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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hallowe'en Treat Holders -- All 154 of them!

Well, we got them done!

Here's a picture of 154 empty treat tubes:






And, here they all are, filled with yummy treats!  They'll hold two fun-sized candies plus one mini, or four minis.






There's a "video" of how to make the treat holders on my Youtube site. 

Will let you all know if we run out of these!

Happy Hallowe'en!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Easy dinner for a cool night.

Normally one doesn't think of fondue as easy, but this recipe is totally easy ('cause it cheats) and is easy to vary.

Here's the original recipe, from an old Campbell's Soup Cookbook:

Technically this serves 4, but mi esposo and I barely manage to have any left over.

1 clove garlic cut in half crosswise
1 cup white wine
1 can Campbell's Cheddar Cheese soup
2 cups of fairly well packed grated cheddar cheese (we use Tillamook Extra Sharp)
3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 small round of sourdough bread, cut into "mouth-sized" squares, making sure there's crust on one side.

Special equipment:  fondue pot and fondue forks (not essential, but it makes it official), small can of sterno.

Rub the garlic over the inside of the pot and discard.

Stir the cornstarch into the grated cheddar cheese and set by the stove.

Add the wine and the can of soup to the pot, whisk to combine and bring to a simmer.  Once you see little bubbles around the edge of the liquid, stir in handfuls of the cheddar cheese-cornstarch combination, using a wooden spoon (or a heatproof spatula).  Let each handful melt into the soup-wine mixture before adding the next.

When everything is combined and smooth, remove the pot from the heat and set on the fondue stand.  Light the sterno and keep a low flame under the pot.

Pierce a cube of bread through the crust with the fondue fork and swirl through the fondue; let drip back into the pot, letting the fondue cool a bit on the bread.  Insert into mouth, let eyes roll into the back of your head, and repeat.


Other yummy things to dip into the fondue:  tart apples, cubed; just fork-tender pieces of broccoli and cauliflower.

If there is any leftover fondue, it easily reheats.  You may need to add a bit of wine to thin it.  It also makes a tasty spread on crackers in its chilled state.

CTF's variation:

2 cloves of garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
1 cup white wine
1 can Campbell's Cheddar Cheese soup
2 cups of fairly well packed grated cheddar cheese (we use Tillamook Extra Sharp)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Minimum of 1 small can of chopped green chiles (or about 1/4 cup of diced freshly roasted green chiles) 
                  OR
2-3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely minced.

1 small round of sourdough bread, cut into "mouth-sized" squares, making sure there's crust on one side.

Special equipment:  fondue pot and fondue forks (not essential, but it makes it official), small can of sterno.


Stir the cornstarch into the grated cheddar cheese and set by the stove.

Place the garlic, wine and the can of soup to the pot, whisk to combine and bring to a simmer.  Once you see little bubbles around the edge of the liquid, stir in handfuls of the cheddar cheese-cornstarch combination, using a wooden spoon (or a heatproof spatula).  Let each handful melt into the soup-wine mixture before adding the next.

When everything is combined and smooth, add the green chiles (or chipotle chiles) and heat through.  Remove the pot from the heat and set on the fondue stand.  Light the sterno and keep a low flame under the pot.

Pierce a cube of bread through the crust with the fondue fork and swirl through the fondue; let drip back into the pot, letting the fondue cool a bit on the bread.  Insert into mouth, let eyes roll into the back of your head, and repeat.

Other yummy things to dip into the fondue:  tart apples, cubed; just fork-tender pieces of broccoli and cauliflower.

If there is any leftover fondue, it easily reheats.  You may need to add a bit of wine to thin it.  It also makes a tasty spread on crackers in its chilled state.

Leave a comment and let me know if you tried the recipe.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Repurposing tissue boxes

Have you noticed how pretty the boutique-sized tissue boxes are?  The graphics on the boxes are striking -- even the ones from the warehouse stores.

I started saving the boxes, thinking "there must be something I can do with these" (famous last words).

One day, I pulled one out and stared at it and noticed (I mean really noticed) that there was a nicely shaped oval cut-out in the top and a lot of other useful decorated paper (more like lightweight chipboard) on the other sides.  So, I took it apart at the flaps and then dismantled it by cutting on the fold lines.

The size of the top was pretty square with the two sides parallel to the long side of the oval having a bit more space between the edge of the oval and the edge of the paper, so I trimmed off a bit on those two sides -- made it look a bit more proportional to me.

The oval edge was a little rough (having been perforated for the bit you remove to get to the tissues), so I distressed it further.  Then I pulled out some solid colored cardstock that coordinated with the colors in the tissue box and an ink pad and a focal point stamp that would fit nicely in the oval, and a card was born!

The weight of the tissue box "paper" is pretty heavy, but the Nestabilities dies do work with it.  I haven't tried it with the Sizzix dies, yet, but will shortly, as I punched squares out of the smaller pieces that I will "quilt" together in a patchwork and run it through with the Top Note die for a background element.

I recently made one of my "movies" showing the steps I go through to dismantle the tissue box and make a card with the top part.  It's on my YouTube channel.

Have you ever repurposed a tissue box?  What did you do with it?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A second life for toilet paper tubes and chopstick wrappers

Do any of you save stuff to use in your crafting projects?

I do a little...right now I have large bags full of toilet paper (TP) tubes that I have been saving since last Hallowe'en.  Last year I got the "brilliant" idea to make treat containers, rather than buying the little sacks to hold 3 or 4 mini candies (like Snickers, etc.).  I used the decorative waxed paper from Michaels and Hallowe'en paper I found on sale and 85 tubes later had something pretty cute.    We actually ran out, DH had to run to store for more candy.  We ended up with nearly 100 kids!  So since then we have been diligently saving TP tubes and paper towel tubes (as back up), and even got some TP tubes from friends.

I have all the decorative paper and decorative waxed paper cut out and have started making the treat holders.  There's a short video on my YouTube channel, if you'd like to see how it's done.

I also save chopstick wrappers, if they have an interesting graphic.  One of our local sushi places has a wrapper that has green and red colors on it and the text "Oh Happy Day".  I have a stamp with the Chinese character for happiness and a stash of origami and other Asian papers.  When I get a wrapper or two, then I make cards, triming the wrapper to fit the card, backing it with some red or green paper and applying the stamp.  Easy card, looks pretty cute, and it goes to the Soldiers' Angels group in my town.  They collect all kinds of hand made cards, sorted by theme and holiday, and send out boxes to the troops 6-8 weeks in advance of the holiday (usually always mixing in some general cards for birthdays, thinking of you, congratulations, etc.).

Then there are the boutique-sized tissue boxes.  But that's another story.