Red, White & Blue

It's been a very patriotic weekend for me.  First off, I sold another set of my God Bless America blocks from my Etsy shop.  This is one of my favorite things I have on my Etsy. (I just sold another one today!)

But more importantly, one of my friends asked me to help out with her son's Eagle Scout Court of Honor (Congrats, Ben!).  Because it was a Boy Scout event, she decided to do everything in Red, White & Blue and it looked amazing!

My main contribution was 100 patriotic cake balls.  She brought me the supplies and told me I could be as creative as I wanted.  Here's what we came up with.  I was very happy with the finished product and so was everyone else because they were gone before the night was over!

There are a lot of tutorials out there about how to make Cake Balls and there are so many fun ways to decorate them, they are so versatile!  Here's a quick tutorial on how I made these particular ones.


  • Cake Mix (from a box) - I used Lemon and Strawberry for the two different kinds this time.  I will say that the more prominent flavors of both cake and frosting make it more delicious.  I did this once with Funfetti and it looked cool, but didn't taste that great because the cake was just a boring flavor.
  • Tub of Frosting for each cake mix - I used lemon for the lemon cake and vanilla for the strawberry cake.  
  • Chocolate for dipping, or Wilton Candy Melts in the colors you want.
  • Sprinkles
  • Mini Cupcake Liners
Each cake mix makes around 50 balls if you do them the size to fit into the mini cupcake liners like we did with these.

First, you bake the cake as directed on the box.  Easy peasy.  Then let it cool completely.  This is so the frosting won't melt when you mix it in.  I baked my cakes the night before and then the next morning finished them up.  Then you crumble the cake into a bowl.  Make sure it's in little crumbs, not big clumps or your cake balls won't stick together as well.  Then you mix in the frosting.  It can take anywhere from 1/2 to a full container of frosting.  I start with half and then work in more until I get the consistency I want.  It should look something like this.

You don't want it too sticky because you're going to rolling it into balls with your hands, so play around with the texture.  You can always add more frosting if they aren't coming together nicely.

Next, you roll the balls.  I used my cookie dough scoop (definitely worth getting one if you're making a lot of these!) so that my cake balls would all turn out roughly the same size, and it was the perfect size for them to fit into the mini cupcake liners!  Fill up the scoop, scrape it against the side of the bowl to get the extra off, and then plop that into your hand and roll it into a ball.  

You'll want to place them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.  I used my pizza pan because it fits easier into the freezer.  You can get quite a few on the pan.  Then you freeze them for about 10 - 15 minutes.  This makes it easier when you start dipping them in hot, melted chocolate and they stay formed into balls.  Then after the first batch is done, you can start dipping those while your next batch is freezing.  I'm all about streamlining things!

And yes, that is ironic that I'm using our Healthy Choice meals to hold up balls full of sugar, frosting and delicious cake.  I couldn't help taking a picture of it.

After you have those in the freezer it's time to melt your chocolate!  Using the Wilton Candy Melts, we start with melting it in a microwave on 50% power for about 30 seconds.  Then continue by 30 second intervals, stirring in between each one until it's really melted and nice and smooth.  If you want the chocolate thinner, you can add a little bit of shortening and it thins it right out.  Don't be afraid to stop dipping if your chocolate is firming up and reheat it, because the smoother and thinner it is, the smoother the finished dipping look will be.

Make sure to have your sprinkles and decorations on hand, because as soon as you dip them you'll want to decorate them right then so the sprinkles stick in the still melted chocolate.

The blue "Cake Sparkles" were really fun!  The texture kind of reminded me of fish food and brought back a lot of childhood memories of feeding my little goldfish.  Oh, and just remember that if you get Nonpareils (like the white ones shown) they go EVERYWHERE when you shake them out.  Just a warning.
I tried dipping them and then putting them on a cooling rack, but was having problems getting them off the cooling rack because the chocolate would melt around the rack and the ball would break when I tried to remove it.  I ended up just spraying a cookie sheet with a little cooking spray and then placing them on that after I dipped them.  By the time you are done dipping them, the first ones you did will probably be dry.  GENTLY pull them off the cookie sheets and place them into the cupcake liners and there you go!  Patriotic Cake Balls.

For the ones with stripes, you just put a little bit of melted chocolate into a drizzle bottle (you can get them at Michaels) and go to town on these!  Those were actually my favorite ones and they were the easiest to make!
Hope you enjoy these!  


Barn Bag

Happy Friday!

So, I've been selling a lot of my Farm Animal Hand Puppets in my Etsy shop recently.

These guys are adorable, if I do say so myself.  My Little Man loves them and I love watching him try to figure out which animal makes which noise as he's playing with them.  He's really good with animal noises now...mostly because his two favorite books right now are both about animals.

Everyone needs a home, including these fun animals, so I looked around and got an idea when I saw THIS barn template from Homemade By Jill.

Here's what I came up with: (sorry for the poor quality picture and bad lighting...)

Maybe I'll start selling these along with my puppets.  After I finish all my other projects I have started, that is...


Mini Desserts, Anyone?

So, I work with the youth in my church and every year we do a night to honor the Seniors that will be leaving home and going to college, etc.  Well this year, they wanted to have a dessert bar and so I volunteered to help by making a few different dessert shots in little cups.  Everything is cuter (and tastes better, I'm convinced now!) when it's little!  Don't you agree?

These delicious little addictions were all SO easy to make and make me look like a "Domestic Queen."  All my recipes came from Pinterest (yes, I'm a Pinterest addict) and I was really happy with how they turned out.  Here's a rundown of the menu and how I layered them:

Boston Cream Pie

For this one I feel like I somehow cheated because it was so easy, but it turned out delicious.  Boston Cream Pie is one of my favorite desserts so I was super excited to find this.  I used THIS recipe for the basis of my idea.  Yes, it really is a box cake mix, a tub of frosting and instant pudding, but believe me.  It's delicious.  

So, after you bake the cake as indicated in the recipe, and while the cake is still warm, you cut it into little squares (mine ended up being about an inch square) and put a couple in each cup.  We used about half of the baked cake, and it made 25 little cups.  Then you mix up the pudding, and then spoon some into each cup.  You don't want to drown the cake in it, so I only did about one spoonful for each cup.  Then you let them cool completely before heating up the frosting like the recipe suggests and spooning a little bit on top to complete your deliciously easy Boston Cream Pie.

1) Warm Cake Cubes
2) Pudding
3) Chocolate Frosting

Oreo Cheesecake

Oreos + Cheesecake...how could I resist making this.  I found the recipe HERE.  It was delicious.  The only thing I changed, is I put a little extra cookie crumbs in the cheesecake part of the recipe.  2 Tablespoons just wasn't enough for me!  I also put a little whipped cream on top using my handy dandy dessert decorator I got at Michael's for like $15.  Totally worth it.  Also, this recipe is smaller, so keep in mind that you will get around 15 finished cups so if you want more than that, double it (or triple it, depending on how many you need and how much you think you will sample along the way...)  And FYI, 25 Oreos (that the recipe calls for) is 2 rows of a regular sized package, so that means one whole row for me tomorrow when Little Man is taking his nap and hubby is at work.  No, I'm not joking.  

I would suggest NOT using the double stuf (yes, they do spell that with just one "f") Oreos for this one, because you want to make sure the dust is really nice and fine, and the extra frosting kind of gums that up.

1) Cookie Crust
2) Oreo Cheesecake
3) Oreo Crumbs
4) Oreo Cheesecake
5) Whipped Cream
6) Oreo Crumbs for Decor

Banana Pudding Pie

This was by far the easiest one I put together, and I didn't really have a recipe, just the idea that was in my head.  The ingredients are:
  • Vanilla Wafers
  • Bananas, sliced
  • 2 Boxes of Instant Pudding (I used one box banana cream and one box vanilla.  No, I didn't mean to grab different ones at the store, but it turned out really good that way and not to overwhelmingly banana, so I'd probably do it that way again.)
  • Whipped Cream

I used my dessert decorator to get the pudding in the cups and it made it a lot less messy looking, so I would suggest that if you have one!  This recipe made about 25 cups.

1) Vanilla Wafer
2) Pudding
3) A Few Banana Slices
4) Pudding
5) Whipped Cream
6) Crushed Vanilla Wafer for Decor

Lemon-Raspberry Cheesecake

This was my favorite one by far.  It was so easy and delicious, I think I probably ate at least 3 of them during the course of the evening...  The recipe came from THIS BLOG.  The nice thing about this cheesecake is that there's no baking involved, so it comes together quickly and will wow anyone that tries it! I basically followed the recipe exactly and we made 25 cups that were halfway full and they went fast!  Don't scrimp on the raspberries or the lemon zest.  It gives it an AMAZING flavor.

Make sure and leave out enough raspberries to top each cup with.  It gives it that final delicious and beautiful look.  Again...the dessert decorator saved me and made me look like a pro!  Oh, and my husband figured out a genius trick to get it packed down into the cup...put the spoonful of Graham Cracker Crust in one cup and then use another cup to smash it down inside.  What can I say.  He's amazing.

1) Graham Cracker Crust
2) Cheesecake Filling
3) Graham Cracker Crumbs for Decor
4) Raspberry