Friday, December 17, 2010

Whaz' Up?

Photo Credit: SuperStock


1. When is the last time your kitchen looked this clean?
A. Yesterday, my cleaning lady came. It lasted an hour.

2. When is the last time you wore heels in your kitchen?
A. It hasn't happened yet.

And now, for a little update from The Do-tique...

We are all a bit in shock that Christmas is only a week away! The tree is up and has stayed up with almost no damage inflicted by Baby (yet!). Oh, I'm so glad that I have a girl and not a little boy! The Nativity scene is also displayed and we've sent all our Christmas cards and I even had time to build a little drinks bar to spread some festive sauce (uh, I mean Cheer!).

All Photos: Filia Artis

The cookie baking bonanza has also begun. And yes, I looked at the Martha Stewart Christmas book. I even brought it home from the library. However, Hubby has forbidden me from trying to make the victorian cottage out of gingerbread. 

Image Credit: Martha Stewart

A few years ago, I attempted just the dutch townhouse gingerbread cookies from this Martha cake. It was an eight hour process for one batch of cookies. (This cake gets a DIY Rating of 1! Don't go there unless you really, really like baking!)

Photo Credit and Recipe: Martha Stewart

There was once a blogger in Holland who was brave enough to make this cake herself. Check out Heleen's awesome work at Cookie Journey

If you're looking for a much more idiot-proof type of Christmas cookie, I can suggest these sugar cookies from Joy of Baking. I made them last night and they are very straightforward. My strategy is to do a few cookie dough batches in advance of Christmas and then freeze or refrigerate until closer to the date and save the rolling and baking for then.

Another easy recipe that has been suggested to me by Maureen in my craft group is this one for No-Fail Sugar N' Spice cookies. It is supposed to be resistant to damage from rolling and re-rolling and generally being over-handled by children.

Top tips for Christmas cookies - use unsalted butter and use lots of it! When the recipe says "cream" they mean it, so make sure your butter is nice and fluffy before proceeding to the next step. Handling the dough too much is what makes for tough cookies - tread lightly with your fingers! Finally, when in doubt, hit up the bakery! Nothing like home-faked if it means avoiding a pre-Christmas stress attack!

In other news...

The big DIY project of the month has been the job of exploring and researching the idea of starting my own business or at least a new way of doing business as an employee. I am inspired by all the other mother-bloggers out there who are raising children and running successful businesses. The main goal is to find a way of continuing my career that is somewhat compatible with family life. I don't believe there is really such a thing as a perfect "work-life balance," it will always be a game of tug and pull, but I do believe there can be a better way for women to make it function. Any tips or ideas or suggestions are welcome!

DIY Ratings:

O for wearing high heels to clean the house,

10 for setting up a festive holiday bar at home,

7 for easy cookies, but 10 for home faking if you hate home baking!

Readers can assign a DIY rating for me on the business idea...


  1. Thanks for the tips on the cookies and the decorating. I am about to try out my first desert in our microwave/grill/convection oven tomorrow. Yes it is all three in one and you can combine the settings as well. Wish me luck! If I am feeling daring I might try a cake or cookies later in the week.

  2. Carolyn,

    Good luck on the dessert making! My only "beware" since I don't think you've had convection in the that at least in the North American versions, you need to lower the temperature about 25% and shorten the cooking time a bit. Works amazingly on cookies and the benefit over conventional ovens is that you can easily bake 2-3 trays at once. Beware with cakes though - convection can actually blow the batter sideways and leave you with a lopsided cake. We've made that mistake with muffins and ended up with ones that looked like they were trying to run away!

    Post pictures when you have something to show!


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