I love bread all year round, but there is something about bread baking during the chilly winter months that soothes my soul. This wonderful potato bread gets just the right touch of sweetness from the raisins(it's freckles). It also makes great toast and spectacular bread pudding.
Ingredients: 1-1/2 cups water 3/4 cup peeled, cubed potatoes 2 to 3 cups bread flour, divided 1 package dry yeast 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 large egg, room temperature 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature 1/2 cup raisins Vegetable oil spray
Directions: 1. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Measure off 3/4 cup of the boiling water. If there isn't enough potato water, add warm tap water to make 3/4 cup.
2. Mash the potatoes in a bowl. Add 3/4 cup of the flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt. Stir in the potato water with a wooden spoon, and continue stirring until the mixture forms a smooth batter.
3. Cover with a dish towel and set in a warm place until the dough doubles in volume, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
4. Whisk the egg until frothy. Stir the egg, butter, and raisins into the batter. Start adding flour one-half cup at a time, mixing well after each addition, until you have a soft dough.
5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
6. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in half with the sides of your hand, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Roll the dough into 2 cylinders, each about 9-inches long.
7. Grease a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with the vegetable oil spray, and place the dough cylinders side by side in the pan. Cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise again until double in size, about 45 minutes.
Remove the towel and bake the bread until light brown (it should sound hollow when tapped), about 20 minutes. Makes 1 loaf
Yes! When you want some fresh baked bread but don't have the time to spend a few hours in the kitchen, bake it in your crockpot! If you love peanut butter you'll become hooked on this recipe.
Peanut Butter Bread ingredients: 3/4 cup hot water 3/4 cup peanut butter 3/4 cup milk 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 egg, slightly beaten 2 cups all-purpose flour 4 teaspoons baking powder 3/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
Place a small metal rack or trivet in a slow cooker to hold the bread pan away from the bottom of your crockpot. Grease a 5-6 cup mold or bread pan.
In a large bowl, pour hot water over peanut butter. Stir in milk, sugar, salt, egg, flour, baking powder and peanuts. Stir well. Spoon batter into prepared mold. Place in crockpot, cover and cook on HIGH about 5 hours.
Remove from crockpot and let bread stand 10 minutes before turning bread out on cooling rack. Slice and serve warm or cool. Spread with butter, jam or whatever you'd like.
Aromatherapy is the practice of using plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being. The oils stimulate the powerful sense of smell, and it is well known that the odors we smell have quite an impact on how we feel.
Were you aware that we have the capability to distinguish 10,000 different smells? It's believed that smells enter through cilia (the fine hairs lining the nose) to the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls our moods, emotions, memory and learning.
If you are feeling stressed, low on energy, depressed etc, bring some wonderful fragrance to your surroundings, and see if you aren't feeling uplifted and better in no time!
Calm Down: Old fashioned lavender and vanilla based scents are proven soothers. Cucumber, green apple and evergreen scents, such as pine and spruce, also help decrease anxiety.
Perk Up: Rosemary, ginger, spearmint or peppermint. Each has increased attentiveness in studies. For relief in a floral form, try jasmine to boost alertness.
Get Smart: A bouquet of flowers with a hint of fruit can jump start the brain. Mixed floral scents, such as jasmine, accelerate learning.
Get Happy: Citrus fragrances reduced the amounts of medication needed by people suffering from depression.
Get Sexy: The scents of pumpkin pie and lavender have been shown to increase blood flow to men. Also for men, doughnuts and black licorice were stimulators. For women cucumbers, good and plenty candy, baby powder and chocolate were stimulators. (Interesting and I'd be skeptical if I didn't find all of these except the baby powder quite enticing!:)
Find Love: Jasmine and rose have earned their reputation as aphrodisiacs. Ylang-Ylang is also said to encourage romantic moods.
The King of Light, father of aged Time, Hath brought about that day, which is the prime To the slow gliding months, when every eye Wears symptoms of a sober jollity; And every hand is ready to present Some service in a real compliment. Whilst some in golden letters write their love, Some speak affection by a ring or glove, Or pins and points (for ev'n the peasant may After his ruder fashion, be as gay As the brisk courtly sir,) and thinks that he Cannot, without a gross absurdity, Be this day frugal, and nos spare his friend Some gift, to show his love finds not an end With the deceased year. Poole's Eng. Parnassus
What is Hogmanay you ask? If you have Scottish in your ancestry it's time you've learned some of the customs! December 31st is the official New Year holiday all over Scotland, as it is the New Year's Eve or the "Hogmanay." New Year in Scotland is celebrated with much enthusiasm on January 1st. Hogmanay is also called "night of the candle". The idea of celebrating Hogmanay dates back to the pagan celebrations of the winter solstice. These celebrations were inherited from the Vikings who celebrated Yule in the medieval period.
People of Scotland perform all traditions earnestly to bring in prosperity and good health in the New Year. There is a tradition of cleaning the house and the surrounding area on 31st December. They also burn juniper branches and carry them throughout the house. People believe that all debts and loans should be paid off before the New Year.
The custom of fireball swinging (this seems a bit frightening to me!)is quite popular in Stonehaven (Northeast Scotland). People make balls of chicken wire, tar and paper. Each ball has a 2m wire attached to it. Swingers then swing the balls over their body and head while walking through the streets. The main attraction of the day is casting the burning balls in the harbor. This makes the display even more impressive in the evening time. It signifies the power of sun to purify the world by consuming all evil spirits.
In many places in Scotland, people light bonfires and straw like figures called Auld Wife which represents old year thrown in the burning fire. There is also a torchlight procession which adds to the ongoing New Year activities. Crackers are also burned to scare off the evil spirits.
First footing is a tradition that starts immediately after midnight. The first person to step in the house sets the luck for the coming year. A tall, dark, and handsome man is welcomed bearing the New Year gift. The gift should be symbolic such as salt, coal, whisky, shortbread and black bun.
As soon as church bells strike at midnight to welcome the New Year, people start singing the traditional New Year song "Auld Lang Syne" .
The first Monday of the New Year is celebrated as Handsel Day. On this day, employers present gifts to their employees, and children are given presents by their parents.
The first person to rise up in the morning take Het Pint (spiced ale) to those members who are still asleep. On the New Year's day, children get up early and take rounds singing traditional songs. They are given coins, pies, apples and candies for their singing.
New Year celebrations are a blend of music, drinks and dance when it comes to Scotland. All party halls, clubs, discotheques and restaurants are thronged with people in full party mood. People hug, kiss and wish each other Happy New Year. Special food eaten on this day include wine, cordials, cheese, bread, currant loaf, cones and oatcakes.
I love using my crockpot, especially during the cold winter months. Using it to prepare dinner is great, but have you thought of using it to create breakfast? Imagine waking up to the aroma of this wonderful, warm cobbler. If you have a large crockpot you might want to double the recipe so that you have enough ingredients in it as to not allow any scorching. You can refrigerate the leftovers. Set it before you go to bed and start your morning off right.
Ingredients: 4 medium-sized apples or pears (or both!), peeled and sliced 1/4 cup honey 1 tsp cinnamon 2 tablespoons butter, melted 2 cups granola cereal
1. Place apples in slow cooker and mix in remaining ingredients. 2. Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours (overnight) or on high 2-3 hours. Serve with milk.
That you can polish your formica countertops to a sparkle with club soda? Club soda has many great uses beyond being a delicious drink. It's also inexpensive and easy to find, and can be used to help keep porcelain sinks and fixtures clean too! Pour it right over the sink area and use a paper towel to wipe it up. It cleans quickly and effectively. Club soda can remove rust stains as well. Just pour the liquid on the stain and allow it to sit for a moment. It will more often than not wipe away easily.
Using it on wine is the most popular, however, most food stains can be removed with blotting club soda onto the stain. Blood and grease can also be removed using club soda and it works on clothing, fabrics, upholstery and carpet. Just pour it onto the stain and rub it in. Allow it to sit a few minutes before removing.
Need to quickly remove bugs, grease or stains off the windows in your car? Use club soda. Keep a spray bottle in your car for quick clean ups. It can also keep chrome shiny. Just spray and wipe.
It's also great for your plants! First make sure that it has gone flat, and then water. Your plants will be very happy with the extra minerals.
Clean your jewelry with club soda and it will sparkle and shine. Gems will look brand new.
It's great for soothing an upset stomach as well. Just drink a glass and you'll feel better quickly.
Know that familiar green hair that blondes get when they swim in chlorine? Club soda will help take it out. Just rinse your hair with the club soda, allow it to soak for a minute and then rinse clean.
I love old recipes and have quite a collection of them. As I was browsing through my files the other day I came across this one. I love bean soup and if you use the crock pot it couldn't be easier. Bake some biscuits or bread to go with it and you have some real comfort food for a cold winter evening.
The following recipe was transcribed verbatim from The Daily Picayune, New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana.
January 16, 1912
Put in to soak overnight one pint of white beans. Next day put on to boil a piece of lean beef, a soup bone with a bit of meat on it is best, and a piece of fat pork about three inches square. Turn in the beans, water and all. Put in a little pepper and salt and and a bit of sliced onion. Cook at least four hours. At the proper time, so as to be thoroughly cooked at serving time, put in a few carrots, potatoes and sliced turnips. Old-fashioned, but delicious.
Of course you can alter this recipe to use in your crock pot by soaking the beans overnight and then placing all ingredients in your cooker to cook all day. If you're vegetarian you can omit the meat and add more veggies. Enjoy!
Don't forget those who are watching their weight, as well as the diabetics in your family, while baking your Christmas cookies this year! Here is a wonderful meringue cookie that is great for everyone. Enjoy!
Beat egg white until stiff. Add skim milk powder. Mix well. Add extracts and sugar substitute. Drop cookies by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 275 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and dust with cinnamon. Makes about 2 dozen.
With doors and windows closed during the winter months, it's nice to scent your cottage with wonderful aromas. Here are some recipes I have found that leave your home fresh smelling.
Room Freshener Dilute an essential oil using the ratio of 10 drops of oil to 7 tablespoons of water and use it in a metal or ceramic sprayer as the oils will deteriorate if stored in plastic.
Citrus-Mint Room Mist Mix the essential oils in a small glass bottle, shake, and store in a cool, dark place. Add 6 drops to one cup of water and spritz the liquid into the air. Another fragrant idea is to place a few drops on a cotton ball and tuck into your dresser drawer, or closet shelf.
Lavender Sachet Bags The most traditional of all scented bags, the lavender bag has enjoyed such enduring popularity because it is deliciously fragrant and keeps moths at bay. Makes 5 bags 3 oz. lavender 1 oz. ground orris root 25 drops lavender oil Divide the filling equally between fabric bags and fasten each bag with a tie, ribbon or cord.
Furniture Polish This is a simple polish to make, and the addition of wood oils will give it an attractive resiny fragrance. Makes 1 cup 3-oz. natural beeswax 3/4 cup pure turpentine 20 drops cedarwood oil 10 drops sandalwood oil Step 1 Grate the beeswax coarsely and place in a screw-top jar. Step 2 Pour on the turpentine, screw on the lid and let sit for one week, stirring occasionally until the mixture becomes a smooth cream. Add the essential oils and mix well. The polish is then ready to use.
Pomanders Popular since Tudor times a pomander will give off its scent for years. The Victorians hung pomanders in their closets to ward off moths. Check my archives on how to make your own pomander.
Herb Spheres Use your creativity to create beautifully scented spheres. 1 Styrofoam Ball, Pyramid or shape of your choice 1 Cup dried herbs or potpourri, dried rose petals or dried small flowers for a 6" size ball White Glue Twine or Ribbon Pour herbs mixture into a bowl. You may choose to grind leaves or petals in a coffee grinder or food processor or glue them on separately. Cover an area of the ball with glue and roll ball through mixture, covering an area at a time. Cloves may be glued on separately. Cover ball with waxed paper and firmly press. Allow to dry completely before adding ribbon.
Door Sachets Make small fabric bags and fill them with potpourri or cotton balls impregnated with essential oil (ensure that the oil is at the center of the cotton or it may stain the fabric). Fasten the sachets with ribbon or cord and hang them on door handles. As the door is opened and closed it will waft the fragrance around the room.
According to old Irish folklore, if Christmas falls On Sunday: it means a warm winter and a hot dry summer. On Monday: a foggy winter and a windy summer. On Tuesday: a snowy winter and a wet summer. On Wednesday: a hard winter and a very good summer. On Thursday: a soft winter and a very good summer. On Friday: a moderate winter and a moderate Autumn. And on Saturday: a windy snowy winter and a good summer.
Are you curious about what your weather holds for you in your corner of the world? Check out the Farmer's Almanac here.
This New Year to start yet another diet, eat healthy, lose weight, blah blah blah? Well, if it, is I beg of you, don't start yet another "diet." Vow to change your life and the way you eat instead. It will be a slower process yes, and it's even a little harder because instead of limiting yourself to just a few foods, you have every food still available to you! It's hard to imagine still being able to "indulge," but it's so much healthier in the long term.
I have just the site for you! It's my favorite place to visit and it has helped me immensely. It's full of wonderful information and recipes, even how to swap out the ingredients of your favorite high calorie foods and coffee drinks for low cal ones you can make at home. Don't be intimidated. Even if you don't cook there are always updates on convenience foods you can purchase that help you make those good food choices.
Vow to make this your healthiest year ever and start by visiting the HUNGRY GIRL site here. Take time to look around this site and subscribe to the emails. You won't be sorry!
A Happy And Healthy Start To The New Year from Our Scented Cottage!
If your cat loves treats as ours does, why not make something special for him/her this Christmas? It's easy and you will be loved for it.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup canned salmon 1 tablespoon corn oil 1 medium egg (beaten) 1 cup breadcrumbs (whole wheat preferably) 1/4 teaspoon brewer's yeast
Crush the salmon in a medium bowl into very small pieces. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Place 1/4 teaspoon full on greased cookie sheet and bake for 7 - 8 minutes at 350. Cool and store in the refrigerator in a sealed plastic container.
Among the myriad of tasks associated with prepping a big meal, ensuring everyone sits in the right spot at the dinner table can get lost in the holiday shuffle. Plot out your seating plan with these fast and easy place card ideas.
Gift everyone with a beautiful holiday ornament for their tree this year. Use the top to hold their name or special message and rest it in their place at the table.
Dot your tables with dainty snowflake place card holders for delicate winter themed holiday parties. You can purchase these for very little cost at office supply stores or where you purchase your school supplies. Each snowflake has a sturdy metal clip attached to the back to hold your place cards, menu cards or photographs. These place card holders will make wonderful photo stands for your guests after the event. Tie a delicate bow in the color of your choice as a little take home gift.
Here's a way to dress up your dining room and make space on the table for heaping plates of food: Tie ribbon (any width or pattern is fine) around the backs of chairs and hang the folded place card on it. You can decorate or have just the person's name on it and it will look elegant.
Save a tree and make "cards" out of something your family can sink their teeth into. Winter or Christmas inspired cookies iced with your guest's names let them know exactly where to sit and what's for dessert.
Why let wine corks go to waste when they can serve as card holders? Slice halfway into the stopper and slip in the name tags.
Bamboo is an eco-friendly plant, and said to be lucky. Turn your holiday table setting place cards into a unique holiday gift item. Find tiny vases, fill with stone and add one tiny bamboo branch to each vase. If you can't find vases, use recycled baby food jars, or other recycled items. Paint them or cover them with appropriate holiday-colored tissue paper.
Live near the beach? Add a nice seashore touch to the holiday table setting. For a winter holiday this place card item will bring an element of surprise to the holiday table setting. For an added touch, tuck a natural sprig from fresh greens or a dried flower into the end of an open shell and stamp the name of the guest onto the shell.
Soy candles can also provide a nice place card holder, as well as serve as a tiny token gift for holiday guests. Cut a square of tissue paper in a holiday-related color. Place the soy candle on the square, and lift up the corners of the tissue paper. Tie an off-white string around the tissue tissue paper, half way up the candle. Include a name tag. Wrapping the candle in tissue paper will make a more festive holiday table setting.
Have a wonderful holiday season from our cottage to yours!
Get out your soup pot or crockpot and warm yourself up with some homemade soup. White beans slow cooked with vegetables and fresh herbs--parsley, rosemary, lemon thyme, and savory. What could be better on a cold December day? Ingredients: 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 onion 2 carrots, peeled and diced 1 lb dried navy beans, soaked overnight 4 cups mushroom broth 1 vegetable bouillon cube 1 bay leaf 4 sprigs fresh parsley 1 sprig fresh rosemary 1 sprig fresh lemon thyme, chopped 1 sprig fresh savory 1 large potato, peeled and cubed Directions: Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Cook and stir onion and carrots in oil until tender.
In a slow cooker, combine beans, carrots and onion, mushroom broth, bouillon, and bay leaf.
Pour in water if necessary to cover ingredients with water.
Tie together parsley, rosemary, thyme, and savory, and add to the pot. Cook on Low for 8 hours.
With the cold days upon us we have to take extra care of our skin. Make your own body scrub and have a home spa day. You could even treat yourself to an at home manicure and pedicure. Not only will you benefit but the orange will scent your bathroom with a wonderful aroma and you will feel refreshed. Make extra and give as a gift this holiday season!
Ingredients: 1/2 of an Orange 4 T Cornmeal To Make: Squeeze orange juice and pulp into a bowl and add the cornmeal. Mix into a paste.
To Use: Apply onto freshly washed face and body. Scrub gently for 2-3 minutes. Rinse, tone, moisturize.
That I change the sidebar on my blog a few times a week? You never know what you'll find there, helpful tips, meaningful quotes or poems, links to great sites around the web, Irish Radio, the list goes on!
Scroll down and check it out when you visit. You may just find something interesting!
May you be blessed with warmth in your home, love in your heart, peace in your soul and joy in your life.
Those curious locks so aptly twin'd, Whose every hair a soul doth bind. ~Thomas Carew
Did you realize that your hair, or "crowning glory" is one of the most indestructible parts of your body? As such, it is believed that a sudden loss of hair is unlucky, forecasting a decline in health, loss of property or failure in business, or the death of a closely related child. Red hair is associated with fiery tempered people (of which I can personally attest to since I was born with red hair, which has since "faded" with age); black and dark brown hair indicate strength; and fair hair implies timidity.
On a man, if the hair grows low on the forehead and back above the temples he will have a long life; if a woman's hair grows in a low point on her forehead (a widow's peak) she will outlive her husband, and if a woman suddenly develops curls on her forehead it is said her man has not long to live.
Lank (long, straight and limp) hair denotes a cunning nature; Curly haired - good natured and full of fun; Long hair - strength and luck.
It's said to be unlucky to have your hair cut when the moon is in the wane as this will cause it to fall out and lose its lustre. Don't attempt to cut your own hair lest you want to tempt fate.
Would you like to determine your future? Set fire to some strands of your hair (cut them off first please!). If they burn brightly, you are in for a long life. If they splutter and smoulder, it is said to be a death omen. Never pull out grey hairs, for one will be replaced by ten. It has often been believed that a sudden fright can turn hair white.
That the herb Rosemary is known as the herb of rememberance and Sage the herb of domestic happiness? Honor those you have lost and the joy of those who remain by cutting rosemary and sage and using ribbon tied bundles of both herbs intertwined as napkin decorations at the Christmas table this year. The fragrance touches your soul and the thought will touch your heart.
December 21st is an important date. It's both Winter Solstice and the day the Sun moves into focused Capricorn. In old Europe, it was known as Yule.
Our ancestors lived in a world where everyone believed in mystery and magic. Every year they gathered together to celebrate the seemingly miraculous return of the light after the longest night of the year. To this day, people all over the world celebrate Winter Solstice as a time of rebirth, a new beginning and a chance to marvel at the power of transition from darkness into light.
A Winter Solstice celebration depends on illumination to ward off the darkness of winter, and to spark our imaginations. The very first Solstice festivities often featured a large bonfire around which members of the community would dance. Whether we congregate around a flame or a lightbulb (which is more likely these days), fire energy is key to providing a focus for our attention.
At Newgrange in Ireland, the passage and chamber inside the ancient mound are illuminated by the winter solstice sunrise. A shaft of sunlight shines through the roof box over the entrance and penetrates the passage to light up the chamber. It was apparently designed specifically to provide natural illumination to the passage at the winter solstice. This phenomenon was re-discovered only as late as 1967 by Professor O'Kelly, according to the Newgrange Solstice Webcast. The tour guides say it's bright enough to read a book -- but only if it's a sunny morning.
I'll take my sleep in those green fields, the place my life began, Where the boys of Barr na Straide went hunting for the wren.
I am reposting my Wren article since it is inching ever closer to wren day. Did you know that the wren was for many years hunted and killed, partly out of hatred (it was regarded as a sacred bird by the Druids and consequently denounced by the early Christians) and partly because it was believed that the bird's feathers would prevent one from drowning? It is now considered very unlucky for a sailor to kill a wren.
Wren day also known as Wren's day, Hunt the Wren Day or The Hunting of the Wrens (Irish: Lá an Dreoilín) is celebrated on 26 December, St. Stephen's Day, on the Isle of Man, Ireland, Wales and Newfoundland. The tradition consists of "hunting" a fake wren, and putting it on top of a decorated pole. Then the crowds of mummers or strawboys celebrate the Wren (also pronounced as the Wran) by dressing up in masks, straw suits and colorful clothing and, accompanied by traditional céilí music bands, parade through the towns and villages in remembrance of a festival that was celebrated by the Druids. These crowds are sometimes called wrenboys.
A wren is said to have betrayed Irish soldiers fighting the Norsemen by beating its wings on their shields. It was also blamed for betraying St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. This is the usual explanation why the wren is the hunted bird on St. Stephen's day, though there are many.
Some more tidbits on the wren are: It is alled Drui-en or Druid bird in Irish Gaelic. In Welsh the word Dryw means both druid and wren.
The wren is as the Druid: known to be cunning. The wren could soar to heights while also navigating hedges and underbrush.
It is said that the Druid's house was the wren's nest and that the wren's nest was protected by lighening.
Whoever tried to steal wren's eggs or baby wrens would find their house struck by lightning and their hands would shrivel up.
The wren symbolised wisdom and divinity. It is difficult to actually see a wren. At New Year it is said that the apprentice Druid would go out by himself into the countryside in search of hidden wisdom. If he found a wren he would take that as a sign that he would be blessed with inner knowledge in the coming year. Finding a creature small and elusive to the point of invisibility was a metaphor for finding the elusive divinity within all life.
In Scotland it was the Lady of Heaven's Hen and killing it was considered extremely unlucky.
In Ireland it was known as 'Fionn's doctor'.
Lightning was the weapon of the thunder bull-god Taranis, who often inhabited oak trees, and the wren was sacred to Taranis.
The following Christmas punch recipes are guaranteed to be party favorites with everyone. They do contain alcohol so they they are "no kids allowed" recipes.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM OUR SCENTED COTTAGE!
These 3 beverages include alcohol and pack quite the holiday punch!
Holiday Cheer Mimosa This simple drink recipe requires only two ingredients and takes just minutes to prepare. Perfect for a romantic touch. Ingredients: Champagne, chilled Cranberry juice cocktail, chilled (orange juice can be substituted) Directions: Fill chilled champagne flutes half-way with cranberry juice cocktail. Fill to top of glass with champagne. Stir gently and serve.
Christmas Cranberry Cheer Ingredients: 64-ounce cranberry juice cocktail, chilled 1 bottle red wine, chilled 1/3 cup bottled sweetened lime juice 1 liter bottle lemon-lime soda Directions: Mix all ingredients in a large punch bowl. Serve.
Christmas Cranberry Punch Ingredients: 2 cups Vodka 4 cups cranberry juice 1 1/2 cups lime juice 2 cups water 3 tbsp. sugar Directions: Combine ingredients in a large and festive punch bowl. Serve
Are you looking for gift ideas? I love giving jar gifts and everyone who has received them has loved them. Who doesn't like to eat? This is a wonderful one you can mix up in no time and you may already have everything you need for it in your pantry! Make a few of these and have them on hand in case someone unexpected stops in for the holiday. You will have a gift just ready and waiting. You can always use it later yourself if it is not needed.
Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix Ingredients: 2 cups flour 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. salt 1 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/2 cup raisins and/or nuts In a bowl, mix together first 5 ingredients. Place in an air tight container or jar. Package raisins and nuts separately in plastic wrap or plastic baggie and place on top of mix. Topping 3 Tbsp. sugar 1/4 tsp. cinnamon 1/4 tsp. nutmeg Mix topping ingredients in a bowl. Package in a small bag and place on top of nuts and raisins.
Attach this to the jar: Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix To prepare, preheat oven to 350°. Mix together: Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix raisins and/or nuts 1 cup apple juice 2 Tbsp. oil 1/2 cup applesauce margarine, melted Stir just until combined. Spoon into lightly greased muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. While still warm, dip in melted margarine and then topping. Makes 12-15 muffins.
Don't spend your money on gourmet pretzel treats! Chocolate Dipped Pretzels are easy to make, and the combination of sweet chocolate and salty, crunchy pretzels is fantastic. You can use any pretzels you like, but the large pretzel rods or twists work best, since they are faster to make and they look great. You can get creative and sprinkle them with sprinkles, drizzle them with white chocolate, roll in nuts, or whatever you'd like! Stand some up in a pretty glass jar with a ribbon around the top and they are a gift that's sure to please.
Ingredients: 1 package (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 tablespoon shortening 2 dozen pretzel rods or large pretzel twists Assorted sprinkles or small candies (optional) 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (optional) Preparation: 1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil.
2. Combine the chocolate chips and the shortening in a large microwave-safe bowl, and microwave until melted, stirring after every minute.
3. If dipping pretzel rods, hold a rod by one end and dip it in the chocolate, leaving an inch or two uncovered. If you are dipping pretzel twists, drop the whole pretzel in the chocolate and submerge it slightly. Use a fork to pull the pretzel out of the chocolate. Shake the chocolate-dipped pretzels several times to remove excess chocolate, and place it on the prepared baking sheet. If you are using sprinkles or small candies, sprinkle them on when the chocolate is still wet. Repeat with remaining chocolate and pretzels.
4. Place the pretzels in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to set the chocolate.
5. If desired, melt the white chocolate and drizzle it over the pretzels for a decorative look. Briefly return the candy to the refrigerator to set the white chocolate before serving.
Please consider donating a little to a worthy charity. There are so many and it doesn't take a large donation to make a big difference.
Did you realize as little as $17.00 could provide a counseling session for a soldier returning home after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan? Please check out: http://www.giveanhour.org and show your support for our military this season.
Who can resist warm caramel and pecans? This recipe smells wonderful as the ingredients start coming together while cooking. It is a great recipe for the holidays if you like to gift your friends and family with homemade goodies. Purchase wonderful little candy boxes at the craft stores and really make a nice presentation. (If there are many left!)
Ingredients: 3/4 cup brown sugar 3/4 cup white sugar 1/2 cup evaporated milk 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 2 tablespoons butter 1 cup pecans
Combine the sugar and milk and cook slowly in a heavy pot over a low flame until it reaches the soft ball stage (238 degrees on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat and add the butter, vanilla and pecans. Beat mixture with a wooden spoon until it is smooth and creamy. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. If the candy does not harden within 10 minutes, it may be cooked some more. Yield: Approximately one dozen.
Before you go out shopping, remember, many stores have the policy to match their competitor's prices. If you see something in the newspaper that you want, but don't want to travel to that particular store to get it, cut out the advertisement and take it to your local store.
This eggnog cake recipe is spiced with nutmeg and is just the pick-me-up you'll need for a full evening of decorating or present wrapping. It can be made ahead, wrapped well, frozen, and then taken out of the freezer when you need it. Did you know you can freeze eggnog? If you want to bake the cake and don't have time with all of your other holiday activities, just freeze the eggnog and bake the cake later! You can use either a bundt cake pan, round or square. Enjoy! INGREDIENTS: 2 cups sifted cake flour 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 1/3 cups brown sugar, firmly packed 1/2 cup shortening 2 eggs plus eggnog to make 3/4 cup 2/3 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla PREPARATION: In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Put eggs in a measuring cup with enough eggnog to make 3/4 cup; beat into dry ingredients with the shortening until smooth. Beat in remaining 2/3 cup milk and vanilla. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch baking pans. Bake in preheated 350° oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for about 5 minutes; remove to racks to cool completely. Frost with your favorite frosting with rum or vanilla flavoring, and decorate top with candied red and green cherries, if desired.
Come in and join me for some tea or coffee and relax with a little treat. You deserve it! I've noticed you've been very busy shopping!
Once you try this easy recipe, I think you will add it to your list of favorites! Ingredients: 1 box of vanilla wafers -12oz 1 6oz can of frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed 1 box of powdered sugar - 16oz 1/2 cup butter 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts 1 1/2 cups of coconut
Crush the vanilla wafers until fine. Mix vanilla wafers, orange juice, powdered sugar, butter, and chopped pecans. Shape the mixture into walnut-size balls, and roll in coconut. Store balls in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. Makes approx. 5 dozen cookies.
So easy - yet so delicious!
Another recipe you'll just love: Ingredients: ½ cup butter (not margarine) 1 tablespoon. sugar 1 cup finely ground pecans 1 teaspoon vanilla 7/8 cup flour pinch of salt 1 cup icing sugar
Cream butter and sugar. Add nuts and vanilla. Work in flour and salt; blend well. Form small balls and bake on ungreased sheet at 300 F oven for 8-10 minutes until barely brown. Coat thoroughly in icing sugar while hot. (These look nice in bon-bon size candy cups).
To feed the little birds now that it's cold outside and their food sources have become limited! I actually feed them all year round here at the cottage and it brings me great pleasure to watch them flit about our trees, or land just within the view of our resident cat who's eyes light up every time they taunt him. They have an "unspoken" game they play with each other and as long as our kitty is tucked safely behind the glass window, I think it will go on for years to come. It is a delight to watch their antics and their songs always bring cheer, even on the darkest days.
Anyone who has purchased seeds and prepared bird seed blocks knows it can be costly to feed these little creatures. Ours here at the cottage have ravenous appetites, but here is a wonderful recipe that was given to me for making your own homemade blocks for your favorite feathered friends.
Give it a try! The birds will love you for it! They also make perfect gifts for other bird lovers in your life.
You'll Need: 3/4 cup flour 1/2 cup water 1 envelope unflavored gelatin 3 tbsp. corn syrup 4 cups birdseed molds (muffin tin, cookie cutters, etc.) nonstick spray drinking straw waxed paper ribbon/twine
1: Combine the flour, water, gelatin and corn syrup in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well-combined.
2: Add the birdseed to the mixture, stir until well coated.
3: Spray your mold (or molds if you're making small ones) with cooking spray, and spoon birdseed mixture into each mold. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack it down and make the top smooth. Place a straw in each bird block so that you can slip a ribbon through them when they are dry.
4: Leave the birdseed mixture in the molds for two to three hours. Then, remove the straws and lay out a sheet of waxed paper. Gently remove the hardened ornaments from the mold, and place them on the wax paper upside down. Allow them to dry for at least two to three more hours, or overnight.
6: Package them for a wonderful little gift or hang them in the tree for your feathered friends!
I have posted my recipe for cinnamon ornaments for the past two years, and since I love these, I am posting it again for my new readers. These are something I have been making for years, and not just during the holidays. These cinnamon ornaments smell so wonderful I have even hung them on the ends of curtain rods throughout my house and it provides a divine scent for weeks. You can hang them in your car and use them around your house, as well as tying them on to your packages for the holidays as a special little something for your recipient to enjoy. There is no baking and they are simple for children to help you with as a holiday craft idea. Warning:I'm not sure about your cats but my cat loved the smell of these as they were drying and tried to eat one! The strong cinnamon flavor was enough to ward him off after he tasted it but you might want to keep them out of reach of your animals while they dry. :) Ingredients: 3/4 cup applesauce 1- 4.12oz bottle ground cinnamon Note: I always roll these out on plastic wrap. The cinnamon will stain the surface of your bread board, counter, or your dough cloth if you don't use plastic. (Large plastic trash bags are great to cover surfaces as well)
Mix applesauce and cinnamon together to form a stiff dough. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters and poke a hole for a ribbon. I use a straw for this but you can use a toothpick if you don't want a very big hole and you will be using string. Carefully put on a rack to dry. Let air dry several days turning them over occasionally until they are dry. This makes 12 sweet smelling ornaments.
With the holidays upon us, parties will begin soon. Do you know how to be a good guest? It seems obvious but look around you at a party these days (or even out at dinner)and I am sure you will note behavior changes that could be made.
Here are some helpful tips to help you stand out as one with fine etiquette:
Always, always, and always RSVP
Even if you are unable to attend the party, you should out of respect, respond ASAP.
This will allow the party giver to properly plan.
Are you unsure what the description on the invitation means? It's OK to call your host for clarification. You want to be sure you show up to the party dressed appropriately. You don't want to show up over, or under-dressed.
Unless the invitation allows for “and guest,” it is not appropriate to bring someone who hasn't already been invited to the party.
If you wish to bring a guest and are good friends, or family, with the host, you can ask if it's ok if you bring an extra guest along. Your host will make the decision if they can accommodate an extra person.
Do not show up to the party empty-handed. When invited to a holiday gathering at someone’s home, you should always arrive with something for the host. It can be a bottle of wine, box of candy, or flowers.
Don't be surprised if you receive unexpected gifts. Purchase extra holiday gift cards from local well-known stores (ie: Barnes & Nobles, Macy's..) to bring along with you. They will come in handy when you are handed an unexpected gift.
If you're attending a work party with your significant other, fill them in on small details.
If a co-worker recently had a baby, or took a nice trip, fill your date in on the details. This will make him/her feel involved if they know a little bit about what your co-workers are talking about.
Accept what is offered graciously. You may have disliked a certain food, but if a plate is offered to you upon leaving, accept it politely.
If you have certain likes & dislikes, or if you are a vegetarian, do not impose your eating habits onto others. Take servings of food you like and politely decline the foods you dislike.
If you have an actual medical condition, or are allergic to certain foods, you can let your host know so they can make accommodations. You can also offer to bring a favorite dish to the party for everyone to enjoy, this way you know you will be able to nibble on something just in case.
Remember your manners at the table. Again, this seems obvious but if you want to know what I am talking about just visit your neighborhood restaurant and observe!
Put your napkin in your lap, don't reach over others' plates to grab a dish. Instead politely ask for someone to pass the dish to you.
Do not apply lipstick or comb your hair at the table. Please!
Always write a thank-you note and send it within 2-3 days to your host.
Ideally, you should thank your host verbally when you leave the party and also send a thank-you note.
You need a village, if only for the pleasure of leaving it. A village means that you are not alone, knowing that in the people, the trees, the earth, there is something that belongs to you, waiting for you when you are not there. ~Casare Pavese
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