Archive | September 2013

Pepperoni Egg Rolls

Steve and I had pepperoni egg rolls from one of the local pizza shops. It was fantastic! It was a pricey appetizer though. It cost us $5.99 for 5 pepperoni egg rolls. We thought, hmmmm . . . we could so make these! So after experimenting, we created our own delicious, cheesy, crunchy and super yummy Pepperoni Egg Rolls! It is a heck of a lot cheaper to make your own pepperoni egg rolls! Football season is in full swing and this would be an awesome appetizer to serve for all your football gatherings! Go Buckeyes!

Printable Recipe: Pepperoni Egg Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 24 pack of Mozzarella String Cheese Sticks
  • 24 pack of Spring Roll Pastry
  • Package of Pepperoni Slices
  • 1 egg white
  • Pizza Sauce for Dipping

Directions:

Preheat deep fryer to 375 degrees.

Place one spring roll pastry sheet on a flat plate. Place 4 pepperoni slices along the corner edge (overlap the pepperoni). I use disposable kitchen gloves whenever I’m cooking. You certainly can just use clean hands to make these pepperoni egg rolls.

Place one stick of mozzarella string cheese on top of the pepperoni.

Roll the bottom edge over the string cheese & pepperoni. Fold in each side corner and roll the rest of the way up (like a burrito).

Dip finger in egg white and rub it into the open edge (or use a small pastry brush to brush on the egg white). Roll the rest of the way up.

Repeat steps 2-6 until all spring roll pastry sheets and cheese sticks are used up (you will have leftover pepperoni).

Drop in deep fryer 4-5 pepperoni egg rolls at a time. This is an average-sized Fry Daddy. Deep fry until golden brown (approximately 4-6 minutes).

Using tongs, carefully remove pepperoni egg rolls from the deep fryer and lay on a double-layer of paper towels to drain some grease off. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes. Serve with pizza sauce to dip pepperoni egg rolls in.

Any unused pepperoni egg rolls cans be layered into a Ziploc and frozen. Remove from freezer and drop into an already heated deep fryer. Cook frozen egg rolls for 6-8 minutes until golden brown.

 

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German Chocolate Cake Pops

Of all the cake pops I have made the past few years the German Chocolate Cake Pops are by far the absolute BEST! I used a German chocolate cake mix and coconut and pecan frosting. Bake the cake as directed or you could doctor up the plain old cake box mix this WAY.

Allow the cake mix to cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, don on some disposable gloves and smash the cake into pieces.

Add a hearty (half the tub) dollop of icing and with your gloved hands mash the cake and icing together into one mound of mushy cake.

I use a one-inch cookie scoop to scoop out the balls in even portions.

With still gloved hands, roll the scoops into tight balls. Chill in the fridge while melting Wilton Light Cocoa Candy Melts in a double boiler or my favorite kitchen appliance, the Wilton Deluxe Candy Melter.

After the cake balls had chilled for a bit, I took the remainder of the frosting and put it in a sandwich Ziploc bag. I snipped the edge and piped a dollop of the oh-so-yummy icing on top of each ball. Place back in the fridge for 5-10 minutes until chilled again.

Dip about 1/4″ of a lollipop stick into the melted chocolate. Insert the lollipop stick directly into the dollop of icing and through most of the cake ball. Repeat with remaining cake balls. Add another bag of Wilton Light Cocoa Candy Melts to the double boiler or the candy melter. Place mini cupcake liners in a mini cupcake pan. Once melted into a smooth puddle, dip the entire cake ball and dollop of icing in the chocolate. Place the dipped cake pop into the mini cupcake liner ensuring the lollipop stick is standing straight up. I did about 6 at a time. I then sprinkled on red and black sugar crystals along with yellow jimmies. Repeat until all cake pops are dipped and coated with crystals and jimmies. One box of cake mix will make between 50-60 one-inch cake pops.

I made the flags using Word. One side of the flag is the German Flag and the other says “I love you” in German. You can download the flags HERE. After downloading, cut the paper in half from top to bottom. Then fold each half in half and cut out the flags. The flags will be double-sided. Using double-sided tape, wrap the flags around the lollipop sticks about 1/4″ from the top of the stick. You could also add a red, black or yellow ribbon under the flag for extra cuteness. These look awesome but trust and believe they TASTE AWESOME!

My brother, Mike, suggested I make the German Cake Pops and he was so right! Thanks Mike for the suggestion and for being the best brother a gal could ask for!

Need more cake pop ideas? Check out these prior posts!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake Pops

Camo Cake Pops

Graduation Cake Pops

Baseball Cake Pops

Birthday Cake Pops

Snowman Cake Pops

Basketball Cake Pops

Mint Dark Chocolate Cake Pops – Thank You Gifts

I have made my fair share of cake pops, probably north of a couple thousand in the past 2-3 years. They are great to give as gifts and can easily be personalized. I focus mostly on the overall product. I believe the flags, sanding sugars, ribbons and designer cupcake liners are what make and break a good batch of cake pops. I’ve been told that my cake pops not only look good but taste fantastic. It’s all about the right proportion of cake versus icing and using quality chocolates. I had pretty much stuck with the basic cake mixes like chocolate, white and yellow. In the past few months I have ventured into more gourmet flavors.

One night while hanging out with some of our favorite people in the world, The Smalls, we talked about different flavors I could make into cake pops. Tami had the fantastic idea of a mint chocolate cake pop. Mint chocolate is a favorite among many folks so I thought I would give it a try. Mike also suggested German Chocolate Cake Pops and I knew I would give that a try as well (HERE is a link to the awesome German Chocolate Cake Pops).

I made the Mint Dark Chocolate Cake Pops specifically for Tami as a way to say “Thanks” for all that she does for our family and also just for being one of the bestest of pals throughout the years. The wheels were turning in my head on how to incorporate Andes Mints into my cake pops. I think I found the magic combination! I am also not one to recreate the wheel. Cake mixes are so affordable and most of the time very tasty. You can elevate the basic cake mix with a couple changes in the box’s recipe. One of my most popular posts (seriously, it has over 11, 100 views) is how to improve store bought cake mixes and store bought icing. You can check that post out HERE.

I started with Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate cake mix. Duncan Hines is a favorite cake mix of mine because the cakes always turn out moist. When I make cake pops, I generally stay away from the “whipped” icings. I think normal icing works better with cake pops.

After doctoring up the box recipe to make it more home-made, I added chopped up Andes Mints to the batter. I chopped up about 15 mints into tiny pieces. Stir the candy pieces right into the batter. Bake as directed and allow the cake to completely cool in the pan.

I know most folks will tell you to break apart the cake in a bowl…I don’t see the point in dirtying up another dish! I don on gloves and break the cake up in the pan it was baked in. I add about half a tub of doctored icing (again, see HERE on how to make store bought icing taste like it is home-made). Still with gloved hands, I slowly work the icing into the broken up cake pieces until I end up with a mound of mushed cake.

To keep my cake balls somewhat uniform in size, I initially scoop out the cake balls using a one-inch cookie scoop.

With gloved hands, I roll the cake out into tight balls. I put the cake pops in the fridge to chill for about 20 minutes or however long it takes to melt a bag of Wilton’s Candy Melts in my Wilton Candy Melter. Dip the ends of a lollipop stick about 1/4 of an inch up the stick and insert it into the top of the rounded cake ball. Repeat until all cake balls have sticks. Add a second bag of Wilton Candy Melt to the candy melter and allow the candy to turn into a puddle of sweet bliss. I was so happy to find Wilton Mint Cocoa Candy Melts at Walmart! Now the cake was minty and so was the chocolate! While waiting for the candy to melt, I chopped up more Andes Mints (the remainder of the bag) and put the candy pieces in a bowl. I got out my mini cupcake pans and lined it with these cute gold mini cupcake liners. After the candy was completely melted, I dipped the cake ball straight down into the chocolate until it completely covered up the cake ball. Allow some of the chocolate to fall off and back into the pot while gently swirling the cake pop above the chocolate. Place the dipped cake pop into the cupcake liner ensuring the lollipop stick is straight. I dipped 6 cake pops at a time and then used a spoon to dump a small amount of the crushed Andes Mints on top of the cake pop. You want to sprinkle the crushed Andes Mints on top of the cake pop before the chocolate sets. Repeat until all cake pops are dipped and covered in Andes Mints.

I used Word to create the flags. Cut down the middle of the paper and fold each half in half (to create double sided flags). Cut the flags out individually. Using double-sided tape, wrap the flag around the lollipop stick about 1/4-inch down from the top. I cut an upside down “V” out of the side of the flag for extra cuteness! When the flags are added to the Mint Dark Chocolate Cake Pops, they instantly become an amazing Thank You gift. You can download the flags HERE. I suggest using cardstock when printing out your flags. I wish I would have added green ribbon underneath the flags but ran out of time. They still turned out cute!

The Mint Dark Chocolate Cake Pops also tasted quite divine! One box of cake mix, half a tub of icing, 1 bag of Andes Mints and 2 bags of Wilton Mint Cocoa Candy Melts cost about $12.00. I made almost 60 cake pops out of this! Making cake pops yourself is fun and easy. It is time consuming but well worth it! Sure beats the $1.50 most bakeries charge for just one cake pop! Give these Mint Dark Chocolate Cake Pops away as Thank You gifts because the recipient will LOVE them…you probably won’t be able to give them all away because you will want too keep some for yourself! Just wanted to say it again, thanks Tami & Mike for being you and for being the bestest of friends to The Pack Family. Here’s to many more years of friendship!

NEED MORE CAKE POP INSPIRATIONS? CHECK OUT MY PRIOR POSTS OF DIFFERENT CAKE POPS BY JUST CLICKING ON THE PHOTOS BELOW!

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Karen’s Banana Split Dessert

You are with them at least 40 hours a week. You collaborate, sometimes disagree but always in the end get the job done. I’ve always believed wholeheartedly to love what you do but also love who you do it with. When you choose a profession, choose it for every reason except the paycheck itself. Find something that ignites a passion in you. You either will love what you do or spend way too much time being bitter in life. I loved being a nurse. I loved helping others and knowing that everyday I went to work, I made a difference. Your coworkers can make or break you, so put your differences aside and find what is common between you…it makes your life so much easier. Let’s face it, one of the best ice breakers is food itself! The hubster, Steve, has been working at the same hospital going on 6 or maybe 7 years. He also works part-time at a home health agency for the past 3 years. Before that, he had one job for almost 13 years. This says a lot about my husband. He’s only 42-years-old. When he commits, he COMMITS. Were they always his dream job? Well, no…but he sees everything as an opportunity. He has told our sons a gazillion times to love what you do and be the best at what you do. Whether you become a doctor, a mechanic or a manager at a fast food joint, be the best you can be at your job and treat everyone with respect. He practices what he preaches and has made so many friends along the way. Sometimes, the folks at his work get together at lunch time for a potluck. Sometimes folks just bring a dish to share for no other reason than to share it. The other day, I sent him to work with a few dozen Milk Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies (they were delicious by the way and I’ll post that recipe soon) because that’s what we do…we share. Last week Steve almost tripped getting into the house from work with a wad of tin foil he was holding so delicately in his hand. He ran to the kitchen, grabbed a fork and said, “Try this!” I’m not kidding, he was that excited. With one bite, I can see why! This dessert was so heavenly. Fruity, creamy and whippy. The perfect summer treat (I know, it’s fall time now, lol). I do believe I have a new favorite dessert and it’s Karen’s Banana Split Dessert! Karen works with Steve and not only gave him a piece at work but also a piece for him to bring home to me. She also scribbled down the recipe and you folks are all in for a major treat! This post is dedicated to Karen. Thanks for the sweet treat! Give this a try folks and you will be thanking Karen too! I’ve made it twice already and shared it with my besties, Rhonda, Beth and Cindy. They gave 2 thumbs up on this dessert too!

Printable Recipe: Karen’s Banana Split Dessert

Ingredients:

  • 2 pre-made graham piecrusts
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 stick margarine/butter, melted
  • 2 – 8oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 bananas
  • Can of crushed pineapples, drained
  • 2 – 8oz tubs of Cool Whip
  • Approximately 20 maraschino cherries (no stems)

Directions:

Dump both graham piecrusts into a medium-sized bowl and break up the piecrusts into crumbs. I’m guessing you could just buy graham crumbs (Meijer sells a box around these parts) but this is what Karen said to get and I wanted to follow her recipe exactly as it was written. Some things are perfect and should be left well enough alone.

Add sugar to the crumbled piecrusts and stir until sugar is well blended into the graham crumbs.

Pour melted margarine/butter over the sugar/graham crumbs and stir till well combined.

Using a spatula spread the sugar/graham mix onto the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Press down with the spatula packing the crust down. Place pan in the freezer for 10 minutes.

While chilling the crust, place both blocks of cream cheese and powdered sugar in another medium-sized bowl. With a hand mixer, beat until smooth and creamy.

After 10 minutes, remove pan with the crust from the freezer. Evenly spread the cream cheese mix over the crust with a spatula.

Cut thin slices of bananas and evenly spread the slices over the cream cheese mix. Karen’s recipe called for 4 bananas to be sliced up. I found 2 to be plenty enough. The second time I made this, I used only one banana sliced, about 12 strawberries sliced thin and pineapple tidbits. It was fantastic!

Spread the crushed pineapple evenly over the sliced bananas. I do think that although it is a pain in the arse to drain crushed pineapples from a can, I think it was better than the tidbits I used on the second pan I made. Try it either way, the tidbits were still awesome but the crushed pineapples where awesome-er (is that a word?)!

Spread both tubs of Cool Whip on top of the bananas with a spatula.

Randomly place the maraschino cherries on top of the Cool Whip.You could also just place random slices of strawberry on top (that’s how Karen made it). We however inherited this humungo jar of maraschino cherries and I use them anytime I can. Chill in fridge for approximately 2 hours before serving.

How awesome is this?! Another no-bake dessert! Love, love, love these type of recipes! This recipe is seriously the most awesomest of dessert recipes!

 

Touchdown Football Crochet Throw

Touchdown Football Crochet Throw

Finally finished the Touchdown Football Crochet Throw! I love the texture and the 2D effect of the footballs! Nice and thick! I have to give a shout out to two dear friends I’ve met through my blog who took the time to test my pattern and offer suggestions on how to improve it. Thank you Fran & Janet, you are both awesome in my book!

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Adjustable in size, add as many motifs to get to your desired length.

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The pattern is finally written! It is 17 pages long with 89 photos and diagrams! This is for an expert crocheter however my directions are so detailed that an intermediate crocheter can tackle this awesome throw! The finished size of the throw below containing 48 Football Motifs is 50″x38″. Each Football Motif measures 6″x6″ square.

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You can purchase the pattern in my ETSY SHOP or in my RAVELRY SHOP for only $6.00. As a BONUS, I have included directions on how to change the Football Motif into a Granny Football Motif that you can use in your favorite granny square pattern! The Granny Football Motif is 7″x7″ square. NOTE: The picture is inaccurate in measurement. The Granny Football Motif is next to a 7 row basic granny square. It will NOT line up. The Granny Football Motif will ONLY line up with a 6 row basic granny square. Sorry about that folks. The patterns posted for purchase have been updated with this information and all prior buyers have received the updated pattern at no additional charge.

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The possibilities are endless when it comes to these 2 football motifs! Also, included in the directions for both the Football Motif and the Granny Football Motif are step-by-step instructions and photos for the laces. The “lacing” is quick and easy with the way I sew the laces on the footballs. Also, I created the lacing so that it shows on both sides. There is not a “bad” or “wrong” side with these motifs. Instead, there is a “good” side and a “better” side!  Thanks for your interest in my original design and for stopping by my blog! Have a great day!

Variations of the Football Motif:

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I took the Drop in the Pond pattern and switched out the center granny square with a Football Granny Motif. I followed the pattern for the edging except changed the colors in row 3 and 4 to white. I also added another set on the middle section to both ends and another set to each long side.

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Made for a really large afghan: 57″x43″. The original Drop in the Pond pattern is not mine but just wanted to show you how to incorporate the Football Motifs into other patterns.

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I should add that the stitches are accurate in the count however the very nature of going from an oblong shape to a square causes some puckering. Personally, I love the slight puckering. It allows the football to protrude out creating a 2D effect. For the throw below I “blocked” the square to make it lay flat. To block your motif, you will need a spray bottle filled with water, a pillow case, an ironing board and an iron. Spray the motif lightly with water. Stretch the motif out till it is flat and all edges are square. Place pillow case on top and iron at medium heat until all the steam evaporates (meaning the water is gone). Your motif will lay flat for your design. Of course, if you should ever wash your afghan, the same process will need to occur to get it to lay flat again. As with any crochet item, wash all items alone and lay flat to dry. In the throw below I used the Granny Football Motif along with a basic granny square. Just another variation using the motifs found in the Touchdown Football Crochet Throw pattern! It turned out really cute! Actually, I think it is my favorite so far this football season. This is my kitchen floor and the black areas seen through the red is the little black diamonds on my kitchen floor and not part of the throw.

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Check out Angie’s version! Looks fantastic! Thanks again for sharing!

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