Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Autumn Traditions

I am always sad when October comes to an end....it is by far my favorite month of the year.

The weather changes to colder, gardens fade and are put to bed, porch furniture is put away, the trees are ugly and bare.

There are things I feel I must do every October to take full advantage of all it's glory.

I must go to as many farm markets as possible to get fresh apples, butternut squash and gourds. This year my husband and I went on a tour of many different farm markets along the lakeshore, tasting apples and taking in the scenery. We even visited Chimney Bluffs on Lake Ontario.

I must get my pumpkin for a dollar on the flatbed truck a few miles away.

I must bake Pumpkin Cookies. My granddaughter Cassidy comes over and decorates them every year.....

And my son Michael eats them!
I must make homemade pumpkin bread, apple crisp and applesauce.
I must go to  Schutt's Apple Mill and farm market in Webster for the best cider and donuts around.
This year I added some new must's that I wanted to make sure I accomplished.
For the past 16 years I have wanted a row of different colored mums in my garden to remind me of my old farmhouse.
I did it this year!
I have always wanted to make a pumpkin pie out of a fresh pumpkin. I did it and you can see the tutorial for it here.

And finally, I have always wanted a scarecrow in my garden. Not those kitschy ones from the craft shows or the dollar store....a real respectable, looks like a homemade, scarecrow. I found one at a garage sale. Can't believe this woman was selling him but she was moving and couldn't take him along. He has a wool shirt, a silk tie, real jeans and a real straw hat. Just what I was looking for....now if I could only find the faux crow I had to put on his shoulder!
I haven't carved a pumpkin in years but my daughter and granddaughter have and they carved the ones at the beginning of this post. Can you tell what they are?
The first one is an owl and the second one is a hamster. My daughter is into owls right now and my granddaugter has a real hamster at home. Cute!
AnnMarie :)


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

FRESH Pumpkin Pie Recipe....and a few bonuses!

One of my favorite things to do in Autumn is to go to all the local farm markets in my area to see what they've got for Fall. I live in apple country so there is always an abundance of fresh, just picked from the orchard apples to munch on. I love the displays of mums and crates of pumpkins and gourds.

There is always a crate of pie pumpkins and seeing them always pricks at my bakers' heart to try and make a pie out of one......kinda going back to the country basics and using what is on the land as opposed to what is in the can.

The pie pumpkins are usually small and so perfect like this one! So, since I was at the farm market buying my sixth mum to plant (to fulfill something else I have been wanting to do which is to have a row of all different mums in my garden)  I went for it. I brought it home and went online for directions and a recipe. Following is my journey of a new baking adventure!
Here is the full recipe so that you know ahead what you need to start:
Fresh Pumpkin Pie (courtesy of allrecipes.com)
1 medium pie pumpkin
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 recipe pastry for 9 inch single crust pie
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup honey, warmed slightly
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
The first thing you have to do is cut into this perfect little pumpkin and bake it just like any other squash. Cut it in half and remove the seeds with a spoon. See that mushy pile of pulp and seeds? Do not throw it away! We will use them later.
Lightly oil the cut surface and place cut side down on a cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees F until the flesh is tender when poked (up to an hour). Cool until warm. It comes out looking like this....
Scrape the pumpkin flesh from the peel and puree it in a food processor or mash it by hand. You will need 2 cups for the pie. 
To the pumpkin puree add the spices and salt. Beat in the eggs, honey, milk and cream. Pour the filling into an un-baked pie shell.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 50 - 55 minutes (it took mine 75 minutes!) or until knife inserted comes out clean.

The color and texture are totally different from a pie made from canned pumpkin. With a mound of whipped cream on top, my son and husband thought it was better tasting!

Bonus #1:
Now comes the fun part! Get that mushy pile of pumpkin pulp and seeds and start picking the seeds out and then rinse them till all the pulp is off.
Lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and spread the seeds out. Sprinkle salt over all to your taste.
Roast in a 400 degree F oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and you have a really good, crunchy snack!
Bonus #2:
I originally thought I would make two pumpkin pies but it turned out I didn't have enough ingredients. So....since I had another pie crust and apples in the fridge, I decided to make the only apple pie recipe I will ever use. The ingredients are all things you normally have on hand and that is one of the reasons I love it.
It is called Genesee Valley Apple Crumb Pie and is from the Junior League of Rochester's Applehood and Motherpie cookbook. It is SO good!

Happy baking!
........... and eating!
AnnMarie :)


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Simple Joys

 "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." 
                                                                                          Psalm 118:24

Following is a pictoral story of the simple joys of my day today.....

The smell of a pot of homemade sauce cooking on the stove all day....

Freshly baked pumpkin cookies ready to decorate.....

A visit from my daughter Jena and granddaughter Chloe
Chloe trashing my living room with her toys!.............

My son Michael coming home from school.....

A visit from my granddaughter Cassidy and her Mom, my daughter

My husband Frank coming home from work.....
My family thought I was crazy waiting at the door to take their picture when they arrived. But as I thought about the simple joys of my days, these are the things that matter the most and bring the most joy.
What fills your day with joy?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Mom Jane

My Mom Jane just had a birthday and is a young, vibrant 74 years old!

We get together every year to celebrate at the park along Canandaigua Lake.....praying that the weather will hold out since her day is at the end of September! And we always take a picture of ourselves together.....this one was taken by me at arm's length....pretty good, huh? It always makes us laugh trying to get it right, which is always great for the picture!
This year it was sunny but very windy...not too cold to be out but we needed a few layers. 
We usually chat and walk along the shore and chat and sit on the benches and chat about what is going on in our lives...spiritually and everyday family things. I bring the lunch and a tablecloth and Jane brings a game to play. And we always pray together before we part for the day.
This year our lunch was the fabulous Chicken Avocado Salad that I posted the recipe for here,  the zucchini bread I posted about here and the apple crisp I wrote about last Fall here! (I am just realizing as I am writing this that I have posted about all of our lunch items because they are so great tasting and I make them a lot!) We were half done before I remembered to take a picture! For dessert I brought a treat from Dunkin' Donuts....an apple fritter and a pumpkin muffin.....yum!
The best part of this Mother/Daughter get together is that we're really not. Mother and Daughter, that is.
I met Jane at a real estate office about 16 years ago, where she was an agent and I was the office secretary. We grew to know each other and love each other and she became like a mother to me and I like a daughter to her.
I do not have a relationship with my birth mother and although I kinda don't know what I've missed not having her, the Lord knew. He gave me Jane as my spiritual mother and we have been mother and daughter ever since. Jane has two grown sons but no daughter, so I am one of her spiritual daughters...she is blessed with two!
We have fooled people into thinking we are really mother and daughter and some have said we look alike. We both love a lot of the same things....horses, gardens, a good recipe, a great deal at a thrift shop and a walk in the park. She stood by me through my many years of migraine headaches and cancelled dates and I will always be there through her physical trials. We are sisters in Christ, friends for life and mother and daughter spiritually.
The Lord knew what each of us needed and provided it. I would love to live closer to see Mom Jane more but our times together are that much sweeter the way it is now.
I love you Mom Jane and I thank you Lord everyday for her!
AnnMarie :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

FareThee Well, The Button Lady, Farewell

As of today, October 1st, I have decided to close The Button Lady shop on Etsy. It will officially close December 31, 2012.

Everything in my shop is 50% off. Use the coupon code SHOPCLOSE50 at checkout. No further reductions will be posted.

The Button Lady was my first shop on Etsy and I have thoroughly enjoyed being there for two years. But, due to chronic neck issues and arthritis in my hands, I can no longer do that kind of crafting.

My second shop on Etsy is NaNa's Things where I sell vintage items from Upstate New York. Some of my Button Lady vintage button items will be there for sale as well as some button lots for sale. Please visit me there to see what I have, as I have no physical limitations to go thrifting and antiquing to buy great vintage items for you! I add new items daily.

I have had a great response already to my sale....here are some items still available...

A cute embellished change purse
An autumn leaves stretchy bracelet

A wild animal print pin made out of vintage puzzle pieces and vintage buttons.

A funky gold wide headband with gold vintage buttons.....make a statement!
There are many hair accessory items for adults as well as children.  In addition to the 50% off, all hair accessory items are buy one plus the shipping and there is no shipping on any additional hair accessory items you buy.
All the items are one of a kind and special to me. I hope you visit and find something you like.
AnnMarie :)