Archive | April 2013

Baseball Cake Pops

The JV Baseball Team had a double header this past Saturday. It was perfect weather to take in a couple games of baseball! Baseball in high school  is tough. It is a lot of games in a short period of time. In a month and half to two months time, these boys play so many games! I’m talking 3-5 games a week! The JV team also had at least 3 double headers!

We are coming close to an end to the season and I wanted to do something nice for the kiddos.

Around these parts, when you are the home team for a double header, it is the home team’s responsibility to provide a lunch for both teams between the games. The GMHS mommas (and dads) stepped up as usual and cooked/served a great lunch! The boys got hotdogs, chips, granola bars, apples, oranges and this special treat, Baseball Cake Pops. When you are providing team meals whether baseball, football or any other sport, it’s important to keep it as healthy as possible. Sure the chips were a stretch but there were pretzels available too.

I’m sure I pushed the health envelope with the Baseball Cake Pops, lol. I told one of the coaches it was made with low-fat butter with a wink of my eye, lol. Since it is literally just one bite of cake and frosting dipped in a candy coating, I thought maybe the coaches would let it slide. They didn’t mind it and the kids loved it. Leftovers were shared with the families in attendance and as usual, the cake pops were a success. I really don’t know anyone who has ever tried a cake pop and didn’t want another! It is a time-consuming treat to make but it is really simple to put together. Seriously, the hardest part is finding the time to make them.

To make cake pops, you need just 4 ingredients/supplies: one box of cake mix (your choice in flavor, chocolate always goes over well but I happen to favor the golden yellow), one tub of frosting (use white colored icing unless you are making chocolate cake pops, then use chocolate frosting), one and a half bags of Wilton candy melts and colored sugar sprinkles. You could omit the sugar crystals but I like to decorate with them. You could use a different colors of candy melts and pipe on designs but sugar crystals are easy to incorporate. I’ve made cake pops before and posted them on my blog. You can find the Basketball Cake Pops HERE and Snowman Cake Pops HERE. I will go over the basic steps to make cake pops again in this post but will be using pictures that were used in those other posts. So ignore the orange and green colors, lol, I only used white Wilton candy melts to make these super cute Baseball Cake Pops! I also used popsicle sticks versus lollipop sticks because that is all I had at the time.

Bake up the cakes following the package directions in a 9×13 pan that was lightly covered in non-stick cooking spray. So I guess technically you will need a few more ingredients which typically are water, oil and eggs per the directions found on a cake box.

Once it is totally cooled, crumble the cake into pieces. I put on some disposable gloves and just break it up. Then dollop 1/2 a tub of store bought frosting on top.

Then mush the crumbs together with the frosting. You just have to keep smashing it and smashing it and eventually you will be able to create a mound of crushed cake and icing.

To ensure my cake pops are universal in size, I use my one-inch cookie scoop to scoop out the dough.

Then I roll it into tight balls. I place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or parchment paper. Once all the balls are tightly rolled, I put the entire cookie sheet in the fridge to firm the balls up.

While the cake balls are firming up in the fridge, I use my beloved Wilton Chocolate Melter Deluxe to melt down my candy melts into smooth chocolate. I find that often with white candy melts, it is thick once melted. To combat this, I will add a teaspoon of shortening directly into the melted chocolate. It will thin it out without altering the flavor.

After the candy melts are melted into a smooth puddle (turn your Wilton candy melter down), I dip the popsicle or lollipop sticks about a fourth of an inch into the melted candy and then shove it in the cake pop on the flat side (the bottom of the cake pop) more than half way through the cake pop. You want to shove it in that flattened area so that the top will be rounded. After I have inserted all the sticks, I put the cookie sheet back in the fridge so that the cake pops will firm up again while adding more candy melts into the melter. You want the melted candy to be deep enough to dip the ball of cake into it upside down and up to the stick.

Once the balls have firmed up again, one by one, dip the cake pop upside down and straight into the melted candy. Insert it deep enough that it covers the entire cake pop up to the stick. I usually will hold it upside down and give it a few gentle circular motions to allow the excess melted candy to drip off. Sometimes it also helps to gently tap the lollipop stick on the side of the candy melter while rotating the lollipop stick. This of course wouldn’t work if you are using popsicle sticks.

When I add colored sugar crystals, I first dump a good amount in a wide, shallow bowl. Once I’ve knocked off the excess melted candy, I immediately spoon the sugar crystals over the wet candy melts.  Spoon the sugar crystals directly over the bowl of sugar crystals so that any excess just falls right back into the bowl. Then I stick the lollipop sticks into my styrofoam block. I bought circles this last time because there were cheaper at Walmart. I keep the plastic on the styrofoam and prior to even starting cake pops, I take a lollipop stick and poke it through the foam about 1.5 inches apart. This way, the cake pops easily slide into the styrofoam. If not using sugar crystals, you would want to immediately place the cake pop into the styrofoam. Allow the melted candy to completely set up before handling the cake pops.

For the Baseball Cake Pops, I used white candy melts. I used red colored sugars to completely coat about half of the cake pops and the other half, I used the red colored sugars to create the seams of a baseball. To do this, take a fully hardened white cake pop and pipe on melted white candy melts following the pattern of a baseball seam. I found it easiest to pipe on a large U on one side of the cake pop and then on the complete opposite side of the cake pop, pipe on another large U. Then from the top I connected the U’s creating a rounded hourglass shape. I hope that makes sense. I probably should have taken pictures of this step but since I used white on white candy melts, it would have been hard to see it anyways. You can use a squeeze bottle (Wilton makes those too), use a Ziploc baggy filled with melted white candy melts that has one of the corners cut off (very tiny cut) or just use a toothpick to dab on the baseball’s seam lines. I used the toothpick dabbing method. I imagine it took a little longer than if I had used a squeeze bottle. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Mine certainly weren’t but folks still found them to be adorable. Immediately after piping on the baseball seam in melted white candy, spoon red colored sugars over the cake pop. The sugar crystals will only stick to the wet, melted candy parts. Put the Baseball Cake Pop back into the styrofoam block until the baseball’s seams are fully hardened. They turned out really cute!

Advertisements

Brothers

broswithsamemoves

They have the same moves! Brothers by birth, best friends for life!

 

Steve and I never planned to have our two children 12.5 years apart. It was God’s plan and what a sweet plan it was! The relationship these two boys have is undeniable and unbreakable! Hug your kiddos today and everyday…time goes by so fast!

 

Happy Friday Folks!

Grand Slam Baseball Crochet Afghan

IMG_0435

Finished the Grand Slam Baseball Crochet Afghan! I created the design and the afghan has been donated to the GMHS baseball program. It will be raffled off at the community spaghetti dinner next month. All proceeds will go to the baseball program. I had a lot of fun making this afghan.

qwww2

I wanted it to be evident it was for baseball and I’ve got to give my hubby lots of credit on the design. I originally was going to make a gazillion little baseballs and sew them together. The hubby sat down with a blank piece of paper and created the pattern. He thought some large baseballs with the small baseballs would really stand out. Man was he right! I am loving this pattern and super proud of it. It may be my favorite creation yet. I say that now but I have started on the football afghan design and well, football is my favorite sport, lol! This Grand Slam Baseball Afghan crochet pattern is available for purchase in my ETSY STORE and on RAVELRY for only $6.00.

IMG_0433

It’s Friday folks! Have a GREAT weekend!

Candy Cookies – Almond Joyous Cookies, Snickers Satisfying Cookies, Kit Katties Cookies, and M&M&Mmmmmms Cookies

IMG_1004

I was having a bit of a sweet tooth tonight. Craving something chocolaty and gooey. So should I eat some candy or a cookie? Candy? Cookie? Candy? Cookie? Candy? Cookie? Oh what to do?! HAVE BOTH!

2

I used a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe but omitted the chocolate chips. Instead, I added chopped up candies. My favorite is Almond Joy which is wonderful because no one else in this house likes coconut. I don’t ever have to share! LOL The hubby favors Kit Kat bars. Stevie, our oldest son, likes Snickers and Spencer, our tiny tornado, well, he likes everything! I added M&Ms to his cookies. With one batch of dough, I split the dough in half and put them in separate bowls. I added Kit Kat bars to one bowl of dough and Snickers to the other bowl. I made a second batch of dough and again split the dough in half and put them in separate bowls. I added Almond Joy candy to one bowl and M&Ms to the other bowl. I can’t begin to tell you how fantastic these cookies were. I tested each one. Although I favor my Almond Joyous Cookies, the Snickers Satisfying Cookies were a very close second! Maybe these 4 candies aren’t one of your favorites? No worries, chop up your favorites and toss it in with the dough recipe that follows to create your own unique candy cookies! Pick something of course with chocolate. I am thinking Skittles would suck in a cookie but who knows? I bet Butterfingers and Twix candy bars would rock this cookie dough!

Happy hump day folks!

Make it a good one with your own unique candy cookies!

Printable Recipe: Candy Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 2 sticks of butter/margarine

  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

  • 1 teaspoon milk

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 egg

  • 2 cups flour

  • 2 pkgs of 6pack candy bars (or 4 regular candy bars)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.

UntitledMy Grandad Bradley bought me the most amazing cutting board years ago. It is a solid, thick butcher block that also came with a cutting blade. One side of the cutting board is flat. The other side is concaved. It is awesome! The blade is super sharp and if you follow my blog, you know I don’t do well with knives. This however is so well made and the handle on the blade gives me great control. The blade is semi-circle so that it perfectly fits in the concaved side of the cutting board. Steve and I love this cutting board and blade set. My Grandad passed away last year. It was really hard on me. It took years and years to build a close relationship and just when we hit that sweet spot of family, I lost him. He was 90-years-old and rightfully ready to be with Grandma in Heaven but I just wanted more time. I miss him so much. He made me feel so special these past few years…I love you Grandad.

IMG_1008IMG_1009

Chop candies into small pieces. I used the cutting block and cutting blade from Grandad to do this. Chop the pieces into small chunks and set aside. I kept all the candies separated. Hmmmmm, I bet mixing a couple different candy bars together would be really awesome! Just wanted to also point out that those packages of single candy servings now only contain 6 candy bars each. I remember when they had 8 or 10 in each! Love how things either go up in price or the quantity is reduced, lol!

IMG_1011

In a large bowl, use a mixer to beat together the sugars and butter till well combined. I love the simplicity of this recipe but what I love most is that it is entirely put together using a mixer. With my PH, I struggle stirring cookie dough and welcome recipes with directions to use a mixer. If anyone would like to buy me one of those fancy KitchenAid mixers, I would greatly appreciate it, lol! Add to the bowl the salt, vanilla, milk, baking soda and egg adding each of these ingredients one at a time. Beat at medium speed until well combined before adding the next ingredient. Once all has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for an additional 30-45 seconds to ensure all ingredients are well combined. Add 1 cup of flour and beat at medium speed till well incorporated. Add the remainder of flour (1 cup) and beat at medium speed until well combined. Fold in the candy pieces.

IMG_1013

Using a cookie scoop, scoop out cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes until the edges become golden. Remove from oven and allow cookies to completely cool on the cookie sheet. Use a thin, metal spatula to move cookies to a container. The metal spatula is especially important if using any candy that has a sticky center (like caramel or nougat). Store in an airtight container.

qq2

If you try this recipe out, let me know what candy you tried. I’m open to suggestions for the next time I make these!

Banana Split Dessert

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

At our Easter family potluck gathering, Aunt Lyn brought the most amazing dessert! I swear I ate like 1/4 of the pan and then took another 1/4 home to eat later! Her Banana Split Dessert was simply divine! Who would have thought that pineapples in vanilla pudding would be so amazing?! Trust me when I say this was super yummy. It was cool, sweet, fruity, creamy, nutty & chocolaty! Aunt Lyn made hers with fresh pineapples and a graham cracker bottom. Personally, I think that was the way to go with this dish! Alas, the hubby and our oldest son do not like graham. Yes, it is a crying shame, a complete crime! So when I made the dish at home a few days later, I switched out the graham and used crushed shortbread cookies instead. It was still delicious but the graham cracker bottom was way better. I also used canned pineapple and I don’t think the pineapple made much of a difference. We prefer French vanilla flavored pudding so we used that instead too. I can tell you that this does taste exactly like a banana split! So give this gem of a recipe a try and I’m going to make me another pan with graham crackers. I just will have to eat it all by myself, well, Spencer likes graham crackers too so I guess Spence and I will be enjoying it! Thanks Aunt Lyn! You are always rocking the most awesome dishes!

Printable Recipe: Banana Split Dessert

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs or 2 cups crushed shortbread cookies

  • 1/2 cup white sugar

  • 1/4 pound butter, melted

  • 2 (small) packages vanilla instant pudding mix

  • 3 1/2 cups of milk

  • 2 bananas, sliced

  • 1 (15 ounce) can crushed or diced pineapple, drained (or 3/4 cup of diced, fresh pineapple)

  • 1 (16 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

  • 1 (16 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained & sliced in 1/2

  • 12 ounces crushed walnuts

  • Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup

Directions:

Combine the graham cracker crumbs or crushed shortbread cookies, white sugar and melted butter.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Mix together and press into a 9×13 inch cake pan; refrigerate until chilled.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Layer bananas, 3/4 of the sliced cherries and pineapple over crust.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Mix 2 packages of pudding mix with 3-1/2 cups milk and then spread pudding mixture on top of the fruit. Cover pudding with whipped topping.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Drizzle with Hershey’s syrup, top with cherries and chopped nuts; refrigerate and serve chilled. You just have to scoop the goodness out in a pile, it ain’t necessarily pretty served but damn is it tasty! Just make sure your family/guests see the pan before you slop out of it, lol!

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Hey, just wanted to add this new trick I learned from somewhere on Pinterest. You know when you buy bananas and they are still firm but ripe enough to eat? You go to tear the stem to peel back the layers. You succeed in peeling back the layers while also crushing 1/4 of the actual banana in the process. It is so annoying! Well, did you know that our “cousins” the monkeys open their bananas at the opposite end? Yep, if you pinch the “bottom” end of the banana using your thumbs and index fingers on both sides of the banana while pulling it apart, the banana layers fold back perfectly leaving you with every inch of banana goodness! No more smashed banana end! This is how I peel Spencer’s bananas everyday now; it’s so much easier!

1253988471wi1nTM

Thank you monkeys!

Breakfast Casserole

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Big breakfasts are a family tradition on the weekends in the Pack household! It often either consists of:

A. Eggs, Home Fries & Bacon

B. Sausage Gravy & Biscuits

C. Scrambled Eggs & Cowboy Potatoes

D. Pancakes & Bacon

E. French Toast & Bacon

Steve and I cook together taking our time. We aren’t usually in a rush in the mornings. Well, we aren’t usually in a rush about most things, lol. But when we know we have things to do and don’t have time to cook for an hour followed by an hour of clean up (it takes that long for our teenage son to do dishes, don’t ask…), we make our breakfast casserole instead. It is made the night before and in the morning, it is tossed in the oven and we can get ourselves ready for whatever our busy day entails. This is a buttery and cheesy dish that is easy to make!

Printable Recipe: Breakfast Casserole

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Ingredients:

  • Loaf of white bread, whole grain or wheat

  • One stick of butter/margarine

  • Small onion, diced

  • 1/2 Green pepper, diced

  • Ham steak, diced or package of diced ham

  • 2 cups of colby-jack shredded cheese

  • Dozen eggs

  • Milk

  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

In a large bowl, tear bread into small pieces.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Melt butter/margarine in a microwave safe dish. Pour 1/2 of the melted butter/margarine over the torn bread pieces. Yep, this was Stevie’s bowl when he was a toddler. I’ve kept it for over 15 years now. With a spatula, gently toss bread with the butter/margarine. Pour remainder of the butter/margarine over the torn bread and again gently toss bread with a spatula to ensure all bread pieces are lightly coated in butter/margarine.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Add 1/2 of the torn, buttered bread to the bottom of the prepared pan.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Sprinkle 1/2 of the diced pepper, 1/2 of the diced onion and 1/2 the diced ham evenly over the torn, buttered bread. It was way cheaper to buy a fully cooked ham steak than to buy already diced fully cooked ham. I don’t mind dicing up a flat and even slice of ham and I love saving money. The ham steak was a very large piece. So I only used half of the ham up for  the entire casserole. Half of our family isn’t too fond of vegetables so as you can see in the picture above, I only put the vegetables on one half of the pan. If your family isn’t as picky as mine, sprinkle the green peppers, onions and ham evenly over the entire pan. Since I only put diced green peppers on 1/2 of the casserole, I had diced green peppers left over as well.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

I often will dice up onions and green peppers as soon as I bring them home from the store and freeze them in snack-size Ziploc bags. That way they are always ready to throw in to whatever I am making. I will throw it in frozen and it melts away the ice while cooking and the flavor remains. As you can see in the picture of all the ingredients, I already had diced up, frozen onions to use in this dish. So I bagged up my diced green peppers that I can use in many of my recipes like our No Fail Chili or Cowboy Potatoes and Cheesy Scrambled Eggs. The diced ham I can use later in our Chunky, Cheesy, Potato and Ham Soup or our Beans. Just be sure to date your Ziplocs! Nothing worse then finding a chunk of something when cleaning out your freezer and not knowing if its still good or should be thrown out.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Sprinkle 1/2 the bag (1 cup) of Colby-Jack shredded cheese over the vegetables and ham. Add the remainder of the torn, buttered bread on top. Sprinkle the remainder of the diced pepper, diced onion and diced ham over the top layer of the torn, buttered bread. Sprinkle the remainder of the Colby-Jack shredded cheese over the vegetables and ham.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

In a medium-sized bowl, crack all 12 eggs. Add 1/2 – 3/4 cup of milk. Add salt & pepper to taste. Wisk the eggs, milk and seasoning together making sure all yolks are busted. If you have a favorite scrambled egg recipe, prepare your eggs that same way. We add garlic powder in our eggs and always use fresh ground black pepper for seasoning. I love fresh ground black pepper, it makes everything taste better!

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Pour the egg mix evenly over the breakfast casserole.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Place foil over the 9×13 pan and place in fridge overnight. The torn bread pieces will soak up all that wonderful egg mix while in the fridge. Preheat oven to 350 degrees the next morning. Leaving foil on, bake the Breakfast Casserole for 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Remove from oven and let set for approximately 5 minutes before cutting into slices.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

This is a hearty breakfast and I am full with one piece! Since I did the prep work the night before and washed the dishes as I went, all that was left after breakfast was putting the leftover casserole in the fridge. Out the door we were with full stomachs ready to tackle our busy day! This past weekend was fantastic! Lots of sunshine, a slight breeze and warm temperatures! I hope your weekend was as fun as ours!