Thursday, November 26, 2020

A Different Way to be Thankful!

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Wednesday was the day before Thanksgiving...and Hubby and I were cooking and all was well? 

Well, maybe---like many others we are not Gathering...but Hubby and I have been dicing, mashing, roasting and rolling, stuffing and, packing it all up!

We share holidays now, between three families and E except for THANKSGIVING! Seems my kids are daunted by roasting a turkey, making stuffing from bare bread, and the pies. 

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Normally we ALL do apple pies together and make a bunch from a bushel of apples, but not this year. I did get a 1/2 bushel of Macs...just for pies and baking.

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We've been watching Christmas movies to avoid the news----STILL! 

And, really hoping for peace on earth soon. Meanwhile there is no peace in the kitchen our island counter has been super busy! 

Stuffing: It started with a pound of giblets and one pound of Ground Turkey, and bakery bread cubes, celery, onions and fresh herbs, poultry seasoning, butter and lots of homemade broth. This made five aluminum loaf pans of Stuffing.

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 My favorite!

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Out thirteen pound turkey was lightly stuffed with lots of fresh herbs, celery and onions, smelled NUMMY. 

A fifteen pound Hickory smoked Ham...basted with ginger ale and baked all the way through. It smelled Delicious. Hubby cut it in thick slabs so it will stay juicy.

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Red Cabbage, simmered with butter and apples to a dark rich burgundy, a Thanksgiving tradition here.

Five pounds of yellow potatoes, boiled and mashed with milk and butter.

The Five pumpkin pies, made from Halloween pumpkins we roasted. 

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And, five Apple pies for one for each family  extra just in case.

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One with a Dutch Apple crust, I froze for Christmas. The right one has my Mom-in-laws signature wheat piercings.

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The rest have everyone's initials.

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We made  finally made gravy after everything was cut and boxed last night. The secret to a nice bodied gravy is use your potato water and broth boiled in the bottom of the roaster with all the good bits!

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We packed up our pickup truck with icecream/coolwhip/plates/napkins, all the food and ready for our traditional Christmas meal. 
OUR way to make it seem normal!

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Best part everyone was in jammies or in the shower when we arrived. And we social distanced.

Delivery Service Free, with Thanks to our Family for being the best, staying healthy and safe. How else can we show love, more than that.

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My son and family are putting up their tree today.

We made two more deliveries, caught E ...not dressed, and other son in the shower. 

Also included 2 hambones for the puppies at E's home.

Boys declared reverse Thanksgiving and had pie first!!!
Lots of texts and photos later! 

LOL..Thanksgiving in front of the TV. 
If it had to be a different Thanksgiving, this was a great way to do it.

Oops, buzzer went off, our meal is heating up in the oven right now!

HOPE YOU HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING
ANY WAY YOU CAN!

Join me at these fine blog parties:



Do not use my photos without my permission and linking back to this post on my blog.


Thank you for your cooperation, 
Sandi 



Sunday, November 1, 2020

Thankful for our Small Home!


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Thankful for our small home!


As we age, we are in our 70's now, I'm really thankful for our smaller home. It's a bit short of 1400 square feet. We happily raised two boys here, I ran my business from here, and occasionally it felt small. With the large basement, someone could always escape. 


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This year, I am wondering if we will have a Thanksgiving. I skipped decorating for Halloween this year, but we are put out candy for the Trick or Treaters. Since Fall is my favorite time of year, I decided to be thankful and decorate for Thanksgiving anyway.


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Hand-painted porcelain platter with pears/ and gold trim. Perfect for a Fall display. The transfer ware pitcher was my mom's favorite. 

Will we be gathered around the dining table or not? We will have to wait and see.

Thanksgiving has always meant FAMILY here, mixed with deer hunting (up North) and Football. Seriously, the small TV in my kitchen dining area, is there simply for Football on holidays. Less the sound, the boys can still see their games while we have a civilized meal.

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Normally, I plan on serving desserts, pies, punch, and beverages from this buffet in our living room. This year 

I've decorated with larger pieces. Because, I know there won't be the usual dessert bar here. At the most we will be 8, if we gather, buffet style and spread out about the house.

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I brought in a blooming Mandilla pot which was companion planted with a burgundy Sweet Potato Vine. The vine was frost nipped and has a bit of gold on its leaves now. I stuck a large rustic fruit/grape branch in the planter and set it in a large Aesthetic transfer ware bowl. We will see how long it lasts. 

I have lights behind, which casts a warm glow off the 1920's mirror from my grandmother's attic in the evenings or on cloudy days. 

Hubby bought the Pilgrims and the resin turkey a few years ago...perfect colors for our room and this holiday month. 
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The rest of the decor sits on a thrift store runner. Fresh Pumpkins and gourds and the Pilgrims 

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Here you can see the lights reflected in the mirror.

In the darkest corner, a piece of my mom's (broken)Staffordshire.  She would buy chipped or damaged pieces if she couldn't afford the perfect piece. 
I always smile at this, knowing it was bought with 'sugar bowl' money saved from being frugal. 

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Staffordshire with a faux leave arch.

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Most of our really good antiques are family heirlooms, like this brass plate with the noses rubbed off from polishing. This piece dates late 18th century.

Another treasure are family pieces of 
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P.Ibsens Enke, from Norrebo, Denmark from the beginning of the 20th century. The matte glaze was created in the early 1900's and used extensively by fine artists working in the Ibsen potteries. Even Georg Jensen designed and worked there. Enke stands for widow, Louise, wife of artist/designer Peder Ibsen. Louise and her son, Berthel continued the company until the 1950's after her husband's death in 1860. Yes, it is a very old company.

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As a potter/artist, I totally appreciate the design and especially the glazes on these stoneware pieces. And, they are treasured.

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Hope you enjoyed our little tour...
And, Stay safe!

Do you use treasured pieces for Thanksgiving?
PLEASE  STAY SAFE!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Our Fall HOME, beginning to settle in for the long haul.

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We've been so busy with projects and yard work. I finally got in my doll room after almost 3 months. I had stories and themes to do there. The yard and produce from the garden really kept the kitchen too busy to decorate. 

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Every day in October brought heat, more work, rain...inside projects, beautiful days for outside and today...???? 

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The last two mornings it has been very heavy frost and SNOW. Such is Chicagoland weather. And, NO, I'm not ready for Winter yet. I haven't done Fall.

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Because of the frosts, I brought herbs and plants in from outdoors. And, finally have some sort of decor set up that isn't flowers drying or tomatoes ripening. My ivy topiary is so thick, I may have to start clipping it. I had transplanted it in Spring...and it loved the extra dirt.

HOW TO MAKE THE IVY TOPIARY HERE.

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I take that back, I still have flowers drying for seeds. Maybe I will sort tonight while watching...GASP...Christmas movies. In these turbulent times, it's silly relief.

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This sweet stove was a purchase this summer, and never left the kitchen. The pots and pans were found in a tote of my mom's stuff. Eight pieces in a bag, brand new, marked $1.99. Guess how old they must be..LOL. 

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Long as I finally was putting up some Fall, I added my Turkey platter, plates and my rustic Pilgrims. It really doesn't take too much to make it cozy.

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My centerpiece is a pot full of last of the Zinnias (actually drying on the stems), an old pumpkin bottle (Pumpkin Spiced Rum---it was SO GOOD!) and drying flower buds for seeds in an old Mason Jar and some coin glass from the 1960's (wedding present).

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On the island, the usual suspects, a little less blue than normal. The crock on the right is full of cough drops, an Atlas jar (very old), my old scale, a Swedish trivet, a very early McCoy pitcher another crock (from Glenn's great-great grandmother, and some vintage S&P. 

This island has been so busy, I just finished making pumpkin butter. This week, I will begin deep cleaning the kitchen, and oiling the counters. 
Something I do at least twice a year.



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Here is my only Halloween decor up---a large rubber spider captured in a jar.  In the living room are my plants from out doors. We will see what thrives.



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Love the Mandilla flowers.  I brought in 4 of those plants...I hope they will be happy inside.  The mini Spathiphyllum  on the right was in the pond. Which reminds me, I have to put the pumps away...YIKES! So, much still to do.

What are you planning to do inside for WINTER?

Do not use my photos without my permission and linking back to this post on my blog.


Thank you for your cooperation, 
Sandi 
 











 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Making PUMPKIN BUTTER


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Sandi's Pumpkin Butter. 

Last post was how to PUREE FRESH PUMPKIN. I don't remember where this recipe started, I know it has been tweaked over the years...so I call it my own. I tend to reduce sugar content if possible. With jams you need the sugar to make it thick. With this recipe you can add more sugar if you like, just don't reduce the sugar.

 

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Blending and measuring the Puree.

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Huge pot of puree, pumpkin liquid, sugar and spices. 


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SECRET: STIR, Stir, stir and stir some more.

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It's a long process, look at the bubble, (Bubble-bubble-toil and trouble---always wanted to say that! )

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Since I quadrupled the recipe---
40 cups of pumpkin, it's a slow process. 
I washed and then 'roasted' my jars and rims to 220 degrees.
 Lids are on the stove in a pot of boiling water.
Water Bath is the easiest type of canning. Fill jars, wipe edges clean, seal with hot lids, then put in canner and when it boils, time for 10 minutes. Carefully remove hot jars and cover with towels to cool slowly.

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Here, I'm all ready for the scooping and sealing.

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After they cool, we label them. 
I hand wrote the labels for gifts. I'll probably put cute paper tops on and tie with string!

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Best part is sampling. We had one odd jar that wouldn't fit in the canner, we are using immediately. Whole grain toast and pumpkin butter. NUM!!!

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40 cups of pumpkin--made 16 pints and 12 1/2 pints and 2/3 of the extra pint.

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Long day, and very hot stuff. OLD clothes and splatters everywhere. But that's what kitchens are for.

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Have a 'cuppa' and some spicy pumpkin butter with me! 

Sandi's Pumpkin Butter

Place all ingredients in a heavy pot with lid

10 cups of Fresh Pureed Pumpkin
3 1/3 cups of sugar (1/2 white and 1/2 brown sugars)
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon Juice
1 Tbsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of allspice
1 tsp of ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 cardamon

Add at the end.
1/2 cup of salted butter

Add Apple juice or pumpkin liquid to get the pot to start boiling. Bring to a bubbling boil, and then lower heat to maintain a slow simmer. Stir frequently to avoid burning on bottom of pot. Cock lid open to allow steam to escape, so the contents will reduce. 

Simmer until the pumpkin is thick and flakes off the spoon. It should be very thick and dark. Another test of consistency is to pour a Tbsp of hot pumpkin on a chilled plate. If no rim of liquid forms around the edge it is ready to add butter. 

Add butter stir until glossy and thoroughly combined. 

Ladle pumpkin butter into hot clean jars, seal and process in rolling hot water bath for 10 minutes, (completely covered). Remove and cover jars with cloth as they cool.

Perfect on toast, in oatmeal, or in pastries. This Will keep in fridge once opened. I store ours upside down. Remember there are no preservatives in the pumpkin butter, it's just pure food.

ENJOY!

What's your favorite Pumpkin Recipe?
Do not use my photos without my permission and linking back to this post on my blog.


Thank you for your cooperation, 
Sandi