DIY // Natural Christmas Wreaths

I can't imagine decorating for Christmas without the idea of gathering branches and berries from the yard. The options are endless as to how to arrange these lovelies. I decided on a classic (not so classic) round wreath as well as a little bundle for hanging. I added a bit of fun with a tiny handmade banner and ribbon, of course. This is a great idea if you are entertaining and you want to add a bit of homemade Christmas magic before guests arrive. -Megan

A wide selection of vines, pine branches, berries, other tree branch varieties (as long as they look sturdy)
Green floral wire 
Wire cutters
Something to cut those branches down ;)

Directions for the little bundle: 
1. Simply gather your favorite looking branches to use as a base- something you have the most of or will be able to stand its own behind the accent pieces. 
2. Hold the bundle in one hand and add in pieces that will go on the front. This is a great time to add berries and a branch with a different color and texture. Be sure all of the ends of the stems meet together at the top 
3. Wrap the top with wire really well so nothing falls out. Tie a ribbon around the wire at the top. 

Directions for the round wreath:
1. I started with a base of vines that still had leaves on it. I coerced them into a circular shape and fastened it with wire. It takes a bit of trial and error and finding the right pieces to fit together.
2. After the base is made, I created a focal point at the bottom of the wreath by putting the myrtle seed pods on opposite sides and then filled it in with pine branches and beauty berries. These wreaths rely rather drastically on what sort of greenery you have available to you. All I can say is, work with what you have.
3. Tie a bow at the bottom and add this little banner (if you want).

Eating In // Cabbage + Sausage Soup

The other night I asked my husband if he thought cabbage soup sounded good for dinner. He said, "no". We had a laugh and I said, "how could it sound good?" Despite the way it sounds, it really is so good. It will warm your whole body and you can make so much for such a low cost. You can even ask Austin and he will tell you, it's really yummy. Let our tale be a lesson to you and make this cabbage soup despite the way it may sound.

Serves 6-8

  • 1/2 head green cabbage, diced 
  • 1 medium onion, diced 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1/2 cup canned, diced tomatoes 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1 lb Neeses breakfast sausage with extra sage 
  • 1.5 qts beef or veal stock 
  • Salt + Pepper
1. Heat a dutch oven over medium heat and brown the sausage. Once it is cooked, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and toss in all of your veggies. 2. Saute until browned and then add the stock. Be sure to scrap all of the bits off the bottom. 3. Add the tomatoes, sausage, and bay leaves and simmer for around 20 minutes. This soup  is delicious as is or with a sprinkle of parmesan and a piece of nice bread.

Recipe: Megan Forbes
Photos: Christina Hussey

Eating In // Swedish Chocolate Cake with Ganache

This cake is small but it is mighty. If you love dark chocolate then you will love this. Also if you're nervous about baking cakes, this is a good one to try.  It's difficult to mess up. You could just sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar, which I think is what's traditionally done, or you could slap on some ganache like I did :) 

Serves 12 or so 
For the cake: 
10 tbsp salted butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cup  sugar  
1 cup  flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract 

For the ganache: 
6 oz dark chocolate (bars, chips, etc)
3/4 cup heavy cream 

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 8"-9" cake pan. Gently melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir all the rest of the ingredients. 2. Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan and bake for 20-30 minutes. 3. Take your heavy cream and warm it to a bare simmer. Once you see the first bubble, remove for heat and add the chocolate. Gently stir until all the chocolate has melted. Spread into the cake. Enjoy! 

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