Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Giveaway Results! Did you win?

Photo by Rachel of Get Ready Set Go. A truly awesome fellow Etsian and blogger.

Here we go! Here are the 3 winners of the Robot Giveaway. Congratulations! I loved reading all of your traditions, they truly got me into the spirit of the Holidays! I'll be contacting you shortly so you can tell me which color you would like and so I can get your address. Thanks to everyone who entered, and if you didn't win, don't worry I'll do another one soon. :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Fix It: Pumpkin Marshmallows

Happy Thanksgiving from Trash Bird Makes! I'm currently trying to stay warm in Mexico, Missouri. Yes, I said Mexico, Missouri. Probably like you I have spent the day overeating, playing games, "watching" football. And hopefully today or tomorrow we will be kicking off the Christmas season with the first official viewing of Elf. 

"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."--Buddy the Elf

Clearly, Buddy has never tried homemade pumpkin marshmallows, because they will get you you in the spirit and feeling cozy in no time. Here's how you make them (the recipe is long but not as intimidating as is looks):

Ingredients:

  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup cold water, divided use
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • orange food coloring (or yellow and red coloring)
  • 1/2 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch

Preparation:

1. Prepare a 9x13 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil liberally with nonstick cooking spray. Mix the powdered sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl, and sprinkle a generous dusting of this sugar/starch mixture over the entire pan. Set the pan aside while you prepare the marshmallow, and save the sugar/starch mixture for later use.
2. Place 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin on top and stir briefly to distribute. Let the gelatin sit and dissolve for at least 5 minutes.
3. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of water, the corn syrup, and the granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, and insert a candy thermometer.
4. Allow the mixture to cook without stirring until it reaches 240 degrees on the thermometer. Brush down the sides occasionally with a wet pastry brush to avoid crystallization.
5. Once the sugar syrup reaches the proper temperature, remove it from the heat immediately. Turn the mixer to low, and slowly pour the hot syrup into the mixer bowl. Be careful, as the syrup is extremely hot. If you have a large (at least 4 cup) liquid measuring cup with a spout, you can transfer the hot syrup to the cup before pouring to make it easier.
6. Gradually increase the speed of the mixer until it is running on high. Whip the marshmallow mixture for 10 minutes, or until it is stiff and shiny. You can tell it is done when you stop the mixer and lift up the beater, the marshmallow will slowly drip back down into the bowl in a thick, shiny stream.
7. While the marshmallow is mixing, place the pumpkin puree in a small bowl and add the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Once the marshmallow has reached the proper consistency, add the orange food coloring (or a combination of yellow and red to make orange) and mix until the marshmallow is a uniform color. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the pumpkin puree into the orange marshmallow, stirring until the candy is well-mixed and there are no streaks of pumpkin visible.
8. Pour the marshmallow into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Allow it to sit and firm up at room temperature for at least 8 hours.
9. Cover your workstation with waxed paper to protect it, and liberally sprinkle the surface with the sugar/starch mixture. Sprinkle the top of the marshmallow with the sugar/starch coating, and flip the marshmallow face down onto the prepared surface.
10. Carefully peel back the foil from the marshmallow. Dust the top of the marshmallow with more sugar/starch. Dip a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter into the sugar/starch mixture, and cut pumpkin shapes out of the marshmallows. Roll the cut edges of the marshmallows in the coating mixture so that all sides are smooth and not sticky. Alternately, you can use a knife and cut the marshmallows into squares instead.
11. To save marshmallows, store them in a dry airtight container in a temperate, dry location. Do not refrigerate them or keep them in a very humid place. If they are stored longer than two or three days, you may need to re-roll them in the sugar/starch coating. Fresh marshmallows go stale after about a week, so these are best eaten soon after they are made. 

Recipe courtesy of About.com 

 Enjoy! I like them best with hot chocolate or a nice cup of coffee. And you also still have a few days left to enter the Robot Giveaway.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happy Holidays and Give Aways!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Okay I know Thanksgiving has yet to come, but now is the time to get on the ball and get those gifts ready. Move it or lose it people! I'm here to help you out. :)

This time I will be giving away not 1, not 2, but 3 robot piggy banks from my shop!!! Winners pick the colors. Contest ends Tuesday, November 30th.

You must do 2 things to enter:

-Become a follower AND leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite holiday tradition is. That's it! Super easy huh? Good luck!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

DIY: Art Party

FINALLY! As promised here are a few lot of the pics from the birthday party we planned for my younger cousin. It was an art party and everything went off without a hitch! Here's how we did it.


We decorated the tree in the backyard with pretty white puffs we made and lanterns too.

 We also hung up a letter "H" and the number "10" in the tree too. You can actually buy both of these in my mom's new Etsy shop. I think these would be gorgeous for an outdoor wedding!

To keep their pretty party clothes clean, my aunt had the great idea to pick up oxford shirts at thrift stores to use as smocks. We thought this was a great way to present them and have them ready for the the little Picassos right away.

After suiting up the girls got right to work on their masterpieces. We laid down a large tarp and so they could get comfy and creative. I love this picture, it was a gorgeous fall day.

I even got to join in on the festivities. I love painting and it was so fun to see what the girls came up with. 

The party table! This was probably what I was most excited about. I love putting together buffet tables and this one was just so fun. I loved making the pendant banners for her, because like me, Honor loves anything with her name on it.

So confetti is always festive to sprinkle on the table, but what if you want more layers and depth to your look? I found these adorable sparkly pom poms and scattered them all over the table for a very whimsical look.

Here's a few of the little goodies we had. We served lemonade in mason jars, and my uncle punched a hole in the lid to cut down on spills. We served gum balls and gummy bears labeled, "DaVinci's Drops" and "Warhol's Watercolors" respectively. Marshmallows on sticks dipped in cherry Jello, yellow chocolate, and blue sugar became "Picasso's Paint Brushes" and were excellent along side "Leonardo's Licorice." After I printed all the labels off I asked the birthday girl if she knew who these artists were and the answer was "no." I chose to include them anyway which was a tad self-indulgent of me, but I just thought they were so cute!

Do not be fooled! 10 year old girls may look dainty and tiny, but boy can they eat!! We wrapped the sandwiches individually so they'd stay fresh and labeled them so they could choose between turkey or PB&J. I love this picture, hands everywhere, like vultures with bows. I should also point out, that while it's not in this picture, a paint bucket full of cheese puffs were the hands down fave. Note to self: Don't knock yourself out trying to be a gourmet for a kids party. Cheese puffs are where it's at.

I just had to add this picture. This was all we saw the whole night. Just beret and legs. It suits her though, no birthday tiara for this one.

The night was finished off with a movie under the stars, "Marmaduke" I think, and hot chocolate and popcorn. Apparently they didn't seem to mind the flash of my camera.

All in all it was a great party and we had some serious fun putting it together. Now all I need is a new project. Anyone need their parties planned?


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