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131  Virgin Soda Syrups...with recipes! in Recipes and Cooking Tips by Calabaza on: September 18, 2012 01:11:23 PM
I love Italian sodas and was deeply saddened when I developed an allergy to the one flavor of syrup I liked and was sold nearby. Fortunately I ran across this site (ETS: I had a link there but it's broken Sad )and used a lot of the tips to make a batch of my own, safe-for-me strawberry-lemon syrup. Delicious! And it lasted for 2 months until I ran out yesterday. Right away I made a batch of raspberry-lime. Also delicious!

Isn't it pretty? I opted for no ice, milk or whipped cream. Just sparkling water and syrup. It's that good!

For both batches I used the site's tip and added 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid (often used for canning) to help it keep.

Here's the strawberry-lemon recipe I came up with:
1 bag of frozen strawberries
Peeled zest of 1 lemon (just take a veggie peeler to it. Try not to get the white under layer! It's bitter.)
2 cups of sugar (the site said to reduce the amount of sugar based on the sweetness of the fruit. I think strawberries are pretty sweet so I started with a cup and half. It tasted like jam.)
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon citric acid
the lemon's juice

For the raspberry-lime:
1 bag frozen raspberries
peeled zest of 2 limes (Mine were small. Adjust to taste.)
2 cups of sugar
11/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon citric acid
Juice of 1 of the limes

For both I brought all the ingredients except the juice to a boil then let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Next I put it through a cheesecloth-lined sieve over a glass bowl, mashing the simmered-mixture with the back of a spoon to help the juices leak through the sieve into the bowl. Once the syrup cooled a bit it was into a bottle with the juice then into the fridge. Easy-peasy and yummy! Different than store-bought, but excellent nonetheless. And it makes a lot:

I've already used about an inch and that's a 33 ounce (I think) bottle.

These are so quick, easy and, as far as I can tell, pretty much fool-proof just like the link says. Make up your own, check the link for more recipes and tips and feel free to use mine too. Cheers!
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132  Re: SURPRISE Swap GALLERY-- Send by 9/10/12 in The Swap Gallery by Calabaza on: September 13, 2012 04:09:33 PM
I just got home and what did I find waiting for me?

Goodies from texscrapper! She made 2 lovely pillow covers to feed my addiction to them with some scrumptious autumnal fabric. I love the sunflowers, the colors and the mottled, whimsical background. It reminds me of Halloween! (Lots of things remind me of Halloween, especially around this time of year).

Thanks bunches, texscrapper!
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133  Re: Bento Swap Round 5 Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by Calabaza on: September 08, 2012 02:55:13 PM
I received my package of goodies from ShannonMN! It could not have arrived at a better time. I'm probably (long story) starting a job Monday (yay!) where I'll get to cook a lot and look what Shannon made me:

An apron! The materials she chose are perfect. The picture didn't turn out so well but it's a lovely dark gold kind of batik-y print for the ties, waist and bottom tier with amazing autumn PUMPKINS for the rest! Black background, green, yellow and orange pumpkins and other autumnal things with matching green binding. She did an excellent job on the bias binding! She did an excellent job on the whole thing!

Also included were:

Little tubs with lids and a utensil set in red. Sweet!

A lobster band! I love lobsters and I needed a band. Hooray!

Thank you, ShannonMN!
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134  Macaroon Coin Purses: Baseball, Olympics, FMA in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by Calabaza on: September 07, 2012 07:01:10 PM

I used this tutorial with a few minor adjustments. They're great fun to personalize!

My 1st one, made for a swap partner.
Some London themed fabric, beaded rings and embroidered lettering then stitched up!

For a friend's birthday.
There's this series (Fullmetal Alchemist) she introduced me to where some important pocket watches have this design. I printed it out and traced it onto the gray fabric with a fabric marker. Now she has her own state alchemist "pocket watch"  Smiley

My personal favorite, also for a swap.
I may have to make one of these for myself!

C&C always welcome.
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135  Re: Bento Swap Round 5 Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by Calabaza on: August 23, 2012 08:04:27 PM
Love the fabric choice for that bag you you sent, mom2em! It reminds me of a kitchen towel. Perfect for a homey feel to lunch on the go! ETA: That box is really neat too! Geez, I can't believe I forgot to mention that. I love the built-in icepack!

I'm glad you like your things, arcadian green! The fabric said bright picnic for what I made ShannonMN but for you it said mist and water so I tried to make the pirate ship look ghost-like. I don't remember if I put it in the note or not, but I figured you could use the cookie cutters and cute stuff for your son later if they weren't your style.
BTW there is an elasticized pocket inside to tuck a napkin or snacks as a.g. requested.

I received from arcadian green today!

A bag made from some fabric I truly adore. It's lined and has one of those drawstring closures that don't affect the width of the bag. I love those!

A pouch with a button closure and 2 elastic bands also made from the super fabrics. Also a salt and pepper shaker (cool!), 2 sauce tubs, food markers (I've been dying to try these) and mini autumn cookie cutters! I love these. There's even a pumpkin! If you know me at all it will come as no surprise to hear that I am completely enamored with it. I've been looking for one for ages. A.g. said she picked out the set specifically because of the pumpkin. She is such a good partner!

Thank you, arcadian green!
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136  Re: One Tiny Thing – 2012 London Olympics in The Swap Gallery by Calabaza on: August 20, 2012 11:45:46 AM
I received from our lovely organizer gerbilgal today!

It's a laser-engraved, treated-wood keychain! Look how detailed it is! I said I liked the logo NBC was using for the games but sans the peacock and she did just that! Awesome. She also sent a pic of a cute little knitted (?) gerbil stuffy.

And the back. I love all the different shades and the fun font. So cool! She said she did the crafting at college and kept it away from her cute little real gerbils so it wouldn't set off my allergies. Thank you for the great tiny thing and thinking of me, gerbilgal!

Bec99, I hope the tiny thing I sent you arrives in a timely fashion. Smiley
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137  Bento Swap Round 5 Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by Calabaza on: August 15, 2012 03:40:11 PM
I'm looking forward to seeing all the yummy packages!

Photo used with permission from Ohayo Bento: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ohayobento/with/7456315664/#photo_7456315664

partner has received (Why orange? Because I like orange!  Grin )
late with communication
contact organizer ASAP
feedback left

mom2em <-> *Eclectic Dreamer
Fullmoon <-> winter83 puamelia angeled
arcadian green <-> Calabaza
*ShannonMN<-> Calabaza

Odd number of swappers = Organizer takes 2  Smiley

Discussion thread: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=411456.0
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138  "We'll eat in about an hour" Potato and Veggie Chowder in Vegetarian / Vegan by Calabaza on: August 01, 2012 01:40:12 PM
I was super excited when this challenge came up. I love to cook! Since it's summer, my first thoughts were of cold treats, quick dinners so the kitchen doesn’t heat up the house and various other yummy, hot-weather thoughts. But, since I live in an often cool and cloudy part of the world, I made a batch of warm and hearty potato and vegetable chowder!

I looked at several definitions of soup and stew terms and think this recipe is closest to a chowder, but I'm open to suggestions! I made up this recipe all by myself about 5 years ago, I think, and it was my first success at doing so Grin 

I’d never written down what amounts of everything to use, but now I have! It's good now that I don't have to rely on memory  Tongue

3 Yukon gold potatoes (they were a little bigger than my fist closed loosely. You can use russets or whatever too. This isn’t rocket science Smiley )
5 celery ribs
1/2 of a sweet onion (yellow or white is good too)
1 head broccoli
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
1/4 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon paprika

Wash, peel and dice (as needed) the first 3 ingredients.

Put them in a medium-sized pot and fill with just enough water to cover them. Stick it on the stove and boil until you can easily stab and break apart the potatoes with a fork. From starting to wash to this point took about 40 minutes for me.

Place a colander over a bowl. Pour veggies into the colander so the liquid drains into the bowl. That liquid is veggie broth, baby! Liquid gold in my book.

Put the veggies in a big pot and give them a once-over with a potato masher. There should be whole dices left but mostly broken up or mashed.

Pour 1 1/2 cups veggie broth back in with the veggies plus 1 1/2 cups milk. Sift the 1/4 cup flour and 1/8 teaspoon paprika over this and stir in so clumps don’t form (if they do, mash them). Put it on the stove over medium-low heat. The mashing and flour will thicken the soup!

Wash the broccoli- Don’t dry! -and cut the flowers off into a bowl. Cover it with a paper towel and steam it in the microwave. I used the “cook soft veggies” setting on mine.

Do you like the sign?

Stir the soup frequently, mashing the veggies a bit more with the back of the spoon every once in a while if you want. Also every once in a while take out a spoonful and blow on it. Does it part where you blow then slowly come together again? Once it does and you feel like Moses parting the Red Sea, stir in the steamed broccoli and remove from heat.

Now dish it up! Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

This is great reheated; I think even better. And, as you may guessed from the title, from start to finish this soup only takes about 60 minutes! Bon appetit!
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139  Re: Stuff an Envelope Swap (INTERNATIONAL) rd 2 - GALLERY in The Swap Gallery by Calabaza on: July 26, 2012 12:14:55 PM
Ooo, cute little birds! I love all the fun paper stuff. It makes me want to keep trying at paper crafts! All those tickets and fun papers and tape...What a nice little snail clip from tree27!

I received from SewEnthusiatic! I'm am very enthusiastic about finding crafts to do with all the little things she sent Cheesy :

Patterned elastic! Striped and a baby-themed one that says bebe! I do love languages Smiley Lime green with white hearts bias tape (I love fancy bias tape), pretty green flower trim, ribbons, a yellow zipper (Yay, yellow!), gorgeous glass and glitter beads, buttons and a perfectly beautiful bird pendant charm.

Fabrics- I particularly love the orange polka dotted one -plus a needle book kit! Don't you love the image for the cover?

Newspaper clippings about 2 things I love: trains and fun spy stuff! There's an ad for a trip to the English seaside via steam engine and an article about someone building a James Bond-esque house! SewEnthusiastic also sent  2 little envelopes with little matching cards, a recipe for Diet Coke chicken decorated with matryoshka stickers and a sheet of more matryoshka stickers! Adorable!

The handmade goodness: a button barrette, a green glass pendant and my very first and long desired scrabble tile pendant! It came inside the little tin case. How cute is that?!

And everything came inside this fun package which was inside another for durability:

Thank you for everything, SewEnthusiastic!
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140  Re: Stuff an Envelope Swap (INTERNATIONAL) rd 2 - GALLERY in The Swap Gallery by Calabaza on: July 23, 2012 01:43:49 PM
Oh, the little snail is too cute! I love those postage stamps, the paper airplane rubber stamps, the key post its , the tape and that journal page is priceless!

I received from ecopp today!

Buttons, a pair of tiny snaps, an adorable little seashell charm, a couple of neat old bottle caps, an old-fashioned clothespin and a new-fashioned clothespin, cute writing prompt pages, a needle book, trims (my favorite is the blue one on top up front!) and fabric. The strawberry square is the sweetest and I love the linen-y flower print one. There're a few other do-dads as well and the envelope is over to the left in the picture.
Thanks, ecopp!
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