I thought that today I would pay attention to the calendar because it’s that time of year when the world wants to get scary . . . and eat! And I have lots of ideas for that! Starting here, with a Halloween menu and some of the little things that make life sweet . . . Not sure if it fits but I’m in the mood for French MUSICA!
Everything from spiderwebs in your soup to pumpkin ice buckets and plastic spiders floating in the your ice cubes ~ and don’t forget popcorn night and those wonderful old movies ~ maybe start a little project for a Christmas gift with a favorite old movie on TV.
Shop your house and find things to decorate: celebrate harvest with apples, pears, pumpkins and squashes, old quilts, candles, jars of fresh herbs and marigolds, baskets, leaves, acorns and pine cones . . . make small seasonal vignettes. Let the last tomatoes from the garden ripen on a kitchen windowsill. Sleep with the windows open so the stars and the moon can watch over you.
Set out old books and magazines with covers that remind you of what you love. . .
Cook and invite your friends over . . . It just wouldn’t be fall for us without our favorite Chili recipe — get the best chili powder you can find at your market ~ we usually get the kind you can buy in bulk ~ or bags of it in the Mexican food department. This recipe isn’t particularly hot, as in spicy (or “pica” as they say (brilliantly) in Mexico), but you can add a quarter tsp. of red pepper flakes if you’d like to feel a little more heat. It goes delightfully with the sour cream! Here’s the recipe:
Click HERE to see step-by-step directions for making this special Chili. This would be a very good place to use your sour cream spider web, especially for a Halloween dinner. Serve things in heavy pottery, wooden bowls, pewter, ironstone, brown and white transferware, red Spode.
Invite your friends (no matter how strange they might seem to the outside world, you know their hearts are in the right place) ~ ask them to wear their hats.
“It’s not what’s on the table that matters, it’s what’s on the chairs . . .”
Another good place for the sour cream spiderweb mentioned in EAT, DRINK AND BE SCARY at the top of this page . . . is my elegant
It’s all delicious with . . .
Or this next one, one of my favorite recipes ever . . . every delicious thing of the season, cinnamon-dusted roasted apples, plump raisins that pop in your mouth, thick pork chops, moist with celery and onion stuffing, and sweet potatoes . . . in one big casserole that makes your whole house smell like heaven.
Here I am, in my favorite fall apron (that I love even if it does make me look like a country road), stuffing “Jack-be-Little” (did someone say Jack? waaaah) Pumpkins with apples, leeks, squash, mashed with butter and cream.
You can have one on each plate when your guests arrive, or serve them on a large platter, they are such a knock-out . . . you can also stuff them with the Sweet Potato Casserole on p. 65 of my Autumn Book (cream cheese, sweet potatoes, brown sugar, eggs, walnuts, nutmeg, yum!).
When it’s turkey-day, surround your roasted bird with these and when you bring it out people think they stepped into a Norman Rockwell painting. Know what? Make just one for you and one for someone you love. That’s good enough.
Here’s an easy placecard I made one year. I used letter-stamps for my friend’s names and burnt the edges over the flame on my stove holding the card with tongs. Be sure to blow out the flame quickly before the whole thing burns up! You can lean the card against a tiny vase of flowers, cut a slit in a mini-pumpkin and slip it in there, lay it on top of the napkin or tuck it into a small pine cone.
I always forget to take pictures of my Corn Pudding until it looks like this. It’s the most wonderful easy, delicious dish in the world. Here’s the RECIPE.
And now, the must-have of the season . . .
If you have never made this before, please take this opportunity to do it! And make the lemon sauce. This is an amazing dessert: tender fragrant deliciousness. ♥ Warm cake in a puddle of cold lemon sauce with whipped cream.
Go on a wild goose chase . . .
While it bakes and fills your kitchen with gingerbread fragrance, grab a sweater and go outside and poke around. Take your scissors and see what kind of wild things you can gather to decorate with. Or plan a walk in the wild and windy woods, bring nature indoors ~ wild asters, windfall apples, or rose hips, whatever is local to you. Everyone has something, you might be surprised when you go out to look.
More MUSICA? Is it time yet? Oui!
It’s really unending all the wonderful decorations you can make with things you find on the ground.
“October gave a party, the leaves by hundreds came . . .”
Last year we grabbed a few fallen branches and leaves and wound them with bittersweet to decorate our front door.
Cinnamon, being so good for you, is great in this ice cream and nice thing to have in your freezer for small unplanned celebratory moments. ♥ I speak from experience.
Fly your colors, Girlfriends . . . air your down comforters for the winter. Bring fresh fall air inside.
It doesn’t have to be very much for you to feel like something is special about today. A little vase of flowers is all you really need.
And then of course, there is the possibility of TWINE …. a four o-clock cup of tea with a friend, and then, when it’s five o’clock somewhere, perhaps another kind of surprise from the fridge . . .
You can include a gummy worm in your Vampire’s Kiss for a special Halloween scream fest! This is actually our favorite thing for April Fool’s Day, here in a glass with coffee in it, or at the edge of the shower drain, both work so very well. (This is part of the DNA that develops when you are born into a large family. Torture of your fellow man naturally comes with the territory.)
And here’s what we’ve been doing at “work.” Kissing kitties! This is Kellee with one of the “Studio Cats” she and Sheri got after the last time I was here. What is work without a kitty? It was my first time meeting him. His name is Sam, or Sammy, but I seem to call him Jack. He is heaven to sleep with! (Our studio is our old house.) He is an adorable cuddle-cat.
And this green-eyed girl is Sasha. Longer hair, but she’s Sammy’s sister. These kitties didn’t get the greatest start in life; in fact they were being bottle-fed by their rescuers when Kellee read about them and went to get them. But here they are now, two of the nicest, softest, prettiest, cleanest, best smelling little petty-pets anyone could ever hope for. The other thing I’ve been doing . . . as Sasha has discovered, is unpacking some of the treasures Joe and I found last month on our cross-country trip . . . like for instance this vintage, totally handmade Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt . . .
We’ve been setting everything out so we can oooh and aaahh over it and I can take photos and write descriptions of it . . . so much of it matches the things I have at home. It’s what I like, so when I find “another one” I can’t help but get it for you! It’s all going up in the Vintage section of our web site, very soon! I told you, we want to have an especially wonderful holiday season this year. We want Santa to be berry berry good to you! I found lots of tea things, the prettiest cake plates and sandwich platters! Who’s more excited, me or you? Me probably.
So much good stuff . . .
. . . and a hard-to-find Banana Dish (you can see mine here) and lots of wonderful classic old Christmas books to decorate the coffee table in front of the fire and bring lovely yesterday into wonderful today . . .
And you know what else we did this afternoon, me and Kellee?
We designed Dishtowels!!!! We finally found someone who can make them for us in the kind of quality we think is good enough, nice, thirsty, hemmed cotton that holds the color when washed and doesn’t wrinkle to the point of no return . . . and the very best thing about them is that they are Made in America! Tadaaaa! Are they not adorable?
These are just paper mockups so far — the actual dishtowels will arrive somewhere around the end of the month. I designed one of them to match our new Tea Tin (how could I not) and the other is my favorite Santa Face (when my own personal Santa, Joe, posed for me all those years ago). ♥ On Sunday, November 10, we will open our booth at the Remnants of the Past Event and we’ll have our new dishtowels there among other things, including me, signing my new book, and hopefully lots of you, wearing your badges (click on that link and scroll down to print out your badges, so you can recognize each other, and scroll down even further to the November dates to learn more about the event).
OK Twine time for me. Must go…. Hey girls! Ain’t we got fun? xoxo