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Showing posts from October, 2013

Summer Foraging Recipe: Elderberry-Blueberry Jam with Chia Seeds

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In the woodland valleys of Central California, Elderflower trees have been in bloom all spring with their prolific, lacy white blossoms.  I've enjoyed making Elderflower syrup, candied elderflowers and sweet Elderflower Tempura.  A few days ago, I noticed that some of the trees are starting to bear fruit -- diminutive, tart little berries, deep purplish-blue growing in heavy clusters.  

Inspired by a love of biscuits and jam, foraging, and adapted from a recipe from Simply Beyond Herbs, I whipped up a simple and delicious jam made from the foraged Elderberries, fresh blueberries and using chia seeds for a perfect jammy consistency.

Enjoy and Happy Foraging!
PrintWith ImageWithout Image Elderberry-Blueberry Chia JamYield: One half-pint jarAuthor: Jenn Erickson Prep time: 10 MCook time: 10 MTotal time: 20 M An easy and delicious sweet-tart jam to make from foraged Elderberries. Ingredients:1 1/2 cups elderberries, rinsedPinch of salt1 cup blueberries, rinsed2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds1/2 Tabl…

Halloween Party Food: Haunted Fiesta Pizza

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I love playing with food. It's just another way that one can be creative.
Holiday-themed foods sure can be fun, but sometimes the flavor becomes secondary to the design. Just because a themed food has a childlike spirit, it doesn't mean it has to appeal only to a child's palette. Don't you agree?


That's why, for my second year working with the California Olive Growers, I created another Halloween-themed recipe that is all at once ghoulishly whimsical and delicious to eat:

Haunted Fiesta PizzaThis Mexican-inspired pizza starts with a simple sauce made from your favorite salsa.  It's topped with Monterey Jack cheese and tortilla chip crumbles.  The crunch from the tortilla chips is the perfect compliment to the bubbling cheese and picante salsa.   This taco-party-in-the-round is finished off with an avacado sour cream spider web and spiders made from California Ripe Olives.
Ingredients Pizza dougha large pinch of cornmeal Your favorite salsaMonterey Jack cheeseTortilla chips,…

DIY: Pumpkin Pompom Garland
A crafty workshop inspired by Pom-Poms! from Quirk Books (review and giveaway)

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Pom-Poms!
They're the classic handicraft on which many creatives cut their first DIY teeth. Colorful, whimsical, and so easy to make, pompoms are all at once vintage, retro and oh so NOW!

As  a child, I made pompoms with my grandmother by winding yarn around the lid of a margarine tub.  When I received a review copy of Pom-Poms! 25 Awesomely Fluffy Projects, the latest crafting title from Quirk Books, I felt a surge of nostalgia and inspiration to share the art of making pompoms with my friends and family.  So, with the help of my friends at Quirk, I organized a cozy little craft night for some of the fabulous women in my community (with all different levels of crafting experience). 

Quirk supplied copies of Pom-Poms! for all the guests, I provided the materials, hot cider and wine, and the gals brought some tasty treats to share. The party came together effortlessly, and everyone enjoyed an evening of crafting and conversation.  The garlands all turned out beautifully.  By the end of th…

Make a Halloween Folk Art Candy Container from a $1 Blown Plastic Pumpkin

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Do you remember the Paper Mache Black Cat Trick-or-Treat Bucket I shared last year? Using a plastic candy bucket that I picked up at Target for only a dollar, homemade paper mache paste, scrap paper and paint, I transformed this:


Into this:




I was excited for the pumpkins to be back in stores again this year.  As soon as they arrived, my girls and I picked up a bunch and brainstormed a plan for this year's creation.  We decided to create lidded candy containers -- the perfect place to store your candy for trick-or-treaters.  Decorative by day, functional by night!

This year, I had a few new tricks up my sleeve.  With this basic tutorial you can upgrade your cheap-o pumpkin any way you wish:

Folk Art Pumpkin Candy Container
Materials1 blown plastic pumpkin bucketMasking tapeHomemade paper mache paste (my favorite recipe is at the end of this post)Newspaper or kraft packaging paper Acrylic PaintPaintbrushesPaint pens (for detail work)1 paper mache witch hat (in the paper mache section at …

Snapshots: Mid-Century Modern Photo Safari, Los Angeles

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Mid-century modern: An architectural, interior, graphic and product design form that generally describes developments in modern design, architecture, and urban development from roughly 1933 to 1965.
Googie:A form of modern architecture, a subdivision of futurist architecture influenced by car culture, jets, the Space Age, and the Atomic Age.
Hello friends!  It's been a quiet week here at Rook No. 17, I know.  The family and I headed out of town for a brief, but much needed vacation in the form of the Great American Family Roadtrip.  We had lots of adventures on our way down the California coast, all the while keeping our eyes peeled for Googie architecture and Mid-century modern style.  What can I say?  I positively dig the sleek, chic, functional and space-age style of the postwar period.
I likely have my grandmother to thank for this fascination.  During the 1960s she curated a collection of incredible Mid-Century pieces in her Los Angeles home that she picked up from the garag…