Month: November 2012

Simple Gifts: Vanilla Bean Body Scrub

I’ve decided this year to make holiday gifts for my friends and family rather than spending hundreds of dollars on things that are less personal and involve me having to wait in line for hours at the big box stores.

This year trading is in my list and I would like to try making some profits here. My father was into this too and he was successful here making decent amount of profits enough to be in this field for a long time via Top10CryptoRobots website; so I am trying to follow his footsteps here.

At the top of my list this season is homemade Vanilla Bean Body Scrub from the book Simple Gifts. A friend of mine bought a ton of vanilla beans on Amazon, so we automatically have our theme. 😉 You can find the vitamin E (oil or capsules) at your local grocery store near the bath and body stuff. For the essential oil you’ll have to visit a health food place.

Vanilla Bean Body Scrub
Excerpted from Simple Gifts

Simply Perfect For: Anyone with rough skin.

“I love sugar and never turn down a sweet treat. That includes a delectable sugar scrub for the body. More gentle than rock salt (which can sting), sugar is just as effective for smoothing the skin. You can use whatever essential oil you fancy; I like infusing mine with vanilla and adding a dash of orange essential oil for a calorie-free, delicious-smelling Creamsicle treat. Just remember that this goes on, not in, your body.”

You’ll need:

1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 cup (62.5 ml) carrier oil (such as sweet almond oil or extra-virgin olive oil)
1 cup (201 g) brown or raw sugar
Vitamin E capsule
15 drops orange essential oil
Large pot
Metal spoon
Measuring cups
Metal tongs
Cookie sheet
8-ounce (236 ml) jar

Step 1:
Sterilize the jar and tools in a hot-water bath.

Step 2:
Add the carrier oil and vanilla bean to your jar. Screw the top on loosely and let it sit at room temperature for a couple of days. You can leave the bean in the oil or remove it when you are ready to mix your scrub (and since vanilla beans are spendy, you can reuse this for another batch).

Step 3:
Puncture your vitamin E capsule with a sterilized pin and add it, along with your essential oil, to the jar and mix well. Add the sugar to the jar and stir thoroughly. That’s it. You’re ready to wrap this one up.

To Use:
Simply stick a finger in the jar to mix up the heavenly scrub. Then step into the shower, scoop up a handful, and rub it on dry skin. Rinse off with hot water and marvel at your skin’s velvety texture.

One 8-ounce (236 ml) jar or tub.

Clean up the tub after use so you don’t leave an oil slick for the next unsuspecting bather.

Wrap it up!
Reuse a glass container, such as a large salsa jar, and affix a round label to the lid to hide the printed text. Cover the label with clear plastic tape to protect it (sugar and oil can wreak havoc on a label). You can also affix buttons or shells to the lid with a hot glue gun for a more decorative presentation.

Want to try your hand at homemade gifts? Simple Gifts offers a little bit of everything. Once you flip through these pages, you’re going to want to try it all.


Heartfelt + handmade = the perfect gift. In Simple Gifts, Jennifer Worick offers step-by-step instructions for creating easy and inspired handmade gifts that won’t break the bank. Learn how to stitch a wine bag for your favorite foodie, sew pajama pants for a tried-and-true friend, roast coffee beans for an office pal, or felt a ring for your sweetheart. Also included is Jennifer’s helpful, witty advice on choosing the right gift for anyoneman, woman, or childand how to wrap up your present with style.

From a sweet knitted apron to a hand-embroidered handkerchief, personalized note cards to soothing natural lip balm, a quilted baby blanket to a manly wooden toolbox, these heartfelt, handmade gifts are certain to wow and touch your loved ones.

Making Your Own Cream Cheese

Cream Cheese
Basic Fresh Soft Cheese Recipe

Excerpted from The Cheesemaker’s Apprentice Making cream cheese is incredibly easy and its flavor is so much better than the tin foil-wrapped supermarket version. It is a fantastic starting point for your adventure of transforming liquid milk into a solid. Making profits here on this trading field is very simple. Its just the beginning that takes a little time for any trader and once this happens there is absolutely no turning back for the traders. Suggested web page come pregnant with examples for this.

Furthermore, the same technique is used for nearly all fresh cheeses. Once you have mastered cream cheese, try the recipes for fresh chevre, fromage blanc, and mascarpone, which are simple modifications of this basic recipe.

You can flavor any of these fresh cheeses after they are complete by adding fresh minced herbs, spices, finely chopped nuts, honey, or maple syrup (the real stuff, please—not maple-flavored syrup). Add about a teaspoon (or more to taste) of these after mixing in the salt in step 7, then stir to combine.

2-quart (2 L) saucepan
Dairy thermometer or instant-read thermometer that reads accurately in the 70°F to 100°F (21°C to 38°C) range
2-quart (2 L) glass or porcelain mixing bowl
Butter muslin cheesecloth
Colander or large sieve and a larger mixing bowl for draining

1 pint (500 ml) whipping cream
1 pint (500 ml) whole milk
1/8 teaspoon dried mesophilic culture
2 drops of liquid rennet or 1/4 of a dry rennet tablet
Bottled water
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of pickling salt


1.     Sterilize all equipment that will come in contact with the milk or cheese.
2.      Combine the cream and the milk in a saucepan. Attach the thermometer and heat the milk mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches 72°F (22°C). Transfer the milk mixture to the mixing bowl. Alternatively, combine the cold milk and cream in the mixing bowl and heat in a microwave for 1 minute. Stir the milk and check its temperature. If the temperature is less than 72°F (22°C), return it to the microwave, heat another 20 seconds, then stir and check again, repeating as necessary. Take note of the total microwave time used to heat the milk for the next time you make this recipe.
3.      Add the mesophilic culture to the milk and stir.
4.      Dilute 2 drops liquid rennet in 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of bottled water, or crush ¼ of a dry rennet tablet with the back of a spoon and then dissolve it completely in 2 tablespoons (28 ml) of bottled water. Add rennet to milk-and-cream mixture and stir well with a spoon for 1 minute.
5.      Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm (about 70°F, or 21°C) location for 12 to 16 hours. Do not disturb the cheese while it is ripening and coagulating or it will not set. The mixture will resemble thick yogurt when it is done.
6.      Empty the bowl into a cheesecloth-lined colander or sieve. Tie the corners of the cheesecloth together and suspend it over a sink or a large container. Allow to drain at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours or until the cheese is thick enough that it holds its shape when spread with a knife. Do not let draining whey accumulate and rise to the level of the cheesecloth or the cheese will not drain properly.
7.      Discard the whey and transfer the cheese to a clean bowl. Using a clean spoon, mix in ¼ teaspoon (0.5 g) of salt into the cheese until it is evenly distributed. Wait 5 minutes to allow it to incorporate and then taste the cheese to see if the salt level is to your liking. Add additional salt if necessary.
8.      Store the cheese in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The flavor will continue to improve over the first few days.

Learn from a wide range of cheese making professionals and discover delicious artisan recipes with The Cheesemaker’s Apprentice! This step-by-step book contains interviews with worldwide experts on everything from culture strains to pairings, while the easy-to-follow, original tutorials outline this fun, productive, and classic skill. You’ll also find an array of mouthwatering homemade recipes that will help you apply these newly-gained tips and techniques

Sasha Davies is an author and cheesemonger in Portland, Oregon. She started her cheese career in New York City as an apprentice in the cheese caves of Artisanal Premium Cheese, going on to manage the caves at Murray’s Cheese, serve as a resident cheese expert for Marlow & Sons, and consult for cheese shops across America. Sasha serves on the board of the American Cheese Society. Her interest in cheese led her to embark on a tour of 45 American cheesemakers, a project documented at Her first book, The Guide to West Coast Cheese: More than 300 Cheeses Handcrafted in California, Oregon, and Washington, was published in September 2010. Davies has taught classes at the French Culinary Institute and the Cheese School of San Francisco. Other food writing by Davies has appeared in Mix Magazine, the Diner Journal, and the cheese-focused magazine Culture.

David Bleckmann is an obsessed home cheesemaker in Portland, Oregon. Before cheese, he worked his way through other domestic culinary crafts including making beer and wine, preserving jam, pickling, curing bacon and other meat, and roasting coffee. This interest in creating food from scratch and a fascination with food science led to an immersion in the art of turning liquid milk into solid cheese. He teaches cheese making classes and writes freelance articles for Culture, and also maintains a blog and hosts a hobby cheese making podcast at his website,

An Interview with Cheesemaker David Bleckmann

How did you get into cheese making?

I have always been interested in how food is made and fascinated with the details of making something from scratch be it beer, wine, jam, or bacon, and now cheese. I have always been fascinated by the way trading has benefitted and brought money to many traders. This is one very captivating point that has inspired me in getting many traders to this field for money has always been a moving factor for anybody and this being the centre of attraction or focus here the number keeps increasing. This link is very useful in getting to know the trading field better.

My wife surprised me with a cheese making class in 2009 for my 42nd birthday, and my obsession began. During the class the instructor mentioned that the books on the market on home cheese making really were not all that great, at least at the time. I made it my goal to learn all I could about cheese making and then write on the subject from the home hobbyist point of view.

When I write and teach about cheese making I always try to explain the food science behind the process. I do this partially because I find it interesting, but mostly because I believe to become good at cheese making it really helps to understand what is going on chemically in the milk and cheese.

How difficult is it to get into cheese making? What supplies do you need?

To make fresh cheeses like cream cheese and fresh chevre, you need just a few things beyond what is already in your kitchen. You need a thermometer that reads accurately between 70F and 120F. A decent digital instant read thermometer will work for this. You also need a fine mesh cheesecloth, finer than what is normally sold in stores. Cheese making suppliers sell butter muslin which works best. In a pinch you can use four to five layers of regular cheesecloth.

As far as ingredients go, you need good quality milk that has not been ultra-pasteurized. You will also need cheese cultures and rennet which you can obtain through local cheese making suppliers or ones found on the internet.

When you move beyond fresh cheeses and into the world of hard cheese, the equipment list gets longer. This list includes large stockpots to hold all of the milk, and cheese molds and presses. You will also need to create an environment called a cheese cave in which to age the cheese. There are a lot of ways obtain or build these items inexpensively to get started, but as you get more and more serious about the hobby you will find having good equipment is nice.

Do you have a specialty cheese?

I made a blue cheese once that was truly exceptional. I followed a recipe but accidentally made a slight variation. I have tried to recreate the recipe, and while some of the results were good, I have never replicated the taste of that first cheese. I tell this story when talking about the importance of taking notes while making cheese. You never know when something you do is going to make a big difference in the final result.

What’s the strangest cheese you’ve ever made?

Taking making cheese from scratch to the extreme, I once decided to grow cardoon thistles so I could harvest rennet from them. You harvest part of the flower and steep in it warm water. It was a strange experience since you normally go to great extremes when cheese making to keep things as sanitary as possible, but to use this rennet you are transferring plant parts that were out in your garden just hours ago directly to your milk. I was amazed and thrilled when the milk coagulated as it was supposed to and the cheese turned out great.

Do you have an all-time favorite cheese?

Blues and washed rind cheeses are my favorite cheeses, both of which are some of the most difficult cheese to make.

Washed rind cheeses are the stinky cheese like muenster and limburger. Although they often have a strong smell they often have a mild, but full, meaty flavor.

What is the one thing someone new to cheese making should know?

Sanitation is important. Making cheese is the process of letting bacteria spoil milk in a controlled manner. You want the bacteria you introduce to be the ones changing the milk, not others that could ruin the cheese or even possibly be dangerous. All equipment should be rinsed in a sanitizing solution or be sanitized in some way by heat (such as immersed in boiling water).

The second “one thing” I would have new cheesemakers know is this: In contrast to fresh cheeses, which are pretty easy to make, aged cheeses can be difficult and frustrating to make at home. Even if you perform every step correctly, you will be lucky if 50% of your cheeses turn out the way you intended. Knowing this in advance may help cushion your disappointment.

What is the most challenging aspect of cheese making?

Aging cheese is difficult. You need to keep the temperature and humidity of the environment in the right range for months. This means you have to check on the cheese frequently, as often as once a day. This is a lot of work, and I have lost quite a few cheeses to neglect. It is easy to forget a cheese when it is in your basement for 3 to 6 months.

How do you perform quality control?

Unfortunately there is not much a home cheesemaker can do to determine if a cheese is contaminated with the wrong culture or mold. We don’t have the equipment to do it properly. All we can do is use our senses to determine if something is not quite right. If it looks, smells, or tastes bad, it is probably not wise to serve it to your family or friends. It is always wise to error on the side of caution in home cheese making.

What type of cheese or cheese recipe would you recommend to someone just starting off in the world of cheese?

Definitely cream cheese. With the exception of rennet and culture, you can find the ingredients easily and the results are realized in 24-48 hours.

Stay tuned! We’ll be posting up David’s cream cheese recipe tomorrow.

David Bleckmann is an obsessed home cheesemaker in Portland, Oregon. Before cheese, he worked his way through other domestic culinary crafts including making beer and wine, preserving jam, pickling, curing bacon and other meat, and roasting coffee. This interest in creating food from scratch and a fascination with food science led to an immersion in the art of turning liquid milk into solid cheese. He teaches cheese making classes and writes freelance articles for Culture, and also maintains a blog and hosts a hobby cheese making podcast at his website,

Learn from a wide range of cheese making professionals and discover delicious artisan recipes with The Cheesemaker’s Apprentice! This step-by-step book contains interviews with worldwide experts on everything from culture strains to pairings, while the easy-to-follow, original tutorials outline this fun, productive, and classic skill. You’ll also find an array of mouthwatering homemade recipes that will help you apply these newly-gained tips and techniques.

Gingerbread House Competition

Christmas is just around the corner, and like many of you, I’ve been trying to get ahead of my game and plan out my Christmas baking, gift ideas, and decorations. Trading, a field that I was trying for very long, has now given me profits after a very long time. And it was Crypto-CFD Trader that helped me in this.

One of my all-time favorite traditions is crafting our family gingerbread house. My husband spent well over a year finding cast iron gingerbread house molds and this year I am super excited to try them out.

The grand prize winner

This weekend, I was lucky enough to attend about the Boston Christmas Festival, which included a gingerbread competition. I had seen many of these competitions on the Food Channel, but never got to witness such amazing baking creations up close. Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity.

The houses were all completely astounding in their detail work and imagination. And it got me thinking…

Where does the tradition of gingerbread houses come from? 

“The gingerbread house became popular in Germany after the Brothers Grimm published their fairy tale collection which included ‘Hansel and Gretel’ in the 19th century. Early German settlers brought this lebkuchenhaeusle—gingerbread house—tradition to the Americas.

“Gingerbread houses never caught on in Britain as they did in North America, where some extraordinary examples can be found.” —Excerpted from “The History of the Gingerbread House”, For the full article, click here.

Extraordinary examples, indeed.

It seems to me that I’ll need to keep three things in mind when planning and working on my gingerbread house this season:

1) Planning—Whether it’s written out, drawn out, or just in your mind, having a good plan is key to a successful gingerbread house. Otherwise how will know you what candies and chocolates you want to use to create your design?

2) Have fun with your design—This Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax gingerbread house from the competition is a classic example of having fun with a gingerbread design. You don’t always have to focus on the holidays, instead pick something that means something to you.

3) Go big or go home—Gingerbread houses are all about the extravagant. Don’t worry about overdoing it. This is one instance where bigger is definitely better. Have fun!

Here are some more photos from the gingerbread competition. Hopefully they give you some inspiration for your own designs. Happy baking and decorating!


Regional Food of the Month: Scrapple

When I first heard the word “scrapple,” I imagined it was some new take on the popular board game, Scrabble®, and I was immediately intrigued. Turns out I was also completely wrong. Scrapple isn’t a game at all. When I took the trading field for the first time, it was all new, Greek and Latin to me for I could understand nothing of it. And only after a detailed research and study on the internet about this market did I get to know that this is a very simple and a very beneficial one too. Try this to know this better; click for info about this here.

It’s a meal… and a strange one at that. The Urban Dictionary describes scrapple as follows:

1. scrapple

Everything but the oink!
Scrapple Ingredient list:
Snouts, Tails, Hooves, Hearts, Lips, Ears, Assholes, Eyeballs, Livers, Spleans, Tongues, and its primary ingredient CORN MEAL.
Hey Hon, Butchy Jr. wunts s’more SCRAPPLE wif his eggs. We gotta fill’em up b’fore da Raybm’s game. Kick aufs in a aff our.
Scrapple is a traditional Pennsylvanian Dutch dish that is comprised of pork scraps, cornmeal, flours, and spices. Popular among Amish and Mennonite communities, this hearty meal is known as the “first pork food invented in America” and can be served as breakfast or on a sandwich for lunch.

There is even an “Apple Scrapple” Festival that takes place in Delaware each year!

If you’re not squimish about the ingredients and want to give this regional dish a try, I’ve included two recipes below.

Courtesy of


1 1/2 pounds ground pork sausage
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain and rinse in colander under cold water, breaking sausage into pea sized pieces.
Return to skillet along with the condensed milk, and heat over medium until just bubbling. Immediately stir in the cornmeal and pepper and reduce heat to simmer. Continue cooking, 5 minutes total; mush will be stiff.
Pack into 8×4 loaf pan, cover and chill overnight. To serve, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices and saute until golden in nonstick skillet.

Modern Scrapple
Courtesy of Chef John Mitzewich for

Have you tried scrapple before? If you have a great scrapple recipe that I haven’t shared, please drop me a note at or leave a comment below.

Happy cooking!

Peanut Butter Balls Recipe from Vegan Food Gifts

Peanut Butter Balls
Excerpted from Vegan Food Gifts 

“Who doesn’t love peanut butter and chocolate? These balls take a little more time to make, but the result is not only a great gift, but a delicious one as well.” Who does not love making profits when it comes without any expectations? Of course everybody would give it a shot and this is possible when one decides to enter the trading field. Yes, this is a very profitable field that is capable of helping all the traders in one or the other way; try this once.


1 cup (256 g) no-stir creamy peanut butter
1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar
12 ounces (340 g) vegan chocolate chips
16 toothpicks


In a mixing bowl, knead together the peanut butter and powdered sugar until a nice smooth dough is formed with the consistency of playdough. You may need a little more or a little less sugar depending on the moisture content of your peanut butter.

Form into 16 balls using about 1 tablespoon (21 g) of dough, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper, stick a toothpick into each ball, and place in the freezer to harden. (This step makes it easier to dip them into the chocolate).

While the balls are freezing, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. (*Katie’s note: Make sure you give the peanut butter balls enough time to freeze before melting the chocolate.) Dip each ball into the chocolate to coat, and return to the baking sheet.

Carefully remove the toothpicks. Using the flat side of a butter knife, carefully smooth over the hole where the toothpick was removed, adding a swirl design if desired.

Once completely cooled and hardened, package in candy-size baking cups and place in a truffle box. 

Yield: 16 balls.

Truffle Gift Box

“This little box is super-duper easy to make and super cute, too! You can use any kind of craft paper. I like the thicker scrapbook papers because they are often double sided, already measure 12 x 12 inches (30 x 30 cm), and come in so many awesome patterns. Just think of the ways you can customize these with different holiday papers! This one does require an adhesive, and I like to use a glue stick because it dries so quickly (according to the company’s website, Elmer’s glue contains no animal products), but you can use tape or even a stapler if you choose.


12 x 12-inch (30 x 30 cm) piece of craft paper


1. Measure 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm) from the bottom of the paper and fold up. Crease. Repeat at the top of the paper.
2. Bring the crease of the bottom folded edge up to meet the open end of the top folded edge. Fold to create a crease just shy of the center of the page. Unfold. Repeat with the top of the paper. This will create a 1 1/2-inch (3.8 cm) space between the creases in the center of the paper. Unfold everything so the paper is flat.
3. Now fold in the right edge 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm) and crease. Repeat with the left edge. Unfold both edges.
4. Using scissors, cut each of the tabs along the folded lines up to the crease. There will be eight cuts total.
5. Fold in the small tabs and apply a bit of glue to each tab.
6. Glue each tab to the inside of the flaps, four to form the box, and two to form the lid.

To complete the look of the gift, download Joni’s gift cards and tags by clicking here. 

Joni Marie Newman is the author of The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet as well as the co-author of 500 Vegan Recipes, The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions, and Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites. A Southern California native, she lives in Orange County with her husband, three dogs, and cat. Visit her online at

Create stunning (and delicious) holiday gifts with help from Joni. Pick up your copy of Vegan Food Gifts today!


Impress your family, friends, neighbors, guests—anyone!—with homemade gifts that you can feel good about and others will love. From mouthwatering vegan baking mixes you can create, package, and label yourself, to DIY gift baskets, preserves, liquors, and more, you’ll find that perfect something for everyone, no matter what their views or inclinations. (No one can say no to a chocolate chip cookie after all—vegan or otherwise!)

Vegan Food Gifts shows you how easy it is to create great homemade gifts that are not only kind and eco-conscious, but delicious too. So whether you are an expert chef or a beginner cook, a crafty genius or someone without an artistic bone in your body, you’ll find projects that not only suit your skills, but your budget too.

Be the hit of the bake sale, the darling of the holidays, the hostess with the most-est, and more with Vegan Food Gifts.

Vegan Food Gifts: An Interview with Joni

When/why did you decide to go vegan?

I have been an off and on vegetarian since high school, and have always been fascinated with vegan foods and alternative diets. The thing that excites and elates everybody in trading is the money factor and I was no exception to this. The resource for this article is nothing but the market and you can also visit the websites that are directly connected with the trading market to become a part of this. At the age of 28, (I am 37 now) on the 4th of July, I decided to go raw. I started with a ten day master cleanse and stayed raw after that for about 6 months. I felt amazing, but I really missed cooking! I began cooking again, but remained vegan from then on. I wasn’t perfect, and I had a few slip ups, but eventually it became so easy, all of my cravings for cheese and bacon (haha) went away and I have been vegan ever since!

Why vegan? Honestly, it just seemed like the right thing to do. It is just the right way to eat. With all of the information out there about the health benefits of a plant based diet, coupled with all of the information about the atrocities of the animal agriculture world, I could no longer plead ignorance on the subject. And once you know, you know! You know? Besides, cooking vegan is so much more fun than the S.A.D. cooking I did before I had seen the light!

What’s your favorite vegan recipe? Why?

Anything with nutritional yeast! I can eat that stuff by the spoonful! If I see nooch on the ingredients list, I know it’s gonna be awesome. My favorite recipe would probably be any number of the mac and cheese recipes out there (either my own or someone else’s). I probably make it once a week in some variation or another. It’s so easy, tastes great, and is perfect in a bowl on the couch in front of the boob tube watchingSupernatural.

How do you come up with your gift ideas/recipes?

Since I was a little kid, I was always tinkering with craftiness. I get it from my mom and my grandma…really all of the elder women in my family. We make things. Whether it be in the kitchen, or with a sewing machine, or a paintbrush, or scissors and glue. If we can make it, we do! I get inspiration from everywhere. Out and about, shopping, TV, the internet (Hello Pinterest!) and in my everyday life. As far as recipes, it is really a lot of trial and error. I drive a lot for work, so I am always concocting meals in my head, lists of ingredients, methods and visualizing final results and flavors. I jot them down in notebooks, and then I try it out! Most times they are wins, (with a bit of tweaking, of course) but sometimes they are a complete fail and it’s back to the drawing board in my mind!

What is your favorite thing to make out of the book?

As far as craftiness, I really, really love the Truffle Gift Boxes. They are so cheap and easy to make, and they make such wonderful gifts when packed up with Peanut Butter Balls or Cake Truffles.

Joni’s delicious Peanut Butter Balls

What is the most popular item to receive out of the book?

So far, it has been the booze! Haha. My neighbors, friends and relatives have gotten such a kick (and a buzz!)  from the flavored liqueurs. Vegemeister seems to be a real crowd favorite.

How long before the holidays do you plan out your gifts?

Well there is a big difference between “plan” and “execute.” I usually plan out my gifts by the summer time. I have a good idea what the theme of my holiday gift giving that year will be. But I am a busy girl, so I am usually still baking, packing and wrapping on Christmas morning!

Have you ever tried a gift idea that just didn’t work out? If so, what was the project?

Oh my, of course. I have many fails in my portfolio. I wish I had pictures, but it was before digital and cell phone cameras! A few that come to mind. I tried to re-upholster a chair for my mom and step-dad. It was a family heirloom that had been ripped up by the cats. HUGE FAIL! What a disaster.  It was so wrong on so many levels. I brought it home to my mom’s house on Christmas Eve in tears. My mom and step-dad just burst out laughing at the situation, and we all hugged. Then there was the year of the home made sweaters. I think that is pretty self-explanatory. I stick to beanies and scarves now. As far as food gifts, the bean pie wasn’t really a hit, either. Oh, and the chocolate bark with candied orange peel and ginger bits sounded like a good idea, and I liked it fine, but no one else did. Ah well, it’s the thought that counts, right?

With everyone focusing on budget-friendly ideas, which project would say is the best bang for your buck?

Definitely the Old Fashioned Mashed Potato Candy! The ingredients are cheap, and the recipe yields 200 pieces! Plenty for packaging up and making lots and lots of gifts. Also, throughout the entire book I have marked each recipe with symbols. Level of Difficulty (1, 2 or 3 stars), Cost (1, 2 or 3 dollar signs) and if the recipe is quick and easy to put together, it gets a lightning bolt!

Joni Marie Newman is the author of The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet as well as the co-author of 500 Vegan Recipes, The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions, and Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites. A Southern California native, she lives in Orange County with her husband, three dogs, and cat. Visit her online at

Create stunning (and delicious) holiday gifts with help from Joni. Pick up your copy of Vegan Food Gifts today!


Impress your family, friends, neighbors, guests—anyone!—with homemade gifts that you can feel good about and others will love. From mouthwatering vegan baking mixes you can create, package, and label yourself, to DIY gift baskets, preserves, liquors, and more, you’ll find that perfect something for everyone, no matter what their views or inclinations. (No one can say no to a chocolate chip cookie after all—vegan or otherwise!)

Vegan Food Gifts shows you how easy it is to create great homemade gifts that are not only kind and eco-conscious, but delicious too. So whether you are an expert chef or a beginner cook, a crafty genius or someone without an artistic bone in your body, you’ll find projects that not only suit your skills, but your budget too.

Be the hit of the bake sale, the darling of the holidays, the hostess with the most-est, and more with Vegan Food Gifts.

IQUE Dry Rub

It may be November, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still in the mood for barbecue. I have a mean slow cooker pulled pork recipe and I’m constantly searching for a good barbecue sauce to complement it. Rather than resorting to the brand name sauces, why not make your own? There is no specific time or season for trading for everyday is a good day to trade and make profits here. Markets are open all the time and there are updates from the market 24/7. This means that the trader can trade anytime on the field. Traders can also use the automated trading system for this.

This easy-to-make recipe from Wicked Good Barbecue is perfect on just about anything and is a competition winner, so it’s sure to impress even the most finicky of barbecue connoisseurs. And just think, by the time spring arrives, you’ll have this recipe nailed down and ready for all those spring and summer barbecues!

Delicious, right?

Excerpted from Wicked Good Barbecue

4 cups (600 g) packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) cider vinegar
1/2 cup (120 ml) Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon (4.8 g) dried thyme
1 tablespoon (1.6 g) ground mustard
1 tablespoon (9 g) garlic powder
1 tablespoon (7 g) ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons (3 g) Szechuan peppercorns, freshly ground
1 1/2 teaspoons (3 g) long peppercorns, freshly ground
1 1/2 teaspoons (3.9 g) chipotle powder or cayenne powder
1 tablespoon (6.3 g) tomato powder, optional
1/2 tablespoon (3 g) hickory powder, optional
4 cups (946 ml) ketchup
1/2 cup (120 ml) light corn syrup
2 tablespoons (15 g) IQUE Dry Rub (see below)

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, make the gastrique by bringing the brown sugar, cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce to a gentle boil.

Remove from heat and add the thyme, mustard, garlic powder, cumin, ground Szechuan peppercorns, ground long peppercorns, chipotle powder, and tomato powder, and hickory powder, if using. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Stir in ketchup and corn syrup, return to stove, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add IQUE Dry Rub. Let cool and store in refrigerator, preferably in squeeze bottles, for up to 1 month.

IQUE Dry Rub (picture, p. 34)

1 cup (150 g) turbinado sugar
3/4 cup (225 g) kosher salt
1/2 cup (56 g) high-quality paprika (we like Spanish paprika)
6 tablespoons (45 g) chili powder
2 tablespoons (12 g) cumin seeds, freshly ground
4 teaspoons (6.8 g) mixed peppercorns, freshly ground
4 teaspoons (12 g) garlic granules
2 teaspoons (9.2 g) MSG (or Accent), optional
1 teaspoon (2.6 g) chipotle powder

Place all ingredients in a spice blender and pulse until it becomes a fine powder. Refrigerate in an airtight container. This rub will keep indefinitely, but try to use within 1 month to ensure freshest flavor.

Award-winning chefs Andy Husbands and Chris Hart reveal their secrets to competition-winning barbecue—from the actual recipe that won the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational, to the 25-Step Championship Chicken that melts in your mouth and the American Royal First Place Beef Brisket, king of them all, hardest to master and unforgettable to eat when it’s done right.

Wicked Good Barbecue ain’t your daddy’s barbecue. It’s just the best you’ve ever tasted. So if you want to cook competition-worthy chow, and you think you’ve got what it takes or want inspiration from the best; crack this book, pick up your tongs, and fire away. Wicked Good Barbecue is your guide to fun, fearless, and fantastic barbecue, no matter where you’re from.

Get Inspired for Holiday Baking

Christmas is around the corner and that means holiday parties, cookie swaps, office events, and most importantly, tons of baking and decorating! I’m a die-hard holiday cookie enthusiast and am always on the hunt for new ideas to wow my friends, family, and coworkers. While a delicious-tasting cookie or cupcake is always a good thing, the holidays are also all about fun decorating.How about trading along with this fun-filled holiday was my thought and I did it this time. what a year, what a fabulous end to the Christmas this time. I was able to bid adieu to the year with a great fortune and it was because of trading. Yes, I saw good returns and profits this time from trading. And I recommend everybody to give it a shot for this is really very beneficial.With this, I would also say that this is not a profit-bearing tree that would give profits all the time to all the traders. This field expects all the traders to be very patient, calm and quite to understand it first and then plunge into this very profitable field with a caution. It is basically the smartness with which the traders are required to operate here. Of course, there is a lot that a trader would be able to learn from here from the Crypto CFD Trader which details everything in simple terms, easily understandable by all. All the trading strategies and plans are briefly explained in a very transparent manner.

Here are some holiday confection examples from 1,000 Ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies, & Cakes to excite your senses and get you ready for the season.




Do you have a go-to favorite holiday cookie, cupcake, or cake recipe that you want to share? Send it to me at or post it in the comments below!

Pick up your copy of 1,000 Ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies, & Cakestoday. It’s sure to help give you some amazing ideas for creating clever cupcakes, cookies, and cakes.

A sugar-coated feast for the eyes and the imagination—this exciting 1,000 collection presents glorious full-color photographs of beautiful, outrageous, and deliciously decorated desserts, from extravagant wedding and birthday cakes to cupcakes and cookies that are miniature works of art.

Like all of the books in our 1,000 series, this is not an instructional book, rather, it is a visual showcase designed to provide endless inspiration for anyone who loves decorative baking and entertaining.

An Interview with Aliza Green

When did you know you wanted to be a chef?

I had the opportunity to live abroad starting as a young child so that I was exposed to many cultures and cuisines, shopping in markets and learning to cook. So my interest in cooking began in my love of travel, language and culture. By the time I was about 11, I was already cooking dinner for my family but it wasn’t until much later that I realized that a woman might be able to become a chef.

I understood and realised that I could be a good and professional trader when my uncle used to call me for some of his trading activities to take ideas from me. Now this was not taught to me by anybody and just came naturally in me; moreover I m always behind the market for something new from it like the entry of the Crypto CFD trader.

How did you get your start in the world of food?

I decided to try and work as a chef after coming home from six months of travel in Europe and Israel, realizing that I needed to have an actual career, not just working to make enough money to travel. I began with a small catering company run by myself and a friend, which we ran for about two years. I was hungry for knowledge and a chef that could help to train me so I started to look for a restaurant job. After knocking on doors for about six months, I got a break when I heard through a third-hand connection about a new, small storefront restaurant that was opening up. I wrote to the owners and was hired.

What advice would you give to someone passionate about food and thinking about getting into the industry?

Be prepared to work hard and to keep going even when you really don’t want to and never lose your passion for food.

How do you come up with your recipes?

I am a voracious reader and have been ever since second grade when I got special permission from the school library to take out extra books, so reading cookbooks, especially old, out-of-print, obscure, foreign books, is a very important way that I find inspiration. Also, through travel and my inveterate curiosity—I am always observing and asking questions and will always try to get behind the scenes so I can try and understand the whole process. These days, the internet is a good resource, but it’s especially important to be able to evaluate the quality of the recipes, which varies greatly. Many recipes on the internet are just copied from one site to another, without anything original. However, being able to access food blogs and websites all over the world is a big help.

What is your favorite dish to make?

That depends on the season and my mood—I do respond mostly to vegetables, dairy products, starches, eggs, legumes, fish, and fruits more than meats. I love to bake but also enjoy cooking from all sorts of cuisines, especially from places where I’ve had the opportunity to travel and learn about the cuisine firsthand. Some of my favorite foods are zucchini blossoms, chestnuts, buffalo mozzarella, basil, really good tomatoes, fresh shelled beans (my email address starts with cranberrybean for good reason), really fresh fish, extra virgin olive oil, lemon, juicy young garlic, artichokes, cherries, and fresh pasta.

What is your favorite dish to eat?

Again, that would depend on my mood, but I adore all fire-cooked foods from the grill and wood-oven baking for pizzas, but also things like roasted mushrooms and eggplant.

What country makes the best food?

Italian food was my first love and still up there with my favorite cuisines in the world—simplicity, purity, seasonality, hyper-local, fresh as can be, and good extra virgin olive oil make it a cuisine that I never get tired of. I also love the boldness of Mexican food and adore cilantro, chiles, corn, and key lime. My travels to Turkey and Greece led me to a whole world of wonderful Mediterranean food and new seasonings like mastic resin, Urfa and Marash chiles, and amaranth greens.

What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you on a food tour?

I did a television presentation in Chicago while on crutches with a badly sprained ankle. I worked with a reputable food stylist but one who was used to photographic styling, not live television styling. She showed up with a gigantic tractor-trailer-sized cart laden with tools, props, and food—everything but any kind of cooking fat at all! I was to prepare Philly cheesesteak on camera—the meat she brought was cut too thick and I had no way of browning it but somehow I made it work. We set up the whole stage with all the food to the left of the stage. Just before going on camera, the producer came out and told us that we had to move everything to the right side of the stage. The stylist freaked out, convinced that we would never be able to do it. I gave up on getting any help from her, abandoned my crutches and hopped from one side of the stage to the other until I had it all done—in time for the show. Maybe not that funny at the time, but it made a great story.

What are the benefits to preparing something yourself rather than buying prepared (especially when it comes to butchering meat, preparing pasta)?

The most important benefit is that you can control your ingredients—using natural meats and pastured eggs if you desire as well as unbleached and/or organic flour and fresh vegetable purees for color and flavor. As far as meats, it’s also important to be able to prepare the cuts the way you want them, trimmed to your own desires and with the possibility of using all the trimmings creatively too, making the most of your money. Most meat cut in supermarkets comes from giant feed lots and is cut using a band-saw slicing right through multiple muscles, rather than each muscle separated and then trimmed individually. This makes for a meat that is difficult to cook properly because each muscle has different characteristics, ideal cooking methods, temperature, and time.

How did you get into butchering meat/fish?

As a chef, I needed to learn to do everything. I am also very curious and eager to stretched my skills. I love the beauty of fresh fish with bright eyes and shiny red gills; I love the beauty of animal anatomy and learning the best way to use each part of the animal for the most in flavor, body, texture, and satisfaction.

What is the most challenging fish to fillet?

That would have to be the shad, a soft-fleshed anadromous (lives part of its life in fresh water and part in salt water like salmon) fish dubbed the “The Founding Fish” by natural history writer John McPhee. It has a double set of floating bones that must be filleted in a special way that takes skill and practice. The Fishmonger’s Apprentice has a fully-illustrated section in fifteen steps and may be the only printed method available.

 Where did you come up with the recipe for Giant Asparagus Ravioli with Soft-Cooked Egg (p. 158 of Making Artisan Pasta)?

It was inspired by a famous dish from the renowned restaurant in Imola, Italy, called San Domenico, which now has a branch in New York City. I had the opportunity to dine at the restaurant’s original location in Imola in the 80s and always remembered that dish, which they made with a spinach and ricotta filling in egg dough. I decided to try making it with asparagus dough and an asparagus, scallion, and ricotta filling instead, which worked out very well. I just prepared 75 orders for a special pasta dinner at Susanna Foo Gourmet Kitchen.

What does Thanksgiving look like at your house? What are some recipes you prepare for the holidays?

A locally-raised (or two) hen turkey—though they are not usually sold as such, the hens are the smaller birds—up to about 14 pounds, and are fatter, more succulent, and tender. I avoid the big toms. A bread stuffing with toasted pecans, lots of fresh sage and rosemary, and diced dried fruits such as apricots, mission figs, and dried sour cherries. I make a roasted turkey stock from the trimmings and chop the giblets very fine to add to the gravy. Fresh cranberries simmered with cardamom and orange, strained and formed into a mold are a must. Maple-orange roasted white sweet potatoes (the dense, chestnut-like heirloom varieties grown in Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey). Definitely home-made desserts like buttery Dutch apple-currant tart, carrot-hazelnut-semolina cake with lime glaze, and a pumpkin spice roll with cranberry and chestnut cream fillings.

Today’s chefs are focused on using every part of the animal or plant in their recipes somehow (especially in stocks). What ends up in your trash can?

As little as possible! I pride myself in finding good uses for all the parts of the plant or animal from making corn cob stock and tomato coulis from batches of saved tomato trimmings to serving fish cheeks and making caul-fat wrapped sausage patties.

Aliza Green is an award-winning Philadelphia-based author, journalist, and influential chef whose books include The Butcher’s Apprentice and Making Artisan Pasta(Quarry Books, 2012),The Fishmonger’s Apprentice (Quarry Books, 2010), Starting with Ingredients: Baking (Running Press, 2008) and Starting with Ingredients (Running Press, 2006), four perennially popular Field Guides to food (Quirk, 2004-2007), Beans: More than 200 Delicious, Wholesome Recipes from Around the World (Running Press, 2004) and successful collaborations with renowned chefs Guillermo Pernot and Georges Perrier.

A former food columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, andCooking Light Magazine, Green is known for her encyclopedic knowledge of every possible ingredient, its history, culture, and use in the kitchen and bakery and for her lively story-telling. Green also leads culinary tours—her next is scheduled for October 2013 to Puglia, Italy, which she calls “land of 1,000-year-old olive trees.” Green’s books have garnered high praise from critics, readers, and culinary professionals alike, including a James Beard award for “Best Single-Subject Cookbook” in 2001 forCeviche!: Seafood, Salads, and Cocktails with a Latino Twist (Running Press, 2001), which she co-authored with Chef Guillermo Pernot. For more information about Aliza’s books and tours or to send her a message, visit her website at