Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

In the States, today is the traditional Thanksgiving holiday! We’re hanging out with friends and family, eating too much and being grateful for all of our blessings… including the opportunity to hang out with you on this little corner of the internet! Thank you for spending time with us!

Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving (or Thursday, if you’re not in the States).

Great gift ideas: Celebrations edition

Great gift ideas - Celebrations Edition

There are lots of events in life worth celebrating: engagements, weddings, graduations, Wednesday.

Usually the social convention is to bring the celebrant a gift. But, what do you bring? There are lots of options out there, but don’t you want to give them something a little bit special? Why not put together a gift basket that will leave your loved one feeling bubbly inside and out?

It’s easy! Here’s what you need:

  • A container for your gift (maybe a fancy wine bucket?) or a sturdy gift bag
  • Linens to wrap your items in to keep them from clanking together (or you can use decorative tissue paper)
  • A nice bottle of Champagne, sparkling wine or sparkling grape juice
  • A pair of Champagne flutes
  • Your favorite Emmet Street Creations products! Our handmade Champagne-scented soap and Champagne & Roses soap and bath fizzies would be a perfect pairing.

Viola! The perfect gift. Now all you need is the perfect toast to go with it!

Know someone who is stuck trying to think of the perfect gift? Why not share this post with them? Your kindness will have them celebrating! It’s easy to let them know, simply use one of the sharing buttons below (Note: If you’re reading this via e-mail or reader, you’ll need to link to our website to use the sharing buttons).

Hosting Thanksgiving? 5 easy ideas to make your festivities a little more festive

Make your Thanksgiving festive!

Hosting Thanksgiving this year? Martha’s not the only one that has the magical power to make a joint festive you know! In the past, my ideas of home decorating for the holiday meant turkeys made from a hand tracing and pilgrim hats and cornucopia made of construction paper (I may have been seven years old, but still). We can do better than that people!

Creating a festive scene will keep things lively, maybe even lively enough to distract Uncle Rick from doing what he does every year: talking about politics and getting into a fight with Aunt Hillary.

In the interest of helping you step up your hosting game and creating harmony, I’ve done some poking around the web and found some easy and inexpensive ideas to try. As an added bonus, if you have any kids home from school you can keep them busy by saddling them with this task working with them on these projects. Cheap materials, free labor–everyone wins!

  • Paper utensil holders with an inspiring Thanksgiving quote – There’s also an option to print the quote as a paper sized poster, if you want to avoid getting out the scissors and glue.
  • Fall leaf bowl – This project uses real leaves and a papier mache technique to craft a decorative bowl. I think it might take several hours for your kids to find the most perfect leaves for this project. Right?
  • The Thankful Tree – I love this idea! Not only can you put up your reasons for giving thanks on the tree, it would be a fun to ask your guests to contribute theirs, too.
  • Fall Hurricane Vases – Dried beans and popping corn dumped in a glass vessel. Does it get any easier? Use flameless candles and you can avoid the melted wax mess. If your dinner is served buffet style, I think it would look great if you used this idea with a wider and lower profile glass container to hold utensils in.
  • Indian Corn Thanksgiving favors – Who doesn’t like to be given a little something sweet (and adorable) to take home at the end of the party?

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! We’re grateful to have you visit Emmet Street!

The easiest Thanksgiving dinner side dish, ever: Roasted Brussels sprouts

Roasted Brussels sprouts

When Thanksgiving rolls around, I’m all about the… side dishes. I’ve never found turkey that appealing, but bring me dressing, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie and I’m in heaven. Wow, that’s a lot of carbs–and a lot of preparation for the cook!

Nothing is easier than throwing some veggies on a cookie sheet and roasting them. Why not make your Thanksgiving dinner fancy (and help keep your guests out of a carb coma) by making roasted Brussels sprouts? I know, Brussels sprouts are controversial, but I promise roasting them makes them tasty. When you add some roasted walnuts and tangy blue cheese, I guarantee you won’t have leftovers. (Vegans, I’m not sure what a good substitute for the blue cheese would be; the options I found online didn’t look appealing. Maybe a sprinkle of nootch when you’re ready to serve? Please let me know your suggestions!)

I made this dish during the great cold of 2014, so I blame my stuffy head stupor for the lack of a decent picture. (If I’m being candid, I totally forgot to take a picture until I was almost done eating it. Luckily my phone was nearby and I was able to get one pic for you to enjoy!)

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Makes about 4 servings

16 oz. Brussels sprouts

1 T. ground coriander seed

1/3 c. chopped walnuts

1/3 c. crumbled blue cheese

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

Salt & pepper, to taste

Clean Brussels sprouts and cut in half. Add sprouts to a large bowl and toss with all ingredients except blue cheese. Spread mixture onto a cookie sheet. Cook in 450 degree oven for 20 minutes or until edges of the Brussels sprouts start to turn golden, turning sprouts occasionally. When sprouts are cooked transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle in blue cheese.

Great gift ideas: Tea lovers edition

Great gift ideas - Tea lovers edition

Baby, it’s cold outside! (At least it is here in the 216 area code.) When it’s cold out, nothing warms my soul faster than a hot bath followed by a nice cup of tea.

You can show someone you love how much you care about their physical and spiritual warmth by giving them the gift that does just that. It’s easy to put together a gift basket full of goodies that will mend their winter woes.

Here’s what you need:

  • A great basket (you can get these pretty affordably at your local craft store) or a sturdy gift bag
  • Shredded tissue paper to nestle your basket goodies in (I find my local “everything is only $1″ store to be a good source for this)
  • A selection of herbal teas and a shiny new mug
  • Fancy bath accessories such as a loofah, bath pouf or a bath pillow
  • Bath tea and any other of your favorite Emmet Street Creations products!

In no time at all, you’ll have the perfect gift to warm your loved one from their nose to their toes!

Know someone who dreads the winter chill? Why not share this post with them? It’s as easy as putting together a gift basket! Simply use one of the sharing buttons below (Note: If you’re reading this via e-mail or reader, you’ll need to link to our website to use the sharing buttons).

There’s nothing worse than a good book

 There's nothing worse than a good book!Image credit: Mr. Potato Head Has His Nose in a Good Book by Enokson on Flickr. CC by 2.0.

Recently I mourned the passing of autumn and declared I had started a mental list of the books I plan to read while I’m hunkered down indoors this winter.

Despite my love of libraries and books, I have a confession to make: I hate reading fiction.

More precisely, I hate reading engaging fiction. When I’m immersed in a good tale, I can think of nothing else until the book is done.

The best feeling in the world is sitting on the couch or in a comfy chair, tucked into a snuggly blanket with a warm beverage nearby and getting lost in the world before me on the printed page. I feel warm inside and out; all my woes melt away.

Immersed in the story, I AM the adventurer, the solver of mysteries, the seductress. I fly through the pages, ravenous to see how it turns out.

Then I get to the last chapters.

A feeling of dread comes over me. “Is it really almost over?” I ask myself. I slow down, reluctant to read the last word, on the last page. When I get there, I suffer a feeling of loss. I’ve gotten to know and love the characters. They’ve become real to me. Is this really the end? It’s not fair. I want to see your love grow, your children grow, your achievements to get achieveier, your mysteries to get mysterier. I’ve stuck by your side this whole time and now you’re leaving me?

Then I come to my senses, remind myself it’s just a book and I have a huge backlog of others I need to get to. And so it begins anew…

What about you? Am I the only one with these obsessive tendencies? (Please validate that I’m not!) What was the last book you read that took over your life like this?

WTF? (What’s this fruit?)

Rambutan fruit

So the other day I was strolling the produce stalls at Cleveland’s Westside Market and I saw these little gems. I had to ask the vendor, “What the heck is that?”

He kindly went into his spiel, even though he’s probably asked a million times a day. These spiky, ping-pong ball sized things–that look like they sprang from the pages of a book by Dr. Seuss–were rambutan fruit. Once I learned they were edible and not the eggs from some species of alien chicken, I knew I was going to buy some.

The vendor recounted all he knew about Rumspringa (that’s one of the many things that is great about the Westside Market, many vendors are very knowledgable about their products and are happy to share what they know). He told me what to expect from the Rasputin in terms of the taste, shared some of the nutritional benefits (they have a lot of vitamin C and calcium in the small amount of flesh each contains), told me they grow in tropical areas and are prolific like weeds. He told me so much that I forgot what the name of the fruit actually was.

One other thing the produce vendor told me before I departed with my spiky treasures was the Roomba was considered an aphrodisiac in some cultures. I thought this was odd, because they definitely didn’t look very sexy. Regardless, I couldn’t wait to get them home to try them!

Peeled rambutan fruitPeeled rambutan fruit

I don’t know if I got the “medicinal” effect from the Ramstein fruit, but I did fall in love with the taste! It’s hard to describe, but it’s a little grape-y, very sweet and something else I can’t quite describe. The closest I can get is maybe a bit of honeydew melon or vanilla flavor.

I gave a couple to Christine to try, to see if the Rambo had mass appeal. Here’s her review:

“I find ramentum very tasty. I don’t think rampallion are my new favorite fruit, though. Razzmatazz do not provide enough calories to make a meal. I would eat ramalamadingdong again.”

So, I call this a win in the “try something new” category! What weird food item have you tried (and were you glad you tried it)?