When the holidays roll around and you’re asked to a party, do you usually say, “What can I bring?” And what if you don’t usually cook, or can’t cook. And maybe your budget is overextended as it is. That’s when you might think Party Tray. And if you know how to assemble a Cheap Holiday Party Tray, all your problems are solved. At least the what to bring option is. I apologize that this tray isn’t decked out in Christmas trappings. Between my bad shoulder and hand, I’m a bit limited and obviously made this Cheap Holiday Party Tray right around Thanksgiving. If you follow me, you might even recognize a few of these items. I’ll link to them, too.
So have you guys ever heard of German Rumtopf? This post is all about How to Make German Rumtopf. The name means Rum Pot and it’s basically a fruity alcoholic dessert made in a crock. Successive fruits are layered in with sugar and rum, starting in the spring with strawberries.
My Rumtopf Pot
As the summer progresses and each fruit comes into season, it’s added to the pot, and the contents just get better and better. Once fall comes, and summer is over, the pot is closed up and left to mature until the Christmas season where it is traditionally first sampled for the first time in December on the first evening of Advent. We’ve been getting such good fruit this year that I don’t think there’d be an issue with starting a Rumtopf, now, even if it is a bit late in the summer.
Our Strawberry season is just ending up Nord, here, in Minnesota. So before it’s too late, I’ve been taking advantage and using strawberries, a lot! One is this Fresh Strawberry Compote. It’s just a simple, little sauce but it’s infused with fresh strawberry flavor.
I don’t know what possessed me to make Homemade Pop Tarts the other day. Hausfrau gone wild? Seriously, I never really liked pop tarts. Oh, I like the idea of them, a jammy filling nestled between two sheets of flakey, buttery pastry but the commercial variety just never did it for me.
I love this Strawberry Cream Oatmeal Smoothie! It’s super simple, full of healthy, natural ingredients and is ready in a shake! And you don’t need any frozen ingredients! Bonus. At least if you’re like me and forget to freeze fruit for smoothies!
Way back when, my sister and I were discussing what should be on the menu for a family get together and we got down to the salad dressing. “Honey Dijon?” I asked. It was kind of a new thing then. “No one likes that,” she said. But I didn’t say, “I do, I do!” And goodness help me, I do. Home-made at least. Don’t tell my sis!
It seems like I’ve been doing a lot with desserts lately, partially because I updated all my dessert menus which took weeks! So, in way of saying thanks for your patience about post after post, I’m posting another dessert! Peach Upside Down Cake.
Peach Upside Down Cake – Impossibly good, caramelly deliciousness.
I can’t tell you how excited I was to see apricots at the store last week. While they may not be my all time favorite to die for fruit, I was like, “Well, hello old friend!” Seriously, I spotted a lady carrying some to her cart and went back to produce to find them.
One of my summer/fall favorites is this marvelous Sour Cherry Compote. It’s a little sweet, a little tart and goes so well with so many things. I often make up a batch and can or freeze so I have it to pull out in the winter, too.
Hi Guys, I had such rave reviews from the folks last week on my Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread that I decided not to rest on my laurels but to forge ahead & make Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread. I don’t think I’ve made or had Date Nut Bread for years, maybe decades, but I came across a fun, retro recipe credited to Pat Nixon and couldn’t resist! making it.
Pina Coladas. They’re so good. Sweet, but good. What if you could make a fruit salad that had all the flavor (but none of the booze) of a Pina Colada? I’d drink to that. And the fruit in this salad, especially the bananas and pineapple, play so nicely with the lovely coconut flavors of the Pina Colada mix. Whoaa – mix? Yeah, mix.
If there was ever a frugal “cheat” of a dessert, Profiteroles, or Cream Puffs, as they are often called, have to be it. Easy to make, requiring no special equipment, although a piping bag & tip is nice, inexpensive, and make ahead. And once made, they can be filled & topped with all kinds of deliciousness. What more could one want?
A home-made Mascarpone Cheese filling is in the center; they’re just waiting to be topped with Blueberry Compote
You know what I love? Smoothies. And probably you do, too? But what I don’t love? Putzing with them. Adding a bit of this or that, trying to get them thick and luscious but still sippable through a straw.
For once I don’t have too much to say about a recipe – only that I became utterly enamoured with the idea of this when I was leafing through a Midwest Magazine. I was wowed! Perfect for fall, perfect for Thanksgiving and perfect for me! The recipe makes eight servings, but for these photos, I made a smaller version.
Roasted Pears with Lemon Cream and Maple Caramel Syrup
When I posted the recipe for the Wayside Inn Carrot Cake this summer, I mentioned a block party I attended with my folks. I love parties where everyone brings something – there’s always some “new to me” recipe to meet (along with a few friends! Hey, it’s not always all about the food!) This Citrus Vanilla Fruit Salad was one of them, and I just can’t seem to stop making it!
I try to eat healthy, fresh vegetables all year ’round, paying attention of course to pricing and seasonality when I can. This year, though, when summer finally hit I felt like I emerged from the house into the sunlight like one of the old-time pioneers I’ve read about, looking for anything green to eat. I’ve learned to trust my cravings, and this Shaved Broccoli Salad helped satisfy them.
I’ve been making this Chicken & Fruit Salad for years, originally culled from Cooking Light. It’s just such a gorgeous salad, full of all kinds of great things and it’s all set off by a creamy raspberry dressing. It’s one of my favorite ways to make sure I get some fruit in my diet along with a few greens. On a hot summer day, there’s nothing better.
An Apricot Caramel Sauce? To American tastes, the combination of dried fruit and caramel may seem a bit different, but it is absolutely surprising and certainly delicious.
Apricot Caramel Sauce – made for Austrian Crepes but so good over anything vanilla!
Easy to make, watch the sugar carefully and don’t burn it – if it becomes darker around the edges or you catch even the faintest whiff of a burnt smell, move your pan off the heat and keep stirring until the sugar is melted, moving it back on if needed. A fork seems to work very well for stirring.
Blend a long time – there will be some texture; if that bothers you, simply strain it while it is still liquid enough to sieve. Once it cools, it thickens, so rewarm if necessary.
1 cup firmly packed dried apricots (about 6 ounces)
2 teaspoons vanilla
In a dry heavy saucepan (about 3-quart capacity) cook sugar over moderate heat, stirring with a fork until melted and then swirling pan, until sugar is a golden caramel, perhaps just a bit past golden towards amber, but not too dark.
Remove pan from heat and carefully add 3 cups water down side of pan (it will bubble up and steam). Return pan to heat and simmer, stirring, until caramel is dissolved.
Slice apricots and add to pan. Simmer until soft, about 10 minutes. Cool mixture 10 minutes and in a blender purée with vanilla until very smooth. Add any or all of the additional water if desired.
Sauce may be made several days ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat sauce to warm.
Put Your own Spin on It
I’ve made this before with both pears and peaches instead of apricots and both are wonderful! I’ve not yet tried dried apples, but I imagine they’d give a lovely flavor to the sauce.
Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:
Use a coupon matching site! Every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
Read below for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.
Sugar: Look for sugar on sale, which usually happens around the holidays. While any holiday generates a sales price, the best sales are generally from Thanksgiving to Christmas, when coupons are abundant. Check out Aldi for your sugar; their prices are generally great. A rule of thumb: A store brand on sale will often beat a name brand on sale with a coupon. Aldi generally beats both. 1 cup is about 8 cents.
Dried Apricots: Dried fruit can be downright cheap when purchased on sale with a coupon, especially during the Christmas sales. The Holidays are a great time to buy dried fruit of any kind at a low price. Regular price for Apricots, 6 ounces was $2.99. Sale price $1.00, coupon, $1.00 off two, final cost was $1.50.
My daughter was nuts about Poppy Seed dressing when she was young; I was horrified by the additives! (Funny, I wasn’t so alarmed by the sugar!) I started making this wonderful dressing, based on something my mother had given me.
Old-Fashioned Dressing for Slaw, Greens or Fruit – Vinegar Based
I have more than a few posts that should have been gotten out before the holidays, but better late than never? It feels a bit like post-Holidayliptic Fall Out to share them now! I mean when a holiday is over, it’s over and few people want to continue to indulge (or bake) after Christmas. But I just had to share my Classic Tea Thumbprint Cookies. Make them now (leftover cranberry sauce is great in the middle) or pin them for next year.
Apple Crisp is American as Apple Pie, but fruit crisps are so good with many fruits or combinations. I’ve been making variations with this simple recipe for years – so easy it’s almost a non-recipe. Don’t let that fool ya, though, these crisps are always beautiful, brimming with fresh fruit flavor.
Any Fruit Crisp – this is Apple with the addition of Ginger Caramel
Labor Day weekend – it seemed long this year! Number 2 was home with his “gf” and I pulled out a few old favorites to teach them. I don’t think I’ve made Orange Julias since he was in grade school – but it sure impressed his friends when he had sleep overs.
Fregolata – sounds fancy, doesn’t it? I love the way the word rolls off the tongue. I find myself saying it in an accent as I make it. This looks fancy, too, because it is made in a 10 inch tart pan. And it’s divine…
There’s a little something about this combination of fruit that does it for me: Honey Dew, Strawberries and Blueberries. Add in a simple, lemony dressing (I’m almost embarrassed to tell you, it’s so easy) of lemon yogurt, finely zested lemon and a few poppy seeds, and there you have it. Familiar, tasty and just a bit sophisticated; this always goes over well.
Lemon Poppy Seed Fruit Salad – The easiest salad you’ll never need a recipe for…