Friday, December 15, 2017

Easy Homemade Christmas Gifts- Day 5 Cranberry Apple Chutney

Good morning! Happy Friday, can you believe that we are 10 days away from Christmas? I cannot believe how fast the season has flown by, I just want to stop the clock and savor every minute.

I hope you enjoyed Michele's post yesterday on cheese/charcuterie boards. I think they make a great gift as well as an easy appetizer. We always have a cheese/meat board out on Christmas eve and Christmas afternoon between breakfast and before dinner.

Today is day 5 of my "Easy Homemade Christmas gifts" and I thought I would share my favorite Cranberry Apple Chutney. It is perfect for the upcoming holiday because it is so versatile  seriously it tastes great on almost anything). It is sweet, savory and spicy at same time.

Since I made this 2 weeks ago my husband and I have eaten this with pork chops, black forest ham and cheese sandwiches, on home made biscuits and with a cheese board. It is also delicious over a warmed brie cheese wheel or with Cambazola cheese as well.

Cranberry Apple Chutney


4 cups peeled, cored, and chopped Granny Smith apples
4 cups of fresh cranberries
1 cup dried cranberries
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh chopped ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of cardamon

Sterilize your jars, you will need approximately 4-6, 1 cup jars with vinegar proof lids.

In a large saucepan combine all of the ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon, then place the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Once mixture boils turn down the heat a little to let the mixture cook on at a fast simmer for about 45 minutes or until the chutney has thickened and the fruit is soft.
Spoon into your jars and refrigerate. NOTE: I left mine jars uncovered until they were cooled, then I sealed them and placed them in the refrigerator. I am not sure if this is the proper way to do it so if you know better than use your method.

I hope that you enjoyed my homemade gifts this week. If you need more ideas please visit the post I did yesterday for Michele at Hello Lovely, you will find this and many other recipes including homemade marshmallowscaramelized almond bark with sea saltFairy Food and so much more.

Have a very happy weekend.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Charcuterie Boards with Guest Host Hello Lovely

This post contains affiliate links.

Good morning! Today I am so excited because my beautiful friend Michele of the fabulous blog Hello Lovely is guest posting today! I think this post fits perfectly with my homemade Christmas gift theme this week. After all do you know anyone that wouldn't love a beautifully and artfully arranged Cheese board? Please welcome the wonderfully talented Michele. 

Beautiful colorful cheese boards and charcuterie platters with wine by Hello Lovely Studio

Hello, lovely Pinecones & Acorns friends! I'm Michele of Hello Lovely, and I feel truly blessed and honored to trade places with Elizabeth today on this beautiful blog which has inspired me for years. Whether she is sharing a scrumptious dessert recipe or her love for tartan, I always come away uplifted by Elizabeth and as though I have just visited a friend whose heart has caused my own to glow with warmth. Isn't that what the best bloggers do?

While I mainly spotlight lovely interior design inspiration and timeless and tranquil home decor on my blog, I also share personal stories from my kitchen and DIY home renovation projects. Today, I'm dishing on my current obsession: easy cheese, charcuterie, and graze boards for simple casual entertaining.

Whether you refer to these as cheese boards, cheese platters, charcuterie boards, or graze boards, it's all just delicious-speak to me! I mean, what is easier than assembling your favorite cheeses, nibbles, and nuts and serving them casually with wine, cocktails, or alcohol-free punch? Guests love these!

Easy Holiday Appetizer Ideas

Beautiful colorful charcuterie and cheese platters with apples and pears by Hello Lovely Studio
Easy Holiday Appetizer Ideas for Holiday Entertaining - Hello Lovely Studio
I assembled the cheese boards you see here for my son's 26th birthday dinner, and you'll find a shopping list at the end of the post. The boards are easy to find online, and here's a lovely one made of olive wood:
Olive Wood Rustic Cutting/Cheese Board
Olive Wood Cheese Board
 I couldn't resist snapping a still life, and you see I didn't even bother with a fancy floral arrangement. This is a branch from the burning bush just outside the front door.
Still life with vintage door, apple, pear, and aqua bottle with branch by Hello Lovely Studio
Easy Holiday Appetizer Ideas for Holiday Entertaining - Hello Lovely Studio

 How to Assemble a Beautiful Cheese Board

1. PLATTER MATTERS. Select a beautiful board or three.
Shop for new wood or marble boards or trays with a smooth surface.
2. CHOOSE THE CHEESE. Decide on a few different varieties of cheese, charcuterie, fruits, nuts, crackers, etc.
In terms of cheese, there are honestly no rules you must abide by beyond simply choosing what you love. If a stinky cheese gives you a headache, do not consider it! I love fruit-studded cheeses, and it doesn’t hurt that they add a great variety of color. As for charcuterie, I love the ease of pre-sliced coppa, proscuitto, and salami.
3. SLICE THE LOVELY. Slice some of the strawberries, pears, charcuterie, and cheese.
If there’s any secret at all, it’s this: leave some of the fruit and cheese whole, and also slice some of it. A few strawberry, fig and pear slices will add interest and beauty to the board. Slice the charcuterie thinly (if it didn’t pre-sliced) and dice some of the cheese into bite-size chunks. Simply style apples and pears on the table around the board for color and added beauty. Prepare the grapes: with kitchen shears, cut the stems for small individual bunches.
4. JOYFULLY ASSEMBLE! Artfully arrange ingredients on the board.
Begin with the largest items (cheese, meats, crackers) and then fill in, paying attention to what pleases your eye as far as color. Have fun with it!
Serving wine with this delish? I like to leave choosing wines to Martha Stewart Wine Co
Beautiful cheese boards on white farmhouse table with wine
Easy Holiday Appetizer Ideas for Holiday Entertaining ; Martha Stewart Wine

Colorful tablescape with cheese boards and wine by Hello Lovely Studio
Easy Holiday Appetizer Ideas for Holiday Entertaining - Hello Lovely Studio
Peaceful vignette with vintage door, branch, and farmhouse table with cheese and wine by Hello Lovely Studio
Easy Holiday Appetizer Ideas for Holiday Entertaining - Hello Lovely Studio
Cheese platters with fruit and candlelight on a white farmhouse table by Hello Lovely Studio
Easy Holiday Appetizer Ideas for Holiday Entertaining - Hello Lovely Studio
Easy Holiday Appetizer Idea: Cheese Boards by Hello Lovely Studio
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Beautiful cheese boards and wine on a white farmhouse table by Hello Lovely Studio
Easy Holiday Appetizer Ideas for Holiday Entertaining - Hello Lovely Studio

Feeling inspired for your next Holiday gathering of friends or dinner party? Love a good cheese board?

I hope you'll visit Hello Lovely, where Elizabeth is my guest, and thank you so much, Elizabeth for the hospitality!

Peace to you right where you are.


* Shopping List *
Wine – Martha Stewart French Rose
Triple creme brie, cow’s milk
Longhorn Colby – cow’s milk
Chèvre – goat milk
Canadian Cheddar – cow’s milk
Parmigiano Reggiano – unpasteurized cow’s milk
Wensleydale with Cranberries – cow’s milk
Peppered Salami, SalamiCoppaProscuitto
Kalamata olives, green olives, red and green grapes,
dried cranberries, pears, strawberries, blueberries, figs
Roasted peanuts, Smoked almonds

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Easy Homemade Christmas Gifts- Day 3 Ice Cream Sauces

Post contains affiliate links. 

Williams Sonoma plates and spoon old, others available

Good morning how is your week? I hope that you liked the the first two days of easy homemade Christmas gifts, if you missed them be sure to check out the Peanut Brittle and the scrumptious Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts.

Today I am sharing two sauces that can be used over ice cream, cakes, drinks or to eat by the spoonful. 

Weck's Jar, Williams Sonoma plates and spoon

Salted Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge 


3 oz. bittersweet chocolate
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup of heavy cream
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt

In the top of a double boiler melt the chocolate and the butter together. When the mixture is completely melted remove from the heat and add the cocoa powder.

In a medium saucepan combine the cream, corn syrup, sugar, salt and bring to a boil. Be careful not to let this burn, it comes to a boil quickly. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and the chocolate mixture. Scrape into a bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap over the surface. Let cool for 20 minutes. You can store this is a glass jar for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator. 

Bourbon Pecan Salted Caramel
Recipe from Garlic & Zest

1/3 cup pecans 
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3 Tablespoons PLUS 1 Tablespoon of bourbon, divided
3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon fine sea salt


Preheat oven to 300. Place peacan on a baking sheet and toast for 10-12 minutes. Transfer the pecans to a cutting board and chop. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan place the sugar, corn syrup and 3 tablespoons of bourbon. You do not need to stir. 

Have the whipping cream near the stove so it is ready for use. 

Over medium to medium -high heat bring  the mixture to a boil, you can swirl it a little. The mixture will turn from light colored to light brown to amber. From amber to burnt comes really fast so watch the sugar mixture. Once mixture is amber color pour the cream into the center of the pan, the mixture will bubble. Once the bubbles calm a bit stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, then add the nuts and the salt, mix. Let it cool for 10 minutes then add the bourbon and mix again. Once cooled pour into a glass container. You can store for up to 2 weeks in the the refrigerator. 

As always, I hope that you try these recipes. If you do let me know, I think you will really enjoy them. 

Have a great day!

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