happy new year!
The people that make those colorful tinsel trees are Room Interior Products. They make a set of very tiny fairy lights (which I can’t find a picture of on their site) which I found in a shop around here a few days ago. They were perfect and small and I loved them! They also make this inflatable chair pod thingy which I want.
This Christmas someone with a very good eye got a bunch of us teeny tiny keychain versions of board games. I got Mouse Trap! These things are soooo much fun in the office. The website doesn’t have all of them, but here are a few. I love these!
I have scoured reviews, I have stared and those teeny bookcover photos on Amazon, but I can’t decide – which knitting books should I get with my giftcard spoils from Christmas? I’m not really interested in sweater design just yet, I’m looking for more of an intermediate learning or reference book. I’ve been looking for a decently priced Vogue Knitting: the Ultimate Knitting Book. And some other titles I’ve been eyeing are: Vogue Knitting On the Go Scarves, Kids Knitting, Knitter’s Companion, Vogue Very Easy Knits.
What knitting book do you clutch for dear life? Gimme knitting book recommendations!
Janelle wrote to tell me how her sister makes gingerbread house windows (far easier than my make your own hard candy thing). Thanks Janelle!
I wanted to tell you how my sister makes gingerbread house windows. She buys hard candy, (Jolly Ranchers work great!) and melts it in tiny foil molds in the oven at low heat. The basic plan is:
Make little foil “window frames” – frames like when you collar a pie – in the shape of and slightly larger than your gingerbread house’s windows. Put the foil frames on a cookie sheet and place one candy the color of your choice inside each frame. Bake at a low setting just until the candy melts and fills in the frame, then remove and cool. When cool, peel off the foil and pry the window carefully off the cookie sheet. Voila! Colored glass windows! (Afix from the inside with frosting)
I feel silly but what is collaring a pie?
I’m currently doing an experiment with some of the wine we picked up recently. I have a half full bottle of syrah treated with Private Preserve, hopefully next week it will be as fresh as it was when I opened it.
Small factoid: Bonny Doon makes a wine which is banned in Ohio (my home state) – Cardinal Zin, tee hee. Warning: there may be a slightly alarming pop up, it’s a joke, just close it, or read it first!
I hope everyone had a great holiday!
and Hoopla’s Advent Calendar has up a bunch of yummy Christmas beverage recipes!
Small note – the recipe for gingerbread house gingerbread I linked to a few days ago did not turn out for me (dry and crumbly), try the martha gingerbread recipe instead.
Also, I couldn’t find my own post for the recipe for hard candy to make glass for the windows, so I’m going to post it here. This appeared in the October 2000 issue of Martha Stewart Living and was graciously typed up and emailed to me by Zalary so long ago. Thank you again Zalary! This is edited to include only the parts I need for hard candy:
hard candy windows
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange lollipop sticks (or not if you’re making windows, I guess). Prepare an ice-water bath. Combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and place over high heat. Stir continuously to dissolve sugar. When syrup comes to a boil stop stirring and clip on a candy thermometer. Continue cooking without stirring until mixture turns golden and reaches 300 to 310 degrees, or hard crack stage (check your Joy of Cooking book – and they’ll describe it if you don’t already know) (approx 5 to 7 min) Occasionally wash the sides of the pan using a clean brush dipped in cold water to prevent crystals from forming.
2. Remove pot from heat. Dip bottom of pan into ice bath for about 20 secs to stop the cooking – this will cause a bit of steam and noise. Swirl the pan for another 2 minutes to continue cooling.
3. Working quickly, pour syrup onto baking sheets.
Hard crack stage is listed in my Joy of Cooking like this:
A spoonful of syrup dropped into ice-cold water will make stiff firm threads that bread easily when removed from the water. (As opposed to pliable at all.)
I’ll make the candy blobs larger than my window size, then position the glass inside the windows and attach with royal icing. The golden color of the finished candy will (hopefully) create a warm glow from inside!
there is an article up on Salon about the creation and rise of Vinnie’s tampon case
They have all sorts of goodness going on over at Yum Food including some of my favorites: sugar skulls (no mold required) and a whole section of Halloween recipes and vegan recipes! Their articles, recipes, reviews, and book reviews are all excellent. Check out the list of movies about or featuring food. And the article on true basalmic vinegar will make you smart.
- a visit to the Scharffenberger plant at ReadyMade
- a bunch of recipes on the Scharffenberger site – including hot chocolate which tastes the way I imagined the stuff seen in the movie Chocolat would have, and clear tips on tempering their chocolate
- how to temper chocolate at marthastewart.com
- recipe for nonpareils
- a mega huge chocolate turkey
- mr. chocolate’s tips
- nice chocolate molds, take a look at all the flower ones, at Dad’s Follies (linked from marthastewart.com)
- a bajillion chocolate recipes
- an archived exhibit about chocolate at the Exploratorium