Monday, December 26, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dried Orange and Apple Ornaments

I cut apples and oranges into 1/4 to 1/3 inch slices then soaked the apple slices in lemon juice for about 15-30 minutes flipping occasionally. I dehydrated them overnight until they were dry and leathery. 

I found wooden beads at Micheal's and painted them with acrylic paint. I used about a half inch wide ribbon and a yarn needle to string up my dried orange and apple slices as well as bay leaves. I just layered them with a bead at the top and bottom and then tied off the bottom tail. I tied the dried fruit ornaments onto the tree with the extra ribbon at the top.

I love that the spice and dried fruit ornaments give my dining room tree a primitive homemade look.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cinnamon and Clove Ornaments

Cinnamon and Clove Ornaments

1 cup ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground clove
3/4 cup applesauce

Mix well. If too dry add 1 tablespoon of applesauce at a time. It too wet add 1 tablespoon cinnamon at a time. Pour 1/4 of the mixture onto wax paper, parchment or a dehydrator sheet like I did. Press dough together. I used plastic wrap to cover the dough so my rolling pin would not stick. Roll the dough 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters then make a small hole at the top of the ornament with a straw or skewer. Place on a baking sheet to bake at 200 degrees for 2 1/2 hours or place them on a dehydrator sheet to dehydrate them for a few hours. They can also be left out for a day or two on the counter to dry.

 Be careful while threading ribbon into the ornaments. I may have rolled mine out too thin making them more fragile than I would have liked.

I grew up with a tree in every room. Each had their own theme. The living room tree held all of our family ornaments, handmade ornaments and ornaments collected on our travels. The kitchen tree was one of my favorites. It was decorated with miniature utensils and pans, gingerbread men, candies, foods and a candy garland. The dining room tree was also a favorite because it held vintage glass ornaments that belonged to my mamaw and papaw. My tree was decorated with a Victorian theme. Lots of pink, lace, pearls, and faux candles that clipped to the ends of the branches. My brother's tree had a woodland/hunting theme. 

Since getting married 6 years ago we always had one tree in the living room until I was able to talk the Mister into getting another tree to put in our dining room this year. It's a a decent size 4ft tree for our cozy little cottage. It sits on the fireplace hearth. I decided from the beginning that I wanted to use a primitive homemade theme for decorating it.

The ornaments smell Ah-Mazing! Every time I walk by the tree, the Christmasy scent of cinnamon and clove fills my nose and makes my heart happy.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Link Show and Tell

  1. A very talented vintage lady at By Gum By Golly did an amazing job knitting a Fair Isle Cardigan! It is hard to believe that someone can knit that by hand. Absolutely beautiful.
  2. I've been crocheting quite a few hats using Alli Crafts' ear flap hats pattern in various sizes.
  3. I've been wanting to make this old fashioned 1940's Cottage Pudding. It looks moist and fluffy. Maybe this recipe or this one.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Tomato Jam

 I finally gathered enough tomatoes from the garden to can my first batch of tomato jam! Heirloom Cherokee Purples, Box Car Willies and Romas. I'm still getting tomatoes at the end of November! We had a late summer heat wave so my tomato plants had a very late start.
 I blanched the tomatoes in boiling water until the skin split and then stopped the cooking with ice water. I peeled the skins off and then crushed them with a sturdy pastry blender.
 Sweet and Spicy Tomato Jam

5 pounds tomatoes, peeled and crushed
3 1/2 cups sugar
8 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon red chili flakes

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Stirring often, simmer the jam until it reduces to a sticky, jammy mess. This may take about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on how high you keep your heat. To check if it has jammed enough, simply place a plate in the freezer for 10 minutes then pour a teaspoon or so on the cold plate.  The jam should gel quickly once hitting the cold plate.
When the jam has cooked down, remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.
Remove jars from hot water bath and allow them to cool when finished.

I enjoyed my first taste of tomato jam on a gluten free biscuit. I bet it would taste delicious on meatloaf or a cheese burger! Think of it as fancy catchup.