Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and Many Thanks

Merry Christmas from Nelley Kelley studio
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas.  Thank you to all who have taken the time to read my blog and support my artistic endeavors.  Your uplifting comments and enthusiasm for what I'm creating is so meaningful to me.  I am so appreciative.  I'll leave you with a few of my favorite images of the week and hope to see you all again in the New Year!
Liam's ornament (age 4) still hanging on the tree!

A little something from my God-daughter ...
Erin's ornament

Wishing a peaceful holiday season to all ...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Edible Homemade-Holiday Gift

Give a Gift from the Kitchen
A gift from the kitchen is always welcome at this time of year.  What could be better than a beautifully packaged container of homemade granola?  This granola is better than anything you can buy from the grocery store, it is relatively easy to make and it is absolutely delicious spooned over yogurt or eaten straight from the jar! 

You will need to make your way to your favorite cooking store.  For me, that means a quick walk to - 
The Concord Shop which is the place to buy your kitchen essentials.  There, I find great canning jars and sweet little scoops to tie onto my finished gifts.  The famous Concord Shop is the one place I can count on to have exactly what I am looking for.
Dried Fruit to be mixed into Granola
Gather your ingredients, turn up your holiday tunes and get ready to bake some delicious granola to give and to keep.
You will need:
1 lb. old fashioned oats ( I use Quaker Oats)
1 c. shredded coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 c. slivered almonds and 1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. sesame seeds and 1/2 c. wheat germ
1/4 c. light brown sugar and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. safflower oil
1/2 c. honey
1/3 c. water
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. golden raisins
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. dried bing cherries
1/2 c. chopped dried apricots

(you can substitute whatever nuts that you prefer in your granola and you can add or subtract any type of dried fruit.  It is up to you and your taste buds!)

How to:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a bowl toss together: oats, coconut, almonds, sesame seeds, wheat germ, brown sugar and salt.
In a separate bowl whisk together: oil, honey, water and vanilla.
Stir wet ingredients into dry mixture.
Spread granola on to rimmed baking sheets.
Bake for 15 mins and take out of oven to stir granola and sprinkle on chopped pecans. 
Return pans to oven changing the rack position of your two baking sheets.
Bake for another 15 mins and stir the granola and change rack position of your baking sheets.
Bake for another 5 - 10 minutes depending upon how hot your oven is.
(once the granola is looking golden in color, you can remove from oven)
Mix in dry fruit once granola comes out of oven
Take baking sheets out of oven and mix in your chopped dried fruit.  Stir the granola and allow it to cool on the baking sheets.
Granola ready for packaging
Once your granola has cooled, scoop it into your canning jars or plastic bags. At this point, you can pull out the yogurt and scoop some granola on top and have yourself a well deserved snack break. 
Ellen's granola packed with Nelley Kelley gift tags
Tie a small scoop to the jar and add a little gift tag tied on with some twine or some ribbon and you've got yourself a wonderful gift that is sure to be a hit.  The granola will stay fresh in it's container for approximately one month from the date it is made. It is delicious spooned over yogurt or ice cream, great with cold milk in a cereal bowl or just eaten out of hand as a snack. For an added gift, print out the recipe onto a little card and tie it onto the granola gift jar. 

Enjoy and make some extra for yourself!

see you soon,

Monday, December 6, 2010

Handcrafted Holidays

Limited Edition Ornaments by Nelley Kelley
Nelley Kelley Studio was featured at a Holiday Market home show last week - hosted by Valerie Thayer.  It was a wonderful event and got me thinking about just how special "handcrafted" gifts are.  Most often when you buy handcrafted - you are buying locally although there are some fantastic catalogs and online markets that offer up some truly inspirational pieces. (Sundance and Terrain are two of my favorites).  Consider adding some handcrafted items to your holiday shopping lists this year.  You will be supporting local artisans and you will be giving something that is unique and from the heart.  Here is a round up of some handcrafted items that I will be giving this year.
Shadyside Sweets
Cherie Langell of Shadyside Sweets is offering up some delicious toffees, brittles and brownies packaged to perfection. 
Sweet Stands by Nelley Kelley
Many of my readers know that my gift this year will be my vintage Sweet Stands.  Not only do I  use them for presenting candies, cookies and cupcakes but I also use the smaller stands as jewelry holders. 
Courtney Fraser of EllaBelle creations
The new line of leather belts that EllaBelle is carrying are beautiful.  Buy an extra buckle so that you can change the look of your belt and get more wear out of it.  Of course, the key rings and headbands make great little stocking stuffers too!
French Crystal Paperweights by Nelley Kelley
The other gift that I am giving comes from my new line of french crystal paperweights featuring my favorite destinations. They make a great hostess gift or stocking stuffer for our travelling friends and family.

The Ginger Bread House
These sweet chalets come already assembled and await your decorating touch.  A bag of candies are included for you to put the finishing touches on your Ginger Bread house. Donna Thomas has custom chalets and castles for you to choose from. Another sweet idea for a hostess gift this year.

Bookplates by Nelley Kelley
A gift of bookplates to go with a favorite novel or cookbook is always in good taste. My cookbook gift for the season is Ina Garten's new cookbook, "How Easy is That?"
Made with Love by Nanny
My mother in law made me the beautiful vest that you see above.  I thought it was fitting to end this post with the real reason we buy handcrafted items - because they are made with love and that is something that can't be manufactured.

see you soon,