Cake Batter Truffles

When thinking about what dessert I wanted to bring to Easter lunch, I immediately thought of something sweet and easy to eat. I had made cake batter truffles a few times before and love how they are an easier yet equally delicious alternative to cake pops. Proper cake pops require baking a cake, crumbling it up, mixing it with icing and rolling it into balls before dipping it in chocolate. These cake batter truffles reduce the need to bake a cake without losing any of the moist texture or sweet flavor. These are the perfect dessert o bring to a party as they are already in a single serving and look a bit nicer than your typical cake or pie. Find out how to make them below.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white cake mix
  • 3-4 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 Tbsp. sprinkles
  • 16 oz dipping chocolate

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in vanilla. Add salt, flour, cake mix and mix thoroughly. Add in milk and mix to combine until dough consistency is reached. Stir in sprinkles. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Chill in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
  2. While dough balls are chilling, begin melting chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 15 second intervals. Using a fork or spoon, dip balls in chocolate and cover completely. If the chocolate is too thick, add a little shortening to thin it out. Place truffles on parchment paper or mini cupcake liners. Immediately add more sprinkles before chocolate hardens. Repeat until all balls are covered.
  3. Chill dipped balls in the refrigerator in an airtight container until serving. Makes around 24-30 truffles.

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April BirchBox Review

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My April BirchBox was one of my favorites. I was very pleased to open it and find two samples from one of my favorite BirchBox brands, Number 4. I’m never too impressed by food samples so I was less pleased about my granola bar but will still end up eating it. Every product sample I received this month is a product that I will use and potentially purchase in full size.

aprilbbreviewHere’s what I received in my box:

Color Club Gala’s Gems Collection – Breakfast at…, I’ve always been a fan of mint green so I am happy to receive this polish sample. It’s a pretty good size and I plan on testing it out soon

Number 4 High Performance Hair Care Clarifying Shampoo, My favorite sample that I received in my box! I’ve used it once so far and I really enjoy the scent. I use more product in my hair than I used to so I need a good clarifying shampoo to clean my strands.

*Bonus Number 4 Reconstructing Masque, I used this up the day after I received it and again, I loved the way it smelled. It did seems to leave my hair smooth but I didn’t notice too much of a difference from my other deep conditioners that I have tried

Sumita Color Intense Pencil – Suman (Black), I can never have enough eyeliner. This liner went on very smooth, almost like a liquid. It did smudge a little after wearing it for several hours but in its defense, I had spend a lot of time outside when I wore it.

theBalm Cosmetics How ‘Bout Them Apples? Cheek & Lip Cream, This is a fun little cheek and lip tint in a bright apple red that I’m sure I will use up. It’s the perfect size to keep in my purse so I have it on me when I need a color pick-me-up

KIND Snacks Healthy Grains Bar – Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Salt, I’m not a fan of food samples in my box but nonetheless this will eventually be eaten.

 

Easter

My lavender Twist Front Dress from the Limited was too perfect for Easter to not wear it again this weekend. I love that this dress is long enough to to family events but has a small opening in the back that makes it a little more exciting. We had more beautiful weather this weekend and it was so nice to spend time with my family and Chris’s family. We both ate more guacamole than one person should I indulged on quite a few desserts. I didn’t get to spend as much time outside as I would have liked yesterday but today is supposed to be another warm day in Columbus, though not nearly as sunny.

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Please excuse my bare feet. I promise I was wearing wedges most of the day. I wore one of my favorite necklaces that I purchased from ModCloth a couple months ago. It’s currently sold out but I get compliments on it all the time so I hope they restock it soon.

Favorites on Good Friday

Happy Good Friday! I’m looking forward to spending some time with my family this weekend and the predicted nice weather. Tomorrow will be a day of relaxation since last weekend was go, go, go both days. Today, the high is supposed to be 71 and I’m so, so glad that I can officially put away my winter clothes and break out my shorts and lightweight tops. Sunday I get to spend some time with my family and Chris’s so I’m sure I’ll eat a lot of great food. Here are five things I’m loving right now:

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1. Putting away winter clothes and breaking out the warm-weather wear: I put away all my sweaters yesterday and today I put away many of my more wintery shoes. All my boots have been packed away to make room for my slip-on shoes and sandals. I’m so looking forward to being to step outside in shorts and a t-shirt and being warm. Until then, I will settle for 70s and sun! Right now, it’s 67 and I’m typing this outside. :-)

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2. In my current apartment, we not only have an outdoor space but we also have a deck. My mom generously purchase us a new bistro set from World Market (table & two chairs) so I have spent a lot of time on the deck. Yesterday, I spent over an hour outside reading while Max napped. It was very relaxing and rejuvenating to feel the sun on my skin.

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3. We recently bought a grill and I’m so excited about all the meal possibilities it opens up. During the summer, my favorite meals are made on a grill so I’m glad that this year I don’t need to make a trip elsewhere to use a grill. I also just received two grill pans from one of my showers so we can finally grill veggies. My favorite side dish, grilled zucchini with mushrooms, peppers, carrots and broccoli. Grilling provides a way for Chris to help with meals and reduces clean up, which makes me so happy!

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{photo by Amy Ann Photography}

4. We have 50 days left until the big day! I cannot believe that our 15 month engagement is now down to the final month and a half. Though pretty much everything is ready to go, I have started to freak out about all the details and the fact that I’ll be married in less than two months. I still have about 2 wedding nightmares per week and I’m sure those will only increase as the date gets closer and closer. Though my biggest fear of a cold wedding day fades as the temperature continues to go up.

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5. I drive down 3rd every day on my way home from work and this past week it has been so beautiful! All the trees up and down on either side are in bloom. Everywhere I look now there are beautiful flowering trees, which is such a welcome sight after this winter. We have two trees in our backyard and both are starting to get some green on them. I had gotten so use to the lack of color everywhere and I find it much more enjoyable to be outside now that there’s green everywhere. Only downside to this development, the need to mow. We have yet to purchase our first lawn mower but will be forced to very soon!

Stripes

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I absolutely adore stripes. They go with everything and add just a touch of interest to any outfit. I am especially drawn to white and navy or white and red striped tops and have collected a few from J.Crew, Gap and H&M. I’m currently really loving this striped v-neck tee from J.Crew Factory and these Keds shoes from Nordstrom (another plus, the J.Crew tee is currently 40% off and under $20. You could get it in both colors!). I think they are two pieces that I could wear all summer to create many comfortable outfits. But I mean, how awesome is this tunic from Madewell? I don’t think I could ever cough up nearly $100 for it but it sure it beautiful.

1. J.Crew Factory Drop-Stripe Tee, $19.50

2. J. Crew Factory Shiny-Stripe Mini, $37.50

3. Lunch Pairing Scarf, $19.99

4. Baggu Canvas Backpack, $20

5. Double-Stripe Underwire Halter Tank, $49.99

6. How Do You Do? Idiom Bangle, $78

7. Women’s Fit & Flare Jersey Dress, $22

8. Keds ‘Champion’ Sneaker, $49.95

9. Morningshine Tunic, $98

Easy Guacamole

A few years ago I discovered the wonderfullness that is guacamole. I didn’t have much exposure to it growing up and typically avoided it because it’s green color and chunky texture. I decided to give it a try at a family gathering on Easter one year and immediately fell in love. I order it every chance I get at Mexican restaurants (and Chipotle!). This is the first time that I actually attempted to make my own. I pulled the ingredients that I like most from various recipes of guacamole that I’ve tasted and decided to just throw it all together. Unfortunately, the avocados I picked up from Giant Eagle weren’t quite ripe enough so I had a little trouble removing the insides from the shell. I don’t think that affected the taste at all, though.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 avocados , pitted and diced
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 roma or stemmed tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup corn (optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a food processor (or buy hand) combine tomato, garlic, corn, onion and cilantro. Spoon out blended mixture
  2. into a small bowl.
  3. Add mashed avocado. Squeeze lime juice over avocado mix.
  4. Mix together and serve with corn or tortilla chips. Salt & pepper to taste.

This recipe is super easy to make depending on whether you decided to chop the veggies with a food processor (creamier texture) or hand-chop (more chunky). I decided to make a chunky guacamole and chopped everything by hand. I actually mashed the avocado by chopping it up, throwing it into a plastic baggie and squeezing and smashing with my hands. After I threw everything together, I just mixed it together with a spoon before serving.

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Patio Inspiration

When I moved into my new apartment, I was most excited about the outdoor space. At our last apartment, we had no private outdoor space so having our own fenced in yard with deck was very appealing. Unfortunately we moved in in November so we haven’t really had too many opportunities to enjoy our deck. We’ve been lucky to have some warm, sunny days in Ohio this spring so I’ve been spending a lot of time (and money) attempting to make our deck more “us” and to purchase things we need to enjoy it fully. One of the first purchases we mad was a grill. I absolutely love grilling out and will do it almost everyday when it’s finally warm enough.

Instead of registry gifts, my mom generously offered to buy us some patio furniture. I had picked out a table and chairs from World Market and they add a pop of color that our deck desperately needed. This past weekend, when it was almost summer-like, Chris and I were able to sit out on our new furniture and eat breakfast. It’s so relaxing to have an outdoor space available right outside your door for you to enjoy whenever you want to. In order to make our deck look a little better, I’ve been browsing Pinterest and other home decor sites to get some inspiration:

I love all the green in this image. I would love to fill my deck and front porch with potted plants of all sorts. I hope to have a nice mix of flowers, vegetables and herbs before our first summer in German Village comes to an end.
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This image is a perfect example of what you can do with a small space. Our deck is relatively small so it’s nice to see that you can create a great space without too much room. I love the color on this patio and the interesting plants.

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Here’s another example of what you can do with a smaller space. I really love the mix of metal with wood and the pops of color. Again, green plants are everywhere, which I love. I hope to acquire more cute dishes that we can use while eating and entertaining outdoors.dining{image source}

In order to put together my perfect outdoor space, here are some essentials:patioess

Threshold Two Tiered Plant Stand, $29.99

Smith & Hawken String Lights, $24.99

Doormat, $16.99

Catalina Chaise Lounger, $199.99

Golden Rod Yellow Cadiz Metal Chairs, Set of 2, $119.98

Aqua Blue Cadiz Mosaic Bistro Table, $99.99

Outdoor 2-Piece Square Toss Pillow Set, $43.99

Buckner Fire Pit, $129.99

White Lili Punched Drum Stool, $59.99

Threshold Rectangular Patio Rug, $59.99