How to Light a Paper Lantern

Budget friendly and easy. That’s how I like to plan most of my events. I get a lot of my decorations with coupons, on clearance, from dollar stores and from Christmas Tree Shops. I’ve gotten quite a few paper lanterns lately and had a heck of a time trying to figure out how to light a number of them inexpensively. I lucked out one time and got lantern lights for $3 at Goodwill! If you buy in advance, you may be able to get a pretty good deal on ebay, newegg or other online shops (keep shipping costs and time in mind).

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For my paper lanterns, I got them for $1 each at Christmas Tree Shops.¬†They do have battery operated ones but the batteries weren’t included. They had some flameless tealights on sale so I got 5 boxes of those. The last time I used them, I tied string to the fake flame, then tied the other end to the metal frame of the lantern. It worked but it was a pain trying to turn all of them on when it got dark. After fiddling with a tealight for a while yesterday, I found that the fake little plastic flame pops right off! Now we have just a bulb and doesn’t look like an upside down candle. I used yellow yarn in the pictures but a tighter weave neutral string would work best. Here is how it looks:

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Careful taking the cover off – the batteries slip out really easy!

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I tied a loose knot first then slid onto the metal hook to tighten.

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Nice bulb look and doesn’t look like an upside down fake flame.

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A very accessible on switch.

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Oreo Balls – Christmas Baking

I don’t bake often. It takes us a long time to go through any sweets in the house and if I bring it to work, I’ll eat the treats there. So the one time a year I do bake, I find it beyond frustrating. With many attempts and many of these balls from hell squished and thrown out, I found an easy technique that makes this whole ball thing a lot easier.

Ingredients:

  • Oreo Cookies (double stuffed is best)
  • Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • Ghirardelli White Chocolate Wafers (They’re new!)
  • Decoration of choice

First, I de-creamed the cookies. These are much easier to do with double stuffed since they come off as a whole cream pad. If you have regular minimally stuffed, a spoon works great. No worries about breaking the cookies. They are headed to the processor.

After they’ve been de-creamed, put the cream in a bowl along with a brick of Philadelphia cream cheese.

Put the cookie parts in a food processor. I used my juicer (I have the Omega 8006) which has an attachment that makes an amazing fine grain.

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Add the powder to cream and cream cheese blend and knead into dough. Rubber gloves are handy during this process. It takes some kneading!

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Now roll into tiny balls. The first round, I made them way too big. The second time, I made them about the size of a quarter. Way easier to deal with and these are so rich they are overwhelming if too big. Place on a cookie sheet lined with non-stick paper. These were placed on parchment paper.

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Freeze these for a bit. I read some that froze overnight but made the chocolate shell crack. So I froze for about an hour while melting the chocolate in a double boiler. You can melt in a bowl at 30 second intervals too. Paper bowls work great for this stuff!

Set up another cookie sheet with non stick paper for post dipped hell balls if you aren’t using mini paper cups.

Get your station ready and take the balls out. I tried everything to dip. Skewers, forks, toothpicks, fingers, chopsticks, everything I had. These tiny little things worked great with a sturdier toothpick that I stuck into the bottom, dipped quickly in chocolate (enough to submerge the whole ball) and stuck in a foam board covered in foil.

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If you’re making a lot of balls, take them out in sections. You don’t want to get the ball too warm to dip or they will slide down the toothpick. It’s a small hole and easy to cover if this happens. My house was about 75 degrees and the last 2 balls (of 40) slid down.

The chocolate will harden quickly and you can remove to decorate or keep them on the foam to display.

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Hell ball success. And it’s been requested I make more….I’ll post anything else I learn along the way! Enjoy!

Emi’s Home Fries Recipe

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups Red or Gourmet Baby Potatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Yellow Onion
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Pinch of Paprika

Directions

  1. Heat 2 Tbs of olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet.
  2. Once heated, add potatoes, onion and all of the spices.
  3. Shimmy, flip or stir everything so it’s combined.
  4. Flip or stir lightly every 3 minutes for 15-20 minutes or until medium golden brown. Larger cut potatoes will take longer.

Tips:

  • I use a Vidalia Chop Wizard to get evenly shaped potatoes and onion. (Vidalia Chop Wizard $19.99)
  • For threatening oil pops, I cover with a piece of foil or parchment paper.
  • Keep all the potatoes touching the pan – flatten out every time you flip or stir.
  • This can easily be cooked in a 375 oven until golden.

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