Getting Stuff Holiday Ready

Getting stuff holiday ready to greet the occasion with bells on has many of us giddy with delight and on a sentimental journey.

vintage-Thanksgiving-turkey-card

Dave the Builder asked me why I was up so early this morning, to which I replied, “company’s coming, Dave, and I’ve got to get the getting stuff holiday ready show on the road.”

Rob-Laura-Petrie

Me TV

I take from traditions of the past the very best and memorable points of eat, drink, decorate, table setting, and celebration interest and holiday from there.

apple-crisp-handwritten-recipe-card

Yesterdish

getting stuff holiday ready

Turkey Thaw Countdown Guide:

Turkey Size                                    How Long to Thaw in Fridge

25 lbs                                                                   6 Days, 6 Hours

20 lbs                                                                   5 Days

16 lbs                                                                    4 Days

10 lbs                                                                    2 Days, 12 Hours

There’s no time like the present to commit the Thanksgiving dinner holiday checklist to memory.

Those of us currently experiencing brain fog, writing it down is the way to go.

Grab a notepad or open the notes app on your device and write down or type out the information you know you’ll need to refer to during this countdown to Thanksgiving.

Recipe ingredients.

Cooking times.

Serving timeline projections.

Who can’t have what ingredient (food allergies).

Things will steadily become more hectic, and our brains tend to shut down when overloaded.

Note to self: write it down.

getting stuff holiday ready

Get in the holiday spirit with a holiday spirit.

Welcome family and friends in with a refreshing beverage seasoned, spiced, and appropriately spiked with the flavors of the season.

Uncle Herbert, can I get you a cup of rum punch?

Thanksgiving-rum-punch-photo-Alison-Gootee-styling-Suzonne-Stirling-Southern-Living

Southern Living- Photography by Alison Gootee- Styling by Suzonne Stirling

Thanksgiving Punch with Rum

Ingredients

1/3 cup honey

12 whole cloves

4 cinnamon sticks

8 cups apple cider, divided

4 cups cranberry juice, chilled

3 cups (24 oz.) spiced rum

2 (12-oz.) bottles ginger beer, chilled

sliced green apples, oranges, or lemons, for garnish

rosemary sprig, for garnish

Directions

Combine honey, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and 2 cups of the cider in a small saucepan over medium.  Cook, stirring often, until honey is dissolved and mixture is fragrant with spices, about 7 minutes.

Remove from heat; cool and steep 15 minutes.  Discard cloves and cinnamon sticks.

Combine spiced cider mixture, cranberry juice, spiced rum, ginger beer, and remaining 6 cups apple cider in a large punch bowl.

Garnish with sliced citrus and apples.  Serve over ice.

-Southern Living

jadite-gold-serving-pieces

Martha Stewart Highbrook Jadeite Glass Loop Cake Stand in Mint

Green and gold gorgeous for Thanksgiving, beautiful for Christmas, and festive for Mardi Gras.

getting stuff holiday ready

My mother has always said it’s the package that sells the product, and this is where presentation comes in.

Okay, I’m repeating myself, but it’s worth revisiting.

Bring on the ooh la la factor by placing cake stands and serving pieces inside fresh or faux greenery wreaths both Thanksgiving and Christmas pretty and set about the table or countertop at various height levels.

Take advantage of this time to style the dining table to your liking.  Place, stack, and set out the items you can now.

Cover serving bowls, utensils, and cake stands with a clean dish towel, label with a sticky note what dish goes in what bowl, and. mark this part of the process off the list.

Thanksgiving-invitation-2019

getting stuff holiday ready

Let those kitchen countertops pull serving table duty.  I work with a salads and sides to the left, desserts and drinks to the right, keep it moving on down the line plan.

Space is one hot commodity in the Thanksgiving kitchen and dining room.  Going with a dessert table frees up space.

pecan-pie-ice-cream-pie

Pecan Pie-Ice Cream Pie

A little birdie tells me you can cook the bird, ham, duck or roast the day before.

Slice the meat, cover with broth, place in plastic storage bags, and refrigerate.

Warm the meat and broth on low in a slow cooker on the big day.

Frank-Sinatra-carving-turkey

getting stuff holiday ready

One pound bag of carrots when cooked will offer up 4 to 5 servings.

12 ounce package of fresh cranberries  = 2 ¼ cups cranberry sauce.
Cook cranberries in orange juice and add 2 teaspoons of fresh orange zest for a cranberry orange sauce.

16 ounce can of cranberry sauce = 6 servings.

Figure ½ cup of gravy per person.

6 cups of green beans makes 6 to 8 servings

A 5lb. bag of potatoes whips up 10 to 12 servings of mashed potatoes.

Music sets the mood and the mix.

Know your audience, and holiday company’s coming playlist from there with a mix of rock, pop, fall themed, kickin’ country, oldies, and vintage crooner tunes.

Don’t forget the holiday songs; it’s never too early for Christmas music.

Vintage turntable vinyl record player Christmas tree card digital download printable image

Vintage Turntable Vinyl Record Player Christmas Card on Etsy

getting stuff holiday ready

I continually find the loveliness of clear string lights placed in a clear vase visually irresistible and a super effective-good for all seasons-simple way to create a welcoming atmosphere.

string-lights-holiday (1)

My, how times flies when we’re having getting stuff holiday ready fun!

love signature

Talking All Things Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving turkey solutions, suggestions, and total turkey success is exactly what we’ve got going for today’s countdown to Thanksgiving post.

Three weeks goes by super quick, and things do tend to get awfully hectic at this time of year.

With that in mind, I thought I would post this info sooner rather than later to allow time to gather and plan for your gather together times.

roasted-turkey-vegetables

Better Homes & Gardens

How big of a bird will I actually need?

How do I properly defrost the thing?

What temperature is best to cook a turkey on?

How long do I cook the Thanksgiving turkey for?

Thanksgiving turkeyHerb, Lemon, and Garlic Turkey

Roast, bake or air fry?

To stuff, or not to stuff?

What’s the best seasonings of the turkey roasting-baking-frying season?

Let’s talk turkey.

Turkey-cuts-diagram (1)

How much turkey do you need?

how-much-turkey-to-you-need-chart

From the folks at Delish

Thawing the Frozen Thanksgiving Turkey

For Refrigerator Thawing:

Place turkey on a tray to eliminate leakage to other areas of refrigerator.

Thaw breast side up, in original unopened wrapper on a tray in the fridge (40 degrees F or below).

Allow at least 1 day of thawing for every 4-5 lbs.

Suggested thawing time for a frozen turkey:

4 to 12 pound turkey:           1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pound turkey:         3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pound turkey:        4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pound turkey:        5 to 6 days

Cold Water Thawing:

Thaw breast side down, in original unopened wrapper.

Cover the turkey completely with cold water.  Change the water every 30 minutes.

Estimate a minimum thawing time of 30 minutes per pound.

4 to 12 pound turkey:        2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pound turkey:      6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pound turkey:     8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pound turkey:     10 to 12 hours

The good people at Butterball offer cooking calculators and conversion charts for everything Thanksgiving turkey.

Here’s the link: Butterball Calculators and Conversions Chart

The Amazon Echo calls up Alexa the answer machine, now we’re cooking playlists, recipes, and the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line® (connect with the Talk-Line through social media, live chat, texting — even Amazon Alexa).

All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen) Smart speaker with Alexa in Twilight Blue

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Smart speaker with Alexa 

Prep the bird and don’t forget to tie those bad boy turkey legs together with cooking twine.

kitchen-twine-string

Thawed turkey roasting times in a 325 °F regular oven:

6 to 10 pounds:      2 to 3 hours (unstuffed)       –     2¼-3½ hours (stuffed)

10 to 18 pounds:    3 to 3½ hours (unstuffed)   –     3¾-4½ hours (stuffed)

18 to 22 pounds:     3½-4 hours (unstuffed)    –      4½ – 5 hours (stuffed)

22-24 pounds:        4-4½ hours (unstuffed)     –     5-5½ hours (stuffed)

24-30 pounds:        4½-5 hours  (unstuffed)    –      5½-6½ hours (stuffed)

Thawed turkey roasting times in a 325 °F convection oven:

6 to 10 pounds:       1½-2 hours (unstuffed)       –    1¾-2½  hours (stuffed)

10 to 18 pounds:     2 to 2½ hours (unstuffed)   –    2½-3¼ hours (stuffed)

18 to 22 pounds:     2½-3 hours (unstuffed)      –      3¼ hours (stuffed)

22-24 pounds:        3-3½ hours (unstuffed)       –      3¾-4¼ hours (stuffed)

The turkey is done when the temperature with a meat thermometer reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F in the breast and 175°F in the thickest part of the thigh.

checking-turkey-internal-temperature

Better Homes & Gardens – Photo by Jason Donnelly

Taylor-Digital-Folding-Probe-Meat-Thermometer-with-Blue-Backlight-Display

Taylor Digital Folding Probe Meat Thermometer with Blue Backlight Display

Use a food thermometer to check the turkey in the thickest part of the breast.

If you stuff the Thanksgiving turkey, the center of the stuffing must reach 165 degrees F.

Roasting Meat Thermometer T731 Oven Safe Large 2.5-Inch Easy-Read Face

Roasting Meat Thermometer

Cross contamination between turkey and stuffing is a concern, so just make sure both turkey and stuffing reach proper temperatures.

Let the turkey stand 15 minutes before carving.

cutting-carving-turkey-thighs

Foodiesfeed

Safe Turkey Prep, Thawing, Stuffing, Cooking, Clean Up Tips:

Always wash your hands before and after preparing or eating food.

Thaw turkeys in the refrigerator, never on the counter.

Don’t wash raw poultry before cooking.  It can spread germs to other areas.

Place stuffing in the turkey just before cooking.

Cook raw poultry thoroughly to at least an internal temperature of 165° F.

Wash your counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.

Don’t feed your pets raw food. 

graniteware-oval-roaster-black

Graniteware Oval Roaster

The black graniteware covered roaster speaks holidays to me, but I’m always open to a new trad roasting pan that gets the Thanksgiving turkey roasted to perfection.

Personal preference for white meat drives me to simply roast a boneless turkey breast.

Thanksgiving-platter (1)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place turkey breast, breast-side up, into the roasting pan.

Dry the skin of the turkey breast by patting with a paper towel.

Give the outer skin of the turkey a generous rub down with butter.

Season the turkey breast with seasonings and herbs of your choice (see suggestions further down in the post).

Rub the seasonings into the skin of the turkey breast.

Roast the turkey breast at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes per pound until thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165 degrees F.

Nordic Ware Copper Roaster XL Large

Nordic Ware Copper Roaster XL Large

Cajun Classic 15 Oval Aluminum Roaster GL10050

Cajun Classic 15″ Oval Aluminum Roaster GL10050

Check out vintage shops and flea markets for good deals on vintage cookware.

vintage-cookware-antiques-shop

Cotton Port Antique Mall

Cooks 2-pc. Nonstick Roaster with Rack

Cooks 2-pc. Nonstick Roaster with Rack

Stainless Steel Roaster Pan Extra Large & Lightweight

Stainless Steel Roaster Pan Extra Large & Lightweight

Gibson Home Kenmar High Dome Oval Roaster Set

Gibson Home Kenmar High Dome Oval Roaster Set

All-Clad B1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Roaster with Rack

Farberware 12″ x 16″ Nonstick Roaster with Rack

brining-bags-autumn-fruit-and-spice-turkey-brine-and-turke

Ruffoni-hammered-copper-covered-roaster (1)

Ruffoni Historia Hammered Copper Covered Roaster with Turkey Knob

Constellation Roaster with Baster & Lifters

Constellation Roaster with Baster & Lifters

Oster 18qt Roaster Oven Black CKSTRS18-BSBOster 18qt Roaster Oven Black CKSTRS18-BSB

Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill with Air Fryer, Roast, Bake & Dehydrate

Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill with Air Fryer, Roast, Bake & Dehydrate

Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 6.5qt Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer with High Gloss Finish

Ninja Foodi 8qt. 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer Stainless Steel 

Going the pressure cooker and air fryer route gives the holiday cook a holiday helping hand.

Turkey breast is the requested option of the Places In The Home crowd, and I usually go with a 3lb. bird breast.

Here’s my two-step how to air fry a Thanksgiving turkey:

Remove any netting from around the breast, lightly coat turkey breast with olive oil and season with preferred seasonings.

Select the air fryer or air crisp function and set fryer to 350 degrees.

The first round of “frying” is for 20 minutes.

Now comes step 2.

Using caution as not to burn yourself, turn the turkey breast and re-coat with olive oil and seasonings.

Set to air fryer or air crisp function at 350 degrees for an additional 30 minutes or until internal temperature of turkey breast reaches 165 degrees.

Allow turkey breast to rest in the place for 10-15 minutes.

Cooks 5-Qt. Programmable Latch and Travel Slow Cooker

Cooks 5-Qt. Programmable Latch and Travel Slow Cooker

For the slow-cooker cooks:

Seasoning the Bird:

I usually add a stalk of celery cut into three equal parts and ½ peeled and sliced onion or 2-3 cut green onions.

Add 1 ½-2 cups of chicken broth or white wine to roasting pan to keep the turkey moist during baking.

No turkey roasting-baking is complete without butter (Julia Child would be so proud).

Rub 4 Tablespoons (½ stick) butter over turkey breast meat under skin.  Next, add 4 tablespoons butter to the turkey cavity.  Finish up by rubbing a generous amount of butter over the outside of the turkey.

Sprinkle turkey with seasonings of your choice of seasonings such as salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, thyme, garlic, rosemary, or Creole seasoning.

turkey-seasonings

Thanksgiving-turkey-seasonings-herbs

Williams-Sonoma Turkey Seasoning Paste

Cover with roasting pan lid or a foil tent for first 1-1½ of roasting.

roast-turkey

dishwasher-safe-plastic-and-rubber-baster

Farberware Professional Dishwasher Safe 3-in-1 Plastic and Rubber Baster

Set of 2 Stainless Steel Turkey Lifters

Set of 2 Stainless Steel Turkey Lifters

Cuisinart 3-Piece Rose Gold Carving Set

Cuisinart 3-Piece Rose Gold Carving Set

how-much-to-serve-holidays

Based on a Thanksgiving dinner for six (6) people, this How Much to Serve guide is simply that; a guide give or take a helping or two.

Turkey:

1-1½ pounds sliced turkey per person (which means you will need to buy a 9 pound turkey).  Think leftovers!

Dressing/Stuffing:

1½ cup serving per person

Sides:

1-½ cup serving per person

Bottles of Wine:

2-3 bottles should be enough to sip and toast for dinner for 6.

Desserts:

Figure on one 9 inch pie being enough for a party of six.

One 5 inch, round, single layer cake.

plymouth-turkey-platter-1

Williams-Sonoma

Plymouth Turkey Extra Large Serving Platter

Plymouth Turkey Extra Large Serving Platter

oval-turkey-platter-Thanksgiving

Williams Roberts Oval Turkey Platter

BLACK+DECKER ComfortGrip 9 Inch Electric KnifeBLACK+DECKER  9 Inch Electric Knife

Vintage Platter Serving Dish- Made in England- John Maddock & Sons- Royal Vitreous Louis XIV

Vintage Platter Serving Dish- John Maddock & Sons- Royal Vitreous Louis XIV

Arthur Court Thanksgiving Turkey Handed Carving Set - Forged Stainless Steel Carving Fork and Carving Knife

Arthur Court Thanksgiving Turkey Carving Fork and Carving Knife

sliced-carved-holiday-turkey-photo-Con-Poulos

Better Homes & Gardens – Photo by Con Poulos

Carving the Bird:

Place the bird on a carving board or reliable surface for carving, breast side up with the legs facing away from you.

Position the carving fork in the lower part of the breast to hold the turkey steady as you carve.

Find the hip joint connecting the thigh and the breast and begin slicing through.  Repeat on the opposite side.

Separate the drumstick from the thigh by cutting through the joint.

Let’s move on to the drumstick/ turkey leg.

Pull each leg to extend them away from the body and slice between the breast and the drumstick.

Move the leg backward to loosen it away from the socket, cut away from skin and remove.  Repeat on the opposite side.

Now we’re winging it!

Locate the joint connecting the wing to the body and slice on through.

Repeat on the opposite side.

For the breast, begin by slicing as close to the breastbone as possible.

Slice all the way down as to have one large piece and repeat on the opposite side.

Place breast on cutting surface and slice from smallest end to the largest.

Arrange and plate as you like.

Stoneware Pumpkin Oval Serving Platter

Stoneware Pumpkin Oval Serving Platter

Laguiole 2-Pc. Pakkawood Carving Set

Laguiole 2-Pc. Pakkawood Carving Set

vintage-blue-white-large-platter

Earthenware Harvest Gatherings Round Platter

Earthenware Harvest Gatherings Round Platter

Antler Handle 3 Piece Carving Set, Black Carving Set

Antler Handle 3 Piece Carving Set, Black Carving Set

Cherished family recipes shine at the holidays, and this handwritten recipe platter (submit your recipe) will become a treasured slice of tradition.

Handwritten Recipe Personalized Platter

Handwritten Recipe Personalized Platter

November ushers in the holiday season, and the Thanksgiving Day meal sets the tone and the table for delicious times.

Gathering around the holiday table gorgeously set and featuring a Thanksgiving turkey baked-roasted-grilled-air fried to absolute golden perfection is a culinary tradition to feast upon.

love signature

Fall with Apples and Pumpkins

Fall deliciously places the baking, cooking, decorating, and entertaining emphasis on apples and pumpkins, appropriately planting a seed of inspiration.

apple trees picking

Palettes o’plenty are in place under the pines awaiting a pumpkin haul for this year’s local pumpkin patch picking.

pumpkin-patch-2019

I’ve been in  fall baking, cooking, decorating, and entertaining with apples and pumpkins development for a week or so.

Introducing hints of fall finery and a new or improved recipe to the troops here at Places In The Home is part of the fall of it all.

apples-and-pumpkins

Flickr

Baking & Cooking

Those of you who get into fall baking and cooking and taste testing know apples and pumpkins are the stars of the show.

Sprinkles and dustings of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg deliciously dress cored, chopped, sliced, minced, cubed, grated or diced apples.

bag-Gala-apples

In the Fall Kitchen with Apples and Pumpkins

One small apple measures 2 ¼ inches across.

One medium apple measures 2 ½ to 2 ¾ inches across.

One large apple measures 3¾ inches across.

types of apples graphic

How many apples are there in a cup?

apple-shaped-measuring-cups

1 medium apple equals:

About 1 1/3 cups sliced or cubed.

About 1¼ cups diced.

About 1 cup finely sliced, minced, or grated.

red-apple

How many apples are in a pound?

4 medium apples equals approximately  1 pound.

2 large apples equals approximately  1 pound.

1 pound of apples equals approximately 3 cups sliced or cubed apples.

apples and pumpkins

Coring and Peeling an Apple

Carefully cut the skin off the apple using a paring knife.

Cut the apple into four wedges.

Remove the core out of each wedge.

Cut, slice, or chop the apples according to recipe preference.

fairy tale pumpkin

One 2½ pound pie pumpkin equals 1¾ cups pumpkin puree (which is equivalent to one 15 ounce can pumpkin).

A 3½ pound pie pumpkin equals 2½  cups pumpkin puree.

Did you know that the pumpkin is really a squash?

Pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin sangria, and the big daddy of fall desserts, pumpkin pie, is in the fall tastes and treats spotlight.

traditional pumpkin pie recipe

Traditional Pumpkin Pie Recipe

How to Prep and Puree A Pumpkin 

You can substitute homemade pumpkin puree for any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin.

With that fall baking fact in mind, let’s check out how to make homemade pumpkin puree.

Here we will be using a sugar pumpkin (also called a pie pumpkin), the best for cooking and baking.

sugar pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Carefully cut off the top of the pumpkin.  Using a large metal spoon, scoop out the seeds and the “strings”.

Cut the pumpkin in half.

Line a baking sheet with foil and place the pumpkin halves cut side down onto the baking sheet.

Generously rub the outer skin of each pumpkin half with olive oil.

Place in a 375°F preheated oven and roast for 45-60 minutes or until a fork easily inserts into each pumpkin half.

Allow to cool for twenty minutes or until cool enough to handle without risk of burning your hands.

Using a large metal spoon, scoop out the softened pulp.  Place the pulp into in a food processor and pulse until smooth.

staub-ceramic-pumpkin-cocotte

Staub Ceramic Stoneware Pumpkin Cocotte

Pumpkin Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Ingredients

2 Sugar Pie pumpkins (each about 2 lb.)
Substitution: 4 cups  of canned pumpkin puree

Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing and drizzling

6 Tbs. unsalted butter

2 shallots, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme, plus whole sprigs for garnish

¼  cup  Marsala

5 cups vegetable broth, plus more as needed

3 Tbs. maple syrup

1 cup half-and-half

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the grilled cheese croutons:

2 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 slices artisan white bread or sourdough bread

1 ½ cups grated Gruyére cheese

Directions

To make the soup, using a sharp knife, carefully cut off the top of each pumpkin to remove the stem, then halve each pumpkin vertically.

Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and any stringy fibers and discard.

Brush the flesh of the pumpkins generously with olive oil, then place them, cut sides down, on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake until the pumpkins are very tender when pricked with a fork, about 50 minutes.  Let cool for 15 minutes, then scoop the flesh from the peel into a bowl; discard the peels.

You should have about 4 cups of pumpkin.  Set aside.

In a Dutch oven or large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 Tbs. of the butter.

Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the Marsala and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pot.  Add the pumpkin and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.  Add the broth and maple syrup.

Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes.  Stir in the half-and-half.

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. (Alternatively, working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour back into the pot.)

Add the remaining 3 Tbs. butter to the soup and stir until the butter is melted.  Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in more vegetable broth, if desired, to achieve the desired consistency.  Keep warm over low heat while you make the grilled cheese croutons.

To make grilled cheese croutons, spread the butter on one side of each slice of bread, dividing it evenly.

Heat a large fry pan over medium heat.

Place 3 slices of the bread, butter side down, in the fry pan.  Divide the cheese evenly between the 3 slices in the pan, then top with remaining bread slices, butter side up.

Cook until the bottom of bread is golden brown, then carefully flip each sandwich and continue to cook until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes, turning down the heat if the bread is browning too quickly.

Transfer the grilled cheese sandwiches to a cutting board and let cool slightly while you ladle the warm soup into 6 individual bowls.

Drizzle each serving of soup lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a few grinds of pepper.  Cut the grilled cheese sandwiches into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes and divide them evenly among the bowls of soup.

Garnish with thyme sprigs and serve immediately.  Serves 6.

-Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen

Decorating

1100 block of Rue du Belier

Country Living

Never underestimate the visual impact of the simple yet elegant seasonal decor accessory.

apple-wreath-supplies

Gorgeous is in the eye and the glue gun of the beholder.

Faux apples, a natural grapevine wreath, and several yards of burlap ribbon  is all you need to DIY your way to a lovely fall wreath.

apple-wreath

In the case of my fall wreath DIY project, I chose to go with a Styrofoam wreath.

Using burlap ribbon from the dollar store, I wrapped the entire wreath to conceal the Styrofoam.

Using a hot glue gun, I glued various sizes of red faux apples and green mini pears from Michaels around the top and sides of the wreath.

Spanish moss serves as an excellent filler and gap cover, and as in the image of the grapevine apple wreaths, burlap ribbon (5½” wide) with a finished edge completes the look.

There’s a bevy of pumpkin decorating ideas out there.

This DIY pumpkin project from Proven Winners utilizes late summer/early fall blooms and foliage to create a Mod Podge magnificent botanical pumpkin.

pumpkin-blankets

We Heart It

Simple makes a simply beautiful statement.

Entertaining

Part of the fun of entertaining is coming up with festive and creative ways to put a seasonal spin on the presentation of drinks, snacks, entrées, sides, and desserts.

“I try to greet my friends with a drink in my hand, a warm smile on my face, and great music in the background, because that’s what gets a dinner party off to a fun start.”

-Ina Garten

apple shaped cheese balls

Better Homes & Gardens

Our Canadian snowbird son and daughter-in-law have mastered the art of the charcuterie board.

I wish they would master the art of prepare it, shoot it, send a photo of it this way, but I digress.

fall-board-cheese

pumpkins-rosemary

Charcuterie | shahr-ku-tuh-ree  refers to the art of preparing and assembling cured meats.

Charcuterie boards feature an array of dried meats, cheeses, fruits and nuts, crackers, breads, jams, preserves, marmalades, olives, pickles, and the like.

bread-butter-pickles

A recent conversation on the topic included a rundown of their charcuterie board essentials.

Great entertaining minds think alike, and we all agreed a gathering of friends or/and family on a crisp fall late afternoon into evening is an excellent entertaining opportunity to bring on a fall cheese or charcuterie board.

pumpkin board

Wood Pumpkin Serve Board

pumpkin-wood-serving-platter

There’s no wrong way to do a cheese or charcuterie board.  I put together a small with fall in mind cheese board this afternoon.

It’s meatless, so it doesn’t officially qualify to be referred to as a charcuterie board.

fall-cheese-board

Crisp apples, fresh dates, red grapes, assorted nuts, blue cheese, white cheddar, cream cheese with fig preserves, and dried cranberries fill the board.

A quick walk around the yard later I had fresh rosemary sprigs and mint leaves to use as garnish and filler.

The aroma is spectacular.

fall-pumpkin-cheese-board

What’s in the little vintage creamer?

Honey.

Honey drizzled over a slice of cheese topped with an apple is the taste of fall.

apples-grapes

marmalade-preserves

I love these carved wooden spoons for spooning up preserves and marmalades.

Hand Carved White Oak Wood Snowflake Spoon

Hand Carved White Oak Wood Snowflake Spoon

Ciders, seasonal wines, and apple flavored sangria are all excellent beverage choices to serve at a fall gathering.

Cinnamon water is a recent fall perfect beverage discovery that’s as tasty as it is easy to make.

This stove top method brings out the flavor and color of the cinnamon.

Begin by adding 2 cinnamon sticks to 2 cups of water to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.

Allow concentrate to cool before adding to cold water and ice.

cinnamon-water

Baking, cooking, decorating, and entertaining with apples and pumpkins on a crisp fall day or evening is part of the tradition and pure fall fun.

love your style

Copper Cookware and Decorative Accents

Copper cookware and decorative accents continue to be a favored choice of kitchen ware.

Exquisite in composition and artistic in execution, culinary preparation is performance art at its delicious best.

Celebrated chefs and accomplished cooks know the advantages of using copper cookware in food preparation.

Denis-Pierre_Bergeret_Geschäftiges_Treiben_in_der_KücheDenis-Pierre Bergeret Geschäftiges Treiben in der Küche  {{PD-US}}

The stove to table taste of home ritual most of us engage in on a daily basis far better serves the sizzle, sauté, sauce, and simmer when the cookware used results in superior performance and quality taste.

Temperature uniformity is essential in the cooking process.

Too much heat scorches and burns while too little heat deters the notes of taste and flavor.

Copper is an excellent heat conductor- the maestro of materials.

copper

Copper cookware distributes a precise and even heat which is the essential element for proper temperature control.

Gorgeous is as gorgeous works, and copper cookware plates a gorgeous taste.

It’s Super Copper Tastic Excellent à la Decorocious!

copper-kitchen-wares

Cooking and decorating share similar attributes.

Balance.

Proportion.

Taste.

Visual appeal.

It is said that we eat with your eyes.

williams-sonoma-mini-copper-cocottes-set-of-4-oWilliams Sonoma Mini Copper Cocottes

Decorative accents and embellishments should enhance the design rather than overpower it.

Less proves to be so much more in many design and decorating instances, visually speaking.

copper-hood-keystone-millworks-inc

Keystone Millworks, Inc.

Take this white French kitchen hood accented with copper trim as an example.

The copper trim really pops against the white, and draws the eye to the contrast between the exposed brick backsplash/back wall and rustic wood truss with focal point precision.

hh-aldred-kitchen-final3_sup_hh_oc11House & Home

Copper lends a distinctive presence to accents and home decor accessories for unique, sumptuous, whimsical and eclectic kitchen decorating consideration.

copper brutalist pendant-style chandelierExquisite Spiraling Copper Brutalist Pendant-Style Chandelier

I have kept this style spotted copper milk can or creamer or whatever it is from the 2011 Kitchen of the Year created by chef Tyler Florence in my thoughts over the years.

tyler-florence-kitchen-of-the-year-2011-copper

2011 Kitchen of the Year created by celebrity chef Tyler Florence

It made that big of an impression on me.

In the presence of dark cabinetry, high-tech appliances and farm to modern rustic, yet refined kitchen design and accessories stands this most impressive copper accent piece.

The look created when mixing and mingling traditional and modern design and decorating styles with an antique or vintage piece is thinking outside of the box of standard decor rules focal point perfection.

antique creamer jug with chained lid

Argentine Copper Creamer Jug with Chained Lid ~ Eron Johnson Antiques

Lighting fixtures, artwork, architectural pieces, decorative objects- copper has got you covered.

arts & crafts antique copper fire screen

Harp Gallery 

This fabulous 1900s antique copper fireplace screen would make a fantastic decorative backsplash piece à la fireback.

19th century french architectural flame finial in copper19th Century French Architectural Flame Copper Finial 

Patina and pit marks come with age.

I consider these perfect imperfections.

Patina is the greenish brown film that covers the surface of bronze, copper and similar metals brought on by the natural process of oxidation.

copper at auctionGallery Auctions, Inc.

I purchase vintage copper cookware with an extremely careful eye.

Buying vintage copper cookware pieces for decorating purposes differs from buying copper cookware pieces to actually prepare food in.

Vintage copper cookware pieces tend to be made of unlined copper.

Unlined copper is categorized as a reactive metal, and may interact with foods.

Safety in cooking is of the utmost importance.

copper-milk-jug

Vintage Lidded Copper Milk Jug

Consider opting for copper pots and pans lined in tin or stainless steel which creates a nonreactive lining.

When cleaning copper cookware and decorative accents, avoid using an abrasive cleaner to eliminate the risk of scratching the copper.

Allow your copper cookware to cool down after use.

The sudden temperature change from stove burner to dishwater can promote warping.

copper cookware

De Buyer Copper Sauce Pans

Be it copper, copper over tin, or copper over stainless steel- the point is the look, performance and decorative effect.

The availability of copper cookware and interior and exterior decor items with a wide range of price points is in our favor.

Copper cookware and decorative accents remain an elegant element and traditional choice of material to complement taste, space, and of course to compliment the chef.

Signs and Sounds: Fall or Autumn Wishfall Thinking

Signs and sounds hinting at an early fall or autumn leads to wishfall thinking.

Concrete proof of fall’s preview peppers the Places In The Home driveway, sidewalk and patio with yellow leaves intermingled among summer’s last holdouts.

As I blog and type “Dancing In The Moonlight” by King Harvest is currently playing on Music Choice.

Now “Night Moves” by Bob Seger is playing.

Two songs played back to back with the lyrics everybody’s dancin’ in the moonlight and with autumn closing in.

Changing colors, temps and tastes.

Oh yeah, this is happening.

yellow-fall-leavesWe crazy Louisianians grab hold of the slightest hint of a fall weather preview and hold on for dear life.

Hey, speaking of crazy Louisianans

britney-ellenLouisianians Ellen DeGeneres and  Britney Spears

Dave and I stood on the front porch for a few minutes Friday night listening to the high school bands playing during the local football Jamboree.

Humidity and mosquitoes crashed our party, making me wish for fall even more.

Hope springs or falls eternal, and I can testify to sure signs of wishfall thinking- shorter days, a changing sun that casts a bright white light through the windows, and wind chimes that play a North wind lullaby.

roux-gumbo

The first gumbo feast of fall is soon to be cooking in the big blue pot.

flour-sifter

Okay.

I couldn’t wait until the official arrival of fall for a gumbo feast.

No respectable Louisiana cook can talk about gumbo and not break out the big blue pot, make some roux, chop up the Cajun trinity, and whip up a pot of chicken and sausage gumbo.

C’est si bon!

gumbo-for-fall1

The hunt is on for Sportsman’s Paradise activities to do.

Fall festivals of pecan, tamale, meat pie, and funktoberfest are on our fall calendar of events.

black-lab

A new to me vintage mixing bowl is ready for fall recipe duty.

vintage-mixing-bowl

A bag of fresh and faux apples and a dash of wishfall thinking leads the inspired charge to create delicious apple themed recipes and diy projects.

guide-to-apples

A Guide to Apples from Williams-Sonoma


1.  Cortland – Crimson in color with a sweet flavor and crisp texture.  Best for:  applesauce and apple butter.

2.  Red Delicious – Softer in texture with a mellow, not-too-sweet flavor. Best for:  apple cider

3.   Braeburn – Reddish-orange with green and yellow streaks and a unique sweet-tart flavor.  Best for:  cooking and baking

4.  Gravenstein  –  A juicy apple with a finely-grained texture and a light yellow or red skin.  Best for:  applesauce and apple cider

5.  Gala  –  Sweet, aromatic and crisp with a light-red color.  Best for: eating raw and applesauce

6.  Fuji  –  Crisp texture and dense flesh with a sugary-sweet flavor.  Best for: eating raw

7.  Pink Lady  –  Crisp in texture and bright pink with a tart-sweet flavor.   Best for:  eating raw

8.  Golden Delicious  –  Very sweet to the taste with a golden yellow color.   Best for:  applesauce and apple butter

9.  Granny Smith  –  Very tart and crisp with a bright green color.  Best for: baking


fall-craft-apple-wreath

Wishfall thinking exhibit A as in a fall diamond in the summer rough.

The seasons they are a-changin’.

 Fall Autumn Wishfall Thinking

There is nothing like a good fall preview or autumn sneak peek to build the anticipation of seasonal things to come.

By all accounts, it’s fall y’all!

Love your style!

Thanksgiving Turkey Talk: How To Cook A Turkey

Tryptofantastic how to cook a turkey times make the holiday celebration go round.  

With the holiday countdown on, the Thanksgiving turkey talk centers around how to defrost and how to cook a turkey.

Turkey-cuts-diagram (1)

Being prepared for the gather round the table holiday celebration with a bird done to absolute golden perfection is the Thanksgiving holiday way to go.

willie-bird-fresh-free-range-organic-turkey-thanksgiving

Williams-Sonoma

Well then, let’s get the how to cook a turkey conversation started.

how much turkey per person guide

You may want to copy and paste or at the very least hit the bookmark icon- there’s some good information here.

raw-turkeyMy Recipes

Rules of Thawing:

Last minute does not work well in the grand scheme of turkey thawing.

Since the majority of supermarket turkeys are sold frozen, prepare to thaw.

Figure 1 to 1½ pounds of turkey per person when purchasing the bird.

As tempting as it may be to leave the bird out on the counter to expedite the thawing process, don’t.

Why invite a problem to the party?

You don’t need or want the hassle of food poisoning.

For Refrigerator Thawing:

Place turkey on a tray to eliminate leakage to other areas of refrigerator.

Thaw breast side up, in original unopened wrapper on a tray in the fridge (40 degrees F or below).

Allow at least 1 day of thawing for every 4-5 lbs.

Suggested thawing time for a frozen turkey:

4 to 12 pound turkey:       1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pound turkey:     3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pound turkey:    4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pound turkey:    5 to 6 days

Cold Water Thawing:

Thaw breast side down, in original unopened wrapper.

Cover the turkey completely with cold water.

Change the water every 30 minutes.

Estimate a minimum thawing time of 30 minutes per lb.

4 to 12 pound turkey:       2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pound turkey:     6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pound turkey:    8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pound turkey:   10 to 12 hours

Now, let’s say Thanksgiving Day comes and you’ve followed the above rule, but the turkey did not cooperate and the bird is still frozen.

Then the bird needs a soak.

Place the uncooperative turkey in a kitchen sink filled with cold water.

Soak the bird 30 minutes per pound to thaw; changing water every 30 minutes.

Remember to practice safe turkey prep & handling.

Clean and sanitize all the surfaces and utensils that come into contact with the uncooked bird and its juices.

mrs-meyers-apple-cider-scent-dish-soap

Don’t forget to wash those turkey covered hands thoroughly with soap and warm water!

Prepping the Bird:

Remove any contents from the turkey cavity.

Remove the clamp from around the legs.

Remove the extra skin from the neck area.

Tuck the wings up under the turkey bottom to prevent burning.

stuffed-turkey-on-platter

Martha Stewart

If you plan on stuffing the turkey, now is the time to do so.

The ingredients you will be stuffing the turkey with can be prepared ahead of time.

It is advised by the USDA to keep the wet and dry ingredients separate.

Keep wet ingredients refrigerated until time to use.

Do not mix the wet and dry ingredients until time to fill the turkey cavities, filling loosely.

Immediately cook the turkey.

Use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 170 °F.

Rub butter, margarine, or oil of your choice under the skin of the breast area, over the legs, and the turkey undercarriage to promote browning.

Place turkey breast side up on rack in your roasting pan and secure legs with kitchen twine.

prepping-turkey

Martha Stewart

Seasoning the Bird:

Rub turkey with seasonings of your choice of seasonings such as salt, pepper, thyme, garlic, rosemary, or Creole seasoning.

turkey-seasonings

I usually add a stalk of celery cut into three equal parts and ½ peeled and sliced onion or 2-3 cut green onions.

Add 1 ½-2 cups of chicken broth or white wine to roasting pan to keep the turkey moist during baking.

Cover with roasting pan lid or a foil tent for first 1-1½ of roasting.

turkey-seasoned

House and Home

Roasting the Bird:

Roast the turkey at 325 °F using the chart below as a guide for approximate roasting times.

The turkey and the stuffing is done when the internal temperature reaches an internal temperature of 170 °F.

Make sure to also check the stuffing for an internal temperature of 170 °F.

Use a food thermometer to check the turkey in the thickest part of the breast.

The internal temperature should reach 170 °F for safety.

turkey-cooking-chart1Resource: USDA Food Preparation and Inspection Service

To Baste Or Not To Baste:

basting-a-turkeyThe Kitchn

I do not baste our turkey.

 I find opening the oven door frequently allows the oven temp to swing and adds more time to the roasting. 

Sufficient prep and seasoning will keep the turkey moist. 

When the turkey is done, remove it from the oven and cover with foil. 

Allow to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving for easier carving.

Nobody Loves Dry Turkey:

Turkey breast dries out easy due to the fact lean breast meat cooks quicker than the legs and thighs.  Here’s several suggestions to eliminate this issue:

You can separate the breast from the whole turkey and cook the bone-in breast separately.

Boneless Turkey Breast

My personal favorite way to combat dry turkey is to simply roast a boneless turkey breast.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place turkey breast, breast-side up, into the roasting pan.

Dry the skin of the turkey breast by patting with a paper towel.

Give the outer skin of the turkey a generous rub down with butter.

Season the turkey breast with seasonings and herbs of your choice.

Rub the seasonings into the skin of the turkey breast.

Roast the turkey breast at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes per pound until thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165 degrees F.

Clean Up:

In a spray bottle combine 1 quart (4 cups) warm water, 1 teaspoon liquid soap, 1 teaspoon borax and ¼ cup undiluted white vinegar.

You can also add 1 tsp. of essential oil such as rose, lemon, orange, or lavender.

Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and cleaner however, I don’t suggest using this on granite or marble countertops.

carving-turkey-williams-sonoma

Williams Sonoma Edge-Grain Carving Board

Williams Sonoma Edge-Grain Carving Boards

Carving the Bird:

Place the bird on a carving board or reliable surface for carving, breast side up with the legs facing away from you.

Position the carving fork in the lower part of the breast to hold the turkey steady as you carve.

carving roasted turkeyFood52

Find the hip joint connecting the thigh and the breast and begin slicing through.  Repeat on the opposite side.

Separate the drumstick from the thigh by cutting through the joint.

carving-turkey-on-board

Martha Stewart

Let’s move on to the drumstick/ turkey leg.

Pull each leg to extend them away from the body and slice between the breast and the drumstick.

carving-turkey-thigh-legThe Kitchn

Move the leg backward to loosen it away from the socket, cut away from skin and remove.

Repeat on the opposite side.

Paula Deen turkey recipePaula Deen

Now we’re winging it!

Locate the joint connecting the wing to the body and slice on through.

Repeat on the opposite side.

For the breast, begin by slicing as close to the breastbone as possible.

Slice all the way down as to have one large piece and repeat on the opposite side.

Turkey-breast-carved

Better Homes and Gardens

Place breast on cutting surface and slice from smallest end to the largest.

Arrange and plate as you like.

carved-turkey-the-kitchnThe Kitchn

enjoy

Places In The Home For The Holidays Thanksgiving Style

Making a list and checking it twice, Places In The Home for the Holidays Thanksgiving style.

memo-book-holiday

Oops- wrong holiday song but right holiday action.

Thanksgiving-kitchen-graphicThere’s no time like now to get into the planning mode.

Buy now what is on seasonal sale, markdown, or clearance.

My cabinets runneth over with sale priced canned goods, spices and the Thanksgiving staple of all Thanksgiving staples, chicken broth.

thanksgiving-serving-guideThank you,  Whole Foods Market!

The world will not come to an end if the rolls don’t rise and the gravy is lumpy.

It may, however, if the turkey doesn’t defrost.

There’s a video from Taste of Home magazine to help with that!

Relax, turn up the tunes and let’s Thanksgiving.

Company’s Coming: Friends and Family

Now We’re Cooking!

food is memories

Placesetting-682x1024Absolutely love this place setting idea from A Place for Us

The ingredients list for a memorable Thanksgiving celebration works off the cornucopia concept.

la102862_1107_gold_vertMartha Stewart

The day should overflow with an abundance of love, food, family, friends and gratefulness.

grateful

It’s Places In The Home for the holidays Thanksgiving style season once again.

I’ll be posting new and updated all things Thanksgiving and Holidays posts over these home for the holidays weeks featuring home decor, side dishes, desserts, gift ideas, advice and fun facts for the it’s the most wonderful time of the year decoristas!

Love your style!

The Southern Dinner Table

The Southern dinner table tells a story.

Gathered in regional reverence, devout worshipers of the dining divine keep time to culinary tradition-nourishing the soul as well as the body.

Taking a meal at the Southern dinner table is a multi-layered celebration weaving through generations, tradition and culture.

A sudden wave of news copy on the popularity, rediscovery, and dare I say it, appreciation of Southern foods, has not only resonated with my taste buds, but my memories of times spent gathered around the Southern dinner table.

honey-biscuits

I surely don’t believe nor make the claim that the South holds the patent on dinner table philosophies, but sitting down to the Southern dinner table is an intended event.

It doesn’t matter if the table is set for cornbread, red beans and rice, or chicken fried anything with all the fixings, eating is far from simply a practice in sustenance.

From Southern farm, garden, market or waterway to the Southern dinner table, the prepping, cooking, baking, frying, boiling or grilling is a culinary event.

the-fondest-memories

Culinary tastes, rituals and traditions of cooking and dining vary from state to state, dining table to dining table across the South, but the core principles of preparing and sharing good food is uncomplicated, simple and basic.

If you cook, bake, fry, roast, barbecue, boil, grill, can, preserve or pickle it, they will come.

Beverly-Hillbillies-vittles

The differences between the ways of my Texas, Tennessee and Louisiana relatives always seemed to warrant a they don’t do it like this in whichever two states you were not breaking bread in.

The shared commonality between the Texas, Tennessee, and Louisiana masses boil down to simple dining vocabulary.

Dinner is the meal eaten in the middle of the day.

Supper is the meal eaten in the evening.

belton-tx1

Breaking bread with the Texas family came with rituals and a throwback vibe all its own.

The dining room table was for the adults, and the kitchen table was for the kids.

Soft white bread on a porcelain bread and butter plate was as close to a bread basket as you were gonna get.

My Aunt Sis was as full of sass as she was wit, and lightening quick with an answer and a serving spoon.

This firecracker’s table came equipped with its own GPS system.

Grease.

Preserves.

Salt.

Grease was the answer for everything, a pressed glass compote dish filled with homemade pear preserves never left the center of the table, and salt was not an acquired taste.

It was a required taste.

compote

The ladies of both my Texas and Louisiana family subscribed to the take down the china, fill the crystal to the rim, and put a hint of silver on the situation school of thought.

When questioned why a middle of the week dinner called for a fine lace tablecloth and a china pattern worthy of royalty, Aunt Sis would shoot back with a, “Well, hon, what’s the use of having the stuff if you don’t use it?”

I knew there was wisdom in her words, and they resonate with me to this day each time I open the doors to the china cabinet.

Life is too short not to use the good china, crystal and table linens every day.

You can quote me and Aunt Sis on it.

dinner-bell1stdibs

Does any of this ring a familiar dinner bell with you?

In continuation and reflection of the traditions and tastes of the Southern dinner table, my Tennessee family round the Southern dinner table traditions is the subject of my next post.

Love your style!