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231  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Candy shot glasses - my first attempt - recipe added on: August 20, 2008 07:24:28 PM
This has been on my to-do list for awhile, and we're having a party this weekend, so I decided to make some today.  I used a lollipop recipe, and used cinnamon extract, and cinnamon candy hearts.  Figured this would go well with Goldschlager, or Fireball.  I would like to do some peppermint extract/candy cane ones for Christmas.  Also things like coffee/expresso beans for Kahlua, black licorice for Sambuca, lemon (those mini fruits) for lemon drops, etc.  If I can get the bubbles out, I thought it would be cute to have things like gummi bears, etc in them too. 

Overall, I was relatively happy with the first attempt - but if anyone can advise on how to diminish the bubbles, I would appreciate it!  The recipe I had only made enough to fill 3 of the 4 molds.

Here they are in the silicone mold

Lollipop recipe:
   1 cup sugar
    cup light corn syrup
    cup water
    tsp extract of your choice (vanilla, mint, cinnamon, coconut, etc)
   Food coloring (optional)
   Lollipop molds and sticks
1. Prepare your molds by spraying them with nonstick cooking spray and inserting lollipop sticks into the molds.
2. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Insert the candy thermometer and stir until sugar dissolves.
3. Allow to boil, without stirring, until candy reaches 295 degrees (hard-crack stage).
4. Once the candy reaches 295, remove it from heat. Stir in the extract of your choice, and, if desired, food coloring.
5. Spoon the candy into the mold cavities, making sure to cover the back of the stick.
6. Allow to cool completely and remove once hardened.

232  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / A casket? Would I still call it that??? on: August 15, 2008 07:35:10 AM
Our neighbour passed away recently, a good friend of ours who suffered through his third bout of cancer and did not make it.  His family had a rough time with his illness, and dealing with the funeral.  He was cremated, and they asked DH and his friend to build them something to hold his ashes in.  So they built a small casket for him, out of cedar with a relief of Mary and baby Jesus on it with other woods.  I think he would have liked it - he loved the smell of cedar, and his faith gave him a lot of comfort over the years.

I have no idea why this one is turning out sideways like this, it's not oriented like this on my site!

233  CANADA / Ontario / Anyone need sketchbooks - great sale at Woolfitts right now on: August 15, 2008 07:24:13 AM
Woolfitts, an art supply store on Queen Street West, at Dovercourt, in Toronto.  They have several cases of sketchbooks - 81/2 x 11, hardcover, nice paper - on sale.

They have a minor defect - not affecting the actual paper, it is the paper glued to the inside cover, one of the outer edges has a minor ripple in it, barely noticeable.  As far as I can tell, it may imprint on the paper if you do watercolours, and the paper is dampish, but otherwise, it should be great for other crafts.  They were originally priced at more than $18, and they have them now for about $4.75.
234  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Discussion and Questions / Resin tiles with twigs/leaves?? on: August 02, 2008 12:47:57 PM
We're renovating at work and they showed us some of the new tiles they are using as a backdrop.  It is clear resin tiles, embedded with twigs.  It really is gorgeous.  I will take a pic sometime soon and post it, but it is something I want to try at home too and was wondering if I could make something like this myself, perhaps as an accent.  What I was wondering was if I did something like embed branches with leaves or flowers still on them - like pussy willows, or evergreens, will they still appear nice after the resin sets, or should I just use bare twigs.  Or will the process of the resin curing remove their colour, etc?
235  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / More no knead bread! Brioche pastries... on: June 02, 2008 02:29:43 PM
I loved the no knead dough so much I bought the book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day - here is the link to the book, I know others have found it in the library too.  Here is a link to their site - the book just came out last year I think:

Anyways, I made the brioche dough which has flour, water, honey, butter, eggs, and some salt in it.  It was lovely, soft, easy to work with.  Then I made my version of the apricot "sunny side up" pastries from the book too - using peaches as I could not find apricots.  So it is the brioche dough, with fresh made vanilla pastry cream (ooooooooh sooooo good, with real vanilla bean), sliced peaches on top, sugar sprinkled, and glazed with a bit of apricot jelly after baking.

Highly recommend this book so far to anyone else who loves making bread, I am having so much fun with it!

Here's a link to the actual posting of the pastries:
236  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / There is no need to knead! I love this bread! on: April 14, 2008 07:52:28 PM
I got the latest Williams Sonoma catalogue, and found this recipe in and amongst all the kitchen things I covet and I really had to try it.  It was for a No Knead Lemon Rosemary Bread.  It really intrigued me, and appealed to my sort of lazy side and I started the dough yesterday, then made it tonight to go with dinner.  It made a fascinating sticky, bubbly blob of dough that smelled delicious, and baked into a great crusty loaf that was very soft and chewy inside.  Definitely I will make it again, and play with the flavours some.  My house is on the cool side right now, so it could have inhibited some of the yeast growth, even though I put it near the woodstove last night (DH had no clue what the blob in the bowl was when he went to check on the fire this morning).

Anyways, here are the pics to my efforts and the recipe:

I will play with flavours in the future, and perhaps add some potato for a different texture - maybe potato chive, potato dill, potato rosemary, sundried tomato and oregano, olive and fennel, etc.

No Knead Lemon Rosemary Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

1 3/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary

2 tsp. chopped lemon zest

Cornmeal as needed

In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, rosemary and zest. Add 1 5/8 cups water and stir until blended; the dough will be shaggy and very sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at warm room temperature (about 70F) until the surface is dotted with bubbles, 12 to 18 hours.

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and fold the dough over onto itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or your fingers, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel, preferably a flour sack towel (not terry cloth), with cornmeal. Put the dough, seam side down, on the towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise until the dough is more than double in size and does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.

At least 30 minutes before the dough is ready, put a 2 3/4-quart cast-iron pot in the oven and preheat the oven to 450F.

Carefully remove the pot from the oven. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over, seam side up, into the pot; it may look like a mess, but that is OK. Shake the pan once or twice if the dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the loaf is browned, 15 to 30 minutes more.

Transfer the pot to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Using oven mitts, turn the pot on its side and gently turn the bread; it will release easily. Makes one 1 1/2-lb. loaf.

Adapted from Sullivan Street Bakery (New York City) and Mark Bittman, "The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work," The New York Times, Nov. 8, 2006.

237  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions / Need tile input! Help with choices. Pic heavy (and I do mean heavy) on: April 05, 2008 05:27:14 PM
DH is laying my new floor.  It is red oak, and we are laying new tile in the kitchen/back entrance, and in the front entrance.  I have brought home a few tile samples and need the input of other eyes.  I am aiming for a nature zen feel one day.

First, here is a general idea of the wood floor. 

The main floor is open concept - there is no walls between the kitchen and main room which will be combination living/dining room (small bungalow). There is a small hall that leads to two rooms, and a bathroom (which will be a spare room, and office) and there will be stairs up to the attic, which will become our master bedroom/ensuite (one day).

Here are the counters I have now (which will be changed, with the cabinets one day)

So here are the choices:

Rex Rosa Del Deserto - no flash

No flash, next to floor

with flash, next to floor

Integres Galaxy Verde

with flash

with no flash next to wood

with flash next to wood

Colorker Ardesia

no flash

no flash, next to wood

with flash, next to wood

Integres Galaxy Dorato


no flash

next to wood, with flash
238  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / New chainmail bracelet with crystal beads on: March 23, 2008 05:28:08 PM
I saw a similar project in a recent issue of a wire jewelry magazine.  This is my twist to it.  This is actually my first time making an inverted round chain, let alone a captive, or orbital version of it.  Instead of other rings, beads are captured in the middle of the chain.  I used some fire polished crystals I have, and they are trapped quite nicely in the chain.  Also, found that the chain feels nice and smooth on my arm, and decided to make it totally connected, with no ends or fastenings, so it just rolls smoothly on and off.

I have some really nice deep red crystals that would look really nice done like this, and a deep purple, so I think I will make a few more versions of it.  It turned out to be easier than I expected.

Here is a link to both the inverted round chain, and the captive inverted round, using rings inside the chain (as opposed to beads)


239  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / New baby afghan for preggers pal on: March 15, 2008 06:09:40 AM

A good friend is pregnant with her first baby and I decided to make her a basket of goodies, with the first item being a new afghan.  It's been awhile since I have been in the mood to make an afghan; I have about 3 or 4 started, but either got bored with the pattern, felt uninspired, or lost parts of it and could not be bothered to find them again.

This one worked up fast, and I liked the pattern, and it was easily portable.  It was essentially a clustered granny, with a clustered and picot edge.  I changed the edge a bit to something I felt made more sense in the sequence.  I also started with a magic ring, I love the magic ring to start almost any "in the round" crochet - it looks so much neater, and is so much easier to control the consistency.  I liked working it a lot better than some of the ones I have done before with the dimensional animals, etc.  I also loved the yarns - though they were a bit harder to work with because of the twist.  The white is a fluffy white matte twisted with a satin thread.  The matte twist was varied in width, and tended to fluff up.  The aqua is pretty too, it actually is an aqua strand twisted with white.

240  COOKING / Dessert / Want cookie? on: March 14, 2008 03:53:32 PM
Darn Martha.  Watching her makes me sick.  Sick with the baking bug.  So I ended up making the mint sandwich cookies she made this week.  The recipe is on her website, and in her new Cookies book apparently.  Any chance to make ganache must be taken. 

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.  Gaaaaanaaaaaaaaaaaaache.


Then I made three batches of brownies too.  Chocolate chip, chocolate chip and nut, and chile chocolate (with chile flavoured galettes a friend brought back for me from a trip to Chicago).

Ahhhh, baking bug satisfied for another week.
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