My dear valentines all happen to fancy movie candy, so I picked up favorite boxes and personalized them for their Valentine’s Day cards. I used a sheet of chalkboard heart stickers that I had in my stash and wrote sugary sentiments on them with a white gelly roll pen (I don’t know who can make chalk work on those small stickers anyway). If you are looking for a valentine idea, I made a simple design that you can print out and use similarly: Print Page: Movie Candy Heart Valentines. I hope that you experience and share, in some measure, one of the many faces of immeasurable love this weekend.
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“Spookley wasn’t like his friends — where they had curves, he had ends.” Do you know the Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin? It’s a colorful picture book that celebrates differences. When I spied the Jumbo Pumpkin (shaped, not flavored) Mallow Puffs at the store, I knew it was my opportunity to make Spookley Treats in honor of the charming anti-bullying story. To make them, I followed the Rice Krispies Treats recipe* (in my opinion, it is most tasty to use full-fat salted butter and slow melt the gooey mix on the stove top) and added candy for the features, attaching them with chocolate icing. I realize that the proportions are exaggerated, but I think it adds to their homemade charm. It would also be fun to make treats resembling each one of Spookley’s friends, because after all, every pumpkin in the patch has something special to offer.
*A single batch of treats uses 20 of the jumbo pumpkin-shaped mallows.
I’ll admit that I was not thrilled with the idea that my niece chose a prefab Cinderella castle kit from the store for our annual gingerbread session this year. She loves to bake and is now old enough to see the project through from scratch. I was looking forward to designing our own charming chalet or creative candy cottage a la Hansel and Gretel. In the end, the gingerbread castle we put together from the kit still allowed for unique touches. My favorite parts are the mice dancing on the roof and the alien-looking snowmen with the blue eyes (all from the brain of the sweet five-year-old). I need to remember that these activities are, above all, about togetherness and that the outcome will inevitably be as unique and fabulous as the individuals involved.
Second food swap (first in our area!) boomed with bounty. The special aspect of a summer swap is that those with gardens bring their freshly harvested abundance. One day I will have a patch of land with a garden, but for now my swap items are kitchen creations and confections. My items this go around were meringues and black raspberry shrub drink mixers. Everything was “swapped up,” and I returned home with more than I could have ever imagined! The camaraderie is almost as delicious as the goods. I now refer to Food Swaps as “Food Christmas.”
Last month I participated in a community food swap for the first time! Mary has been diligently working to connect our region with the Food Swap Network (read all about it on their site). These photos were taken when I joined her at City Market for the Indianapolis Food Swap. My swap items were riffs on previous recipes made and documented on this blog: Honeycomb Brittle and Porter Candy Apples. I made three types of honeycomb brittle (lavender, toasted almond, black raspberry) and chocolate stout lollipops. At first I was nervous that no one would want to swap for candy, but as you can see I had nothing to worry about. I have been enjoying my swap loot ever since, and now because of Mary’s efforts, Northeast Indiana will host its inaugural swap this weekend. I can’t wait to see what swap-chances await; I hope people will swap for cold-pressed black raspberry shrub drink mixes…
I made it to the post office in the nick of time this weekend to mail off my simple sweet valentines in time for the 14th. I hope they like their favorite juicy Starburst flavors put together to make heart shapes. You can make your own Starburst hearts by gluing (I used Elmer’s) three Starburst on a piece of heavy paper (I used fluorescent poster board cut to fit a long envelope). Candy tiles and juicy hearts!