Monday, October 19, 2015

Sweet Jenny Belle

Hi all! The Bakery opened in August and it's been a fun blur since. I have opened a new site for Sweet Jenny Belle - you'll find ordering instructions, blog posts on baking and more.

This blog is still active, just a bit more quiet. I'll continue to post non-baking related ideas here.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Everything is Awesome!

The bakery is live, but quite limited in what is shown. I'll mostly be doing custom orders, so please email or call if you would like to place an order. I'll add more general listings to the site in the next month.

A friend of mine recently asked me if I could make her some Lego logo cookies. But I couldn't just make logo cookies, I wanted to make Lego heads and building blocks and more! And I wanted to try a new cookie roll-out recipe. I do love sugar cookies, but there are so many flavors out there to try. These were done with a mini chocolate-chip and they are so delicious, it maybe my new favorite!

I started with building blocks and Lego head outlines..

And then I added some fun faces to them..

So you think everything is awesome, do you?

Well we do too!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Inside Out

Sweet Jenny Belle Bakery opens in just a few weeks! So excited - lots of prep and experimenting. My husband took the kids to Inside Out last week and they loved it. Have you seen it? Who was your favorite emotion?

Friday, June 19, 2015

SuperDad Cookies!

I have decided to re-open my online bakery. I'm excited and busy with filling out paperwork. I will be listing treats online, at local shows and in the process of trying to work with some local food trucks.

While I'm waiting to get all my licences in order, I needed to make a few dozen cookies for Father's Day. I tried a few ideas earlier this month and loved the superhero theme the best. My husband and dad are truly heroes to my kids!

The stars were the easy design in the set. You could easily set these out for your kids to create for Dad! Just pipe and flood with royal icing in superhero colors and dip into bowls of sugar. I have a feeling that even though these were the easiest, they will be the favorite!

A few comic inspired squares - playing off my Dad's nickname of PopPop!

Some fun SuperDad flooded cookies.

And these were my favorite even though they were the trickiest. Though now I'm thinking it would be smart to have painted the Superman emblem.

All packaged and ready to be gobbled up!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hiking With Kids in Utah - Bell Canyon (Lower Bell Canyon - Boulders Trailhead)

I had read a few times that the Bell Canyon trail is a fun one to do with kids. When I posted that I planned on going, I received other news. Some warned it's too steep, it's too dangerous - don't do it with young kids. But it's hard for me to give up a plan. I knew that if we started and I felt that it was too much, we could always turn around. 

We hiked the Lower Bell Canyon from the Boulders Trailhead. This is low in the valley and there is little shade. We were hot! Plan to do this hike in the early morning, late afternoon or on a cooler day. My 4 yo was quite unhappy with the amount of sun we hit.

It is steep for the little ones, they truly earned some hiking boots on this trip. They were able to do it without much concern for their safety, but I knew they were challenged. The trail can be narrow, so this would be a good time to explain hiking manners and etiquette with your kids.

My kids are always happy with a hike that includes water! Bell canyon doesn't allow dogs or swimming - leave the suits at home. It does however allow fishing at the reservoir. When they are a bit bigger, this would be such a fun place to fish with them.

There is no way that children younger than 4 could do this safely in my opinion. I strapped my 2 yo on my back until we reached the reservoir. There were times that hiking with him on my back was tricky, but never too difficult. I did see an adventurous new mother with a very young baby strapped on.

Beautiful views, but not much wildlife - another hiking prereq for the kids. Though they were quite proud of how high they climbed.

The reservoir is gorgeous! I've read that it can be quite crowded during the year, but we had a great time. Pack some water and snacks to enjoy by the water (and please bring your trash back with you.)

Is the Lower Bell Canyon hike a good choice for you? This is for older kids or adventurous younger ones with some experience. It wasn't my kids favorite - too hot, too high and no animals. But I'm sure in a few years, we will be back to catch some fish!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hiking with Kids in Utah - Lisa Falls

The last time I hiked Lisa Falls, I was 7 months pregnant with Julie and chasing after a very rebellious 2 year old Isabelle. It wasn't fun. Maybe that's why it's been a couple years since I considered going back and I am so glad we did!

Lisa Falls is a very short hike off the road in Little Cottonwood. Though it is a short hike, it is rocky and travels near the falls. I don't recommend toddlers walking this trail without very close supervision, my husband carried our two year old son. He was pretty scared of the rushing water and didn't want to walk on his own. There was another family there that had a young baby strapped on to their backs and she looked so happy!

It is however fun for slightly older kids - our 5 and 7 year old had a blast! Be sure to pack swimsuits, towels and water shoes. The girls had the best time playing in the water.

There were a few times I wanted to jump in and protect them, but they had so much fun exploring and playing in the water. It is a good time to go over water safety with children though, the falls can be strong during certain times of the year.

And well, you can't hike near falls with two princesses and not have a mermaid photo shoot!

This was also a very popular site for rock climbers. The kids loved to see them climb!

Two thumbs up for Lisa Falls! Just watch those real little ones on the trail and maybe not for pregnant Mommas (or at least it was too much for me a few years ago!)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Strawberry Jalapeno Margarita - Stop Animation

My first attempt at stop animation. Oh my word - I'm addicted! So much fun. And now I want a margarita..

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Hiking with kids in Utah - Silver Lake

I have never seen myself as an avid hiker. Though I love the wilderness, it just has never been high on my favorites thing to do. Well that is until I became a mother. That is one of the best things of being a parent, exploring the world through new sets of eyes. Have you tried hiking with your kids? There are so many awesome reasons to make this a regular excursion with them!

*Kids are natural explorers. They want to see new places, climb big boulders and spot animals (even if it is just a chipmunk) in the wild. They want to learn in a fun environment.

*Hiking is typically free. There are times when parks will charge a minimal fee, but this is such an inexpensive way to spend the day.

*Kids need to burn off energy. Hiking allows them chances to run, to climb and wear themselves out. You may find that you are rewarded with fabulous naps after your hikes.

*Instead of yelling or bribing your kids to remove themselves from technology, hiking is a fun way to accomplish that without an argument. You may find that the more your kids love the outdoors, the less you hear the electronic sounds.

This summer, I will be posting my reviews of hikes with kids in the local Northern Utah area. Please feel free to chime in with your favorite places to hike!

Last week we started our season off with a favorite of ours, Silver Lake. Hands down, I think this is the best beginner hike with kids that I have found. The hike around the lake is about an hour at a slow speed - the perfect time for my kids (2,5,7). It is common to spot moose and beavers. On our trip we only saw chipmunks and squirrels though.

I recommend packing the kid cameras, bug collectors and jackets. Here the kids spotted a beaver dam on one side of the lake and a lodge on the other.

The path is quite large and safe with little elevation gain. You could easily push a jogging stroller on the path (we saw at least a 1/2 dozen that morning).

It is a wonderful shaded hike that is a cool respite from the valley during the hotter months. I recommend if you prefer a more peaceful time, plan on hiking early in the morning. Around lunch time, the parking lot is full and the lake is chirping with lots of little voices.

Two kiddo thumbs up for Silver Lake!

Have you gone? What was your favorite part of the hike?

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Cactus - Cake Bites!

Cactus are so hot right now! I lived in Arizona for over a decade and I hated them. I moved there from the California coast at 16 - right in the middle of my high school years. I hated everything about our new home, as many teenagers would after a move. But in time I grew to love the desert. I love the monsoon season, I love the color contrast and I love the complete quiet that can be found. My husband is a desert man and I know he misses it. Lately with the cactus craze, I've been painting more cacti and the other day I had an idea to make a cactus cake bite. Now you can too!

What you will need:
1 package of the super mini cake cones
1 package of any shade of cocoa candy melts (or you could temper chocolate)
1 package of mini marshmallows
1 package of graham crackers
1 package of Oreo - S'mores (though you could use any flavor - I just thought this went the best with the other flavors)
1 package of vanilla frosting (again, you could use any flavor)
1 package of green candy melts
assorted sprinkles, sanding sugar

I love these super mini cake cones - I keep finding new ways to use them. They are the perfect base for cake bites.

Slowly melt your cocoa candy melts. The bags give directions on how to melt in the microwave, but I adore my double boiler. Either way, once they are melted you will want to dip each cone in the chocolate and set to the side to harden. Don't fuss too much about any imperfections; they are to imitate pots and rarely those are perfect.

I let mine sit over night and work on them the next morning. With a sharp paring knife, you can trim down the base to help it sit right. You can also shave any really big areas of too much chocolate. Save the extra bits of chocolate - you will need them in just a minute.

Stuff mini marshmallows down into the pot. This will help weight it and allow it to sit. It's also a yummy surprise once the cake bite has been devoured.

*You could also use gummi bears or any other favorite small candy.

Melt the extra chocolate candy wafers and cover the pot tops. Before it hardens, sprinkle crushed graham cracker on top. This will be the gravel or soil.

Drop all the Oreo crackers into a Cuisinart and blend until they are all crumbled up. Since it has the creamy filling, they will be slightly moist. Now you will add a dollop or two of the vanilla frosting. You want just enough frosting that the Oreo mixture will stick together like clay, but you do not want it too sticky!

There isn't a perfect amount of frosting - it depends on how many cookies you start with, the weather, etc.. I would start with a couple big spoonfuls and blend. Check until it's the desired consistency.

Shape the Oreo cake dough into the desired cactus shapes. Check out pictures of the real plant, look at clipart, and other cactus art. Try to vary the shape - you may find some are easier to work with than others. And then place in the fridge for 20-40 minutes (do not place in freezer!)

*When you are shaping the cake bite, gently test it on the pot to see if it is a good proportion.

While your cake pops are hardening in the fridge, place a toothpick in the center of each pot. Be sure to let the cake pop eaters know about this so they don't get an unpleasant surprise.

Melt the green candy to coat the cactus. I found a really fun bright green at Michael's - it's Wilton's Vibrant Green.

Get your decorating yummies out and ready to use. I picked out green sprinkles, green sanding sugar and a few other goodies. Explore your nearest baking supply store for things that maybe fun to use.

Then you will dip and decorate your cactus. I placed mine to the side to harden and then placed gently on the toothpick center of the pot.

I think these would be so fun for any desert or Mexico themed party. Wouldn't these be adorable table favors at a wedding or fiesta? Your guests will love that their personal cactus is completely edible and delicious!

Friday, May 29, 2015

For the Love of Baking

I love to bake. I would bake all day, every day if I could. I don't love having sweets at home every day though. My toddler knows where fresh baked cookies cool and he stands in front of the shelf, pointing and begging. Sigh. So I love it when I have a reason to bake for OTHER people and we can keep just a couple as a treat.

These were a batch for a good friend that is expecting her baby girl any day now!

And these vanilla swirl cones were packaged off to a friend that is holding a cancer treatment fundraiser.

Mmm.. Have you been baking lately?


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