Christmas preparations

Cheats Christmas Fudge

Cheats Christmas Fudge

So you’re down to the wire and need something quick, easy, and Christmas-y to share with colleagues, gift to neighbours, or top up your party spread? Here comes your lifesaver: Cheats Christmas Fudge.

I must confess the only thing Christmas-y about this fudge is the crushed candy canes on top. That’s kind of a blessing though- it means you can whip this up at anytime of the year by swapping out the topping for another of your choice. Nuts are the first thing that come to my mind but I’m sure you have plenty of suggestions. Crushing the candy canes is a job undertaken very enthusiastically by toddlers in my experience. Stick a handful of candy canes in a plastic bag, seal it, hand a rolling pin to any child who needs to release some pent up up energy, remove all breakable objects from the vicinity, and let them at it. Tea towels are a good idea to protect your bench top.

Crushing candy canes

If you exclude the candy canes this recipe only has two ingredients. That’s correct. Two.

Ingredients:

1 can sweetened condensed milk (395g)
3 cups chocolate melts (I used milk chocolate but you could experiment with dark)

Method:

  1. Line a slice tin with aluminium foil
  2. Place a double boiler (or if you’re like me and don’t have one, a bowl over a saucepan will suffice) on the stove and pop the chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in the top
  3. Heat gently until the chocolate has melted, then stir to combine
  4. Quickly pour the melted mix into your lined slice tin, smooth the top, and decorate with toppings of your choice (crushed candy canes in this case) or leave plain
  5. Stick the whole tray into the fridge to set for a couple of hours
  6. Once set cut into squares and package or plate as you see fit!

Melting

You can also experiment with flavours added to the fudge mix itself. This time I added a few drops of peppermint essence but you could also try vanilla, or almond essence would be great with blanched almonds on top! Just be careful when adding to the mix as any water will make the chocolate seize.

Are you a fudge fan? What other flavour combinations can you come up with?

Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas everyone! I’ve only been blogging my downshift journey for a few months but I’ve already made so many new friends and I hope this season treats you all well, along with Santa! I’m spending this special time with my family and as it’s my daughter’s first real Christmas (we only left hospital on Christmas Eve when she was born) it’s a very exciting one!

wreath

I made my wreath by plaiting the dried out flower stalks from our palm tree (that is the great tumbleweed like thing that falls off the palm after all the flowers have died). I fixed it together using a little wire and tied it on the door with some old white ribbon. If you’re looking to make a wreath next year I like this red floral one over on Hello Giggles. Very easy and you could use whatever fabric you have lying around.

I’m off to eat some plum pudding, take care xx

Christmas Tree Top

I wanted to make my daughter something Christmas-y to wear to the upcoming family functions in the lead up to December 25th. As it’s summer it needed to be cool, and due to our strict budget it needed to be thrifty. I saw a ruffled Christmas tree top somewhere (but can’t for the life of me remember where- if you know please tell me in the comments!) and decided it was right up my alley. I already had a plain white singlet, all I needed was a little green fabric, a star button, and some brown felt. I was able to purchase all three for under $6.

First I cut a triangle out of paper to test the size of the Christmas tree.

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Then I cut three strips of fabric to make the ruffles for the tree. The longest strip had to be at least twice as wide as the triangle.

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Next I simply hand stitched along the top of each strip and pulled the thread at the end to gather the fabric and create the ruffle.

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I referred to my triangle to ensure the ruffles were the correct width before knotting the end of the thread.

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Then it was time to sew it all together! I just hand stitched the ruffles on and used the button to cover the stitching on the top layer.

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The brown felt rectangle was also hand sewn, creating the trunk.

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Ta da! I didn’t hem the ruffles so they are fraying a little already but I love the rustic effect. As my daughter will only wear it a couple of times it doesn’t need to be super robust. In fact I may even take the tree off after Christmas and use the singlet for another project, we’ll see. Anyway I’m happy she has something fun to wear for this merry season and it was oh so quick and easy!

Christmas top

Christmas preparations

Yes, you read correctly! It may only be October but it’s the perfect time to start thinking about Christmas, or more specifically Christmas Cake. This year I am partaking in the Down To Earth Forums bake-a-long. We’re baking from the Bourke Street Bakery recipe book, which I was lucky enough to purchase the other day with a gift card from my lovely mother-in-law. The recipe require you to soak the dried fruit in a brandy and sugar syrup for approximately a month before baking. In the first week you must stir the mixture daily, then once a week until it is time to bake.

I love the ritual of lifting the lid and slowly turning over the glistening fruit. The little squares of peel appear like citrine jewels and I imagine how much we shall enjoy our Christmas!

 

What are your plans for Christmas? Have you already started preparations?