Failure Happens in the Kitchen

Great ideas can stem from small packages, especially when they come from the local kitchen store.

I picked up this adorable cookie shape along with a biscuit cutter to remove the center cookie dough.

Cookie Cutters

These fancy-dancy edible shimmer dusts…

Gold and Silver Dust

And I was a little overly excited (which is not unheard of) to use my handy new piping bag and tips.



I was going to make engagement ring cookies and send them to my favorite jeweler as a thank you. You see, they made some repairs to my bauble and I wanted to do something to express my gratitude. These cookies were just the ticket. (Or so I imagined.)

The breton biscuit dough baked up buttery and slightly browned on the edges. Boy, did I think I was onto something good.

Diamond Ring Cookies

Then I started to decorate. (Not my brightest idea.) I wanted to make them look just like my ring so I carefully piped the edges with white royal icing and filled in the lines. The plan was to brush some with silver and some with gold dust, but it didn’t end up appearing as dark as I had imagined. A second coat didn’t really change that. Oops!

Icing the Cookies

Then I thought, I am going to tint the icing yellow for the diamond. The first batch of frosting turned out egg-yolk-yellow, which wasn’t pretty at all. The second batch was more of a pastel-ly yellow, so I filled in the gem areas on each cookie. The icing was too watery and started to run, so I cleaned them up as best as I could and let them dry. They looked so non-realistic I could have cried. Double oops!

Looks like my engagement cookie idea was a real recipe for disaster. But there are positives in everything – sometimes they are just hard to see at first.

On the sunny side, I got to experiment with tools and ingredients in the kitchen, which is one of the most heartwarming things to do. Kevin and I laughed and got a bit sentimental as we reminisced about our engagement and our friends at McTeigue and McClelland. And although those rings looked, truthfully, completely sad, they tasted kind of sugary and good. *Blush* (What? Did you think I threw them away?!)

Not only that, but I had the perfect excuse to bake more! Fudgy chocolate brownies from scratch with Ghirardelli cacao to the rescue. Thanks for a reason to bake twice and to experiment with royal icing and edible metallic dust, MC2…


Have you had success with royal icing? Please share your tips!

Calling all Kitchen Dorks

To all the Kitchen Dorks out there that share my immense love for all things “baking” and “mini,” I have a treat for you.

Twin-Mini-Apple Pies, homemade in Kitchen a la Cate, in matching red, 5-inch Emilie Henry Cerise ceramic pie dishes from Sur La Table (pronounced sur la tob).

Don’t let them fool you. These “mini” pies lasted four long romantic dessert sessions with the hubs. Although there was no whipped cream involved, there was vanilla bean ice cream and barrels of sugar (I may have gone a little over-board with the sugar)!

If you haven’t heard of Sur La Table and you are a kitchen dork, you must visit their website pronto.

They have an awesome gift guide, for starters. But they also have an amazing brick-and-mortar location in Pineapple Square (sounds delicious, doesn’t it?) in downtown Sarasota, Florida, where I have been known to be seen.

A few weeks back, I hit up an amazing sale on Halloween goodies. Check out this spooky, sparkly, haunted house that I picked up for a small, sweet price.

More on Sur La Table later! Where is your fave kitchen store, fellow dorkies?!

Donate Blood

Blood Bank

Cate and Diana at Suncoast Communities Blood Bank

Do something good for yourself and for others this holiday season. It’s the best gift you could give and it’s free.

Here’s my story:
I recently moved from Massachusetts to Florida. Quite the ride in the overstuffed UHAUL, let me tell you.

Each day in Sarasota has been a glorious blessing. Aside from the job hunting, I have been charged with getting to know the area, settling my hubby and I into our condo and taking care of dinner, to name a few things. So each day I have carved out some time to take a long walk or go to the gym. I am on a mission to improve.

That day, my walk took me on the same path past the usual scenery. The lush landscaping in the housing complex, including the pond with the treasured ibis. The dumpster where the cardboard goes, not the plastic, and the gate to the “outside world.” Along the hot and humid, but shaded path beyond where we live to beyond the blood bank on the left-hand side of the walkway. I had one simple thought and – turned back…

I am not one to just go walking into a blood bank, believe me, but something compelled me to do so that day. My thought was simple. It’s time to start making people feel good whenever possible. Whether it’s my Mother, a random stranger on the street, a community of individuals in need or even just little old me. If I can do something each day to make someone “feel positive,” then I am going to do it.

So I made an appointment to donate blood. When I left the bright, cheerful office, I felt so charged up. Good things are happening. (Even if I am petrified of needles.)

Well, needless to say, it was a success. It took about 20 minutes from start to finish and I felt great afterward (just a little tired). My arm was a bit sore for a few days, but it was completely worth it. I know it might not seem like much, but to me it represented a shift in who I am and what I know is possible.

Have you ever donated blood?

Suncoast Communities Blood Bank

Suncoast Communities Blood Bank

Just a little bitty mark!