Archive for October, 2013

Kilner Jar DIY Candy Bar – The Best Candy Buffet Ideas

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Kilner Halloween Food in Jars

Looking for a festive, colorful, interactive way to serve and display candy for Halloween?  Searching for ideas for an epic candy buffet? Look no further; Kilner Jars were born to do just this.  Half the fun of Halloween candy (or just candy in general) is the variety of shapes and colors candy come in. If you’re having a party, consider setting up a colorful candy bar with Kilner jars instead of hiding your candy in a bucket, bag, or bowl. You and your guests won’t be disappointed.  Featured below are our preserve jars, clip top jars, and push top jars.  Also featured are some Jar-O-Lanterns we made last week!  Check out our DIY blog post to make your own and add a little extra festiveness to your Halloween candy display! If you’re serving to a group of friend, I suggest setting out either some of our empty Kilner spice jars or 0.25 liter preserve jars for guests to fill with candy! Its like trick-or-treating, but fancier!

Happy Halloween prep, folks! As you can see with this project, it’s never too late to get some decorations up  – these jars are as decorative as they are fun!  Awesome drink recipe to be featured tomorrow; Stay tuned. Believe me, you won’t want to miss it!

Halloween treats in Kilner jars

Kilner Halloween Candy Jars

Kilner Jars Halloween

 

Festive Fall Kilner Jar Cookies – Cookie Mix in a Jar

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Fall Kilner Jars

Need a hostess/host gift going into the fall holidays?  I’ve been making and gifting a lot of these awesome “cookie kilner jars” this autumn. They’re super easy to make, and consistently receive a great response.  Plus, the clip top jar perfectly stores the cookies after they’re baked, or leftovers this Thanksgiving.  Thanks to Very Best Baking for their recipe.  We substituted dried cranberries for nuts, although you can totally customize your cookies however you’d like.  Perfect fall flavors with Turkey Day in mind.

What you’ll need:

(1) 1 Liter Kilner Round Clip Top Jar (You can also use the 1 Liter Preserve Jar)

-2/3 cup all-purpose flour

-1/2 teaspoon baking soda

-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

-1/4 teaspoon salt

-1/3 cup packed brown sugar (Add a little more for added chewiness)

-1/3 cup granulated sugar

-3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or butterscotch chips (or go half and half!)

-1 1/2 cups quick or old-fashioned oats

-1/2-3/4 cup dried cranberries (can put more or less to taste)

Get started:

Round Kilner Clip Top Jar 1 Liter

1. Clean your jar! We always recommend making sure your jar is clean before storing any food in jars.

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2. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in the Kilner Jar, and whisk until thoroughly blended.  Lightly tap jar on counter or with hands to create a more even layer after each ingredient.

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Kilner Jar Kitchen Storage

3. Layer remaining ingredients, making sure each layer is firmly packed in the jar.

Kilner Jar Cookies

4. Seal, wrap, and include a recipe card (online recipe card download Via Cottage-Industrialist)!  It’s important to tell your recipient what to do with the cookie mix you just gave them…I’ve forgotten before, and it’s a sad situation. No cookies, no fun.

Recipe Card Kilner Jar Cookies

It’s super easy to make these jars look amazing.  Tie a bow around the top of the jar, add the recipe card, or seal with decorative paper.

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Oatmeal Craisin Kilner Jar Cookie

Thanksgiving DIY Kilner Jars

Enjoy!  Share your experiences with this project in the comments below.

Crafty Hallowen Roundup – Halloween Crafts Part 1

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Happy Monday, readers!  Welcome to roundup week at the Pacific Merchants blog.  We’ll be bringing you the best we’ve found on the internet to make your pre-Halloween festivities, preparations, Halloween craft session, and YouTube watching marathons the best yet.  Here are a few links to get the week started.

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1. No-Carve Pumpkin Ideas from Brit + Co. How awesome are these?  So many creative ways to approach pumpkin decorating–anyone can do it!

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2. An oldie but goodie; parents eating their kid’s Halloween candy.

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3.  “Creepy Candles” from Martha Stewart.  Simple, affordable, and a little creepy.

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4. Decorate your table with our lovely placemats.  With an array of colors and textures, you’re bound to find the perfect mat(s) for your seasonal table.

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5. Kilner Cake in a Jar.  Check out last Friday’s post for an easy, fun tutorial for making cute Halloween cakes!

Halloween Treats – It’s a Cake in a Jar!

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Cake in Kilner jars

Happy Friday, folks!  With Halloween less than three weeks away, we here at Pacific Merchants have been crafting and cooking Halloween projects and recipes like mad people. I spent yesterday afternoon making delicious cakes with our Kilner Jars in preparation for Halloween.  For a more refined, friendly, and cute take on the Halloween spirit, this baking project proves a great family activity, but is easy enough to whip up on your own for a party or your home.  Surprisingly easy with great opportunity to satisfy everyone’s creative Halloween ideas, and of course, your sweet tooth.

What you’ll need:

  • -1 box white cake mix or your favorite cake recipe (white cake is great because you can add food coloring to change the color!)
  • -Non-stick Spray
  • -1-2 tubs whipped white frosting
  • -Food coloring
  • -Halloween Sprinkles
  • -(3) 0.5 Liter Kilner Round Clip Top Jars. You can also use preserve jars, but I love the look of clip tops for this.
  • -1-3 Mixing bowls, if you’re making more than one color batter or coloring your frosting.
  • -Piping Bag/tips (or you can just spread the frosting on)

On to the instructions.  Step one: Put a cake in a jar. . . I kid. But really. . .

1.  Make sure your jars are clean.  It’s really important when using any canning or preserve jars to make sure they’re clean: You don’t have to sterilize them like you would if actually canning something, but just make sure you clean them before baking in them.

2. Preheat oven according to your box or cake recipe.

3. The only part of these jars that shouldn’t go in the oven is that orange rubber seal.  See it? It’s super easy to remove: just pull at the tab and it should pop right off. If you’re using preserve jars, just leave the lids out of the oven.

4. Grease your jars!  Easy to forget, so I’m putting this step up front.  Non-stick spray comes in handy here as jars are harder to grease than an open pan.

5. Batter time!  I used white cake to match any frosting or decoration I would later adorn the cake with.  I kept the batter white, but try making some green, purple, or red batter for a more intense Halloween cake experience!  I dyed the frosting, hence why I recommend using white frosting as well.  Our Mason Cash Mixing Bowls are great for batter making. They’re easy to clean, big enough to mix up a huge batch of batter, and the white interior makes it easy to see when all your color is blended in (if you’re coloring your dough.)

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6. Pour batter into Kilner Jars, filling up about half way.  The cake will expand and rise in the oven, bringing the top of the cake right above the lip of the jar.  If you want to be able to close the clip top jars completely including frosting/decorations, pour batter a little less than halfway full. Making cakes in jars that you can close makes for a great hostess gift, school lunch treat (use a smaller jar) or holiday gift!

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7. Place jars on a baking sheet or pain, and stick ‘em in the oven.  I kept mine in for 43 minutes.  The batter densely sits in these jars, so I followed directions for a bundt cake on my boxed cake mix, versus a 8” or 9” pan or cupcakes.  Plus or minus a few minutes won’t hurt anyone.

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8. Keep an eye on the cakes when they’re in the oven.  They’re ready when you can stick a toothpick or knife through the center of the cake and it comes out clean.

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9. Take out, and let cakes cool completely before going to town with icing/decorations.  We don’t want messy melting icing (unless you do).

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10. Once cakes are cool, frost those babies.  I put whipped white frosting in a piping bag with a professional piping tip to get that cool star effect.  You can also just use a hefty zip-top bag with a professional tip, or no tip, just cut the corner off; it just won’t have that star effect. You can even just use a butter knife and spread the icing on smoothly. Two of the cakes I frosted with plain white frosting, and the third cake I frosted with my own mixed green frosting.  Get creative here!  Mix and match your cake color with your frosting color and/or decorations.  Decorate with sprinkles, candy corn, sugar eyeballs, or cupcake flags.  Most kitchen supply stores and even some big craft stores like Michaels have awesome sugar bats, pumpkins, ghouls, etc.  Drip with red food coloring for a more gruesome cake.

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11.  Grab two spoons, a scarfing partner, and go to town.  Or just tackle that cake solo; that may or may not have been what I did. Enjoy!

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Tune in next week for some awesome Halloween roundups and DIY projects, brought to you by yours truly.  Now go have a craft-tastic weekend!

Halloween Crafts – Kilner Jar-O’-Lanterns

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn my humble opinion, October is one of the best months of the year, second only to November (I love Thanksgiving…really I just love to eat). The leaves are changing. I always feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Sweaters, boots, Pumpkin Spice Lattes. What’s not to like?

*Evil Laugh*

Another October/Halloween staple: Jack-O’-Lanterns. The Jack-O’-Lantern tradition originated in Scotland and Ireland, but infiltrated American Halloween culture a lonnnnnggggggg time ago. I love pumpkins and I have a slight obsession with Kilner Jars so I decided to combine the two into one of the most awesome Halloween crafts ever . For my twist on a classic Halloween tradition, check out this Kilner Jar-O’-Lantern tutorial. It’s a great craft to do with even the littlest kids. As long as they can hold a paintbrush, they’ll have a blast!

What you’ll need:

-Kilner Preserve Jars
-Acrylic paint
-Paint Brushes
-Palette (Something to mix paint on – can be as cheap as a to-go container lid)
-Masking Tape
-Scissors
-Black Permanent Marker, any other colors you might want to use
-Utility Knife
-Paper/pencil, pen
-Hairdryer (if available. Helps speed up the paint drying process.)

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1. For every craft project I start, I love to sketch out my ideas.This is a great way to get your creativity flowing and try out an idea without the commitment. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This step is especially useful if you’re crafting with kids; it can really help focus and harness OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe wild and undirected energy kids sometimes approach projects with, and you can always send them back to work on it if they’re freaking out about what’s next. Sound familiar? Some questions to help the kiddos brainstorm:

-Do I want my Jack-O’-Lantern to be friendly? Scary? Silly?
-What simple shapes can I use to make the face?
-Do I want to make a design, pattern, or silhouette instead of a face?
-What colors do I want to use?
-Does my Jack-O’-Lantern have a story? Write down or draw that story.

2. Coat the inside of the Kilner jar with one layer of acrylic paint.

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If you want the final product to be a little more opaque, slap on another coat or two after the first one dries.

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I recommend using a hairdryer on the COOL setting in between coats. It can be tricky to paint the inside of the jar, but it gives you that clean, glossy finish without having to paint or spray on a clear coat at the end. Patience and a longer paintbrush will get you there, I promise! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s also possible to decoupage the outside of the jar with tissue paper and modge podge if you like that texture and process, but it’s a little more involved and messy. Trying to minimize cleanup, here! For adults: spray paint the exterior. It will look smoother, but it’s not as kid friendly.

3. Let the paint dry. In the mean time, if you sketched out a plan when you started, revisit it. Think about how you want to approach “carving” your jar.

4. Time to carve! When I’ve done this project in the past with kids, I draw on the glass with a Sharpie or other permanent marker in the places I want to black out. If you mess up, it’s super easy to take off the marker with an alcohol swab, so that’s really convenient.

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5. Outline the face or design you want blacked out. When you’re done, fill in with the permanent marker. You can also create stencils out of masking tape using a utility knife, but have an adult do this! Another reason painting the inside of the jar is more convenient.

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6. Let the jar dry. When completely dry, we recommend sticking in a flameless tea light; this allows you to close the jar (either preserve jars or clip top jars), and minimizes fire risk. They’re just as pretty, more kid friendly, less likely to melt your paint, and you won’t have to replace them throughout the night. Win, win! Thanks to the bright colors, the jars are also eye catching during the day without candles.

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7. Enjoy, and bask in the glory of your finished product. These Jar-O’-Lanterns make great hostess gifts, school party projects, and party decorations. Also, add some mummies to the mix with our Kilner Mummy Lanterns.               OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tune in Friday for another Halloween jar project. . . a craft so delicious that you’ll think you went trick-or-treating 2 weeks early!

Halloween Crafts – Kilner Mummy Lantern

Monday, October 7th, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADear Ghosts, Witches, Princesses, Ninja Turtles, and everyone else,10

Halloween is upon us!  Time to start decorating, if you haven’t already.  This week at the Pacific Merchants blog we’ll be providing you lovely readers with three simple, creative, and fun DIY projects to make your October more Halloweeny for you and your family. These crafts do double duty as a fun activity for the whole family and great, seasonal decor, so get started early and enjoy these all month long.  Ready?  Let’s do this thing.  Mummies.  Kilner Jars.  Tea Lights. Put them together, and what do you get?  Mummy Lanterns.  Heck yes.  Set your eyes on one of our favorite Halloween Crafts. It’ll stare right back at you.

Read on for an easy, fun, festive tutorial on converting our lovely Kilner jars into your own friendly mummy lanterns.  They make the best friends/pets ever; super low maintenance, and they don’t think twice about you talking to them for two hours straight.  Plus you’ll be the coolest crafter on the block this Halloween season.

Halloween Craft Supplies1. Get your materials in order!  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • -Scissors
  • -Rolled Gauze (Can find in first aid section of drug store)
  • Kilner Jars (Preserve, Clip Top, or Push Top)
  • -Hot Glue Gun/Glue Sticks
  • -Googly Craft Eyes
  • -Flameless Tea Lights

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2. Time to wrap these little guys.  Place a few dabs of hot glue on the glass to fix the gauze in place.  Watch out for your fingers!  Hot glue guns/glue can be surprisingly painful. We don’t want to use any of that first aid gauze on you… If you’re doing this with kids, it might be wise to have adults take charge of the hot glue gun. Kids can still do all the wrapping once the gauze is glued in place.

3.  Continue to wrap the jar in gauze, evenly or overlapping/folding if you want something chunkier.  Make sure to fix the gauze down with a small bead of hot glue every once and a while and tighten the wrap on the gauze so OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAit doesn’t unravel.  If you plan on sealing the jars after (on either a preserve jar or a clip top jar), don’t cover the lip of the jar with gauze, else the cap won’t screw on or clip on.

4. Once you’re done wrapping the Kilner Jar, it’s time to googly-eye this mummy.  I was so pleasantly surprised with the insane variety of googly craft eyes that are now available on the market (at Michael’s)…SO AWESOME.  They have different color irises, eyelids, and even eyelashes, so you can fully customize your mummy to your hearts content.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPlaying with the scale of your mummy faces is a great way to inject humor into this project; I love putting big eyes on small jars, and small eyes on larger jars.  It just makes them total characters.  But, it’s obviously up to you and your creative genius to figure out what your mummies look like.

5. If you are looking to make more gory mummies, feel free to drip red food coloring down the sides of the gauze.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

6. Stick in a flameless tea light, and enjoy!  We at Pacific Merchants strongly advocate flameless tealights/candles, as they’re more family/kid friendly.  You can also close the Kilner jars without the fire going out, and they come in many different colors!  Great option for dorm rooms, apartments, playrooms, or anywhere you don’t want/can’t have open flames.

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Stay tuned for our Jar-O’-Lantern tutorial on Wednesday.  Happy Monday, folks!

Celebrating National Pizza Month – How to Make Pizza Dough

Friday, October 4th, 2013

indexgaegOctober is National Pizza Month!  If you’re anything like us, you don’t really need an excuse to grab a slice, but having a whole month to celebrate one of the most delicious foods in the world is a great reason to get in the kitchen, roll up our sleeves and make pizza from scratch!index6at

While there are a lot of components to homemade pizza, it’s actually pretty easy to make.  We start with a simple dough recipe, featured below, add on our favorite sauce, whatever toppings we happen to have on hand, some great cheese, and we’re good to go. The hardest part is making the dough, but with a little planning, even that comes together easily. Ready to learn how to make pizza dough? Let’s go.

Here’s our favorite dough recipe. It makes enough for one small, thin crust pizza for 2 – the perfect size to bake on our Mason Cash Baking stone.  If you’re making more pizzas, or like a thicker crust, go ahead and double or even triple the recipe.  Another nice thing about this recipe is that it only uses one bowl, so you’ll have fewer dishes to do later!

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flourmyo_Pizzaalt1
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon active dry yeast – This is about half a packet
  • ½ cup lukewarm water. You may need a tiny bit more
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, including the yeast. Stir in the olive oil and water with a wooden spoon or spatula, trying to get the mixture as combined as possible. I love using a Mason Cash Mixing Bowl for this recipe (and all bread-dough recipes, really) since the bowls are roomy enough to knead in and glazed to make cleanup easy.

Knead the dough right in the bowl until it is completely combined and uniform, then knead an additional two minutes.

Lightly oil the bowl, cover it in plastic wrap, a damp towel, or your baking stone, and let the dough sit in a warm place for an hour or two, until doubled in size.  If you want to make this the morning before, let the dough double in the refrigerator instead of in a warm place. Heat just speeds things up.

unnamedOnce the mixture is doubled in size, gently press the air out of the dough with the palms of your hands. Shape the dough into a ball and let it sit, covered for 10-20 more minutes (the perfect time to slice any veggies you’ll want as a topping!)

Sprinkle your baking stone or a baking sheet (it’ll work, but the crust won’t get as crisp) with cornmeal, put it in the oven, and heat your oven as high as it will go. Mine tops out at about 525 degrees.  Roll out the pizza on a floured countertop, making sure it doesn’t stick to the counter.

Top your pizza with your favorite toppings. If you’re using a lot of toppings, make sure they’re sliced very thinly. Meats should be pre-cooked, but vegetables can normally be put on your pizza raw.

Using a large spatula, the back of a cookie sheet or a pizza peel, gently transfer your pizza to the hot baking stone.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until slightly blistered and very melt-y. 16546_1_zpsd5a1b5e1

If you’re worried about transferring your pizza from the hot counter to a hot baking stone, go ahead and shape your pizza right on your stone, and put the whole thing in the oven. The crust won’t get quite as crisp at the bottom, but you’ll still have an incredible homemade pizza.

We hope you have a fantastic time celebrating National Pizza Month, and we really hope that you take the time to make pizza from scratch. It’s a lot of fun, the pizza is outstanding, and it’s something the whole family can do together!


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