Posts Tagged ‘Pacific Merchants’

Top 10 Creative Holiday Gifts

Friday, December 2nd, 2016
  1. These Whimsical Parchment Cheese Leaves

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    For your fanciful loved one we have these adorable and food friendly parchment leaves. Whether you gift the leaves themselves or use them to construct one of the centerpieces above, these table decorations give any holiday table a festive aesthetic without being too “campy”. I use mine to serve appetizers to guests, but there are a ton of creative crafts you can use them for as well as decorating your table (without having to actually use dead leaves – yuck!)

    2. This Rustic Acacia wood Cheese Paddle Set

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    The holidays are a time for family, friends, and appetizers. When I hosted my first holiday dinner I had poured my all into the menu, without giving any thought to how I was going to actually going to serve my delicious dishes. Save your new host/hostess from scrambling around the kitchen with this live edge cheese paddle, that is sure to give your holiday cheese log that festive country-chic vibe.

    3. This Acacia Wood Condiment Set

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    These are perfect for the person in your life that is obsessed with that ‘food blog’ look (or like me just can’t stand to see plastic bottles on a beautifully set table). Get them all set up for an Instagram worthy table top with these guys.

    4. This Mortar & Pestle with a Potted Fresh Herb

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    Fresh ground herbs are a gift in themselves (fresh ground mint in green tea is one of my favorite things on this planet), but I also love the action of grinding my own herbs. Mostly because I enjoy pretending I’m on chopped as soon as I step into my kitchen, but also because it makes the herb brighter in whatever dish you add it to (at least in this poster’s humble opinion). Pair one of our mortar & pestle sets with an herb of your choosing (I always suggest mint or basil), to help your host/hostess discover their inner Chopped contestant this holiday season.

    5. This new Fusion Wood Serving tray

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    If your friend has a family like mine, then you spend your holidays with about 50 plus people. When the bird comes out everyone makes a mad dash for the aluminum tray (that inevitably ends up leaking from all the knives/forks stabbing into the bottom) and results in a cleaning nightmare that not even Martha Stewart would want to deal with. Save your loved one the hassle with this beautiful Fusion Wood (blend of Black Walnut, Oak, Ash, Hard Maple, Acacia, Sapele & Teak) serving tray, perfect for this holiday’s main entrée.

    6. These 4 section Acacia wood serving trays : Get the first one Here, and the second Here.

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    Does your loved one have kids who are picky eaters? Are they themselves picky eaters? This tray is perfect for them! Aside from being the perfect snack tray, it’s a great way to pile on your dinner feast without any of the foods touching each other. Or if you’re like me and can never decide between salsa, guacamole, or queso now you can have all three (ITS LIKE GROWN UP LUNCHABLE NACHOS- You’re WELCOME).

    7. The Movie Night Bowl “basket”

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    Let’s face it, going to the movies is now more expensive for two people than tickets to Disneyland (ok-slight exaggeration but I miss the old days of $5 movie tickets). I love doing movie night at home, and what better surprise for your newly married friends or your parents (or friends with kids even) than with their own home movie night! Get a big ‘Popcorn’ bowl, throw in their favorite movie (or if you want it holiday themed hit the $5 dollar movie bin for some seasonal favorites for cheap), some popcorn & snacks, and maybe a bottle of wine. Then poof! You’ve got your very own adult movie night set (side-note you probably shouldn’t share the wine with the kids- but hey you do you). 😉

    8. Guys Night Out Bowl

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    My husband used to get together with his buddies for poker night once a week when we all used to live closer, and his game nights are the main inspiration for this “basket”. For this gift stuff the bowl with the mixings for some good Dark ‘N’ Stormy’s (one bottle of dark rum & ginger beer), a deck of cards (or Risk), poker chips, chips dip and other assorted snacks, a few cigars if that’s your bag, and follow it up with a Die Hard DVD (in my opinion the best Christmas movie ever made). The men in your life will thank you, I promise.

 

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    This is gift is all about treating yourself. Stuff our Acaciaware ‘popcorn’ bowl with snacks, movies, a massage coupon, and a mandala coloring book and your girlie best friend will be in heaven! Throw in one of our mortar and pestle sets so she can make her very own face masks from scratch. Give her the ultimate night of relaxation and self-care, I bet she deserves it!

Healthy Pancake Variations for #BetterBreakfastMonth

Friday, September 16th, 2016

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One thing I look forward to every weekend is the ability to actually cook a real meal for breakfast instead of my usual instant oatmeal or cereal during the week. Due to the monotonous nature of my workweek eating habits, when Saturday morning rolls around I try my best to test out new exciting recipes (often to my husband’s dismay). One morning in particular we were trying to decide what kind of pancakes we wanted, and after a very rousing 15 minutes of ‘No you choose!’ I had a brilliant idea. Why not just make a healthy base and then we could divide it and add all the fun ingredients after? That way each person could have exactly what they want, or at the very least we would have a multitude of pancake options (what a sweet predicament to be in!) Not only was this a great option for us (no more WHAT DO YOU WANT TO EAT pep talks before coffee-hah!), but I thought about how great this would be for families with picky eaters (or with multiple kids who all want different things). What’s also great is that both variations I’m sharing are gluten-free and low calorie, AND you can refrigerate the batter and use it to make a quick healthy breakfast during the week!
Presentation is also big for me on weekends, since during the week my breakfasts are generally of the ‘to-go’ variety. I like each meal to feel as though we just stepped into the fanciest boutique brunch restaurant (minus the hefty price tag!) These acacia plates from Pacific Merchants are always a great touch, and since there is sticky syrup involved I love using our poly vinyl placemats (super great for not only protecting your table, but also are incredibly easy to clean). It seems like a little overkill, but after 15 years together with my husband, I love every opportunity I can find to create a special date experience for both of us. Plus when you’re on a budget, eating out every weekend is just not an option. And thanks to Pacific Merchant’s products, I’m able to really give my spouse the ‘fine dining’ experience at home (which is not only cute, but practical). Check out the gear I used for this post:
The Acacia Serving tray
The Acacia Round Plates
Our Laguna Linen Placemat
The Into the Woods Deco Parchment Leaves
…and try hosting your own fancy brunch-date at home with the people you love!
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Healthy Pancake Batter

2 cups Oat flour (or you can ground your own oats!)
2 tsp Baking Powder
½ cup organic unsweetened applesauce
1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk
1 egg
Coconut oil for pan

Method

1. Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl, and wet ingredients in another. Slowly add the combined wet ingredients to the dry mixing as you go.
2. Decide how you want to customize them! Today I’m making Lemon Poppy Seed for myself, and mixed berry cereal pancakes for the husband!

Lemon Poppy Seed Variation

1 tbsp Organic Poppy seeds
3 tsp Lemon Juice (Fresh or pre-bottled)
1. Half the batter you just made and set one half aside.
2. Add the organic poppy seeds and the lemon juice, and stir into batter until combined.
3. Add a spoonful of coconut oil to pan (do so before pouring each pancake)
4. Ladle a small amount of batter onto the pan and let cook for roughly 2-3 minutes each side (or until brown). Repeat until you finish batter.
5. Add some organic maple syrup and these bad boys are ready to eat!

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The Arnold’s Mixed Berry and Cereal Variation

½ cup organic blackberries
1 cup of any cereal (today we are using Honey Bunches of Oats)

1. Add a spoonful of coconut oil to skillet (do so before pouring each pancake)
2. Take the other half of the untouched batter and ladle it onto your pan.
3. Sprinkle a couple berries and a pinch of cereal on top of the pancake. Ladle more batter on top (lightly- you still want to see bits of berry and cereal poking through)
4. Once the pancake begins to bubble, flip it over. (Each side should take roughly 2-3 minutes to cook through). Repeat until you finish batter.
5. Add some organic maple syrup and voila!

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Side notes if you’ve never made pancakes before!
*keep pancakes relatively thin and small when you pour them onto the skillet. It allows them to cook more evenly, and you don’t have to worry about an uncooked middle section.
* If you feel like your pancake batter is too thick you can always add more almond milk. BUT if you do add some to it, add it in small increments or the batter will become too runny. You do want the batter to be relatively thick, and if it becomes too runny you’ll have something more akin to crepes!
* The best way to tell if your pancake is ready to flip is to watch the top of the pancake for bubbles. These usually come after 2-3 min on medium heat.
* Don’t crank your burner up to full blast! It’s always better to cook at a lower heat as it will save you from burning your pancakes.
* Fun fact- if you just add the berries and cereal to the batter, the ingredients will come out soggy! Be sure to follow the steps for some delicious crunchy pancakes!

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A Trip to the Past: Pacific Merchants Visits Historical French Factory

Friday, September 9th, 2016

A Trip To The Past: Pacific Merchants visits 150 year old olive wood factory in France.  Hand made and artisan techniques handed down generation to generation.

Bonjour mes amis! — That’s French for “Hey there, my friends!” Why are we speaking French, you might ask?  Well, Pacific Merchants just got back from one heck of a factory visit in the South of France! We went right to the source and saw for ourselves where our beautiful olivewood and beechwood utensils are handcrafted: to experience this craftsmanship of our products firsthand was quite an experience!

We landed in Paris in the morning, and decided to grab a late breakfast at the famous Champs Elysses. From our first croissant and double espresso, we were hooked, and immerse ourselves fully in the French cuisine and culture

We had just begun to adjust to the time change, when we were whisked away by our friend and business associate, Alain. Together, we set off on a six-hour journey to the South of France near the Switzerland border where we would visit the factory and really get to know our products and the people who create them.
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En route to the factory, we made a pit stop for lunch in Saint-Nazaire-En-Royan at the Hotel Restaurant Rome where we enjoyed a local delicacy, “ravioles aux champignons,” a French verison of small, delicate raviolis with gorgeous morel mushrooms. The portions were much larger than the delicate servings we had just began to get accustomed to in Paris. When we mentioned this to Alain, he merely chuckled.
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Nestled in the lush greenery and rolling hills of the beautiful French countryside was our destination.  The factory’s owner Henri was there to greet us with a smile, and he graciously took us on a tour of the factory that’s been in his family for several generations. Henri informed us that while there was once a time where 50-60 cottage wood industries existed in France, today Henri’s factory is among a handful left that produces olivewood and beechwood utensils in France. We feel truly honored to be the factory’s exclusive importer to the United States—especially knowing these were the same tools used by legendary chefs such as Julia Child!

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During the tour, Henri took us to a small room behind the factory, and showed us a collection of wooden mechanical factory parts. These parts were over a hundred years old, impeccably preserved, and had been passed down from generation to generation. You could really feel the heart of the factory come to life when looking at these antiques, and as a visitor from a country which idolizes what is new and trendy, it was incredibly moving to be in the presence of something so timeless and historical. The more we saw, the more we understood the rich history behind our products, and the extensive amount of handcraftsmanship that goes towards their production.
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While at the factory, we observed the production of our olive wood spoons from start to finish. First, the raw materials come into the factory and are cut down into individual blocks of wood. The blocks are then loaded into a hand-run wood router to create shaped pieces which are turned to create a handle and the shape of the head of the spoon. From there, the spoons are individually hand finished, which includes creating the spoon bowl by hand in a press-like machine. After that, the finished spoon is hand polished and covered with a signature oil and wax. Voila!
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Click here to see a 90 second video on the process I just described!  It’s worth seeing.
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It was a long and exciting day at the factory learning about our French woodenware utensils, so we spent the night in a cozy little country inn where we got a much needed night’s rest. We woke up early the next morning and set off for the factory for morning meetings to discuss product development with our business partner and the factory owners.

We were led up a narrow flight of stairs into the meeting room which overlooked the entire factory. We were so excited to see all that the company had to offer, but even more thrilled to develop new ideas with Henri, and see how we could work together to improve our products for our customers. The meeting was very successful, and we shook hands with Henri and parted, feeling optimistic about what was in store for the future of our two companies!  Merci’!

Bruce Mannis & Samantha Mannis

Buying & Video Team

 

Labor Day Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

Friday, September 2nd, 2016


Summer is finally coming to a close this weekend, which is no surprise for anyone- what with grocery stores and coffee shops already pushing pumpkin – flavored everything in our faces. But before we jump onto the ‘I heart fall’ bandwagon, let’s pump the breaks and get you ready for your Labor Day BBQ.

Labor Day is actually one of the best holidays in the US if for nothing else than the country takes a single day to honor all of its hard workers. The idea being that we are supposed to take the holiday and treat ourselves to some relaxation and fun, whether it is extra family time or a cookout (or heck a mid-day nap!). Now if there’s anything we love at Pacific Merchants it’s a good BBQ, and if there is anything we love more than that it would likely be guilt free snacking. BBQ fare is notorious for junk-food items and over-indulgence, but it doesn’t have to be! You can still over-indulge (now sans guilt) with this Vegan Gluten-Free Spinach Artichoke dip. Not only is it creamy and delicious, but a normal order of spinach artichoke dip comes in at a whopping 1,600 calories per order – whereas its vegan counterpart clocks in at roughly 83 calories per cup (WHICH IS A LOT OF DANG DIP FOR UNDER 100 calories). Plus (and this is from experience here) if you don’t tell anyone it’s vegan…NO ONE WILL KNOW- Which is especially helpful if you come from a family like mine, who thinks the word vegan is a synonym for bland.

Now aside from the fact that this recipe is incredibly healthy, it’s also super easy to make! And if you’ve been vegan for long you know how rare it is for those two things to go together. So here we go.

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Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:

1 Jar marinated artichoke hearts
3 cups of frozen chopped spinach (you’re welcome to use fresh)
1 cup frozen chopped onions
1 brick of Jalapeño Havarti Almond Cheese
1 brick of Soy Mozzarella
1 cup Almond milk
2 tsp of Olive Oil (or coconut)
1 tsp of garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Assorted Veggies & multigrain whole wheat pita chips (for dipping)

Method

– Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
– Prep a medium sized casserole dish (I spray mine with coconut oil for easy cleanup)
– Cube the 2 bricks of cheese and set in a large bowl
– Dice the artichoke hearts and set in the same bowl as the cheese
– Pour in the spinach and onions
– Add spices and oil to the bowl (I also toss in about 2 tsp of whatever the artichoke hearts were marinating in)
– Toss all ingredients together to mix everything up
– Pour bowl continents into your casserole dish
– Pour the cup of almond milk over the spread evenly (can add more later if you feel like your dip is too thick)
– Set casserole dish in the oven, cook for ten minutes, stir dip, and then cook for another ten minutes (so 20 min total). This is also the point to add more milk to the mixture if you want a runnier consistency.
– Once fully cooked, you can brown the top of the dip by switching the oven to broil for 2-3 minutes. Be sure to check on it frequently so it doesn’t burn (it browns up super quick!)
-Let cool for 5 minutes, and then plate the dip in your beautiful acacia 7 part flower tray from Pacific Merchants! I chose to use an assortment of veggies and whole grain pita for dipping (to keep this dish as healthy as possible). However, I will occasionally serve this with a nice bread (whole wheat challah or sourdough is my favorite).

Get your own Pacific Merchants Acaciaware serving tray here.

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Guacamole and Other Backyard BBQ Dips

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

 

The word “barbeque” conjures up scenes of summer evening get-togethers. Kids at play, the hum of pleasant chatter occasionally pierced by a boisterous uncle’s laugh, the sizzle of delectable meats and vegetables, faint woodsmoke wafting through the air, carrying tantalizing scents of a glorious meal (and food coma) to come…

With the Fourth of July quickly approaching, you’ll want an equally quick backyard BBQ dip to free up more time for celebrating with family and friends. Now, maybe freeing up more time from the kitchen isn’t quite on the same level as when Congress freed our nation from Britain all those years ago…but it’s pretty close.

By the way Britain, no hard feelings. We still love you and your television, royalty, and puddings.

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Fall Into the Woods: Trail Mix Recipe

Monday, August 31st, 2015

National Eat Outside Day falls on the last day of August. And speaking of fall, autumn is rapidly approaching. If you want to get specific, the fall equinox this year lands on September 23rd at precisely 4:21 a.m.
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Double Trouble Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

“Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and caldron bubble.”
Macbeth (or Harry Potter if you’re so inclined)

Now that I’ve planted this earworm in your head, let’s talk about The Great British Bake Off (GBBO). GBBO is a show on BBC One where the UK’s best amateur bakers compete to be dubbed the best amateur baker. Season 6 recently began, and in celebration I present thee with a new recipe that will make you the best baker of your clan.

Seriously, this recipe checks off all the boxes.
Chocolate? √
Minimal clean-up? √
Delicious? √
Healthy? √
Chocolate? √
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Happy Bastille Day, Have a (Healthy) Crêpe!

Monday, July 13th, 2015
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Photo source: DCAfter5

July 14 marks La Fête nationale, or more commonly known to us in the United States as Bastille Day!

What is Bastille Day, you might ask? No, it’s not just the day you get to troll Instagram, fuming at all the amazing firework photos posted by your friends abroad. Bastille Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution, and the storming of the Bastille, on July 14, 1789. This holiday celebrates the unity and culmination of the French people as a nation.
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National Ice Cream Month: Banana “Nice” Cream Recipe

Monday, July 6th, 2015
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Peanut butter and plain banana ice cream. Item shown: Dipping Bowl 4″

It’s the quintessential summer staple. Cold. Creamy. Customizable. I’m talking about ice cream. From the humble ice cream truck you chased as a child (or adult, no judgment here) to decadent concoctions from the local parlor, it’s plain to see that ice cream is a crucial component of a happy, healthy life.

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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!


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