• Posted by Califia Suntree on August 29th, 2011, 8:58 PM

    Click on any image for a slideshow of canning mania chez Spooning…

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on December 17th, 2010, 2:54 PM

    It’s now one week to Christmas, so if you don’t already have your gifts squared away you are officially “behind.” According to the National Retail Federation, a mere 16.9% of holiday shoppers have not yet begun the process. Funny, I thought everyone was like me and didn’t think about Christmas until it was breathing down our necks…Who knew Americans were such go-getters? The NRF also reports that the average Christmas celebrant will spend $689 on the holidays, roughly $485 of which is on gifts. Who knew Americans were such spendthrifts? OK, everyone knew that.

    That kind of spending strikes me as unnecessary. Even if you don’t have the time or inclination to handmake things for everyone on your list, you can certainly reduce your spending by supplementing the gizmos, pajamas, and tchochkes with tasty edibles. One of the gifts I remember most vividly from Xmas ’09 is an addictively delicious white chocolate-walnut-Chex candy that my aunt Peggy made (see recipe below). I ate the whole bag so fast I’m surprised I didn’t go into insulin shock, and I can feel the joy to this very day. Read on… »

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on February 9th, 2010, 4:18 PM

    Most of my Christmas presents this year were bottles of limoncello, a delicious lemony liqueur that originated on the Italian island of Capri. One surmises that they have bumper crops of lemons each winter, much as we do here in Southern California. Aside from being an incredibly tasty quaff (particularly once the hot weather hits), this is a fabulously thrifty gift: I reused lemonade and vinegar bottles with resealable caps, and since the liqueur is made only with peels, you still have all that lovely juice to make into lemon curd (as my mom did for her gifts), or to freeze in small blocks to be used once citrus season wanes.

    I made my limoncello 100% organic by using Rain vodka (which is only 80 proof, but has a wallet-friendly pricepoint and notable smoothness) and organic sugar (which gave it that mellow earthy color, as opposed to the almost neon yellow that processed sugar allows). And of course, organic lemons from my dad’s bounteous tree.

    It’s a perfect warm-weather aperitivo (pre-dinner drink) or digestivo (after-dinner drink); due to its sweetness, I would emphasize the latter. But mixed with soda water, this makes a refreshing grown-up soda, very much akin to San Pellegrino Limonata–with a kick. Read on… »

 
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