Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Brownie Pops For Cheaters

I fully expected this post to be titled "Brownie Pop Fail", but I had to come up with a new title when my Brownie Pops actually looked pretty cute, and more importantly, didn't fall off the stick.

I can't believe I made these!

I've been fascinated by these adorable little desserts on a stick for a long time; I mean Martha Stewart makes Cake Pops.

Cake Pops are even available at Starbucks.  Starbucks sells these little guys for almost $2.00 each (including tax), which must mean they're pretty special and difficult to make.  Right?

So I felt that the odds were stacked against me when I decided, on a whim, to make my own - with Purplicious as my trusty sidekick.

I visited Bakerella and Martha Stewart for instructions and tips on making Cake Pops.  

Since I was convinced that my Brownie/Cake Pops were going to be a disaster, I decided to cheat and use store bought brownies and canned Betty Crocker frosting as the basis for my treats... that's just how I roll.

This is how I made easy (but not quick) Brownie Pops:

  • I tossed half of a 1.34 kg (3 lbs) container of Two Bite Brownies (the kind you find at Costco) into my food processor and whizzed them until they were crumbled.

  • In a separate bowl I added about half a container of Betty Crocker chocolate frosting to the crumbled brownies and mixed them together until the texture resembled truffles.

  • Next we rolled the mixture into balls and placed them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

  • I dipped a candy stick into melted chocolate and stuck that end into the ball. Everything went into the freezer for a couple of hours while Purplicious went for a swim.

Decorating was messy, but fun in a very frustrating sort of way.

Purplicious helping out.

  • I melted some good quality chocolate coating and spooned it over the frozen Brownie Pops. Because the pops were cold I was hoping that the chocolate would set fairly quickly, but it dripped when we were adding the toppings. That was messy!

  • Once all the Brownie Pops were chocolate coated and decorated I put them back in the freezer for an hour or so to set.

I didn't have anything prepared to stand them upright, but I guarantee you those little brownie balls didn't move.

I'm very proud of my chocolate and white marbled Brownie Pop.

Our favorite combinations were white chocolate coated with coconut and dark chocolate coated with peanuts.

I made them again last weekend (using the same shortcuts) for my sister-in-law's birthday. I was concerned that maybe I had beginner's luck with my first batch and that her guests would end up with melted chocolate in their laps.  I almost melted with relief once I knew they turned out.

Mr. StyleBurb made a grown-up version of these Brownie Pops by adding some rum into the mix....

... now that was a good treat!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Killing Weeds

We just returned from another fabulous, sun-filled week at the beach.

While we've been busy having fun, so too have the weeds growing in between the bricks of my interlocking walkway.  It puzzles me that only a few feet away the grass is singed from heat and drought and yet these blasted weeds are growing as though they've been doused with top grade fertilizer.

These weeds have really gotten out of hand!

Truth be told, I don't mind the singed grass all that much because it means I don't have to mow the lawn.

But I definitely mind the weeds.
Our area has banned the cosmetic use of herbicides and pesticides, so we have to use natural ways to get rid of the weeds. I was complaining to my friend about my weed/interlocking problem and she gave me the greatest, easiest tip on how to get rid of them:

Boiling water

That's it, that's all!

These weeds were doused with boiling water about 2 hours ago:

After a few days the weeds were dead. I did my best to shoo away any ants before I poured the hot water.

Of course, you shouldn't try to kill the weeds in your flower beds or veggie garden using this method, but it definitely works on brick and concrete.

Weeds a few days after the boiling water treatment.

At this point you can just brush the dead weeds away.

It's better if you don't let the weeds get established in the first place, as I have done, but some things are more important than weeds!



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Purpose Of Your Trip, Ma'am? Shopping.

My 15 year old daughter 'Audrey' has a passion for fashion and has been desperate to go shopping in the U.S..  'Purplicious' has never met a mall she didn't like and supported her big sister's pleas to do some cross-border shopping.

Eventually the girls wore us down, and we decided to spend our August long weekend shopping in Erie, Pennsylvania where the taxes are low, the selection is great and the stores are new and different.  When we weren't shopping, we were either sleeping or eating.  By noon Monday I didn't think we could carry another shopping bag or walk a step farther.  So we headed home.

Here is our van in the middle of being loaded up for our drive back to Canada...

Mostly we shopped for clothing, cosmetics and back-to-school supplies.  I bought some cute things for the house .... of course!

These are just a few of my treasures:

I saw this ruffled bowl at a store in Canada a few months ago, so wasn't I delighted to find it at a lower price and on sale! Won't it look great filled with apples or little clementines?

I seem to be subscribing to the "you can never have enough pretty plates" decorating philosophy and found these sweet plates.

This pillow practically popped off the shelf at me! You all know how much I love red and this pillow will look terrific on my bench in the foyer once fall comes ... and you know it's coming...

Even though I'm not anxious for summer to end, it's funny how a single red pillow can get a person excited about decorating for fall....


Sunday, August 7, 2011

An Award

The last time I got an award was on Mother's Day about eight years ago. 'Awesome Possum' gave me The Best Mom In The World award when he was in kindergarten and declared that my best skill was unclogging the toilet.

I don't think I've ever laughed so hard!

I have to explain...

When my son was a small boy he was fascinated by water and loved watching the toilet flush.  He often tried flushing small toys as well as toilet paper.... which explains the need for the plunger!

Anyway, I received another award recently, which I am very delighted about.  My friend Terry from These Peas Taste Funny gave me the Liebster Blog Award.

I did a little research to find out more about the Liebster Award and it seems to have originated in Germany and is meant to highlight blogs you enjoy that have less than 300 followers.  When you accept the award you agree to pass it along to 3 other bloggers.

I'm not sure if this is part of the original award, but after accepting you then tell 7 things about yourself that others in the blogging community may not know.

It's next to impossible to choose which blogs to give the Liebster Award to since there are so many wonderful blogs in existence.  Also, there is no obligation to accept this award, so for the blogs I'm about to mention, if this isn't your thing that's completely fine.

Here are three of my favorite places to visit:

Dee from A Lapin Life &

I hope you will visit these blogs and enjoy them as much as I do.

Seven Things About Myself

1.  I love celebrity gossip, so if you ever want to chat about what's going on in Hollywood, then I'm your girl.

2. I have a horrible sense of direction and almost always confuse my left and right.  When I was 16 my driving instructor threatened to write an R and an L on my hands!

3. Since I was a teenager in the '80s, I am really good at doing the 'moonwalk' made famous by Michael Jackson.

4. I get dizzy very easily (if I turn around twice I feel nauseated) and HATE roller coasters.

5. I have been a vegetarian for 20 years.  The reasons why are complicated, but I love leather furniture, handbags and shoes.

6. I taught grades 1- 4 before I had my family, and yet I can't seem to help my kids with their math homework!

7. I am probably the last person on Earth who still has a phone that doesn't text and comes with a pull-up antenna. I'm planning to upgrade soon....


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

I dreamed about my blog the other night, which, I think, is my subconscious telling me that it's time to write a new post. I am having the best summer and was shocked to see that it's August already.  Time flies when you're having fun!

We took our annual camping trip to the beach earlier in July.  We've been staying at the same campground resort for years, and this year Mother Nature decided to give us a week long bear hug because the weather was fabulous!

Our home away from home on these camping trips is a pop-up tent trailer tricked out with air conditioning, water and electrical service, a mini fridge and some very clever storage compartments. Some people might call our camping style "glamping" - a combination of  'camping' and 'glamorous'.  

I tend to think of our pop-up tent trailer as the grown-up version of a Barbie camper. Except that Barbie would have a much cuter camping wardrobe than me and I'm pretty sure she wouldn't be caught dead wandering the streets of the closest town in search of french fries - while wearing a pair of Birkenstocks.

Fries at the beach are the best!

We store the camper in our garage during the off-season. Bringing it out when summer arrives is a test of our nerves and our twenty-one years of marriage! The trailer was bought four years ago and unfortunately, we relied on the salesperson's measuring skills before we made the sale final.

We were expecting the camper to be eight inches narrower than it actually is. Boy were we surprised when we tried to put it in the garage that first time! There is barely an inch on either side of the trailer to fit through the garage doors.

Ah well. All's well that ends well, and once we're all set up, it's extremely easy to forget all your cares.

We spend our days at the beach and our evenings around the campfire.  At night we have a dry and comfortable place to sleep.

Harry loves camping, too.  He gets pretty tuckered out from chasing seagulls.

We wake up most mornings to the sound of seagulls squawking, so when Harry gives them a hard time, I consider it a doggie form of payback.

We have all the comforts of home - even a little mirror so that I can put on some mascara and lipstick and blow dry my hair...

... because Barbie would like that!

Now, if only I could decorate the camper with pink flower decals and purple fun fur, Barbie and Ken might join us for s'mores around the campfire one evening. 

I wonder where I can find Barbie-sized Birkenstocks...