A Passion For Creativity

Unleash Your Creativity, by Mary Sara Pipia

Easter’s on the Way April 4, 2009

Happy Saturday.  Sorry for the bit of lag between posts. Last week, I ended up going away for a long weekend to the Cape with my close friend and her family.  We had lots of window shopping, good food and tons of laughs.  What more could you ask for? 

With Easter a week away, I am in full creative mode.  I’ve been busy, so I’ve been trying to figure out some quick creative things to do.  Suddenly, Easter’s a week away, when it just seemed like to was 3 weeks to go.  Where does the time go?  When I was on my Shop Hop in February I picked up some great rubber stamps by DeNami Designs as well as Amuse Stamps.  One of my favorite is by DeNami and is this Chickie Easter Basket stamp.  I love these cute litte stamps.  I also got a Chickie “Hoppy” Easter stamp as well as some Copic markers, which are the latest fun tool for us card makers and crafters.  Coloring with them is amazing and I’ve been doing some stamping and coloring, trying to work on technique.  I also have these fun Copic Spica glitter pens that give a hint of glitter, which makes coloring the stamped images so much fun. 

 

Going through my stash, all creative people have stashes of stuff, I found these pink tin pails I bought at Target for $1.  So, I decided that I’m going to make Easter tags for the pails, using the Chickie Easter Basket stamp and attach to the handle and will fill with fun Easter treats for my family.  Each person will get their own pail and I’ll put them on their place at the dinner table.  Every year, I try and do something different.  I actually like the paper grass from Williams Sonoma or you can make your own, by shredding some fun paper and filling it in the tins.  Put some tissue in first and then you use less shred or grass.  I’m off today to find some chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and some other chocolates.  My sister loves her peanut butter cups, so those are on the list.  My mother loves fudge, so I always try and pick up some fudge or she loves Almond Joys, so they are always in hers.  I must admit, being something of a chocolate lover myself, I personally love the pure chocolate eggs.  Nothing quite like a solid chocolate egg at Easter. I also love the Classic Jelly Beans from Brach’s. 

 You can also check out some of my favorite sites that I go  to.  You can find fun, easy food and decorating ideas at Food Network’s Holiday and Party section.  Get receipes for everything for the main course to dessert to treats.  Martha Stewart has a lot of ideas and information posted on her web site.  She’s been doing an Easter Workshop leading up to Easter with ideas for crafts and food and photos.  She’s having a contest as well, where you can post your own photos. 

 

So, even though it says is Springtime, it’s overcast and cool here in Boston today, what a better way then to spend the day doing something creative?  Get ready for Easter by baking some cookies, making homemade chocolates, dying Easter egs or making a handmade Easter card or tags for your Easter baskets.  

What are you doing for your Easter baskets?  How are you making them special?  Happy creating and check back later this week as I’ll post ideas and pictures of my Easter tags and my Easter pails for my family. Leave a comment to tell me about your Easter basket.

 

Valentine’s Day February 11, 2009

Filed under: baking,General,Holidays — marysarap @ 10:21 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

I can’t believe that Saturday is Valentine’s Day.  To me, Valentine’s Day ranks right up there with New Year’s Eve.   My married friends forget about it and my single friends think it’s over rated.  However, being a holiday, my creative side can’t help thinking about it.  I know that most of the time I have good intentions as Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that I try and let pass, but in the end my ceative side takes over.  I make heart shaped cookies or buy fun chocolates for close friends and family along with either handmade or store bought Valentine Day cards and get Valentine’s Day candy for my candy dish at the office.

 

So, what’s Valentine’s Day without some chocolate?  I love this brownie recipe from Ghiradelli.  It’s one of my Ghiradelli Sweet Chocolate and Cocoafavorites because it’s super easy.  You use Ghiradelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa, which is easy to find at your grocey store.  I usually find it either with the baking items or coffee/tea/cocoa.  You’ll probably find the recipe on the back of the canister, which is where I discovered it. 

 

For a Valentine’s Day treat, I make a pan of brownies and let them cool.  I then use a heart shaped cookie cutter and cut into heart shapped brownies.  If you like, you could then frost with chocolate icing.  For a special Valentine’s Day dessert, drizzle hot fudge on a plate, put your heart shaped brownie on the plate, put a scoop of your favorite ice cream on top, drizzle hot fudge sauce over it, put a chocolate covered strawberry (or regular strawberry or cherry) on top and you have an easy, elegant dessert.  (Note – the nuts are optional and I very rarely use nuts because my brother doesn’t like them, so I stopped putting them in my brownies and cookies years ago.)

You can also make hot cocoa with this Sweet Ground Chocolate and add a Peeps Marshmallow Shaped Heart in the center for a sweet chocolate treat.  Kids especially love this. 

Please post a comment and tell me what you do for Valentine’s Day or if you made the brownies and how you liked them.

 

 

Ghirardelli Brownies Ingredients

 

2 large eggs 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, unsifted
3/4 cup granular sugar 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
3/4 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocoalte & Cocoa (Dutch processed cocoa) 1 cup bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions for Ghirardelli Brownies

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2.) Using a wooden spoon whisk together eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla.
3.) In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
4.) Stir flour mixture into egg mixture.Stir until thick and glossy.
5.) Add nuts and chocolate chips. Combine well.
6.) Spread into a greased 8- or 9-inch square pan.
7.) Bake for 20-30 minutes.
8.) Cut into squares.

Makes 16-20 brownies.

Note:
For extra chewy brownies, use 8 inch pan and less baking time.
For cake like brownies, use 9 inch pan and longer baking time.