Thursday, January 31, 2013

Flavor Boost Cake Trick


 This is a simple trick that I use on some of my cakes and even cupcakes.  It can add a burst of flavor and surprise to any cake. 

What Ya Do... Is Totally Simple:

1) Pick out any flavor of jelly from your local grocers... In this picture, I used raspberry.  The possibilities are infinite; well at least limited to as many fruit preserves your grocer holds!  You could use Strawberry, Grape, Blackberry, Blueberry, Peach.... ETC!!  What ever kind you choose should work with your cake and buttercream flavor combination. This cake was a lemon cake with white chocolate buttercream and raspberry filling.  
 
2)  Pour the jar of preserves into a bowl and whisk until all lumps have disappeared.
 
 
3) Now use a condiment bottle.  ( I believe mine was a buck at a dollar store.)  Make sure it is a bottle that has a pointed tip like this one.  Pour the whisked jelly into the bottle. 
 
 
Have your cakes cooked and cooled.  Level your cake and place it on your cake board or server. 
 4) Use the bottle tip to poke a hole into the cake and squeeze.  Hold and pull up as you squeeze, to insure that the entire hole made from the tip... is filled with yummy filling.  Go in a circle, in inch increments around the cake and repeat on the next row until you reach the center.  Of course, if it is a square cake, go in rows, in inch increments. 
 
 
5) Your cake should have dollops of jelly filling about every inch so that each slice will have a couple of tasty surprises. 
 
 
6) If you have a double layered cake, ice the top of the jelly filling.  Then level the next layer and flip upside down, to place it on top of the first layer.  Now repeat with the same method to add flavor to the second layer.    When all is finished... Ice the cake as normal! 
What flavor combo will you try??!
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, January 28, 2013

FloWeR PoLiSh BouQuet

VISIT my new BLOG:
bloomingbygrace.blogspot.com

So Super excited about this cute little bouquet.  This came to mind, simply because I was pushed for time and resources to purchase a gift for a young lady's birthday party.  It's amazing what your mind will create in a lack of resources :)  Gotta say that God really pulled this together... because I seriously prayed that it would work.  I had never tried this before and I didn't have room for error.
The Birthday Gal loved it and my son was proud to be the donor of this gift :)  You can get the kidos involved by allowing them to cut out the flowers, picking the fingernail polishes, or gluing the flowers to the stems.  So let's get started on the "How-To"!

Project approximate cost: 
     $17-$20 depending on the resources you may already have.

What Ya Need:

*10       Bottles of fingernail polish (dollar store works perfect)
*1         Bucket or pail
*1         Package of fringe stuffing (blue is what I used here)
*1         Sheet of foam (flower bouquet white foam)
*1         Package of Kabob Skewers
*1-1.5  Cups of sand (I used decorators sand)
*Green Floral Tape
*Colorful sheets of poster board (I used three different colors: it's up to you and your color scheme)
*Hot Glue Gun
*Flower pattern (I used a cookie cutter and traced it bigger that original.  You can find templates
                          via a search engine)

Purchase and organize all of your materials.  It's important to color coordinate with the young lady's interests and the colors you choose in polishes, pail, fringe stuffing and poster board for flowers.  Delegate your color scheme and then shop for the items. 

Once you have downloaded a flower template or made your own, trace and cut out 10 flowers from your poster board.  With your hot glue gun, fill in the bottom of one polish and use the glue to fill any gap on the bottom of the bottle, so that it is as flat as possible.  Now push the glue filled polish bottom to a flower.  Do this for all flowers and polishes. 




Now work on stabilizing and preparing the pail.  Measure the foam board by turning the pail upside down and tracing. Cut out the circle on the inside of your trace line, because it has to be placed farther down in the pail than measured.  Continue to trim the circle foam until it can be pushed about half way down into the pail.  When it is a good fit, remove it and pour your sand in the pail.  For a small pail, fill the bottom with a cup of sand and level the sand.  For a large container, you will need more.  The purpose of the sand is to stabilize and prevent the weight from the polishes from tipping the container.  Now push your foam to it's snuggest position and reinforce with hot glue. 






 Now you are ready to create the flowers and position them.  To make the stems, you need your floral tape and kabob skewers.  Each stem needs three skewers.  Place the kabob ends in a triangle position so that all three are touching.  Make cuts to each set of skewers, between 4.5 and 6 inches long.  Each stem should fit between these measurements.  Some tall, some short stems will create the flower bouquet look.  Now hold a set of three skewers and wrap the floral tape around the set of three skewers, tightly until you reach about an inch prior to the tip (pointy tip).  Now you have one stem created.  Create 9 more to have one for each polish flower. 


 The next step is gluing the stems to the flowers.  Place a large dot of glue with the glue gun, on the bottom of a flower and hold the stem end (not sharp end) to the glue.  You will have to hold the stem to the flower for at least 30 seconds.  It has to totally harden before you let go of the stem.  To keep the polish and flowers standing, so they do not lay and crumple, use the remainder of the sponge board and stick them into the remainder of the foam board, standing.  Make sure the board is stable and weighted and will not tip over with the flowers.  Placing them in the board will also help as you choose sizes to arrange in the bouquet. 




When all 10 flowers are complete, you are ready to assemble them into a bouquet.  Keep in mind the color coordination and the length of each flower as you place them.  The longest should be placed in the middle and they should graduate from longest to shortest being in the front.  Place them firmly into the foam inside your pail/bucket.



 OK... you're on the home stretch! This is a great place to let the kidos get involved!  Once they are all places in the bucket/pail, it's time to stuff the filling so that the stems and foam are not noticeable.  Take small hand fulls of the fringe stuffing and push into place all around the flowers.  I did my bouquet with a front view and kinda wish I would have done all sides.  So stuff your fringe wherever it needs to be placed, depending on whether you have a front bouquet or all around bouquet.   Stuff... stuff... stuff :)
  

  Check out your placement of flowers and adjust as needed.  I had to take out and replace a couple of times until I had the color coordination and length just right.  When you are finished you should have an awesome, fun Flower Polish Bouquet!   





You could add a cute bow or tag to the front of the bouquet.  I added a small, round container of fingernail polish remover to the back with a tap of the glue gun.  I hope you get to make this for a special young lady! ...and share how it goes!  Best of luck with your project!




Friday, January 18, 2013

NuteLLa No-Bake Oatmeal cOOkies

Seriously Good :)  NuteLla No-Bake Oatmeal cOOkies

 


I've been making the same No-Bake Cookie recipe for years... Literally years and years.  It is a favorite treat in my household and truly a Southern traditional cookie.  The recipe I use for the peanut butter / chocolate no-bake cookies is from an old cookbook from a company that is now no longer in business.  I believe the Copyright date is 1978... seriously, the year I was born :)  So the original, unmodified version is pretty much tried and true.  So I simply did some modifying of  the recipe and tried three batches of my Hazelnut (Nutella) cookies until... I finally landed a winner!  I'm totally stoked about this recipe because it finally worked with the Nutella and hazelnuts..  Woo Hoo!!!

What Ya Need!

2     Cups Sugar
2     Tbsp Cocoa
1/2  Cup Milk
1     Stick Butter ( I used unsalted)
2     Tsp Vanilla
2.5  Cups Oatmeal
1     Cup Nutella Spread
1     Small Bag of Hazelnuts (apx. 1 Cup)

What Ya Do!

Place the Sugar, Cocoa, Milk and Butter in a saucepan and stir, bringing to a boil on medium.  Now this is the "Do or Die" part of the recipe cooking.  If the mixture is not boiled for long enough, the cookies will not set and if the mixture is boiled for too long, they will be dry and brittle.  Yuck!  SO, set your timer for 3 minutes exactly and watch for the mixture to begin bubbbling.  When it begins to boil, you will need to turn heat down a small bit, to medium-low.  Stir the mixture as it boils and don't let it boil harshly.  When the three minutes are up, remove the saucepan from the heat and add the vanilla, Nutella Spread (Hazelnut spread)  and the Hazelnuts.  Stir until well combined.  On a sheet of wax paper, drop the mixture by tablespoons about an inch apart.  It will take them about 30 minutes to an hour to set.  They are awesomely delish and I'm so hoping that you get to try them.  I'd love to have comments from anyone who does try it out! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

RaspBeRRy TruFFle MuDDy BuDDies

I love some RaspBerrY!  It goes well with almost anything... chocolate, lemon, lime, white chocolate and even chex cereal :)  This is an easy recipe that is tasty.  These treats would be great mixed into a mix with other salty/sweet munchies.  Let's get to it...



What Ya Need

30    Raspberry Chocolate Kisses (unwrapped:)
1      Packet of Raspberry Hot Chocolate Powder (these are found in single packets of
                  gourmet hot chocolate in many grocers)
3/4   Cup of Powdered Sugar
2      Cups of Rice Squares Cereal

What Ya Do

Place the Raspberry Kisses in a microwave safe bowl and micro 30 seconds, then stir.  If they are not all melted after stirring, microwave 30 more seconds.  When they are completely melted, stir and add your rice squares cereal.  Mix the cereal squares with the melted kisses with a spatula, until they are well coated.  Now, mix the powdered sugar and hot chocolate powder together and pour half into a large zipper bag.  Pour your coated cereal squares into the bag and pour a bit more sugar mixture on top... you will probably not need all the mixture on the cereal.  Add gradually until you are happy with the amount coated on the cereal.  Shake the contents and roll with your hands, until all cereal is coated.  Pour out into a bowl and eat up  :O

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Challenge: JuSt OnE LeSS

I'm tossing out a challenge to anyone willing to take it!  But it's going to require some SaCrIfiCe!  
 
Romans 12:1
Therefore, I urge you, brothers ans sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God: this is your true and proper worship. 
 
What could you do for someone else... with having just one less of something for yourself this year?

   

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This idea came as a conviction, that God impressed upon me after my first trip to Haiti, in 2010.  I was confident that I had prepared myself for the experience to come, in this first trip to a thrid-world country.... But God had something more in store for my walk with Him.  I stumbled upon much more than I could comprehend or consume. I stumbled over myself.  I stumbled, over my-self-ish-ness. My life in America was GoLdEn. Privileged. Blessed. Life as I had always know, was without want or need of anything. It was based on selection, my desires, my convenience. It was based on ME.  I quickly recognized that those are privileges of life, that Haitians do not have.  There is no selection, selfish desires or convenience.  It all comes hard in Haiti; a torn and poverty stricken country, with the need for assistance on every corner and in every family.  I returned home with an astonished heart and mind, over the lifestyle I lived as an American and the drastic difference of life in Haiti. 

Questions overwhelmed my mind and heart.  How could I live this life and not sacrifice something to help others?  How could I continue in my CoMForT, knowing that babies slept cold at night, kidos went hungry most of the time, and physical ailments were taking lives?  God stirred my heart with pain and determination.  That determination was a desperate search to find something that I could do wiThOuT, so that someone else could possibly have something MoRe.  He revealed this to my heart.  There are numerous items and luxuries that I have: selecting one to sacrifice was an easy feet.  God's grace has overflowed to provide my family with numerous blessings, comforts and privileges. I'm sure you can say the same. When God's grace flows into our lives, we should flow His grace into the lives of others!  God pounded on my heart the need to ...sAcRiFiCe!  I'm now committing to doing as He asked.   Sacrifice SoMeThInG, so that someone else can have more.  



 
Here's the idea.  Commit to giving up something 
which uses resource (money) that you would normally
do this year.  It could be something you do weekly,
monthly or annually.  (This would be the perfect time
to give up a habit that costs money.)  The money that you
would normally use for that privelege, goes in a jar.  
So here's what I'm doing without...  I usually
drink 3-4 gourmet coffees a week.  I am doing with J
UST ONE LESS every week for this year.  (With the help of Christ :)  That's a small sacrifice that usually costs about $4.00 per coffee.  The four dollars that would normally be used for the coffee, will go into a jar.  I want to see what that small sacrifice can do for someone else at the end of 2013! 
  

PrAy about this ChaLLenGe and see where God takes your heart! 

Who could YOU help this year with JuSt OnE LeSS!?

 
  
 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Bars

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese
Chocolate Chip Bars   (... whew)


Whew... that's a mouth full, but so are these bars.  They are the perfect "man" bar... my husband and my brother love peanut butter in their sweets, as do most manly men :)  These bars are hard to pronounce without running out of breath, but I did not know any other name that would reveal it's entirety.  They are a great combination of sweetness and peanut butter.  Hope you get to try these out!

What Ya Need

2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Cream Cheese
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
1 Roll of store-bought chocolate chip cookie dough

What Ya Do

Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly coat a small glass dish (size 8X11) with cooking spray.  You could use a baking pan, by simply lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil.  I wiped a bit off with a paper towel, after spraying my glass dish, to make sure the cookie dough could be spread but not stick. 

Use 2/3 of the roll of cookie dough, and press into the bottom of the pan.  Some may go up sides... good!  Place in the preheated oven for 7 minutes.  While the cookie is baking, combine the cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl of mixer.  Mix at medium speed until it's soft and combined.

When you pull the cookie from the oven, use a spoon to drop the peanut butter mixture in inch increments onto the cookie.  This is tricky because you want to easily spread the peanut butter mixture, but you don't want to touch the cookie on bottom... it will tear off the pan.  So, place the spoonfulls about an inch apart and tenderly spread the ToPs of the spoonfulls.  Now use the remaining 1/3 of the cooke dough to crumble and place on top of the mixture.  Bake again for 16-19 minutes or until browned on top.  Try not to over bake or the cookie will loose it's soft texture.  

That's all folks !


NuTeLLa Heath Bar Pie

Nutella Heath Bar Pie


Rich and creamy Nutella is good on or in any recipe!  So I tried it in a pie :)


What Ya Need:

1.5 Cups chocolate and vanilla
      cookies, crushed
3 Tbsp butter melted
1 Carton whipped topping
1 Cup granulated sugar
1 Package cream cheese (softened)
2 Toffee chocolate bars
1/4 Tsp. Vanilla flavoring
3 Tbsp of caramel ice cream
    topping (optional)

What Ya Do:

Start with the crust.  I used a tart pan, but you could also make this pie into squares with a regular square 9X9 or 8X11 pan.  If using a glass or metal pan, I would spray with not stick spray or rub it with a bit of butter.  Preheat oven to 350.  Mix the crushed cookies with melted butter and press into the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 8 minutes.  When the crust is finished, it will need to be cooled, so you can wait until it comes out of the oven before mixing the filling. 

For the filling:  Beat together the cream cheese and sugar until it is combined.  Add the Nutella and vanilla and beat until combined.  Now incorporate the whipped topping on low speed for a short amount of time... just enough to make sure it's mixed.  If you whip the whipped topping too long or too harshly,  it will break down.  When the mixture is smooth and creamy... pour into your cooled crust.  Smooth with a spoon. 

To decorate:  chop the toffee chocolate bars into various pieces and sprinkle over the top.  I also added caramel ice cream topping, but that is optional.  This does have a rich, cream cheese taste, so if you don't like that, you could add more vanilla or a bit less cream cheese. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

CoOkiE DoUgH MuDDy BuDDiEs

Cookie Dough Muddy Buddies

Seriously simple and delishiouso! 


What Ya Need:

1 Cup chocolate chip morsels (I used semi-sweet)
2 Cups of rice cereal squares
1 Cup cookie dough dry mix in box or bag

What Ya Do:

Heat the morsels in the microwave or on stovetop.  Heat them in increments of 1 min. each if in microwave.  Melt until smooth.  Add two cups of rice cereal squares to a bowl and pour in the chocolate.  Toss them until the cereal squares are covered.  Pour cooke dough dry mix in a bag and then pour the covered cereal squares in the bag.  Toss until all are coated.  See how easy?! 

When you serve, you can sprinkle white or milk chocolate chips in the mix to add to the mix and appeal.