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Happy 4th of July!

Posted on Jun 29, 2012 in Entertaining | Comments Off

Along with many holidays throughout the year this one always sneaks up me.  It makes me realize that 1/3 of summer is already over…yikes!  However, it is a great time to celebrate America, get together with others, and really get down to what summer is all about!

I like making ‘Martini Stations’.  You can premake a large amount of a certain martini and keep it in a pitcher at room temperature. Then guests can pour the amount they want into a cocktail shaker, add ice, and have a great drink without the hassle of making martinis one by one.

What’s a great way to show your patriotism?  Make a flag shaped fruit ‘pizza’ of course.

What you need:

  • 1 refrigerated package of sugar cookie dough
  • 2/3 of a package of light cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2/3 of a container of light Cool Whip, thawed
  • Blueberries and strawberries, rinsed and dried

Evenly spread the cookie dough into a rectangle (it may not turn out exact, so just trim the baked cookie as necessary to create a rectangle).  Let it cool.  Mix the cream cheese and Cool Whip together and spread evenly over the cookie crust.  Add your fruit and enjoy!

I love making colorful layered cakes (for a gray ombre example Click Here).  Making multiple and different colored layers does add a little time to making a cake, but not much and it really adds a lot to the festivities!  You will want to use a white cake mix and make it with egg whites, not whole eggs (this keeps the color more pure).  Separate the cake in 2 equal parts, add red food color to half and add blue food color to the other half.  I only have 2 round cake pans, so I have to bake the red layers first and then once they cool I can bake the blue layers.   Use white (not vanilla…it’s actually yellowy) frosting and decorate it as you wish!

I love me some glitter!  I buy the inexpensive box of 12 of unscented ‘poured glass votive candles’, add some glitter, and you have cheap decorations!

What’s screams summer and America more than a Bomb Pop treat?  You can relive those icecream truck memories, but with an adult friendly twist.  Below are two different ways to make this festive cocktail:

Option One:  Lemonade, Mike’s Hard Cranberry, UV Vodka Blue (the left half of the below photo)

Option Two:  Smirnoff Ice, Blue Curacao, Cranberry Juice (the right half of the below photo)

Fill your glass with ice.  Pour your blue liquid in (down the side so the color doesn’t stick to the ice), carefully pour in your ‘white’ liquid, and then the red.  The colors blend quickly, so drink up!

Enjoy your cocktails in some patriotic washable glittered glasses.  To learn how to make some sparkly glassware Click Here .

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Lay a cement board subfloor for tile (not fun, but a great way to save)

Posted on Jun 28, 2012 in Home Projects | Comments Off

This is not a fun, cute, see beautiful results of your sweaty hard work kind of project.  This is a dirty, hard, back-breaking job.  However, it is also a money saving project that with some physical labor really isn’t that hard to figure out…..heck, I did it (this is our cabin kitchen floor)!  If you’re looking to tile a floor, below are the steps to teach you how to lay the proper subfloor.

***I will soon be posting ’how to tile’ & ’how to grout’ , so stay tuned.  Also, please don’t mind the hideous wood paneling…that is getting worked on as well!

The proper subfloor is very important when laying tile.  You can’t just lay tile over plywood or linoleum; the thin-set (tile adhesive/mortar) won’t adhere and the tiles can crack as the floor moves and swells from moisture variations.  You can, however, lay tile over concrete or an existing tile floor (as long as it is secure and you have the height clearance).  You also want to make sure the floor under this project is stable.  Cement board and tile create a lot of weight.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/4 inch cement board - I like using ‘Hardiebacker’ (use 1/2 inch if you need to build height)
  • Mortar (thin-set, mud, etc)
  • A 1/4 inch notch trowel
  • Screws - 1 1/4  inch deck screws (they won’t rust)
  • Cement board tape (same idea as sheet rock tape)
  • Tools like a screwdriver, razor (for scoring the board), a large ’egg-beater’ drill attachment for ease of mixing mortar, a bucket
  • Knee pads, rubber gloves, etc  – anything to make the job more pleasant, so booze can fit in this category as well

Mix your mortar with water.  You want it to be a peanut butter consistency and to hold the trowel marks as you spread it.  Slop some on the floor and begin spreading it out, creating a ‘fan’ effect for even coverage.  The notches in the trowel help regulate how much mortar is left on the floor….handy little tool!

As you lay the board screw them in *do not step on boards until they are screwed into place*. Install screws in a random pattern all over the board. Give about 8 inches of space between screws, 2 inches in from corners, and 1 1/2 inches in from the sides. Make the screw heads level with the board (don’t over screw).

After all the boards are laid you will need to mud and tape your seams.  First, fill the spaces between boards with mud and smooth the line along the seam (you can use the flat side of your trowel for this). Second, lay a line of cement board tape along the seams.  Third, smooth another thin layer of mud over the tape.  Allow it to dry.

The project is done and now ready for tiling!  oofda, I need a massage!

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How to Make Cake Ball Pops!

Posted on Jun 4, 2012 in Recipes | Comments Off

I didn’t really get what the point of cake pops were at first.  I thought ‘eat a piece of cake if you want cake’.  After giving them a go I now see the fun in making them…and they are pretty dang good!  They’re a cute way to jazz up a table, to pass out as party favors, sell at charities, etc.

What you’ll need:

  • A box of cake mix (and the necessary components to bake a cake…eggs, oil, etc) or make a scratch cake
  • A can of frosting
  • Candy coating, chocolate bark, etc
  • Lollipop sticks  (if you make this recipe without the sticks you have yourself cake balls)

How to make them!

1.  Bake a standard sized cake according to the recipe.  Let it cool and then ruin it….yes, I said ruin it.  Break apart and crumble the cake into a large mixing bowl.

2.  Mix in half of a can of frosting and smoosh it together.   Roll golf ball sized amounts of the cake/frosting mixture into balls.

3.  Melt a small amount of candy coating or chocolate, dip one end of the stick in it, and then place it in the cake ball.  This step isn’t necessary, but it makes a huge difference in preventing the cake from falling off of the sticks.  It only takes an extra minute to add a small amount of melted candy on the end of the sticks before placing them in the cake balls and once the candy cools it ‘glues’ the two together.   You can then place them in the refrigerator to cool and keep there shape, so once you dip them in coating it’s easier.

4.  Melt your candy coating or chocolate bark in a double boiler or in the microwave.  If you melt it in the microwave melt small amounts at a time, on 1/2 power, and stirring it occasionally as it melts.  Stick the cake pop in the melting coating, start to lift it out, and slowly turn it to let some extra coating drip off.  Apply sprinkles immediately (if you want) before the coating cools.  I used a piece of styrofoam to set the cake pops in while they cooled.

Make these for all sorts of holidays and use different items to decorate…..nuts, coconut (to color it set shredded coconut in a plastic bag, drip in a little food coloring, and shake it up), sprinkles, etc.  You can also add a little food coloring to the white candy coating to make the pops different colors.

Do not refrigerate them, but you can freeze them.  You can set them out for grabbing or wrap them individually.

If you don’t use sticks, here is an example of cake balls.



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