Thursday, December 17, 2015

My American Girl Wishlist

Hello everybody!

Today I am going to be doing a wishlist; things I would like to get in the near future from American Girl. No, this is not a Christmas wishlist.

Also, really quick! please go enter my giveaway for My First French Cookbook 2-3 posts down! Thanks!

Maryellens Birthday Dress

Samanthas Winter Coat

Maryellens Poodle Skirt

Sparkle Sweater Set

Kits Reporter Outfit

Maryellens TV Console

Maryellens JukeBox

Maryellens Sofa Couch

Maryellens Diner

Maryellens School Set

TV console (for a modern living room)

Gymnastics Bar and Beam

Samanthas Nightime Accessories 

Samanthas Painting Set

Samanthas Carpet Bag 
(I'd totally pretend she's Mary Poppins)

Kits Radio

Kits TypeWriter

Rebeccas Bedroom Accessories

Rebeccas Phonograph

Rebeccas Stage Makeup

I love all of these things. As you can tell I REALLY LOVE Mary-Ellens collection and Samanthas collections, I'd love to own the whole of them both. I choose things I would love to have help decorate my doll house to make it look like a real home!

What's on your wishlist?


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Meet.... Mary-Ellen!

Hello everybody!

SO this past week was Hanukkah as you know, and as a present from my parents they paid half for.. Mary-Ellen using the 20% code! (Making it $2 less than the price without tax and shipping of a doll. AKA $113)

I'm so happy to finally have her! I've absolutely adored her ever since she came out and she is so cute in person. I'm really hoping to collect her whole collection! And I mean her WHOLE collection! Eeek!


I would just like to say how much I LOVE the filter I used. Like really. 
I included a couple non-color edited photos so you could see the true color of her hair, which is fantastic, if I do say so.
If it would ever stop raining I'll run outside and snap some photos of my girl.
I highly recommend her! She is absolutely adorable and I am seriously SO happy I got her!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

My First French Bakery Review, Recipe +GIVEAWAY!!!!

Hello guys!
I have a very exciting post for you today!!

So I was recently contacted by the people at Familius asking if I would like to review their cookbook, My First French Bakery. As well as feature a recipe and do a PDF give away for you guys!

So without further ado, I present to you, My First French Bakery!

I decided to try the recipe for Macarons, titled "My Little Macarons." I've always wanted to try Macarons and this was the perfect opportunity. These were a three on the 1-3 hard scale, but I pushed back my shoulders and set to work, along with the help of a good friend, who, as well as helping me cook. took my photos for me. (I'll be posting a link to her photography page at the bottom of this post.)

So we set to work,  
These are the ingredients you are going to need;

  1. 1 Cup of powdered sugar
  2. 3/4 cup of almond flour
  3. 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  4. 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  5. 1/4 cup super fine sugar
  6. (The butter pictured is used for the filling later)
Start by pre-heating your oven to 375degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and trace one inch circles. What we did was we printed out a stencil of one inch circles and placed it underneath our parchment paper like so; 

We made a little handle out of tape and stuck it to the stencil so we could pull it out from underneath the parchment later on once the macarons were on there without disturbing them. It worked great. 

Next you are going to pulse powdered sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. This is what our looked like once we'd attempted to blend it; 

I say attempted because we realized all the powdered sugar had settled to the bottom forming into a hard block, so what we did was took a medal spoon and just stirred it up and it worked great.
Next you need to sift it, we took a very fine medal colander and put our powder in there, shaking it over a glass mixing bowl. Once all the fine powder gets sifted through you will have little chunks of almond flour, you can press it down with a spoon to make sure all the fine stuff is out, but the little chunks you *do not* want in so just dump those, or eat them. They tasted good. Sadly we did not remember to get a picture of this part. 

Now you are going to whisk egg whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy (about 3-4 minutes). Then you are going to add cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks from.  Reduce to low speed and slowly add the superfine sugar. Increase speed to high and whisk until stiff peaks form. (About 8 minutes.)
Here is where you add food coloring and flavoring! We did a few drops of yellow and a few drops of red to get a pretty peachy color and added a few drops of orange flavoring to make a delicious orange macaron. (it was amazing)

Next sift the flour mixture over the whipped egg whites and gently fold until mixture is smooth and shiny. 

Transfer your batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain round tip and pipe one inch rounds on each designated circle, dragging the pastry tip to the side of each macaron rather than forming peaks. (We didn't half a half inch round so we used our round tip and failed a few macarons in the beginning by making like giant circular worms shaped that fill themselves in.. They weren't pretty. Finally we figured out that if we start at one side and start gently moving the tip backwards it would make a perfect circle!)

^These are our ugly worm shape ones..

This is a little better, but really you want the top of them to be as smooth as possible, because, as we learned, if the tops aren't smooth, they will bake that way and look ugly. But hey, they all taste the same no matter how they look!

Tap the bottom of each sheet to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Bake one sheet at a time, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm. Or about ten minutes. (Our first batch was perfect at ten minutes our second batch got a little burnt, so watch carefully) After each batch, increase oven temperature back to 375 degrees for five minutes then reduce back to 325 degrees.)

Let macarons cool on the sheets for 2-3 minutes and transfer to cool completely on a wire rack. (If macarons stick {ours did not} spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet, steam will help release them.)

Now onto making the buttercream! And, we completely forgot to take pictures when making this. I'm so sorry!
The ingredients for the buttercream are as follows; 
  1. 3 Large egg whites
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
(Guys, this made SO MUCH filling, like three times the amount you'll need! Honestly you could cut the recipe in half and be just fine. Or eat it with a spoon like we're doing.)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk egg whites and sugar until combined.

Set the mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and heat the mixture, whisking until it feels warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved. (3-5 minutes.) (Be careful with this, you don't want to make scrambled eggs!)

Transfer the bowl back to the mixer and fit it with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until mixture is stiff and shiny. (About 3-5 minutes)
Add butter one piece at a time, and continue mixing until the butter is thoroughly incorporated. 
We added a couple drops of yellow food coloring to give it a cream color, but didn't flavor it, as we thought orange and vanilla buttercream would be dee-lish. (And we were right!)

Fill a pastry bag with the buttercream and fit the bag with a 1/2 inch round tip or fill a resealable bag and snip about 1/2 inch off the bottom corner.
Pipe a small round in the center of one macaron, (about 1 teaspoon or less) and top with another macaron of similar size. Continue until all macarons are filled and assembled.

For variety you could always fill with jelly or nutella or anything instead or along with the buttercream!

I really enjoyed making this recipe. It was a lot of steps and was quite a bit of work, but it was enjoyable, especially having someone else to do it with. The instructions were wonderful and fairly easy to follow. I highly recommend this book!

Now! onto the giveaway!!!

I am going to be giving away the PDF format of this cookbook to 2 of my followers!
To enter comment down below if you have ever had macarons, if you've made them, and if you have how they turned out!

The last day to enter is December 30th and I'll announce the two winners on January 1st 2016!

A huge thanks to the people at Familius for sponsoring this!

Good luck to everybody!


A huge shoutout to HP photography for helping to make and photograph these delicious creations!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Happy Hanukkah!

Hello everybody, and Happy Hanukkah!

I decided to dress up Rebecca in her Hanukkah outfit and take some photos of her and her menorah for the holiday, I am pleased with how they turned out!

Yes, the photos are a bit dark but I like this particular set that way, I feel like it makes them look a bit more like Rebeccas era in the colors and all. And yes, some of the photos are edited a tad differently but I personally love the diversity!

Please leave me a comment down below on what you think!

I hope you enjoyed and have a very Happy Hanukkah!