Monday, November 23, 2015

Getting Ready

Well it's Thanksgiving week. Since we have hosted for the past 30ish years I'm not in a panic, the house is getting its final cleaning and the turkey is thawing in the fridge.  I'm using the same plates and tableware as I always do, I'm not one to fuss over tablescapes.  The ornaments at our table are the faces of our loved ones.  I swear, the older I get, the less all the fuss means and the more it's all about my family. There will be some loved ones missing this year, eldest daughter and her sweet husband can't make it, but hope to come for Christmas. There are a few more who can't make it for various reasons, they will be missed but hopefully we will see them around the table soon.
I am so thankful for all we have.  Our home, our family and the love around the table.  I hope you are able to spend some special time with loved ones this week too :)

 I will admit, my head is all wrapped up in Christmas already.  I am slowly getting some decorations up, and this year I have been asked to participate in a Holiday Home walk with some other beautiful bloggers. 

I'm so excited, it's my first time doing this so I hope you'll come in and say hello when it happens.  I probably won't post again until after Thanksgiving, so I'll just say right now that I hope that this is a time to count your blessings and hug your loved ones. Enjoy the feast, enjoy the day and enjoy the festive season that begins right now!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Soup Weather

It's a cold and rainy November day here. I'm sipping coffee and listening to some Christmas tunes on Pandora, (don't judge).  The one good thing about this kind of weather is that it gives us a chance to  make some real live comfort food and for a lot of us that means soup!  
This time of year I start longing for some new recipes, the old favorites are good, but new favorites are a must, and this soup is a new favorite.   
I hit up my favorite source for new recipes, Pinterest of course, and found this Tortellini and Sausage soup.  Really quick and easy and soooo good.  I made a few adjustments based on what I had on hand.  The original recipe calls for Italian sausage,  I had regular old mild sausage and it was delicious.  I cut the salt in half , used low sodium and home made unsalted chicken broth and in my opinion it was still a little too salty. I also used pesto in place of the chopped basil because pesto is chopped basil right? I served it with home made bread and butter and it was a meal fit for a king.  It's ready in about 45 minutes. Here is the recipe with my adjustments and changes.  I hope you enjoy this, it's going to be on the menu a lot around here :)

Tortellini, Spinach and Sausage Soup

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 lb mild pork sausage (or Italian sausage)
1/2 cup diced onion
1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (or crushed tomatoes)
32 oz. Chicken broth
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped basil (I used pesto instead and it was delicious!)
1 teaspoon pepper
1 package tortellini
1 cup chopped fresh spinach

1. Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan over med-high heat. Heat olive oil  and add diced onion.  Saute until onions are soft.
2. Crumble sausage and garlic with the onion. Cook until sausage is no longer pink.
3. Stir in tomatoes, chicken broth, basil and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Let soup simmer for 20-30 minutes.
4. Add tortellini and spinach and simmer for about 10 minutes, until pasta is tender. Salt to taste.
5. Serve with shredded Parmesan.

This made enough for the two of us to have leftovers for Lunch and dinner the next night.  I found that the pasta absorbed a lot of the broth overnight so we ended up adding another can of chicken broth to the leftovers. It was just the right amount to bring it back to soupiness.  

What is your favorite soup? Have you tried any new ones lately?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Autumn Warmth

Even with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I hadn't spent much time decorating the house for Autumn.  I had gathered my little pile of pumpkins and gourds and tossed them in a vintage tool chest on the buffet in the dining room.  They were starting to look a little tired, or I was getting a little tired of the look, so when Stacey contacted me to participate in a Thanksgiving vignette party it was just the kick in the pants that I needed to get off my duff and start digging for a fresher look.
 I headed for the dungeon basement and started digging.  I had actually forgotten about the brown transferware tureen I had, and that candle left over from last years Christmas clearance sales.  I had a bit of last years foraged bittersweet tucked away too, along with an old frame and some faux ivy in my craft stash.
I brought my Boston ferns inside last night, (good thing because it was 23 degrees outside last night!) and tucked a few sprigs in a clear glass vase along with the bittersweet.  Those are not two things I would normally put together but they seem to be working.  I like the green, brown and orange color scheme. The green brings a little bit of freshness inside :)
Bright and beautiful, thanks Stacey!
Be sure to go visit these other bloggers for more inspiration :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Oh, October.

I'm back, Estate Sale behind me, (yay!) and most of October with it.  I've been busy as a bee, getting ready for the holidays and winter. I know most people do their major cleaning in the spring, but something about the idea of being trapped inside for the winter makes me want to redo everything. Everything!
So along with trying to get things cleaned up and ready for cold winds blowing, we have also been enjoying another good apple harvest. Our wild crabapple was loaded with beautiful little apples again this year and we made a big batch of crabapple jelly using this recipe. It is sooo good! I am not usually big on jams and jellies, but this stuff is the bomb and my favorite way to have it is on fresh home made bread, slathered with warm brie. Something about the tart flavor of this jelly just sets off the creamy richness of the cheese in the best way imaginable.
 We had 14 jars of the clear, ruby red jelly so we made some of my Honey Wheat French bread, got a wheel of brie and added a jar of the jelly for each of our pastors.  It is pastor appreciation month you know. 
 If you haven't told your pastor you appreciate him/her, you still have 4 days to do it in October. Of course don't let missing it in October stop you. Appreciation can be expressed any time. :)
 Finally, look at what we passed last night on our walk. Just look!  It seemed that every tree was in its full glory, each one prettier than the last.
 There was that spicy scent of leaves in the air, could someone just bottle that? Please? I left the path just to hear the crunch of the fallen leaves.
The air was cool and crisp, the setting sun shone through the leaves like stained glass, and I couldn't help but think how fleeting this all is. It has to be breathed in and soaked up and stored in memory until it happens again next year.
Enjoy your October, I'll see you in November!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

This and That

Isn't Autumn beautiful?  It's warm but threatening rain today so I'm catching up on some indoor stuff and that includes a quick post. I sometimes wonder how I found time to post so often back when I began this little journal.  I think we all have an appreciation for how long the photography, editing and posting can take.  Sometimes I find it hard to fit in with all that is on my plate.
So while I have a moment, I'll just do a quick recap of what I've been up to lately.

1. For the past two weeks I have been helping a friend set up and price an estate sale for her late mother in law.  I strongly encourage anyone to do this because I guarantee it will give you the final push to clean out all those possessions hiding in closets, basements and drawers. Do it for yourself. Do it for your children.  I mentioned we have been at it for two weeks right? Sometimes it has been 10-12 hour days. This weekend is the sale. Needless to say, I won't be back posting until after it's done.

2. Yesterday I took the day off to go to the dentist, (blerg, there is a root canal in my very near future). and since it was a warm sunny day, and possibly the last we will have for a while, Earl and I tackled washing the windows.  In my head, before I start, I always think it won't take me long.  I am so silly.  But after washing the windows, and scrubbing the screens I am so happy to see the sparkling clean view I have to say it was well worth the effort.  I used Rain-X on the outsides of the windows hoping they will stay cleaner longer. I saw it on Pinterest, I'll let you know how it works. Of course it was also the day the ladybugs decided it would be the last warm day for a while because they were trying desperately to get in while we tackled the job. How do they know? 

3. I am working on some new designs for the etsy shop.  Loving how they are turning out. I can't wait to show you. Soon!

4. The leaves are at their peak, the garden is mostly gone due to a couple nights below 32 degrees, but my little golden marigolds are hanging strong.  I love you little golden flowers.  Unfortunately, as soon as the rain is past, I need to go out and dispose of the last hanging baskets and do some garden clean up. But the marigolds stay until the last.

5. It was another good year for apples and we made some of the best cider from our apples, our neighbors apples and an old tree we found growing wild. I have heard that the more varieties you use in your cider the better, and I have to agree with that. Best cider ever! I have some frozen for when daughter and son-in-love come to visit from PA, made some for daughter and son-in-love who live nearby and I plan to make more in the next week.  Also, today is wild crabapple jelly day.  I'm thinking a jar of that with some brie and home made bread for Pastor appreciation this month. :)

What is keeping you busy?