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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 03/14/12

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

DIY COFFEE FILTER EASTER BASKETS!

   This diy comes from www.auntpeaches.com .  These would make a great decorative touch for your table with some really nice looking eggs that you've created for Easter.


Coffee Filter Easter Baskets in Bloom




Buck teeth: Check.

Cotton tail: Check.

Easter basket: Check.

The Easter bunny has come to town. Woot! Woot!

OK, can we just agree that Easter is the best holiday?

Second only to National Root Beer Float Day, perhaps.

And Lola’s birthday, of course.

And the day the dollar store restocks.

That is, indeed, a truly a extraordinary day.



The best part about Easter hoopla has got to be Easter baskets.

Chocolate. Chickens. Glittering Eggs. Toys. Socks.

Did your mother put socks in your Easter basket?

Mine sure did.

One time someone gave me a basket with teal blue press-on fingernails.

Obviously, it was awesome.

Another time I gave someone an Easter basket with a bottle of Jack Daniels dressed as a bunny.

Get it? It was a Jack Rabbit. Haha.

OK, OK, OK, it seemed funnier when I was 23. I guess everything seems funny when you’re 23. Then again, hard liquor dressed as a small furry animal is always going to be pretty friggin nifty.




Must give credit where credit is due, I got the idea for these baskets from these other baskets at World Market. Their baskets look sort of like large felt daisies. Very cute. Decided that instant I was going to make something similar, but, as much as I like them, something about felt feels very wintery to me, so I used coffee filters instead. Guess I use coffee filters for everything. Someone less lazy than me should try making these from fabric or junk mail or something. Post it and let me know how it works out.




Materials
  • 12 yellow coffee filters*
  • 3 green coffee filters
  • 1 disposable bowl. Paper cups and tupperware containers work great too.
  • 10" plastic coated electronic chord (mine came from my old telephone....I'll bet you have something laying around the house that will get the job done!
  • Hot glue**
* You can dye coffee filters many ways. If you can dye eggs, you can dye coffee filters the same way. You can also just dunk them in a bowl that is 1 part acrylic paint to 9 parts water. Or use markers. Decide fir yourself. Quantity will vary, depending on the size of the base container.

**You can swap hot glue for white glue and use clothespins to clamp in place as it dries, but hot glue is easier. I'll do a kid-friendly version of this without hot glue on Wednesday. Stay tuned.







Use two coffee filters to cover the edges of the bowl, then fold and snip jagged edges along the rim of any remaining filters, similar to cutting snowflakes. I like to cute 3-5 filters at a time.






Separate filters and pinch them them individually, forming loose fan shapes. Use hot glue to adhere to the inner rim of the bowl.





After completing the inner rim of the bowl, flip your bowl and repeat along the outer rim. Tip: avoid crushing the petals by flipping the bowl onto a large soup can
Use one of the green coffee filters to cover the bottom of the bowl, forming the base of the flower. Cut the remaining green filters into 1" strips and adhere to the telephone chord. Tuck in some leaves or just for fun.







Place one large yellow filter in the bottom and fill it with candy. Ta Da! You are ready to go!






You could also add a little accent flower if you like. Makes it seem slightly less Easter-ish. Like something you could keep out on your cadenza all year round to gather mail. Man, penny saver coupons never looked so good!







Or be traditional and fill it with eggs. Not as snazzy as chocolate and Jack Daniels but I give you props for being all traditional and stuff.






Come back on Wednesday and I'll show you an easy, kid-friendly way to make a little tiny Easter basket like this purple one here. It's so cute, you'll want to eat your hand

TOP 10 UNUSUAL FOOD COMBINATIONS!

   While some people know about these little tricks, the majority do not. These are small tips to help you improve the foods we commonly eat – most are recommended by top chefs and others by very experienced home cooks.



10. Carrots and Sugar








   While it may seem strange to add sugar to vegetables, it is a very common method of preparing carrots in France. The technical term for this dish is Vichy Carrots, in which you combine Carrots, Salt, Pepper, sugar, and Vichy water (a sparkling water from the Vichy region) and cook them down until the carrots are glazed. The sugar heightens the flavor of the carrots and the end result is a stunning dish of brilliantly orange vegetables.



9. Coffee and Salt







   Add a touch of salt to coffee to heighten the flavor – this is a very common use of salt as it is used in virtually all dishes (including sweet dishes served for pudding). Just a pinch is enough to make a brilliant espresso.



8. Tomatoes and Sugar





Use sugar, not salt. Tomatoes are already acidic and the addition of salt just increases that acidic flavor. Sugar sweetens and increases the tomato flavor. Tomatoes are fruits after all.



7. Chocolate and Coffee







   When baking with chocolate, add a little coffee – it strengthens the chocolate flavor without adding a strong coffee flavor.



6. Meat and Aniseed





   When stewing meat, throw in a star anise – you can’t taste the aniseed but the flavor adds a deep richness to the meat. This is a trick used in all meat dishes by Heston Blumenthal the owner of the Fat Duck (3 Michelin stars) – voted the world’s best restaurant for three years in a row.



5. Cooking tomatoes and Foliage






   Throw in a tomato branch – the branch contains all of the flavor that we love in tomatoes – pick a leaf and smell it and you will see what I mean. Simply throw in a small stick of the tomato plant and it will give your cooked tomatoes a much stronger tomato flavor.



4. Potatoes and Nutmeg






   Add nutmeg – just a little – it adds a depth to the potatoes that people won’t recognize, but will definitely like. This is true of virtually every potato dish.



3. Chili and Chocolate







Add chocolate to chili. It deepens the meaty flavor of the chili while giving a strong base note to the peppers. This is a trick well known in the South where Chili bake-offs are common.



2. Apples and Vanilla






   Apples are very acidic and normally require some sugar in their cooking. Most people add nutmeg or cinnamon to their apple dishes, but vanilla extract adds a deep layer of flavor that most people won’t recognize but will certainly appreciate.



1. Strawberries and Pepper




   Strawberries (fresh) are usually served with a sprinkling of confectioners sugar, but the addition of very finely ground pepper (from fresh corns) heightens the flavor.

ST. URHO'S DAY FROM MINNESOTA!!




    The legend of St. Urho originated in Northern Minnesota in the 1950's. However, there are differing opinions as to whether it began with the fables created by Sulo Hvumaki of Bemidji, or the tales told by Richard Mattson of Virginia. Either way, the legend has grown among North American of Finnish descent to the point where St. Urho is know celebrated across the United States and Canada, and even in Finland.
St. Urho's Day is celebrated on March 16th, the day prior to the better known feast of some minor saint from Ireland, who was alleged to have driven the snakes from that island.
    The legend of St. Urho say he chased the grasshoppers out of ancient Finland, thus saving the grape crop and the jobs of Finnish vineyard workers. He did this by utter the phrase : "Heinasirkka, heinasirkka, men taaita hiteen"! ( roughly translated: " Grasshopper, grasshopper, go to Hell"!). His feast is celebrated by wearing the colors Royal Purple and Nile Green. St. Urho is nearly always represented with grapes and grasshoppers as part of the picture.





The Origin of St. Uhro
    The legend of St. Urho, is not the product of one person, but of many. The original character is usually traced to Virginia, MInnesota, but like most good legends, there have been many voices in creating the history of S. Urho.
    St. Urho was created by Richard Mattson, who worked at Ketola's Department Store in Virginia, Minnesota. Mattson is generally creadited with conjuring up a Finnish courterpart to St. Patrick in the spring of 1956. Just as Patrick had driven the snakes from Ireland, Mattson's saint drove a plague of frogs from Finland. There were several Finnish names suggested, but Saint Ero or Saint Jussi, or even Toivo or Eino, just didn't have the correct ring of a saint name. Urho Kekkonen became president of Finland in 1956, and some believe that is where the came came from. Others say that Kekkonen was called "Saint Urho" by the citizens of Finland, and the name was attached to Mattson's legend.





    Gene McCavic took the St. Urho legend and, with help form Mattson, wrote an "Ode to St. Urho". It told of a boy ("poika", Finnish for "boy") named Urho who got strong on sour whole milk ("feelia sour") and fish soup ("kala mojakka"). In the original, Urho chases out "tose Rogs" (those frogs) with his loud voice. The original Ode also celebrates St. Urho's Day as "twenty-fourth of May". The original poem was written on a piece of wrapping paper, and is on display at Ironworld Discovery Center in Chisolm, Minnesota.
    The legend spread, originally across Minnesota to Finnish settlements on the Mesabi Iron Range, and to Menahoga, New York Mills, Wolf Lake, and of course, Finland. St. Urho's Day is now celebrated in towns with Finnish heritage, across Michigan's Upper Peninsula; Thunder Bay, Ontario; Burlington, Vermont; Butte, Montana; and Hood River, Oregon.




   Today, the St. Urho tradition is carried on in many Finnish communities, sometimes as an excuse to add an extra day of rowdy celebration to the St. Patrick's Day festivities. In many Finnish-American communities, however, St. Urho's Day is the celebration, and St. Pat's feast day is merely an afterthought, a day to sleep off the hangover.

Sinikka, St. Urho's Wife, the real hero??

No St. Urho's Day would be complete without, mentioning his wife, Sinikka! Here's the info on her:

    For many years Sinikka's spirit has been watching all these doings; Urho getting all the glory, and Sinkka, lying unknown in dark ruins.
    But now, up from the grave, the spirit of Sinikka has risen! "You know, Urho and I did things together, like a team of oxen"!
   Many people thought that St. Urho wasn't married and needed a wife, but he was married to the shy young maiden, Sinikka, the love of his life!
   And "So what," you ask, "did that Sinikka, St. Urho's wife do?" Why Sinikka did all those things that Urho didn't have the time to!
   It is said Urho chased out all them grasshoppers, almost big as pigs! To save the vines and grapes in the land where all the Finns live.







    Then while Urho was out getting all the honors, many thought him due, Sinikka was at home tending the vines where those grapes, big as figs, grew!
And when they were ripened, Sinikka would call all their twelve kids, to carefully pick off those vines those purple grapes, big as figs!
    Then Sinikka would heat up the sauna fire, so it was good and hot, and threw in the twelve children, bare naked, all in one lot!
   Sinikka scrubbed them all clean from their heads to their toes. Wiped them down dry, and into the big grape barrel they did go!
   "Now, stomp, jump, and play on those purple grapes, big as figs"! Sinikka told all the twelve children, from the little one to the big!
    So much fun they did have, all those happy children at play, and so much grape juice was ready by the end of the day.
   That it was then coming out so fast that Sinikka had to build a dam, to store the juice 'til she could make it into jellies and jam!





    So you see whil Urho was getting his sainthood many thought him due, Sinikka was at home doing all the chores, which were not just a few!
   Sinikka pounded their clothes clean on the shores of the great Spirit Lake, Sinikka ground up the grain for the loaves of rye bread she baked.
   From Sinikka's garden they dug up vegetables to store in the cellar, so the family could eat with rye bread, pottuja and mojakka all winter!
   Then Sinikka had to reap the bees' harvest and sell some honey, to buy the yard goods and shoe leather, as they cost money!
    Sinikka then taught the six girls how to sew all the family clothes, and to trim the skirts and shirts nicely with braids and bows.
   Sinikka showed the boys how to cut and stitch all the family shoes, and keep them in good condition for the whole family to use.
    Sinikka milked the cows and made the feelia sour, she gathered the eggs, and from the sheep's wool, Sinnikka spun and knitted leggings for all of their legs!
    So, you see, while St. Urho has been getting all the glory for so many years, it's time to honor Sinikka, she stood by him through blood, sweat, and tears!
    Goodhearted, kind, and very hardworking was that Sinikka, wife of St. Urho, and it was said by many that maybe Sinikka was the real sainted hero!
    But nobody wanted to honor a woman, though a deserving Finn, and give sainthood to someone whose name started with "Sin"!