Thursday, July 29, 2010

Surprise Birthday Gift Cake (And Yes, A Little More Purple...)

I LOVE creating cakes that will be a BIG surprise for the recipient.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Must Have: Bob's Red Mill Products & A Quinoa Salad Recipe

A few weeks ago I had the AWESOME opportunity to visit the Bob's Red Mill World Headquarters to take a tour of the mill and then do some SERIOUS shopping at the Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Store--and believe me when I say, it was like being in a whole grain heaven!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Three Purple Wedding Cakes

This past weekend, I created my third purple-themed wedding cake in a row.  I always find it interesting when brides who don't know each other pick a couple of features that on paper sound the same, but when the wedding cake is created, how different they all can be.  Purple was one of the common threads of each wedding cake and also, each bride wanted sugar pearls in the shape of flowers on each of their cakes, using the main color of purple with their respective other color choices. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Monday Must Have: Fat Daddio Tart Pans

Happy Monday!  After way too long a bit of time off from posting, I'm back with an AWESOME Monday Must Have--the Fat Daddio Oblong Tart Pan

Lately I have found that this tart pan is the perfect choice for summer fruit tarts and since it is finally showing signs of summer weather here in Oregon, I have plans to use this pan many times over the next couple of months.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mission Mill Wedding Cake

Over the Memorial Day weekend, I had a large wedding cake to create and this time it was for a client who was someone I've known since my junior high days.  I was excited to meet with her a few months ago and discuss the details of her wedding cake and to come up with a design. 

One of the advantages of making wedding cakes and delivering them, is I get to see many wedding venues that I wouldn't normally visit or even know about.  This was one of those venues.  The wedding was held at the Mission Mill Museum in Salem, Oregon, which is a historic woolen mill and other buildings on a 5-acre site.  The reception was held in the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill building on the third floor which was called the Spinning Room.  I was relieved to find out that there was an elevator--whew!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Baby Shower Cake

One of the cake orders I had over this past weekend included this sweet baby shower cake for a baby boy who will be named Wyatt.  They requested that the cake be done in soft blues and yellows and have elephants and giraffes on it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wedding Season Has Begun!

Wedding season has officially begun for Jillicious Desserts and last Saturday, May 15th I delivered a simple, yet elegant wedding cake and mini cupcakes for the bride's outdoor wedding.  The wedding was held at a venue that I hadn't been to before, called Dancing Deer Mountain.  Although I didn't actually see any deer, let alone a dancing one, it was a very beautiful location and I imagine that from time to time deer are probably seen in this area.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Heavenly Cake Bakers: Gâteau Breton

This past weekend I was busy with Mother's Day cake orders and I wasn't planning on making this cake until...

I read all the rave reviews from other Heavenly Cake Bakers about how DELICIOUS this cake was and also how quick and easy it was to make.  You see, when I glanced at the upcoming month list of cakes, I had already made a mental note of a couple that I was planning to make and especially the free choice at the end of May.  But I quickly made new plans and so last night in between baking cakes for today's orders, I made this FANTASTIC cake.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

And The Winner Is...

Last Monday, as part of the Monday Must Have, I said that someone would be chosen to receive their very own Fluted Pastry Wheel and a package of Lemon Stretch Wraps.  I numbered each entry on a piece of paper, folded them up and tossed them in a kitchen bowl (yes, of course it was a kitchen bowl) and pulled out lucky number 6!!

Congratulations to Monica of Sweetbites!! 

P.S.  I have had several requests to post more pictures of cakes, so I have listened and I am happy to share.  This was the birthday cake I made for my Mom last month.  The cake details are listed below:

*Lemon Chiffon Cake [layered w/whipped cream & sliced strawberries; frosted with sweetened whipped cream and decorated with fresh strawberries and white chocolate curls; top tier = 4-inch round, bottom tier = 6-inch round.]

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Garden: From Seeds to Starter Plants

This year we started getting our 2010 garden ready back in mid-February.  We decided to start some of the plants from the seed stage and grow them large enough to be planted in our garden a couple of months later.  By following a chart that lists the planting dates for our area, we were able to plant several types of vegetables as early as February.  There are several types of plants that we can still start from the seed stage now and have them ready to plant when we get our garden planted by the end of May.

Although there are several ways you could organize your planting process, I will share what has worked well for us.  We call it our Planting Map.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Traditional British Pudding

When I first read what this month's challenge was going to be, I thought hmmmmm...well, ok, this is a new one and something I've never made before and in some varieties, I've actually eaten. But hey, I have a soft spot in my heart for certain British folks and hey, give me that cool British accent on the right guy and it's over! You know the saying, "the way to a man's heart, is through his stomach" and if this type of guy or this type of guy could be the end result, then I say bring it on!

First let me introduce our hostess this month:

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Must Have & My One-Year Blog Anniversary

It is Monday.

And being that it is Monday, it's time to feature a new Monday Must Have, since it has been a bit too long since I've had one. AND it just also happens to be the exactly one year ago today, I started Jillicious Discoveries, and I still can't believe how fast the year went. But more on that a little later.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Heavenly Cake Bakers: Whoopie Pies & Banana Cupcakes

Do you ever have the best of intentions to follow a PLAN that you've carefully thought out and scheduled accordingly? And once the PLAN is in place, have you ever had that PLAN completely fall apart or rather be replaced with a new PLAN, because LIFE happened? This is what has happened to me over the last month (some really BIG decisions regarding Jillicious Desserts moving in a new direction) and I'm in the process of finalizing these plans and will share when I know more. But more about that later and in case you noticed (or not) it's been a month since my last post, so today I'm getting back on track, at least in the blogging world.

Today's Heavenly Cake Bakers recipe is: Two Fat Cats Whoopie Pies, named after the Two Fat Cats Bakery in Portland, Maine.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I'm Back! And I Have Pictures....

I'm officially back from vacation and let me just say how great it was to relax and take some time away for myself. But it is also good to be back home and re-energized and re-focused on plans and ideas for the future.

As promised, here are just a FEW highlights from my trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Since this was my first time visiting the Rocky Mountain State, well my first time actually stepping foot on Colorado soil (I'm not counting the 10 + times I've had lay overs at the Denver airport)--I did take part in the tourist-role type of things to see and do while being there.

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Monday Must Have: Vacation!

This is proof that spring is right around the corner!

March is here! And it is Monday! Usually this means either the Monday Must Have or Heavenly Bakers, but today is extra special, because Monday, March 1st is the official start of my two week vacation!

I'm so giddy with excitement, I might just be doing the dance of joy right now while typing this post! Where am I going, you ask? I'm traveling somewhere I've never been before and have planned a fun and relaxing vacation. I'm going to visit my best friend who's wedding cake I made last june and I finally get to visit her in her new home state!

So dear blogging friends, I will take tons of pictures to share with you in a couple of weeks and of course I will be checking out the local food scene and take in some bakeries too. And since I will have some extra time while waiting at the airport and during the flight, I will be catching up on this list and will share the highlights later in the month.

Have a great couple of weeks and I will visit your many wonderful blogs when I get back and catch up on your busy lives as well.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Quick Recap of Chocolate Fantasy 2010

I'm tired. No wait, I'm EXHAUSTED.

After a couple of intense days of baking and decorating about 375 mini chocolate cream pies, plus a regular size pie and on top of that my regular orders for clients, I happy to say that this big weekend event called Chocolate Fantasy is now behind me. It was another great year and as usual, my samples were one of the first to run out, in fact by 7:00 pm they were all gone! Keep in mind this event started at 6:00 pm, so from what I could tell people really loved them.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chocolate Fantasy 2010

It's been a busy week and I've been getting ready for a wonderful event called Chocolate Fantasy.  The Arts Center in Corvallis hosts this event as part of their annual fundraiser. Click here for more information.  This year is the third year that Jillicious Desserts has been invited to be one of ten chocolatiers who provide 350 samples of a chocolate dessert.   I just wanted to give you a little sneak peak of what I've been creating and I'll post more pictures later in the weekend of how it goes.  Wish us luck!

*Due to February being a busy month, I had to pass on the Daring Bakers' Challenge, but be sure to check out our other members blogs to see their completed challenges!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Heavenly Cake Bakers: Double Chocolate Valentine Cake

Double. Chocolate. Valentine. Cake.  No other words needed.

If I had a Valentine, this is what I would have baked for him.  And of course, he would have to share!

This is the second cake that I've baked with the Heavenly Cake Bakers group and I can't begin to tell you how glad I am that I joined this group. First of all, everyone has been so welcoming and have left such kind comments on my blog. I had a rather busy week last week (hence, only one post last week) and I will be catching up with my blog reading and will get back to those in my group who have been so nice and friendly during my first week (again, THANK YOU for your comments). In addition to the wonderful support, I was honored to be the featured baker at the Heavenly Cake Blog and it totally made my week!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Must Have: Rose's Heavenly Cakes Book and a New Baking Group.

Whew! The weekend just FLEW by way too fast and the first week of February is already a distant memory. But, I have a treat for you today. Not only do I have a fabulous Monday Must Have, I also joined a new baking group based on the book I'm highlighting today.

Let's start with the Monday Must Have. I have had my eye on this book since I heard that Rose Levy Beranbaum was releasing a new book last September called "Rose's Heavenly Cakes" and I finally purchased it last week. You may be wondering what took me so long, but as I've mentioned before, I own a TON of baking books and I was trying to show a bit of self-control and purchase things I NEEDED, not things I WANTED. I had received a Border's gift card for my birthday (last October) and recently received a 40% coupon and I decided it was time to buy myself a belated birthday gift (thank you Jenna!). I can't believe I waited that long.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday Must Have: My Favorite Rolling Pin

Every kitchen needs to have certain tools for cooking and baking.  You don't need to have every new and fancy gadget that comes out on the market (although some of those gadgets are cool and can be useful), but you should have some basics. 

Today's Monday Must Have is one of those basics--the Rolling Pin.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Daring Bakers: Nanaimo Bars & A Surprise!

I've had Nanaimo Bars on my list of recipes to make "someday". My recipe list comes in many varieties. I've bookmarked recipes that I've found on one of many favorite food blogs, or the stack of magazines with beautiful pictures and delicious sounding recipes that I've kept for years, or the recipes that I've printed out and actually filed them in my recipe binder which seems to grow daily. So when I saw this challenge, I was excited to cross this dessert off my list and complete another Daring Bakers challenge.

Before I get into the details of this challenge, let me introduce our hostess, the writer of one of my favorite blogs:

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday Must Have: The Beater Blade (and the reason I've been M.I.A.)

I know, I know, it's been three weeks since my one and only post in January so far. But it's Monday, so let's start with the Monday Must Have and then if you want to know more about what I've been up to, I'll give you the scoop.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday Must Have: Book List for 2010

One of my 2010 New Year's Resolutions is to take time to read more food books.

Let me explain what I mean by food books. Of course cookbooks are always something that I think one can never have too many of (and believe me, I test this theory every chance I get), but I'm referring to books that are written about food, the history of food, people's experiences with food or in the food industry, food from different cultures or food theme novels, and so on.

I received several fascinating books from my sister for Christmas, that I'm dying to read and have already started (THANK YOU again sis!!) and that inspired me to create a themed book list for 2010.

So here is the Monday Must Have challenge for you; whatever your reading interests are (food, biographies, mystery, drama, fiction, non-fiction, etc.), to compile a list of books that you want to read by the end of the year.

I've started a list of books already on my shelf. Started is the key word, this is the beginning of my 2010 list that I will continue to add to during the year. And to hold myself a little more accountable, when I've finished the book, I will post a summary and my thoughts about the book and list them over on the side bar under the title, 2010 Book List.

Jill's 2010 Book List (so far):

1) My Life in France [by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme] *I started this before the holidays and I need to finish it this month.

2) The Art of Eating [by M.F.K. Fisher]
*This is a compilation of five of her books:
Serve it Forth
Consider the Oyster
How to Cook a Wolf
The Gastronomical Me
An Alphabet for Gourmets

3) Pomegranate Soup [by Marsha Mehran]

4) Rosewater and Soda Bread [by Marsha Mehran]

5) Tender at the Bone [by Ruth Reichl]

6) Comfort Me with Apples [by Ruth Reichl]

7) If You Can Stand the Heat [by Dawn Davis]

8) The Food of Italy [by Waverly Root] *This is a second read--I first read it in culinary school five years ago and I think it would be interesting to see what more I get out of it now.

9) Blue Trout and Black Truffles [by Joseph Wechsberg]

10) Roast Chicken and Other Stories [by Simon Hopkinson with Lindsey Bareham]

I'd love to know what books you are looking forward to reading in 2010 and of course recommendations are ALWAYS welcome!