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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Cake Pops

Happy Halloween! 
I would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Halloween!
I made a bunch of pops for Halloween gifts.

 We've got Witch's Cauldron's!
To make these, dip the pop in black candy melts and place down on wax paper. When dry, dip the flat side in some green candy melts and add the Bonez candy. Allow to dry upright.
Use orange candy melts to create the fire around the stick. Then add a touch of Red Cake Mate Gel with toothpick.

Oct 15, 2013 - for a full tutorial with step by step photos on how to make the cauldron cake pops, please visit Simply Create.

 We've got Ghosts!
These cake pops were pre-shaped into a pear-ish shape. Dip into white candy melts. Just as the candy is firming up (15 to 20 seconds) place a finger at the base and "pull" down strands of candy to give it this stringy look. Add facial features with some black candy melts or a black food writers pen.

Creepy, Crawly Spiders!
Dip these critters into black candy melts and add black licorice legs and eye balls. My Little Cup helped me add the legs to these guys. She also insisted that they were "Happy Spiders" because there were getting candy! The red is the Cake Mate Red Gel again.

Trick-Or-Treat Buckets!
Dip cake pops into orange candy melts and place down on wax paper to dry. Dip the flat side into white candy melts and dip into fun colored sprinkles or colored chips. Add some black licorice as the handle and decorate a jack-o-lantern face with black candy melts.

Eye Ball Martini, anyone?
I made these eye balls and my daughter just happened to have watched Shrek earlier in the day, so I made an eye ball Martini just for Shrek! 
These were dipped in white candy melts and placed upright to dry. I added the dark green candy wafer to a few, then added the lighter green candy melts to the others. Add some iris establishments with black and white candy and add the red veins with the Red Cake Mate gel. 

Glowing Jack-o-Lanterns
Again, my Little Cup was watching Monsters Vs. Aliens and the Mutant Pumpkins short and the Jack-o-Lanterns came to life to take over and eat all the Halloween Candy. Their featured glowed blue/green in the show and looked pretty fierce. I could not reproduce the effect, so this is what ya get!
With you cake balls, take a stick and make 5 indention's around the ball and give it a little squish on the top to widen it. Dip into orange candy melts and add a pretzel stick top for the stem. Add green features and enjoy!

Happy, Happy Halloween!    

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Cake

FYI- I am a Halloween Baby! My mother always teased me about her long delivery and ultimate C-section in the wee hours of October 31. She was very upset at the Doctors for not delivering me sooner - like on Oct 30. I, on the other hand, LOVE that my Birthday is on Halloween. When I was a kid, I told every house that it was also my birthday and they would give me extra candy. When I was 9, I had a broken leg and had to gimp around Trick-or-Treating. That was the best Halloween Candy Haul EVER! I even kept on Trick-or-Treating into High School, because, you know, it's my BIRTHDAY!

Now, Halloween is more about by Little Cup's Trick-or-Treating experience. She is quite timid and scared of just about everything, but if you tell her she'll get candy if she walks past the fake ghost, she'll muster up the courage and get her treat! 

So, since the holiday is more for my daughter, I wanted to make a fun Halloween/ Birthday cake for myself and this is what I made.

All Recipes from Better Homes &Garden Cook Book!
Devil's Food Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
Preheat oven to 350 deg F

Combine dry ingredients. Add milk, shortening and vanilla. Mix on low to combine then turn to high for 2 mins. Add eggs and beat for 2 minutes more. Pour into prepared 9 inch round pans cook for 30 -35 minutes.

Yellow Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tbls baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 softened butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
a few drops of orange food coloring
preheat oven to 375 deg F

Combine dry ingredients. Add milk, shortening and vanilla. Mix on low to combine then turn to high for 2 minutes. Add eggs and coloring and beat for 2 minutes more. Pour into prepared 9 inch round pans cook for 30 -35 minutes.

Frosting 1
4 cups powered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat butter and cocoa until fluffy. Gradually add  2 cups powered sugar and slowly add milk and vanilla. Add remaining powered sugar until frosting consistency is reached.

Frosting 2
2 1/2 cups powered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter
3 1/2 tsp boiling water
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients on low speed until combined. Beat for 1 min on med speed.

I knew I was going to have a TON of chocolate frosting on top of the cake and I was not too thrilled with making another batch of frosting and using even MORE confectioner's sugar, so I took some canned frosting and tinted it orange and used that between layers. Please don't judge. 

The chocolate cake was very rich and moist! I liked it a lot!

The vanilla cake was eh. It was a bit dry. Maybe I over cooked it, maybe the food coloring messes with it... I don't know. I'm not sure if I'll make it again. There are so many vanilla recipes to try!

 Frosting one was a crusting buttercream which was very good. I was hoping that frosting two would be fudgy-er, but it was still good. 

WARNING: If you let your 5 year old lick the frosting from the beaters, a Chocolate Zombie may result. Take Caution and be prepared! 

Happy Birthday to ME!
Enjoy :)

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mini Chocolate Tarts

What to do with all of your left over Halloween chocolate candy??
Make mini chocolate tarts, of course! 
These were super easy for the kids to help with. My daughter had some friends over and they were practicing for Trick-or-Treating while waiting for the delicious treats to melt. 

Here's what you'll need.
1 box of mini-fillo shells (15 to a box) find them in the freezer section
mini candies - Rolos, Kisses, mini Peanut butter cups, chopped up Butterfingers,
Snickers, Milky Way, etc.
Garnish- Whipped cream, Cool Whip, marshmallows, nuts, more chocolate... just go nuts!

Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.
You can place the frozen shells on a foil lined cookie sheet, or place them in a mini cupcake pan like we did.
Unwrap the candy and place them in the shells.
Bake for 5 minutes.
Using the back of a spoon, press down on the melted candy and flatten out the chocolate.
If you want to melt marshmallows on top, place the pan back in to the oven to soften the marshmallows or put them under a gas broiler to "roast" them.
Let cool for 5 minutes, so as not to burn your tongue and eat all warm and gooey.
Or let cool to room temperature to add whip cream.

Add toppings and decorate!

The girls (and adults) LOVED these mini tarts!
They were pop in your mouth good!
Easy and fast to make!
Uses up that Halloween candy, that you KNOW will be sitting there taunting you until Christmas!

You know you want some!

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Crazy for Crust                        This Chick Cooks
Hugs & Cookies XOXO         Someday Crafts
Lady Behind the Curtain
Living Life Intentionally 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

French Bread

I love to bake fresh bread when it gets cold out. There are so many easy recipes that are fast and easy to make. Don't be scared to make a fresh loaf tonight with some chili, stew, crock pot roast beef. Oh.My.Gosh! That all sounds so good. If you have been following me on facebook, then you know that I have been suffering from some gall bladder issues. Not to get too scientific on ya, but the gall bladder secretes bile to aid in the digestion of fat. As a result, when I eat fatty foods, my gall bladder can't do its job properly and it feels like I was hit in the stomach with a baseball bat. Yeah, it really is that bad. 
So, I am on a NO FAT diet. Which I really hate because I have been all protein and low sugars for so long, that I just don't know what to eat. Well, except for bread and hard candies.... 

So, this is one of my go to bread pages and recipe for French Bread at Bread World. This really is an easy recipe to make and follow. Everyone in the family loves it and it's good for two to three days. Pull it out of the oven, let it rest for 20 minutes, slice in add some butter. Enjoy!

Bake some Love tonight!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Adding Sprinkles to a Cake Pop

Sprinkles, sprinkles, sprinkles! I LOVE me some sprinkles! 
I hate walking on them.
I hate sweeping them up.
I hate finding them hiding in the corners of my kitchen.
I hate spending lots of $$$ just to have them scatter across my counter tops.
I hate ending up with a blue sprinkle in the the pink sprinkles!

So... In the spirit of "Works for me Wednesday", here's what I do.

I take an 8 inch strip of foil and rip it in half. 

I take the half and I fold up the edges to make 4 sides.

I hold my pop over the foil square and sprinkle the sprinkles on to the pop. 

When all of the sprinkling is done, I make a little funnel and pour it back into the container.

No mess. 

No waste.

No mixed sprinkles.

I also have a small funnel that I use to get sprinkles back into those multi-chamber containers with the six different sprinkles mix. You know the one. The nice thing about the funnel, is that it has a wide base to allow the larger sprinkles through.

Add some Sparkle to Today!
Be Creative!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Easy Homemade Applesauce

I could not believe how easy and fast it was to make applesauce! I'm not sure why I thought it would be difficult, but it wasn't. If you can make homemade mashed potatoes, you can make applesauce.

I went through my "Joy of Cooking" book and found this recipe.
Here's what you'll need:
3 pounds of apples - have a variety of 3
1/2 cup apple juice or cider 
1/2 squeezed lemon juice
1 large cinnamon stick
1/2 cup sugar - white or turbinado or 6 Tbls honey
Optional - 1/2 tsp ground ginger
Optional - 1/2 tsp ground mace
Optional - 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Wash and thinly slice up the apples. I had Granny Smith, Gala, and Honey Crisp apples.
Place in a heavy cooking pot with the juice and cinnamon sticks and squeeze 1/2 lemon over.
Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir often over low heat.
Apples should be tender, but nut mushy.

Add the sugar or honey and any optional ingredients you wish to flavor. FYI - I did not care for the mace. 
Once the sugar is dissolved, remove the cinnamon stick and use a potato masher to mush into sauce. Depending on your level of chunkiness desired, use a spoon for much chunky, a masher for medium chunky and a food processor for a smooth sauce. Give your kids a job and let them mush up the apples. 

I made 1/3 of this recipe, and it was the perfect amount for my family of 3. I like medium chunky and I did not add any optional ingredients into my sauce. I left the skins on, again like mashed potatoes. Next time, I would cut the apple slices in half to have smaller pieces of peel in my sauce. 
Make it along with some pork chops tonight! 

Everyday should be this sweet!

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mummy Pretzels

These Mummies are fast and easy for you kids to make!

Here's what you need!

12 Pretzel Rods
Black Cookie Icing
24 Candy Eyes-mini m&m's, candy sprinkles, sugar eyes, fondant, etc.
6 oz. White Chocolate
Cookie Sheet lined with wax paper

Here's what you do!

Line up pretzel rod on the wax paper. Add a dot of black cookie icing. This is the glue that'll hold the eyes in place.
Place the eyes on the icing.

Melt white chocolate in microwave or over double boiler. Spoon into baggie, press out air, and seal. Snip off a corner of the baggie. How much you cut will determine how thin or thick your "rags" will be.

Squeeze the chocolate in a zig-zag motion across the pretzel avoiding the eyes. Do two passes over the pretzel for a random criss-cross patter for the rags. 

Let dry for 5 minutes in the fridge. 

Enjoy! At least it should keep the kids busy for 5 minutes... 

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Maple Apple Walnut Tarts

I was standing in line at the grocery store the other day, so I picked up a little cookbook that they have sitting next to the tabloids and magazines. I was flipping through it and decided on a whim to buy it. I mean, I have enough cookbooks. I don't need more books that never get used. I could stay busy FOREVER with The Joy of Cooking Book. But, I hate long recipes. I hate recipes that need to be exact and precise. I'm all for fast and easy and what I have on hand.
So I came home with this little Pillsbury Holiday Dessert recipe book and sat down with my daughter and asked her what Mommy should make. One bummer about The Joy of Cooking is no pictures. I want pictures. I need pictures.

Their Maple Apple Walnut Tart sang to me. I had apples. I had walnuts. I had maple syrup. AND I had a frozen pie crust waiting to be used. So, this is what I made.

For a full size Tart or 8 mini tarts - You will need:
frozen pie crust package (2 crusts)
2 eggs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup melted butter
2 Tbls flour
dash of salt
2 cups sliced peeled apples
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 deg F. Unroll pie crust and line tart pan. Trim off edges.

Mix eggs, brown sugar, syrup, butter, flour and salt. Stir in walnuts and apples. Pour into pie pan. Make fancy decorations out of extra crust to add to top. I used mini leaf cookie cutters.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes for a full size tart, 30 minutes for the mini tarts or until golden brown. Cool 2 hours before serving with whipped cream and syrup.

These had the perfect crunch from the walnuts and sweet from the maple syrup all coming together with the apples... mmmmmm! Serve it with whipped cream or ice cream with some maple syrup drizzled over top.

Make Some Yummy Tonight!

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pint Sized Cheesecakes

I was so inspired when I saw these Cheesecakes! Incredible! Wonderful! Stunning! 
I soooo wanted to make them! I found the pans online, but then looked around locally for them. Yeah, not so easy when you local shopping centers consist of Kohl's and Wal-Mart. I had to venture out to the city! Over the hills and through the woods (literally) to the Outlet Mall. I found my pan at a Corningware store. They have little disks that pop out of the bottoms so you just push the disk up and remove them from the pan. It wasn't as easy as it seems because my fingers are short and they are tall. I did have to smooth out a few fingerprints from the sides.  But, it still worked great!

So for my first test run, I went and made some Jell-O No Bake Cheesecake mix. Yes, from the box (eek!) - you know- for testing purposes. Wouldn't want to waste good cream cheese. From the box mix I got 6 pint sized cheesecakes. I followed the directions and then split the batter in half and colored one yellow and one orange. Added the layers, set in the fridge, and whipped some cream to top it off. 
NEXT time, I'll make the real deal and see how it goes. I'll use more filling - to me, these look a bit stumpy. I want to try different flavors and colors. I am so excited to make some cheesecake treats!

FYI - those Gummy Candy Corns on top were GROSS! I spit them out! Even the kids did not like them! Blech! But at least they looked pretty for the picture. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Apple Turnovers

Apple Turnovers ... OR Homemade Hostess Apple Pie Take-a-longs!

I found the recipe here, ignored the directions and made my own! You should follow the instructions.... I had way too much apple filling and small turnovers. 
But small is good if you're on a diet :)

Here is what you'll need:
Frozen Puff Pastry package
2 -3 apples (different ones add more flavor)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp flour
1/4 squeezed lemon (1 tsp lemon juice)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1 beaten egg
Cookie sheet lined with parchment paper

Preheat oven to  350  degrees F.
Remove Puff Pastry from freezer and wrapper and allow to defrost.
Wash and chop up apples.
Mix together in a bowl, apples, brown sugar, flour, lemon, cinnamon and nutmeg. 

Once Puff Pastry is thawed, cut into 9 equal squares. They will be roughly 3 x 3 inch squares.

I used my Wilton Pastry Wheel. I use it for cutting dough, fondant, and soft candy.  Love it!

I made turnovers, but the "Instructions" are different. Place pastry square on a parchment lined cookie sheet. I pulled my square a bit long and folded it over some of the apple filling. Cut a crescent or L shape in the top of the dough to act as a vent. Press edges to seal. 

Brush beaten egg on top of turnovers and cook in oven for 20 minutes until golden brown. 

Golden, Yummy Goodness! Serve hot for breakfast or dessert (or lunch).  If you want the "full" turnover experience, make a glaze with 1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar and 3 to 4 Tsp. milk. 
Drizzle over top.

So stinkin' Good!!!

Go make some memories!

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