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Tuesday
Mar242015

Easter egg designs with easy non-toxic egg-white decoupage 

Easter eggs decoupage: designs cut from assorted papers are held in place by egg white for a non-toxic option. (Photos by Kimberly L. Jackson)Easter egg designs with decoupaged scrapbook paper cutouts and other materials are lovely, but if you glue on the designs with traditional decoupage medium, you can't eat the eggs. And the hollow shells of eggs drained out through holes are far too fragile for the Easter egg hunt.

Planning for this Easter Sunday on April 5, we drained a lot of eggs to test various methods, and it made me remember that my mother had used egg white as emergency glue when I was a child. I decided to see if it would work to stick cutouts from newspapers and napkins to eggs. It worked on boiled eggs, emptied egg shells, plain egg shells and shells that had been "painted" using McCormick's super easy food color and vinegar paint.

Egg-white Glue for Non-toxic Easter Egg Decoupage: Crack open and egg and separate the yolk from the white (refrigerate the yolk for another use), placing the white in a shallow bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of water and whisk gently. 

Materials for Non-toxic Easter Egg Decoupage: To be sure the dyes are non-toxic for eggs that will be eaten, cut out patterns from paper table napkins (the napkins shown are from Dollar Tree). If the eggs will be used for decoration, patterns can be cut from newspaper, scrapbook paper or magazines. 

Color for Non-toxic Easter Egg Decoupage: If you want color, the hands down easiest technique is to mix a drop or two of McCormick food color in a tablespoon of vinegar. We had eight color options working with the traditional "Assorted" colors and fun "Neon!" colors. The color drops also can be mixed if you need even more options. We used caps from seltzer bottles both to mix the egg colors and as stands for the eggs to dry on.

Three-step instructions

The egg-white decoupage technique works on plain and colored eggs.

1. Use cotton swabs to dab paint evenly over egg shells if color is desired. Two coats may be needed for some color. Let shells dry fully.

2. Place selected cutout design into the bowl with egg white glue. To avoid curling, avoid fully soaking napkins. Newspaper, magazine or scrapbook cutouts should be soaked through for easier smoothing. 

3. Carefully place the cutout as desired on the egg shell, and smooth in place gently. Let egg designs dry fully on bottle caps. In our testing, the designs were still in place a full month after having been applied.

 Egg-shell diorama frame: Gently crack the center of a raw egg. Pick away pieces and then use nail scissors to carefully cut an oval-shaped opening. Wash the inside of the shell with soapy water and let dry fully. Paint the egg shell as in Step 1 above. Let dry.

Use white craft glue to adhere trim around the cut opening. Fill the inside of the shell with cotton balls (as shown on the photo's left side at center).  Trim a wallet-size photo slightly larger than the opening. Bend at sides and tuck into the egg shell for a fun Easter photo frame.

Glue a loop to the top of each egg, and they can be hung. Try painting a cluster of bare branches white then hang several of the eggshell frames from them to make a whimsical Easter tree decoration.     

Friday
Dec282012

Tasting party: Condiment servers double as a cute place for cheese 

Aged Wisconsin cheddar, BelGiosio pepato and Great Midwest habanero jack to pair with pale ale. Courtesy of Wisconsin Milk Marketing BoardCheese usually tastes best at room temperature, so presenting it on a cheese plate or board is a good option when cheese is the main food event, such as at wine and cheese tasting party.

It's a good idea to keep a little chill under the cheese, however, when it won't be the center of attention, such as at a Super Bowl Party where it will be among many delicious options snacked on over an extended period.  

This image from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board shows an attractive presentation of that idea. Here, cubes of aged Wisconsin cheddar, BelGiosio pepato and Great Midwest habanero jack are stored in a chilled container. Check out eatwisconsincheese.com for more cheese information and recipes.

Finding the container that's holding the cheese took some web searching.

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Wednesday
Dec262012

Readers Digest: A cookbook for book clubs  

The Book Club CookbookIn winter, the universal vision of cozy is curling up with a good book and a warm beverage. Do that, but ask a few pals to read the same book. When you’ve finished, make an event of getting together to talk about it.

Book clubs continue to grow in popularity. They’re a great way to socialize and get some intellectual stimulation. Thank Oprah’s book club selections and websites like BookMovement.com and GoodReads.com, which offer lots of book suggestions and tools to manage the meets.

But for ideas on what to eat, check out BookClubCookbook.com.  If you’re a foodie and a book lover, this site offers an index of dishes that could let you decide what to read based on what you’d like to eat.

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Monday
Mar052012

Scrapbooking techniques for baking from Wilton 

Flowers cut from Wilton's Sugar Sheets 'grow' from spring cupcakes.Scrapbooking remains one of the nation's most popular hobbies with a wide range of papers, embellishments and shape-cutting punches available to decorate the pages that hold keepsake photos and other mementos.

Wilton has just released a new book called "Punch, Cut, Decorate" that borrows techniques for scrapbooking to deliver more excitement and ideas to those who enjoy decorating baked goods. 

The company's gum paste, rolled fondant and the newer Sugar Sheets!, an edible decorating "paper," come in a wide variety of colors and are the raw materials that can be cut into numerous shapes and edges ranging from flowers to leaves or spirals.

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Thursday
Mar012012

Entertaining at home: Try a tasting party for spring gatherings  

A tasting party spread with serving pieces from Pier 1 ImportsIf you’re the mom who hosts the annual Easter Egg Hunt, consider putting a new spin on the fun by making it a spring party both parents and kids will enjoy.

We love this Easter-friendly tasting party spread, among the great entertaining ideas that can be found in The Idea Room at Pier1.com. Every host has worried about how much food to buy or make for a get-together, and the tasting party concept relieves some of that pressure by divvying each dish into small-portion servings. Here, the goal is to offer abundance in the exciting variety of dishes rather than in heaping portions (a concept that’s appealing for anyone counting the weeks until swimsuit season.  Stretching out a meal with bites of food also can mean eating less.).

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