December 23, 2010

Girls Night at the Nutcracker

I had the pleasure of taking my girls to the Nutcracker last night. We had a fabulous time being together. The girls had a lot of questions for me about the story and the dancing. I hope this will be the beginning of a tradition that will last for years to come.
Ballet Arizona has some of the most beautiful costumes that I have seen anywhere and the Nutcracker is their biggest show of the year.

Hope all is well!! XOXO -Amber

December 18, 2010

Winterized Garden

It's a shame that I didn't photograph our backyard BEFORE we did all of the work, because then it would have been obvious how much work we did to winterize our garden. I didn't though so you'll just have to take my word for it. We had a hard freeze a couple of weeks ago that killed nearly everything. The only things that were able to pull through were things that like the cold, surprisingly, peas, brussel sprouts and lettuce. Everything else is toast. So we dug out all of the old plants and added some chicken pellets and compost to start amending the soil for spring. Josh also disassembled our bird cage for the winter as the net is a little beat up and will need to be replaced. Our poor little yard looks bare but also a bit bigger.
We also dug up all of our radishes, and there were quite a few, queue happy music : )
The chicken pellets worked because our radishes were sizable this time around, delicious too!
Hope all is well!! XOXO -Amber

December 13, 2010

Christmas Chutney

The Christmas chutney that I made this year is from the Nigella's Christmas cookbook, surprising, I know. It is really pretty simple and takes under two hours total, not all of which is spent working. The fruit portion of the chutney consists of green apples, cranberries and chopped soft dates. I used 5 smallish peeled and diced granny smiths, one bag of cranberries and 16 oz of dates.
Then you just add the zest of 2 clementines, then add the juice and scrape out the pulp into your chutney pot.
You add 2 cups of sugar and a teaspoon (give or take) of various spices; ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and 1/4 t of cayenne pepper.
Pour almost an entire bottle of white wine vinegar over the top and turn the heat on. When it starts to bubble, put the lid on and turn the heat down.
I find that the perfect time to sterilize the jars is while the chutney is cooking.
After about an hour or so the chutney should have turned into a "pulpy mass" which is a pretty good description of the consistency.
I just used a soup ladle to fill my jars and voila, it's festive and delish!!
Hope all is well!! XOXO -Amber