Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pot Pie, A Little Fall Decorating, and Looking Forward to November

Can you believe this is the end of October? I can't complain, we have had such a beautiful Autumn. We are at peak color and still have a lot of leaves on the trees.  The weather has been warm enough that my geranium hanging baskets are still blooming!
I spent yesterday all day in my sun filled kitchen cooking and baking up a storm.  October is Pastor appreciation month and I managed to get some appreciation to them before the end of the month this year ;>) We have three pastoral families who work very hard and are the dearest people you would ever want to meet. Our main Pastor just returned from a two week mission trip last night and I thought it would be a great idea to make them dinner so they could just get home from the airport, sit down and enjoy his homecoming. And if I'm cooking for one I might as well cook for all at the same time. The menu was chicken pot pie, fresh bread, a quart of home made cider, Earl's fabulous brownies and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. I also tucked some apple butter and wild crab apple jelly into the baskets. I wish I could share a recipe for the pot pie, but I just throw them together willy nilly. They are super easy, just carrots, potatoes, corn, peas, onion and celery in proportions that please you, chop up a roast chicken and make gravy to hold it all together. Pop it in a home made crust and bake. It always turns out great. If you need help look up chicken pot pie in your favorite basic cookbook and go from there.
  As usual, I'm late to the game for showing a little bit of the "fall decorating". I did more this year than I have in a while, now that I'm blissfully unemployed I have a little more time. But I'm not all into fluffing every corner and truth be told this little cottage is small enough that it doesn't take much to clutter it. So I popped a hanging basket on the front door...
 Threw a few decorative things into a 50 cent garage sale tray on the roadside buffet in the dining room...
 and filled an old enamelware pan I scored at a garage sale this fall with rusty gold mums and a set a farmers market pumpkin with personality beside it at the back door. 
As of a month ago, I am counting the days, the hours, the moments until my girl and her sweet husband join us for three weeks. They will be here through Thanksgiving! Just over a week and I'll be hugging the stuffing out of both of them. I didn't lose a daughter, I gained a son and I couldn't be happier to see them both. Christmas is coming early this year!
The adorableness is overwhelming:>)
What does November hold for you?
P.S. I've marked down the fall pillow covers in the shop, clearing them out for Christmas. Stop over and take a peek!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Morning Snapshot

Good morning! I have a little bit of random today.  You know, I've been blogging for almost 8 years? Holy cow, yes, it will be 8 years in February and I'm still blathering on. I have struggled over the past few years, having read the advice that I should decide what my blog is about, discover my niche as it were, and focus on getting more readers.
Tempting of course, would I love some ad revenue? Well gosh, money is always welcome, but try as I might I can't seem to define this little corner of the internet, and I am no longer inclined to do so.
I'm not a "mommy blogger", and I'm not a decorator, as the following shots are about to prove.  I'm just a woman sharing a little bit of her life online, and feeling blessed that anyone shows up to read about it! Some of you have been with me almost the entire 7 1/2 years, and some of you are new friends, and I love and appreciate all of you! You have changed my life in so many ways, and I plan to do a post on that soon:>) In the meantime, I'm just here to share a little of my morning with you.
 I love to start my morning in the kitchen, it faces east and the  bright morning sunshine spills in through the window by the sink.  This morning I baked some bread and sliced up some fruit, (ahem, I think you know what kind) to dry in the dehydrator. We have found that we love dried you know whats, so we are stocking up for the winter.
 This is a quick shot of the dining room to show you my new chairs from Joss & Main. For a girl who usually spends a whopping $5 on her chairs this was huge. I am not ashamed to say that for the first time in my life my dining room chairs match. I am, however, a little embarrassed to say that even though the chairs are beautiful and extremely comfy, one of my first thoughts upon seeing them was the horrible realization that having spent more than $5 on each one I feel hampered in painting them in any color that strikes my fancy and reupholstering them to suit my whim.
I know. You can take the junk out of the dining room, but you can't take the junk picker out of the girl...or something like that.
Also, I'm showing you this shot of a messy dining room table because it's covered in some dreams we are dreaming. Who knows if they'll come true? But it's fun to dream, and there are some clues to what they are if you look close enough!
 Having purchased said chairs I found myself with a credit at Joss & Main and picked up this little sign for the kitchen. Earl is ordering wood countertop from Ikea today and we are getting rid of the 25 year old tile that we put on the counters 25+ years ago. Way overdue. We have been finishing up a bathroom redo that I can't wait to show you, (just a few more little touch ups!) and then hitting the kitchen hard to get it done before Thanksgiving, because I cannot go another month with that old nasty counter top. At any rate, the sign came this morning and Earl looked at it and said it reminded him of that song in a Monty Python movie and now I can't get that song out of my head.
Help me.
And this is a little something sparkly that I am working on for the shop. I'm giving you a sneak peek and hoping I can list these next week;>)  I'll be working on more this afternoon because then the sunshine will be coming in my workspace window. ♥Love sunshine♥
What are you working on today?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Apple Pie cookies

I know. Another apple post. It's a quick one I promise, because I am. still. processing. apples...
Today I'm making more apple butter, and may I say that,
1. It is not only shocking how many apples 2 full size trees can produce in a good year, but...
2. Your enthusiasm for making the most of them decreases in direct proportion to how many bushels are piling up in the garage and how many you have already made into pie, cider, apple butter, apple sauce, dried apples, frozen apples and any other permutation you can think of to make the most of what used to seem like a wonderful bounty.
Still, I cannot bring myself to waste food when so many go hungry. I soldier on.
This recipe is one I found on Pinterest and they looked so cute and delicious I had to try them. Besides, I had a few apples laying around...
And they are every bit as adorable and delicious as they look! Warm out of the oven, Lord have mercy. We couldn't stop eating them.  I used a little vintage ruffled biscuit cutter set I found at a garage sale to cut them out and added a few tablespoons of maple syrup to the sugar filling just out of curiosity. ♥ Love ♥
We will make these again. they are a little fussy, with cutting and assembling, but totally worth it to serve with tea or coffee or a tall glass of milk.  These would be perfect for a child's lunch box!
The recipe made about 18 and you can find it here.
And now, back to the kitchen. I have a few apples to cut up.
What projects are you working on right now?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sharing the harvest

We had some friends over Saturday night to share the apple harvest.  I wish we could set these things up about a week ahead in order to get all the pretty party shots, but truth be told, I was running around arranging and setting up Saturday and the photography was catch as catch can.
Maybe that's the difference between a real party and a Pinterest photo shoot?
I love using the old crate my daughters picked up for me as a gift. A few clippings from the garden and some votives make a pretty display that just gets prettier as night falls.
 I set up a table for the coffee and home made cider.  Here it is before the carafes full of coffee came out. We froze some large cider ice cubes in small Tupperware containers to keep the cider cold and it worked very well. The sun was shining and the temps were in the low 70's so cold cider was appropriate.
 Did I mention the cider was home made? We would love to find a cider press for a reasonable amount, Earl actually saw one at a garage sale for $50 a few years ago and unthinking he passed it up.  He has lived with deep regret ever since, so the search for another deal like that continues.
I pulled out a large round tray that I found at a garage sale for 50 cents and filled it with oak leaves and those beautiful crabapples from the tree growing wild in our woods.  You can see in the photo above I also cut some branches from the tree, and Earl found some bittersweet and smaller crabapples that I stuck in a rustic old crock I had. The matching mugs come from the dollar store and we pull them out whenever we have a large crowd.  I feel it is often easier to entertain a lot of friends than it is to try to have a lot of small parties throughout the year, so when we have a party we invite everyone! 
I grabbed a photo of some of the guests enjoying the chili, cornbread, cider and apple pie. Earl manned a table making hot, fresh donuts using simple canned biscuits rolled in cinnamon sugar and powdered sugar, and our youngest guests raced around the yard exploring and playing games. Now that our own kids are all grown up it is so lovely to see and hear little ones playing in the yard again. 
I meant to get a photo of the food table but never got around to it. Once the party starts it's time to put down the camera and enjoy my guests! More guests arrived after this picture was taken.
 It was such a relaxing evening, sitting around the blazing fire with a simple meal, a great group of friends and some hot coffee and pie!  We laughed and talked well into the evening and the night was perfect!
How was your weekend?

Friday, October 11, 2013


You may be asking where on earth I have been, or maybe not. I have a habit lately of  getting too busy to document life. In this case I have been busy with the apple harvest, trying to gather in all the good things growing and ripening on the trees on our little 5 acre parcel. 
Along with two large trees full of regular apples at the neighbors house that we have been given to pick, Earl found enough wild grapes in the woods to make a good size batch of some of the best grape jelly we have ever tasted. Nothing like the high fructose glop the stores sell, it is sweet and tangy and well worth the effort it took to make.
We also found a very large wild crabapple tree in the woods, full of the most beautiful little blushed golden apples and nearly every one just perfect.
We can well afford to purchase food, but letting beautiful, bountiful, fresh, organic produce like this fall to the ground and be wasted would be a shame. Gathering it up allows us to fill our pantry with the best product available. Not only for ourselves, but to give as Christmas gifts with fresh warm home made bread!
 From one little 1/2 bushel basket, we got six  8 oz. jars and seven 4 oz. jars of clear, tangy wild crabapple jelly. To make it even more special I was given the recipe by a dear blog friend Barbara who lives way across the sea in beautiful Cornwall, England.  Barbara sent me her apple jelly recipe and it was so easy! No pectin, just the juice of the apples and sugar cooked until the natural pectins jell.
If you would like the recipe you can find it  here on her blog.
I've also been busy putting together a party tomorrow to share the apple bounty. Apple pies, home made apple cider, hot cocoa, fresh donuts and chili with cornbread just so we don't all go into a sugar coma:>) And to make it all even better the forecast of for another perfect sunny fall day in the low 70's.
I'll be sharing next week how I put it all together.
How about you, any plans for enjoying the bounty and beauty of fall this weekend?

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