Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe

Ah! Today is day 2 of my “mental health weekend” with my husband. After so much work, rushing around, and general stress the past few weeks, we made a pact to engage in NONE of that, this weekend. No work, no car repairs, no chores, no stress. Awesome!

Of course.. we kind of cheated. Free time means I’m freed up to play around in the kitchen.. which means I can experiment, make home cooked meals… etc. This wasn’t totally a bad thing – We’ve been on a bit of a pumpkin kick ever since the Pumpkin Nanaimo Bar creation a couple weeks ago, and could now finally act on it.

So, this morning I made pumpkin pancakes AND pumpkin muffins! The pancakes are SO tasty – full of flavor, very fluffy and moist. SO good! Read on for the recipe – muffins recipe coming tomorrow! (more…)

Real Wedding Inspiration – Halloween Wedding

Now that it’s mid October, Twitter and the wedding blogs are lighting up with mentions of Halloween weddings. I’d like to take this opportunity to share my favorite Halloween wedding with you.

Now, it’s no secret that I’m being extremely selective about the projects I take on, and the people I’ll work with. Life’s just too short, you know? Aside from that, Halloween is the hardest weekend to get a booking with us, as we’re always booked to do an event in Chicago that weekend – they book us a year in advance. Ansley’s initial email to me was such a stand out, I couldn’t help but be intrigued – and bend over backward to make it work for her! Let me share:

Good afternoon,

My name is Ansley — I am getting married on October 30th of this year. After scouring the internet in the daunting task of researching wedding cakes, I fell in love with what you do. Everything else I’ve seen looks mundane and unimpressive in comparison to what I’ve viewed on your site. We are an “alternative” couple (I’ll swallow my pride a minute and admit that’s a somewhat politically correct way of calling us “goths”) and have concerns about how that effects our relations with vendors. Everyone we work with seems to assume that our Halloween wedding means skulls, plastic bats and ghosts.

Not so– we are classy and elegant, not campy. What I’ve seen on your website surely demonstrates not only your talent but that you understand that even “odd” is still art. I’d love to set up some sort of consultation with you, though I’m not sure how it is done as I’m new to this whole wedding thing and all of the chaos it entails!

Thank you for your time,

Ansley

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how it’s done. Polite, coherent, complimentary, eloquent, AND expressing a desire for something different? I was in love with this wedding – and clients! – before I met them!

The wedding was to be “Simple, elegant and most importantly, black”, taking the bulk of its visual inspiration from the Nine Inch Nails music video for “The Perfect Drug”. The wedding and reception were held at the The James J. Hill Reference Library in Downtown Saint Paul… an absolutely gorgeous, unique venue.

If this is starting to sound familiar at all, you may have seen our blog entry about the cake she ordered, “Glam Goth Wedding Cake“. If you haven’t – or want a refresher – be sure to click that link to view her cake photos!


James J. Hill reference Library, during setup.

Anyway, long story short, we juggled to make the logistics work out, and Ansley was a dream to work with. Absolutely one of my favorite brides ever! The cake was delivered, and I anxiously awaited photos of the event. I swear, nothing could have prepared me for the finished product! Ansley looked absolutely amazing in gorgeous black and blue gown, the black candelabra were a perfect compliment to the super high ceilings in the library… sigh. Must have been the perfect wedding to attend! Let me share the photos, courtesy of the bride, groom, their guests, and photographer – M. Doucet:

As always.. I LOVE when brides go their own way with their weddings. This was just amazing, and I’m sure her guests will be talking about the experience for years to come! Also, I’m sure her vendors will be, as well! Love it!

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Easy Blood Orange Cranberry Dark Chocolate Fudge

And here we are, the final day of my “blood orange plus cranberries” candy making freakout! If you missed the past few blog entries, be sure to check out our recipes for Blood orange cranberry toffee, Easy blood orange cranberry white chocolate fudge, and TRADITIONAL blood orange cranberry fudge. Whew.

Today’s recipe is very similar to Friday’s recipe, but ends with a very different flavor profile. Again, this one takes about 2 minutes to make – let’s get to it!

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Traditional Fudge – Blood Orange Cranberry Fudge

Day 3 of my “blood orange essential oil + cranberries” candy recipe binge! Only 1 more coming, I swear!

If you haven’t seen the past 2 days worth of entries, check out our recipes for Blood orange cranberry toffee and Blood orange cranberry easy white chocolate fudge. Takes more time to type the name of that second recipe than it does to make it!

Yesterday, I mentioned the two different types of fudge, before leading you down the easy path. Well, today’s the traditional route! Be sure to follow my instructions – stirring too much, when you’re not supposed to, not allowing the syrup to cool, etc can result in a grainy fudge. What you’re aiming for here is CREAMY. Yum! On to the recipe!

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Easy Blood Orange Cranberry White Chocolate Fudge

If haven’t read yesterday’s post yet, you should. It gives a bit of background info on the next couple days worth of recipes… basically, all a love letter to Blood orange essential oil! Today, I’ll be sharing my recipe for blood orange cranberry white chocolate “easy” fudge.

Now, there are two main types of fudge. It doesn’t have anything to do with flavor, it’s about base ingredients and technique:

Easy fudge takes about 2 minutes to make (aside from the time it takes to cool and set), and just two base ingredients: Some type of chocolate, and sweetened condensed milk. You melt them together, add some flavorings, and let it set. DONE.

Traditional fudge takes a little more time and effort, and completely different base ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, milk and butter. You cook it to a certain point, allow it to cool, beat it, THEN let it set.

Today we’re going for an easy fudge, tomorrow I’ll be posting a traditional fudge recipe. As mentioned yesterday, they’ll both be flavored with blood orange essential oil and cranberries – a favorite combination of mine. What can I say, I was on a kick! Let’s get to it… (more…)

Blood Orange Cranberry Toffee

So, it’s officially fall! All over Twitter and the blogosphere, people are talking about getting back to baking. It’s always fun to see what everyone’s up to. However, as someone who bakes year round, fall means something else to me, culinarily speaking – it means CANDY MAKING season.

Sure, it’s easy to make candy year round.. I just don’t, really. In the fall, you not only have the pretty colors and crisp air to inspire you.. you have references to Halloween – some subtle, many not! – all around you. Fall is when we here at Celebration Generation start looking forward to our annual Halloween trip out east, and plan trips to pick apples. Mmm freshly picked apples. Mmm freshly picked apples, dipped in molten, flavored sugar. Yum. Have you tried making candy apples at home? If not, click that link – our recipe is easy and tasty!

Well, I went on a candy making binge this past weekend, and will be sharing the recipes with you over the next few days. 3 different styles of fudge, plus one toffee… all flavored with blood orange essential oil, and crammed with sweetened, dried cranberries!

Blood orange essential oil is my favorite flavoring, by far. It’s the oil pressed from the peels of blood orange rind – not an alcohol infusion, such as vanilla extract. It’s sunny, it’s potent.. and it’s pure awesomeness. Yes!

If you don’t have blood orange essential oil on hand, I highly recommend ordering some online. A quick Google search yields a ton of results for ordering online. I now order bulk from a wholesaler, but when I first played around with it, I ordered small bottles from Anabell’s Escentials on Ebay. Good stuff!

Anyway, let’s get started!

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Far-flung awesomeness of the PUMPKIN variety!

You may remember the subject of today’s blog entry from my Valentine’s Day blog entry. Well, I have a really cool update. Also, I SWEAR I make this wedding related by the end of this entry!

From time to time, I blog about stuff that I find cool. It may be what someone did for their Save the Date, it may be a cool product, or an awesomely talented artist. I don’t get asked for those blog entries, I don’t get paid for them. I just blog it because I find it cool, and – assuming you find *me* interesting enough to read my blog – I figure you’ll find it cool too! “Birds of a Feather” and all… 🙂

Alex, the ridiculously gifted artist behind The Pumpkin Geek is one of those insanely talented people I tend to “meet” on Twitter. I can’t remember how I came to follow him, but once I saw his work, I was an immediate fan! If you haven’t seen what he does, be sure to peruse his site – he carves the most intricate, geeky Jack o’Lanterns ever! They’re all from fake pumpkins, so you can treasure the art indefinitely!

Where I’m usually lucky to receive a “hey, thanks!” email (which I totally appreciate!), Alex shocked the SHIT out of me by mailing me a custom carved mini pumpkin – featuring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine – to thank me for the blog!

If you know me at all, you know that I shrieked like a little girl when I found out. I have a big crazy thing for Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Not so much a crush as.. hrm. I don’t know. I find the character oddly relatable in some ways, and inspiring in other ways. That, and seriously.. I’d kill for Hugh Jackman’s delts. I have a BIG poster of him downstairs in my gym for exactly that reason! (more…)