Monday, February 27, 2012

Strawberry Soup {with homemade cake croutons}

A couple of weeks ago while visiting Tidymom's blog, I read that the second annual soup extravaganza, Soupapalooza (Feb. 28-Mar. 5), was coming up... and prizes are involved:)

(Click on the following links for details)
Come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by KitchenAid, Red Star Yeast and Le Creuset

I knew I wanted to join in on the fun, so immediately started thinking about what kind of soup I wanted to bring to the table:)  So many tasty recipes ran through my mind that I had  a hard time choosing.

I finally decided on a recipe that I had on my "to make" list for about a year~strawberry soup! I don't know why I waited so long?!? I guarantee I will be making this soup many times through the upcoming spring and summer months!
I checked a handful of strawberry soup recipes that surfaced on my google search, but finally decided on the recipe from Food Network.  There were 8 reviews with an average of 5-stars.

This recipe has so much going for it.  First of all,  it has only a few, simple ingredients and is thrown together in about 5 minutes! Instant gratification!  Secondly, we found it very tasty and satisfying. The taste was not too tart, and not too sweet, but just rightAnother plus is that it's healthy! It also doesn't hurt that it is naturally pink:) My husband and I finished it in a flash, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Some reviewers added sugar to sweeten it, and others added more yogurt to thicken it, but I didn't alter a thing from the original recipe, and thought it was great!  I liked that it was midway between sweet and tart, but tilted more to the sweet side.  I also was glad that it wasn't thicker, which kept it more soup-like, as opposed to being a smoothie.

Instead of topping the soup with a sprig of mint (as suggested), I thought this would be the perfect soup to top with some homemade cake croutons(click HERE for link).  ( I even had a small, baked~with sprinkles added, unfrosted cake in the freezer.)  I was right; the cake croutons were the perfect crowning touch!

2 cups hulled and sliced fresh (or thawed, frozen strawberries)
1 cup orange juice
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped topping, as needed
Cake croutons (optional)
Fresh mint sprigs(optional)

In a blender, combine all the ingredients but the whipped topping and mint(or cake croutons) and process until smooth. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a dollop of whipped topping. Garnish with cake croutons or mint, if desired.


P.S. You have probably heard that Google Friend Connect-on my sidebar(GFC) is going to be discontinued (for now, just for wordpress bloggers)! It makes me sad that I may "lose" some of my "bloggy buddies"(those that follow me, and those that I follow). :( If you want to make sure that you don't miss out on any posts from Munchkin Munchies, all you need to do is either subscribe to my posts or sign up to follow by email (both options are on my sidebar). Thanks for all of the support and blog~love over the years! <3

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rainbow Cake Pops

Who doesn't love a rainbow?  I sure do! How about multiple rainbows? :)

 A rainbow in cake pop form just makes me happy:)

These rainbows can be had in any kind of weather, and only a couple of extra steps are needed to achieve such colorful, tasty cake pop goodness.

Perfect for St. Patrick's Day, or any day you need some extra cheer!

One extra step involved dividing up the cake batter and adding a different gel food coloring to each. I ended up with these vibrant cupcakes.
After each color is crumbled into fine cake crumbs this is what you end up with. Pretty, huh?
After the cake balls were formed,  I loved them already!

{Inside~Out} Rainbow Cake Pops (Adapted from the talented Brooke McClay on Babble)

1 box of yellow cake mix (I'm sure you can use white too)
1 can vanilla frosting (I only used about a quarter of it)
1 12-ounce package blue candy melts
1 package mini m & m's
Mini marshmallows~one for each pop (I ended up with 13 pops)
Food coloring pastes~purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red
Block of styrofoam to hold pops while they dry

Mix up cake batter as directed on the box.
Separate the cake batter into six bowls with 1/2 cup of batter in each bowl. Tint each bowl with one of the colors of the food coloring.  (I had enough cake batter left for a one layer 5-inch cake which I'm saving for later in the freezer. I suppose I could have made more colored batter/pops, but followed Brooke's directions.)
Spoon each cake color into two cupcake wrappers, and bake in a muffin tin according to package directions. You will have a dozen cupcakes.
In six small bowls, crumble each cupcake color by color into fine crumbs. Add just enough vanilla frosting to create a playdoh like consistency with each of the colors. I only needed to add about a full teaspoon of frosting to each.
In your palm, press a small amount of red cake dough, then press a bit of orange on top. Follow with yellow, green, blue, and purple, then roll the dough into balls.
In a small, deep, microwave-safe bowl, heat the candy melts according to the directions on the package.
Press the end of a lollipop stick into the melted chocolate, then press that end into the center of your cake ball, about halfway. Allow the candy melts to harden at room temperature.

Gently dip each cake ball into the candy melts. Allow any excess to drizzle back into the bowl before pressing the bottom of the lollipop stick into a piece of styrofoam. Allow the cake pops to cool upright.

For rainbow/clouds decoration:
When the pops have dried, use the leftover (there should be some left) melted candy melts to adhere the rainbows and clouds.
Cut a mini marshmallow in half and flatten with your fingers.  With a toothpick add a bit of candy melt to the back (sticky part) of the marshmallow and place on the pop.  Add the other marshmallow cloud.
Use a toothpick and add a dot of candy melt to the back of each (blue, green, yellow, orange, red) m & m (one at a time) and place in an arch between the marshmallow clouds. Stick each pop in the styrofoam block to dry.

Serve, or package in cellophane bags tied with a ribbon to save for later:)

They REALLY do taste as good as they look!


Linked to:
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I'm Lovin' it Fridays
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Weekend Wrap Up Party
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Positively Splendid

Junkie handmade projects

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tiny Treats Tea Party

Note the size of the treats compared to my hand, which is holding the child-size dessert stand:)

I was recently in Texas visiting four of my munchkins(and their parents:)), and while I was there we had a tiny treats tea party! The kids helped with the prep and the set up, as did my daughter (their mom), and we all had a fun time!

The treats were fashioned from a book: American Girl tiny treats.  I first was introduced to the book via a pin on Pinterest, which led to this post, and the book! I was instantly charmed by all of the teeny treats.

I let the kids each pick something to make and we ended up with cinnamon rolls, s'mores, croissants, donuts and pizza. 

Here's Megan with the cinnamon rolls, ready to place on the baking sheet and pop in the oven.
You don't have to wait long for things to bake when they're so tiny:)
This tea party was for boys (well, one anyway) too. Jake picked pizza to make, and sure enjoyed himself.
He even made an appearance as Ironman:).
Karaline donned proper tea party attire before she made an appearance. She did a great job on the name tags at the place settings and setting the table too!
 Happy 7th Birthday today, sweet Karaline! We love you! XO!

Little Addy was napping during the tea party, but here she is peeking outside at her siblings jumping on the trampoline. Hi Cutie!
The micro mini croissants up close. 

The croissants are made using Pillsbury crescent rolls. Simply roll out and cut one large triangle into small (2-inch at wide end) triangles using a pizza wheel. Roll each small triangle up starting at the wide end.  When done rolling, curve down the two ends. VOILA, a micro-mini croissant! Bake for 8 minutes at 375 degrees.  

All the treats are very quick and easy to make.

At our next tea party we're going to make cakes!

Tiny tea parties produce BIG time fun!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chocolate Kiss Cookies

These are some of the easiest and cutest little cookies around.  I saw some sweet "wrapped" (from Pam at Cookie Crazie) and unwrapped (From Lisa of The Barefoot Baker) chocolate kiss cookies on other blogs and thought they were so adorable that I had to make some!
My unwrapped kiss cookies are frosted with melted Hershey's Kisses:) 

To make them I used a sugar cookie dough and a diamond cookie cutter for the kisses (using a knife to cut the diamond in half:). 

For the chocolate, unwrapped cookies~ Melt about 2 dozen Hershey's kisses (with about a tablespoon of shortening added) in the microwave.  Pour the melted chocolate into a pastry bag (I used a disposable bag).  Let the bag cool for a short bit in the fridge.  With the decorating bag(and a #3 tip), simply apply the chocolate to the cookies by outlining (to look like a chocolate kiss) and immediately filling. Let dry. 

For the "wrapped" cookie~Tint some royal icing gray, outline the cookies(I used a #3 tip) and immediately fill. While the icing is still wet adhere a small piece of the Hershey's kiss tissue tag on the very top edge of the cookie.  Immediately after, sprinkle with some silver sugar (I used Betty Crocker's Silver Sugar Cupcake Gems). Let dry. I left them overnight to dry and then shook off the loose sugar.

TA DA!  That's all there is to it! Cute and tasty little cookie bite kisses for any day of the year!

Happy Valentine's day!

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Surprise Virtual Book Release Party for Sugarlicious~and Donut Cookies!

Well, TODAY is the day!  Meaghan Mountford's second book, Sugarlicious, is being released!  My copy is actually in transit as I write:)  Can't wait!  Click HERE for the most charming book trailer ever!

To celebrate, a few of Meaghan's many fans (spearheaded by Kathia of Pink Little Cake,with a little help from yours truly) decided to surprise her with a Virtual Book Release Party:)

Meaghan is the creative genius behind the popular blog, The Decorated Cookie and the Edible Crafts editor at Craft Gossip (where she promotes and supports food bloggers)!

Her blog offers such a wide variety of cute treats~all creative, and made doable by way of her own illustrations as step-by-step instructions.

For the party, I wanted to make something of Meaghan's that I have had on my "to bake" list ever since I first saw them, almost two years ago~donut cookies!  Her donut (doughnut) cookies are so darling, and pretty simple~my favorite combination! That's what I love about Meaghan and her blog; she has me believing that I can reproduce her creative treats, and I have, quite a few times:)  You can too!

As you can see, where there are donuts, ther are also donut holes.

Instead of giving you my own instructions about how to whip up some sweet donut cookies, I'm going to link you to the original post at The Decorated Cookie blog, so that you can see for yourself what I'm talking about, with beautiful photography to boot!

Take it away, HERE for complete donut cookie instructions.

I couln't resist bringing one of these donuts to life:) He's excited about Sugarlicious too!

Best wishes, Meaghan, and MUCH SUCCESS with your fabulous new book! XO!

Check out the rest of the celebration with these amazing bloggers:

Kathia of Pink Little Cake
Trisha of Sweetology
Paula of Vanilla Bean Baker
Loren of The Baking Sheet
Jenn of Clever Girl
Katrina of In Katrina's Kitchen

To purchase a copy of Sugarlicious, click HERE!

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Friday, February 3, 2012

A Box of Chocolates {Cookie Version}

This cookie treat has been on my mind for awhile, and I finally had time yesterday to do something about it! I just returned home a couple of days ago after visiting some of the munchkins in Texas for a week.  It was a lot of fun and we had a special tea party which I will post about in the very near future:)

This "box of chocolates" cookie is on the big side, measuring 6-inches by 6-inches(I used my biggest heart cutter)! Coupled with the fact that six small cookies (candies:)) top it off, it's definitely a treat to share~ perfect for Valentine's day.

It's very simple and straightforward to make too.   Just make your favorite sugar cookie dough (chocolate dough would have been fun for the candies).  Use a large heart cutter to represent your box of valentine candy, and other small cutters for the candy cookies.  I actually only had small round cutters, and cut out the little hearts and rectangular shapes by hand.  Bake cookies as directed and let cool.

Now the fun part...decorating!  Whip up a batch of royal icing, divide it up and add the food colorings of your choice.  I stuck with the classic valentine colors of red, white and pink. I also made two shades of brown: "milk chocolate" and "dark chocolate":)  I wish I had seen Sugarbelle's recipe for chocolate royal icing yesterday! It would be PERFECT for this cookie project!
 First, ice the individual small candy cookies. Top some with sprinkles while the icing is still wet, or with more icing details (after the first layer of frosting dries). While the small cookies are drying, ice the giant heart cookie.  I placed the "candies" on the giant heart cookie while the icing was still wet, so that it's all one unit. My cookie is a simple design, but of course you can get as detailed, fancy,  and creative as you'd like.

I bought an actual box of candy to house the cookie.  I guess I'll have to eat the candy, or make something else with it:)  If a box isn't available, I'm sure a cellophane bag tied with a ribbon would look great! It will still look like a box of chocolates:)

Have fun and share some LOVE with a box of chocolates~cookie style!

I am bringing my Box of Chocolates Cookie to the Virtual Valentine's Party at Dollhouse Bake Shoppe on
 Feb. 5!

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