Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wrapping up the Festive Season

Happy New Year, and all that.
Hope 2012 is bringing you all happiness so far!

Thought I'd finish off my roundup of the season's craft and cooking before it gets too far into January. (D'oh! It's the 10th already.)
 I wanted to show you a couple of cute ways I found to give cash this year, now that all my nieces and nephews have their gifts...
I mentioned the Spoonflower panel I got last year - not only did it have 3 of these cute birds (possibly cardinals?)...

but also 2 cute owls as well. The red one is promised to my youngest, but with the addtion of a felt pocket on it's rear, the pink one made the perfect holder for a rolled-up banknote and a little chocolate for a pink- and owl-loving 6-year-old.

The older kids got their gift on an ornament, or in a gift box, wrapped around a chocolate.

 (If you have any more creative ideas for giving cash, please pass them on as I know I'll be going through this all again next year!)

I also got a teapot ornament panel from Spoonflower, as I was my sister's Secret Santa this year and she had some of her favourite T2 tea on her 'ideas' list. I made her these two...

I plaited the hanging loops from three full strands of embriodery floss each, to match the colours in the teapots.

Hope she liked them - I certainly had fun making them.

I used these lovely free printable bag toppers from the Frugal Living website to make some easy gifts for our courier drivers at work - a plain cello bag filled with festive snacks, covered with the bag topper, a gift tag and a pretty ribbon. They were much appreciated!

A dessert we didn't actually eat on Christmas day (just too full to bother!) was Sarah's recipe from here using an Italian Panettone, which we tried out a few days later.

Oh my. It was delicious!

We cut our cake into four, and made two versions of two layers each - one laced with sherry for the adults and a kids' one softened with grape juice. We used a combination of strawberries, blueberries and cherries in the centre and on top. Both cakes were excellent!

A couple of friends asked for the recipe for the Salted Nut Brittle I made as gifts, so here it is if you want to have a go...

Paula's Salted Nut Brittle
(adapted from a recipe from thekitchn.com)

2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup water
110g unsalted butter
1/3 cup glucose syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
120g each of pistachios, pecans & cashews (or your favourites)
Flaked or crushed sea salt

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, water, butter and glucose and bring to a boil. Cook over a moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the caramel is amber.

Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the baking soda - it will bubble.

Stir in the nuts, then scrape the brittle onto a large rimmed, nonstick baking tray straight away. Using the back of a large spoon spread the brittle into an even layer.

Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Let cool completely, about half an hour. Now the fun part - break into large shards or chunks.

Bag up and give away for plenty of compliments, 'cause it's really yummy!

And I think that about wraps up the season for another year. I am already back at work and the kids go back to school in a couple of weeks.
Just a child's 14th birthday to celebrate, then the family life roundabout begins again!

P.S. A thought for the start of a new year - The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.Proverb


Debbie said...

I love everything about this post Paula, can you share your new ideas for giving money before Christmas next year? I need those ideas!

PaulaS said...

Will do Deb. I will have to start keeping a special list as all the kids get older...they don't want presents any more!!


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