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11  COOKING / Dessert / My Own Nerdy Nummies - Star Wars/Pokemon sugar cookies! on: January 03, 2013 09:03:05 AM

Recipe Courtesy of:  yoyomax12 on youtube.

It's pretty tasty, although not recommended for doing by hand!

- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt (leave out if using salted butter)
- 1 cup softened butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (use the gourmet stuff - the normal stuff has corn syrup in it!  I used my homemade vanilla for it...tasty!)

1) Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside.
2) Cream (mix until incorporated) sugar and butter, add eggs and vanilla and mix 'til fluffy. Gradually add flour a little at a time, until completely finished. Divide dough in half, flattening into disks. Wrap in plastic or bags, and toss into the fridge. (Overnight is best, but an hour can be good too!)
3) Heat oven for 350F. Roll out dough between parchment paper and cut out shapes. The thinner the shapes, the crunchier they get. (The cutting out is interesting, and you can use these cutters that have an impression plate in them for details.)
4) Toss those cookies onto a silicone mat or cover a cookie sheet with more parchment paper. Toss the pan into the fridge for about 15 minutes for more definition and details to show up later.
5) Bake at 350F for about 10-15 minutes and check on them if they are brown around the edges. (I actually did mine in a toaster oven - still very successful - also, they get much more brown on the bottom.)
12  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Why didn't I buy bread when I was at the supermarket? Pantry Ready Quick Bread on: November 25, 2012 02:44:08 PM

All You Need Is:
-  flour
-  baking powder
-  salt  (choose anything - I bet it would be interesting with speciality salt!)
-  herbs of your choice (these have a little bit of garlic and onion powder in!)
-  water!  (cold would be a great choice)
-  silicone muffin/cupcake pan (IMPORTANT - otherwise will stick badly!)

Measure out 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 1/2 tsp. of your herbs/spices of your choice.  Measure out 1 cup of ice cold water.  Mix both the dry and wet completely, making a foamy seeming mixture.   Spoon mixture into your silicone muffin/cupcake pan, filling about halfway.   Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for about twenty minutes, or until risen and golden brown and delicious.  Makes about five of these buggers.

What do they taste like?
Top and bottom gets all golden brown and crusty, while the inside remains moist.  Best part is these don't contain egg or milk products, so people who are sensitive can eat this!

Adapted from the recipe here:

* I didn't have a seasoned cast iron skillet at the dorms, but I have a decent silicone muffin pan...Cheesy
13  COOKING / Dessert / Cookie ideas for a youth shelter? on: November 23, 2012 11:04:08 AM
I have two placements this year for class, and thus, I'm working at a youth shelter this year.  However, they don't have too many sweets - usually just fruit salad and apple crisp kind of things.

However, I just got a recipe for roll out sugar cookies that looks simple enough.

Cream together:  butter, sugar, eggs.  Add almond extract, vanilla, milk, baking powder, and flour.  Chill for two hours, roll out and cut.  Bake at 350 for 12 to 14 minutes.

Anyone got easy recipes for cookies?  They can't contain booze, otherwise I'd pull off my favourite rum balls recipe.

14  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / Sharpie on a bento box? on: September 25, 2012 09:12:32 PM
I got a cheap box from a local supplier, but the problem is that it's too plain.  It looks like it's just made from regular old plastic.  I'm worried that the Sharpie would rub off on my bag - my bento travels in the bottom of my knapsack.  (And the fact that I hand wash everything in my bento box.)

(The sharpie drawings will be on top, just the lid.)
15  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Vegetarian Lunch Bento! on: September 04, 2012 05:12:51 PM

Minutes to Prep:
45 - kept forgetting stuff and needing to retrieve it. Scatterbrain!

slice of wheat wonder bread. (the bread punch I have is massive, I'd probably need to use a texas toast or a Hong Kong styled piece of bread to use it.)

Protein: bone shaped slice of cheese (freezing sliced cheese makes it easier to cut - and also, I bought a massive amount of cheese...48 slices!)

cherries, and two slices of oranges

broccoli florets and stems - the damn thing kept shedding!

Other: faux/no-name Nutella (hazelnut chocolate spread)

Decorative: two emoting food picks!
16  CLOTHING / Costumes: Discussion and Questions / Looking for a costume commission. on: August 26, 2012 05:32:14 PM
I can give exact sewing measurements - inseam...etc.  (My mother sews, but isn't willing to sew my costume.)

I'm looking for a costume that can withstand a couple of wearings, and has built in muscle/padding.  (My breasts will be bound underneath my costume, so it should have enough give to make sure that it's comfortable.)  It shouldn't require special washing/treatment beyond just hand-washing.

I can pay by paypal and I can pay shipping.  (I can offer a deposit so you can get raw materials to make it.)  Also willing to trade for a costume - I can carve virtually anything that comes out of my printer.

I would require a mock up of the costume to be shown to me before proceeding.

The character is Bob, from the television show, ReBoot.  His shirt has a lot of layers and textures to it.  It is mostly blue with orange accents.  I would like a stab at the gauntlets he wears as well - mostly they are silver tubes that go over the blue undershirt.

You'd have until early November to finish it.  The materials can be upcycled, but I would prefer them to be new.

Thank you, and please PM me with offers.

Moderators, if this is not appropriate, please feel free to move it!
17  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Creating a mask - what's a good fabric to see through? on: August 17, 2012 01:26:03 PM
Just the eyeholes...I need something that I can see through.

18  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Grocery Store Mead, 3 Ways! on: August 03, 2012 09:23:37 AM
Mead is a basic, Viking alcoholic drink.  It is basically just fermented honey and water.  Can't get easier than that!  It's considered a "country wine", and thus, pretty hard to get a hold of.  Can you believe that it's easier to get true absinthe here in Canada than mead?   Shocked

My first taste of mead was at a RenFaire with my ex-girlfriend.  It was delicious!  It was flavoured with dark Bing cherries and basically didn't taste anything like honey.  Complex as heck.  I was love at first sip, but I couldn't find any retail meads for sale...which lead to me investigate home made wine...which lead to mead!

(Yes, I'm of age - 19 is the drinking age here in Canada.)
This is an effort to combat it, using ingredients that can be sourced from your local
supermarket!  The only thing that is different in all meads is the ingredients and how to treat them!

Styles of Mead:

Mead 1:  Burnt Mead
Mead 2:  Grocery Store Mead
Mead 3:  Maple Syrup as Mead

Tangent 1)  Honey is a great product, but is pretty much antiseptic in huge qualities.  (Dilute it with water to make mead!)  The stuff you can get in the local megamart is pretty tasteless, and blended for mass consumption.  Try not to get Billybee or anything else that is processed.  (You can see I failed, but I don't have a car or access to one!)  You can also try different gourmet honeys - I was tempted to break out my blueberry honey, but it's pretty expensive for a mead.

Empty BillyBee bottle:

Tangent 2)
 Wine yeast creates a higher alcohol content, as it survives longer in an
alcoholic environment.  It is also easier to clean up after, as it makes a more solid
sediment.  Wine yeast can be found online or in your local homebrew (brew it yourself) shops.  They even have some yeasts that are bred for meads!  Yeast are rated at different percentages - this means they can work in different alcoholic environments without dying!  

(Mine is a bulk yeast - it is good 'til 18% alcohol by volume.)

My yeast:

Tangent 3)
 Sanitize everything.  Making alcohol at home is pretty easy, but
remember...there is bacteria on everything - you don't want your yeast to be overwhelmed by bad bacteria - it just doesn't taste as good!  I like using vinegar, and rinsing like a madwoman, because it won't poison you if you ingest it!

Basic Ingredients:
-  honey/maple syrup (1 kilogram, 2.2 pounds makes a very sweet mead)
-  water
-  baker's yeast
-  wine yeast
-  2 liter soda bottle (empty!)
-  cotton wool
-  raisins
-  funnel
-  white vinegar

Fancy Ingredients:
-  fruit (anything is good, I like frozen items, because you kill bacteria!)
-  gelatin
-  tea
-  sieve

Basic Procedure 1 -->  Yeast Starter!
Brew a mug of tea a couple of days before your other procedures.  Add sugar or a little bit of honey while it's warm.  Stir well.  Let cool to room temperature and stir in a half-tablespoon of yeast.  Cover top with cheesecloth or a paper towel and elastic.  Let sit for a couple of days...until it is frothy!

Basic Procedure 2 -->  Homemade Yeast Nutrient
Take a cup of water and boil it.  Add a tablespoon of baker's yeast to the boiling water.  Hold it there for at least ten minutes to kill off the yeast.  Let cool, and set aside.

Basic Procedure 3  -->  Microwave Yeast Nutrient Method
Take a big microwave safe pot, add the tablespoon of baker's yeast, some fruit if you want, and enough water to cover all of it.  Make sure you have enough space for the stuff to foam up - it will want to do so.  Microwave for at least ten minutes to kill off the yeasties.  Let cool, and set aside

* Notes:  This creates a cooked fruit taste in the final product, but you can counter this stuff with raw fruit in the aging process.
* Notes:  You might need to use a chopstick or another poking device to ensure that you get your fruit into the bottle!

*  Burnt Mead:
Take your biggest pot, and cook the honey until it resembles dark maple syrup.  It will want to froth over, but keep stirring and make sure that the honey doesn't overflow!  Add a cup of boiling water, and dissolve any lumpy things.  (There will be thermal drama, so watch out!)  Cool mixture to room temperature and continue with the rest of your stuff!

Make the Must/Young wine!
Clean everything throughly.  Grab your honey bottle, and sit it in warm water.  Toss the funnel into the 2 liter bottle, and decant your honey into it.  Fill to where the label used to end with cold water.  Shake to combine.  Dump your homemade yeast nutrient into the bottle.  Add fruit puree of choice, if using.  Follow it up with the yeast starter, using the sieve to stop the tea leaves from getting in.  Add your raisins.  Shake gently to combine.

Plug top with cotton wool, and let sit for 1 - 5 weeks in a cool, dark place.  Your wine should show signs of fermentation - fizzing and creating a head of foam.  (Fruit meads create more foam...traditional meads do not.)  If not, add more dry yeast, and hope that it restarts!

Fermenting Meads:
Left to Right (Blueberry maple mead, burnt mead, blueberry mead.)...oldest to youngest.  (The burnt mead is still fermenting strongly - I'd give it one more week in the bottle.  The blueberry mead is just starting fermentation, and is working slowly...)

After fermentation finishes, make sure that you decant the mead off of the sediment.  (It can leave a bitter/bready taste in the wine.)  Wash out the empty bottle, and put your mead back in.  (Freeze overnight to kill the yeast!)  You can add a second dosage of your fruit puree of choice.  You are now ready to age your young mead!  Cap it off (make sure you have frozen your mead and thawed the bottle!), and let it rest for a couple more months.  It is ready to drink once it completely clears!

*Optional:  Fining:*
Fining is a process where you add an additive in order to take out all the sediment in your wine.  Last time I made wine with fruit punch, I ended up with a ton of sediment that refused to come out of solution.

Gelatin or egg white can be used to bring your dead yeast out of solution and to hasten the process.

Gelatin - use a half packet of gelatin.  Dissolve in cold water for an hour.  Simmer the stuff until it completely dissolves.  Add to your bottle of mead when cool.  Shake gently.

Egg White
- use an egg white, beaten.  If you worry about the safety of your eggs, get pasteurized eggs.  Add to your bottle of mead and shake gently.

In a couple of days, you should see some particles at the bottom of your wine.  You must take these away, as they can affect the flavour of your wine.

Cheaper/Easier Alternative:  Cold-Crashing
(Make sure your mead is at the alcoholic point that you want...as you'd be removing a ton of yeast from your mixture!)  Cold crashing slows active yeast down to a crawl.  Stick your bottle in your fridge after freezing and thawing it.  You'd notice your mead getting lighter in colour and more sediment at the bottom of your mead.  Decant your mead off of it when there is a huge amount.

Let your mead age 3 months to 3 years.  When you judge the mead to be ready, decant it off of any potential sediment, and clean out the bottle once again.  If it is too dry, you can add some more honey or maple syrup to balance it out again.  You can bottle in old wine bottles or put it back into your 2 liter bottle.  Cap tightly.

Drink and be filled!  
(Mead is good ice cold or warm.  I've put half a shot of maple mead in my morning oatmeal in lieu of flavouring it - and it can also be used to marinate meat!)

Finished Tasting Notes:
Burnt Mead:
Tastes of vanilla, dark caramel.  A friend of mine tasted this one, and said...marshmallow. (Very weird!)  Not readily identified as honey.  Very much of a kick!  Probably a heavier, richer mead.  (Was made with store brand honey.)

Blueberrry Mead:
Cooked blueberry notes.  Lighter in taste.  (Made with billybee honey, frozen blueberries.) Also, kicks like a mule.

Blueberry Maple Syrup Mead:
Simplest mead, but very rich.  Still tastes of real maple syrup, very woodsy, very complex. Blueberries are hinted at.  (Made with dark maple syrup, frozen blueberries.)  Very strong, but sweet....will sneak up on you!  Blueberries were chucked in during the aging process.

Not Sure You Like Mead?  Try Faux Mead
-  Aging Time:  2 weeks
-  Ingredients:  1 pound of honey, 1 (750 mL) bottle of cheap dry white wine, 1 clove, 1 pinch of nutmeg, 1 pinch of cinnimin.
-  Simmer all ingredients on low.  Skim the scum off the top, and simmer it until it reduces back down to one quart.  Put it back in the bottle, and re-cork it.  Leave it to age for two weeks!
19  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects / TMNT Love - The Shredder! on: July 17, 2012 02:53:54 PM
Okay, I admit to being a big nerd - I still love the TMNT franchise, even though it has officially jumped the shark.  (Turning The Shredder into a bloodthirsty alien/demon that spanned the ages...weird.)

Anyhow, this is a stamp (it was a colouring page) of the Shredder!

I made the decision not to cut out his imprint of his boot sole.  He kicks so much butt that his foot permanently smells of butt!

The imprint - I need to get a beyer or at least mount the thing temporarily.  Stupid me!

20  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Classic Sierra Point and Click Adventure Game Swap? on: July 05, 2012 03:51:36 PM
If there's any interest - I'd be availiable to organize.

I was thinking of the old Kings Quest Series, Laura Bow, Phastamorgia, and Monkey Island.

Maybe get people to list their favourites?
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