Bittersweet is preparing for a three day Holiday Affair. We're serving apple cider and confections. The tree trimmings have been cut and the scent of fresh cedar fills the shop air. It's so darn early, but our little downtown is hosting a holiday open house at all the shops, so we didn't want to be a stick in the mud! Our big holiday event is always held on the first Friday of December. This year, it's on the first and second of the month.
We're making a big pot of chicken gumbo, and buttermilk biscuits are on the menu. I haven't had white flour in months or refined sugar. I'll make the biscuits with King Arthur baking mix. The mix contains much less carbs than white flour. I don't believe anyone will notice. Patrick is coming to dinner, and has requested biscuits. I probably won't be able to resist a hot flaky biscuit smothered in butter. Would you?
I don't really follow a recipe. I begin by a adding a T. of butter to a large kettle. Then I add a cup of chopped onion, and green pepper. Several cloves of Spanish garlic. Simmer. Add a T. of flour and let cook all until flour turns a golden brown. This is your rue.
To that I add enough water to cook the chicken and even add chicken broth to the kettle for good measure. Some folks prefer adding sausage to the chicken gumbo. I prefer, just chicken. Sometimes we'll add shrimp, but Patrick is allergic to shellfish.
Cook the chicken until if begins to fall off the bone. The bones of the chicken give the gumbo a great flavor. Midway, and before the chicken is completely cooked I add a large can of whole tomatoes. Continue to cook the chicken on medium heat or a slow boil with the added tomatoes. I add a healthy dose of dried thyme and oregano, and a large bay leaf. Continue to cook on low heat. Add smoked salt, and fresh ground pepper. De bone chicken and return to the kettle. Simmer on low for a couple of hours. About thirty minutes before serving add a cup of okra. Fresh or frozen. Add a few drops of hot sauce and serve with rice. I like Jasmine Rice.
I'll substitute King Arthur Baking Mix with all purpose flour.
We're also making homemade ice cream.
My friend Clarice shared her recipe and it's really good.
2 cups of whipping cream
1 cup of milk, of your choice
3/4 cup of coconut sugar
1 tsp. of pure vanilla
a tsp. or two of smoked salt
Churn in your machine until firm and serve. You could make some fresh fruit syrup. Or coconut sugar caramel sauce.
You can use cream to make the caramel sauce if you want.
Lazy, hazy, day... Those kind of days are truly appreciated when one carries a heavy work schedule.
I'm anxiously awaiting a shipment of hand made Italian paper to arrive before Wednesday. We wrap our Holiday Soaps in the stunning paper. Since we're hosting a Holiday Affair next week, time is of the essence, and I have a sneaky feeling the last minute will be a busy wrapping soapathon! It is what it is and life shall go on, regardless.
I'm also on the hunt for a Norlfolk Pine. I'm usually not on the hunt so early in the season, therefor nobody has them stocked. I love displaying the little pine during the Christmas season. It's a happy little tree!
I'm fixating on caramel apples too! Maybe next weekend after the busy week.
We offer preserved cedar sprigs at the shop. The everlasting evergreens will last a lifetime! I've had mine for eight or nine years. Simply store it in plastic bags until ready to use. It doesn't crumble or dry out or leave a mess. It's one of my favorite things.
I gathered a large basket of white pine cones. I love these pine cones. I hang string from the stems and make banners of pine cones. No cost decorating for the season. Incorporate the cones, and greenery to your brown paper wrappings and you have a simple, no fuss, elegant look.
Years ago when my mom was still here, she suggested I make linen bags to hold bath salt. All these year later, and I felt a soulful urge to recreate them this season. Love the linen blended with the faux fur and white pine cones.
Cotton blends well with just about any natural.
Lanterns, Cinnamon Sticks and White Fur, love...
This year we have a theme of "Bringing Home the Tree."
Keep the faith.