Let your dog have a voice in this year’s election with one of FUZZU’s Presidential Parody Pet Toys! FUZZU, a woman-owned pet toy company based in Vermont, has launched their first collection of toys on Kickstarter, which features hilarious caricatures of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders.
The Bernie toy features wild plush hair, rolled up sleeves, and is ready to start the revolution. With your vote, he and your pet will hit the floor running.
The Hillary toy is the heat to beat with her red pantsuit ablaze, and her fiery gaze fixed on the Oval Office. Fling her into the ring…and watch the fur fly.
The Donald toy is stylin’ with his golden tan, quaffed plush hair, and flashy garb. His well-heeled foot will inevitably end up in your pet’s mouth.
Each toy is available in 3 sizes, including an 8″ catnip-filled toy for cats and a 17″ or 27″ squeaker toy for dogs. Back FUZZU on Kickstarter to pre-order yours today!
Though Tim Miller didn’t rely heavily on VFX to bring Deadpool to life, the movie still featured its fair share of effects (which was made more interesting because of the tight budget).
CGMeetup posted a quick round-up video of some of the effects that Miller used in the film, and Wired posted another video that highlighted all of the effects (and actors) that went into creating Colossus.
You can check out both of the videos below.
People are so in love with Deadpool that someone actually started a petition to have him host SNL. Not Ryan Reynolds…Deadpool.
Unfortunately, a NSFW video surfaced of an incident that got Deadpool kicked off the SNL hosting gig back in the ’90s. Much like Kanye, we’re guessing that he won’t be invited back.
However, there’s plenty of love for Deadpool among the Avengers, as both Chris Evans and Robert Downey, Jr. got in on the fun. Even artist Lord Mesa jumped in with a super timely bit of fan art.
Check out the video and the tweets below.
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) February 20, 2016
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) February 20, 2016
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) February 21, 2016
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) February 21, 2016
— Lord Mesa (@lordmesa) February 21, 2016
"Excessive"" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />@VancityReynolds @RobertDowneyJr @ChrisEvans @deadpoolmovie Happy F" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" /> Saturday!!! pic.twitter.com/HI550Tez82
— Lord Mesa (@lordmesa) February 20, 2016
February is known as a month when we show our dogged devotion to those we love, and on February 20 – 21 pet parents (and their dogs!) in the area of Pomona, California are invited to celebrate the love that our furry, finned and feathered friends bring to our lives at the Southern California Pet Expo.
When: February 20 – 21, 2016 (From 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday)
Where: Fairplex at 1101 West McKinley Avenue in Pomona, California
For more information:
Photo Credit: Amazing Pet Expos
Happy First Day Of Filming, Star Wars nerds. Episode VIII has started principal photography and StarWars.com was kind enough to release a new video and a press release with some new details about the cast and crew.
My favorite bit of casting news has to be Laura Dern (yay!), and not just because of the awesome Jurassic Park/Star Wars jokes that are already flying. Benicio del Toro is also officially confirmed, so there ya go.
The best part of this announcement has to be the accompanying video, which gives you a good hint of just where we’re starting things off. Also, Daisy’s pretty excited. I haven’t seen anything from John Boyega yet, but I’m sure we will.
Check out the video below:
The full announcement:
I literally have no idea how to post the video so that's Maggie Belize I stole yours!!! WE ARE FILMING ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? we also have INCREDIBLE new cast members including Kelly Marie Tran who is raaaaad and who likes musicals too ????????????????????????????????????????
A video posted by @daisyridley on
Rey took her first steps into a larger world in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and will continue her epic journey with Finn, Poe, and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the continuing Star Wars saga, Star Wars: Episode VIII, which began principal photography at Pinewood Studios in London on February 15, 2016.
Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is written and directed by Rian Johnson and continues the storylines introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, welcomes back cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis. New cast members will include Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro, Academy Award nominee Laura Dern, and talented newcomer Kelly Marie Tran.
Star Wars: Episode VIII is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski. Joining the production crew will be some of the industry’s top talent, including Steve Yedlin (Director of Photography), Bob Ducsay (Editor), Rick Heinrichs (Production Designer), Peter Swords King (Hair and Make-Up Designer), and Mary Vernieu (US Casting Director). They will be joining returning crew members Pippa Anderson (Co-Producer, VP Post Production), Neal Scanlan (Creature & Droid FX Creative Supervisor), Michael Kaplan (Costume Designer), Jamie Wilkinson (Prop Master), Chris Corbould (SFX Supervisor), Rob Inch (Stunt Coordinator), Ben Morris (VFX Supervisor), and Nina Gold (UK Casting Director).
Star Wars: Episode VIII is scheduled for release December 15, 2017.
(via Star Wars)
These four basic frosting recipes should be a staple in every baker’s recipe box!
Homemade frosting is much better tasting and easy to make.
These four frosting recipes are versatile and delicious. You will be the hit of any birthday or celebration!
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
I have been blessed to accidentally discover have this incredible cream cheese frosting that forms a nice crust after you have applied to cakes or cupcakes (Yes, you CAN use this recipe for Rosette Cakes!!) . It is ideal for passionate bakers. On top of the amazing texture, it really does taste the BEST!
COOKIE DOUGH FROSTING
Cookie Dough Frosting is a fabulous way to satisfy a cookie craving, fast! This frosting is so delicious, I recommend you make it immediately.
WHIPPED CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM
This truly is melt-in-your-mouth delicious, perfectly chocolatey, creamy, fluffy goodness.
My very favorite way to eat Cherry Buttercream is on sugar cookies with sprinkles. It brings back fond memories of my youth as it was a very special treat we were given as little girls! I can’t recommend it high enough!
I love nothing more than a lazy weekend at home, although I can’t remember the last lazy weekend at home that I had. Usually my weekends involve all night baking and all day shooting photos and then cleaning over and over again. Part of a lazy weekend for me involves waking up, cooking a nice […]
The post Classic Sour Cream Coffee Cake & Ninja Coffee Bar Review appeared first on Beyond Frosting.
Melis Buyruk crafts anatomical forms in ceramic some of which are featured on plates and embellished with insects and flowers. She uses ceramic, an often utilitarian material, as a form of presentation of both inner and outer beauty. Anatomical features are served separated from any tie to gender, race, or social position.
I followed up with Melis to ask her a few questions about herself and anatomy:
SA: Where are you currently based?
Melis: I am living in Istanbul.
SA: What motivates you to use anatomy in your work?
Melis: Anatomical parts of the human are the most democratic things about human being I think. I choose to emphasize what all human beings have in common. I transmit my motive to my audience through my choice of ordinary acts of human beings such as eating—a general, mechanical, and instinctive behaviour that is common to all species.
SA: Do you have a background in science or art or both?
Melis: I don’t have background in science but I am an artist. I studied fine arts.
View more of Melis Buyruk’s large body of ceramic work at melisbuyruk.com!
The Force is strong with Viner Wahyu Ichwandari, also known as Pinot, who has created some stunning Star Wars-inspired Vines. Featuring illustrations that leap off of the page, his Vines once again prove that the creativity of Star Wars fans knows no bounds.
Check out Pinot’s handiwork below.
Here’s a Vine featuring everyone’s favorite Stormtrooper. No, not that one. The other one. Finn.
Here’s Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon.
Here’s Rey, who is canonically the daughter of every major character in the film franchise to date, no take-backsies.
And here is an epic Lightsaber duel between… well, I won’t spoil it for you. Just watch!
Check out more of Pinot’s work on his Vine page!
Giving gifts is always fun, but it's even more fun when you get creative with the wrapping! Ashley from Let's Mingle cleverly dressed up a shoe box with some kraft paper and construction paper, turning it into a sandwich - complete with a pickle skewered into the top. You could also make a round version of this using a circular paper mache box from the craft store! [how to make a sandwich gift box]
Total: Free and up!
im in love with these floors!
“Your tastes will change as you get older.” One of those oft repeated and eternally true pieces of parental wisdom imparted to me by my mother that crosses my mind on an almost daily basis. Though I certainly don’t think I was at the extremely picky side of the spectrum, neither could it be said that I had an adventurous palate as a child. Though that was in part because of my fairly standard upbringing with not a huge range of foods offered to me, I marvel at the things I disliked as a kid. The one that seems most unfathomable to me now – Mexican food. Sure, I ate tacos made with the grocery store seasoning packets, but that was about it. The idea of anything involving beans of any kind or Mexican spices was an definite no for me.
All I can say is, I am so so glad I have managed to avoid a similar situation with my own kids. The very mention of beans, tortillas, or Mexican anything elicits cheers of excitement. They are well versed in the differences between tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos, and more. Our absolute favorite local restaurant has the best Mexican and Latin cuisine, and they love it almost as much as I do. When I informed them we were having tostadas with beans, corn, tomatoes and a runny egg on top, they were totally pumped. Because, just like me, they know that almost any meal is better with a runny egg on top. This meal can be made healthier if you choose to crisp the tortillas in the oven rather than fry them but for me, this is one instance when frying is worth it. And definitely make the tortillas from scratch – fresh tortillas are always worth the extra effort!
Guys, our DietBet has officially started, and it’s not too late to join! I’m actually joining myself this morning! You still have a month to lose 4% of your bodyweight and earn a little cash, plus be entered to win some AMAZING prizes. Our Pot is nearing $50,000. Everyone signed up for our DietBet is automatically entered to win and there’s over $1000 of prizes up for grabs! Click HERE to join!
Now for today’s recipe. I’ve been so excited to share this one with you guys. We have a really popular recipe in our healthy cook book, “400 Calories or Less” for Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Soup. I wanted to create a cream soup base that was high on flavor but low on calories, yet still had substance and heartiness to it. I nailed it by incorporating pureed cauliflower. The last time I was making that soup for dinner I wondered if I could do the same thing with a cream sauce, and sure enough. My whole family loves this and it’s kind of amazing, really.
Let’s be clear though; it is made with a vegetable. So it’s not going to taste just like butter and heavy cream, ya know? I’m not claiming that it does. I am claiming that you will be surprised at how good it is and that there’s a good chance your family will love it too. My true test is always my kids. I have four boys ranging from age 1 to 10 and I always see how they react before sharing recipes here. I didn’t say a word about what was in this sauce to them or my husband and all 5 of them gobbled it right up and asked for seconds. So that was that. If you are trying to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, or just trying to eat a little lighter, this is a great recipe for you!
Start with a pound of roughly chopped cauliflower and pop it in a pot of simmering chicken broth. Veggie broth would work fine too; I just like to use broth in place of water because it adds flavor. If you’re going to use water for any reason, I would make sure it’s got a hefty spoon of salt in there. All of that liquid is being absorbed into the cauliflower so it’s important to flavor it!
You’ll need something to wiz this up. A food processor works great; I’m using my KitchenAid 14-Cup. My last food processor bit the dust after a solid 12 years of use and Kitchenaid hooked me up with this one. I love how it has an ultra large capacity, but a mini work bowl included for every day little stuff. And there are more attachments than you can imagine. If you don’t have a food processor, you can also use a blender!
After the cauliflower is tender (only takes about 5-6 minutes) strain the liquid out into a bowl, pop the cauliflower into your food processor or blender, and then drizzle a little olive oil into your pot with some minced garlic. I love, love our Lemon Extra Virgin in this recipe.
Sauting the garlic brings out the flavor and mellows the bite just a bit. It only takes a minute or less and then you’ll add all of the garlic, along with the oil from the pan, to the cauliflower.
You’ll also toss in some kosher salt and onion powder.
And can’t forget the cheese. I add in 1 ounce of low-fat cream cheese. I feel like even just that small amount adds a creamy texture and deepens the flavor by just enough. Someone in the comments suggest Laughing Cow cheese and that is a GREAT idea! I bet the garlic herb one would taste super yummy and they are light on calories. And also a little Parmesan cheese. For both cheeses, in order to keep this sauce light, I add the smallest amount you can get away with while still achieving good results. Meaning- if you don’t care about the calories as much, feel free to add more cheese to taste. Obviously the more the better, like- the more cheese you add the less cauliflower you taste, haha. You can also leave out the cream cheese if you don’t have it or want it. I like it best with both cheeses.
Blend it all up until smooth and creamy and then adjust salt to taste. At our house we love this on pasta in alfredo-type dishes. I’ll toss in some grilled chicken, or serve it over tortellini. And my husband and all 4 of my kids love it!
Fresh basil and crumbled bacon is another favorite combo.
My sauce in these photos has a little texture to it, but you can blend it more and it becomes silky smooth, just like any normal cream sauce.
This has been an awesome addition to the mealtime regimen and I hope it will be for you, too!
Interested in another Cauli-Powerhouse? Try our Cauliflower Pizza Crust!
Cast iron is definitely my favorite cookware. You don’t have to worry about chemicals leaching into your food. It’s naturally nonstick if properly cared for. It retains heat very well.
But when I first started cooking with cast iron, I was a bit mystified as to how one is supposed to clean it. Over the years I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that streamline the washing-up process.
Here are 3 ways to clean your beautiful cast iron skillet.
Take a paper towel or dish rag, and rub the pan until clean, wiping out any food pieces.
It’s as simple as that! And since you used oil to clean your pan, it’s all ready for the next time you cook!
Begin by sprinkling an abrasive agent into your skillet. You can use coarse sea salt, cornmeal, etc.
Scrub the pan with a paper towel or dish rag. Scrape any food pieces into the trash.
Finish off by rubbing your pan down with oil.
This is my cast iron cleaning secret weapon: steel wool. It takes gunk off like nobody’s business.
If you’re squeamish about using something as abrasive as steel wool, you can always use a non-scratching scrubbing pad instead.
Let’s get to scrubbing. Put your pan in the sink, run some hot water in it, and scrub off all the stuck-on food. Rinse.
If the food is really cooked on, you can always let the pan soak for a bit. But don’t let cast iron sit in water too long or it will start to rust.
Now, if you wash your cast iron with water, it is imperative that you dry it as soon as possible. Otherwise it will rust, especially if it’s a newer pan.
The best way to dry your pan that I’ve found is to set it over a high flame for a few minutes.
You can, of course, just dry the pan with a paper towel or dish towel, but MAKE SURE you use a dedicated dish towel. Otherwise you will turn your best towels black. Not like I speak from experience or anything.
Let the pan cool for a bit, then pour in some oil.
Rub it into the pan with a paper towel or dedicated dish rag.
So there you have it: three ways to clean a cast iron skillet.
Do you have any tips for easy cast iron cleanup? Share in the comments!
I forgot the peanuts! I hate it when I make a recipe, photograph the whole thing, eat it, and then realize I completely forgot one of the ingredients. Ha! #braindead Anyway, when you’re looking at the photos of this Nam Sod, just imagine little pieces of nice crunchy peanuts on top, mmm-kay? Cool.
So what is Nam Sod? It’s a pork salad seasoned with a flavorful dressing made with lime, ginger, chili, and fish sauce. This stuff is super tasty, is nice and light, but completely filling at the same time. I served mine over rice just to bulk it out a bit, but it’s often served over greens, like shredded cabbage, or as a filling for lettuce wraps. I bet it would be pretty good over thin rice noodles, too!
Nam Sod is traditionally pretty spicy, but my stomach has been a bit sensitive lately, so my version is a little softer. I left out thinly sliced fresh chilis and opted to use a chili garlic sauce instead. I also went a bit lighter on the fish sauce because, while I do appreciate the potent elixir and the savory base it brings to dishes, I don’t like heavy doses of the stuff. Feel free to adjust the fish sauce, chili, and ginger in the dressing to fit your taste buds. AND, if you have fresh mint growing, add a few sprigs of that as well!
You may also notice the higher price tag for this dish and for the ground pork in particular. As a reminder, my priorities have shifted a bit lately and I’m now trying to buy more responsibly products while still working within my budget. If that’s not something that is a high priority for you at the moment, this recipe may cost you much less. Remember, working on a food budget doesn’t necessarily always mean buying the cheapest food possible. It means making responsible choices based on your needs and priorities, which will be different for each person. Despite my choice to purchase more expensive meat, I’ve still saved substantially over eating out, and that’s what works for me. :)
Start with the dressing so the flavors have a bit of time to blend. Combine 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, (about 2 limes), 1 Tbsp fish sauce, 1.5 Tbsp grated fresh ginger, and 1/2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce. If you don’t have chili garlic sauce (or sambal oelek), you can add a minced clove of garlic and some red pepper flakes. Fish sauce is a main flavor here, so it can not be substituted. You should be able to find fish sauce in the ethnic food aisle of most major grocery stores, at some health food stores, or at ethnic markets.
Next, cook 1 lb. of ground pork (or turkey) with 1/2 Tbsp canola oil and one clove of minced garlic. Sauté the ground pork in a large non-stick skillet until it’s cooked through (about five minutes). Avoid over cooking the pork as you want to make sure it stays moist and tender for the salad. Drain off any excess fat and allow it to cool slightly.
Once mostly cooled, transfer to a large bowl and pour the dressing over top. Stir to combine.
While the pork is cooking/cooling, peel and shred one carrot. You can use a large holed cheese grater for this, a spiralizer, or mandolin. Thinly slice 1/2 of a small red onion, and pull the leaves from about 1/4 bunch of cilantro.
Add the carrot, onion, cilantro, and 1/2 cup unsalted PEANUTS (sorry, I forgot the peanuts in the photos) to the seasoned meat.
Stir the salad to combine. And that’s it! (adjustments can be made to the dressing even at this point if it’s not where you like it).
I served my Nam Sod over a bed of rice because I wanted to really bulk it up, but a lot of people eat it over greens or inside lettuce wraps. I made sure to get a little bit of the dressing from the bottom of the bowl to drizzle over the rice. MMMmmmm.
I <3 Thai flavors.
P.S. Shout out to my hair stylist, Amy, who has been telling me about the Nam Sod she makes at home for AGES and making me finally want to go try it myself. ;)
We’ve seen many, many Star Wars / Calvin and Hobbes mashups in the past, but Brian Kesinger‘s versions are certainly better than most. That might be due to the fact that he’s a story artist at Walt Disney animation studios and an artist for Marvel Comics.
Check out more illustrations from his The Force Awakens series below.
A photo posted by briankesinger (@briankesinger) on
A photo posted by briankesinger (@briankesinger) on
A photo posted by briankesinger (@briankesinger) on
A photo posted by briankesinger (@briankesinger) on
We featured the brilliant Calvin and Hobbes / Star Wars mashups by Disney and Marvel artist Brian Kesinger earlier this week, but his latest one is the best of the bunch in my opinion.
Check it out below (spoiler warning).
Thank you all so much for the amazing response to this series, I hope you had as much fun looking at them as I did drawing them. out of respect for the copyrights of the original character creators, these will not be sold as prints or tee shirts. (Sorry). To all the new people who have discovered my page over the last couple of days, stay tuned for a fun mix of fanart, mashups and original work. Cheers! #starwars #calvinandhobbes #hanandleia #kyloren
A photo posted by briankesinger (@briankesinger) on
There’s something almost magical about an upside down cake. The fruit begins to fuse into the cake as it bakes, but the flavors are kept gloriously distinct as well. It makes you want to dance with happiness as you take a bite. That is, if you’re one for dancing.
Pears make an especially good upside down cake—they have an almost custard-like taste and texture. The hint of spice in this cake batter adds a touch more depth of flavor.
Here’s the step-by-step process to making this fabulous cake!
The ingredients you’ll need: pears, maple sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and cream of tartar.
Butter a round cake pan and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together some maple sugar and melted butter.
Spread this in the bottom of the cake pan.
Peel, core, and slice your pears.
Arrange the pear slices over the butter/sugar mixture in the pan. I’m so good at arranging pears perfectly. NOT.
Cream the remaining maple sugar and butter until light and fluffy. This should take about 5 minutes.
Add the egg yolks…
And vanilla extract.
Mix it all together!
Whisk together the dry ingredients.
Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and mix.
Add the milk and beat.
Add the second half of the flour mixture and mix again.
In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together until stiff peaks form.
Gradually and gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
Spread the batter over the pears in the pan.
Bake in an oven that’s been preheated to 325 degrees F for about 40-50 minutes, or until the cake is browned and it springs back when lightly touched. Let it cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes.
After the cake has cooled a bit, invert it onto a serving plate (or cake stand, if you’re feeling fancy).
I brought this cake to my husband and his co-workers for 3:00 break (which is totally a thing). My sister provided homemade eggnog. I was late because I decided it would be easier to hand-whip the cream to go on top rather than wash the beaters for my hand mixer. Logic, that. Anything to avoid washing dishes!
My husband commented that he particularly liked the parts where the pear caramelized around the edges of the cake.
This cake is really best eaten warm from the oven with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Make it extra fancy by sprinkling it with some freshly grated nutmeg. You could even make a custard sauce to pour over the top. Delightful.
December is such a sneaky month. Every year, it rolls in from out of nowhere and surprises me. Somehow I’d like to figure out a way to slooooow it down though, so I can enjoy every little bit of it. Ahhhhhh….December.
And with a new month, comes another Michaels Makers challenge…..and this month was of course, Christmas themed! All of the Michaels Makers received a different theme and mine was — Simple Hostess Gift Ideas. Oh hello, in case you haven’t met me, my name is Ashley and I have a special LOVE for quick projects….so I was excited about this challenge (plus, it would also help me cross some names off my gift list! :) )
As I started thinking about what I would make, I started thinking about hostess gifts that I would actually be really excited to receive……and USE!!!! So, that’s when I came up with these 3 ideas —
Okay, and I know this post is packed with pictures and normally I don’t try and fit 3 separate ideas into 1 post, but we were challenged to come up with 3 ideas……so they are QUICK to make and actually really FUN! And I also think that hostess and neighbor/friend gifts can definitely overlap, so I think these would be great for anyone on your list!
First up — and the most simple of all 3, Etched Wooden Spoons. Yep, you read that right…..those letters are burned right into the wood of those spoons! There are so many ideas that you could use to make your spoons unique….and I’m telling you, once you start etching with a wood burning tool, you’ll be hooked.
The words are actually etched into the back of each spoon and will never fade or wash away. This is a such a fun personalized gift that any hostess (or friend/neighbor/etc) would love….especially if you paired it with some new kitchen towels or maybe an apron!
The next hostess gift idea is something that I have REALLY been wanting to make and I thought, “hey this would be a fun hostess gift too!”…….so I added it to today’s gift ideas and finally made some ‘Engraved Home State Coasters’. So yes, every state we’ve lived together as a married couple/family, made its way onto a coaster. So, this actual set isn’t one I’m giving away….but I have extra wood slices to make more! (And as a bonus, my kids think it’s a geography game!)
These are made with thick pre-cut slices of basswood and are so earthy and perfect! You could make your hostess a set of matching coasters from the state she’s in now, or figure out the places she has lived and add those to some coasters. Such a fun conversation starter too, am I right?? :)
The last hostess gift idea is something you could give to anyone—–your neighbor, a co-worker, a friend, a guy, a girl……anyone would love this! Plus, it takes 2 seconds to make and doesn’t cost much at all!
I made each of these butter flavors in 1/2 cup portions and put them in these cute little jars and printed out some labels for the top (labels included below). I’m not sure which one is my favorite but my kids can’t get enough of the Cinnamon Honey Butter. But the Sweet Cranberry Butter is perfect for holiday time and is just—yum! But oh, if you prefer a savory spread (or want something to accompany your dinner)……that Parmesan Garlic Butter will knock your socks off!
Each of the butters are whipped, so it’s light and easier to spread but still carries a lot of flavor with each bite! Now, just layer some of this stuff on hot bread and OH MY WORD!!!!!!…..Yum. (If you want to make this gift even better, pair it up with some homemade bread. But, with it being holiday time……..it’s totally fine to grab some from the bread store. Permission granted. ;) )
Wow, so many ideas floating around in this post…….but you could make all 3 ideas in one afternoon. Or whip some up with friends!
Okay, onto the first idea—
Flavored Whipped Butters
I made 3 different flavors and all are equally simple. I purchased the 4-ounce crystal jelly jars from Michaels….and they’re the perfect size for these recipe sizes. I’ll share the ingredient lists first and then below that, will share how quickly they come together.
—> SWEET CRANBERRY WHIPPED BUTTER
—> CINNAMON HONEY WHIPPED BUTTER
—> PARMESAN GARLIC WHIPPED BUTTER
If you only make one of the butter flavor recipes, you’ll notice that there’s only 1/2 cup of butter. If you try and whip 1/2 cup of butter in a mixer, it won’t whip because it’s too small of an amount and the beater can’t reach it. (Unless you use a hand mixer or a smaller food processor, etc.) So, I mixed all 3 butter amounts together (1 1/2 cups)….and then divided into 3 portions after whipping the butter.
Turn your mixer on high and start whipping your room temperature butter. After whipping a minute or two, you’ll notice that the butter will start to lighten in color and will look like it’s increasing in amount. This is good….that means air is being added to the butter, making it light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl occasionally and continue to beat on high until fully whipped.
Now, divide your butter into 3 bowls and then add their different ingredients.
Hand mix until well blended (refer to the images above) and then place each flavor combination into the 4-ounce jelly jars.
I added labels to the top of my jars that you’re welcome to use, HERE. (I printed mine out on brown card stock.)
Okay, next hostess gift idea —
Engraved Wooden Spoons
Print out whatever word you want on your spoons, and flip the words in your Word document to be mirror image. Cut out your word and place face down and tape in place onto the spoon, to hold it in place.
Use a pen or pencil and trace around your lettering, nice and hard……creating an outline of your word on the wood.
Peel back the paper and you’ll see some of the printer ink transferred onto the wood. That’s good….it will help the outline show up a little better.
Heat up your wood burner tool with the diagonal tip attached……and BE CAREFUL!!! This tool gets HOT!!! Now, grab some scrap wood and practice a bit. It takes some time to get the hang of it but just remember, it doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect. Just go with it….and love it!
I found it easiest to burn around the edges of each of your letters and then filling the extra space when needed.
Now repeat with your other spoons.
Now, this is completely optional but these were very inexpensive spoons and didn’t have much color to them. And wooden spoons that haven’t been used yet look a little dry. So to help warm up the color and improve the look a bit, I rubbed Fractionated Coconut Oil onto each spoon. (I have the oil on hand for dry skin and such but it worked well on the wood. You can also use a wood conditioner or beeswax or mineral oil, if you have some.)
I put the oil just on the upper corner, to show you how it really changes the warmth of the wood. Looks a little more worn and soft.
And now, the 3rd hostess gift idea…
Engraved Wood Slice Coasters
To get a silhouette shape of your desired state, google your state name and then copy/paste into a Word document. Then, print out the size you need and trace onto your wood coasters, the same way as the wooden spoons from up above. I added each of the hearts in the location that we lived in each of those states…..but you can leave them off if you’d prefer.
Then, cut out a piece of felt that’s slightly smaller than your coaster and hot glue it to the bottom of your coaster. (This is keep it from possibly scratching any of your surfaces.)
Lastly, apply a layer of polyurethane to your coaster, to keep the wood from warping if it gets wet.
And that’s it! 3 gift ideas for you to whip right up and tell your hostess “Thanks!”…….or for anyone else you know, to show them you care!
Check out with the other Michaels Makers have been making:
The post Simple HOSTESS GIFT IDEAS: (flavored butters, engraved coasters and spoons) appeared first on Make It and Love It.
If you asked me what my favorite dessert is, I might just tell you that it’s a bowl of ripe berries or peaches with a HUGE dollop of whipped cream on top. So huge of a dollop that it might not even be called a dollop anymore. But the point is, the gloriousness of freshly whipped cream cannot be understated. It’s simple, has the most luxurious lightness to it, and boasts a heavenly sweet cream flavor that can’t be beat.
I understand that convenience is a huge part of our lives in the kitchen, but for me, canned aerosol whipped cream and the frozen tubbed stuff will never hold a candle to freshly whipped cream. Plus, homemade whipped cream is so darn easy to make.
Today I’m going to share four different ways to make it. Let’s start with my favorite way.
To get started, pour the heavy whipping cream into a large bowl.
Now it’s time to add your sugar.
Generally, I prefer to use granulated sugar over confectioner’s, because the cornstarch present in the confectioner’s sugar makes whipped cream slightly gritty. (This is another reason I prefer to hand-whip cream, because you can’t use granulated sugar with the stand mixer method, which I’ll explain more about later.)
Lastly, add in a splash of vanilla extract. You can also use other flavorings or sweet alcohols like Amaretto or Frangelico.
When you first start whisking, the heavy cream will form very large bubbles on top.
Over the next minute or two of whisking, those large bubbles will disappear and you’ll see the cream thicken up, with ridge trails left by the whisk.
Even though it looks thick, you can tell it’s still too runny.
After another minute or so of whisking, it’s perfect, and has reached soft peaks.
You can test for soft peaks by lifting the whisk straight out of the bowl, flipping it over, and seeing that the dollop of whipped cream falls ever so slightly to the side. It’s now ready to be used!
You can use granulated sugar for this method and it will dissolve just fine as you whip the cream.
One minor downside to this method is the whipped cream will not be as even as the hand-whipped cream. You’ll notice larger bubbles at the beginning of the whipping process than with the hand-whipped cream, and toward the end, you may notice part of the cream has reached soft peaks while the cream is more liquid underneath. You can mitigate this by using a relatively low speed throughout the whipping process.
As with the hand mixer, try to use lower speeds with the stand mixer, so you get a more even whip.
Fill a jar halfway full with heavy cream, and add confectioner’s sugar and vanilla.
Shake the jar for a couple of minutes until it thickens into whipped cream, watching carefully that you don’t over-shake the cream into butter.
This method is a bit of an arm workout, and you have to be careful about monitoring the thickness of the cream. However, it can be a fun way for kids to help out in the kitchen.
That’s it! The method you prefer is a matter of personal taste, but no matter the method, homemade whipped cream is always worth the effort. Enjoy!
Snickers Layer Cake is a candy lover’s perfect cake. Layers of chocolate, caramel and peanut butter nougat frosting combine to make an unforgettable dessert.
We really need to work on becoming a society that celebrates more than just life changing, physically demanding accomplishments.
Like I understand that marathon running is having “a moment” right now, but can we talk about how much Halloween candy I can eat without getting sick?
Or the fact that I’ve binge watched all of the best shows on Netflix? Or my impressive collection of handbags? Can’t any of that that count for SOMETHING? Not all accomplishments look like muscular calves and rock hard abs, after all.
I might be squishy, but I’ve always got chocolate in my purse and I can give you the latest on the Blake Shelton/Gwen Stefani drama. And that has to count for something in this world.
For the record, I am not a fan of the Blake and Gwen romance. Doesn’t anyone stop to BREATHE after a divorce?
Do we all just run around dating all willy nilly these days? For the love, people – this isn’t HIGH SCHOOL. Take a moment to get your crap together and maybe take up a new hobby. Knitting is always useful – people love scarves! Or woodworking? There’s something to be said for a hand-carved elephant sculpture. But immediately stepping out with the Hollaback girl? Maybe not the best route to emotional stability.
Speaking of my many accomplishments, let’s talk about this cake that I carefully created. It’s layers of chocolate cake with peanut butter nougat frosting, caramel, peanuts, and chocolate ganache.
If a Snickers bar’s fairy godmother visited and transformed it to a magical dessert, this would probably be it. And you don’t want to miss out on that, do you?
Of course not.
You can also find this Snickers Layer Cake recipe on Food Fanatic, where I am a regular contributor of all things sweet.
In the narrative of the piece, Vader has taken up photography as a hobby and floats the camera and releases the shutter using the Force.
photos via Pawel Kadysz