Happy Fourth of July

Everyone is hustling and bustling around town, and stores are packed with shoppers that are stocking up on buns and hot dogs for their Fourth of July parties, but don’t forget about your treats!  We have an easy idea for you that everyone will enjoy, Patriotic Strawberries!  We featured these last year, but thought that we would share them again, as they are delicious, not to mention easy to make. 

If you have a melting pot, use this to melt a little over a cup of your white chocolate melts (found at any craft store) and dip your strawberries in the white chocolate, then dip them into blue sprinkles.  That’s it!  Now, wasn’t that easy?    If you don’t have a melting pot, you could melt your chocolate in a glass measuring cup in the microwave at 10 second intervals, but be careful not to burn your chocolate.  The melting pot works best because it keeps the chocolate evenly heated and will not burn the chocolate.  When you use the old method of melting chocolate in a glass measuring cup in the microwave, the chocolate will melt, but it will also cool while sitting on your counter, that’s why we recommend for you to use a melting pot as it works best! 

Making decorations for the Fourth of July is simple.  Even a red bow on a flower pot spruces it up.  Or, how about pulling out your big colored rubber bands (we know you have a supply in your home somewhere) and pull the rubber bands over a glass votive holder, red band, white band, red band (you get the idea).  The glow of the candle, of course, will not shine through the rubber bands, but it decorates your table in Patriotic style! 

We have made some of our own wood patriotic crafts, like our patriotic wood house boxes, our patriotic monogram “R” that adorns our front door in style, and even used some pieces from a pallet and made a quick and easy patriotic flag to hang in our garden on the fence.  All it takes is a little red, white, and blue and some creativity to pull off a festive Fourth! 

And, you can’t celebrate the Fourth without fireworks, so we wanted to share with you some of our outstanding fireworks photographs that we took last year.  You can click on the photographs to enlarge them, if you wanted! 

Have a Happy and Safe Fourth! 

Easter Cake Pops – Carrot Cake Infused with Cream Cheese

Inside a Cake Pop

There is no way that I could let the Easter holiday pass us by without making some Easter Cake Pops for the family.  I spent the entire day yesterday making these delicious Carrot Cake cake pops injected with cream cheese and I am so pleased at how they turned out, not to mention how yummy these tasted!  (yes, I had to sample one to see

Cake Pops are easy to make, if you have a neat Cake Pop Maker (which I got for Christmas).  And, if you don’t have a Cake Pop Maker, then you would have to take a cake mix, bake a cake, cool the cake, then crumble the cake and mix it with frosting, then mold your cake mixture into balls or any other shape.  By having an actual Cake Pop Maker, the process is a lot easier.  So, I will walk you through the steps in how I created these Cake Pops. 

First, you take any cake mix, (for these, I used a carrot cake) and make the cake as per the directions on the box.  While you are mixing up your cake mix, you turn your Cake Pop Maker on to heat up.  Once the CPM is hot, you just spoon a tablespoon of cake mix into the 12 holes in the CPM, close the lid, and bake for exactly 4 minutes.  Then you just pop out the Cake Balls and set on a platter to cool.  An average cake mix makes anywhere from 80 – 100+ cake balls.

Once I had all of the cake pops made & cooled, the next step was to inject each cake pop with cream cheese.  I used this little cool injector that came with the CPM and just filled it with the cream cheese, then injected the pops.  (for example, you could also make donut holes filled with jelly too by using this same process

After all of the cake pops were injected with cream cheese, you need to put them in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.  The reason you do this is to make them easier to dip into the chocolate.  If you tried to use the cake balls not frozen, your cake ball would break apart since it is so moist.  Freezing them holds the cake batter balls together nicely. 

While the cake balls are freezing, you can start melting your chocolate melts in your Melting Pot.  I got the one I use from KMart for about $20 and it does such a great job at keeping the chocolate at a perfect temperature and perfectly melted without burning your chocolate.  You could also melt your chocolate in a glass measuring cup in the microwave, but doing it this way, you run into the chance of burning your chocolate, not to mention that your chocolate is not being kept warm like it is in the Melting Pot. 

Once your chocolate is melted, take the lightly frozen cake pops out of the freezer, insert a toothpick into the middle of the cake pop, dip it into your Melting Pot of chocolate and spoon the chocolate over the top.  Pull cake pop out of the chocolate and let it drip off any excess chocolate back into the Melting Pot.  Place cake ball onto wax paper.  (this is very important because if you don’t, your cake ball will stick to your cookie sheet)  Now, just continue with each cake ball and dip them into chocolate, and once you run out of chocolate, you can clean out your Melting Pot and melt a different color of chocolate melts.

Once you get a full cookie sheet of cake balls dipped in chocolate, place them in the refrigerator to harden.  Once all cake balls have been dipped, the next step is to do the milk chocolate drizzle over the top.  Take your plastic bottle with small nozzle, open it up, and break up into small pieces the milk chocolate melts into the plastic bottle and fill about half way.  Place plastic bottle in microwave for 10 second intervals, and in between intervals, squeeze bottle together to help mix the chocolate, and keep doing this until the chocolate is melted.  (do not over microwave because your chocolate will harden)  Then, bring out your cookie sheet of cake balls from the fridge, and tap your bottle upside down on the counter to get the chocolate in the bottle down to the tip, and lightly squeeze over the top of the cake pops.  At this point, you could do so many different things with the milk chocolate, like making “dots” of chocolate all over the top of your cake pops, to writing an “initial” on top of it, or just doing a nice drizzle over the top.  The possibilities are endless, but be creative! 

So that is how we made these delicious Carrot Cake Cake Pops for Easter, but since we don’t rush things and want all of our goodies to look good, we had to place them in a box with each one sitting in a paper cup to make a nice presentation, with an adorable Easter note on top of the box.