My last memory of my grandmother was in 1982, at age 90 suffering from Alzheimer’s. It was as if my mother, brother, sister-in-law and I were not visible. She was smitten with her two great-grandsons. She was cooing with delight in holding and kissing the seven-month-old baby and chatting with his three-year-old brother. Only my young nephews could bring such great joy that Christmas Day.

Liz was born in Scotland, the daughter of a shale miner. At age 14 after completing eighth grade, she was sent away to work as a domestic to help support the family. She was a baby nurse, what today we refer to as a nanny. She missed her siblings back home but enjoyed the babies and children in her charge. She traveled to England and Ireland with the family learning about the proper things in life. She immigrated to the United States in 1920 but always retained her accent along with pride in her Scottish heritage. She soon married and raised four children. During the Depression of the 1930’s she scrubbed floors while my grandfather drove a taxicab in New York City. On occasion when there was extra food she would give it to other families in the apartment building. When her daughters outgrew their clothing she would give them to the family down the hall with nine daughters.

Sometime during the 1940’s she became employed as a factory assembly line worker for a well-known cosmetic company retiring about age 80. With porcelain skin and youthful looks her employer assumed she was retiring at 65. She never drove a car and commuted on city buses, subway and pounded the pavements of New York City to get to and from work. When she came to visit she brought soaps, lotions and powders in the famous turquoise packaging. She had 19 grandchildren and never missed a first communion, confirmation or graduation. She was a strong-willed, independent lady and persevered during the tough times. She enjoyed her Manhattans, loved to laugh and adored her sons-in-law. I believe her example as a hard-working, strong woman had an integral influence on her daughters and granddaughters. I’m proud to be her granddaughter and regret never asking her about her life in Scotland, immigration and the roaring 20’s.

Liz’ two young great-grandsons are now husbands and fathers with their own babies and toddlers. When I hold their babies, I cannot help but think of my grandmother, her love of children, her pride in family and the smiles of delight they brought her that day.

My First Communion with my Grandmother, cousin and little brother  (1963)

These Man in the Moon Cookies were made for a friend’s new son, Jack’s little brother … Luke. I decided to go bold with these cookies using stencils and airbrushing instead of the usual pastels associated with baby cookies.

Man in the Moon Cookies
Man in the Moon Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted Sage Green with AmeriColor Avocado and AmeriColor Leaf Green 
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
AmeriColor Lemon Yellow and Sky Blue Airbrush Colors
AmeriColor Green Sheen Airbrush Color
Harlequin Stencil
Airbrush Kit or Wilton Color Mist

Outline cookie with #2 tip in green icing.

Flood cookie with green icing. Let dry overnight.

Place stencil on the cookie.

Using an airbrush, spray color onto the cookie. Gently lift stencil.

Let dry 45 minutes.



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Frozen is everywhere. The icy movie about family, love and magic is a gigantic hit. Little girls emulate the sibling princesses Elsa and Anna and little boys go nuts over Olaf, Sven, Kristoff and Hans. After the release of the popular movie last spring stores could not keep the merchandise on the shelves: princess dresses, tiaras, dolls, sheets, dishes, storybooks, etc. After seeing it in the theater my nieces and nephews have watched the DVD dozens of times.

Naturally, all little girls want a Frozen-themed birthday party and my grand niece is no different. She and her gal pals were decked out in their icy blue Elsa princess dresses, tiaras and glittery shoes. Among the delectable items at her birthday brunch were Elsa's egglicious quiches, Olaf's toasty bagels, Anna's amazing smoothies and Kristof's fabulous fruit bar. An absolute must-have … ice cream birthday cake decorated with a pink and purple ice castle. Of course, the party couldn’t end without viewing the Frozen movie one more time. I have yet to see the movie … can you believe it? That sounds like the perfect afternoon with my little nieces and nephews. It’s a date!

There Frozen cupcakes were made for my niece’s kindergarten class to celebrate her birthday. 

Vanilla Cupcakes
2¼ cups Softasilk Cake Flour (or 2-1/8 cups Flour), sifted
1½ cups Sugar
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
2/3 cup Crisco Shortening
1 cup Milk
1½ tsp Vanilla
3 Eggs 

Mix Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt. Add Shortening.
Add a little over half of Milk to the dry ingredients. Add Vanilla.
Add remaining Milk and Eggs. Mix well.
Pour batter 2/3 full into 24 Frozen cupcake liners.
Bake 18-20 minutes at 400 until cake tester comes out clean.
[This is the Rich Golden Cake recipe from the 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook]

Icy Blue Buttercream Icing (Large Recipe)
6 cups Confectioner’s Sugar, sifted
2/3 cup Crisco Shortening
6 tbsp Cream
3 Tsp Vanilla (use clear extract for white frosting)
AmeriColor Turquoise Gel Coloring
Nonpareils (optional)
Wilton Star Tip 1M

Place all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Add small amounts of milk if frosting is too stiff.
Color with turquoise gel coloring. Swirl icing onto cupcakes with Star Tip 1M. Sprinkle with nonpareils.
 [This is the White Buttercream Icing recipe from the 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook]

Piping requires a large quantity of frosting. This frosting is very white frosting and good for coloring.

Tip: Do not pipe icing too high if transporting in a cupcake carrier.







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