Honey Pot Photo on Instagram

Hello everyone! As promised, I shared a photo of my vintage ceramic honey pot collection on my brand new Instagram account.

Honey pots were used in the 1920s to 1940s to serve and store…you guessed it…honey. Made of ceramic, they often resembled bee hives and decorated with bees. Today they are a charming collector’s item.

I’m planning on incorporating them into my Thanksgiving table centerpiece and table decorations. Learn how by reading yesterday’s post, “Cheap, Easy and Colorful Thanksgiving Centerpiece.” 

Now I have to go work my other job. You know the one that actually pays the bills. I’m hoping to get some more photos of the Thanksgiving centerpiece components posted this weekend. As always I’ll be working on content in between 12 hour shifts.

Cheap, Easy and Colorful Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Can it be Thanksgiving already? Yes it almost is upon us. As usual I feel like I’m behind the eight ball with planning for the holidays. I think next year I’ll start in July. I mean really, where does the time go? 

Soon, many of us will be hosting gatherings for family and friends. If you love hosting, like I do, you know that menu planning and cooking are only part of the equation.  Any good hostess likes to create a festive holiday atmosphere. Naturally, I want my house and table to look extra special for guests. What better way than to create a great Thanksgiving table centerpiece. 

Every year we host my husband’s family the weekend before the holiday. The extended family get together on Saturday evening for a holiday family reunion. On Sunday, I’ll host immediate family for dinner. Although I have been mainly focusing on Christmas with my energy and budget, I’d like to carve out some time and money for a few autumnal decorations. (The pun was definitely intended!)

Now the question is where do I begin? As with anything in life we all have limited time and money. Before I started scrolling through the thousand of possibilities on Pinterest, I took a few moments to think about what I wanted in my holiday table.

I definitely wanted color! The palette this time of year is so bold and beautiful I really wanted to utilize it. I have seen many examples of neutral table settings and centerpieces. Although they are all lovely, they just weren’t my style. I wanted oranges, reds and yellows. I really wanted to accentuate the hippie and bohemian part of my personality.

My decorations also had to be easy. My job keeps me on the road 3-4 days a week. We have a long weekend trip coming up. I want to get some holiday baking done, and the list goes on and on with all the things I want to accomplish. I wasn’t going to have a ton of time to devote to this project.

And finally, I wasn’t willing to devote a ton of money to this project. It had to be cheap. In fact, $50 was the most I was willing to spend. Most of my household decorating budget has been going towards Christmas. However, this month I didn’t spend it all on Christmas decorations. I would go as high as $50, but wouldn’t it be awesome if I could do it for less?

Now I had my criteria. My Thanksgiving centerpiece and decorations had to be colorful, easy and cheap. Next step was to head on over to Pinterest.

There I found some amazingly simple and beautiful ideas. We often forget our agricultural roots, but the Thanksgiving holiday was born from a tradition of sharing the fruits of the harvest because there is so much of it this time of year. Pinterest was full of examples incorporating the bounty we celebrate at the Thanksgiving season. Of course you couldn’t have a Thanksgiving centerpiece or table without pumpkins.

My favorite idea was to use a small hollowed out pumpkin as a vase for a flower arrangement. In fact I had a great warty pumpkin I was using as part of the front porch decoration that was just the right size. Amazon had floral foam for less than $10 and my local grocery store sells bunches of flowers for about $10 a piece. 

Thinking about reusing my warty pumpkin got me wondering what else I had around the house I could use for my Thanksgiving table.

It turns out I had several things that I could possibly use to decorate my Thanksgiving table. I have a table runner that features yellow sunflowers on a dark blue background. Alternatively, the reverse is a natural looking unwashed muslin that could provide a neutral background. 

For a soft light and warmth I have a whole bag of tea lights that have been sitting in a drawer for quite some time. I can pair those with some clear glass votive holders that I use for Christmas. I could wrap some ribbon around each or leave them plain. I also have some flameless tea lights that I could use as well. I might pick up some more votive holders at the dollar store. I mean who couldn’t use more votive holders during the holidays?

Now I have a picture in my mind of my centerpiece is going to look like. A blue runner with yellow sunflowers and a central pumpkin vase flower arrangement to begin with.  Then add some tea lights scattered the length of the table. But I’ll need something else to fill out my decoration. For that task I have a couple of options. I go the popular Pinterest route and get some of those small decorative gourds and pumpkins to intersperse with the candles. But then i had another thought.

I have a collection of vintage honey pots. What’s a honey pot you ask? They are ceramic pots, often made to look like bee hives, that were used to hold and serve honey. They were popular in the 1930s and 1940s. I think they are incredible charming and appropriate to the season. I’ll try and get a picture posted. You’ll see what I mean. Instead of scattering mini pumpkins and gourds, I could use the honey pots to fill in the decorative tableau. 

Now I have a solid idea of what I want to do. In the next few weeks I’ll start playing with the different elements to see what meshes well together. Who knows i may come up with a completely different design once I start putting it together. I’m hoping to post a few pictures as I go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking for the Freezer November 2017

food-pot-kitchen-cooking

It is a seriously dreary day out there, but I’m in the kitchen cooking for the freezer. Unfortunately this blogging gig and vintage collectibles business is just part time. So far a hobby that nets a little profit. For my full time gig I work as a registered nurse. For a variety of reasons I spend 3 days a week away from home. However, the Handy Hubby still needs to be fed. I accomplish this by being seriously organized with meal planning and keeping a well stocked freezer (I actually have 3).

I thought I would write a quick post to give you a little insight into my process. Maybe you can use some of my techniques.

Why cook for 2 when 10 will do?

Today I am taking advantage of one of my favorite techniques for stocking my freezer. I always cook extra of freezable meals. Earlier in the week I made cabbage rolls. I used 3 pounds of ground meat for making the filling. Plus I had a huge cabbage with huge leaves. It made a pretty large batch. Naturally Handy Hubby and I didn’t come close to eating all of them. So this morning I got out the handy vacuum sealer and divided the portions into 2 different meals and voila! Now I have 2 ready made meals in my freezer.

I do the same thing when it comes to soups. I love making soups and it is definetly the best time of year to make soup. Sometimes I will make REALLY large amounts and can them using my pressure canner. However, even when I make a regular size batch it is often more than we can eat before it spoils. If I just have a quart or 2 I will ladle it into freezer bags and pop it into the freezer.

Holiday Stuffing

There is one more thing I am working on this morning. Let’s talk about the holidays. Yes they are upon us. It was signaled by my purchase of 10 pounds of butter when it was on special this week. The Handy Hubby thought I was a little nuts. But I am starting to think ahead to the family celebrations headed our way. With my work schedule I cook as much in advance as I possibly can. One holiday staple you can make in advance and freeze is the stuffing.

With that in mind, when I purchased my butter I also purchased 4 large loaves of bread to make my stuffing. My mother, who often hosted both sides of the family for the holidays, would have to make 3 different types of stuffing for the holiday table.

The first was what I called the hillbilly dressing. It was a sage dressing like my father’s mother made. My father’s family came from deep in the West Virginia coal fields, hence the name hillbilly dressing. It was my favorite. The second was the Amish dressing. It was very similar to the hillbilly dressing, but it did not contain any sage. Much like the Amish it was very plain in dress. It was her favorite dressing.

Finally she would have to make oyster dressing. This was basically the hillbilly dressing, but you mixed raw oysters into the mix and baked it. This was my father’s favorite and if it wasn’t on the menu he’d say, “You’re not going to make oyster dressing?” in a sort of childlike voice. It was not my favorite and my childhood palette refused to eat it.

My mother never used pre-made stuffing mix. She always prepared her own bread and added her own spices. It was one of the reasons her dressing was so good. She did this by first frying the bread. She would butter both sides and put it in a skillet and brown it on both sides. When you are making that much stuffing it is a long and tedious process. She would spend the entire night before the meal frying bread for the dressing. But it was this fundamental step that made it so delicious. But who wants to stand in front of a stove frying bread for hours on end?

Less work, same great taste

However, I have discovered a short-cut. It wasn’t the actual frying that made everything so yummy, it was the 1/2 tub of butter that she used to butter the bread. I discovered that I could get the same great taste if I toasted the bread in the oven, cut it into cubes, and then poured melted butter into the mix with all the rest of the ingredients. Absolute genius!

As part of my holiday preparation, today I am toasting all of my bread. I will cut it into cubes and then I will vacuum seal it to freeze. When I’m ready, I just need to thaw out the bread, mix up the ingredients and then bake. I pack it into amounts needed for a small 8×8 casserole dish. This is the perfect size for Handy Hubby and me. If making a larger amount I just use more than 1 bag.