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Quick Edible gift

Friday, December 19, 2014

I love baking and giving edible gifts and my Biscotti recipe is quick and easy to do. I found it in a magazine years ago and saved it. I have tried various combinations of fruit, nuts and chocolate chips so you can make them what someone likes.
Don't be put of f by the length of the instructions once you have read them and are doing it you will soon see it is really easy.

Pistachio and Apricot Biscotti

200g (7oz) caster sugar Remove 2 tsp and set aside
100g (3.5 oz) Shelled Pistachios
100g (3.5oz) chopped dried apricots
Zest of 1 Orange
Juice of half an orange
1 tsp baking powder
250g ( 9oz) Plain flour ( all purpose) Remove 2 tbsp and set aside
2 eggs beaten
1 tbsp skimmed milk

Preheat oven to gas mark5/ 190C/ 375F
You will need 2 non stick baking trays

1) In a large bowl add sugar, pistachios, apricots, orange zest, baking powder and flour and mix well.
2) Add beaten egg and orange juice mix to a soft dough. Sprinkle the reserved flour onto work surface and divide dough into 4 pieces.
3) Roll each quarter of the dough in the flour to form a sausage shape roughly 10 inches long and 1.5 inches thick. Place on non stick baking tray. Repeat this will the rest of the dough place two rolls on each tray.
4) Brush them with the milk and sprinkle on the reserved sugar that you set aside. Bake in the oven for 15- 20 minutes.
5) Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to gas mark2/150C/300F. Allow the biscotti to cool enough so you can handle them and cut each one with a serrated knife into 12 pieces about half inch thick. Return the slices to the baking trays and bake for a futrger 15 minutes until lightly golden. Remove and leave to get cold.

Variations using the same weights for the pistachios and apricots:
Try adding White chocolate chips and dried Cranberries
Replace pistachios for Chocolate chips and add apricots
Dried cherries and almonds

I have used this recipe for years and it always works vary the fruit and nuts to suit your needs and tastes. A quick easy home-made gift that is sure to please.
Pop them into some bags or an airtight container. Kiln jars tied with red ribbon round the top with a homemade label make a nice container and a useful jar when it is empty, add a card and hey presto one edible and practical gift.

The cost of biscotti in the shops is crazy you can make double the amount for a fraction of the price and they are tailored to what you or the recipient likes.
Happy baking.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PATRICIA-CR 12/19/2014 10:05PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ARTISTSBRUSH 12/19/2014 3:30PM

    now I want a recipe for gingerbread biscotti!

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USMAWIFE 12/19/2014 3:08PM

    thanks i have several i used years ago but have not made any in a long time.

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L*I*T*A* 12/19/2014 11:59AM

    emoticon yummmmmmmmmm

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FITNHEALTHYKAL 12/19/2014 9:51AM

    emoticon My very favorite is gingerbread biscotti. emoticon Actually gingerbread anything!

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NASFKAB 12/19/2014 9:31AM

  really love biscotti thanks for sharing the recipe

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JERZRN 12/19/2014 8:53AM

    Thank you!!!

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    I love biscotti!

Make Today the Greatest Day of Your Life

emoticon Until Tomorrow!

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Christmas decor completed

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Today out tree arrived emoticon and we spent the entire afternoon decorating it.
I Love Christmas trees and this year we got a real one, this is only the second real tree I have ever had.
This is the tree

Close up of a few decorations on the tree

Santa's under the tree

Musical tree sat under the tree

My big Santa with a Reindeer I love him and he has to out every year no matter what.

Santa Shelf

Christmas house and home made stockings

The small stocking is for our cat Dylan

This is the divider that separates the lounge from the kitchen

This is the self under the divider


Wreath and Robins above the sofa

Stacking dolls in front of the Television

I love Christmas and decorating the home it may be just me and Colin and our cat Dylan of course but we still decorate and make the most of Christmas.

So Merry Christmas everyone.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SCRAPPY_RN 12/19/2014 9:12AM

    Paula ~ Looks absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing :)

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NASFKAB 12/19/2014 7:40AM

  it maybe just three of you but you are so important you inspire me by the way you are going on thanks for sharing your lovely pictures

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FITNHEALTHYKAL 12/19/2014 6:45AM

    emoticon all your Christmas decor Paula. Not JUST you, Colin and your fur baby. You are worth the effort because clearly it brings you joy! It is simply beautiful! LOVE your santas and your emoticon is PERFECT. I bet your house smells divine too!

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TRUCKERSMRS 12/19/2014 5:35AM

    That all looks lovely Paula.
I've got the fireplace done but the tree is still not up!! Tomorrow morning job I think!

Warmest wishes to you and Colin for Christmas and the New Year.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 12/18/2014 10:43PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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USMAWIFE 12/18/2014 6:54PM

    Very Beaufiul

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PATRICIA-CR 12/18/2014 6:48PM

    emoticon emoticon decorations!! emoticon


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PRINCESS1959 12/18/2014 4:17PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Boosting willpower week4

Thursday, December 11, 2014

We have been asked to think about ways to boost our willpower and to commit to something we really wanted. These are the questions we were asked to consider and my answers.

Who else in your life will benefit if you reach your goal or make the change you have committed to?

My committed goal was to concentrate on the spiritual side of life and making life more meaningful all round.
By reaching my the goal my husband Colin will also benefit as I will be more relaxed and less stressed. This will mean I am not obsessing about things and that will make a difference to both of us.

Why does this matter to you?

It matters to me as I know I can get caught up in things and obsess about weight loss and life becomes a round of what to eat and how much exercise I need to lose weight.
By shifting my focus I am happier and that makes things better for Colin as he too can relax and this helps him with his various health issues.

We are so used to relying on personal strength for reaching our goals But strength and support are all around us.
Where is the support available to you already?

Right here on Sparkpeople.
So many times I have thought about taking a break from Sparkpeople as I don't seem to be doing much in the weight loss front. In fact I have lost and gained the same pounds for a while now but I have made progress in other areas. I have learnt to control comfort eating and lessened the amount of salt and sugar in my diet. I have learnt to enjoy exercise and found new ways to exercise as well. So I will keep coming back and eventually I reach the goal weight. I need to learn what I am doing and why or I will not find out what I need to do to gain a healthy lifestyle.

Who can you share your goals with, or ask for support?
I can share my goals with friends here on Sparkpeople, in my blog and the various teams I am in. Support is always there for me in my teams as many also know what it is like to struggle and can offer support.
I do share my goals with Colin and he does support me but he does not want to hear about all the time as he gets fed up with it.

As you make progress on your goals, is there a way to share your success with others?

Yes I can blog about reaching a goal and tell friends on my teams.
I can tell Colin when I reach a goal and I could start a scrapbook so I can have a record of what I done. When things are not going as well I would like I can see what I have achieved.
By sharing the fact that I reached a goal it may help someone else find ways to reach their goal. It will also show Colin that it is possible to reach goals no matter how small they may be. As each small goal reached adds up to reaching the larger goals.

Is there anyone in your life who needs support or encouragement?

Yes my husband Colin, he has a lot of health problems and can feel very down at times and needs that little extra encouragement to keep trying. He needs to change things for his health but often feels it is just too hard.
He has to cope with a lot of pain and this can be hard as pain can make you feel depressed. It is then that he needs encouragement to do things no matter how small even if it is only to help me.
It may seem mean when he is feeling down but I will give him some vegetables to prepare whilst sat down watching TV that way he has contributed to the meal. He may not be able to stand and help with a meal but he can things sat down and has now started asking if can help so it is working.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WYOMOL 12/14/2014 10:08AM

    Paula - thanks for sharing - great blog!

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SAPHRAEL 12/12/2014 12:34PM

    Thanks for sharing, Paula. My husband has severe neuropathy in his extremities, so I understand where you are coming from. We are only in our 40s and he's been dealing with this condition for almost 10 years. It's nice that you're able to find ways to include him.

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CHRISTINEBWD 12/11/2014 6:45PM

    Good luck on your journey! All the best in meeting your goals! emoticon emoticon emoticon too!!

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L*I*T*A* 12/11/2014 2:51PM


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NASFKAB 12/11/2014 11:52AM

  great blog

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Christmas sewing

Sunday, December 07, 2014

I bought a new tablecloth for out drop leaf table as the old tablecloth swamped it then I realised the table runners I had was also too big.
I looked around for a new table runner but could not find any I liked so I decided to make one.
I found some material I liked that was not too expensive and Christmassy.
Now I am not the worlds greatest at sewing, I am always surprised that something I have made works out.
So today I got everything out and got on with making the table runner.

This is the material I liked

Nice and bright and I love Poinsettias perfect. Now all I had to do was make sure the runner was correct length and width. I did not want it going over the edge of the table I wanted it dow the middle of the table only.
No fiddly pointed ends just an oblong that can be used either side.
This is the result.

As it was along tube when it is washed it would balloon and lose shape so I have sewn small stitches by hand into some of the flowers to stop the ballooning effect.

I had some aterial left over so made 4 coasters to go with the runner. Two coasters for using on the table and two for on the coffee table. Not having any padding I used some read felt so that I can stand a mug of tea or coffee on them or a glass of wine.

My sewing is not exactly perfect but I do my best and the results are not too bad and Colin likes it and that is what counts. So another to do item is complete in time for Christmas.

As the tablecloth is plain red I can use it for other occasions like Birthday's, Anniversary or any other celebration. I will get some more material and make a few more table runners later on so I have a selection to chose from.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MLDRLD 12/16/2014 11:04AM

    Beautiful fabric! Your table runner and coasters will add a festive touch for the holidays. When it comes to sewing, arts and crafts, we tend to be our own worst critics. The main thing is you enjoy doing it and your creations make your family, friends, and YOU happy! Thanks for sharing.

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    I LOVE that fabric and your table runner is beautiful! I can't wait to see it set for Christmas! emoticon

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MEMARE 12/7/2014 10:13PM

    Very nice! emoticon

I might ask my hubby for a new sewing machine this Christmas. I haven't had one for a number of may have just inspired me. emoticon

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CHRISTINEBWD 12/7/2014 6:02PM

    Your table looks beautiful! emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 12/7/2014 12:32PM


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PATRICIA-CR 12/7/2014 10:58AM

    Lovely amazing crafts!!


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NASFKAB 12/7/2014 10:03AM

  lovely idea & the material is so lovely love poinsettias too

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Homemade and Practical

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Like everyone this time of year I am busy getting things ready for Christmas and trying to find the perfect gift for each person. This can be tricky as I don't want to repeat gifts but also need to find something that I know they will like.
Being on a tight budget also means being inventive but not looking Scrooge like as well. I have often been asked what you can make that is easy to do and look nice as a gift.

I love giving home made gifts and this year I made various knitted items to add to a small bought item but needed a gift for my SIL and Brother that would be useful.
So I decided on Dish cloths to go with home made Pineapple Chutney and Red Onion Relish that I made well in advance in March and a calander, as they never seem to get themselves one.

These are the cloths I made:

For those who knit you can find out what I used and get the links for the patterns here

Both patterns are easy to do and knit up quickly I like the Snowflake the best but I know Santa will be appreciated.
I will make them some cloths that are not seasonal so they can be used after Christmas as well.
So onto knitting the other cloths and getting them ready for Christmas. I may make myself some as well.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FITAT50 12/6/2014 11:02AM

    I really like those Paula! I may have to learn to knit ;-)

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L*I*T*A* 12/4/2014 8:47PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FIT4MEIN2013 12/4/2014 1:51PM

    How awesome! I have never seen anything like those! What wonderful Christmas gifts!

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RUNRUN131 12/4/2014 10:32AM

  very nice

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PATRICIA-CR 12/4/2014 8:51AM

    Wow, beautiful gifts! Very creative and well done. Lucky the receivers!

emoticon them.

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GOLDENRODFARM 12/4/2014 8:33AM

    I always liked making Christmas gifts, and people appreciate them more then a store bought gift, I can't seem to find the time lately, but I think I will need to plan ahead for next year!
emoticon emoticon

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EVILCECIL 12/4/2014 8:15AM

  Very nice gifts.
Good thinking! emoticon

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NASFKAB 12/4/2014 8:14AM

  this makes me wish I was on your list but will go to your blog & make them for myself

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RIDLEYRIDER 12/4/2014 8:05AM

  These are great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

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