Thursday, November 10, 2011

{{so...Christmas is fast are some awesome concepts to try...}}

Everybody loves Christmas! The BUZZ, the longer nights at the malls, the discounts...everything! For me personally, in my head I plan the menus! Things we can make with the kids, and just in general!

So all year round we live in Wellington. My Husband being Indian, Indian is the predominant culture in the house. I myself am Samoan, and so when we get to Auckland...Christmas is extra we get to eat the Samoan style foods! Corned beef...(not everyday - but definitely on Christmas), chop suey, taro with coconut cream...mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Also the baking! My siblings all have specific dishes that we make! My eldest sister makes chop suey like Mum makes...we usually have chicken chop suey and a few other yummies. My younger sister makes the bomb salads, surimi salad, green salads etc. The lil' bro has perfected the bacon and egg pie...the list goes on!!

So with all that in my head...I am thinking of cute ways to decorate the tree and lil' bits and pieces - check out what I hope to try this Christmas...

These are soooo cute and seem easy to make! Felt is cheap depending on where you purchase it from. Check out your local fabric stores, or just head on down to your trusty Spot light store.

The link for these are here... you will find the template and 'how to' info...
super cute!

I love Martha Stewart, she and her team have such amazing minds! They also have come up
with this very easy and cost effective concept. You could make these for centerpieces maybe? How
beautiful :) Not food but these would work so well on the table...YES?

check out the 'how to' here...

CUTENESS!!! The kids would LOVE this!! In making it - it would be difficult
because kids have their own ideas, and would want to inject far more colour! Maybe if you make one
the night before Christmas for your centerpiece and have bits and pieces ready for the kids to
construct their own? It could make for an awesome 'following instruction' activity.

Want the 'how to'?? Say yes :P check it out here...

These are cool, both in Wellington and Auckland we don't do alcohol - but these can be made for
any bottle! I think these would look cute for cans of pop or small bottles of pop. Very cute!
I can see my men and I make these on the lead up to!!

Do you attend semi-formal Christmas functions? Or wanting to spice up your own? Get the kids
in on it - these look awesome...and expensive :P

Here's the 'how to'...

Being a female who loves to wear jewellery - some often get pulled and end up broken! Well especially when you have kids, that tends to happen! So when I saw this, I thought..."this is perfect",
I get to use up my old broken necklaces and earrings to do something creative! I haven't thrown
any of it away, so I have a lot of stuff to work with!

Find out how to make these here...

LOVE THESE!! Look how beautiful these look...and colour just makes everything pop!! Make these, make these!!! Get the recipe here...

I don't know if you do peanuts...we don't - but presented like this...we could :P Especially with a cute
little hammer...

cute and simple!! Packaging makes everything that much more expensive looking! On a tight budget and need to make some cool gifts or to hang something on the tree? Makes these...

check out the 'how to'...

OK, you know I can do this all night!! It's almost 5pm here in India and so about midnight in New Zealand! I haven't been around much lately...because when I was in NZ I was soooo flat out with orders. Now here on holiday - I'm holidaying. As mentioned ages ago...I will be blogging so not only am I keeping this blog but also another filled with our adventures here in India!

Check out what we get up to here...
I really miss baking, it's been about 20days since the last time I baked...and I'm craving to try some recipes! Having said that...we don't have an oven here at home...but my other sister in law down the road might. I will keep you all informed as much as possible!

Hope these concepts are circulating in your minds, giving's not far til Christmas so get your skates on!!


Monday, November 7, 2011

[recipes you should try...]

Pumpkin Caramel Layer Cake
with Cinnamon Pecan Topping


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 pound cream cheese, cut into 2-inch cubes
2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup whole milk

Cinnamon Pecan Topping:
1 cup crushed pecans
1 egg white
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Salted Caramel Sauce:
1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp Salted Butter- cut into small pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp Sea Salt


In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Cook over high heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any crystals from the side of the pan. Cook over moderate heat without stirring until a medium-dark amber caramel forms, about 9 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the butter and heavy cream. (Don't worry if the butter separates.) Stir in Vanilla extract.

Transfer the caramel to the large bowl and using an electric mixer, beat at low speed until the caramel cools slightly and comes together, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on, beat in the cream cheese, 1 cube at a time and beating well between additions, until silky. Transfer the frosting to a bowl and refrigerate until very firm, at least 6 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves.
In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar and eggs at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in the oil, then beat in the pumpkin puree. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk in 3 batches, beating well between additions.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen the cakes, then invert them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Using a serrated knife, carefully slice each layer of cake in half to make 4 thin cake layers.

Place one layer on a plate and spread with 1 cup of the caramel–cream cheese frosting. Top with the the next 3 layers and repeat. Then, frost the top and side. Top with Candied pecans and Caramel Sauce (optional) Refrigerate the cake for 2 hours before serving.

For the Pecan Topping:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine sugar, cinnamon and salt. Whisk egg white until frothy and discard about half. Add the nuts. Toss until well coated. Add dry ingredients and stir well.
Spread nuts on a cookie sheet lined with foil, in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes.

One cool- break the pecans apart and sprinkle on top of the cake.

Make Ahead
The cake can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days
 Serve cold or at room temperature.


I am sooo looking forward to trying this one - it's difficult to source ingredients here
in India.

Another one I think looks amazing...lil' girls would love this one...especially my niece Mahlaia :D

These are an awesome idea. maybe pinks for the girls, blues for boys?? OR mixed! Green and red would look awesome for Christmas gifts...

from Bakerella...just the cutest!!!! Anyone can make these. It can be any recipe, all you have to do is pour the ingredients in evenly and put on a cut little sticker. The use of ribbons would make this cute, simple DIY project pop! I have been keeping an eye on some jars off trade me for my Christmas gifts!

More recipes up tomorrow...
feel free to check out what my family and I are up to in India HERE...

...bake something... :P