As the year starts to come to a close -- we only have 5 1/2 weeks until we say goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014. I have started to look back at this year, and am so happy to have been able to share my personal stories, reviews and giveaways with you all. While I oftentimes find myself working in the wee hours of the morning, turning out posts, I wouldn't change it for the world, as I love to write, share honest posts with you, and hear what you have to say. Being a blogger has opened up so many wonderful blogging opportunities, including being a brand ambassador for different companies, as well as meet both in person on virtually with other bloggers who share similar interests. One of my love is cooking. When I am not reading a new cookbook cover to cover like a novel, I love being able to roll up my sleeves and get into the kitchen to try out new recipes, re-create dishes I have tried at restaurants or saw online, or re-vamp family favorites. And, this past year, I was challenged in many ways thank to the folks at Good Cook. As a Good Cook Expert, I was given the opportunity to not only sample and review their product line, but come up with original recipes for things like a stuffed hamburger, avocado inspired dish, sweet or savory popcorn ball recipe, use cookie cutouts to make a fun Halloween gingerbread (or in my case, I went with sugar cookie) house and most recently use a Good Cook Whoopie Pie Pan to make blueberry pancakes stuffed with a ricotta and maple syrup filling, and just the other day used the Good Cook bakeware and Pumpkin Scoop (found at Walmart stores) to make a pumpkin bread pudding. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would come in second the Good Cook Stuffed Burger (meat) contest, or be able to try out so many wonderful cookware and accessories. But, what has made being a Good Cook Expert the most enjoyable and rewarding to me, is that I can share my love for baking with my girls, and get them excited to cook or bake. Arabella is the cook, while Savannah has the sweet tooth, and could live off of cupcakes or cookies. :-)
So, I couldn't share holiday gift ideas with you, without including some fun holiday-themed products from the Good Cook and Sweet Creations line. And, thanks to the kind folks at Good Cook, I was recently sent their 3D Holiday Ornament Cake Pan, 4 wells (on sale now for only $19.49), a Cake Decorator Bag (on sale for only $3.44) and Candy Stripe Large Cookie Box, 2pk (on sale now for only $3.18) to try out.
I was planning to wait and bake this weekend, when my parents come to visit and help put up the Christmas tree. But, Savannah has been eying the 3D ornament pan for over a week now, and asks every day if today is the day we use them to make a sweet creation. :-) So, yesterday, I surprised her by having all the ingredients to make a strawberry cake and frosting ready to go.
I have to say after trying out the non-stick bakeware from Good Cook over the course of this year, I am in heaven. Unlike my other so-called non-stick pans, this was actually works at keeping the food from sticking. And, cleaning up is a breeze, as I usually only have to use a wet paper towel to wipe it down, and then dry with a washcloth. The Good Cook bakeware also holds up wonderfully. After frequent use baking with the girls, the pans always wash up and store away as if they were brand new. Now, that is saying a lot for such amazing brand like Good Cook. Even if I weren't a Good Cook Expert, I would continue to purchase their cookware, bakeware and kitchen accessories, as they are durable, versatile (like using the whoopie pie pans to make pancakes or even egg patties for a breakfast sandwich), and cook foods thoroughly each and every time.
So, after breakfast yesterday AM, the girls put on their cooking aprons and headed into the kitchen. After helping me whip up the strawberry cake batter, Savannah helped pour the batter into the 3D ornament mold, while Bella covered the filled molded pan with the other cover that comes in this 2-piece set. Unlike other 3D ornament cookie pans I have bought and used in the past, this one from Good Cook really makes the finished product look 3D, as it as the same proportions all the way around, and is not flat on one side.
As for the icing bag, I didn't expect the girls to take to this decorating tool, as they are still too young. So, they watched me, as I piped on some strawberry and chocolate frostings on our finished 3D Christmas ornaments. The girls added the finishing touches -- which included Sixlet candies and colored sprinkles. Yum!
We had a blast in the kitchen, and can't wait until my mom comes to visit this weekend, as she plans to do some Christmas cookie baking with the girls. And, we will be sending them home with a box full to enjoy with Nana's tea in the AM, and for Papa to snack on throughout the day, as well as share with neighbors, as the holidays are a time for giving. :-)
So, if you love to cook, especially with your children or grandchildren, or have a baker/foodie on your holiday shopping list, why not check out the amazing product selection offered at Good Cook: www.goodcook.com. I just ordered their 3D cookie cutters to try out with the girls, as well as more cookie boxes, to put their sweet creations in, so that they can share with friends and neighbors.
As for 2014, I hope it will be as memorable as 2013 has been, and I can't wait to see what challenges are presented to me and other Good Cook Experts.
Disclosure: I was sent samples from the vendor in order to write up an honest review. The views shared are mine and mine alone.