Well it has been a busy week around these here parts, there has been so much great inspiration out there in the world of blogage that I haven’t been able to resist! I made the wonderful granola that was listed on Soulemama earlier last week (from the great book Feeding the Whole Family), it is a real hit with me and my Dad though the boys haven’t quite warmed up to it yet (they aren’t really granola fans). But my cunning plan is to convert some of the granola into tasty bars and I’m sure they won’t be able to get enough!
Also from Soulemama and Orangette was a delicious peppermint bark recipe. I’ve had peppermint bark but it was store bought and nothing like this (the only time I’ve had anything to compare was when my friend Karen made some a few years ago which was snaffled tout sweet but it has been a few years so withdrawal has set in!). If you’ve had store bought peppermint bark before cast it from your mind, if you haven’t try this first. The blissful layers of white chocolate, brights spots of peppermint along with a deep, truffle like ganache centre are not to be missed. I’ve been sneaking a square along with a hot cup of peppermint tea, melty chocolaty bliss.
To celebrate the solstice we made lovely beeswax candles, the boys made one each and it was a really worthwhile activity. We purchased the sheets of wax from a local store that sells beekeeping equipment and candle making supplies. Huwyl and I have been hatching plans to expand our candle making to larger ones using moulds but I think that is going to have to wait until after christmas. The smell of beeswax in the store was so heavenly I can see myself returning time and time again. I think the lads who work there might have thought us odd for sniffing all of the lovely candles but Huwyl and I were very happy!
For our candles we chose sheets with a lovely leaf pattern, this seemed so appropriate as we wish for fecundity and abundance in the coming year. The top tip given to us by the lad at the store was to first warm the sheet with a hairdryer to remove the white residue that builds on the sheet. Huwyl particularly enjoyed this job and gave up the hairdryer very reluctantly (after spending some time drying everyone’s already dry hair as well as rewarming his wax sheet several times).
First you trap the wick under a folded edge then continue on rolling the wax tightly until you have a lovely pillar candle. The results from this craft were pleasingly quick, though juggling both boys and a new craft was a bit tricky. Rewarming the sheets with the hairdryer did help prevent cracking and we also used the same technique to hold down the last edge. It was lovely to light a candle last night that was made by our own hands, I couldn’t bring myself to adhere to tradition and let it burn down so we should have some handmade candle action right up until Christmas.
No matter what kind of day we’ve had (and some days we seem to have all the ups and downs a day can have) a candle flame, glowing on the table signifying the end of the day, the time of snuggles and stories and falling to sleep, never fails to bring me solace. And when the candle has been made by the hands of my family I am reminded of how lucky I am to be surrounded by their glowing flames. Sometimes they burn hot and I feel scalded, sometimes they are hard to ignite and I am frustrated but, at the end of each day, when I regard the two flames who define my life and rule my heart, I know that fortune has smiled on me indeed.
Happy Solstice and Celtic New Year to one and all!