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The launch of Shiberty’s Sweets!!!

So I have exciting news to share with you guys!!!!!!!!!!!

As you all might already know, I’ve been really busy with a project recently. And today it’s finally coming to life, like for real!!!

Thanks to the lovely response from you guys regarding my previous post asking if anyone would like to order personalized cupcakes from us…

Sam and I have decided to OFFICIALLY start selling em through our very own website! I spent the whole of yesterday and today setting it up, and finally I’m done after many hours of hard work :D

Here’s a screenie to show you peoplel!

My new website is called

SHIBERTY’S SWEETS!!!

And it’s located at http://shibertys.blogspot.com ♥ ♥ ♥

I was going to name it shibertyssweets.blogspot.com, but the double S kinda bugs me and shiberty.blogspot.com is already taken -_-

Presumably by one of my readers…. who like to chop peoples names… for what?!?

Anyway, do you like the layout? Does it work fine on your browser?

I know it’s a very basic blogskin, I had to put it together in quite a hurry. I had basic coding help from blogskins.com, made the banner myself with photoshop and edited the pink cupcake from this free graphics page, and the rest are free for all trinkets and backgrounds I conveniently found on the web. Yay!!!!

So I know it’s not very professional looking and it’s childish (kinda like my blog, right?) but I didn’t study design or coding so cut me some slack? I think it’s superbly cute at least :)

Speaking of which, I desperately need to find a professional designer to design my website for me….. at a decent rate. I’ll do a free advertorial for ya portfolio! Any takers? Shiberty@hotmail.com!

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I can’t believe I’m selling cakes and cupcakes now, y’all!!!

I seriously never saw myself as the kinda girl. I could barely even crack an egg and fry it in the past, now I’m actually SELLING food items wtf!!!!

Recent order that I did – sunflower cupcakes ♥

I am actually REALLY pleased with this cake selling business, because I’m (working towards) achieving something I thought almost impossible. Many months ago, I was watching people making and decorating cakes on Youtube and I thought to myself…

“Doesn’t that awfully look fun?” and for some reason I got really into it and wanted to set up a bakery so bad!! Of course, I had no idea how to bake or to even work an electric mixer so it was out of the question back then. I told Sam about my ideas and he said he’d support me if I decided to go down that path.

He even drew a sign that said “Shiberty and DaNang’s bakery” but we settled on the name “Shiberty’s Sweets” instead because, well… Shiberty is already a known name to you guys and other people, I use it for my blog, facebook and others so what the heck, might as well throw in free advertising for my blog in the mean time haha! Plus since it’s a recognizable name, I hope this way people would be more inclined to trust me with their orders and have faith in our abilities.

Like, if I were to name it something generic like “Delightful Desserts” or something, who the hell would recognize it right?! But I think “Shiberty’s Sweets” has a nice ring to it which will stick in people’s head so yay!!!!

As I was saying before, many months ago I had this dream where one day I’d sell pretty desserts for people to enjoy on their birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. Just something about looking at a pretty cake brings me so much happiness, you know? /drama/

I wanted to share this joy with other people, but I didn’t know how to.

Some of you might even remember the days where I couldn’t bake a basic cake properly, it’d fail MAJORLY, see pic here

LOL so yeah…. I’ll say I’ve come a far way along.

Of course I know I’m not at a professional level yet, there are many things I can improve on and many skills to be learned but I feel so productive and happy that I can turn a hobby into something that will earn me some money AND make other people (plus myself) pleased at the same time!

Receiving positive comments from people and customers makes me grin like crazy, it’s really what keeps me doing what I do.

I wanna thank my readers for their encouragement, because without my blog audience, this could’ve never taken off! Without your overwhelmingly positive response for all my blog posts, I wouldn’t be inspired to take this a step further and without your willingness to support me, nobody would even be buying cakes from me in the first place.

My grandmother saw me working 4-5 hours on 15 cupcakes the other day, and she frowned at me and said in Hokkien, “Why are you doing this? I’ve been seeing you work from morning to late afternoon, just for these small little cakes, how much are you selling them? Can you really earn that much money? Is it worth the effort?”

She tried to convince me to give it up as it wasn’t worth it, and for a moment I did ask myself…. Wtf? I could be blogging for more than half a thousand per advertorial and it’d take me the same amount of time or even less, but I’d be earning so much more.

Or I could even be setting up a blog shop or taking shoots – why am I selling cakes at a miserable amount of profit?!

But then I remembered that I’m not doing this for the money, I’m doing it for the satisfaction it brings me. Maybe next time I’ll start charging higher prices and think about the monetary value of this whole business, but for now, I just wanna do what makes me happy. I’m not in desperate need of money anyway, and I’d much rather do something that makes me happy but doesn’t pay much then to do something I’m not excited about and have it pay a lot more.

I don’t know how long I can keep selling these cakes, since I’m going overseas to study soon (term stats in July, for the billionth time I’m telling ya) but send in your orders while you can, people!!!!

Sorry for the lack of updates recently, I’ll try to blog about other things besides just baking stuff but as you can imagine, I’m terribly busy at the moment. And I’ve been going out a lot less…. Suddenly, I don’t feel so interesting anymore. Meh.

Nonetheless, remember that I ♥ y’all!!!! ^_____^

And thank you, once again, for giving me the opportunity to pursue another interest of mine. You all have been incredible :’)


Click to visit Shiberty’s Sweets and to show me + Sam your support!!!!

xoxo,
Jess

Buttercream cuppies!!! ♥

Hewo!! Another baking post because they make me happy :D

After doing a full whipped cream cake, Sam and I were really inspired to try making buttercream cupcakes after hearing much raved about reviews on how good they taste and look!!


My sparkly new Wilton decorating tips!!!
Happpeeeeeeee ♥

We went out to get a whole shit heap of baking supplies!!! Burned a hole in my pockets but worth it… I hope lol.

I still can’t get over how expensive baking is, you’d think it’s a cheap and easily sustainable hobby that bored housewives easily do but NO!! It’s neither easy or cheap. Wtf. Why do I have to like expensive past times??

Photography, and now baking which I hoped would be more pocket-friendly but boy was I wrong haha. Not as extreme as photography but daaammnnn one stick of butter is 3 dollars, one muffin pan is 20 dollars, food colouring is 20+ dollars… just to give you an idea of how much it totals up to.

Now I know why people sell customized cakes for 100+!! I always thought it was “just eggs and flour what”. -_-

Excited to play with these tips!!!!

…ok maybe I’m just a dirty minded girl but that sounded kinda wrong.

Rose nail!

This is where you’re meant to pipe the flower on, then transfer it on the cake. Wowowow I feel so professional now

Whipping the buttercream!!!

I can’t really give you an exact recipe, we kinda just winged it as we went along… We added icing sugar, egg whites, butter, and vanilla essence. It took quite a bit of tweaking before we got the right consistency, but you could work on this basic recipe:

2 stick of salted butter (about 400-500 grams), about 400 grams of icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and 2 egg whites. If your butter is unsalted, add salt to cut down on the sweetness.

Start by making sure the butter is slightly melted (not liquid, just soft!), whip it reaaaaalll good till it’s super fluffy, then gradually add sugar and egg whites in. Most people use shortening instead of butter and milk instead of egg whites, but I ran out of shortening plus milk would make the buttercream WAY too buttery, it won’t hold up in SG’s weather.

As for the cupcakes recipe, you’ll find various recipes in my archive :)

My sweet chocolate cupcakes baking in the oven!!!! I assure you I didn’t have more than 2 whole cupcakes………..

Bright colors are totally essential for pretty looking cupcakes!!!! I swear by using gel food colouring for concentrated colors.

Sam’s first attempt at making a rose!!! Pretty good for a first try eh?

HAHAHAHAAH my first try. What a bloody fail!!!!!!!! *hides face*

But as you can see, the buttercream was all gooey and melted by the time he finished doing his rose, so I got the shit end of the deal :(

I know you’re all tired of me complaining about it but I really DO HATE Singapore’s weather!!!

♥ ♥ ♥ My boyfriend proposing to me with a buttercream rose :P

Second try!!!!

Looks a lot better already! But the buttercream still doesn’t look “dense” enough, like it’s too “fluffy” – I think the recipe we used wasn’t very ideal…. but I’m not complaining, everything can be improved with practice!

The good thing about it being “fluffy” though, is that it’s actually a lot yummier this way!! Doesn’t taste as sweet or feel as dense when you bite into it. It’s just a fluffy explosion of creamy flavour :D

Piping the rose onto the cupcake directly!!!!

People always ask, “how do you get your boyfriend to do such things with you?!”

Well what can I say? Me and Sam have very similar hobbies! It’s just like how I can spend days and days playing zombie blasting online games with him which most other girlfriends don’t do either.

And Sam is very willing to please me (sounds obnoxious but it’s true), so even if he’s not super excited about doing something he’d do it anyway to make me happy. But he does enjoy baking though!!! He’s quite an artsy person and he likes decorating cakes as he finds it a challenge :)

And sorry for the lack of inbetween pics, but my hands were covered in flour sugar butter and whatnot so I didn’t wanna get my camera dirty.

Anyway this is our end product!!!!! NICE???

Can you see the flower details??? :D I love it!!!!

I think it’s fab for what we had to work with!!! I woulda added more details but we made a giant bowl of buttercream yet only 1/4 was good enough quality to work with. (unmelted, that is.)

Random design… lol don’t ask me what it’s meant to be :S

Second batch – a more “sophisticated” looking batch!!!

I can’t decide which batch I like more :D Obviously the first one suits me more (I made them!) and Sam chose the design for the blue roses..

Our cupcakes combined!!!! ^_________^

Sitting there so pretty all ready to take over the world with their yumminess. :P

Drown in its prettiness now.

I can’t wait to make these again!!!!

The only problem I see is that there’s nobody to eat them :(

My brother had 1 cupcake out of like 20, he doesn’t really like cakes, Sam had 3, I had 2, and my neighbours like more than 10 LOL. I always bake random stuff and end up knocking on their door offering to them hahaha I am gonna make their 2 year old daughter fat!!!

They’re such nice folks though, always so friendly and always super polite and appreciative when I present them with cakes / cupcakes / cookies / whatever baking spree I go on.

They told me I should start selling my cupcakes and that they’d totally buy from us!!!!!


And I’m thinking… YEAH!!!

That’s a good idea!

No one ever eats my cakes at home anyway, so I might as well bake for people who’d appreciate it! So I’ve decided to start taking orders on customized cupcakes for birthday celebrations, office parties, farewell dinners, or just a gift for someone special!

I can do customized cupcakes, cookies, cakes… with the design you want!

All you have to do is tell me what sort of cupcake flavour you want, how many you’re ordering, the design (with picture references hopefully), any text / msg etc and any other details, when you need them by etc…

You know, all the nitty gritty details, and send them to Shiberty@hotmail.com! Or if you’re not really sure, just drop me a mail with a vague idea you have and we can discuss the fine details :D

Don’t worry, I don’t bite!!!

Now, since the whole point of this is to actually bake for people who’d appreciate them instead of making money out of it, I will not be charing the normal price outside for customized cupcakes (since I’m not even professional anyway, I just do it for fun and to please people so please bear that in mind in case you’re expecting pastry quality from a top restaurant!!! Expect home made quality cupcakes!)

What I’ll do is I’ll calculate the basic production cost of your order, then let you know that figure and from there you can quote me any price – how much you’d like to pay us for our effort, or how much you think they’re worth based on your own satisfaction, as long as it meets my basic cost price requirement, so I’m not actually losing anything besides a heap of time and effort.

I’m really not fussy about the money, I just like baking for a purpose and not seeing it go to waste, so if you’re interested, drop me a mail at Shiberty@hotmail.com and help me spread the word!

Honestly I don’t even know whether anyone would order or how this would turn out like, but I hope I get at least 1 or 2 orders so I get to try doing customized special orders for experience sake n___n

I need to practice a lot more, but I always run out of ideas so share some with me if you have any!!!!! I’ll be willing to hear out any opinions!

xoxo,
Jess

Baking my mum’s birthday cake!!

This year, I thought I’d make my mum a spiffy cake for her birthday since I didn’t know what to get her!

(although eventually we shared the cost to get her a pair of Ferragamo sunnies)

I decided on the classic vanilla, buttery cake because that’s one of her favourites. Next time I’ll try making a chocolate cake / fruit cake ^____^

So the recipe you’ll need for the cake is:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk

I altered the recipe quite a bit. You can find the original recipe here, (also, read the page for cooking instructions)

I love altering all my the recipes I get online to suit my own preferences. I think my version’s fluffier, lighter, more buttery and less dense.. so you can choose to follow either the recipe on the site or mine :)


Let’s get started!!!!

Creaming the butter and sugar together! I melted mine in the microwave for 30 seconds so it’s warm and soft.

Before you start on all this, remember to pre-heat your oven first!

Invest in a good mixer. It’d be the best thing you’ve ever done if you like to cook :P

Can you believe I used to slog away mixing my batter with forks and whisks? WTF technology yo!!! Mixers make everything so easy. (and messy, cuz it tends to splatter everywhere lol but the mess is worth cleaning up for)

Cracking 2 eggs into it…

I’m doing a step by step tutorial because a lot of people have absolutely no idea how to cook and they tend to ask me the strangest questions :3

I figured I could minimize the weird questions if I show you guys the process as much as possible.

Mixing in the vanilla essence, baking powder, flour and milk! Omg at this stage the batter is SUPER yummy, I couldn’t stop dipping a spoon in and licking it. Best ever!!!! :)

I don’t know why people get freaked out by uncooked batter. It’s possibly the most unoffensive uncooked food you could ever find. It’s just flour, eggs, butter, sugar… What are you grossed out by?! Haven’t you eaten raw eggs before?

(like on japanese raw beef, noodles, etc?)


Ta-dah!!!

Now that our batter is fully prepared, it’s time to pour it in your baking pan (here I’m using a 9×9 inch one I think) and pop it into the oven to bake for about 45 minutes at 180 degrees!

Do remember to check back CONSTANTLY on your cake when it’s in the oven to make sure it doesn’t overcook. When it’s non jiggly and when you poke a chopstick through the middle and it comes off clean, it’s done.

Every single cake takes different timings to bake, because it’s hard to get the consistency exact each time.

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Playing with my ham ham while my cake’s browning up in the oven :DDDDDDDD

LOOK AT THAT FLUFFBALL. Who wuvz you??? I DO!!!!

Sitting on my lap nomming on some sunflower seeds :) He never seems to get sick of those!


D’awwwww!!!

He’s just the sweetest hamster ever, he never bites or squeaks at all and will allow strangers to hold him without kicking up a fuss!

When he was younger, I had to pick him up by myself (usually against his will LOL) but now whenever I lower my hand into the case, he automatically climbs into my palm and sits there!!! ♥

Oh and if anyone is wondering what happened to Hunnybuns, I gave her to my neighbour!!! Their hamster passed away (can that term be used for non-humans? hmm) and their 3 year old daughter really wanted another one so I gave hunnybuns to her and she was so happy!

Hopefully they get along better together than we ever did!

Luring Pudding with a seed again!!!

When he’s running in his little wheel, I put a seed near enough for him to smell it but not quite near enough for him to reach it so he always tries to stretch his neck and body as far as possible to get it and sometimes he falls over or tries to stand on 2 legs to reach it, it’s mad funny!!!

Ok maybe I sound a little sadistic but I always give the seed to him in the end, lol. And I don’t think he minds working for his food :P

Lately he seems to be into climbing stuff… hmmm I guess he’s getting bored with his cage already. But I dunno what sort of toys or entertainment to give him! He has a toilet roll, some tissue paper that he loves shredding to little bits and spreading it in his bedding and a swing and wheel.

That’s bout it.

If anyone has suggestions for how to play with your hamster (besides buying those gigantic expensive cages), let me know!!!

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And the cake’s done!!!! It should have a nice golden brown top like this :)

Leave it to cool a bit, and meanwhile you can start on your icing!

We bought some whipping cream and this was the first time we’d ever tried it, I’m now a convert - never going back to bottled whipped cream again!!!

It’s not the same as the kind of cooking cream you use to make creamy pastas, etc. This one’s specifically made for desserts and cakes so it doesn’t deflate over time as long as you keep it cold and refrigerated!

The recipe was used for the cream:

1 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup icing sugar (NOT your normal sugar, this is the powdery fine one)

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

And I think we made 2 cups because we had to frost the whole cake!

Beat the mixture on high until soft peaks form and when it thickens up nicely. Sorry, you’ll definitely need a mixer for this, quite impossible to do this by yourself unless you have Hercules arms.

Don’t overbeat the icing, or it turns into this disgusting curd-like texture!!! And there’s no way to save it either, so keep your eyes firmly on the mixture!!!

It’s black-ish because we added pink and green icing to it for fun just to see what it’d turn out like. Like shit that’s what.

But your properly mixed whipped cream should look amazingly yummy, like this!!!!!! Look at all that creamy goodness ^_________________^

DEFINITELY finger lickable!

10 years worth of gym time too lol

We sliced the cake into half and then spreaded an even layer of cream on it…

Then put the top half of the cake back on and let it sit in your fridge (or in our case, freezer) for a bit together with the rest of the icing because EVERYTHING MELTS UNDER SINGAPORE’S HEAT!!!

You have to make sure the cream is constantly chilled or it will turn into slush. I think we put it in and took it out of the fridge like 6 times in total while we were working on it.

Next, cover the whole cake with cream!!! As you can see the cream was already losing its stiff texture :(

I HATE SG’s weather!!! Definitely one of the things I WON’T miss when I go to Perth.

And here we have our perfectly frosted cake ready for us to decorate, yay!!! Well not exactly perfectt, but eh, good enough for a first-timer.

Of course from here on, you can decorate it however you like but since I was baking it for my mother, I wanted it to look “elegant” and mother’s day-ish!!

It’s always good to know what design you want on your cake so you can prepare the necessary ingredients and tools first!

I added pink coloring to make the borders on the cake with a piping bag and a star tip :)

And wrote the words “Happy B’day” with a smaller round tip!!! I wanted to write “happy birthday mum” but ran out of space… =_=;

By this time, the sky was already dark, hence the colors of the cake look a lot less appealing but I assure you it’s the purest shade of white and the loveliest tone of baby pink there is!!!

Initially I was going to leave the cake as is, but then decided it was too plain like this, so…

I washed (very thoroughly, with soap and hot hot hot water) some fake flowers we had lying around and arranged them nicely around the cake!!!! Ingenious or what?

I could’ve made edible flowers out of buttercream or fondant like Sam did for my V’day present, but I wanted the cake to be fully-cream (it tastes better and more authentic that way, fondant actually tastes quite yuck) so fake flowers are an instant fix.. best part is you can re-use them!!!


My final product!!!

Not as perfect as I’d like it to be of course, but still very proud of Sam and myself!!!!! ♥

I think it looks pretty awesome! My mum loved it of course :) :)

And there you have it!!!!!!!!

My first attempt at making a full-cream cake!

They taste sooo much better than any other type of icing (on par with buttercream and meringue frosting, but a lot less sweet)

Word of advice: don’t try making the cream if you’re not in an air-conditioned room in Singapore. It WILL fail.

See the melted bottom part of my cake??? That’s the result of leaving it unchilled for only about 10 minutes. I know how you feel, cake. I go through it everyday too.

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This takes quite a lot of effort but it’ll make the person you’re baking for immensely happy. My mum was smiling ear-to-ear while we lit up a candle on the cake and sang “Haapppyyy Birthdaaayyy tooooooooooooo youuuuuuu~~~~!!!”

I haven’t seen her smile like that in awhile. ♥

Hope you guys enjoyed this post!!!!!

Feel free to ask me any questions, but read my post thoroughly before asking redundant ones!

xoxo,
Jess

Merry Christmas! And a Happy New Year

As I’m typing this, it’s officially 1/01/2011!

A NEW YEAR HAS BEGUN,
and today is the first day.

Makes me feel like I should be doing something crazily memorable or important but all I am doing is cooking bolognese pasta and blogging at the same time :P

How was everyone’s New Year’s Eve?

Sam and I spent it playing wii, cooking Irish Lamb Stew for a cozy candlelit dinner (best stew I’ve ever had!) and then driving into town to catch the fireworks!!

It’s already the New Year and I haven’t blogged about Christmas in 2010 yet, so

Here I go!!!

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Christmas 2010 was probably the best Christmas I’ve had thus far in my 18 years of life.

Undoubtedly it wasn’t as “magical” as the X’mas I had in Disney World, Orlando last last year, but it was magical in its own way!!!

My family’s not really the sort to celebrate X’mas with each other, usually we have our own plans with our own friends but this year, I was determined to get everyone together and have a nice home cooked X’mas dinner together followed by fun classic board games afterwards!

Sweet corn, mushrooms and cauliflower buttered and seasoned with salt and pepper!

I didn’t have time to take pics of the cooked food so here’s some raw food pics for ya hahaha

Dunno how you guys spent your X’mas afternoon, but I spent mine marinating pork belly and skinning potatoes :3


Roasted whole chicken!!!
With mustard herby marinade, garlic, onions, and a whole buncha other stuff!

Mmmm this was one of my family’s fav dishes that day. I love cooking stuff in the oven, it’s honestly a fail-proof method. I’m not a big fan of oily food, but I don’t like my food that dry either, so the oven is THE solution!

First of all, it’s fuss-free. You preheat the oven, set it to a certain temperature, season and marinate the food then pop it in – DONE. Only need to check back on it when it’s close to being cooked. No fire to watch over, no splattering hot oil to burn yourself on… ♥

I’m NOT a fan of using the gas stove because I always imagine it exploding in my face (seriously) and I don’t like fire and I don’t like gas and did I mention explosions already??

Whether I’m baking desserts, or cooking fish / chicken / pork / whatever, anything that comes out of the oven always comes out PERFECT :D

Tender, juicy and absolutely flavourful!

Roasted potatoes!!!

Ok last of uncooked food pictures lol. We also had grilled pork belly, baked salmon, mashed taters, honey baked ham with cherry tomatoes.. and stuff I don’t remember…

Besides savoury food, we also made sure to have pretty-looking sweets!!! ^.^

Sam and I made this on X’mas Eve! Everyone say HAI to my Gingerbread House!!

What is X’mas without a gingerbread house sitting beside the X’mas tree?! It is 100% edible, home made to the very first and last degree.

We are definitely rockin’ the kitchen recently!

Teehee so cute!!


I’m gonna show you guys how to do this,
step-by-step at the end of this post!

Even though X’mas is already over, it’s still SUPER fun to make with family and friends (not forgetting yummy) plus it doesn’t have to be X’mas themed – just make it as happy looking and colorful as possible :)

Christmas presents under our X’mas tree – the pile has grown quite a bit since the last time I twitpic-ed it!

I was so excited for everyone to open their presents after X’mas dinner – we spent the entire day shopping for the most appropriate well-thought out gifts that everyone needed / wanted and I think it paid off after seeing their reactions when ripping open the wrapping paper.

If I’m gonna give someone a X’mas present, imma make sure they REALLY like it. I don’t believe in giving half-assed gifts such as bath shower gels set or a bottle of wine..

Gee, unless your gift recipient is a soap junkie or an wine enthusiast, can your gift get any more mundane and insincere? Might as well not give anything!!

Even a hand made card is much better.

Pretty decorations that are still hanging around my house!!

The silver beaded chain is actually a $2 necklace I bought from Bangkok, LOL I just hung some extra ornaments on it and taped it up coz my X’mas tree was already overflowing with ornaments and we had some spare ones.

My roast chicken a-roasting!!!

AND IT IS DONE!

Are you hungry now? Coz I know I am!

Sorry for the majority of no-flash, yellowish poor quality photos in this post. Since it was X’mas I didn’t wanna make everyone pretentiously pose for the camera often or have bright flashes going off in their faces too much, so most of these shots are candid snaps taken in like 2 seconds!

And dinner is SERVED, ladies and gentlemen!!!

…I know, I need to work on my food presentation more :3

I find that most of the food I cook tastes really yummy but also looks doubtfully unappetizing. Which is quite sad since I know how food looks plays a huge part on whether you feel like eating it or not.

Perhaps that’s why I enjoy baking so much too.. it allows me to be creative and make my desserts look pretty!

Makes up for the ugly food haha.

I was afraid there might be too much food for 7 people at first, but it turned out to be the exact amount we needed.

We had a bit of leftovers after everyone had their grand fill, but that was ok because I relished everything and had the leftovers for supper later on :P

Let us feast!!!!!

After a hearty dinner, wii + taboo + uno stacko + monopoly + unwrapping of presents awaits us!!

The whole X’mas day I had Christmas carols playing from our stereo.. I really miss walking around the house and hearing X’mas bells ringing through the rooms.

How is it that it’s been barely a week since X’mas was over and I’m already missing it so much?

But first, dessert!!!

Was gonna bake a traditional log cake but Janice got a complimentary one from MBS Sweet Spot so that was settled.


♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥Christmas gang!!


Thanks to these people, I had HEAPS of fun on Christmas :’)

This picture is missing my maid, who was taking the picture for us lol. Did I mention I have a new maid yet?? I can’t remember.. Anyway she’s totally sweet + hardworking and so much better than all my previous ones!!

I know the pics are sooo pixelated but they were really TOO dark before I edited them, so after I brightened them they went all pixel spaz on me D:


Grawrrrrrr monster sista!!111

Me, momma and kukubird ♥ :’)

Every time I look at pictures with 3 of us in it I feel a little bewildered. Why do I NOT look like them at all, when my mum and bro look so alike?

Was I really picked up from the dustbin?? T_T

Kukubird and mother kuku bird LOL

Janice has the widest, toothiest, brightest winsome smile ever. So cute!

Me and Sam have been spending a lot of time with Jan and my bro recently.. Like almost every single day we’d be doing stuff together, like playing games, going out for movies, they even brought me to Nana (which I didn’t like all that much.. I hate clubs) and cooking together.

I thought that once my brother got a new gf we’d be spending much lesser time together than we already were before but to my surprise, we’re now closer than ever!! Funny how relationships don’t bring just 2 people together, sometimes they bring the whole family together.

My mom loves going out with Sam and I too!! I miss my mommy, speaking of her :(

She’s in Spain with Uncle John right now and I am TOTALLYYYYY jealous. I wonder if I’d ever get the chance to go there!!

Hope she buys back amazing souvenirs for me hehe :]

Even though I don’t go on all her trips with her, she ALWAYS buys back tonsa goodies!!

Cute picture of my mum with the biggest laughing smile on her face ♥ ♥

Spot my killer whale “Jessica” cup on the table and Janice’s home made jelly pieces!

And possibly the most anticipated event that surrounds Christmas…

PRESENT OPENING TIMEEEEEE!!

Hehe they were so meticulous about not ruining our carefully wrapped presents it was funny looking at them trying not to rip the wrapper. For me I love shredding my presents wrapping paper into tiny pieces :P

Like AHHHHHHHHHH PRESENT *jumps on it and rips it to pieces like a human paper shredder*

Lol @ my mum and UJ’s expressions!

I got UJ a bright turquoise / teal-ish metallic skinny tie from River Island – Uber sleek! I knew he would never get himself such a bold colored tie, so I figured someone needs to give him a wardrobe revamp.. hahaha

I got my mum a thick black fluffy winter coat from Zara – very fashionable chic and will keep her warm in Spain, because Sam and I overheard her talking about how cold it would be in Spain during winter plus how she lacked enough winter clothes!!

UJ helping Mum to put on the coat…

I’m glad she appreciated what we picked out for her!!! She’s very picky about her clothing and her style is quite unpredictable so I was taking a big risk by buying her winter clothing – if she didn’t like it, that would be a lot of money wasted.

She was all-smiles throughout the night.

Jer and Jan with their presents!!!

I got Jeremy a long sleeved casual smart navy blue shirt from River Island because he is damn vain (I LOVE RIVER ISLAND their style is immaculately top notch)

Janice received a Victoria’s Secret candy-cane themed shower gel (my gift is not insincere ok she always stays over at our place and runs out of soap in our bathroom AND she loves Victoria’s Secret)

We also got her a Marc Jacobs hot pink make up pouch (which she is now using!! yay) and a mad bling navy-blue-and-silver striped sequin dress from Forever 21!

Was kinda difficult to find her size for clothing, she’s not even an XS.. she’s like an XXS or something!

Oh yea *insert random funny moment here*

After Janice gave me my wrapped present, she called me into my bro’s room coz she forgot to wrap up a box of Wilton’s silicon heart shaped baking cups. As she was handing me the box I happily said, “Awww thank you!! It’s very nice”

And I wanted to give her a thumbs up……..

BUT I ACCIDENTALLY GAVE HER THE MIDDLE FINGER.

LOL don’t ask me why the hell I did that, anyway when I gave her the middle finger instead of a thumbs up she looked at me like “:O?!” and I was like OMG sorry I mean

*puts middle finger down and lifts index finger up instead in panic*

HAHAHAH how stupid can I be!!!

Apparently very very extremely unthinkably stupid.

Anyway I got lucky the third time and finally gave her a thumbs up on my third try but by that time she and my brother were laughing so hard at me!!! I guess I’m much more used to giving the middle finger than a thumbs up so when I lifted my hand up it was a natural reaction.


FML
and F Janice’s L for receiving a middle finger for giving me a X’mas present.

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Lastly, I got my maid two bling bracelets plus a silver heart shaped + key necklace.

As you can tell, the girls got the better end of the deal for presents haha. I guess it’s just cuz girls are so much easier to buy for!!

Mum giving Sammy boy a present :P

And it’s a set of 3 different Levi’s t-shirts!!! They’re simple but very nice, the cutting fits Sam so nicely.

Look at that ear-to-ear grin on his cheeky face!

Actually everyone just looks so happy in this set of photos, that’s why I love them so much! I think I’ll go print some of these photos soon.

Momma opening her present from Jan…. what could it be?!?!

Ta-dah!!! A pair of dazzling Swarovski earrings!

And doesn’t she look gorgeous? :)

My present from Uncle John!!!!

Stunning white gold plated necklace with precious stones!! I HEART this shade of pink! ♥

TY UJ!!

Mum gave me a bottle of Coco Chanel parfum (say it like the French do :P) and a bright Magenta silk bag from DKNY. So so pretty!!!!!

Me pretending to give a surprised face epic phail.

How annoying is my expression?? Even I wanna smack myself!! Janice got me jewelry too :)

Mum and UJ with our 6 foot tall X’mas tree :) Yes my mum’s super tall, that’s where I got my genes from!

Sam and I in our living room with our $2 santa Daiso hats hehehehehehe


I can’t stop smiling whenever I look at these pictures!!

Hahahaha I just had to do the freelance model syndrome right-hand-on-hip-stick-out-your-chest-and-cross-your-legs pose. It’s ridiculously vain!

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After everyone’s presents were unwrapped and kept away, we took out the board games to play!!

I thought we could watch a DVD or something but finally decided board games would be the best since we haven’t played board games well.. since like ever.

And I just HAD to go out and buy my favourite classic games – Taboo and Uno Stacko!!! But Taboo is so expensive omg it’s like 50 bucks.

Janice beeping my mum coz she said the wrong word ahaha

No words to describe this picture.. just LOL

Tryna describe something to Sam but he never gets it!!!

Look at his stupid face he’s like “WTF is this bitch sayin?!”

By the time this 3rd picture was taken he’s like “ARGHHHH what is it godaaammiitt!!!!”

And I’m just like “-___-”

LOLOLOL

My mum cracked up sooo much it was hilarious to see her try explaining something to UJ but failing and getting super frustrated afterwards!

I remember there was once it was my turn to describe and my mum’s turn to guess my word, and my word was “Affection” so I said

“Ok mum, since you are my mother, I want a lot of _________ what from you??”

She immediately replied “MONEY!” very loudly.

T____________T

FML x 9325932791275175.

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Another classic moment was when Janice had to describe her word to my brother and she said, “My in front is very what?”

My bro’s reply: “Flat.”


LOLOL

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2 hours of Taboo later, we played a round of Uno Stacko before going to sleep! By this time it was already past midnight.

They are so evil purposely making the top as unbalanced as possible!! I’m feeling a bit bitter since I was the loser in the end hahaha and my forfeit was to dance in front of all of them.

Nothing like good old fashioned board games fun!! Had all of us shrieking like little girls by the end of the night. Christmas brings out the kid in everyone ♥

They took a video of my silly epic dancing, but no way am I gonna post it on my blog!! I look positively retarded. At least more than a few good chuckles came out of that!

I can’t dance even if my life depended on it @_@

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It was nighty night after that!

Completely exhausted after all that screaming and laughing and cooking and eating. Sam and I were sitting on the couch after everyone had went to bed, just looking at our Christmas tree….

When we decided to play with sparkles and he tried to be a flaming stuntsman :P

We went to sleep soon after!!

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And that was how I spent my Christmas!!!

I couldn’t have imagined a better X’mas night with my family.

It wasn’t perfect of course, but it didn’t have to be, because nothing ever is truly perfect.

Perfection to me is making the darnest best out of what you already have and having a whale of a time while doing so, not chasing after idealistic fairytales.

All I know is, being light headed with happiness is definitely a good thing.. and it’s enough for me :)

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Now, read on if you wanna know how to make a Gingerbread House like mine!!

First off, you’ll need to buy groceries because these recipes call for quite a lot of ingredients.

Get the gingerbread house recipe HERE

And the royal icing “glue” recipe HERE

Allrecipes.com is my favourite recipe website!!! Easy navigation, simply layout, clear-cut instructions, trustworthy reviews and recipes plus it comes with pictures. And it’s free.

It is awesome.

Ok, first follow the recipes above, and you can continue with further instructions from here!

You will need to make the gingerbread recipe batch about 2-3 times before you get enough to make a decent sized gingerbread house. We made 2 batches of both gingerbread and icing recipe and it turned out just the right amount.

You don’t have to follow the recipe EXACTLY (like how it calls for 2 teaspoons molasses or whatever that is) because people tweak recipes all the time.

I added chocolate powder and cinnamon to my gingerbread recipe to make it much yummier!!

Your gingerbread mixture should look something like this after mixing. It may seem a little dry, but you’ll need to knead it with your hands!

Now you need to decide how big you want your gingerbread house to be. You’ll have to draw and cut out your own stencils, either using baking paper or just normal paper!

Make one long width for the sides of your house, and an even longer stencil for your roof, and a short one for the front of your house! If this sounds confusing and if you’ve no idea how to construct a simple house you can google for online stencils where you can simply print it out :D

After kneading, roll a chunk of dough onto a baking paper lined surfance and use a rolling pin dusted with flour to carefully roll out a thin sheet of gingerbread.

Use a knife to trade the outlines of your stencils!

And next, my ingenious idea – tracking brick patterns onto your unbaked dough with a knife!!!

You don’t see brick patterns at all on other gingerbread houses on Google images but I think it adds a lovely feel to the whole thing :)

Once your gingerbread pieces have been baked (we baked at 13 mins each at 180 degrees) and cooled, you can now start constructing your gingerbread house!

Put your icing into a large piping bag, and start piping the “glue” for your gingerbread house to stick onto!

Pipe ON the edges of the walls, pipe inside and outside, every single edged surface basically!!!

Make sure your icing is crazy thick and sticky – if your icing isn’t good, your gingerbread house is sure to crumble and all your efforts will be wasted.

A different angle to show you guys how I piped every single edge with thick chunks of icing to make the structure steady enough to stand on its own.

While the icing is drying, you’ll need to hold the pieces in place with your hands for a couple of minutes first.

Don’t worry about doing it neatly or if icing is dripping everywhere – the icing is meant to look like snow, so a little mess is just fine!

Here my gingerbread house is almost complete, after putting on the roofs it’s ready for decoration, yay!!!! ^.^

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VOILA!!!!!!!!!!

My gingerbread house in its full gloryyyyyy! Almost too cute to eat. (it’s still uneaten as of now)

It looks so magnificent just sitting on my living room table, completing the whole festive look! :)

You can buy all the stuff I used to decorate my gingerbread house from the supermarket. Marshmallow candies, M&Ms, and go CRAAAAAAAZY with the icing!!!!

Doesn’t the dripping icing really look like falling snow?

A sprinkle of icing sugar also adds the final snow flake touch to it!

Impress your guests, family, friends and anyone who sees it!!!

Everyone will be so tempted to pick off little parts of it to eat :)

I would’ve posted this recipe to share with you guys before X’mas was actually over, but we only made this on X’mas Eve as an impromptu idea!


Nonetheless, I hope you guys like it.

I know I love it!

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Happy New Year everyone!!!!!

I’m not sure if I am ready for 2011 just yet but I’m sure it will be one heck of a year for me. 2010 seemed to have just passed me by…. it went by wayyyy too fast!!!

It’s almost scary.

This year I’m going to be 19, and the next I will be 20!! Crap.

I hope you guys have a fabulous year ahead of you and will continue staying with me and going through this journey of life together, I love my sweet dear readers! ♥

xoxo,
Jess

Baking Christmas Cookies!!!

Tis the season to be jolly, Fa lalalalalalalaalaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa~!!!!

2 more weeks till Christmas! Are you guys excited??

I know I am, but I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do on the day itself, wtf. I might just stay home and host a mini house party and cook up a storm because I’m homely like that!!

I wanted to go on a vacation but air fares are RIDICULOUS.

So anyway, the best idea struck us yesterday… baking CHRISTMAS COOKIES!!!

First it started out as an idea to bake gingerbread men, then I thought, “Why stop at gingerbread?? Go ALL OUT to make them as cute and christmassy as possible!”

To our delight, they turned out absolutely AMAZING! And I even took pictures to show you guys how to make them, because its the season of joy and sharing, yay!


Things you’ll need:

For the shortbread cookies-

2 cups butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour (NOT self-raising flour!)

For the royal icing-

4 egg whites (seprarate the egg whites from yolk and use the whites only)
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract (We didn’t have lemon extract so we added lime juice instead)
food colouring


First, preheat your oven to 180 degrees, then while it’s heating up, let’s get the yummy icing ready!

Sam got me this electric mixer for my birthday… such a lifesaver! I can’t imagine that I used to bake without a mixer omg.

Beat the 4 egg whites in mixer on high speed until foamy, gradually adding sugar and lemon extract..

Beat for at least 5 mins, or until your icing is really nice and thick!

I’m so happy to say I’ve found THE PERFECT COOKIE ICING RECIPE, and this is it! This recipe is everything I’d want in icing.

Not overpoweringly sweet, a thick consistency so it’s easy to pipe on, and after a few hours it dries completely to a wonderful glossy coating!!! Using egg whites for icing instead of butter is genius.

This is royal icing that I find is best suited for already sweet sugar cookies, not the usual buttercream icing on cupcakes, so don’t use them on cuppies!

Seperate your icing into little bowls and add different coloured food coloring into them!

I mix them with chopsticks because I dip the ends of chopsticks into my Wiltons Gel Food Colouring and start stirring the colour into my icing mixture.

Since it’s a christmassy theme, the main colours we’ll need is White, Red, Yellow, Green and some Black if you wanna draw on black outlines for santa’s face etc.

(this is optional, we ran outta black so we didn’t use that)

Now for the cookies mixture!!!!

Mix 2 cups of softened butter with 1 cup of sugar until it’s fluffy, then add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and finally 4 cups of flour, and mix well.

If you’re doing it by hand, it’s gonna take a lot of effort.. and if you’re doing it by mixer, be warned, it gets messy!! I ended up getting batter splattered all over myself hahaha yummmyyyyy.

When you’re done mixing it thoroughly, you should get a soft and moist dough that looks something like this!

Get your cookie cutters ready for all sorts of fun Christmassy shapes!!!

Take a ball of dough into your hand, compress them in your palms and use a rolling pin (or your hand) to press them flat, then use cookie cutters to press out fun shapes!

If you don’t have suitable cookie cutters, don’t worry, you can always draw the shapes you want on a piece of paper, cut out the shape and use it as a stencil as you use a knife to “trace” the outlines.

Or you could be a ninja and do it freehand like us, we took a knife and started cutting and moulding our own custom shapes like Christmas trees, Santa hats and Christmas stockings!!!!

It will take a few tries to get the hang of it but it’s so much fun and you get to experiment with different shapes!

This is probably the most fun part about baking because you get to be super creative :)

The amazing thing about this dough is that it’s so easy to mould, unlike gingerbread cookies!

Shortbread is kinda fluffy yet kinda crispy and crumbly at the same time… wonderfully buttery, it’s the ultimate cookie to rule them all!

Ta-dah!!!

First batch ready to go into the oven… ^________^!!!

We ran out of grease paper (omg yes my house is very low on supplies) and so we greased the pan like crazy, hoping our cookies wouldn’t stick to the pan while baking and thus crumbling when we try to remove them afterwards, and guess what…


THEY DIDN’T!!!
They came off so easily. I really love this cookie recipe, it’s idiot and low-supply proof!

Bake at 180 degrees for about 15 minutes or until it turns golden brown… (Not BROWN ok, golden brown lol brown means chao tah already)

If you cook it a little lesser, it’d be more moist and soft, if you cook it a little more, it’d be super crispy!

Hahahaha look at this Santa that Sam made!!! So cute! ♥

The cookies are EXTRA yummy when they’re fresh out of the oven, so I suggest eating some while they’re still warm, they kinda melt in your mouth :’)

Once the cookies have cooled significantly, start decorating them with your icing!

Because the icing is of such a great thick yet creamy consistency, you can use a spoon / spatula / knife to spread it on and use a piping bag with a small tip to pipe on the smaller details!

Remember to leave the icing to dry for a few hours, icing is easily damaged when it’s wet.

Oh hello gingerbread man without eyes!!!

Look at all that glorious royal icing dripping down his sides…. Mmmmmmmm

O hai Christmas tree!!!

SEE what I said about “when the icing dries, it forms a glossy sheen”?

Check out my already-dry stocking – it’s so shiny and perfect!!!! *super happy*

And now……..

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My finished product!!!!!!!!!!!

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!


So cute!! Almost too cute to eat :3


I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! ♥ ♥ ♥

We have the northen star, a jolly santa, frosty the snowman, a christmas stocking, a fluffy christmas hat, a christmas tree with ornaments, holly leaves, giant heart, a gingerbread man, a flower…

And there’s even more in the 2nd batch!!!

Real proud of me and Sam, it turned out even better than I’d imagined. I can’t decide if they’re more cute than yummy or if they’re yummier than cute.

They look perfect just sitting on the dining table, I almost can’t bear to eat them!

If you don’t know what gift to get someone for Christmas, make them Christmas Cookies!

I think this would be a WONDERFUL Christmas present to give to anyone, who wouldn’t like colorful cookies? Especially if they’re X’mas themed!

Home made cookies add that extra necessary jolly touch to any decent house party. *nods*

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So very pleased with my cookies indeed.

I hope you guys liked this how-to post, they’re extremely easy and fun to make, so make them with family and friends to get into the ULTIMATE Christmas mood!

Extra bonus fun points if you play christmas carols in the background and chase each other with batter on your fingers and laugh when flour gets onto someone’s nose, hehe :)

HAVE FUN!!

And of course, if it’s not too early to say this…


MERRY EARLY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!

xoxo,
Jess
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