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Creative solutions

Posted: Thursday, August 05, 2010

Rhubarb grows endlessly in our front yard and we are looking for new ways to use it up. Please help! - Run Over By Rhubarb

Well, ROBR, have you tried sorbet? I stumbled upon a recipe for rhubarb sorbet this summer that could not be simpler. It requires only three ingredients that should already be on hand: sugar, water and rhubarb. Create a simple syrup by dissolving 5 oz. of sugar in 2 cups of water and then boil it for five minutes to get the right consistency. While the syrup cools, clean and chop 1 lb. of rhubarb stalks into 1-inch chunks. Heat the pieces in a saucepan with 2 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon sugar while stirring. As you bring it to a boil, the rhubarb will break down into a pulp - it's really cool. Combine the cooled syrup with the cooled rhubarb in a food processor or blender and you're ready to throw it all into an ice cream maker.

No ice cream maker? No problem! The basic principle of the ice cream maker is that the interior core (where the liquid is held) is wrapped in an outer core of rapidly melting ice and is being agitated. Huh? Okay, grab a food-safe inner core, like a quart-sized self-zipping plastic bag, or a small tin can. Put the rhubarb mixture inside and zipper the bag, or seal the can with plastic wrap and rubber bands. Now, put the smaller bag or can in a larger bag or can (like a gallon-sized bag or a coffee can). In between the two layers fill the space with ice and rock salt, often labeled as ice cream salt in the store. This will aid the ice in melting faster, which will transfer all its icey coldness into your icey treat. Believe me, it’s science. Now all you have to do is seal it up and agitate. If your using zippered bags, just squish the stuff around a bunch, refilling the ice and salt as it melts. For the can method, play a little game of kick-the-can, or maybe just roll-the-can. Either way, with a little elbow grease you’ll come up with a delicious soft-serve sorbet treat that is both simple and eco-friendly.  Yum!

I have a wedding to attend soon and I have the dress all ready but no jewelry! I’m kind of crafty and want to make a necklace that matches my dress, but don’t want it to look “homemade.” Any ideas? 

- Nude Neck in Need

NNIN, “homemade” is hip, haven’t you heard? But, in all seriousness, for an important event you want to look polished and up-to-date, not sporting the dried macaroni necklace you made in third grade. Here is a super-easy necklace idea that looks chic and is in style everywhere right now.

Buy several strands of beads, and one yard of ribbon that compliments your dress color, making sure the scale of the ribbon and beads work together. Restring the beads onto beading cord and neatly tie the ends together to create a circle. Lay the circle of beads on a flat surface and pull on two opposite ends until you have a flattened oval, or a double-strand effect. Now, snip the yard of ribbon into two pieces and loop each piece into the ends of your flattened oval. Tie the ribbon pieces together behind your neck in a bow and instantly you have a beaded necklace.

For a real statement piece, fold the flattened oval in half again to create a quadruple-strand necklace. Now you have instant jewelry that can match any outfit in a flash.

•Please send comments and questions to alaskancrafter@gmail.com.



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