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Middletown Transcript
  • Cooks’ Books: Possibilities for a special shower season

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  • Sometimes, what’s on the magazine racks in supermarket checkout lines are more than tabloid fodder. Instead, they might just contain the solution to get you out of a pickle.
    How to dazzle at a seasonal soiree — like a bridal or baby shower, spring tea party, picnic or potluck — when you have barely a second? Freeze these showstoppers ahead.
    How to keep the children happily occupied at the kids’ table? Let them draw on the paper tablecloth, eat in costumes or play with an interactive centerpiece, like the stuffed arts-and-crafts animal in the “recipe” below. How to keep your own energy up as you sprint through hectic times? Just try the “energy berry” you can get at ethnic markets or online.
    If these topics are more your cup of tea than which celebrity is under arrest or possibly cheating on his or her spouse, grab Woman’s World, the more than 30-year-old, 55-page, yet thin and easy to roll up in a purse or back pocket, tabloid. While the cost of many other publications has risen by hundreds of percentage points in recent years, Woman’s World — the country’s best-selling woman’s magazine — is still priced at just $1.79 per weekly issue.
    Imagination is on the menu every week from the large full-time staff and slew of freelancers. Everything from how to easily hand-paint chocolate bay leaves, to hundreds of immediately usable tips in every issue.
    A few free features each week and information about upcoming issues are available at WomansWorldMag.com.
    The print magazine at times has featured challenging and no-brainer ways to pay you back. There has been an email address where you can submit your own stories for pay and a coupon page for major-brand products that have usually saved readers much more than they paid for that week’s issue.
    STUFFED INTERACTIVE KIDS’ TABLE CENTERPIECE
    • 2 large paper bags, such as supermarket bags
    • Candy, popcorn or both
    • Stapler
    • Glue
    • Tape
    • Rubber band
    • 2 pieces of white paper
    Yields 1 paper centerpiece stuffed with candy and/or popcorn. Centerpiece should be made by an adult or with adult supervision.
    If paper bags have handles, remove them. Push in bottom corners of one of the bags to round the shape. Add candy and/or popcorn to make the bag two-thirds full, fold the bag’s top corners to one side, staple to hold, and then staple the bag closed.
    For “legs,” in order to make a turkey, chicken or cow, remove the bottom from the second bag, cut open on the seam, then cut in half. Fold each half into a tube; glue closed. Fold one end to close; glue and tape, add candy and/or popcorn. Twist open end closed and secure with a rubber band.
    Page 2 of 2 - Cut two pieces of white paper 5-by-2 inches and cut fringe along one long side. Wrap around the rubber band on each leg, glue and let dry, and then glue legs to animal’s side.
    Woman’s World, in the print edition, has highlighted the best of the blogs for you in a feature called “Borrowed From the Blogs: We Bring the Fun From the Internet to Your Kitchen.” Recipes, like this innovative peanut butter martini from Josie Tavares at DaydreamerDessserts.com, are shared:
    PEANUT BUTTER CUP MARTINI
    Infused vodka:
    • 3/4 cup vodka
    • 1/4 cup mini peanut butter cups (such as Reese’s brand)
    Martini:
    • 1/2 cup ice cold milk
    • 5 tablespoons infused vodka
    • 1 teaspoon chocolate syrup
    • Mini peanut butter cups, for garnish
    Yields 1 cocktail.
    To infuse vodka: Combine the 3/4 cup vodka and 1/4 cup mini peanut butter cups in a clean mason jar. Close tightly and store in a cool, dry place for seven days. Give the jar a good shake once or twice a day. Once the vodka has been infused, strain into another clean mason jar using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Store in a cool place or in your freezer.
    To prepare martini: Combine the ice-cold milk, the 5 tablespoons infused vodka and the chocolate syrup in a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice. Shake for 30 to 40 seconds, then pour into two small martini glasses. Thread mini peanut butter cups onto a cocktail stirrer or toothpick and use as cocktail garnishes.
    Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the author of seven food books, including “Mrs. Cubbison’s Best Stuffing Cookbook” and “The Sourdough Bread Bowl Cookbook.”
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