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!

Joy to the Tree: A Tree Classics Photo Contest

To celebrate Christmas with our fans, we’re hosting a Christmas tree photo contest in which 10 participants will win a gorgeous Tree Classics wreath! We work hard to make our trees everything you need them to be, but we want to see how you put on the finishing touches to ensure it’s absolutely perfect for your family. Continue reading

Get that Full Christmas Tree Look with Your Artificial Tree

Perhaps this is the first year you’ve chosen an artificial Christmas tree. But whether you’ve chosen this route in an effort to trim your decorating budget or you simply believe an artificial tree works as well for them as a freshly cut tree, you may find that artificial trees have come a long way and look very realistic. However, you may rationally know that your tree looks fine and full, but you still feel like it may need extra attention and adornment to get it just right. Continue reading

Fun Christmas Project: How to Bake Cinnamon Ornaments

Cinnamon and the holidays are a perfect pairing. There’s something about the spicy scent that calls to mind cozy meals with family and delectable holiday treats. This year, try putting this delicious holiday scent at the center of your festivities by infusing your tree with baked cinnamon Christmas ornaments. Continue reading

Blogger Feature: Rhoda M. Vickers of Southern Hospitality

A GRITS (girl raised in the South) who loves decorating and thrifting, Rhoda began her blog, Southern Hospitality, in early 2007. What started out as something ‘for fun’ became Rhoda’s personal journal as she faced drastic changes in her life, from a failed marriage to financial breakdown. In her journey, Rhoda shares her life’s ups and downs and her ideas on how to make a house into a home. A collector who loves giving old objects a new lease on life, she hopes to inspire others through her adventures in establishing a beautiful home without spending a fortune by unleashing inner creativity. Read on and learn about this steel magnolia and her heartwarming passions.


Photo by Rhoda M. Vickers of Southern Hospitality

Q: You chronicle your home renovation journeys so well in your blog. Readers are involved with your step-by-step narration and the helpful advice that comes with it. Do tell us what it is about home decorating that triggers you to share your experiences with your readers.

A: I have loved decorating ever since I moved in my first house back in 1985. The decorating process is so personal and such a big part of my life that sharing online became a natural outpouring of that creativity. I’ve been online since the internet began and loved hanging out on decorating boards way before blogs began. Blogging was the next step and sharing with my readers has changed my life in so many ways. I’m so blessed that I have such a loyal following of readers who love to watch my home renovation and enjoy seeing all the decorating shared too. I love keeping up with new ideas and staying fresh with my home decor too.

Continue reading