Monday, December 13, 2010

Baskets Full Of Pin-up Up Girls and Tasty Treats

I started a new tradition of making baskets of goodies for my family at Christmas. I have been canning all year long, so now's the time to show it off, and what better way to do that than with a great pair of legs. I LOVE the old style 1940's-1960's pin-up girls, Back then, pin-up models were sexy, but still classy and lady-like. So this year I decided to incorporate a pin-up theme to my baskets. Baskets are so easy to make, so much fun to personalize, and you can do them for fairly cheap. If you've been following the blog and learned to make jelly, you can add those to your basket, or just fill them with baked goods in cute little cellophane bags tied up with bows. This year I made cinnamon and sugar coated almonds, several types of jellies and preserves, and dried my own serrano peppers to use in sauces and soups. I made special tags for the various goodies in my baskets by finding a picture from Yahoo! images, then adding text with my photoshoppe program. You can do the same thing by bringing up the picture in Microsoft Paint, or PowerPoint and just adding text. Below are examples of my tags
I had fun picking out my baskets, I got each of them at Goodwill for $1-$2 each! Love that place! I also found some fun little paper doilies at the grocery store that I used to girly-up my jars of jelly. For the bottom of each basket I found some pretty garland and just cut the strand to fit each basket; and for presentation I use either cellophane from the big rolls, or you can use the pre-made bags. This year I found some shrink wrap that worked really well. To personalize each basket, you can pick out some ornaments, or buy something small to add to your basket to make it sparkle and pop. I found the best little decorations at Michael's (a craft store chain in California) for less than a dollar each.
I've had a lot of people ask for my cinnamon and sugar coated almonds recipe, so here it is (WAY EASY!!):

Sugar N' Spice and Everything Nice Almonds

3 cups almonds
1 egg white
2 cups of sugar
1/4 cup cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a large bowl, add almonds, and stir in egg white and vanilla until almonds are completely covered.  In a small bowl, combine your sugar and cinnamon, then add it to your almonds, mix until all almonds are evenly coated. Spread out almonds in a single layer on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 20-30 minutes. At 10 minutes, stir almonds around so they bake evenly. To test if your almonds are done, at 20 minutes take one almond out of the oven, pop it in the freezer for a couple minutes to cool, then taste. If the texture is chewy, you need to bake them a little longer, if the almond snaps in your mouth, then their done. Take out, and let cool on the cookie sheet for 10-20 minutes.

Then you can stick them in cute, little cellophane bags, tie them up with a bow and a tag and you have instant Xmas presents.


  1. Candice, thanks for the almond recipe. I am totally going to make those. We have a HUGE bag of almonds James got from someone who was studying the insects on them or something like that sooo...we are stuck with a huge bag and plain almonds get boring after a while.

    Also, I was wondering how do you separate your egg whites? My mom has this gadget, but I can't seem to find one to buy in the stores so I've been trying the old fashioned ways and it's not working! What do you do? I might just end up buying the gadget online.

  2. How adorable are these? I love them so much I want to steal the idea, but I won't....

    You have earned yourself a new follower.

    PS: I saw your post in the Coffee Shop.

  3. I absolutely love these! What an awesome idea. Although I couldn't give them to the people I work with now but they would have been perfect for the 10 years I worked in construction! Love them!

  4. Amber, Welcome! Please steal the idea!! I don't mind at all ;)

    Kara, You're welcome! No need for a special gadget, I do it the old fashioned way too, it just takes a little practice: Very carefully crack the egg in half, peek inside to see which side the yolk is, turn the half of the shell so it cups the egg yolk, and dump the white from one side, then just dump the egg yolk from one side into the other side of the shell and the other half of the white will come out. Transfer back and forth until all the white is out and you're left with the whole yolk in the shell.

    If you break your yolk, you're kinda screwed, so the trick is to make sure you give your egg some solid hits against the lip of the bowl and work your thumbs in the opening and gently pull the egg apart. Then you can start doing the yolk transfer. :)

    You can come up with a ton of other recipes for seasoned almonds too. I like to add a couple tsp of nutmeg to the cinn and sugar recipe and it totally makes the almonds taste like Christmas...if Christmas had a taste :)

    Or use the egg whites and instead of adding cinn and sugar, add one of those taco seasoning packets, that's really good too :)

    Have fun experimenting, try small batches at first, so if they suck you won't feel bad throwing them away :D

  5. I know what I'm making for my spouse this weekend! He looooves almonds and he finally got the stove/oven working last night.

  6. I wholeheartedly appreciate you reading my blog. And I am so pleased that you did, because I'm now got THIS gem to read. This blog is brilliant. Your word choice is brilliant. You're brilliant. End of story. I want a friend who will make me fake-christmas (I don't count christmas as an actual holiday. It's fun, but it's not a holiday) presents such as these.
    Keep writing and I will keep reading.

    all of my love and best wishes

  7. Delaney,

    That is the nicest comment I've ever read. Thank you, you really made my day. Keep up the blogging, you have such a great outlook! Instead of hoping for a friend to make you fake-xmas gifts, why don't you be that friend? It's fun to be unique, and with your photography skills you could make come crazy personalized little gifts that all your friends/boyfriend will rave about for years! :)


  8. Very cool and imaginative! Love the idea! I will have to keep that in mind for next year! The pin-up's are a great idea.

    I am enjoying your blog by the way!