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Inspiration Gallery: Gifts From Your Kitchen

Thursday, November 29th, 2012
By Twistie

With the holidays coming up quickly and belts everywhere tightening, it can be hard to come up with great gifts for friends and family… that is, unless you’re a fellow crafty person! Just a few basic ingredients and a little time and effort will produce delicious gifts nearly everyone on your list will love.

For instance, see that elegant cruet of rosemary infused olive oil? If you have a rosemary bush nearby, bottles with firm stoppers or caps, a stove and some olive oil, you’ve got a great gift for the foodie on your list. Just follow the simple instructions at Lulu’s Bites and delight your friends!

Oh, and don’t forget that you can use the same method with a lot of other herbs, too. Thyme? Or maybe even some chili peppers? And citrus zest is a winner, too.

But how about some things that are ready to eat rather than an ingredient for future cooking?


Somebunny Is Getting Dipped

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
By Twistie

With Easter just around the corner, it’s a great time to indulge yourself in seasonal sweet treats.

Now personally, I’m not that wild about Peeps. Then again, I don’t like marshmallow. Never have, never will. Still, while I consider them useful only for scientific experimentation, and some others mark them for grisly death, there are those who truly love eating the little suckers.

Ah, but doesn’t everything taste better enrobed in chocolate? Okay, there might be something that doesn’t, but marshmallow clearly isn’t one of those mutant food items. It’s better with chocolate.

So if you like Peeps, and you like chocolate, and you’re looking for a fun holiday project to share with the kiddies, you should definitely check out this article at Makes and Takes from a couple years back with instructions on chocolate coating your Peeps.

Sweets and Not So Sweets for the Sweet

Monday, February 13th, 2012
By Twistie

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and we all know what that means. Flowers, chocolate, prix fixe meals at restaurants we rarely can scrape up the funds to go to, and… well, all that usual stuff.

Me? I like the chocolates and flowers. Mr. Twistie and I usually go out for dinner the night before V-day, but he’s been seriously overworked and exhausted this year, so I’m going to take the opportunity to make a really nice home cooked meal for him this time around. Then I’ll tell him to go the heck to bed early and get some damn rest. Sometime in March it will probably occur to him that he didn’t take me to a fancy meal and he’ll take me out then… when I can order whatever I please and the restaurant won’t be overstuffed with people. That suits me just fine.

But for those of you celebrating in a very slightly less unconventional way, there are still options to make the day special.

The first of these comes from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, where you can find full tongue in cheek instructions and a photo tutorial on turning an ordinary heart-shaped box of Valentine’s candies into a fun way to present the love of your life with tiny fiddly electronic components. It’s simple and versatile. After all, if your love doesn’t want transistors but would love bits of festive colored rovings, some good sewing needles, or other small crafts supplies, this would work really well for that, too.

And for those of a more traditional bent and reasonably good kitchen skills, Epicurious has Jacques Torres’ fabulous chocolate truffle recipe filled with great hints and yummy alternatives.

Either way, this is probably better than a drugstore teddy bear holding a red satin pillow that reads ‘I wuv you beary, beary much.’

Where It’s Halloween All Year Long

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
By Twistie

Have you ever visited Skull-A-Day? If not, this is the perfect time to go check out a great website with a fun concept behind it.

Way back in June of 2008, one Noah Scanlin posted an image of a paper skull he’d made and vowed to make a skull a day for an entire year. Three years and change later, it’s still going strong.

Every day you can see a new skull created by Scanlin or another skull artist. They run the gamut of materials and attitude. Above you can see a really adorable skull created from Valentine’s candy – mostly motto hearts – and a couple candy papers attached to a colorful blue base.

Other days you’ll see drawings, paintings, paper cutting, stencils, weaving, knitting, crochet, carving, and every possible material. In fact, you may well see some that seem downright impossible.

So go check it out! It’s an appropriate time of year. If your taste runs to the combination of macabre and cute that mine does, you’ll go back all year long.

Hey Sugar, Looking… Dead

Thursday, September 15th, 2011
By Twistie

I love the Mexican holiday of Dio de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Why? Because it’s a celebration of our loved ones who have passed on, without sorrow, without regret, just an appreciation of the people who have been special to us. It’s about remembering good times, accepting that life is a finite thing best enjoyed while we’re living, and expressing love for those who have shaped our lives.

Plus there are cool sugar skulls. They sit right on the cusp of cute and macabre with a solid dose of the kitchen skills I so adore.

This year, I would like to try my hand at making skulls myself. I’ve got a few really wonderful people to remember and celebrate come November 2 (Dio de los Muertos is actually a two-day celebration beginning on November 1, but that’s the day for children and I’ve been lucky enough in my life not to lose kids).

If you’d like to try out skull making, too, head on over to Mexican Sugar Skull for full instructions. That’s where I got the cool illustration at the top of this entry. The site even includes ideas for teachers to use in making this a classroom project.

In fact, the one thing I didn’t find on that page was a source for the skull molds. Ah, but you know I would never leave you in the lurch without such a key ingredient!

That’s right, I know a place where you can get not only the skull mold illustrated here, but several others, as well.

Fancy Flours has a wide variety of candy molds, cake pans, pretty cupcake papers, and packaging materials for all your baking needs. Also, all your Mexican sugar skull making needs.


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