Cookies for Santa

Thank you to Rebekah for her guest post below. Follow Rebekah’s adventures at Girl Gets SoCal.

When my brother D was little, he used to sleep under the Christmas tree to wait for Santa. He would fall asleep under the boughs of the tree looking up at the lights and the ornaments, breathing in the heady pine scent.

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I, being the older and wiser sister, would sleep in my own bed under warm flannel since I knew the whole Santa game thankyouverymuch. D never got to see Santa, but the cookies he left out were always eaten and remnants from the carrots set out for the reindeer could be found on the front porch.

This year, D made homemade Oreos to set next to the tree. Christmas morning there were presents under the tree and the milk and cookies left for Santa were almost gone.

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Lucky for us, D shared some of his cookies before we went to bed on Christmas Eve. I am lucky to have a brother that knows how to share his love of Christmas is such a delicious way.

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Filed under baking, Christmas, Family

Pizza Amore

Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around.

                                                                                          ~Ann Quindlan

You are invited to join us at our kitchen table for

great conversations and ideas.

Favorite recipes will be shared, too.

toppings 6 FAV

Today, David makes his favorite crust recipe for Pizza Amore! at Rose Cottage Cooks.

Rose Cottage Cooks is a collaborative journal

where we are sharing what’s cooking with friends and family.

Pizza on a plate 2 FAV

Won’t you join the discussion at our kitchen table at Rose Cottage Cooks?

You are invited for a Sunday pizza supper!

You may also enjoy:

 Summer Diva {the heirloom tomato

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Filed under baking, Cooking

Summer Diva {the heirloom tomato

A world without tomatoes

is like a string quartet without violins.
                                                           ~Laurie Colwin

pretty as a picture

Late September. There aren’t any signs of a frost in our northern river valley even though October is lurking on the next calendar page, and pumpkins, gourds and squash are the adornment in markets, shops and houses. The mecury still dances at 80 degrees — what a spectacular first week of autumn! Can you hear a long sigh of gratitude on this warm, early autumn day?

The tomatoes are still producing beautifully at Rose Cottage. The late afternoon sun casts a golden glow on the kitchen garden’s sweet tomato offerings — just as if each were in the spotlight before taking a final bow for the closing night of the season’s production. I dream of this moment each January as I study dog-eared pages of seed catalogues stacked knee-high next to my comfy reading chair. What can be better than enjoying the garden offering of a just-picked-from-the-vine warm tomato?

Sugar Plum Cherry Tomatoes FAV

Grandmother’s vintage white enamel pan quickly fills with tomatoes of all shapes and colors. These are not the standard supermarket varieties–each is an abstract piece of art calling for my attention — they are divas, you know. I pause and consider the wide array of sunburst colors in the chippy, old dish pan. 

Some Tomatoes in a Pan FAV

Onward . . .  stay focused . . . the sun is behind the hill and it will be dark soon. The indeterminate tomato varities — those that keep growing and growing — are nearing eight to nine feet tall and are spilling out over their five-foot rusty concrete reinforcing wire cages my sweet one made several years ago.  The standard issuance available at most garden centers doesn’t support the likes of those grown at Rose Cottage.

sugar plum cherry Tomatoes FAV2

I pick a handful of yellow, orange and red cherry tomatoes. The simple goodness is so satisfying. (Wait! Do I hear violins?!) At the moment, I really don’t think about how these luscious jewels are filled with all sorts of good-for-me things. Nothing matches the taste or the varied loveliness of these fresh beauties! I have set aside a large basket for you. Shall I drop them by for you to savor, too? It is my gift to you.

tomato offerings FAV

 At Rose Cottage, we are ardent fanciers of these garden offerings — whether the heirloom dinner-sized plate version or dime-sized jewels . . . red, yellow, purple or orange . . .  lusciously sweet or acidic.

Just Picked Heirloom FAV

Although, heirlooms are the hands-down favorites in taste tests for family and friends.

Heirloom Tomatoes on wood tray FAV2

This year, over 40 varieties of heirloom tomatoes found their home in the Rose Cottage kitchen garden. Some fared better than others in our little microclimate.

Yellow Heirloom FAV

While we are not tomato experts, we are surely tomato aficionados and have been growing them organically for over 30 years — usually 100 or more plants of numerous varieties each year. I just can’t get enough of those sweet offerings!

golden heirloom FAV

preserving the beauties

My fingers are tinged dark green from the tomato vines. The aromas of earth, tomato leaves and fall co-mingle as the night air cools. The tree toads and crickets gather for their soire and begin their evensong. The tomatoes are gathered.

bushel of tomatoes

We try to preserve all the goodness and full-flavor of the tomatoes as quickly as possible. The kitchen is briming with tomatoes every which way. Most of the tomatoes we simply “put up” into quart canning jars following the USDA Guidelines for home food preservation.

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Later on, these canned tomatoes are perfect for making tomato soup or pasta sauce, or adding to chili, stews. and more. What is your family favorite for using tomatoes?

tomatoes and a torchon FAV 1

Some of the tomatoes are simmered on the back burner for hours with savory herbs and spices. The result — amazing ketchup — so delicious that it can almost be eaten with a spoon out of the jar. Now, this does not taste like the usual varieties . . .  nothing compares to these little half-pint pots of gold. How I would like for you to try some, too!

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ketchup

 The ‘Principe Borghese’ variety and some other heirloom Italian paste tomatoes are oven-dried with a drenching of Italian olive oil and sea salt. They turn into candied tomato nuggets – similar to sun-dried tomatoes —  and then stored in tomato herb-infused olive oil. Perfect for the antipasti tray, pizza or tossing into a salald or sauce!

Principe Borghese washed FAV

Tomato Halves in bowl FAV

Tomato Halves for drying FAV 1

Tomato Halves on Tray FAV2

Oven candied tomatoes in a jar FAV 3

 The evening has quickly cooled down to 50 degrees. The sudden mecury drop is a reminder that summer is lingering for only a moment or two longer. What else is in the kitchen garden that needs to be gathered soon? Wondering . . . how can some of this lovely day can be captured in a “jar?”

Maybe . . . just maybe . . . if I put a bit more of this gorgeous summer in jar, there will be sunshine and warm memories when the windchills are 40 below zero.

  

How do you capture a bit of summer’s memories?

You may also enjoy:

Exuberant Garden Offerings

Beautiful Berries and Brambles

Fall Nesting {summer in a jar

This post is linked on Hooked on Houses, The Inspired Room and Designs by Gollum.

Post Script:

There is nothing better than enjoying a late summer offering of the sun-kissed tomato. Since she was just a toddler, Rebekah grows weak in the knees when she sees a tomato . . . she never misses a sample or two or three or more! If I couldn’t find her, I need not look any further than the tomato beds. (Note: The images are early digital — they are a few years old. The toddler picture is vintage — was scanned from a 1981 photo when Rebekah just turned one-year!)

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Happy, happy birthday, dear Sweet Cakes!

All the tomatoes you want are waiting for you at Rose Cottage!

We have put some summer in a jar for you, too.

 

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Filed under Gardening

Junk Bonanza

quick peeks

The big junk market event is finally here! The fourth annual Junk Bonanza is in Shakopee, Minnesota — next door to Minneapolis/St. Paul. Over 100 juried vendors from across the country are selling amazing treasures — perfect for decorating in the vintage or “junk market style.” The extraordinary Ki Nassuer, co-editor of the upcoming Flea Market Style Magazine, is the hostess, planner and genius behind the Texas-sized event.

Three mammoth venues are filled with one-of-a kind treasures and inspiration for creating a charming vintage decor. I am wowed by the fabulous displays of vintage, antique and selvedged items! So many vintage treasures to add a new fall, flea-market look to the kitchen…living room… or bedroom. Perhaps, the garden, too?! Wouldn’t it be fun to do it all?

Junk FAV

Paris Door FAV

Birds, nest and cloche FAV

The Iowa Junk Gypsies have so many pretty things. Some of which is already re-purposed and re-designed.  Their archetchural salvage is fabulous. I have my eye on the Paris door . . .

The vendors have their own uique interpretations of vintage. It is quite inspiring. There are many great furniture pieces ranging from chippy…primitive…refinished…to painted. I have visions of where I could place this piece or that in Rose Cottage!

Chalk board FAV

Turquoise furniture FAV

Rusty keys FAV

Brown felt hat and brownie Fav

Pumpkins Fav

Praying statute FAV

I am quite drawn to Dede Westling’s dramatic display of black furniture and gorgeous adornments — quite French country — sophisticated and perfectly charming! Dede is absolutely darling, and I learn that she is part of the Wren’s Nest occasional sales . . .  Note to self: mark calendar for the October 9-11th sale.

Black FAV 3

Black FAV

Child Bust FAV

artisan jewlry

Eager to seek out Gretchen Schaummann, the designer and propreiter of Mimi-Toria’s Design, I quickly scan the vendors in the first building. The first building is really an enormous tent. There! She is nearly mid-way down on the left. Gretchen creates beautiful designs using pieces of “this and that” in new, creative ways. Her artisan jewlry has amazing detail, and each piece has a story to tell. I am totally smitten by “Clara” — a penny doll with a broken arm and all. Isn’t she adorable?

Clara Necklace FAV

tablescape challenge

The Thrifty Mom creates a lovely tablescape using great finds from a local thrift store operated by ARC Greater Twin Cities. There are hundreds of paper slips in the vintage glass bowl to win everything on the tablescape once the Big Bonanza is completed on Saturday.

ARC Thrifty Mom Sign FAV

ARC Tablescape FAV

ARC Tablescape FAV 2

More vintage treasures . . .

Bread Board and linen towels FAV

French Flower Templates FAV

The French templates (c. 1950) for making silk flowers are fabulous! Isn’t the handwriting lovely? Perhaps, a few of these framed would be just the perfect thing . . .

Mother child FAV 3

first blog party

Off to the premier fabulous blog party hosted by Ki Nassauer and Matthew Mead, co-editors of the new Flea Market Style Magazine.  I can’t wait for the first issue next spring!

Blog Party FAV

Some well-known bloggers are joining the first Junk Bonanza blog party, too. It is a joy to meet the inspiring and energetic Jo Packham, editor of Where Women Create. The talented flea market style diva Heather Bullard, and former Editor-in-Chief from Country Living magazine, Nancy Soriano, are on hand to greet everyone at the party. Not to miss the Junk Bonanza blog party are the Pacific Northwest favorites–the Farm Chicks. Also, joining the fun are Artsy Mama’s Kari Ramstrom, Linda MacDonald who writes at Restyled Home and Margo — Robolady– all the way from Texas.

Blog Party FAV 2

There are a lot of prizes for some lucky bloggers, and a few treats to ward off the late summer heat ordered-up special for our Southern friends! What name is now being called for Ki’s great book . . . ? Yipee!

Blog Prize Book FAV 2

Blog Party FAV 3

It is fun to finally meet some great bloggers and get to know each other a bit more. There are so many amazing and talented women who also share their love of re-purposing and re-creating vintage finds through their amazing stories. What a privilege to meet women who are truly entrepreneurs and are re-discovering their hidden talents and gifts.

How have you repurposed and reused vintage flea-market finds in new and creative ways?

Phone FAV

Thanks for chatting a bit at Rose Cottage.

I am so glad you are here!

Also linked on Colorado Lady,  Southern Hospitality, A Southern Daydreamer and  Between Naps on the Back Porch .

46 Comments

Filed under crafts, Home, Vintage

Exuberant Garden Offerings

Almost any garden, if you see it at just the right moment,

can be confused with paradise.

                                                                                                  ~Henry Mitchell

treasured gift

Gardens often are a source of inspiration for those who work the soil and tend the plantings, as well as for those who visit. There is such a deep, innate connection and love of nature for most of us. Do you feel that way?

Diane, a local poet extraordinaire, visits Rose Cottage on a late afternoon for a stroll amongst the early fall garden beds. The gardens at Rose Cottage are simple country gardens . . . and wax and wane dependent upon the weather and wildlife.

Old garden with stone bird bath FAV

Elizabeth joins us for tea and berries in the garden, too. She is an amazing gardener. Will you join us? There is so much to share . . .  The three of us laugh, talk and are frequently in our own thoughts as we are mesmorized by the exquisite lighting in the garden.

Fra Dagmar Hastrop FAV

The sun sinks low behind the trees and hills. The gardens glimmer in jewel tones while song birds sing from the tops of the white pine, red cedar and basswood. The leaves of the quaking aspen rustle in the soft southern breeze. The heady, unmistakable  fragrance of heirloom roses fills the air. Breathless.

Petunia Double Pink FAV

It is one of those times were magic abounds in the garden. . . our hearts sing with the beauty of the moment. . . our spirits are filled with peace and exuberance all at once. It feels like paradise . . .

Bird with a Broken Wing FAV

the heart sings in poetry

 A few days following our dreamy late afternoon in the garden, Diane is eager to meet. She hands me a sealed envelope. “It is my gift to you. After visiting Rose Cottage, I couldn’t sleep until I wrote what was in my heart and on my mind.” This is what she penned . . .

Light Play

In the garden of Debbykay (almost Monet)

In the village of Afton (almost Giverney),

We cannot even see Elizabeth’s hat,

One of the straw varieties reserved

For outings such as these,

Until she backs out, fanny first,

From the forest of tomato vines

Where she picks the still-warm

Exuberant offerings of late August.

 

Rub and sniff, fingers filled with pineapple sage,

Punctuations of pleasure that dart and surprise

Displacing the butterfly-bee rondelets, garden opera,

With botanical poetry from seed catalogues, we are

Divas in the moment when shimmer meets shadow.

This one’s and that one’s version

Of gardens known, imagined, want to be,

Would be if we were a bee (or a butterfly),

Revelers dancing in the sparkle of sunspray.

                                                     ~Diane Pecoraro

Pink Dahlia FAV

Diane’s poetry is an amazing gift. It is truly humbling to realize that our simple little parcel of land that we tend inspires another. Diane’s generosity is encouraging on days when it is easy to be discouraged and weary. Her poetry is a reminder of the brief glimpse, as if through a small crack in a window, of paradise captured on a spectacular early fall eve at Rose Cottage.

What inspires you about gardens you visit or tend? 

 

Stroll over to A Southern Daydreamer to see how others are enjoying the early days of autumn outdoors, and visit Melissa at The Inspired Room and Julia at Hooked on Houses.

34 Comments

Filed under Gardening

Antique Mason Jars {before and after

I wish we could put  up

some of the Chrismas spirit in jars

and open a jar of it every month.

                                    ~Harlan Miller

you’ve got mail

A bit of “Christmas spirit” was delivered rather unexpectedly in the Rose Cottage inbox. Crystal, from Olive Rue, is a fabulous photographer, and loves to give photo images a vintage look. A recent post about a collection of antique mason, ball and other canning jars was an inspiration for her. Crystal’s sweet gift was to take a few of the images of the rare antique canning jars and turn them into an image that could have been taken over 100 years ago.

before

The photographs are of amazing antique jars in dark olive green, turquoise, soft baby blue, cobalt and clear glass with glass lids. Take a look at the “before” images of the blue c.1858 Mason jars with some garden flowers from Rose Cottage . . .

1858 MASon and other antique blues with roses

1858 Mason FAV

 Now,  images of a rare dark olive green Ball jar and Canadian Jewel with just-picked strawberries . . .

Ball and Jewell FAV

Green Ball Jar and Strawberries

after

Crystal uses photographic techniques to alter these images to give them a soft, vintage look, while still capturing a freshness of the still life photos.

First, the altered c.1858 blue Mason . . .

1858-mason-and-other-antique-blues-with-roses

1858-mason-fav

Then, the dark olive Ball and clear Canadian Jewel . . .

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green-ball-jar-and-strawberries

Aren’t they lovely? Thank you, Crystal, for making my day and sharing your talents by your kind gift of  Christmas spirit in a jar delivered to my inbox!

So, the question remains . . .

what bit of “Christmas spirit” can I put in a jar

and give to someone else to open . .

You may also . . .

Read more about Cyrstal’s photographer passion and her gifted art at the Olive Rue.

See more of the post with the “before” pictures of antique canning or Mason jars on Fall Nesting {summer in a jar.

12 Comments

Filed under preserving, Vintage

Beautiful Berries and Brambles

 You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces –

just good food from fresh ingredients.

                                                                                                           ~Julia Child

fresh and local

Ahh . . . the early weeks of autumn. The gardens and fields are exuberant. I am in heaven with all the fresh produce — either what we grow at Rose Cottage or what we are able to obtain from local growers and producers.

 The just-picked vegetable or fruit turns any meal into something fantastic! The fragrance, taste and texture of fresh produce truly shines in any recipe.

buy fresh buy local Mark and Sues 0909 v2

In the fall, the fabric of our lives are filled with gathering and preserving. It is incredibly difficult to exercise prudent restraint with the abundant produce — I have an insatiable desire to preserve it all. A few bushels never seems quite enough of one thing or another! The kitchen at Rose Cottage is bustling daily with various stages of preserving the plethera of fruits or vegetables.

lovely brambles

 While vegetables abound, the time is ripe for picking those precious little black nuggets — blackberries! The blackberries are about two weeks tardy in their appearance since it has been a bit cooler. Many of the brambles are still filled with gorgeous soft-pink blackberry flower buds and half-dollar sized five-petaled white flowers. Aren’t the blossoms simply lovely?

flowers bud, berry FAV

The rows of blackberries are all-a-buzz with hundreds and hundreds of bees dancing from flower-to-flower. The bees are growing quite dizzy in all the frenzy and merrymaking as they gather the blackberry flower nectar in the warm mid-morning sun.  Some bees are so overcome by the sweet nectar they nearly fall off the blossom.

flowers, bud, berries and bee FAV

gathering “black gold”

Aside for the boisterous bee chorus, all is quiet and peaceful as we start down the first row of blackberries . . . seeking the dark, beautiful berries. The unmistakeable sweet fragrance of just-mowed alfalfa lingers following each sporadic breeze coming from the southwest. The first row furthest to the north is just developing berries. It is fascinating to observe the berries from bud to blossom to blackberry on one bramble.

blackberries (unripe) and flower FAV2

One ripe blackberry FAV

While many berries are still underripe, we find many gorgeous 1/2 to 1-inch berries on the south side of the rows. The darker berries are ripe. When ripe, they so sweet and luscious! My fingers become stained with the beautiful dark purple-red juice. One berry for the ice cream bucket . . . one to sample . . .Someone has to make sure they are perfectly ripe.

Blackberry clusters FAV

The effects of the warm September sun, the soothing music of the bees and nature’s aromatics are futile to resist. I look up from my intense berry gathering to find my Sweetie comfortably resting with his hands behind his head on the meadow grass between the berry rows. He looks so peaceful! Just a sneak peek into his ice cream bucket reveals there is barely enough to cover the bottom. I laugh, but am so glad he can rest! Back to picking berries, but not without first noticing my Sweetie’s quick wink and impish smile.

priceless treasures

We are both content and enjoy the amazing moments amongst the beautiful berries and brambles on a gorgeous September day. Time seems to stand still whilst picking berries. I think of nothing and everything all at once. What a day to treasure!

Soon, the two buckets of the beautiful black gems will be preserved as jam or frozen as whole berries to be enjoyed over the winter months.

blackerries in a bowl FAV

blackberry jam FAV

And . . . the memories of a gorgeous day linger as brambles are added to a lovely bouquet of roses. Memories . . . just gathering some more roses for winter . . . roses and blackberries FAV1 Love is a fruit in season at all times,

and within reach of every hand.

                                             ~Mother Teresa 

You may also . . .

Enjoy reading about Fall Nesting {Summer in a Jar and Antique Mason Jars {before and after.

Also posted on  Hooked on Houses,  The Inspired Room and Designs by Gollum.

 

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Filed under Cooking, Family, Gardening, preserving