Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Another Corner of the Christmas Farmhouse Kitchen



Black Friday is over and my FARMHOUSE KITCHEN is getting back to the lighter side of Plain and Simple. . .The days are so gray now that I enjoy being inspired by choices that reflect as much light as possible. . .but then. . .I do like the candlelight, too. . .


Christmas is coming way too fast, isn't it? . .I realized this morning that there is only nineteen more days left. . .All my planning and 'doing' ahead and I'm still behind in wrapping packages and mailing gifts. . .not to mention sending Christmas cards. . .And, John's fruit cake hasn't been baked. . .It will need time to soak up the bourbon from the cheesecloth wrapping. . .He refuses to celebrate Christmas without a fruit cake. . .


His Mom was a great cook. . .In fact, she baked for the private school that John attended as a child. . .He still misses her every year when Christmas rolls around. . .and her fruit cake. . .He says I've perfected it over the years, but I think he's just being nice. . .I do my best without her recipe. . .Each year he does get a little misty-eyed when I unveil my latest attempt for the perfect concoction of fruit, pecans, cinnamon and spices. . .

 
For me, I think I enjoy carrying on the tradition of baking for others and surprising them with the goodies. . .I'm totally happy puttering around the kitchen with Red Velvet Cake all over me. . .listening to Christmas songs on the radio. . .remembering all the women in my family spending a lot of time in their kitchens of the past. . .I remember Mom trying to make one special dessert for each of us. . .our favorites. . .For  me, it was Jam Cake. . .for my brother it was Pound Cake with Orange Sauce. . .For Daddy it was anything sweet but Aunt Mamie did please him each year with Lemon Ice Box pies. . .He loved those pies. . .


The women in my family didn't bake just for the family. . .They would send sweet homemade treats to neighbors and friends. . .and to those who worked on the farms. . .I remember Mom telling the story of  Ole Blucher, my Grandmother's gardener, who lived in a little shack out back of her house. . .He never wanted a gift of money. . .or of clothes. . .or of Russell Stover Candy. . .He only wanted Grandmother's Sweet Potato Pies (She would make him two). . .and maybe a bottle of her Muscadine Wine. . .purely medicinal, you know. . .


So many family traditions. . .so many years of gathering them. . .but, that's what memories are for. . .to relive in one's mind the traditions that time and life have changed. . .but to keep the ones that work for us and our families now. . .Can't keep them all. . .Yet, there are some that we never consider not including. . .like John's fruit cake. . .



Hmmm. . .Now that I'm thinking about it. . .where DID I put that bourbon last year?



CHECK OUT SOME OF THE FAMILY RECIPES 
UNDER 'SEASONED SOUTHERN STYLE'
IN THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN. . .





Tuesday, November 28, 2017

In the Quiet of Our First Winter Fire



Oh, happy hearthstone! Oh, hour thrice blest
Where peace is the handmaid, and
love is the guest. - Rose Eliot Smith
The first fire of winter is special. . .symbolic of this season of lights. . .against the darkness of winter. . .The days have gotten shorter, the skies have become gray, and it seems as though the sun has abandoned us all. . .


To ward off the darkness of winter days, there is nothing like a good, warm-your-body-and-your-soul  fire, crackling and popping, inviting me to come stay a while and warm myself. . .until the cheeks redden. . .to be mesmerized by the playful dance of the yellow, orange and white flames. . .the pop of the wood. . .the glowing embers on the log. . .the otherwise quiet of the room. . .  . . .


I really should get back to my work. . .maybe in a few minutes. . .For now I want to sit still in the quiet and alone to stare into the flames and to remember that even the smallest amount of light can make a difference. . .in this room. . .in this life. . .in this world. . .


Our first fire heralds the beginning of Christmas celebrations. . .but it also beckons me to stop. . .in the warmth of its glow. . .to gather my thoughts. . .and to remember the real reason for the season. . .The coming days will be filled with 'busy-ness'. . .but for these few moments, I need to feel The Light and The Love that was so freely given. . .by a tiny baby so long ago. . .
 May 'PEACE be your handmaid. . .
and LOVE be your guest' this Holiday Season. . .


AT:

 





Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Holiday Issue Is Out and We're Featured Twice. . .


 CHRISTMAS PACKAGES-COTTON BRANCHES-WHITE, SILVER, GOLD

DELTA CROSSROADS HOLIDAY ISSUE is now on the stands. . .and online. . .FREE. . .
You'll find us in it twice. . .INSPIRATION taken from THE COUNTRY FARM HOME blog. . .
The Editor, Nancy Kemp, contacted us a few months ago, so it wasn't a BIG surprise.
But her layouts of those posts look so great in the magazine!!!
In fact, the entire issue is fantastic.

 
You know. . .we have a lot of wonderful people here in the Delta. . .
and so talented. . .
I am HUMBLED and BLESSED to be a part of it.


To view the entire issue Free:

DELTA CROSSROADS HOLIDAY ISSUE 

or Check out our ORIGINAL POSTS at:

CHRISTMAS PACKAGES-COTTON BRANCHES-WHITE, SILVER, GOLD




Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Christmas Farmhouse Kitchen With a Mission



Did you hear the rumor going around? 
Christmas is almost here. . .

Oh. . .You heard, huh?
I'm sure you also heard that Black Friday is this week. . .Who hasn't? . .Well, I'm not sure John has. . .He hasn't mentioned it. . .Not that he would do any shopping. . .but he might suggest I go and pick out my own gift. . .as he has in the past. . .But. . .no. . .I haven't heard a word. . . 


I decided to take action and bring out some black and white for the kitchen. . .set up a little Christmas cheer. . .and reminder. . .before Thanksgiving. . .When he asks, "Why are you decorating for Christmas when it's Thanksgiving? And why all the black?' then I can reply, "Because Friday is BLACK FRIDAY!". . .You get my drift, don't you Ladies?


And what if he still doesn't take the bait? . .Then I might need to do something drastic. . .Like. . ."Let's go shopping Friday". . .without telling him he's about to enter a day of traffic jams and frantic shoppers. . .or. . .I could negotiate with. . ."If you'll take me shopping on Black Friday, then you'll have the weekend free for duck hunting". . .You know. . .Give a little. . .Take a little. . .


Yes. . .This is all in fun. . .tongue in cheek, so to speak. . .The end result is a plus, though. . .I've begun to bring in the evergreens and the candles and the vintage whites. . .It will be a 'natural' Christmas this year. . .but I'll tell you more about it next week. . .In the meantime. . .enjoy the photos. . .and eat lots of turkey and pumpkin pie so you'll have plenty of energy for all that shopping. . .
You can bet I will. . .
























Thursday, November 9, 2017

From My Cookbook to Yours: Seasoned Southern Style



"After years of trying new recipes with a long list of ingredients, seeking healthy alternatives to gluten and dairy, trying to eliminate preservatives and pesticides, I have decided to return to the food of my childhood. . .simple foods made from scratch (mostly) and of the freshest ingredients I can find. . .I think today's term for this way of thinking is 'eating clean'. . .I call it common sense. . ."
Come join me in my journey of revisiting tried but true recipes and methods of cooking from the local Delta community. . .Simply Good Food. . .SEASONED SOUTHERN STYLE. . .READ MORE. . .


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Simple Harvest Table Several Ways


"EAT YOUR HEART OUT, P. ALLEN SMITH"
Those were John's words when he walked through the breezeway porch and saw our Harvest Table. . .While I'm not even in the league of *Allen Smith. . .(John was just kidding around). . .I have to admit I have gotten more than a few tips from his website. . .His style mixes parts of the past with an eye for the present. . .I often do the same. . .

 

 
As I've stated again and again, Fall is my favorite time of the year. . .From the first frost on the pumpkins to the promise of a New Year, excitement stirs over and over as each holiday arrives. . .The days go by so quickly. . .the level of "busy" increases. . .and the hustle and bustle is in full force. . .


But it is also a time of feeling warm and cuddly by the fire. . .of gathering with family and friends. . .of remembering those who made our lives so special in past holidays.
For our Harvest Table, I decided to make it simple and all natural. . .just as the first Thanksgiving might have been. . .We have several occasions coming up in which we will utilize the table in different ways. . .

For a simple luncheon. . .


 For a magazine photo shoot. . .





For a candlelight dinner. . .









Some old jugs and redware, a vintage quilt, harvested gourds, dried grapevine, burlap, craft paper, a few candles and some dried berries. . .and I was done. . .making the table look welcoming and warm. . .Another plus is that it keeps holiday storage at a minimum. . .

 

I have pretty much decided to decorate for the holidays from this day on with natural and found materials. . .It just seems to set our home apart from the norm, while adding a spark of one's own personality and making it special for our family. . .I might add that it brings forth compliments from the Honey, too. . .He actually noticed this table. . .WOW. . .
Time now to move on to Christmas decor. . .Let's see. . .Maybe some wooden buckets and crates. . .more old crocks. . .pantry boxes. . .firkins. . .old barrels and kegs. . .limbs of cotton. . .evergreens. . .vines. . .small, potted trees. . .lots of candles. . .For sparkle, I'll bring the collection into this era with glass balls. . .strands of lights. . .modern fabrics. . .and. . .
Well. . .You'll just have to watch and see. . .
I will say this, though. . .it's Christmas decor that I'm totally excited about. . .
PLAIN AND SIMPLE. . .

 
  
PLEASE NOTE: There's a new tab above for SELECTED FALL POSTS.
Check it out. . .
I'll be adding tabs for WINTER, SPRING, AND SUMMER, too.
Whatever the Season, you will find INSPIRATION AT
THE COUNTRY FARM HOME

 
 
 *P. Allen Smith's Moss Mountain Farm is in Arkansas, 
where most of his TV shows are taped. 
Visit his website at: 


Friday, October 20, 2017

CROCK TOPS: Here's How


I love crocks. . .I have lots of them. . .They are a staple in this house. . .But, storing them poses a problem. . .and sometimes I need a top on one to hide what's inside. . .So John and I came up with several solutions to my dilemma. . .The first one is so simple I'm almost embarrassed to mention it. . .
For the smaller size crocks, round breadboards are fantastic. . .Left as they are, or sanded, painted or stained. . .Isn't the one on the left a beauty? . .I rarely see such an ornate board. .  .Love the patina. . .Most have been heavily used and they show it, although a little cleaning and sanding brings them back to life.
But then what do we do with the larger crocks? That was a puzzle for a while. . .Sure I could have bought wood boards at a lumber yard, but that was too 'new' for me. . .I wanted something that looked aged. . .Also wide boards are expensive. . .and I had lots of large crocks to cover. . .
Once I was on the look-out for round breadboards, I began bringing home large more modern cutting boards found at thrift stores, too. . .mostly for $1 or under. . .John uses them with his leather craft and I use them in the kitchen instead of my vintage ones. . .Over the last few years, they began stacking up. . .
One day I was gathering the cutting boards I didn't use when  cakes were ready to come out of the oven. . .The stack of cutting boards were on the cabinet top and in my way. . .I quickly picked them up and placed them on some crocks on the floor. . .Cakes came out and cooling on racks. . .All was well. . .Now back to what I was doing. . .What WAS I doing? . .Cutting boards. . .Yes. . .That led me to a light bulb moment. . .as I looked down and noticed that the boards covered the top of a large crock. . ."Oh, John Dear. . ."

All kidding aside. . .isn't this a simple solution?
And to think it was right there in front of me for a couple of years. . .



Now comes the fun part. . .After finishing the Crock Tops with whatever method you choose, try some embellishments. . .I'm for fast and easy, so I pulled out a stamp and permanent ink stamp pad. . .Took no time at all. . .


The possibilities for embellishing are endless. . .Try stamping a border on the outside edges. . .Stencil or paint graphics on the top. . .Make them your own creation. . .
The thickness of the cutting boards allows me to stack the crocks as high as I dare. . .I like to graduate the sizes as I stack in order to display the embellishments around the top edge. . .
I truly like our solution. . .and it's so economical. . .We cut four tops from three cutting boards, costing only $3 total. . .An Easy. . .Fast. . .Simple. . .project that adds so much to the open crocks. . .They  look amazing. . .
It's also a good excuse for thrifting. . . I'm always looking for that. . .aren't you?





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