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Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Gardeners for 2017

Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Gardeners for 2017

December is upon us once again and it is time to start thinking about those on our Christmas lists! This list is not in any particular order and are all items I have used or I would love to have! If there is something you think I need to add to the list I want to hear from you!

The Top 10 Christmas Gifts for the gardener on your list on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

To kick off my new 2018 garden series Grow Your Own Food we will start with a fantastic Top 1o list of gifts that won’t break the bank for the gardener in your life. If you are the gardener in your family these are some great ideas you should have on your Christmas list.

 

Bee Houses

A Bee House is on the top 10 list for Christmas gifts for gardeners on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

Perfect for the backyard to attract and house solitary bees that work tirelessly to pollinate. Solitary bees do not produce honey, live in colonies or have a queen, their main job is to pollinate the plants all around us from fruits and vegetables to the crops grown by farmers. Just one solitary bees activity is equivalent of up to 120 worker honeybees in the pollination it provides. Now that is a powerhouse pollinator that you want to attract to your yard!  A  Bee House is simply an artificial nesting structure that mason bees, and other solitary bees, can use to lay their eggs.

 

Gazing Balls

Gazing Balls are on the top 10 list of Christmas gifts for gardeners on Nutmeg Disrupted

Gazing balls have a very long history and have been around since the 13th century first being made by Italian artisans using blown glass. Kings first displayed them in their gardens believing they held magical powers and they were thought to have brought prosperity and good luck to the owner. Over time homeowners would place the  globe near the front entrances to ward off bad things like disease, evil spirits and even ghosts. It was thought to keep witches away when placed near the door to the home, thinking witches would see their own reflection and thus be scared away. I may be a bit late to the gazing ball party and would love one of these as an addition to my yard!

 

Woodstock Chimes

Wood Stock Chimes are on the top 10 list of CHristmas gifts for gardeners on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

These are the most amazing windchimes I have ever heard and I cherish the set I was gifted. They truly are musical. (taken from their website- In 1979, musician and instrument designer Garry Kvistad founded Woodstock Percussion with a single great idea – to make the world’s best sounding windchime. He’s been creating his world-famous, musically-tuned Woodstock Chimes ever since. Today his company offers a unique variety of high-quality, affordable, musical gifts from around the world that inspire, entertain and bring pleasure to people of all ages.) Garry is behind the design, development and tuning of all Woodstock Chimes.

 

Mother Earth News

Mother Earth News is on the top 10 list for Christmas gifts for the gardener in you life on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

Mother Earth News is the definitive gardening magazine that  provides wide-ranging, expert editorial coverage of organic foods, country living, green transportation, renewable energy, natural health and green building. Every issues is jam packed with topics that inspire, teach and cultivate the passion to live well! A must have subscription for anyone who loves to garden.

 

Berry Scoop

Berry Scoops are on the top 10 list of Christmas gits for gardeners on Nutmeg Disruped

 

 

If you have done any blueberry or saskatoon picking it can be an enjoyable but time consuming and tedious activity.  There is a better way! Let me introduce the berry scoop! It makes it easy to pick large amount of berries much quicker then hand picking individual berries. A must have for any berry enthusiast.

 

Mushroom Growing Kit

Mushroom kits are in the top 10 list of Christmas gifts for gardeners on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

 

These kits are absolutely fantastic! In as quickly as 10 days you can grow and harvest a variety of fresh mushrooms right in the comfort of your own kitchen.  They are very easy to care for and it is quite amazing to watch your crop of mushrooms come in! These easy to grow mushroom kits are a must have for any mushroom lover.

Pruning shears

pruning shears are on the top 10 list of Christmas gifts for gardeners on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

There is something to be said for a high quality set of pruning shears. These are a must have for any gardener! They make cutting a breeze from trimming branches on trees and shrubs to chopping up amendments for the compost pile or any task the requires cutting. A good set of sharp shears make the job quick and super easy.

 

Terrarium

Terrariums are on the top 10 list of Christmas gifts for gardeners on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

Terrariums are a fantastic gift! Gardening under glass is  great way to bring nature indoors, The gardener in your life will be able to create an amazing zen garden that can be enjoyed year round for many years to come.

 

A Gardeners Tool Seat

The Gardeners Tool Seat in on the top 10 list of CHristmas gifts for gardeners on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

 

These are small portable fold up seats that also house all of your hand held tools, row markers or anything you make use of out in the garden. It helps reduce strain on knees and hips by being able to sit low to the ground for a more comfortable gardening experience.

 

Hori Hori Knife

The Hori Hori Knife is on the top 10 list of Christmas Gifts for gardeners on Nutmeg Disrupted

A Hori-Hori knife, sometimes referred to as a “soil knife” or a “weeding knife”, is a heavy serrated multi-purpose steel blade for gardening jobs such as digging or cutting. The blade is sharp on both sides and comes to a semi-sharp point at the end. This one came highly recommended by the most amazing gardener I know. He has had his for 10 years and said it is the best gardening tool he owns.

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a bountiful and prosperous New Year! Be sure to stop back in and follow along with my Grow Your Own Food series throughout 2018. If you have ever wanted to grow your own food but were unsure where to start I will guide you through the entire process from learning about your growing area, what seeds to select and will walk with you from Spring through the harvest in Fall and right up to prepping your yard and garden for 2019.

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Sugared Cranberry Bites

Sugared Cranberry Bites

We recently did an entertaining tasting event at work. Being a produce manager my selection to choose from is quite extensive. There are so many things I could have featured. At a meeting before the event someone had mentioned cranberry sauce. That started the gears in my mind turning. I thought it was a fantastic idea.

So many people automatically reach for the canned cranberry sauce on the shelves they have no idea how easy and flavorful homemade cranberry sauce can be.

The result were show stopping and fabulous! We had people coming back four and 5 times.

Sugared Cranberry Bites from Nutmeg Disrupted

By the end of the evening we sampled out over 400 bites and had received rave reviews from everyone.

Because of the volume of samples we presented costs and time available for prep were kept in mind. If I were to make these at an event I hosted in my home I would have chosen phyllo cups as the vehicle for the bites.

This is a three step appetizer so planning ahead is essential.


Sugared cranberries on Nutmeg Disrupted

Sugared Cranberries

2 cups fresh cranberries

1 cup of maple syrup or honey

1/2 cup of water
1 cup granulated sugar

Rinse cranberries and place in a large bowl. Heat syrup or honey and water in a small sauce pan just until warm. Pour the syrup over cranberries when warm. You do not want the syrup too hot as you do not want the cranberries to pop. Allow to cool. Cover and let the berries soak in the refrigerator overnight.
Drain cranberries in a colander. Place sugar in a large bowl or baking dish. Add cranberries in small batches and roll around until lightly coated in sugar. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet until dry, 1 to 2 hours. When dry the berries have a nice crunchy candy coating.

Cranberry Sauce
1 bag of cranberries – fresh or frozen
1 cup of mango melon juice
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of honey

Place all the ingredients in a small pan. Cook  on low – medium heat, stirring occasionally.

As they heat up, the cranberries will pop open. You know the sauce is done when 90 % the berries have split open.

Pour into a bowl to cool.

Surgered Cranberry bites on Nutmeg Disupted

 Sugared Cranberry Bites
crackers or phyllo cups

soft spreadable cream cheese
cranberry sauce
sugared cranberries
fresh mint for garnish

Spread the crackers with the cream cheese, add a teaspoon of cranberry sauce, and 4 or 5 sugared cranberries. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lake Fever Festival of Trees Barrhead 2013

Lake Fever Festival of Trees Barrhead 2013

I made a huge move at the end of summer.

I landed a fabulous job in a new town and embraced the adventure.

But no matter where my life takes me there are two constants.

Gingerbread and raising money for charity.

And this year did not disappoint.

Nutmeg Disrupted at The Festival

One thing I have learnt in my short time here.

Barrhead does it up right.

From the Taste of Barrhead to the Pumpkin Walk (which we’ll talk about soon)  to the Festival of Trees. This little town supports the local events

Nutmeg Disrupted at The Festival of Trees in Barrhead 2013

You don’t have to be in a big city to see amazing people step up and raise big dollars for charity. It can happen anywhere.

One of the many trees at The Festival of Trees in Barrhead kitchen tree

One of the many trees at The festival of Trees in Barrhead

Details from one of the trees at The festival of Trees in Barrhead

I am so very proud to say that my 2013 gingerbread house sold for $600.00 at the Festival. All the money my house raised was donated to FCSS!

Nutmeg Disrupted at The Festival of Trees in Barrhead

Love that. And it makes every hour I put into it worth it when I can make such a significant contribution to an event like that.

This years build was clean and simple. With around 120 hours work it is one of my easier houses. If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll recognize my style.

A look at the front of the Lake fever Cabin at the Festival of Trees in Barrhead

 


Looking do0wn ont he Lake Fever Cabin

The Lake Fever Cabin at the Festival Of Trees in Barrhead

If you ever have the chance please do check out your local Festival of Trees. Not only is it a great way to get into the Christmas spirit it is a wonderful contribution to local charities in your area.

Be sure to stop by the Food Bloggers of Canada for a step by step Gingerbread house tutorial I wrote! It breaks down the steps so you can create a one of a kind gingerbread house of your own!

 

 

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Iced Almond Gems

Iced Almond Gems

It’s 10 to 12, Christmas night. I am just finishing up the last of the apple cider, breaking out the wine momentairly. 4 litres of turkey stock is cooling on the counter. Thoughts of turkey buns are not far off.

Surrounded by baking, that is the one thing that I did not have on my to do list,  thanks to the Cookie Exchange we had earlier in the week. It was fantastic having everyone down, we had a lot of great laughs and everyone went home with overflowing bags of goodies.

First I was going to make Rosettes. Then after seeing some great posts from my friend Annapet over at The Daily Palette, I  changed my mind to Macarons. Being that is was days before Christmas,  work got super busy and all ideas went out the window. Short on time I decided to go with one of my go to cookie recipes that is quick, tastes fabulous and is not a common one that anyone else would make, I choose the Iced Almond Gems.

Iced Almond Cookies

Iced Almond Gems

2 1/2 cups of flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

3 eggs

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon of almond extract

 

Icing Recipe

1 cup of icing sugar

1/4 teaspoon of almond extract

2 – 4 teaspoons of water

Combine until smooth.

 

Grease 2 cookie sheets and set aside. In a bowl stir the flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat the eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla and almond extract with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in the flour mixture until combined.

Iced Almond Cookies

Using about a teaspoon of dough, roll into a ball; and place on the cookie sheet placing 1 inch apart. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Move to a wire rack to cool.

Frost with icing and decorate with sprinkles. Let dry.

Iced Almond Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas filled with great food and wonderful company!

Cheers!

This cookie is entered into the EatInEatOut Christmas in July Cookie Contest.

 

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The Off Season Festival of Trees Grande Prairie 2008

The Off Season Festival of Trees Grande Prairie 2008

Looking to really do something different I thought big for this seasons gingerbread house.

The Off Season GBH Festival Of Trees Grande Prairie

And not just any house.

The Off Season GBH Festival Of Trees Grande Prairie

Much bigger then that.

The Off Season GBH Festival Of Trees Grande Prairie

I was thinking light house!

The Off Season GBH Festival of Trees Grande Prairie

The Off Season GBH Festival of Trees Grande Prairie

The Off Season GBH Festival Of Trees Grande Prairie

Now just the light house alone took just over 10 hours to build. I never did a count of the bricks, no time for that. And I have to say, I was extremely pleased with house the brick work turned out.

I tried a few new techniques this year. One was pouring sugar for the ice surface. Again, I was very pleased with the look of the ice.

The Off season GBH Festival Of Trees Grande Prairie

The Off Season GBH Festival Of Trees Grande Prairie

I also used gelatin sheets colored with edible marker for stained glass windows.

The Off Season GBH Festival of Trees Grande Prairie

Being it was The Off Season Santa and his lovely bride were on the coast taking a relaxing break after the Christmas rush.

The Off Season Gingerbread House Festival of Trees

It started out alright.

Santa

Things were quite nice,

 

and relaxing……

at first……………..

Then things slowly started getting out of control.

And it went from bad…….

to worse.

And ended up as a case of too much of a good thing.

Really looking back at it it could have done with some serious editing.

Still, I was pleased with how the build went! It is a good day when you can raise money for charity with sugar and flour!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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