Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Save Money

Things to do to save money...
* Don't use paper towels or napkins - instead use cloth towels and napkins
* Cancel subscription to cable and watch things online
* Drop landline if you have a cell phone
* Use rechargable batteries
* Chop and grate yourself - cheese, fruit and veggies
* Don't shop on an empty stomach and make a list - then you won't be filling your cart with items that are more expensive or just grab junk food to make instead of a real meal.
* When you find a good sale, stock up but only enough to last until the next sale so that you don't waste by purchasing too much and it expires or you find another brand that is less expensive.
* Don't buy box cake and brownie mixes as basic ingredients such as flour and sugar are far less expensive.
* Cancel gym and work out at home - youtube has many exercise videos or check out exercise dvd's from the library
* Cut down on dry cleaning - I saved money doing more things on delicate or handwashing. If it says dry clean only then only dry clean but if the tag says dry clean it does mean that dry cleaning is preferable but not necessary. Wash things in cold water with a cool water detergent and either wash on delicate or hand wash. Now of course be careful what you do this with...I just started taking the chance and it has worked out for me. So use this tip with care as some items it might not work for - so if it is your very favorite dress then don't chance it
* If you have some clothes that aren't even suitable for donating, instead repurpose and salvage - cutting up old clothes for rags or use the fabric to make something else, salvage buttons, zippers, drawstrings and any trim that can be reused for mending or remaking.
* Don't print - think before you print. Do you really need to print the grocery list you just typed up? Could you hand write it on a piece of scrap paper? Can some things be stored on online storage or a disc instead of being printed.
* Pick up the store brand instead of the name brands. No-name cereals - are just as good as the name brand. Make sure you look down on the shelves as sometimes no-name items are on lower shelves instead of eye level next to the name brand.
* Check out day-old breads or meats about to expire in your grocery stores. Check closely for freshness.
* Make and bring your lunch instead of going out everyday.
* Go to the library to check out books, audiobooks, music and movies

Please share your money saver ideas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday Candy

Here are two candy recipes that I tried this year and they came out so well I wanted to share with everyone. They are simple and easy and very yummy!

From All You Magazine, December 12, 2010 Issue 12

Peppermint Bark Trees

1 Cup lightly crushed starlight peppermints or candy canes
1 14 oz bag white chocolate candy melts, melted
1 12 oz bag dark cocoa candy melts (I substituted light cocoa and they were just as good),melted

Sprinkle about 1 Tsp crushed peppermint candies into the bottom of an 18 mini-tree shaped silicone mold or ice cube trays.

Spoon white candy melts into a ziplock bag; seal bag. Snip a small corner off bag. Pipe enough candy to cover mints by about ½ inch. Tap pan on countertop to smooth melted white candy. Refrigerate until candy is just set, about 5 minutes.

Spoon dark cocoa candy melts into another ziplock bag; seal bag. Pipe a thin layer of dark cocoa candy melts on top of the white candy melts. Tap tray on countertop to smooth. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Makes 18 trees

Ok, here’s what I learned.

1) I can’t pipe things in a ziplock bag. I found it much easier to spoon the candy into the molds
2) Hold off on melting the dark cocoa until after you have finished the white and have it cooling.
3) For melting the candy, put in microwavable bowl ( I used glass) put on ½ power for 2 minutes, stir and then microwave ½ power for 30 second intervals , stirring after each interval.
4) My silicone tray only has 12 spaces. So, after the first batch, I made a second half batch, and had to remelt the candy.

From Taste of Home Magazine “Come Home for Chrismas” December and January 2011

Delectable Maple Nut Chocolates

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
½ cup butter, cubed
7 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 cups chopped walnuts
2 tsp maple flavoring
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups (24 oz or 2 bags) semisweet chocolate chips
2 oz bittersweet (or unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
2 tsp shortening

In a small saucepan, combine milk and butter. Cook and stir over low heat until butter is melted.

Place powdered sugar in a large bowl; add milk mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in walnuts, maple flavor, and vanilla. Roll into ¾ inch balls; place on wax paper lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

In microwave, melt the chips, bittersweet chocolate and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip balls into chocolate, allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper, let stand until set. Store in airtight container.

Makes 13 dozen


1) I did not get 13 dozen, I got a little over 9.
2) You will need 2-3 times the space for the chocolate covered balls that you did for the rolled centers.
3) There is not a non-messy way to dip these that I found. I tried toothpicks, a fork, a spoon… make sure you have your apron on, you will likely be covered in chocolate.
4) I found I needed 3 bags of chips, 3 oz of bittersweet chocolate and 3 tsp of shortening for the chocolate candy shell.

My name is Rheya. If you would have asked me 20 years ago if I saw myself cooking, cleaning, sewing and serving the needs of another over my own, I would have told you to get your crystal ball checked. I was not a girl whose idea of bliss was being domestically oriented. I shunned Home Ec! A lot can change can’t it? I’ve found my happiness though in just that, domestic service. I currently live in an area south of Atlanta. I work outside the home, so balancing the two is always a challenge. But I try to manage it all with a smile on my face and remember that everything I do is for His honor.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Apple Butter

4lbs of apples (sour ones, preferably)
1 cup apple cider (alcohol between 2.25% and 4.5%)
1 lemon (juice and zest)
2 tbs cinnamon
1 tbs all spice (whole)
1 tbs cloves (whole)
~ 4 cups of sugar
A knife edge of salt.

(You need one big pot, a mesh sieve, a mortar and pestle, a ladle and measuring cups, six to eight 8oz jars)

Cut the apples in quarters, and dump in a pot, kernels and peels and all. Add the apple cider. Heat to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes until soft. Put clean and dry jars in the oven and heat it to 200F, boil the lids in water with a heavy boil for 10 minutes.

Mean while, grind the cloves and all spice with the mortar, to a fine powder.

Peek at the apples. If they're soft, put a bowl beneath the sieve, and pour the apples into the sieve. Grind them with the pestle, until all that's left in the sieve is peels and kernels and the apples are att the bottom. Scrape the bottom of the sieve.

Measure the apple pulp you now have. Add about ½ a cup of sugar per cup of apple pulp. Put the puple and sugar back on the stove, then stirr till the sugar has disolved. Add the spices, the salt, the lemon juice and zest.

Simmer for 10 minutes, then taste with a clean spoon (after using the spoon, put it in the dishwasher/sink and use a clean one again next time). Add more spices if you like.

Simmer while stirring until it's thick, which may take 30-40 minutes. Sieve again if you like, if the zest is in large pieces. Take out your jars. Then pour into *warm* sterilized jars and screw the lids on. Turn the jars upside down and cool them on the counter over the night. Mark the jars with content and today's date. Refridgerate. It should keep for at least 12 weeks in the fridge, and around 5-7 days after opening a jar as long as there's no fingers or used utensils poked into it. You can freeze it too, but use plastic containers for that.

Bio: I'm Daphne, and I'm a service-oriented submissive. I'm from Sweden, which is not to be confused with Switzerland - we don't make clocks or chocolate, nor do we wear leatherhosen. I've been in service for the past four years, to my Owner Mephisto. I love cooking, cleaning and organizing. My passion lies in making my Owner's life as pleasant and smooth as possible. I'm also a strong advocate for organic food without additives and cooking from scratch. I recycle, buy used and don't own a car, to minimize my carbon footprint. I'm studying for a Bachelor's in Culinary Arts and Meal Science

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gourmet Popcorn

For a last minute gift, something to bring to a party or to have around during the holidays for your guests is Popcorn. The popcorn kernels are very inexpensive and many of the ingredients I had on hand.

Chocolate Popcorn with Nuts
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 1/2 cups nuts (last year I used just peanuts this year I added mixed nuts to it)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoons coarse salt

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Take a rimmed large cookie sheet (or jelly roll pan or 2 smaller rimmed cookie sheets) and line it with tinfoil. Spray it with cooking spray. Pop the popcorn and place in a large bowl. Add the peanuts and set aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, butter, cocoa, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a gentle simmer, about 5 minutes.

Pour sugar mixture over popcorn and nuts; toss to coat. Keeping tossing even if it doesn't look like it is coating well. And even if you are having trouble getting it to coat "well" - it doesn't need to have chocolate on every bit of popcorn. It will be good no matter how the chocolate mixture coated the popcorn. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake until dry. Stirring every 20 minutes and cooking about 1 hour. Cool on sheet on wire racks. And then break apart into pieces. Store in airtight containers or ziplocks.

Zesty Popcorn
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups pretzels - optional
1 cup nuts - optional

Pop the popcorn. Place in a large bowl with pretzels and nuts if you are adding those (or 2 bowls if you don't have anything large enough to to place all the popcorn).

Combine butter, paprika, chili powder, salt, garlic and onion powder - stirring well. Pour over popped corn; stir to coat popcorn as evenly as possible. Turn mixture onto baking sheet. Sprinkle half the cheese on the popcorn. Bake at 250 degrees F for 20 minutes or until crispy; stirring once. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and toss to coat evenly. Let stand on baking sheet, stirring once or twice as mixture cools.

When thoroughly cool, store in airtight ziplock bags or container.

* I used butter but I am sure margarine would work also.
* My second batch of this I used Penzey's BBQ 3000 in place of the paprika and chili powder and it was even better. The first batch, as the recipe is above, was really good but the BBQ 3000 just gave it a little something extra.

Butterscotch Popcorn
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups peanuts (optional)

Heat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large cookie sheet (or 2) with tinfoil. Spray with cooking spray.

Pop the popcorn. Put nuts and popcorn in a very large bowl.

Bring brown sugar, corn syrup and butter to boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butterscotch chips, vanilla extract, baking soda and salt until blended and smooth. It will foam up when you put in the baking soda - that is normal.

Working quickly and using two spoons, pour syrup over popcorn and nuts, stirring to coat thoroughly.

Pour mixture into pan; bake 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, cool mixture in pan about 15 minutes. Turn mixture out of pan onto foil to cool completely.
Break popcorn into smaller pieces; store in airtight containers in cool dry place up to 2 weeks.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiday Traditions

Last year Jen contributed some posts on Chanukah and so this year I asked my friend Rheya to contribute some about her holiday traditions. Thank you Rheya!

Danae asked me to write a little about holiday traditions around my house. Now, I grew up in a traditional Catholic household. Christmas was very much centered on the birth of the Christ Child. There was always a Nativity Set under the tree and angels were more prevalent than Santa Claus.

Around my house, we celebrate both Christmas for Sir and the rest of both my family and His, and Yule for me. Yule can be called by many names, Winter Solstice being the most common. I am an initiate of Celtic Traditional Witchcraft and in my tradition, it was always referred to it as Alban Arthan, which is I believe is Welsh, but also the same name given in Druidic Tradition.

I was always quite discontent with Christianity, and felt like didn’t suit me. I found my own path in Paganism. And I learned where the Christian holidays have their roots. Christmas has its roots in the pagan holidays of Yule, the celebration of the Winter Solstice and Saturnalia. Both are about the return of the sun king (or oak king depending on your tradition) as a child born of the Goddess. The Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the year, after that the days begin to get longer and longer (the return of the sun). Saturnalia is the Roman equivalent, celebrating the return of Mithros, the Sun King.

Many traditions we associate with Christmas come from Pagan custom. The bringing of evergreen and holly into the house to decorate, for instance was begun to remind us that life still does exist under the heavy blankets of snow. Holly was thought to bring luck, and it was encourage that a sprig harvested at Yule be kept by the door. My High Priest used to say that it kept the house from being struck by lightning as well.

The tradition of decorating the boughs of evergreen came from offering gifts to the Earth Spirits, and to entice them to bless the fruits of the next year. Early ornaments were oranges with cloves pierced through the skin, apples, and woven wheat, nuts, berries, etc.

Bonfires and hearth fires were rekindled to invite the return of the sun and the sun king. The fires were relit using the Yule Log, which as part of the tradition was either harvested off the land, or gifted. It was bad luck to purchase it. In my coven, I can remember libating the log with ale and wassail before we burned it, putting all my good energy and hopes for the new year into the log.

And let’s not forget Santa Claus. Who is really a gnome, or earth spirit, possibly originally derived from the Norse God, Odin, who at Yule, lead a hunting party across the sky. Children would place treats for Odin’s horses near the chimney, in return Odin would leave sweets.

Some traditions my own coven used to practice that are not necessarily “standard” were our gift exchange. Instead of drawing names, we would bring gifts, and each gift would be set under an altar, according to what element it fit into. Candles would go under Fire, incense under Air, you get the idea. After the all gifts were placed accordingly, we would choose a gift from under the altar of the element we felt we needed to learn the most from in the coming year.

We would also make Wassail, a traditional holiday drink and we’d all take turns stirring the Wassail pot. After it was done, we would all gather and toast the return of the Sun King, and each other.

I’m going to try an re-create our Wassail recipe for you. But it has been many years since I moved 600 miles from my covenstead and I don’t seem to have the recipe written down anywhere. Or if I do, I can’t put my fingers on it. I guess it has been too long since I made it.


2 Gallon Jugs of Apple Cider
½ Gallon of Orange Juice
3-4 Oranges, sliced
3-4 Lemons, sliced
Cinnamon Sticks
Ground Nutmeg
Apple Pie Spice
Option: Dark Rum

Put the apple cider, orange juice, the slices fruit and 2-3 cinnamon sticks in a large pot (or pots!) and stir over low heat. Add ground nutmeg and ginger to taste. Add Rum to taste if desired.

That’s what I remember. Feel free to tweak it to your liking.

There is a lot more tradition I could have talked about, I merely skimmed the surface and did not get into any great detail (I could spend hours talking about traditions for Yule!). If you have questions or would like more information, please feel free to contact me.

I hope you all have a blessed holiday season, no matter what holiday you celebrate!

Winter Solstice/Yule falls on December 21 this year.

Bio: My name is Rheya. If you would have asked me 20 years ago if I saw myself cooking, cleaning, sewing and serving the needs of another over my own, I would have told you to get your crystal ball checked. I was not a girl whose idea of bliss was being domestically oriented. I shunned Home Ec! A lot can change can’t it? I’ve found my happiness though in just that, domestic service. I currently live in an area south of Atlanta. I work outside the home, so balancing the two is always a challenge. But I try to manage it all with a smile on my face and remember that everything I do is for His honor.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stocking Stuffer

Want a quick, fun, easy stocking stuffer? Clothes Pin Magnets. I made these the last couple years and stuck them in almost every stocking and package last year.

I bought a package of clothes pins at the dollar store (36 in a package). I painted them with a foam bush using the cheapest acrylic paint. They did dry very quickly because I didn't put the paint on thick - just almost a thin wash of it on the clothes pin. Once dry I took rubber stamps to stamp them with images. It didn't matter if the image fit on the clothes pin or not...having it run off the edge worked still. And then I glued a magnet to the back.

They would be cute too if you stamped names on them or to-do, urgent, read and so on them for an office or teacher. Michael's sells tiny alphabet stamps for $1 that work well on them.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kitchen Hygiene

Kitchen hygiene. How how I (sometimes) despiseth thou. Keeping a kitchen clean and hygenic can be quite the nightmare, sometimes. If it's not for you being sick, tired or overworked, there's little sticky hands looking for crackers and jam, or just Owners having midnight snacks. I know if I just look away for two seconds, it's suddenly full of packages, dishes, pots and pans, and I'm wondering where the heck they came from.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother. Then, just now, at school, we've gone through kitchen bacteria and food poisoning - suddenly I think I need to give my kitchen a good scrubdown. There are some main pointers to keep your kitchen hygenic and your food safe, and I'll try explain why they're important:

Heat everything to 70C (160F) - This will kill most bacteria, for example salmonella, campylobacter and staphylococus aureus. It's really important to know this if you have a poor immunesystem or children. Now, most greens and vegetables can be served cold and uncooked, but wash them carefully in that case. EHEC is a version of e. coli. which can in lead to a fatal disease in the elderly and in children. If you google "e. coli. child death", the 754.000 pages found are quite depressing.

Keep your kitchen dry and clean. - Bacteria thives on moist, warm surfaces. Normal room-temperature is plenty enough warmth for most bacteria to grow. Small flecks of soup or water on already dingy surfaces become a breeding ground, a nest, for all kinds of yucky stuff that we'd rather not think about. Tidy up, dry off and avoid the hazard.

Wash hands after cracking eggs or touching raw meat – with soap that you rub vigorously for 20 seconds. - Washing your hands is the one of the most important thing you can do while cooking. Properly washing you hands means removing all jewelry (which you shouldn't wear while cooking anyway - engravings on rings can be filled with gunk), wetting your hands and taking some soap. Then rubb vigorously while singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Remember between your fingers, under your nails and your cuticles - if you're baking, go up to your elbow. Rinse and dry off on a clean towel. If you touch raw meat, eggshells, your nose, sneeze, cough or accept something from your little one, you need to wash your hands again.

Wash all utensils promptly and always use fresh clean utensils between foods. - Don't touch cooked food with utensils that have just touched raw food. Don't use the same knife for all your ingredients. Wash and dry them in hot water with dishwashing liquid, dry and then go back. If one ingredient is contaminated, you will avoid contaminating the rest of them this way.

Never stick a finger in to taste, always use a fresh clean spoon. - I don't care how many spoons you have to wash. If you stick your finger in to have a taste, the food in the pot is contaminated. The end. Your mouth may carry Staphylocous aureus, and it may be on your skin. If whatever you're tasting is boiling, that's probably not a big problem, but for safety's sake - use a clean spoon every time and toss it in the sink after tasting.

Wash all cutting boards promply and buy new ones at least yearly. - Ah, yes. The cutting board issue. Wood or plastic? In my kitchen at school, we've one wood for vegetables and greens, and one plastic for meat, poultry and fish. That works out pretty well, since they won't contaminate each other. When your cutting board starts to get worn, get a new one. In one of those cracks, just as in your ring engraving, there may be hiding some nasty stuff that you can't get off. In the meanwhile, wash all cutting boards as soon as you're done. Hot, sudsy water works great, but do disenfect them from time to time, please?

Keep your fridge at 4C (39F) and your freezer at -18C (-1F). - 4C, or 40F, is the highest temperature allowed to store raw fish at (in Sweden). Fish should actually be stored at the point where ice starts melting, to keep the longest. But anyway, proper temperature in fridge and freezer will keep bacteria at a minimum. There are still bacteria that grow in fridge temperature, like Aeromonas Hydrophilas which is found in, among other things, freshwater fish, can grow in a fridge. When you take things out and the slowly heat up again, the bacteria growth increases. It does not, in anyway, decrease when the item is chilled again. It simply keeps growing, but slower.

Chill food rapidly, so that it reaces 4C (40F) within four hours. - A pot of beef stew can keep a core temp high for a long time, which is also oxygen free and clostridium perfringens mentioned above is having a field day. To avoid that window where bacteria can and does grow, you need to chill food rapidly. In winter, if you can, put it outside in snow and stirr ocationally. In summer, fill your sink with cold water and dump ice in it, then add the pot. Stirr about ever 15 minutes, so that it cools evenly. Add more ice and swap water as needed. Never EVER fall for the old custom of keeping a pot of soup or stew by the stove and reheating the entire thing when you want to eat, only to leave it to cool to room temperature on it's own.

Always reheat to 65C (150F), or serve at below 8C (46F). - Hot food is to be hot and cold food to be cold. That keeps you from that window where bacteria grows. Of course, eating food that's just cooled off on your plate is a rather low risk, but don't serve lukewarm food. Don't buy grilled chicken being kept warm, unless it's hot to the touch. Don't eat at a restaurant or buffé if you food is lukewarm.

Sanitize rags, dishcloths, sponges and brushes, knives and cuttingboards by submerging in bleach solution – two teaspoons of bleach to one quart of water for five minutes. - Or discard them, wash them or change them, as apprpriate. This keeps your utensils and cleaning tools ... well, clean. Sanitary. Hygenic. And all that good stuff. Weekly is a good idea, if not every few days.

Use rubbing alcohol on counter tops, in the fridge, on doors, door knobs, handles and lightfixtures. - ... and anywhere else you touch a lot, like the side of that door that you tend to swing shut behind you. You don't need to go crazy with the sanitizing - it's a home, not a hospital, after all. I'd suggest doing it ever once in a while or when spring and/or fall cleaning, anyway. Or after someone has had a flu or stomach bug. It's so easy to touch these places and not think about it when you return to cooking.

Of course, after writing about this, studying and breathing it for the past fourteen days, I'm a bit obsessive. However, I consider the above to be commonsense, normal guidelines for kitchen hygiene. So, being a good (pompous) example, I'm now off to clean the kitchen. Without a black-light or petry-dish, thank good God.

Bio: I'm Daphne, and I'm a service-oriented submissive. I'm from Sweden, which is not to be confused with Switzerland - we don't make clocks or chocolate, nor do we wear leatherhosen. I've been in service for the past four years, to my Owner Mephisto. I love cooking, cleaning and organizing. My passion lies in making my Owner's life as pleasant and smooth as possible. I'm also a strong advocate for organic food without additives and cooking from scratch. I recycle, buy used and don't own a car, to minimize my carbon footprint. I'm studying for a Bachelor's in Culinary Arts and Meal Science

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Maple Fudge

While making chocolate fudge last year during the holidays, I was taking out the vanilla extract from the cupboard and next to it was the maple extract. I had bought it because Master enjoys all things maple flavored. I had tried some maple cookies but they didn't turn out quite right here with the altitude we live in. So it had sat there waiting for me to try it out on something else. But since I was making chocolate fudge I thought why not maple fudge? I looked on the internet and really didn't find any that worked for me. Most recipes used pure maple syrup which I am sure would be great but I had maple extract sitting in my cupboard unused at that time (now I have a few recipes I use it in).

So I looked at my chocolate fudge recipe that I adore and found a recipe on Eagle Brand for a fudge recipe that I might be able to play with and make into a maple fudge recipe. So I rolled up my sleeves and just went for it...it took 2 batches to perfect it. And now it is Master's favorite! I make it for him several times a year just as a special treat for him.


1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups butterscotch chips
2 sticks butter
2 tsp maple extract

Place all ingredients except the extract into a 2-quart microwave safe mixing bowl and microwave on high for a total of 10 minutes but stirring every 2 minutes. Let cool slightly (usually about 5 to 8 minutes). Beat with a mixer for 3 minutes. Add maple extract and mix for another 2 minutes. Spread mixture into a buttered or parchment paper lined 8 x 8-inch (or 9 x 9) square pan. Chill to set and cut into squares.

These are my notes throughout creating this recipe.

Do beat that full 5 minutes (the 3 plus the 2 after the extract). It really does need the full 5 minutes to get it to the right consistency. When I didn't do this it wouldn't cut nice and smooth like fudge - but broke and crumbled.

This mixture bubbles up quite a bit so a 2 quart mixing bowl is needed or it will boil over/bubble over. Also the bowl and the mixture are VERY HOT so when you stir every 2 minutes be very careful.

The look of it when stirring every 2 minutes:
First stir after 2 minutes in the microwave it will look very greasy because the butter is melting. And very few chips are melted.

After the 4 and 6 minutes it almost look separated - the chips are melting and the butter is fully melted but they don't look like they are going to come together.

After 8 minutes it is coming together the chips are fully melted but the edges looked greasy.

And at the 10 minute mark it almost looks sticky like caramel. But beating it will create a smooth fudge consistency.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bath Fizzies

I found this recipe for bath fizzies in the book Martha Stewart Crafts.

I was going to order molds online such as something similar to the ones here. But then when in the Dollar Tree they had the silcone ice cube trays. I have seen them at various times of the year too in different shapes. And I think silicone would be easier to get the fizzies out.

1 3/4 cup Baking soda
2 cups Cornstarch
1 cup Citric acid
Spritzer bottles
Food coloring
Glass bowl
Essential oil
Baking molds

Sift 1 3/4 cup baking soda, 1 cup citric acid, and 2 cups cornstarch through a sieve to remove chunks. Fill small spritzer bottles with water and add about 6 drops of food coloring. If you want different tints, use multiple spritzer bottles with different food colorings.

Pour 1 cup of powdered mixture into a glass bowl. Lightly spritz, stirring after each spritz, until powder is desired color. Add spritz water slowly, so mixture does not fizz. If mixing two tints, alternate colors as you spritz. Check the consistency of powder with your fingers; when it can be tightly packed or shaped, stop spritzing (this may take a little while).

Select an essential oil. Add 5 drops if it's one of the stronger scents (peppermint, lavender), 6 if it's a weaker one (lemon, grapefruit). Mix well. Firmly pack mixture into small baking molds. Allow mixture to set for 2 hours, then pop out carefully. Repeat with different tints for remaining powder.

You will have to experiment how much is good for one bath. The silicon ice cube trays that I used - 2 were good for one bath. I packaged them in snack size ziplocks and did a cardboard topper on it that I stapled on the bag with directions on the back.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Peppermint Drop Cookies

3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 squares (2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate melted and cooled slightly

2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
dash of salt
Few drops of red food coloring
crushed peppermint

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare Cookies: In large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In another medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients and beating well after each addition. Blend in chocolate. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until firm. Remove Cookies to wire rack and cool completely.

Prepare frosting: In medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients except candy. With electric mixer at low speed, beat until of spreading consistency. Top cooled cookies with frosting and sprinkle with candy.

Servings: 4 to 6 dozen depending on size of cookie you make


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