Many thanks to those who joined in the fun at our Fall Open House on Saturday. We had a great time, made some pretty arrangements and learned some great ways to incorporate clean living habits in our lives.
The fruits of my hedgerow and garden foraging. Who knew there was so much to be found in late October.
We used a variety of bell jars and vases to showcase our finds, added in a few candles and a strand of dew lights. This is a great family project. Little ones love collecting treasures and sharing them.
Fall foliage is spectacular all by itself, no flowers required.
I have a neighborhood full of little ghouls and ghosties and I love to have friends and family over to join in the Trick or Treat fun.
Because my little pals' timing is unpredictable, I like to serve something easy that just gets better the longer it sits.
This year it's Brunswick Stew. A classic southern favorite that is claimed by both Brunswick County Virginia and Brunswick, Georgia. It's a real crowd pleaser.
I make a modified version of Colonial Williamsburg's Chowning's Taverns Recipe.
There are endless variations on this one pot wonder. Originally made with squirrel meat or rabbit, chicken has become the standard. You will find pulled pork or brisket in some recipes and even ham. The Georgia version seems to have catsup or barbecue sauce mixed in. There is no right way to do this. Here's my version.
4 slices of bacon - diced
2 tbs olive oil
1-2 large onions - diced - about 2 cups
3 cloves of garlic -chopped
3 stalks of celery - chopped
2 cups chopped fresh okra - yes I know it's slimey - just be a grown up and put it in
2 cups frozen butter beans - for those of you from above the Mason Dixon Line - baby lima beans
2 (14.5 oz) cans of cream corn
1 1/2 cups frozen shoepeg corn
2 (14.5oz) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
3 large potatoes peeled and diced
1 large can chicken broth
2 rotisserie chickens
1/3 cup barbecue sauce - I used Sweet Baby Ray's
3 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 tsp Tabasco Sauce
2 tsp Liquid Smoke
Salt and pepper taste
In a large heavy pot ( I use my Le Creuset #28) saute bacon in olive oil until brown
Add onions , garlic, okra and celery and saute until soft (about 5 minutes)
Add lima beans, corn, tomatoes, chicken broth, potatoes barbecue sauce, Worcestershire Sauce and Tabasco Sauce
Shred chicken and add
Add additional chicken stock to cover if necessary
Season with salt and pepper.
Liquid smoke adds a delicious depth. Add as much or as little as you like. I used about 3 tbs.
Simmer for 1 hour or until potatoes are soft.
This makes about 3 quarts or about 12 cups of stew and freezes well. Great to have on hand on a cold fall evening.
I serve it with buttermilk biscuits or cornbread and a green salad.
With the changing seasons there seems to be an inborn desire to get our nests tidied up and ready for the winter months to come. Perhaps it's the prospect of many hours indoors or maybe it's just a primordial understanding in our DNA that it's time to get down to a little business. At any rate, the game is afoot.
There are many "how-to" books out there. I just finished reading the latest hot title.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing
by Marie Kondo
Seriously, who can resist a book with "magic" and "life-changing"in the title. At the core of the process is the notion that we all have too much STUFF and we need to weed out everything that does not "spark joy". I'm on board.
But how we determine what sparks joy in our home is a very personal matter. Which reminded me of a great website and now a book called The Burning House
"If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It's a conflict between what's practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question."
Here are just a few entries on the website.
Name: Zoe Zabel
Name: Nelly Schregardus
Name: Allemeersch D.
Clearly, some of us travel lighter than others and that's ok. What's important is that we surround ourselves with meaningful pieces and don't let our possessions possess us, (and that we run the vacuum cleaner occasionally).
Happy life changing magical cleaning,
The concept of clean now permeates all aspects of our lives, from the products we use to the food we put in our bodies.
With so much information circulating, it's challenging to know what's right. Michael Pollan's book, Food Rules, is a concise and sorry for the pun, easily digested guild to eating well.
Rule # 2