What can be more patriotic than some 4th of July Cupcake Kabobs or more American that some Double Crusted Apple Pie?
4th of July Cupcake Kabobs
Cupcake kabobs are easy, fun and inexpensive to make. Using your favorite cake recipes or buying box cake mix, these kabobs come together with minimal effort. They are a fun project to keep your kids busy at your 4th of July BBQ. And they look great and are delicious! There are instructions on how to win a dozen just in time for the Fourth at the bottom of my post, but if you feel up to making them yourself, here are the directions.
What Youll Need
White cake batter (your recipe or box mix make sure its white, not yellow)
Red Velvet cake batter (your recipe or box mix)
Blue food coloring
12 or 24 cup Mini cupcake pan
cup of water
White frosting (your recipe or container of 4th of July frosting)
Assorted sprinkles and colored sugars in patriotic colors
Fruit - strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas whichever you prefer
Begin by making your white cake batter as directed by your recipe or the directions on the box. Split the batter into two bowls and tint one of the bowls with 3 drops (or 1/8 tsp) of blue food coloring. Keep the other bowl white.Note: If you cant find or dont want to make red velvet, you could split the white batter into thirds and tint one of the other bowls with red food coloring.
Fill your cupcake wells up of the way. Spray your pan with cooking spray (liners are not needed since youll be taking them off anyway so save yourself a step). Bake a few batches of mini white and blue cupcakes. Let them cool in the pans for 10 mins then transfer them to a cooling rack.
Repeat the same process for your red velvet cake.
These mini cupcakes can be made at least 2 days in advance. Once theyve cooled completely, put them in a plastic storage container with a sealed lid and leave at room temperature or in the fridge.
Prepare for assembly
Put the white frosting in a bowl and microwave until soft and smooth, about 15 seconds. Pour the sprinkles in separate bowls. For these kabobs, I used 3 bowls 1 for red sugar, 1 for blue sugar, and 1 for a mix of red, white and blue sprinkles and nonpareils. Get cup of water. You can leave this in the measuring cup. Put the large marshmallows in a bowl. Cut up your fruit into bite size pieces. Put your cooled cupcakes on a plate.
Take a mini cupcake and dip the top into the warmed frosting. Then dip into the sprinkles. Do this with all the mini cupcakes. You may need to reheat the frosting if the cupcakes start to get stuck in the bowl. Just reheat in 10-second increments until its smooth again. Keep dipping until all the cupcakes are done.
Grab a large marshmallow and dip one end into the water. Let any excess water drip off then dip one end into the red colored sugar. Turn it over and dip the other end into the water. Let excess water drop off then dip into the blue colored sugar. Set aside to dry.
Take one bamboo skewer in your hand and slide a red cupcake down leaving at least 1 of skewer in your hand. Next, slide a marshmallow down, then a piece of fruit (for this skewer I used strawberries). Take a white cupcake and slide that down on top of the piece of fruit, followed with a marshmallow and another piece of fruit. Top the skewer off with the blue cupcake. Continue this until youve made as many skewers as youd like.
Kids will love assembling these! Just be careful of the points on the bamboo sticks. And keep plenty of paper towels handy as the frosting tends to get onto little fingers. Or if need be, these can be made a day in advance as long as you use non-browning fruit. Store in a plastic container with a tight lid until ready to display.
Double Crusted Apple Pie
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup ice water
10 cup thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 3 pounds)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon fat-free milk
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
To prepare pastry, lightly spoon 2 1/2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 2 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk; cut in shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add ice water; toss with a fork until flour mixture is moist. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Gently press each portion into a 4-inch circle on heavy-duty plastic wrap; cover and chill 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425.
Slightly overlap 2 sheets of plastic wrap on a slightly damp surface. Unwrap and place 1 portion of chilled dough on plastic wrap. Cover dough with 2 additional sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, into a 12-inch circle. Place dough in freezer 5 minutes or until plastic wrap can be easily removed. Remove top sheets of plastic wrap; fit dough, plastic wrap side up, into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate coated with cooking spray. Remove remaining plastic wrap.
To prepare filling, combine apple and next 5 ingredients (through nutmeg); toss gently to coat. Spoon apple mixture into prepared pie plate; top with butter.
Slightly overlap 2 sheets of plastic wrap on a slightly damp surface. Unwrap and place remaining portion of chilled dough on plastic wrap. Cover dough with 2 additional sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, into an 11-inch circle. Place dough in freezer 5 minutes or until plastic wrap can be easily removed. Remove top sheets of plastic wrap; fit dough, plastic wrap side up, over apple mixture. Remove remaining plastic wrap. Press edges of dough together. Fold edges under, and flute. Cut several slits in top of dough to allow steam to escape.
To prepare topping, brush top of dough with milk; sprinkle turbinado sugar evenly over dough. Place pie plate on a foil-lined baking sheet; bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 (do not remove pie from oven); bake an additional 40 minutes or until browned. Cool on a wire rack.
Here is a tip that will help you to help us when you need some technical support. There is a new tool in Windows 7 that can capture step by step (with screenshots) what a person is doing. If you are having an issue, or getting an error, when doing a particular thing, this is for you. Simply click the Start button and type PSR into the search field. This will bring up the Problem Steps Recorder. You can then click the Record button and re-create the error. Every screen that opens will be captured. You can also add a comment during the recording. When you are finished, simply click the stop button to stop recording. This will automatically bring up the save menu. It will be saved in a zip file, which makes for much easier emailing. Then you can simply attach the file into an email and send it to us and we will be glad to assist you in solving the problem.
Once you hit record, it tracks your mouse and keyboard and captures screenshots with any comments you choose to associate alongside them. Once you stop recording, it saves the whole thing to a ZIP file, containing an HTML-based slide show of the steps.
Portables have been outselling desktop computers for years. They take up less room, are relatively inexpensive and even an entry level model will easily handle basic web browsing, video, music and word processing functions we require on a day to day basis. What is the difference between a laptop, netbook and tablet? Which one should you get? Glad you asked, keep reading.
What is a netbook?
I will start with netbooks, since they're very popular right now.
A netbook is a very small, very light laptop computer. While a typical laptop has a 13 to 17-inch display, netbook's are between 7 and 10 inches and weigh very little. Netbooks became popular a few years ago with the launch of the 7-inch Asus EeePC.
The compact dimensions mean that netbooks barely make a dent in a bag and the battery life can be outstanding, with many models running for eight hours or more off a full charge. This is the main draw of a netbook you have a computer running a proper operating system that can last the entire day.
The small size is also a downside, though. The keyboard and the display are cramped so it can be uncomfortable to use for long periods. They also run slower than standard size laptops, ruling out any games with a lot of graphics, demanding applications and sometimes high definition video. And don't forget that netbooks do not generally include DVD drives.
Compact size and light weight
Long battery life
What are laptops?
They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from ultra-thin 12 and 13 inch models up to gaudy 20 inchers.
Compared to a netbook a laptop is much more comfortable to use for long periods thanks to the larger screen and keyboard and you can do a lot more with them. The components used are often comparable to desktop PC hardware, if not identical on bigger laptops, so gaming, video editing and other power-hungry tasks are easily possible.
You may hear the term desktop replacement being thrown around when talking about larger laptops. That's an easier way of saying that a laptop is too heavy to be carried around and the battery will last about half an hour. Assuming you don't need anything portable, desktop replacements are worth considering as an alternative to desktops since they don't need as much room but can still be just as powerful. Plus you can pack them away in a desk drawer.
Then you have ultra-portable laptops, which are a hybrid of netbooks and laptops and where the line between the two gets a little fuzzy. Ultra-portables may be like the Apple MacBook Air, incredibly slim but missing key features like an optical drive.
For most people a 15 inch laptop will provide a good middle ground. They are cheap and small enough to cart in a book bag or laptop case yet still have enough features to replace the desktop PC at home. Just remember that the battery may only last a few hours, so have a spare on hand or remember to bring your power cable.
Huge variety of sizes and features
Can replace a desktop PC
Battery life shorter than a netbook
Can be large and heavy
Often too hot to be used on your lap
Tablet PCs are laptops based on a touchscreen interface which are designed to be more practical than laptops in some situations, such as e-book reading or surfing the internet in bed. Go back a year and we wouldn't even be mentioning them, because until recently they were a niche product, but then Apple came along and did its usual thing of revolutionizing the market and suddenly tablets are in the news again.
You can buy a tablet PC running Windows now, but what you'll get is an expensive convertible laptop with a screen that swivels down over the keyboard. It's not going to work like the Apple iPad and will cost a lot more, too. The iPad is the first tablet with mass market appeal.
The iPad is an Apple netbook without a keyboard and we can expect the same slate form factor from competing manufacturers. So if you primarily want a netbook or laptop for mobile web surfing and entertainment, and aren't too bothered about computing power or getting a lot of work done, this is the way to go. The pros and cons of the iPad have been endlessly debated for many months now so we won't go into them here. If you're not sure the iPad is for you we'd recommend giving it a few months to see what else shows up because by the end of the year there'll be a flood of similar products on the market and you'll have a variety of choices.
Great for entertainment and web browsing
Easy to use anywhere
Not usually very powerful
Convertible tablets are pricey and awkward
Touchscreens not ideal for typing
If you are interested in purchasing one, or if you need more advice to find the perfect one, contact Kotori Technologies today.
This past week, a client asked Neadom about a QR Code Scanner app for a Blackberry. This is something new and something Neadom and no one at Kotori has used, therefore, it makes for some research for a new article. You may be like me and asking what is a QR code and why would anyone need a scanner. Well, I did the research for you.
QR Codes are a step above to the traditional barcode. The typical barcode could hold a maximum of 20 digits and could only be read horizontally. The QR code can hold up to 7,089 characters and can span horizontally and vertically and can be scanned from any angle. The term QR is an acronym for Quick Response. QR Codes originated in Japan and have recently become popular in the Middle East and Europe and now the US. They first hit mainstream when they were initially used for tracking parts by vehicle manufacturers. Now they are being used commercially in the telecommunications industry where the mobile phones are driving up their popularity.
Now that you know what a QR Code is, how does it benefit you and why would you want a scanner? (That was my question.) You can take a use your mobile phone and take a picture of the QR Code. The QR Code software decoder can then transform the data from the code to a meaningful action like: connect to a web address, download an MP3 file, dial a telephone number, and prompt your email client with a sender address. Of course, this is all done in a matter of milliseconds making the transformation of your mobile phones browser to the mobile web instantaneous. The picture above is a QR code for Kotori Technologies website.
Now that you know what they are and how to use them, where and what to get? This, in part, depends on what type of phone you have. And like I said, we havent used any of the software, so we cant really pick one over the other without the experience. Some that seem to be more popular are:
Neo Reader http://www.neoreader.com/
Up Code http://www.mobile-barcodes.com/qr-code-software/#upcode
QR App http://download.cnet.com/QR-app/3000-20418_4-10977516.html
If you have any experience with the QR Code or have a recommendation, please let us know.
Batten down the hatches and nail down the door its going to be a rough one! Ok so I am being a bit dramatic but Hurricanes can cause some serious damage to your home and business. I was watching TV this weekend and saw on CNN that we have our first named storm. Alex is off the cost of Central America. Very close to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricanes go boy, girl, boy, girl, etc.. Then ABCD right down the list. The next one on the list is Bonnie. I wonder how far down the list we go this year? Hopefully not too far. I hope none of them make landfall anywhere. But, ask yourself this, do you want to be the business owner that let Bonnie, Colin or Danielle ruin your business. I mean they are not even employees at your company.
What kind of damage can a hurricane do to your business well lets talk about the easy ones; physical damage, flooding or, even worse, death. Those are the ones that the insurance people really get their marketing dollars out for right? They scare you into buying. Well many times we dont think of the other issues likedisasters that strike that arent even in your area. Ask yourself this How would a hurricane or other disaster affect my vendors or customers? Lets take for example a clothing company in Summerville, SC that gets all of their fabric from a nice textile company in India. Well most of the time all of that gets shipped from overseas. The ports are very important to this company as this is how the fabric company gets their raw goods. What would happen if something happened to the ports or even worse to the company in India. Where would they get their raw materials from? I could go on and on about this. There are thousands of possible issues that go on. So how does a small business prepare themselves for a disaster of any kind? Well it all starts with planning. Here are a few quick tips on how to help you be more prepared.
1) Have a backup location to do business. If you know where you will setup shop when the disaster hits then it is one less thing to deal with.
2) Have the right insurance that will allow you to get set back up and going quickly.
3) Make sure your vendors have their own disaster recovery plan. You dont want them having a disaster be your disaster! Have backup vendors. If you cant then know the risk and try and protect yourself.
4) Backup your Data daily and test the backups monthly.
5) Write it all down. It sound simple enough but a one page document is much more effective place to start when you are in panic/task mode.
Remember the best way to survive a disaster is to plan, plan and plan. Then test, test and plan again when the tests fail. I truly hope that disaster never strikes you. But when it does knowing who to call and what to do will be your best allies in rising from the storm and being number one!1 of 5 of 14 First | Prev | Next | Last |