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Wednesday, October 22

Amazing Cranberry Bars To Try Right Now

 

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I love pumpkin spice as much as the next person, but ladies, I think it has jumped the shark. When I walk into Trader Joes there is a HUGE display of all things pumpkin spice: cereal, granola bars, bread, croutons, cookies, butter, lotion, the list goes on and on! You know how you hear a cool new song on the radio and you love it so every time it plays you turn the music up and sing at the top of your lungs. But then the radio stations start playing it twice an hour and after a few weeks of hearing the same song over and over you are totally sick of it and can’t remember why you liked that song in the first place? That is how I feel about pumpkin spice.

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It totally bums me out how fun traditions are often marketed into oblivion. So to get away from pumpkin spice and yet still celebrate the season, I have decided cranberry is the new pumpkin. Think about it: this berry only comes out for a short amount of time during the autumn and early winter, the flavor is bright and tart, and the color! Who doesn’t adore that vibrant shade of deep scarlet?

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To start my cranberry commemoration, I thought I would make these amazing cranberry bars in individual portions. I have a difficult time cutting bars into squares or rectangles, so I thought it might work to put them into cupcake tins with cupcake liners. It turns out by using this method the bars don’t have to cook for as long, which is nice, and they automatically come out of the oven in perfect portions and look festive with their ruffled “collars”. They look beautiful displayed on a footed plate, and I ended up taking the final batch (it took me a few tries to get the proportions correct) to my son’s elementary school as a treat for the office staff.

Cranberry Bars

Cranberry Bars
Serves 12
An easy dessert that highlights the tangy sweetness of cranberries in individual portions.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Crust and Topping
  1. 1 cup AP flour
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 1/2 cup ground slivered almonds or cashews
  4. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/2 cup cold butter cut into small pieces
  7. 1egg
  8. 1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Filling
  1. 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (I used frozen)
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. Juice of 1/2 orange (4 teaspoons)
  4. zest of 1/2 orange
  5. 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a food processor, chop the nuts into small pieces, about the size of small breadcrumbs. Next add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pulse 3-4 times to combine.
  3. Next add the butter to the mixer. Pulse 10 times and then check to see how small the pieces are. They should be quite small, similar to the aforementioned breadcrumb sizing. If they are the size of peas they are still too big and pulse again until you get the right texture. I had to pulse 13-15 times.
  4. Pour mixture into a bowl and add the egg. Mix with fork until combined. This will be very dry and crumbly- not like a cake batter or even raw cookie dough.
  5. Now it is time to make the filling. Rinse out the food processor and then add all the filling ingredients. Pulse until the cranberries are the size of relish. You want them to have a bit of texture so don't puree them.
  6. Lay out the cupcake liners in the cupcake pan. On the bottom place a HEAPING tablespoon of the flour/butter mixture and then use your fingers to press into the pan. This is the base of your bar. When finished, add the cinnamon to the mixture and stir. This will now be your final topping. Set aside.
  7. Now we add the cranberry filling using the same tablespoon. I believe it was about 2-3 tablespoons per bar, but you can eyeball it. You might not use all of the cranberry mixture.
  8. Now top with the rest of the flour/butter mixture.
  9. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. They are done when the tops are a light golden brown. Do not over bake! I made this mistake and they ended up like hockey pucks and had to be thrown away.
  10. Let cool and enjoy!
Notes
  1. This is for 1 pan of cupcakes (12). Double the recipe if you want more.
Adapted from Betty Crocker
Adapted from Betty Crocker
The Glamorous Housewife http://theglamoroushousewife.com/
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Tuesday, October 21

Bundle Sewing

 

By Emileigh Rogers

“Sewing is beneficial if we plan our work ahead so that we do our sewing happily at convenient times. I find I can get the most done by planning ahead, and then I have the added satisfaction of seeing my plans work out.” – Home Arts, Fall 1936 issue

The 1930s were difficult days of making due with far less because of the Depression. People had less money than ever, and many women took in sewing jobs to help supplement their families’ incomes. Women in these days also had to be creative in making their own clothing in order to be fashionable on a small budget (like many of us today). In order to get the most out of their time and complete the most amount of sewing possible, a magazine article from the Home Arts from the fall of ’36 shares tips on “bundle” sewing.

The article describes the “bundle” sewing woman like this, “Her home and her children, as well as she herself, are always beautifully dressed, and yet she has time to be charming and time for social things.” Don’t we all want to have time to be charming and social? You can make efficient use of your time and complete more projects faster by “bundle sewing,” just like they did in the 1930s! Here is how:

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How to Bundle Sew:

     1. Cut out all the pieces for several projects.

     2.For each of these projects, do all of the machine sewing, pressing, etc. that is needed. Don’t do the handsewn parts.

     3. Take each project and all of the notions required for it (snaps, thread, needle, buttons, scissors, etc.) and separate them into piles.

     4. Place each pile in a large Ziploc gallon bag, reusable tote, or container. (I’m using an old cloth bag that was once the packaging for some new sheets. I also recommend the plastic               packages many new curtains come in.)

     5. When you’re commuting, on a road trip, or waiting in an office somewhere, take a bundle with you in your purse.

     6. Work on the hand sewing while you wait.

Enjoy your finished garment!

Monday, October 20

Be Glad Be Plaid

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I know everyone is all into pumpkin spice when autumn comes, but personally I love the fact that I can wear plaid again! Just as I would never drink a pumpkin spice latte in May, so too would I never wear plaid between Memorial Day and Labor Day. There are just some things that I like to keep for the season. Ok, that isn’t entirely true. I do have one plaid summer dress, but I usually don’t break it out until late in August when I am so sick of the heat and I am longing for fall. Here in Southern California, some of our hottest months are September and October, so a plaid sundress actually gets a lot of use around here. 

If you are like me and adore all things plaid, then this is the round-up post for you! I have put together the best plaid fall fashions, which even includes some shoes and other accessories! Check them out: 

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Lady Love Song Dress 

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Plaid Bobby Set 

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Draped Plaid Top 

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Manolo Plaid Pointy Toe Pump 

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So Plaid You’re Mine Skirt 

Plaid-11

Thurloe Bag 

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Diagonal Plaid Top

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Bistro Pant

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Plaid Your Own Touch Dress

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Pops of Plaid Heel

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Day Trip Delight Dress 

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Lallans Plaid Tee

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Plaid Midi Skirt 

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Richmond Bag

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Speckled Plaid Skirt 

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‘Celia’ Pointy Toe Flat 

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‘Mark’ It Plaid Tote 

Affiliate links were used in this post.

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