Monthly Archives: December 2010

here we go ah-Wassail-ing!

If you have never been fortunate to sip upon wassail of any sort, i highly recommend you change that misfortune sometime this winter. Although often enjoyed with rum, you can make this heart warming hot beverage in the croc-pot minus the alchohol for almost any age to enjoy ( it is best to add in the rum per individual serving anyway so as not to cook out any of the alchohol). My grandmother used to make it for holidays, and it was one of the things I looked forward to so much growing up. As an adult, I enjoy it even more with a shot of BACARDI.

There are actually many different ways to make this yummy beverage, but I found a quick,  easy,  and most satisfying way.

like this:

  • slow cooker with lid
  • 1 gallon apple cider ( we bought local!)
  • 1 pack mulling spices
  • 1 orange
  • cinnamon sticks
  • whole cloves
  • Rum (not spiced)

Pour cider  and contents of mulling spices into slow cooker. Set to high heat. Stir. Slice orange in half. Stick whole cloves into 1 orange half. Break cinnamon sticks in half and stick  4 halves into the same  orange half that has the cloves. Float in Cider. Slice 2 slices off of the other half of the orange and float in cider. Cover and simmer until hot. Now you are ready to serve your wassail. Fill coffee or tea mug 3/4 full of wassail and add 1 shot of rum. Serve with whole cinnamon sticks for stirring.

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I just happened upon this recipe from and felt I MUST share this with my readers. French Toast & Bacon Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream frosting. OH MY! I can’t wait to make these for my hubby!

I posted the recipe below, but please thank the lovely writers of for this yummy recipe.

French Toast Cupcakes

What You’ll Need:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 ½  teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • Maple Buttercream Frosting, recipe follows
  • Crisp Bacon
  • Equipment: A six cup jumbo muffin pan or 12 cup regular muffin pan
1.) Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line the muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
2.) In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Raise the speed to high and mix until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula.)
3.) Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla, and also set aside.
4.) Add the egg yolks to the creamed butter one at time, waiting for each one to be fully incorporated before adding the next.
5.) Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Alternately, add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, waiting for each to be fully incorporated before adding the next (scrape the bowl down occasionally). Raise the speed to medium and mix briefly until a smooth batter is formed. Transfer the batter to a large bowl.
6.) Thoroughly clean the bowl of the mixer and put the egg whites inside. Whip the egg whites on high speed, using the whisk attachment, until stiff peaks are formed.
7.) Working in 3 batches, using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter, until just incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the cups in the muffin pan. Bake, rotating the pan once, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
8.) Remove the cupcakes  from the oven and cool completely.
Maple Buttercream Frosting
Yield: about 1 2/3 cups, enough for 6 large or 12 regular cupcakes
What You’ll Need:
  • 2 Sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon maple extract

1.) In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.)
2.) Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the heavy cream and maple extract.. Raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Crisp Bacon

Bacon works well for me baked in an oven at 425 degrees on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake 12-15 minutes, drain grease, and bake another 5-7 minutes or until crisp.  You can do it in a pan as well.
Finally – Frost the cooled French Toast Cupcakes with the Maple Buttercream Frostingand top with a Crisp piece of Bacon!
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The Gift of Food

best food gifts from Country Living

click the image above for great gift ideas!

Recently, every time I am at the check out line of the grocery store, I find myself picking up magazines with ideas on how to festively wrap food to give as gifts. Now if you want my opinion, I think this is a splendid gifting idea! This is especially great if you are on a low gifting budget, as I know many of us are these days.  I also found some easy and very yummy handmade food items you can make and wrap yourself. 

Try this sinfully delicious Mocha Hazelnut Sauce from Better Homes and Gardens.

All free Crafts Has a whole slew of recipes for handmade gifts in a jar. They even have Dog Cookies!!

One of my all time favorites is herb infused olive oil. It is so  easy to make and doesn’t take much time at all.  Use a regular canning jar to store. To wrap simply cut a circular piece of pretty fabric, sit the jar in the center of the circle, secure with a rubber band and tie a pretty ribbon around the top.

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other pretty diy garlands

Maybe it is because I have spent the last 12 months looking at wedding decorations, but I have found a new love for garland. It may not even be a new love, but an old flame rekindled. Whatever it is , I have been researching and making garlands for the holidays. My last post was on how to make a fabric strip garland . So easy and super cute! Here are some other DIY  garland tutorials I have stumbled


How about this gorgeous bird garland  from ? I don’t think it should come out  only at weddings….Looks perfect for holidays just the way it is. In fact, I might make a version for my up coming holiday party. ..

…or maybe you could change it to storks or                           cute paper bassinets for a baby shower.

I also found one that reminded me of my love for paper quilling. And this pretty paper heart garland found at How about orange is so so easy. Probably the easiest one yet!

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It has been snowing…

…for a few days now – here in the mountains of North Carolina and other than the cold wind that has come along with it, I am enjoying the soft powdery ground cover. It goes along nicely with my holiday preparations ( I mean,really.. what better way to put you in the spirit?)  But the wind and cold is keeping me inside and I am finding that  the best way to pass  the time  is with holiday crafts! And although I SHOULD  be finishing up my cards,   I decided to make a new garland for my tree. I had some leftover fabrics  via  my handmade wedding crafts. Luckily, my colors consisted of red, white & turquiose (what do you know? PERFECT for the holidays! yay!) I cut the fabric into strips , tied it into buches and then tied the bunches to a thin  ribbon and …. VOILA! A VERY PRETTY (easy) DIY FABRIC GARLAND!


what you will need:

  1. ribbon
  2. fabric- cut into strips (i use variations of aprox. 1 – 2 1/2″)
what to do:
  1. make groups of fabric strips  (3-4 strips per group works well)
  2. tie ribbon around each group using different variations of spacing
  3. reinforce each group by tying one strip from each group around knot in ribbon

** Make smaller sections of garland with loops on either end for easy decorating. **


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