There's still time with a Gift Certificate

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mother's Day gift idea - give her celebrity jewelry, make her a star!

Mother's Day gifts are one way to honor her - and that's a good thing - she deserves it. How often do we think of our Mom with a limited view - she cooks for us, cleans for us, carpools for us - she keeps our family running. But would Mom like to view herself as glamorous? Does she have a secret desire to be a Star? What about a Mother's Day gift that speaks to her inner Star? Celebrity jewelry for her Mother's Day gift is just the thing!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A handmade Mother's Day gift treat

For your Mother's Day gift to Mom how about a yummy batch of cupcakes with a chocolate surprise inside? Cupcakes have gotten to be really glamourous - and one of the greatest things about them is that each one in a batch can be different - and each one can have a surprise hidden inside. Actually I don't recommend surprises like rings or jewelry or money in your cupcakes - you just never know when someone might swallow them - but there are wonderful food surprises you can put in your cupcakes. One of the easiest ways to jazz up your cupcakes and make each one a surprise is with bite-size chocolates.

If you're a food purist please check out my earlier post on making cupcakes - there is a great "from scratch" recipe and a video showing how to make beautiful decorations with buttercream frosting. Go here

This post is about making beautiful and delicious cupcakes when you're short on time. This is a personalized Mother's Day gift idea. I suggest a cake mix - and honestly, it was many years before I would use a cake mix - but Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker have good ones. Especially when you're going to add other ingredients - so get a favorite flavor cake mix - and mix up the batter.

And while you're shopping head over to the candy aisle and pick up some bags of your favorite bite-size chocolate candy - snickers, reese cups, milky way, herseys, - go wild!

Also those metallic cupcake papers will help make these look perfect.

I will say, however that I do have a difficult time finding a ready made frosting that I like - I can always taste something artificial so my choice here is to take a little extra time and make a really wonderful icing. So here is favorite, easy to make and good.

5 1/3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
3 tablespoons boiling water
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add in cocoa, salt and boiling water, stirring until smooth.
Add powdered sugar and beat until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. If frosting seems too thick, add water. If it seems too thin, add powdered sugar.

After the cake batter is mixed - pour a little batter into each cupcake paper - about 1/4 way full. Now for the fun - put bite-size candy into each cupcake (leave room for more batter) and then fill with batter leaving about a 1/2 inch from the top of the paper. Each one will be a chocolate surprise.

After the frosting you could add another bite-size chocolate to the top for decoration. Now you have a batch of chocolate surprise cupcakes for your Mother's Day gift. I just hope Mom shares them with you!
Want another option for Chocolate for Mother's Day? Check out Hotel Chocolate.
Mom will love it that you took the time and love to give her a handmade Mother's Day gift.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mom - Kids Say the darnest things!

Mom's your kids say the darnest things! Even after all these years - this clip from Art Linkletter's show with kids shows them at their most innocent and funniest. Love it!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Personalized Jewelry for Mother's Day gifts

Here is a Mother's Day gift idea that will be special just for your Mom. Mom loves to show off her kids. Personalized jewelry is a great way for Mom to have a beautiful piece of jewelry and show off her kids.

Mother's Day is right around the corner and there is still time to select a beautiful piece of Personalized Jewelry for Mother's Day and give Mom something that is customized for her.

Limoges Jewelry is the number one retailer that specializes in beautiful, sterling silver jewelry that Mom will love and love to show off.

Limoges Jewelry

Personalized Jewelry for Mother's Day is a great idea!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cupcake surprise for Mother's Day gift - recipe included

Make an elegant, yummy Mother's Day gift.
I love to cook and desserts are one of my favorite things to make. I think that's because if I'm going to indulge and not think about the calories - it had better be delicious - and usually, I find grocery store desserts look good, but aren't so good. Most of the time I don't mind making desserts from scratch because they taste so good.

Now, the lowly cupcake from my childhood has been elevated to a new level and there are wonderful recipes - but mostly it is the endless variety of special additions that you can make to a cupcake so that each one in a batch can be completely different.

I do love to cook but I have to admit that I have not mastered the art of beautiful presentation - even though I think presentation makes a huge difference. Here is a great, simple vanilla cake recipe - from scratch. Mom will appreciate the love in each delicious cupcake and appreciate the time and attention you spent on her Mother's Day gift.

Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
Add lemon zest if you'd like to give it a really different taste:
Lemon Zest - The yellow outer rind of the lemon that contains the fruit's flavor and perfume. The rind being the outer skin of the lemon which consists of both the yellow zest and white membrane (pith).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and lightly butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
For the Cupcakes: Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter and egg mixture, along with the milk, and beat until combined.
Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing. If you want flat topped cupcakes then slice off the dome of each cupcake, with a sharp knife, before frosting.

Now - for the frosting - if you're going to the trouble to make the cake from scratch - you've got to make the frosting from scratch. Here is a recipe for buttercream frosting (mmmm). This is the kind you use for decorating - just what you need for your
Buttercream Frosting:
2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon purevanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk or light cream
Assorted food colors (if desired

For the Frosting: In an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk or sugar, if needed. Tint the frosting with desired food color (I use the paste food coloring that is available at decorating stores and party stores).

Makes about 12 cupcakesSource:Hay, Donna. Modern Classics Book 2. Harper Collins Publishers Inc. New York: 2003.

When you present these delicious cupcakes for her Mom's Day gift she will be delighted - and so will everyone else that will benefit from your labor of love - and gee, that's what we're celebrating - right? - Mom's labors of love - for us!

Before you slather on the buttercream frosting - here is some inspiration in this video. Wow - how beautiful. Great idea for you to have fun making the cupcakes for your Mothers Day gift.
For Mom! A Cupcake Bouquet!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Best Mother's Day gift - breakfast in bed!

Mother's Day gift idea #1 - breakfast in bed! I think breakfast in bed or breakfast on the deck might be a wonderful idea. It implies - "you've got all day, take it easy, we'll take care of everything." So, be sure, if this is what you do for Mother's Day that you don't leave a disaster in the kitchen for her to clean up later (I know you wouldn't do that).

For a lazy morning Mother might love to slip into some wonderful pajamas from Sleepyhead while she waits for you to serve her breakfast. The pjs are comfortable, all colors and styles - and they say RELAX!

For a great Mother's Day breakfast, if you're taking care of it yourself, may I suggest French Toast. It is simple, and there are many ways to dress it up. You've had it plenty of times - probably with syrup or jam - and that's great - but there are many other things you can add depending on what Mom likes.Here are a few suggestions other than syrup or jam:sprinkle with cinnamon (lightly)mix together her favorite fresh fruits - blueberries, peaches, bananas and pile on top of the french toastuse a favorite flavored coffee creamer and pour lightly over the warm french toast

Here is a simple recipe for french toast:
4 eggs
1 teaspoon sugar, optional
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
10 to 12 slices white breadbutter

PREPARATION:Break eggs into a wide, shallow bowl or pie plate; beat lightly with a fork. Stir in sugar, salt, and milk.Over medium-low heat, heat griddle or skillet coated with a thin layer of butter or margarine.Place the bread slices, one at a time, into the bowl or plate, letting slices soak up egg mixture for a few seconds, then carefully turn to coat the other side. Soak/coat only as many slices as you will be cooking at one time.Transfer bread slices to griddle or skillet, heating slowly until bottom is golden brown. Turn and brown the other side.
Recipe for French toast serves 4.

Does she like bacon or sausage? You could add that for the breakfast. And a good juice, coffee or tea. Don't forget flowers in a vase - and a clean kitchen. All this while Mom lounges - she will definitely feel appreciated this Mother's Day.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pajamas make a great Mother's Day gift!

This Mother's Day gift idea came from my recent extra time in bed. I did everything healthy I knew to do - mega Vitamin C, echinecea, chicken soup, washed my hands endlessly and still I got it - the flu hit this weekend. In fact, here I am in front of the fireplace with my laptop - it's 1:16 PM and I'm still in my pajamas. And I am so comfortable and cozy...the best I can feel until this "bug" gets out of my system. So I thought I would pass along to you another great idea for a Mother's Day gift - pajamas! I love them.

Especially during the winter my husband and I put on our pjs as soon as possible when we get home from work. Whatever we have to do at home in the evening - we do in our pajamas. It is relaxing, comfortable and cozily intimate. I have 3 winter pairs -not sexy - but wonderfully comfortable - and yes, even fashionable.

I found this adorable company, Sleepyheads, that has the best pjs - all styles.

My very favorite thing to do on Sunday AM is stay in my pjs, eat breakfast late and read the paper. That just makes my weekend. Trick is to have some really great pajamas. Maybe this Mother's Day, your Mom would take the day off if she had great pjs.

They have Her and His pjs and they have Mother and Daughter pajamas, or pjs for the whole family. Also, if you care about this kind of thing there is a list of celebrities who have become customers. They are fun! So, consider pajamas for your Mom's Mother's Day gift .

You can lounge around together!

A cherished message