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Perk up your friends

By on January 3, 2011

If you know a coffee lover, you can make him a special treat of chocolate-covered coffee beans. Use chocolate candy molds, melted chocolate (chocolate/wafer candy melts) and roasted coffee beans. Simply pour a little melted chocolate into the molds, add a couple of coffee beans and top the candy molds off with more melted chocolate. Let cool or place in the freezer until the chocolate is set and pop chocolate from the molds. The first reader tip shares another treat for anyone who enjoys coffee.

chocolate molds

Flavored coffee:

I tried this last year as gift. I made “homemade” French vanilla coffee for all the coffee lovers we knew. Take a vanilla bean and slit it, put it in a can of coffee, and seal it tight for 2 weeks. The coffee takes on the flavor of the bean. You can also add cinnamon or nutmeg and other spices to ground coffee. — Sarah, Illinois

Miscellaneous tips:

I have a couple to share.
— If you see a product on an “As seen on TV” infomercial that you really want to try, wait a few months and pharmacy type stores will have it for the same or lesser price without the way overpriced shipping. In fact I just saw a show about Walgreens that says their top sales came from the “As Seen on TV” aisle. Also, Google it. Several news stations do a “Does it work or not?” feature on these products and will let you know their results.
— When going out of town for on an errand that is farther than what you normally go, check to see if there are any thrift stores or bread outlets close by to get more for your mileage. — momto5rn, New Jersey

Homemade Soap Crayons

1 cup soap flakes
food coloring, washable tempera paint or natural soap colorant
2 tablespoons hot water

Have one large bowl and several small bowls, one for each color. You will also need an ice cube tray with different sections, or any containers to act as small molds (cookie cutters or hard candy molds will work). Put soap flakes in a large bowl and drop the hot water into the soap flakes, stirring constantly. The mixture will be extremely thick and hard to stir. Spoon some of the soap into each of the small bowls and color each separately, adding the color by drops until the soap has the consistency of a very thick paste. Press spoonfuls of the soap into your molds and set the crayons in a dry place to harden. They should take a few days to a week to dry completely. When they’re dry, remove from the molds and allow them to dry for a few more days before using. Your results may vary. If your molds are intricate, spray with vegetable oil spray to release soap easily. — TBM, e-mail
Added note: If you can’t find soap flakes (Ivory no longer makes soap flakes), finely grate a bar of soap. I emailed Ivory a few years ago, since I couldn’t find soap flakes, and asked about Ivory Snow. I was told it is detergent and they no longer make soap flakes. They suggested grating a bar of soap. It works pretty well. Just use the fine grater side of your grater. It cleans up easily since it’s just soap. — Pita, Virginia

photo by Doug Lemoine

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