Fiesta-themed Christmas in July Party

Christmas in July is all about relishing the spirit of the holidays in the warmth and sunshine of summer. This midyear festivity has the same excitement of the winter celebration – only in more radiant colors. So what better way to rekindle your love for the Yuletide season than with a colorful and fabulous Christmas fiesta right smack in the middle of July?

Tree Classics gives you fun and easy-to-follow party ideas for a wonderful Christmas in July fiesta. From decorating tips to recipe suggestions, this simple two-step guide is designed to help you celebrate the best summer Christmas party in your neighborhood.

Step 1: Spruce up Your Home with Paper Lanterns and a Christmas Star Piñata

You can easily turn your summer holiday party into a memorable bash by adding a splash of color to your home. Try hanging festive paper lanterns or a wreath made of ribbons at the entryway or front yard to welcome the spirit of merriment into the neighborhood. You can also make a Christmas star piñata filled with surprises. No one will be able to resist the delicious candies hidden inside.

Step 2: Treat Your Guests to Delicious Christmas Food with a Kick!

Bake eggnog cupcakes to celebrate Christmas in July

1. Colorful Eggnog Cupcakes

Bite into these delectable eggnog cupcakes in summer colors. Eggnog cupcakes are a new take on the classic holiday drink well loved for its sweet and savory goodness. You can also use low-fat milk and artificial sweeteners as a substitute to the eggnog and butter cream frosting.

2. Festive Fiesta Dip

What’s a fiesta without some good ol’ fashioned finger food to nibble on? Keep the energy at your party going by serving crunchy tortilla chips your guests can dip in this scrumptious fiesta dip. Made from a combination of shredded cheese and sour cream with a hint of taco seasoning, this Mexican-inspired treat brings some punch to your Christmas in July.

3. Fruit Christmas Tree

If you prefer a healthier option, you can try creating your own delicious fruit Christmas tree with a selection of the most refreshing summer fruits, such as kiwi, strawberry, honeydew melon, and watermelon. You can use toothpicks to fasten the fruit slices onto a cucumber shaped into a cone. Cut out a star from the honeydew or watermelon and place it on top as the finishing touch.

4. Christmas Lemonade

Quench your thirst this summer with a tall glass of Christmas cocktail! To prepare the Christmas lemonade for the adults in the crowd, simply mix 1.25 oz Absolut Citron with 3 oz lemonade and 3/4 oz sour apple pucker (apple schnapps). Add a maraschino cherry, lemon wedge, lime wedge, orange wedge, and a hint of mint to complete this cooler.

Kick off Christmas in July with your very own terrific midsummer bash by following our ideas for a merry summer-y fiesta. Keep visiting the Tree Classics blog for more party ideas! Happy Christmas in July!

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Image of cupcakes courtesy of chrisroll / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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!

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.

Heartwarming Christmas Tree Traditions

Christmas has always been a time for cherishing family traditions and building memories around the Christmas tree. Here are some traditions that have stood the test of time.

old-2066_640The holidays are always the most opportune time for the family to bond and instill new traditions. As the years pass, simple family customs are cemented into our lives – and those who once established such traditions begin to hold a special place in our collective memory. Here are a few Christmas tree traditions with heartwarming beginnings.

The Wessler Christmas Tree

While stationed in Guayaquil, Ecuador in 1963, Bob Wessler, his wife Anne and sons Tony and Jim wanted to honor the holiday tradition of decorating a Christmas tree in their home. But the lack of traditional evergreens in Ecuador at that time made it nearly impossible to set one up. Since Ann Wessler did not want to adopt the local custom of attaching painted sticks to a base, she decided to have an artificial tree sent to their home.

After 49 years, this same tree still stands strong and has now been adopted by Tony and his wife Beth. They have been continuing the tradition of decorating this family treasure. In 2012, the couple decided to share this tradition with their community by putting the tree up in their office in Sullivan, Montana.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

When you talk about Christmas trees immersed in tradition, you can be sure the Rockefeller Christmas tree is among them. First displayed during the Great Depression, the Rockefeller Christmas tree was once just a small, unadorned tree set up by construction workers.

In 1933, the tree was replaced with a lighted one, and it has since become grander each year. More than 80 years later, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree remains an icon of New York City.

photo by mingo3490 via flickr. CC BY 2.0
photo-by-mingo3490-via-flickr.-CC-BY-2.0.jpg

The Oldest Christmas Tree

Do you have a family heirloom that has been passed on from generation to generation? For the Parker family, one of their greatest treasures is their 126-year-old Christmas tree. Measuring only 14 inches tall and bought in 1886 for a mere sixpence, this diminutive masterpiece has been confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records to be the oldest known artificial Christmas tree in the world. It now has a value of £1,000 or about $1,500.

For Paul Parker, the third generation owner of this incredible tree, the miniature ornamental Christmas tree is priceless.

Family traditions truly leave an imprint on our individual lives, and Christmas is the perfect season for strengthening these bonds. For one family, Christmas traditions may involve prepping the tree and the family feast. For another, it may be the opening of gifts on Christmas morning. One thing is for certain: time-honored family traditions live on.

We would love to hear from you. What are the Christmas traditions of your family?

Tree Classics Christmas Decorating Ideas: How to Make an Edible Christmas Wreath

With only a few days left before Christmas, people are starting to keep themselves busy preparing for an ideal holiday feast.  But with a hectic work schedule, many of us just can’t seem to find enough time to decorate our homes and cook food all at once. The solution: why not whip up a batch of edible Christmas treats you can also adorn your home with?

In this edition of our Tree Classics Christmas Decorating Ideas, we present five amazingly delicious edible Christmas wreaths recipes that are sure to make your tummy happy.

Cornflake Christmas Wreath

Cornflakes Cereals

Transform your favorite breakfast cereal into a healthy and scrumptious Christmas wreath. With this recipe, you can enjoy the benefits of a high fiber diet with a mouth-watering confection. Who says you can’t healthy food during the holidays?

Candy Christmas Wreath

Candy Canes

For a sweet holiday delight for the kids, try out this colorful candy Christmas wreath. Not only is it delicious, but it is also easy to prepare. You can even have the kids help out and turn it into a family tradition.

Ginger Bread Christmas Wreath

Ginger Bread Cookies

A classic favorite by old and young people alike, ginger bread is perhaps one of the most recognizable holiday treats along with candy canes and fruit cakes. The consistency of the dough and its distinct sweet and spicy taste give ginger bread its long lasting fame. A single bite from this pastry masterpiece and you are sure to be transported to happy childhood.

European Christmas Wreath

Brioche Loaf

A culinary confection from across the ocean, this delectable European Christmas wreath combines the heartiness of fragrant spicy brioche buns with the sweet and tangy flavor of orange icing and orange curd filling.

Cinnamon Cookie Christmas Wreath

Cinnamon Cookies

After a nice holiday dinner, share a good cup of coffee with family and friends while nibbling on this tasty cinnamon cookie Christmas wreath. This saccharine creation is the perfect treat to cap off an unforgettable yuletide evening with loved ones.

Make your holiday celebrations merrier with these delectable delights that can fill your senses and tummy at the same time.

Photo Credits:

[1] Photo from surroundsound5000 via flickr. CC BY 2.0

[2] Photo from Pen Waggener via flickr. CC BY 2.0

[3] Photo from NicholasWatts via flickr. CC BY 2.0

[4] Photo from fred_v via flickr. CC BY 2.0

[5] Photo from grotos via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Different Types of Christmas Trees: Full, Narrow, Slim and Flatback Trees

Tree Classics features four of the most common Christmas tree shapes to help you in choosing an artificial Christmas tree that is right for you!

Artificial Christmas trees today take on a variety of shapes or profiles in order to meet the needs of every household. With these beautifully crafted trees, different homes – no matter how big or small the space, no matter the style – are imparted with the spirit of Christmas through the heartwarming presence of these evergreens.

The Full Tree

Full trees are the most popular of all because they resemble real Christmas trees pretty closely. Featuring lush foliage and a broad profile, full trees are perfect for cheering up the mood in your home with their regal charm and abundance.

 

How to Decorate a Full Christmas Tree

The commanding presence of a full Christmas tree invites you to give it an adorable embellishment, simply because it is something that the whole family will enjoy looking at throughout the holidays. Full trees can be decorated with almost anything – from tinsel garlands and shiny baubles to ribbons and knitted stocking ornaments. Different combinations and placements of holiday trimmings give the tree a unique appeal.

The Narrow Tree

Narrow Christmas trees are perfect for spreading holiday warmth and cheer in smaller homes and apartments. These fairly traditional full-height yet slender trees also work well as a secondary holiday centerpiece that you can have in your dining room, kitchen, or guest room.

 

How to Decorate a Narrow Christmas Tree

Lending an air of elegance, narrow Christmas trees look even sleeker when decorated with restraint. To add visual interest without being overpowering, combine baubles, icicles, and trimmings in a monochromatic color scheme.

On the other hand, if you want your tree to appear fuller, consider featuring different textures that create volume and depth. Large baubles and bows, mixed with pinecones and poinsettias, can give a sense of breadth and create the feeling of abundance as a full tree would.

The Slim Tree

For homes that have minimal space, beautiful and verdant slim trees are the ideal way to usher in the holiday season. With lean silhouettes, these trees can fit in even in the tightest spaces, giving your entryways, foyers, and corners an instant dose of Christmas cheer.

Burberry Fir by Tree Classics
Burberry Fir Christmas Tree by Tree Classics

 

How to Decorate a Slim Christmas Tree

The old adage ‘less is more’ is a good rule to follow when it comes to slim Christmas trees. Skinny trees command attention due to their delicate profile, and it’s best to showcase this feature by keeping the ornaments minimal.

Skinny trees give the illusion of height, which is why they work well in small rooms. Emphasize this admirable attribute by using ribbons that cascade from the top to bottom. Hang the smaller ornaments on the upper part of the tree and the bigger ones at the lower section to create a sense of balance.

The Flatback Tree

Flatback trees radiate the holiday ambiance of a traditional Christmas tree but takes up only half the floor space. Great for studios and small apartments, these trees feature a space-saving design that allows them to rest comfortably against the wall while providing a lush full-tree effect from the front.

 

How to Decorate a Flatback or Half Christmas Tree

Because a flatback tree poses as a full-bodied tree, it is spruced up much like a lush evergreen, except that you get to skip the back corner. Depending on your room’s décor, you can choose a festive red-and-green theme or go beyond the traditional Christmas colors.

A neutral scheme using natural elements, such as pinecones and other woodsy ornaments, is a great way to infuse a feeling of coziness and warmth in your holiday celebrations. Add a joyful spirit by placing neatly wrapped presents under the tree.

With the wide selection available on the market, choosing an artificial Christmas tree can be difficult. We hope this Tree Classics feature has helped you in buying a Christmas tree that’s perfect for your holiday home.

The Wintry Charm of Flocked Christmas Trees

With a nice lather of artificial snow, your holiday tree can become even more lifelike and fill your home with the magic of a white Christmas. What are the most beautiful flocked artificial Christmas trees?

In the second edition of our holiday trees special, Tree Classics presents two of our most adorable Christmas trees that feature artificial snow. These snow-capped decorative trees are sure to bring the charm of wintry forests into your yuletide celebration.

A White Christmas Highlight

Bring home the loveliness of a winter wonderland with Tree Classics’ Flocked White Fir Deluxe Christmas Tree. Designed to fill spaces with the elegance of the season, this fine artificial tree features snow-white foliage made of high-quality PVC needles. The pure color of our décor makes it an excellent Christmas showpiece to match any style of home.

Flocked White Fir Deluxe Christmas Tree

Along with its beautiful white foliage, the pre-lit version of our White Fir Deluxe Christmas tree also features bright UL lights which, combined with the flocked needles and branches of our tree, help create a cool and brilliant display unlike any other. The fire-resistant material makes this Tree Classics favorite an ideal Christmas accent.

A Snow-kissed Evergreen Favorite

For avid fans of the traditional evergreen tree, check out Tree Classics’ Alpine Estates Flocked Fir Christmas Tree. Inspired by the look of snow-capped Alpine firs, this lovely decorative tree is crafted from only the finest PVC needles and branches. The full evergreen foliage made from flame-proof material makes our yuletide tree a timeless showpiece for the holidays.

Alpine Estates Flocked Fir Christmas Tree

Our pre-lit Alpine Estates Flocked Fir tree is designed with sparkling UL lights. The warm radiance complements the frosted needles, creating a beautiful spectacle to cap off your Christmas.

Treat your family and friends to a memorable yuletide celebration by displaying these stunning flocked Christmas favorites in your holiday home.

Win an Artificial Tree! Join Tree Classics’ Military Family Facebook Giveaway Contest

Tree Classics is giving away holiday prizes to the families of soldiers

‘Salute Your Soldier’ Military Family Tree Giveaway

Every year, thousands of families feel a little incomplete around the holiday season. Deployed soldiers from around the country miss their children’s visits to Santa, the singing of carols and the opening of gifts. With loved ones gone, the holiday season can feel more gloomy than cheerful.

At Tree Classics, we believe December should be one of the happiest times of the year, and we want to help those who sacrifice so much for our country to feel the joy we know exists in the holiday season.

In an effort to give back to the brave families that have committed their lives to the military, Tree Classics is giving away five (5) holiday prizes. Families with an active or retired member of the military are eligible to win one of five prizes to help warm up their homes for the holiday season. We encourage you to share with us your story or a story of someone you love and admire who deserves a little more cheer this year.

How do I enter?

Entries will be in the form of pictures of soldiers or soldiers’ families, uploaded to the Tree Classics Facebook page’s contest app. Nominate a military family (or your own family) by uploading your picture along with a note telling us how they personify the holiday spirit.

Who is eligible?

Families with an active or retired member of the military are eligible for prizes. Eligible entrants must be residents of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia. Tree Classics cannot ship to overseas bases.

Who wins?

Winners will be decided by fan voting. The five (5) entries with the most votes will be awarded a Tree Classics product. We encourage you to share your entry with your friends, family and networks, as well as encourage other families to participate. Winners will be notified via email by December 18, 2013.

What are the prizes?

The top three (3) entries will win one (1) Pre-lit Wisconsin Fraser Fir each, while the two (2) runners-up will be awarded one (1) 24-inch Clear Lights Aster Christmas Wreath.

When is the contest?

The contest begins Monday, November 18, 2013, at 9:00 am PT. To enter, visit our Facebook page and upload a picture of your nominated family (or soldier) with a note about the family’s holiday spirit. When nominating another family, we ask that the family be aware before you submit because Tree Classics will need to contact them if they win. Encourage your friends, families and network to vote for your entry until the contest ends — Friday, December 13, 2013 at 11:59 pm PT.

What are the rules?

Entrants must be residents of and living in the United States. Nominations can come from anyone, but families eligible to win prizes must include an active or retired member of the military. For the official contest rules, visit our Facebook page.

With the holiday season quickly approaching, we are excited to express our gratitude to such heroic families in the community. Every year, families sacrifice quality time to protect our country, and we are happy to give back to those courageous men and women. We look forward to all of the entries and wish you the best of luck and a happy holiday season!

An Apple a Day: 30 Wonderful Apple Recipes for September

Three delicious apples

In celebration of the Apple Month of September, Tree Classics pays homage to America’s favorite fruit. Here are 30 healthy and delectable apple recipes, from appetizers to desserts, to keep the doctor away each day:

Appetizer

Apple Relish

Apple relish is a simple delicious dish that brings out the goodness of the more ordinary flavors of hamburgers and hot dogs. Cooking this sweet tangy appetizer is as easy as combining chopped green apples with green and red bell peppers, sugar, and apple cider vinegar. Season it with salt and pepper to taste. OPTIONAL: Add raisins and spice with a pinch of cayenne pepper and turmeric for a bit of heat.

Apple Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

Great both as an appetizer and snack, this fruit-and-chips combo is a sure fire hit! Make the apple salsa by combining apples with strawberries, pears, or grapes, along with a few tablespoons of orange juice, grated orange peel, and brown sugar. Spoon the salsa over cinnamon-sprinkled flour tortilla, and enjoy with your friends!

Baked Apples with Feta and Thyme

Apple, cheese, and a little seasoning make up this glorious appetizer all foodies will appreciate. Try this by baking apple halves with apple cider and thyme, and stuffing the centers with raisins, feta cheese, thyme, and olive oil. The saltiness of the feta cheese balances the sweetness of the apples and raisins quite beautifully to make this dish a lovely way to start your meal.

Sausage Apple Tarts

This savory puff pastry tart will fill your kitchen with appetizing aromas. The best thing is it takes only 15 minutes to bake! Just stir-fry the sausage and onion with the apples, and scoop up about a tablespoonful into each muffin pastry. Bake and sprinkle with cheese.

Apple Chicken Rolls

Stimulate your appetite with this winning dish that combines two of the world’s most favorite foods. To make apple chicken rolls, place finely chopped apples, onions, parsley, and breadcrumbs on top of the chicken. Roll and secure the chicken with toothpicks, and brown it in a skillet with melted butter. Splash a little wine or brandy while cooking.

Tuna-Apple Mini Melts

Give a refreshing spin to your canned tuna with this healthy, tasty bite-sized appetizer recipe. Combine mayonnaise, diced apples, celery, red onions, hard boiled egg, and tuna. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Divide the creamy tuna-apple mixture among phyllo shells then top with cheese. Broil until the cheese melts.

Main Course

A savory dinner using apples

Grilled Apple Chicken

This elegant dish is sweet, juicy, and very filling. You can even slice any leftover chicken into strips and serve them on a bed of salad greens or as sandwiches. To make grilled apple chicken, marinate chicken breast halves in a mixture of apple juice, lemon juice, soy sauce, honey, garlic powder and ground ginger. Grill over medium heat on each side or until juices run clear, and serve with apple rings.

Pork Chops with Apple & Onions

Pork chops with sautéed apples and onions served over rice or mashed potatoes offer fantastic flavors that never disappoint. Start by seasoning pork chops generously with salt and pepper, then sear pork chops to a nice golden brown. Sauté onions and apples in butter, and cover the chops with the apple mixture.

Apple Cider Beef Stew

Apple cider beef stew is a simple and sweet meal the whole family will enjoy. Apples and apple cider give the beef in this recipe a mellow sweetness. To make the dish, season beef cubes with flour, salt, pepper, and thyme. Brown the beef on a large pot with olive oil. Add apple cider, water, cider vinegar, and bay leaf.  Stir in carrots, potatoes, onions, celery, and apple. Serve with a hearty bread.

Ribs with Apples and Sauerkraut

Savor the aroma and flavor of pork country-style ribs with apples. Combine potatoes, carrots, onion, browned pork ribs, and sauerkraut in electric crockery cooker. Mix apple cider, caraway seed, and cloves, and pour over sauerkraut. Turn the drippings into gravy by boiling it with apples and flour diluted in water.

Lamb Shoulder Chops with Apples and Prunes

Bring a touch of French country into your dining table by serving lamb shoulder chops with apples and prunes.  Sauté apples in butter, add shallots and garlic, and a mixture of brandy, vinegar, prunes, and bay leaf. Boil until liquid is reduced to a glaze, and season with salt and pepper. Serve over medium-rare lamb chops.

Apple Glazed Turkey

Why wait until November when you can relish Thanksgiving’s culinary super star today? Mix apple cider or juice, butter, and honey, and brush over the entire turkey 45 minutes before it completes cooking. Glaze the bird several times more before finally removing it from the oven.

Side Dish

Apple Cole Slaw

A selection of side dishes that use apples

Our Apple Cole Slaw complements a meal with the delicious flavors of fruit and veggies in a sweet dressing. Plus, it’s so easy to throw together. Just mix together cabbage, apples, carrots, and green onions. For the dressing, combine mayonnaise, brown sugar, and a splash of lemon juice.

Apple Mashed Potatoes

The addition of apples in mashed potato makes this side dish a real winner, and it works great with any meat! To prepare, mash boiled apples and potatoes. Add butter, vinegar, and sugar. Top with bacon and onions, and a dash of ground nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Wild Rice Pilaf with Cranberries and Apples

Add color and flavor to your favorite fall meal with a great side dish recipe that features the perfect blend of tart cranberries and the nutty, earthy taste of wild rice. Combine diced apples with cooked wild rice pilaf. Stir in a mixture of oil, vinegar, and sugar, and top with toasted almonds, cranberries, raisin, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Apple Salad

This sweet, creamy apple salad recipe has a beautiful mix of flavors and textures. You’ll love the crunch of the apples, celery, and nuts, the sweetness of craisins, and the citrus undertones in the dressing. Make this side dish by combining sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar, and lemon juice. Add chopped apples, craisins, and nuts, and serve on lettuce leaves.

Green Apple Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Give a light, crisp, and delicious contrast to rich turkey dishes and heavier meals with this Green Apple Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette recipe. The side dish offers cool, tangy, tart, and crunchy layers of textures and flavors achieved by combining celery, apples, and walnuts in  a vinaigrette of Dijon mustard, honey, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Brussel Sprouts with Apples and Bacon

Smokey. Crisp. Sweet. Savory! All these come together in this hearty side dish perfect for the fall. Make this delicious medley by combining bacon crisps with caramelized onions, charred sprouts, and cooked apples. Spice it up with a dash of pepper.

Beverage

apple smoothie

Honey-Apple Tea

Enjoy a nice cup of comforting tea infused with the refreshing taste of apple. Brew green tea. Add apple juice and garnish with apple slices. A good dose of fresh honey makes this hot concoction sweet and smooth. Sprinkle some cinnamon if you want an aromatic burst of sweet and spicy flavors.

Apple Iced Tea

Relish the flavors of fall in this thirst-quenching iced tea recipe. Brew English breakfast tea and stir in cinnamon quills, and apple juice. Add apple and lemon slices, ice cubes, and mint sprigs. Sweeten with brown sugar or honey.

Cinnamon-Apple Cooler

In need of a refreshing drink to combat stress? Go for our Cinnamon-Apple Cooler. Add cold water and grape juice to brewed tea. Pour in ice-filled glasses with a splash of soda. For a richer flavor, add lemon slices.

Apple Banana Pear Smoothie

Celebrate autumn’s bounty with this healthy, refreshing concoction. Mix apples, bananas, and pears with ice cubes. Blend until smooth. You can also go without the ice by slicing and freezing your fruits at least one hour ahead.

Apple Cider, Cranberry, and Ginger Cocktail

This tangy beverage is a great way to start a festive dinner. Serve this punch to entertain the crowd. To prepare, muddle cranberries with sugar, then stir in apple cider, ginger beer, lemon juice, and gin (optional). Serve chilled or over ice.

Carrot-Apple Smoothie

Packed with powerful health benefits, this delicious smoothie is the perfect way to jumpstart an autumn morning.  Combine baby carrots, apples, and banana with orange juice, and blend well.

Dessert

A delicious apple pie

Apple Peach Cobbler

Cap off your dinner with this apple peach cobbler recipe. A crowd pleaser, this baked dessert combines sliced peaches and apples with a pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg, topped with a crumbly batter. Serve it warm with vanilla ice cream.

Bavarian Apple Torte

With gorgeous layers of buttery crust, cream cheese filling, and apple toppings, the Bavarian apple torte is a must-try. To make this rich dessert, combine cream cheese, egg and sugar, and pour into a pastry lined pan. Top it with a mixture of apples, sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle with almonds. Bake and serve.

Caramel Apples

Surprise kids and adults this September with this decadent Halloween treat. Insert popsicle sticks into crisp apples, and cover the fruit with a layer of hot caramel, and then a layer of chocolate. Dip the bottom part of the apples into peanuts or coat with chopped candy bars.

Apple Spice Cake with Apple Cream Cheese Frosting

This apple spice cake is a great way to impress guests and conclude a nice family dinner. You’ll love how it’s deliciously spiced with ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, and filled with apple butter in between. The apple cream cheese frosting on top gives it the right amount of sweetness.

Caramel Apple Sundae

A decadent treat such as this caramel apple sundae is guaranteed to end your meal in a sweet, comforting note. The dessert combines rich layers of caramelized apple wedges, cinnamon ice cream, and some pecan-oat crumble, topped with whipped cream.

Peanut Butter Apple Dessert

Everybody loves peanut butter and apple, and this recipe turns the classic childhood snack into a nice dessert.  To make, layer a mixture of graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, peanut butter, and butter. Cover with whipped cream cheese and top with apple pie filling.

This September, celebrate good health and good bounty with these yummy apple recipes. Happy eating!

Image no. 2 courtesy of Apolonia at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 Amazing Gift Ideas for Foodie Friends

It’s time to wow your foodie friends with a delicious goodie basket bursting with the flavors of summer! Tree Classics recommends these sweet and savory homemade treats that are sure to uplift spirits and excite your gourmand buddies:

1. Homemade Limoncello and Frozen Bellini

Gift a friend hosting a party with homemade gourmet drinks, such as limoncello or frozen bellini. Crisp and fragrant, limoncello is an iconic drink from the Italian coast. This lemon liqueur is appreciated by gourmands amid the sweltering summer heat. The frozen bellini, on the other hand, blends champagne with peach or passion fruit nectar and grenadine. Served with a fine meal of roast and veggies, the intense citrusy flavors of these drinks give you the perfect summer blend.

2. Baked Goodies

A tea party gives your foodie friends the perfect opportunity to sample some of your heavenly cakes and cookies! A box of freshly baked goodies is a great gift for those who appreciate the unique combination of bittersweet tea and light and fluffy treats.

Whip up buttery delights such as sugar cookies or an assortment of miniature berry tarts. Present these homemade specialties in a gorgeous tin can or papier-mâché box. Tie a bright yellow or pink ribbon and decorate with a pretty label.

Tree Classics Baked Goodies
By studiocherie / flickr

3. Chutneys

Little jars of fruit chutney make a nice homemade gift that brings the fresh taste of summer into your chowhound friends’ kitchens. What’s great is that these flavors last beyond the season. Chutneys are one of the easiest preserves to make. Ripe nectarines and peaches are a wonderful accompaniment to grilled chicken or pork, as well as an excellent garnish in your sandwich or salad.

Package your homemade concoction in a decorative glass bottle, which your friend can later reuse as a cute shelf display. Don’t forget to use ribbons and labels to embellish the jar. You can also add a “best by” date or a list of the ingredients.

4. Cheeses

It’s not a secret that the best summer cheeses can make outdoor barbecues and picnics a gourmet experience. Surprise your foodie friends by gifting them premium cheese that you yourself have made. You can make something from scratch, such as queso blanco, yogurt cheese, and ricotta cheese, or pair the cheese you already have with a few gourmet herbs like basil and mint.

Wrap hard aged cheese in a beautiful cheese cloth or place freshly made soft potted cheese in a fancy jar.

5. Spice Mixes

A jar of spice mixes can be one of the most thoughtful gifts you can ever give a foodie friend. Quality spice blends are not only very easy to make but are also a lot healthier than store-bought versions, which may contain some chemical additives. From pesto to taco and cajun seasonings, you can conveniently create your own blend for making even plain meat and vegetables exciting.

Pack your spice mixes in a pretty mason jar, and include a set of colorful, decorative measuring spoons for a creative touch.

The great thing about these food gifts is that they are almost always eagerly consumed within days of being received. And with the right packaging, you will not only wow your friends with your fine culinary taste but also with your creativity!