Monday, November 17, 2014

a Fall favorites wrap up . . .



I typically wait until the day after Thanksgiving to listen to holiday music, but I couldn't resist this year.

So . . . I've been happily decorating and Fall baking to the sounds of Christmas tunes.

Sounds lovely, except that it started stirring an excitement to begin decorating for Christmas and holiday baking.

Friends, we're still in November . . . and haven't even celebrated Thanksgiving yet. So I'm trying hard to enjoy THIS amazing season and all the wonderful sights, sounds, and smells that it brings to us this time of year.

Yes, I'm still listening to holiday music . . . it's so hard not to now; but I thought it would be fun to share a few more Fall favorites to keep us on track (wink!). I hope you enjoy!






My dear friends, the Waren's (thank you!), gave me these beautiful persimmons. They're from their backyard. I can only image how breath-taking their tree is this time of year!

So I'm thinking that these will make for the perfect Persimmon White Chocolate Bread Pudding! Stay tuned for photos and recipe!





Have you seen these darling Cinnamon Whisks?  

I found them at Trader Joe's (99 cents! each) a few weeks ago . . . and bought several of them. 

Their cinnamon scent sure smells like the Holidays. I have them hidden in various rooms in our home. 






I bought these two TALL, slender terracotta pots when I visited J. Woeste (read more about this beautiful nursery here) last weekend.

They're going to make the perfect home for these Paper White bulbs! 




And what is Fall without more amazing Fall baking . . . 

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .
Cinnamon Crumble Cookie Bars
with Pumpkin Spice glaze

petite Pumpkin Cheesecakes
with a sweet sour cream topping

Pumpkin Butter Streusel Cakes
.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .






I bought these 'baseball pumpkins' while visiting Avila Valley Barn on our Annual 'girl's trip' last weekend. I piled them high in a pewter bowl . . . and paired them with one of my bigger lemon cypress. 




And here's a final peak at the theme of this year's Thanksgiving table . . . pumpkins & pansies

This year marks my 4th year hosting Thanksgiving Dinner for our family . . . and I couldn't be more excited or thankful!






LET'S STAY in touch!







Sharing with . . . .

Stephanie Lynn, It's Overflowing, Twelve O Eight, Carrie This Home, Baking in Pajamas, Huckleberry Love, Dwellings, Smart Party Planning,  The Dedicated HouseMod Vintage LifeLori's Culinary Creations, Home Stories, StoneGableAn Extraordinary Day, I'm Not a Trophy Wife, Between Naps on the Front Porch, Rustic Refined,  Tumbleweed ContessaA Stroll Thru Life,Life With GarnishElizabeth & Co,  My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Savvy Southern StyleThe Recipe CriticJanine HuldieCarolyn's Homework,  Fluster Buster   Designs by Miss Mandee,  Craftie Allie,  Wednesday morning The Blissful Bee,  The Newlywed Pilgrimage Chic California, Lamberts LatelyLive Laugh RoweSweet Bella Roos, The Charm of Home, From My Front Porch to ours, Delightsome Life.Posed PerfectionKatherine's CornerNancherrowThe Freshman Cook,  Jann OlsonHome  Maid SimpleAnderson + Grant,  Rooted in ThymeEveryday Enchanted Home, Pure Grace Farms A Dish of Daily Life, Bacon Time, Sunflower Supper Club, Tater Tots and Jello,  Cooking with CurlsMade from PinterestSimply Gloria





Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thanksgiving dinner . . . at home



I have been so incredibly blessed to host Thanksgiving Dinner in our home the last 3 years.

This year marks my 4th year hosting a completely home-made, traditional dinner for our family and extended family members.




My first year hosting was quite an under-taking . . . and I still remember feeling like I had conquered Mount Everest.  I was exhausted . . . and so very happy . . . all in one!

Four years later, I feel like I've perfected the menu, the timing, and all the preparation that goes into hosting Thanksgiving Dinner.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .
Thanksgiving Dinner 2011, my first Thanksgiving Dinner
.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

The table centerpieces and decor change every year.  


These photos are actually from LAST year's Dinner. I had hoped to share them last November, but December rolled around so fast that I didn't have a chance to. So I thought I would sneak in a few photos before this Thanksgiving.




I love displaying one large, framed menu, or small menus at each place setting. Guests like to know what they'll be eating . . . and it also gives them something to look forward to.





I researched recipes for weeks and weeks before creating my menu, with the goal of preparing and serving (what I felt was) the perfect Thanksgiving dinner.

I have a binder dedicated to this very special meal, and it includes . . . .

my shopping list,
recipes with personal notes, 
a day-to-day schedule that starts the Sunday before Thanksgiving Thursday, 
and - of course - an hourly schedule that starts at 7 am on Thanksgiving Day

It might sound intense, but being organized is the key to pulling off a 'successful' Thanksgiving Dinner with little, to no, stress.




My menu was/is completely inspired by recipes from Cook's Illustrated and American's Test Kitchen. They're exceptional recipes and dishes!

The only recipe that's original to me are the home-made bread rolls. Bread baking was passed down to me by my mom shortly after I got married. A recipe and method that she learned from her grandmother shortly after she married my dad more than 45 years ago. It is quite an honor to bake bread for my family on this special day.

I haven't swayed much from my original menu, with the exception of a new dessert that I added last year . . . Pumpkin Cheesecake with a sweet sour cream topping.

And although I still prepare a Classic Herb Roasted Turkey, I baste it in Chardonnay now. A new method that I learned from a dear friend. It involves basting the turkey every 20 minutes during the cooking process. It yields a tender, and slightly sweet turkey. It's amazing!




.     .     .     .     .     .     .
.     .     .     .     .     .     .




I make every. single. dish. from scratch . . . even this amazing Apricot Ginger Cranberry Sauce (photo below). It's a little bit of sweet, spicy, and tart . . . yum! A delicious compliment to turkey and stuffing.

I wish I had photos of all the side dishes to share with you in this post, but I lost many of them a few months ago when my computer crashed (Yikes!). We were able to recover 90% of my photos; but sadly, I lost several from last year's Dinner. 




My hope is to take more photos of this year's Thanksgiving side dishes, so that I can share the recipes (and photos) with you next year.





Whether you're hosting Thanksgiving Dinner, or attending dinner at someone else's home . . . I send you warm and happy wishes that your day is filled with love, family and friends, and exceptional food.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Suzanne






Thanksgiving,
to be truly Thanksgiving,
is first Thanks,
then giving . . . 




LET'S STAY in touch!









Sharing with . . . .

Stephanie Lynn, It's Overflowing, Twelve O Eight, Carrie This Home, Baking in Pajamas, Huckleberry Love, Dwellings, Smart Party Planning,  The Dedicated HouseMod Vintage LifeLori's Culinary Creations, Home Stories, StoneGableAn Extraordinary Day, I'm Not a Trophy Wife, Between Naps on the Front Porch, Rustic Refined,  Tumbleweed ContessaA Stroll Thru Life,Life With GarnishElizabeth & Co,  My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Savvy Southern StyleThe Recipe CriticJanine HuldieCarolyn's Homework,  Fluster Buster   Designs by Miss Mandee,  Craftie Allie,  Wednesday morning The Blissful Bee,  The Newlywed Pilgrimage Chic California, Lamberts LatelyLive Laugh RoweSweet Bella Roos, The Charm of Home, From My Front Porch to ours, Delightsome Life.Posed PerfectionKatherine's CornerNancherrowThe Freshman Cook,  Jann OlsonHome  Maid SimpleAnderson + Grant,  Rooted in ThymeEveryday Enchanted Home, Pure Grace Farms A Dish of Daily Life, Bacon Time, Sunflower Supper Club, Tater Tots and Jello,  Cooking with CurlsMade from PinterestSimply Gloria

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

J. Woeste in Los Olivos


J. Woeste is one of my favorite destinations when my mom, sister, and I make our annual "girl's trip" to Central California, where we call Solvang our home base for a long, wonderful weekend.  

~ raven scarecrow! ~


J. Woeste is nestled in the charming town of Los Olivos, a short drive Northeast of Solvang. It's where I buy many of the aged terracotta pots that you seen in my posts. 

I always stock up on them when I visit, and excitedly fill them with beautiful flowers and petite lemon cypress for our home. They not only have an extensive collection, but I love that all their pots are made in Italy!

Although my sights were set on terracotta pots and lemon cypress, I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite J. Woeste finds this year . . .




~ TALL, slender terracotta pots . . . LOVE ~


I LOVE this basket weave pot! Isn't it beautiful!?!




And look at these darling 'garden homes' made of metal. They stand approximately two-feet tall . . . and would add a classical touch of whimsy to any garden.





I fell in love with this hand-painted rooster. Isn't she amazing!?
                        Oh! And look at the beautiful pot that she's nestled in!




There were so many Fall and Christmas inspired hand-made garden ornaments like these Christmas trees. They're even prettier in person!





. . . and perhaps one of my favorite finds was this towel holder. I love the charm she adds to my kitchen!




As always, I felt so inspired after our visit and stroll through this beautiful and unique nursery!

You'll see the aged pots that I bought this year filled with Fall-colored pansies running down the center of our Thanksgiving table this year. Stay tuned!



LET'S STAY in touch!







Sharing with . . . .

Stephanie Lynn, It's Overflowing, Twelve O Eight, Carrie This Home, Baking in Pajamas, Huckleberry Love, Dwellings, Smart Party Planning,  The Dedicated HouseMod Vintage LifeLori's Culinary Creations, Home Stories, StoneGableAn Extraordinary Day, I'm Not a Trophy Wife, Between Naps on the Front Porch, Rustic Refined,  Tumbleweed ContessaA Stroll Thru Life,Life With GarnishElizabeth & Co,  My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Savvy Southern StyleThe Recipe CriticJanine HuldieCarolyn's Homework,  Fluster Buster   Designs by Miss Mandee,  Craftie Allie,  Wednesday morning The Blissful Bee,  The Newlywed Pilgrimage Chic California, Lamberts LatelyLive Laugh RoweSweet Bella Roos, The Charm of Home, From My Front Porch to ours, Delightsome Life.Posed PerfectionKatherine's CornerNancherrowThe Freshman Cook,  Jann OlsonHome  Maid SimpleAnderson + Grant,  Rooted in ThymeEveryday Enchanted Home, Pure Grace Farms A Dish of Daily Life, Bacon Time, Sunflower Supper Club, Tater Tots and Jello,  Cooking with CurlsMade from PinterestSimply Gloria


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli with sage and browned butter



Hello, friends!
Meet my family's new favorite Fall dinner . . .


Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli 
with sage and browned butter




Most of us have had Butternut Squash Ravioli, but have you ever had Pumpkin Ravioli, or better yet, HONEY ROASTED Pumpkin Ravioli?

Trader Joe's sells Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli this time of year . . . and it's heavenly. 

It's warm and sweet, all wrapped up in one. I actually think that it's more flavorful than many other Fall-flavored raviolis sold this time of year.





I serve this ravioli in a very simple browned butter sauce with sage (and shallots).

Have you ever browned butter to have with your pasta or vegetables? It's so incredibly easy to prepare, and yields such a intensely wonderful flavor. 

Browned butter is a true testament to the old saying, "Simple is best."  It allows flavors to shine. And in this case, it enhances the honey roasted flavor of the pumpkin and the warmth of the sage. I add shallots to the sauce because I like the salty, sweet bite it adds to this dish.


~ did you notice the crispy shallots? YUM! ~


What makes this dish so special, besides the amazing flavors, is that it takes less than 10 minutes to prepare; OR 5 minutes if your comfortable in the kitchen, because you can brown the butter WHILE the raviolis are boiling, and then transfer them directly to the saute pan where the browned butter and sage is patiently waiting to bathe it in toasted buttery goodness (smile!).




Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli 
with sage and browned butter
 .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     . 
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 to 15 fresh sage leaves
1- 9 ounce package of Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     . 

Preparation
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat. Turn down the heat under the boiling water to medium. (You don’t want to cook ravioli in rapidly boiling water because they are likely to explode.) Gently lower the ravioli into the boiling water, 6 at a time, and cook until pasta is soft, about 4 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer each batch of ravioli to an oiled baking sheet.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the shallot, garlic, and sage leaves. Cook until the sage leaves are crisp and the butter is brown, about 3 minutes. Carefully add the ravioli to the pan, 6 at a time, and turn very gently to coat with the brown butter. Transfer the ravioli to a serving dish. Top with the remaining butter and sage leaves in the pan, sprinkle with the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.





LET'S STAY in touch!









Sharing with . . . .

Stephanie Lynn, It's Overflowing, Twelve O Eight, Carrie This Home, Baking in Pajamas, Huckleberry Love, Dwellings, Smart Party Planning,  The Dedicated HouseMod Vintage LifeLori's Culinary Creations, Home Stories, StoneGableAn Extraordinary Day, I'm Not a Trophy Wife, Between Naps on the Front Porch, Rustic Refined,  Tumbleweed ContessaA Stroll Thru Life,Life With GarnishElizabeth & Co,  My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Savvy Southern StyleThe Recipe CriticJanine HuldieCarolyn's Homework,  Fluster Buster   Designs by Miss Mandee,  Craftie Allie,  Wednesday morning The Blissful Bee,  The Newlywed Pilgrimage Chic California, Lamberts LatelyLive Laugh RoweSweet Bella Roos, The Charm of Home, From My Front Porch to ours, Delightsome Life.Posed PerfectionKatherine's CornerNancherrowThe Freshman Cook,  Jann OlsonHome  Maid SimpleAnderson + Grant,  Rooted in ThymeEveryday Enchanted Home, Pure Grace Farms A Dish of Daily Life, Bacon Time, Sunflower Supper Club, Tater Tots and Jello,  Cooking with CurlsMade from PinterestSimply Gloria





Monday, November 3, 2014

pumpkins and pansies . . . Fall at home


  
 


If you visit me often, then you've seen various photos of pumpkins & pansies in my side bar since the beginning of Fall. I've fallen hard for them this season, along with . . .

long-stem freckled pumpkins
Cinderella pumpkins
mums
bittersweet
warm, soft hues 




My youngest daughter, Lauren, and I visited a beautiful nursery about 20 minutes South of us several weeks ago. We spent a few hours wandering around and admiring the seasons harvest.

The entry to the nursery greeted us with bushels of tall, dried corn stalks and hundreds of stacked pumpkins on - and around - a big, charming wood wagon. And to the right of the breath-taking entrance was aisle after aisle of Fall-colored pansies and violas.  I wish I had taken photos to share with you.

My inspiration this year to add pansies and violas to my Fall decor was inspired by our visit to the nursery.











I have several aged clay pots, of all sizes . . . and filled the smaller ones with bright Fall-colored pansies and violas. (See my aged clay pot post here)

I've enjoyed them so much this season that I have plans to line the center of our Thanksgiving table with them this year, along with the speckled pumpkins, mini lemon cypress, and nuts of all shapes, sizes, and colors. I can't wait!




   





Fall in our living room . . .











LET'S STAY in touch!






Sharing with . . . .

Stephanie Lynn, It's Overflowing, Twelve O Eight, Carrie This Home, Baking in Pajamas, Huckleberry Love, Dwellings, Smart Party Planning,  The Dedicated HouseMod Vintage LifeLori's Culinary Creations, Home Stories, StoneGableAn Extraordinary Day, I'm Not a Trophy Wife, Between Naps on the Front Porch, Rustic Refined,  Tumbleweed ContessaA Stroll Thru Life,Life With GarnishElizabeth & Co,  My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Savvy Southern StyleThe Recipe CriticJanine HuldieCarolyn's Homework,  Fluster Buster   Designs by Miss Mandee,  Craftie Allie,  Wednesday morning The Blissful Bee,  The Newlywed Pilgrimage Chic California, Lamberts LatelyLive Laugh RoweSweet Bella Roos, The Charm of Home, From My Front Porch to ours, Delightsome Life.Posed PerfectionKatherine's CornerNancherrowThe Freshman Cook,  Jann OlsonHome  Maid SimpleAnderson + Grant,  Rooted in ThymeEveryday Enchanted Home, Pure Grace Farms A Dish of Daily Life, Bacon Time, Sunflower Supper Club, Tater Tots and Jello,  Cooking with CurlsMade from PinterestSimply Gloria





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