Thursday, October 5, 2017

Saveur Blog Awards


As I told you earlierI was chosen as one of the six finalists for the "Best Special Interest Blog Award" at Saveur Blog Awards 2017.

I was invited to the Award Ceremony in Charleston, which was more like two days of fun, pampering and celebration.

The Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau planned amazing programs for us in this charming city. Of course, our itinerary revolved around food and drink.

The best part of this experience was to be abound people who all had a passion that they were generously sharing with the world. And I am not only talking about us bloggers, but every single person we met during our visit.

Our tour guide at Bulldog Tours who had an amazing story about every little corner of this charming city.

The staff of The Dewberry Hotel gave us the warmest welcome and during our events the servers were offering us the amazing food like you would offer it to your guests at home.

The first night, right after the Cocktail Reception we were invited to the Charleston Pub Crawl. Those of you who know me already guessed, this evening I consumed more alcohol, than in the past 10 years combined. And I loved it! The three bars we visited were so welcoming. Darling Oyster Bar has an amazing sea food bar and the drinks were so good that it was really hard to chose from.


Darling Oyster Bar

On our way to the Cocktail Club we smelled freshly baked ice cream cones. Of course, we had to stop at Jeni's to try their ice cream. It's fabulous!

Our last stop, The Ordinary is rather extraordinary and their fried oyster sliders are to die for.


Carrie preparing our biscuits
Monday, we started our day at Le Creuset Test Kitchen where we could witness how our fabulous breakfast was made from scratch by hand. To be honest, I was never a big fan of biscuits - until now. Callie's Charleston Biscuits changed my world with their cinnamon biscuit. They also ship their products and Carrie, the owner published a cookbook too (on my wishlist).

We had 4 amazing panel discussions to make our trip just as educational as fun. I enjoyed every minute of the discussions and I appreciate everything these wonderful people shared with us.


Rodney Scott's BBQ in the making
We spent Monday afternoon at High Wire Distilling Co. where we experienced first hand how a heirloom grain can yield a very special drink. Again, as a non-drinker, I believed that all whisky was created equal. Oh boy, I was mistaken! Our heavenly lunch was prepared by Rodney Scott's BBQ at the distillery and we even enjoyed live music!


High Wire Distilling Co

Monday evening was the Award Ceremony. It was so elegant and professional, that I still could not believe I was part of it. In the same time, by that time the room was full of friends. I hope that the bloggers in my category will become my friends for life. We really had a great start. Although I didn't win the award, I consider all finalists a winner. Especially those who had the chance to join this event.


Rice harvest
And it was not even over yet! Tuesday morning those of us who had later flights could visit the ACE basin, harvest some rice by hand and learn about the area while enjoying food made from the farm's crops. Check Food For The Southern Soul if you would like to taste them too.

I have to thank you all for this fairy-tale like mini vacation. Special thanks to those who nominated me for this award (I still don't know who you are, but I truly appreciate it). If you ever have a chance to visit Charleston, don't forget to visit some of these places, you will enjoy them.





Friday, September 1, 2017

Natural red food color: TruColor Red Annatto

Cookies with TruColor Red Annatto food color by Tunde Dugantsi

You know how much I love TruColor products. I use them a lot and I post pictures of the cookies I make with them. When TruColor came out with the liquid colors they sent me a set and they also added a jar of their Red Annatto Airbrush color. They told me it was amazing and I had to try it. I made a mental note about it and put the jar to my stash to try it when I get a chance.

Last week I needed some red hearts for a project and I had the idea to try Red Annatto in my red coating instead of Americolor gel. I was prepared to see my mixture turn purple, as this is what most natural red colors do in my alkaline food environments (like eggs, icing...). But this color is red, very nice, strong, vibrant red and it stays red whatever I do with it!!!

Now, I hate myself for not trying it right away when I got it!

Cookies with TruColor Red Annatto food color by Tunde Dugantsi

So here is the red heart colored with this new natural food color. From now on, I can let my kids eat my red cookies!

I was so excited about my new, gorgeous red coating, that I forgot to put my gloves on when I painted this cookie. And you know how your hand looks like after working with red food color, right? Here comes the next surprise: this color came off my hands with a simple hand wash.

I loved this vibrant red so much, that I could not stop, so here is another set of red hearts:

Cookies with TruColor Red Annatto food color by Tunde Dugantsi

I have to tell you, I couldn't stop here. I had to try to color my icing with it. I know, the label says "airbrush", but who cares? And I am so glad I did! Look at this gorgeous red palette! And I did not have to use a lot of the powder to get this vibrant color. The pink shades are the same red with more icing added.


Here is a square cookie with the four shades of Red Annatto:
Cookies with TruColor Red Annatto food color by Tunde Dugantsi

 I also made 4 small squares with the 4 shades:
Cookies with TruColor Red Annatto food color by Tunde Dugantsi

I will definitely need to try it as an airbrush color, but I don't use airbrush a whole lot. So this will take me a little more time. If you need a jar of Red Annatto you can get it at my Etsy shop. Oh, did I tell you that I re-opened my Etsy shop with some cool supplies?

WARNING: This color is not suitable for nut allergy sufferers!

Try this color, you will love it!

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Back to school cookies and new cutters


You probably already know Ann Clark and their wonderful cookie cutters, all made in the USA. I partnered with them and we created our first two shapes together: the paint brush and the palette. Combined with their rectangle and pencil cutters they make an awesome back to school set.

  This is the paint palette cutter and the cookie version.

Here is the paint brush cutter with some cookies.

And the mini set together. 
Just these two shapes can make a fun, cheerful gift for any aspiring artist.

 The Ann Clark pencil cutter to go with them.

 And the rectangle can make a blackboard cookie and a ruled paper cookie.

I re-opened my Etsy shop, so you can get all they supplies I use and you were always asking me about. I added this fun set to the store.

Finally, you can watch how I decorated these cookies:


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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Saveur Blog Awards '17


I would like to thank you for reading my blog and a special thanks to those who nominated it for the Saveur Blog Awards this year! I was chosen as one of the six finalists for the "Best Special Interest Blog Award". Voting starts now. Check out all the amazing nominees, you can find my blog listed at the very bottom of the voting page.

Thank you for all your support!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Say "thank you" with cookies

Thank you cookie set with swirl roses and sanding sugar by Tunde Dugantsi

I always like to work with generic shapes. There is so much you can do with a square or an oval cookie! For this set I just grabbed an assortment laying around and started to play with them.

I always have icing transfer flowers in stock. Whenever I have some left over icing and some spare time I make some flowers. These little swirl roses are shades of Americolor dusty rose. I start with a color, then when I don't have enough icing in the bag to continue piping I mix some white to it to get the next shade. I repeat this once more to have three shades of the same color.

I store my flowers in plastic containers and list the extra in my Etsy store. This way, whenever I need some flowers I have a nice stash to choose from.


The other color for this set is yellow and to make it interesting I added some texture by sprinkling sanding sugar on the flood icing. This looks just as good for me as disco dust, but it's all natural from TruColor. I love these sanding sugars, but I did not like the plastic jars they came in. So I bought spice jars to store them. The great news is, TruColor just came out with a new packaging: spice jars. They should be available in stores soon!

Here you can watch how I made these cookies, enjoy!




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Friday, April 14, 2017

Easter cookies - doodling with TruColor

Easter cookies, doodling with TruColor by Tunde Dugantsi

These are real play-cookies. I had some leftover bunny cookies and a butterfly. They were flooded with white icing. I decided to mix some icing with TruColor gel colors and play with them. The mindless doodling was fun and I like the result.

I also had my camera on, if you need to relax:








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Tuesday, April 11, 2017