{holiday} Happy Valentine’s Day

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*NOTE* This is NOT a sponsored post.  I bought this little gadget because I wanted it…it was not given to me to try or blog about.

 

Last night seemed to be the perfect time to try out my new little gadget, the babycakes cake pop maker.  The perfect time because, first, I wait until the last minute to do stuff, and second, because I needed to make treats for the teacher luncheon at school today.  Ok, so I mixed up a regular chocolate cake mix and poured it into a big squeeze bottle I have.  *I think the squeeze bottle made it ten times easier*  I heated up the babycakes and filled each little pocket almost to the top.  It works kinda like a waffle iron.  If you get it too full it just runs out of the sides.  Trust me, I did this a few times and it didn’t seem to alter the cake pop in any way.  After about four and a half minutes cook time, I opened the machine to find 12 cute little perfectly baked chocolate cake balls.  Which, by the way, really do taste like chocolate cake.  Honestly I was afraid they might taste like Easy Bake Oven food…you know?  I popped them out and set them to cool on the handy dandy little pop tray that’s included.

Traditionally, I guess cake pops stand up on a stick with the pop at the top.  Cute, yes, but I would have had to find some sort of display to hold them and I was running out of time and energy…I decided to go with sitting pops.  I’ve had a set of 25 red and white paper straws from Hey YoYo for a while now.  I figured they would work as little handles for the pops.  Since I was serving to a large crowd, the handles also work well so that everyone is not touching all the food, kwim? I cut the straws in half (good straws, by the way) and dipped the ends in some melted chocolate wafers before I speared the cake pop.

I dipped the whole pop in the melted chocolate wafers and sprinkled them some cute mini hearts.  I added flags to just a few.

The teachers loved them and I spared a few for our dessert tonight.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

{my real life} Birthday Cup Cakes…literally

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I play bunco with a nice group of ladies.  I think bunco is an Army wife staple…that, knowing where to stuff the TA50, and knowing how to make a green bean casserole.  Anyhoo, it’s a fun excuse to get out of the house.  And I always say, if it’s something I can do with a drink in one hand and while carrying on a conversation, then it’s pretty easy.

This month was my good friend’s turn to host.  And it was also her birthday.  So I made birthday cup cakes.  Not cupcakes.  Cup cakes.  I think we were talking one day and I was saying how I saw some cute clear cups on Pinterest that had been personalized with stickers from Frog Prince Paperie.  Then we started talked about what you could put in the cups.  It might have even been the birthday girl’s good idea to put cupcakes in cups.  And then I remembered this pin, too, from Lisa Storms.  We thought it would be a great idea for kid birthdays…no papers to mess with and maybe a bit less messy.  So I decided to try it out on the bunco ladies.  I’m pretty sure they were a hit with the crowd :)

I found the ‘crystal cut’ plastic cups at Target. I made a simple happy birthday tag for each one, printed them on sticker paper, and cut them out with a 2-inch circle punch.  I loaded each cup with a bit of icing so that the cupcake would stick (plus it’s a nice little treat to get extra icing in the bottom of your cup!).  I plopped the cupcakes in and iced them.  I gave each cake a candle (like I did here) and a bit of yellow frosting for a flame.  The cups actually made it really easy to transport them, too.  I lined a basket with tissue and loaded the cups…the cupcakes didn’t touch each other and it made for a nice little display, too.

And a party just isn’t a party without party favors, so each bunco lady got a little something to take home, too.  And the birthday girl got a little something extra.  My inspiration?  Another pin!

 

And the birthday girl got a little something extra.  My inspiration?  Another pin from Poca Cosa via Be Different Act Normal!

 

And the birthday girl was happy with her chocolate cake!

{Teacher Appreciation} Day 2…for some POP!ular teachers

Last year’s collaboration with Bridget from Bake@350 has been one of my most popular {ha!} posts.  She made the most adorable cookies ever.  We bagged them up with a cute treat topper and they were wildly popular {there it is again, I swear I’m not trying}.  It certainly helped that we were basically neighbors and we met to put the bags together.  You can read all about it here.

I am a big Bridget fan.  I’ve been reading and drooling over her blog for a long time.  And while I consider myself fairly crafty and a bit of a foodie, I have never tackled cookies.  Well, does Toll House break and bake count?  Anyway, although we have since moved and I am no longer close to Bridget, boo hoo, I decided I could still do a popular gift for our teachers this year in keeping with the theme from last year.

Not long ago, Bridget did a post about some candied popcorn she made.  She found the recipe from another super blogger, Kellie from This Blessed Nest. At the end, a comment was made about how you really could make this popcorn for any occasion….ding! ding! ding!  idea.

I followed Kellie’s instructions.  I used that microwave popcorn she did…by the way, it’s really yummy.  I used plain vanilla candy melts {you can find those at Walmart now for those of you, like me, who live in small towns} and regular M&Ms.  I did take out {ahem, devour} the brown M&Ms…just because I didn’t feel they went with my color scheme.  Call me picky.  I bagged it up and tied the bags with ribbon and this cute little tag I made.  And guess what?  I made some tags for you, too.  You can download them here. As always, they are in pdf format, so all you have to do is open and print.  You do have to have the free Adobe Reader, but you probably already have it on your computer.

Um…this stuff is delicious.  Seriously.  I’m surprised it made it into bags for the teachers.

 

 

 

{Marry Me Monday} A sweet little wedding favor

I know this is a little bit late since it’s Tuesday already…but too cute not to show.  I finished up the updated candy bar box template and have some to show!  I released this template a long time ago and it was formatted to fit money, too.  Well, that was just a bit too awkward.  This new box measures about 6.5″ long, almost 2.5″ tall, and a bit more than .25″ deep.  The absolute perfect size to fit a standard sized chocolate bar.  The perfect little box for a quick, easy, and inexpensive wedding favor.  Plus, use digital papers or color it to match your wedding colors and personalize it with your date and initials for a very personal favor, too.

The template comes in many different formats for all kinds of users.  The PSD file can be used with your photo editing software, the SVG and DXF files can be used with your Cricut (and additional software) or Silhouette digital die cut machine, and the PDF file can be printed and used as a pattern to use on pretty scrapbook paper.  Also included is a step by step instruction sheet with photos!  It’s here…and on sale.

I’ve gotta mention to that it’s a great little goody for birthday parties, showers, luncheons…even a special teacher treat!

template, paper and modified alpha from the Little Bird kit

Paper from Color of Happy by Valorie Wibbens

 

{The Big Dip} Fish {on a} Stick

I’ve been working on some printables for little fishy party.  I’ve been trying to come up with some tasty little party treats.  You know, so I can try them out.  And taste as many as needed to assure good quality control.  I wouldn’t want to recommend something I wouldn’t eat {several of} myself.  I decided to go with an old favorite…dipped Oreos on a stick.  I’ve done them before (there’s even some how-to pics). They are easy and yummy.

That’s an Oreo with a rice cereal treat ‘lip’ on the fishbowl dipped in candy melts.  The little fishies are candy melts that I piped on wax paper and then attached after they dried.  Quick, easy, and cheap…my three requirements!  How could you not love a cookie on a stick dipped in candy??

I can’t wait to show you the printables that match…coming soon!

12 Days Blog Hop: Day 3

My turn!  I can’t say I’m really a very good cook.  However, I am a decent baker.  This time of year is really when I want to make and bake.  This little project involves both!  I started making Peppermint Bark last year.  I saw it in the stores, knew I could do it myself for a lot less $$.  As it turns out, I was right!  It’s easy and delicious, but I just never liked how it wasn’t pretty.  I get it, it’s bark and you just break it off…but I like things nice and tidy…and pretty.  This year I’m making Pretty Peppermint Bark for Day 3 of the 12 Days Blog Hop and it’s also my December feature for Woodlands Family Magazine!

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What you’ll need…

Cookie sheet

Wax paper

Cookie cutters

Chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate chips)

White candy chips, white chocolate chips, or almond bark

Crushed peppermint

Cover the cookie sheet with wax paper.  Lay the cookie cutters on the wax paper.

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Melt the chocolate chips according to the directions.  On a side note, I melt my chocolate chips in a disposable candy making bag (similar to a decorating bag) that I picked up at the craft store.  I put the chips in the bag, twist the top, and melt the chips on half power in the microwave.  After the chips are melted, I snip the end to squeeze out the chocolate.  I filled each cookie cutter with a layer of chocolate, making sure to fill in all of the nooks and the keep the cookie cutter from moving around on the wax paper.  Don’t worry about making the layer pretty, it will be covered up with the next layer.  Pop the entire cookie sheet in the freezer for about 5 minutes.

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The next layer is white…candy chips, chocolate chips, or almond bark work.  I used candy chips and I melted them the same way I did the chocolate chips.  Then I filled each cookie cutter individually, making sure to sprinkle crushed peppermint immediately after filling the layer.  Press slightly on the crushed peppermint to settle.  Pop the cookie sheet in the freezer again for about 10 minutes.  The peppermint bark will slip out of the cookie cutters with a gentle push.

dec-pepbark3 Included in the 12 Days Grab Bag is this quick and easy printable for packaging your Pretty Peppermint Bark.

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I just need a bite of cake

I was telling my friend Patti, the other day that sometimes I just need a bite of cake.  One bite…like at ten o’clock at night when it’s quiet and the kids are asleep and I’m enjoying my down time.  And not a whole piece of cake, just a bite.

I had about a dozen devil’s food cupcakes left over from the boy’s special birthday treats and decided to go all Bakerella.  I crumbled the cupcakes up in a big bowl.  Here’s where I went crazy.

I crushed an entire sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints into the cupcake crumbles.

Yum, right?  Then I emptied a can of vanilla icing into the bowl.  I really wanted to use cream cheese icing, but hubby is not big on cream cheese icing.  I did not need to eat all of these cake balls myself, so I compromised.  In this case, vanilla icing=fitting into my pants.

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I mushed it all up and formed little balls.  I had some little wooden spoon things…remember like those ones you used to get with the ice cream cups?…and stuck those in each ball.  I stuck them in the freezer for a bit and then dipped them in light cocoa candy melts.  I added a few sprinkles, because, well, sprinkles make everything taste better.

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Now to just eat one.

Our little birthday tradition

It started three years ago when we lived in New Jersey.  My son was in Kindergarten.  According to NJ school law at the time, you could not send anything to school (for birthdays, parties, etc) that was not ‘healthy.’  Now that doesn’t exactly make much room for special birthday cupcakes.  So, after some thought, I came up with a plan.  Cinnamon muffins (which vaguely LOOK like cupcakes) and pretzel candles.  I did jazz up the pretzels a bit with candy coating and jimmies…but it’s still a pretzel and pretzels were on the acceptable list and technically it’s a pretzel.  I was clinging to that.  Turns out, the kids loved them and thus began our birthday cupcake tradition.  Now that we live in Texas, cupcakes are still acceptable special birthday treat.  At the request of the birthday boy, this year was devil’s food with chocolate icing.  Yummy choice.

To make the pretzels, I just dipped pretzels sticks into white candy melts, twirled the stick to get rid of the excess coating, and rolled them in jimmies.  Once I get them pushed into the cupcake, I give them a little flame with yellow icing.  This year, one of the third graders thought it really was a candle!

bdaytradition And the finished product…

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I’ve never seen anyone else do this, so I’m proud to call this an original idea.  I don’t know how many more years he’s actually gonna let me make these and bring them to school.  I’m enjoying while I can.  I love having and creating new traditions in our family.  Let me hear some of your birthday traditions!

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