Saturday, November 11, 2017

Toasted Almonds

 Recipe for Toasted Candied Almonds

     In ​​the​​ Central​​ Valley​​ of​​ California during​​ the​​ early ​​fall, you ​​can ​​drive ​​down ​​a​​ country​​ road ​​or highway ​​and ​​see ​​the​​ trees​​ full​​ of​​ nuts; ​​almonds ​​and​​ walnuts​​ are​​ the​​ two​​ most​​ common​​ nuts found ​​in​​ the ​​Central​​ Valley. At ​​this ​​time ​​the​​ harvesters​​ are ​​busy ​​shaking ​​the ​​trees ​​and ​​sweeping​​ up ​​the ​​nuts ​​for ​​harvest. It is ​​the​​ time ​​when ​​all ​​the ​​season’s ​​harvests ​​come ​​together ​​to create​​ some great​​ seasonal baking ​​and​​ goody ​​making.
     My ​​favorite nut ​​for ​​baking​​ is ​​​​walnuts. ​​I ​​love ​​the ​​Black ​​walnuts​​ in ​​cookies, ​​cinnamon​​ rolls, ​​and cakes. ​​The Black walnuts ​​have ​​so ​​much ​​more ​​of ​​a​​ rich ​​flavor ​​than ​​the​​ traditional​​ English ​​walnuts. ​​The English walnuts are the ones that ​​are ​​most ​​available ​​in ​​stores.
     For ​​snacking ​​I ​​prefer ​​Almonds. ​​Pronounced ​​​​Al​​-mond ​​in​​ most all​​ parts ​​of ​​the ​​country​​ except​​ where they ​​are grown. ​​Here ​​in​​ Central ​​California almost ​​all ​​growers ​​here ​​call ​​them​​​​ A-monds, pronouncing​​ the ​​"​​A" as​​ a​​ short​​ vowel​​ sound.​​ They​​ do ​​not ​​pronounce​​ the "​​L​​"in ​​the ​​name. ​​This pronunciation  ​​goes way back ​​to​​ the​​ old-timers ​​who ​​use ​​to​​ say​​ that​​ “​​One ​​has​​ to ​​knock​​ the​​ "L"​​out ​​of​​ them ​​to ​​get​​ them ​​off the ​​tree." ​​​​This​​ funny ​​phrase ​​and​​ pronunciation ​​has ​​lasted​​ throughout ​​the​​ years​​ here​​ in ​​the Central​​ Valley.​​​​ The ​​term​​ comes​​ from ​​in​​ the ​​early ​​days,​when ​​the ​​farmers​​ would​​ have ​​to ​​actually place ​​large ​​canvas ​​cloth​​ around ​​the​​ tree ​​bases ​​and ​​use​​ a​​ large ​​stick​​ that ​​was​​ wrapped ​​with ​​a soft​​ cloth ​​to ​​knock​​ the​​ branches​​ and​​ make ​​the ​​nuts​​ fall​​ to​​ the​​ ground.​​ The​​ farmers would​​ gather ​​the canvases​​ into ​​bundles​​ and ​​carry​​ the​​ nuts ​​to ​​a​​ roller ​​machine ​​that ​​would​​ help ​​shake ​​the ​​outer ​​husk from​​ the​​ nuts, leaving the hard shell and meat inside.
     Now,​​ the ​​new ​​method ​​is ​​a ​​machine ​​called a "Shaker" that ​​is ​​driven​​ into ​​the​​ orchard ​​with ​​an​​ arm ​​that​​ clasps​​ the truck ​​and ​​shakes ​​the​​ tree, ​​allowing ​​the ​​nuts​​ to ​​fall ​​onto ​​the​​ ground. ​​After ​​all​​ the ​​nuts​​ are​​ shaken to ​​the​​ ground, ​​they ​​are ​​then ​​swept ​​up​​ by​​ a ​​"Sweeper".​​ It ​​looks ​​similar ​​to ​​a​​ large ​​lawn ​​mower ​​with a ​​circular ​​brush ​​that​​ sweeps ​​the ​​ground ​​and ​​vacuums​​ up ​​the ​​nuts.​​​​ .
    Now​​ that ​​I​​ have ​​given ​​you​​ a ​​little​​ bit​​ of ​​the ​​fall​​ season ​​in ​​the​​ valley​​ of ​​walnut​​ and ​​almond growers, ​​I​​ will ​​share ​​with​​ you ​​a​​ few ​​old ​​​​recipes ​​that​​ have​​ been ​​shared​​ through ​​the​​ generations of ​​nut​​ growers.
One ​​of​​ the​​ favorite​​ all ​​time ​​recipes ​​in ​​this ​​area​​ is ​​the​​ Candied​​ nut​​-​​you ​​can ​​use ​​this ​​on​​ both​​ the Walnut​​ and​​ Almonds.

    Toasted Cinnamon Almonds

1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups of raw almonds
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees
In a large bowl, whisk egg white and vanilla until fluffy. (appox. 2 min)
Stir in nuts
Mix remaining ingredients and add to the nuts - stir.

Place parchment paper onto a jelly roll pan or other low side pan, spread the nut mixture into the parchment paper the pan.

Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes ( stir part way through the cooking time)
  1st 1/2 hour and again 1/2 hour later -
Cool in pan - when dry, place into jars -

   Sweet Smoked Paprika Almonds   (uses the same directions but seasoning is changed)

1 egg white
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 cups of raw almonds
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp smoked sea salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 tsp smoked Paprika

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees
In a large bowl, whisk egg white and vanilla until fluffy. (appox. 2 min)
Stir in nuts
Mix remaining ingredients and add to the nuts - stir.

Place parchment paper onto a jelly roll pan or other low side pan, spread the nut mixture into the parchment paper the pan.

Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes ( stir part way through the cooking time)
  1st 1/2 hour and again 1/2 hour later -
Cool in pan - when dry, place into jars -

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bead Hoarders Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal!!!

Bead Hoarders Bead Soup 

Blog Party Reveal!!!

    I am excited to say it is that time where all the collaborators are sharing their creations from their Bead Hoarder, Beadsoup Party partners!!  I want to thank Lori Anderson for hosting this event - 
    This has been a fun event. You can follow the fun on  Pinterest or on the creator's page for the Bead Party Blog.

   Here is the completed  necklace and earring set that I made from the spring color vintage crystal beads that Lori Schneider / Beadaddicted sent me.   I added a gold tone chain, wire wrapped links, and gold tone earring hooks. The picture does not fully show how beautiful these beads sparkle.  The focal point was made by Marla's Mud.

    Among the other items that Lori sent, was these very detailed poly-clay book beads that she made. After some thought, I decided to make chain link long necklaces with tassels. I used antiqued copper chains and rings. Then added some of my own beads; genuine jade, faux pearls, and a crystal cut iridescent accent bead on the one. 

 Last, but not the least, Lori sent me this beautiful piece of etched copper that she created.  I knew right away what I was going to do with this piece. I love working with metals and leather. So, I created this hair barrette. I cut and stained the leather, punched the appropriate size holes and riveted the barrette bracket, leather and the etched piece together. I feel that the color hues in the metal are accented perfectly with the stain I chose. 

    Lori is the host of the Beadaddicted blog. She is a veteran Beader and has participated in previous Bead Parties.   Here she shares here creations, thoughts, and inspirations. You can find here the beautiful items that she made from the Mother of Pearl shell I sent her and the copper pieces I made.  The Mother of Pearl necklace she made is just outrageous!   A must to see!!  I must say that she has been through a lot this past few months and needs all the prayers she can get. Through all she is going through, she still managed to pull of these fabulous creations!

Thank you Lori!!! 

Don't forget to hop 'till you drop. Check out Beadaddicted blog for all the participates links  

Lori Anderson :: Hostess

Also you can follow me on Pinterest or on Facebook. I will be posting there too!

Thanks for stopping by - see you next time from the top of he hill!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Bead Hoarders Bead Soup Blog Party

Bead Hoarders Bead Soup Blog Party Update: 

   In my earlier post about the Bead Soup Bead Hoarder Party-

   I had talked about how the bead hoarders party worked and how I was waiting to receive my beads from my partner, Lori in Massachusetts. At that I time I could not reveal what I sent her. We had to wait until each received our beads. I am excited that now I can show you what I have received from her and post a picture of the items that I received back. 

   I must say that this has been a very fun event. I waited in anticipation for the shipment of my beads. Upon arrival I received a nice letter that stated the type of beads that were included and the reason for her sending them.  Several of the beads and focal points she made, some she had been hoarding for a while.

   Of the beads that she sent me, some were vintage crystal beads in beautiful spring colors, wonderful focal point made from porcelain, created by Marla's Mud., and a etched copper piece.

What Lori Sent 
   Two very interesting beads were made by my partner.  They were made from poly clay. The books were very detailed on their cover and had a hole off centered a bit to give the bead a tapered look when it is stung on a chain. Very unique and they made up an interesting piece.

   The last in the set that she sent me was a copper etched plate she created. A very wonderful piece. I love the copper and metal is one of my two choices of mediums that I like to work with. I knew right away what I was going to create with this piece.

Etched Copper Piece By Lori

Poly Clay Book By Lori

   Of the things I sent, I chose to make her some copper pieces and jump rings. Near me is an old Copper Mine in the town of Copperopolis CA.  Copperopolis  was one of the largest copper mines in the US.  It produced most of all the copper ammunition that was used during the Civil War. The mine remained in operation off and on until the mid 1930's.
   The other items I sent, was a shell focal point and some natural agate beads, a few genuine turquoise beads that I felt also represented the western feel of our area and copper accent beads.

The Copper Links and Focal Point I made

The Shell Focal  and the Shell beads I hoarded for several years.
I also sent her several turquoise beads and coordinated accents beads.

   On March 25th all the participates will be posting there creations on the bead hoarders blog!  And I will be posting to my blog, as well as to TreeseesHilltopHaven Facebook page -

So, Please Don't Forget To Check back on the reveal date!! March 25th 2107!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bead Hoarder, Beadsoup Blogger Party; Treesees

Bead Hoarder Bead Soup Blogger Party.

     Some of you may have heard of this on Pinterest or through another social media platform.

     This is my first time to participate in this event. The creator has informed us that there were 160 registered in this Beadsoup Party.

     How this works is that, I am randomly paired with another collaborator. I am to send a special bead to her. The bead could be one I created, and one I hoarded, or a bead of special meaning. Along with the bead (s), I am is to send the reason why I chose those beads.

     On February 15th we were to send our beads to one another. Once we receive their selection they chosen us back, we are to create something beautiful with it by adding other beads and elements of our own. On March 25th we will be revealing our creations. Check back then for the link to see all the beautiful items made by the collaborators.

      At this point I can not reveal my bead until my partner receives and posts it on their social media site or onto I am going to show you a hint however of how my beads were made and the a brief statement of why I chose to create these beads.

      I had chosen to create a bead that represents part of the history of area where I live. The Central Sierra Foothills are rich in history dating back from the Native Americans, Russian fur trappers, California Missions, and of course the famous Gold Rush. But little is known of another important mining operation that was done mostly in the Sierra Foothills near my home.

     If you like beads, the arts, or are interested in a small bit of California History; then follow me as I present this fun event that I am a collaborator in.  

 So, keep watch on my blog, or pop in at any of the following social media sites for updated pics and comments from me and other Bead Hoarders.

Pinterest             Facebook 

See you soon with more pics! 


Friday, February 3, 2017

Meyer Lemons How to Freeze and Recipes

Time to Refresh with Sweet Meyer Lemons

       At the beginning of every year, I like to start off fresh, and one of my favorite fresh items is the sweet taste and smell of Meyer Lemons. Just the smell of the lemon scent opens up the senses and make me feel rejuvenated. It seems that in January my tree is over loaded with them and I harvest bags full for friends, family, and prepare them for future use throughout the year.

       I like using my lemons in so many ways. The Meyer variety is one of the top choices in cooking. I use them throughout the year in some of my favorite recipes as Lemon Loaf and Lemon Meringue Pie, as well as use in my dry tea mixes, household cleaning, and in my detoxification water. 

       After I harvest my lemons, I preserve them in several ways. I use to squeeze the juice and place the juice in ice cube trays, then bag them for later use. I also would squeeze them into ¼ cup portions and place them in plastic zip-lock snack bags. I have learned over the years that it is easier to slice and quarter the lemons and quick freeze them. By doing this, the juice content stays more whole and is not water downed by the ice crystals that form on the lemon ice cubes or in the bags of juice.

       I prepare them now is by washing them and removing the stem. I then thinly slice some and quarter the others on a plate. I use a plate rather than a cutting board, so that any juice that runs off can be collected. I then bag any juice remaining on the plate. I like to remove most of the seeds at this point so later I will not have to deal with them getting into my recipes.

      To quick freeze the lemons; I place wax paper on a cookie sheet, then lay the lemons on the sheet so that they are not touching. After the tray is full, I place the tray in the freezer until the lemons are frozen. I then bag them in a zip lock freezer bag. To use, I remove the amount of lemons I need and thaw. The quartered lemons work great for fresh squeezed lemon juice. The slices I use in  my Detox Water or as garnish in lemonade or in meals.

      Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

Meyer Lemons Detox Water 

    Per 16- 20 oz bottle 
1 frozen slice of Orange or Lime
1 frozen slice of Cucumber
1 frozen slice of Lemon
    Break slices in half if needed to fit into bottle. Fill with water. As the frozen fruit thaws, the juice will mix with the water and create a great healthy tasting drink.

Another one of my favorite recipes that I want to share with you, is one I found years ago in a Sunset Magazine. This is one that I have made a tradition of making in January or early February.

 Lemon Loaf 

(Similar to a Lemon Pound Cake but without all the butter) 

1 ½ cup all -purpose Flour1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 2 eggs 
1/2 cup milk 
1/2 cup salad oil1 ½ teaspoon grated lemon peel

Lemon Glaze ( recipe follows)

 In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, lightly beat eggs, then beat in milk, oil, and lemon peel. Add liquid mixture to flour mixture and stir just until blended. Pour batter into a greased, floured-dusted 5 x 9 inch loaf pan or three 3 ½ by 5- inch loaf pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. (40-45 minutes for large cake; 25 to 30 minutes for smaller cakes). When cake is done, use a long wooden skewer to poke numerous holes all the way to bottom. Prepare Lemon Glaze; drizzle hot glaze evenly over cake, letting it soak in slowly. (I slowly pour the glaze over down the middle. The glaze will want to run to the sides of the loaf. I use a small rubber spatula to help move the glaze back up into the holes). Let cool completely. Wrap airtight; store at room temperature for up to 4 days. Can freeze up to one month.

Lemon Glaze

In a small pan, combine 4 1/2 tablespoons of Lemon juice and 1/3 cup of Sugar. Stir over Medium heat until sugar is dissolved.