Sunday, October 30, 2016

Crock Pot Caramel Apple Cider

Are you looking for a delicious cider to warm up your family and friends after a little Trick or Treating ? Well, look no further!  I found this recipe on a Taste of Home site and made a few very minor adjustments. I recently served this decadent caramel apple cider as part of a cider and coffee bar.  It was a huge hit! The best part is you can mix it up and let it warm in the crock pot. I love crock pots!
In honor of the world series, I would like to present...

The starting lineup:
8 cups of apple cider...not apple juice
1 cup of caramel syrup (Torani brand or DaVinci found in the coffee aisle)
1/4 cup of lemon juice
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon of whole allspice
Toppings:  Whipped cream and Hershey's caramel syrup (type used for ice cream)

1.  In a 3 quart slow cooker, combine the apple cider, DaVinici or Torani caramel syrup and lemon juice.    Cut a square of cheesecloth large enough to hold the cinnamon sticks and cloves.  Place sticks and cloves in the middle of the square and bring up corners.  Tie with a string to form a spice bag.  Place the bag in the cider mixture.  
2.  Cover and heat thoroughly for 2-3 hours.  Discard spice bag.  Stir in 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla.  
3.  Ladle into mugs and top with whipped cream and a drizzle of Hershey's caramel syrup.

I hope you enjoy this delicious treat as much as we do!  

Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse
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Friday, October 21, 2016

It's Fall at the Farmhouse!

I love fall and everything that comes with this season.  Decorating for the fall is an anticipated pleasure.  The warm colors of autumn make my heart sing.  Please join me on a tour of a few spots in our harvest home!

The front entryway is decorated with pumpkins topiaries, corn stalks, mums, grapevine wreaths with burlap roses, and two jaunty scarecrows. I placed the corn stalks close to the front door.  They have dried corn still attached to the stalks.  I was afraid the deer, which live near our home, might have been tempted to nibble on the corn if I placed them further away from the front door!  Come on in!
Let's stop in the Reading Room.  My grandmother's buffet had served as a coffee bar, but with a little rearranging, it now serves a different purpose.
I don't do scary Halloween decorating, but love this little Halloween village which I have had for years. When my boys were little, they were so excited when it was time to turn on the village lights.  Do you know how difficult it is to take a  photo without being seen in a large mirror?  That's why I am doing the side shots!
The mantel is one of my favorite spots, especially at night.  I have Luminara candles and fairy lights to brighten the space.  Luminara candles are a little pricey, but I love the "real" flickering look they give without the worry of a fire hazard. Today was our first cold morning, so it was the perfect time to turn on the lights and enjoy the glow in the pre-dawn hours!
Plush Pumpkins and a large-eyed owl grace the coffee table! I promise that is not dust on the tray, but it sure looks like it, doesn't it?!
Don't you enjoy cooking in a seasonally decorated kitchen? With music playing and a cup of coffee or a glass of tea at my side, this kitchen gets me in the mood for any cooking or baking! My kitchen scale holds vintage spices appropriate for the season. I picked up the pumpkin plate at a local store for about $3.00!
We have a computer and library area directly off the kitchen  You can see it in the wreath photo above.  It is decorated with a variety of autumn inspired decor.  I love the old fashioned metal candle holder with its flickering light.  The three tier tray holds a variety of gourds and a Fall Gatherings sign.
A library card catalog is positioned in the master bedroom.  The piece of art above the card catalog is from a local artist.  I purchased it as soon as I saw it was a mother with her son.  The little boy has very dark hair like my youngest.  All I ever see is artwork with mothers and daughters as the subjects, so I nabbed this when I saw it was a mother and son. The photo in the right of the frame is of my boys in the Rose Garden of the White House.  It's a special photo and one day I will have to tell you about our visit and a very special private tour. My youngest was tired that day and wasn't in a good mood.  He didn't give a hoot that he was standing in the hall looking into the Oval Office or sitting in the Cabinet Room.  All he wanted to do was go back to the hotel!  We laugh about that now!

I'll be sharing my dining room and more of our autumn decor later.  For now, I wish you a wonderful weekend! I think our weather is going to be fabulous and I can't wait to make my first caramel apple cider of the season!  See you next week:)

Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse
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Friday, October 14, 2016

Granddog Sitting

Hi everyone! I have been granddog sitting for the past week and let me tell has been a chore!  My youngest son is at a church technology conference and asked if we would watch his puppy.  Sadie is a 9 month old Siberian Husky.  I forgot how active 9 month old dogs could be!  Our two labs run our property, but Ms Sadie is not accustomed to wide open spaces and dense woods.  This morning she high tailed it to a neighbor and proceeded to torment their miniature horse named Sugar.  Bless Sugar's heart. She was trying to be neighborly, but from what I was told, Sadie was about to get kicked.  I bet Sadie wouldn't head back that way again!  Anyway, all thoughts of finishing my next blog post went out the door and I have been enjoying playing with this pretty girl for the past week.  I must say that even though she looks quite innocent, she has eaten a pair of tennis shoes, knocked over my pumpkin topiares, torn up a pillow, pulled the buttons off an outdoor cushion and committed several unmentionable acts on the garage floor!  I purchased her an adorable red plaid head band which she promptly tried to eat.  When that effort failed, she attempted to drown it in the creek.  Sadie came back soaking wet with her head band around her neck, looking at me with those gorgeous, blue eyes! So friends, I'll be back next week with my normal blog posting.  Until then, I have a dog to chase!

Blessings from Lynda and Sadie at Still Woods Farmhouse

Thursday, October 6, 2016

It's Faux Caramel Apple Time!

For me, October brings to mind chili dogs, bags of candy, and caramel apples. We always had chili dogs before heading out to a church fall festival or trick or treating in the neighborhood.   It was a quick meal and one of our favorites as kids. Of course later in the evening, we ended up with a bag full of candy and one special treat made by a sweet neighbor.  She always made caramel apples for the children she knew the best.  It was better than any candy in our bags!

My first real memory of caramel apples brings me back to an excursion with my parents and little sister to Apple Valley in California.  The tree branches were heavily laden with crisp, luscious apples.  Various vendors dotted the roadside selling their baked good ranging from apple pies, breads, dried apples, caramel apples, and my favorite candy apples!  As our day ended and we drove back home, my sister and I sat in the back seat happily eating our apple treats.

Caramel apples are perfect for your fall decor.  Don't these look delicious with the puddle of caramel at the bottom of each perfectly dipped apple?  What's even better is that they are faux caramel apples!  Let's get started on this fun project.
You will need a few items for this project:
Artificial Apples-  I purchased mine at Michaels Craft Store
Dowel Rods
Mod Podge-  Be sure to buy the glossy version
1-2 Containers of Acrylic Paint-  I used Folk Art Coffee Latte and only needed one container
Sand Paper-  I buy an extra pedicure file and use it only used for craft projects.
Philips Screw Driver
Hot Glue Gun- Not Pictured
Hammer- Not Pictured
Raffia-  Not Pictured
First things first.  Pull the stem from each apple.  Use a Phillips screw driver to bore a hole in the apples.  I had to use a hammer to help with this process.  I think my apples were filled with concrete!  I purchased a long dowel rod at Lowes and cut it into approximately 5 and 1/2 inch pieces.  Sand one end of the dowel rod with sandpaper to give it a smoother appearance.  I have a craft room pedicure file I use for sanding small items.  It comes in quite handy!  Hot glue the dowel rod to the apple and let dry.  Now for the fun part!

Pour the Mod Podge into a container.  Make sure your apple can fit in the container.
Begin pouring one of the acrylic paint containers into the Mod Podge and stir with an extra dowel stick.  I was not quite happy with the color I selected and ended up adding a squirt of brown and a squirt of yellow to get a more "caramely" color.  I also used only one of the 2 oz paints from the project list.  Take an apple and dip it into the container, swirling around to cover the apple.  Make sure you leave enough of the apple to show at the top!
Once they dry, tie a piece of raffia on top and show them off on a pretty cake plate.  I just love my non-edible caramel apples. Notice that the color darkened as they dried.  They even have the "pooled" look of caramel at the bottom of each apple.  This was a fun and fairly quick project.  More importantly, this project brings back wonderful memories of spending time with my family.  Now to figure out how to make a faux candy apple!
Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse
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