Show The Protein Bakery Your Muscle {Review & Giveaway}

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I love sweets. And if they weren’t so horribly unhealthy, I’d eat sweets all the time. Like all day long. Making dessert is fun, but sometimes I just want to grab something quick to satisfy a sweet craving, so I was delighted to try The Protein Bakery’s line of baked goods.

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These nutritionally balanced goodies are trans-fat free, preservative free, and wheat flour-free. They are also made with natural ingredients like rolled oats, nuts, light brown sugar, and quality chocolate. And as the name suggests, they are packed with whey protein which is good for those wanting more protein in their diet. As healthy as these treats are though, I’d still suggest eating them in moderation, because they are definitely not low in calorie or fat.

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The delicious Walnut Brownie

I received a sampling of The Protein Bakery’s brownies, blondies, cookies and minis for this review. I found that I really enjoyed some of the items, but others were not quite to my liking. The walnut brownies were delicious and very moist while the peanut butter blondie I tried was flavorful but very dry. The minis were a bit dry as well. Heating them up in the microwave helped a bit but still not as moist as I was hoping for. The cookies were soft and tasted like homemade cookies. Despite dryness in a few of the treats, I liked pretty much everything I tried.

Connect with The Protein Bakery

Catch up with The Protein Bakery in many ways:

Website: http://proteinbakery.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/proteinbakerycookieswithmuscle?ref=ts

Twitter: http://twitter.com/proteinbakery

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/company/the-protein-bakery?trk=fc_badge

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheProteinBakery

Showing muscle is kind of difficult when holding a cookie.

Showing muscle is kind of difficult when holding a cookie.

Show Your Muscle Promotion!

Right now The Protein Bakery is running a “Show us your muscle” promotion! If you buy any of their products, send them a picture of yourself holding your Protein Bakery treat while making a muscle for a chance to win a free baker’s pick gift set (their largest gift set!) and T-shrit, as well as having your photo highlighted on their website. Send your photo submission to info@proteinbakery.com and let them know Shane’s Killer Cupcakes sent you!

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If you want to enter the contest without making a purchase, then enter my giveaway below for a chance to win a taste of Protein Bakery (an assortment of 2 brownies/blondies, 2 cookie 2-packs and 2 mini’s), a $45.00 value, courtesy of The Protein Bakery! If you win my giveaway, you can use your prize of treats to enter their “show us your muscle” contest for even more treats! Whoo-hoo!

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****I received product from The Protein Bakery in return for an honest review and to promote their new “Show us your muscle” promotion. All opinions are mine and are entirely honest.
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Cake It Easy No-Bake Cake Pop Kit Review

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IMG_3600I received this cake pop kit for review from Cake It Easy last week and couldn’t wait to try it once I had enough time to really review it properly. The kit is very easy to use and would be a great activity for kids to do on their own since it doesn’t require a hot oven.

IMG_3608The kit includes the following supplies:

  • No Bake Cake Pops Mix in Chocolate
  • Rainbow sprinkles
  • 10 cake pop sticks
  • 10 paper cupcake liners
  • A paper mat to work on

The only thing you need to complete the kit is some water and oil. The box also has a couple variation suggestions if you don’t want to use water. It says the water can be substituted with cream cheese, melted butter, frosting, etc., but I don’t know if it’s an exact amount substitution or if you have to use different amounts of those other ingredients. Also, if you use the melted butter instead of water, do you still use the oil? That wasn’t clear. Although I like that they include other options for making the cake pops, I find this substitution section a little vague and ambiguous. The rest of the instructions are easy to follow though.

IMG_3609I like that they include a paper workspace sheet so that you don’t get your table or countertop messy. A sheet of wax paper or parchment paper would also suffice if you need more space to work than just the sheet that is included.

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I used the included sheet to lay out the cake balls as I made them and got a sheet of wax paper out for the decorating. This kit is so easy to use, even my 93 year old grandma was decorating like a champ!

IMG_3612Once you’re done decorating the cake balls you can put them in the included paper cups and add the sticks if you want to make them into pops. The instructions say to put the sticks into the balls and then chill them, but I found that without some kind of “glue” like candy melts, the sticks didn’t really stay attached to the cake balls even after chilling them for a while.

I used the rainbow sprinkles that came with the kit, as well as some of my own cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and some other candy sprinkles to decorate these with.

IMG_3616If I were to make these again, I think I’d try the cream cheese substitution because the water and oil cake balls were not as rich as I was hoping they’d be. They didn’t taste bad but were just too plain.

It took no more than 30 minutes to make these and were super easy put together. Despite a few of the drawbacks like the sticks not staying in the cake balls, I’d definitely recommend this cake pop kit, especially if you have kids. I had a lot of fun making these with my grandma. I just wish it made more pops! These cake pops went quickly.

The kit retails for $19.95 USD and ships for free! You can buy these kits directly from their website or on Amazon.

Connect with Cake It Easy on the web!

Cake It Easy’s website

Cake It Easy on Facebook

Cake It Easy on Twitter

 

***DISCLAIMER: I received this kit in exchange for my honest review of the product. I was not compensated monetarily.***
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Skeetie Salad a.k.a. Fruit Salad {Recipe}

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IMG_3566Skeetie Salad is a fruit salad that’s been in my family for years. My family renamed it Skeetie Salad after my uncle Scott, because as a child he loved to make and eat it so much. (Skeetie was his childhood nickname).

I made this recently for a ’60s themed cocktail party, along with a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. It is not hard to make and only uses a few ingredients (although others could be added)

Skeetie Salad a.k.a. Fruit Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 28 oz canned pineapple tidbits (I used one 20 oz and one 8 oz can)
  • handful of maraschino cherries
  • 2 - 11 oz cans of mandarin oranges
  • 6 bananas
  • half of a 10.5 oz bag of mini marshmallows (about 2-3 cups)
  • Approx. 1/3 cup mayonaise (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Strain the pineapple and mandarin orange juice into a bowl. Drain as much liquid off of the fruit as you can and put into a large separate bowl.
  2. Dump mini marshmallows into the juice and allow to soak while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  3. In the bowl with the pineapple and oranges, add cherries and sliced bananas.
  4. After marshmallows have soaked up some of the juices, strain the juice and discard, and put the marshmallows in with the fruit.
  5. Add the mayonaise and mix it all together.

Notes

This salad often tastes even better the next day, although slightly mushier. The mayo measurement is approximate because we never really measured it before.

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Cake Artist Spotlight: Marcella Robin of MRobin Cakes

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As an artist and a baker, I like to explore the art form of cake decorating. It’s one of the reasons I’d rather decorate a cake than bake them, although recipe experimentation can be its own form of art as well. When I come across other bakers who express their artistic abilities through cake design, I take notice. The cake artist I’m spotlighting today has found a beautiful way to make sculptural pieces of art through the baking process.

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Meet Marcella Robin, owner, baker, and cake designer at MRobin Cakes in Portland, Oregon. She has created her own unique style of cake design using jaconde, a thin decorative exterior sponge cake, that she forms into classic patterns reminiscent of mid-century motifs. The insides of these entremet cakes are filled with sponge cake, creams, custards, fruits, mousses, etc. With her bachelors degree in sculpture and as a graduate of the Professional Pastry and Bread program at the Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver in British Columbia, Robin feels she’s found the perfect balance between her two loves: art and baking:

I have found cake design to be the perfect blend of my love for art and baking. While I prefer a traditional cake form, the process I use is creative and modern. After years of cake making and designing, my current focus is on entremet wedding cakes. These specialty cakes include layers of mousse, bavaroise, dacquoise, sponge cake, caramels, fruit and other fillings. With its bold design and enticing outer layer of decorative sponge cake, the entremet is unique and above all delicious.

I highly recommend watching Cineastas great video highlighting MRobin Cakes below. It gives Marcella Robin the opportunity to describe her style of cake design and shows us her amazing process for creating such beautifully elegant cakes.

M. Robin – Cake Design from Cineastas on Vimeo.

Just look at all these awesome designs!

donteatdaisies pinkstripe sillychocolate wobble[Photos from MRobin Cakes]
 
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Farófias: A Traditional Portuguese Dessert {Guest Post}

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I haven’t blogged about international desserts before, so I welcome this recipe from Inês Simão who wanted to share with you a traditional Portuguese dessert called Farófias.


Hello! Guest poster, Inês, here. Most traditional Portuguese deserts are based on four main ingredients: milk, eggs, sugar and cinnamon. Farófias is no exception, and it’s a quick and easy recipe to make when you feel like having something sweet and don’t want to waste a lot of time. Here is what you will need:

Farófias

Ingredients

  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Powdered cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Separate the eggs and beat the whites into stiff peaks. Add a tablespoon of sugar and beat the whites again to incorporate the sugar.
  2. Add 3 cups of milk into a pan together with the cinnamon sticks and some lemon peel.
  3. When the milk reaches boiling point, lower the heat. Drop tablespoons of whites into the milk and let them cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Carefully for the whites not to fall apart, turn them and let them cook on the other side. Move them into a bowl with a slotted spoon.
  4. Mix the remaining sugar with a teaspoon of corn starch. Add a cup of cold milk and stir the mixture until it has a uniform texture.
  5. Add this mixture to the milk used to cook the whites and stir till it thickens up, but don't let it reach a boiling point.
  6. When ready, pour some of the mix carefully over the whites with a spoon. The remainder of the mix, pour it gently at the edge of the bowl, so the whites don't fall apart. Sprinkle with powdered cinnamon.
  7. Let it cool and enjoy :)
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{About the Guest Author: Inês Simão}

Inês Simão is an online copywriter for Auto Europe UK, a cat enthusiast, and a sometimes cook. In her free time she enjoys reading obscure books with long words and cooking things that don’t always come out as intended. Check out her Twitter or Facebook.

 

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Crazy for Cake Pops Review and Giveaway

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I received a copy of Crazy for Cake Pops: 50 All-New Delicious and Adorable Creations by Molly Bakes for review from Ulysses Press recently and decided to make something from the book. There are many great decoration ideas in this book with lots of photographs of each cake pop.

Besides the cake pop decorations, there are also many other sections of the book. It starts out with descriptions of all the equipment you’ll need for the projects, as well as recipes for chocolate, red velvet, vanilla, peanut butter, toffee, and lemon cakes and the frostings that go with them. There is also a section in the back that shows some techniques for making the cake pops.

Never made cake pops before? Don’t worry. There are detailed explanations of how to make cake pops and plenty of colorful photos to show you the process. I’ve made cake pops once before, so I was familiar with the instructions, but it was nice to refresh my memory.

As I flipped through the book I came across a ton of designs I wanted to try, but I settled on the Moustache Cake Pops. I thought these looked great and simple.

Unfortunately, I had a few issues with making these. One thing I’ve realized from making cake pops is they always end up more complicated to make than they look. I used the recipe for the chocolate cake and chocolate frosting from the book (recipes below). The cake turned out pretty good although I may have overcooked it. This didn’t matter too much though, because I mixed it with the frosting and it became moist again.

The frosting was a little weird though. I followed the instructions exactly, but the mixture was less like frosting and more like a truffle mixture. It tasted great but wasn’t fluffy like the instructions said it would be. Not sure what happened. I mixed a little half and half in to soften it, but it was still really hard. It did mix into the cake crumbles well though and the mixture seemed right, so I guess this “frosting” didn’t mess it up, but I wouldn’t use the recipe for actual frosting.

Another problem I had was that my cake mixture wasn’t holding together well enough to form the moustache. It kept falling apart. I don’t think I mixed enough of the frosting into the cake.  Oops! I was able to make regular cake pops though so this is what I ended up with:

Not too bad, although I was bummed that the moustaches didn’t work out. I’ll try them again sometime. If you think you could do better, the recipes and instructions for the Moustache Cake Pops are below. Post a picture on my facebook page if you give these ones a shot. I’d love to see them!

Chocolate Cake

Yield: Makes enough for approx. 20 medium cake balls

Ingredients

  • 55 grams (8 tablespoons) cocoa powder
  • 250 milliliters (1 cup) boiling water
  • 120 grams (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
  • 200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 200 grams (1-2/3 cups) self-rising flour*, plus more for the tin
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature

Instructions

  1. Put the cocoa into a heatproof bowl, pour in the boiling water and stir until combined. Set aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch (25-centimeter) round cake tin. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well. Pour in the dry ingredients and gently beat until combined. Fold in the cooled cocoa until the color of the mixture is even. Pour into the tin and bake for 45–60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Once baked, leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Notes

*I didn't have self-rising flour so I made some using this recipe: 1 cup flour, ½ tsp. salt, 1½ tsp. baking powder sifted together.

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Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients

  • 120 grams (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 200 grams (2 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 100 grams (1-2/3 cups) chocolate, melted and cooled

Instructions

  1. Cream the butter. Gradually add the powdered sugar and then the chocolate. Continue to cream until light and fluffy. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before using.
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Moustache Pops

Ingredients

  • 20 medium cake balls, chilled
  • 1 (14-ounce) bag black candy melts

Instructions

  1. Roll each cake ball into a log shape with your hands. Use a lollipop stick to make an indentation in the top center and bottom center of each “log.” Squeeze and pinch the center of the “log” to shape the middle of the moustache. Now squeeze and pinch the ends, curling each one upwards to create a handlebar moustache shape.
  2. Melt the candy. Dip the end of each lollipop stick ¾ inch into the candy and insert a stick into the center of each moustache. Leave to set. Dip each pop into the candy, dipping from left to right to get an even coating. Insert into a polystyrene block to dry.
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{Overall Opinion}

Overall, I love this book. I personally need to practice making cake pops more often so I can make some of the more complicated cake pops in the book. For those of you that are cake pop newbies like myself, there are some easier designs to make in the book too. The great thing about cake pops is there are many ways they can be decorated, and even the easiest ones (like mine above) still look nice. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in making cake pops.

{Buy It}

Crazy for Cake Pops is available on several websites such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble in paperback and e-book form.

{Win It}

Ulysses Press has graciously offered to send one of my readers a copy of Crazy for Cake Pops: 50 All-New Delicious and Adorable Creations! To enter fill out the Rafflecopter form below. If you’ve never filled one out before, sign in with either Facebook or log in with your name and email address. Then fill out the first three entries. You don’t have to complete the first three entries but you can’t get to the other entries without finishing them. Once completed, all of the extra entries will become available for completion. Let me know if you have any problems filling out the form.

I WILL BE VERIFYING ENTRIES! So please leave any requested info for the entries. If any requested info is missing from the form, I will not be able to verify your entry and will choose another winner.

The giveaway will end at 11:59pm EST on March 17, 2012. US entries only, please. Terms and Conditions are located at the bottom of the Rafflecopter widget.

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