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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Cake Ball!


Everyone needs to know how to make cake balls. Everyone! I used to teach school with a lady that talked about how the process was grueling and took two days to make and they never came out the same. I decided to give it a try..... First attempt was terrible. Soon enough I figured out the technique and it became easier and easier each time. Now I think I am pretty darn good at it! Cake balls are so spectacular, cute and perfect mix of moist and cake, but really they're pretty simple. You can make a cake ball for every occasion and if there is a blemish or mishap, cover it with sprinkles or drizzle over it. Tah..dah! No one will ever know. I used Strawberry Cake Mix and Cream Cheese frosting but you can use whatever you like. The possibilities are endless! I have made so many different combinations and they have all turned out terrific! Welcome to the world of cake balls! 


Ingredients
1 box cake mix plus the ingredients to make a cake per box directions
1 tub of store bought frosting
1 bag of candy melts (sometimes it takes 1 1/2 bags) You can find these at Wal-Mart, Target, Hobby Lobby, Michael's)
Sprinkles, nuts...whatever you want to be on the outside of the cake ball


Bake your cake per box directions in a 9x13 inch pan.  Once the cake has been baked and cooled, crumble your baked cake in a large mixing bowl.  Add 3/4 of the container of store bought frosting to crumbled cake.  Combine cake crumbles and frosting together. This process is easiest for me to use my hands to mix it together.  Form cake mix into round balls (ping pong sized).  Place each ball on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Once all of your balls are formed, place baking sheet in the freezer to firm (I normally freeze them for two hours.)

Once you're ready to start decorating your cake balls, leave them in the freezer and get everything else ready.  You want your cake balls really cold to help with the decorating.   I normally pull out 10 cake balls at a time. In a microwavable bowl, melt your chocolate (stir every 30 seconds until all melted).  Once chocolate is melted, drop your ball into the chocolate and coat. Then, get a spoon and pull it out... Now, here is the method that helped me so much, BANG YOUR SPOON ON THE EDGE OF THE BOWL TO GET ALL THE EXCESS CHOCOLATE OFF!!!!  Once covered, put back on to wax paper and immediately decorate with sprinkles (if you wait til they dry, the sprinkles don't stick).  Continue process. I also decorate using an icing bag and drizzle over it using other colors (or even the same color of candy melts). 

Once your cake balls have been dipped, sprinkled, decorated, place in the fridge until ready to serve.

These are a hit with anyone and everyone. I have also put them on sticks to make cake pops (this makes it easy for kids). Any time there is an event, my phone is ringing and they are requesting I bring cake balls! So, try them, you will LOVE them!!!

Other combinations:
white cake with cream cheese frosting
red velvet with cream cheese frosting
lemon with cream cheese frosting
chocolate with chocolate






Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Movies


I am a bit obsessed when it comes to Christmas. I love everything about Christmas: traditions, Christmas music, the smells of Christmas, decorations, lights, Santa, baking, Christmas trees, and the list goes on and on. With these loves, I also love Christmas movies. I don’t like to watch Christmas movies after Christmas Day, to me once Christmas Day comes to an end, Christmas is over until the next year. I don’t want to hear Christmas music, watch movies and I want to get my Christmas d├ęcor down and put away ASAP. I am pretty passionate about my Christmas movies. Here is a list of my favorite Christmas movies. I watch others, but these are the ones I don’t like to pass by….

Miracle on 34th Street

Jingle All The Way

Home Alone

A Christmas Story

Christmas Vacation

Elf

The Santa Clause

The Christmas Shoes

So, what is your favorite Christmas movie?






Saturday, December 7, 2013

Our Elf on The Shelf Arrived From The North Pole!!!

He's here, he's here, he's here!!!!!!! Our Elf has arrived from the North Pole!!!! We are SO excited!!! Kinsley didn't know what to think the first day, I think she was a little spooked at the thought of having an elf in our house.  She went with it and together we named him Jolly. Now I've got some catching up to do.... Our elf has been up to quite a few shenanigans since his arrival and the kids just LOVE it (Beau and I love it too)!

If you have not seen this out and about, here it is: you can find these at Target, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and I am sure other places sell them also. It comes with a story book that you read to your child. Your child/family will name the elf. If you touch him/her, he/she loses his magic and goes back to the North Pole. I also got the movie and my kids both love it! It has been SOOO much fun so far. 



He showed up with a few little treats for the kids, a Christmas book and a movie. 



Kinsley was thrilled to see that he was doing one of her puzzles! 


Kinsley made a Rudolph last year when we went to see Santa at Northpark Mall. She loves him and thought it was so funny that Jolly was riding on him. Now even Witten is excited when he sees Jolly various places throughout the house. 






Jolly brought the stuff we needed to make mini, green pies. Kinsley loves helping in the kitchen and also loves snacks. So, this was definitely a hit for her. The "stuff" he brought was a pack of 6 mini graham cracker crusts, pistachio pudding, Redi-Whip and Christmas sprinkles. We made the pudding according to the directions and poured it into the pies. We let it chill, then added Redi-whip and sprinkles. She loved it and thought it was even funnier that Jolly came to see the pies being made. As you can see, we had one very excited, little one. 


Later on we came into the kitchen and he was eating a pie! 



Today while we were out playing in the ice. He decided to color a page in the book for the kids. They loved it! 

This is such a fun tradition to do in your house or classroom. Jolly will keep returning year after year to take notes for Santa. 

Come back by to see what Jolly has been up to while visiting our house!








Apple Cake



I have been whipping up all sorts of goods in my kitchen. Today it was Apple Cake. Actually, my husband whipped it up for us (brownie points for him) because I had been craving it and it wasn't at Thanksgiving this year.  This was a cake my grandmother made every Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is amazing, seriously y’all, I would eat a piece (or two) on the day and usually another piece (or two) for breakfast the next day.  This has been a favorite since I was too young to remember and still is. We have been iced in for the past two days. After playing out in the ice/snow mix, we needed something warm and tasty for after our time outside. It was 20 degrees here today. Brrrrr…… It’s very easy to make and my kids loved it also.  It's also good the next day(s) with a little bit of butter and heated up for about 30 seconds in the microwave or as is. I have also made them into muffins or little loaves. They make a great dessert or breakfast. 

Try it.  Your family will love it! 



Ingredients for Cake

3 cups chopped apples (I use golden delicious)
1 ¼ cup of vegetable oil
2 cups of white sugar
2 eggs (well beaten)
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1-2 cups (I use 2) chopped pecans


Ingredients for Icing

1/2 stick of butter
1/2 lb of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp of milk

Mix together apples, oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
Mix and add dry ingredients (sift together in large mixing bowl).
Add pecans and stir.

Bake @ 350 for 1 hour.

Once your cake has cooled, it is time to whip up your icing. 

Icing:

In the top part of a double boiler, melt butter and sift in powdered sugar. Add milk and vanilla. In the bottom pan bring water to a boil and place the top pan inside, stir constantly for 2-4 minutes. While still hot, pour over the top of your cooled cake and let it drizzle down the sides. If too thin, add more powdered sugar. If too thick, add 1 tbsp of milk. 





 
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