Saturday, May 28, 2011

Red, White & Blue - Minis

I put together these great minis for my family to enjoy during a celebration for Memorial Weekend.  My five year old daughter calls them "America Treats" :)  I used clear glass cups but you could use something less breakable - just try to make it as clear as possible since a portion of the enjoyment is the color mix.

Jello Cake Cup w/fresh Blueberries & Strawberries

Strawberry Jello, Cool Whip, Berry Blue Jello

Fruit Cup - Fresh Strawberries, Cool Whip, Fresh Blueberries

Jello Cake

This is a favorite from when I was a kid!  My brother and I both always requested this for our birthdays instead of the usual birthday cake with buttercream frosting.  It's pretty simple to make and still so yummy!


1 box white cake mix
2 boxes (or one large box) of Jello, any flavor
1 container of Cool Whip


Bake cake according to box directions in a 9x13 inch cake pan.

Poke holes in the cake (allows flavor to get into the cake instead of just running off the top).

Create liquid jello mix by following the box directions but reduce the amount of water just a little.  Since I made this for Memorial Weekend I used a red strawberry and a blue mixed berry combination.  

Slowly pour the liquid jello over the cake allowing it the opportunity to soak into the holes you have created.  I use a small cup to do this.  If you pour it too fast it will run off the cake.  If it runs off the cake it will leave you with a white cake that has jello covering the sides and bottom - not appealing at all!

Once you have poured the jello evenly on the cake refrigerate it until the jello firms up.  It's not easy to know for sure when this has happened so I usually prepare this portion of the cake the night before - giving it the opportunity to firm up over night.  

Lastly you simply spread Cool Whip over the cake for "frosting".

Since it was a Memorial holiday party I decided to add some sliced strawberries and blueberries for a red, white, and blue effect.

Of course I had to do a mini version too!  Just layer in a cup: cake, Cool Whip, fruit, cake, Cool Whip, fruit.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Minis

I love minis!!!  A few years ago I was asked to make a pineapple upside-down cake for a potluck.  I really never cared for it so making one was new to me.  In my search for a good recipe I came across this one.  I never have cared much for pineapple (except the super fresh stuff I ate in Hawaii) but this dessert is awesome!!!  


3 cans (20 ounces each) sliced pineapple (reserve juice)

1/2 cup margarine, melted
1 cup brown sugar
12 maraschino cherries, cut in half (from stem side to pit hole so both halves are "pretty")

1 package (18.21 ounce) pineapple flavored cake mix


In a small bowl, mix together the melted margarine and brown sugar.  Evenly divide sugar mixture into 24 greased muffin cups.

Lightly press well drained pineapple slices into sugar mixture.

Place cherries in center of pineapple, slice side up.

Prepare cake mix according to package directions, replacing amount of water with reserved pineapple juice.  Pour 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes.  

Loosen edges and invert onto a cookie sheet or parchment paper.  They are moist and a little sticky so make sure you place the cakes in the exact spot you want them when you arrange them on a serving plate.  Otherwise it will look messy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kids in the Kitchen: Alphabet Vegetable Soup

This is a simple and good soup that your little ones will not only enjoy helping you make but should also love eating it!

8+ cups vegetable broth
8 ounces (half a 16 ounce box) alphabet noodles, uncooked
1 package frozen vegetables for soup
1 can diced tomatoes
Salt & pepper
Garlic powder
Dried basil
In a large sauce pan, bring the vegetable broth and frozen vegetables to a boil.  Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil, tomatoes, and alphabet noodles.  Cook until noodles are tender.  Serve.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A New Found Love

I often stop at Big Apple Bagel for coffee and breakfast while I wait for my time to volunteer at my daughters school.  A few weeks ago I decided to try something new and I am so glad that I did!  I was in the mood for a muffin but I didn't feel like anything chocolate that day.  So I tried their "Deep Dish Apple Pie" muffin.

I figured it was probably going to be a little boring but I thought I would give it a chance.  To my surprise it was awesome!!!  It's a cinnamon cake flavored muffin that is filled with chunky apple pie filling!

Now I am addicted so I thought I would share this finding with you incase you have passed on trying it thinking that it would be a boring muffin.

Happy Mother's Day

Today was a great day for me and I hope it was for you too!  My little ones really got into the holiday this year.  They surprised me with breakfast in bed (toast with peanut butter and jelly that my daughter made and my son carried the coffee), let me stay in bed for a while to catch up on the news, and they got me a recipe book that I wanted.  Of course I am also getting my annual super car cleaning from my husband - my most requested Mother's Day gift ;-)  I think it made me most happy to see Alexis & Tyler's little faces light up when they showed me the breakfast they had for me!

Here are some gifts that my kids made at school that you could use for craft ideas at home:

We have a big Mother's Day lunch at our house every year but in addition to that we like to give a little gift to our moms.  My mom wanted fresh cut flowers.  I love flowers but I really like to give a gift that will last a while.  So I found this pretty "vase" that will match her bedroom or living room and can also be used for candles (my mom LOVES candles).  I put some daisies in it (last a long time and I found some in her favorite color) and added a candle for later use.

My mother-in-law loves pictures so I created a photo book of her life.  She loved the one I made for my father-in-law a few years ago and this one proved to be a great gift.  I also wrapped it in plan white paper that I printed pictures of her on.

What is your favorite Mother's Day gift?