Monday, November 28, 2016

Baby it's cold outside

This weekend winter arrived with a bang.  First a big snow on Friday and then bitter cold.  This morning it was -27 actual air temp, not wind chill.  Coldest day of the winter so far.  Our dogs, Codie, in the foreground and Sadie, lying and Elke, seated on the driveway--they spent the night in the house but now are loving the crisp sunny weather..  
I have finally gotten started with my decorating.  The wreath is up on the barn with a little dusting of snow on it.  It is hung on two thin ropes that are pulled from inside the hayloft through holes in the big door to raise it into place.  Usually when I hang it I have someone on the outside to tell me when it is the right height and centered.  This year I hung it by myself and it is not quite centered and it could be a little higher.  I wonder if I took the pic from a different angle if it would look better?  Or I could just adjust it when I have help. 
Our household has eight canine members when we are all together so a few years ago I switched from regular Christmas tree to a tabletop version.  We also have two cats so each year our tree becomes more pet friendly.  This year my tree is sporting only paper ornaments.  No lights, no breakable balls, just paper holly and berries that I made last year to match the tree skirt that was a gift from my sister.  This tree is real. There were only three to select from when I bought it two weeks ago.   It will look a little less Charlie Brown-like with some presents under it.  Our pets bring such happiness to our lives that I am not sad to not have a gloriously and elaborately decorated showpiece tree.  I will enjoy them at homes that I visit.  

The rest of my small trees are artificial.  This is the kitchen tree.

It is decorated with a /kitchen/food/baking theme, gingerbread boy ornaments and miniature rolling pins.

The kitchen is pretty eclectic but there is a black and white check that is found in several places and the red wall is repeated in the red accessories.  There are red lights on the garland over the stove and on the tree and red handles on all of the miniature rolling pins and spatulas.  I have used the same garland and tree for quite a few years and I enjoy the familiarity and comfort that comes with doing the same thing but I also enjoy new additions.  
I usually don't decorate the table in the center of the kitchen.  It is primarily a work surface but this year I found three steamed pudding molds when thrifting and so I am displaying them in a basket until it is time to use them.  This year I plan to make an old fashioned Christmas pudding.  I don't think that it will be a 'figgy pudding'.  I don't know that I have even seen figs for sale in our local, small town grocery store.  I did read that figgy pudding is made with figs but plum pudding does not use plums.  Funny.  I have been looking at some old recipes and hope to have a trial run sometime between now and the holiday when I plan to serve them to my family.  More decorating next post and a little about a fun recipe project that I am working on.

Sharing this at Between Naps on the Porch's Met Monday here. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving and the cordial 'after'

It is Sunday.  Thanksgiving has come and gone.  We were blessed to have out of state company for three days at my parents so I spent most of my time there.  We had a great visit.  It had been a couple of years since I had seen this aunt and uncle.  Health problems on their end and with my folks lately has made it a bit more difficult to get together.  As is the usual with Thanksgiving there was plenty of food.  And as has been the usual all to often I didn't get pictures.  I didn't set a fancy table since we were eating our meals in town at my mom's and dad's house but a few of my pieces did make it to the party.

Elderberry cordial
I did bring a salad with greens from the greenhouse. The mixed greens contained the more traditional romaine and other mild leafy lettuces as well as peppery arugula and spicy scarlet frill.  It was topped with goat cheese, walnuts and slices of pear.  I made some macarons.  I made homemade gelato flavored with elderberries from the farm and we sampled the elderberry cordial that I wrote about here.  We used the tiny silver cordial goblets from my collection that I wrote about here.  I hauled a Wexford punch bowl and cups to town to hold  Caitlin's and Robb's wine spritzer sangria and one of my white casserole dishes held Nathan's and Michelle's Brussels sprouts au gratin.  On Friday I provided a baked rice/mixed vegetable/almonds side dish.  We had three days of meals, Thursday was ham, Friday was turkey and Saturday was a fish fry of Northern and Walleye.  My brother brought his signature New York cheesecake and my sister brought her famous French Silk pie.  My mom had made an apple pie from my farm apples.

Early this morning our company headed home.  While they were here we managed to squeeze in some fun activities.  The night before Thanksgiving we had pizza and birthday drinks at a local brew pub to celebrate my son's upcoming birthday.  On Friday we made a trip to my favorite local thrifting haunt, the half thrift store/half antique store.  I didn't purchase anything this time but my uncle spotted a print of some loons on a lake that he took my brother back the next day to check out and buy.  On Friday one group of the guys did some target shooting with a friend of the family at his farm.  On Saturday a different combination of the guys did more target shooting at my farm.  We had a tour of a niece's new home. My uncle, brother and I climbed up in the hay loft to check out the pulley that is used to raise the big door on the barn.  My uncle is searching for one but mine was not the style that he wants so no dismantling needed to be done.  I had hoped that we could squeeze in our Scandinavian (Norsk) baking day while my aunt and uncle were here but there was just not room for a full day of baking during their too short visit.  We did see some Hallmark movies and football games though.  All in all a great visit.

I am joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch here.