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Archive for December, 2010

I Like This – December 15, 2010

December 15th, 2010 Comments off

A collection of interesting items I found in my daily reading.

Categories: Shared Items Tags:

Holiday Cookie Baking Wrap-up

December 12th, 2010 Comments off

Another Welch Cookie Party has come and gone.

We had a great time visiting with friends and family…some whom we only at this time of year. It was a smaller group this year, but a conversational one. Fewer people means more time talking and less time running around refilling the cookie plates. It also means more leftovers to share when we go visiting others.

Cookie Party Table 2010

My biggest laugh this year was the success of the Strawberry Milk Chipster cookies, made with Strawberry Quik powder. Nearly everyone I mentioned them to thought they would be horrible, but they received more raves than anything else at the party. I thought they would be very successful and I am happy to laugh and say “neener, neener” to the naysayers. (LAUGH)

Cookie Party Table 2010

I thought the Limoncello Pandoro Cake also came out really well. It is so silly to do and will always bring back great memories of our Christmas trip to Sicily about 6 years ago. This is made all the easier to make as we can now easily find a whole collection of Pandoros, imported from Italy at the Claro’s Italian Markets located around the Southland. We hit the store in Arcadia again this year, as we were making a trip to the Inland Empire to see our near-niece Emily in a high school production of “Into the Woods.”

One great addition to this year’s party was an impromptu tasting of several cordials. Myself, my friend Keri and my friend Liam have all gotten into making up these fruit and alcohol infusions. I made my traditional Limoncello, while Keri made Limoncello and a wonderful cranberry liqueur. Liam created a wonderful cranberry/cinnamon drink and an adventurous, but amazing strawberry-banana, too.

Now that our party is over I can settle into the holiday season, enjoying what our friends have to offer. We’ve already 2 invites for New Year’s Eve, so it is off to a good start.

Categories: Event, Food, LA Tags:

My Word Gift Guide #14: Groovy Spirograph Holiday Cards

December 9th, 2010 Comments off

Each card has it’s own groovy greeting inside—sure to appeal to baby boomers and retro types alike!

Cards are 4.25 X 5.5-inch and include a mailing envelope. The convenient six-pack of cards includes 2 each of 3 designs. Cost is $12.00, plus shipping and sales tax. Questions:

#14 Groovy Spirograph Holiday Cards by Jeanine Colini

When Jeanine Colini showed me these cards at a recent New Media Mastermind I was blown away – and immediately wanted some of my own. I grew up in the 70’s and had many fond memories of playing with the Spirograph set my older sisters received for Christmas one year. These cards immediately touched some deep sense memory. I could feel the teeth on the little plastic gears and remember the small push pins that held them to the background so you could make your “art.” The artwork for these cards is hand-produced using Spirograph, scanned and then printed on quality card papers.

You can order your own set of these “groovy” cards online via PayPal — Order Now!

All Gift Guide Recommendations:

Categories: Special Tags:

Ric Turner’s Christmas Light Show 2010 – Snowball Blaster – The Game

December 9th, 2010 Comments off

Anyone can LOOK at Christmas lights, but can you PLAY your Christmas Lights?

Ric Turner of Santa Clarita ups the ante from last year’s Christmas Light Hero by creating an interactive video game — Snowball Blaster — using the Christmas lights on his house. Players sit in a moving rocket seat and try to blast the snowballs to help Santa make his rounds. The garage door is the play field and the entire house interacts with the game. Old school arcade fun on an entirely new scale!

Ric adds…

“The Christmas Light video game – Snowball Blaster! Hop in Santa’s electric training sled and grab the game controller for an adventure in snowball dodging. Press the left button to move left and the right to move right. Make it past all the snowballs for a big light show! (nobody has made it yet!) Game is easy enough for kids and challenging for adults… and quite addictive. High score so far is 910.”

Snowball Blaster has 128 channels of Light-o-rama controlled by a PC. The game logic is running on a Basic Stamp which accepts inputs from the player switches and controls the Red Arrows with sold state relays. The BS also sends logic level triggers to the LOR system for Game start and Crash. The snowballs, scoreboard (and the rest of the light show live in the LOR program.) There are separate LOR programs for Attract, Crash and Game play. The BS knows when the snowballs reach the bottom, and compares that to where it knows the Arrow is to detect crashes.

The game is designed around the limitation of having very few positions to light up. The timing of when they light up is more versatile, so that’s where the game lives. It’s easy to learn, starts easy and gets harder pretty quick. The audio is broadcast on FM so people watching in cars get a good show too.

You can stop by and play Snowball Blaster – The Game on Philbrook Avenue in Santa Clarita most nights after dark.

Categories: California, Event, LA, News, Places LA, Technology Tags:

I Like This – December 8, 2010

December 8th, 2010 Comments off

A collection of interesting items I found in my daily reading.

Categories: Shared Items Tags:

Holiday Cookie Baking Day #8: …and it all comes to an end

December 7th, 2010 1 comment

After a couple of days off it was time to finish the cookie baking. The party is this weekend, so there isn’t much time left anyway. I hope you have enjoyed this daily account of our cookie baking adventures. Hopefully it has enticed you to bake some cookies of your own and invite the neighbors in to share.

If you have any questions about these cookies, or any other cookie baking questions, please add a comment and let me know how I can help or what I can offer.

Tonight’s cookies were…

Nutella No-Bake Cookies (One Minute Cookies)
(Original One-Minute Cookie Recipe)

Nutella No-Bake Cookies

These cookies were a staple on the cafeteria plates of elementary and high school. Unfortunately, none of our guests seems quite enamoured of the them. They can be pretty homely looking and are more candy than cookie. Still, I figured I might make them anyway, at least for myself.

Imagine my luck when I found an alternative recipes for these cookies that included chocolate chips instead of cocoa and (and this is the big deal) Nutella, the chocolate-hazelnut spread that most of Europe loves but many Americans haven’t even heard of. Faced with a new idea to try I had to make these. I might still be the only one to eat them, but I will love every one of them.

#alttext#Cranberry Turtle Bars

I discovered these gems on the Closet Cooking blog out of Toronto, Canada. They looked absolutely scrumptious even if they were a bit more difficult than typical recipes I might try. I wanted to get some cranberries into the cookies this year and this recipe does it full force. I don’t have my own picture, as the bars are still cooling as I write. I am afraid I didn’t quite get the caramel sauce hot enough so the bars might be a bit mushy, but even if we have to serve them with a fork they will still be tasty.

Photo is from the original post on the Closet Cooking blog.

Categories: Food, Special Tags:

My Limoncello production for 2010

December 7th, 2010 1 comment

My Limoncello production for 2010 (Adjusted)Just in time for the holidays, my batch of limoncello (an Italian cordial or digestivo) has completed its rest and is now bottled up and ready for tasting. I made only half as much as I made last year as I didn’t plan on making gifts with it. Even so, there is still enough to last me for quite a while.

You can make your own Limoncello by following this recipe and video from Under the Tuscan Gun.

Show #40 – Limoncello

I see that Debi and Gabriele will have their own show, “Extra Virgin” on the Cooking Channel starting January 8th, 2011.

Watch/Download “Under the Tuscan Gun” – iPod Ready Video

Categories: Food, Special Tags:

“Cookies and More” Holiday Special — We want your stories, recipes, advice and more

December 7th, 2010 Comments off

Cookies and More Holiday Special
A Holiday Special from

Each year I make over 80 dozen cookies and candies for our annual Cookie Party. After 15+ years of putting this party together, I have collected a lot of cookie stories, recipes and advice. This year, I am putting together “Cookies and More for the Holidays” — a New Media special full of holiday reminiscences, recipes, cookie baking tips and more… and I would like you to be a part of it.

There are several ways to participate:

  • Join us live in the “studio” to talk cookies
  • Call in live via Skype or other online media
  • Record your story, recipe, question or advice via voice mail by calling 818-804-5049
  • Post an audio or video clip to YouTube and send us the link
  • Email your story, recipe, question or advice to

I am planning producing the show in mid-December, right after i have finished up all my baking for the party and reminded myself again about all the joys, trials, tips and hints of cookie baking for the holidays.

Start thinking of what you would like to add to this special. You can start sending in your emails, audio and video immediately. If you have any questions, send them

Categories: Announcement, Event, Food, New Media, News, Special Tags:

My Word Gift Guide #13: Hamilton Beach 6-Cup Food Processor

December 6th, 2010 Comments off

#13 Hamilton Beach 6-Cup Food Processor

We have had 2 of these units over the years, but only because I burnt out the motor trying to mix up some bread dough one day. I was pushing it far too hard so I don’t really blame it for breaking. The unit was so good I picked up the same model as a replacement. We also have a smaller unit for those day-to-day chopping tasks, but this is the one I bring out when comes time to make my 20 quarts of Christmas Chili each year.

All Gift Guide Recommendations:

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Fall colors on our elm tree

December 6th, 2010 Comments off

Our elm tree, originally uploaded by dewelch.

The Fall colors seem brighter this year all over SoCal. I usually don’t note it except for a few liquidambar trees in the neighborhood.

Must be the way the weather worked out. It must have allowed them a slower decay of the green chlorophyll than usual to let the colors shine through.

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