Monday, April 30, 2012

8 Layer Orange Chiffon Cake

We all know I love cake, right?  I would say I make an equal amount of scratch cakes vs. box cakes.  And I really love orange flavored cake, it's one of my favorite types of cakes.  Remember those Hostess cupcakes in orange...LOVE those.  Unfortunately most of the time, this is a box cake I can't always find in the store.  Scratch it is!

A warning...This cake was quite the process because of the extra step in making the candied oranges posted here.  But this cake is awesome even without the candied oranges. I will try to give some additional suggestions to make this a bit easier along the way.
On a side note, I have to brag about this frosting I made up.  It is absolutely delicious!  If you have been reading lately, you know I have been on a "best frosting in the world" search and we actually still have our contest going on until May 25th.  So if you have a killer frosting recipe, enter it and you just might win $10 at Michael's.  The orange extract in the frosting finishes it off perfectly.  This is my new go to frosting with or without the orange.  It is the perfect texture and taste!  Here is the cake finished...
What do you think?  Do you want to make it?  Tempting right?  Well, just in case you get in the mood, here is how...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Candied Orange Slices

This week I am on a mission to make a certain type of cake (to be revealed later).  In my head this cake has round jelly orange slices all around it.  Key words, "in my head".   I went to WinCo, Dollar Tree, and Rite Aid on my search for these jelly slices I pictured in my head.  Then unwillingly, I went to the mall (keep in mind I am 8 months pregnant, so the mall for once did not sound fun to me) to check the very expensive candy store.  They had them...almost.  Apparently the orange slices I pictured only come in half slices... not full round slices.  Like this...
Unexceptable!  I wanted a round shape not half moon.  So I decided to make real candied orange slices with the half bag of Cuties I had in my pantry. 

I used about 8 to 10 Cuties.  You can do this with 2-3 regular sized oranges too.  I washed them in warm water and scrubbed them clean. Then I took a very sharp knife and cut the oranges in three slices about 1/4".  I got about three slices per Cutie.  Set aside.

In a large heavy skillet, bring 2 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar and 2 Tablespoons of light corn syrup to a boil.  Then add orange slices.  Let boil for 8-10 minutes turning each slice a few times.  Then turn down to medium and let cook for 40 minutes.  Turning occasionally.  Reduce heat and let simmer until the liquid becomes more of a syrup and the oranges start to turn translucent.  Remove from heat, but let oranges cool in the pan for about 5 minutes.

Then take them and lay them on a wire rack for another 5 minutes to let the juices drain off.  You could stop here.  You could even melt and dip them in some delicious chocolate.

But I wanted them to look a little more like the sugared jelly orange slices, but round.  So I took a 1/2 cup of sugar and dipped the oranges in the sugar, both sides.  Much better!   This is the look I was going for...

Cake coming soon!

Happy Cooking,

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Oldie but goodie...21 things to do with a pallet!

Many of you know that Claudia and I started up Pops and Podge earlier this year.  But did you know that we actually merged our two old blogs together when we created our one new blog.  Recently I have been realizing that many of you have not seen some of our older, but awesome posts from our past blogs.  So we are going to start featuring them every once and a while.  This is a great oldie but goodie about pallets...enjoy!

I have been oooohoooing and aaawwwing over all of these Pinterest pictures of pallets made into things.  I am just waiting for the time and space to work on some of these.  When I will actually get a house with a backyard...who knows.  But there are a few little projects that would fit just perfectly into some of my spaces. 

  1. Recycled Vertical Garden - Design Sponge
  2. Painted Pallet on Coasters - Tres Chere
  3. Pallet Day Bed - Under the Sycamore
  4. Outdoor Pallet Couch - Apartment Therapy
  5. Daybed - Casa Sugar
  6. Coat Hanger -El Costerero (in spanish, but the picture is self explanatory)
  7. Pallet Chair - Dornob
  8. Several Pallet Furniture ideas (No tutorials) - Home Deco2u
  9. Pallet Coffee Table w/glass top - Stylizimo
  10. Headboard - Crafty Nester
  11. Shoe Rack- Crafty Nester
  12. Misc Ideas - The Richmond Thrifter 
  13. Picture Display Pallet - Amanda Carver Designs
  14. Coffee Table with Drawers - Esprit Cabane
  15. Pallet Planter - Esprit Cabane
  16. Pallet Sign - WhipperBerry
  17. Pallet Painting - Young and Crafty
  18. Farm Bench - Craftberry Bush
  19. Table with Planter - Today's Nest
  20. Porch Swing - Sheryl Salisbury Photography
  21. Outdoor Pallet Table - Joy Ever After


Monday, April 23, 2012

Adventures in Frosting...

Have you seen this unbelievably helpful frosting color guide?  It was put out by Food Network Magazine (May 2012 Issue).  And I have to post it, because I think it is the coolest thing ever!  So cool, it has inspired me to continue my search for the best frosting recipe and involve more below.
Fun, huh!  Can you believe you can make all of these colors with a standard box of food coloring. 
Watch out Wilton!

Now, you may not know this but I think about frosting a lot.  I mean a lot, as in waaaay too much!  I am actually a little obsessed as I have been on this search for years for the best frosting recipe.  I decided what better way to find the best frosting in the world, than to ask all of you! 
What is your best frosting?
Over the next month (or until this baby comes) I will be testing your recipes one by one to find my favorite frosting and the overall best frosting.  The judging criteria will be on flavor and consistency.  The winner will be featured here on our blog (if you want to be) and will receive a $10 gift card to Michael's Craft Store to buy all of the frosting tools of your dreams!  You can enter as many times as you want to, but make sure you are putting your best out there.  Please comment below or email us with your recipe or put in the link to where you might have it posted.  And don't forget your email address, so I can contact you if you win!  I will close this contest on May 25th and post the winner on May 30th, just in time for my birthday!!!

Happy Baking,

Friday, April 20, 2012

Puff Pastry Monte Cristo

The first time I ate a Monte Cristo, I was with my older brother in L.A. at a little diner after we finished a round of 9-whole golf.  And if I remember correctly, I won the round of golf!  Back to the Monte Cristo...he said, "Have you ever had a Monte Cristo, because they make a pretty good one here".  I said, "awesome (it was the early 90's), I will order one".  I was in love...
Something about the savory meat, cheese, egg and the mix of the sweet raspberry jam that finished it off.  Yum!
I have been wanting to try this for a while and change it up a little. My younger brother (the chef one) would say it is an abomination to stray from the recipe of a classic sandwich like this. But I think it turned out pretty good, how can you go wrong with puff pastry?!

Puff Pastry Monte Cristo
(Makes 2-4 servings)

1-2 sheets of Puff Pastry
4-8 slices of Deli Turkey
4-8 slices of Deli Ham
1-2 cups of Swiss or Gruyere cheese
1 Egg beaten
Raspberry Jam
Fresh Raspberries
Powdered Sugar

Take your puff pastry out of the freezer and let thaw 10 minutes or so, until you can lay it out without breakage. Preheat your oven according to the puff pastry directions. Lay it out on a cookie sheet.  Layer the meat and cheese on one side and then fold over to top and pinch the edges together.  I put the jam inside but it all leaked out, so next time I would just sprinkle it on top and serve on the side.  You could also add some mustard if you desire a little more spice (this is optional).  Brush the beaten egg on the top of the puff pastry.  Bake according to the puff pastry directions until the outside is golden brown.

Cut your sandwich into sections.  Put your jam in the microwave for about 20 seconds.  Pour on top of your sandwich.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and fresh raspberries.  Enjoy!

Leftover tip:  If you have leftovers, cut into sections and put in tupperware.  You can store for up to 48 hours.  When you are ready to eat, beat 1-3 eggs (depending on how much you have left) and add 2 tablespoons of milk per egg to your bowl.  Dip the sandwich into the egg batter and fry on both sides in a skillet or griddle with a little butter or margarine (just like you would for French Toast).  This is more like the classic Monte Cristo and a yummy way to use up those leftovers!

Happy Cooking,

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Jello Popcorn - A Must For Friday Night Movies

I think I've mentioned this before, but in case I haven't, Friday nights are movie nights at my house. Let be be a little more specific.... it's movie night for the whole family, which means we watch a movie centered around a 4 year old girl's interests... stuff like "Barbie Mermaid 2" or to change things up a little, "Mr. Popper's Penguins" ...a grown up human being can only stand so much of Barbies, Pony's, and Unicorns... know what I'm saying?
However, one thing we eat whether we're watching Barbies or Penguins is Jello Popcorn. My girls LOVE this stuff, and they have fun picking the flavors.... We love Raspberry and Black Cherry flavors, but I'm warning you... don't make Lime Jello Popcorn, it's not the best flavor! Yes, I am speaking from experience...
Not only do we have Jello Popcorn on movie nights, but it's a fun treat for Girls' Night Out, birthday parties, and even just for an every day pick me up. Yes, I've made Jello Popcorn for all of those occasions. :)

I first came across Jello Popcorn while weeding through my books prior to moving to Oregon. When I say "weeding", I mean looking through every recipe in every cookbook I own. I made the recipe, and it was so good!!!! And you would think that since I made Jello Popcorn that I would have kept the cookbook. Nope. Can't find the darn book anywhere! 
Thankfully, Google saved me! I just typed in "Jello Popcorn" and I came across a recipe on Kraft's website that I now use... well, I changed it slightly. Whew! Seriously, what would I do without Google? But I think the real question here is, "What would I do without Jello Popcorn?" Ha!

Jello Popcorn

1 bag popped popcorn - kernels weeded out. 
1/4 c. margarine or butter 
3 TBSP light corn syrup
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar or white granulated sugar
1 pkg (4 oz.) of any flavor of Jello (or gelatin... it doesn't have to be the Jello brand...)

1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. 
2. Lightly spray a large baking pan with cooking spray. I usually use a 13x9 inch pan.
3. Place your popcorn inside the sprayed baking dish.
4. In a small saucepan, cook the butter and corn syrup on low heat until the butter is completely melted. Add the sugar and gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Bring the gelatin mixture to a boil over medium heat. Once it has started to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. 
5. Pour immediately over the popcorn and coat the popcorn well. As the gelatin mixture cools, it'll start to get a little stiff, but don't worry if you don't coat every single piece of popcorn. Trust me.
6. Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, stirring the popcorn every 10 minutes or so. Since the gelatin is being heated up, it'll be easier to coat the popcorn, which is why you want to stir it a couple of times. 
7. Once it's been baked, remove the popcorn from the pan and place it on top of a large piece of wax paper to cool. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Banana Oatmeal Cookies...Did I mention the Chocolate and Peanut Butter too?

It was a typical Monday morning... I just dropped off my little boy at daycare.  I turn on my computer and I quickly check my personal email, blog email, Facebook and Pinterest.  Usually a half hour later I start working.  This particular morning I got a little stuck on Pinterest.  I know that might be hard to believe...but these cookies were calling my name.
When I made them later that night, with my husband's input (usually uninvited) we tweaked them to our liking a bit.  He felt two ingredients were missing, chocolate and peanut butter.  This time his idea was well received!  These cookies are to die for!!!

 We tasted and approved!

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup shortening
2 bananas-mashed
1 egg
1-3/4 cup quick oats
1/2 chocolate chips 

1. Preheat oven to 400 F
2. Sift dry ingredients together
3. Once dry ingredients are sifted, cut in shortening
4. After shortening is completely cut in, add bananas, eggs and blend together well.  Then mix in your oats and chocolate chips.
5. Spoon drops onto cookie sheet (a silpat will help them not stick too much) and bake at 400 F for 8-10 minutes.  Use a cookie scoop if you have one it makes them all nice and pretty and the same size.
Peanut Butter Frosting1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

You may need to add a little more milk or powdered sugar to get the consistency you like.

Happy Baking,

Friday, April 13, 2012

Candy Bar Bouquet

My handsome husband and I just celebrated our 4th anniversary.  Since our anniversary is so close to Valentines Day (a month apart) we switch every year.  He was in charge of Valentines Day and that leaves me our anniversary.  I got us tickets to Wicked and made some dinner reservations at one of my favorite little french restaurants called Carafe.  They have the best Croque Monsieur there!!!  Anyways funds are tight around here so with all of that on the menu for the night, we decided not to get each other presents.  Although I had a little surprise planned...this easy to make Candy Bar Bouquet!  He showed up with a bouquet of flowers for me, so I was happy I did not come empty handed.

What you need to make this scrumptious gift bouquet:
(1) foam brick or 2x3 foam block
Popsicle sticks
Hot glue
Wrapping paper
Ribbon or twine

First, I hot glued the boxes of licorice (from Trader Joe's) together.  Then I hot glued the foam to the top of the boxes.  Now if you would rather use a foam brick that would be your bottom, instead you can get box candy to glue around it (like Hot Tamales, Mike and Ike's or Sugar Babies).  You would need 4 boxes.
 Then I glued the popsicle sticks to the back of the candy bars.
 Then I stuck the sticks into the foam in a bouquet like form. 
I wrapped the foam with wrapping paper and tied with some twine to finish it off.  I glued the bottom inside of the paper with hot glue so it would not slip down. 
Easy as pie (actually easier)!

Happy Gifting,

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

{Healthy Hump Day} - Sweet Potato Fries

Have you noticed a trend in these Healthy Hump Days? I usually find a food that I love, and make a healthier version of it. Learning to eat healthier doesn't mean giving up the foods you love.... Take fries for instance. I am a sucker for fries. Yes, I am! In fact, a couple of years ago, my New Year's Resolution was to not eat fries...yyyyyeeeeaaaahhhhh.... that lasted about 6 weeks.... I just can't help myself!! Since I love hamburgers so much, it's only natural to love fries! I also love fries dipped in ranch, fry sauce, or honey mustard, and they must have salt on them!! Mmmm.mmmmm....mmmmmm.... So, when I first heard about sweet potato fries, I was a little skeptical. I mean, let's be honest here... nothing can replace fries. Ok, maybe these sweet potato fries can! My, how I've grown to love these little sweet potato fries! They are so flavorful and delicious, and I love to make them. What's even better is that my kiddos gobble these down, which makes me love them even more! With every bite, I'm filling my kids with fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Potassium... and they don't even know! Shhhh... it'll be our little secret. 

What I love about this particular recipe is it gives it a little Southwestern kick. The fries are sprinkled with chili powder, garlic, and ground cumin.... it makes these fries anything but ordinary. I'm sure you could flavor them with regular salt and pepper if you wanted to, but I could use a little extra flavoring in my life, couldn't you? Hee hee hee...

If you haven't ever had sweet potato fries yet, I dare you to make them and try them!! You will be pleasantly  surprised!

Southwestern Sweet Potato Fries

2 sweet potatoes
1-2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp. chili powder (or more, if you prefer. I know I do!)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder (again... you can use more if you want to!)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin (yep, you guessed it... you can use more!!)
1/4 tsp. salt, plus more for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 425. Wash and dry the potatoes. Leave the skin on, and slice into 1/2 inch thick rounds; cut the rounds into 1/2 inch thick finger-shaped pieces. Toss the potatoes in a bowl with the oil, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, and salt.

2. On a baking sheet, spread the potato fries in a single layer and then roast them, making sure to stir every 10 minutes, until brown and tender. It'll take about 30-35 minutes. Remove them from the oven when finished and sprinkle with a little more salt.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Baby Stats Subway Art

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a great Easter weekend... mine was just lovely.  
Oh, by the way... Did you see that we have become affiliated with Pick Your Plum? If you look to the right sidebar, you will notice a little section called "Pick Your Plum"... click on it to get the deal of the day... They have some awesome things for super cheap, but you have to act fast! The deals are only good for a day, and it's first come, first serve. Christie got me hooked on it, and now I look forward to my daily e-mails showing me what little treasures they have in store for me to buy! Hahahahahah! Seriously, check it out. Please?

  You know, it seems that everyone around me is either pregnant, or having a baby. I guess you could say that when it rains, it pours... only it seems to be pouring babies... which is a good thing! I have so many friends and family members who have either just welcomed their little bundle of joy, or who are soon to be welcoming a little bundle of joy, hooray for them! It's so exciting!  As you know, Christie's due to have a sweet little girl in June... yay! A couple of my friends up here in Oregon are expecting, I just welcomed a new niece to our family a little over a month ago, my cousin just had a baby, and I have another cousin that's expecting....  whew! And if things couldn't get any crazier, I just found out that I'm due to have a little wee one the beginning of December. I announced it on April Fool's Day, of all days. Ha!! I know it's a tad early to be announcing, but I just couldn't help myself. I told my brothers, and they wouldn't believe me for a second.... sheesh, who tells the truth on April Fools? Ha! I do! It was priceless to watch them shake their heads at me!! Loved it!
So, with all these little babies coming, I knew I needed a little gift to give them. The problem is.... I don't have a zillion dollars, so I needed a gift that wasn't going to break the bank, and I definitely wanted it to be a little personalized. 

I love subway art, and what better way to always remember all those precious details of a baby's birth? Ding, ding, ding!! I decided to make a Baby Stats Subway Art! After I made this, I was curious and asked my husband if he knew our girls' stats.... and he had no clue. In fact, I had even forgotten how long my girls were and what time they were born.... so I will be making a couple of these for my girlies and soon to be baby...

I love how simple and clean this turned out. Sometimes I feel that subway art gets too crowded and overdone... something I definitely didn't want, especially when it comes to displaying these precious baby stats. :) Know what I mean?

So, if you would like to make your own personalized baby stats subway art, either for yourself or a loved one, here's what you do...

You paint a board. Any color, any size you want. Mine was about 9.5 inches by 10.5 inches. I just went to Home Depot, found a long board for about $6, and I had them cut it into 5 pieces for me. Simple, right?
I decided to paint mine white. I didn't know the color of the nursery it was going in, so I figured white was a safe bet. Plus, it helped me stay with my simple and clean theme.
After painting the board, I sanded the edges a little... just to give it a little distressed look.

Now comes the fun part... designing your subway art. I googled "baby stats subway art" and there were tons of versions, but none of them seemed to fit, until I found one that I eventually copied. Sorry, I can't remember where I found it, and I haven't been able to find it.... 
I used the font "BEBAS" which gave me nice, clean lines to work with. 
I cut the vinyl using my Silhouette, and then weeded out the parts that I wanted to paint.

I used  light green, aqua, yellow, and brown colors to paint the letters in with. 
I used several coats because I wanted to make sure that there wasn't any white showing through. I'm paranoid like that.

After the paint was all dry, I took off the vinyl, slapped a layer of mod podge (yay!) to seal in all those beautiful colors.

Now, isn't that a piece of cake! What a darling little gift to give.... I always hope that when I give a gift that I made, people will appreciate it. I put a lot of love, thought, and hard work when I hand-make a gift, and I hope that whoever receives it will like it. 

Happy Crafting!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Egg String Art and our Giveaway Winner!!!

Happy Easter Weekend!  And happy free stuff to...

 Jessica Bills

Jessica, you have won our "I spy" free giveaway!  Please contact us at info (at) popsandpodge (dot) com  to arrange receiving your awesome jewelry holder!!  And thank you to Craven' Style for sponsoring this giveaway.  You make really beautiful jewelry holders.   Everyone should visit Steph and check out her talent!

We have one last little Easter arts and crafts for you today.  An Easter Egg String Art.  Remember this post?  String art is all the rage right now.  And I wanted to try this method on my own.  It was pretty easy and I love the way it turned out!

Here is what you need:
A hammer
A piece of wood (mine was leftover from another project) size 8x12
Painters tape
Nails (I used little gold ones)
Embroidery thread (I used one and a half bundles)
and a template print out of what you want to make

 First I painted my wood.  I probably should have distressed it first too, but I left it alone on this project.  Feel free to distress away.  Next you lay your picture on your board and tape it in place.  You should use painters tape if you painted your board.  Then take a nail and press into the board along the outside line every half inch or so.  I eyeballed it, but you could actually measure if you wish.
  I tried to use another method of tracing the outside of the picture with a ballpoint pen, but that will only look good if you are painting inside or outside the line later, otherwise you see it.  I like tapping the nail method, then you know exactly where to nail them in when you are ready, like this...
 Then get your thread and start looping your string, just tie a knot on the first nail. Just loop in and out from edge to middle, I went to the next nail on the inside heart only. And you may have to double triple up some of the inside nails.  To end, tie a knot.  Easy, took me a few hours of interrupted time.  Cause isn't that how life is :)

Happy Easter,

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

{Healthy Hump Day} - Chicken Salad Pitas

Don't forget to play our "I Spy" game for a chance to win
a fabulous prize! For details, click here...

One of my favorite shows of all time is "The Biggest Loser". It is such an inspirational show, and I honestly admire everyone who participates. It also goes to show that hard work and discipline really does pay off... 
And that it's never to late to make an effort to be healthy. After watching several seasons of  "The Biggest Loser", I finally decided to buy one of their cookbooks.... 

...and I absolutely love this book! It has incredible recipes, and these recipes aren't lacking in taste. They are so good, that many of them have become regular entrees in my menu. I have even posted about the Grahamwiches before... which is one of my favorite late night munchies.
As I was browsing through their recipes, I found one for a healthy version of chicken salad. Chicken salad is one of my favorite things to make, especially in the summer since I used canned chicken, and I don't have to cook anything. But regular chicken salad is filled with TONS and TONS of mayo.... which isn't really healthy... Don't get me wrong, I love regular chicken salad, but my waistline does not love it... so I was thrilled when I came across this new, healthier version of chicken salad in my new cookbook!

I have adapted the recipe slightly to fit my family's own taste... so feel free to use more or less of the ingredients, depending on what your taste preferences are.

Chicken Salad Pitas
 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or if you're lazy short on time, like I am, you can use 1 large can of chicken, drained... much easier!)
3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil (or EVOO as Rachel Ray would say)
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
4 TBSP. fat-free plain yogurt or low-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 TBSP. Dijon mustard
1/3 c. chopped celery
1/3 c. seedless grapes, each cut in half
1/3 c. chopped red apple. Coat the chopped apple slices with some lemon juice to prevent browning.
Some chopped red onion, to taste
1 tsp. garlic powder

Place 1 tsp. of olive oil in saucepan as well as the chicken, and cook the chicken until the juices run clear. Allow the chicken to cool and then cut it into bite size pieces.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tsp. olive oil, yogurt, mustard, red onion, and garlic powder.  Add the chicken (either the canned chicken or cubed chicken), celery, grapes, and apples. Gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a whole wheat pita or you can make a delicious sandwich with it!  Enjoy!

Happy Healthy Hump Day!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Felt Rosette Easter Egg

Don't forget to play our "I Spy" game for a chance to win
a fabulous prize! For details, click here...

Where does time go? Ever ask yourself this question? Well, I've been asking myself this question over and over the past week. It's now April, and I feel as if yesterday was Valentine's Day. In fact, I have a dry erase calendar in my kitchen, and it still says February on it.... I forgot to change it for the month of March! Sheesh. 
Now, with it being April, I realized that Easter is right around the corner. Literally... it's this Sunday! Aack! I know that Christie's been posting some fabulous Easter cakes and menus and crafts.... but I didn't realize it was so close!! As I busted out my Easter decor, which consists of mismatched plastic eggs and a little glitter bunny, I realized I needed a new piece of Easter decor. I knew that if I wanted to make a little Easter decoration, it would have to be done within a matter of hours... so, I am here to show you my quick Easter decoration that I made while watching some re-runs of Bones. 

Supplies Needed:
Felt (about 2 sheets)
Piece of cardstock
Glue Gun

Lying around, I had some empty frames that I picked up at the Dollar Store. I love these frames because they are only $1 and I can paint them any color I want to! It's a win-win situation for me...

After pulling out my frame, I removed all the shrink wrapping, the little fake looking diploma paper, and the glass. Yes, throw away the glass... you won't need it!But make sure you keep the cardboard backing to give your decor some stability! I then painted my frame a lovely shade of yellow... I love using bright colors!!!! It makes me feel so fresh and rejuvenated... which I desperately need after a long, rainy winter!

While my frame was drying, I took a piece of white cardstock and drew the shape of an egg on it. This will be my outline and guide so I know where to put all the little felt rosettes. Oh, and sorry it's kind of a terrible picture. I didn't want to draw the outline too dark, and it didn't turn out so well when I took a picture. Hopefully you get the idea.

I then started making the felt rosettes. I made them of varying sizes, but I made sure to keep them pretty small. I found a pretty great tutorial on how to make felt rosettes here.
After I would make a rosette, I would glue it to the outline of my egg. After the outline was finished, I filled the egg in. There will be some small spaces and some large spaces that you'll need to fill, so you'll need to adjust the size of your felt rosettes accordingly. This is also why you want to make just one rosette at a time, and then glue it on your cardstock. You don't want a bunch of big rosettes and then have little gaps you can't fill... Does that make sense? 

As soon as I had the size of rosette I wanted, I just snipped the felt, finished the rosette off, and then used the rest of the circle/swirl to make another rosette. Each circle/swirl that I cut out made 2-3 little rosettes.  That way, they weren't too big, and I didn't waste any of my precious felt!

After I had glued all the rosettes onto the cardstock, I just slipped it into the frame, attached the cardboard backing, and I was finished! I love this little craft because I had all the supplies lying around my house, and I was able to finish it in a couple of hours. Now that's the way I like to craft!

Happy Crafting!

Linking up to:

Not Just A Housewife
Vintage Wanna Bee
How to Nest for Less
The Kurtz Corner
A Diamond in the Stuff

Monday, April 2, 2012

Cake Pop Virgin

I still get giddy every time I open up our site! I love our name, I love our design, I love that I feel happy and excited when I look at our blog. Sorry.. was I gloating? I just can't help it! So the funny thing is when Claudia and I were brainstorming names and we came up with Pops and Podge (representing Cake Pops and Mod Podge), I was a little embarrassed. Why, you ask? Because I have never made a single cake pop. Now my partner in crime has, oh... she has made many o' cake balls/pops. But me... no. I was a cake pop virgin!

Not anymore, I just make my first batch of cake pops. Here is my version of a beginner cake pop tutorial... If I can do it, you can do it! Claudia, our resident cake pop expert is supervising this post, just to make sure I tell you how to do it right, since I am a newbie :) And she has her own tutorial, you can read all about here.

You will need the following:
Makes 48-50 Cake Pops
(1) Box Cake Mix (on a side note the dollar store has 1/2 boxes if you want to start with a smaller beginner batch, but don't forget to half the frosting too!)
(1) Can of Frosting or 1/2 cup homemade frosting
Almond Bark or Chocolate Melting Chips (any color will do)
Lollipop Sticks
Sprinkles (optional)
If you are displaying, a Styrofoam base. I used a round one.
Wrapping paper or foil to cover base.

First mix up your cake just like it says on the box. I would normally add an extra egg and use milk instead of water to snazz up any box cake for a rushed recipe. But we will keep it simple as making cake pops in my opinion can be a little more complicated and takes time.

Take your cooked and cooled cake and break it into fine pieces. To speed up the process you can use a food processor. I used a potato masher and my hands. Then comes the best part, the frosting! Start with 1/2 a can of frosting or 1/3 cup homemade frosting. You might need to add more up to whole can. But starting with less will make sure you get the consistency you need. Mix in enough frosting that it holds together when it is squeezed. Form all your cake balls and chill them for several hours or put in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Do NOT freeze them for too long, it will make your chocolate crack.

Cover your Styrofoam with wrapping paper or foil if that is how your serving your cake pops.
Pre-poke (possibly not a real word, but a method) your Styrofoam with a clean lollipop stick. You should allow for 2 inches between each hole.
Melt a very small amount of chocolate in a mini crock pot or in your microwave (melt for 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds and repeat until melted, do not over heat your chocolate) or you can use the double boiler method. Then take your lollipop stick and dip it in the chocolate a little, then poke it into your cake ball about half way. Once you have done this for the whole batch put them back in the fridge and chill for a bit until the chocolate is hardened.
Now melt enough chocolate so that you can dip the whole cake ball into the chocolate. If you feel like your not getting good coverage because it is too think, you can add a little vegetable oil or crisco to your chocolate. After you dip, gently roll and tap the cake pop on the side of the bowl so you are covering the whole ball in chocolate and the extra chocolate falls off. Hold it upside down for a few seconds to let the chocolate dry a little before putting in the Styrofoam base. You don't want it dripping onto the base.

If you are adding sprinkles you can add before you place in the base, but wait until the chocolate is half dry. These were an amazing dessert for my friend's daughters 2nd birthday!

They are not perfect, but this is just the beginning of a long relationship of ALL things cake!

Happy Baking,
Christie & Claudia


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