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10-Second Recipes: Collecting Paper Can Pay Off

(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)

By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate

Do you have a collection of recycled paper bags or empty juice cartons alongside your spice or wine collections? Jodi Levine considers it a valuable addition. The "lifelong crafter," who spent 19 years on Martha Stewart's staff as craft editor at Martha Stewart Living magazine, editorial director at Martha Stewart Kids magazine and product designer for Stewart's popular line of crafts, notes in her book Paper Goods Projects that "collecting paper goods, like bags, plates, and doilies, and searching the aisles of supermarkets and hardware and variety stores for supplies to use for craft projects have been lifelong passions of mine."

Levine shows both kidlets and adults how to create masterpieces out of coffee filters, doilies, cupcake wrappers, bags and other paper products. Exotic masks are fashioned, for instance, out of paper plates, cone-shaped hand-painted party hats out of supermarket paper bags and fancy gift wrap toppers cut and pasted from doilies.

If "cut and paste" is a term you know related only to computer software programs for the last years, like Levine, you just may revel in this more old-fashioned hands-on hobby.

Whenever I look up from my own giftwrap and ribbon scrap collection hidden in my kitchen pantry that has creatively saved such expenses many times, I've since noticed other signs of the recycled paper craft retro revolution. I dare you not to choke up at two recent television commercials.

The first has a neighbor narrating, showing a small boy throwing paper airplanes in his backyard with notes to his soldier father shown to be stationed in battle. The neighbor then through paper magic (and contacting the father) makes it appear to the son that paper airplanes with notes from the father are coming back to him over the fence. Undoubtedly sensing recycled paper needed a push in these computerized antiseptic times, the tearjerker was courtesy of a trade group for paper goods and wrapping.

Next in a series of commercials, Georgia-Pacific's Dixie paper goods brand, which interestingly on its website now has a link to their "sustainability" site as well, introduced their slogan, shown in the middle of a paper plate, "Dixie: Be More Here." A memorable one features a family eating what appears to be a hearty Italian meal from paper plates, bowls and cups, possibly around a Sunday dinner table, laughing and talking while the text on screen notes, "Focus on what matters, not the dishes. Dixie. Be More Here."

In addition, perhaps as an aid to families who have been busy texting during dinnertime, the 90-year-old Dixie brand, which notes it gained prominence with the emergence of the Baby Boom generation, even has meal "conversation starters" below the sample video of its commercial on its website. A sweet seasonal one: "Would you rather get lost at an apple orchard or a pumpkin patch?"

Kids, on the other hand, may find themselves lost in preparing a few of the old-fashioned paper crafts also features, like the colorful multiple jellyfish streamer mobile one below. Its instructive introduction reveals that jellyfish can be sizes "smaller than a pinhead to larger than a human being."

Fun projects like these also prove that food-related crafts can be easy, inexpensive - and fast. They are evidence that everyone has time for creating homemade joy as well as the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!


Multiple colors of paper streamers
Paper soup bowls
Adhesive, such as white glue, stapler or tape
Construction paper
Wire or string
Use adult supervision for each step. 

To create the jellyfish's head, scrunch paper streamers and wind around the outside of a paper soup bowl. Attach with adhesive, such as glue, stapler or tape. Create "googly" eyes out of construction paper and attach to streamer-wrapped bowl with adhesive.

To create the jellyfish's tentacles, cut strips of streamers of varying lengths. Adhere the tentacle strips to the inside of the bowl, being sure to distribute evenly. Scrunch and crumble the tentacle strips to create a rippling texture. Gently shake the tentacle streamers free from one another so that they hang loosely (if you pull too hard it will rip.)

Using a pushpin, carefully poke a hole through the center of the bowl. Cut wire or string. Tie a knot at one end, and thread unknotted side through the hole.

If creating multiple jellyfish, hang at varying lengths to create an under the ocean feeling.

1 cardboard or cardstock card (plus 1 more for baking, optional)
Twine or thin string
Waxed or scrap paper
White glue Scraps of cardboard packaging, cut into heart shapes (see Note)
Markers or sticker letters for message in card
Cut a short slit in the top two corners of one of the cards. 
Cut a piece of string to your desired garland length, plus 2 inches extra. Lay your string down on top of the waxed paper, and glue the cut heart shapes onto the string, leaving 1 inch on each side of the string uncovered. Let dry.

Thread each end of the string into each slit. Glue or knot the ends of the string behind the card.Glue the second card onto the back to cover the strings, if desired, using a very thin layer of white glue.
Add a handwritten or sticker-letter greeting.

Note: Choose colorful cardboard packaging, like from empty, washed milk or juice cartons.

- Paper Goods Projects by Jodi Levine

QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK:  In Citrus: Sweet & Savory Sun-Kissed Recipes, Valerie Aikman-Smith and Victoria Pearson share a not-often noted thirst-quenching tip. "You can freeze the juice [of fresh citrus fruit] for up to six months," they write. They also advise that when juicing, "first, roll the citrus fruit firmly on a work surface or squeeze it between your palms. This will bruise the interior cells that hold the juice so that it will release more easily."

Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet(Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on


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