Halloween-Themed Snacks

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Hello my Halloween-y Hackers!

One of my very favorite things to do each Halloween is to make yummy treats. Well, I like doing that year-round but it’s most fun at Halloween. To me, there’s something deeply satisfying about making a hot dog look like a bloody finger. So this week, I wanted to share some fun recipes and tips for making your Halloween party treats the talk of the night.

One thing I make every year (both at Halloween and Christmas) is soft sugar cookies with either a buttercream or royal icing. My recipe for the cookies is from my Hy-Vee Employee Cookbook (courtesy of the lovely Linda Myers of Mt. Ayr), included below, and the buttercream icing that I favor is Wilton’s recipe, found here. Royal icing can be whipped up from a box mix from the store (Michael’s will almost always carry it). This recipe is best for rolled & cut-out cookies. Decorate how every you like. A big tip though is that royal icing works best for cookies you’ll need to transport. Royal icing will harden and your designed cookies will not get destroyed in transit. Buttercream pairs with the soft sugar cookies better because the frosting does not harden. So really, it’s a choice for you which would work best for you and your situation.

Another fun and easy thing to put out for a party is a party mix. This is easy and inexpensive to make (or if you really have a time crunch, you can buy bags of pre-made Chex Mix). Then it’s as easy as adding a little Halloween themed candy to the mix. I prefer candy corn or the pumpkins but you can also use orange and brown M&M’s or Reese’s Pieces. Harvest Hash Chex Mix recipe on Pinterest can be found here.

Other fun finger foods to try out are Deviled eggs, Halloween pretzels, Rice Krispie treat pumpkins, and Ghost Strawberries.

If you are having a smaller soiree with a sit-down dinner, a wonderful dish to serve is Eyeball Pasta (recipe found here). You can also find some fun and frightful ideas for dinners here.

If you want something to set out that is of the healthier snack variety, a simple veggie tray can be set out and arranged in fun designs. There is a Jack’O’Lantern pattern found here and a lovely owl design found here.

As always, imagination is key in your food creations. See that can of black olives? So easy to turn it into black spiders that can be put on top of a pizza with just a few slices of a knife. Those pretzel sticks? A little white almond bark drizzled across them makes them mummy sticks. With that imagination, your Halloween party can be filled with feisty food and tantalizing treats.

~Scribe Sarah~

 

Soft Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 c. margarine

1 egg

1 c. sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 c. thick sour cream

3 1/4 c. flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Cream margarine, egg, sugar and vanilla for 2 minutes. Add sour cream and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Do no chill; roll out and cut. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes.


Miniature Jewelry

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It’s well  documented how much I love jewelry, even thouogh I hardly wear it. 😉 Well I’m back with another artist that makes awesome jewelry; this time of things in miniature.

Design by British artists Milla and Olya of AllimYalo, their jewelry is all hand made replicas of foods and plants in miniature. The detail that they’re able to achieve on such a small scale is just amazing. The fruit pieces show it off the best, imho, but it’s all fabulous work.

You’ll have some shipping time to wait for if you live outside of the UK, but everything is reasonably priced for the excellent craftsmenship that’s gone into it. If you’re looking for early holiday shopping, I recommend giving them a look. 🙂


Making Buttercream Transfer Art

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Baking is sorts my side craft/love that I dabble in when I have time cause it’s like a craft that you can eat if you do well! 😀 So today I want to share a very helpful tutorial I came across that teaches how to make frosting art (that’s NOT made from nasty fondant) and transfer it safely to your cake.

This tutorial comes from the folks at Craftsy and explains not only how to do the technique but where it comes from, why it’s important, and what the best applications are for using it. I personally found this method to be easier then making roses, even though both methods are ones where the creation is being applied to the cake later, and not as you are making it. The supplies you’ll need besides buttercream frosting and food dyes are:

You’ll be printing the image you want to put on your cake backwards to act as your stencil so you’ll want to use that image for color matching as well before you get started. I’d also recommend reading the tutorial in it’s entirety before starting instead of as you go. Nothing worse then getting caught off guard if a tutorial goes a place you weren’t expecting. 🙂


Food from Legos

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I see all kinds of art made from Lego at cons during the year. Mostly mini-figs, but the rare few will even make custom statues/pieces out of Lego during the course of the weekend. With that kind of medium in mind today, I wanted to showcase a Lego artist using the medium to make organic shapes from very geometric pieces.

Inspired by the Japanese practice of using plastic food displays in restaurants, Japanese artist under the name Tary creates almost lifelike food with Lego. Recognized officially by Lego as a Master Builder, Tary uses the medium to make shapes that I honestly didn’t think were possible.

The process to becoming a Master Builder with Lego is similar to classic apprenticeship with different skill markers and milestones being used to identify your skill level. You can also only use official Lego parts. No 3D printing your own. All of Tary’s posts are of course in japanese, but if you’d like to at least follow what they’re working on you can find Tary on Twitter, Flickr, and their official blog.


Stitch N Clay

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The first person to expose me to clay charms for earrings and necklaces is Jackie from Stitch n Clay.  You can thank her for my obsession for little clay trinkets.  I absolutely love everything she makes and seeing her table at Con Bravo did not disappoint me.  I bought quite a few pairs of her earrings and can’t wait to wear them!  Take a look at some of her awesome creations.

 

  

She also creates cute cross stitch creations.  If you would like to see more of her work her etsy can be found here and her facebook can be found here.

-Toni


DIY Independence Day

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I couldn’t forget the 4th of July in the States!  Here are some great DIY crafts to do for Independence Day.

Tori posted an easy tutorial on how to make a t-shirt with a US flag on it that is also fun to make. http://www.thestoribook.com/2013/07/01/diy-july-4th-kids-shirt/

This red, white, and blue banner would make a great decor addition to your home or party.  http://eighteen25.blogspot.com/2014/06/red-white-and-blue-4th-of-july-banner.html?m=1

Her Good Life has 5 awesome 4th of July dessert ideas including a cake that has the American flag baked right in! http://hergoodlife.com/2012/07/5-awesome-4th-of-july-dessert-ideas/

-Toni


DIY Canada Day

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July 1st is Canada day and if you live in Canada you may be looking at crafts to do on Tuesday.  So here are a few crafts you can do yourself or with kids for Canada Day.

Nicole posted an easy tutorial on how to make a t-shirt with a Canada flag on it that is also fun to make. http://busybugs.co/2013/06/diy-canada-day-shirts.html

This Canada Day banner took Rebecca only 30 minutes to make and would be a great decor addition to your home or party.

http://simpleasthatblog.com/2011/07/friday-craft-day-canada-day-banner.html#_a5y_p=615542

Finally I found a recipe for a 5 layer Jello on Food Librarian.  They have it posted for Valentine’s day, but it is a red and white striped recipe that would be perfect for Canada Day!  I think I may make this for the barbeque I am going to on Tuesday.  http://www.foodlibrarian.com/2009/02/valentines-5-layer-finger-jello.html

-Toni

 


Make a Glow in the Dark Cake

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I had a customer come in to Michael’s today to get some different glow stick products to decorate her Glow in the Dark cake.  Yes I said she had a Glow in the Dark cake.  I asked her how that was possible and she proceeded to tell me.

It isn’t a true Glow in the Dark, but it does glow under a black light, so it is pretty darn cool.  It is also edible.  When you are ready to make the icing make sure you have a black light with you to test the glow.  The trick is to use tonic water when you mix your icing to decorate.  Add two tbsp of tonic water to a can of store bought icing (see below for a homemade icing recipe).  Test the glow to see if it is strong enough for you.  If not, add more tonic water.  If you use too much tonic water than your cake icing could have a bitter taste, so make sure you are tasting the icing as you are mixing so you don’t put too much in.

Make your own icing: (courtesy of Ehow): Beat together 1/2 cup shortening and one stick softened butter in a mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of confectioners’ sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 2 tbsp. tonic water. Stir everything together until the frosting has a uniform texture and consistency. This will produce frosting that emits a light blue glow under a black light. If you want to increase the glow, double the amount of tonic water and add enough additional confectioners’ sugar to thicken the frosting to your desired consistency. Add food coloring to the frosting if you wish but remember that the frosting will glow blue regardless of what color it is in regular light.

  

So have fun making your own glow in the dark creation!

-Toni


Semi Sweet Shoppe

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I have said before I absolutely love clay art and miniatures.  I am always on the look for talent with clay to add to my collection.  I found Semi Sweet Shoppe today and was amazed at the talent she has for miniatures.  Specializing in sweets, these miniatures are so lifelike they are just good enough to eat!  But trust me, you wouldn’t want to.

 

 

Her prices are lower than any I have seen for miniatures.  Starting at just $5 the most expensive item in her Etsy shop is just $12 USD.  In addition to earrings, pendants, and rings she also offers hair bows and cute decorative boxes.  Check out her Deviant Art here: http://ninja2of8.deviantart.com/ and her Etsy shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SemiSweetShoppe.

-Toni


The Lost Art of Card Making

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As someone who used to work for Hallmark, I think I can say with some sort of weight that cards have become just a required bit of filler lately in society. We all know that when we give a gift, you must give a card as well. Something funny/sweet/sentimental that sort of reflects your feelings/thoughts on the event happening. Maybe it’s just because of my aforementioned retail employment, but I enjoy handmade cards so much more now than I used to and PossumPip-Creations just takes it to a whole other level. This UK based lady has cards that range from simple fandom related gems, to full out decoupage artworks that I know I would personally treasure/frame should I ever receive one.

Sonic Birthday Card by PossumPip-Creations

Be sure to check out her gallery for more cards and also images of the fan inspired food she has started to make as well. Mmmmmm cake…..

Plants vs. Zombies Cake by PossumPip-Creations