Childhood Christmas Candy Memories: Date Nut Roll

Trips to my Aunt Sis’s house at the holidays remain some of my very best childhood memories. Making Christmas candy was an integral part of the festivities, and there is one that still says Christmas to me better than any other.

vintage Christmas candy

 As far back as I can remember,  Aunt Sis’s Date Nut Roll was on the sideboard.

Date Nut Roll


3 cups granulated sugar

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup chopped dates

1 cup chopped nuts



Combine sugar and milk in a large sauce pan.  Using a wooden spoon, cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly.

When sugar is dissolved, add dates in thirds.

Continue to cook, stirring constantly until mixture forms a soft ball in cool water. Remove from heat.  Add nuts,whipping mixture by hand with spoon until it begins to thicken.

Place an unfolded clean, cold, damp cloth onto a baking sheet. Spread mixture into cloth. ***Use caution- candy mixture is very hot!***   Roll up and wrap ends of cloth over. Allow roll to sweat for approximately 3 hours or until firm.

Remove from cloth; slice as desired.  Wrap in waxed paper and store in refrigerator to keep moist.






photo source: via

Nature’s Nuts, Fruits, Branches, And Cones In Understated Season

It’s time to let your creative imagination get back to nature.  Easy, affordable, and simply beautiful fall arrangements and centerpieces are as close as your yard, local produce market or grocery store, or favorite area of woods. Decorating for fall with natural elements and accents emphasizes the beauty and color of the season.

                                                              Photo~ Mizzou

What is fall without fall fruits, foliage and seasonal nuts?  It’s a given they are wonderful ingredients for fall recipes, but boy do they shine in fall arrangements and centerpieces!  Let me show you a few ideas that are inexpensive, colorful and beautiful from Better Home and Gardens.

There is something so elegantly simple about an arrangement of magnolia leaves.  The deep green leaves contrasted with striking copper brown under tones capture the eye and the essence of fall.  I was a goner the minute I saw the magnolia leaves abounding from the copper pail.

Pears, gorgeous pears!  How beautiful is this no fuss fall centerpiece?  Pears paired(hehe) with nuts and leaves for a fall pop of color is elegance in its purest form.

Take one clear glass vase, six oranges, and five acorn branches and call it WOW!  Another way to go would be to take one clear glass vase, six apples of your color choice, five branches from any hardwood shrub or tree, and one can of spray paint.  Painting the branches with metallic colors such as gold, silver, bronze, or copper adds to the element of decorative surprise.

Berries, nuts, and pine cones bring a natural grace to the season.  Trays, dough bowls, vintage compotes, or even mirror placemats make wonderful display accompaniments.  Understated in a most elegant way!


Many harvest moons ago when our kids were not yet teenagers, my family and my best friend’s family would spend Thanksgiving week at our local state park.  We rented the lodge- a three bedroom house with a huge fireplace and mantel.

A tradition within a tradition was the kids and my friend’s husband going out on Thanksgiving morning and collecting leaves, pine cones, acorns, and basically anything from nature that they interpreted as beauty.  Thank goodness all three of the gatherers had good taste, and no strange or crawling elements of natural beauty were brought back to the lodge. My friend’s husband  furnished a pair of mounted deer antlers from his collection as the focal point of the mantel arrangement.  I looked forward to gathering  morning, seeing what the kids would come back with, and the family time spent decorating the mantel. Memories- the stuff that life is made of! The ideas, combinations, and supplies are in your reach.  Nature is the ultimate arts & crafts store!