Every year for 11 years now I've been making candied orange slices for the holidays. It is a long process and takes a week or so to complete but the end result is so yummy and festive. They have such a beautiful stained glass look. It's totally worth the time and effort. I am gonna try a process post here although I don't think my pictures were the best but anyway, enjoy!
Start with organic Valencia oranges. It is important that they are Valencia oranges as I have tried others and the end product isn't as nice. The peel is too bitter or is too thick. The segments aren't even and pretty. As for organic, that is because the peel has a different taste if they aren't not to mention the scary toxins in and on the peel. Slice the oranges and discard (I juice) the ends and put the slices in a big pot with a bit of sugar in the bottom.
Layers sugar and oranges until it's 3/4 full.
Then onto the stove over medium low heat.
The sugar starts melting. This is a slow process as you want to be careful not to scortch the sugar. I pretty much hover over them on the stove gently shifting them with a wooden spoon for the 45 minutes this takes. Once most of the sugar is melted you can turn up the heat and bring it to a simmer adding sugar so the Orange slices are completely covered.
Once they reach a boil and all the sugar is melted, let it simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. What happens here is the water in the orange begins to steam out in the heat and the liquid sugar replaces it. After 20 minutes turn it off and let it cool completely.
Repeat this process once or twice a day through the week until they don't steam anymore when heated to a boil. That's when all the water is gone and replaced with sugar. They will be glassy and beautiful! I like to boil for about 15 minutes with no steam escaping to harden the syrup a bit and give it a nice carmel flavor and color. At one point I thought that I could just combine this process into one day and save time with the heating a cooling by boiling continuously but the end product is not nearly as pretty and the flavor just isn't there. Time is essential with these. Just know that, and be patient. The good thing here is your house smells amazing the whole time these are in the kitchen!
Now very gently poor off the cooled liquid and strain the oranges. Reserve the syrup to have in tea, on ice cream and pancakes, with whipped chocolate ganache, pretty much limitless uses. Work in small patches while straining so the slices don't get damaged. Lay them to dry on plastic wrap on a flat surface. Step back and admire your beautiful stained glass looking treats that are making your home smell like a holiday candyland. This is about day 5 depending on the size of your batch.
After 24 hours or so of drying, flip each slice discarding the sticky plastic wrap and putting fresh wrap down. Wait another 24-ish hours. Try one. Yum! Make tea and sweeten with the orange syrup and contemplate how impressed everyone is going to be with your amazing candies. Pat yourself on the back because you are so awesome and really close to being done with this week long project that has been taking over your every available kitchen counter space for fekking ever.
It's been 48 hours of drying, time for chocolate! In a double boiler made from a bowl over a pot (make sure the bowl isn't resting in the water) melt bitter sweet chocolate over hot but not boiling water. Be patient here as well. You are going to stay at the stove for quite a while slowly stirring. I usually buy a block of chocolate and chop it, melting the chopped pieces but this year I used chips. I have to say I like the block chocolate better but chips were less expensive. However, quality really does matter so you decide. When it is melted, remove bowl from hot water and dry the bottom (careful not to get even a tiny drip of water in your chocolate or it will seize and ruin your happy mood and your batch of chocolate) add a third more chocolate to your bowl.
Incorporate the hard chocolate into the melted chocolate. This seeds the melted chocolate and makes it lovely and glossy and perfect for dipping oranges in.
When all of the chocolate is smooth and glossy it is ready for dipping oranges in. The above picture is close to ready, Just needs a few more moments to finish melting the added chips.
There, perfect. Now go into super human speed and working as fast as possible (the chocolate is only workable at a very narrow temperature range) dip each slice one half in the chocolate and place on fresh plastic wrap to dry. This is messy so keep a couple damp cloths close to clean your fingers.
Aren't these gorgeous little fragrant morsels of chewy goodness. Let them dry here until the chocolate is set. Them place in air tight containers for your special dinner later or stack and warp in plastic wrap or wax paper and give as gifts. These are perfect on any table laden with a holiday feast!
I have not been a good fashionista lately. It seems that I am in workout clothes most days until early evening when I shower and put on comfy house clothes that are not to be seen in public as they are not at all flattering or fashionable. This is also the most difficult time of year to get photos as the light fades very early in the day. But last weekend I ran errands on Sunday and so I ventured out into the foggy winter mess that is the Missoula inversion, but since I live a bit higher than the town, my house was above most of the nasty gray with enough light for pictures and Kanon was home to oblige, so here you go.
It was warm for December last weekend and is supposed to be warm all week. Snow is melting and everything is slushy and slick. Boots with grippy soles are a must unless you aren't opposed to landing on your butt in a puddle of gray slush. These have nice vibram soles so they work well but I still have to be careful and pick my way a bit as I like the white color to remain white.
Photos by Kanon.
Stay warm and dry.
I'm never really ready for winter but this year it seems worse than usual. Maybe because fall was so beautiful and now it is so cold! I love the sunny days with a high of 70 degrees. Now we have snow and ice and cold cold cold and wind. So since I'm hiding indoors by the fire with a cup of tea and a slice of cake, I'll post pictures I have from a perfect fall day before this crazy cold no degree weather.
Sweater by Pol is from a local boutique and might be my current favorite. It is definitely in high rotation so expect to see it again soon. Dress by she seen here and here. Leggings from Victoria's Secret (they have long ones there for tall girls). Boots by Chloe seen here. Scarf by Michael Stars seen here and here and probably plenty of other times as well.
Photos by Mac.
It is late to post this and well, I've been bad about posting haven't I? Anyway, Day of the Dead is one of my favorite holidays. Missoula has a beautiful parade in the evening that ends at the park with an intricate mandala, fire dancers, drummers and other musicians. It is such a fun event to go to with Mac. I tried to get Kanon to go again this year but he would have none of it. Mac and I had a blast though.
Kanon did macs face design this time. Mac was pretty happy with it. He felt it was sufficiently scary. I agree. He did not enjoy washing it off, however.
This is the second year I've done my face full sugar skull. I love anything that allows for creativity in makeup, so this is right up my alley. Last year I went with a darker green and it rally rad as black so this year I chose for turquoise as my main color. I was happy with the finished look. The bright pink lips add life to it I think.
I had fun adding a little sparkle too.
And because I'm not a fan of grease paint I opted for a light silvery look instead. Much easier on the skin.
Photos by Kanon
Have a wonderful day and stay warm. We are freezing here at 4 whole degrees.
Ok, on to pretty cashmere and fabulous Chloe boots. I think you may be seeing a lot of these boots on here. I love them!
It is still warm enough to not always wear a coat. Cold in the mornings but up into the 60's in the sunny afternoons. So, as you might have guessed, I tend to layer. This is also the perfect time of year for light cashmere sweaters and sweaters with 3/4 length sleeves as this one has.
Since scarves add warmth and color but can be taken off when you get too toasty in the sun, they are perfect for fall weather. I have this bright one that I love. I'll try not to over do it on the blog though.
The layering extends to my wrists here for sure. Stack layers of fun beads and it makes for a casual look with lots of color. And since I love them, an up-close of the boot yummyness!
3/4 length sleeve oversized cashmere tunic is by White and Warren. They tank underneath is Old Navy. The leggings are Members Only seen here, here and here. Scarf was gifted. Boots are Chloe. Bling is just fun and cheap.
Photos are by Mac.
Since living in Montana again I've had limited access to designer collections and high fashion in general. The internet is an wonderful tool for shopping and looking and I make use of it regularly and do my best to keep up with the shows and the new collections. However, there is much to be said for the ability to feel a clothing item, turn it over, look at it, try it on etc. It can look lovely on a model styled to perfection online or in print but it can be challenging to truly understand the item from the prospective of a wearer who isn't professionally styled and might not be a model size nothing. Of course these prospectives changes as often as the many body types that might buy said item. So, to be in Vienna and have all the high end boutiques within easy walking distance from my hotel meant I was in heaven! I shopped them all! I touched, I tried, I worked my lust list over, dropping items off of it and adding new ones. I was good and didn't buy anything but it was so much fun for me. Just to have all the style and fashion inspiration was so wonderful! One of the boutiques I experienced was Miu Miu. I have not had the opportunity to shop a full collection at a boutique from Miu Miu before. I do quite like Prada so it might be obvious that I would like Miu Miu also, however I had no idea I would fall head over heals in lust. What can I say? It happens, sigh. Beautiful things make me swoon. So here are my current most coveted items riding high on my lust list of the moment.
These particular pumps and bowler are apparently not available in the US. Well, not that I was going to go right out and buy them…there is a similar pump at mytheresa.com in black with green rubber and without the mini t-strap detail, but I can't find this bowler matelasse anywhere aside from a previous years color. I so love the structure of the bag and the leather is just like butter. So yummy! The Miu Miu site has this color in the tote which is also nice but I like the extra detail of the bowler with the gold tone hardwear. That being said, I hope you have added some items to your lists.
Have a lovely day and enjoy something lovely even if only on your list and not in your closet.