Sunday, August 7, 2016

This is how we do - Book Week


We love book week here, pretty much because we love books. Our school has wonderful library staff whom we adore and a morning reading club which we have always attended.

Plus my kids love dressing up so book week is a no brainer.

We try to follow a rule of not buying shop bought costumes or spending a heap of money which is kinda hard because I can not sew and also because I am pretty much craftless. I have mentioned before how I can not use a hot glue gun without sticking my fingers together (true story every single time).

So I need to be extra creative, and my kids have to have a bit of a sense of adventure.

One year I sent Bubble as the paper bag princess in a huge brown paper sugar bag. On the morning of the parade I was emptying sugar into big containers and cutting holes out for the arms and neck. Some messy hair a bit of eye shadow 'soot' and a tiara and we had a perfect costume.

Sweet was the little mermaid using a costume my sister had made for a birthday party and some red hairspray.
Paper bag Princess and The Little Mermaid. 
Bubble was reluctant to get out of the car but in the end she loved it.

Another year The Destroyer went as the saucepan man from The Faraway Tree. Luckily all my saucepans came home intact.

Have saucepans in the kitchen ........hello no cost costume.

Bubble's grade 1 costume was Fancy Nancy, changed the morning of the parade from another costume I had all ready to go. However at the time she pretty much was Fancy Nancy so we had no difficulty at all in rustling up a costume in 15 minutes. She even wore an old pair of my high heels just like the cover of the book. The other kids were completely in awe of her red heels.

Fancy Nancy, the other kids were not even at school,
 but seriously who misses a change to get dressed up. Not us that's for sure :)

Last year Bubble decided not to participate and I made an Alice in Wonderland stuck in the white rabbit's house costume for Sweet. A few days before the parade Bubble changed her mind and I had to come up with another costume. Luckily Sweet's favourtie book at the time was Thelma the Unicorn and I had the cutest Puddle Duckling unicorn flower horn that I already had ordered just because they are amazingly gorgeous.

I popped down to the discount stores and bought 2 wigs and used one for her mane and one for her tail. I cut up some pink sparkly cardboard and stapled them around her hands and legs for quick diy 'hooves' added a bit of face paint and she was the cutest unicorn around.

Thelma the Unicorn costume - Flower unicorn crown from Puddle Duckling

The Destroyer had decided to go as the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. During the week I hand painted a cardboard clock. He popped on his suit and we found some ears and a bow tie in our dress up box. A little bit of white face paint, pink nose, white hair spray and some whiskers and he was ready to go.

White Rabbit and Alice in Wonderland, that is a kinda embarrassed smile as there were quite a few kids gathering around by this stage.

The Alice in Wonderland costume was of course the one I spent the most time on. But it was completely free using stuff I already had on hand. The box was something I had received in the mail, I used the kids paints and the dress was an old princess dress from our dress up box. I was a bit super proud of it considering I'm not really that good at craft.

I've put my thinking cap on for this year and I am trying to come up with some fun ideas for the kids. Let me know if your have any good inexpensive ideas.



Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, mother, owner of The Biscuit Cafe and author of the children's cookbook Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! Published in the US in 2011 the book is still available online at Amazon and other online book stores.

Affiliate links may earn me money and contribute to supporting this blog

I love when people share my blog ideas and give credit. All posts contain original ideas, photography and recipes by Linda Vandermeer-McCubbin unless otherwise credited. Please feel free to link back to my blog for non commercial purposes.



Sunday, July 31, 2016

Chocolate macarons and last chance to win nestle giveaway


I've started to bake macarons again and it's taking a little bit of getting used to. In my old kitchen I could whip out a batch of perfect macs with next to no thought or effort, but at the moment sharing a kitchen and with a different oven than I am used to I find that the little distractions impact my final result.

This batch I forgot to add in my egg whites with the almond and icing sugar, I was mixing away and after a few seconds I realised it was quite thick and I was not going to achieve the correct consistency. Just a touch too late I remembered my extra egg whites, and although I added them in I found the mixture was a little bit too bubbly.


Although they were ok, I just wasn't completely happy with them. The crisp outside was a little bit too thin for my tastes and the feet collapsed a little.

But to tell the truth I did find them more like a well known french patisserie so perhaps I am onto something ;)


You can use Nestle Bakers Choice chocolate chunks to add into your ganache to fill the macarons and you can dust the macarons with a little bit of cocoa like mine to get the same rustic look. Click HERE for my macaron recipe if you would like to make your own.

Also remember there is still one more day let for the #BakeItYours #NestleBakersChoice giveaway. You can enter for free in my rafflecopter giveaway below. Entry for Australian residents only over 18 years of age.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, mother, owner of The Biscuit Cafe and author of the children's cookbook Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! Published in the US in 2011 the book is still available online at Amazon and other online book stores.

Affiliate links may earn me money and contribute to supporting this blog

I love when people share my blog ideas and give credit. All posts contain original ideas, photography and recipes by Linda Vandermeer-McCubbin unless otherwise credited. Please feel free to link back to my blog for non commercial purposes.

I was sent a box of nestle product to assist in the development of recipes for this blog post. No sponsorship or financial incentive was received.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

White Chocolate and Caramel Brownie Recipe and a giveaway

White Chocolate and Caramel Brownies - recipe at below

I'm back home living with my parents whilst my new house undergoes some renovations.

So when I received a box of goodies from Nestle to join in the #Bakeityours challenge instead of reaching for the chocolate like I normally would I decided to make something with white chocolate and add in one of my dad's favourite lollies Jersey Caramels to come up with a treat he would appreciate.


The resulting brownies were dense and a little chewy which I liked and quite sweet. I think they improved after a day losing some of the initial sweetness and improving in texture.

Anyway onto the reason Nestle sent out the box of goodies is to let y'all know they have a new Nestle Bakers' Choice range. I like the suggestions on the front of the packets that say things like 'for coating and decorating' or 'for adding and pouring' and found the white chocolate to be quite a nice creamy texture which melted quite easily.

To help celebrate this they have offered Bubble and Sweet Australian readers the chance to win a lovely baking package valued at around $100 which includes products from the new Bakers' Choice range and and some baking products. Enter below using rafflecopter (Entry only available to Australian Residents aged 18 and over no purchase necessary):

You can enter up to 3 times, however you do not need to follow all 3 steps for your entry to be valid.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best of luck



White Chocolate and Caramel Brownies
(makes 12 store in air tight container in fridge for up to 3 days) Wilton 195 piping tip used for decorating.

150 g ( 5 1/4 oz) butter
200 g ( 7 oz) white chocolate
3 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 2/3 cup plain flour
220 g (7 3/4 oz) Jersey Caramels chopped
Whipped jersey caramel topping (see below)
6 Jersey Caramels cut into half extra for decorating

Line a rectangle slice tray approx 18cm x 28cm ( &" x 11") with baking paper

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F)

Melt butter and white chocolate in a microwave safe dish for 2 minutes on medium low heat. Mix (the mixture will not be soft yet) and then heat for another 2 minutes at medium low heat. Whisk until no lumps remain.

Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until just combined.

Fold through the flour and then the jersey caramels and spread the mixture into the prepared tray.

Bake for 30 minutes until the brownie is golden and cooked through in the middle.

Cut into triangles and pipe a dollop of whipped ganache into the middle of each brownie and top with half a jersey caramel.

Jersey Caramel whipped ganache topping

5 jersey caramels
1/2 tsp water
100 g (3 1/2 oz) white choc
25 g (7/8oz) cream

Melt the jersey caramels and water for 60 seconds at low rest and stir and then heat for another 60 seconds in the microwave and mix until smooth.

Melt the white chocolate and cream together at medium low heat 2 minutes and mix until smooth. Add in the melted caramel mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

Whip with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.



Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, mother, owner of The Biscuit Cafe and author of the children's cookbook Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! Published in the US in 2011 the book is still available online at Amazon and other online book stores.

Affiliate links may earn me money and contribute to supporting this blog

I love when people share my blog ideas and give credit. All posts contain original ideas, photography* and recipes by Linda Vandermeer-McCubbin unless otherwise credited. Please feel free to link back to my blog for non commercial purposes.

I was sent a box of nestle product to assist in the development of recipes for this blog post. No sponsorship or financial incentive was received.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Islands in my dreams that is what they are


I'm dreaming of kitchen islands in the new house.

I've been pinning my self silly with pictures of white light New Hampton style kitchens and sending them to the kitchen designer.

*not my kitchen this is from my pintrest board which links back to Better Homes and Garden

We can do it if I want...... if I have the money and time but that is where I'm falling a teensy bit short at the moment.

Also I am short a lifestyle when my whole life can be on display as I have a real family with active kids and while I like the idea of walking into the house and seeing my amazing kitchen and beautiful living area, the reality will be piles of school shoes, bags and sporting equipment if I don't plan storage accordingly.

Anyhoo that is the subtle but totally worthwhile advice I got from the kitchen designer when we met on site to measure up the space. She came up with some great ideas for a beautiful kitchen with an island which included removing walls and opening up the whole space.

It sounded ah-mazing! Exactly what I wanted for my pin-perfect new house.

But I own a cafe now and I don't have time to run around and make sure the house is camera ready and truthfully I never did, only 2 rooms in the old house ever looked that way most of the time.

So some compromise is going to have to occur.

A few different versions have been drawn up for the new kitchen but in the meantime I'll keep on island dreaming.



Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, mother, owner of The Biscuit Cafe and author of the children's cookbook Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! Published in the US in 2011 the book is still available online at Amazon and other online book stores.

Affiliate links may earn me money and contribute to supporting this blog

I love when people share my blog ideas and give credit. All posts contain original ideas, photography* and recipes by Linda Vandermeer-McCubbin unless otherwise credited. Please feel free to link back to my blog for non commercial purposes.

*this post does not contain my original photography, I have provided a link to the source.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

and then this thing happened.........

I haven't been blogging lately.

Mostly because the blog has always been a reflection of what is happening in my life.

And then this thing happened.........last October my husband of 22 years told me out of the blue and without prior warning he had been seeing someone and was moving in with her that night.

At the time I was floored, we had been living together as husband and wife in all ways and I had no idea, it took me a little while to regroup.

I've shared a few posts since then but because I always share what is happening in my life it felt like the elephant in the room I was avoiding.

It's not really something I wanted to put out there because obviously there are children involved and for their sake I try to deal with the situation with as much grace as possible, But it happened, it's part of my life and it is impacting everything I do.

Hugely and in a positive way as I have decided to turn this situation into an opportunity for me to grow and nurture my needs.

If life gives you lemons

I've sold the family house and although I was sad to see my kitchen and craft area go I am looking forward to creating my own new space in the (much smaller) house I am moving into soon.



I've been spending lots of time with my children, which I always did, but there is a sense of calmness that hasn't been there for a while.

And I've bought a cafe just down the road which is truly so exciting for me.

I hope you can understand my past absence as I have spent time looking after my children and myself and I look forward to continue sharing with you my journey. I hope to share the renovation of my new home and my journey at The Biscuit cafe Springwood.



Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, mother, owner of The Biscuit Cafe and author of the children's cookbook Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! Published in the US in 2011 the book is still available online at Amazon and other online book stores.

Affiliate links may earn me money and contribute to supporting this blog

I love when people share my blog ideas and give credit. All posts contain original ideas, photography and recipes by Linda Vandermeer-McCubbin unless otherwise credited. Please feel free to link back to my blog for non commercial purposes.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Bunny Love cookies



Ooops is it Easter already and I haven't shared any of the cookies and projects I made up.

Luckily I did take some photo's of these cookies even if I didn't do the process shots because they're pretty cute.


Sweet floral pastel bunnies. I mean really how could you go wrong.

The flowers are teensy little fondant ones with royal icing centers and they each have an edible soft gold ball (from Queen) and then I decorated them with a few royal icing leaves.

I served them with some water color cookies in matching pastel hues (CLICK HERE for last week's post).


Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the Children's cookbook Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! Published in the USA in 2011 the book is still available at Amazon and many online bookstores.

Affiliate links may earn me money and contribute to supporting this blog.

Original ideas, photography and recipes Linda Vandermeer please do not reuse without permission except for non commercial purposes where you may use 1 image, give credit and link back to original post.



Saturday, March 19, 2016

I love bunny cookies or how to make squiggly cookies


Oh my it's nearly Easter!

How did that happen so fast. I know I've moved house and been keeping busy trying to keep the kids lives as normal as possible with all the changes but seriously......... Easter that's like quarter of the way through the year.

If you're as bewildered as I am these simple bunny cookies might make you happy.

They are modern, easy and fun.


My son, The Destroyer, loves this type of hand painted cookie, he calls them the squiggly ones.

I admit I have a soft spot for them too and have been using them as filler cookies for other sets quite a bit lately. They are even lovelier if you happen to have some edible gold on hand.

I didn't have a chance to make up instructions for the bunny cookies but I have in the past made sweet deer cookies and the process is exactly the same.

CLICK HERE for the link to my post showing how to decorate them yourself.

See below for my cookie recipe.


Happy Baking





Shop the shoot Guide




Confetti Paper Plates from Bash Party Goods (mine purchased at Lark)
Purple spot chalkboard cards part of set from Kmart
Washi tape from Kmart
Purple Marshmallow Puffs - Big Lolly Australia



Sugar Cookie Recipe (makes 24 regular cookies or 60 small)

460 grams plain flour (16 1/4 oz all purpose flour)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
230 grams unsalted butter (8 1/8oz)room temperature
220 grams caster sugar (7 3/4 oz superfine sugar)# 
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
#use regular white sugar if you do not have caster/ superfine sugar

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to medium low, add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and mix in the sifted flour mixture until combined. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill in fridge for 30 minutes or so.

Line a few baking trays with parchment/ baking paper.

Dust workbench with plain flour and using a large rolling pin roll out the dough until around 1/2 cm (1/4") in thickness. If the dough is to hard you may need to work/knead it a bit until you can roll it out.

Cut out cookies shapes and place the cookies on the prepared trays. (Knead and reroll dough as necessary, if it becomes to soft you can pop it back in the fridge.)

Pop the cut cookie dough trays into the fridge to chill again for around 30 minutes until firm (or in the freezer for 10 minutes).

Preheat oven to 160 C (320 F) and cook the cookies until they just start to turn golden, around 15 minutes (less or more depending on cookie size).

Cool on trays for 5 minutes and then carefully lift onto a wire rack to cool completely prior to decorating.

- Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 1 week.


Hopefully I'll hop too it and type up some instructions for these Bunny Love cookies soon Xx


Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the Children's cookbook Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! Published in the USA in 2011 the book is still available at Amazon and many online bookstores.

Affiliate links may earn me money and contribute to supporting this blog.

Original ideas, photography and recipes Linda Vandermeer please do not reuse without permission except for non commercial purposes where you may use 1 image, give credit and link back to original post.