Sugared Cranberries Simple Recipe

Aren’t these just beautiful?
I think they look like berries in the snow.
Sugared Cranberries are strangely addictive.
They look so tempting sitting on the platter.
The sugar hits your mouth and then the bright tart cranberry almost pops in your mouth.
Have I made you want to make them?
I think this treat would be a perfect addition to a New Year’s Eve dessert buffet.
Easy Sugared Cranberry Recipe 
  • 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • additional sugar for rolling (you can make superfine sugar in the blender if you want to get fancy)

Wash cranberries and discard any damaged ones. Place in a bowl. Combine sugar and water in a pot and heat until simmering. Stir until sugar is dissolved and let cool for a few minutes until warm (not hot). Pour over cranberries and let sit in fridge, covered at least 3 hours.

Use a slotted spoon to remove berries from syrup. Set berries on a cooling rack that is placed over foil to collect drips. Spread berries out so they are not touching each other. Let dry for 1 hour.


Roll berries a handful at a time in sugar. Place sugared berries on a baking sheet, or foil, etc. and let dry for an hour or two.
That was easy….!
The finished cranberries look amazing sitting in a single layer on a tray.
I found this when I was doing my “research” for this post!
Sugared Cranberries as a Cake Topper.
I love the little sprigs of Rosemary…or you could do mint.        
Have a Wonderful Day!


A Charcuterie Board -Easy Entertaining

This week the Sweetwater clan gathered for a belated birthday party for little old me.
With an almost 3 year old and a two month old to work around, it makes no sense to try to serve any kind of sit down meal these days. We are all too busy holding babies and playing with toys to sit down at the table.

The solution: Charcuterie!
Ooh La La!! Doesn’t that sound french and fancy? 
So what is Charcuterie? 
The definition is actually the shop where you buy cured meats….but it has come to mean the way of serving them.
Basically it is just a fancy word for a big platter of cold meats (usually cured), cheeses, fruit and nuts!
The Sweetwater Daughter delivered a huge bag of goodies from Aldi of all places.
My job was to figure out how to make our Charcuterie look something like this!

 When I showed this photo to Mr. S….he immediately focused on the BOARD….not the food arrangement.
So off to the woodworking shop he went.

He bought a beautiful piece of bamboo and some cutting board oil.
After a quick sanding and a bit of oil….we had the perfect base for our Charcuterie Board…and I got a nice belated birthday gift!
I had the food….
I had the board….
Here is the result!

 I decided that this was a time to use paper plates.  You know I love to use all my pretty dishes….but I knew people would be filling a plate….then going back again and again.  Paper seemed to be “friendlier” for the repeat customers.

We have a whole bunch of inexpensive tongs that came from the party store.  They were perfect for this serve yourself menu.

 There was so much food….the cheeses needed to go on their own board…a slab of marble that has been laying around here for years….perfect!

 I have to say….Mr. S. was right about the board needing to be “just right”!
 After I took the photos…..the crunchy french bread was added.
And….the Sweetwater Son and DIL added some wonderful beef bites… 
Some tips for doing this:
Set out the main board and any other platters you will need.
Lay down some large colorful lettuce leaves.
Then unpack all those wonderful meats and arrange them in lovely piles. Sausages should be in bite sized chunks.  Rolled thin sliced meats and arrange them.
Tuck in grapes, nuts, olives and pickles.  I don’t like pickle juice on my meat!  Put these juicy items in small bowls or on plates.
Arrange cheeses on a separate platter/board so there is plenty of space for self-serve cutting.
Add some interesting condiments…..we had some fabulous fig preserves that paired beautifully with the cherry cheese on the board. 
When the Grandboy was running around doing what boys do….
When the Grandgirl was needing to be fed and cuddled…..
Everyone could enjoy the company and still have a pretty wonderful meal.
You may well want to try this for yourself….
Footnote:  I realized after using the french word for a food platter…..that in fact our heritage includes a lot of Swedish blood….what we really had was a SMORGASBORD!  
Have A Wonderful Day!
 Linking Here:
Sunny Simple Life

Gardening in Florida

The Sweetwater Daughter, Grandboy and I spent last weekend visiting my mom and brother in Florida last week.

Mom has the sweetest little cottage in New Port Richey.

My brother lives just down the street in another little cottage.

 Our trip was fun…..The Grandboy loved going barefoot and hanging out with “swingin'” GreatGrandma…

This post is actually not a travelogue….
It is all about the way that my brother gardens.

This is what a lot of yards in Florida look like in the winter…..

Keeping grass green is pretty difficult….

This is the front yard of Mom’s cottage!

My brother is the force behind all of this gorgeousness!
He subscribes to an interesting philosophy of permaculture.
What is that…you might ask?
Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system.”

Jim is an “urban farmer”.  He grows over 300 different varieties of vegetables.  He uses NO pesticides and lets nature take it’s course.
He takes his harvest to the local Farmer’s Markets and vends to restaurants in the area.
This is no “hobby” garden.  It is a full time job. Just like any farmer, he is tied to his acreage and dependent on the whims of the Florida climate. 

Pictures of all this goodness really tell the story the best!

Isn’t this just amazing?
Doesn’t it make you want to eat your vegetables?
If you are interested in learning more about permaculture, here are some links.

What is Permaculture? | Permaculture Institute

Permaculture Principles 

Difference Between Organic Gardening and Permaculture


What could be a more perfect spot for some serious “Gecko Hunting” by the Sweetwater Grandboy!
Alas….we are once more home in the frozen lands…
Those cute little toes are now encased in boots…. 
And…we can only dream of getting out in the garden!
Have A Wonderful Day!

How to Clean Cast Iron

The pots and pan cupboard here at Sweetwater is really pretty basic.
We have a set of Calphalon cookware that has been around for a lot of years.
We also have some great cast iron pans that are real work horse pieces.
These have been around for even more years.

 These pans, a frying pan, a round griddle and a reversible double burner sized griddle get a fair amount of use because of their versatility.

A well-seasoned cast-iron skillet is naturally non-stick. …

Cast iron cookware retains heat — that is, they stay hotter —

Cast iron pans can be used on the stove top as well as in the oven.

And did you know that cooking with cast iron pots and pans can boost your iron intake.

These lovelies DO have some down sides!
They are super heavy…..and since the handles get hot….you have to be pretty careful.
They need to be seasoned well and cleaned carefully to retain the non-stick surface provided by that seasoning.

Read this article from Lodge, the premier maker of cast iron pans to learn how to season a new cast iron pan.

 We store our cast iron cookware on the shelves in the basement.  I went to get my favorite pan the other day and….

It looked like THIS!
Mr. S told me that it was okay….and that I should just give it a coating of oil and heat it up!
So… to the GOOGLE!
So Simple!
All that is necessary are just two “ingredients” and a little elbow grease 

A potato cut in half….
A hefty amount of salt…..

I was amazed at how the moisture from the potato and the salt rubbed away every bit of rust.
 There was still some of the “old seasoning” left, but a little oil and some heat couldn’t hurt.
A 10 minute project well worth it!
Now….I just have to take some time and do the other cast iron pieces….
Another day….Another project!
Doesn’t this just make you want to go cook some eggs and bacon?
Have A Wonderful Day!

A Banner Basil Crop!

 Basil is an all round wonderful herb.

 “It’s elementary my dear Watson”
(do you get the Basil connection?)

Here are some interesting basil facts if you want to wow everyone with your knowledge about basil.

That would have to be wiser conversation at dinner than politics!


I had always been proud of my basil growing abilities….

and then for the last two years…..disaster!

My plants started out looking good…and then this happened.

It seems I had a mildew….so I used new soil and pots this year!

Whatever was wrong before is no longer a problem!

You would think that this would be enough Basil for me!
One of the reasons that these plants look so full, is the constant pinching back that I do.
The snips of Basil (and Coleus  and even Rosemary) will send out new roots.
Just let the cuttings sit in a opaque container filled with water.
After about a week, you can pot these up.
The only thing better than a pretty Basil plant is a pretty FREE Basil plant!
Now I need YOUR help!
About the only thing I do with all this beautiful Basil is make Pesto or Caprese Salad.
I need some new recipes from you!
I would love to hear from you.
Have A Great Day!