Friday, December 24, 2010

GF Christmas baking

 some baking was taking place earlier ~ all yummy gluten-free desserts for Christmas... Key Lime Pie, crust made with GF graham crackers...
 Chocolate Cranberry Cookies recipe from Gluten-Free Cooking for Dummies...
Basic Vanilla Dough (made with gluten-free flour) prepared as Shaped Icebox Cookies, these were made with pistachios, dried cranberries, & mini chocolate chips ~ bon appetit !

Thursday, December 23, 2010

GF Christmas barks

 some yummy barks for Christmas & all are gluten-free !
the variations:
:: crushed candy cane
:: crushed gluten-free OREO cookie
:: mini chocolate chips
:: toffee bits, sliced almonds, & mini chocolate chips
:: gluten-free pretzels & crushed candy cane
:: pistachio & dried cranberry (i think this is one of my favorites; salty, crunchy, sweet, tart, chewy all in one plus being green & red makes it very Christmas-y)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

homemade bird feeder

 i was inspired by Joanie's flickr photo to make these bird feeders, happy to find a way to reuse the plastic nets (vegetable packaging) i had saved... & was happy to reuse the apples we had for candlestick holders... cut deep ridges into an apple, spread peanut butter on it, roll it in bird seed, place in plastic nesting, then hang from tree.  bon appetit birds !

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Nordic Crosses Gift Wrap


Kathryn from The Pickled Herring kindly asked me to be a guest blogger during her Scandinavian Christmas series.  Today you can head on over to read my guest blog post about Nordic Crosses Gift Wrap & be sure to check out all of the Scandinavian Christmas posts (they are December 13-23).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

frozen cranberry wreath

 with decorating i fall into the "less is more" category... i wanted to make a couple of outdoor decorations for the winter using fresh cranberries, so i made this frozen cranberry wreath.
to make one: add some water to the bottom of a bundt pan, cover with fresh cranberries, tuck in the 2 ends of red wool yarn (so you'll be able to hang the wreath), place outside until frozen.  when completely frozen, pop the wreath out & hang outside.
 i also made this cranberry & twig frozen candle holder...
i got the idea from this page of Christmas Ideas magazine.

very simple & uncomplicated things to do to make things more festive ~ enjoy !

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Scandinavian books

 when we were planning for St Lucia day & our Swedish smorgasbord, i came across some great books & cookbooks.  FYI, all of these books are available here.

the above book is: Lucia Child of Light: The history and tradition of Sweden's Lucia celebration by Florence Ekstrand, it's older (1989) & more difficult to find, yet is filled with lots of information about the history of the saint & how Swedish people set aside a day to honor her.
 Lucia Morning in Sweden is by Ewa Rydaker
 the first part of the book is an elaborately illustrated children's story...
 then the last few pages there is a brief history of St Lucia, recipes...
 & patterns & instructions on how to sew your own Star boy & St Lucia costumes.
 D is for Dala Horse: A Nordic Countries Alphabet is by Kathy-Jo Wargin
S is for St Lucia (& smorgasbord), that page contains a very brief explanation of how Scandinavia celebrates St Lucia.
 Hanna's Christmas is by Melissa Peterson
 it is a very cute story to read to young children, towards the end of the story the daughter serves her parents breakfast in bed a la St Lucia fashion.
 Kirsten's Surprise: A Christmas Story is by Janet Shaw, again St Lucia day is celebrated by Swedish tradition.
 Swedish Christmas Crafts is by Helene Lundberg & all of the projects are simple & uncomplicated
 St Lucia wreath & apple candle holders
 bundles of cinnamon
 small green wreaths
 The Swedish Table by Helene Henderson was the best Swedish cookbook i found (& it was really interesting to read about the author, her background & experiences growing up in Sweden).  for our Swedish smorgasbord we used the Swedish Meatballs with Gravy & the Baby New Potatoes with Sea Salt & Dill recipes.  you will also find recipes for: Saffron & Raisin Buns (Santa Lucia Buns), Glogg, White Bean Salad with Roasted Red Peppers and Cherry Tomatoes, Swedish Pancakes.
 Sweet and Savory Swedish Baking by Leila Lindholm was the best Swedish baking book i found (& again very interesting to read about the author & her background).  the photography in this book is gorgeous !
 i must try this GF chocolate & hazelnut torte !
 i think this chocolate chip walnut brownies recipe could easily be made GF...
 & maybe these almond cakes could be made GF, too ?
 a couple of the 'baking without an oven' treats looked yummy & either were already GF or could be made GF.
 and just for fun i thought i'd throw in a couple of Scandinavian craft books: Scandinavian Needlecraft by Clare Youngs contains 35 sewing projects &
Scandinavian Stitches by Kajsa Wikman has 21 whimsical projects ~ just look at how bright & cheerful the cover is !  anyway i will blog more about these 2 crafts books in February when i blog all about 2010 craft books & what i created from them :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

St Lucia smorgasbord

 it is Swedish tradition that the oldest daughter in the family wakes up on St Lucia day (December 13), makes Lucia buns & coffee, & then serves them to the rest of her family.  well, since our daughter is only 3 years old & too young to do that, we thought we would have a Swedish smorgasbord to celebrate instead.  we also enjoy trying new foods, especially gluten-free ones, so this was a great opportunity to try more Scandinavian foods & recipes. 
 our St Lucia Swedish smorgasbord consisted of: Swedish meatballs with gravy, 2 different types of smoked salmon, 4 different kinds of Scandinavian cheese, bread, Lingonberry jam, fish balls with dill sauce, Swedish potato sausage, baby new potatoes with sea salt & dill, for dessert: ginger snap cookies, Swedish fish, chocolate Dala horses, almondy tarta, & to drink: glogg.

i discovered with Swedish cooking that when in doubt, add dill :)
 St Lucia paper napkins.  we used the Swedish Meatballs with Gravy recipe from The Swedish Table, but we made them gluten-free.
 2 cheeses from Norway: a type of Swiss cheese & Gjetost (brown cheese !   have you ever eaten brown cheese before?)  & 2 cheeses from Denmark: Tilsit & Havarti creamy
 fish balls with dill sauce, how do you eat them cold or warm?
 non-alcholic glogg recipe found here
 ginger snaps can be found in different flavors at the grocery store
 chocolate Dala horses can be bought here
 Almondy Tarta (which is gluten-free) is from IKEA
 i also made a St Lucia banner to make our smorgasbord more festive, to make it:

what you need:
:: red card stock, 2 sheets 8.5" X 11"
:: white pigment stamp pad
:: 7 chipboard letters: s, t, l, u, c, i, & a
:: paper cutter
:: double sided adhesive
:: 51" of white binding
:: white thread
:: sewing machine
 what you do:
:: with red card stock & paper cutter, cut 10 3" X 3" pieces
:: with sewing machine, sew the 10 squares & binding together by leaving 6" at each end & spacing the squares 1" apart
:: press the chipboard letters into the white ink, might need 2 coats, let dry completely
:: attach the chipboard letters to the banner with double sided adhesive

 this is the Legend of Santa Lucia inside a card i bought last year
& this is a St Lucy card from a local Christian store

Happy St Lucia day !