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La P’tite Gourmande: Original Recipes & Culinary Inspiration

Foodies rejoice – the future is here! As if obtaining sweets wasn’t easy enough, Candace Nelson, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes and judge on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”, has invented the first-ever cupcake ATM. Wanting 24-hour access to cupcakes during her pregnancy, she came up with the idea of offering up freshly-baked treats available anytime, even when the shop was closed for the night.

The first ATM was set up in front of the famous Sprinkles flagship shop, located in Beverly Hills and is usually accompanied by a large line-up. The vault can house about 600 cupcakes and customers can choose their flavours by using the touch screen and pay with a credit card. The beauty of this ATM is that it also contains cake mixes, special cupcakes for dogs, and even apparel. When you make your purchase, the video screen shows you the process inside the machine, which is a truly novel idea. You can see a robotic arm selecting your cupcake, and watch as it places it into a lovely little cardboard box for you. You don’t have to worry about getting a stale cupcake either – these machines are regularly replenished with fresh sweets all all hours of the day, however, you do have to pay for the convenience, packaging and experience – there is a 50-cent surcharge for the automat cupcakes, compared to obtaining them inside for $3.50 each.

After only seven years on the scene, Sprinkles has really pushed the boundaries in the baked goods world and continues to innovate with new ideas to keep up with their Hollywood celebrity demand. Even the A-listers don’t mind standing in line for one of their delicious confections, but the ATM makes the transaction quick and easy for those on the go. The greatest news is that Sprinkles is going to start expanding across the U.S. with this idea, with nine more locations added in major cities like Chicago, New York, and Washington D.C. this summer. Hopefully they’ll consider moving their enterprise North of the border into our area in the future – at least, if someone else doesn’t get to it first. Fingers crossed!

Foodies rejoice – the world of culinary exploration is upon us! No need to prop your iPad precariously on your countertop, or fumble with multiple apps to get the information you need while you prepare succulent dishes – the French have created an all-in-one tablet for the kitchen connoisseurs out there, aptly named “QOOQ” (pronounced “cook”). This fully-loaded gadget has a 10 inch screen with a simple interface and an abundance of options for any type of gourmand.

While they aren’t really revolutionizing the market for tablets, they have put a lot of effort into creating a kitchen assistant that is resistant to most of the abuse that chefs throw at it. It’s splash-proof and has a thick tamper-resistant cherry red casing with rubber feet so it won’t slip. The software included is built off of a customized Linux OS, and includes media streaming capabilities as well as web browsing and connectivity to social media. The ability to access other online content opens the user to an unlimited resource of recipe information.

I haven’t yet found an all-inclusive cooking app that I truly love, but the QOOQ comes close. It includes 3,600 recipes and 1,200 expert chef tutorial videos (if you sign up for their monthly subscription service). You can also upload your own recipes, and share them with others. And the most impressive features – a well-rounded recipe calculator which helps you figure out how much to make for however many people you are serving, and generates a menu and shopping list for you, which is a real stress-reliever in my opinion. You can also plan out your meals for the entire week, helping you stay on track, effortlessly.

You can check out QOOQ’s content online if you’re wary of spending $399 on a tablet that only has one purpose, but if you’re a regular techie/foodie, you’re going to love the high quality construction and regularly updated content that’s available.

A recently upgraded model is soon to hit the U.S. market this Fall, complete with updated recipe content that is more suited to the North American palate. If language isn’t an issue, the French version is currently available online via the QOOQ online store.

Why use art supplies when you’ve got a bunch of food to play with? I remember my mom used to make food more interesting for us when we were kids by trying to be creative with it – the more fun we had with our food, the more likely we were to eat all of it. What a smart lady – if only she could have created masterpieces like these! 

I’m getting married next summer, and was thinking about getting some crazy cupcakes made instead of buying a fancy wedding cake. I’ve been trying to search for great ideas online, and came up with an overwhelming number of possibilities. So now I have to narrow it down…what kind of theme do I want? Colour scheme? Flavours? So many to choose from! It’s not going to be easy…

In the meantime, I’m drooling over some of these awesome designs!

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