Favorite Things: Color and Eggs

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Judging by the number of articles I have collected over the years offering suggestions on how to dye eggs for Easter this is something I have wanted to do for a long time and just never did it- so in keeping with my attempt to celebrate the day, I finally dyed eggs- before Easter!

As I noted before, when I have an idea often it requires the assistance of a family member to see it through with me. This time my daughter was my “helper” but actually is the one who kept track of how to do each type.

Sounds complicated – we were just dyeing eggs, right? How difficult does this have to be?

I mentioned I have been accumulating articles about egg dyeing over years. Who knew there were so many options?

We chose to dye 8 eggs. We could have dyed 12 but you never know when you may want to bake something so kept 4 available for that!

This is what we decided to do with the 8 eggs:

  1. Use natural dyes: turmeric, coffee, beets, and purple cabbage
  2. Use an unnatural dye: Grape kool-aid
  3. Use good old fashioned food dye with a twist (see photos below!)
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Boil, Boil, Toil and Trouble! 

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Purple cabbage being strained 

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Isn’t the color of turmeric beautiful?! 

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Pouring the cabbage water! Getting excited to see how the eggs turn out!

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Our initial plan was to use beets but didn’t have any so substituted canned cranberry.

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Grape Kool-aid smells like summer to me!

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Tried a Country Living Magazine suggestion to make ombre eggs with green food coloring.

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Here is the darkest green of the 3

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An uneven take of the cranberry juice makes for an interesting effect! I will be sure to have beets on hand next year! 

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Perfection!

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Our finished eggs! Next year we will try decorating and coloring.

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Happy Easter!

 

 

Favorite Things: Brown Paper Packages Part 2

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I’m not sure when I started wrapping Christmas presents in Brown Paper but it became a tradition in our home. I probably ran out of Christmas paper on Christmas Eve!

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The white ribboned present is for our dog, Katie!

 

It makes identifying presents easy since our daughter’s presents are tied with red ribbon and our son’s are green, a “Family” present is ribboned with green, red, and white and presents that are shared have the colors of the ribbons of the joint recipients. I never had to worry about running out of Christmas paper again!

Favorite Things: Color Part 2

 

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Large cakes and color are becoming a new theme! Last month I found the Wilton Performance Color System for baking and made a pumpkin cake for Halloween that was fun to make!

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Now Thanksgiving has provided an opportunity to use the color chart again! Once again I went back to my old recipes and found a Turkey Cake recipe that I had made years ago. This cake, like the Pumpkin Cake, was the actual size of a roasted turkey.

I remembered that the last time I made it, I was disappointed with the final color of the turkey. It looked raw. Now that I had my color chart, I was hoping it would look more realistic this time. The recipe is from a back issue of Family Fun, which was my favorite magazine when my children were young.

You bake 2 vanilla cakes in round bowls. They take longer than when they are baked in 9 inch round pans.

Then bake 1 spice cake in a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Similarly it takes longer in the loaf pan than a round pan. I kept checking for doneness but I think they took about 40 minutes. The round bowls were closer to an hour. I just kept checking with a cake tester.

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Once the cakes were finished I let them cool on a rack for 10 minutes and then popped them out to finish cooling.

This cake takes a lot of frosting. I used close to 4 cans of store bought buttercream frosting.

Before assembling the pieces I put the cake in the freezer for 15 minutes.

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Basically you make a very large Whoopee Pie!

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This is an important step- secure the “Whoopee Pie” with a dollop of frosting on the platter.

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Trimming the legs out of the spice cake is tricky. Just keep trimming until it looks like a leg! Frosting hides a lot.

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I used coffee stirrers (wooden ones) to attach the legs to the body (it is no longer a very large Whoopee Pie!)

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It’s starting to look like a turkey. I also think it looks like a Harry Potter Snitch or Captain America’s mask.

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Now to the color- I used “Sand” for the base layer of frosting.

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Mixing 4 cans of frosting required my large mixer.

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Once I frosted the cake with the base “Sand” color I added more brown and black to the remaining frosting until it turns a few shades darker. I added the darker color to the parts of the “turkey” that would darken as it cooks.

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Adding the oranges and paper caps added a touch of authenticity!

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It was fun to carve it like a turkey!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Favorite Things: Spooky Cake

What’s there not to like about Spooky Cake?

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We call it Spooky Cake but I found my original recipe (from 1996!), and it apparently was called “Ghosts in the Graveyard.” It was fun to make together when my children were young.  Once they  went away to college, I continued the tradition and sent the ingredients so they could make it with friends. I substituted the box of pudding with already made pudding cups and used Peeps instead of cool whip (sorry original recipe!)

Our cakes don’t turn out as nice as the professionals but they sure taste great!

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 Our first Spooky Cake. I’m not sure why we put lollipops on it…

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Spooky Cake: The College Version

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We got a little more sophisticated.

 

Favorite Things: Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with String

 

Because I live several states away from most of my family, I have to mail presents. We used to exchange Christmas and birthday presents with everyone. As our numbers grew, we lowered the number and decreased the expense of gifts by picking names among adults and children. Some families exchange birthday gifts and some don’t, but regardless, I have mailed more gifts than I can count at this point.

Because so many gifts were being exchanged for some years, I had plenty of opportunities to experiment with wrapping and packaging presents. I like to tailor the package to the person just as much as the gift. My goal is for the receiver to see a cohesive display of gifts from the moment they open the box that hopefully makes them smile and feel special.

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One wrapped present that I was especially pleased with was the “bow-tie ribbon.”

Our friend is a snappy dresser, so I decided to make a “bow-tie ribbon” for his birthday package.

I used brown craft paper for the gift wrapping and had fabric left over from a Birthday Quilt Runner I made for a quilt guild contest (another story for another day– it ended badly) that I thought would make a festive looking tie.

I found wonderful directions and a pattern on the site Tie-a-Tie.net.  I measured the circumference of the box, which was 16 inches, so I made the pattern that length.Pattern

After a few tries of tying it this is how it looked! He loved it!

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I also made one for my son- here is how it looked!

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