Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Best Christmas Decoration Ideas

Sure, we're still in November, (so call us enthusiasts!) but we just happen to love Christmas time, here at Roomster.

Christmas is all about sharing joy, exchanging gifts, spreading good spirits and enjoying good food. Whether you visit your family, friends or just stay at home with your roommates, make sure to spend it surrounded by the festive environment of the holiday. 

We're not telling you to go out and spend a fortune in Christmas decor. As a matter of fact, some of it is very easy to make all on your own. Whatever your case is, we thought it'd be best to provide you with a guide of ideas. 
Since some of the ideas might seem trickier than they actually are, we provided a "How-To-Make"  section.

Please enjoy, and let us know what you think:

Cedar Wreath Chandelier

This Scandinavian-style greenery "chandelier" is an eye-catching way to draw guests to a holiday cocktail or buffet table. It's fashioned from a pair of cedar wreaths that have been adorned with wine-colored satin bows and suspended from the ceiling with lengths of the same ribbon.

16 inch diameter cedar wreath
22 inch diameter cedar wreath
17 yards of 2 inch wide red satin ribbon
Ceiling Hooks

Juniper & Pepperberry Garland

Pepperberry stems are sold on the branch or loose by weight; about 20 to 25 bunches of berries were used to make the two wreaths and the garland shown here. (The berries are for decorative purposes, not for consumption.)
1/2-inch sisal rope
26-gauge floral wire, juniper stems
15-inch vine wreath form
Pepperberry sprigs
Hot-glue gun

1. Cut rope to length finished garland will be, leaving 8 to 12 inches at either end; wind floral wire around one end. Strip foliage from bottom third of juniper stems. Starting at top of rope, hold stems against rope base, tips pointing upward, and wrap wire paddle tightly around rope and stems four to five times. Continue to add greenery, interspersed with pepperberry stems, overlapping each addition to hide wire. Turn garland often. Tie rope ends to newel posts; use floral wire to secure to banister.

2. For wreaths, insert pepperberry into vine forms; use hot glue to secure. Add sprigs until wreath is uniformly covered.

Gentle Drift Mantel 

Dripping crystal icicles dangle from a cedar-covered, snow-dusted mantelpiece to create a frosty scene. Soft powder, looking as if it floated down the chimney overnight, drifts around stacked wood and iron urns filled with silvery santolina.
Citrus Pomander
1) Place a rubber band around the middle of a pink grapefruit or orange. Use it as a guide to make an even ring of cloves around the fruit, piercing the skin first with a wooden skewer or nail. Remove rubber band, and make additional rows. If desired, use a hot-glue gun to attach star anise; let the glue dry.

2) To encourage pomanders to dry evenly and retain their scent for up to one year, shake each in a plastic bag of powdered orrisroot (available at health-food stores) before displaying. Stack the pomanders in a pyramid, using clear plates between the layers and tucking in greenery, such as this mountain laurel, as you go.

Present Wreath
1) Unwrap a new wreath idea this year. Cover small containers, such as old jewelry boxes, with weatherproof paper, which will hold up outdoors, unlike wrapping paper; seal with all-weather tape. 
2) Add decorative bands in contrasting colors, if desired, and tie with ribbon. Attach to a flat wooden wreath form (ours is 18 inches) using a hot-glue gun. Affix a satin bow.

Amaryllis Candle Centerpiece
1) With the help of these candle and flower centerpieces, the whole table will shine. For each one, use candle wax to attach a small floral frog to the center of a shallow bowl. 
2)Push a taper into the floral frog to secure. Pour water into the bowl. Clip amaryllis blooms (or other large flowers) from their stems, and arrange them in the bowl around the candle. 
Mistletoe Ball
1) Cut a 16-inch piece of 24-gauge wire with wire cutters, and bend it in half. Cut a 36-inch length of ribbon with scissors and fold it into three loops. Make the top loop approximately 9 inches; it will be used to hang the ball. Make the next two loops 7 1/2 inches. There should be a 12-inch tail of ribbon left. 
2) Cut 6 inches off the tail, and lay it on the other side of the loops. Pinch all the loops together at the center, and secure with wire. Twist the wire tightly to form a single stem. Trim the bow's tails into a V with scissors.

3) Soak a 4 1/2-inch-diameter floral-foam ball in water while cutting mistletoe into about 100 three-inch sections, called tips. Insert the bow's wire stem through the ball until it comes out the opposite side. Fold over the end of the wire stem. 
4) Poke tips into ball until it is covered. String small silver, white, or pale-blue beads on 6-inch 24-gauge wires, and twist the wire ends together. Stick the beads into the ball wherever desired.

Glittered Candleholders
With their motion frozen in clear glass glitter, coniferous trees and reindeer encircle hurricane lamps lighted from within by tall, rose-hued candles. Here, the candleholders are elevated on glass cake stands, then faux snow is dusted around them. 

Yuletide Topiary

Using carnations to evoke a snow-covered tree, this centerpiece transforms the tabletop into a fanciful winter garden. Moistened floral foam supplies hidden support for fluffy white blossoms, their stems cut short so they form an uninterrupted mass of petals.
One block of floral foam or one block for the "tree" cone and another for the base
Floral adhesive
Serrated knife
Cachepot or urn
Basin or tub
Florist's cutters
Small Christmas balls with wire hangers

It is simplest to carve the entire tree form out of a single block of floral foam, commonly 4 by 9 inches. If you cannot find a large enough block, glue a smaller block and cylinder together with floral adhesive. Because our tree is 13 1/2 inches tall, including a 4 1/2-inch "trunk," we added a second block at the base.
1) With a serrated knife, carve a foam base that will fit snugly into the cachepot or urn. Set base into pot before shaping the rest of the foam.

2) Carve from top to bottom in long strokes, sloping outward until you produce a symmetrical cone. This cone should be several inches thinner than you want finished tree to be, since carnations will thicken it considerably.

3) Fill a large basin or tub with water, remove foam from pot, and float it on the water. Do not submerge foam; once it has absorbed enough liquid, it will sink by itself. Remove foam from water after 20 to 30 minutes (or when bubbles stop rising), and replace it in pot.

4) Using florist's cutters, trim carnation stems so that they are just long enough (about 1 inch) to insert securely into the foam. The few stems that will be positioned atop the arrangement may need to be even shorter, so that they don't push one another out of the foam.

5) Keep adding carnations until all of the foam is hidden. Intersperse flowers with Christmas balls by sticking their wire hangers into foam.

Ombre Glittered Bells

Glitter in an ombre pattern -- with one color blending gradually into another -- makes simple bells sparkle with sophistication. For these ombre glitter decorations, we transformed a pair of 6 3/4-inch-tall plastic bells.

If displaying the bells outside, seal them with polyurethane spray; even sealed, they should be displayed in a covered area.

Magazine Christmas Trees
Transform old magazines into glittered table-top trees with this easy -- and kid-friendly -- step-by-step process.
Old magazines of any size
Gold, silver, or clear spray paint
Glitter in desired colors
Bone folder (optional)
1) Open magazine and bend to break spine.
2) Fold individual page from top right corner to inside seam. Fold same page from bottom right edge to gutter.

3) Fold bottom triangle of each additional magazine page up, making the bottom of the tree flat. Then, fold top of all pages down to form tree shape.

4) Spray-paint folded tree desired color. Immediately sprinkle glitter over wet paint. Let dry.

Tip: Use a bone folder to smooth paper edges if desired.
Opulent Orbs 

Fill the plastic balls for your pink Christmas tree with butterflies, beads, or a handful of glitter. Then tie a ribbon around each to hide the seam and create a loop for hanging. "Fillable" balls, from $1 each, sunshinecrafts.com


We'll leave it at that for now. Remember, that the most important asset of any Christmas decoration is the love you put into it. 

Colors don't necessarily have to match altogether. You can have a pink/silver tree and still throw in red accents here and there. Or you can have a traditional Christmas tree with blue, red and gold and throw in some other accent colors. 

Have fun!

Ideas via MarthaStewart

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Best Thanksgiving Recipes

Oh Thanksgiving... one of America's favorite holidays. A time for family, friends, football and great eats!

Now, in some cases, you might not even be traveling home so maybe you decide to stick it out with your roommates and cook a fine thanksgiving dinner (just like mom!).

If this is the situation, you might wanna take a tip or two from our best thanksgiving recipes guide. Browse around and see what appeals to you:

Let's begin with the most essential dish: The Turkey

Roast Turkey

1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:

1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil

Directions (2 to 3 days before roasting)

  • Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
  • Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
  • Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:
  • Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
  • Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
  • Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving. 

Devil Eggs 
7 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
Salt and pepper, for taste
Paprika, for garnishing
Sweet gherkin pickles sliced, for garnishing
Pimentos, for garnishing

  • Halve 7 eggs lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a small bowl.
  • Mash yolks with a fork and stir in mayonnaise, pickle relish, and mustard. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Fill egg whites evenly with yolk mixture. Garnish with paprika, pickles and pimentos. Store covered in refrigerator.

Stuffed Mushrooms


1/2 cup Italian-style dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
28 large (2 1/2-inch-diameter) white mushrooms, stemmed

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Stir the bread crumbs, Pecorino Romano, garlic, parsley, mint, salt and pepper, to taste, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium bowl to blend.
  • Drizzle a heavy large baking sheet with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, to coat. Spoon the filling into the mushroom cavities and arrange on the baking sheet, cavity side up. Drizzle remaining oil over the filling in each mushroom. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is heated through and golden on top, about 25 minutes. Serve.

Cornbread w/ Apples and Sausage Stuffing

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage, casing removed
1 medium onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 teaspoon freshly minced thyme leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped sage leaves
1/2 cup bourbon
1 1/4 pounds cubed and dried cornbread stuffing, store-bought
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 cups turkey or low-sodium chicken stock
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup chopped pecans

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in 12-inch skillet.
  • Cook sausage for 5 to 7 minutes until browned. Add onions and celery and saute until softened. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Mix in apples, thyme and sage and saute for another 2 minutes. Add bourbon. *Cook's Note: When adding alcohol take pan off flame. Allow to simmer until bourbon is almost evaporated; 1 to 2 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, add cornbread stuffing, parsley, chicken stock, eggs and pecans. Mix well. Mix in vegetable mixture to bowl. Combine and stir well together. Add to a large casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes. 

Green Bean Casserole 

1/3 stick butter
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cups sliced green beans
3 cups chicken broth
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (2.8-ounce) can French-fried onion rings
Pinch House Seasoning, recipe follows
1 cup grated Cheddar

Directions (House Seasoning)
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • Mix ingredients together

Directions (Casserole)
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet. Saute the onions and mushrooms in the butter. Boil green beans in chicken broth for 10 minutes and drain. 
  • Add the green beans, mushroom soup, onion rings, and House Seasoning, to taste, to the onion mixture. Stir well. Pour into a greased 1 1/2-quart baking dish. 
  • Bake for 20 minutes, then top the casserole with the Cheddar and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the casserole is hot and cheese is melted. 
Creamy Mac & Cheese

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (an 8-ounce box isn't quite 2 cups)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stuck) butter, cut into pieces
2 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Boil the macaroni in a 2 quart saucepan in plenty of water until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain. In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. 
  • Stir until the cheese melts. 
  • In a slow cooker, combine cheese/butter mixture and add the eggs, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper and stir well. 
  • Then add drained macaroni and stir again. Set the slow cooker on low setting and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. 

Fresh Cranberry Relish
2 pounds fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup Grand Marnier liqueur
1 orange, zested and juiced
  • Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, pulse several times to breakdown the cranberries and incorporate the ingredients; it should still be a bit chunky. 
  • Allow the cranberry relish to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, so the flavors can marry.

    Sweet Potato Souffle
Butter, for casserole
3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 (4.5-ounce) can evaporated milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped roasted, salted cashews
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart casserole dish and set aside.
  • Add the potatoes to a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain in a colander in the sink.
  • Mash the potatoes in a large bowl. Add the evaporated milk, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, beaten eggs, salt and pepper, to taste. Mix together until smooth. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish and bake for 25 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, toss together the cashews, marshmallows, and coconut. Remove the casserole dish from oven and top with the cashew mixture. Bake until the marshmallows are lightly toasted, about 5 to 10 more minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. 

Mashed Potatoes

4 pounds golden creamer potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped chives

  • Put the potatoes into a large pot, add the bay leaf, 2 tablespoons salt, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. 
  • Drain them well and remove the bay leaf. Meanwhile, heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan. Put the potatoes through a ricer or food mill into a bowl. 
  • Add the hot cream and season with salt and pepper. Mix together with a spoon and add the chives.

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie
1 cup apple butter
1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
3 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Combine apple butter, pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices in a bowl. Stir in eggs. Gradually add milk and mix well. Pour into pie shell. Bake for about 40 minutes or until set. 
  • If the crust begins to burn, place tin foil around the crust and lower the temperature of the oven.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell
2 cups pecan halves
3 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons good-quality bourbon
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Cover bottom of pie crust with pecans.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and melted butter. Add the corn syrup, sugar, bourbon and the chopped chocolate. Stir until all ingredients are combined. Pour mixture into the pie shell over the pecans and place on a heavy-duty cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for an additional 25 minutes or until pie is set. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. 

Enjoy these recipes! and If you have any questions or recommendations for us, feel free to comment below. 

Here at Roomster, we would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!  

Recipes via FoodNetwork

Thursday, November 17, 2011

20 Pocket-Change Date Night Ideas

These are hard financial times we're in, so you, your sweetie, friends or roommates aren't to be blamed for wanting to cut back a little on those nights out. 

That said, here are some ideas that split the fun in all kids of direction, from romantic, friendly, fun, peaceful, educational, among many others.  

After all life is all about experiences that later on make good stories. Enjoy!

1. Have a dance party in your living room and dance to your favorite songs from high school.

2. Borrow a movie from the library or find a movie on Hulu and make homemade stovetop popcorn while watching the classics.

3. Pack some cheese, crackers, and grapes and your favorite old quilt and have a picnic on the lawn.
4. Sit on the roof and watch the sunset together.

5. Get dressed up in your most formal clothes and go to the coffee shop as if you’ve just been to a gala.

6. Sit on a sidewalk bench and people watch, making up fake names and stories about the people you see.

7. Play board games and see who is the ultimate Hungry, Hungry Hippos champion.

8. Go on a hike.

9. Bring your camera and take photos together at the tourist spots around town.

10. Make s’mores over candlelight.

11. Visit the museum on free admission night.

12. Go to the book store and look at travel books, and then plan your dream vacation.

13. Go to the farmers market and buy a new fruit that you’ve never tried.

14. Carry along a loaf of old bread and feed the ducks at the lake.

15. Go to a new restaurant and split a decadent dessert.

16. Fly a kite at the park.

17. Cuddle on the couch and reminisce about “remember when”, telling your favorite stories.

18. Go to the botanic gardens.

19. Get a pint of ice cream, hang up twinkle lights on the patio, and enjoy your ice cream outside together in the evening.

20. Go swimming.

What are your ideas for fun, low-cost dates?

Suggestions via  SmallNotebook

Intro by Roomster

Monday, November 14, 2011

10 Jello Shots Worth the Hangover

If you got a knack for cooking, a party coming up or really just nothing to do on the weekend, we suggest trying to make these with your friends and/or roommates.

The food blogging world has taken the classic frat house Jello shot and broken the mold by replacing the Popov vodka and dixie cups with exotic ingredients and fancy molds.

Take a gander at these beautiful, jiggly creations, but most importantly once you're done, sit back, shoot and enjoy!

Blueberry Martini

Total time: 25 minutes, plus overnight chilling
Servings: About 20 Shots (more if you use 1/2 ounce molds instead of an ice tray)

10 1/2 ounces Stoli Blueberry vodka
2 ounces simple syrup* (add more if blueberries are sour)
3 1/2 (1/4 ounce) packets of gelatin powder

About 60 fresh blueberries (more if the blueberries are small)

1. Off heat, combine the vodka and simple syrup in a small saucepan. Add gelatin powder to the vodka mixture.
2. Heat the saucepan over low heat, stirring, until the gelatin is dissolved and incorporated into the vodka mixture, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
3. Place a few blueberries in the bottom of each individual ice cube mold, and carefully pour the vodka mixture into each. Refrigerate the ice cube tray until set, preferably overnight. These cocktails will keep, refrigerated, for as long as 2 days.

Strawberry Margarita
Strawberry Prep:
  1. Cut the bottoms of the strawberry flat to get them to stand upright. When you do so, make sure that you do not cut off so much that there is a hole at the bottom.
  2. Use a huller or apple corer to empty out the strawberry. 
  3. Once the strawberries have been emptied, use a towel to pat the outside of the strawberries dry.
  4. Check each strawberry and make sure there is not a hole in the bottom before you start filling.
Margarita Mix
  • 1 box Strawberry Jell-O
  • 8 ounces tequila, preferably reposado or blanco
  • 6 ounce Cointreau
  • Salt for garnish
1. Boil one cup of hot water in a saucepan,  then add in Jell-o powder and whisk until powder is completely dissolved, about two minutes. Set aside.  Measure out 1/4 cup of cold water and set aside.
2. Combine tequila and Cointreau, in cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add liquour mixture to cold water and stir to combine. Then add cold liquour mixture to hot Jell-o mixture and stir to combine. 
3. Pour final Jell-o mix into strawberries and chill overnight. Dip  your finger in water or use a moistened brush to wet the edge of the strawberries, dip and rotate the strawberries in salt to rim. Garnish with cut lime triangles to finish. 

Blueberry Gin Sour

For the float:
6 ounces crème de mûre (blackberry liqueur)
7 grams (1 packet) Knox unflavored gelatin
1 package (3 ounces) grape-flavored Jell-O gelatin
1 cup hot water
In a small mixing bowl, sprinkle the Knox and the Jell-O into the hot water and stir until completely dissolved, 5 to 7 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir in the crème de mûre. In a small, nonreactive baking dish or loaf pan, pour a few drops of cooking oil (grapeseed works well) and wipe out with a paper towel, coating the entire vessel with the barest layer. Pour blackberry float mixture in and set to chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to overnight, making certain it is level.
For the gin sour:
1 cup gin (lemon infused) (Note: vodka may be substituted!)
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
28 grams (4 packets) Knox unflavored gelatin
1 cup hot water.
Juice enough lemons to give you 2/3 cup juice, keeping the hulls as you squeeze. Roughly chop the squeezed hulls and put them in a coverable container along with the gin and the lemon juice. Leave at room temperature for at least 2 hours. It’s a good idea to do this before starting the float, so that by the time that has firmed up, your infusion is ready to go. 

When the float layer is firm, bloom the gelatin in the hot water by sprinkling it slowly while stirring, and continuing stirring until fully dissolved. Add the sugar and stir until that is also fully dissolved. Strain the gin mixture off from the lemon hulls through a fine sieve or chinoise and add it into the gelatin mixture, stirring well. Over a spoon, so as not to gouge a divot in the float layer, pour the lemon sour mix onto the float layer and return to refrigerator, again checking for levelness. Chill overnight. When ready to serve, cut into squares, or use a cookie cutter for shapes, and pull up carefully, using a cake spatula to get under the float layer. Garnish with a blackberry and/or a thin wedge of candied lemon. Or simply slurp.

Rainbow Jelly 

Red Layer
1 cup water
2 envelopes Knox gelatin
1 box 3 oz box cherry or strawberry gelatin dessert
1 cup flavored vodka (we recommend Hangar One, Buddha's Hand citrus infused vodka, but your favorite will work just fine!)

Pour water in small saucepan, sprinkle with Knox gelatin.  Allow to soak for a minute or two.  Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved, approximately 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add the gelatin dessert mix, stir until dissolved.  Stir in the vodka.  Pour into pan and refrigerate until fully set, about an hour.  

Yellow Layer
1 cup water
2 envelopes Knox gelatin
1 box 3 oz box lemon gelatin dessert
1 cup flavored vodka  (we recommend Hangar One, Buddha's Hand citrus infused vodka, but your favorite will work just fine!)

Pour water in small saucepan, sprinkle with Knox gelatin.  Allow to soak for a minute or two.  Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved, approximately 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add the gelatin dessert mix, stir until dissolved.  Stir in the vodka.  Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, then pour over the set red layer and refrigerate until fully set, about an hour.  

(Note, if you are garnishing with maraschino cherries, add them immediately after the yellow layer is poured in.  Cut the very bottoms off the cherries so they will stand upright.)  

Blue Layer
1 cup water
2 envelopes Knox gelatin
1 box 3 oz box Berry Blue gelatin dessert
1 cup flavored vodka (we recommend Hangar One, Buddha's Hand citrus infused vodka, but your favorite will work just fine!)

Pour water in small saucepan, sprinkle with Knox gelatin.  Allow to soak for a minute or two.  Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved, approximately 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add the gelatin dessert mix, stir until dissolved.  Stir in the vodka.  Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, then pour over the set red and yellow layers and refrigerate until fully set, several hours or overnight.  (Its ideal to let this chill overnight so the layers can fully bond.)  
1 3/4 cups Reál Sangria- my favorite Sangria!
1 1/2 cups Limeade
3/4 cup Cointreau
4 packets Knox Gelatine - one whole box
zest of one lime for garnish 

Mix the first 3 ingredients in a small sauce pan. 
Add Knox and let sit 3 minutes until gel softens. 
Turn on heat to medium and heat for a few minutes until gel is completely dissolved, no need to boil or get very hot. 
Pour into a 9 inch square pan that has been lined with plastic wrap. 
Chill covered overnight. 
To unmold, turn cocktail over onto a cutting board, remove plastic wrap and cut into 36 equal sized pieces. Top each piece with a small bit of lime zest. Place on pretty tray and serve immediately. Makes 36 pieces.

1. Before adding the Gelatine, taste the cocktail first and adjust flavor if needed.
2. Keep chilled at all times! These will dissolve into puddles if not kept cold. Mine got soft on the car ride over to the party, which a quick trip to the freezer fixed them up just fine, but oh the puddle they made in my lap on the warm car ride home!
3. Remember the ratio to turn your favorite cocktail into an Edible Cocktail- one packet (7 grams) Knox Gelatine to every 8 ounces (240 ml) of fluid. More Gelatine will make the cocktails even more firm if necessary. 
Watermelon Lime 
1. Prepare limes by cutting them in halves and hollowing out the peel. This may sound easier than it is. The trick is to take a paring knife and score around the insides carefully to loosen the citrus. Then spoon it out saving the fruit. (If you have a juicer for every 1 cup of lime juice add 6 cups of water and half a cup of sugar and 3 teaspoons of honey for an awesome limeade).
2. Boil one cup of water and add it to jello mix in a large bowl, stirring until it dissolves. 
3. Slowly add one cup of vodka and stir. 
4. Pour mixture into a cup with a spout (for an even pour). I use a measuring cup. Line up limes on a cookie sheet so they are secure and upright. Pour in jello mixture. Refrigerated over night.  
5. Carefully (gingerly) quarter the halves with a sharp knife.  

Margarita Jello 

1 tbsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
¾ cup water, divided
1 cup sugar
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup tequila
¼ cup orange-flavored liqueur (I used triple sec)

In a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over ¼ cup of the water.  Allow to soften for 5 minutes.  Add the rest of the water and the sugar to the pan and heat, stirring, over medium-high heat until the sugar and gelatin are dissolved.  Remove from the heat and let cool.  Stir in the lime juice, tequila and orange liqueur.  Taste and adjust ingredients accordingly.  Pour into small serving glasses and refrigerate for several hours until set.  Serve cold.

Star Spangled

*You'll need a star shape mold for this one*
3/4 cup boiling water
1 envelope Knox Gelatine, 1 ounce
6 tbsp. blue jello
1/2 cup raspberry vodka

Boil water and stir in knox gelatine, jello powder, and vodka. 
Stir until gelatine powder dissolves. It sets pretty quick. Pour into star mold.
You can make homemade infused raspberry vodka or substitute regular vodka.
Use red raspberry jello for the second batch

POM Wonderful Cosmo

*Use cup of preference to refrigerate into shape*
2 packets of gelatin (1 tablespoon)
2 1/2 cups POM
1/2 cup good-quality Vodka ( I used Luksusowa)
1/4 cup brown sugar
raw sugar for garnish
pomegranate seeds for garnish

In a large bowl mix 1 cup of POM with 1 packet of gelatin, allow to sit for at least 5 minutes or until gelatin is dissolved. Meanwhile in a small saucepan dissolve the sugar and remaining POM and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling turn off the heat and mix with the gelatin mixture. Once thoroughly mixed, add the vodka.

Distribute the mix in shot glasses or into a 6 x 2 glass round pan. Place in fridge and allow to set for at least an hour. When ready to serve, garnish the shot glasses with raw sugar and top with pomegranate seeds. For the jello shots without glasses, simply using a 1/2″ circle cutter cut out as many pieces you can from your pan. Sprinkle with raw sugar and top with pomegranate seeds. 

Lemon Drop

8 large lemons
2 packages lemon Jello (3 oz each)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup citrus vodka
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup ice cold water

Cut the lemons in half lengthwise. Squeeze the lemon juice out into a separate container and set aside.  Use a spoon to scoop out all of the insides and pulp.  You can use a paring knife to help separate the inside, but be sure not to cut through the lemon peel.  Once you have them all completely juiced and cleaned out, place each of the halves into a muffin tin, with the open sides up.

Prepare the Jello mixture by mixing 1 cup of boiling water with two packages of lemon Jello.  Stir until the Jello has completely disolved.  Then, add the 1 cup citrus vodka, 1/2 cup of strained lemon juice that you got from the lemons, and 1/2 cup ice water.  Stir until cooled.

Pour the Jello mixture into each lemon half so that they are completely full.  Carefully move the muffin tin to the fridge and chill for at least 4 hours, until hardened.

Once the Jello is firm, and you're ready to serve, cut each half into three slices.  Turn the lemon halves over on a cutting board and then make each slice in one fluid motion using a very sharp, warm, non-serrated knife.  Share with friends and enjoy!!

This recipe can also be modified to use with any other citrus fruit like oranges or limes.

Author: Shelley 

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