Adventures in Baking- Cake Pops

These pops are essentially cake truffles on a stick and are very simple to prepare: Bake a cake, mush it up with frosting, roll it into balls, insert a stick, and dip it in chocolate! These things really are a hit with kids because they are so fun, but adults seem to enjoy the delicious truffle-like confections equally well.

Want to make some? Here are step-by-step instructions:

What you will need (get all your materials BEFORE you begin)

What you will need:

  • 1 (14.25 oz) box cake mix, any flavor
  • 1 (16 oz) tub frosting, any flavor (you will not need all of it)
  • 1 (24 oz) package of Wilton Candy Melts or  almond bark/candy coating
  • Sprinkles or decorations
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Long piece of foam covered in plastic
  • 3″x4″ cello bags (optional)
  • Curling ribbon (optional)
  • Wilton Chocolate Pro Chocolate Melter (optional)

 

Step One:

Bake a cake- It really doesn’t matter what type of cake.  Box cakes work fine. For me, the Funfetti and the Chocolate Fudge cakes are the best. Red velvet cakes are also delicious to use. These are the best cakes to use, epecially if you are just starting out.

Step Two:

Slightly underbake the cake, you don’t want a thick film to form on top of the cake.

Step Three:

As soon as the cake is made, take it out of the oven, and let it cool awhile. Take a fork and crumble up the cake. It will allow the cake to cool faster. You can put it in the refrigerator for a bit to further cool down. You want the cake to be cool or the icing will melt when you mix it in.

Step Four:

Mix in the frosting. You can use a mixer or do it by hand.  I don’t like too much frosting in my cakes so I use the minimum (about a third of a can). If you like that raw cake batter taste you can add more. Keep in mind the more frosting you add, the smaller your cake pops should be or they will be too heavy for the stick.

Step Five:

Make balls about one inch in size then put in freezer for a few minutes. Don’t keep them in too long.  Cake balls will freeze for awhile so you can make ahead. Just make sure they do not get icy, if they do the ice will affect the chocolate coating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step Six:

Melt the candy melts. They are fine as they are, but if they are too thick you can add a bit of vegetable oil or crisco to keep it smooth. I don’t like to add either when I make pops because they tend to “sweat” later.

Step Seven:

Dip the end of the popsicle stick into the chocolate then into a cake ball, make sure it creates a seal. You can place it upside down on the cookie sheet or sick side down into the foam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step Eight:

Dip each of the balls. Tap them slightly against the side of the bowl or chocolate melter till most of the chocolate is off and it is smooth. Hold over bowl and dust with sprinkles. Then placesick side down into foam.

After you completed a few, place in fridge so they get a chance to set…

 

 

 

After you are done, you can wrap them individually. These can be time intensive, so give yourself a bit of time to make. They keep for a few days in the refrigerator and if you keep them in a sealed air-tight container for about a month in the freezer.

You can get really creative with these pops. Here are some examples of some others I’ve made:

For the nose -raisinetts. For the ears use chocolate and coconut.

Hearts for Valentines’ Day. Just shape cake into a heart instead of a ball:

 

For additional inspiration try Bakerella! Her site is amazing.

Happy Baking! I’d love to see what you’ve done-post pictures in the comments section!

Adventures in Baking…

SLIDER CUPCAKES!

So Friday I baked, and baked and baked… I got the idea from Bakerella, but added my own twists. This was a labor of love for my husband’s birthday. He loves his hamburgers and I wanted his cake to be something special. They turned out pretty well.  Just give yourself a little bit of time if you want to make these.

Step One: Baking

Use one package of yellow cake mix and one package of brownie mix.

I added some vanilla extract and buttermilk to the yellow cake mix just to add a little flavor. Fill each cupcake holder with the cake batter, but do not fill up all the way. This is going to be your “bun”

While your cupcakes are cooling, bake your brownies. These are going to be your “patties”. Fill the cupcake containers half way. You dont have to make it too full.  Both mixes should make 24-30 cupcakes and brownies. Make sure you butter the pans well!

Step Two: Assembling the “Burger”

Using a good knife cut each cupcake into two parts.

 

 

Step Three: The “Cheese”

I made a marshmallow fondant.

I made it the night before which makes the process easier. The fondant can get a little sticky. If you need to make it more plialbe just wet your fingers with a little water. Look on the back of your food coloring and play with it till you get a yellow orange look. It really does look like cheese and actually tastes pretty good!

Step Four-Lettuce

 

Shredded coconut dyed green. Go easy on the food coloring or it will turn neon. You might want to put the coconut into a large zip lock bag then add a few drops of coloring and then add more if needed. I slightly toasted the coconut just to add a little bit more flavor. Don’t toast too long, if you do it will “wilt” your “lettuce”.

 

Step Five: Ketchup and Mustard

If you want to add Ketchup and Mustard. Just add some food coloring to frosting and add it to your hamburger. Mix a small amount of the frosting first to make sure you get the correct color. Mustard is easy just add yellow. Ketchup is a little more complex. Use a chart to help with mixing or just buy dark red food coloring. If you wanted “mayo” you could use a little white frosting. You don’t need to use too much frosting. I didn’t want the frosting to overwhelm the other flavors so I just added a bit here and there just so it would peek out from under the “bun”

If you want to add fries, which I did, just bake up a batch of sugar cookies. Using a pan, just roll out the cookie dough and bake. When it is almost hard, but not too hard take it out, let it cool and then cut into fry shaped sizes. Pop it back into the oven if you want a darker look then sprinkle with sugar for a “salty” look. You can even serve with a little “ketchup” on the side for dipping.

The results are an optical illusion in a way, and delicious!

Wine Adventures

I love wine, but wish I knew so much more bout it. I know that I like reds more than whites and I like Merlots but am starting to get a taste for Cabs. One day I was lucky enough to get a lesson from a friend who told me the basics of every wine label.

Every wine label should list four things the (1)  varietal of grape, (2) producer , (3)vintage year, and (4) region where the grapes are grown. The “varietal” indicates what type of grape is used to make the wine. Vintage year is the year the wine was made. That is easy enough, but wine has to be tasted right?

Looking for inexpensive but not cheap wines? Cost Plus World Market, Grocery Outlet, and Trader Joe’s are great places to get wine. In Orange County there are also some great places to enjoy a glass with friends.

WinedepotBrea offers  2 for Tuesdays. Buy one glass of wine from their “special selection” and get a second glass at no additional charge!  If you choose you can get  two glasses of wine for $5.

The Wine Exchange in Orange offers a $10 featured wine tasting on the first Thursday of every month. Check out their calendar for details.

UC Irvine Extension and the International Bacchus Society have teamed up to help promote philanthropy and wine education.  Every fourth Wednesday of the month stop in and enjoy unique wine tastings, good conversation and support a local charity. Each event supports a worthwhile cause and 100% of the proceeds go to the designated charity. Tickets are usually $20

The Laugna Culinary Arts School offers many events including a happy hour every Friday.  You can enjoy great food, a wine tasting of 5 different wines and a glass of wine for $20 per person! Additional glasses of wine at $6 per glass. Starts at 5pm. Come early for a good seat.  Also, on last Saturday of each month, from 1-4pm. you can taste 8 domestic and international wines for $5!

OCCustomWine also offers wine tastings for $5 and barrel tastings for $10

Also, if you are willing to drive to Temecula they have many excellent wineries.

One that I plan to visit very soon is Briar Rose Winery. My hubby and I stopped by one day for a look around.  The grounds look like something out of a fairytale, tempting the visitor to sit and rest awhile. I also happened upon this interview of Dorian, the winery owner which made me want to visit even more. Watch the , video it has a lot of great info.

Another good stop in Temecula is Tesoro Winery. They offer tastings at the store and have events listed on their webpage.

Local Wine Events lists a lot of local events in varying price ranges on their site.

Know of any great, inexpensive wine classes and deals? Please Share! Thanks!!!

Exploring my local library…

So in case you did not know, I love books. LOVE them. I have way too many in my house and buy them quicker than I can read them.

Lately I have rediscovered the wonders of the library. In Orange County, CA there are both county and city libraries.  My sister in law, wise woman that she is, also suggested audio books. For those of you with a long commute, you can listen on CD or even your ipod. Orange County has a wonderful audio book system which I just “read” – The Help By Kathryn Stockett.

They also have book discussion groups, computer instruction, lectures, and children’s programs

Public Libraries in Orange County

 

ANAHEIM PUBLIC LIBRARY
500 West Broadway, Anaheim 92805 765-1880
East Anaheim Branch 8201 E. Santa Ana Canyon Rd., 92808 765-3887
Canyon Hills Branch, 400 Scout Trail, Anaheim 92807 974-7630
Haskett Branch, 2650 West Broadway, Anaheim 92804 765-5075
Euclid Branch, 1340 South Euclid Avenue, Anaheim 92802 765-3625
Sunkist Branch, 901 South Sunkist, Anaheim 92806 765-3576

BUENA PARK LIBRARY DISTRICT
7150 La Palma Avenue, Buena Park 90620 826-4100

FULLERTON PUBLIC LIBRARY

353 West Commonwealth Avenue, Fullerton 92832 738-6334
Hunt Branch, 201 South Basque, Fullerton 92833 738-3122

HUNTINGTON BEACH PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM
7111 Talbert Avenue, Huntington Beach 92648 842-4481
Banning Branch, 9281 Banning Avenue, Huntington Beach 92646 375-5005
Helen Murphy Branch, 15882 Graham Street, Huntington Beach 92649 375-5006
Main Street Branch, 525 Main Street, Huntington Beach 92648 375-5071
Oak View Branch, 17251 Oak Lane, Huntington Beach 92648 375-5068

MISSION VIEJO PUBLIC LIBRARY
100 Civic Center, Mission Viejo 92691 (949) 830-7100

NEWPORT BEACH PUBLIC LIBRARY
1000 Avocado Avenue, Newport Beach 92660 (949) 717-3800
Balboa Branch, 100 East Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach 92661 (949) 644-3076
Corona Del Mar Branch, 420 Marigold Avenue, Newport Beach 92625 (949) 644-3075
Mariners Branch, 1300 Irvine Ave., Newport Beach 92660 (949) 717-3838

SANTA ANA PUBLIC LIBRARY
26 Civic Center Plaza, Santa Ana 92701 647-5250
Newhope Branch, 122 North Newhope Street, Santa Ana 92703 647-6992

ORANGE COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY
Administration Offices  1501 East Saint Andrew Place, Santa Ana 92705 566-3000
Aliso Viejo Branch, One Journey, Aliso Viejo 92656 (949) 360-1730
Brea Branch, One Civic Center Circle, Brea 92821 671-1722
Costa Mesa/ Donald Dungan Branch, 1855 Park Avenue, Costa Mesa 92627 (949) 646-8845
Costa Mesa/ Mesa Verde Branch, 2969 Mesa Verde Drive East, Costa Mesa 92626 546-5274
Costa Mesa Technology Branch, 3303 S. Bristol Ave. Suite Q., Costa Mesa 92626 754-4431
Cypress Branch, 5331 Orange Avenue, Cypress 90630 826-0350
Dana Point Branch, 33841 Niguel Road, Dana Point 92629 (949) 496-5517
El Toro/ Lake Forest Branch, 24672 Raymond Way, Lake Forest 92630 (949) 855-8173
Foothill Ranch Library, 27002 Cabriole Way, Foothill Ranch 92610 (949) 855-8072
Fountain Valley Branch, 17635 Los Alamos Street, Fountain Valley 92708 962-1324
Garden Grove Regional, 11200 Stanford Avenue, Garden Grove 92840 530-0711
Garden Grove/Chapman Branch, 9182 Chapman Avenue, Garden Grove 92841 539-2115
Garden Grove/West Garden Grove Branch, 11962 Bailey Street, Garden Grove 92845 897-2594
Irvine/ Heritage Park Regional, 14361 Yale Avenue, Irvine 92604 (949) 936-4040
Irvine/ Katie Wheeler Library, 13109 Old Myford Rd, Irvine 92602 669-8753
Irvine/ University Park Branch, 4512 Sandburg Way, Irvine 92612 (949) 786-4001
Laguna Beach Branch, 363 Glenneyre Street, Laguna Beach 92651 (949) 497-1733
Laguna Hills Technology Branch, 25555 Alicia Pkwy. Laguna Hills 92653 (949) 707-2699
Laguna Niguel Branch, 30341 Crown Valley Parkway, Laguna Niguel 92677 (949) 249-5252
Laguna Woods Library, City Hall 24264 El Toro Road, Laguna Woods 92653 (949) 639-0500
La Habra Branch, 221 East La Habra Blvd., La Habra 90631 526-7728 or (562) 694-0078
La Palma Branch, 7842 Walker Street, La Palma 90623 523-8585
Los Alamitos/ Rossmoor Branch, 12700 Montecito, Seal Beach 90740 (562) 430-1048
Rancho Santa Margarita Branch, 30902 La Promesa, Rancho Santa Margarita 92688 (949) 459-6094
San Clemente Branch, 242 Avenida Del Mar, San Clemente 92672 (949) 492-3493
San Juan Capistrano Regional, 31495 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano 92675 (949) 493-1752
Seal Beach/ MaryWilson Branch, 707 Electric Avenue, Seal Beach 90740 (562) 431-3584
Silverado Branch 28192 Silverado Canyon Road, Silverado 92676 649-2216
Stanton Branch, 7850 Katella Avenue, Stanton 90680 898-3302
Tustin Branch, 345 East Main Street, Tustin 92780 544-7725
Villa Park Branch, 17865 Santiago Blvd., Villa Park 92861 998-0861
Westminster Branch, 8180 13th Street, Westminster 92683 893-5057

ORANGE PUBLIC LIBRARY
407 E. Chapman Ave., Orange 92866 288-2400
El Modena Branch, 380 South Hewes Avenue, Orange 92869 288-2450
Taft Branch, 740 East Taft Avenue, Orange 92865 288-2430

PLACENTIA LIBRARY DISTRICT
411 East Chapman, Placentia 92870 528-1906

YORBA LINDA PUBLIC LIBRARY
18181 Imperial Hwy., Yorba Linda 92886 777-2873

Home Show in California- FREE

California’s Best 3 Day Home Show is coming to Orange County! Hundreds of Exhibits in: Home Improvement, Remodeling, Decorating, Landscaping, Backyard Living, Demonstrations and Entertainment. Daily Gardening Seminars and Cooking Shows on Two Stages.

FREE Admission & FREE Giveaways

Show Hours:

Friday 12-7

Saturday 10-7

Sunday  10-6


For More Information Call 800-358-7469 or visit HomeShowConsultants.com.

Be Prepared

Though you can never fully prepare yourself for an emergency, it is always good to be prepared. Recent
events in Japan and around the world are making people think about disaster preparedness. 

 

#1 The Orange County Red Cross is Holding their Annual Super CPR .

Saturday, April 16, 2011
Angel Stadium
Exhibition Center
2000 East Gene Autry Way
Anaheim, CA 92806
Pre-registration is $10 for CPR and/or $10 for First Aid.
On-site registration is $15 at the door.
Register for classes in CPR (2 hours) and First Aid (1 hour)
They also have a lot of great resources on their site to help you prepare for a disaster.

 

#2 Zozi is currently offering 50% off an Earthquake and Disaster Preparedness Class ($40 Value) through Urban Outdoor Skills. So $20 for the class.

 

#3 Assemble your own disaster kit or get one through ReadySetGoKits.com
They have some great, pre-assembled kits.

 

#4 Ready.gov is a great source of information. They also have an excellent Emergency Contact form for you to use.

 

#5 Have a card with family emergency contact information. Cell phones may not get service in a disaster. It is also good to  have an out of town contact for an emergency.   Form #2

 

Please feel free to comment with your suggestions and great information sites. Thank you!

My Blog

Its been awhile, four months to be exact. That is pathetic.

I still haven’t figured out what I want this blog to be -my thoughts, deals, adventures, inspiration, or a hodgepodge of all the above.

I am a writer, so the idea is to write…Right? Of course right!

So, I will keep you posted and who knows, this may be just may be your favorite blog and mine :)

Zozi

I get my group coupons. You know those emails that overload your inbox? Soon, I will have a list for you with all the deals but I had to write about my new favorite- Zozi. It is  for the Orange County and LA area and is full of things you don’t see or get every day- The Great Race LA with COSTUMES, Pottery Class for TWO, Private Surfing Lessons, Wine tastings, Snorkeling, Private Drum Lessons, a vacation, and more. It is a little less run of the mill and a great adventure or date day.  I’m going to keep you posted on this site but I think its great for all those yet to be filled new years resolutions.

BOHO Drinks at Starbucks!

For four days starting today  (11/18) Starbucks is offering buy one get one FREE holiday drinks between the hours of 2-5pm. Offer is good November 18- November 21st.

Holiday drinks drinks include the caramel brulée latte, peppermint mocha, peppermint white chocolate mocha, peppermint hot chocolate, gingerbread latte and eggnog latte.

You can also text 12DAYS to 29943 and you will be signed up to receive 12 days of special offer texts from Starbucks staring December 1st.

Coupon Cutting Take 1

So I hear the stories all the time -those daring individuals who walk into the grocery store bearing their carefully clipped coupons. These wise ones who leave with hundreds of dollars of groceries  and spending a few dollars. Some, the great ones, even get the stores to pay them.

Ralps is offering double coupons right now so if I figured if I was going to give it a try-this was the time to do it. I have to admit the whole idea of coupon cutting is a bit intimidating. I have managed my grocery budget quite well using: Fresh and Easy, Trader Joes and recently Super King Market.  Still, the tales of free food kept drawing my interest. 

Today I braved it.  First, I went to the experts. I found some excellent blogs from super savvy shoppers. These are some great blogs. Makes you feel like you can walk into the store and just have them hand over the goods.

Southern Cali Saver

This Frugal LIfe

My Good Cents

Chief Family Officer

Give Me Neither

Pinching Your Pennies – They have printible shopping lists by grocery stores. I haven’t figured it out yet but for those of you have the game down, this looks like it might come in handy.

Mommy’s Wish List – List of where to get great coupons.

So coupons clipped I set off.  I learned to group my coupons by section so I am not running all over the store. Also, read the coupon entirely. Is it for one, or two or more? Also, I am not opposed to buying store brands. I noticed that the store brands were sometimes cheaper, even with the coupon.

So this is what I ended up buying today at Ralphs:

Almond Breeze  ($1 off) so $2 off of $2.69  = .69

3 Campbell’s Soup Healthy Select  ($1 coupon). Sale 2 for $5 so $3 total

2 Campbell’s Chunky Soups ($1 coupon).  Sale 3 for $4.5o  so   $2.50

Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookies – ($1 coupon) On sale for $2. = FREE

Pepperidge Farm Crackers –($1 coupon)  On sale for $2.99- .99

2 Pillsbury Croissants- ($1 coupon) – Sale 2 for $3 so total 2 for $1

2 Break Apart Thanksgiving Cookies- ($1 coupon). 2 for $5 sale so  total 2 for $3

2 Family Pack Hawaiian Bread ($1 off) 2 for $4. So 2 for $2

1 Box Cinnamon Toast Crunch- On sale for $1.49. Coupon .55.  =.39

1 Scott Tissue-( $1 off Coupon ) – $1.99 Paper Towel Roll so – Free

1 Loaf Healthy Grain Bread (1.49 manager’s special)

No, not free, but a total of $21  plus $1 off future Pillsbury purchases. 

It wasn’t bad for a first run and I know I got some items for free. I am still not convinced that clipping coupons is not better than shopping at my usually discount stores.  I usually get a $3 or $5 off coupon every week for Fresh and Easy, Super King runs unbeatable weekly sales, and Trader Joes just has the most delicious food and pretty good prices overall.

I am not going to give up though. I’d love to hear your tips and tricks before my next coupon cutting adventure.

Here are links to all the coupons I used:

Campbell’s- Print.Coupons.com

Pillsbury- Cellfire.com or Pillsubry.com

Pepperidge Farm  $1 off Crackers & $1 off Cookies

Scott Toilet Paper  $1 off

King’s  Hawaiian $1 off

Almond Breeze $1 off

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