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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Corny season’s greetings (with a DIY download)

December 24th, 2009

Over the last couple of days, I’ve whipped up three batches of Gingerbread Caramel Popcorn, a recipe I found online and then modified slightly. The aroma in our place is downright heavenly.


•    15 cups popped corn (I used air-popped)
•    1/2 tsp. salt
•    1 cup butter
•    2 cups packed brown sugar
•    1/4 cup corn syrup
•    1/4 cup light molasses
•    1 Tbsp. ground ginger
•    1 tsp. cinnamon
•    1/2 tsp. baking soda
•    pinch of cayenne pepper
•    2 cups roasted pecans
•    240 g bag of peanut m+m’s


Preheat oven to 250˚F. Place popcorn and pecans into two 13” x 9” pans.

Mix together salt, butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses, ginger, cinnamon & cayenne in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil for 5 minutes:

Remove pan from heat and mix in baking soda. Mixture will foam up — this is why you need a large pan!

Pour mixture over popped corn / pecans in prepared pans, mix thoroughly. (The mixture gets a little stiff as it cools over the popcorn… you’ll get a few more shots at coating everything later, so don’t worry if it’s not perfect at this stage.)

Bake pans at 250˚ for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until corn is glazed and crisp. (During these stirs, any excess caramel will be at the bottom of the pans, and you can spread it out more evenly.)

Cool completely. I doled out the popcorn in treat bags I’d picked up at Michael’s Craft Store, throwing in peanut m+m’s (yes, I’m still a little obsessed with them) as I went. Each batch yielded about a dozen bags, though the recipe says that it makes 30 servings.

I designed a card — with knee-slapping punny greetings on the front, plus the recipe on the back (see top photo) — had them printed up at a copy centre, and tied them on each bag.

The feedback so far is that the popcorn is delish (though both John and I already knew this, since we did some very scientific taste-testing).

If you’d like to put together a batch of the popcorn too, please feel free to click here and download the artwork for the tags so you can also give out corny greetings with the treats!

Technical stuff for printing the tags: I’ve laid out the artwork so that there are four tags per 8.5″ x 11″ sheet. There are two pages to the PDF, and they should be printed back-to-back. When printing, specify that it “Fit to page” and make sure the printout is centered on the sheet. The artwork includes cropmarks on the front side, so you can use these to cut out the tags — if printed correctly, the recipes on the backs of the tags should line up nicely with the front.

Do you have any simple holiday treat recipes to share???

Enjoy, and merry merry to you!

download, general rambling , , , , ,

Three cheers for the holidayification of Tarts ‘n’ Crafts

October 25th, 2009

Cheer 1:

Earlier this year, I designed a new poster for Ladyfest Ottawa’s 2009 craft sales, called Tarts ‘n’ Crafts. They recently asked me to rejig the look for the upcoming holiday event, using more festive colours and incorporating falling snow. Here’s the web version of the updated poster:

I played around with actual six-sided snowflakes and even looked around for Photoshop brushstrokes, but since the original design was already so detailed, I thought I should go with less literal elements — and went with just the suggestion of flakes, blurs and shapes. The white specks and details were all done in Corel Painter on my Wacom Cintiq (as was the “XO” illustration). Closer up:

As with the initial design, this was a really fun project (I think that every time I get to use the tablet ;).

Cheer 2:

One other update I had to make was to add the logo of the Ten Oaks Project, the beneficiary of the event. As a complete fluke, I’d actually done the design of the Ten Oaks logo almost exactly a year ago; I tell you, Ottawa is a tiny town. Here’s a closer-up look at the logo:

Cheer 3:

Helping out with the poster doesn’t mean I don’t still have to apply and sweat over whether or not I make it into this show. This time around, they got three times the number of applications as there are spots. So I’m happy and very relieved to say that… I got in. Woohoo!

Event details:
- Ladyfest Tarts ‘n’ Crafts Holiday Sale: Sat. Dec. 5th from 10 am – 5pm at the Jack Purcell Community Centre (320 Jack Purcell Lane, Ottawa); $2 admission (proceeds to support women in the Ottawa Arts Community)

Drop by and say hello if you’re in town! This’ll be a terrific event with plenty of amazing DIY gift ideas… If I looked particularly exhausted that day, it’ll be largely due to the fact that the event is exactly one week after my wedding! Hooo boy.

Are YOU doing any upcoming craft shows? Are you ready???

horn tootin', m chen wears , , , , , , ,

Visions of Cowtown

December 30th, 2008

It was a jam-packed holiday visit to Calgary, with loads to see and do. Here’s just a taste of it.

Buffet pants were very much in order for this delish breakfast; John’s sis whipped up some pumpkin waffles with cream cheese, maple syrup and flax seeds:

We took a walk by the partly-frozen Bow River:

We stumbled into the famous Giant Mini Wheats Farm… couldn’t resist trying them!

The funky chandelier made of fallen deer antlers, overtop the dining table — and me being reflective ;)

Oh yes… there WAS po’ boy again:

Beautiful hoar frost… this was taken from the driveway:

I met my cousin’s 18-day old son, Ashton:

Check out what John spotted in the fire — on the left side of the log…!

We made it up to Banff again… Crazy to be able to see the mountains from just about anywhere in town. Another wondrous sight — John wearing my new mitts from his Mom, the way all the cool kids are doing it now:

And deer deer, everywhere were deer… quarreling bucks, then a mum and kiddo:

John’s sis and bro-in-law are the hosts with the mosts — there just ain’t no arguing.

good peeps, in the memory bank , , , , , , , ,

© 2010 Emily Chen Design & Illustration. All Rights Reserved.