Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sleds, snowflakes, and treats

Happy New Year!

I didn't get these things shared in December, but since they tend to stick around our house throughout much of the winter, I've decided they are still appropriate to share with you instead of waiting for next December.

A few years ago, we made sleds from craft sticks and decorated them with felt cutouts. I love to get them out each winter and hang them up.

They are simple to make: line up five craft sticks with the center stick just a bit higher than then two sticks flanking it, and the outermost sticks just a bit lower than those. Drizzle a line of glue (school glue works great) across all five sticks and cover with another stick crosswise. Cut out pieces of felt to your imagination and glue in place on the sleds. Finish with a ribbon or twine loop.

Another garland that spends a greater portion of the winter on display is the snowflake garland gracing the mantel. I've tried various ways of hanging the snowflakes in past years, some more successful than others. This year, I happened upon a ball of twine and realized I had the perfect solution to hanging the snowflakes. I thought I could just use the snowmen hooks from either end of the mantel, but I had to enlist the help of the squirrel who makes his year-round residence on the mantel.

And finally, I managed to get a picture of the holiday treats from our house before they all disappeared (some to the freezer to come out when least expected). Truffles are a standard treat every year and two of this year's flavors are perennial favorites: creme de menthe and eggnog. Not pictured are the kirsch truffles, which didn't turn out with the flavor I'd hoped for, neither were they pretty. Well, the ones rolled in chopped pistachios were pretty, but they were gone by the time I got around to taking the photo.

As for the cookies, the almond shortbread are one of the very few cookies I bake and they get made almost every year, sometimes more than once a year. The pecan balls were new, but I'd rather have Russian teacakes so won't make those again.

The star shaped cookies were also new for me this year. They are a Swiss cookie made with ground almonds and no wheat flour. Although I wasn't looking for a wheat-free cookie, I was happy to be able to share them with those who have problems with wheat. They are really good and I'll make them again. My cookie recipes were all taken or adapted from Tea Time magazine, so I don't think I can share them here, but there are many recipes online for the Basler Brunsli. For the almond shortbread, simply replace one-half the flour in your favorite recipe with almond flour.