, and red chili flakes (if desired).

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Macarons, Cinnamon Rolls, and Cookies...oh, my!

Between the holiday aftermath and pastry school's winter quarter starting in full swing, my schedule has been pretty busy. Also, I mentioned this on my Instagram account, but I have officially received my small business license! I can't wait to share more details about this little baby of mine once I have more of my brand identity work done. It's all very exciting!

This week I am preparing for a large winery wedding (details to come!) and various cake and dessert samples for a few different brides. It's only the middle of January and it looks like it's going to be a busy 2014 wedding season for me. With the addition of pastry school being completed come early summer and the work towards launching my business, I am absolutely delighted about what will come this year. :)

In the meantime, just because I know I have neglected OMP!, here are some goodies the hubs and I have been munching on this week.

Neopolitan Macarons: Strawberry and vanilla shells with rich chocolate ganache filling.
 Hazelnut and Apricot Cinnamon Rolls: Nice and fluffy with the perfect amount of sweetness.
 White Mocha Cookies: Big and chewy cookies with white chocolate chips and rolled in espresso sugar.
Happy Weekend, friends!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Oh, Hey, 2014!

Wow! Here we are, ready to ring in a new year (and blog after about a month)! 

As 2013 comes to an end, I have been finding myself in a very reflective state of mind. I haven't really thought about new goals and resolutions for 2014; rather, I have been in awe of what an incredible year this past one has been. This last year has been a definite journey filled with a great deal of laughter and celebrations as well as heavy hearts and tears. It's easy to go through such life journeys and miss taking a look around to soak in what's really happening along the way. However, once the trip comes to a halt, the meaning and purpose behind every turn seems to bring more clarity. 

I may not have truly realized along the way, but this year was one in which I saw the greatest change in myself, learned the most about my capabilities (as well as inabilities), grew closer and fell more in love than ever to my sweetheart, and opened my heart, faith, and trust to God the most. 

This January, it will be one year since I took a leap of faith and resigned my teaching position of six years. Since then, I have been at the entrance of many doors that God has opened for me and been blessed with all the opportunities and learning experiences-- one of them being my journey in Pastry School. 

I am not sure what 2014 will bring. I have some plans and hopes for the year, but this year I have learned that sometimes our plans are not his plans. Whatever comes my way, it will be a blessing-- provided as a an opportunity to be humbled and thankful. 

Cheers to 2014! May you be safe, merry, and in good company.