Bite Sized Bits of Yummy Goodness

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I love coffee. A lot. Drink it daily. I am a Starbucks Gold Card holder (got mine before my husband--hehe, sorry sweetie, have to rub it in) Well, as we all know afternoon coffee must have some sort of treat, right? Right? I can't hear you! Just repeat after me: Why yes, yes it does. What kind of treat were you thinking?

I'm so glad you asked. Starbucks started to offer Cake Pops and the whole family loved them. Of course I immediately started to wonder how these were made (don't ask, I'm like that with a lot of stuff) and how I could make them myself (and cheaper, of course).
Enter Google Search (of course--how else can anyone find anything?), type in Cake Pops and the first thing that pops (hehe) up is the Bakerella site. Jackpot! So, for the next couple of hours I got sucked into the yummy world of mini cakey goodness in the form of Cake Pops, Cake Balls and Cupcake Balls.  And it just so happened that the first post I see is the announcement for the release of the Cake Pops Book (yay). Off to Amazon to check it out.

I decided to get the Kindle version, so I could prop up the iPad in the kitchen and follow along. Of course getting all the supplies wasn't quite as easy as I thought (it never is, isn't it?). I ended up going to three different stores to get everything. Now, what to make...hmmm. oh, I know. Katie, my 6 Year old, loves pigs. I think that would work for a first attempt. Let's see, what do I need:
  • 1 box of Cake Mix - check (I used Lemon)
  • 1 can of frosting - check (I used whipped vanilla--yum)
  • Pink Candy Melt - check
  • Lollipop Sticks - check
  • Candy-covered Sunflower seeds (for the ears) - check
  • Pink M&M's for the snout - Uh Oh, hitting a snag here--no pink stuff anywhere. Note to self: stock up on pink candy next Valentines Day and/or Easter (and hide them so you don't accidentally eat them). After consulting with a very helpful World Market employee, we came up with Sweet Tarts. OK, that'll work - check
  • Edible Ink Pens for Eyes - check
OK, ready to go. First, the cake. If you don't have the book, you can get the basic instructions on the Bakerella site--and sooo many wonderful examples of all kinds of sweet stuff you can imagine. Be warned, though, you will be drooling! Here how I did it:
  1. Prepare the cake mix as directed on the box and let it cool completely.
  2. Crumble into a large bowl (make sure the little ones wash their hands for this if they're helping)Cake Crumbles
  3. Add about 3/4 of the frosting and mix. This is the messy, sticky part, so you may want to use gloves.
  4. Roll your cake balls. I'm not that good at estimating, so I used a small ice cream scoop. Plus, the kids were helping and this was easier for them. I had them do the scooping and I did the rolling.Helpers
  5. Chill for a couple of hours. If your freezer is big enough, you can put them in there for about 15 minutes (according to the book)
  6. Melt your candy dip either in the microwave or in a double-boiler. The microwave might sound easier, but I have yet to be able to get it right. The last time I tried to melt chocolate chips for a yummy strawberry dip desert, I couldn't get the stuff to melt, so I kept microwaving it until I ended up with a stinky/burnt/curdling mess (blargh). We don't mention this incident in this family. So, double-boiler it is.
  7. Now comes the fun part. Dip the lollipop stick into the candy melt (just the tip) and gently push into a cake ball. While it's still wet, push two little pink sunflower seeds into the head for the piggy ears.Dipping
  8. To dry (harden), push the sticks into a block of Styrofoam.
  9. When the little piggies are dry we can add the snouts. Feel free to test or, you know, dispose of cracked or broken pops. Gotta make sure they, uhh, taste right, right? I just used one of the lollipop sticks to dip into the candy melt, spread some on the snout-candy and apply to pig face--tadaa, almost done.Sample
  10. All that's left is to add the eyes. Now, here's where I had problems. From what I'd read, you must use the edible ink pens, right? Well, I must have gotten different pens, because they were so hard that they started to dent the candy coating without leaving any ink--rats! Luckily, I had also bought some candy colors, just in case I couldn't get pink. I just used a toothpick dipped in candy color and lightly dab on the eyes (worked great for adding the mouth, too)All Done
And that's it! You're done. Oh, don't forget to do some more testing. You never know--gotta make sure they're still good.
P.S.: Like the Frames? They are free from Isabelle Lafrance Photography. Check it out, there are lots of cool freebies, actions and textures.

Hey, it's a Blog-Hop! Amy McMaster from Olive Juice Shoppe started a Fall Recipe Blog Hop and I decided to add my Pink Army of Cake Pop Pigs. This is my first Blog Hop, so I'm excited to see how many great recipes will show up. Add yours today.


I dream in Textures

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another week has gone by and another fabulous texture found its way to my collection by way of Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday email. This time I have two pictures that I think work well with this new texture called Dream.
The first picture is of a Seagull, which I had already been working on with other textures. The dream texture just seemed like the icing on the cake. Hmmm, cake. Sorry, I got temporarily distracted. Speaking of cake, I made some yummy cake pops this weekend. You can see pictures and how-to's on my personal blog (not that this blog isn't personal, but more photography oriented, where my personal blog is, well...personal, you know?)
Anyway, back to textures. Here is the Seagull--if you hover your mouse over the picture, you'll see the original.

Here is a screen-shot of the layers and settings for this image. I used the dream and grannyscupboard textures as well as a lovely overlay from Vera Lim:
Seagull layers

And 'cause it was so much fun, I had to do another one. What do you think? 

I was going to put the layer screen-shot here as well, but it turned out to be quite long. Let me know in your comments if you'd like to see it and I'll try to stitch it together from multiple screen-shots.
Make sure you stop by the Texture Tuesday Page and check out all the beautiful entries.


Soft and Faded

Thursday, July 14, 2011

It's Texture Tuesday at the Kim Klassen CafĂ©. This week's edition is Pretty in Pink and we need to use the Aurora texture. What, just use one texture? Hmmm, don't think I can do that. How about 4 or 5? Yeah, that sounds better. ☺

This is not a new picture. I shot this in September of 2009 at the Olympia, WA Capitol Grounds. The gardens were lovely and I was aiming for the flowers when the bee just happened to fly by--snap, lucky shot. I've posted the original (cleaned up) on my blog and flickrstream before, but I wanted to try to put a softer spin on it--enter Textures.

Hover your mouse over the picture to see the before.


Here's what I used:

  1. Hue/Saturation Adjustment to desaturate a bit
  2. Nelly Nero - Modfather and turned on the Pop,Brighten and Fade Highlights and Toning layers
  3. Textures: k_canvasbackmagic, Screen, 100%; kk_canvasback, Soft Light, 87%; 3 copies of kk_aurora, Linear Burn, 59%, Soft Light, 24% with an Invert Adjustment Layer at 89%, Multiply, 33%; kk_luminous, Screen, 74%
  4. Then I grouped the texture layers and added a layer mask to bring back a bit of the bee
  5. Solid Color Adjustment Layer, c4d4c3, Multiply, 18%
  6. Solid Color Adjustment Layer, f2ebc6, Soft Light, 64%
  7. The photo frame is from Katie Pertiet from Designer Digitals


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