Aunt Hen’s Persimmon Roll

November 30, 2014

   As a child growing up in southern Indiana, I can remember making my Great Aunt Henrietta’s persimmon roll recipe.  We knew where persimmon trees grew in a fence row and we would gather them from under the trees after the first hard frost, usually in November.  If you have ever had any experience with persimmons, you know not to collect the unripened fruit from the tree.  The ripened fruit is delicious, but if you taste the unripened fruit, you will experience the worst pucker you can imagine. 

   We were delighted to find a persimmon tree here in Kentucky and apparently, the people here don’t consider them the treat that we did at our home in Indiana.  So each fall we gather some and prepare the pulp for this recipe and package ‘1 cup bags of pulp’ to freeze.

   This year, Dave took Aidan to the tree to gather some for his first time.  He seemed to really enjoy the adventure.  They brought back the ripe fruit and I prepared the pulp again, just as I have so many times over the years.  Then Sophia helped me stir up the persimmon roll recipe, which you can find by clicking here► RECIPE.


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The Elf On The Shelf

November 28, 2014

  The Elf on the Shelf book and doll caught my attention in a little shop, when  Dave and I were vacationing  in Beaufort, N.C. a few years ago.  Wouldn’t Aidan and Sophia love that,?  So of course I bought one for them.  Tiffany was living in an apartment at the time, so we decided having it at  Papa and Grammy’s house was the best plan.

   Well, we have had such fun with this little guy.  I read the story to Aidan and Sophia and they chose the name ‘Jingles’ for their elf.

   He has been all over our home and the kids love finding him and laugh over his antics,  and at times he even mocks them.

   This year I noticed a post on Pinterest about the elf showing up in a package.  Brilliant!  Another post had labels, which could be printed!  Oh, my!  Another post had a letter from Santa, which could be personalized.  So, I utilized all three!   It just so happened that I had a priority mail box.  I taped the top closed and using a drill bit made for drilling one inch holes,  I punched a hole through the top as if Jingles had popped out from  inside the box.

   The postage labels were printed on copy paper.  At first I thought I needed cardstock, but when I printed the labels on regular copy paper,  cut them out and  painted Mod Podge on the back , they were  just like  stickers.  One was a postmark from the North Pole, another  ‘Express Delivery From The North Pole’ and an address label.  I just attached them to the box and tore the label to match the hole Jingles was using to present himself.

   Dave bought two chocolate treats, which said, “From the North Pole” and I placed them in the tissue, which was folded and gently tucked in the bottom.  Then the flaps were gently tucked in and taped.

   The website with the letter from Santa, had a cute letter, which I personalized for Aidan and Sophia.  The letter was then rolled and tied with a red ribbon, placed in my car trunk, ready for Thanksgiving Day.  My youngest son, Will was my accomplice and was instructed to retrieve Jingles, go through the garage to the front door, ring the doorbell and come back quickly.

   It worked like a charm!  Of course the kids were the first to the door.  Their ideas of how the elf managed to get here were very creative!  We took the letter he held to their mother and she read it aloud.  Aidan was in disbelief when Santa actually told him to be kind to his little sister!  Tiffany had to show him the letter to prove it!

   We left the box and Jingles in the living room and Sophia and Aidan imagined that he was moving ever so slightly.  While they were distracted, I helped Jingles along.  The next time they checked on him, they were so excited!  They went to the basement to retrieve their Christmas tree, which we had stored here and Jingles had one leg out of the box, when they next checked on him!  They squealed with joy!

   Unfortunately, he hadn’t completely come out of the box before they had to leave, but their treat is waiting there for them.  We certainly enjoyed that little elf!  Who knows what antics he will come up with this year?

   To see a gallery of some of his antics click here.►Jingles

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Thanksgiving Menu 2014

November 23, 2014

  This is the menu, which my family has requested this year.  We always have a vegetable tray and ranch dip for every occasion.  This year I found a new recipe for a cheese ball and it is shaped like a pumpkin.  Yes, I do try recipes out on my guests!  I know Ina or Martha would not do that, but what better way to get feedback and it’s always a surprise for them, too. (Usually, a good one!  Can’t you usually tell by the ingredients, if it will be good or not?)

   We always have sour cream potatoes for Thanksgiving.  You may know these as funeral potatoes or cheesy potato casserole.  Almost all of the recipes for this on the internet call for frozen potatoes.   Frozen potatoes have a mealy, different kind of texture.  We always use potatoes and cook them in water with the skins intact.  The casserole has a richer, more velvety texture.

    My girls take these for any events, which require taking a side dish.  There are never leftovers.  I know this, because invariably, they call me for the recipe or a list of ingredients.  Click here for the Sour Cream Potatoes recipe.

   I am working on a recipe index for my site and will have more recipes up asap.  Thanks for your patience.

   The wine we will be serving this year is William Hill Chardonnay, my new favorite from William Hill Winery in Napa Valley, California.  It is rich and creamy, delicious!


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DIY Painted Pumpkins and Gourds for Your Thanksgiving Tablescape

DIY Painted Pumpkins and Gourds for Your Thanksgiving Tablescape

November 12, 2014

Painted Pumpkins

   Shopping the sales after Halloween, I picked up these artificial pumpkins and gourds for 80% off the regular price.  You notice the orange colored one has a glittered stem, which I don’t want, but I figured that could be removed.  

   The stem was easily removed, by loosening the glue around the base and gently and slowly pulling it out of the styrofoam.  After soaking it in warm water for awhile, some of the glitter came off easily, but not enough.  

    Isopropyl alcohol will take acrylic paint off of most surfaces.  It’s what I use to easily  take the paint off of my fingernails, which hardly ever happens!   So I soaked the stem in alcohol and using a small stiff brush removed almost all of the glitter.  You know how glitter is, impossible to remove all of it!  

   I chose two colors to base coat the gourds,  a Skyline blue Folkart acrylic paint and Ceramcoat Wedgewood green.   The top coat is a Ceramcoat light ivory.  

   The base coat was just brushed on and it wasn’t necessary to make a completely opaque coat, since a little of the original colors showing through makes them a little more interesting.

   My idea is to have a uniform color and an understated Thanksgiving tablescape.

   Next, with a little foam sponge, the ivory color was dabbed on, allowed to dry and touched up as needed.  Sometimes the ridges in the pumpkin were a little more glaring than I wanted them to be, so I took a damp paint brunch and softened them, while the paint was still damp.

   The gourd to the left was the same hue, but a paler shade of  the Wedgewood green,  which I used on two other pumpkins, so it seemed unnecessary to  base coat it.  Just dabbing the ivory on it seemed perfectly fine.

   Accidentally, some paint was dabbed onto one of the stems.  I had planned to leave them the original color, but the definition was very pleasing.  More of the detail was visible, so they all were touched up with the ivory paint, too.

   Below, you see the finished pumpkins and gourds.  Aren’t they pretty?  They are all ready for my Thanksgiving tablescape…  Now the burlap runner I bought at Michael’s  the other day, using the 50% off coupon, for a total of  $6.50, is the next project on my list.  Will keep you updated…

  P.S. I love these!  Can’t wait to place them down the center of the burlap runner!DIY Painted Pumpkins and Gourds on

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Save and Dry Your Pumpkin Stems

November 10, 2014

    After Halloween this year, the Jack-O-Lanterns we carved, were put in the compost pile behind our home, but first, Dave cut the stems off the lids for me.  I can’t imagine what he was thinking when I asked him to do this before tossing the pumpkins. 

   He just gave me his typical quizzical look but didn’t question me.  He just did what I asked and brought them in for me.

   Using a vegetable peeler to remove as much pumpkin flesh as possible.  You can see in the picture, the stem on the left before I cut off the flesh and the stem on the right after it was removed.  Then I left them in the kitchen window to dry in the sun.

   My plan is to dry them and save them for next fall.  The fake pumpkins in the stores look pretty real, but the stem usually looks fake.  The stems on the pumpkins, this year were really big, thick and more interesting than it seems in years past.  Hopefully, these attached to the top of some fake pumpkins next year will look amazing.

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