Baking with Mrs Bouw- Sugar Cookies!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Oh I wish I had have posted this recipe before Easter (because some mini bunny cookies would have been so adorable!) but better late than never right?! I've been meaning to post this recipe since I first baked these gorgeous, sweet little cookies for Allegra and Anya's Joint Birthday Party back in November last year. They were such a hit (and so easy to make) that I made another batch a few weeks later for Christmas! For my girls' party I wanted to create a cookie that would go with their party theme but something that would not take up too much of my time as there was so much else to do and make. Icing cookies is an art and process within itself (something that I hope to be able to master one day) but with time not really on my side I decided to cheat just a little. I baked and iced the cookies myself (I just used a basic royal icing recipe for the icing) and then outsourced the edible toppers from Custom Icing. Once I had a PDF of the images I wanted to use, it was as simple as placing an order online. The service was super quick (I received in the post within a matter of days) and despite being a little overwhelmed when I first read the step by step instructions, the process of removing the toppers from the edible sheets and placing onto my cookies was super easy! I was so thrilled with how they turned out and had so many people comment on them... a small effort for a 'wow' factor! This recipe really is super easy to follow and will make about 30, 2 1/2 inch cookies or 16, 3 1/2 inch cookies. Perfect for any occasion :)

Sugar Cookies
3 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Baking paper

Line x2 trays with baking paper.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder and set aside.
- Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and using the paddle attachment, cream together until light and creamy.  This should take about 3 minutes.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another minute or so.
- Add the flour mixture one cup at a time (this stops a storm of flour dust!).
- Mix until all of the flour is incorporated and the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a piece of baking paper.
- Using your hands, knead the dough a few times.
- Place the dough in a large plastic (ziplock) bag and refrigerate for about 2 hours.  If you would like to speed up the chilling process, place the bag of dough in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes (just be sure not to forget to take it out).
- A few minutes before you are due to get the dough out of the fridge or freezer, preheat oven to 180°c.
- Once the dough has chilled and feels firm to touch, take out about half, leaving the rest in the refrigerator until your ready to work with it.
- Place dough between two sheets of lightly floured baking paper. This enables you to roll out the dough without having to add too much additional flour. Adding too much flour can cause the dough to be become a little tough and can also result in pockets of flour which may result in bumpy cookies.
- Roll out the dough to about 1/4 of an inch thick
- Cut the dough with your choice of cookie cutters (I usually use a small circle cutter as it makes gorgeous little bite-sized cookies). Try to make the best use of the dough you’ve rolled out.  Every time you have to re-roll the dough you will need to add a bit more flour resulting in the bumps I mentioned above. 

- Carefully place cookies onto prepared baking sheets. To avoid unevenly baked cookies, be sure to only put cookies of similar size on each baking sheet.  
- Place the entire baking sheet (with cookies on it) in the freezer or refrigerator for about 3-5 minutes.  Chilling the cookies will help ensure they keep their shape while baking. This is one of the best tips I was ever given!
Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the cookie.  Bake until they are just barely beginning to take on a golden tone.  They will continue to bake as long as they are on the baking tray, so don’t let them get too brown.  Cool for just a minute or so on the tray and then carefully remove cookies from the baking sheet and place on a cooling rack.
- Once cooled, the cookies can be decorated with either frosting, royal icing or rolled fondant. 

- Enjoy! :)

Get the look: Bright eyed, bronzed & berrylicious!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Having been either pregnant or breastfeeding the previous two winters, this year I am trying to embrace items that I already have in my closet (many of which I was unable to wear the previous two winters) before heading to the stores to shop the latest trends. Last night Mr B and I headed out for dinner with my brother-in-law and his lovely partner and I decided to wear this Arthur Galan khaki pleated frock I picked up on sale when I was pregnant with Anya back in 2012. It is unlike any other dress I own (and not a style I choose to wear all that often) but teamed with the Robert Robert 'Diavolina' boots my Mumma bought me for my Birthday last year, my trusty Arthur Galan mongolian fur vest, some gorgeous, deep berry lippy (perfect for the cooler months!) and a low, slick pony, I felt like I put my own twist on a style that I wouldn't usually feel myself in. In fact, I have only ever worn this dress once before and I wore my hair down with a slight wave. I felt too overdone, frumpy and 'not me'. So last night, simply by opting to go with the slick pony (again, not a hairstyle I often embrace) I felt like I got it right this time! Seeing as all of the items that make up this outfit are no longer available in stores (and a little hard to source similar products) I thought I would instead share the tools of the trade used to create the beauty element of this look and the products I will most likely be turning to this winter for those winter nights out on the town!
Get the look:

1. MAC bronzer powder in 'Golden' here
2. Maybelline Full n Soft Mascara in 'Very Black' here
3. Nars blush in 'Orgasm' here
4. Napoleon Auto Pilot pre-foundation skin primer here
5. Napoleon lip pencil in 'Rococo Red' here
6. Napoleon China Doll foundation here
7. Napoleon 'The one' concealer here
8. Inglot lipstick #132 here
9. Inglot nail polish #036 here
10. Napoleon foundation stick here

Get the look: The Bargain buy dress!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I'm not one to shop online all that often as generally I like to see the product in the flesh first. But, back in January I was ordering a couple of new Nike gym tees from The Iconic and soon found myself immersed in the 'dresses' section. Believe it or not, I hate dress shopping. Just ask Mr B. The poor man has listened to me complain time and time again and has spent many an hour watching me try on dress after dress only to walk away empty handed and deflated. Be it online or instore I find it really hard to find dresses I feel truly comfortable and confident in. However, when I stumbled on the orange Ezra number (above) at only $39.95 and The Iconic's famous '100 day free return' policy I thought what the heck, if it doesn't fit I'll simply send it back. When I first opened the package I'll admit I was underwhelmed BUT once I slipped it on I was amazed that it was the perfect fit and super comfy! So, later that night I jumped back online to order one in black too (because a plain little black sheath can never go astray) and I also ordered three others (all for $39.95 each) in the hope that the sizing would be consistant with the first dress. The very next day I received the second package (and for some reason was still apprehensive and again underwhelmed when I first opened them) but one by one I tried them on and just like when I was a teenager, I did a cheesy little catwalk for my Mum (who was in town visiting) and with every dress her response was 'WOW'! I'll do the math for you my friends, that's five dresses for under $200! I know, what the frock right? hee hee. It just goes to show you don't need to spend big bucks to feel good in a dress!
Teamed with shoes and accessories I already owned, I wore the 'Orange Sheath' dress to a wedding last month and the 'Floral sheath' for a special dinner with friends last Saturday night. Unfortunately I think both have now sold out BUT I have compiled a few of my other favourites below (of which a couple were amongst my second order) all available from The Iconic. Most dresses from the Ezra collection are priced between $30- $40 so the whole collection is definitely worth a good look!
Fluttersleeve tulip dress here
Blue floral sheath here
Assymetrical wrap skirt floral sheath dress here
White with floral tulip dress here
Coral floral sheath here

Happy shopping my friends :)

Baking with Mrs Bouw: Coconut and Date Balls!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

This is has to be the easiest and quickest recipe I have ever posted. And one with the least ingredients... two ingredients my friends, yes, only two! I was doing a clean out of the fridge and had half a packet of dates left over from some baking which was uncanny because it was only just yesterday that a friend of mine who has a very fussy little eater who's favourite food is chocolate (isn't it all of ours?! :P) told me of her sneaky way to get some extra fruit into her daughter. You know I'm all for tricking our little ones (do you remember my zucchini spaghetti!) so I was excited to try these little babies on my girls. I whipped them up earlier today in a matter of minutes and they were an absolute hit... seriously my girls were going nuts for them! Allegra even said 'Mum, can I have another chocolate ball please?!' Misson accomplished and perfect for the lunchbox!

Coconut and Date Balls


2 cups of pitted dates, roughly chopped
2 cups of desiccated coconut


- Place dates and one cup of the coconut into a food processor or blender.

- Process on high until the mixture all of a sudden comes together and forms a sticky ball (refer above picture).

- Remove mixture and roll into teaspoon size balls.

- Lastly, roll into the remaining one cup of coconut.

- Pop them in the fridge for an hour or so until they are firm to touch. See, easy peasy!

- Enjoy!

Baking with Mrs Bouw: Salmon, Avocado and Mango Lettuce Wraps!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mr B and I will often enjoy a piece of fish (we both love salmon!) served with a yummy salad for dinner. After cooking my San Choy Bow a few weeks back, I was inspired to turn my boring old 'fish and salad' recipe into something a little more fun! We all love eating with our hands don't we?! And using lettuce as a bread/taco/wrap replacement means this meal remains healthy, low carb and ridiculously tasty!    

Salmon, Avocado and Mango Lettuce Wraps


1 Iceberg lettuce
2 salmon fillets (if I can find it in supermarkets I like to buy the fresh salmon glazed in a yummy japanese marinade)
1 large avocado
1 large mango
1/2 bunch fresh coriander
1 small tin of four bean mix, drained and washed
I fresh corn, cooked and carved off the cob
2 tablespoons of pepita and sunflower seeds (these add a healthy crunch but feel free to substitute with cashew nuts or any nut of your choice for that matter)
1 tsp olive oil or butter
Sweet chilli sauce (optional)


¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely grated
1 tablespoon honey
Pinch of sea salt


- Carefully remove lettuce leaves so that they remain in tact. Using scissors, cut them into a round dish-like shape. Place in fridge, covered, until required.

- Heat oil/butter in fry pan over medium to high heat. Place the salmon (skin side up if it has skin) in the pan. Cook until golden brown on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn the fish over and turn down heat slightly cooking until it feels firm to touch and both sides have a nice golden, crispy look to them (usually around four minutes).

- Turn off your stove, leave fillets in pan and set aside to cool slightly whilst you assemble the salad.

- Cut up your mango, avocado, coriander (leaves only, no stems) and place in a medium side bowl with your bean mix, corn, pepita and sunflower seeds.

- Combine all ingredients for dressing in a small jar and shake until well combined.

- Dress your salad and then using your hands roughly break up your salmon fillets into nice chunks (the fillets should fall part pretty easily) and add them to your salad.

- Toss all ingredients together and spoon into prepared lettuce wraps.

- Drizzle with sweet chilli sauce and a dollop of egg mayonnaise (Thommy is my fave ~ so bad but so good).

- Enjoy!

Get the look: The top knot!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Just over a year ago I had a disgusting experience at a local salon (I'll spare you the long and traumatic story!) which in return saw me master the 'top knot'. I've had several requests over the months to do a 'how to' post on how to achieve the perfect top knot, however, I was a little hesitant as I wasn't sure how many people would be interested or able to follow my tutorial as I appreciate not everyone has hair long enough to achieve this without using a hair donut. But, with a few more request from lovely Instafriends in recent weeks, I thought I'd share my super easy (and super quick) way of achieving this go-to 'do' for every occasion! P.S excuse the dodgy bathroom selfies... Allegra hasn't quite mastered photography :)
Get the look:

1: Start by brushing your hair, then tie it up into a high ponytail. I have quite a lot of hair so to ensure it is super secure I like to use x2 thick hair ties.

2: You can choose to skip step 2, however, I prefer a bit of height so using a tail comb I gently lift the front section of my hair bit by bit until it is even and at a desired height.

3: Can you see the difference between image 1 & 3?! Being a busy and active Mum (especially in the humid weather) this high pony tail is my hairstyle of choice during the week.

4. Pulling your pony tail over one shoulder (I always pull over my right) tease the middle and inner section only, leaving the outer, top of your pony tail and ends neat and smooth. Tease until it's got some good volume and feels like it won't just fall out as soon as you move your hair.

5. Once you've finished teasing, lift up your pony tail towards the front of your head (the teased part of your hear should be on the inside) and twist into a donut-like shape smoothing any uneven hairs as you go. Slip in a few pins as soon as you have your desired shape to hold it before moving to step 6.

6. With the remainder of your hair (which should be your smooth ends only) twist and wrap around at the base of your top know and pin once the last of your pony tail is concealed.

7. Give you hair a decent spray of hairspray and tidy up any messy bits. You may decide to slip in a few extra bobby pins for extra security if you feel like it's not secure enough (I usually achieve this look with as little as 2-3 bobby pins). Enjoy

Get the Look: The Animalia Blazer and Leather Look Mini!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

 I don't get out at night all that often these days, so when Mr B and I locked in date night to celebrate Valentines Day, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to wear my new Casablanca 'Animalia' blazer by Indiana by Freda.... because there's nothing sexier than a bit of animal print right?! ;) I now own three of Indiana by Freda's amazing blazers (one in a floral print which I posted about here, one in black and now this one) because they are seriously such a great cut! I just love the structure of the slightly padded shoulders, the three quarter sleeves AND the fact that they can be dressed up or down. With the weather in Sydney being so sticky and humid of late, I didn't want to wear pants and given us ladies 'never have anything to wear!' (right? haha) I hit the shops last week in search of something to team up with my sassy new blazer! I must admit this Country Road skirt didn't look much on the hanger (especially given it is an a-line style) but as soon as I slipped it on I fell in love! It is super soft, super comfy and hugs in all the right places... and for an item that will now become a staple in my wardrobe, it cost under $100! Needless to say I came home from the shops one happy Valentine :) And honestly, it's not often that I feel truly sexy but this skirt and blazer combo (along with some red hot lippy of course) did the trick and was certainly a welcomed change from my usual 'Mummy' uniform...

Get the look:

Casablanca 'Animalia' Blazer from Indiana by Freda
Leather look A-line skirt from Country Road
'Mod about you' nail polish by OPI available here
Zigzag ring from Louis Vuitton
Shoes (exact pair no longer available) but still sell similar at Tony Bianco
Grand Apparat bangle from Hermes
'Lady Danger' lipstick from MAC cosmetics


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