Savory Sausage Stuffing With Secret Ingredients!

Stuffing Recipe

At your first glance over this stuffing recipe, you might find yourself with at least one raised eyebrow. I know I did the first time I heard what was in this dish during one of our family gatherings. But, to my surprise, I absolutely loved it! As a matter of fact, everyone loved it!

To be honest, I just wasn’t used to having fruit as an ingredient in a main course, so I had no idea how tasty it was! Of course, my taste buds have certainly grown & expanded in the last few years, and I now enjoy all sorts of fruit, meat, and salad combinations!

This recipe is not exactly like the first one that I tasted, as I’ve added a few more “goodies” here & there.

Feel free to add, take away, or change amounts of any of the ingredients as well. My mother tells me that I am a lot like my great-grandmother Pearl, who never really used recipes or measuring utensils, but rather added different ingredients until it looked & felt right! So, with that being said, I hope you enjoy this special recipe!

Savory Sausage Stuffing Surprise

12 Cups bread cubes
8-16 ounces ground pork sausage (I use Jimmy Dean Maple sausage)
1 1/2 Cups chopped onion
1 1/2 Cups diced celery (save inner leaves, dice & add as well)
2 larger cans of chopped mushrooms
1 1/2 Cups chopped granny smith apples
1/2 Cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 Cup dried cranberries
4 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup chicken broth (more if needed)
1 cup butter

You could buy pre-made bread cubes, or make your own with a loaf of your favorite type of bread. To make your own, simply break the bread into small bits (1-2 inches), spread on large cookie sheet, place in 250 degree oven for about 10 minutes – just to dry them out. Then remove bread & set it aside.

Brown the sausage in a large skillet, being sure to break it up into smaller pieces while cooking. Using a slotted spoon, drain the drippings from the sausage before you place it into a large bowl. Add the butter, onions, celery & celery leaves, mushrooms, and all seasonings to the pan & cook until tender. Add chicken broth and simmer for approx 5-10 minutes.

In the large bowl, add the walnuts, cranberries, and apples to the cooked sausage and mix well. Then, stir in the bread cubes and mix until well blended. Lastly, pour contents from the skillet into the bowl & mix until all the ingredients are coated & moist. You can add more chicken broth if the mix is to dry.

Place stuffing in a buttered baking dish, sprinkle with poultry seasoning, and bake until thoroughly heated and golden brown.

I know that you will enjoy this wonderful new twist to your traditional holiday dinner as much as we do!

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Best Apple Pie Recipe

Best Apple Pie Recipe

Some days are just meant for baking pies, and today is one of them!

We’ve been so anxious for apple season to get here, so as soon as we could, we picked up some beautiful honeycrisp apples! We’ve already been enjoying them as snacks with a bit of peanut butter, I’ve made a few batches of apple crisp, and today is pie day :)

If you’re like me, you have a special Pinterest board set aside just for the special dessert ideas that you want to try! Well, I’ve had a pin that I’ve been waiting to try as soon as apple season got here. It’s called Cider Caramel Apple Pie. I got my initial inspiration from Hannah’s pin below, and have added my own tweaks to it.

Cider Caramel Apple Pie

The pie has three parts to it – Crust, Cider Caramel, & Apple Filling

We’re going to start making the caramel, and let it simmer while we’re making the crust. You could also make it ahead & use it for other recipes as well.

Caramel:

4 Cups Apple Cider
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter (I used sweet salted, because I had it on hand)

Simmer cider in a heavy sauce pan until it reduces by half – approx 20 minutes (you can make the crust while it’s simmering)
Add sugar & butter, stir occationally & reduce again to approx 1 1/4 Cups – until it thickens slightly. Then turn of the heat.

Pastry Crust:
This pastry crust recipe was given to me by a friend – be sure to follow her on Instagram @pottersarms
She loves this recipe so much, that she doesn’t ever use any other! I can tell you, it was very easy to make!

2 Cups Flour (sifted or lightly spooned – if it’s packed it could come out dry)
1/2 Cup Butter – cold but soft
2 Tablespoons Castor Sugar (finely ground sugar – I just used my emersion blender to make reg sugar more fine)
1 Egg Yoke
3 Tablespoons Cold Water
* For pastry topped pies such as this one, simply double the recipe & keep the top half covered until ready to roll out & finish pie.

Mix flour & butter with fork or pastry blender until they resemble fine crumbs. Mix in sugar. Make a well in the center, and add egg yolk & cold water. Mix gently until it’s mostly together. With flour dusted hand, gently work pastry dough togehter. Don’t overmix, because the crust will be tough. Roll out gently on a lightly floured surface. Lift dough with your rolling pin, and place in pie dish removing excess. Place in fridge while making filling.
*To make a savory pie, you can simply leave out the sugar.

Apple Filling:
5-6 Cups Peeled/Sliced Apples
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Flour
1 tea Cinnamon – I use Saigon for the absolute BEST flavor
1/4 tea salt
2 tea vanilla – I use Pure Madagascar Vanilla Extract for the BEST flavor
1 Cup Warm Cider Caramel

Mix spices, then mix in flour & sugar. Sprinkle over apples in the bowl & mix. Stir in vanilla & caramel, and pour into crust.

Best Apple Pie

Roll out crust & top pie, crimping sides. Using a knife, cut 4 steam vents in the top crust. Beat 1 egg and brush on top of crust, then sprinkle sugar & cinnamon. Bake for 45-60 minutes – until brown & juices are bubbly. If the edges of your crust start to brown more than you’d like, simply cover the edges with some tinfoil for the remaining baking time. You must allow pie to cool before cutting, or it will be too runny.

I LOVE this cobalt blue pottery pie dish that my mom bought for me years ago! It was made by a local potter – Mr. White.

Pottery Pie Plate

Enjoy & feel free to Pin & Share!
~ Pearl

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Italian Toast Recipe – Great Anytime of Day!

Italian Toast Recipe
There’s something so beautiful about simple fresh ingredients being brought together, to create delicious
meals for our families.

There are some ingredients that I love & wouldn’t mind enjoying every day (I know you probably
feel the same way)! This recipe brings together some of those favorites, and I know that you &
your family will love it as much as we do!

We’ve enjoyed this simple little recipe for many years, and have affectionately named it “Italian Toast”. And,
although you may think of “toast” as being a breakfast food, this meal is equally delicious any time of day!

  • It all starts with a toasted slice of your favorite bread
  • On top of that, add some slices of garden fresh tomatoes
  • Now add some of your favorite cheese {fresh mozzarella or aged provolone are nice}
  • Season with some Italian spices {oregano & basil for sure}
  • Sprinkle with a pinch of garlic, and some freshly ground pepper & sea salt
  • To add the finishing touch, drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil
  • Broil in the oven until the tomatoes are warm, and the cheese is bubbly
  • Two slices make a meal, so be sure to make enough for everyone!

Enjoy!

Pearl

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Angel Wings Tutorial – How to Make Beautiful Angel Wings Free!

Make these beautiful angel wings with things you already have around the house!

I just love angel wings, and they are all the rage in decorating right now. The only problem is, when you actually find some wings that you like (from Pier 1 for example), they cost WAY MORE than you want to pay!

I came up with this idea as we were preparing to decorate the stage for our special Christmas services. We needs some very big angel wings, and I wanted to find a way to do it using things we already had.

They turned out really nice, so I wanted to share the tutorial with you, so that you could enjoy some angel wings in your home this season… while not spending any more money on decorations :)

Step #1: Decide How Big You Want Your Wings

Because we are using our wings as stage props, I wanted them to be a nice size, so that everyone could see them. We decided to make ours 7ft X 4ft, but you can make them any size that makes you happy! You need to have some sort of backing to build your wings on. We had a piece of painting drop cloth laying around, so we used that. What do you have that you’re not using? A piece of cardboard, heavy cloth, drop cloth… use what you have available to you.

Step #2: Choose Your Favorite Shape of Angel’s Wing

I looked at all kinds of pictures online (mostly in google image search) to find a shape that I really liked.

Step #3: Trace The Shape Onto Your Backing & Cut it Out

Angel Wings Tutorial

Step #4: Turn The First Wing Over & Trace it Out For The Second Wing (if you want 2 wings)

Angel Wings Tutorial

Angel Wings Tutorial

Step #5: Make The Feathers

I decided to use regular brown craft paper, but you could use brown paper bags, newspaper, or any other paper you might have.

Angel Wings Tutorial

- Cut strips of paper with a scalloped bottom edge
- Scrunch each one into a ball to give the paper lots of wrinkles
- Open it back up & try to give the center a little crease, so it will stand out more & look more like a feather

Angel Wings Tutorial

Step #6: Hot glue each strip of paper to the backing, beginning with an outer edge first. Glue one side, being careful to let a bit of the paper hang off the edge so you don’t see the backing. Then pull the paper towards you a little bit & hot glue the other side. The reason you’re not going to simply glue them down flat, is because this technique gives the appearance of a creased feather instead of a flat piece of paper.

Angel Wings Tutorial

Continue adding as many layers as you’d like. For the size of our wings, 3 long layers and a few short ones looked best. As we got to the top, we just angled the feathers a bit more to look like a wing.

Angel Wings Tutorial

Here is one of the wings all put together. It’s so tall my son can barely hold it up high enough!

Angel Wings Tutorial

Step #7: Decide What Finish You’d Like to Have
You might want the look of newspaper print, in which case you wouldn’t have to have any additional finish. Or, if you want a solid color, you could apply a full coverage of whatever left over spray paint you have. You could also add some glue & glitter around the edges for a nice touch.

Angel Wings Tutorial

We wanted sort of an antique look, so we opted to only highlight the feathers with some off white spray paint, then hit them with some translucent gold glitter paint.

Angel Wings Tutorial

Here’s a close up of the little hint of gold sparkle.

Angel Wings Tutorial

We love the way the finished product came out!!

Angel Wings Tutorial

Send us some pictures of your wings ~ we’d love to see them!

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Everyday Blessings and The Beauty of The Season

Did you ever enjoy a day so much, that you wish you could live it over & over again?

Well, for me, today is one of those days!

From the moment I got up, I feel like I have been enjoying a blessing “overload”.

I woke up with a thankful heart for my family, our home, and our life together. So after I took my daughter to work, I decided to go for a drive around our little village and take in the quiet beauty, and spend some time praying as we often do early in the morning. And today, like most days, I couldn’t help but be filled with gratitude for the many blessings in my life…especially the little things.

So many times people wait until they get some big answer to prayer to be thankful, but I have learned to be thankful & enjoy the smallest of blessings that I receive from the Lord. I often tell people that sometimes we just need to slow down a bit, so we can become aware of the beauty of the blessings all around us.

We have so many beautiful places around The Queen Village, and because I am particularly fond of the countryside, I decided that this morning, my drive of choice would take me around the rolling hills & country farms. And as I was coming around one particularly sharp curve, I noticed a larger black object up ahead, and knew I needed to slow down. As I got closer, I realized that the black object was a curious little calf that had somehow worked her way outside of the safety of the fence (just look at those lashes!).

Baby Calf

Thankfully, her momma was walking right beside her showing her the way back into the fold. I just couldn’t help but sit there and watch this little family working together to find a solution to their situation. It was truly beautiful to watch.

Momma Cow Helping Her Baby

With a heart now warmed from the love of mother & child, I was free to continue on my little journey. And as I came upon the next field, I spied a farmer who was already well underway with his harvest of field hay. And you know… there’s probably nothing quite as beautiful to a farmer than seeing his field dotted with bales of hay, and knowing that because of his hard work, all will be well throughout the winter months.

Farm Living - Hay Bales

The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and I was taking my time enjoying it all, as well as feeling a bit like Miss Daisy, except I was driving myself…which is why I was sure to pull over & let the 2 or 3 cars pass that were in a bigger hurry than I was :)

After I was finished with the morning drive, I was finally nearing the hill that would reveal the beginning of our country lane, which winds 750ft deep in the forest. And as much as I love to take in the beauty of the surrounding countryside, there’s nothing that warms the heart more than coming home.

As I started down the lane, through the almost blinding rays of sunlight that were now beaming through the forest, I saw a familiar little flicker of white.

Rays of morning sun

Sure enough, our little family of deer where already up and about, and the triplets where frolicking around in the tall grasses near the forest edge. We have a few different families of deer that share the forest with us year round, as well as several small herds that stop to nibble & drink as they are passing through. Almost every year we have a birth of twins in the spring, however, this year we also had a set of triplets…something we’ve never had the pleasure of seeing! I don’t think they even noticed me as I sat quietly watching. I watched until they were so tuckered out from playing, that they found a cozy spot under the trees to take an early morning nap.

Baby Deer

After catching up on some work in the office, I heard what sounded like someone walking down our front path, so I went to the window to see who it might be. There to my surprise, was a cast of characters like I haven’t seen yet this year! For no apparent reason other than for my enjoyment, the front forest was now the backdrop, and the front yard now the stage, for the theatrical production of “Nature Ah La Woodpecker”!

There were so many woodpeckers of all different varieties including 3 of the ever so majestic Pileated woodpeckers now performing on the large maple tree, and the 5 beautiful red belly woodpeckers doing their little song & dance right on the front walk! They were singing back and forth to each other, as they danced between the stones, stirring up the ants. Then, they would quickly eat to their little heart’s content. And the show wouldn’t be complete without the ever so tiny hummingbird Mr. Ruby Throat, who was flitting back & forth, showing his acrobatics on the phlox. The lyrical dance of the butterflies & dragonflies, the chipmunks in the center ring, and the accompanying chorus of other birds and insects made the show complete.

I just couldn’t stand it any longer, I had to go out & give my applause in person… but before I walked out the door, I grabbed my basket so I could gather a few tomatoes as I passed the kitchen garden.

Once the show was over, I took a walk through the back forest to see what might be happening there. The sunlight dancing on fern hill is always quite a sight to behold!

Fern Hill

No matter how many times I see them, I’m always amazed at the shear size & beauty of the forest trees. And this morning they looked particularly dashing standing there in the spotlight.

Forest Light

Others enjoy the trees with us…but for obviously different reasons :)

Woodpecker Hole

Now… just a few steps more and we’ll be at River’s Edge.

Rivers Edge

The water is low this time of year, which means I get to enjoy more of the river rocks, that usually lay quietly beneath the surface.

The River

After taking time to reflect at River’s Edge, I came up around the cottage garden. Over the years I’ve come to learn that every time of day highlights something different to enjoy, and in this early morning light, the roses & ivy certainly steal the show!

Cottage Garden in Morning Light

I can’t believe how they continue to display such beauty, even this late in the season.

Roses and Ivy

Now, with basket in hand, it’s off to the kitchen garden. We really enjoyed crafting the garden fence this spring, and it’s such a nice addition to our little place in the forest.

Garden Tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes have got to be my all time garden favorite! I love the way they look, the way the plants smell in the garden, and I especially love how delicious a fresh garden tomato tastes!

Ripe Tomatoes

With my basket now full, I didn’t have to think very long about what to make for brunch. With tomatoes like that, it has to be our family recipe of “Italian Toast” for me!

Italian Toast

Italian Toast

- Toast 2 slices of whole grain bread (your favorite bread will do)
- Slice 1-2 hearty tomatoes & lay on top of toast
- Sprinkle with shredded cheese – today I used aged provolone (our personal favorite)
- Give a dash of freshly cracked pepper, sea salt, and garlic powder
- Top it all off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- Put toast in the oven on a baking stone & broil until bubbly

All that’s left now is to enjoy your delicious masterpiece!

And those were just some of my little blessings before brunch! Who knows what wonders the rest of the days holds…perhaps one of these little sweeties sitting on the counter just waiting to be enjoyed :)

Pretty Cupcakes

Isn’t God a wonder! He just seems to go overboard with blessings for His children. So no matter how big or small, be sure to take some time to enjoy the ones He brings your way today!

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Vintage Cabinet Redo

I LOVE vintage pine cupboards! I’m not sure why they hold such a special place in my heart, but they do. There’s just something that feels so “heart & home” about them. Perhaps it’s the memories of grandma’s kitchen, scenes from some of my favorite movies, or captured ideas from magazines that have stayed with me. I’m not exactly sure, but in any case… I LOVE them!

I know these bigger pieces can be VERY expensive, many times costing $300 – $2,000 or more! But, out of my 3 largest vintage pieces, the most I’ve paid so far is $50… which is the piece I’m sharing with you today. I found my largest piece at an estate auction for $17, and another vintage pine step-back cupboard at a yard sale for $2! You can find great deals as well, if you’re the last to leave estate auctions (the best deals are to be had after the large buying crowd goes home & the auction heads to the garage, basement, or barn :) ), and if you keep your eyes open at yard sales & curbside during trash day!

This new piece had a destiny of becoming my new “Cabinet of Curiosities”, and as you can see in the before picture, it started out being a bright blue. I know that many people would have left it just the way it was, but the room it was going into was a soft blue & antique white, with black accents… so I wanted this piece to have a softer feel to it.

Cabinet Makeover - Before

Because I wanted to use this piece to display special objects, I wanted the inside of the top to be painted dark, so everything inside would pop against the dark color. I finally decided to use flat black. As a matter of fact, we decided to give the whole cabinet a coat of flat black, then a coat of antique white. After it dried completely, I gently sanded off the antique white in some spots revealing the black underneath, to give it a more vintage look. To finish the piece off, I wiped the whole thing (except for the inside of the top) with a very small amount of antiquing glaze.

You can see how nice all of these vintage stockings & mittens, that I found for $3 at a yard sale, show up here in the Winter display.

Winter Display in my Cabinet of Curiosities

For the Winter display, I started with a vintage garden urn, added a branch from a thorn apple tree, tucked in some moss around the base of the branch, hung up my vintage mitten & stocking collection, strung vintage wire that I kept from a broken Christmas ornament, added a candle covered with a bubble glass globe, and let my vintage style snowman stand guard over it all.

Winter Display

Here’s a close up of my beautiful snowman. I love how his colors just pop against the black background!
Winter Display in my Cabinet of Curiosities

Don’t be afraid to change up some of the pieces in your home. I hear from people all the time, that are afraid to use paint & go with new colors for fear of not liking the finished product. But I say… what’s the worst that can happen? Maybe you’ll have to paint it again, but then again… maybe you’ll love it! At least step out and try it, and let your creative ideas come to life in your home!

I really love the finished product, both the display space, and the storage space for all of my stationary & office supplies. I already have lots of ideas about how to change up the display for every season! What do you think? How would you decorate this piece? Let me know by leaving me a comment below :)

Cabinet of Curiosities

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