Swapper Spotlight :: Cathy & Red Wine Caramel Sauce

Swapper Spotlights offers the chance to get to know some of the creative folks in our swapping community. Read fellow participants' thoughts on swapping homemade food & crafts, and discover some of their favorite recipes and craft tutorials. {*Want to be featured in a Swapper Spotlight? Email Liz at liz@sniegocki.com* }

Meet swapper Cathy Sniegocki Billoni, who has been swapping her irresistible homemade goodies with the Sarasota Swappers for the past year and a half!

Why do you love swapping?
It is a great way to stretch my creative side. I love cooking and trying new things and especially doing things for others so this is a perfect way to do it all.

What's the favorite thing you've ever made to swap?
My homemade kit kats- they were crazy addictive!

What's the favorite thing you've ever swapped for?
My sister-in-law made homemade smudge sticks with a beautiful burlap bag, feather and vintage matchbook. I have always wanted to try smudging in my home, so this was a great way to start and her packaging was adorable!

Why should others get involved in swapping?
Everyone feels a bit intimidated at first before they go and every single person I have met loved every minute of it once they got there. There is an awesome sense of community and generosity during a swap and the outpouring afterwards through gracious thank you's and "Gosh, I am loving your XX this morning," is inspiring. It is a neat experience and others would be surprised at how much they 'get' out of "giving".   

Anything else you'd like to add about your swapping experience....
I simply adore this movement and am grateful to have finally tried it. I encourage others to find one in their area or even better-start your own! Have fun with the items you select and let your creative juices flow. I have found that the most successful and popular items always include a small sample to try and cute packaging. With today's online resources such as blogs and Pinterest - the sky is the limit for ideas!

What other creative hobbies do you enjoy?
I started my own blog this past spring - www.ASavorySpoonful.comI am really enjoying sharing ideas and experiences, and even did a post about homemade goodies and some swap info. This blog is opening up my eyes to seeing the world around me differently not only with food, but with people, places, experiences, and nature. When I cook, it takes me to another world - very relaxing, yet focused. I now find similarly that when I am blogging it gives me another escape to a place where I might make others inspired or happy by what I have done. I would love to learn what blogs or projects others fellow swappers are working on since we seem to all share some similar interests.   
Cathy has shared a recipe for Red Wine Caramel Sauce!
Red Wine Caramel Sauce

1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1 cup full-bodied red wine (personally I recommend a meritage/blend) 
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. butter

Scrape the seeds from the halved vanilla bean into a pan, then add the pod and wine. Simmer over medium heat until wine is reduced to about 1 half which will take roughly 10 minutes. Discard the vanilla pod (or for an extra treat- drop the vanilla pod into a small container of regular sugar and after a month discard it – it makes lovely vanilla flavored sugar for your coffee, etc.).
Remove from heat and carefully pour in the wine – you will see it steam and bubble. Simmer and stir until any hardened bits dissolve and the sauce thickens, approx. 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and serve warm, or you can cool it on the counter and then pour into jars. Makes about 1 cup. I would use it within a couple of weeks unless you are processing the jars. Enjoy this on fruit, ice cream, or yogurt, or drizzle over your favorite dessert.

Registration is Open for the December Food & Craft Swap

Join the Sarasota Swappers for

 "A Homemade Holiday" Food & Craft Swap!

Saturday, December 8th


Potter Park Picnic Pavilion

Eventbrite - "A Homemade Holiday" ~ December Food & Craft Swap

The Fall Swap, In Pictures

The temperature dropped just enough and just in time to welcome our homemade food & craft swap back to the great outdoors this month! The fall swap was simply fabulous, reflecting the season with lots of autumn-spiced goodness, pumpkin pleasures, and harvest colors. We had nearly 30 swappers join in the event, complete with a hearty potluck and a kids' craft table. Thank you to all our participants and their families who either came to the swap, or supported pre-swap production! And a special thank you to Gerardo Luna, husband of new swapper Melissa, who came from Tampa and took some amazing images of our event. So for this recap, I'll let the pictures tell the story...



 **All photos copyright and courtesy of Gerardo Luna.**
SAVE THE DATE: "A Homemade Holiday" December Food & Craft Swap
December 8th ~ 10 am - 12 pm
Location TBA

Fall Homemade Food & Craft Swap

Join the Sarasota Swappers for a

Fall Homemade Food & Craft Swap!

Saturday, October 13th


Potter Park Picnic Pavilion

 Eventbrite - Fall Homemade Food & Craft Swap


Swapper Spotlight :: Courtney & Strawberry Mint Jam

We have such a creative, interesting group of swappers in our community, I thought it would be fun to get to know each other and share some ideas! So, through Swapper Spotlights we'll be sharing fellow swappers' thoughts on swapping homemade food & crafts, as well as favorite recipes and craft tutorials. Enjoy!  *Want to be featured in a Swapper Spotlight? Email Liz at liz@sniegocki.com*
Today, I'm pleased to introduce you to swapper Courtney Davenport, who has been swapping her homemade goodies in incredibly cute packaging for six months. Welcome Courtney!
Why do you love swapping?
I love crafting and cooking! Swapping is a perfect combination of both hobbies. I also love meeting the other swappers and chatting with them about their creations.

What's the favorite thing you've ever made to swap?
Homegrown, Fresh Mint Jelly

What's the favorite thing you've ever swapped for?
So many things! Candied Jalapenos, Homemade Vanilla Extract, Calendula Orange Biscuits...

Why should others get involved in swapping?
It's very fun! It's a great way to share your creativity...and swap with other people who have different talents.  I love to swap with people who sew or monogram.

Anything else you'd like to add about your swapping experience?
I continue to be inspired by this fabulous group of women and am grateful to be a part of it. 
Courtney's recipe for: STRAWBERRY MINT JAM
Fresh picked, local strawberries (9-10 cups of hand-mashed strawberries)
Homegrown mint (pictured)
Sugar (2-3 cups depending on desired sweetness)
Fresh lemon juice (1/2 - 1 cup depending on taste preferences)
Simmer over medium heat, stirring very frequently (at least every three minutes) for about 45 mins or until it reaches desired consistency. Good consistency test tip: Put a plate in the freezer for about 25 minutes (while jam is simmering). After 45 mins of simmering, spoon a small amount of jam on frozen plate. It should have a nice jam consistency. If not, continue simmering and stirring away! I know this seems very labor intensive...but it really is worth it! This method makes such a difference in the consistency. 
Thank you for sharing, Courtney!

Summer Swappin'... Had us a Blast!

We packed the house at the August Homemade Food & Craft Swap, hosted by THRIVE Sarasota. Tables were piled high with all kinds of fantastic goodies showcasing the many culinary and crafty talents of our homemade swappers.
Debbie was back with her ever-popular feed sack bags, as well as farm fresh eggs and potted beach sunflower plants.
And we were delighted to welcome Karen to our group, whose daughter started the South Jersey Swappers after reading about our group in Edible Sarasota while visiting here last winter. This is the heart & soul of swapping... building community! Karen brought all kinds of yummy baked goods - pictured here, homemade biscotti and sweet breads - as well as tomato sauce and potted succulents.
Another new face we welcomed: Jina (pictured here), who took these gorgeous photos - thank you Jina! We loved your hand-painted, kitschy signs too. Also, her sister Breanne, whose Pinterest-inspired mason jar lanterns and t-shirt scarfs were a hit! Welcome, as well, to Farrel, Michele, Luna, Laura, and all our new swappers!
As always, non edible swap items this month included a wide variety of bath and body products and homemade jewelry. Also popular this swap: cork garden stakes for herbs, homemade play dough in a mason jar with cookie cutter, wool dryer balls, homemade smudge stick & blessings kits, and hand-painted burlap bunting.
Edible swappables were abundant! Among the many favorites were: white & milk chocolate magic shell, raw chai-spiced grain-free granola, marinated summer salad, shrimp & corn chowder, green gazpacho, cilantro lime vinaigrette, summer herb compound butter, boozy cherries, homemade Kahlua, caramel-bacon popcorn, lemon lavender cookies, ginger peach ice cream, curry seasoning, fresh avocados, and oh-so-much more!
Thank you to everyone who participated in making this Summer Nights Swap so successful, and so much fun! And thank you also to our gracious host, Sam, at THRIVE (next time, you swap too!). 

See you all in October...

**All images courtesy and copyright of Jina Johnson.**