Traditional Moldavian Condensed Milk-Nutty Wafers

On the 8th Day of Christmas I decided to make Traditional Moldavian Condensed Milk-Nutty Wafers. Mmm-mm-mm. Condensed milk is heavenly. Many traditional Russian/Moldavian dessert recipes call for condensed milk-they must of known what was good! This is an easy no-bake effortless dessert that will make you wonder why you’d never thought of it sooner.

Before coming up with this baking series, I talked to my mom about the traditional Modavian desserts we always used to make, and what made them so…well…tradtional. Really, what makes this dessert so special? As my mom explained the story of her childhood and family traditions, she mentioned that this particular dessert was always everyone’s favourite. Since my mom came from a small village in Moldova, everyone knew that at each wedding, event, or gathering, this wafer cake would be there…but not for long. My mom mentioned that as the ladies would come out to set the dessert table, everyone would reach out to grab a piece of this wafer cake. And before they wanted to go back for seconds, it was gone. So it has become traditional because of its popularity for events and great taste. I remember having this wafer cake at every family event growing up, it was almost expected.

When I tell people about this dessert, they instantly think of the dry wafer bars-(which are still good) but this is different. Every bite is filled with a rich flavour of sweet caramel condensed milk, nutty-chocolate favour with a moist texture. Unlike the usual wafers, my mom liked to dip the wafers in dark chocolate for a richer flavour. She’s brilliant. What else could be more savoury then this combination?

I always love to have a go-to dessert that is simple and quick to make. Sometimes I do like a challenge, but sometimes its nice to have a fail proof go-to cake that will impress any crowd.

I had a hard time finding wafer sheets near me, so I ordered mine from here. Or you can usually find them at European markets/stores. The European grocery store near me was actually sold out, so I ended up buying them from Amazon (which never fails)!

Notes:

  • the amount of mixture for each wafer sheet may vary based on type of brand/size of wafer sheets you have, refer to my picture to see how much I used for the size of my wafer sheets
  • during boiling time of condensed milk, make sure to  keep the can submerged under water for the duration of boiling period, keep adding water to the sauce pan when needed, do this to ensure the same consistency throughout

After mixing ingredients to the contended milk, you’ll want to have a consistency, and appearance like this:

Put a generous amount on each sheet, you don’t want the wafers to taste too dry, but also, you don’t want it to be too runny.

After you cover sheet (except the top one), you will notice that the sheets may start peeling back. This is normal. Just make sure to place in the fridge with a heavy object on top of the wafers.

Lightly press down before placing in the fridge.

Wrap it up, and place it in the fridge.

Once its done hardening in the fridge, you can cut the wafer into desires pieces and top it with melted chocolate!

Ta-da!

Traditional Moldavian Condensed Milk-Nutty Wafers

Ingredients

  • 2 14 oz-cans of boiled condensed milk. (See note)
  • I pack of wafer sheets (see note for the brand I used)
  • 1/2 cup of crushed walnuts
  • 1/3 cup of crushed pecans
  • 2 tsp of coca powder
  • 1 tbsp of Nutella
  • 3 tbsp of softened butter
  • Dark, or semi-sweet chocolate for dipping/drizzle

Instructions

  1. Start by boiling the cans of condensed milk in a sauce pan on the stove top, submerged under water on med-low for 2 hours. (Make sure water covers the can for duration of boiling period.)
  2. Once condensed milk is done boiling, remove from heat, run through cold water, and let it cool off to lukewarm temperature.
  3. Add all ingredients at this time until mixed. (You can mix with your hand)
  4. Now begin by spreading the condensed milk mixture onto each wafer. Depending on the brand/size wafer sheets you have measurements may vary. But for my size I placed 6-8 tbsp mixture on each sheet. (see note and picture)
  5. Once complete, place wafer cake in the fridge over night or for about 5-6 hours with a heavy object on top (I used large glass dish) to make sure the wafers and condensed milk adhere properly.
  6. Once cooled and pressed with heavy object, cut into diamond shapes.
  7. Melt chocolate in microwavable bowl for 20 seconds on and off until melted.
  8. Begin to decorate each piece with chocolate dip or drizzle. Best kept in fridge until served.
  9. Enjoy!
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Red Velvet Cupcakes with Mascarpone Cream

On the 9th day of Christmas I decided to make Red Velvet Cupcakes with Mascarpone Cream.

You’re probably thinking, what is mascarpone cream? Why haven’t I heard of it? Well you’ll be sorry you haven’t sooner. Even for someone who loves baking, I haven’t used it until recently, and I was sorry. After you try this cream, you will never return to cream cheese frosting, I promise. By now you think I’m crazy. What could possibly be better than cream cheese frosting? Well, I think you’ll have to try it to believe it! So pretty much, mascarpone is an Italian mild cream cheese, with a sweet soft butter texture-unlike more of a sour cream cheese taste (which don’t get me wrong, is still good). But I don’t think I can go back to cream cheese after mascarpone cheese. Just sayin’ 🙂

I was introduced to this recipe from my neighbour, who used to have her own bakery shop. So she knows what’s good. However, I did alter the recipe because I wanted a little more texture.

As for the red velvet, well who doesn’t love red velvet… anything? Red=Christmas.  I always love to be festive and if the colour red resembles Christmas to me, I thought red velvet cupcakes would be perfect. I’ve tried a few trail and error recipes for red velvet cupcakes. And this one is my favourite so far. It has a nice moist, rich velvety taste. Nobody likes a dry plain cupcake!

Note:

  1. Make sure to use liquid red food colouring. It picks up better in cake batters as opposed to gel colouring paste. I was out of my liquid food colouring so I had to settle for gel paste. So if you notice, there is a slight discolouration around the cupcake.
  2. This recipe calls for buttermilk. You can easily make your own by substituting it with regular milk mixed with vinegar. The ratio I always use is 1 cup to 1 tsp of vinegar. Let it sit at room temperate for about 5 minutes. It took curdle and look uneven. That means its ready for use. Buttermilk made easy!

I still felt like these cupcakes were lacking a Christmas Spirit, so I decided to add some “joy” to their lives!

I used melted dark chocolate to spell out “Joy” on a waxed baking sheet. And placed them in the fridge to harden. You can carefully test the readiness by poking at them. They don’t take long to harden.

Mascarpone Frosting: getting the right consistency is key.

Beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form, making sure you don’t over-do it, or else it will curdle. It may take a few minutes, but you want to constantly be checking to see if the texture has stiff peaks. It should look like this:

In a medium bowl combine mascarpone cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Stir together until smooth.

Then fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until combined. Whip again slightly for a thorough mix, then store in the fridge until ready to use.

Note: you can use less whipping cream if you want a firmer texture. This recipe is medium-firm. It will soften slightly at room temperature, but still maintain its shape. 

Now it’s time to decorate!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Mascarpone Cream

Ingredients

    Red Velvet Cupcakes:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs,
  • 2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Mascarpone Frosting:
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream

Instructions

    Red Velvet Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
  3. In a large bowl beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled.
  6. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes.
  7. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness.
  8. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
  9. Mascarpone Frosting:
  10. In a medium bowl combine mascarpone cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla.
  11. Mix together until smooth, and set aside.
  12. In a large bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form (see note and picture above).
  13. Then fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until combined.
  14. Whip again slightly until thoroughly combined.
  15. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
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Sugar Cookies with Royal Decorating Icing

On the 10th Day of Christmas I decided to make Sugar Cookies with Royal Decorating Icing!

Christmas baking isn’t complete without sugar cookies, right? I mean, what could be more fun for kids? Playing with the playdough-like texture of sugar cookie dough, and then having fun decorating, not to mention the taste-testing! It’s like edible pay-food. Amazing. This was my favourite type of dessert to bake growing up. Every year since grade 1, I have been making sugar cookies and decorating them; it kind of became a tradition. Last year when I left home after getting married, my mom mentioned that she missed traditional sugar cookie baking and decorating each year without me around… at least I still carry on that tradition today. 🙂

Ever since my grade one Christmas baking experience of making sugar cookies for the first time, I was in love. From what I recall, every grade participated in baking a desert for a bake sale, and from that, a school recipe book was made up. I begged my mom to help me make them at home so I could secretly eat as much of the sugar cookie dough as I wanted- when no one was looking. I later found out that my mom bought the school recipe book, and it already felt like Christmas morning. That was my very first recipe book. It even had my name on it. I was thrilled, and smile as I reflect now, to know that I still have that book today.

That being said, I really wanted to add this recipe to this series because it’s very sentimental to me. I’ve been using this recipe ever since grade one. And the cookies turn out perfectly every time. Thank you, grade one class.

Follow along, or find the full recipe below! 🙂

Combine all ingredients until it becomes a nice dough texture.

I like to separate the dough into 3 pieces, and place them in the fridge until using them. Or you can freeze some too!

Make sure the dough is nice and levelled before you begin.

If you have excess dough after shaping them, you can remove excess with a toothpick. They become hardly noticeable after baking.

And ta-da! (Follow my Icing recipe below)

Now the Royal Decorating Icing is a different story. In the past I usually decorated with store bought icing. You know, the ones in the tube, that only have enough icing for 3 cookies? (Rolling my eyes) Well this year I thought I’d change it up. I wanted to make my own. And I did. After finding a few recipes, I came across this one, and made it more suitable for what I thought would work best. It’s 3 simple ingredients and only take about 10 minutes to prepare. Lovely.

Follow the recipe below to make sure you get the right consistency, or else the icing will be very runny, and won’t work for decorating. (Make sure it looks like this, firm with peaks!)

This icing is great for gingerbread houses decorating too!

Happy decorating!

 

Sugar Cookies with Royal Decorating Icing

Ingredients

    Sugar Cookies:
  • 1 cup of softened butter/margarine ( I like to use butter)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups of flour
  • Royal Decorating Icing
  • 1 pound of powdered sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Instructions

    Sugar Cookies:
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Refrigerate or freeze for a desired texture (optional).
  2. Roll out dough and cut into Christmas shapes and place onto baking sheets.
  3. Bake at 400F for 5 minutes.
  4. Royal Decorating Icing:
  5. Sift sugar into a bowl of an electric mixer.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients.
  7. Mix on low until using the paddle attachment, until sugar is throughly mixed in.
  8. Increase to medium-speed and beat for 5 more minutes. Check for stiff peaks. Continue at medium-high if necessary (refer to picture above).
  9. Once stiff peaks are formed, cover with plastic wrap, to prevent crusting until ready for use.
  10. Add desired gel paste food colouring to icing.
  11. Time to decorate!
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Russian Beze with Caramelize Condensed Milk

The count down continues! On the 11th Day of Christmas Baking, I decided to share “Russian Beze” with Caramelize Condensed Milk. Isn’t that a mouthful? No pun intended! 🙂

This is a specialty dessert that is similar to a meringue or pavlova. Each bite is filled with a savouring taste of caramelized condensed milk, and a crunchy-chewy texture. I like to add a light cream and some sweet and a sour berry topping to settle the rich and sweetness overload flavour. It’s luscious, and one-of-a-kind.

I first came across this exquisite dessert when I was at my friend’s house, Evelina, who at the time was not married. Every time I stepped foot into her kitchen, her mom would be cooking or baking something remarkable. Lia, Evelina’s mom, is one of the best bakers I have ever come to meet. Don’t get me wrong, my mama’s baking is amazing but I can appreciate the uniqueness and talent that goes into Lia’s baking too. That’s why I had my wedding cake made specially by Lia. I wanted a simple white cake so I could decorate it with white roses, baby breaths,  and hydrangeas. It ended up turning out exactly the way I hoped for (although I am not too sure how green hydrangeas got in there aha). I can’t recall what flavour(s) the cake had, because by the end of the wedding day I..was…exhausted. 😛 But many people approached me and mentioned that the cake was delicious of course I didn’t expect anything less.

Here is a my beautiful wedding cake, thanks to Lia!

It looks like my husband is really savouring each bite… haha!

Anyways, the first time I tried Beze was near the holidays. Lia always seemed to make it when we were over for BBQs and holidays. So that’s why I thought I would include this dessert on the list. It’s a must, and a nice unique dessert to have for special occasions…or whenever. 🙂

Although, this meringue dessert can be a little tricky. You need to be very particular with the texture of the mixture and each step or this dessert can easily flop. It’s a delicate batter to work with. But if you follow along with each step, you’ll be sure to make the perfect batch!

As for the topping; I like to use blackberries, they seem to go perfectly, but feel free to add any berries of your choice. As for the cream, I used light tasting whipped cream. You can find the recipe here.

Follow along step-by-step instructions to get the perfect Beze (Meringue)! (See full recipe below)

Preparing Condensed Milk: Before you begin, or the day before, start preparing the condensed milk topping. Boil 1 can of condensed milk for 2.5-3 hours on medium heat. Make sure to constantly check boiling pot to ensure that the water covers the can for the duration of the boiling period to insure the same consistency throughout.

Note: As you may have noticed, my condensed milk texture is a little runny. I personally like mine a little runny, but if you want a firmer texture simply boil for 3 or more hours based on your preference.

Tips:

  • Make sure to separate the egg whites from the yoke carefully. I recommend   separating in a separate bowl to insure no yoke gets into the eggs white or else this will affect the outcome of the batter.
  • Make sure to use castor sugar, it dissolves more easily than regular sugar, the giving you a better result. If you don’t have any, you can make castor sugar by simply running sugar through a food processor until it is a fine texture but not powdered. I did this and it work out perfectly for the recipe.
  • Dont open the oven until baking is complete.

Step 1: Begin by beating the egg whites in a stand mixer (hand mixer will do too) on low-speed until the whites become bubbly frothy. Add vinegar and salt.

Step 2:  Turn to medium-speed until soft peaks form (soft peaks form when the egg whites look like white foam and the whisk starts to form a trail- still frothy but more creamier texture will appear).

Step 3: Turn to medium-high speed and slowly add the sugar at little increments at a time, allowing the sugar to incorporate before each addition.

Step 4: After all the sugar is added, turn the speed on high and whip until the egg whites form hard peaks (like the picture below) and the sugar is dissolved (this will take about 3-4 minutes).

Step 5: Finally, add the sifted cornstarch and whisk on high-speed for a couple more minutes until it is fully incorporated.

The final texture will look like this:

Step 6: Pre-heat the oven to 230 degrees. Make sure to line your baking sheet with parchments or wax paper. Place large spoon-filled disks of the meringues evenly onto the baking sheet (as picture below).

Step 7: Bake for 1 hour with the rack positioned in the middle. Then, allow to cool to room temperature before peeling off baking pan.

The meringues should look like this once done baking:

Now its time to decorate!

Drizzle caramelized condensed milk over Beze and add whipped cream topping of your choice. I like to use this one.

Serve immediately, or place in the fridge once toppings placed, and the texture will stabilize in the fridge.

Russian Beze (Meringue) with Caramelized Condensed Milk

Ingredients

    Beze (Meringue):
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups of caster (fine) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon of white vinegar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Caramelized Condensed Milk:
  • 1/2 of 1 can of condensed milk (usually comes in 14oz)

Instructions

    Condensed milk sauce:
  1. Boil 1 can of condensed milk covered with water for about 2-3 hours (based on the texture you want). Make sure the can is covered with water for the duration of boiling time, to insure same texture throughout.
  2. After boiled, run the can under cold water, and remove content out of can, mix to insure texture throughout is the same, and let it cool before using.
  3. Beze (Meringue):
  4. Start by beating the egg whites in a stand mixer (if you don't have one, the hand mixer will do fine too). Turn the mixer on low speed until the whites become bubbly frothy.
  5. Add the vinegar and salt while still mixing.
  6. Turn to medium speed until soft peaks form.
  7. Next, turn to medium-high speed and slowly add the sugar at little increments at a time, allowing the sugar to incorporate before each addition.
  8. After sugar is added, turn the speed on high and whip until the egg whites form hard peaks (about 3-4 minutes).
  9. Add the sifted cornstarch and whisk on high speed for a couple more minutes until it is fully incorporated.
  10. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees fahrenheit.
  11. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
  12. Place large spoon-filled disks of the meringues evenly onto the baking sheet.
  13. Bake for 1 hour with the rack positioned in the middle.
  14. Allow to cool to room temperature completely before peeling off baking sheet.
  15. Add condensed milk topping to Beze, and top with cream/frosting of choice (see recommendations above), and top with fruit of choice. Usually a sour fruit if best to go with the sweet and savory flavour.
  16. Enjoy!
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Vanilla-Almond White Chocolate Biscotti

Welcome to the beginning of The 12 Days of Christmas Baking!

Today I’m sharing not only a dessert, but a delightful and easy gift of homemade biscotti. I have tried so many biscotti biscuits in the past; some which were a little off-tasting, too hard, or too plain. But this biscotti is special. With a hint of vanilla and almond flavour, along with the white chocolate drizzle in every bite, makes this treat delightful.

I served some biscotti along with a cappuccino for my husband one afternoon, and his response was, “This is the best biscotti I have ever had.”

Ok, so you probably think he always says that about my baking, but aside from always complimenting my food- (even through the trial and errors hah) I know, that when uses that line, it’s gotta be good. A win!

I added this dessert to the list because biscotti always reminded me of Christmas time. It was always the “safe” gift for a teacher, co-workers, friends, and/or a nice treat to bring to a Christmas party. I actually just made a perfect batch and gifted my neighbour with it too, and they were delighted.

It also helps to note that this recipe is so so so easy. It’s very basic, just make sure to read the recipe fully. I used to always have a bad habit of skimming the recipe or reading-as-I-go, and lets just say…I’ve learned my lesson. Even though it was over, and over again. Bad habits die hard, they say!

Oh! Let me just say how essential a food processor is! You’ll notice I use it in many of my recipes. I mean, I wouldn’t be get getting too far along without a food processor. I pretty much use it on the weekly, even if I’m not baking. It’s great for everything. If you’re wondering, here is the food processor I use.

So let’s begin! (See full recipe below)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Begin by chopping up the almonds. If you want your almonds to be visible in your biscotti, than you can use a different setting or chop for a  few seconds, depending on how efficient your processor is.

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After mixing all your ingredients, it will have a “dough-like” texture.
You can also “spice” up your biscotti by adding additional ingredients such as dried fruit, various nuts, spices, or extracts.

Or you can start off with my recipe and add more or less accordingly.

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Place dough onto a prepared baking sheet.
Shape the dough into one log or two depending on how big you want your biscotti. (I wanted mine to be large logs for gift-wrapping purposes, so I left my log in one piece.)

Straighten the logs, and smooth their tops and sides with a rubber spatula or a rolling-pin.

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Bake the dough for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Reduce the heat to 325 F. Let the dough cool on the counter while the oven is adjusting the temperature.
Once cooled down use a serrated knife and cut the dough into an inch size slices you prefer. Bake for 30 more minutes.

Once cooled off, drizzle with white chocolate. I sprinkled some walnuts onto the white chocolate too. It gave the biscotti more of a rich nutty flavour.

Mmm-mm-mm.

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Now, it’s time to enjoy. Treat yourself, you deserve it.

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And that’s a wrap! Gift giving was just made easier. 🙂

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Vanilla-Almond White Chocolate Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 6 Tbsp of butter
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of chopped almonds
  • 1 tsp of almond extract (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, baking powder, and chopped almonds until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Beat in the eggs.
  4. Put your mixer on a low speed and add the flour, stirring until smooth.
  5. Place dough onto the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Shape the dough into your desired shape. (I shaped mine into one log)
  7. Straighten the logs, and smooth their tops and sides with a rubber spatula and rolling pin.
  8. Bake the dough for 25 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven.
  10. Reduce the heat to 325F. Let the dough cool on the counter while the heat adjusts.
  11. Once cooled down use a serrated knife and cut the dough into preferred slices. (Mine were 1.5 inch)
  12. Then place biscotti back in the oven.
  13. Bake for 30 more minutes.
  14. Place on a rack to cool.
  15. Decorate by melting white chocolate drizzle topped with crushed walnuts.
  16. Enjoy!
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The 12 Days of Christmas Baking

Happy Monday! Another week closer to Christmas. I can’t believe its only a couple weeks away! Is anyone else excited?! As I mentioned last week, I will be starting a series of blog posts tomorrow called, “The 12 Days of Christmas Baking.”

I was inspired to create this baking series because of the joy of baking sweet and pretty things, my obsession with delicious desserts, and sharing recipes that I know many will love. After all, sharing is caring. 🙂

Growing up, Christmas time was always a busy season for us. With all the choir recitals, Christmas parties, gift shopping, holiday rush and baking, made this time of year filled with anticipation and excitement. Not much has changed for me now, even though I am miles away from my family and living in California, I still find myself busy as ever. Ever since I was young, I can remember my mom busily preparing/baking for family get-togethers, and giving away trays of desserts. I loved watching, and helping when I could. Baking was always popular in my family, and I’m happy to have had the passion for baking passed on. It can be very therapeutic at times. 🙂

I have gathered these recipes that have reminded me of Christmas over the years, or traditional desserts that I thought you might love for this holiday. Also, desserts make great and affordable gifts for anyone. I find that they mean a lot more as gifts, knowing that effort and the time was put into making them, simply to be enjoyed!

So follow along, even though it’s a busy time of year, and share your favourite recipes with others too (or you can pin them on Pinterest!).

Here is the list of the 12 Days of Christmas Baking desserts to come:

(recipes will follow during the series)

Day 1: Vanilla-Almond White Chocolate Biscotti

Day 2: Russian Beze with Caramelized Condensed Milk

Day 3: Sugar Cookies with Royal Decorating Frosting

Day 4: Red Velvet Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

Day 5: Traditional Moldavian Condensed Milk Wafers

Day 6: White Chocolate-Apricot Cheesecake Cupcakes with Apricot Frosting

Day 7: White Chocolate Red Velvet Fudge

Day 8: Cranberry Lemon Almond Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

Day 9: Puff Pastry Nutella Filled Doughnuts

Day 10: Ferro Rocher Truffles

Day 11: Traditional Moldavian Plakea (Rice Pudding)

Day 12: Overnight Baked French Toast

All this deliciousness is taking place on the blog, so make sure to stay tuned and/or subscribe. Happy baking everyone!

🙂

I.P.

 

 

Project 2 x Design

Happy Friday!

Today I am sharing a post of my second fashion design project. This project was unique because I made it specially for my maternity photo shoot. (Thank you for all your sweet comments!) 

I felt terrible during my first trimester while experiencing all-day nausea and lack of appetite. And I thought I wouldn’t have enough time to design and sew the dress before the shoot. So I started shopping to find a dress instead- but after endless searching, I found nothing. And that’s when I realized I better get to sewing because the date was coming up quick! Thankfully as the weeks went by and as I was entering into my second trimester, I started feeling better! I was able to finish the dress on time (even if it meant finishing the final touches the night before ha!) and I felt great during the shoot…although I experienced some pregnancy cravings kicking in! (Keep reading to find out!)

My Inspiration behind Project 2: 

I already conceived a design well before I drew it out. I knew I wanted something special, unique, and feminine. So I quickly sketched out some ideas, and gathered more ideas from Pinterest– my ultimate inspiration! I became very found of the 3-D fabric-look. And I noticed it was becoming a popular trend in wedding dresses and runways. I thought it would be more efficient to buy a 3-D fabric piece butttt it was a very pricey- no wonder it’s used for wedding dresses and runways! So instead, I decided to make my own personalized 3-D look. I drew a simple flower, cut it out and traced it onto the fabric I was using. I took a while, but I would say it was totally worth the look I was going for. 🙂

Here are some of my favourite designs I found that helped gather my final sketch:

*NOTE: These pictures ABOVE are not my own, for direct linking and credits, you will be able to find these photos on my Pinterest page, under the “Fashion Inspo” board.  While you’re at it, check out my pins!


The Final Look

If you know me, you’ll know that I love tulle and chiffon fabric. They make any piece of clothing lovely. These fabrics can really dress up a “look”…if that’s what you’re going for! My bump is hardly noticeable unless I place my hand under the bump. But believe me, it’s there! 🙂

If you notice, on the back side of this dress I created a pleat that would allow for adjusting the waist size of this dress. In case I decided to wear it again once my bump grows.

Here are some close-up’s of the handmade flowers, and intricate design.

This is the front of the dress. I thought the chest pleats would give this dress a perfect touch.

Coming to the end of the photo shot I was desperately craving a BL.T. sandwich. So after the shoot, we stopped by the nearest Panera Bread, and my craving was totally satisfied. Their B.L.T.’s are ahhh-mazzz-ing! This B.L.T. craving lasted for about a week, lol!

A perfect end, to a perfect day.

Let me know your thoughts!

Be blessed,

I.P. XO

Zesty Cilantro Pesto Pasta

Finally my appetite is back! I can’t say how good that feels since I have been living off cheese and crackers for the past 2 months! I can finally eat almost everything off my plate before feeling the pregnancy all-day nausea kicking in. For the past few months I couldn’t stand looking at food, smelling it, or cooking (even though I regularly love cooking!). One week I craved Thai food, another week it was B.L.T. sandwiches, and another week it was spaghetti. Nothing was consistent and everything left me uneasy. So I can merely explain the joy I feel now that I am able to bare sight of food, and finally enjoy cooking again. After being deprived for these last few months, I started thinking of all my favourite dishes, and here is one that I’m sure you’ll love too!

Zesty Cilantro-Pesto Pasta

Sounds interesting… right?! Well that’s what I thought when I read it off the menu when my husband took me out for my birthday dinner at Cafe Santorini (Downtown Pasadena, CA). After hearing the server explain the popular dish, and mentioning that they have frequent visitors because of this particular dish- I thought it was well worth a try. And the server couldn’t be more accurate. It was ahh-mazz-ing! I never tasted the unique combination of cilantro and pesto, and I didn’t know how well they would go together, but this dish was exquisite! So the next day, I decided to make my own attempt at this recipe. And I dare say it was a fair comparison. 😉

Instructions: (See full recipe below)

Start off by boiling a large pot of water for the bow tie/ Farfalle pasta.

In the mean time, prepare your sauce by combining all the ingredients until an even consistency. You can adjust the consistency by adding more or less water.

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After the pasta is complete, drain, and add 1 tbsp of olive oil.

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Mix the pasta and sauce together thoroughly, and ta-da!

It’s that simple.

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Don’t forget to sprinkle some additional parmesan cheese on top!

Enjoy 🙂

 

Zesty Cilantro-Pesto Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 box/pkg (16 oz) of bow tie/Farfalle pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 cup of cilantro
  • 1 cup of fresh basil or 1/4 cup of pesto
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic- or your preferred taste
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 3 tbsp of parmesan cheese
  • salt and paper to taste
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Boil pasta according to package instructions until complete.
  2. In the mean time, prepare your pasta by combining the all the sauce ingredients into a food processor until well combined. The consistency should appear to look paste-like, although if you prefer a thicker or thinner consistency, you can adjust your water measurement.
  3. After the pasta is complete, drain, add olive oil to the pasta, and add the sauce until combined. At this time you can add more spices according your taste, and sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top for serving.
  4. Enjoy!
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A Perfect Plum-sized Surprise

I can hardly believe this moment has finally come. God willing, (approximately) end of May 2017 we are going to be parents!! We feel so blessed and thankful to carry a wonderful gift of a child. I can’t simply put my thoughts into words to express my gratitude and excitement, then to say the Lord has answered our prayers.

“I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” 1 Samuel 1:27-28

Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed and prayed of the day to start a family with the man I love and raise children of my own–and this is all happening…now. 🙂

Here are a few of my favourite shots of an early maternity photo session. I just hit 3 months a couple days ago, and according to the experts our little baby is the size of a plum. Stay tuned on the blog if you’d like more updates. 🙂

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“Twinkle twinkle little star, how we wonder what you are…”

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We don’t know the gender yet, but we are eager to find out soon. Although I have a strong inclination that this child may be a girl, but Seb is leaning towards a boy… hmmm. 🙂
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In this shot, I am wearing one of my handcrafted, self designed dresses (project 2). I will be sharing another post soon for details.

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I saved the best for last. This one is my favourite. <3

Thank you Abigail, for your talented work. 🙂 Make sure to check out her other great work here!

Also here is a sneak peak of my maternity dress. I’ll be sharing more pictures soon.

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Be blessed!

xo I.P.

Project 1 x Design

Hey everyone! I’ve been a little MIA lately due to feeling under the weather and because we recently made a small move (within LA). But, as I mentioned a while ago, I still thought I’d share my first fashion design project with y’all!


For any of you that know me well, will know that I have always loved fashion design, and anything to do with decorating and shopping (yes, even grocery shopping, I take it very seriously). So, when a fashion class was offered back in high school, I was so excited, I thought I’d never want to go to college or university! But as much as I enjoyed sewing and design, I didn’t think I would see a future in sewing and/or fashion design (which is totally possible if you put your mind to it!). But things changed recently when I thought I’d pick up my sewing hobby. And ever since I had the intention of started a blog, I wanted to make sure I’d incorporate my fashion designs into my blog. I haven’t touched a sewing machine for about 5 years now. But as soon as I got my hands on the sewing machine again, it all started coming back to me! So I have to say that high school fashion class really did me good. (Thanks to Mrs.Lackenbauer, my fashion class teacher… that was the best class I’d ever taken!)

The projects you will see are made from scratch, without a pattern design, and basically no formal training or guide…since highshool. Its a challenged project, but an exciting one! The are no deadlines, no restrictions, and no mistakes. I come up with what I want. And I love it!

This first project was not as hard as I thought it would be, even though I had to familiarize myself with the sewing machine and techniques again, and I think it served as a good introduction project into my next big project (which I am totally exited about)! I have made many little side projects in between, but they were mainly for practice.

Some of you have asked which sewing machine I use, and after much research and thought, I decided to buy this SINGER 7258 Stylist Award-Winning 100-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine. I think it was a great choice for a great price. It was exactly what I was looking for and what I intended to use for my sewing projects. You simply can’t go wrong with the brand Singer!

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Inspiration behind Project 1

As I pondered on what I’d make for my first (in a while) sewing project, I thought I’d make something practical. A piece that I can throw in my suit case for a last minute trip, or throw on when I have nothing to wear, or a cover-up at the beach. This 3-way dress was perfect!

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This gorgeous view was at Nobu restaurant in Malibu, where we went for our first year anniversary. 🙂

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Breakfast with a view…

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Since we were in Malibu, we decided to check out the gorgeous beach.

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I thought the tassels would be a perfect touch. However, while purchasing the tassels at a fabric store, the lady at the checkout asked what home decor project I would be working on, I smiled and told her I had the intention of sewing them on sleeves, she looked a little confused…oh well. lol.

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Oh, Malibu.

Let me know what you think! Project 2 is in the process. 🙂

xo,

I.P.

 

 

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