It sounded like a violent evening when I talked about it. Why so many bombs? Maybe it describes the impact of homemade gifts. They land an explosion of delight on the receiver and rain down shards of amazement that the giver knows how to make such things.
The Chickens in the Kitchen
Easy Homestead Holiday Gifts class last night made Cocoa Bombs, Fizzy Bath Bombs and homemade vanilla extract. This was one in a series of home economics classes, such as canning and making safe cleaning supplies, and we talked about the chemistry of these items as well as how to make them.
For example, did you know that a fizzy bath bomb actually steals heat from the bathwater to get the energy to fizz? We demonstrated this with a thermometer, as well as by holding a sample bath bomb. You can feel it get colder!
The class also experimented with other principles of cooking, namely emulsifiers and solvents. We saw how an emulsifier, like the lecithin in chocolate chips, keeps the cocoa bombs from separating into fat and solids. We also saw why shaking the homemade vanilla helps the vanilla flavor dissolve into the alcohol and we learned why we don’t heat the mixture to make it dissolve faster. Why? Because the vodka would evaporate!
We weren’t the only people in the Kitchen thinking about the holidays last night either. Michelle, from Simply Bliss
, talked with me later about her holiday dessert offerings and I learned we have a new business selling dog treats at the Market. What great gifts for dogs! They smelled wonderful in the oven and I was tempted to taste one after learning they were made of human quality ingredients.
Keep an eye on the schedule and our Facebook page for holiday events and specials. We hope you’ll stop in and try the local products made here. If you like them, spread the word by giving them as gifts!Written by Bonnie Simon, Community Writing Services, LLC
“When you hand someone a dessert, they’re happy!”
So says Michelle Asher of Simply Bliss Desserts and it’s hard to argue. Whenever she hands me one of her red velvet brownies or anything chocolate, I light right up!
Michelle makes the brownies sold by the Market and she also makes cakes that tell stories. I told her about my wedding daydream ... I walk down the aisle in my backyard, followed by my chickens, and I pass the wedding cake she’s made for us. She chimed in, “With bride and groom chickens on top!”.
Yes!! That’s exactly why I chose her to make the cake for my imaginary wedding! She understood how I pictured the event and came up with a creative way to express my backyard-barnyard theme on a cake. Like a good journalist, she listens when you describe your vision and reflects it back to you, but in an edible form.
Michelle used to make a living in marketing and public relations, where she practiced the storytelling that gives her cakes such character. She got started as a baker when she made cakes for her children. Her kids think this is the coolest job in the world and she does too. “Who doesn’t want a job that makes people happy?”, she says.
You’re likely to find something interesting from Simply Bliss whenever you go into the Market. Michelle enjoys experimenting with different flavors. The November brownie-of-the-month is pumpkin and she is working on a signature cake flavor (dark chocolate and pink velvet with cream cheese filling at the last report). You’ll find her desserts are high-quality too. She uses premium ingredients whenever possible, including Ghirardelli chocolate. She can even make an all-organic cake upon request!
Her attention to quality and creativity have led to steady business and accolades. DivaDOM participants rave about her desserts and she was part of the Gotta Love It! Market team that won the Gingerbread and Jazz competition recently. Expect to see her mentioned in a Gazette article soon!
“What was your favorite cake?”, I asked her.
It took a moment to decide, but she chose the wine bottle cake, pictured below. Come into the Market, visit her website
or Facebook to order your story, told in a cake! Written by Bonnie Simon, Community Writing Services, LLC
We made sage scented disinfectant. We made glass cleaner that didn’t streak. We made dishwasher detergent and we made bubbly, lemon scented bathroom cleaner.
And, best of all, we made all these things from non-toxic ingredients you can buy at the grocery store!
Six of us gathered at the Market kitchen last night to learn to make our own cleaning supplies and I believe we left the kitchen cleaner than we found it! The class was presented by Chickens in the Kitchen
. We had a guest speaker, Amy Willard of Maid It! Green Housecleaning
, who gave us tips and answered our questions. I taught, or as I like to say, “facilitated”, this fun two hour class.
We did some fun kitchen experiments! I admit to bringing stained cups from my own collection to demonstrate the power of washing soda. It’s really remarkable. Washing soda is a “water softener”, which means it reduces the minerals in water that cause scale to build up. Those minerals also make soap less effective. We saw firsthand that hot water with a little washing soda takes those stains right off!
In another experiment, we had fun watching an “endothermic” reaction, right there in the kitchen, no chemistry lab needed! We mixed citric acid, warm water and a little baking soda in a cup. A thermometer in the cup showed us the temperature went DOWN by 20 degrees once the baking soda was added! This demonstrated the chemical properties of the ingredients. We’ll do it again at the Easy Homestead Holiday Gifts class on 11/29, where we’ll see how the fizzy bath bombs we’ll make actually make the water colder!
Check out the Happenings
page for future classes! Join us and have some local foods fun!Written by Bonnie Simon, Community Writing Services, LLC
Since I was a young girl, there wasn’t a time when I wasn’t hanging out with my Grandma Frutosa making the “yummiest” Salsas, Sauces, and Chiles, and helping her roll out tortillas for dinner.
As I grew older, I took a huge, passionate interest in having Grandma teach me how to preserve these tasty and savory salsas and sauces. We spent numerous hours together in the kitchen, and she was a delight to be around and hang out with. She always tried to teach me how to speak Spanish – it didn’t take, hee, hee…
I cooked in the kitchen with Grandma until she passed away in 1996 at 75 years old. Over 15 years have passed since her death and she remains with me in spirit and in the kitchen. I am the “official” salsa maker of the family and have continued on with Grandma Frutosa’s wonderful legacy.
Without my Grandma Frutosa Vigil, I would not have had the inspiration to create Grandma Frutosa’s Salsa Company. In 2007, I met my husband, Doug, who encouraged me to start a Salsa and Chile Company, selling all the items that Grandma taught me how to make.
Grandma taught me many great lessons and many great recipes, with great love; now I pass her legacy on to you. Doug and I hope you enjoy Grandma Frutosa’s Green Chile Salsa, Hot Sauce, and Pork Green Chile (The family’s favorites)!
We will be introducing more items within time; so stay tuned. Happy Eating!
Deidra Arnold, Owner & Granddaughter
Grandma Frutosa’s Salsa Company, LLC
We had a great time! And I discovered how satisfying it is to eat apple butter with a spoon!
I’m referring, of course, to the Preserving Fall Fruits class held on October 25th. The Gotta Love It! Market hosts cooking classes several times a month and it’s the perfect spot! We have plenty of space and all the supplies needed, plus the central location is convenient for nearly anyone in town.
The Fall Fruits class was a collaboration of two businesses that work out of the Kitchen. Chef Hethyr, of Everyday Gourmet
, teaches regular cooking classes once or twice a month. Look for announcements of her classes at the Market. She can teach you how to make world class, nutritious meals on a budget. She makes her classes fun and festive, often including wine to go with the meal.
We drank apple cider on Tuesday instead, while Chef Hethyr led us through two creative recipes, sage applesauce and ginger-cardamom apple butter. The sage applesauce makes me think of Thanksgiving and the apple butter ... well, it just makes me think of getting a spoon.
I taught part of the class too. Chickens in the Kitchen
teaches homesteading classes, such as canning, freezing, and pickling; with chicken stories thrown in for good measure. I took over in the second half to explain how we would can the applesauce and butter. I also like to explain why canning won’t kill your friends with botulism as long as you follow the recipe. Everyone relaxes after that explanation and takes home their jars of food to eat with confidence.
The classes are great fun and the Market loves hosting events to support the cooks and homesteaders in our community. As Debbie pointed out when I interviewed her for last week’s article, small businesses and the community support each other. They look forward to hosting more classes put on by our creative, spirited local entrepreneurs and having the opportunity to invite their customers to enjoy our space.
Watch the website for a schedule of classes. We hope you’ll sign up and take your place as part of the vibrant Gotta Love It! Market community!Written by Bonnie Simon, Community Writing Services, LLC