Pumpkin and Marigold Centerpiece

This centerpiece is not difficult to make using a mid-size pumpkin, or even one a bit larger. It can be placed on the dinner table. A second can be made to be used as a mantle decoration.

Materials

1 pumpkin

sharp knife

flower-pot to fit inside the pumpkin

large spoon

organic potting soil

fresh Marigold plants, assorted colors if desired

  1. Cut the top off the pumpkin and discard. Scoop the insides of the pumpkin out, reserving the seeds for roasted pumpkin seeds.

  2. Allow the pumpkin to dry over night.
  3. Fill the flower-pot 2/3 full with organic potting soil, placing the plants in the pot how you want them, and cover their roots with more soil if necessary.

  4. Place the pot into the pumpkin.
  5. Water lightly when needed.

Tips

  • Grow your own pumpkin and marigolds to save money.
  • To save even more, reuse an old flower-pot or pick one up at a yard sale. Be sure to disinfect the pot and allow to dry completely before using.

Shannon

 

Kitchen Craft: Herb and Fruit Slice Garland

Garlands are a great addition to autumn and winter decor, for the sabbats and holidays of the seasons. These garlands smell so good during the preparation stage, as well as for a while after they are created. Note that these fruits are not edible, but the herbs and cinnamon sticks can be removed later and used when cooking.

This craft takes about four days to complete.

Items Needed (amounts depend on size and number of garlands):

apples

oranges

lemons

limes

wax paper

cinnamon sticks

fresh herbs, or dried

garland

twine

craft wire

scissors

glue gun and sticks

Hammer and nails, or tacks

  1. Slice the fruit, do not peel first.
  2. Place the fruit slices on wax paper to dry for a few days before continuing.
  3. Turn each fruit slice twice a day.
  4. On the fourth day, or when the fruits are dried, prepare to decorate the garland.
  5. Lay the garland out.
  6. Tie two or three cinnamon sticks with twine to make bundles.
  7. Tie bundles of fresh herbs together with the twine. Feel free to mix and match types.
  8. Tie the cinnamon and herb bundles where desired  on the garland using craft wire.
  9. Glue the fruit slices where desired onto the garland, being sure not to get glue on the herbs and cinnamon sticks.
  10. Hang the garland where desired.

Variations:

  • Add small bells.
  • Add bows.
  • Make wreaths to match.
  • Make swags instead.

You could also:

  • Add herb/cinnamon bundles to your holiday tree.
  • Add fruit slice garland to the holiday tree.
  • Use the dried herbs in recipes when you take your decorations down.

Shannon

Pumpkin Fruit Bowl

Fruit bowls are not difficult to make using a mid-size pumpkin, or even one a bit bigger. These bowls, once dried some, will hold the fresh fruit for your Thanksgiving feast.

Materials

1 pumpkin

sharp knife

large spoon

fresh fruit, assorted varieties

wax/parchment paper, or a towel, or even a bowl if you have one that fits

  1. Cut the top off the pumpkin and discard. Scoop the insides of the pumpkin out, reserving the seeds for roasting.

  2. Scrape some of the flesh out to use in cooking, being sure to leave enough so the pumpkin is sturdy enough to hold fresh fruit.
  3. Allow to dry a few hours or over night.

  4. Place a bowl, wax or parchment paper, or even a towel, around the inside of the pumpkin so it covers the flesh.
  5. Put the pumpkin where it will be displayed, and place the fruit inside.

Tips

  • Grow your own pumpkins to save money.
  • When you’re done with the bowl, scrape more of the pumpkin out and place in a pot with boiling water to freshen the air.
  • Roast those pumpkin seeds!

Shannon

Autumn Turkey Soup

This is an easy recipe that can be served on a cold, autumn evening. Served in a pumpkin bowl, this recipe will add a decorative touch to the dinner table.

Ingredients:

water and/or vegetable stock or broth

bite size cubes of pumpkin

bite size cubes of two different kinds of squash

bite size cubes of potato

bite size cubes of sweet potato

chunks of leftover turkey

1 or 2 cloves of fresh garlic

fresh or dried parsley

fresh or dried rosemary

  1. Pour the liquid into a pot, and add the pumpkin, squash, and potatoes, as well as the diced garlic.
  2. Allow to cook most of the way, then add the turkey.
  3. Add the parsley and some rosemary to taste.
  4. Pour into pumpkin bowls and serve.

Tips

  • Purchase stock or broth on sale, as store brands.
  • Better yet, make your own.  This will save even more money.
  • Use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving to save more money.
  • Use organic herbs and produce from your garden for the ultimate savings.
  • Roast the pumpkin seeds and sprinkle them over the stew once it is poured into the bowls.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve with a fruit salad.

What autumn stews are favorites of your family?

Shannon

Make Pumpkin Bowls for Soups

Serving autumn soups in pumpkin bowls will add a nice element to an autumn feast, or a regular dinner or lunch. Great for Thanksgiving or any day.

How to Make Pumpkin Bowls:

1 small-sized pumpkin per person

food scoop

sharp knife

  1. Wash the pumpkins and allow the outsides to dry thoroughly.
  2. Cut the top off each pumpkin, just like you were going to carve it. Take the pumpkin strands and seeds off.
  3. Reserve the top to use as a cover for the bowl.
  4. Reserve the seeds for roasted pumpkin seeds.
  5. Scoop some of the pumpkin out to use in soups, but leave enough so the bowl will be sturdy while the soup is in it. Leave the pumpkin outside intact with no areas that are too thin.

Tips

  • Grow your own pumpkins to save money.
  • Use your spoon to scoop pumpkin from the insides as you eat the soup. This is still edible.
  • Roast those pumpkin seeds!

Serving Suggestions

  • Soups are healthy, and adding a side salad will give more of a nutritional punch.

What types of soups can be put into these Pumpkin Bowls? Any type of vegetable based soup will do. Look around this blog and see what interests you.

Shannon

Apple Candle Holders

This project is a great accompaniment for autumn place settings, and can be placed on the dinner or picnic table with the place settings. They are affordable to make, as you can often find bags of tea light candles for a couple of dollars, and the apples can usually be purchased fairly cheap.

Materials:

apples

knife and spoon

tea light or votive candles, scented if desired

  1. Using the knife and the spoon, scoop out the center of the apple from the top. Discard the seeds. Cut down only far and wide enough for a candle to fit in snugly.
  2. Wipe the apple with a cloth.
  3. Insert the candle.

Tips:

  • Use apples from your own orchard to save money.
  • Look for candles at the dollar store for extra money savings.
  • Place these candle holders on the holiday table, or on stands as part of the overall decor.
  • These can be used for any autumn day, but are especially wonderful additions to Halloween and Thanksgiving settings.
  • These are also great for Samhain.
  • Create a centerpiece with these by placing them on a plate or in a baking dish. Strew autumn leaves, pine cones and acorns in the bottom of the dish, add the apple candle holders, and then place the arrangement on the table.

Enjoy the autumn holidays! Do you have any apple craft ideas? Please post them to the comments.

Shannon

Apple Place Markers

Apple place markers are adorable and easy to make. A place marker is used to help you to put each person at a specific place at the autumn-themed or Thanksgiving table.

Materials

scrapbook paper in a solid autumn color other than the color of the apple embellishment (or in an autumn print), cut to 5″ x 3″

scrapbook paper in a different solid color other than the color of the apple embellishment, cut to 4-2/3″ x 2-2/3″

gold, red, brown, or other autumn colored marker or scrapbook pen

paper cutter

small paper apple embellishment (1 per card), or hand cut them yourself

1 small apple sticker

adhesive squares

bone folder

  1. Fold the 5″ x 3″ pieces of paper over the tall way, so the finished pieces will be 2-1/2″ x 3″. Use the Bone folder to score down the inside of the fold.
  2. Fold the 4-2/3″ x 2-2/3″ pieces of paper over the tall way like above. Again, use the Bone folder to score down the inside of the fold.
  3. Place an adhesive square at the back top and bottom sections of the 4-2/3″ x 2-2/3″ pieces of paper, and attach this paper to the front of the larger piece so the scored lines line up.
  4. Fold the finished product along the cored line to be sure the card folds properly while being able to stand on its own.
  5. Place an adhesive square to the back of an apple embellishment, and place it to the left or right side of the place marker – leaving enough space on the smaller piece of paper to write the person’s name.
  6. Place a sticker to the top center to the inside of the place marker.
  7. Using the pen, write a guests name on each and then open the card and turn it to the inside. Write ‘I am thankful for:’ at the top just under the sticker, and the year at the bottom center.
  8. When putting the place markers on the table, set a pen next to each. Before enjoying your meal, have each person think about what they are most thankful for and write it down.

 

 

Tips

  • Make all the place markers the same, or spice things up a bit by making each a little different.
  • This project is great for using up scraps, and doing so will allow you to save money.
  • Try other autumn embellishments.
  • Rather than having guests write what they are thankful for inside the place markers, write what you are thankful for that has to do with each of them. Or, leave the inside for them to fill out, and write a short note about what you are thankful for about each on the back of each.

Happy autumn!

Shannon

Mini Pumpkin Candle Holders

This project is a great accompaniment for autumn holiday meals, and can be placed on the dinner or picnic table with the place settings. They are affordable to make, as you can often find bags of tea light candles for a couple of dollars, and the pumpkins can usually be purchased fairly cheap.

Materials:

mini pumpkins

knife and spoon

tea light or votive candles, scented if desired

  1. Using the knife and the spoon, scoop out the center of the pumpkin from the top. Set the seeds aside for roasting. Cut down only far and wide enough for a candle to fit in snugly.
  2. Wipe the pumpkin with a cloth.
  3. Insert the candle.

Tips:

  • Use pumpkins from your own pumpkin patch to save money.
  • Look for candles at the dollar store for extra money savings.
  • Place these candle holders on the holiday table, or on stands as part of the overall decor.
  • These can be used for any autumn day, but are especially wonderful additions to Halloween and Thanksgiving settings.
  • These are also great for Samhain, and can be placed on the porch railing to light the way up to your door.
  • Create a centerpiece with these by placing them on a plate or in a baking dish. Strew autumn leaves, pine cones and acorns in the bottom of the dish, add the mini pumpkin candle holders, and then place the arrangement on the table.

Enjoy the autumn holidays! Do you have any pumpkin craft ideas? Please post them to the comments.

Shannon

Successful Harvests

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015My parents had a successful harvest this year, and they always seem to plant enough to share with my siblings and me. It started with the cucumbers that mom brought over, a couple of times. Once, because she knew I was visiting with my daughter, she sent some for me to take to her. There was zucchini and kohlrabi as well. Then tomatoes. Huge beefsteak tomatoes. And kale. All this food, tasting so much better than what I would have bought in the store. Delicious!

I gave a few cucumbers, zucchini, and a squash to friends as well. Everyone loves the fresh produce!

I went to help my mother with the harvest one day. We got all the squash in, and the tomatoes (sadly, most were lost to blight!), the last of the kohlrabi, and a few plants for me to bring home.

And chives. When the girls and I lived in the apartments, back when they were still my precious little girls <3, there were chives growing in our little garden from the previous tenant. When I moved us to the trailer park, I brought them with me and replanted near the Day Lilies. They thrived. I gave some to my mother, and missed them when I moved again – for I can’t have a garden where I am. I harvested a bunch when I was visiting with my mother that day, brought them home, and froze them in water making ice cubes for soups and other recipes I’ll make this fall.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015After this all-important harvest, for we did not want the frost to harm the produce, mom sent me home with quite a bit of stuff. Two beefsteak tomatoes, a couple of bunches of celery, two kohlrabi, two more zucchini, chives, and two of each type of squash.

In the front, notice the mini squashes. They aren’t good to eat, but are perfect for autumn decorating. And notice the four potted plants. Two chard and two kale. We harvested all this, and much more, on September 23rd – the Autumn Equinox – and these four plants are still growing in my room. They are so good!

The food in this picture is quite the harvest for a single lady such as myself; imagine what else my parents harvested! For themselves, and for my siblings. And we all share with others, at least somewhat. Plus what they gave me before our harvest day.

And just yesterday my mother and brother stopped by, bringing me two more of each type of squash and some carrots. I do so love carrots, and I have experimented with stuffed squash recipes this year.

All-in-all, I would say my parents had quite the successful harvest this year. What do you think?

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015All I have left are the frozen chives, the four plants, six squash, and the carrots. The food was delicious, and I loved every bit of it. Harvest time is my favorite time! And it is a great money saver for me.

Did you grow food this year to help lower your food budget? How was your harvest? Did you enjoy the experience?

Let us know in the comments, or email me privately at shannonlbuck@gmail.com. I answer all emails.

Some of what I made with the harvested produce:

Harvest Salad

Four Meat Chili with Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash and Carrot Mash

You May Also Enjoy:Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015

September Baking Day

Have a wonderful autumn!!!

Shannon

Autumn Sausage Slow Cooker Meal

Autumn is here, and I’m using the slow cooker more and more. I love this time of year! The beautiful colors. The smell smoke from a wood stove here and there while out walking. And the aromas coming from kitchens as people are baking and cooking.

The squash I used in this recipe came from my parents garden, and it was delicious. I also used some of this squash when making the Butternut Squash and Carrot Mash.

Ingredients

2 carrots
4 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 small-medium butternut squash
19.5 ounces beef sausage

beef broth to cover (or you could use water)

  1. Rinse the vegetables.
  2. Cut the ends off the carrots, and peel the sweet potato and squash. Save the carrot ends and sweet potato peels in an odds and ends bag in the freezer, to be used when making homemade stocks and broths. Throw the rest out or compost it.
  3. Cut the vegetables into bite size chunks and place them into the crock.
  4. Add the sausage after cutting it into bite size pieces.
  5. Pour beef broth or water over the contents of the crock.
  6. Cover and cook. High = 3 hours/Low = 5 or 6 hours. Carrots should mash easily with a fork.

Tips

  • Try different types of squash. Acorn is a good one, and there are others.
  • There are also different varieties of carrots.
  • Grow your own vegetables to save money.
  • Use coupons combined with sales when buying sausage to save even more.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with a side salad of greens, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes.

You may also enjoy

Thanksgiving Leftovers – Yum!

Harvest Salad

Enjoy!

Shannon