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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Easy Apple Butter

We all know Fall is apple picking time. What could be better than a trip to the countryside and picking fresh, firm apples? When I was in Utah a couple of weeks ago my friend Kathy gave me a crate of apples from her brother's orchard. Aren't they beautiful? 

 There were too many to eat out of hand so that meant making applesauce and apple butter! Let me share with you my new favorite method for apple butter.  All you have to do is wash, quarter and core your apples. No need to peel! Fill your crock pot with apples, add a little sugar (I used 1/4 cup), about a cup of water, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of ground cloves and let it cook all night in your crock pot on low. You will awake to the  lovely smell of apples and spices! 

 When making applesauce I usually use a potato masher because I like the slightly chunky texture. If you use this method you have to peel the apples.

 Instead, just use an immersion blender right in the crock pot. It will puree all of those peels and give a nice smooth texture to your apple butter. I have seen many recipes that suggest using a food mill or sieve, but this method eliminates that step. So easy!

 You can keep your apple butter in the refrigerator and use within a week or so. I put mine through a water bath process for 20 minutes so I can have that sweet and spicy goodness to last me for several months!

One of my favorite Fall recipes is my 
Apple Butter Pound Cake. 
Check out the recipe HERE .  We had company this weekend and instead of using the traditional cream cheese frosting I served it with a butter sauce that will have you licking the plate. Seriously! 
Butter Sauce for Apple Cake
1/2 cup butter (the real stuff)
1/2 cup evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
dash nutmeg
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook on medium low heat until thickened (about 20 minutes). Serve warm over cake.

I'll be joining

Monday, October 22, 2012

Silver Baby Cups

The gift of a silver baby cup to a newborn is a lovely tradition dating back to Colonial times. There are several theories as to how this tradition got started including religious symbolism, health reasons or good wishes for future prosperity. 

 I was lucky enough to find this baby cup last week while out thrifting for less than $3. 

I was doubly thrilled when upon polishing an initial "C" was revealed. I love to find vintage items with my monogram!

I have a small collection of baby cups and toothpick holders. The cups are silverplate but the toothpick holders are all sterling silver. You can occasionally find these for very affordable prices, I never pay more than $15-20.

I keep my collection on a silver tray on my bathroom counter filled with toiletry items.So simple and so pretty!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pretty Pumpkins

I developed a love of collecting from my mother. She is an artist and gave me an appreciation of beautiful things. As I visited her this past week I took a few photos of  her amazing pumpkin collection. 
Pretty glass pumpkins in silver compotes, 

ceramic pumpkins sharing space with her 
Quimper collection,  

tiny pumpkins,

carved cinnabar ,

and pumpkins with Pilgrims.
This is just a small sampling. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

80th Birthday Celebration

My beautiful mother turned 80 last weekend. I belong to a large "blended" family and we all gathered in Utah to celebrate with her. I thought I'd share some of the table decor that we came up with. 

 The event was held at my brother's reception center where my daughter had her wedding reception last June. I chose a black, white and orange color scheme but didn't want it to look "Halloweeny". We used black tablecloths, black and white toile runners and toppers and lots of pumpkins! Mark has these amazing copper chafing dishes and platters that were perfect! 
 Some of the tables had crocks filled with orange mums and we scattered candy corn for the grandchildren and great-grandchildren to enjoy.
 The other tables had tall iron candleholders wrapped with amber beads and more pumpkins. Last week I shared with you my pumpkin collection HERE. My mother has an even larger collection than I do and it was fun to gather them up and use them as our centerpieces.

 My sister-in-law helped with all the set up. Now it's time to light the candles!
 Here are just some of the yummy dishes on the menu: Italian meatballs,
 yakisoba noodles, fresh berries, 
 crusty rolls and pulled pork, 
 lime mousse tarts, 
 and of course, birthday cake! We had 100 guests including children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, dear friends and two US senators. 
It's always a treat for me to go north in the Autumn and get just a taste of Fall weather. Having a big family gathering made this year especially wonderful! 
I'll be joining
What's It Wednesday 
Wow Us Wednesday 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pumpkins in Pots

I've been collecting pumpkins for years and my pumpkins come in all sizes and materials. To display my odd assortment I decided to simply place them into my ironstone bowls, platters and pots. I have them scattered all over the house-

 in the dining room centerpiece...

on the sideboard...

in the kitchen... 

 on the living room coffee table...

and the front porch. 
Happy pumpkin picking!