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National Donut Day!

Woo-hoo! It's National Donut Day!  God bless America...first Grilled Cheese Month, and now this.

If you can't make it to your favorite local bakery or Dunkin Donuts, don't cry...get cooking! Here's a super simple recipe from Southern Plate. No dough-making required! She's also got a killer Bismarck recipe.

So easy, so yummy.  From Southern Plate.

If you're up to making some from scratch, check out these brioche sugar donuts by Mindy Segal, owner/pastry chef of Hot Chocolate in Bucktown.  As the article suggests, these would make a great dessert!

Need more sugar? Here's a jelly donut from yet another fab Chicago pastry chef, Gale Gand.

So many options for just one day of fried deliciousness.


Local goodies on Etsy

We've got some clever Chicagoans on Etsy.  Here's a selection of delicious treats and cheeky stationary.  There's more where this came from.  Support your local crafter!


"Beer's Best Friend" cookies by buttermilkbakeshop, $14 for two dozen
(hurry, she's only in Chicago for the next few weeks!)


Peanut butter and jelly truffles by VintageConfections, $9 for 11


Little Somethin' Somethin' Tags by orangebeautiful, $7 for pack of 6.


"Eat Me" recipe card set by TerriTaylorDesign, $6 for pack of 12.


Pink Felted Flower Note Card by AshleyPahl, $4 each


Reader Mailbag: Hey, buddy...the TV stays off!

The very first post I wrote for this blog is an important one that I've cited a few times - The Party Killers.  If you've read it, you know that I am vehemently opposed to having the TV on during a party, unless you're getting together to watch a program or movie.  There was a question asked in the comments of that post, and I'd like to elaborate on it...


Hannah asks:
What do you suggest doing with the tv if it's a main part of the room's decor? There's always one guy who will want to turn it on!

Yes, Hannah we all know that guy.  Your place (and you) are decorated to the nines, you have lovely appetizers, delicious cocktails, conversation is flowing....and he shows up and wants to know if he can turn on the tube or worse, goes and does it without permission.  Le sigh.

Let's analyze this at various levels of boorishness:

Level One:
They ask if they can turn on the TV.  You say "I'd really rather not. If we turn it on, pretty soon everyone is just staring at it and not talking to each other."  If they want to check the score of The Big Game (and they can't on their phone), take a minute to go to your computer and look it up for them.

Level Two:
Unplug it before the party starts.  When they exclaim "Hey, what's wrong with your TV?" you can smile and say "I unplugged it!"

Level Three:
Unplug it AND hide remotes AND disconnect the cable/satellite hookup.  Use the same response as above.

Level Four:
If you get to this level, suggest he watch it in a separate room.  Be vigilant, though.  There's a good chance other people will find him and then you'll have several guests mouth-breathing whilst staring blankly at a flickering screen.  If that happens, it's your job to herd them back to the party.  Once your rogue guest's program is done, make sure he rejoins the group.  You can do this by popping into that room "to get something" and if he's done watching The Big Game but is now into something else, say something like "Aww...and here I thought you came to my party to see me!" or "that girl you were talking to earlier is asking where you went" or something that lets them know hey, this is not okIf that doesn't work, you can let him stay in there, or put your foot down and make him socialize, darnit.  Either way, chances are you won't see them anytime soon...probably of your own choosing.


Watermelon, Nine Ways

I have yet to meet someone who doesn't like watermelon.  I'm sure they're out there, but they're definitely in the minority when it comes to this popular summer fruit.  Of course it's fabulous plain, but if you're looking for something different, try one of these recipes.


1 - Goat Cheese and Watermelon salad.  Simply combine equal parts watermelon with goat cheese (or feta) and add some micro greens, basil, or mint.  Drizzle with a bit of balsamic vinegar.  You can plate it as pictured here and serve as a first course, or cut small round slices of watermelon, top with cheese, and offer it as a refreshing canapé. (photo credit)

2 - Grilled Watermelon via Food Blogga. Watermelon carmelizes wonderfully on the grill.

3 - Red and Yellow Watermelon Soup by Chow Vegan.  Here's a different soup recipe that calls for spakling wine or water!



4 - Watermelon Juice by Foodie Goodie.  The first time I had this was poolside at the Bellagio in Vegas...so perfect on a hot day!

5 - Watermelon Hornijto (tequilla mojito) via She Knows Parties

6 - Watermelon Bombe, Two Ways (beginner and expert) - via YumSugar.  If this doesn't impress your guests - get new friends!


7 - Watermelon Gelatins by Martha Stewart

8 - Fruit Cocktail & Watermelon Cupcake by Flour Arrangements

9 - Watermelon Cookies by The Decorated Cookie. It doesn't taste like watermelon, but isn't it cute anyway?

#10 is reserved for you.  How do you like your watermelon?


Decorated Waffle Cone Bowls

When I saw this on eCelebrating's blog, I nearly squeeled.  The cuteness!  The color-coordinating opportunities!  The sense of why didn't I think of that?

Get thee to a store that sells a good variety of sprinkles, jimmies, and dragees (Try Sur la Table or Cakewalk Chicago), and you'll find that the possibilities are endless!  eCelebrating gives some good tips on alternatives to ice-cream, if you'd like to go for a healthier option.

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