We've had two very snowy weekends in a row, making things look quite magical. Mind you, I haven't had to drive in it much, so I'm of a happy and generous mindset looking out at the scenery from the comfort of home.
Last week's snow reminded me of marshmallow fluff. I was humming THIS tune all day.
"It's a marshmallow world in the winter...When the snow comes to cover the ground..."
This morning, the fresh snow was like fine sugar, sparkling in the sunshine. That made it a little easier to swallow the news that today's high was supposed to be -3 degrees. I think we actually may have gotten to zero or a tad above.
Meanwhile, I've been cranking out the Christmas in the sewing room. Quite a few more zipper pouches, mug rugs, and other things have been created. Some of them have already been gifted as well.
Still, there are a couple more things to finish.
A friend had requested a table mat in the colors of a different season. I've made her ones with Christmas and spring/summer themes in the past, so I chose fall. (You can find my string ring table mat tutorial HERE, if you're interested.)
Yesterday I basted a quilt but could not find my Kwik Klip. That's the gadget I use to help close the safety pins in basting. I looked and looked, to no avail. I fear it may have rolled off the table into the wastebasket. Last I saw it, it was in that general vicinity.
Instead, I grabbed a chopstick that I'd been using to help turn the zipper pouches.
It worked as well as, maybe even better than, the Kwik Klip!
I've had fun making Christmas Tree minis from Kevin's tutorial. They're a great mug rug size.
So far, the "tree farm" has produced a grove of six. Cute little things, aren't they?
In the kitchen, I've succumbed to the urge to bake for the holidays. No, that's not really true. I'm baking for ME. The holidays couldn't care less if I baked!
When I was a kid, one of the things I remember we had at Christmastime was an Orange Date-Nut Cake. It was baked in a tube pan and then you poured an orange syrup over it and let it soak in. It was sort of like a lighter version of a fruit cake, as in not quite as dense and minus the candied cherries. Really sweet, though. You needed to have it with a cup of strong black coffee to balance the sweetness.
I can't eat that way anymore (no gluten or dairy, and way less sugar), but I miss those flavors. So I adapted a gluten-free nut bread recipe and it worked! Minimally sweet (only 1/3 cup of sugar versus multiple cups), but still rocking the orange-date-nuttiness of the original recipe. Woo-hoo!
Here is the recipe. Merry Christmas!
Orange Date-Nut Bread
2 cups gluten-free flour (I mixed my own: ½ c. EACH sorghum, tapioca, rice, and almond flours)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup butter or butter substitute, melted (I use ghee)
¾ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed (about 3 oranges, juiced; add the pulp from squeezing back in)
1 Tablespoon fresh orange zest
1 cup chopped dates (use unsweetened whole dates and cut or snip them into pieces with scissors – I also soak the chopped dates for 5 minutes in boiling water and then drain the water off)
¾ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir the first five dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together the eggs, brown sugar, melted butter or substitute, orange juice, and orange zest. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until moistened. Stir in chopped dates and walnuts, and chocolate chips, if using. Spread batter into a greased loaf pan. Sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons of coarse granulated sugar, if desired. Bake 40-45 minutes. Let the loaf cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing it to a rack to continue cooling. Enjoy!