10 Unique and Affordable Wedding Favor Ideas

1. Tote Bags

Perfect for any season and oh-so useful, personalized tote bags make excellent wedding favors. Plain tote bags are inexpensive, and they are easy to customize yourself, should you wish to make your own wedding favors. Short on time? Some wedding shops offer personalized totes, but they will cost you more than if you design them yourself.

2. Sunglasses

Having the ideal summer wedding? Candies and chocolates might not be the best wedding favor to leave for guests in the hot summer sun. Sunglasses are a great way to keep your guests comfortable and to remind them of your special day for years to come. A plus? Frames come in a variety of styles and can be personalized in so many ways. You are limited only by your imagination! Like tote bags, sunglasses can also be personalized professionally by many wedding and party vendors.

3. S’mores Kits

Perfect for weddings in late summer or early fall, individual s’mores kits are another creative alternative to more conventional wedding favors. These can be as basic or as decadent as you prefer, and thus they can work for any budget. All you need are some graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate bars and cute craft supplies to make these adorable and unforgettable gifts for your guests.

4. Candy in Personalized Wrappers

A bit more on the traditional side, personalized candy wrappers and candy seem to be mainstays when it comes to wedding favors. From those oft-present Jordan almonds to the more modern chocolate bars, this is another easy and inexpensive way to add a personal touch to your wedding. Why mess with a classic? Choose your candy and pick out those personalized candy wrappers. It’s a great way to make an impression on wedding guests with a sweet-tooth, and it also makes for a well-appreciated shower or bachelorette party gift.

5. Individual Bath Salts

Do-it-yourself bath salts are all the rage these days. Whether they are for personal use, a Christmas gift for a relative or birthday gift for a relative, chances are you’ve already got a recipe or two on one of your Pinterest boards. Individual bath salts are a unique and affordable way to pamper your wedding guests. Luxurious, little jars of bath salt also make wonderful bridal shower favors.

6. Hangover Rescue Kits

Hangover rescue kits or “cures” are a must-have if your guests will be drinking. From a personalized bottle of water, to a hangover remedy-packed kit, you can make this wedding favor as simple or as complex as you like. As with the other do-it-yourself ideas, this concept is flexible and budget friendly. Hangover rescue kits also make great bachelor and bachelorette party favors!

7. Individual Hot Cocoa Mix

Planning a winter wedding? Get your guests in the comfy, cozy mood with these individual hot cocoa favors. With some jars, craft supplies and some ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, you can create some of the most memorable wedding favors possible! You can customize the ingredients for different hot cocoa flavors, and you can decorate the packaging however you like. If you like the concept but don’t have the time for a do-it-yourself project, some vendors sell personalized hot cocoa packets.

8. Lip Balm

Personalized lip balm is another out-of-the-box concept for a winter wedding favor that offers a lot of flexibility. If you’re going for more expression or you are looking to save some cash for the honeymoon, you can make your own lip balm favors in a variety of different flavors and scents. As with the other ideas above, you can also buy personalized lip balm or do-it-yourself kits from vendors, should you need to save yourself some time and energy. Either way, lip balm can be an interesting and practical wedding favor for your guests.

9. Sachets

You probably already know that sachets are little bags of perfumed flowers or aromatic herbs that people typically place in drawers or closets to make the space smell pleasant. What you might not know is that these herb and flower-filled pouches make creative wedding favors as well. As with sunglasses or totes, these unconventional wedding party favors can either be bought or made at home.

10. Travel Kits

Whether you’re having a summer or winter wedding, a homemade travel kit can be a useful and memorable wedding favor that doesn’t break the bank. This idea is highly versatile, as the kits can be made in a variety of ways on virtually any budget, and it’s the perfect favor for a destination wedding.



Source by Ben Ramsfield

How to Make Native Chocolate "Tabliya"

Tabliya came from the word “tablets” because the product shape resembles a medicine tablet. However, other product shapes exist. It is the old fashioned chocolate. Chocolate in its pure form without any added preservatives.

I am making a decent income from it even there are lots of modern chocolate competitors. Most of my customers are health conscious individuals. Read the following steps to make your own native chocolate.

1. Select good quality cacao beans. It should be dry and posses a sour smell. Sour smelling cacao beans are properly fermented. Fermentation adds flavors to your finish product.

2. In case you own a cacao plantation. Harvest matured cacao pods. Matured pods have a knocking sounds when shaken. Cut pods into halves. Place the seeds or beans in hard plastic bin and cover loosely. Let stand for seven days for fermentation to commence. Wash the seeds and let dry under the sun. Well dried cacao beans produce crispy sounds when stirred.

3. Roast beans in carajay under low flame. High flame will result in burnt beans. Continual stirring should be done to achieve even roast. Roast for one hour or until the rapid popping sound is heard. Transfer immediately into wooden trays. Cool immediately by stirring and placing in front of electric fan.

4. Loosen the plate of your grinder. It should be loose enough just to break cacao beans in large pieces. Our goal is to separate nibs from shell in next step. Nib is cacao bean without the shell or chaff. Now pass roasted cacao into grinder.

5. Winnow broken beans to remove the chaffs. Winnowing can easily be done by transferring beans from one container to another in front of electric fan. Air current will blow chaffs away leaving only the nibs. Repeat the process if necessary.

6. Grind the nibs in electric grinder. Grinding will produce heat and liquefy the nibs. Metal grinder plate will do but stone grinder will produce finer product. Roasted peanut is added in this stage if desired.

7. Let liquefied cacao cool until you can easily make a small ball by hand. Mold tabliya using polvoron molder or mold into balls by hand. Mix sugar for sweet tabliya.

Tabliya can replace modern chocolate in most recipes. Champorado and hot chocolate are my favorite recipes.



Source by Marvin Vicedo

Coasta Rica’s Bribri Indians’ Secret to Long Life: Raw Cacao

Costa Rica’s Indians are some of the longest lived people on earth. We spent time visiting with the BriBri in the Talamanca Mountains. They, like many modern indigenous people, live between two worlds. They wear modern clothes, live in modern houses, and carry cell phones. But they still adhere to the old ways when it comes to taking care of themselves. And one of the traditions they hold dear is the drinking of chocolate. YES! Chocolate is GOOD FOR YOU! In fact, the BriBri drink 5-6 cups of this unsweetened, rich beverage every day and they say its powerful anti-oxidants are the secret to their longevity.

Visit the Bribri up in the hills of southern Costa Rica and spend some time with a 72-year-old woman named Ophelia. Ophelia and her family have a finca, or Costa Rican farm, where they allow cacao plants to grow wild. They use no chemicals, organic or otherwise. When the red and yellow pods ripen, they harvest the cacao bean filled pods and carry them down to a big barn that is cool and dark inside and covered in chocolate dust.

Imagine the aroma!

Step inside the sweet-smelling barn and you are greeted with mats filled with drying cacao beans, white chocolate filled bags stuffed to the brim and ready for market, and–my favorite part–little trays of raw cacao squares flavored with things like coconut, cinnamon, vanilla, chilies, papaya, pineapple, almonds, hazelnuts, or wild honey. Samples are free and bigger, all natural, fantastically good for you bars are for sale.

Talk to Ophelia and she will tell you she doesn’t eat anything with preservatives in it and she never takes any medicine, but relays only on what she can gather in the rain forest. She will also tell you the young people don’t drink cacao like the old folks do.

“It is important to drink cacao everyday,” she will say.

And then she will make you a cup of traditional hot chocolate. She will take a puck made from the paste of ground raw beans and shave it into a powder and boil it in hot water for you. Drink it and taste its bitter richness. It is definitely not the cocoa your mother used to make. This drink is pure and dark and has tiny oily circles of cacao butter floating on top. And it’s full of heart-healthy fats and cancer preventing polyphenols.

So here’s what I propose. Try replacing your morning coffee with a cup of raw cacao. It will give you a caffeine boost similar to coffee, but without the jittery feeling. It will also keep you from being hungry and, because cacao is full of B vitamins and other feel-good chemicals, it will promote a general feeling of don’t-worry-be-happy.

Here’s my favorite Raw Cacao Hot Beverage Recipe

MORNING CACAO RECIPE

10 oz water

2 Tablespoons raw cacao

Generous pinch of sea salt

A few drops of vanilla

Pinch of cinnamon

1 Tablespoon honey

Boil the water with the cacao and salt. Whisk with fork or whisk. Allow it to boil for 2 minutes or so (this will make sure the cacao is melted)

Turn off the heat and add vanilla and cinnamon

Pour into your favorite mug, add honey, and stir well

ENJOY!



Source by Laura LaBrie

Why Does Chocolate Make Me Horny?

Ever noticed that chocolate is sold in the women’s clothing section in department stores? Ever wonder why? It’s because women crave chocolate. And that’s a good thing!

Doctors have done many studies on the connection between chocolate and an increased sex drive in females. These studies reveal that women who eat some chocolate each day have a higher sex drive than women who do not. It was also found that not only do females have stronger sex drives due to a daily intake of chocolate but they had improved sexual function. Chocolate also helps balance out mood swings right during menstruation.

The reason that chocolate improves sexual function and increases sex drive is due to chocolate’s properties. Containing serotonin, which is a chemical that calms the mind and is produced by the brain, chocolate is like taking a mild sedative. Caffeine is found in chocolate in very small amounts and caffeine helps to raise serotonin. The chemical serotonin is often associated with the same effects as marijuana. Yet in reality, about 25 pounds of chocolate would have to be consumed to get the same effect as being high on marijuana. Plus the sweet, creamy taste of chocolate is more soothing and sexual on the tongue and taste buds. Why not having her lick melted chocolate off your body or seeing what happens with a can of chocolate whipped cream?

So if you’re thinking of giving your girl a gift or treat, give her some chocolate. Not just for this upcoming Valentine’s Day but every day. Just a small amount each day will be happier and healthier for you both.



Source by April Manovich

Carnival Cruise Ships and Pictures: Like Hot Chocolate, Foot Massages, and Flying Kites!

Holding on to the experience is easy as a snap when you take the cruise on carnival. In fact, they go hand in hand, carnival cruise ships and pictures are one reason that the vacation adventure lasts so long even after the cruise to the bahamas is all over. Especially for your young ones, children of any age on a cruise will grow in the best of ways from the experience. Not only the way the ships camp for kids will create activities for the children during the bahamanain side of the cruise, but on board, as well.

Pictures while the children are engaged in the fun filled atmosphere of quality activities are irreplaceable. In any carnival bahama cruise review you will find the specifications of those activities for children that ensure you will be able to really make the vacation a time for you alone, or you with a significant other. The reviews describe how the children’s activities are guided by well trained, educated counselors who you can feel comfortable leaving in the guard of your kids.

Reviews Reveal Children’s Fun

They will indulge the playful as all kids should, with hands on, cruise oriented flare, such as talent shows with access to all the glitter of true show costumes, exer-seas, which is the kid’s fitness program allowing them access to life enhancing exercises they will be able to take home with them in the form of good habits they learned on the cruise.

EduCruise is a cruise sponsored series of activities that teach the children a variety of nature and sea oriented lessons, in a fun way. Picture opportunities are taken advantage of as staff provide each participant with keepsakes to give to parents, revealing the growth enhancing cruise experience that the reviews all encourage parents to allow their children to experience. Reviews further give vacationers the incentives for pictures that afford a lifetime memory in a high gloss professional pictures that are offered to every cruise vacationer.



Source by James Purfoy

Hot Chocolate Massage

Warning to chocolate lovers…this may be addictive. Imagine warm chocolate oozing over your skin, opening your pores to receive the rich minerals, vitamins and antioxidants needed to reduce aging and even prolong your life. The next several mouth-watering minutes will have you melting in your seat and eager to get out and find a chocolate massage.

The Beauty of Chocolate

What if I told you that chocolate could make you beautiful? Put aside the evils that we have been taught throughout the years about chocolate and its negative effects, and get down to some new and innovatively exciting information that gives you every reason to eat, drink, smell and wear Chocolate. Yes, I said wear. Actually I want to take it further than just wearing chocolate, I am suggesting that you smear it all over your body, professionally supervised of course, until you feel like a human chocolate bar.

One of the latest treatments appearing at spas around the world is chocolate massage. Sure it sounds like a gimmick at first, a way to get cocoa lovers into the spa, but it is now being heralded as extremely therapeutic on many levels. One such beneficial claim is that chocolate may actually make you live longer. A study of 8000 people, half eating chocolate and the other half abstaining, showed that the ones that consumed the chocolate recorded a longer lifespan. It is hypothesized that this is due to the presence in chocolate of antioxidants known as polyphenols, which help to reduce heart disease. This study was related to the consumption of chocolate, but it is widely known that the skin, being the largest organ in the body is able to absorb such organic chemicals and enter them into the bloodstream, which would result in the same effect. Polyphenols have also proved to reduce the onset of wrinkles, which is a highlight of anti-aging. Not only can chocolate help you live longer, it will have you looking fabulous along the way.

Chocolate massage is an explosive sensory experience. The creamy cocoa butter, rich in minerals and vitamins, and used as the base ingredient for chocolate massage, has been a favorite emollient in cosmetics and lotions for centuries. It too has antioxidant properties, and feels divine as it soothes tired and dry skin, improving the circulation of oxygen rich blood throughout the body. This increased blood flow has been attributed to flavanol, another amazingly important antioxidant that removes free radicals. Cocoa is one of the best sources in the world for flavanol, so having a chocolate massage will not only leave your skin revived and glowing, but may actually help combat anxiety or depression. That is exactly what a visit to the spa is supposed to provide for you.

The benefits of chocolate massage have proved to help the skin and the cardiovascular system, but did you know that they also have an influence on your hormonal system? Yes, that’s right. Cocoa powder and cocoa butter both have mind and hormonal altering agents. It contains two neurochemicals that specifically help in the proper release and distribution of serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter.

Feeling good is exactly what hot chocolate massage is designed for. As you lay under the smoothly flowing hands of your therapist, the warm chocolate is gently rubbed into your skin, and you are taken into another world. The pleasure centers of your brain are working overtime, generating pain reducing opiates which melt away your stress. The aroma of chocolate during the massage, mixed with the absorption into the skin increases your endorphin levels, leaving you in a peaceful state of well-being.

It is irrefutably obvious that the skin and major systems of the body are all highly benefitted by the healing properties found in chocolate. No wonder the Greek name for chocolate translates to ‘food of the gods’. This gift from Mother Nature will heal you inside and out. I highly suggest that you find a practitioner of chocolate massage in your area, and end your day feeling like a goddess.



Source by Laurence De Conto

Christmas Hot Chocolate, a Peruvian Tradition and Recipe

My husband lived in Peru for five years. His family moved to Lima, where his father was a physician at the British-American Hospital. While they lived in Lima, the family enjoyed many Peruvian dishes: broiled scallops with butter and Parmesan cheese, Biscoche (a meringue dessert with custard filling), and rich, frothy hot chocolate.

After the family moved back to the US, my mother-in-law continued to make these recipes and served the sweet, Peruvian treat at open houses. She poured the steaming mixture into a silver pitcher to keep it warm, and topped each serving with a mound of sweetened whipped cream. This beverage was very different from the instant cocoa we drink today.

An article, “Rediscover True Hot Chocolate,” published on the Whats Cooking America website, describes the difference. Hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder, whereas hot chocolate is made from melted chunks.

According to the article, the ancient Mayans made a beverage from ground cocoa beans, water, wine, and steeped hot peppers. It was hot chocolate with a “kick.”

The Mexican version of this recipe is made from tablets that resemble hockey pucks. Though these tablets contain cinnamon, additional cinnamon is often added. The hot beverage is frothed with a wooden whisk.

You may use whole milk, evaporated milk, and even sweetened condensed milk in this recipe. It can be expanded easily. If unexpected guests drop by, just add more hot water. This works, but the chocolate does not taste as rich.

The TasteBook website has posted a recipe and it includes, of all things, oatmeal. My mother-in-law would never have added oatmeal or more hot water to her recipe, I can tell you that. She used a double boiler to make the drink. Instead of a double boiler, you can use a Pyrex bowl over simmering water. Peruvian Hot Chocolate is the perfect holiday treat. Enjoy!

Ingredients

3 squares of baking chocolate

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt (to bring out the sweetness)

2 cups boiling water

6 cups whole milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or the seeds of a lage vanilla bean)

Sweetened whipped cream

8 cinnamon sticks

Method

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Stir in the sugar and salt. Add the boiling water gradually, stirring constantly, and continue stirring until smooth. Cook for five minutes. Whisk in hot milk and vanilla or the seeds of a vanilla bean. Continue whisking until cocoa becomes foamy. Pour into mugs and garnish with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick. Makes 8 servings.

Copyright 2009 by Harriet Hodgson



Source by Harriet Hodgson

A Hot Chocolate Maker Is a Chocolate Lover’s Dream

Enjoy a cup of delicious hot cocoa anytime with an easy to use hot chocolate maker. If you and your family love hot drinks, then you definitely need a hot chocolate maker to make preparing them a breeze. Have a steaming mug of rich indulgence anytime you want.

Hot chocolate makers make it super easy to make the perfect cup every time. You never have to watch over the milk to keep it from scorching or boiling over, because a hot cocoa maker automatically heats up to exactly the right temperature in mere minutes. You don’t even have to skim any fat off the top because the electric hot cocoa maker blends your ingredients to sheer perfection. In fact, you don’t have to do much of anything except measure and pour in the ingredients.

Hot chocolate makers produce a superior beverage — better than anything you could make on the stove top or in the microwave. If you want your beverage frothy, there’s just no other way to do it. And we all would love to put an ended to the dreaded clumping you get from stirring in hot cocoa mix or chai mix by hand. That, too, can be eliminated. It’s much better than the old fashion way, and with quick cleanup too.

Some hot cocoa makers are even kid friendly, if that’s a concern for you. Instead of your little one having to wait for Mommy or Daddy to heat the milk on the stove, your child can pour in the ingredients into a hot cocoa maker themselves and simply push a button. The auto shut-off feature will make sure the drink is serving temperature, so you don’t have to worry about anyone getting burned or burning their tongue.

There are also gourmet hot cocoa makers that can handle rich drinking chocolate, shaved chocolate, and chocolate chips for a richer, more chocolatey cup.

Once you’ve got the right hot chocolate maker, you can have all sorts of fun tinkering with recipes and taste testing different drink mixes from around the world. Don’t forget the marshmallows! The possibilities for experimenting and customizing your favorite drink are endless.

This is a great gift idea for chocolate lovers for their birthdays or for the holiday season. If you know someone who loves chocolate, make their day with something they’ll enjoy for years to come. Or, buy one for yourself. You deserve it.

The resources below will show you where to shop and get hot chocolate maker reviews.



Source by Jeannie Grayton

History of Hot Chocolate

The predecessor to the hot chocolate we enjoy today was the Aztec drink xocoatl. Mayan Indians first harvested Cacoa beans from Cacoa pods and frequently traded them to the neighboring Aztecs. Cacoa beans may also have been given as tribute to the more warlike Aztecs. The Aztecs ground the beans into a bitter, coarse paste, which they mixed with water and spices to form the drink xocoatl. Aztecs later cultivated the cacao tree themselves and appointed their god Quetzalcoatl as the guardian of the cacao tree. Aztec Emperor Montezuma is quoted as having said of xocoatl: “The divine drink, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this drink permits a man to walk a whole day without food.” It is recorded that Montezuma drank fifty goblets of xocoatl each day.

Hernan Cortez is credited with introducing the drink to Europeans. Cortez established a cocoa plantation in Mexico in 1519 after seeing the Indians using the beans as a form of currency. A year later Cortez introduced the xocoatl drink to the court of Spanish King Charles V. Instead of the spices used by the Aztecs, the Spaniards began the tradition of adding a sweetener, probably cane sugar syrup obtained also from the New World. The Spanish had difficulty pronouncing the Indian word “xocoatl” and changed the name of their new beverage to “chocolat.” Although chocolat quickly became popular across Spain, the Spanish managed to keep it secret from the rest of Europe for a hundred years. During those hundred years many experiments in partially fermenting and then roasting the cocoa beans added increasing richness to the flavor of the drink.

In 1615 Spanish Princess Anna of Austria introduced chocolat to her new husband King Louis XIII. The drink became fashionable within Louis’ court and news quickly spread to Italy and later to Austria. A Frenchman opened the first café specializing in chocolat in London in 1657. The English changed the name of the drink to “chocolate.” The appealing new drink quickly gained in popularity across Europe. Who it is that first warmed their chocolate drink to make “hot chocolate” is unknown. By 1657 chocolatier David Chaillou had opened the first chocolate house in Paris and served hot chocolate.

The warm, foamy drink we know today owes its true origin to Dutchman Hendrick Van Houten. In April, 1828 Van Houten patented a process whereby a press is used to squeeze ground cocoa beans to extract the natural fat also known as cocoa butter. Cocoa butter makes up about half of the weight of a cocoa bean. The pressed cake that remains after extracting the cocoa butter is cooled, pulverized and sifted into cocoa powder. Van Houten also discovered that by adding alkali-potash to the beans before they are roasted the acidic taste of the cocoa is neutralized. The process became known as “Dutching” and has been used ever since. Even today you will sometimes hear hot chocolate referred to as “dutch chocolate.”



Source by George Murray