Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fruit salsa and cinnamon chips

This is a super yummy fresh treat!  
Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored
and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 pound strawberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons raspberry preserves, seedless

10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
butter flavored cooking spray OR melted butter
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar
1.In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, Golden Delicious apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.

If you prefer not to make your own chips, you can use Stacy's Cinnamon Pita chips. They're delicious and will save you some time. 
2.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3.Coat one side of each flour tortilla with melted butter or butter cooking spray.  Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray or lightly brush with butter.
4.Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled salsa. 
  (Adapted from allrecipes.com)

Tips:  I use the store bought pita chips unless I have extra time to make the cinnamon chips. Also, feel free to substitute the fruit called for with those you prefer. This is also great with nectarines, peaches, blackberries, blueberries...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Cake pops and stuff

Here's a quick review of class at TCC last week!  We made these cute little guys:

 Here are some cake pop basics:  

Best website: bakerella.com.  Not only is her site really informative, she has the best eye candy!  

Basic recipe:

1 cake mix, baked to instructions
1 can frosting
2 bags candy melts
lollipop sticks

Crumble cake with hands into large bowl.  Don't worry about crust pieces that don't crumble as easily.  They will soften when the frosting is added.  Add about 1/2 can of frosting.  Mix well.  If the mixture doesn't roll into a ball easily, add a little more frosting.  Use a mini scoop to scoop your cake mixture.  Roll in ball with your hands.  Chill the cake balls for about an hour, until firm.  When ready to dip the cake pops, melt the candy melts in a plastic bowl.  Usually, this works best if you microwave at 50 percent power for 1 minute at a time, and then stir.  Repeat until the melts are a nice consistency for dipping.  If needed, add a little shortening to make it thinner, or coat more easily.  Dip a lollipop stick into the candy mixture, just about 1/2".  Then insert the stick into a cake ball. Allow to harden for a few seconds.  Dip the cake ball, straight down and up out of the mixture.  Gently tap the wrist that is holding the cake pop with your other hand to remove excess coating.  Then, either put the cake pop on wax paper, upright, or insert into styrofoam block to cool.  Decorate as desired. 

Helpful hints:
Don't use cake mix with pudding in the mix.
Don't add too much frosting to begin with, you can always add more if you need, but if the mixture is too mushy, your cake pops will be hard to work with.
Coat twice if you want your pops to look nice and round and smooth.
Use toothpicks to apply extra coating, to "glue" on your candy, and to clean up edges.
After dipping for a little while, your melts will have some moisture in them, and also might be getting a little hard.  Zap them in the microwave with a little shortening to get the consistency right.
And last, presentation is everything!  Put them in a cute container!

Here are a couple more ideas from class:

Happy Mail!
 Start with a soda bottle, clean, dry and cut in half with a serrated knife and scissors.
 Gather some cute, lightweight items for the inside.
 Fill up both halves.  Put the bottle back together with packing tape.
 Then decorate.
Add a cute piece of card stock for a mailing label.  Address and put stamps on it.  You can check the USPS first class parcel rates HERE.  Throw it into the blue mailbox!  Enjoy your day, knowing you just made someone happy!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

Guess what I learned last week.  You can make your own microwave popcorn.  Seriously.  After intensive research, I found that the best results were had from the combo of 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Orville Redenbacher popcorn kernels and a kraft treat bag, about 6"x9".  That's it.  Just put the popcorn in the bag, fold the top over about 1/2", 2 or three times and secure with washi tape or a staple.  Pop for 1 and 1/2 minutes.  (That was the magic time in our microwave.  You might have to adjust for your own microwave's idiosyncrasies.)  Your bag is just the right size for an individual snack, or you can share if you are both feeling really generous.  Or not very hungry.  We sprinkled melted butter and salt on ours.  Yum.  Here's a printable label to add to your bag if you want to give it away.  
popcorn label link