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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 04/29/12

Sunday, April 29, 2012

MAKING CANDY BUTTONS TO DECORATE YOUR SUGAR CONFECTIONS!

 

   This recipe and diy comes from www.whatwillwedotoday.com .  Making them your self is better than buying them from the store and what a better way of making sugar treats than with your children. Good luck!

 

Recipe: Candy Buttons (Candy Dots)



Remember the strips of colored candy dots on paper? You would strip the candy off with your teeth, and end up with just a little bit of paper in your mouth? If you had siblings, you just might nibble the paper into a small weapon? (I wouldn’t do that, of course, but SOMEONE might).
Well, that started me thinking. Wouldn’t it be cool to make candy buttons? Perfect for movie night.
I was lucky I had this idea when I had willing helpers (my beautiful and talented nieces Miranda and Monica). If you are lucky, you will find some willing helpers as well.









You don’t need a lot of ingredients. This picture features several food coloring and extract choices, but really I would think four colors would be fine. You will notice I have parchment paper on this picture. Do NOT use parchment, the dots will fall right off. I ultimately used computer paper from a fresh ream of paper.

Recipe: Candy Buttons

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp Meringue powder (or 2 egg whites)
  • 6 tbsp Water
  • 1/4 tsp Almond extract (use vanilla, lemon, peppermint, coconut for different flavors)
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar (1 pound = 7 cups)
  • decorator bags or sandwich bags (1 for each color)
  • food coloring I used gel, but any kind will do. Four colors is about right)
  • paper cut into 2 3/4" by 10" strips.

Instructions




  • If you are using egg whites, separate the eggs.




  • Perfect. Now you have some egg yolks for....how about lemon curd?




  • Whip together the confectioners' sugar and the egg whites (or meringue powder and water) on low speed for one minute.
  • If you have a stand mixer, this is the time to use it. Your arm will get tired with a hand mixer (although, if you switch hands, you might be able to count it as an exercise).




  • Add the flavoring and about 1/2 of the water. You may wish to add more water later to get this to the right consistency, but start out with a little less then you think you need.




  • Whip mixture for 10 minutes on high speed. If the icing is too thick, think it out with drops of water until it is the consistency of sour cream. A drop should hold it's shape and slowly smooth out to create a smooth button.
  • While the mixer is whipping the icing, cut strips of paper into 2 3/4" by 10" strips.
  • You may want to use a template for candy dots if you wish.




  • If you are using gel paste, you don't need to use much. I used bamboo skewers to get just a dab of the food coloring.




  • Isn't this pretty? Maybe that's why I used bamboo skewers, it just looks so pretty while I am mixing it.




  • This just makes me feel good.




  • Divide the icing into small bowls. One bowl for each color.




  • Pour each color into a decorator bag or sandwich bag and seal.




  • Tip: Put the bag into a glass with the edges folded over the rim to easily fill with icing.




  • Cut a VERY small corner off of each bag.




  • Squeeze a drop of icing at a time onto the paper.




  • You might want to place the strip of paper on top of a template, so you can see where to place each drop evenly.




  • This may seem tedious, but it is actually very satisfying. Very much like popping bubble wrap. Only sweeter.




  • Doesn't this look wonderful? And the candy looks good too!! (Come on. I'm Dear Sweet Aunt Jill. I HAVE to be cheesy).



  • Place the strips on baking sheets in a cool dry place, uncovered, to dry overnight.



  • Once the candy has dried, you can place the strips in a zipper bag or airtight container.



  • You can store the leftover "icing" in the refrigerator in plastic bags.
  • This recipe makes a LOT, and it would sure be a shame to waste any of this....Right?



It is much easier to make these if you have a template underneath the paper. Here is the template I used.
Candy Button Template
Enjoy

10 WEIRD FOOD TO GET YOU IN THE MOOD! (YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!)

   When it comes to libido-boosting foods, you can always expect to find dark chocolate, wine, and oysters topping the list of aphrodisiacs. But if you’re only nibbling your Hershey Bar, you’re just getting warmed up. There is a heady menu ahead filled with passionate edibles that lovers world-wide swear will rev up your romance and enhance your sex life. If you want to save your strawberries for the morning’s corn flakes, you can still give your night some wild flavor with these weird and wonderful aphrodisiacs. Some of the items on this list have featured elsewhere on the site, but this is the first time they are presented together with the new items in a list about lurve!




10. Soup # 5
Rr Soup 5.Jpg



    Strong like a bull is a phrase that attracts some lovers to this four-legged mammal with a notorious temper. In areas of Southeast Asia, a soup (known as soup # 5) composed of onions, carrots, broth and bull’s penis and testicles is a popular dish noted for its aphrodisiac properties. The parts in question are given a good scrubbing and scalded in boiling water for good measure before winding up in an aromatic soup loaded with vegetables. Unlike some truly wild aphrodisiacs that are potentially harmful, bull’s soup is pretty tame by any stretch of the imagination. And while ostrich testicles are said to be tasty, they fall short in the bedroom when compared to the hardy bull variety.




9. Fugu
Fugu



   The sea offers a bounty of strangely arousing aphrodisiacs. One of the weirdest is also one of the deadliest sea creatures known as the blowfish or fugu as it is heralded by Japanese chefs who must be specially licensed to prepare and serve this potentially-deadly delicacy. Studies show that the toxin in these creatures is far more lethal than cyanide. Eating this specially prepared dish causes the mouth to feel numb. As the numb feeling wears off, people remark on a lingering tingling on their lips and inside their cheeks. This tingling is said to greatly promote sexual arousal.




8. Cobra
Cobra Skin



   Clearly, many of the world’s weirdest aphrodisiac dishes come from dangerous animals. Shark fin soup is a notorious aphrodisiac whose popularity is causing shark numbers to drop alarmingly in some waters—particularly in Asia. While hunting shark is no walk in the park, catching cobras for their sweet meat is no sport for shrinking violets either. Snakes have sexual connotations that go back centuries, but eating cobras to enhance sex is a thoroughly contemporary practice in many parts of Asia. In some concoctions cobra blood is mixed with a beverage containing alcohol. Cobra meat is also eaten for its aphrodisiac qualities. Of course, before eating this preparation, it would be wise to know the cook’s credentials first.




7. Bird’s Nest Soup
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   Bird’s nest soup is an Asian delicacy that lovers must pay top dollar to procure. Bird’s nest soup is, indeed, the edible nests made from the saliva of cave-dwelling swifts. The nests are formed along cave walls and are extremely difficult to obtain even by experienced cave wall climbers. Nevertheless, they have been served to royalty and the like for centuries and renowned for their ability to stimulate the libido. The soup is one of the most expensive animal-based dishes in the world; save it for a special anniversary occasion!




6. Caterpillar Fungus
Cordyceps Ophioglossoides 02



   Cordyceps, historically known as caterpillar fungus or dong chong xia cao in China, has been revered in the east as an aphrodisiac extraordinaire. This most extraordinary fungus is a parasite of sorts; it invades the brains of caterpillar larva and grows there eventually replacing native tissue with its own. One can wonder how its aphrodisiac properties were discovered, but this mushroom has been a popular libido-booster for centuries. Today it is actually cultivated so that it can be purchased quite inexpensively unlike many other weird culinary aphrodisiacs. A plate of cordyceps and a glass of champagne could be the making of the Valentine’s night of your life!




5. Spanish Fly

Flyr3



   Some people will do anything for love—even ingest a potentially lethal substance that makes the privates swell up, itch, and secrete a bloody discharge. Ingesting Spanish fly is a famously historic way to stimulate the libido. The Spanish fly, actually a beetle, would be crushed and eaten for a substance it produces called cantharidin. Humans dispel this substance through urine which is how it comes to irritate the genitals. Of course, Spanish fly enthusiasts are lucky if all they get is an itch. A moderate dose can lead to death by causing fever, convulsions, and seizures. Many love shops try to sell Spanish fly potions, but these are, fortunately, mostly imitations that offer a placebo effect. The use of Spanish fly as an aphrodisiac goes all the way back to the ancient Roman world.




4. Balut
Balut1



   Balut is another popular Asian dish served with love in mind. Balut is a duck egg that contains a fetus. The egg is boiled and served. This dish is said to have Viagra-like properties so it is of particular interest to men. Once the fetus or embryo is consumed, the stimulation is thought to begin. Often served nestled within its broken outer shell, this dish is a weird aphrodisiac that is a real bargain compared with bird’s nest soup. And because ducks are not on the Endangered Species List, this dish is quite legal to order unlike the following.



3. Horn and Penis
Tiger Penis 01.Jpg



   Rhino horn and tiger’s penis are definitely outlawed, but that does not stop poachers and a thriving black market from continuing to offer them. For centuries people have eaten parts of these wild animals to stimulate or enhance their sexual ability. Men suffering from impotence are the usual market of these aphrodisiacs in some parts of the world. Although weird and illegal, these elements have been revered sexual stimulants for centuries as well.




2. Ambergris
Foar Ambergris01 608



   Ambergris should be a familiar term to all you English students who read Moby Dick in high school. The sweet expensive stuff was the sperm whale’s elixir that went into perfumes during the whaling centuries. This heady stuff was prized during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when whale oil powered the world. Melville didn’t mention its aphrodisiac properties, but some Arabian texts recommend its use in the bedroom. Today, many believe that ambergris can boost sexual excitement and vigor. Ambergris is rare and not easy to procure; it is another of the sea’s sexually charming elements that doubles as a weird aphrodisiac.



1. Asses’ Milk
Signofthecross



   Other weird aphrodisiacs are merely topical in nature. For example, asses’ milk was a renowned aphrodisiac for ancient Arabs and Romans. Women who rubbed the milk on their genitals felt stimulated by its effects and men were thought to increase their virility by likewise using it topically. Legend has it that the wife of Nero bathed in the milk for its sexually stimulating effects. Pictured above is Claudette Colbert bathing in asses’ milk in the Cecil B. DeMille film “Sign of the Cross”.





Afterword
200507190038 01



   Aphrodisiacs have been notoriously ignored by western medicine. But folk medicine around the world recommends weird and not-so weird edibles that are believed to boost libido, cure infertility, or strengthen endurance. While weird is a relative term, the unusual items featured in this list are quite popular in some parts of the world and date back centuries. The illegal items are not recommended for use, but simply featured here for information sake. With the plethora of legal aphrodisiacs out there, it is far more ethical to try one of those! Otherwise, be sure to order the fugu next time you visit Japan!


COCULLO SNAKE FESTIVAL FROM ITALY!



    The attraction of snakes seems to be a huge pull factor, and seemingly the whole world's major ophidiophillaccs (snake lovers) often accompanied by their snakes, alongside keen photographers, descend on the small medieval town of Cocullo, in the Abruzzo Majella Mountains, ready to take part in this festival which has been re-enacted in its current Christian format each year, apart from 2009.






    There are three supposed origins to the Cocullo Snake Festival....In the 11th century, apparently Saint Dominic cleared the local fields which were being overrun by snakes, and as a sign of thanks, since 1392, the locals parade his statue and snakes around the streets. The second version dates to 700 B.C., locals experienced the same problems in tending to their field and Apollo ordered the village to entwine the snakes around his statue so that they would become tame and be able to farm once more. The first origin dates back some 2000 years to the Marsi who were the original inhabitants of the area who worshipped the Goddess Angizia. The goddess's official symbol was a snake and thus offering of snakes were presented to her to fend off attacks from local wolves, bears and malaria.





    The festival officially begins on March 19th, when local snake catchers/charmers around Cocullo begin to catch 4 types of local harmless snakes: (Elaphe quatuorlineata) and the Aesculapian snake (Elaphe longissma) and grass snakes (Natrix natrix) and its dark green sister snake (Coluber vindfiavus). Once caught they remove the snakes fangs. (not a good idea when it comes to return them back to the wild).





    Following an early morning Mass in the town's small church, local inhabitants ring a small bell using their own teeth to protect them against toothache for the following year. Local soil is blessed which afterwards is spread over the local fields to act as a form of natural pesticide. The wooden statue of Saint Domenico is then taken out of the small church and the snakes are draped around and over the statue and the statue is then paraded around the narrow lanes of ancient Cocullo.







    Leading from the front are the brass bands, that ironically seem to be mostly composed of those most snake charmer-esque of instruments, the oboe and clarinets. Another mass is broadcast over loudspeakers, which, women traditionally dressed, recite and sing, followed by priests. They are followed by girls in traditional laced costumes carrying ciambelli, which are local cakes that have a texture like doughnuts and are decorated with pastel colored, by the hundreds and thousands. Saint Domenic is carried up from behind, with the snakes and their charmers following closely behind. The procession winds back down to the church where it all started, and on their arrival home, a huge fireworks display, which sounds more like cannon shots, begins its 10 minute overture.







    If you like something out of the ordinary , visit Cocullo's snake festival; your next door neighbor may be stroking their snake next to you, but it gives you something to talk about as you gasp and think of a reason to decline their generous offer of holding one of their snakes, while jostling to get that ultimate photo.






Tips

    Get there early, the procession begins at 12 noon and the parade lasts for an hour and a half (the problem is parking...you can end up, if you arrive late, parking your car up to a couple miles away and have to hike uphill from the depths of the Sagitarrio Valley to get back to the small town of Cocullo, severely out of breath, if you are unfit.
You may hate the huge numbers of porchetta vans and mini market stalls up to the town itself and wonder why the police don't allow people to par there, but due to the huge number of people that attend the Cocullo Snake Festival, food must be had by attendees. Local restaurants get booked out with celebrating locals, used the porchetta Panini rout.