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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hello! Goodbye.

I've got a little surprise for you (or maybe not). If you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, you won't be surprised.

I've decided to pick up this blog and move it to Wordpress. I've also decided to open a full-time baking business. Thistle.

With luck, Thistle Confections will be up and running with a new blog, an online shop, and a whole lot of sugar. It was a hard decision to rebrand my business, start a new website, and make my creative pursuits a full time gig. But I’m doing it. I’m doing it because YOU- my family, friends, and readers encouraged me. Follow me, stumbles and all, on the next big adventure of my life.

You must be asking, why Thistle?

Thistle is understated, warm, and natural. Thistle is the blending of cultures; a place where Scottish shortbread is appreciated alongside heirloom Italian cookies. Thistle is where memories and reality fuel creativity.

Thistle is not about flashy. We don’t believe in couture brownies and the next must have! ingredient. We search for the highest quality, best tasting, natural and locally sourced ingredients. We are Dayton proud. We strive to build lasting relationships with local farmers and honor their hard work in our products.

But most of all, Thistle is about taking chances. Thistle is the opportunity to grow, and grow, and grow.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Valentine's Loves

The holiday of love is upon us, and I'm baking all this week to ensure Valentine's Day delivery for my wonderful customers. And I am so thankful! Thank you for placing lots of Valentine's orders. Thanks to my friends and family for encouraging me to bake on. Here are a few things that are making my Valentine's Day super sweet.

10. Vanilla Bean Paste. I use paste in the filling to my Black & White Faux{reo} cookies. It's a one-to-one substitute for vanilla extract, and it leaves gorgeous black speckles throughout. I like Beanilla.

9. Valentine's Downloads from One Charming Party.
8. The Swell Season. All of their albums + the movie Once. Seriously, incredible.
7. Divine Twine I love this baker's twine. I love to use it to package my orders for an extra special touch.

6. Woodlands Headband from Princess Lasertron.

Megan Hunt is an amazing artist, blogger and Omaha native making a difference in her community. I admire her fearlessness. And who couldn't love those adorable button and felt flowers? A refreshing change from a bouquet bound to wilt.

5. A cute dress, with a touch of flippancy. Somebody tell Betty Draper that she is relieved of her duties.From Modcloth.
4. Hearts on a String necklace for her. From Lost & Fawned

3. Wingman Tie.
Obviously for Mr. Radar. Planes? Check. Argyle? Check. Meets Mr. Radar's standard criteria for good dress. This isn't the first time Mr. Radar has donned a Toybreaker tie, either.

2."I Freaking Love You" print from Hillary Bird. Beautiful screen prints, and she also has a pretty good name.
1. A date. Isn't that what everyone wishes for on Valentine's Day? Fortunately, Mr. Radar has got this one covered. He'll even be on the same continent this year. Major Bonus.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cold? Chicken & Dumpling Soup!

Cold? Me too! Here's something that will warm you right up. Chicken and Dumpling soup, with a twist. I've thrown in some ginger & turmeric, to add depth & spiciness to the soup. The turmeric makes the broth a beautiful golden color. You can add a bit of cream (I didn't) to add body to the soup.

I recommend making this soup the day after you make roast chicken. You can save the carcass to make the broth, and shred the left-over meat for the soup. If not, I would cook off the chicken in some oil, and then proceed with cooking the carrots, leeks, and onion.

Chicken and Dumpling Soup

Adapted (a lot!) from the Pioneer Woman
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
4-5 medium carrots, cut into coins on the bias
2 leeks, cut into thin rings
1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
1/2-1 teaspoon ginger (depending on taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
6-8 cups chicken broth, homemade preferred (use low sodium if not)
½ cups Apple Cider
2 cups shredded, pre-cooked chicken
1 cup frozen sweet peas
½ cups Heavy Cream (optional)
1 bunch green onion, diced.

1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon (heaping) Baking Powder
1cup Half-and-half
1 egg, beaten
Pinch of Cayenne
Sea Salt to taste

Combine the butter and oil in a large stock pot. Heat at medium, until melted and well combined. Add the carrots, leeks, onion, thyme, turmeric, ginger, and white pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent and carrots are softened, about 4-5 minutes. Pour in the apple cider, then the stock. I scrape the bottom of the pain to make sure all of the bits are incorporated into the mix. Add the shredded chicken. Simmer on medium-low for about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the dumplings. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, cayenne and baking powder. In another container, combine the half-and-half and egg. Beat to combine. Slowly add the liquid to the flour mixture. Set aside.

Add the peas to the soup mix, cook for 1-2 minutes. Bring the soup to a simmer on medium-to high heat. Once bubbling, drop tablespoons of dumpling mix into the soup. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Make sure to turn the dumplings half way, so that tops and bottoms will be cooked.

Top with green onion, serve, and enjoy!