This is getting quite scary. It is Sunday night here in Philadelphia. We are all preparing for a catagory 1 hurricane to arrive sometime Monday Oct 29. we have been told to have plenty of bottled water on hand, flashlights, batteries, radio etc. Tied down everything outside or bring everything indoors that you can. We have sump pumps, wet vac, carpet cleaners, and have moved anything in our basement that we care about to higher ground. The news keeps breaking in with warnings. I cannot even tell you people how scary this is getting. The store are out of milk,bread, eggs, bottled water and batteries. My family has a home in New Jersey sitting on the Delaware Bay which is expected to surge 4-8 feet. Schools have been closed, the city will be closed and everyone is being told to stay home. My concern , the sidewinder tree precariously leaning over into my yard. It typically swings a bit in the wind. Also of concern the dying Colorado Spruce tree in front of my house. Nerves are frayed here people. Flooding could be severe and evacuations are commenced. New Jersey barrier island were all evacuated at 4:00 pm this evening. We won't be sleeping too well here for a while.
Meet Sandy, she does not look friendly or happy...yikes.
This tree has grown from my neighbors yard and leans into my yard. If this comes down it will cause alot of damage. If it survives this storm I am promising myself I am cutting off what is over the line onto my property. This tree really has me worried
My sister suggested I try making and canning apple butter so if it flops I am totally blaming her.Why do they call it canning when it goes in a jar? Kidding aside, ridiculously simple and easy and the house is already starting to smell wonderful. You really can't go wrong with these ingredients. Originally I wanted to try my hand at canning. I bought all the supplies- a jar lifter, a wide mouth funnel and a canning rack. For some reason I could not find information on canning pumpkin apple butter. Turns out there is a good reason for this. You can't or should I say shouldn't can pumpkin. Canning requires acidity, something pumpkin does not have enough of to make an inhospitable environment for bacteria like Botulism. BOTULISM! Okay that is all I had to read. All bets are off , I like pumpkin and I like butter but Botulism. No thank you. Besides being self employeed I don't think Botulism is even covered on my insurance plan. So, on to plan B.
(read more about Botulism below)
I had already purchased some of the supplies. I was all giddy when I found a yard of Black Cat Halloween material at a garage sale for .50 cents. This was going to look so cute on the canning jars I managed to get hold of for free. And now my plan is ruined...or is it? I was getting my Martha Stewart on and was all proud of myself. But no way am I "canning" this pumpkin butter, but apparently it is just fine to freeze it. So jar lifter...dont need it, canning rack don't need it. Bummer. Of course we want to make sure we do not overfill or the glass will break. But I am using Ball canning jars and they work well in the freezer. So I get to use my Halloween fabric after all, yay!
Here is recipe from Taste From Home
1 can (29 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
Basically you add all the ingredients together ,stir to mix it all together and heat to a simmer. Simmer for approx 2 hours uncovered. Stir occasionally until it thickens. Refrigerate for up to one month or freeze. make sure to label with the date.
Do not use pumpkin from a real pumpkin as my sister did which caused pumpkin to splatter all over her kitchen as it
was too thick. She thought it was funny but you may not. Also, make sure you keep it on a simmer anything higher may burn. And keep it uncovered as the goal here is to cook away the liquid slowly so you are left with a "butter" you can spread.
Pumpkin doesn't look very appetizing right out of the can
This was already starting to smell fanastic with the spices added.
All mixed and heating up nicely
Here is the fabric I found at a yard sale. So adorable. Don't you just love it? Funny , all I saw when I bought it was the red background, cats and pumpkins. But now after taking this image and posting it I notice frogs and snails. So cute.
Here they are , my finished product. I wound up making 6 jars at 8 ounces each with the ingredients and amounts inthe recipe above. I have already given two away. This stuff is delicous! I hope you decide to try it. It is a sweet treat on bread, toast, crackers. Great recipe.
More on Botulism and pumpkin.
Okay I did not want to leave you hanging or freaking out like I was. Canning and the water bath method are designed to heat up the contents in the jar while it is in the jar, under water simmering. This seals the lids on airtight and kills any pathogens or bacteria but it relies on a high acidity level as you would find in fruits like berries. Also the temperature needs to reach a certain level to kill bacteria and pumpkin is too dense to be heated thoroughly to that temperature. Many moons ago , obviously I was not born yet, the USDA did have approved recipes for canning forms of pumpkin but later on decided it was unsafe to do so and the National Center for Home Food Preservation followed suit. I could have just said NCHFP and left you guessing what the hell I was talking about but I am on a crusade against acronyms. They annoy the hell outta me. Anyway. I encourage you to read all about this on this other blog called appropriately Food in Jars . Also funny, read the comments under the post. There are pleny of people who said they have done it before. There we go with a normalcy biased. What does that means? It is when something has never happened before so that means it will never happen. Kinda like, why get a smoke alarm we never had a fire before. Anyway, I don't need a second warning. It might taste good but it is not worth Botulism. So just put it in the freezer and be safe.
Here is the beautiful Pottery Barn inspired headboard we made ourselves. Myself, my husband and my 12 y/o niece had a blast making this headboard on one Saturday afternoon in September. And here is how we did it. This headboard would cost you 800$ at Pottery Barn. And yet a few hours later , here it is and it cost me only 65$ for the wood. After finding these plans online I made a list and headed off to Lowes. My husband and I sorted through the wood to find the straightest boards we could find. We used their cheap knotty pine. I was going for a rustic, driftwood look so knots were perfect. The Pottery Barn version also features knotty pine. Makes you wonder if it was the hand applied finish that makes the cost 735$ additional at Pottery Barn. But I also have hands and can apply a finish. So here is what happened.
Have you noticed? All of a sudden owls are everywhere. I love them and I will admit I have gotten sucked in. Currently part of micro trend on home decor that is surging. Visit any retail store and you are likely to see lamps, wall art, vases, blankets, candles and more. Fashion is also incorporating this motif. Easy to find jewelry and t-shirts are popping up everywhere. It's all part of a macro trend in bringing nature indoors, inspiration from the 70's and possibly even influenced from the Harry Potter movies in which an owl was his trusted pet.
A wise choice for entertaining excuse my bad joke.
The lamp below is one I added to a recent bedroom redo. It fits in perfectly with the beach theme I chose. Wait til you see.
Aren't these candles adorable?? But I can never bring myself to burn them they are just too cute.
We found this Owl vase at JcPenney. They always have cute stuff and this vase is a more elegant take on the trend
I think I am going to have to get these measuring cups. At 24$ for a set of 5 and a super cute countertop display. Also available at JC Penney
A far cry from the 1970's inspired macrame owls. The decor today ranges from contemporary to whimsical and will work in any home in any room you like. Do you have any owls in your home? Where did you put them?
Owl Garden Statue by Roman
I love this Owl garden statue, something so odd and unusual about. Not your ordinary garden statue. I love uncommon. I see so much of this stuff in my line of work that it really takes something unique to get me to look twice. I work in a retail related field.
Love this girl's bedroom featuring owls. So colorful and I love the owl decals. A clever idea that can be easily removed later. Super cute.
Love this bathroom , so contemporary with just a little whimsy.
Staying on trend can be easy. All your favorite retailers have owl everything right now. Prepare yourself for Owl Christmas decor. Have not seen too much yet but I am certain we will see it. If you're like me you'll go overboard first and then get totally sick of it. So I have been trying to limit myself to a few pieces only. Awareness of a possible addiction is the key here. It's all so cute it's hard to decide. I have included ows in only one room so far that has sort of a beach theme going on. Can't wait to show you my before and after. I would love to know if you have any owls in your home. Do any of this products appeal to you that I have included in this post? Any comments are welcomed.
Oh my god was this delish. How good can it be? After all it is a salad. It was fantastic. Very filling and light on calories but not on flavor. Here is the recipe Rosemary Salmon Spedini and then I combined it with a Greek Salad and added this Lemon Oregano Dressing. It didn't all get eaten so what was left went into the fridge and was even better the next day. We used Romaine lettuce instead of Iceburg. Some white wine and this is a perfect meal
Cape May New Jersey is filled with great thrift and antique stores. It's a good idea to look around a little first before buying anything. Prices can be expensive and I have quickly learned where to not go to shop. Still it is alot of fun scoping out all the stuff from days gone by. Each item is filled with history and has a story. Many of these items come from estate sales. Here is some of what we saw.
I love this antique store. I have never bought anything in here becuse I find it expensive. But what a treasure trove. If it still exists it is in here somewhere. What fun my husband and I have looking around. It is definately overwhelming.
What a pity this old child's piano did not work. But I have never seen anything like this.
Need any antique dishes?
Lots of furniture. Stacked half way up to the ceiling in here. Let's just say if there were an earthquake of any magnitude you may never find me again.
This gnome was at a thrift store near Cape May is going to give me nightmares. A crazed looking gnome crouched in a corner just waiting for his moment. This gnome was about 18" H and was 50.00$. There is a buyer for everything I suppose. This would make a great wedding gift or birthday gift for someone you don't like possibly.
I feel in love with that adorable sugar and creamer set you see to the right. 5$ each sterling silver plated. They will look marvelous for Christmas dinner. What was awesome about the set was that the sugar bowl had it's lid. Could have gotten it much cheaper at a garage sale as I have seen these around, but not with the lid. I left the store without the set and returned the next day to purchase. But then I noticed that teapot to the left. Now I am going to have to buy that teapot also since it is a matching set. So they wound up getting me for $22.50 for the tea set. Not bad, where can you get a tea set in sterling silver for $22.50? I will clean these up and they will look brand new when I am finished with them.
Warm sandy beach in Cape May New Jersey
Aaaah. A beautiful day at the Cape May beach on Sunday. We almost had the entire beach to ourselves. This is a favorite spot of my husband Mike and I. We sat for over an hour basking in the warm fall sun feeling as though we were getting away with something because it is October after all. Shouldn't we be raking leaves, wearing jackets and sipping something warm? Instead we donned sunglasses and sunblock. Really relaxing. Cape May is one of the nicest beaches I have ever seen. Super clean , white sands , it's a quiet family oriented beach. It was a great day and a great weekend.
A beautiful view of Cape May Beach
This was our unobstructed view. I never want to leave. Hoping there are more warm weekends we can take advantage of before the cold really kicks in.
The Queen Victoria Bed and Breakfast. We strolled the streets of Historic Cape May and admired the incredible Victorian architechure. Cape May is the first seaside resort and boasts one of the largest collection of 19th century homes left in the United States. These huge homes are meticulously cared for and way more awe inspiring in person that a picture could ever convey. Check out http://www.capemay.com/ for all their offerings. This time of year the haunted tours of many of the historic sites is a lot of fun.