Ring in the new year with 4 stories from 2016 that will give you hope for the future

2017 Happy New Year!

A lot of people have bemoaned 2016 for being a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year. Negative news smacked us in the face every time we powered up our digital devices or turned on the television and I can understand why so many people are looking forward to 2017. But 2016 wasn’t a total waste of time. A lot of great things happened that could change the course of the human race in the years to come. Here are four of my favorite science stories from 2016 that give me hope for our future.

Scott Kelly returns to Earth: After spending 340 days on the International Space Station, astronaut Scott Kelly returned safely to Earth on March, 2. This brave man sacrificed a year of his life to help us understand how the human body reacts to prolonged periods in space. His time in space will ultimately help us understand what it will take to send humans to other planets, like Mars.

Elon Musk announced his plans to colonize Mars: Speaking of space travel, did you know that it’s been 44 years since the last person walked on the moon? We basically got to the moon and collectively decided that was far enough. Elon Musk wants to change that…soon. If his plans go off without a hitch, we’ll send the first humans to Mars by 2025! Sure, his ambitious plan to have 1 million people living on Mars by 2074 seems a bit far-fetched but his company, SpaceX, has already figured out how to make reusable rockets that can be landed back on Earth. This achievement is one of the requirements for making flights to Mars affordable. If this video doesn’t get you excited for the future of space exploration and the human race, nothing will.

The Ice Bucket Challenge worked: Researchers, funded by donations received through the Ice Bucket Challenge, have found a gene they believe contributes to the development of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). This is an important step in developing therapies to prevent or cure this terrible disease. While we’re still a long way from a cure, if the Ice Bucket Challenge taught us anything, it’s that money you give to charity can work wonders (and also, watching Donald Trump getting ice dumped on his head is very satisfying).

Dinosaurs feathers found in amber: This may not be huge, world-changing news, but I am looking forward to seeing the remastered version of “Jurassic Park” featuring realistically feathered dinosaurs! Come on, Spielberg, get on it!

 

 

Mother’s Day Sale in the Emmet Street Creations Etsy store!

Mother's Day Sale
Love your mom but struggle with to give her on Mother’s Day? Why not give the gift of handmade soap? Every bar of Emmet Street Creations soap is one of a kind so you’re guaranteed to give mom a gift that’s as unique and beautiful as she is.

We’re making it easy (and affordable) to give Mom the gift she deserves with our annual Mother’s Day Sale. Get 15% off your purchase of $15 or more from our Etsy store from now through May 4. Simply enter code MOM2016 at checkout to save. (Sorry, only one coupon code allowed per purchase.)

Know someone who’s looking for a unique Mother’s Day gift? Why not share this coupon code? It’s easy! 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).

 

Easter Egg Cheese Ball (Hrudka)

Editor’s note: I’m taking some time for rest and relaxation. In the meantime, check out one of the most popular posts on this blog. I hope you all have a save and Happy Easter this Sunday! 

This post was supposed to be about coloring Easter eggs. When I was a kid, we made the coolest swirled Easter eggs. I had every intention of recreating them and blogging about how I did it but, apparently, the company who made the dye we used went out of business.

Who remembers Ruby’s Egg Deco Egg Dye by Tootsie Toy? It came in little glass bottles with bunny heads for tops. When dropped into a mix of water and vinegar, the dye suspended in little droplets and you could swirl your egg down into the water, swirl it back up, and your eggs would come out with beautiful designs that looked like pretty sunsets. By the time you were done, your fingers and the surrounding surfaces were covered in dye that had to be sandblasted off.

It was awesome.

So, armed with a dozen eggs and no dye , I decided to recreated another childhood memory. Using a recipe that was handed down from my grandmother, and who knows how many generations of Slovakian women before her, I decided to tackle the strange, sweet ball of goodness known as the Easter Egg Cheese Ball, also known as Hrudka.

Folks, this recipe is not for the faint of heart. Seriously, if you have heart issues, stay away. There’s enough cholesterol in this thing to drop a horse. But, as far as traditions go, this is one of my favorites.

In researching the origins of this Slovakian treat, I learned that it’s traditionally made on Holy Saturday, blessed with a basket of other Easter food and then eaten on Easter Sunday. I was surprised to learn that this is often eaten on a sandwich made with ham, beet and horseradish relish and something called paska bread. My family made a sweet version with cloves and sugar and we ate it plain. That’s how we rolled. It seems there are as many ways to make and eat this as there are Slovakian families.

Easter Egg Cheese Ball

12 jumbo eggs
1 quart whole milk
3 T. sugar
3-4 whole cloves broken up or a pinch of ground cloves
Cheesecloth
Twine

Get your cheesecloth ready to go. It’s easiest to spread it out over a large bowl in the sink.

Cheesecloth

Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. You can beat them with an egg beater or by hand. Transfer the eggs to a large pot and add all the other ingredients.

Cook the mixture over medium heat and stir constantly for about 30 minutes. Don’t get impatient and try to speed it along by turning up the heat or you’ll burn it. And for the love of all that is good, do not stop stirring. Get a helper with strong arms. If you stop, the mixture overheats and sticks to the pan and then Easter is ruined! You’re looking for the mixture to start curdling. After about 3o minutes, it will start to look like wet scrambled eggs and the liquid will start to separate out.

Eggs

You might want to wear rubber gloves to protect the skin on your hands from being burned off in this next step. When your mixture looks like wet scrambled eggs, carefully pour it into the cheesecloth.

Drain the eggs

Gather the sides of the cheesecloth together and let the majority of the liquid drain out of it. Holding the excess cheesecloth gathered at the top, start to twist, shaping the eggs into a ball as you go. This will squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Keep twisting until the dripping slows. Using a piece of twine, tie up the cheese like a bundle and hang, with a pot underneath it to catch the rest of the dripping liquid. Keep it hung up for several hours while it cools and dries out. If you are worried about little things like bacteria and disease, you can tie the ball around a large wooden spoon, suspend it over a pot, then refrigerate the whole thing. My mother hung hers up in the basement with a pot underneath it. I hung mine from a cabinet door handle over the kitchen sink.

Cheese ball

After a few hours, you’ll notice the cheese has hardened a bit. Take it down and refrigerate it overnight.

The next day, remove the cheesecloth, slice and serve.

DSC02329

What are your favorite Easter traditions? Please share them in the comments section and if you’ve blogged about it, share your link!

P.S. If you have found a suitable substitute for Ruby’s Egg Deco Egg Dye, please let me know!

Create a heart healthy Valentine’s dinner

happy valentines meal

 

Valentine’s Day is here! Have you made plans to celebrate? If you are like millions of others, your plans probably include a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant. As a highly introverted person, the thought of sitting in a loud crowded restaurant is not my idea of a romantic night. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a meal out as much as anyone. But around Valentine’s Day, when most nice restaurants at full capacity, I’d much rather have a quiet evening at home. Can you relate? (Or did you forget to make reservations for you and your sweetheart?) Don’t fret. I’ve got some delicious heart healthy dinner ideas from the Emmet Street Creations archives that are easy to make but taste like you spent hours in the kitchen. Just mix and match the recipes from the list below for a quiet meal that will make your love swoon.

Starters:

Main Course:

Dessert:

Great gift ideas: Valentine’s Day Edition

Valentine's Day Gift Idea - Spa Day Basket

Are you struggling to find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your special someone? Nothing says, “I love you,” more than a gift you created yourself. With a small amount of effort, you can put together a gift that brings hours of joy and relaxation to your Valentine: A spa day basket!

You’ll need:

  • A decorative basket (you can get these pretty affordably at your local craft store) or a sturdy gift bag.
  • A fluffy white washcloth to nestle the items in (or really customize the basket by making your own hanging soap pouch).
  • Fancy bath accessories such as a loofah, bath pouf, natural sponge and massaging tool.
  • Your favorite Emmet Street Creations products! Our Exfoliating Rosemary Mint,  Blue Agave and Eucalyptus, Lavender and Mint handcrafted soaps are perfect scents to create a spa day experience. Remember to use coupon code LOVE16 at checkout to save 15% off purchases of $15 or more in our Etsy store!

That’s it! You get the satisfaction of putting together a great gift and your love gets a ready-made way to relax!

Know someone who is looking for handcrafted gift ideas? Why not share this post with them? It’s easy! 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).

Valentine’s Day sale in the Emmet Street Creations Etsy store!

15% off $15 or more sale

 

Because we love ya, baby, we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with a discount to products in the Emmet Street Creations Etsy store.

That’s right! Spend $15 or more in the Emmet Street Creations Etsy store and get a 15% discount. Simply enter code LOVE16 at checkout.

Even though we love you all year long, act soon–this discount is only around until February 29!

Know someone who’s looking for a sweet Valentine’s Day gift? Why not share this coupon code? It’s easy! 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).