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Monday, November 28, 2011

Red Velvet Candy Cane Cupcakes

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! 
Did everyone have a great Thanksgiving holiday with family and/or friends? Was it total chaos or a quiet family gathering? I guess it depends on how many kids there are and if you have a crazy relative that  just never knows when to shut-up or how to behave.

My family celebrated on Sunday the 20th. It was a fun time with family Wii games...

Yep! That's Mr. Quart and his Sister, battling
it out on the Wii.

... And a pre-made dinner cooked and delivered via Costco!
Please don't laugh. 
It was the easiest Thanksgiving dinner I have ever had!
Easy cook and clean up.
Time with my family.
Plenty of leftovers.
And, not totally exhausted at 6:30am when my alarm clock went off on Monday morning.
I did make fresh rolls from Bakingdom and the Pumpkin Pudding Pies with real whipped cream topping.  So, please, give me some credit ;)

On Thanksgiving Day, Mr. Quart was working and my Little Cup was with Grandma and I had the house to myself. It was peace and quiet and leftover pie! I watched 2 movies and a few more episodes of Mad Men while putting together scrapbooks of my daughter's 5th birthday (only 10 months later) and a our first trip to Disney World! That's two things to check off my "to do" list. 

When everyone was back home and together for the weekend, I wanted to get into the Christmas spirit!
 I love candy canes - so what better treat than Candy Cane Frosting?
But this isn't regular 'ol butter cream, this is the Whipped Cream frosting that I made! 
I took ten mini candy canes and crushed them in a baggie with the back of a spoon.
Then I sifted the "dust" from the chunks with a wire colander.
I made the frosting, and folded in the candy cane "dust" just until mixed. Sorry, but I really didn't measure how much I added. If I had to guess I'd say I had about 2 tablespoons of candy cane to 2 cups of frosting.

I topped off some Red Velvet Cupcakes with the frosting using a Wilton 1M tip to pipe on swirls. Be careful with the tip and the candy. There were still some larger dust pieces that did clog the tip and make some marks on the cupcakes. 
Then I topped them off with the left over candy cane chunks. After an hour or so, I did notice the white frosting starting to tint pink. It didn't get bad, but it is something to be aware of. 

I love, love, loved them! I would recommend this Candy Cane frosting to go with chocolate or vanilla cake. And the Red Velvet was just perfect for the holiday! 

Enjoy the Sweetness of the Season!

I shared this post with a few Blog friends - check them out :)

One Tough Mother
Add a Pinch
Tidy Mom
Sweet as Sugar Cookies
Cupcake Apothecary

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gumdrop Turkeys

I found this somewhere in blogland and pinned it! I thought the little Gumdrop Turkey was a perfect Arts and Crafts project for my Little Cup. While out picking up you last minute Thanksgiving ingredients at the store, stop by the candy or bulk foods section and pick up some supplies!

While my Little Cup and two other friends played, I got 3 plates of the "ingredients" ready for them to create! All the kids will enjoy this project while you slave away in the kitchen.

Here's what you need:
8 - 10 small gumdrops in various colors
1 large gumdrop
6 toothpicks
1 marshmallow
nerds for eyes and beak
red fruit roll up

Here's what you do:
Attach one or two gumdrops to five of the toothpicks. These are the tail feathers.
Break the last toothpick and half. This is the neck.
Attach one gumdrop to the short toothpick.
Pull off three small bits of the marshmallow and attach for the eyes and beak. 
To the marshmallow, add the nerds. 
Cut a small sliver from the fruit roll up for the hang down.
Add all toothpicks to the large gumdrop and Enjoy!

Watch the weight of the tail in the back. We had some issues with Turkeys falling over backwards. 
The girls had a lot of fun making these and I hope that you do too!

Smile and Enjoy the Moment!

I shared this with a few blogs, Check them out!

Sumo's Sweet Stuff                    One Tough Mother                    The Kurtz Corner
Dittle Dattle                                Sweetology                               Ginger Snap Crafts
Add a Pinch                                It's A Blog Party                      Crazy for Crust

Friday, November 18, 2011

My New Favorite Frosting!

This is my new FAVORITE frosting!
I found this recipe in BH&G magazine and saved it for "later". Over the weekend, I was getting out my Costco sized bag of powered sugar to make some frosting and I remembered this recipe. I didn't need to weigh out a pound of sugar or use two sticks of butter!

This was a total life saver!

It is light and fluffy. There is a hint of sweet. It won't over power your cupcake flavor.
If you are a fan of home made whipped cream, then this is for YOU!

Here's what you need:
2 Tbsp cold water
1 tsp unflavored gelatin (Knox gelatin)
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Here's what you do:
In a heavy pot, heat up an inch of water to a boil.
Combine cold water and gelatin in a glass measuring cup and let stand for 2 minutes.
Place the measuring cup into the boiling water and stir until the the gelatin is completely dissolved.
Remove from heat and allow the gelatin to cool at least 5 minutes.

While that is cooling, in a mixing bowl, beat heavy cream and sugar on medium speed. Once the cream starts to thicken, slowly add in the gelatin mixture.
Continue beating until stiff peaks form.

This first time, I did not add any extracts or flavors, but I want to experiment with them soon!
I placed the frosting into a piping bag and used a basic Wilton 2A tip.
Then, I just added some sugar pearls and called them Beautiful!
The gelatin will help the frosting keep its shape for 2 days, but I did find that it got slightly firm (not hard - just firm like jell-o) on the outside. The inside was still fluffy and tasted like whipped cream.

If you have used this recipe and like it, please let me know. It's new to me!
Don't bother with the Cool Whip -THIS would also be GREAT on that pumpkin pie that you have planned for Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

P.S. I would not use this frosting for cake pops... Just sayin'.

Smile and the World Smiles with You! 

I shared this with:
Hoosier Homemade

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Guest Post - Pumpkin Pudding Pies

Hi everyone!
Just wanted to let ya'll know that I am guest blogging today over at One Tough Mother!

I made some Pumpkin Pudding Pies for Kids to decorate as Turkeys AND a Pumpkin Pudding Pie for the adults! You get the best of both worlds! 

So, head on over and check it out! 

Sneak Peak to My Guest Post

I am so super Excited!!!! I have been sharing my blog on a few Linky Parties with fellow bloggers and have made some new friends. One of my new Bloggy Friends is Kristen of One Tough Mother, and she asked if I could do a guest post for her tomorrow!

I have a confession to make - I am a guest blog virgin. Please don't laugh. 

I am nervous and excited and I just want people to like me. 

BTW - Thank you to my new fans for liking me :) 
I see the little count go up little by little and I really appreciate the positive comments and feedback!

So, here's a Sneak Peak of what I created for One Tough Mother. Check back Thursday, 11/17, for the full blog on how to make this kid friendly, Arts and Crafts, Thanksgiving dessert!

Life should be FUN!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chocolate Covered Cherries

I wanted to test out some "early" Christmas treats.
I thought these little chocolate covered cherries would be great for:
a) Holiday Parties
b) Home made gifts
c) yourself!
And you know what? I was right!

These little bites of pure sugar sweet bliss were Fan-Tas-Tick!
Loved each and every bite... and then they were gone.
Another great thing about this treat, is that you make them 2 weeks in advance of the party. They are made so far ahead of time, you don't have to stress about them right BEFORE the event. One less thing to take care of. If only I could get my husband ready 2 weeks in advance... sigh...

Kraft Baking & Canning Baker's Dipping Chocolate Real Dark Semi - Sweet - 8 Pack

I found this in my Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book
Here's what you'll need: (and here's what I made)
60 maraschino cherries with stems (maybe 20 cherries with stems)
3 tablespoons butter, softened (1T butter)
3 tablespoons corn syrup (1T corn syrup)
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (2/3 C powered sugar)
1 pound chocolate confectioners' coating (Baker's Dipping Chocolate )

Here's what you do:

Drain cherries on a paper napkin for several hours. Flip them a few times to ensure that all the liquid has drained out.

Mix the butter and corn syrup and sift in the powered sugar. Mix with a spoon to combine. As the mixture gets thicker, use your hands. You may have to chill it if it becomes too soft to handle.

Shape 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar around each cherry. Place the covered cherries on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and chill for 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

Melt the chocolate according to the directions in the microwave.
Hold the cherry by the stem and dip into the melted chocolate. Make sure to completely coat the cherry and not to allow any holes or bubbles to allow air to get to the cherry. Let the excess chocolate drip off and place back on to the wax paper. 
Once all are dipped and chocolate is hardened (you may place back in fridge to speed up the process) place the cherries into a Tupperware container and hide in the back store in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks. The time in the fridge allows the sugar to soften and liquefy.

One week in fridge. See how the sugar is still thick and defined?
They still tasted great! Some might prefer this texture.

Two weeks in the fridge. The sugar is melting and gives that great melt in you mouth feeling. Some might prefer this texture.

Take the cherries out of the fridge a few hours before serving them and keep the container closed. Condensation will form on the chocolate and lead to sticky, sweaty chocolate and nobody wants that. Serve on a pretty platter with other holiday treats for guests to enjoy!

*** Valentine's Day Update: Make them in the beginning of February to give to your special someone for Valentine's Day! ***

Make Ahead for a Stress Free Treat!

I've shared this in the following Blogs - Check them out!
Whipper Berry
Alli n Son
One Tough Mother
The Kurtz Corner
Everything Under the Moon
It's Overflowing
Mrs. Fox's Sweets
Somewhat Simple
Something Swanky
The Crafty Blog Stalker
The D.I.Y Dreamer

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Death By Chocolate Cookie

Easy Peasy! Lickety Split! Death By Chocolate Cookies are sure to satisfy your chocolate tooth.
These were easy to make, considering I was recovering from surgery when I made these for me my family.
They are soft and chocolaty, and my daughter LOVED decorating them herself! 

Here's what you'll need;
1 box Devil's Food Cake mix
1/2 cup melter butter
1/4 water
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup chocolate chunks (I used a mix of dark and milk chocolate)
1/4 cup white chocolate chips

Here's what you'll do:
Preheat to 350deg F.
Combine cake mix, butter, water, egg, and vanilla on med speed for 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chunks.
Drop heaping tablespoons of dough on baking sheet 3 inches apart. I used my Norpro cookie scoop and got 3 dozen cookies.
Bake 12 - 14 minutes until puffed. Cool for 2 minutes prior to transferring to a cooling rack.
Melt white chocolate chips in a baggie in the microwave. 15 sec at 70% power and knead bag until all melted. Snip off small corner of the baggie to add some design drizzle on cookies.
Eat and enjoy!

To allow your children to have some fun - mix up a few different colors of the chocolate by either buying pre colored melting wafers, like Wilton or Make N Mold, or add OIL based coloring to the chocolate. Do NOT add waster based coloring! It will be B-A-D! and the kiddos will be S-A-D! If you don't have either the colored chocolate or oil based coloring, make some fake Royal Icing with powered sugar and milk. The kids will eat it up!

Design courtesy of  my Little Cup!

Enjoy the easy things in Life!

Check out the blogs that I shared this with:
Hug & Cookies XOXO
This Chick Cooks
Tidy Mom
Living Life Intentionally
Mom to 2 Posh Divas
Beauty and Bedlam
It's a Blog Party

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fudge Part II

While I was playing with my Pumpkin Butterscotch Fudge pictures, I wanted to do more than just cut out squares. So, I got out my mini fall leaf cookie cutter and got busy!

These little leaves were a great find! I've used them before for other baked goods. It's a fall decoration I use on pies and tarts to add a bit of pop. I also had some Wilton Fall Leaves sprinkle to add to my fudge to give some needed color. 
I cut out the leaf shapes with the mini cutters and then melted some chocolate chips in a baggie in the microwave and drizzled it over the fudge. Then I added a few leaves to the wet chocolate and let them dry.

Since I am a cake popper at heart, I made some Fudge Pops. These were formed with the left over scraps from the leaves. I just gathered them up and formed a ball. The candy coating is red and brown that I marbled together. To see a video of my marble technique, click here

Finally, with a few more fudge pieces, I made some Fudge Truffles. I used the same technique I did here and "tried" to be sophisticated with my designs of swirls and lines. I wan't too happy with the results, I've done better... 

The Pumpkin Butterscotch Fudge was already very sweet and the extra sweetness of the candy coating was a bit too much for my pallet. The leaves were the best with just the hint of chocolate without overpowering the taste buds with a sweet bomb!

Make Life Fun!

I'v shared this post with the following Blogs:
Crazy for Crust
This Chick Cooks

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin Butterscotch Fudge

I made Pumpkin Butterscotch FUDGE! 
And I finally used my candy thermometer! I have always made fudge in the microwave. Easy, minimal mess and time involved. But, I figured if I'm gonna make it, I'm gonna make it right!
So I was trying to figure out what I could make with pumpkin that wasn't pie or bread and I saw a note about Pumpkin fudge! I started researching recipes and I came across this one! I figured it sound the best and used up my Butterscotch chips! I am so happy that I made it!

Here's what you'll need:
2 cups sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
7 oz marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
11 oz package of Butterscotch morsels

Here's what you do:
Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil.
In a heavy pot combine sugar, brown sugar, milk, pumpkin, butter and spice. Bring to a full boil and stir constantly. Continue for 12 to 15 minutes until candy thermometer reached soft-ball stage, 234 to 240 degrees F.

Remove from heat and quickly add in butterscotch, marshmallow, 1/2 cup nuts and vanilla. Stir until butterscotch is completely melted and then add to pan. Add remaining 1/2 cup nuts to the top of the fudge.
Allow to cool for at least 2 hours. 
Cut into 1 inch squares, removing the foil, and share with good friends! 
Store in an air tight container in the fridge.

This fudge was very sweet! I made it with and without the walnuts. The walnuts helped to bring the sweetness down a bit. If you like super sweet fudge, this is the treat for you!

Enjoy a taste of Fall today! And Check out more Fudge Pictures HERE!

This was Shared with the following Blogs - check them out for more ideas!
Add a Pinch                        Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom
Sweetology                         One Tough Mother
Tip Junkie                           It's a Blog Party
At the Well                         From Mess Hall to Bistro
Crazy for Crust                  Hugs & Cookies XOXO
Tidy Mom                           Whipper Berry
Alli N Son

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Baked Apples

It got cold here in the West Virginia panhandle. You may have heard about the freak snow storm we had this past Friday - in OCTOBER! Winter Fall is upon us. The leave are changing and the night air is cold and crisp - perfect night for Baked Apples! I had one large Honey Crisp apple left in the fridge, so this is just an Apple treat for one. (But, I did share it with my Little Cup). These apples are tart and juicy and one of the best fall apples! I can't get them any other time of year. So they are an annual treat for me!I left the apple out to warm to room temperature (which was all of 64 in the house) for 3 hours.

Wash the apple and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Core the apple, without puncturing the bottom of the apple. I used a sharp knife and spoon to do this.
Stuff in 2 Tbls of brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)

Top with a 1 tbls pat of butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

I have cinnamon sticks! Love the fresh cinnamon smell when I grate it with my Microplane grater. This is the best grater/zester that I have ever owned. FYI - Watch your finger tips and knuckles when using it.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, until sugar begins to caramelize and apples are tender. Let cool for a few minutes and slice into it! The apple was warm, but not mushy. It kept a lot of the crunch and the tart apple with the dark brown sugar was so good! 

You can also stuff it with your favorite apple pie flavors like chopped walnuts or pecans, raisins, dates, or craisins under the butter, or make an oatmeal crumble topping. There are so many different ways to make a baked apple. Have fun, use what you have on hand.

Enjoy and Keep life Simple!

This post was shared on these Blogs - check them out!
Hugs and Cookies XOXO                         Lady Behind the Curtain 
It's a Blog Party
Someday Crafts

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