Search This Blog

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Handbags for Hope

One of my lovely customers referred me to this wonderful charity auction hosted by the South Carolina Ovarian Cancer Foundation. The Fourth Annual Purse Auction for Handbags for Hope will take place on Sept 23, 2010. I was honored to be asked to paint a bag for the auction. This was my contribution to the cause.

I also donated one of my Bagazine purses.

If any one is interested in donating a purse, the deadline is August 12. Visit Handbags for Hope for more information on the charity event and on purse donations.

Please help this wonderful cause!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dark Chocolate Brownies with Salted Caramel

It's pretty common knowledge that I am obsessed with the Food Network. Ha ha. When I was watching the salt episode of "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" I was really intrigued by the Salted Caramel Brownies. I forgot about them until my mom reminded me yesterday and I knew I had to try to make them. They came out rich and sweet and salty and chocolatey and delicioussss. :)

Dark Chocolate Brownies Recipe adapted from Fudge Brownies "Let Them Eat Cake" by Susan Purdy

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) 50/50 Olive Oil Smart Balance, cut up
1 ounce dark chocolate chips
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsifted unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon rum
3 tablespoons vanilla soymilk


1) Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a baking pan with cooking spray.
2) In a small saucepan, combine the butter and chocolate chips and set over very low heat, stirring until melted.
3) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
4) Measure the sugar into a seperate large bowl of an electric mixer and beat in the cooled butter-chocolate mixture. Add the eggs, rum, and soymilk and beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until blended. Don't overbeat. The batter will be thick.
5) Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the layer evenly. Pour on a layer of salted caramel (recipe follows). Cover with the last layer of brownie batter, smooth, and then bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
6) When done, the top will look dry and a wooden pick inserted near the edge will come out with a few crumbs but the center will look slightly gooey. Cool in the pan and cut into squares.

Salted Caramel Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence's Salted Caramel Sauce

(This makes about double what I needed to fill the brownies, so halve it if you don't want leftover caramel)

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 stick 50/50 Olive Oil Smart Balance Blend
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup vanilla soymilk


1) Combine sugar and water to a small saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the caramel reaches a dark amber stage.
2) Remove from heat and stir in SB, soymilk, and salt.

My Recent Shoe Adventures

For a blog named after my shoes, I have been neglecting to post about them recently! Ha ha. Oh well. Here it goes... I recently painted a pair of beautiful butterfly shoes for an old friend of mine. They were rough but sweet... cute but tough. Ha ha. I really like how they came out, but, unfortunately the photos didn't quite do them justice...

I also painted a pair of Comedy & Tragedy shoes that I was also pretty pleased with. I added in a quotation on the sides from Judy Garland, his favorite actress. I think the colors pop really well, and even the tragedy side makes me smile. ha ha.

What do you think of these new shoes?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"My Sweet" Mango Muffins with Dulce de Leche Drizzle Recipe

Mango Cupcakes Recipe adapted from Earth Vegan and a little from Allrecipes

I need these "My Sweet" in honor of my friend Row. It's a silly nickname we have for each other... But, she's sweet and exotic just like this mango muffins, so it seemed fitting. Ha ha. Right when I finished preparing the batter, I had an emergency and had to leave the batter unbaked on my countertop for a few hours and then in the fridge overnight. I think that is why they came out dense and bready like a muffin when I originally intended for them to be cupcakes. Oh well. The way I baked them, they were like muffins at room temperature and like bread pudding from the fridge. Still mango-y and delicious.

1 1/2 cups wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cardamom powder
3 small mangoes very ripe, peeled and chopped into little bits (or if they're super ripe like mine they'll just fall apart into bits of juicy goodness mostly on their own)
zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup soy milk

1) Sift together dry ingredients.
2) In a seperate bowl beat together mangoes, OJ, zest, eggs, and vanilla.
3) Alternate adding flour mixture and soymilk until all has been combined.
4) Spoon into muffin pan lined with cupcake papers and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes.

Check out my previous post: "Happy Birthday to Me" for the Dulce de Leche recipe.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

Yes, I made my own birthday cake... Ha ha. I wanted to. The cake had to be special, exotic, and intriguing. So, I made a chocolate cake spiked with cinnamon and chili powder. Then I drizzled it with homemade dulce de leche and covered it with chocolate ganache and topped it with homemade candied orange peel.

Mexican Chocolate Cake heavily adapted from Sara Campbell

2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup soy flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups soymilk
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/8 cups cocoa powder


1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cake pans with baking spray and place mini cupcakes paper in 12-cup cupcake pan.

2) In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar and apple sauce. Turn on the mixer to a low speed and mix in the eggs.

3) Sift together the flours, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, and chili powder in a separate bowl. Set this mixture aside.

4) In another small bowl, mix the vanilla into the milk and set this aside as well.

5) To the egg mixture, alternately add the flour mixture and the milk mixture beginning and ending with flour.

6) Bring the water to a boil and pour over the cocoa and whisk it until it is smooth. With the mixture at a low speed add the cocoa. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pour this mixture into the prepared cake pans.

7) Bake the cupcakes for approximately 15 minutes and the cakes for about 25 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Dulce de Leche loosely adapted from KitchenBismarckrecipes

2 cups 2% milk
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1) Combine all the ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the mixture briskly, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until thick, caramel colored, and reduced by half, 30 to 40 minutes. Watch it so it doesn't overboil! Mine did and it was a messss. :(

2) I poured some straight off the stovetop onto the cake layers so it would drip through and permeate the cake. There was plenty left over, and if you don't overboil yours out of the pot, you should have even more. Just stick it in the refrigerator.

Candied Orange Peel adapted from Giada

1 large navel orange
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

1) Peel orange with vegetable peeler from end to end to make long strips.

2) Place peel in small saucepan and cover with water. Bring water to boil for about 1 minute. Drain and rinse peels in cold water. Repeat process 2 more times.

3) Stir the sugar and 1/2 cup of fresh water in the small saucepan over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Add the orange peels and simmer over medium-low heat until tender, about 15 minutes.

4) Using tongs, transfer the peels to a sheet of parchment paper, sprinkle with sugar, twist into pretty shapes and allow to dry slightly, about 1 hour.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Apricot Nut Cookies

These cookies were adapted from a recipe by Giada. I like them a lot. Sweet, but not overly. Fruity, nutty, soft, and delicious. What more can I say?

1 cup (2 sticks) 50/50 smart balance blend, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (it should have been more... but, I burned about 4 tablespoons when trying to toast them. So, maybe use 4 tablespoons if you have them)


1) In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg. Stir in the flour until just blended. Mix in the apricots, almonds, and pine nuts.

2) Form small flattened cookie dough balls and arrange on parchment paper covered cookie sheet.

3) Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Chocolate-Chocolate-ChocolateChip Cupcakes

In continuing with my love of all things small, cute, and baked, I made these with my little cousin today. These are still in the experimental phase. They came out okay, but not incredible yet. I'll have to try them again sometime and play with them a little bit more. But, I thought they were worth sharing because my family still liked them. :)

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcake Batter

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
about 1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup apple sauce
3/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup organic soy milk
about 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper liners (I might try foil ones next time because these kind of stuck due to the lack of any grease in the cupcakes). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt.
2) In separate bowl, beat together apple sauce & yogurt. Mix in eggs & vanilla. Alternate adding in flour mixture and soymilk.
3) Dividing evenly, spoon batter into cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
4) Let cool and top with ganache.

Chocolate Ganache (I used some that was left over from the Banana Cupcakes)

1 Bar Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate + 1 Package Baking Chocolate
3/4 cup Light Soy Milk

1) Melt chocolate on double boiler, stirring constantly.
2) Warm milk in microwave 30 seconds.
3) Stir milk slowly into chocolate until smooth.
4) Drizzle a little chocolate goodness on top of cupcakes