I’d seen this recipe a number of times, and I’ve probably eaten my weight of candied orange peel more than once, but I was never inspired to make it myself until this year. Now, I’m sure I’ll be making it annually – it’s an easy recipe that doesn’t require a lot of hands-on time, and makes a gorgeous hostess or teacher gift. And with exactly two ingredients – citrus peel and sugar – it’s a handy alternative to baked goods for friends with food allergies or special diets.
What changed my mind about this recipe, you ask? I got a surprise gift in the mail from a family member – 15 pounds of oranges, lemons, and grapefruits. No really, fifteen pounds, I weighed it. It arrived the day after I’d gone grocery shopping and bought five additional pounds of oranges. So you might say that Fate tossed this recipe into my lap.
Remember two years ago when we gave up cable, and I said I was going to watch all of Lost on Netflix? I watched a good portion of season two while peeling and slicing grapefruit peel. It probably wouldn’t have taken that long, except that I kept stopping to stare at the screen and yell, “Wait… another polar bear??? Seriously?!?!?!“ That will eat into your prep time, I tell ya.
Posted in Kitchen, Pantry, Recipe Box, Uncategorized, Wallet
Tagged candied citrus peel, DIY candy, diy christmas gifts, easy candy recipe, easy Christmas recipes, hostess gifts, teacher gifts
After spending the summer avoiding the stove because of the way it would heat up the house, the pendulum has swung – I’m now finding any and every excuse to turn on the oven or the stove. I’ve made huge batches of soup in the last few weeks and frozen half of each for future dinners, but now I find my attention turning to pasta – and this basic cheese sauce that I’ve been meaning to write down for ages. When I made it last week I actually remembered to take pictures and measure ingredients. What I’m making is essentially a bechamel sauce, with cheese added to it at the end (which yes, technically, makes it a Mornay sauce, for you foodies out there). But I’d rather just call it basic cheese sauce, because it’s neither time consuming nor complicated, and giving its culinary pedigree makes it sound like more work than it is. Best of all, this recipe can be easily increased or decreased, since the basic ingredients follow a simple formula:
That’s the thing about Halloween falling on a Monday – we’ve given in to the temptation to leave costume-building until this weekend. With the best of intentions, I bought fabric three weeks ago, and everything was cut and ready to sew last week. But I still have a wig to build, a two wands (fairy and witch) to make, and various accessories to organize and prepare.
Yes, two wands – Scooter had an eleventh-hour change of heart (seriously, at 11:00 a.m., an hour before I was leaving to buy fabric) and decided she has to be Hermione Granger for Halloween this year. I cheerfully agreed (wizard’s robe = sooo much easier than mermaid’s tail), and Skeeter got into the spirit of things by shouting that she wanted a “PRETTY FAIRY DREEEEESSSSSS!!!” You know, she’s two, volume control isn’t really her thing yet. So I’m making Skeeter an Abby Cadabby costume, since that’s her favorite Sesame Street character.
I don’t have any new Halloween costume tutorials ready for this year, but I’m learning a lot that I can type up for next Halloween. So here’s an encore presentation (doesn’t that sound better than ‘re-post’?) of last year’s costume ideas:
I'm putting Skeeter in charge of decorations.
I’ve been saying all year that homemade Christmas has to start early. Every time that I’ve waited until December to get started, the craft stores are picked over, all my weekends are booked with holiday parties, and I’m just too exhausted to cram one more project into my day.
And then, everyone gets gift cards.
This year, I am (mostly) on schedule, and you can be too. That file on your desktop with your list of names and gift ideas? Print it out, finalize your gift ideas into gift decisions, and start blocking out time to get it done.
- Designate a place to store gifts once they’re finished, so you don’t spend Christmas Eve telling your aunt how cool her gift would be if only you could figure out which closet it’s in.
- Swap babysitting with a friend so you can hit the craft stores distraction free.
- Break down your tasks into manageable bites, especially if you’re making multiples of a craft for office or school gifts. You need to tie 50 tiny ribbon bows? Bring them to your child’s soccer practice and tie them there – you might even get some help from other bored parents.
- If you’re primarily cooking or baking your gifts, start stocking up on whatever non-perishable supplies you’ll need – buying flour, sugar, muffin cups, etc. on sale now will make your homemade gifts even more economical and less of a chore. I hear Wendy has some shredded coconut you could take off her hands…
- If what you’re making needs to be made closer to the holidays, block that time out now. Schedule a babysitter, swap with a friend, bribe your spouse with cookies, whatever works, but schedule that time in advance.
I’m off to print out my list now. I might also try this method for preserving fall leaves, and use them as gift tags. If you try it, will you let me know?
For the last three years, we have gone apple picking at least once every fall. We never get it together in time to pick peaches, raspberries, or strawberries, so by the time apple season rolls around we apply ourselves with a vengeance. That vengeance, in turn, leads us to this – I have twelve pounds of apples in my kitchen right now. Through a series of scheduling mishaps (which might be interpreted as my inability to read a calendar), we went apple picking last Saturday, and again on Monday. Trying to explain to Scooter and Skeeter that we didn’t really need any more apples and we were just going for the experience was an awful lot like talking to a wall.
So here I am with a dozen pounds of apples, and I already have a solid gallon of applesauce in the freezer, and I don’t have the energy or available Weight Watchers Points to bake a pie (see, everyone in my house says they want pie, but they eat one slice, and then they leave the rest on the counter, where it taunts me late at night, until I eat it, and then I get mad, and then I say, “WHY do I even make pies, when they make me sad?” So… no pie. …anyway, what were we talking about? Oh, I remember!) Continue reading