Friday, January 2, 2009

How To Decorate Valentine Cookies

(Source: EHow)




Step1: Decide on your cookie recipe first. Sugar and chocolate chip cookies are popular choices.

Step2: Make your valentine cookies in the shape of hearts. Use heart-shaped cookie cutters to make individual cookies, or bake the whole batch in a heart-shaped cake pan. You might also want to try using heart-shaped muffin tins.

Step3: Mix up some thick icings in pink, red, and white, and use a pastry bag to decorate the edges of the cookies with scallops, swirls and other designs. You might wish to ice all the cookies in white or pink first as a background.

Step4: Use your pastry bag or some store-bought tubes of cake icing to write Valentine messages on the cookies. "Happy Valentine's Day," "Be Mine," "I'm Sweet on You," and "Cutie" will work, depending on the size of your cookies.

Step5: Personalize the valentines cookies by writing the name of each child in a classroom on each one, for example.

Step6: Draw some hearts with icing, or place some small Valentine chocolate or conversation hearts on top of the icing.

Step7: Wait for the icing to dry.

Step8: Package your valentines cookies in small, heart-covered cellophane party favor bags, and tie a piece of lace or pink or red ribbon around the neck of the bag. You can also use clear sandwich bags decorated with stickers.

Facts on Almond Nutrition

(Source: Shauna Hanus)

Almonds can be found in such common places as on top of a salad or as a snack while on a plane. They are packed full on nutritional value and are tasty to eat. Almonds are so versatile that they can be used as a key ingredient in dessert or found as a snack in between meals.

Did you know that one ounce of almonds has as much calcium as ¼ cup of milk as well as providing 35% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin E. Vitamin E has been proven to help prevent some forms of cancer.

Almonds are also high in folic acid which helps prevent birth defects and have higher levels of magnesium than those found in spinach or oatmeal.

The phosphorous found in almonds helps to build strong bones and teeth and some of the other nutrients contained in almonds are protein, fiber, iron, zinc, copper and phytochemicals.

Almonds come with a long and rich history. Almonds are mentioned in the book of Numbers which dates back to around 1400 BC. Then around 300BC explorers traveling along the “Silk Road” between Asia and the Mediterranean brought along almonds to eat. These explorers consequently began to grow almonds in such new regions as Morocco, Greece, Israel, Italy and Spain.

During Roman times almonds were considered to be a fertility charm. Maybe ancient Romans new of the nutritional value of almonds and figured it couldn’t hurt with fertility. During the mid 18th century almonds made there way from Spain to California. It took a century or so for the almond trees to become established and produce the volumes of almonds we see today.

Then by the early 1900’s the San Joaquin and Sacramento areas of California were well established as leaders in the almond industry.

Birthday Gift Baskets

(Source: Kent Pinkerton)

No gift is more magical than a basket loaded with special, cherished, and favorite things. And to help you in experiencing such happiness and magic, multitudes of companies provide all types and sizes of birthday gift baskets.

Gift Baskets, Blue Chopsticks, Jackie’s Baskets, Warm Sentiments, Mary’s Basket Case, Inc, Gifts Baskets Etc, Wine Country Gift Baskets, Gotham Baskets, Gourmet Gift Baskets, Gifts.com, Adorable Gift Baskets, Erna Gift Basket Online Shop, Gift Service USA, Harry and David, For Gift Baskets, Awesome Creations, Cesta Gift Baskets, Design it Yourself Gift Basket, Red Envelope, Book Baskets, Dream Maker Gift Baskets, and Gift Baskets.com are some companies among others which provide delicious and delightful gift hampers.

Baskets can either be chosen from the pre-designed ones available in the market, or can also be customized and designed according to your own wishes.

A huge variety of gift baskets are normally available at the aforementioned companies. Chocolate, cookies, coffee, Italian, fruits, pizza, popcorn, spa, sweets, grilling or BBQ, dried fruits, and much more can all be found at the aforementioned companies. Fruits, chocolates, candles, cookies, wine and many other products are all available at Gift Baskets.com, Harry and David, Erna’s Gift Basket Online Shop, and all the other companies.

Specializing in wine baskets is Wine Country Gift Baskets. Gourmet has an amazing range of birthday gift baskets to choose from. It also allows customizing your own basket. Design-it-Yourself Gift Baskets and Nostalgia Baskets also have customizing options.

Designer gift baskets are offered by For Gift Baskets. You can choose for baskets designed by different people from different states. Cesta Gift Baskets provides snacks, and other gift baskets loaded with all edibles intended for movie nights and the like.

Offering Gourmet cookies and chocolates with mugs and other birthday treats is Dream Maker Gift Baskets.

Usually an additional price is included for shipping; however, some companies like Gift Baskets.com (on certain gift baskets), Dream Maker Gift Baskets, and Adorable Baskets allow free shipping too.

Book Baskets specialize in books. Such baskets can be filled with books of your own choice. Clips, bookmarks, personal journal, and pen also accompany the selected books in the basket.

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Gourmet Wedding Cookies

(Source: Kevin Stith)

Gourmet cookies as wedding favors, create an unique twist on the time honored tradition of providing small gifts to guests, as a token of appreciation from the bride and groom. Initially wedding favors were only a part of celebrations European upper classes who would provide elaborate gifts to their guests. Wedding favors began as small fancy boxes, filled with the royal treat of confectionery delicacies, at a time when sugar was quite expensive.

Today, sugary delights are an affordable option for wedding favors. Gourmet cookies allow for unique variations on traditional wedding favor preferences. A wide range of basic cookie recipes, combined with frosting options and inscriptions, can make cookies an exciting choice for a wedding favor.

Modern brides take great pride in putting a lot of thought into the choice of wedding favors, seeking to reflect her personality and a sentiment from the couple. The versatility of cookies, allows for this treat to duplicate roles serviced by other traditional wedding favors. Decorated cookies with the guest's name written with piped icing, can serve the same purpose of wedding placecards that help guests seat themselves at reception tables. Unique edible centerpieces are designed by baking cookie dough on lollipop sticks. Heart or flower shaped cookie pops are decorated with frosting and sprinkles before being arrayed into delightful and original arrangements, by driving the stick into a block of florist's foam or a decorated cake. Rose cookie bouquets are easily tinted to blend with the table d├ęcor. Wedding favor boxes intended to hold additional delights, can be created from gingerbread and appropriately decorated.

Gourmet cookie assortments are available in small gift boxes as a replacement for grocery store boxed cookies. Distinctive cookies can be bought in bulk and wrapped in specially selected wedding favor boxes. Popular bulk cookies include Danish shortbread, fortune cookies and Mexican wedding cookies. Fortune cookies, like other cookies can be decorated with frosting and sprinkles. If the couple wishes to personalize the fortunes in the cookie, there are companies who provide this service.

Custom cookies can be ordered from any local bakery or a baker featured online. Typically, custom cookies are shaped and frosted sugar cookies. The designs include traditional wedding themes of wedding cakes, wedding bells, bride and grooms, wedding dresses and floral bouquets. Cookies can feature a simple frosting or include delicate icing details. Gourmet Cookies can be ordered to feature monograms or short messages. The more intricate or lavish the details, the more it will effect the final cost of the cookie. The average price of a gourmet cookie is around $5 each. Brides can easily provide this wedding favor for less expense, by taking time to make these favorite home baked creations.

Technological advances have created the means to transfer photos onto baked goods. Couples can elect to have their pictures added to basic shortbread cookies in the shapes of hearts, circles, squares and triangles for about $25 a dozen. Most bakeries have the means to make these creations, as the edible ink works on most ink jet printers and is applied to sheets of frosting. The bakery does use a dedicated printer that is free of any previous printing inks, so it's recommended for a bride not to try this on her home system.

The endless possibilities for the use of cookies as wedding favors, provides for a couple to infuse originality and fun into the European tradition of giving confectionery delights.

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