Cardboard Tube Christmas Village

I've always loved those little snowy villages that people decorate with during the holidays. When I was a kid my friend's mother would construct an intricate holiday scene complete with miniature kids sledding and tiny bundled-up carolers on her mantle. I could stare at that village for hours imagining which neatly decorated house I would live in, and which snowy hill would be the best for sledding.
These days Christmas doesn't feel quite so full of wonder, and living in Los Angeles means it certainly isn't snowy. So, to remind myself of those tiny winter-wonderlands and simple holiday pleasures I decided to create a holiday village project that kids can construct themselves.
This village looks pretty displayed on a mantle, or it would make an adorable centerpiece for the kid's table during your holiday meal!

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Winter White Walnut Ornament


Here's a very kid-friendly version of the Gilded Walnut. This one uses paint and glitter to make a snowy white walnut for hanging on your tree, so simple and pretty!

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Comfort Food: Beef and Guinness Pie

This recipe for Beef and Guinness pie might seem more appropriate for St. Patrick's day, but I thought the cold and rainy weather last night warranted a hearty winter meal. This really is the perfect cold weather comfort food -- beef, mushrooms and carrots braised in beef broth and Guinness and then baked into a puff pastry crust. 
What's not to love??
I couldn't find exactly the recipe I was looking for, so I adapted this one from an Epicurious recipe found here and combined it with a Jamie Oliver recipe, which I found here
This is a weekend recipe, meaning you'll need to devote some time to it. The meat needs to braise slowly in the oven for a few hours, cool, and then get baked into the pie. 
The smell of this cooking is incredible, and after a few hours you may be tempted to skip the pastry crust and just dive into the stew....
But, trust me, the texture and flavor of the pie is heavenly -- worth the effort, and the wait.

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