NOYO Blog » Seasonal Living

Make your own Ice lantern

December 20, 2013 0 Comments

Making your own ice lantern is an easy way to bring light and magic into cold and dark winter nights. I like mine with cranberries, twigs, leaves and other beautiful objects I find in the yard and around the house.


I borrowed this beautiful image from Songbird until my own ice lantern freezes - after a cold spell we are currently in the high 40s, way too mild for my ice lantern! 

Start with a mold - your bunt cake form, a bucket, a water bottle - and get your ingredients ready. I use fresh Cranberries.


Here we start with a bunt form and fresh cranberries.



Add the cranberries to the mold and fill the mold with water.



Put your composition outside to freeze!




Once frozen solid, turn it over to reveal the beautiful ice lantern, place a candle in its middle and enjoy!

Since the temperatures in Maplewood jumped from below freezing to upper 40s, I cannot show you my frozen ice lantern yet. So let me show you some beautiful examples I found on Pinterest.


As soon as the temperatures drop again and my ice lantern freezes I will share images! Until then, happy hunting and gathering for your own ice lantern.
Enjoy the Season!


Try this Christmas cookie!

December 20, 2013 0 Comments

If you are only baking one ind of cookie this year - try the Swiss all time favorite Mailänderli – milanais in French or, literally, “little milano” in English – is the most popular Swiss Christmas cookie. It’s an egg-enriched shortbread with a hint of lemon. Get out the cookie cutters! This cookie is easy to make, for small and big hand, for seasoned and novice bakers. 

Roll out cookie dough about 1/2 inch thick on a flour dusted clean surface. The thicker the dough the more buttery the taste. Remaining dough just gets rolled up into a ball and rolled out again!

Cookies ready to bake! Either coat them in a  thin egg wash (see recipe), or bake as is and cover with a think sugar coating when still warm.



Recipe: Mailänderli (Swiss Shortbread)

Quantities in weight – scale required!

250 g butter
250 g sugar
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk (for egg wash, keep separate!)
1 lemon, zest only
500 g flour

confectioners sugar

egg wash: beat 1 egg yolk with a bit a water, brush on cookies before baking

sugar icing: mix confectioners sugar with fresh squeezed lemon juice and food color

Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare baking sheets (line with parchment paper).

Using a standing or hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure everything is well combined. Add the 3 eggs, incorporate on low speed, then beat on higher speed until mixture is light and homogeneous. Mix in lemon zest, and finally the flour.

Gather the dough together. Flatten into a disk and place in fridge for two hours.

Dust counter with flour. Roll out dough to 8 mm thickness. (Yes, the Swiss are very exact! I think the main thing is not to make them too thin.) Cut out cookies using cookie cutters. Place on baking sheet.

In a bowl, prepare the egg wash by lightly beating the egg yolk and diluting with a bit of water or milk. Brush cookies with egg wash.

Alternatively, bake cookies as is and coat them with a sugar icing after baking. Sugar icing can be colored with food color and enriched with sprinkles. Bake approx 10 minutes or until golden.

Cool. Store in an airtight container. Makes 50-80 cookies!


Enjoy the Season

Today is St. Nikolaus day!

December 06, 2013 0 Comments

The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas whose day we celebrate today December 6th. Occasion for a joyous celebration in my home country Switzerland. St. Nicholaus -or Samichlaus as he is called in Lucerne where I am from- was born during the third century in the village of Patara, on the coast in Turkey. Nicholaus was from a wealthy family and when his parents died young he used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships. On December 5th, the eve of St. Nicolas Day, villages around Lake Lucerne glow with the light of hundreds of enormous, heavy paper-cut bishopsmiter/hats, iffele, paraded through the streets by men and boys in white robes. The headpieces are artistically designed, intricately cut out of cardboard, and lit by a candle within. Theiffelen, from three to six feet tall, have been made for over 100 years. Each is a unique piece of art.

When St. Nicholaus visits homes, he may be accompanied by Schmutzlis. He goes over a list of the good and bad things the children have done. Good children receive candies, nuts and mandarines. 

While St. Nicholaus brings Candies, nuts and mandarines, families celebrate his day by baking Grittibänze, a delicious sweet bread formed into darling little bread men and women

Bake your own Grittibänz , get creative and enjoy this  joyous time of the year! Happy Samichlaus!



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