Soy-Free Vegan Holiday Turkey!


My first Vegan Holiday Turkey, cleverly made from sweet potatoes!

My first Vegan Holiday Turkey, cleverly made from sweet potatoes!

I’m so proud of this. I’ve always wanted to make a vegan Thanksgiving turkey and this year I finally got my chance. Except this one is a bit different than others. Instead of making the common tofu turkey loaf (as I am allergic to soy) I stuffed sweet potatoes instead!

The farmer’s market near me always carry oodles of gorgeous sweet potatoes in a variety of crazy shapes and sizes. Some as large as a small football and it’s these giant ones that inspired me to make a vegan turkey out of them. Rummaging through “the herd”, I plucked out a nice fat one for the breast and two smaller curvy ones for legs. Put the three together and they totally resemble a turkey!

Fresh from the Farmer's Market! Plump sweet potatoes ready for stuffing!

Fresh from the Farmer’s Market! Plump sweet potatoes ready for stuffing!

I baked these beauties in foil at 400°F for about 60 min. and then carefully stuffed with a savory lentil & walnut quinoa dressing. I brushed the skins with olive oil, dusted with sea salt and then dressed with fresh herbs, cranberries and brussels sprouts.

I was surprised how much this looked like an actual turkey in the end.

I was surprised how much this looked like an actual turkey in the end.

Then end result was just beautiful and I was surprised how much it looked like an actual roast turkey. Even the most carnivorous mouths were watering. Everyone agreed it was super yummy. Or should I say “yammy”. Ha ha! What a fun way to serve sweet potatoes!

Pass me some sweet potato!

Pass me some sweet potato!



Painted Gingerbread Cookies


Homemade Painted Gingerbread CookiesA Family Tradition

This is one of my favorite family traditions. Every Christmas my sister and I get together with my mother to paint homemade gingerbread cookies. The gingerbread recipe is my mother’s very own and the best I’ve ever tasted.

Note: I plan to post a “How to” on this later this fall. So be sure check beck!


Valentine’s Day!








Article by guest editor Sofia Neill


It’s a day in February and I can see lots of red and pink. What day is it? Valentine’s day!!! When you go downstairs don’t forget your valentines.

Valentine’s day is a day of love. You might decorate your house with a bunch of epic decorations. Or you might keep it simple.

Valentines come in all shapes and sizes. Maybe you make your own valentines. Another option is to buy them at the store. If you don’t know witch kind to choose, answer this question:

1. Do you have the time to make your own valentines? YES___ NO___

If you answered YES and you love arts and crafts, make your own valentines. If you answered no, go to the store and get those cool “truth or dare” valentines you saw at the store!


Wrap it Up Like a Robot

Birthday Robot Invasion

Birthday Robot Invasion

My robot loving nephew turned 5 this weekend and so, of course, I had to wrap up something special. I don’t know what was more fun, wrapping his gifts up like robots or watching him try to feed them birthday cake before opening!

These were easy to do. Wrapping anything in aluminum foil will make it look like a robot. Twisted pipe cleaners make great antennas. A glue gun works best for attaching any bulky bits like button knobs or feet.

I decorated a bright colored envelope as a front panel to hold the birthday card. When you pulled the card out, it read “Your mission, should you choose to except it….Have the BEST birthday ever!”

Robot Present Detail

Card read “Your mission, should you choose to except…is have the BEST Birthday Ever!”


Celebrate Spring with Teaster Eggs!

TEAG Teaster Egg  Egg Tree

Teaster Egg TEAG™ Hand Carved Decorative Egg Shell Tea Infusers. Brew yourself a cup of tea then air dry your freshly tea stained egg to use as an ornament! Shown here are Orange Rooibus, Ginger Spice, Hibiscus Berry and Jasmine Green.

A Fun Twist to Tea Stained Eggs

Coloring eggs with tea has become quite popular at Easter. Shells take on lovely pale hues when soaked in most any variety of tea. But with so much tea spent in coloring, I thought, why waste the tea? Why not drink it as well? So I hatched an idea to make “Teaster Eggs”, or something I now call TEAG™s.

TEAGs are organic egg shells that have been decoratively hand carved into tea infusers and filled with organic whole leaf tea. Instead of a “tea bag” you have a “tea egg”. Simply pour hot water over the tea egg and let brew in the glass. While your tea steeps, it naturally stains your egg. When you are finished with your tea you are left with a pretty colored egg ornament! I like to hang mine from my kitchen window.

TEAG Tea Egg Shell Infuser

TEAG™ Egg Shell Tea Infusers come with tea inside. Tea naturally stains egg a color as it brews.

I had so much fun with the packaging and creating my own blends. I can’t wait to hand these out as Easter gifts! I’m particularly fond of my half dozen set. I have an Aunt and Uncle the are real tea buffs and I know they are going to love this one.

Teaster Egg Shell tea infuser TEAG Half Dozen Tea Egg Assortment Gift

TEAG Half Dozen Tea Egg Assortment Gift

How do I get the tea inside the egg?

I get my eggs from tea fed chickens. Ha ha, joke. I fill the eggs through the larger hole at the top using a wide mouth decorating icing tip as a funnel. Most all my tea blends are whole leaf so they don’t find their way out of the smaller strainer holes.

Doesn’t the hot water break the egg?

No. When you hard boil an egg it is common for cracks to occur because the contents inside expand from heat pushing up against shell wall. Since TEAGs are full of holes, little pressure is created that might cause cracking. Egg shells are fragile of course, so if you drop a TEAG, it will break. That being said, I do use organic, free range eggs for all of my TEAGs as I find them to have stronger shell walls and are less fragile then other brands.

TEAG brewing Teaster Egg Shell tea infuser

Making a cup of TEAG™, shown here in Hibiscus Berry. Tea naturally stains egg a color as it brews!

These not only make unique Easter gifts but lovely for wedding and baby showers too. I can’t wait to sell TEAG on Etsy! If you are interested in placing an order, send me a note via my contact page and I will put you on the mail list to let you know when my shop is up and running.

Teaster Egg Shell tea infuser TEAG Hibiscus Berry with Tea Pot

TEAG™ Hand Carved Egg Shell Tea Infuser in Hibiscus Berry. Brew yourself a cup of tea then air dry your freshly tea stained egg to use as an ornament.

Make Your Own Teaster Eggs

If you are a crafty type and have a Dremel tool, you might want to try making your own egg shell tea infusers. The basic process:

1. Hollow out eggs

Using a Dremel, drill a tiny pin hole in bottom of egg and a larger 1/4″on top. Standing over a bowl, blow eggs out through tiny hole at bottom allowing contents to come out larger hole at end. Save eggs for omelettes. Eggs have a thin lining on the inside that needs to come out. I use a small, soft bottle brush to do this but a toothpick works fine as well. Just stick a toothpick in through the top and give it a quick turn scraping along inside of shell. Fill with egg with water and blow out once more. You should see the lining come out in the bowl. Let shells dry on clean towel before carving.

2. Decoratively Carve Shell

Working in a well ventilated area, use a Dremel to drill to a pattern of tiny holes over egg being careful not to drill holes too close or in a way that compromises shell strength. Be sure that bottom 1/4th of egg has the most holes so when you go to make tea, hot water easily finds it’s way in so it can steep tea leaves properly.

3. Clean and Disinfect

Thoroughly clean, disinfect and rinse carved egg shells. I use a mild bleach and water solution to disinfect but you can use hot water with a tablespoon of vinegar if you don’t wish to work with bleach. Fill a large bowl with hot water solution and gently add eggs, letting them soak for 30 minutes. Drain eggs and let air dry completely on clean towel before filling.

4. Filling Eggs

Different teas will stain eggs different colors with some staining faster and more effectively than others. The teas I find to give the most dramatic results are Hibiscus, Rooibus, dried berries, coarsely grated Turmeric (which I pair with Ginger or a Spice tea for taste), Black teas and some Green. If you fill an egg with enough for 2-3 cups, your egg should color itself nicely in first brewing. For stronger color, brew a second cup and let egg sit for up to an hour. Fill eggs with tea leaves through the top hole using a small, wide mouth decorating icing tip as a funnel. If you don’t have an icing tip you can make your own funnel with paper. Make sure you use tea leaves that are no smaller than the holes drilled in your egg. I use whole leaf tea for all my TEAG blends.

5. Add Hang Tags

Cut 6 inch strands of cotton string and attached hang tags on one end. On the other end of your string tie a 1/2″ snipped bit of toothpick. Insert the toothpick end inside the top hole of the egg so the string won’t come out when you pull the string.

6. Boxing Tea Eggs

Wrap finished eggs in wax paper or plastic wrap to keep tea leaves fresh and stick in rigid carton or box to protect for gift giving. Be sure to include a little note explaining how to use your tea egg.

Brewing Instructions: Pour make tea, gently place egg in cup. Pour 8 oz of hot water over tea egg and let steep 2-5 minutes stirring occasionally before removing egg. Depending on the tea you use, the egg should take on a pale color at this time. For stronger color, brew a second cup and let egg sit for up to an hour. Air dry egg thoroughly before hanging. 

Have fun making tea eggs and be sure to send me any pics of your creations!

Teaster Egg Shell tea infuser TEAG Hand Carved Egg Shell Tea Infuser in Orange Rooibus

TEAG™ Hand Carved Egg Shell Tea Infuser in Orange Rooibus

©2013 Kim Neill. All Rights Reserved. Holiday Geek™, TEAG™ and Teaster Eggs™ are properties of Kim Neill. No images or copy on this site may be used without written permission by Kim Neill.



Chocolate Bunny Cake



What’s Easter without a Bunny Cake? I can’t imagine…so let’s not try to.


Even If you don’t celebrate Easter, there are still plenty of good reasons to make this cake. It’s tastey, you get to use a little pink jelly bean for the nose and it’s fun watch kids fight over who gets to eat the ears.

What really makes this cake is the chocolate glaze. I use Sarah Bernhart’s legendary recipe. It’s a dream to work with and half the fun of making this cake. It’s decadent, versatile and very forgiving. Try it once and I am sure it will win you over too.


How to Make a Chocolate Bunny Cake

1. Bake a cake of your choice in cake mold according to recipe and let cool. If this is your fist time using a cake mold I highly recommend you search online for cake mold troubleshooting so you know what to expect.

2. Make a batch of Sarah Bernhart’s Chocolate Glaze. Link to the recipe here:

3. Dab a spoonful of chocolate glaze on to a serving plate and place cake ontop. This will help secure the cake in place and prevent it from sliding around. Next, generously spoon glaze over the bunny cake running a fork through it in swirls to create the fur texture. Take your time. The glaze hardens at the perfect rate giving you plenty of time to sculpt the glaze to perfection. If you mess up you can simply smooth over with a warm knife and rework. Once glaze is dry, highlight with gold luster dust using a soft brush. Finish with a satin ribbon around his neck and don’t forget to use a pink jelly bean for the nose! Happy Easter!




A Perfect Theme for a Baby Shower

Forecast for a Baby Shower

The weather forecast is Warm with a Baby Shower!

A Baby Shower in the Forecast

My dear friend Nikko was expecting so ofcourse I had to design her a baby shower. Ironically, the idea for the design of the invite came to me when I was actually in the shower! Not only did a “Weather Forecast for a Baby Shower” make for a good invite, but it carried itself nicely into the theme of the party as well.

Sunny Baby Shower Cupcakes

It was all sun and rainbows at this baby shower!

The food spread was fresh and colorful. I was especially proud of my little fluffy raincloud cupcakes that matched the sunny cloud icon from the shower invite.

Sunny Raincloud Baby Shower Cupcakes

I made fluffy rain cloud cupcakes to tie into the design of the shower invite.

Decorations were kept light and simple. I grouped bunches of white balloons together to resemble rainclouds and left them floating around the room. Guests greeted the mother to be with colorful confetti as she arrived at the party.  As a shower activity, I bought a bunch of onesies for the girls to paint and we hung them up on a rainbow string to dry. So sweet!



Note: If you are in need of a Baby Shower invite, this design is customizable and available for purchase. Please send me an email via my contact page for pricing.

JUMBO Valentines

Jumbo Valentine's Day Card Envelopes

Too big for the mailbox! These cards were so big I had to hand deliver them!

Since last years Valentines to the kids were mini, this years had to be JUMBO. So I picked up these giant 3ft. tall cards up at the Party Store, got out my glue gun and sweetened them up with googly eyes, candy and small toys.

Jumbo Valentine's Day Cards

Cards made WAY cuter after gluing googly eyes to them!

Inside I went to town gluing penny candy all over and adding fun, punny little notes like: “I want hugs NOW & LATER”…”Your jokes make me SNICKERS”…”I’m BAZOOKA for you”…or….”Around you I’m all BUTTERFINGERS.”

Jumbo Valentine's Day Card Inside Detail

Inside I went to town making puns out of penny candy!

Addressing the giant envelopes was just as fun. I made some giant stamps and then used a blue crayon to mimic stamp cancellation. Needless to say these were too big to mail so I hand delivered them myself, leaving them at the door with a knock and then drove away.

Kieran and Sofia called me later that evening to thanking me for the cards. They then proceeded to read out every single greeting from the cards over the phone. Too cute!