Monday, August 11, 2014

CAKE.

CAKE.   I love it.  I don't eat it often, or often enough.  But making a large cake and having it around for 2 people just isn't in our daily diet plan.  So when I can, I volunteer to make the cake for ANY celebration.  This guarantees a few things.....I get a piece.  I get to choose they type of cake.  Well, not always.  I generally try to make something that I know the person being celebrated will enjoy.  I made 82 cupcakes for my mom's birthday/retirement party and they were all her favorites.  Lemon with Lemon Curd, Coconut, Red Velvet and a Chocolate Chip with Vanilla Frosting.  I know that at least 2 of those are my top favorites too.
 
Asked to make a celebration cake for my nephews birthday but having only 1 day to plan and I live out in the boonies, I had to make due with what I had in the house.  No time to go to the store and back and make the cake AND make my soap and then drive to where the party was.  Just no time.   I created a delicious Vanilla Bundt Cake with Jam.  I had a fresh jar of Mango Raspberry Jam in the cupboard that I had picked up from my friends at Smart Alex Jam located here in Maine.  I had some homemade Cream Cheese Frosting left over that instead of eating by the spoonful after my mom's party, I had the foresight and will power to put it in the freezer.  I simply warmed it up and drizzled it over the top of the Bundt cake.  A.Mazing.
 
Here is the inspiration recipe.  Be sure to stop over on the blog, From My Sweet Heart, for more gorgeous cake pictures and recipes!
(The recipe and pictures are property of From My Sweet Heart)
 
 
 
 
BUTTER & JAM BUNDT CAKE:
  • 2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 1/3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2/3 of a cup of whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • a heaping 2/3 of a cup of jam (I used 4 berry jam)
  • baking spray with flour
  • powdered sugar for dusting
With the rack in the center position, preheat your oven to 350°F.  Generously spray the inside of a 12 cup bundt pan with baking spray that contains flour.
Whisk together your dry ingredients :  flour, baking powder and salt.
Fit the paddle attachment onto your stand mixer and beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until it is light and fluffy.  Reduce the speed to low and add the yolks.  Continue to beat until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.  And then add the whole eggs, one at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next.  You may have to scrape down the bowl again!
Keep the mixer on low and add half of the flour mixture.  Mix it just to combine and then add the milk.  Again, mix until just combined and then add the remaining flour.  And yes, you guessed it!  Mix until it is just combined.  Scrape down the bowl and then add the vanilla extract.   Now kick the speed up to medium and mix for about 30 seconds, until the batter is smooth. 
Scoop out about a cup and a half of the batter and smooth it evenly into the bottom of the pan.  With a teaspoon, make a little trench in the batter and spoon in the jam.  Then add the remaining batter.  Using a long toothpick or skewer, carefully give the batter a little swirl.  (You can certainly use a knife and swirl the jam throughout the batter.)  But a light swirl will create a pretty ruby crown.
 
 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

L.L.Bean!

I am very excited to announce that my NEW Casco Bay Collection is now available in THE L.L.Bean Home Store in Freeport, ME!


Stop in and take a look, share pictures and of course, you are welcome to purchase a bar or two!  I am thrilled to see my soaps among other top quality items that L.L.Bean carries including their own. 
Thank you L.L.Bean for this opportunity!



Monday, July 21, 2014

Trunk Show On Board The Nova Star!

I had an amazing adventure and opportunity this past weekend.  I was invited onboard the NEW Nova Star Cruise between Portland Maine and Nova Scotia Canada to showcase and sell my soaps!


We were treated to VIP status, what a treat (I brought along my husband as my assistant)!  We boarded quickly with lots of hands to help carry our 4 big boxes and tubs of product and display items and of course, our luggage.  We set up tables and my soaps right away on Thursday night so we could grab some evening shoppers as soon as we left Portland. 
We were open for soap sales until 11:00 PM.
 
 
 
 

 
I brought along my Bar Soaps, Sea Shell & Sea Urchin Soaps and Felted Soaps all set up very quickly on 2 tables right next to a beautiful view out a ship porthole and near their on board          Duty Free Shop, The Novatique. 

 
The next morning, soaps were for sale right away and I did a slide show presentation for the passengers.   I showed them pictures of my soap studio and my product and explained how soaps is made as well as some of the fun projects my soap has been part of. After that, I had brought along some raffle prizes and we had a flurry of sales as folks really seemed to like my presentation!  I got a lot of questions and comments and met folks from all over the US and even some from near my home town!
 

 
During the quieter hours in the afternoon, my soap table was moved right inside the entrance to the Novatique shop! 
 
 
Here I am with the shop manager, Kevin.  He was warm and friendly and very professional.  Making ship announcements often throughout the cruise regarding my Friday morning special presentation, announcing my presence onboard, and to draw customers to the soap table and shop.
 
 
While onboard I did have some time to enjoy many of what the Nova Star all it had to offer.
 
Thursday evening, after the shop closed for the night, my husband and I headed to the Casino to try our luck and to get a cocktail to celebrate his birthday!  We went outside and peered into the inky black ocean looking for signs of land.  We saw a few dots of light far off in the distance and listened to the roar of the wake coming off the back of the ship.
 
 
On Frida at Currents, the onboard fine dining room, I attended a cooking demonstration featuring Chef Jason Lynch of Domaine de Grand Pré Winery’s Le Caveau Restaurant located in Nova Scotia Canada where he chopped, sautéed and whisked us through his recipe of Lobster and Scallop Chowder.   We got to sample a generous portion too!  Deliciously delicate and I am in love with plans to make this very, very soon in my home kitchen.


Later, a wine tasting in The Key's Lounge also by Chef Jason Lynch.  And who doesn't enjoy a 5:00 wine tasting while cruising along sparkly waters in Maine?  It attracted a good crowd.

We ate all our meals at The Fathoms Buffet  Breakfast, lunch and dinner all had many choices.  Whether you choose to eat light or a bit more substantial, it was all available.  My dinner of steamed fish and rice with vegetables the first night, to scrambled eggs, bacon and crab cakes in the morning and then lunch of salad made of cucumbers, olives, tomatoes and feta - all delicious!   This girl has a sweet tooth and loved the Key Lime Cheesecake desert I had at dinner as well at the Chocolate Walnut cookies from lunch.   The seas were a bit rocky, so servers were available to carry our trays to our tables.  I guess they have had their sea legs a bit longer!
 
 
An amazing sail both ways, a beautiful crossing!   Looking out at the sparkly sea we spotted several Mola Mola or Ocean Sunfish.  Adults grow up to an average of 1,000 pounds!  Something that we were super surprised (and lucky) to spot.  We mostly spotted these while near Nova Scotia.  Several pods of Porpoise jumping too.  
 
Here are some pretty Nova Scotia pictures:
 
 
 

 
 
Oh, and there is a time change!

 
On the return trip to Portland Maine we spotted this beautiful schooner out for a sunset sail, picture perfect!

 

 
Again, a big THANK YOU to Nova Star for the invitation and incredible opportunity to showcase my soaps and my business.  I had a wonderful time, the entire ships staff was incredibly accommodating and extremely friendly and I enjoyed the experience!  I hope to return again soon.  Thank you!
 


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cookies!

Maybe it's not really cookies "season" but I had a craving for some good homemade cookies and Mr. Casco Bay has been a super awesome husband and I wanted to thank him.....I didn't have any chocolate chips on hand, but did have some peanut butter M&M's in the chest freezer!  These came out great!
 
Thanks to Lovin' From The Oven for the great recipe!

 
My NEW favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

    1. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.
    3. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour. When it’s time, Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
    4. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
    5. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014

    Home Remedies In Portland

    While I will not be able to attend this event due to a prior commitment, be sure to swing by if you can and support your local artisans!   Find Casco Bay Soap Co. products at Home Remedies!
     

    Time....

    Where does it go!?
     
    Almost 3 weeks or so since my last post!  Soo much happening in my soap world and well, now that the weather is GORGEOUS (!!!) I am outside a bit with gardening, lawn mowing and hiking in the evenings as well as sailing on weekends with Mr. Casco Bay Soap. (on Casco Bay aboard Sea Mist - recognize those names?)
     
    I have something new...some private labels!  I make these private labels for some of my long time customers that are interested in having their name on a special fragrance soap, made just for them!  Customers love to take something home from Maine and have been asking for something with their favorite store name on it as well.  I was happy to create these labels with my talented label designer, Sally of Packaging Boutique.  She is amazing to work with!  Thanks Sally!
     
     
    Created for The Wishful Moon in Freeport - their signature scent is Lavender Eucalyptus. 
     
     

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

    Speical Project Underway!

     
    I had Melissa from Sweet Melissa's Photography & Design Studio at my studio today.  She is working on a very special project of her own and wanted to interview and photograph me in the studio working with my soaps.  Here she is taking some close up shots of my display area in my studio.  I have these pretty open bookshelf/cubes that I have my different Casco Bay Soap Co. products displayed in.  More information to come about this special project at a later date!
     
     

    Friday, May 2, 2014

    Key Lime Pie In A Jar


    I've been super busy with soap....making it, labeling it, shipping it....it's all soap all the time!  Which is a good thing.   BUT that also leaves me little time for much else.  I squeeze in housework, yard work, shopping, tea with friends a potluck dinner etc. for sure.  And I will now have full weekends off since the winter farmers market ended (that was 6 long months of every Saturday kissing my hubby goodbye in the morning).   This weekend I head south a bit to visit some friends for a couple of days.  I just made up these cute little Key Lime Pie in mini mason jars to bring with me.  This pie filling is only 3 ingredients and the crust is 2!  How easy is that?

     
     
    I found the recipe over here:
     
    But did modify it a little bit, as my jars were tiny!
     
    Key lime pie in a jar recipe:
    {makes around 10 jars} 

     * small canning jars with lids
     
    * 1 sleeve of graham crackers

     {crushed fine via a mini food or put in plastic bag and use a roller to crush them}
     
    * 1/2 stick of butter, melted

     *1 can of sweetened condensed milk

     *3 egg yolks

     *1/3 cup of key lime juice { if you can’t find key lime juice…regular lime juice works well}
    *one stick of unsalted sweet cream butter {melted}


    Mix the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter with a fork…then scoop two spoonfuls into bottom of glass jar. Press down the graham cracker crust with a spoon.   I tamped it down with the back of a citrus reamer!

     Bake the glass jars on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes till the crackers turn lightly brown.

     Meanwhile mix in a separate bowl…the egg yolks…the sweetened condensed milk and lime juice.
     
    Once the graham crackers come out of the oven…pour the key lime mixture into each container… using about 1/4 cup mixture in each cup.

     {this is approximate….and use as much or little as you want}

     Bake for an additional 10 minutes.

     Cool…then stick in fridge for 1-2 hours till cold.

     Top with whipped cream…..

    and viola…. key lime pies in a jar.

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

    Happy Easter!
     
    I just love this cute, little vintage seaside (maybe lakeside?) image. 
     

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

    A Visit To A Friends Studio

     
    My Aunt and Uncle were visiting from Alaska and we always try to finds some interesting fun little day trips to do while they are here.  They are originally both from New England and are very familiar with the shore, the coast, the water etc. so we often have a chance to find something new and different that may not necessarily be Maine or "Coastal" every time they are visiting.  I contacted my friends Terrill and Charlie of Tandem Glass and asked if they were blowing glass on Thursdays...yes!   They are Tandem Glass of Dresden Maine, a wonderful husband wife team creating all this beautiful art in their Salt Box barn.   They sell at the same farmers market as me on Saturdays in the Winter. 
     
    We were soo lucky to get to see them work!  Here are some pictures from our trip.
    (Please forgive me for not using the correct terms for the "metal blowing pipe" or the "hot molten glass" I was too excited to remember it all).
     
     
     
    Here is Terrill picking up a glob of molten glass on the end of one of her metal blowing tubes....

     
    Checking out how it is shaping up and using her tools to manipulate the hot glass....

     
    Charlie is in charge of blowing this one.   It is Terrill's piece and he is the assistant here...

     
    Here is Charlie putting a small piece of glass on the end of Terrill's piece so she can then knock it gently off the blowing rod...

     
    They use this mold for texture and shaping some of the hot molten glass, isn't is cool!
     
     
    Terrill is assisting Charlie with his piece....

     
    See, they take turns.  What a great partnership! Charlie is shaping his piece and Terrill is waiting for instructions to blow in the pipe...
     
     
    Look at all the cool glass rods of color!  They will make little pieces of glass art to attached to the pieces they are blowing....






     
    Like this super cool bucket of finished little pieces!  Each one a little work of art!  They will take a "glob" of hot glass and roll it around in a dish of these and they will stick.  As they blow and shape the piece, these little colored glass bits will morph and change shape a bit and randomly create the most gorgeous pieced of art!
     
     
    Some of the beautiful items they create....
     
     
    Vases...
     
     
    Drinking cups....

     
    Pitchers....

     
    More pitchers (can you picture some fresh made lemonade in one of these!?)

     
    Totally Maine - a Lobster Claw ornament!

     
    and a super cute blue Whale!
     
     
    Thanks Terrill and Charlie!  It was great to learn about your craft, thanks for all the information and the explanations.  I was super impressed with all that you do and wish you the best with your business!