Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cake Pops!

Ah, Bakerella, we love you! Thank you for introducing us to the wonders of cake pops!

These delicious little pops are fun to make, wonderful to eat, and provide a generous amount of creative outlet. Just look at all that you can do with these gems of the dessert world:
all photos from Bakerella

If you are not familiar with cake pops, let us explain, they are literally a piece of cake rolled up and placed on a Popsicle stick. They are a true delight to eat and make! The creative options for these little treats are endless. The flavor combinations are whatever your heart desires, and the decorating can range from simple to "oh wow!" as you can see from above.

Here is a simple recipe for you to follow. Of course, you can improve on this recipe by making as much of this from scratch as you dare. But to begin, we started with simple.
1. Prepare and bake a boxed cake recipe. Once the cake cools, crumble it into a large bowl.
2. Add a can of pre-made frosting to the crumbled cake and mix it all together with a fork or your hands.
3. Lay wax paper over a cookie sheet and roll the cake/frosting mixture into little bite size balls. Place on the wax paper and freeze overnight at the least or up to a few days. You can place the sticks into the balls at this point or before dipping into the chocolate (next step).

Next day...
1. Prepare your counter top with everything that you will need to decorate your pops. Get your sprinkles, candy, nuts, cookie crumbs, etc. ready because once those pops come out from the melted chocolate you must decorate asap while the chocolate is still hot!
2. Melt chocolate over the stove. For this, we used a bag of chocolate chips and a bit of canola oil. (For melting chocolate, most recommend a double burner. If you don't have this use 2 sauce pans, one slightly large than the other. Fill the larger with water and place the smaller inside... don't let any water get into the smaller! Pour the chocolate chips into the smaller and bring the water to an almost boil. Once the chocolate chips appear glossy, stir them and add canola oil until the chocolate is smooth and fluid enough to dip).
3. As the chocolate is hot (keep the burner on while you do this), dip the pops into the chocolate and cover as desired.
4. Decorate!
5. Place off to the side to cool and let the chocolate harden. We found that if you hold the freshly dipped and decorated pops in the freezer for about 45 seconds to a minute, the chocolate hardens enough so that you can then place the pop down and you won't get a flat edge on your rounded pop.
6. Serve! We placed ours in mason jars with a bow around it. They were cute and delicious center pieces to our dinner table :)

The ladies of Ellenor

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bridesmaid Gifts- fun, fancy and FUNCTIONAL footwear!

Purchasing gifts for bridesmaids can either be a lot of fun or very stressful for a busy bride. Several factors should be taken into consideration when buying a gift for many, sometimes very different ladies. Another question is how much to spend? When considering the cost of your gifts, ask yourself the following questions:

1) What fits into your wedding budget?
2) Are your bridesmaids doing a lot of travel for your wedding?
3) Are they buying their own bridesmaid dress?
4) Are they involved in many of your showers and pre-wedding parties?

After all the pre-wedding event costs, travel, gifts, lodging etc. a single bridesmaid can easily spend over a thousand dollars by the time the actual wedding comes around. In that case, it is proper for a bride to splurge for a nicer gift. However, for lower budget weddings with less spending involved, sentimental and thoughtful gifts are all that matter. Many budget brides go for the "Do It Yourself" option, utilizing their hobbies or skills. Others spend a lot of time researching and shopping for the most fitting gift at a price they can afford.

One of our favorite bridesmaid gifts are fancy, functional footwear! This gift is great because after your ceremony, the ladies can substitute them for their heels to dance your wedding night away. They can also use them again and again once the party is over. Depending on your budget, you can find shoes/sandals at every price. Below we have highlighted a few of our favorites.

First are Tom's gold glitter shoes. Not only are Tom's shoes incredibly comfortable but each pair sold funds another pair of shoes that goes to a child in need. They come in black, gold, silver and pink glitter! Second are adorable glitter flats by Steve Madden. The shape of these flats are a bit fancier than the Tom's but would still make great dancing shoes! Third are metallic Havaiana flip flops. Havainas are arguably the most comfortable flip flops out there. They are incredibly durable and come in metallic colors that could provide a comfy compliment to bridesmaids dresses. The final pair of shoes are rhinestone sandals by Naught Monkey. These are fancier than the Havainas but again, more comfortable than the heals worn by your bridesmaids during the ceremony. These are a few favorites but shop around and find what suits your bridesmaids best!!