Sabtu, 02 Juni 2012

Cheap Flights to Popular Destinations

Traveling can be a wonderful experience. But it can also be expensive. Fortunately, travelers can get cheap flights to even the most popular destinations if they are willing to follow these basic guidelines. You must be willing to be flexible in your travel schedule to get the very lowest airfare rates.
Time Your Flight
Peak travel times cost more - there really is no avoiding this fact. If you must travel during holidays or on weekends, you can still save money by booking several weeks in advance. You can also select the day before or after peak days for your own travel departure times. For example, airfare on the day before a major holiday costs more than if you fly on the actual holiday.
Try Secondary Airports
Tickets at major airports often cost more than those at smaller nearby airports. Regional airports may offer additional discounts to encourage travels to use their services. And you can still travel to popular locales from these airports. Smaller airports may have limited destinations but are still worth checking out if you are headed to a major destination. You may even be able to take a flight to another major airport that is closer to your destination which can save you money.
Take the Long Route
If you are willing to stop in multiple cities on the way to your destination, you will find lower airfare rates. Travelers pay more for the privilege of direct flights. But a more leisurely approach can save you quite a bit of money. These layovers may or may not require you to de-board the plane. People who just do not like flying may be unwilling to do this and will need to seek other options to get cheap tickets.
Use Connecting Flights
This takes the previous recommendation one step further. You can save money if you do not mind changing planes along the way. Most travelers do not like doing this if the departure times are too close together or because the chances of you losing luggage increases. But if you plan it well, using several short connecting cheap flights can produce significant savings.
Travelers have many options when it comes to saving many. Cheap flights are available to those who are willing to be flexible and enjoy flying. And you can use online aggregator sites which can easily help you in developing your flight itinerary.

Rabu, 11 Januari 2012

Become Inspired With Cake Decorating Classes Online

There's something around this time of year that makes me feel creative. The holidays have ended, and everybody is back to nibbling on carrots and celery, as all the mouthwatering foods from the previous months fading away as sweet, faint recollections. While healthy intake is of great importance, we must not forget to take pleasure in ourselves as we wait for spring. Taking cake decorating classes online might be just the solution!

With weddings, graduations, and anniversaries just around the corner, now can be the time to try something original and expand your cake decorating skills. One of my favorite spring treats is the Pate a Choux pastry swan. They are incredibly magnificent, with the rich golden pastry sandwiching the delicate cream filling. Certainly, this dessert will appease at any party or event this season. Watch the video to learn how to make it, and follow alongside step by step as we make a work of art with each other.


(Note: if you are planning on making this dessert for a special event, take the class far enough ahead so you can do a "trial run" without being stressed for time. You'll be more relaxed, and get much better results for the final product. Then view the video again as you construct the swans for the big day.)

Easter has always been a special period in our family, and I love to load the holiday table with exquisite desserts that symbolize the delectability and freshness of spring. You can take cake decorating classes online that will inspire and teach, making your Easter celebration that much sweeter.

For example, you can learn how to utilize chocolate ganache to finish a dessert, adding a professional touch to your baking. Or, take cake decorating classes online that will assist you in learning how to assemble a chocolate hazelnut meringue pave torte, create gorgeous buttercream roses for a celebration cake, or ice an American-style cake with excellent precision.

If all of this sounds above your skill level, don't worry. Our cake decorating classes online are suited for apprentice cake artists through expert; just choose the ones that look right for you. Learn the fundamentals like how to separate eggs and arrange simple syrup, or try your hand at stabilizing whipped cream confections. With cake decorating classes online, you choose what's correct for you, and you can learn at your own speed in your own home. There is no stress and no need to worry if you goof or have to do it again.

Winter can sometimes make us feel disconnected from our friends, as we all tend to hide away a little bit following the celebrations of the holiday season. Why not invite a few folks over so you can all take cake decorating classes online with each other? Make a pot of coffee and clear the kitchen counter. You'll discover lots of advice and tips in the videos, and you will windup with lots of happy families on the block as they dig into your creations.

Check our website in the coming weeks; we are always posting new cake decorating classes online. And if there's something you would love to learn, sift our collection of titles. Odds are you're not the only person who is asking! Whatever you decide on, relax and benefit from the experience as you continue on your road to becoming a master cake artist.

Kamis, 15 Desember 2011

Easter Chocolates - More Than Just Eggs

Easter and chocolate go hand in hand. When the season rolls around there are candy bunnies and Easter eggs galore. However, most of the goodies you find in the local stores just taste like regular candy in an Easter wrapper. For the best Easter candy, consider shopping at a specialty candy store. If you don't have one close to you, look for one online. The treats you can get make the extra effort worthwhile.

Specialty stores make hand made confections and eggs that were common years ago before plain old mass produced Easter candy took over. Do you remember finding a big chocolate Easter egg in your basket and excitedly cutting it open to find out what flavor was inside? You can give the same thrill to your kids with gourmet eggs filled with cream centers in flavors like mint chocolate chip, buttercream, coconut, vanilla, fudge nut, cookies n' cream, peanut butter, and chocolate marshmallow.


If a big egg is a bit much, you can also find smaller gourmet Easter eggs that are made from both milk and dark chocolate and filled with peanut butter, coconut buttercream, or vanilla buttercream. Easter eggs aren't just for kids. Adults in your life will swoon over milk chocolate Easter eggs filled with amaretto cream, Kahlua cream, or Irish cream.

There is no reason to restrict yourself to eggs. Easter goodies come in other shapes too like bunnies. Chocolate Easter bunnies are available in both the dark and sweet varieties and are solid or hollow. These come in all sizes from tiny rabbits to huge chocolate bunnies. Some of them are sculpted in life-like detail with cute expressions and are much nicer than the typical store bought bunny.

The kids will love Easter lollipops. These are made from dark, milk, or white chocolate and are molded into fun shapes like bunnies and crosses. You can pick and choose the treats for your own Easter basket or order an Easter basket that has already been put together for you. There are gourmet Easter baskets for kids and adults. These contain a variety of candies, gourmet chocolates and even a plush and cuddly bunny.

Adults love sweets too and Easter is a good time to give the gift of gourmet truffles in an adult Easter basket. These are made with the finest gourmet chocolate in both the milk and dark varieties and are filled with exciting flavors like hazelnut, caramel, champagne, amaretto, raspberry, orange, and pomegranate. Gourmet truffles are traditionally packaged in lovely gift boxes and adorned with ribbon so they are ready to slip right in an Easter basket.

Selasa, 29 November 2011

Icing a Wedding Cake With Butter Cream Frosting

 You will need a turntable, a spatula designed for spreading icing, cardboard rounds, plastic wrap, a firm cake, a good butter cream icing recipe and patience. My first most important tip is always use a very cold cake. In fact I recommend freezing the wedding cake layers prior to filling and frosting them.

My second tip is to use a soft (but not too soft) butter cream recipe. My favorite frosting recipe is called an Italian Meringue. It is light and fluffy and not too sweet. After your cake layers have cooled, you will wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze for at least a few hours, overnight is even better.

(Note) You can cut one cake to make two layers if you bake them in the higher sided pans, which you can get at your local craft store. Wilton is a good brand. If you choose to do this, then cut the cakes after they have cooled, but before they are put into the freezer.


You will need cardboard rounds, precut to each cake size that you are planning on using. Two for each cake to slide under the cakes as you work with them and to serve as a base for each finished cake.

Filling the cakes: For a practice cake, I recommend filling the cakes with plain icing. No fancy mousses just yet! The cold cakes will solidify the buttery mixture quickly so that the layers will not slide around while frosting the cake.

The first layer that you put on your cake is called a crumb coat. A crumb coat is a thin layer of icing that is used to seal in the crumbs. This makes it much easier to frost without getting those yucky crumbs mixed in.

The crumb coat does not have to look good because you will be covering it with a thick layer at the end with a final coat. Once you crumb coat your cake, you need to return it to the fridge or freezer to firm it up a bit.

Now for your final coat: Place the filled and crumb coated cake onto the turntable and plop a large amount of frosting onto the top of the cake. Now spread from the center out with your spatula, being careful not to press too hard. I always use a back and forth motion while turning the table.

You should end up with some icing further out than the edges of the cake. It should be fairly thick, you will be scraping the excess off later. Now work some of that icing down the sides of the cake gently while turning the table. Do not try to make it look great yet. The idea here is to get the butter cream thick on the entire cake and then scrape it down to perfection later.

Now keep adding it to the sides as needed until the whole cake is covered. You are now ready to scrape some of the excess off. Angle the spatula vertically, use the edge of it, as you turn the table slowly. Some of the icing will form a ledge that is slightly higher than the top of the cake. This is good.

Once you get the sides looking pretty good, start working the top edges. Angle the spatula horizontally and start at the opposite side bring the spatula towards you as you turn the table and scrape off the ledge I spoke about earlier. Be gentle and do not scrape away too much or it will make a divet.

Keep in mind that you will be putting a border around the edges and decorations on top or possibly a another cake on top, so if it is not absolutely perfect you will be able to cover some mistakes or unevenness.

The final step is to heat up the spatula with hot water and then go over the sides one more time and the top once to really make it smooth. You will need a long wide spatula for this.

You can store your cakes in the refrigerator uncovered once they are frosted. Just make sure that there are no dominating odors, because the butter cream will absorb some of that.

Practice makes perfect!!!! as my mother used to annoyingly say to me while I practiced my notes and chords on the instrument of my choice, the organ, believe it or not!!!

Selasa, 01 November 2011

Wedding Cakes - 3 Steps to Choosing Your Wedding Cake

Both the centerpiece of your evening and the delicious dessert, your wedding cake is a significant element of your wedding reception. It should be eye-catching and fabulous. (tasty too!) I've narrowed the process of selecting your wedding cake into three easy steps. Follow these, and you will have the confection that suits your personal style and budget.

Step 1: Determine your Wedding Cake Style

As the focal point of your reception, your cake should represent the theme of your wedding and reflect your overall vision. Consider the style, shape, color and adornments. Browse and collect photographs of cakes that inspire you. Make a list of qualities you like and don't like.

Make it Last

Don't forget to consider the longevity of your cake when making your selection. It may look like a work of art, but it is still food, and certain types will hold up better in extreme climates. If you will be holding an summer outdoor reception, opt for fondant icing over buttercream. While buttercream is tasty, it doesn't keep well in heat or humidity.

Step 2: Factor Cost

Cake cost is based per slice and is determined by how complex the overall design. The typical range is usually $2-$15 per slice. As a result, there are 2 easy ways to keep your cake within budget.

The first way is to choose a more simple design with minimal adornments. Fresh fruit and flowers are the cheapest, while handmade gumpaste or sugarpaste decorations are more expensive.

If you have your heart set on an intricate design you saw in a magazine, don't worry that the associated cost will break your budget. You can always improvise a complex design. Most wedding cakes featured in magazines use fondant icing, which creates that sought-after smooth look. Fondant icing is more expensive than buttercream, so ask your cake designer to create a similar look using buttercream icing. Many brides can opt for a smaller, intricately designed cake to showcase at their wedding, while the site holds simple sheet cakes in the kitchen to serve to guests.

When determining the cost of your cake, don't forget about additional costs such as shipping your confection. Some venues also charge a cake cutting fee of about $1.50-$3 per slice, which can significantly add to the cost of your cake.

Step 3: Choose your Baker

Before commencing your search for a cake designer, first determine whether or not your reception site allows an outside baker. If your reception site is the exclusive baker, sometimes the case with country clubs and hotels, you can skip this step - your work is done. If the site does allow an outside baker, pick a few local cake bakers and book appointments to view their portfolios. When meeting with potential bakers, consider look, taste and price. The one you choose should be able to create the beautiful masterpiece you desire at a price you can afford, and it should taste scrumptious as well. Ask to taste some samples to determine the talents of your baker.

Rabu, 12 Oktober 2011

Dessert Recipes for Crockpots

Crockpots aren't just for meals! There's all kinds of desserts you can make with your crockpot. Two are listed below. Be sure to see our website for other crockpot recipes.

APPLE BROWN BETTY

* 3 lbs. cooking apples

* 10 slices of bread, cubed (about 4 cups)

* 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

* 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

* 1/8 tsp. salt

* 3/4 c. brown sugar

* 1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted

Wash apples, peel, core, cut into eighths; place in bottom on crock.
Combine bread cubes, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, sugar, butter; toss
together. Place on top of apples in crock. Cover. Place crock into outer
shell. Cook on low setting 2 to 4 hours. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

APRICOT NUT BREAD

* 3/4 cup dried apricots

* 1 cup flour

* 2 tsp baking powder

* 1/4 tsp baking soda

* 1/2 tsp salt

* 1/2 cup sugar

* 3/4 cup milk

* 1 egg, slightly beaten

* 1 Tbsp grated orange peel

* 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

* 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

* 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Dip a knife into flour and chop the apricots finely. Flour the knife
often to keep the cut up fruit from sticking together. Sift the remaining
flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar into a large bowl.
Combine the milk, egg, orange peel, and oil. Stir the flour mixture and
the whole wheat flour. Fold in the cut up apricots, any flour left on the
cutting block and the walnuts. Pour into a well greased,
floured baking unit. Cover and place on a rack in the slow cooker, but
prop the lid open a fraction with a toothpick or a twist of foil to let
excess steam escape. Cook on High for 4 to 6 hours. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Minggu, 11 September 2011

Wedding Cake Trends 2011

Do you know what the most stylish wedding cakes will look like this year? Are cupcakes still in? Is fondant still king? Here is everything you need to know about 2010 wedding cake trends.

A new simplicity is ruling the bakeries this year. Overly ornate and precious cakes are taking a backseat to those which are simple, elegant, and above all, delicious. After seasons as the hot wedding trend, brides are finally cooling towards cupcakes, and instead opting for a real wedding cake, usually with three tiers. Very elaborate frosting made to mimic the wedding gown and bridal jewelry is less popular than frosting which looks like...well, frosting.

Speaking of frosting, move over fondant, buttercream is back! Now this is not to say that the smooth texture of fondant is totally out of style for 2010, but with simpler cakes, there has been a definite shift back towards traditional buttercream frosting. One reason for the renewed interest in buttercream is that it looks more like icing, as opposed to the almost plastic-looking artificial effect of perfectly smooth fondant. (I once attended a wedding where a young boy simply could not be convinced that a fondant covered cake was anything but a plastic fake!) The best thing about buttercream, though, is its flavor. It just tastes delicious, which is something that no one has ever claimed about fondant.

Since delicious is a big cake trend this year, that surely means that chocolate wedding cakes will be popular, right? Right! No longer reserved for the groom's cake, rich dark chocolate has made its way to center stage on the main wedding cake. It is being used in elegant cake designs which feature architectural detailing, fresh flower accents, and a swanky use of ribbons. If you are in love with the idea of a crystal monogram to coordinate with your bridal jewelry, have it made as a flat plaque which is on the side of a tier instead of a big fanciful cake topper. Chocolate cakes are one wedding trend which your guests are guaranteed to love!

Streamlined geometric wedding cakes are also in style for 2010. A three or four tier cake with square layers will look chic this year. Motifs with clean lines suit this modern cake design, as do bands of horizontal stripes. Emphasize a minimalist chic by keeping the cake itself pure white. Festive touches of color in the motif will keep the cake from looking too plain. Symmetry is also in, by the way, so stack those square tiers with the same orientation; none of that topsy-turvy stuff that was popular a couple of years ago. The Dr. Suess look is definitely out this year.

They say that three is a magic number, and that is true for wedding cakes in 2010. A pretty way to make a statement with a simple cake is by making it in multiple. Make one medium sized cake with several tiers as the centerpiece, and then flank it with two matching mini-cakes, one on each side. This is a great idea for brides who want to keep the design of their cakes clean and modern, yet want to have a cake display with some "oomph".