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1  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / best places to purchase beads??? on: November 06, 2008 03:29:15 PM

I've used a few different places but have never been uber thrilled with them.

Any suggestions?
2  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / BUTTERCUP CREAM CAKE - it's worth the extra weight on: November 06, 2008 03:12:19 PM
If you are snowed or rained in, make use of all that down time and try this AMAZING vegan recipe.

Buttercup Cream Cake


1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 T. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/3 cup soy milk, rice milk, or other non-dairy milk of choice
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup safflower oil
1 t. vanilla
1/8 t. almond extract
Buttercup Cream:

8 cups buttercup squash (or butternut, acorn, delicata, pumpkin, etc. or combination of squashes), peeled, deseeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 3/4 cups apple juice, divided
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 t. ground cardamom
1/4 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 T. agar-agar flakes
1 T. arrowroot, kudzu, or cornstarch
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup tahini
1 T. vanilla
1/4 t. almond extract

2 T. cocoa or carob powder
1 t. maple syrup
1 t. safflower oil
1/4 t. vanilla
1-2 T. soy milk, rice milk, or other non-dairy milk of choice
Begin by preparing the cake base. Lightly oil (or spray with a light mist of oil) a 9-inch springform pan and set aside. In a small bowl, sift together both types of flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. In a medium bowl, place the soy milk, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, and almond extract, and whisk well to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, whisk until well blended, and pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Place the pan on a rack to cool, but do not remove the cake from the pan.

While the cake base is baking, start the buttercup cream. In a large saucepan, place the squash cubes, 1 cup apple juice, cinnamon stick, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt, and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the mixture for 25-30 minutes or until the squash is soft. Remove the lid from the pan and continue to cook until all of the liquid is absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat, remove the cinnamon stick and discard it, and allow the squash mixture to cool for 10 minutes. In a small saucepan, place 1/2 cups apple juice and the agar-agar flakes, and let sit for 10 minutes to soften. Place the pan over low heat (do not boil) and simmer for 10 minutes to completely dissolve the agar-agar flakes. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cups apple juice and arrowroot, add it to the agar-agar mixture, and continue to simmer the mixture while whisking until the starchy-white color disappears. Add the maple syrup, tahini, vanilla, and almond extract, and whisk well to combine. Transfer the cooked squash mixture and the agar-agar mixture to a food processor, and process until very smooth and creamy. Pour the buttercup cream into the springform pan, spreading it evenly to cover the cooled cake base, and set aside.

To prepare the topping, in a small measuring cup with a spout, stir together the cocoa, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla to form a thick paste. Slowly stir in the soy milk, adding 1 T. at a time, just enough so that it drizzles off the edge of a spoon. Drizzle the topping in 4 horizontal lines over the top of the buttercup cream. Using a sharp knife or toothpick, pull through the buttercup cream and the lines of topping, in an up and down motion over the top of the cake, to create a marbleized effect or pattern. Cover the top of the springform pan and chill the cake for several hours or overnight. Remove the springform ring from the cake and transfer it to a large plate or platter. Use a warmed knife to cut the cake into 12 pieces.

Yield: One 9-inch cake or 12 pieces


3  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions / BEST INTERIOR DECORATING SITES/MAGS FOR INSPIRATION??? on: November 06, 2008 02:53:29 PM
Let's hear it!

What are your favorite websites and/or magazines that inspire you to start a new decorating project indoors?

4  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / vegan chili to die for! on: November 01, 2008 04:26:59 PM


1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers, drained
2 (12 ounce) packages vegetarian burger crumbles
3 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chile peppers. When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian burger crumbles. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.
Mix the tomatoes into the pot. Season chili with chili powder and pepper. Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving

PREP TIME     15 Min
COOK TIME     1 Hr
READY IN     1 Hr 15 Min


* if you like it spicy, play around with adding some stronger spices or more of the jalapeno peppers!
5  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Discussion and Questions / random kiln giveaways.... on: November 01, 2008 04:20:20 PM

Back in '03 someone was posting on a board on that site that they were giving one away.  Then a while before that, another person was giving away a kiln.

Rebuilding a kiln in pretty good shape is so much less expensive than buying new so remember to scan places like potters.org and craigstlist!

You just never know!
6  CRAFTING FOR GOOD AND NOT EVIL / Crafty Charitable/Social Causes / hook up with your local bike project!!!! on: November 01, 2008 04:07:31 PM
 Shocked  Did you know that there are tons of nonprofit bike projects throughout the US who upcycle bikes for the greater good of the community?

Well I suggest that you take your painting skills and get in on the action!

You can either ask that your efforts be reimbursed by taking a percentage of the income from your painted masterpieces and donate it toward something that you rally your support behind  -OR-

Paint up some used bikes after the group fixes them up then auction them off!  Again, take some of the proceeds toward one of your causes!

THIS COULD BE A WINNING COMBO OF TALENTS!  Bike riding is such a lovely thing to do anyway, why not look into it?
7  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions / essential oils for hair types! just add fragrance! on: November 01, 2008 04:02:17 PM
I've used these oils from local stores for a DIY hair treatment and it can do WONDERS I tell you!  Just add some fragrance that you like! 


Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is beneficial for the hair because it can treat the symptoms of a dry scalp as well as problematic oily hair. The oil has been used to treat dandruff, and has a unique astringent smell that is suitable for male or female use.
Sandalwood Oil
Sandalwood has many properties that make it good for the hair and scalp. The oil is an astringent, an anti-inflammatory and an antiseptic. Use sandalwood oil to soothe a dry and irritated scalp.
Orange Oil
This invigorating and vibrant smelling essential oil aids the hair by regulated the production of sebum, the hairs natural oil.

Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil is useful for the hair because it closely resembles the hairs natural oil called sebum. This oil can be used by itself as a hot oil treatment, or mixed with a different carrier oil for a specialized conditioning treatment.
Avocado Oil
Avocado oil is full of vitamins your hair needs like vitamins A, E, D and potassium. Avocado oil is not heavy even though that avocado has the heaviest amount of protein in any fruit.
Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is popular because it is odorless and full of minerals and vitamins that help strengthen your hair. It is an odorless oil, and can help add shine and moisture to your hair. Grapeseed oil is known for having a high content of linoleic acid, an important fatty acid that supports cell health.
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