Store Greens and Lettuce in glass containers for a beautiful display in the fridge or as a Fresh centerpiece.

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Have fresh greens right up front to get creative with instead of letting them wither away in the crisper.⁠ Why not pretty-up your fridge with greens⁠ Display Kale, Swiss chard and other leafy greens in jelly jars on the side door or on a shelf of the refrigerator. I also like to create inexpensive, bright and cheerful centerpieces with greens in pretty vases for a beautiful and Inexpensive display for casual dinner parties or brunch.

Quickly Dry Lettuce and Greens To Store

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I am going to grill these pretty little gems with a bit of basic dressing (olive oil, lemon, crushed garlic and sea salt). In the meantime, here is a quick tip to help make dinner prep easier. Rinse Romaine lettuce leaves and then place on to a long sheet of paper towels and roll them up and store them in the fridge. They continue to dry and are ready to go when I am ready to use them. This saves time and valuable refrigerator space especially if planning dinner for quests.I recycle or reuse the paper towels afterwards.⁠

savory Sweet Tomato Jam

YIELDS | 1.5 Cups or 6-8 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 1 hr 30 MINS

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I love the versatility of this recipe. Smear this spoon-licking jam on warm bread buttered with brie or creamcheese or place a spoonful between a slice of ham and cheese for a savory sweet sandwich. You will want to make a double batch. It is that versatile!

INGREDIENTS

* 2 pounds tomatoes, Roma, plum or a combination, cored and roughly chopped.
* 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
* 2 plump garlic cloves, minced
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
* Crackers, bread and cream cheese, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Add all the ingredients to medium-sized, heavy pot with lid or dutch oven. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil and stir.
2. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened to a jammy consistency about 1-1/2-2 hours. Season to taste with additional salt and or red chili flakes.
3. Pour the jam into small glass containers or canning jars, seal the lids and refrigerate until ready to use. Use within 2weeks.
4. Serve chilled tomato jam with warm bread, hearty crackers and with a side of cream cheese, if using and a glass of white wine or a good beer.

NOTES

What Do You Eat with Tomato Jam?
* Spread it on crackers over brie or cream cheese.
* Add it to grilled ham and cheese sandwichs
* Try it with eggs of any kind, scrambled, sunny side up, omelet.
* Makes a great condiment for hotdogs and cheeseburgers
* Marinate chicken and fish with it for a savory and smoky taste

Forcing Blooms on Branches to Bring Indoors

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BRING A LITTLE SPRING INTO YOUR HOME

Springtime blooms cheer up the last, seemingly endless days of winter. Follow these few easy steps to have gorgeous blossoms in no time. These pretty stems make a beautiful dinner party centerpiece and make a lovely hostess gift too.

HOW TO PRUNE BRANCHES

All you need is a pair of clean, sharp pruners (and a spring-flowering tree or shrub!)
Choose a day when the temperature is above freezing. The milder temperatures help ease the transition the plants must make from outdoors to indoors.
Select branches that are not essential to the form of your shrub or tree, in a crowded section, and towards the back of the plant.
Prune a 1 to 2 foot-long length of branch. Choose a branch with lots of buds, preferably with very small buds that are beginning to open. (The flower buds are generally fatter and more rounded than leaf buds.)
Remember proper pruning! Cut branches on the diagonal. Steeply-angled cuts ensure water uptake.
It helps to “bruise” the cut ends: Crush the stem ends with a small hammer; they’ll soak up the water faster.

HOW TO FORCE BRANCHES
Once you’re inside, set the branches in a vase or vessel of room temperature overnight. Cut slits from the cut up the branch for several inches to promote water uptake. (Make sure the vase won’t tip with the heavy branches.)
Keep vase in a bright room away from heaters and direct sun. The brighter the room, the better the quality of bloom.
Recut the ends using a slanting cut the next day.
Change the water every few days so the branches don’t rot from build-up of bacteria forming. Mist flowers.
Flowers should appear in a few weeks. Once blooms appear, display in a warm area and enjoy!
Note: If it does not work the first time you try a plant, cut branches a few weeks later and try again.
Misted flowers and catkins can last for up to a week in a cool, 60 degree room. Branches with leaves may last longer.

BEST TREES AND SHRUBS FOR FORCING INDOORS
Tree or Shrub Time to Bloom
Buckeye 5 weeks
Cherry 4 weeks
Cornelian dogwood 2 weeks
Crab apple 4 weeks
Deutzia 3 weeks
Flowering almond 3 weeks
Flowering dogwood 5 weeks
Flowering quince 4 weeks
Forsythia 1 week
Honeysuckle 3 weeks
Horse chestnut 5 weeks
Lilac 4 weeks
Magnolia 3 weeks
Pussy willow 2 weeks
Red maple 2 weeks
Redbud 2 weeks
Red-twig dogwood 5 weeks
Spicebush 2 weeks
Spirea 4 weeks
Wisteria 3 weeks

Homemade Mulling Spice

YIELDS | 8 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 5 MINS

COOK TIME | 0 MINS

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The types of spices used in mulling spice mixtures varies but it usually consists of some combination of allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and occasionally cardamom and peppercorns. I like to add dried Clementine peel. Steep this herbaceous, warm blend in wine and cider. The longer you steep the stronger the flavors. Expecting a crowd? Pour a gallon of wine or cider into a crockpot and add 3 tablespoons of the spice blend and heat on low. Bonus, your home will smell amazing too. A jar of this blend would make a wonderful hostess or holiday gift too!

INGREDIENTS

* ⅓  cup cardamom pods
* ¼ cup allspice berries
* ¼ cup whole cloves
* ¼  cup star anise pods
* ⅓ cup dried orange or clementine peel
* ¼ cup black peppercorns, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Place cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, allspice berries, cloves and star anise in large zip top bag.
2. Crush with rolling pin a few times to break larger spices and release the oils.
3. Add dried orange or clemintine peel and peppercorns to the bag and toss to mix well. Store until ready to use
4. Use 3 tablespoons of spice mix per gallon of apple cider or wine. Steep over simmering heat for 20-30 minutes, strain and enjoy.

NOTES

If making a small batch; mix 1 tablespoon blend with one bottle wine and simmer for a few minutes.