Kitchen Craft: Herb and Fruit Slice Garland

Garlands are a great addition to autumn and winter decor, for the sabbats and holidays of the seasons. These garlands smell so good during the preparation stage, as well as for a while after they are created. Note that these fruits are not edible, but the herbs and cinnamon sticks can be removed later and used when cooking.

This craft takes about four days to complete.

Items Needed (amounts depend on size and number of garlands):

apples

oranges

lemons

limes

wax paper

cinnamon sticks

fresh herbs, or dried

garland

twine

craft wire

scissors

glue gun and sticks

Hammer and nails, or tacks

  1. Slice the fruit, do not peel first.
  2. Place the fruit slices on wax paper to dry for a few days before continuing.
  3. Turn each fruit slice twice a day.
  4. On the fourth day, or when the fruits are dried, prepare to decorate the garland.
  5. Lay the garland out.
  6. Tie two or three cinnamon sticks with twine to make bundles.
  7. Tie bundles of fresh herbs together with the twine. Feel free to mix and match types.
  8. Tie the cinnamon and herb bundles where desired  on the garland using craft wire.
  9. Glue the fruit slices where desired onto the garland, being sure not to get glue on the herbs and cinnamon sticks.
  10. Hang the garland where desired.

Variations:

  • Add small bells.
  • Add bows.
  • Make wreaths to match.
  • Make swags instead.

You could also:

  • Add herb/cinnamon bundles to your holiday tree.
  • Add fruit slice garland to the holiday tree.
  • Use the dried herbs in recipes when you take your decorations down.

Shannon

Kitchen Craft: Holiday Herb Garland or Swag

The scent of fresh herbs will be evident for a while once these are put together, adding a homey feel to any room in the house. These are easy to make, and will not take too much time. These make great decorations for autumn the autumn and winter sabbats and holidays.

Items Needed:

Grapevine or pine imitation garland or swag.

Twine

Scissors

Craft wire

Fresh herbs

Holiday bows

Nails and hammer or tacks

  1. Tie the fresh herbs together in bundles with twine.
  2. Attach the herb bundles to the garland or swag using craft wire, in whatever arrangement you would like.
  3. Attach a couple of holiday bows with the craft wire.
  4. Hang the garland or swag and enjoy the aroma while the herbs are drying.

Here are some tips:

  • Hang and allow to dry to give as gifts.
  • When giving as gifts, find boxes that these will fit nicely into.
  • The herbs can later be removed from the swag or garland and crumbled into canning jars to use when cooking.

Shannon

Mini Pumpkin Candle Holders

This project is a great accompaniment for autumn holiday meals, and can be placed on the dinner or picnic table with the place settings. They are affordable to make, as you can often find bags of tea light candles for a couple of dollars, and the pumpkins can usually be purchased fairly cheap.

Materials:

mini pumpkins

knife and spoon

tea light or votive candles, scented if desired

  1. Using the knife and the spoon, scoop out the center of the pumpkin from the top. Set the seeds aside for roasting. Cut down only far and wide enough for a candle to fit in snugly.
  2. Wipe the pumpkin with a cloth.
  3. Insert the candle.

Tips:

  • Use pumpkins from your own pumpkin patch to save money.
  • Look for candles at the dollar store for extra money savings.
  • Place these candle holders on the holiday table, or on stands as part of the overall decor.
  • These can be used for any autumn day, but are especially wonderful additions to Halloween and Thanksgiving settings.
  • These are also great for Samhain, and can be placed on the porch railing to light the way up to your door.
  • Create a centerpiece with these by placing them on a plate or in a baking dish. Strew autumn leaves, pine cones and acorns in the bottom of the dish, add the mini pumpkin candle holders, and then place the arrangement on the table.

Enjoy the autumn holidays! Do you have any pumpkin craft ideas? Please post them to the comments.

Shannon

Hot Mulled Cider

I love hot mulled cider during the autumn holidays and sabbats: Mabon, Halloween/Samhain and Thanksgiving. It is also a good addition to any Yule or Christmas celebration. Particularly when it’s cold outside. Zowie loves the cider as well.

This is a classic hot beverage throughout New England, and I live in Maine :). There are variations on this wonderful drink, and most are as good. The aroma is amazing.

This is not a very frugal recipe, unless you are lucky enough to have your own apple orchard and cider press. While I’d like to have both one day, I have not realized the all-important homesteading goal as of yet. Therefore, I have had to find ways to lessen the cost of making mulled cider. (See the Tips below.)

(Update January 2017: My intent is to Paleofy this recipe by cutting out the brown sugar. Honey or maple syrup would be the go-to choices, but I recently learned that molasses would be okay to use. Needless to say, I have some experimenting to do. I’ll update you with the details when I have them.)

Ingredients:

1 gallon apple cider

1/3 cop brown sugar

about 15 cloves, whole

about 10 allspice berries, whole

5 sticks of cinnamon

cheesecloth and twine

  1. Put the cloves, allspice, and cinnamon at the center of a square of cheesecloth. Bring the sides of the cloth up and tie closed with twine.
  2. Place this into a slow cooker along with the sugar. Pour the cider over these items and cover.
  3. Heat on high for about half-an-hour, then turn the temperature to low.

Tips

  • Purchase store brand cider.
  • Purchase spices when on sale, and place in the freezer until needed.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve in a mug with a cinnamon stick.
  • Serve over ice, if desired. This is particularly good during Mabon, when it may still be quite warm outside.

Shannon

Pumpkin Pie

We love pumpkin pie during the autumn and winter holidays and sabbats. They smell delicious while baking and cooling, and are very tasty. This recipe makes two pies. For one pie, simply halve the ingredients.

(Update 2017) This is another family favorite that I’m leaving on the site, at least until I can come up with a healthier version.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 2 teaspoons

2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground

1 teaspoon ginger, ground

1/2 teaspoon cloves, ground

1 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

2 (15 ounce) cans pumpkin puree

2 (12 ounce) cans  evaporated milk

3 unbaked pie crusts

  1. Preheat oven to 425*. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then add the wet ingredients and mix well.
  2. Place the pie shells into pie baking dishes, and crimp the edges in a decorative fashion. A fork makes this easy. Cut leaf shapes from the excess dough and reserve.
  3. Sprinkle each crust with a teaspoon of sugar, then pour the pie filling into it.
  4. Cut a few leaf shapes out of the 3rd crust with cookie cutters, and place them pleasingly over the top of the pumpkin pies.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 350* and place pies within. Bake 40 to 60 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean when inserted into the center.

Tips

  • Purchase all items on sale, if possible. Store brand items work just as well as any other. This will help you save money.
  • Use mini cookie cutters to create the dough leaves.
  • Use pumpkin or acorn cutters to cut dough shapes with instead.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve cool with a dollop of whipped topping.
  • Serve warm with a scoop of french vanilla ice cream.

Shannon