Showing posts with label Christmas gifts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas gifts. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Simple Christmas Advent Experience

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With Christmas time upon us, I wanted to share with you a wonderful, yet simple, Christmas Advent ebook that we are going through as a family and also with the kids at Rancho Oasis for Youth.

The Meaning of Advent
Before I share more about "Truth in the Tinsel" and our advent experience... let me tell you what the word "advent" means. 

It means "coming"... which came from the Latin word adventus. 

During the four weeks before Christmas, we are remembering the beautiful history of God's people yearning for thousands of years for the Son of God to come. 

Through this time we are reading scriptures, making crafts and acting out the stories to honor the first advent of Christ. It is also a time to remember, as followers of Jesus, to be looking for His second advent.

Our hope in His return. 

About Truth in the Tinsel
If you are thinking its too late to start the advent... you are in for a sweet surprise! Included in the ebook are different schedules you can follow and you can start anytime. 

Truth in the Tinsel will help you and your family to slow down and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. In it you will find daily scripture reading and simple directions for making ornaments with the kids. 

As each day comes and goes, the kids will learn to truly understand what the celebration is all about (the birth of Jesus) and get excited about the real meaning of Christmas. 

Please take a few minutes to watch this video the author put together to explain how to use the ebook. 

I love how this spunky gal made this advent ebook so simple and fun!

Our Experience So Far

Honestly... we are LOVING it! My girls are eating it up and having so much fun doing the crafts. They also love to act out the scriptures while my hubby is reading them out loud. 

I am enjoying it because it is all ready and done for us... we just need to make sure we have the supplies needed for the crafts and that's about it!

I also like the flexibility I have to make some modifications or changes on the crafts. I just use what I have and make it work! 

As I mentioned earlier, we are also using Truth in the Tinsel with the kids we minister to at Rancho Oasis. The author put together a Spanish version of the advent ebook and it has been a great resource for us!

Truth in the Tinsel on Facebook & More
If you decide to buy this advent ebook... you can also join the Facebook group and share pictures, ideas and encouragement with other families who are doing the advent.

If you have any questions or want more information... go to this post: Top Ten Questions, Tip & How-To's for Your Truth in the Tinsel Experience.

Have a beautiful and simple Merry Christmas!

This post contains affiliate links and I will make a small commission from each purchase... no charge to you! Thank you for supporting me and my family through your purchases on my blog.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Candied Orange Spice Peels

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Since last week I've been going through several pounds (at least 30 lbs, if not more!) of oranges... washing, cutting, peeling, slicing and blending.

My kitchen has been full of sunshine and wonderful smells of delicious oranges! Yummm!

Can't get enough of the smells and beautiful colors, but I've had enough of all that work! LOL! 

You may be wondering when I'm going to get to the point. Right?

Well, we have several citrus trees giving us more than enough oranges and I was wondering what to do with it all! Especially the peels. One day I was browsing through my Facebook and saw one of my friends posted that she was making candied orange peels. Of course, that grabbed my attention.

Candied orange peels?! Honestly, never heard of that!

I quickly googled for a recipe and found one at use real butter (Beautiful photography!). Honestly, I was very surprised to find out that making candied peels is so easy... just a little time consuming  ;o)

Seriously, the work was well worth it... for Christmas we will be giving away small bags of these treats to all our Honduran neighbors & friends, the kids we work with and missionaries we know. I've already had a few kids taste the candied peels and they LOVE them!

While I was waiting for the raw sugar water to get hot... a great idea popped into my head. I  threw in some cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and chunks of ginger to bring about a spicy flavor. Success! Delicious, warm spices drifted up to my nose... oh yum!

After pouring the peels in and simmering them for forever... they came out golden, glazed and sticky. Dropped them in a pan of cane sugar and they separated beautifully. 

When Jon took his first bite of the sugar covered peel... he said the texture and flavor reminded him of those old classic sugar-crusted gumdrops!

I rolled some batches with cane sugar and some without. I am thinking the ones without the sugar crust would be fabulous in some oatmeal cookies. Hmmm, maybe I'll have a recipe coming on that idea!

I made my first batch for a Christmas party for the missionary women. They were a hit! I put the orange peels in small plastic bags and tied them up with a cute ribbon along with the recipe & suggestions... simple and easy. I would rather packet the orange peels in parchment paper or glass jars, but I am in a country where those are not easily found and often expensive. Boohoo. At least they looked cute in the plastic bags!

I am doing the same when passing them out to our Honduran neighbors and kids. I put on different tags that say, "Feliz Navidad!! Bendiciones! Familia de Jon & Marillyn Beard".

Can you believe how much I've made?! LOL! Next year I would like to plan ahead and have some girls help me.

Wish the picture of the gift bag looked a little better, but its good enough and you get the idea!

So, after all that glorious work.... I was left with 6 1/2 quarts of dark, dark brown, orange flavored syrupy sweetness! So, now I have plans for those!! Caramel popcorn, granola, candied nuts, hot chocolate, pancakes and more.


Candied Orange Spice Peels

4 oranges (or any thick skinned citrus fruit)
3 cups sugar (rapadura, coconut sugar or unrefined cane sugar)
1 cup water
1-2 cinnamon sticks (optional)
5-10 whole cloves (optinoal)
1 chunk of ginger (optional)
cane sugar for rolling

Quarter oranges into wedges. Carefully slice or peel the flesh away from the orange peels (I generally don’t like to remove too much pith, only if it is really thick). Slice the peel of each wedge lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips.

Place peels in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Heat on high until water comes to a boil. Pour off the water. Repeat two more times.

Meanwhile, mix 1 cup water with 3 cups of sugar in a large saucepan or pot. Add optional spices. Bring to boil over high heat until temps reaches about 230F. Stir it to make sure sugar is dissolved. Add peels and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until peels are translucent (30 minutes or longer - about 50 mintues at my 6,500 ft. elevation). You will want to stir the peels every so often.

Drain peels in a colander (catch all the syrup in a bowl!). Add sugar into a deep, wide bowl. Use tongs to move peels into the bowl and roll in sugar, if desired. Set on a rack or wax covered cookie sheet to dry for 4-5 hours OR 2 days (best results). I put my peels in my dehydrator and set it on low heat (95-115F). They came out great!

You can now eat the candied peels! If you won’t be eating them within a week, store them packed in sugar in an airtight container.


  • Don't throw out the sugar! Use it to sweeten your morning coffee or drink for some yummy orange-flavored sweetness.
  • Chopped up your orange peels and mix it with some nuts.
  • Don't throw out the syrup! Use it over your pancakes, sweeten drinks, make caramel popcorn and more.
  • Instead of rolling the peels in sugar. Allow them to dry for up to 2 days and dip each peel into some dark chocolate! Allow it to harden before storing in an airtight container.
Don't forget you can order Just Making Ice Cream ebook for $8 through this month! Also, enter for chances to win gluten-free & savory cookbooks!!

Have a wonderful Christmas!