Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Seasons of Home: A Holiday Tablescape

 Happy November! 
Today I'm joining a group of talented bloggers sharing some Christmas tablescapes (more inspiration at the bottom of this post).  A little early, yes, but I'm sure we'll all get tons of ideas for the upcoming holiday and it's so nice to have some time to prepare! 

 In all honesty, I almost thought I would have to cancel in my participation for this post for one main reason - time.  No time to come up with any new ideas, no time to run to the store, no time to put together anything amazing, you get the idea!  Then I realized that there are so many of us in this exact same place - we are all often short on time these days!  As I foraged around the yard for a few things to use to decorate, and pulled out my red transferware dishes and my red striped linens, I began to feel anticipation for the upcoming holidays and the time we can slow down and spend gathered together around the table.  I think what I'm trying to say is, it's okay to use our tried-and-true table settings using what we already have on hand.  There's so much joy in using our favorite holiday dishes and linens and there are memories tied to those simple things, not just for us, but for those gathering around our tables!

 Every year I seem to gravitate towards a very simple, natural table.  I love using some greenery (cypress and boxwood is my favorite), acorns, and pinecones, especially for Christmas. I also love the idea of incorporating seasonal fruit, like pomegranates and oranges.  It's difficult to see in the photos, but I also placed some battery operated twinkle lights in the greenery for a little extra sparkle.

 I used my two favorite red striped table runners along with some linen napkins my mom made for me several years ago.  I pulled out my mismatched silverware and some red transferware I started collecting a few years back (my mother-in-law has since added to my collection, so that stack in the dining room hutch is sure fun to get into this time of year).  

 I used small pinecones in the dough bowl greenery centerpiece, and also to sprinkle around the table.

 I love using name cards at the table!  It's so simple and yet feels special.  It took me less than half an hour to gather supplies I already had on hand to make these sweet, simple name cards for the table.  


 I used ivory cardstock and cut them to name card size (3.5x2.25).  I then drew names lightly in pencil before filling in with a black artist pen.  I once read (maybe in Southern Living?) that using your own penmanship for name cards gives them a personal touch that is welcoming to your guests.  :-)  


 I punched the cards in the corner and used some twine to tie a knot.  (You can also use the twine to tie some acorns or pinecones to the cards.)  I used little boxwood clippings as well for a festive touch.  

(I ended up liking these so much I may make a bunch for Thanksgiving!)

You truly can't get more simple than this table setting... it really doesn't take much effort to put together a table that is thoughtful and welcoming.  And that was a good reminder for me, that even in the midst of busyness, there's a simple pleasure in slowing down and putting together something that makes you reminisce of special holiday memories, even if it is just  a simple table setting!

 {gathering together some of my favorite things for the Christmas season}

Following are links to some beautiful Christmas table inspiration!  Happy table planning!  :-)   

Ella Claire & Co. | French Country Cottage | Craftberry Bush | Julie Blanner
Maison de Cinq | Rooms for Rent | Beneath My Heart | Home Stories A to Z
Dear Lillie | The Handmade Farmhouse | Zevy Joy | Inspired by Charm
Maison de Pax | Keeping it Cozy | Kindred Vintage | My Sweet Savannah

Thursday, October 10, 2019

German Apple Pancake Recipe


This feels like our first official week of fall here... cooler weather finally arrived!  Despite the heat, we managed a trip to the local apple orchard and as I prepared supper one Sunday evening recently, I grabbed my camera on a whim and took some shots as I was cooking to share one of my very favorite recipes with you! 
(All the apples we came home with from the apple orchard!)
 My mom made German apple pancakes my entire childhood, and when I married, she gave me this recipe along with some other family favorites.  I've now made this for my own family more times than I could possibly count and it's always a crowd pleaser, whether you're cooking for guests or your own family.  I've hoarded this recipe a little, but my mom shared it on her blog a couple years ago (you can find that post here), so I think I'm safe to share it here.  :-)  

I'm posting this recipe now because it's absolutely a perfect fall weekend treat.  You will probably find us eating a German apple pancake and a plate of bacon most Sunday evenings, but it's delicious on a Saturday or Sunday morning too.

  For the pancake, you will need 3 eggs, 3/4 cup milk, 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 1/2 Tbsp butter.  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  I use a large cast iron skillet (12") for this recipe, and I do think it works best, but you can also use a large stainless steel skillet if you do not have a cast iron skillet.  

A couple substitution notes: Whole milk and all purpose flour work best for this recipe as far as getting a good fluffy rise.  However, I've successfully substituted almond milk for whole milk and a GF flour blend for all purpose flour many times and it's still delicious, you just won't achieve the same rise.   

Begin by placing the 1 1/2 Tbsp butter in your skillet and setting it in the oven to melt (but not brown) while you combine the rest of the ingredients.   Whisk together the eggs, milk, flour and salt in a bowl or dump the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. 

Remove the hot skillet with the melted butter and carefully swish around so the side of the pan is covered with butter.  Pour the batter in and place in the oven for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook for an additional 10 minutes.  Do not be alarmed when your pancake puffs up in large bubbles... you can pierce them with a fork if you need to, but I personally love all the bubbles.  

(Also note that my butter definitely is browned in this photo... the exact thing I said you shouldn't let happen to your butter in the oven.  Yes, this is exactly the kind of cook I am - ha!  Ugh, if I waited for perfect photos though, I may never post!)

 Meanwhile, take four large apples, and slice them fairly thin.  I leave the peel on. 

 Place them in the skillet with approximately 3 Tbsp butter (or more if you like) and 2 Tbsp maple syrup (completely optional... I usually make ours without any added sweetener). Add a little sprinkle of cinnamon and/or nutmeg if you prefer.  Saute over medium heat until apples are tender, but not too soft.  Set aside.

 Here's a picture of the delicious, bubbly pancake right out of the oven, all crisp around the edges. Remove the pancake from the hot skillet and place on a platter.

 Place the cooked apples on 1/2 of the pancake.

 Then fold the other side of the pancake over the apples. 

 To make this really decadent, sprinkle the entire pancake with a dusting of powdered sugar.  (Also completely optional... but I had to show you how pretty it can be!)

I usually go ahead and cut the pancake into slices before serving, even with guests, as it makes it a lot easier.  Serve immediately!  You can eat this plain as I do, but I always place some maple syrup on the table as well, as my children, husband, and most guests love to drizzle maple syrup over the top (smile).   

I hope you try this and love it as much as we do!  




3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 Tbsp butter

4 apples
3-4 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp maple syrup (optional)
Cinnamon and/or nutmeg (optional)

Sifted powdered sugar for the top (optional)
Maple syrup for serving (optional)


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a 12" skillet, melt 1 1/2 Tbsp butter by placing skillet in the preheating oven (do not let butter brown).  Beat together the eggs, milk, flour and salt in either a bowl or in a blender until smooth.  Remove the hot skillet from the oven and swish the melted butter around the skillet so that the sides are covered in butter.  Pour the batter over the melted butter in the skillet and place in the hot oven.  Bake for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  The pancake should be light brown and crisp.  (During the first 10-15 minutes of baking, the pancake may puff up in large bubbles.  You can either leave these or gently pierce with a fork.  I always leave them.)  

While the pancake is baking, prepare the apple filling.  Core apples and slice thinly.  Place in a skillet with 3 Tbsp butter and maple syrup (optional) and saute over medium heat until apples are tender, but not too soft.  You can season to taste with cinnamon and/or nutmeg if you prefer.  Set aside.

Remove the pancake from the oven and slide it onto an oval platter.  Pour the apple filling over one half of the pancake and then fold the other half of the pancake over the apples.  Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar.  

Serve immediately with maple syrup. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Our Living Room (with Fall Touches)

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 Happy Wednesday!  We've been experiencing one extremely hot day after another, and for the first time, I'm actually looking forward to some cool fall days.  :-)  I've been enjoying bringing in a few fall touches... I love pumpkin season and driving by the stands with their rainbow of pumpkins on display is definitely a highlight of the season!  

I haven't actually dedicated an entire post to our "new" (ha - two years later) living room, so this will be a little tour of sorts.  I'm also joining 13 other talented bloggers again as we share fall touches in the living room for the Seasons of Home tour, so you can also tour some beautiful homes by clicking on the links at the bottom of this post. 

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 Any of you faithful readers remember the dough bowls my father-in-law made me?  I love filling them with mini pumpkins this time of year.  Once again, my seasonal decorating is very simple.  I do have a few knick-knacks that I like bringing out, but mostly I gravitate towards real natural elements.  I think it's so important to mention that any seasonal decorating doesn't have to cost a lot of money or consist of rearranging your entire home... it's as simple as bringing in some pinecones or branches with fall colored leaves.       

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 When we first moved into our home, our living room really perplexed us.  Since it's open-concept with a fireplace, we were basically left with zero walls to place a sofa against.  Because the living room is narrow and receives a ton of foot traffic, we bought a sofa just for this home.  It's a full sized sofa, but with petite dimensions.  We initially placed the sofa centered across from the fireplace with two wing chairs on each side of the fireplace, but it left our living room feeling very cramped.  Then my husband actually had the idea to order an identical sofa so we could place them across from each other.  We measured and measured and then placed another order.  We've now had this arrangement for a good year and have been so happy with it.  I also love these sofas and highly recommend them if you're in the market, particularly one with petite dimensions... they were investment pieces for us, but so comfortable and well made.  (Channing Sofa by Rowe - we custom ordered them through a furniture store and chose the fabric.) 

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 The rug is an indoor/outdoor rug from Ballard Designs.  Another purchase I highly, highly recommend (not sponsored - I wish!).  We actually have since ordered four more of their indoor/outdoor rugs for various areas around our home (inside and out), and we absolutely love them.  They are so easy to clean and hide stains really well, plus look pretty!  Since we have a dog, live on a farm, and have two girls that are constantly in and out of the house, I likely won't ever have anything but an indoor/outdoor rug in the living room.  ;-)  

The coffee table is vintage Lane (Acclaim series).  My mom actually had this coffee table in her attic.  She had purchased it at a garage sale for $5 and it was covered in paint.  She pulled it out when I mentioned that I needed a narrow coffee table, and Justus and I proceeded to strip it to see what we would find underneath.  As we were stripping it, I saw the name underneath and realized what a treasure we had!  I love this coffee table and it was absolutely worth all the hard work getting it to its natural state!

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 One of my favorite seasonal things to have around the house are fresh flowers.  Most of these are from our flower garden, with some wildflowers and herbs thrown in. 

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 The oak tree drawing above the mantel is one I found in a local antiques store, and it's definitely on my favorite finds list.  It was framed so beautifully.  I still love collecting little wooden boxes, and the brass candlesticks and the seasonal acorns were gifts from my mother-in-law. 

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 Another inexpensive way to decorate for fall is with a little pot of mums (under $3, you just can't say no).  I placed the old piano stool that belonged to my father-in-law's grandpa next to one of the sofas and frequently use it for my coffee mug.  :-) 

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 You may recognize this little cupboard from the one we had in our old house in the kitchen.  We do have some new furniture in this house, but placing some of the antiques I've collected over the years here and there has made it feel like home.  I keep all our board games inside the doors.  

We purposely changed the house plans around to accommodate our piano.  Both girls play daily and it gets a lot of use being in the main room of our home. 

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 One fall I may change my pillow covers, but right now I still love the touches of blue around the house. 

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 I'm also loving little hints of brass and gold here and there!  It feels like it just glows, especially when the sun hits it, and we receive a lot of sunshine in this house! 

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 Eventually I'll probably move some blue cinderella pumpkins into this room, but so far I haven't seen any at our market stands.  It's still a bit early, and we still have our pumpkin patch trip to look forward to.  ;-)  

I'm looking forward to turning on our fireplace before too long.  This was something we knew we wanted in this house, and it's been so nice when we have really cold days.  We had the fireplace wrapped in shiplap and kept the mantel design simple and more traditional.  Funny story, when they were working on the trim in our house, I walked into the living room and the top of the mantel was about a foot higher than this.  I was pretty much speechless!  I always feel bad having changes made after the fact, but there was no way I could have the mantel that high - ha!  

 We also opted to use brick as our fireplace surround.  We used the same brick as the outside of our house, and asked them to make it look as old as possible.  ;-)   

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

The gate leg table behind the sofa is a newer antique purchase.  I mentioned it when I gave a tour of our dining room, but we actually use this table for overflow when we have guests, and I love it so much.  

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

Besides obvious fall decorating like pumpkins and flowers, I also like to bring in a basket with some throw blankets.  It may be 100 degrees now, but we know cooler days are on the horizon!  

Living Room Sources (with links if available):
Paint Color (Walls & Trim): Sherwin Williams Alabaster
Lights: Pottery Barn
Floor Lamp: Target
Pillow Covers: Pottery Barn
Brass Lantern: Target
Windmill: Ballard Designs
Blanket Basket: Pottery Barn
 Other furniture and decor is all vintage and/or gifted

And finally, here are links to some beautiful fall living rooms for you to tour.  :-)  Thanks to Kristen at Ella Claire for hosting this tour! 

Ella Claire | Inspired by Charm | Handmade Farmhouse | Rooms For Rent

Julie Blanner | Craftberry Bush | Zevy Joy | My Sweet Savannah

Boxwood Avenue | Dear Lillie | Nina Hendrick Design Co. | Maison de Cinq

Keeping it Cozy | French Country Cottage

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