Category: aprons

The Friday Fifteen: Halloween Monster Mash!

They did the mash... they did the MONSTER MASH...

Really, I wasn’t planning on doing more than one Friday Fifteen this month. But the way it worked out, I just had to. There’s so much going on!

So let’s all get down & do the Monster Mash with Frankenstein & his bride…

The Friday Fifteen: Halloween Monster Mash!

  1. Look at these STUNNING Halloween macarons! Such intricate work. Some of the most beautiful decorating I’ve ever seen. And so small.
  2. I haven’t carved my jack-o-lantern yet, it’s a smidgen too early (I usually wait until the 25th or 26th at the earliest). But I’m getting inspired. Maybe I’ll go with something simple like this (via Martha Moments). Or perhaps something spookier… like this (via Miller Creative Designs).
  3. Speaking of spooky: blood spatter cupcakes, anyone? Paging Dexter Morgan. Your Halloween cupcakes have arrived. Ugh. Now I’m sad Dexter is over… but NO I HAVE NOT SEEN THE ENDING YET SO SHUT UP.
  4. If you, like me, have an obsession with all things Day of the Dead, then you’ll have to make these black velvet cupcakes with marigold colored frosting. Seriously. The hand-painted white chocolate sugar skulls aren’t mandatory… but they sure are fun.
  5. I have a recipe for Pan de Muerto as well.
  6. And of course, tres leches coconut cupcakes.
  7. You all know by now that not only is Halloween my favorite holiday, but I love decorating for it. And I love this spider pillow from parismarketplace on Etsy. It’s not too over the top but it still screams Halloween!
  8. But if you’re interested in Halloween decor that’s a bit more… *ahem* straightforward… then how about this coffin couch via VonErickson? Now that definitely screams Halloween. Or, alternative lifestyle choice. Whichever. Either way it’s pretty awesome.
  9. And while we’re talking about Etsy, since I’m currently figuring out & deciding what kind of “wedding” (if any) we’re going to have, this Hallowedding blog piece by Amy Lynn Harvey got me really excited. Now I’m thinking October is a great time of year to get hitched.
  10. For years now, I’ve been wanting to make Martha’s black candy apples. Maybe this will finally be the year!
  11. Sweater pumpkins
  12. American Horror Story: Coven. Dudes. DUDES.
  13. These free printable Halloween cupcake toppers by Johanna Parker Design are insanely awesome! Very retro-looking.
  14. Three words- Black Magic cocktails. I don’t think I need to say more.
  15. My last favorite thing for this week? My chalkboard door…

My chalkboard front door!

This photo is from earlier in the month (obviously). I had some Rust-Oleum chalkboard paint left over from a few projects & last month I decided to paint the back of my front door with it. I had already painted the front of it black with a different regular latex paint (also Rust-Oleum), and I had been planning on painting the back of it black since I painted the rest of the doors off of the hallway black. But once I thought of using the chalkboard paint & looked on Pinterest to see how other people did it (the whole door vs. a framed-out chalkboard), it was over. I’m kinda sorta obsessed with chalkboard paint anyway, but this takes it to a new level! So far, it’s mainly a running to-do list for house stuff. But once that’s done it’ll be whatever we want it to be! There will probably ALWAYS be a quote… I love quotes.

If you’re thinking about doing this, I say DO IT. It’s fun & awesome.

 

Tea towel apron D.I.Y.

Also known as: sewing for the lazy & talentless.

I’m going to preface this by saying that yes, I went to F.I.T., also known as the Fashion Institute of Technology, for Fashion Design. This is true. Yes, I have a dressmakers mannequin in my house, which you will see shortly. And yes, I spent a good many hours seated at a massive industrial sweatshop-style sewing machine, once even witnessing a girl sew her fingers together. This is all true. And yes, I also took draping & patternmaking classes. I did very poorly in them, though, to be quite honest. Yes, I also made my own dress with a Peter Pan collar, skirt with a zipper up the back & light summer-weight coat. Yes, I did also create patterns for a business suit with a Batman-style collar & fishtail skirt out of muslin. But they weren’t exactly loved by the faculty. Not the design aspect- but the patterns (and consequently the poor sewing of said patterns) themselves. My strong suit was not the actual making of the clothes, but the designing. And yes- Professor Wong made it quite clear that in order to DESIGN them well one must understand how to CREATE them well. I understand.

That’s also why I transferred to Fashion Illustration shortly thereafter. I make a better artist than seamstress, and I despise patterns.

However, that’s not to say I can’t do some damage with a needle & thread. I’ve made- all sewn by hand, mind you- skirts, shirts, handbags & scarves. I spend a fair amount of my time sewing Jay’s police uniforms as well. I’ve had a sewing machine of my own in the past, but it wasn’t a very large or expensive one & all it was good for was straight seams on thin fabric. Investing in a really good machine for me would be dangerous. First of all, I might injure myself or sew my own pants to whatever it is I’m trying to make, and second, it’s very possible I might become obsessed and never stop making things.

Make your own half-apron out of a tea towel! Insanely simple, and can be sewn by hand or with a machine!Gettin’ myself all ready to be crafty!

Then nobody would eat, and this would become a sewing blog. In the words of Sweet Brown: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

So because of all this, I rely on the professionals to make my aprons, as a rule. I have beautiful vintage ones, gorgeous Jessie Steele ones, whimsical Anthropologie ones and amazing aprons handmade for me by the wonderful Yoyo of topstitch.org. I love them all to bits, but sometimes I feel guilty wearing a stunning apron & then getting it covered in wet flour (which basically becomes a super glue once it dries) & other messy stuff. I mean, let’s be honest- they’re too pretty to get really dirty. And when I make strawberry or cherry jam, and I know I’m going to get splattered on, I actually avoid wearing one of my super cute aprons because of that. ‘Cause I know I’ll NEVER get the stains out, and I’ll be crazy sad for the rest of my life (especially since every apron I own is either one of a kind, vintage or limited edition, so I can’t replace them). However in my internet travels, I happened upon this blog post with a how-to on making your own tea towel apron, and I thought “Oh crap! I HAVE that tea towel!” One Ikea shopper can spot another, you know. Then, I was surfing the internet & found this post. I figured that the fact that I found these two posts within a short amount of time was kind of kismet, and anyway, Yoyo is always saying how fun it is to make half-aprons from tea towels, and it seemed so stupidly easy, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

I went out, bought some ribbon and made one with that very same Ikea tea towel.

D.I.Y. tea towel apron: super easy to make, takes about 15 minutes if you sew it by hand!

I love it.

I’m not afraid to get it dirty & wipe my disgusting dough-&-batter covered hands all over it.

How to make your own tea towel half-apron using just ribbon & a towel. No sewing machine required!

Yet it’s still cute! It actually looks like a skirt from the front, not an apron. Functional yet still adorable… sounds good to me! Plus, it took me basically 15 minutes to make it by hand. If I had used grosgrain ribbon (easier to fold than satin) & had a sewing machine, it would’ve been finished in 5. It’s that easy. It makes a great gift, too. Maybe for a wishing well gift; make the apron and give that plus the three other towels from the pack with some wooden spoons. I’d even dip the ends of the wooden spoons in a paint to match.

What you need: 1 tea towel (or one piece of fabric cut to 21″ x 27″ and hemmed 1″ around), 1 spool of wide ribbon (thin ribbon doesn’t quite work) needle & thread (or sewing machine). Any tea towel will work, as long as it’s cotton or linen. Don’t use those terry cloth ones or ones that feel like a bathroom towel. Ikea has a ton of options; from the set I got mine from to fancier ones. I personally love the cupcake printed ones, the rose print/pink gingham or the multi-colored stripes. And they’re all inexpensive yet they look beautiful. But you can buy yours anywhere! Even the dollar store.

Okay… so here’s the how-to, direct from Slow Mama:

  • Cut two pieces of ribbon for your ties that are one and a half yards long each. For each piece of ribbon, put a quarter-inch fold in one end, then fold again and press (this will keep your cut edge from unraveling). On the back of your towel, align the folded end of each ribbon along the top edge of the towel so that the folded section is centered over the towel’s side seam. (I set it up so the wider edge of the towel went around my waist)
An insanely easy Do-It-Yourself apron made from an Ikea tea towel!Very simple to do this with fabric as well. Just cut & hem it to size (the size of the towels are 20″ x 26″) and then sew your ribbon on.

  • On your sewing machine, position the needle over the seam of the tea towel, then stitch a few lines back and forth over the ribbon (this will hide your new seam from the front). If sewing by hand, the same principle applies. See photo above. Repeat for both sides.
  • Try on the apron to check the length of your ties and trim as needed, then put the same fold in the free end of each tie and stitch those closed, too. If you want, you can switch thread color to match the ribbon. I didn’t. Also, using satin ribbon makes the folding harder, unless you iron it first- which I didn’t. Grosgrain would make it slightly easier… but either way, it’s really not that big of a deal. I stitched just the sides, but you can stitch across if you like. Or use a serger to prevent the ribbon ends from fraying.

The easiest apron tutorial on the internet. 15 minutes from start to finish, even if sewing by hand!

And that’s it! Your basic apron is done. Now you can add things if you want; add a pocket made from another towel, add a monogram, etc Also, just a random thought, but if you’re making it for a little girl (or boy!), depending on their size you could make a full apron from this tea towel. It wouldn’t be that hard to just turn it around the other way, sew some ribbon for around the neck and then sew some halfway down for the waist. You could also use slightly thinner ribbon. Make one for you, then make one to match for your little one!

Big thanks to Yoyo, Simple Simon & Company & Margaret Cabaniss from Slow Mama for the inspiration to finally make one of these. It was so quick & fun, I might just make more.

So what do you guys think… should I post more D.I.Y. stuff or household-y stuff on here? Or should I stick to the edibles?

Black velvet, sugar skulls & a Sourpuss giveaway!

COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED! THE GIVEAWAY IS OVER!

and the winner is…#50!  Kate G!

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*** Congrats Kate! I’m e-mailing you right now. And thanks to everyone else who entered. I hope to do another giveaway soon… ***

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BOY, are you all lucky this week. Cupcakes the other day, cupcakes today. It’s a cupcake-palooza around here… which is appropriate, given my blog name. But I will admit that in general, I haven’t been posting as many cupcakes as I should lately. I’ve been distracted with other goodies & yummies & I’ve kinda been neglecting the cupcakes.

Before I start going off on my tangents, lets get one thing straight right away: this entire post is going to be a big lovefest. It’s ALLLLLL about things I love. You’re going to see me write that over and over and over again, and I do apologize. Both for my repetition, my lack of other suitable words for the circumstances and also for beating you over the head with it. Are you ready?

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I love Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. It’s one of my favorite things about this time of year; along with Halloween, spooky things, black cats everywhere, fall leaves, vampires, apples & pumpkins. Just in case you live under a rock:

Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it is a national holiday, and all banks are closed. The celebration takes place on November 1, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased.

Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The holiday has spread throughout the world: In Brazil, Dia de Finados is a public holiday that many Brazilians celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches. In Spain, there are festivals and parades, and, at the end of the day, people gather at cemeteries and pray for their dead loved ones. Similar observances occur elsewhere in Europe, and similarly themed celebrations appear in many Asian and African cultures.

The Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico can be traced back to the Indigenous Pagan cultures. Rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors have been observed by these civilizations perhaps for as long as 2,500–3,000 years.[1] In the pre-Hispanic era, skulls were commonly kept as trophies and displayed during the rituals to symbolize death and rebirth.

The festival that became the modern Day of the Dead fell in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, about the beginning of August, and was celebrated for an entire month. The festivities were dedicated to the goddess[2] known as the “Lady of the Dead”, corresponding to the modern Catrina.

In most regions of Mexico, November 1 honors children and infants, whereas deceased adults are honored on November 2. This is indicated by generally referring to November 1 mainly as Día de los Inocentes (“Day of the Innocents”) but also as Día de los Angelitos (“Day of the Little Angels”) and November 2 as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos (“Day of the Dead”).[3]

-Wikipedia

Basically, it’s about life, despite the name. It’s about celebrating the lives of those we love who have passed on. What a beautiful concept. It’s bright, it’s colorful, it’s happy, it’s fun. It bridges that great divide between the dead & the living, and it keeps them in our thoughts through a celebration of their lives as opposed to the sadness of their deaths. I see nothing bad in that, at all. I find it to be a revelation, actually, compared to the stodgy, stuffy, overly melancholy grieving process of my Catholic childhood. I love to celebrate my ancestors & their lives, as opposed to just remembering them at the ends of their lives. In years past, I’ve not only made an altar, but I’ve celebrated by making tres leches cupcakes & Pan de Muerto. I have a hand painted Mexican sugar skull (Jay has one too, kinda like our version of Yin & Yang), and I have sugar skull printed pillows, etc. Suffice it to say I’m big into it, especially the sugar skull iconography.

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So that’s one more thing I love. Sugar Skulls. Any size, shape, colors, theme. I love them all. I want to collect a variety of them, but they’re hard to find here in New York. Hey, are you tired of what I love yet? No? Good, ’cause there’s more. Who’da thunk it that I actually do LIKE so many things?

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‘Cause you wanna know snother thing I love? Sourpuss Clothing. I’ve loved them for four years now, ever since they first contacted me to send me products to review back in 2008. I’m obsessed with their housewares department- don’t get me wrong, I love Crate & Barrel, I love Williams-Sonoma, and I love Pottery Barn too. But sometimes a gal like me, with my skull obsession & my mohawk, yearns for something more… offbeat… for my kitchen decor. And those mainstream stores will usually only carry creepy or “weird” things around Halloween. Well, that’s great, but what if I want a zombie cutting board in June? Or Frankenstein & his bride salt & pepper shakers in February? I go to Sourpuss, that’s what!

But you know, there’s one more thing I love: cupcakes. You knew that already, though. But sugar skulls on cupcakes? FORGET IT. Love it times a million. I’ve made cupcakes with little sugar skulls on them before, but why not repeat something when it’s a good thing? Thanks to Wilton for the awesome skull mold and beautiful food coloring gel that I used in this post. I made the frosting marigold color because marigolds are the traditional flowers of Dia de los Muertos, and are actually known as the flowers of the dead. (side note: they’d be great for Halloween too, with bright orange frosting)

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BLACK VELVET DAY OF THE DEAD CUPCAKES (taken from here)

Makes about 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) of black liquid McCormick food coloring (or possibly less if you’re using Americolor)
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

Directions:

  1. Line your cupcake tins with liners and set aside. Preheat your oven to 350° degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, mix the food coloring and cocoa powder until completely incorporated. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer) cream the butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg, and beat until thoroughly combined, being sure to scrape down the sides.
  4. Add the vanilla and the red food coloring-cocoa mixture and beat well to combine. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beat on medium speed until combined, then add 1/2 of the buttermilk, and beat until incorporated.
  5. Add another 1/3 of the flour, beat well, then the other half of the buttermilk, scraping down the sides after each addition. Finish with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until just combined.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar and baking soda, and immediately add to batter. Mix on high speed for just a few seconds until evenly dispersed, and pour right away into lined cupcake pans, about halfway, maybe 2/3 full.
  7. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick entered into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack.
  8. Cool completely before frosting.

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They’re beautiful, aren’t they? Deep, dark, black cupcakes. Bright marigold colored buttercream and a pretty little white chocolate handpainted skull. Delicious & pretty to look at, a great combination. And the inspiration for them ain’t too shabby either, right? Look at the pattern:

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Would you like your own set? I bet you would.

In this giveaway, one lucky winner will get the ADORABLE Skulls in Love apron. I’m sorry I couldn’t get a decent photo of it for you, but it’s hard taking self-portraits that are full-on body shots; even with my awesome camera & tripod. Either way, the apron is super adorable & the winner will love it. But it’s not just that, oh no. They’ll also get a matching kitchen set (oven mitt & pot holder) & tea towel as well as a skull bowl and a matching bank too. Perhaps for saving up to buy a KitchenAid mixer? Or to upgrade your old hand mixer? Use it to hold your latte fund? Or maybe the “bad language tax” collection for your kids? Whatever. It doesn’t matter what you use it for. It’s cute, that’s the point. And it all matches & coordinates with the bowl. A little girl skull bowl with a bow, and a boy skull bank with a top hat. I die (no pun intended) of the cuteness. I used the bowl to house my handmade tissue paper marigolds (like I said, they’re the traditional flower of Dia de los Muertos & it’s also tradition to make them out of paper), but you can use it for anything. Flowers, candy, a planter. So did you get all that? ONE winner gets an apron, tea towel, kitchen set, bowl and bank. Jackpot!

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ALL YOU HAVE TO DO TO ENTER IS COMMENT. Leave a comment here telling me why you love the Day of the Dead, too. What does it mean to you? Why can you relate to it? I’ll choose a winner at random via random.org on October 25th at midnight, EST. I’m doing this for ONE week exactly so that the winner has a better chance of getting their prize in time for Dia de los Muertos. As far as the winner goes: commenting on the Sourpuss blog or Facebook is invalid, as is a reply on Twitter. You must comment here to be entered. For an optional second shot at winning, tweet the following:

I just entered to win a Dia de los Muertos sugar skull apron/kitchen set/& more from @SourpussBrand & @CupcakeRehab! http://cupcakerehab.com/2012/10/black-velvet-cupcakes-sugar-skulls-a-sourpuss-giveaway/

Just copy & paste the above phrase, post it on Twitter, and then come back & comment a second time. That’s two chances to win. Optional third chance: share the link for this post (see the icon below) on Facebook and then come back & tell me. That’s three chances. Only the first one is mandatory to enter. The other two are just added extras.

But.. there’s ONE MORE thing. For an optional fourth bonus entry, get a friend to come here & enter. If you comment telling me who your friend is, you get a fourth entry, and they get an entry for themselves when they comment (maybe more, if they choose to use the Twitter and/or FB entries as well). So what are you waiting for? Go… get to commenting!

Sources & credits: Bakelite red-handled cutlery; vintage.

SHABBY APPLE APRON WINNER!

As promised, the giveaway ended today and I picked a winner earlier this morning. Drumroll, please…

CONGRATULATIONS TO  TANIA FROM LOVE BIG, BAKE OFTEN! According to random.org, she won the Wildberry Pie apron from Shabby Apple! Okay, now Tania is a blog-friend of mine, but her number actually came up, no kidding. Just so you know that the winner was picked fair & square and that there’s no shenanigans, here’s the proof (in the form of screenshots).

I always play fair and square, and the winner is the winner. But really, that’s a perfect example of why you enter more than once, people! Tania won because she used all five of her possible entries! This is the lovely prize she’ll be getting in the mail shortly:

Huge thanks to Shabby Apple for hosting this giveaway, big thanks to everyone who entered, and congrats again to Tania. Seriously, my readers are the effin’ BEST blog readers/fans ever. EVER. You make me so happy, I love you all & I wish I could give every one of you a hug, a cupcake & an apron. But for everyone who didn’t win, don’t forget- there’s a coupon code so you can buy your own apron (or dress, or whatever) for 10% off. The code is “cupcakerehab10off” and it expires in a little less than a month (July 24th). Treat yourself!

I’m planning on doing a lot more giveaways in the future, and I usually do one for Cupcake Rehab’s blogiversary in September, so I expect you all to come back & enter again. To all my fellow Americans, have a great holiday weekend! See you guys back here next week.

A not-too-shabby giveaway from Shabby Apple!

When Darla from Shabby Apple asked me if I’d be interested in doing a giveaway, my response was pretty much HELL YES. Well, that was my internal response, externally I attempted to be a bit less extreme. But I was so incredibly excited to share this website with you guys, my awesome-amazing-fantastic-terrific-wonderful readers and not only just share the website… but actually GIVE YOU something from the website! Before I get to that- how cute is the name Shabby Apple?

Shabby Apple, in case you aren’t familiar with it, sells the most beautiful clothing & vintage-y retro inspired clothing, (and aprons, which I’ll get to in a minute); dresses & maternity dresses, little girl’s clothes, swimwear, fitness wear and gorgeous jewelry & accessories. I was just talking a few days ago about how “old fashioned” I am, and then bam! I find out about this site. Talk about kismet. My personal favorites: this adorable retro navy blue sailor dress, this super cute striped jersey dress, and of course, this black one (with a great name, Mary Jane Watson!). Lucky for you, this awesome site found me, liked my blog and wanted to share some of the delightful-ness of their merchandise with my readers!

So, I chose, just for you, my lovely readers/fans/followers/stalkers/etc… my favorite of the aprons, the Wildberry Pie empire waist apron, which was featured in USA Today. Yes, the winner of this giveaway will receive this gorgeous apron, retail value: $38.00 US.

Super adorable, right? And oh, oh, what’s that on the wall? Oh yeah. That’s right- a cupcake!


A bright patch of colorfully printed poplin provides the perfect backdrop for your wildest culinary creations. Detailed with contrasting pattern at the tie-back waist and halter straps, and pleating at the empire waist, this full bib apron will keep your sundresses spotless while you conjure up another kitchen miracle.

That’s us, right readers? Whipping up kitchen miracles. And the apron. I know. Totally & completely cute. Even cuter? The little story that’s included with the apron on the website:

Clutching the copy of The Joy of Cooking I had pilfered from my great aunt’s bookshelf as if it would somehow protect me, I walked up to the door of the guest house with all the grace and courage I could muster, and opened the door. A fresh breeze blew in off Lake Michigan, filling the airy entryway with the bouquet of scents that make up Door Country limestone beaches, smoking fish, pitch pines and midwest tradition. I breathed it in. This was not a vacation; this was a test.

I had prepped for weeks for this, the first encounter with the future in-laws and their extended family a whole gaggle of gracious ladies and hungry gentlemen from scattered points around flyover country as they descended on Sturgeon Bay for the Fourth of July. It was a longstanding family tradition of lounging, fishing, and eating obscene amounts of the women’s blue ribbon prize-winning home cooking, culminating in the family’s giant Independence Day feast, where the best of the best was on display for everyone’s viewing, and eating, pleasure.

I was assigned the pie. The test to see if the girl from the big city could be a proper wife and keep their loving son fed. (Apparently my vast knowledge of the best and cheapest places to eat out in New York didn’t count) The only small problem was I had never actually made a pie. So for weeks I practiced, watching YouTube videos of Julia Child or Martha Stewart whipping up extraordinary pastries and following along in my tiny galley kitchen, only to turn out crusts that could chip your teeth or filings so sticky you could barley swallow them. None of this was helped by my fiancee’s constant whistling of “Can she bake a cherry pie?”

I made my way down the hallway of my bungalow and into the kitchen, the sense of fear and dread welling up inside of me. But there on the counter was a little bundle tied up with string, my name handwritten on the outside of an envelope. I opened it.

Someone wise once said, “Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.” I think the trick is to look good doing both, thought these would help. Good Luck! Aunt Sue

I undid the bundle. Inside was a sweet, handmade vintage apron, and two index cards stapled together, with “TOP SECRET: 4th of July Boysenberry Pie” written at the top. I put on the apron, tying its rick-rack apron strings behind my back in a big bow, pulled the butter from the fridge, and took a deep breath.

Did that story draw you in? Make you want to know more? Make you want to make a wildberry pie of your own? Especially while wearing this apron?

Thought so.

Me too. But what I bet is that right about now you really want to know how you can win this Shabby Apple apron, dontcha? I bet you’re dying to get your hands on it. I don’t blame you. Here’s one more view, from the back, for you to revel in the cuteness. Polka dot trim!

Yeah, you want it. Okay, so here’s the deal. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents ONLY (sorry international peeps, I’ll get ya next time). What you eligible U.S. residents are going to do is the following:

  1. Leave a comment here stating (briefly) why you relate to the apron’s story above. Short & sweet is good, no novels please! Also, make sure you leave me a valid e-mail address, I’ll need it to contact you if you win!
  2. Optional ways of getting additional entries: Follow me on Twitter, follow Shabby Apple on Twitter and become a fan of both Cupcake Rehab & Shabby Apple on Facebook, then come back here & comment again.
  3. You have exactly one week from today to do so. Comments will be closed as of midnight EST, July 2nd, 2011.
  4. Then, thanks to random.org, I’ll choose a winner. Ta-da!
  5. For those of you who do not win, since there will only be one winner… there’s a coupon code for you, so you can buy your own apron, 10% off. The code is “cupcakerehab10off” and it expires in one month.

That’s all. Easy peasy. So go on, get to entering!

Aprondiculously cute.

Today’s post just so happens to be a non-recipe post. I mentioned I’d show it off the other day, so I’m just here to share my newest apron addition from Lover Dovers Clothing on Etsy, a surprise gift courtesy of an awesome friend. This brings my apron count up to… 12? 13? Something like that. I think Lover Dovers might just have matched Jessie Steele (if not slightly edged them out) in cuteness. For example: they sell an Alice in Wonderland apron, Snow White apron, I Love Lucy apron, and- get this- A WONDER BREAD APRON!!! Not to mention the apron dresses for little teeny girls. They’re so über cute I can’t even think of a word for them. Anyway here I am, modeling my lovely new addition!

And please do not comment & say I look like P!nk, Katy Perry or Kelly Osbourne. Thanks in advance.

I feel like I should be singing “The hiiiiills are aliiiiiive with the souuuund of muuuusic…” in this one…


That button? That’s a special inside thing right there *wink* & the other one is a picture of me drawn by a friend!


Isn’t my Tiffany’s cupcake necklace cute? I love it. Speaking of jewelry, for anyone out there who has a nose piercing, and who likes to change it somewhat often, that hoop is amazing because it’s not closed, it’s like a half-moon shape. Actually, ¾ moon shape. Anyway it’s really easy to change without fussing with a bead/ball or making sure it’s completely closed like with continuous rings, and it’s extremely affordable. Just a little tidbit from me to you, my pierced (or not pierced) public. OH! Remember back, like way over a month ago, when I said I couldn’t find the photos of my second try at the white velvet butter cupcakes?

Well I did. *big cheesy smile* Here they are!

Spiffy purple liners from Bake It Pretty, edible white glitter from Divine Baking Supplies

Don’t even ask how I misplace photos. They just ran into the wrong folder on my hard drive, that’s all… now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Baker’s Delight.

It’s like rappers delight, without all the hippin’ and hoppin’, but with a whole lot of mixin’ & bakin.’

So, wow, it’s December already! ‘Tis the season to go shopping! If you’re looking for a gift for the baker (or cook) in your life, then here are some ideas to help you out. It’s just a short list this year, because I’ve been busy, and sadly haven’t been able to add all that I wanted to, but enjoy it anyway! Really, it’s just a little wishlist of my own (save for the mixer which I already have) and I just thought there might be others out there like myself who’d want the same things. So here’s my Top 10 Holiday Gifts (for the baker in your life) of 2010!

I’ll have a new recipe for you all next week, but in the meantime… take notes! Psst: these ideas apply ONLY to women (or certain types of men, I suppose) who love and live to cook or bake. I take no responsibility for you buying your wife or girlfriend a stand mixer only to have your clothes thrown out in the street because she wanted a lame Dooney & Bourke or whatever.


CATEGORY 1:

USEFUL THINGS that are pretty…

Now as far as Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/Solstice/New Year’s/Birthday/Anniversary/etc gifts go, one of my personal all-time favorites is the Kitchen Aid stand mixer. *cue angel’s singing*

The Kitchen Aid Artisan stand mixer is an investment, built to last. If you know someone who’s been wanting one, let me tell you: it’s worth the money. You’ll get your money’s worth AND MORE. I’ve heard of people who have their parents Kitchen Aid’s, and they still work! At $299.99 (and free ground shipping), it’s an amazing holiday gift no one will forget. I showed it in Empire Red because of the holiday, but there are so many other beautiful colors (I’m partial to my pink one, she’s become such a huge part of my life she’s even all over my website!) including silver, cornflower blue, boysenberry, caviar, yellow pepper and a shitload more to match any kitchen or color scheme.

Another thing I’m in love with are these amazing Tin Woodsman/Crosby & Taylor pewter measuring cups & spoons (shown: fish handles with palm tree stand). At $179.00 (for the measuring cups, the spoons are $79.99) they’re a thing of beauty, but admittedly slightly pricier than the ones you see at Williams-Sonoma or Crate & Barrel. They’re like works of art, though, and if you know a kitchen artist, it’s a wonderful gift idea. I first saw them on Paula Deen’s show and fell in love instantly. They’re absolutely amazing and they’re sure to get a few gasps (among the right crowd).

CATEGORY 2:

PRETTY THINGS that are useful…

If it’s one thing I’m obsessed with, it’s aprons. Every brand, shape, size, color and style. So here’s a little rundown of my top Christmas aprons this year, just in case you wanna buy a little something for an equally obsessed Kitchen Witch.

The first up is this adorable apron called the “Party in Pink” apron from Carolyn’s Kitchen. 10% of the purchase price of the apron ($42.00) goes to Breast Cancer Research. Same goes for the half-apron ($36.00) and the gloves/garter ($12.00 and $22.00, respectively). Yes, matching gloves AND garter. This one is a HUGE favorite of mine, I love that it’s Christmas-y but pink… and I’m really hoping to find it under the tree this year, especially since a portion goes towards a worthy charity.

Next is yet another from Carolyn’s Kitchen. It’s the “Holiday Sparkle” apron. The prices are same as above: full apron: $42.00, half-apron: $36.00 and gloves: $12.00. No garter for this one, sorry folks. This is the cutest Christmas pattern; kitschy and super retro. The style of the trees reminds me of a tablecloth my mother made as a little girl with felt and sequins.

Now this apron is from a longtime favorite company of mine, Jessie Steele. The “Mrs. Claus” apron is red with black buttons and white trim to mimic the Claus’ outfits. At $32.95 it’s the most affordable one of the first three, and it’s totally cute. Imagine making your Christmas cookies or making Christmas dinner in that! Adorbs!

And then we have this beauty. From Etsy, a retro-inspired Christmas apron with both a peppermint stripe fabric and a vintagey Santa Claus pattern. I love (no pun intended) loverdoversclothing‘s aprons and this is no exception. They’re handmade and absolutely adorable. For $29.99 it’s a beautiful gift for the vintage-loving baker that looks like it really could be vintage.

CATEGORY 3:

PRETTY THINGS that aren’t useful at all, they’re just pretty…

So I’m a sucker for a cute necklace. And since I love to bake, I’m an even  bigger sucker for a cute necklace that’s also baking-related.

Another item I hope I find under the tree this year: a sterling silver whisk necklace by exodesign on Etsy. At $38.00, it’s a handmade piece of jewelry that can be customized (with or without twisted ring) to suit you. I think it’s just so cute and I love it to pieces. And I just love Etsy, don’t you?

Another example of extreme cuteness from Etsy. This tiny little cupcake pendant on a chain is made of silver, and the pendant is just 3/8″ in diameter. How cute! It costs $28.00 and it’s by lulubugjewelry. I think this is absolutely perfect for someone who loves cupcakes (or makes ‘em), but is over the age of 16 and doesn’t want a hot pink cupcake hanging around their neck all the time. Not that there’s anything wrong with that- but there’s a time and a place. This necklace can go anyhere and be worn with anything. Perfect.

CATEGORY 4:

PRETTY THINGS that are both useful & incredibly convenient…

The thing I like BEST about making cupcakes is the fantastic liners, toppers, sprinkles & decorations that are available. Some of my favorite sites are Sweet Cuppin’ Cakes Bakery & Cupcakery Supplies, Bake It Pretty, sweet estelle’s baking supply, Sutton Gourmet Paper, and Fancy Flours. Below, I’ll give you some examples of little “sets” to buy the baker you know who’s so crazy she has plastic storage cases filled with liners & accessories *ahem* Not that I speak from experience or anything… *ah-hem*

First up is Bake It Pretty‘s “Cupcakes 101” kit. I love this idea. Whether you’re buying it for an experienced baker, or to try and encourage a newbie, it’s perfect. It includes: approx. 125 standard baking cups in assorted polka dot, striped, and solid colors, over 25 traditional toppers in assorted styles (clowns, flowers, ballerinas, etc.), 4 ounces of Rainbow Jimmy Sprinkles in resealable bag… plus, everything is packaged in a paperboard suitcase in the color of your choice (well, as long as it’s available). You also can specify whether it’s for a male or female, what colors you absolutely hate, and whether “clowns scare you.” For only $22.95, it’s a great cupcake-y gift. I have never been disappointed with Bake It Pretty, I highly recommend them.

Another adorable “kit” idea is this one from sweet estelle’s baking supply on Etsy. It’s called the “Woodland Cupcake Kit” and it has everything you need for Christmas-y cupcakes. A great hostess gift for someone who loves to bake, or a great idea for kids; get it for them to make cupcakes (or a cake) with you! At $12.00, it’s really affordable and you get a lot: 24 standard green with little dot cupcake liners, 12 small deer picks, 12 pine tree picks, 6 edible sugar snowflake decorations, 6 edible pine cone decorations & 2 ounces of green non-pareils and comes packaged in a pink bakery box with brown baker’s twine.

Well I hope you enjoyed those, and found something interesting to buy for the baker or cupcaker you love. Although I’d actually like to add just one more little thing

My dear friend Yoyo makes the cutest tissue holders, and this one is a Christmas one. So while it isn’t necessarily for a baker, it has peppermints on it and it would be mighty cute to buy and stuff in the pocket of one of those above aprons you just bought. It’s sparkly, it’s Christmas-y, it’s thoughtful, it’s only $3.00, and as if that’s not cheap enough, if you enter the code CUPCAKEREHAB you get 20% off. So click on over to Topstitch and buy one!

So go forth and buy!

The streusel bamboozle.

I’ve said it a gazillion times before but chocolate chip muffins are my favorite kind of muffin. Any kind of chocolate chip muffin is thumbs up in my book. So any time I see a new recipe or hear about one, or think of one, I have to make it. If you look in my muffin category (ooh, that that really sounds dirty…), you’ll see about 90% of them are chocolate chip.

Now, I’m a pretty good baker. I am. I make all kinds of shit from scratch, no mixes at all. I can wing it without a recipe if need be, I’ve substituted random things when I run out of eggs, etc and the final result has been pretty decent. I’ve made my own pasta, made a freakin’ OPERA CAKE and homemade eclairs, and they were all easy as pie, er, cake. However despite that… usually, streusel hates me. Seriously. I love it, but it just tries my patience every time. For something that simple, you’d think it’d be a breeze. But no. Streusel likes to fuck with me. One time I made it and it just disappeared into the cupcakes, leaving a sort of caramelized layer of brown sugar and flour (yeah, I was like “WTF!?”). Another time I made it and it didn’t look anything like streusel, but tasted delicious anyway. Another time I thought I had it, but it was just mush. This time though, streusel gave me a break. It realized how badly I want it, and gave in for once. I think I tricked it into working for me. How, I don’t know. But I did. Next time I’d use a light brown sugar instead of dark with these, but just for aesthetic reasons. The streusel actually came out like real streusel! Yippee!

This is a recipe altered from a previously altered Williams-Sonoma recipe that I found on Baking Blonde. Both her recipe and the original recipe sound delightfully good. As a matter of fact, unbeknownst to me, it seems that that Williams-Sonoma recipe is the same as the donut-muffin recipe I’ve been making for years! Or as Chichi calls them, “Mo’Nuts.” Awesome.

BUTTERMILK CHOCOLATE CHIP STREUSEL MUFFINS

Ingredients:

For the muffins:
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • half of a 12 oz package of chocolate chips (or more, if you like more)
For the streusel:
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp  ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
Directions:
  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease standard muffin cups with butter or butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray; alternately, line them with cupcake liners, which is what I prefer to do.
  2. To make the muffins, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well until pale and smooth.
  3. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add to the butter mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. Stir just until evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each three-fourths full.
  5. To make the topping, in a small bowl, mix the flour & brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or forks until mixture resembles cornmeal. Gently sprinkle topping evenly over batter in prepared muffin tin. Gently press down topping slightly.
  6. Bake until the muffins are golden, dry and springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Unmold the muffins and let stand until cooled slightly.

Noms.

I prefer my muffins room temperature so I didn’t eat them right away. But they were extremely yummy. Jay even liked them, and he’s the toughest person to please, being he hates sweets (well, not really hates, but he’d much rather have a pizza… or steak). I’m just so happy my streusel came out this time… but seriously, the muffins were really good. The liners are from sweet estelle’s baking supply, if anyone is interested.

Unfortunately I couldn’t wear one of my two new Two Lumps of Sugar cupcake aprons from Yoyo because they hadn’t arrived yet when these were baked. But I’m so happy and I can’t wait to use them- they bring my apron total to 11 now!  I know, I know, I have to take pictures. I’m really bad at that. I will though, I promise. I did take one picture though… because I was even more excited when I realized my nail polish matched one of the aprons!

I know I have a problem, but aprons are useful as well as cute. So it’s a collection that isn’t completely useless gathering dust like… stamps or something. Like I said, my count is up to eleven now. Three Jessie Steele aprons with matching oven mitts (fall cupcake print, pink & brown polka dots & leopard print), two handmade aprons from Yoyo (one police-themed & one a reversible Halloween theme- you can buy one of her half apron creations at her store), and a few vintage half-aprons: a red, white & blue patriotic one & a vintage flowered print one, plus a birthday half-apron with a cupcake on it that isn’t vintage. Then I have one from Foodbuzz (just plain white with the logo) and then these two new gorgeous additions I got last week!

Psst… If you’re an apron maker, and you want to pimp your aprons… feel free to send one my way *wink* I’ll pimp you from now ’till next year! I’m always looking for new additions to my collection, especially handmade (but not exclusively handmade, I’m not opposed to a mass-manufactured apron- trust me) because I like to support craftspeople. Buy handmade!

All we want for Christmas is… everything!

A while back I did a post on “Coveted Cupcakery”- items that were cupcake-related that I thought would make excellent gifts, and I’d link to it, but sadly most of the items were Etsy items or Johnny Cupcakes items and they’re no longer for sale (that post was done in 2007, give me a break here). And then last fall, I did a post on aprons called “Apron Overkill“; including and all the ones I desired and ones I recommended for gift-giving. I haven’t done anything like it since, but I’ve wanted to. So I thought perhaps for Christmas this year I’d list some awesome gift ideas, ranging from pricey to affordable, reasonable and a bit out-there and back again, for the hostess with the mostess, or the baker who ain’t a Quaker, or the cook who.. I don’t know what rhymes with cook that’s appropriate for this. This post contains not just cooking or baking materials mind you, this encompasses a variety of foodie and baker related items. And it is by no means a comprehensive list… it’s just a sampling of ideas to push you in the right direction.

All of this stuff is stuff I would want to get, or stuff I can guarantee any cook or baker worth her salt would love to recieve for the holidays. Don’t hold me responsible if you buy any of these and your wife or girlfriend throws your clothes out onto the lawn because she wanted a gaudy ring from Zales instead (hey- I’m not judging, I’m just saying). I am not in any way responsible for bad taste or ungratefulness.

Anyway… here we are. The Cupcake Rehab Christmas Gift Guide 2009. Enjoy!

THE CANDY MAN CAN ($ – $$)

topstitch1.) Handmade TOPSTITCH Pouch: Every woman out there knows that there are times when you just need a pouch. For those unmentionable items, or for makeup, or keys, or whatever. And if they’re cute, then it makes them even more necessary. My friend Yoyo makes these by hand and sells them in her Artfire store. They’re totally adorable and extremely affordable. They come in all kinds of sweet prints, including foodie prints like this pears and apples one… and sometimes she even has cupcake ones for sale too. Her other prints are fantastic too, a personal favorite of mine are the sugar skull pattern and the tattoo print. She also makes coasters and she’d probably be willing to do custom jobs as well. So if you know a woman who loves to stash stuff in little bags and pouches, then this is totally the gift for her. Plus, it’s homemade, and what’s better than that? And if you tell her I sent you, you might get a sweet extra too.

TOPSTITCH pouch: $10.00

TOPSTITCH Artfire store | TOPSTITCH blog

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2.) Fancy cupcake wrappers & liners: Any baker who makes cupcakes loves liners. It’s a fact. Pretty liners are like shiny little jewels to us, just waiting for us to fill them with a new cupcake recipe. Boring liners are so 1980′s. Sweet Cuppin’ Cakes Bakery & Cupcakery Supplies has a beautiful selection of cupcake liners and also gorgeous wrappers. Everything Lyns carries in her store is high quality, and incredibly unique. I personally am in love with these black filigree wrappers (shown) and the Sunflower wrappers, as well as these gorgeously gorgeous pink and gold foil cupcake liners and … uhm, hello? Tartan plaid cupcake liners!? Lyns also carries quality extracts and icing flavors, and cupcake boxes and packing supplies for those of you who give your baked goods as gifts this time of year. Again, a pretty little assortment of jewel-colored cupcake liners and fancy wrappers is a nice stocking stuffer this time of year for a baker… so think about ordering some from Sweet Cuppin’ Cakes.

Wrappers: $6.75 – $14.00 for varying amounts , and cupcake liners: $7.00 – $10.99 for varying amounts

Sweet Cuppin’ Cakes Bakery & Cupcakery Supplies website

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3.) Williams-Sonoma Penguin or polar bear Spatula: Things like this make mundane tasks like flipping cookies a tad more exciting. A penguin spatula! Another stellar idea for a stocking stuffer, or maybe part of a little gift set you create yourself (maybe tuck in some cupcake liners or silpats and muffin tins? Or maybe just have him peeking out of a stocking Christmas morning?), these flexible spatulas are super cute. There’s also a polar bear, if you’re more of a bear person than bird person, and the polar bear is no less cute than Mr. Penguin over here. The handles are brushed steel, and the nylon heads are heat resistant up to 400° F. Both little creatures are dishwasher safe, 11½ inches long, and are Williams-Sonoma exclusives.

Penguin or Polar Bear flexible spatula: $12.00 each

Penguin spatula | Polar Bear spatula | Williams-Sonoma website

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4.) Buttercream Cupcake Goat’s Milk soap: I love the assortment of cupcake soaps you can buy on Etsy.  This one especially intrigues me because it’s made with goat’s milk. I know, right? That’s pretty interesting. But that’s not all it’s got in it: Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Castor Oil, Safflower Oil, Glycerin(kosher), Purified Water, Sodium Hydroxide (saponifying agent), Sorbitol (moisturizer), Sorbitan oleate (emulsifier), Soy bean protein (conditioner), Fragrance oil and coloring are also ingredients in this cute little cupcake soap, in addition to goat’s milk. It’s scented with a vanilla buttercream scent and approx 4.5 oz.

Vanilla buttercream cupcake soap: $5.50

Vanilla cupcake goat’s milk soap | KcSoapsNmore Etsy store

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POUR SOME SUGAR ON ME ($$ – $$$)

1.) Jessie Steele apron: I’m a big apron fanatic. I have like upwards of 9 of them, all different; some vintage, some handmade, some not. I’m an apron whore, I admit. And my favorite brand of apron (aside from the ones Yoyo’s made me, which are one-of-a-kind and no, you can’t buy them) is Jessie Steele. I just love their patterns and styles. I have three of them and each one is absolutely adorable. And I know that many other cooks and bakers would love them too, they’re not your average apron. They’re classy looking and vintage-y, and look like they just popped out of LIFE magazine from 1950-something. Trust me- these aren’t your average dollar store BBQin’ aprons. They make you feel glamorous while you’re whisking egg yolks or baking pizzas. They carry hostess aprons, half-aprons, chef’s aprons, children’s aprons as well as matching oven mitts & tea towels, and now they have a new line of salon aprons for hairdressers. The Josephine bib-apron in “Candy Canes” that I show here is limited edition, just for this Christmas, so you better get on that. But there are TONS of other patterns and colors, like the Ava bib-apron in leopard (I have it), and the totally cute Ava bib-apron in this 50′s retro kitchen print, as well as the sexy Sophia bib-apron with black lace. Rawrrr. And there are lots more, check them out.

Jessie Steele aprons: from $22.95 (children’s) to $32.95 (adult women’s)

Jessie Steele website | Search Google for Jessie Steele aprons

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2.) Carolyn’s Kitchen aprons: Another of my favorites is Carolyn’s Kitchen’s aprons, mainly because of this apron I show right here: the Dorothy Lollipop apron, and this apron too, the Vixen apron. They’re so adorable and Christmas-y I can’t handle it, and on top of that, they’re more like dresses than aprons. I want them bad. But I love that site for other reasons too.  Why else? Well, available to buy along with some of these aprons are matching garter belts. Garter belts! How Betty Page is that? Case in point: click here. I know, it’s adorable. And so tongue-in-cheek, I can’t imagine a woman who loves to cook or bake recieiving this apron or one like it and NOT loving it. Well, I can, actually, but those women are nutcases and if you’re significant other is a nutcase you should get out now, while you can. Seriously. Anyway, Carolyn’s Kitchen also sells rubber/vinyl gloves in colors and styles that match their aprons, which is a great idea, because if you’re hand washing dishes you will certainly mess up your manicure and when you’re wearing an apron like this you can’t have a messed up set of claws, ladies. The ‘About‘ page on the site is super cute too, a really fun read. And for you cupcakers, there are cupcake patterned aprons as well (love them too).

Carolyn’s Kitchen aprons: $29.92 – $42.00 depending on style/fabric

Carolyn’s Kitchen website

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digitalmeasuringcup

3.) Digital Measuring Cup: Now this is genius. A digital measuring cup that tells you both volume & weight, and also allows you to do cumulative weighing. Amazing. It’s an LCD display and it’s not dishwasher safe (obviously), so it’s a hand wash item. But how handy is that!? It can tell you the exact amount, no more guessing or rounding up or adding too much flour in your recipes. This particular model is from Sur La Table, but I’m fairly sure you can get them in a variety of places now. Now all they need to invent are digital measuring spoons and we’ll all be set.

Digital Measuring Cup: $35.00

Digital Measuring cup at Sur La Table | Sur La Table website | Search Google for digital measuring cups

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4.) ‘Keep Calm & Have a Cupcake’ matted print: Jenny’s Bake Shop always has the cutest merch, and this is no exception. How adorable would this print look framed and hanging (or leaning on the counter) in your favorite bakers kitchen?! A 5 x 7″ print, it fits in an 8 x 10″ frame. According to the Etsy page: This piece is based on an old World War II era poster that was issued by the British government. During wartime, it was important to try to keep the public informed, and as free from panic as possible. The original poster read: “Keep Calm and Carry On” , and at the top there was a graphic of a crown to signify that this directive came from the King. Well since then, a lot of people fell in love with this simple design and positive message and repro posters in all colors are now available. What you see here is our cheeky take on that design icon…we offer a bit more incentive than simply “carrying on”…in order for us to “Keep Calm” there’s gotta be some cupcakes involved! So cute! I for one would love this.

Keep Calm & Have a Cupcake matted print: $22.00

Keep Calm & Have a Cupcake matted print | JennysBakeShop at Etsy

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5.) Cupcakes Are Cool t-shirt: This adorable shirt is from dressingOnTheSide at Etsy. It’s a limited edition shirt, and it’s silkscreened on a super soft American Apparel t-shirt. I believe it comes in both petal pink and white, as well. What does it say exactly? Click here to see the full size image. It’s a unique gift for a cupcake lover or cupcake baker,  or just a baker in general, and when purchasing this shirt, you’re also supporting an artisan and buying handmade, which rocks. Support DIY! Support Etsy!

Cupcakes Are Cool t-shirt: $21.00

Cupcakes Are Cool shirt | dressingOnTheSide Etsy store

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HEY, BIG SPENDER ($$$ – $$$$)

1.) KitchenAid mixer: The Pièce de résistance. Okay so, basically, this is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only for the cook/baker, but for everyone who partakes in the eating of whatever treats, confections and meals the aforementioned kitchen wizard makes. It’s a godsend, it makes everything easier- from mixing buttercream, making meringue, kneading pizza dough, whatever. It’s awesome.I got mine for my birthday last year and I adore it (she’s pink and her name is Lola, don’t judge me). Whatever color (it comes in a huge range, from copper and brushed silver to black, pink, red, green, blue and more… you name it) or style (Professional or Artisan) you choose, it’s a total slam dunk. Not only because of what it can do right out of the box, but because of all the cool attachments you can buy: pasta and ravioli makers, ice cream makers, etc. I can count at least 4 women I know right this minute who would love to get one of these babies under the Christmas tree. It looks gorgeous in your kitchen and it’s functional too. How cool is that? Very fucking cool.

KitchenAid mixer: approx. $239.99 – $529.99

KitchenAid website | Search Google for KitchenAid stand mixers

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2.) Tiffany Cupcake Charm: Let’s say your lady is a baker and cupcake maker, but she’s already got a KitchenAid mixer, or maybe she’s more into the jewelry side of things. Well you really can’t go wrong with anything from Tiffany. This is something you guys need to learn early- that little blue box looks a hell of a lot bigger to a woman. And now Tiffany makes adorable little cupcake charms. They come in both silver with pink enamel (shown) and yellow & white gold with multi-color gem “sprinkles” which is admittedly much pricier. But whatever your budget, the sentiment is the same: cupcakes are wonderful, whether in gold or sugar form. A sweet piece of jewelry for your sweetie. How corny of me, right?

Tiffany Cupcake Charms: from $150 – $1,350

Tiffany website | Search Google for Tiffany Cupcake Charm

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3.) CUPCAKES vintage style sign: For the ultimate in shabby chic kitchen decorating, this ‘Cupcakes 1c’ sign is it. It looks old, but it’s not, and it’s got so much character you know you’ll be constantly asked where you got it. A total conversation piece. Perfect to hang in a kitchen, or in a bake shop if you own one.

Cupcakes 1c vintage style sign: $78.00

Cupcakes vintage sign | mypaintedporch1 at Etsy

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4.) ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ necklace: I’ve been a fan of sudlow on Etsy for quite some time. I’ve been admiring the stuff in her shop from a distance for ages, especially the ‘Give Peas a Chance’ necklace (which is pretty funny for me considering Jay hates peas). Well this necklace features a cupcake, and a little banner that says ‘Let Them Eat Cake.’ And as if that’s not good enough for you, you can even request a custom phrase for the banner. And her shop has tons of other beautiful things, so check it out and get something for all the non-cupcake loving people on your list.

‘Let Them Eat Cake’ necklace: $65.00

‘Let Them Eat Cake’ necklace | sudlow at Etsy

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And that’s that. An array of gifts from low to high end, and back again, so there’s no excuse to buy anyone you know who’s a Cupcake Rehab-er or cook a shitty gift!

And speaking of Cupcake Rehab, don’t forget there’s always the Cupcake Rehab store as well… t-shirts, hoodies, kid’s shirts, mugs, mousepads & aprons galore, all with various Cupcake Rehab logos. Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Aprons & Apple Cider donuts.

Before I go ANY further with this post, I have to show you all a gift I received from my friend Yoyo (You remember her? She runs topstitch.org and has an Artfire store? Hayley Williams from Paramore got some of her handmade stuff at a meet & greet? She’s totally awesome and has her own category over here? Yeah I think I mentioned all that once or twice before…) Anyway… Yoyo sends me stuff all the time and spoils me rotten, but this is one of the coolest things she ever made me!! It’s a reversible Halloween apron!

One side: Happy Halloween with a cute little skull. The other: Sexy witches!(Excuse the terrible pictures, I’m not very good at the self-portrait shots. I’m going to attempt to get someone to take a better full-on shot of it).

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Halloween is my favorite holiday, ever, in case you didn’t know. If you like this, then check out her store and look at what she has for sale, or go to her blog and contact her about making you an apron. She does amazing work and her stuff is so damn cute. I’m so excited! I have a really super apron collection now, including seasonal ones. It excites me that I can wear different aprons different times of the year and be seasonally appropriate. Thank you Yoyo! It’s beautiful. Now all I need is a Christmas apron. And if anyone’s looking to get me one, this or this is something like what I have in mind. *wink*

So that concludes the apron part. Now let’s get to the apple cider donuts part, eh?

Every fall, me & Jay go to this pumpkin farm where they sell the best cider donuts ever.  One year we bought literally tons of them, and on the way home went to a friends house, and in the middle of hanging out  we left for a bit to go eat some in Jay’s car, then went back inside… just to avoid sharing them. Yeah. They’re that good. Last year we went on a Monday and they were closed, and this year we went on a Thursday and it turns out they only make the donuts on Saturdays and Sundays. So we were really bummed. Two years in a row with out cider donuts!? Unacceptable. I decided to take matters into my own hands. Fortunately, in the October 2009 issue of the Food Network magazine there happened to be a recipe for cider donuts, so I made me some of my own. I used Macintosh apples myself. It’s best to use red apples that don’t keep their shape while cooking (i.e., no baking apples). And seriously, just look at how gorgeous the apples I have are (and the pomegranates aren’t bad either)!

CIDER DONUTS

Ingredients:

  • 2 red apples, such as Cortland or Macintosh
  • 2 ½ cups apple cider
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1 large egg, plus one yolk
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • vegetable oil, for frying

Directions:

  1. Core and coarsely chop the apples (do not peel). Combine with 1 ½ cups apple cider in  medium saucepan over medium heat; cover and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until the apples are tender and the cider is almost completely reduced, about 5 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor until smooth. Measure the sauce; you should have 1 cup. (Boil to reduce further, if necessary.) Let cool slightly.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat 2/3 granulated sugar and the shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer until sandy. Beat in the egg and yolk, then gradually mix in the applesauce, scraping the bowl. Beat in half of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk and vanilla, and then the remaining flour mixture. Mix to make a sticky dough; do not overmix.
  4. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper and pat into a 7 x 11″ rectangle, about ½ inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  5. Meanwhile, make the glaze: Simmer the remaining 1 cup cider in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to ¼ cup. Whisk in the ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar until smooth and glossy, then set aside. Mix the remaining 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a shallow bowl; set aside for the topping.
  6. Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350° degrees. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Cut the chilled dough with a doughnut cutter. Slip 2 or 3 doughnuts into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side, adjusting heat as needed. Transfer to the paper towels to drain.
  7. Dip one side of each doughnut into the cider glaze, letting the excess drip off; dip one side into the cinnamon-sugar topping, then flip to cover other side. Serve warm.

My donuts came out a bit uneven, but c’est la vie. Or c’est la donuts. But I think it’s less about perfection and more about taste. And in terms of taste- these are very yummy. Some of mine were a bit overdone; they cook VERY quickly, so beware. If you aren’t paying attention, you’ll end up with very dark donuts.

Also it’s a very sticky dough, so if you don’t let it chill enough, you’ll have a very hard time cutting it out. Don’t skimp on the fridge time. Leave it overnight if you can.

The general consensus is that these are way better than the ones from that pumpkin farm. Jay bogarted them and refused to allow anyone near his donuts, not even his family. So that’s saying something considering this guy never eats any of the sweets I make (except cookies, he loves cookies). Seriously. He has all the cupcakes and treats he could ever want at his disposal… and he eats NONE of it. So these were obviously pretty damn spectacular.

By the way, in case you didn’t notice from that picture above, my hair is red again. If I may quote: “Turn and face the strange, ch-ch-changes.” You should know by now I can’t keep a haircolor (or style for that matter) for very long without going stir-crazy. I also want to take a second to wish a very happy birthday to Chrisie! She’s the awesome artist who contributed that beautiful Cupcake Rehab painting for my giveaway. Her birthday is today, so happy birthday Chrisie!