Monday, November 30, 2015

How to make Pomanders for Christmas

I'm back from a busy Thanksgiving week with my first Christmas project!  This year I made pomanders... they smell so wonderful with the fresh orange and clove scent!
 They look pretty dang cute too!  They are really pretty easy to make.

Materials needed:
-a bag of oranges (I picked mine from one of our orange trees, love living in California!)
-a whole bunch of cloves (buy them in bulk, it is a LOT cheaper)
-pretty ribbon
-something to poke holes in the oranges (I used the end of a corn-on-the-cob holder, but the end of a fork or a tooth pick could work too)

1. Poke holes in the oranges and then put a clove in the hole. DONE.

helpful hints: put the cloves a little bit further away from each other otherwise the orange will split. Also, check routinely for mold and make sure the oranges stay dry!
 It's fun thinking of different patterns... you can do whatever you think of!
 Tie some ribbon around them... you could easily hang these in a tree as ornaments!
 They are drying here on a plate... but I put them in my bread bowl! They can look pretty in a bowl, in an arrangement on the table, hanging as ornaments in a tree, nestled in a garland... wherever you want to put them!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up 2015!!

This is going to be my only post this week. I am super busy shopping, cleaning, and baking! We're hosting Thanksgiving this year so I've got a lot going on.

I'm rounding up my Thanksgiving recipes... if you are looking for some last minute ideas you can look here!

Starting first with our family's favorite Thanksgiving appetizer... caramelized apple, onion, and gruyere tart bites!! OM NOM NOM
Apple, onion, and gruyere tart bites
 Another appetizer choice is pear, blue cheese, and anaheim pepper bites... they are topped with toasted walnuts!
pear and blue cheese bites
 The easiest option of these three bites are these cranberry, brie, and thyme bites! I love the Thanksgiving flavors in these!
cranberry, brie, and thyme bites
If your oven is full, try making this cranberry salsa.  It's tangy but sweet. It's also my #1 recipe pin on pinterest.
Cranberry salsa Recipe

These homemade onion rolls were a hit last year. They are good! You can make the dough beforehand.
Thanksgiving Onion Roll Recipe
This is a nice healthier alternative to plain ol' mashed potatoes.  It's mashed cauliflower with a potato or two thrown in. Although, I still prefer mashed potatoes :-D

Healthy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
This is a nice vegetable side dish you can serve.  Plus, it adds some pretty color to your table!

Autumn Roasted Carrots
If you're one to serve salad at Thanksgiving, this is a nice Fall harvest salad. It has cranberries, apples, pecans, and a honey mustard dressing.
Fall Harvest Salad
If you're a soup person, this is a nice soup to serve for Thanksgiving.  It could also be the "main dish" for your vegetarian friends.

German Pumpkin Soup (Kurbissuppe)
If you serve multiple pies at Thanksgiving or are not a pumpkin pie person, this is a GREAT apple pie.  It is so so good, I highly recommend it.

The Best Apple Pie Recipe
Or, if you want to try something different, make pumpkin pie (aka pumpkin cheesecake) macarons! These are best served the day AFTER you bake them ... which means you can make them ahead of time!
pumpkin pie macarons
Hopefully you found a recipe you want to try this year!
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Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Favorites #21

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week? I've been SUPER BUSY and so once again I'm including some pretty pictures from instagram!

Love this choux pastry turkey!
Also love this watercolor cat monogram/crest! I would love one of these!!
A swiss chalet...
A Thanksgiving macaron tart? WHAAAT? I need to try this!!
A beautiful bride in a beautiful dress and veil...

Alright, that will do it! Next week will be light on posts, I've got shopping and baking to do!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Pear and Blue Cheese Appetizer Bites

The other appetizer we are going to make this Thanksgiving are these pear, blue cheese, and green pepper appetizer bites! It sounds a bit strange, but the flavors actually go really well together and make it pretty dang tasty!

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Thanksgiving Dinner Table 2015

Well, after looking at these pretty Thanksgiving tables I was inspired... and I am now showing you what I came up with for this year's table!  I like Thanksgiving a lot because it is the most formal meal we eat. My husband loves to cook and I love to bake and set pretty tables! Also, Thanksgiving kicks off my favorite season-- the Christmas season!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday Favorites #20

I've been super busy with work and I am studying for an upcoming test, so for Friday Favorites I thought I'd share some pretty pictures from Instagram this week!
Do you have an Instagram account? If you don't, I suggest joining! It's full of such pretty pictures. I can browse for hours.

This dress below was worn by Marie Antoinette...

You can follow me on instagram here.  Next week I will likely do the same for Friday Favorites as its test day that day and I don't have time to do anything else! 

Sharing at: Friday Favorites with A Little Bit of EverythingFive on friday at A Liz Adventures, Oh Hey, Friday! at September FARM

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cranberry, Brie, and Thyme Puff Pastry Bites

My husband and I love to host Thanksgiving - I think it is because he loves to cook, we both love to bake, and I love to set up pretty tables!  
We've been hosting Thanksgiving for 3 of the past 4 years (last year couldn't host it)... but we actually don't host it on Thanksgiving. We host it either on Black Friday or that Saturday.  Thanksgiving not-on-Thanksgiving we call it.  It's nice because we can usually have more family members over! Plus, what do you do on Thanksgiving Saturday normally? Shopping is Friday so... Saturday is perfect!
cranberry, brie, and thyme puff pastry bites
Anyway, we always try to find at least one or two new recipes to add or replace each year. We always have appetizers - you know, because we don't eat enough that day already.
We found this recipe by Well Plated which is cranberry baked brie bites - they were really quite good but we made a few modifications to the recipe which I thing adds a little bit. 
The recipe calls for cutting out 1 1/2" rounds from cookie cutters - uhhh, turns out I don't have round cookie cutters. But I do have pie crust stamps!

Now for the recipe - get the printable version here.

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 10x10-inch sheets puff pastry, thawed 
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 4 ounces Brie cheese, cold
  • chopped fresh Thyme, for garnish, roughly 1 tbsp
1.  Pull the puff pastry from the freezer and let it thaw.

2.  First, prepare the cranberry sauce: Combine the cranberries, orange juice, water, honey, cinnamon, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 10 minutes, until the cranberries break down and thicken. Let cool.

3.  Unfold the thawed puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. With a rolling pin, gently roll the pastry so that it is an even 11-inch square. With a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter ( or pie stamps ) cut circles out of the pastry (makes about 48 rounds total, depending on what size of cookie cutter you use).

4.  Beat the egg in a small bowl, then lightly brush each pastry. One half of the pastry cut-outs, spoon approximately 1/4 teaspoon cranberry sauce and 1 small piece Brie cheese, rind included. Then sprinkle just a dash of fresh thyme on top.

5.  Carefully place the remaining pastry rounds on top of the Brie and cranberry, brushed egg side down. Pinch the ends closed. Prick each pastry with a fork to allow the air to escape. Repeat with second pastry sheet.

6.  Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. Place pastry on the prepared sheet and brush lightly with egg. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes: you can assemble unbaked puff pastry bites and freeze them for later. Do not brush the egg wash on them if you are going to freeze them. Freeze them in an airtight bag. When you want to bake them, pull them out of the freezer and then brush them with the egg wash. Baking temperature is the same - 375, but you will need to bake them a few minutes longer.  You can also fully bake the pastry puffs and freeze them then reheat them in the oven.

They are really quite good! I know my pictures aren't the best (they were taken entirely by iPhone), I encourage you to give a try! They are really good and super easy to make!
cranberry, brie, and thyme puff pastry bites
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