Hot Polka Dot
26Mar/13

How To Tuesday: Funny Bunny.

Learn how to fold your own bunny napkins just in time for Easter via @hotpolkadot.

Growing up in Ontario bunnies were these cute little critters that lived in the field behind my house. They frolicked like cartoon characters come to life and feasted on my mom's flower gardens. My twenty-four toed double jointed tortoise-shell cat, Scrapper would often wander home with one in his jaws.

Here in Alberta bunnies don't exist. There are no Thumpers or baby Bugs here. Here is the home of the thirty pound jackrabbit that could probably take on all three of my wimpy squishy cats at once. They hide under the pine trees in our yard and munch on the fallen crab apples when they're not absconding with small neighbourhood children.

These bunnies are neither fierce or furry. They make a sweet statement on your Easter table and their floppy ears are perfect for wiping away glazed ham and apple pie. I love napkin folding because it's so versatile, fun and unique. You can have just one set of napkins and fold them into countless shapes to surprise your dinner guests all year long.

Want to learn how to fold your very own bunny napkins? Sure you do!

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11Mar/13

The Grape Escape.

Great Grape Pie because change is good via @hotpolkadot

Do you ever get stuck in a rut? All your favourite shows are on hiatus, you're eating the same boring meatloaf every monday, all your socks are white, you order the same entree at the same restaurant every date night, the Tim Horton's barista finishes your sentences and even your shampoo is boring you.

You need to mix it up! Routine is efficient, but, without any relief, it becomes stale and uninteresting. Be spontaneous, take chances, experiment and try new things. I'm not saying you need to go out and buy a motorcycle, dye your hair blue or go skydiving.

There are safer ways to be adventurous, ways that don't result in road rash or parachute failure. Try out that new Indian restaurant around the corner, give meatloaf night a rest, give that new latte a taste test and buy some polka dots socks for crying out loud!

Or maybe try putting some grapes in your pie. Never heard of it? Now you have! Sound weird? It's delicious!

Great Grape Pie because change is good via @hotpolkadot

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6Mar/13

How To… Er… Wednesday: Easy As Pie.

How to prevent your proce crust from shrinking. It's easy as pie!

I've never really understood that phrase. Making pie isn't exactly an easy task but eating pie is definitely both easy and delicious.

That's what the phrase really refers to: something that's simple and pleasurable. Like bubble baths, curling up with a good book and cuddling puppies. Try cuddling puppies in the bath with your favourite book while eating a slice of pie and you've really got something!

Pie crust can be kind of finicky at times. You might have formed the dough perfectly, tried the frozen butter trick, let it chill overnight and your pie still shrivels up like a raisin when you bake it. You've probably scratched your head about the mysteries of shrinking pie crust, but never really worried about it because, though it might be ugly, it tastes beautiful.

Today I'll impart on you the little tips and tricks that you can utilize to avoid the dreaded shrunken pie crust. Making your pie can be just as easy as eating it!

Make sure to come back soon to find out what flavour this glorious pie is!

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26Feb/13

How To Tuesday: Petal To The Metal.

How to achieve the petal frosting technique via @hotpolkadot

You know that picture in your head, the impossibly perfect one? You see it when you're imagining how that royal icing flood will turn out. You see it in the back of your mind when attempting a side dutch braid. You see it clearly when you're trying to match that DIY project you saw on Pinterest. Then suddenly your flood fails, your braid is broken and your DIY is a major don't.

We probably set ridiculously high expectations for ourselves. I know I do. I'm pretty sure I can count the number of times reality matched my imagination on one hand. This is one of those times.

I'll admit I was terrified to try this frosting technique. It's trendy, it's cute and it looks super complicated. For a perfectionist like myself, I was certain it would be a flop. I was worried the consistency of the frosting would be too thick, too dry and just not friendly. I was worried my rows would start slanting and look crooked. I was worried I wouldn't have enough frosting to finish.

All my worrying was for nothing. This technique is deceptively easy to pull off and very forgiving. The recipe I used was the perfect consistency and even the exact amount.

You want to make a petal cake of your own? Sure you do!

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21Feb/13

Wordsmith.

Chocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadot

Chocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadotChocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadot

I'm a huge fan of the written word. I love reading it, I love writing it and, above all, I love learning more about it. I'm one of those people that, when encountering a new word in a book, I immediately look up the definition. I can't read on without it. It's like stepping out your door with only one shoe on. You feel incomplete, imbalanced and unsure. You can stumble upon misconception just like a rusty nail.

I use my dictionary app more than my angry birds app. I probably google the origin of words and phrases at least five times a day. I just hunger for words, for knowledge, for understanding. I'm the sort of person that can't be content in knowing a thing, I have to know why and how and sometimes when and where too.

It fascinates me that, in the grand scheme of things, English is a relatively new language and therefore borrows from other European languages. There are few English words that you can bring to mind today that aren't influenced by another language either loosely or literally. Decimation comes from the Latin word decimatio, a punishment practice implemented by Roman generals whereby a legion would be separated into groups of ten and made to draw lots to determine the tenth to be executed. We even use words on a daily basis that are completely in another language like entrepreneur, kindergarten and chocolate.

English is this inconstant creature forever in a state of flux. It's constantly absorbing information, always influenced by culture and changing to meet our needs. We've gone from Beowulf to Romeo and Juliet to Great Expectations to Harry Potter. Fedex, dance-off and muggle are in the dictionary for crying out loud!

While it's easy to take the low road and subscribe to the opinion that popular acronyms like OMG, YOLO and LOL are somehow the architects of the English language's demise, I prefer another theory. We're just entering a different stage of evolution. Do you think Shakespeare and Dickens could carry on a coherent conversation without cliff's notes? We might resist at first, but eventually the transition will come naturally.

Words are magical. Words can frighten you, delight you, thrill you and definitely inspire you. With words I can't paint beautiful pictures before your mind's eye. With just a few words you can be saddened, overjoyed or enraged.

For example, I could tell you that this cake is the perfect balance of chocolate and orange, bitter and sweet, rich and light, dark and bright. I could tell you that beneath waves of velvety Dark Chocolate Frosting lies a cake striped with ribbons of deep chocolate and fruity orange surrounding and thick layer of aromatic Orange Curd. Each bite is so tantalizing to all five senses we may need to define a sixth or seventh. Immediately you should begin to feel the physiological effects of these few choice words. Your pupils start to dilate, your eyes widen, your mouth waters, your stomach growls and suddenly that cookie you're about to stuff in your face doesn't seem good enough.

Chocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadot

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