Archive | February 2013

Basketball Cake Pops ~ Nothing but Net!

This past Friday was Seniors Night for Groveport Madison High School. The basketball moms were making a special dinner before the game for the players and made a request for anyone wanting to assist. I offered up cake pops and got the go ahead. Challenge accepted! I had seen a picture online of this cake pop design. I thought it was too cute the way it looked like a basketball was going through a hoop. There weren’t any directions but I like the challenge of creating something from a picture. So this is how I did it. First, check out my prior post about cake pops HERE on the basics. After that, check this out!

First off, I needed colored sugar to create the texture of the basketball. I can’t stand paying upwards to $5.00 for a couple ounces of colored sugar! It is highway robbery! So I did a search online on how to color your own sugar. There’s tons of blogs with directions. I took about 3/4 cup of white sugar and put it in a sturdy sandwich bag (you don’t want to use the dollar store cheapos for this because the sugar as fine as it is still will poke holes in the bag). I then took 2 parts yellow and 1 part red dye paste and added it to the ziploc. I prefer food coloring paste or gel verses drops because the colors are so vibrant and you actually end up using less food coloring. Then I forced the air out of the bag. I used a rolling pin to roll over and over the bag. This gently massaged the food coloring into the sugar. This is a labor of love. It took a good 8-10 minutes of rolling to evenly color the sugar crystals. If you get tiny globs, massage them out with your fingers by squeezing the bag. Once the color is fully distributed, you are all done! You made your own sugar crystals! I will in the future though buy a chunkier sugar, like sugar in the raw. I used normal sugar and it was more of a “dust” and I think the next time I want more of a “crystal”. No matter though, it turned out a beautiful orange color and did the job for this project!

Next I baked a chocolate cake and golden yellow cake from a box. I just followed the box direction and baked the cakes in a 9×13 pan. After the cakes were cooled, I donned on gloves and smashed the cake into crumbs. Then I added 1/2 a tub of store bought frosting and dolloped it in the center of the pan.

Then I gently massaged the frosting into the crumbs to create a dough of sorts. You know you got a good cake ball going when you can create a mound of smooshed cake.

To ensure my cake pops are universal in size, I spooned out one inch balls using a cookie scoop. You can usually get approximately 60 cake pop balls from one box of cake mix. I don’t know why but I always get 2-4 less cake pop balls from a chocolate cake.

Once you have rough cake pop balls all scooped out, then it is time to roll them into tight balls. I usually will smash the glob in my hands first and then roll out a ball. Place the rolled out balls on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper or parchment paper. Once all the balls are rolled up, place the cookie sheet in the fridge to help the balls firm up and chill a little.

While the cake balls are chilling, melt your primary color which in this case was orange. I used my Wilton Candy Melter pot for this. It melts the candy perfectly and then has a switch to turn the heat down to the perfect temperature to keep the chocolate melty smooth. Dip about 1/4″ of the end of a lollipop stick into the chocolate. Pick up the cake ball and on the flat side (that was where the cake ball sat on the cookie sheet), insert the cake pop about 1/2 inch. You want to stick it in the flat spot so that the cake pop on top looks perfectly rounded. You are basically securing the lollipop stick with candy. Place the lollipop stabbed cake pop balls back onto the baking sheet. I usually do one set and put it back in the fridge. Then I get the 2nd set of cake balls (from the other cake mix) and dip the lollipop sticks into candy to stick into the cake balls. Once those are done, back in the fridge they go and I remove the first set from the fridge.

Dip the entire cake ball straight down (upside down) into the melted chocolate. I then gently swirl in a circular pattern the cake pop upside down to shake off the excess melted candy. I then gently tap the side of the candy melt while simultaneously rolling the lollipop stick to further remove excess candy. Stick the lollipop stick into a styrofoam block. I use my styrofoam blocks over and over. It was cheaper to buy the round disks at Walmart versus a big block. Prior to dipping anything, I took lollipop sticks and stabbed them through the plastic cover and styrofoam about 1.5″ inches apart. Because I left the plastic on, I can reuse them over and over. If any candy drips down, I just wipe it off the plastic once dry. Because I was adding colored sugar to the cake pops, as soon as I tapped off the excess candy, I spooned on a light layer of colored sugar all over the cake pop before setting them up to dry in the styrofoam block. I spooned the sugar right over the bowl of sugar so any excess sugar just falls back in the bowl. Repeat this until all the cake pops are dipped and lightly covered in sugar from both cookie trays. I should add that if the chocolate is not thin enough, you can add a teaspoon or so of shortening into the melted candy. Stir it up really good and it should thin out the candy melt enough to work with it.

Next, I melted white candy melts in the microwave and added the smooth goodness to a plastic squeeze bottle. I squeezed out a thin line around the cake pop to serve as a marker.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERANext, starting at the marker line, I made swirl lines toward the lollipop stick spacing out the lines evenly.

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Then make swirl lines going the opposite direction crossing over the prior swirl lines. This will create a basketball net effect. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it will look awesome if you are able to get some “diamonds” into the pattern. Place the “netted” cake pop into the styrofoam block to allow the white candy melt to set. Repeat with the rest of the cake pops.

While the white candy melt is setting up, melt chocolate candy melt in the microwave and add it to another squeeze bottle. Once the white candy melt is fully set up, squeeze out the chocolate on top of the cake pops to create the basketball stitches. I first squeeze out a “+” sign and then added a 1/2 curve to each side of the plus sign (see design). Draw the lines until they reach the thin white line in the middle. Place the cake pop into the styrofoam block so the chocolate sets up. Repeat with the rest of the cake pops.

While the chocolate stitching is setting up, melt the red candy melts in the microwave. Add the red to another squeeze bottle. Squeeze out a thicker layer of red chocolate over the thin white line to create the rim of the basketball hoop. Place the cake pop back in the styrofoam block so the red can set up. Repeat until all the cake pops have red rims.

These turned out super cute and the boys loved them (so did all the parents)! Congrats to all the Seniors!

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In Honor of Top Gun 3D in Theaters Now

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My favorite movie of all time is Top Gun! I remember seeing it in the movie theater and experiencing every emotion possible: sadness, excitement, fear, joy and well, I had just turned into a teenager so you can conjure up the rest of the feelings that went with the beach volleyball season, rawrrrrr! So today’s post is all about bringing back 1986. Here’s my favorite lines from the movie (trust me, I know them all) and unforgettable scenes! Oh you kiddos of the next generation, you never had it this good! My birthday happens to be this Saturday. For this to come out Friday…it is a sign I tell you, A SIGN!! My birthday is already amazing now and it’s still 2 days away (LOL), woohoooooo!

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Goose: It’s the bottom of the 9th, the score is tied. It’s time for the big one.

Iceman: You up for this one, Maverick?

Maverick: Just a walk in the park, Kazansky.

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Slider: Goose, whose butt did you kiss to get in here anyway?

GooseThe list is long, but distinguished.

Slider: Yeah, well so is my Johnson.

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Carole: Hey, Goose, you big stud!

Goose: That’s me, honey.

Carole: Take me to bed or lose me forever.

Goose: Show me the way home, honey.

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Maverick: Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a flyby.

Air Boss Johnson: Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.

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Maverick: I feel the need…

Maverick & Goose: ….the need for speed!

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Goose: The Defense Department regrets to inform you that your sons are dead because they were stupid.

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Iceman: You can be my wingman any time.

Maverick: Bullshit! You can be mine.

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Maverick: This is what I call a target rich environment.

Goose: You live your life between your legs Mav.

Maverick: Goose, even you could get laid in a place like this.

Goose: Hell, I’d be happy to just find a girl that would talk dirty to me.

Maverick: (sees Charlie for the first time) She’s lost that loving feeling.

Goose: She’s lo…

Goose: No she hasn’t.

Maverick: Yes she has.

Goose: She’s not lost that lo…

Maverick: Goose, she’s lost it man.

Goose: Come on!

Goose: Aw sh… I hate it when she does that.

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Hollywood: Hell no, man. We got out butts kicked.

Wolfman: Thirty seconds. We went like this, he went like that. I said to Hollywood, “Where’d he go?” Hollywood says, “Where’d who go?”

Hollywood: Yeah, and he’s laughing at us, right on the radio, he’s laughing at us.

Slider: That was me laughing dickhead.

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Iceman: You two really are cowboys.

Maverick: What’s your problem, Kazanski?

Iceman: You’re everyone’s problem. That’s because every time you go up in the air, you’re unsafe. I don’t like you because you’re dangerous.

Maverick: That’s right! Ice… man. I am dangerous.

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Viper: Good morning, gentlemen, the temperature is 110 degrees.

Wolfman: Holy shit, it’s Viper!

Goose: Viper’s up here, great… oh shit…

Maverick: Great, he’s probably saying, “Holy shit, it’s Maverick and Goose.”

Goose: Yeah, I’m sure he’s saying that.

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Maverick: I can see it’s dangerous for you, but if the government trusts me, maybe you could.
Charlie: It takes a lot more than just fancy flying.

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Maverick: No, actually I’ve only done this twice.

Charlie: Oh? How’d you do?

MaverickCrashed and burned on the first one, it wasn’t pretty.

Charlie: The second?

Maverick: I don’t know, I’ll tell you tomorrow. But it’s lookin’ good so far.

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StingerSon, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.

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Jester: That was some of the best flying I’ve seen to date…right up to the part where you got killed.

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Goose: No, no, no boys. There are 2 “O’s” in Goose.

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Iceman: The plaque for the alternates is down in the ladies room.

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Viper: Top Gun rules of engagement are written for your safety and for that of your team. They are not flexible, nor am I. Is that clear?

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Merlin: Mustang, this is Voodoo 3. Remaining MiGs are bugging out.

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Maverick: Goose it’s time to buzz the tower!

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Charlie: Maverick you big stud! Take me to bed or lose me forever.

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Charlie: Where did you see this?

Maverick: It’s classified. I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

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Stinger: Maverick, you just did an incredibly brave thing. What you should have done was land your plane! You don’t own that plane, the tax payers do! Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash. You’ve been busted, you lost your qualifications as section leader three times, put in hack twice by me, with a history of high speed passes over five air control towers, and one admiral’s daughter!

Goose: Penny Benjamin?

tom_cruise_top_gun_portrait_wallpaper_-_800x600I will stop there and close with I wish I was Penny Benjamin! LOL

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Easy Fried Rice

I am going to let you in on a secret: Fried Rice is my nemesis. It has been the one thing I have always struggled to make. Which is super bad considering I am half Filipino and my mother has shown me how to a gazillion times while blind-folded and with one hand. Ok, she didn’t make it blind-folded and with one hand but she does it so effortlessly while never measuring a freaking thing. I’m a perfectionist. I probably have undiagnosed OCD or CDO which is the correct order of the letters. So I need numbers, exact numbers. Fried Rice is one of my family’s favorite things to eat and I have refused to try to make it. So what if I am 1/2 Asian and born on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?! I also don’t care for seafood but that’s a story for another day, lol. I was born on a U.S. Naval base; I seriously was Americanized from birth even though I didn’t move to the United States till I was almost 8 years old. I attempted to make Fried Rice for the hubby before we were married, you know, to show him my worldly cultural side. It was Fried Rice alright. Seriously, f-r-i-e-d. Crunchy fried. I was so humiliated I decided never to make it again. Well, never is long a time. It was just over 17 years to be exact, lol. I finally let myself loose and gave Fried Rice another try. I have since made it 3 more times in one week! So, I got it and take that Fried Rice, you are no longer my nemesis! I am the Fried Rice queen, hear me ROAR!

 Printable Recipe: Easy Fried Rice

 Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1/2 to 1 small onion, diced small (depending on your preference of how much onion you want)

  • 2-4 eggs (depending on your preference of how much egg you like in your Fried Rice)

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cup frozen carrots & peas (optional)

  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

  • 5-6 cups of fully cooked white rice

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions:

Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to a large frying pan. Sure if you have a wok, use it. If you don’t, no biggie. My mom used to always use a large chicken fryer. I had actually just made Bourbon-less Chicken in my big chicken fryer to go with the fried rice so I used my electric skillet. Saute onions over low to medium heat. I add 1/2 of a small onion, diced (almost minced). The standard would be to add a whole small onion diced larger than my family likes our onions cut. This is dependent on your tastes. If adding peas and carrots, add them frozen now. Stir onion (and vegetables) around in the oil.

In a medium bowl, add eggs, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Mix eggs with a whisk breaking the yolks. 2 eggs is the standard but my family loves the eggs in the rice so we pack the protein with 4 of them.

Add egg mix to the frying pan. Scramble eggs lightly by pushing the eggs around with a spatula.

When the eggs are halfway cooked, add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

Quickly add the rice. As you can see from my stellar photography skills that the cooking eggs halfway, add vegetable oil and add rice happens really fast. So fast that I couldn’t get a good picture. You basically stir the eggs a couple times and then bam! Time to add vegetable oil and rice. So work quickly. Stir continuously until all the little pieces of rice are lightly coated in oil, separated and eggs are fully cooked.

Add soy sauce and stir continuously till soy sauce is well distributed in the rice.

Serve warm. I should add that you can put meat in it too. After the soy sauce is well distributed, add fully cooked meat and stir.

Basketball Block Throw – Crochet Pattern

I have been working hard on creating a basketball pattern to crochet. The finished throw will be raffled off by the GMHS Cruisers Basketball moms to help pay for the end of season banquet. I searched high and low for a crochet basketball pattern. I couldn’t find any that I liked. So I basically created one from scratch! I think it turned out really fantastic! I also took the time to write out the directions and to also take pictures along the way. The finished pattern is 9 pages long and full of photos! 10 different stitches are used in this crochet pattern so it is a challenge. But the end product is so striking! You won’t go wrong making this for your favorite basketball player or fan! Switch up the colors to match your favorite team’s colors! The pattern is available for purchase in my Ravelry shop for only $6 (also in my Etsy shop for $6)! You will receive a very detailed and colorful pattern of my original design!

BUY PATTERN HERE

Or you can buy it from my Etsy shop HERE

I really loved how this turned out and hope the basketball moms are able to raise lots of money!

 

UPDATE I: Great news! The afghan was raffled off and raised $120 for the basketball team. I received quite a few compliments and the response was fantastic. I am just really excited that I was able to contribute to the team. It just goes to show that one person can make a difference. Everyone has something to offer. So give just to give and for no other reason. Giving is the best feeling in the world!