Friday, November 30, 2012

homemade fire starters {diy}

i love the chill of winter
the scent of snow
chimney smoke

no matter my hurry
a crackling fire
shifts me to pause
...if only briefly

i repurpose 
simple household items
to make these
useful goodies
fire starters
paper egg cartons
dryer lint
cotton kitchen twine
bees wax or leftover candle bits

place the wax/candles in an old can or jar with a wide mouth and place in a saucepan with water filled so it comes about halfway up the jar.  place over low to medium heat, to indirectly melt the wax.
meanwhile.  cut the top off the egg carton, and then cut the egg cups apart. tightly pack lint into each cup, leaving a bit of headroom, so you can close the tops, but folding the corners in.  tie into a bundle using kitchen twine, allow for a fairly long wick, so you can use it to dip the cup into the wax. 
once the wax is liquid, dip each cup into it, allow it to be fully immersed.  i use disposable chop sticks or skewers to shimmy the cup, to make sure it is fully covered.  lay on wax or kitchen paper to cool.  once cool, trim wick and you are ready to go!

*the wax is used to keep the starters waterproof...which is great for campers and hunters.  if you will be using the firestarter in your home, you may not want to add this step.  i always do, because i love the smell of beeswax
**if you really jam pack these with lint, they will burn for 10 minutes or so and smolder for quite some time as well. i find it enough time to get the kindle lit and the logs on their way...

Monday, November 19, 2012

snow globe cupcakes

i love snow globes
when i see grand collections
a tinge of envy
bubbles up
like plastic snowflakes
in a whirl
settling calm
the last thing i need
 another collection

unless of course
we are talking
like these little darlings

an incredibly simple project
perfect for
your holiday table
snow globe cupcakes
1 recipe of your favorite cupcake baked and cooled
1 recipe of your favorite frosting
1 dozen plastic clear christmas balls
like these
i picked mine up at michaels 
cupcake toppers 
(deer, trees, house in the woods...
whatever your fancy)

using a sharp scissor or craft knife, cut the top off the ornament
like so
wash and dry the "globe" then sprinkle some of the edible glitter in the bottom.  swirl it around.  most of the glitter will stick, what doesn't will fall to the cupcake when you invert.  if you want lots of "snow" in the globe, brush a bit of vodka on the inside of the globe, swirl the glitter.  it will stick well, and the vodka will evaporate, eliminating any unwanted moisture.  
frost the cupcake as you normally would, place your decorations on top, and carefully invert the globe over the top.  
finish with a little bow

linking to

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Simple Nut Tart

dinner parties
stump me

being trained in pastry
there is a certain expectation
dessert will be served
it will be from scratch
not a problem
(particlarly when preparing
a full and complicated dinner)
i don't want to finish
with a
substantial & heavy dessert

a simple nut tart
served with
strong coffee
paired with 
a bowl of clementines
is just the trick

 Simple Nut Tart
1 pastry crust, pressed into an 8" square tart tin--baked blind
1 cups walnut--toasted
1 1/2 cups pecans--toasted
1 cup almonds--toasted
1/2 cup pine nuts--toasted
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbs honey
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup water
1 oz whiskey
preheat oven to 350. place all nuts in a large bowl and mix until well combined.  put brown sugar, granulated sugar, honey salt and water in a heavy saucepan.  stir well, place on medium heat and bring to a simmer.  allow to boil for about 3 minutes.  carefully add the whiskey and bring back to a boil.  boil for 2 more minutes.  the sugar should get a bit syrupy, but should not smoke or turn excessively dark.  keep a constant eye on the sugar.  remove the sugar from heat and tip in the nuts.  stir well, giving each nut a coat of syrup.  immediately tip into the baked crust, gently and spreading to cover the entire crust. pop into the oven for 5-7 minutes. remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.

-add orange juice in place of some water in caramel; a pinch of orange zest & a sprinkle of cinnamon to the nuts
-the addition of fresh rosemary when stirring the nuts into the caramel (light hand) make for a beautiful winter tart
--drizzle with bittersweet chocolate or drench in dark ganache
-substitute vanilla for whiskey
-be creative!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

its on like donkey kong.....jack

we were a bit behind
the '8-ball'
this year for halloween

one hour before we were meant to
pass out candy

hubs and i were still talking about

we usually go
over the top
fancy make-up
extravagant costumes
and the like

this year
we just raided
hubster's closet

added a bit of facial hair
some props

hubs played banjo
trick or treaters
while i
 valuable advice
"pretty tires are for sissy rednecks"
"there are two kinds of people in this world, the educated and unducated"
hubster as a foggy bottom boy --i'm si robertson 
(of duck dynasty fame)

I hope everyone had a safe and happy halloween!


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