Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Candied Orange Peels: the perfect homemade holiday gift

I never felt wasteful about throwing away an orange rind after eating an orange... that was until I made Candied Orange Peels for the first time.

{scrumptious orange peel}

Yesterday morning started as most Monday mornings do. That feeling that you'd rather stay curled up in your warm bed lingered in my bones. After a few minutes of blinking my eyes, staring out the windows to the gray sky and wondering if it was really going to snow (it did!), I grabbed my iPhone and started checking email and Facebook. As I flipped to the internet browser, a site that I had saved from the previous day came back and caught my attention.

{orange peel: ready for its close-up}

"Candied Orange Recipe," read the title of the web page. I had peeled an orange and saved the rind the previous night and was planning on making these. How could it have slipped my memory this morning? I read the instructions, realized I had most everything, except the oranges, and added the recipe to my mental checklist.

After the gym, I went to Trader Joe's and picked up 6 more navel oranges. I also grabbed some grapefruit and lots of chocolate. I came home and unloaded my groceries as quickly as possible and then began to carefully slice my orange rinds. The recipe I used, from Food Network, called for 6 oranges. I only used 2, for fear that if I didn't like the way they tasted after being candied, I'd be stuck with more candied orange than could be consumed (or gifted) in a decade. That should not have been a fear of mine; this recipe is delicious! I followed the directions carefully and cooked the orange rind 3 times. When it came time to soak the rind in the sugar syrup, I reduced the sugar and water amounts by half, and continued with the instructions. After rolling in copious amounts of sugar in a jelly roll pan, I let the orange peels dry on a cooling rack.

{waiting to dry}

The house smelled wonderful and I was so excited to have a snowy day project. It did take the day to make the candied orange peels, I'm not saying this to scare you, only to give you a realistic idea so you don't make this as a neighbor or teacher gift one hour before they are to be presented to the recipient (been there before!). Most of the time was spent waiting for the rinds to reduce in the sugar syrup or dry. I'd say its the perfect snow day or Saturday project.

I was surprised when my husband tried a few last night and loved them! His only request was that they be dipped in chocolate. I waited until this morning to do that, as I wanted the oranges to dry as much as possible before immersing them in a bowl of melted chocolate. The chocolate covered orange peels are now drying and the plain candied peels are packaged up with labels for Christmas gifting.

{for my husband}

For stylish food packaging, I love to use Garnish's products! To wrap the candied orange peels, I used the Medium Glassine Bags. I simply filled the bags up with the shoestring-like candied orange peels, gently folded over the edge of the bag, and adhered a homemade label to seal the bag shut. The labels I used are Avery White Shipping Labels (#8165). They allowed me to design my own logo for the wrappers at any size I desired, however next time I gift these, I will order Garnish's Oval Kraft Labels. I wanted the bags to have the feel of a French candy shop, with a modern, handmade twist.

{my packaging dreams}

{packaging reality, still good, but could have been better planned}

{ready to deliver to friends and family}

Enjoy this recipe and best wishes for a quiet week before Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Don't cast IKEA to the side just yet... or, another reason why I love Canadians

The Canadian House and Home designers/employees have developed two new uses for the IKEA Hemnes Wardrobe and IKEA Hemnes Glass Door Cabinet. Both are great solutions for city dwellers, or anyone else living in small spaces!

Wardrobe to Kitchen Pantry (video!)

Glass Door Cabinet to Linen Closet

PS - Husband, siblings, parents... if you're reading this, a subscription to Canadian House and Home would fit perfectly in my Christmas stocking... Hint Hint!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy Holidays, Fashionistas!

Happy Holidays, Fashionistas!
Some pretties to guide your holiday fashion...

Click second image for more info on purchasing.