Monday, August 29, 2011

How to make Cake Pops in 10 easy steps

Caleb's teacher, Miss Taylor, recently gave me her recipe for Oreo cake and homemade buttercream icing. This is now my favorite cake! I have been wanting to try to make cake pops for quite some time now, so I decided to try them out with the new Oreo cake recipe in hand. After reading up all the different ways to make cake pops, I felt confident and ready to give it a go.

What you'll need:
box of cake mix and eggs, water, and oil as called for on box
Oreo cookies, about 15 crushed
1 stick butter, softened
1/2c shortening
1 tsp vanilla
4c powdered sugar
1 tblsp milk
Candy Melts Melting Chocolate
lollipop sticks

Step 1: Preheat oven as directed on cake mix box and prepare white cake as directed on package.  I like to use the Moise Supreme cake mix that has the pudding in the mix.
Step 2: Fold in  about 3/4 of the crushed up Oreos into the cake batter. Reserve the remaining crushed Oreos for later.

Step 3: Pour Oreo cake mix into a greased 13x9 baking dish and bake as directed on package. I like to grease my pans with the Bakers Joy Flour Spray. I baked my cake for 30 minutes. You can tell the cake is done with it bounces back lightly to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean when placed in the center. Allow the cake to cool completely.

Step 4: Crumble the cake. I kept the cake in the baking dish and used my Pampered Chef Mix n' Mash tool to mash up the cake into small peices.

Step 5: Make the icing. You will need the following:
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 c Crisco shortening
1 tsp vanilla
4 c powdered sugar
1 tblsp milk

Beat the butter, shortening and vanilla together. Mix the powdered sugar in one cup at a time. Scaping sides with each addition. Beat at high speed for about 2-3 mins, icing should be firm. Add one tablespoon milk and beat until spreading consistency.

Step 6: Mix your crumbled cake and icing together. 

I used my mixer to combine the two together. You should end up with a thick dough like mixture. 

Step 7: Use a cookie scoop and roll the mixture into small balls. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Refridgerate for about 10 mins to set. 

Step 8: Melt a small portion of your Candy Melts chocolate in a small bowl. Apply a small amount of chocolate to one end of your lollipop stick and press into your cake mixture. This will help your stick stay in place when you dip each cake ball into chocolate. Freeze your cakes on a stick for a good 45 mins to 1 hour. I used this time to cuddle up with both my boys and take a nap!

Step 9: Melt the remaining bag of the Candy Melts in a large, deep bowl. Dip and cover each of your cake ball mixtures into the melted chocolate. Allow excess to drip off. Dip the top of the cake ball into a small bowl of crushed Oreos. Place dipped cake balls into plastic covered Styrofoam or place on your parchment lined cookie sheet. 

Step 10: ENJOY!! Eat to your hearts content, and then share the rest. 


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Morning Breakfast: Banana Nut Pancakes

During the week we are always grabbing our breakfast to go, so Sunday's are when we stop and take time to have a family breakfast together. This Sunday morning Caleb requested pancakes. Simple enough, I made pancakes from my Hungry Jack Wheat Blend Box Mix I had in the pantry. Then we added some sliced banans, pecan chips and topped it off with sugar free syrup for some delicious Banana Nut Pancakes. The whole family enjoyed the pancakes and with only 250 calories for a stack of 3 pancakes our day is off to a great start.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Slumber Party Thursday: Sloppy Joe's, Cheese Tater Tots & Brookies

 I'm not sure who gets more excited about the slumber parties, the parents or the kids!? My boys are still young and as a mom that fear of the guest of honor not having fun or worse, wanting to go home, lays heavily on my heart. To overcompensate for this, we talked up the slumber party a week out to prepare the kids (and myself) for it. Honestly, I think all the talk was more for the parents than the kids. Reality didn't really set in with my kids until I put that extra car seat in the car for Wyatt to come home with us, and you should have seen their faces light up! Wait... you can because I snapped a pic! 

From this moment on these three adorable little boys became inseparable. They played race cars while I made dinner. 

They all sat at the table and ate together when the meal was ready, with no fuss! I mean it is hard to fuss about sloppy Joe's and cheese tater tots right!? 

Then we made brookies! What's a brookie you ask? It's a delicious brownie and cookie concoction! First we made the brownie batter and poured it into our brownie pan. This was as much fun to watch as it was to make. 

After licking the bowl, we made the chocolate chip cookie dough and placed scoops of cookie dough on top of the brownie batter. After licking that bowl, we played some more while the two baked together. 

And the next step is the best part, which I totally forgot about last time I attempted these. So make sure you don't forget--- THE CHOCOLATE ICING on top!! How could I have forgotten that right?!

SUCCESS!! The Slumber Party and dessert turned out GREAT! And a tip for other moms as you handle your first sleep over, or playdate, or other kid excursion where you, the parent, are not present: Know that your kid(s) will be perfect angels when you are not around! They know their limits with you and push you to those limits often. When you are not around, they behave exactly like a child should. They listen, the eat, they clean up, and after playing nicely, they sleep. I know this as I have had now been the host to two slumber parties where the guest of honor at our house has set a perfect example of how to behave. I have also been on the receiving end of the compliment, when my child was the guest of honor. The behavior that your child exhibits when you are not around should also reassure you that you're doing a great job! So, GOOD JOB Mom! Keep it up! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dessert: Preview

Slumber Party Thursday seems like a perfect excuse to turn the oven on and bake! Tonight is an extra special night and we are so excited!! Our very dear friend Wyatt is coming home with us after school today and will be having fun with us ALL night long!! We have a very special dinner and dessert planned. Special because the guest of honor picked it out. We will be having sloppy joes and tater tots! The husband is truly excited about dinner tonight, since we haven't had a good man meal in quite some time! The kids will be helping me make dessert with these delicious ingredients:

I'm not sure what the kids are more excited about- the slumber party? the sloppy joes and tater tots? or making brownies and getting to lick the bowl? 

Weeknight Classic: Chicken Pot Pie

Four words-- Homemade Chicken Pot Pie!! YUM! Sounds like it would take for-ev-er to make, but nope this can be made on a weeknight. Last night I didn't get home until 6:30pm and we were sitting at the table eating this delicious meal by 7:05pm, which still kept the boys on track for a little play time, bath at 8pm and bed by 8:30pm! This happens to be one of the Straw Family favorites. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie-
Inspired by KraftFoods

1 pkg raw chicken breast tenders- cut up using previous cooking tip: chopped chicken
4 oz cream cheese 
1/2 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables 
refrigerated pie crust (2 sheet size)

Preheat oven to 375
While your oven is heating, combine your cream cheese, chicken broth, raw chopped up chicken and salt and pepper over medium heat in a saucepan. Mix together until cream cheese is melted.Your chicken will be slightly cooked, but will finish cooking in the oven. Mix in vegetables. Place one pie crust sheet on the bottom of your pie dish, pour your chicken and vegetable mix on top, then top with the remaining pie crust sheet. Poke 4 small slivers in the middle of the pie for ventilation during cooking. Bake for 30-35mins. 

This recipe is kid approved!!

Ethan cleaned his bowl and wanted more, but it was GONE! 

Caleb shoveling the goodness in!! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cooking Tip: Chopped Chicken

For years I always spent more time preparing my chicken into bite size peices than I did actually cooking the whole meal. I would cook the chicken, then use a cutting board, fork and sharp knife to cut the chicken (or any other kind of meat) into bite size pieces so that I could then finish the recipe with the chopped chicken it called for. Not only did this take a lot of time, but it also created a few more unnecessary dishes, which is my least favorite chore. Thanks to my lovely Pampered Chef consultant, Barb Laska, I learned a much more efficient way to cut up my meats. The only tool you need is a good quality pair of kitchen shears, of course I use Pampered Chef ones from. Just take your raw meat and cut it up using your kitchen shears and then continue cooking your meal as directed on your recipe. That's it, just cut it up! How simple is that!?? And you only had to dirty up a pair of shears, no cutting board or any other utensils needed.

Recipes to follow using this new technique of cutting up chicken...


Hi! My name is Krystal Straw. Three things I always knew I wanted to be- a wife, a mom and an accountant! I have become those three. The wife of a strong, hardworking man. The mother of two AH-MAZING little boys. And an accountant at a great family-oriented company, I couldn't ask for more. I Love food! My love for food and all things food have led to my fourth aspiration in life- to be a chef. Maybe not a chef in the professional since of the term, but in terms of a person who cooks and bakes for others. I love to try new recipes, sometimes they're great and sometimes they're not. I always get excited when I find something new that I can add to my recipe collection. Since cooking and baking are my hobbies of choice, I thought it would be fun to start a blog about it. I usually discuss these things with a few people, but I decided to just jump right in and try it out. So, here it is, my Blog, "The Cooking Diary of a Working Mom". I'm sure you will find posts about all aspects of my life- family, work and food. Hopefully you find it fun and entertaining and maybe you'll try some of the recipes I post.