Friday, October 21, 2016

Vegan Chocolate or Carob Fondue for Your Holidays - A 60s Party Tradition

Fondue isn't merely a fun party novelty, it represents a lost art of communal feasting with friends. After World War II rationing ended, the Swiss Cheese Union sent fondue sets to military regimes as part of the "spiritual defense of Switzerland." It was later aggressively promoted with slogans like "fondue creates a good mood." 

Fondue became wildly popular in the US during the 1960s, first being promoted during the 1964 New York World Fair at the Swiss Pavilion Alpine Restaurant. Being a time of experimentation, people wondered, what else can I dip in that thing? There's canned soup fondue, meat and oil, meat and broth; a Swiss dish borrowed from the french for using-up stale bread and old cheese now had canned meal kits you could buy at the store along with the pot. Special ceramic fondue  dishes were made during this decade too, for additional dipping into mustard, onion, and other delectable sauces. The recipe variation we'll be looking at today was invented by chef Kondrad Egli of New York's Chalet Suisse Restaurant as a promotion for Toblerone chocolate.

Chocolate or Carob Fondue Recipe, Easy Version

1 Bag (12 oz) of Carob or Chocolate Chips, Vegan if you're vegan, or get your favorite non-vegan varieties otherwise

3/4 Cup Almond Milk (Try making your own, or use any other vegan nut milk you desire)

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

Simply heat until fully incorporated, stirring occasionally, then pour into your fondue pot. If you want to fill it to the top for a lot of guests you made need to double or triple the recipe.

I made mine with carob chips because I can't sleep at night at the best of times and caffeine served so close to bed would keep me up until the sun peeks through the blinds, but chocolate's a good choice to keep guests awake on their ride home!

Vegan Chocolate From Scratch, Masocist's Version

1 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 Cup Cocoa Butter
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1/4 to 1/2 Cup Almond Milk depending on desired thickness
1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract
Sweetener to Taste, 1/8 Cup to 1/4 cup max should be sufficient, agave or brown rice syrup work well here and are lower glycemic index sweeteners

Melt all of these together in a pot. It'll take a little while for the cocoa butter to fully melt and everything to fully incorporate. Watch and whisk as needed.

Serving your Fondue: For chocolate fondue a tea light is sufficient to keep your chocolate warm. Desert fondue is often served with sliced pound cake and strawberries, I served mine with the more traditional hard bread from a local bakery. You can try it with pretzels and any type of fruit, too. The correct form is to swirl your fondue fork in a figure 8 as opposed to merely dipping or dunking your bread into the sauce (you savage!) According to Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads any male guest that loses his chunk of bread in the pot (easy to do) must buy drinks for all his dining companions, any woman that loses her dipper must kiss the person on her left and then on her right. Ladies, feel free to inform the party of the old rules you like the looks of those to your left and right. Gentlemen, feel free to stay silent.

Fondue's popularity faded in the early 70s, but it's made on-and-off come-backs. To this day I often spot fondue forks and pots at thrift stores, colorful reminders of a by-gone era where social interaction was the norm and not the exception. There's a spirit of thriftiness to fondue and even healthiness, because the serving sizes are small and you fill up on the company of your guests rather than feeling stuffed to the gills with the buffets of too-much-food at modern parties.

Make everyone put their smart phones away (or else they buy drinks for all dining companions!) and break out the fondue pots this holiday season, if you dare. Use what's in season or around the house, go wild and weird, do in that kitschy swinging 60s rebellious spirit.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Business Behind-the-Scenes: Fun with Packaging, Crazy Busy, Trying to Force Rest


As I write this I'm taking a break from labeling the new sets I'm putting out at local markets for Christmas. They'll soon be on my site and Etsy year-round. I also need to make some tooth scrubs and men's deodorant stat and then there's a meeting to get to by 3PM! These are busy times, but challenging and fun, too.

Here's a peek at the Aromatherapy Inhaler set, I mail these out in the box now and there will be an anti-anxiety joining the mix today! I made this one with a custom sticker for Yarn Cow for letting me host a class on making your own body care products this Saturday coming up.

So behind-the-scenes I've been stuck inside making and labeling stuff for hours at a time! It took me two days to re-stock the gemstone jewelry.

Earlier in the month I had time to hit up a few thrift stores and flea markets but lately everything's been conspiring to keep me away. The one above has great prices and a gorgeous indoor greenhouse.

I'm still setting up weekly to sell wares at UNF and tomorrow we're taking our tent and wares two and a half hours south to Orlando to test the market at UCF for a long market day. Adrenaline gets me through these things, they're fun, but stressful.

Just a swift smart phone snap of the adorable Yarn Cow where I'll host a class and soon have some products for sale.

And another quick smart phone snap of a shop I'll be setting up a pop-up shop it front of in Five Points next weekend. It's the new Copper Closet and it's a gorgeous space with great prices on the wares, especially for the area.

For my birthday we were supposed to go to The Hostel in the Forest but they were still making repairs from the recent Hurricane, which hit Brunswick Georgia harder than here in Riverside, Jacksonville. We're rescheduling the trip and just spent some time walking in my own area. I live the gorgeous arts/historic side of town and I don't let myself explore it. I don't let my work hours end. It's a huge problem with me. I know from research it's not productive, people are more productive in short, concentrated bursts. If there's something I need to work on into the new year, it's setting strict work hours and spending much more time outdoors.

On our walk I saw these adorable hand-painted Beasley reproductions on cardboard, handmade and Halloween is the perfect combination. Along the way we were looking for commercially zoned homes for sale, or interesting ones in general. If you have any leads in Riverside/San Marco/Avondale let me know.

And I'll close the business behind-the-scenes of randomness with a shot of beautiful orange. In Buddhism orange is the color illumination and the highest state of perfection of the soul. (Which is why it's the color of our signature Transcendence roll-on) It's my favorite color and I love that it's everywhere this season.

What's been going on in your world behind-the-scenes? I need to fit in some room for haunted houses and Halloween fun over here! I of course, have some more Halloween posts coming before the month's end.
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Friday, October 14, 2016

Halloween Freebies: Zero Dollar Movies, Playlists, Art, Printables and More

I have scoured all the internets, sucking all the sweet delicious Halloween out for you! 
Actually, I'm just fortunate enough that my day job lets me play music and/or YouTube videos in the background while I work all day! It's crazy the amount of audio and video I work through. And since horror is my comfort in the night, my sweet snug security blanket, I've got a lot of that to recommend for your Halloween watching and listening.

Halloween ClipArt Some free Halloween public domain images and clipart for your Halloween printing and crafting needs.

The Graphics Fairy Has a gorgeous selection of charming vintage Halloween images for free usage. Vintage anatomy posters and lovely illustrations galore. Tons of FREE Public Domain Horror Movies!

Alice Sweet Alice: I recommended this in my first horror movie round-up and now you can watch it all for free online! (Starts about 1:25 min in, they digitally changed the logo from the original beautiful hand-drawn one but it's otherwise intact.)

I discussed the film briefly on my first annual Halloween movie recommendation list. My parents had the VHS and the cover alone was SO scary I had to hide it. I'm not alone here! Berge's (Joblo, famous horror movie reviewer) review of the movie mentions a girl he met and how the film impacted her so much as a child that she couldn't look at the box art! As an adult I can appreciate the  delicious Giallo-like atmosphere. The movies is all at once sad, sincere, and powerful. (And even a little funny with dashes of the darkest, blackest of humor.) A "slasher" with a deeper message and symbolism. All my fellow bitter former-catholics will understand what this bloody movie is saying about the suffocating powers of Catholic guilt. The low budget adds to it. Just watch it, let me know how you like it. It's free!  [/end non-sequitor rant]

Corpse Husband: A channel that reads "real" it-happened-to-me stories submitted by readers. Excellent background listening for the season! There are several others like his but this is my favorite channel. The one with creepy audio recordings was so disturbing I stopped it to wait until I had company and daylight to listen to the rest.

Abandoned: As a former vintage seller and someone who spends a LOT of time marketing and thinking about marketing, I am obsessed with abandoned spaces and businesses. I love the explore them, unravel their story. What events in history led to the abandonment? The textures are gorgeous, nature reclaiming the old buildings is stunning, everything about it is fascinating. This series exhaustively researches abandoned retail and theme parks, a fascinating watch.

NostalgiaWeen: The Nostalgia Critic has been making comical reviews of horror movies for years. You can watch his newest ones on his main channel. Always brightens up the season for me, ur, even more!

Jordan Underneath: Beautifully shot, high-quality horror video game (and some horror movie and cartoon) reviews. Even if you don't play games, the deeper thoughts on the art direction, symbolism or motifs of each game and cinematic way he shoots things makes them entertaining.

Halloween: The Inside Story: Halloween is an incredible debut film made on a shoestring by a preternaturally talented film student, a then unknown who'd go on to be a titan in the horror genre. Mixing Hithcock's suspense with then-new tracking camera technology, it's a perennial classic for a reason! This behind-the-scenes in-depth documentary on the film was fascinating! It was amazing to learn everything (a lot of serendipity in this one) that went into making one of my favorite horror films as incredible as it is.

History Channel The Ready Story of Halloween A cute, fluffy documentary on the history of Halloween. Doesn't go in-depth but does a good job of getting you in the spirit.

The Horror Den A Bunch of free, cheesy 90s thrillers and horror movies. I love these!

Webtoon's Horror Zone Webtoons has a horror zone up for the season and the comics are CREEPY, they even have a warning for people with heart problems not to watch! Expect some subtle movements in the panels in the comics for maximum fear factor!

Silly Bonus: 19 Seconds of the Best Batman Reaction Ever, I just cried laughing watching + Haunted History of Halloween + Hidden Killers in Victorian Homes, aah, horror for real! And the part II to that series, just as scary

/Comments Off  I'll be "off" for my Birthday but I'll be back next week with some fun posts.
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