Tree Classics’ Favorite Recipes: Delicious Winter Soups

With the winter season now in full swing, what better way to fight off the cold than savoring a nice hearty bowl of home-cooked soup? Filling and nutritious, a good soup dish can easily warm you up during long chilly nights and can also perk you up when you feel a little bit under the weather.

For this edition of Tree Classics’ Favorite Recipes, we give you five healthy and mouth-watering soup recipes. Simple and easy-to-prepare, these delectable dishes are sure to keep you warm and cozy for the cold winter days ahead.

Simple Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Croutons 

For a quick and easy dish, try this simple tomato soup and grilled cheese crouton recipe from All Day I Dream About Food. A bowl of this delicious soup can provide you with your daily dose of lycopene that can help prevent cancer in the body. The tomatoes also contain niacin, folate, and vitamin B6 that reduce the risk of heart ailments.

The grilled cheese croutons, on the other hand, are made from gluten-free ingredients so you don’t have to worry about the harmful effects of this protein on your health.

Cauliflower Hazelnut Soup with Fried Sage

Want to incorporate more fresh produce in your diet? This cauliflower hazelnut soup with fried sage from What’s Cooking Good Looking gives you a scrumptious and nutritious choice for your meals. A generous serving of cauliflower provides you with vitamin C and manganese, two well-known antioxidants that help cleanse the body. This vegetable is also a great source of vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids that reduce the risk of inflammation-mediated diseases, such as arthritis, obesity, and diabetes mellitus. The hazelnut and fried sage help add a burst of flavor to every spoonful of this soup.

Easy Minestrone Soup

Bring back memories of the old country with this easy-to-cook minestrone soup from Lemons and Anchovies. Made from a potful of pantry and refrigerator staples, such as beans, tomatoes, cabbages, and cheeses, this Italian recipe is an excellent filling meal on its own. Whip up a nice batch for those spontaneous sleepovers during snowstorm shut-ins.

French Onion Soup

Titillate your taste buds with this delectable French onion soup from The Curvy Carrot. This version of the French country dish substitutes meat stock for vegetable stock, making it a little longer to prepare but tastier and healthier. Pair it with a slice of crusty baguette for a fine meal during long rainy days.   

Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup

Put a spin on the famous cure for colds with iVillage’s Chinese chicken noodle soup. This Asian-inspired recipe combines satisfying taste of chicken broth with the refreshing flavor of ginger. And while experts are still not sure whether or not there is truth to the myth, a healthy serving of this chicken soup can help ease bronchitis, coughs, and flu thanks to the watercress leaves.

This season, fight off the cold by enjoying a nice warm bowl of these healthy and delicious winter soups.

7 Delicious Winter Salads to Try at Home

One of the best things to have as a healthful pick-me-up on a gloomy winter day is a fresh salad. These colorful and light dishes are a wonderful way to brighten up your lunches. Best of all, unlike other types of food, salads won’t bog you down and make you feel sluggish especially during the cold season. Here are seven delicious recipes you can enjoy at home to help you feel energized!

Holiday Salad with Cranberry, Apple, and Orange Vinaigrette

This holiday salad features a delicious and zesty cranberry, apple and orange vinaigrette Photo from Oh She Glows

Combine the pleasing zests of autumn and winter in a single dish with this holiday salad from Oh She Glows. This appetizing recipe features luscious cranberries, crunchy walnuts, and crisp apple and pear slices. The wonderful array of complementary ingredients is made tangier by an amazing dressing stewed to perfection using fresh fruits.

Orange Pomegranate Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Kids will absolutely love this sweet and fruity orange and pomegranate salad

This wonderful recipe from Brooklyn Supper features crunchy greens and a colorful selection of citrus fruits. A wonderful mixture of sweet, sour, and bitter, this healthful dish is guaranteed to delight – either as lunch or supper – when you’re watching the calories. This is especially perfect with a chilled bottle of white wine.

Roasted Carrot and Leek Cranberry Quinoa Salad

This salad from Peachy Palate features a yummy array of bright and tasty vegetables Photo from Peachy Palate

A favorite among those who like their salads to be on the sweet side, this recipe from Peachy Palate features carrots and leeks tossed in a huge dollop of maple syrup. It is then topped with pecans and cranberries. Kids will certainly have a change of heart when it comes to vegetables after trying this amazing and irresistible dish.

Sweet Potato and Spinach Salad

Enjoy a savory dish with this sweet potato and spinach salad Photo from Ang Sarap

This sweet potato and spinach salad from Ang Sarap is another treat for those with a sweet tooth. What’s particularly wonderful about this dish is how the spinach and hard-boiled eggs contrast beautifully with the soft sweet potato, creating a full profile of flavors and textures. This is especially great with grilled and smoky food choices.

Winter Green Salad with Walnuts, Apples, and Parmesan Anchovy Dressing

This mouthwatering salad from Serious Eats features parmesan cheese, giving it a classic Italian touch. The dish also comes with an anchovy dressing that instantly reminds foodies of the sweet-salty flavors of the sea.

Winter Pumpkin Millet Salad

Bring countryside flavors to your dining table with this winter pumpkin millet salad from Green Kitchen Stories. This dish includes butternut squash, sliced avocados, grapes, and romanesco broccoli, a delicious mixture that will win anyone over. It also features raw millet, a grainy seed that gives the recipe an irresistible earthy taste.

White Bean Salad with Blood Orange Dressing

This white bean salad features a lovely blood orange dressing Photo from Jilly Inspired

A lovely treat courtesy of Jilly Inspired, this recipe features crunchy white beans, zesty tomatoes, and delectable artichoke hearts. The true star of this dish, however, is the luscious blood orange dressing and bitter parsley leaves.

Enjoy light and delicious flavors that provide a healthful pick-me-up this winter season with these astounding salad recommendations from Tree Classics.

Photo Credits

Photo by Renee S. Suen via flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

How to Make a Frozen Wreath

A couple more months are left until the end of winter. For avid home décor enthusiasts, what better way to have fun in the snow than by creating unique and colorful ice wreaths with family and friends?

An Ice Wreath with Cranberries and Pine Cones
Traditional Spaces by Other Metro Media & Bloggers Pullga

Tree Classics presents a quick and easy way to create your very own frozen wreath. Trade in your traditional winter decorations for this amazing ice creation.

Frozen Cranberries and Citrus Fruits Wreath

Materials Needed

  • Cranberries
  • Small citrus fruits, e.g. oranges or lemons
  • Fresh pine cones
  • Dried leaves
  • Small twigs
  • Assorted nuts
  • Water
  • Sturdy ribbons for hanging
  • Bundt cake pan

Directions

  1. Fill your Bundt cake pan with water.
  2. Put in the small citrus fruits first and cranberries next. Make sure that each piece is evenly spaced in the cake pan.
  3. Carefully add in the pine cones and assorted nuts.
  4. Place the dried leaves and twigs in whichever part of the pan you wish. These will serve as additional accents for the frozen wreath.
  5. Once you’re finished arranging the pieces, bring out the cake pan and leave it outside your home to freeze overnight. You can also place it in your freezer until frozen.
  6. When your wreath is completely frozen, remove the Bundt cake pan by placing it quickly in the sink and running warm water through it for about a minute. Be careful not to leave it there for longer than a minute to avoid thawing the entire wreath.
  7. Hang your frozen wreath outside using ribbons. Choose a spot in the shade so that the wreath won’t melt quickly.

Have fun with friends and loved ones as you create these ‘cool’ and stunning DIY frozen wreaths!

5 DIY Snowflake Decorations You’ll Love

Delicate snowflakes are the perfect inspiration for winter craft projects. Be inspired to create a whimsical display at home as Tree Classics features five beautiful DIY snowflake ornaments.

Doily Snowflake Garland

Doily Snowflake Garland from Design Sponge Doily Snowflake Garland from Design Sponge

 

Create a sweet and romantic winter wonderland décor by crafting a lacey snowflake garland out of paper doilies in various sizes. Begin by folding a paper doily in half over and over until it resembles 1/8 of a pie. Snip designs into your snowflake and unfold the paper. Weave across each dainty snowflake to assemble your adorable garland. Check out the Doily Snowflake Garland here for detailed instructions.

Snowflake Wreath

Snowflake Wreath from Laura’s Crafty Life Snowflake Wreath from Laura’s Crafty Life

 

This enchanting snowflake wreath takes under 15 minutes and about $8 (minus the spray paint and ribbon) to complete! To make, apply a light coat of white, silver, or gold spray paint in a wreath form. Glue various sizes of clear, opaque, and glittery snowflakes onto the front and back of the wreath. Finally, hook one pretty hanging beaded ornament in the middle. Hang your wreath by tying in a knot or bow, or use a wreath door hanger instead.

Woodland Snowflakes

Woodland Snowflakes from Pretty Ditty Woodland Snowflakes from Pretty Ditty

 

Blogger Jamie Christina’s rustic and fragile snowflake decorations with thread-wrapped joints are simply endearing! Easily make them at home by cutting three sticks from twigs at about 4 inches in length. Create a snowflake by gluing the sticks together. Add more dimension by gluing V-shape twigs to the tips of the snowflake. Use bakers twine to give more stability, and embellish the final piece with glitter.

Crystalline Snowflakes

Crystal Snowflakes from Silver & Chalk Crystalline Snowflakes from Silver & Chalk

 

With just a few simple things, you can craft your own stunning crystalline snowflakes and enjoy their sparkle all year long! Make the snowflake by twisting three pipe cleaners of equal length together at their centers. Add one little piece to the end of each side to form a prong. Tie the twine around the end of one spoke and tie the other end of the twine to a holder such as a pencil or stick. Submerge the snowflake in a jar of borax solution (use 3 tablespoons of borax to every cup of boiling water) overnight. Color it blue, if you like, by tinting the mixture with food color. Take it out in the morning and hang to dry.

Snowflake Lanterns

Snowflake Lanterns from Everything Under the Moon Snowflake Lanterns from Everything Under the Moon

 

Light up your space with a dainty snowflake lantern. This creation by Nikki embraces the winter season while giving your home a lovely sparkle. First, look for a snowflake stencil that you can tape around a jar. Make sure that the stencil is attached fully to the glass before taking the jar outside to spray with silver or white paint. Place Christmas lights or a battery-operated candle inside the lantern. Read Nikki’s post for more details.

With these nifty snowflake decorations, you can decorate your home with a touch of wintry charm!

Creative Ways to Recycle Gift Wrap

After all the merriment that comes with holiday gift giving, it is time to put away the gift cards and wrappers to avoid cluttering your home this new year. But a better way of handling excess or leftover gift wrap is by repurposing them! Tree Classics shows you creative ways to recycle these colorful pieces of paper.

Holiday Origami

Begin recycling your Christmas gift wrap with a quick and simple origami project. Originally from Japan, the art of origami or paper folding became popular over the years as a means to transform pieces of paper into sculptures. By coming up with different themes, you can transform your excess gift wrappers into other year-round ornaments, such as these adorable origami stars featured in Home by Linn.

Cookie Tins 

Create adorable packaging for your cookies by dressing cannisters up in Christmas wrappers. This is a great gift idea especially for those who prefer giving presents that not only satisfy the tummy but also the eyes with dainty designs! You can start off with these two wrapping ideas from jenthousandwords.com.

Gift Bands

Recycle old and torn gift wrappers by turning them into colorful bands for packages. Simply cut off the damaged parts and reuse the remaining gift wrapping paper on your present. This is a fine way to save up on packaging costs while also adding a nifty accent to your gifts.

Christmas Tree Ornaments

You can also find new uses for gift cards by turning them into Christmas ornaments. Dinah Wulf of DIY Inspired features an easy-to-follow project which you can do with your kids. All you need are some old gift cards, glue, a pair of scissors, a stapler, ribbons, and some plastic rhinestones to embellish your DIY Christmas tree décor.

Patchwork Greeting Cards 

Another fun way to recycle gift cards is by transforming them into patchwork greeting cards. Cut old gift cards into squares of different sizes and rearrange them on a bigger piece of cardboard. Next, glue each piece to the cardboard then draw small lines around the gift cards to make them appear like they were sewn together. Depending on the design of the gift cards, you can create greeting cards for other occasions as well.

Holiday Luminaries 

Looking for more ambient lighting for your home? Turn your leftover Christmas wrappers into lovely paper lanterns, such as this one featured in Nifty Thrifty Things. Create luminaries by making use of different patterns seen on gift wrappers.

Do away with post-holiday clutter by transforming leftover Christmas gift cards and wrappers into other useful items. It is an excellent way to save up money and be environment-friendly at the same time.

How to Clean and Store an Artificial Christmas Tree

One of the best things about owning an artificial Christmas tree is the fact that you can use it again for years. But in order for it to remain as beautiful and lush as when you first bought it, you have to take proper care of it especially when you’re about to store it. Here is an easy-to-follow guide on how to clean and store your artificial Christmas tree once your yuletide celebrations have come to an end.

1. Remove all your Christmas ornaments first. Make sure that they are: categorized according to type; wrapped in tissue paper; stored in an airtight plastic container. Place these in a cool and dry location, away from sunlight and heat sources. You can learn creative ideas for storing Christmas decorations from our practical guide.

make sure you disconnect all your Christmas lights

2. Next, take down all of the lights and separate all connections. Untangle the lines and store them in a safe location. Tree Classics has also created an easy step-by-step guide on how to store Christmas lights.

3. While the tree is still standing upright, get your vacuum, plug it in, and place it on medium speed. Gently sweep the branches and trunks. You may need to mildly move some of the branches to get to the deeper parts. Be careful when you do so.

4. Make a mixture of warm water and soap. Dip a clean towel in the soap solution. Softly wipe the branches. WARNING: Do not dab prelit trees with a wet cloth. Use a dry and clean rag instead.

straighten our your branches after you vacuum them

5. Now is the perfect time to start disassembling your tree. Unfluff the branches and make sure that all of the branches are facing one direction. Flatten the foliage using your hands. Separate the sections afterwards.

Store your tree in Tree Classics' Extra Large Tree Dolly

6. Once everything has been taken down, store your tree in its original box. These boxes are sturdy enough to protect your tree from any bumps while it is in storage. You can also purchase our Extra Large Tree Dolly, which can store artificial Christmas trees that are up to 9 feet tall. It is made of durable red polyester fabric, promising years of protection for your holiday centerpiece.

7. Store your tree in a dry and cool location far from direct sunlight and vents. The most ideal location is the closet.

Follow this easy and helpful guide from the Tree Classics blog to keep your tree beautiful for years to come!

Photo Credits

Photo by MaryScheirer via flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

How to Store Christmas Decorations

Storing Christmas decorations can be a tedious chore. To help you get through it and survive post-holiday stress, Tree Classics offers tips and tricks on how to store different kinds of Christmas ornaments and evergreen decorations to keep them looking new and gorgeous for the next holiday season.

Christmas Balls

Of all the types of ornaments, Christmas baubles are the easiest to pack away because of their shape. For these round ornaments, the market offers a lot of options such as boxes or trays with dividers, which can be stacked on top of each other. Just make sure to add padding between each layer to protect the ornaments.

Uniquely-shaped Ornaments

Ornaments with irregular shapes can be so unique that a special storage needs to be created. Use a box to make a container, then divide the spaces using recycled cardboard. To find out the width you need to allot for each compartment, measure the length of the ornaments. Slice the cardboard strips accordingly to create slits. Let the cardboards meet at the slits to create a grid. The grid does not need to be equal across the box so don’t worry about having different measurements. Wrap the ornaments with tissue or insert padding in each cell to keep the pieces from moving around. Create another cardboard grid if your box is deep enough to store more ornaments.

Icicles

Use tissue paper or paper towel tubes to store icicles. Position the tubes upright and glue them onto the box. To protect the ornaments, wrap tissue paper around them first before keeping them in the cardboard tube.

Bell-shaped Ornaments

Storing bell-shaped ornaments is just like storing icicles, only you have to use plastic cups, which can accommodate the bells effortlessly because of their conical shape. Select the cup you are going to use by fitting the ornaments inside. If they fit perfectly, layer a box with a few of these cups. Glue the plastic cups on a cardboard in the size of the box. After gluing, insert the cardboard with the plastic cups inside the box. Create another layer by making another set of plastic cups on cardboard if the box is deep enough. Wrap the bell ornaments in tissue paper before placing them inside the cups.

Breakable Ornaments

Fragile decorations, such as glass and ceramic ornaments, should be kept in a well-padded container. Egg cartons are perfect for these types of ornaments. Not only are they gentle with delicate items, they also come in ready with compartments for each piece of décor. Lay large cotton balls onto each hole, then place the ornaments on them. Add cotton balls on top of the ornaments for added padding. Secure the egg carton with large rubber bands to keep it from opening.

Wreaths and Garlands

Don’t leave a wreath or garland bare if you are to store it in the same container as the other decorations. Cover with plastic or seal it in a box to maintain its quality. For decorated wreaths and garlands, wrapping them in plastic helps keep their embellishments intact.

Sarah Nielsen garland storage
Photo from Sarah Nielsen

These are just some of the clever ways that you can try to store your Christmas decorations. Just make sure to handle everything with care to keep the ornaments and foliage looking fresh and new for the coming holidays.

How to Store Christmas Lights

The Christmas season is over. It’s time to put those festive lights in storage. Learn how to store Christmas lights with this easy and informative step-by-step guide from the Tree Classics blog to make sure their bulbs, plugs, and strings won’t get damaged.

remove your lights once the holiday is over

1. Unplug Your Christmas Lights

If you have several strings connected to each other, make sure to separate them. Then, carefully remove your lights from your tree and lay them on a smooth surface. Make sure to do this in an area without any foot traffic. It’s also a good idea to do an inventory. Get your mobile phone, tablet, or good ol’ notebook and pen, and start listing down the number and type of Christmas lights you have. This list may come in handy during the next Christmas season.

2. Untangle Your Christmas Lights

untangle your Christmas lights before packing them

Often, in the process of installing and removing lights, some of the strands can get tangled. Straighten out the lines and make sure everything is in order. Afterwards, plug the strands one by one and check if they’re all working. If some of them are damaged, replace the bulbs or fuses. If they can’t be fixed or replaced piece by piece, consider purchasing a new set of lights.

3. Choose a Storage Option that’s Best for You

There are various storage options you can choose from. Here are a number of the best ones:

  • Cardboard Light Holder – This technique makes use of old cardboards. Just cut some large piece into a rectangle around 12 x 6 inches. Afterwards, cut a notch on one side. Insert the string through the slit and wrap the lights around the cardboard. Once you’ve reached the end of the line, make another notch. Attach the end of the cord in that second hole. Cover the piece entirely in bubble wrap and seal it inside a plastic container or a large box. This will keep your lights secure during the off-season.
  • Zip-Loc Holder – Wrap your string of lights around your palm. Once the string runs out, plug the male end of the cord into the female end. Slip the lights out of your hands and place it inside a Ziploc bag. Keep the bag upright in a spacious corner or inside a plastic container. This will ensure that the bulbs and strings are protected.

use hangers to store your Christmas lights

  • Hanger Holder – This nifty trick makes use of a normal clothes hanger. It’s fairly simple. All one has to do is to wrap the lights from one end to the other and lock the male and female cord at the hooks found at the two ends of the hanger. Afterwards, you can hang it inside your closet where they will be safe until next Christmas.

4. Place Your Christmas Lights in a Safe Location

Place your lights in a cool but dry location far from sunlight or any sources of heat, such as vents. Keep them at the top of your closets or cabinets. Make sure they can’t be reached by children or pets and that they won’t fall.

With this handy and helpful guide from Tree Classics, homeowners everywhere can rest assured that all of their Christmas lights are safe during the off-season.

Photo Credits

Photo by Thompson Wood via Flickr. CC BY-ND 2.0.

Photo by Matt Northam via Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Photo by juliebee86 via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.