Tag Archive for: apples

Have you decorated your home for the fall holidays yet?  I decided to do a little something different for this fall.  Instead of spending a lot of money on fake pumpkins and other decorations that I would later need to find storage space for – I went a more ‘natural’ route with a little help from the produce aisle.

Of course, you can find the expected pumpkins and gourds.  BUT, my goal was to find other types of fruits and vegetables to use as well.

fall holidays

Here are the results of my shopping trip and the display I made.  It is all natural and while there are a few gourds and pumpkins – there are also a few other produce items that are not often found in a fall centerpiece. 

fall holidays

Here are some of what I came home with – acorn squash, artichokes, green apples, red onions, oranges, limes, a Kabocha squash, red pears and miniature pumpkins to go along with my large heirloom pumpkin.

Before creating my main centerpiece, I decided to see how many smaller arrangements I could make from my fruits and vegetables.

So, I pulled out a variety of serving dishes and vases and got started…

fall holidays

I placed a green/orange acorn squash, two gourds, an artichoke, a red pear, a white miniature pumpkin and a single lime in my sweet grass basket that I purchased in South Carolina, earlier this year.

I really like how all of these colors look like the changing leaves of fall (of which, we have very little in the desert ๐Ÿ˜‰

fall holidays

A combination of red onions, limes and miniature pumpkins look great in the wooden bread bowl that my husband made for me.

The tablecloth was my grandmother’s and has seen countless wedding receptions and dinner parties while she lived.  She gave it to me before she died years ago and sadly, it doesn’t see a lot of action in my house.  

fall holidays

This may look like a smaller green pumpkin, but you would be wrong.  It is actually a Kabocha squash that I found in the produce aisle of my local supermarket.  I just love it’s small size and great color.

fall holidays

Did you know that pumpkins are considered a squash?  It makes sense then, that other types of squash, like the acorn squash, above, would look great in fall displays.

fall holidays

I think red pears are just beautiful, don’t you?

fall holidays

A long bread basket, houses two acorn squash, a artichoke and two limes and red pears.

fall holidays

A fall display doesn’t have to be fancy.  I love the simplicity of this long white serving plate with the miniature pumpkins.  A green dish towel provides great color contrast.

fall holidays

I like this arrangement too.

fall holidays

When my mother-in-law was preparing to move from her house to an apartment, she gave me this large white bowl as well as the long white serving plate.  They make the colors of fruit and vegetables really ‘pop’, like the two acorn squash, red onion, artichoke, small gourd and limes, above.

fall holidays

Gather together three pillar candles at differing heights and group fruits and vegetables underneath for a lovely centerpiece.

fall holidays

I used plain glass vases to put miniature pumpkins in.

fall holidays

To create my main fall centerpiece, I grabbed some candles from the mantle over the fireplace to add to the display for a little height.

I placed my heirloom pumpkin onto a cake plate to raise it above the other fruits and vegetables.

I grabbed a few pinecones that I had picked up over the summer during out trip to the mountains.  

fall holidays

I also used a few dried gourds that I had grown in my garden a few years ago.

As you can see, there is no right or wrong way to arrange the produce.  Just place things where you like them – I prefer larger fruits and vegetables toward the back and smaller ones in front.

Some of the produce will last longer then others.  Switch out the apples, oranges, limes and pears every week.

In addition to creating a beautiful centerpiece, using produce for decorating is natural, you can eat much of it and you don’t have to find room to store it when the fall holidays are over – I can’t tell you how many boxes of Christmas decorations I have stored away, so it is nice to not have to worry about storing my fall decorations.

So what do you think?

Will you be inspired to create your own fall display the next time you push your cart through the produce aisle?

What fruit and/or vegetables would you like to use?

Is you home decorated for fall yet? I am still working on getting my house ready for the fall holidays.  

Fall Centerpiece

Normally, I am content to buy a single pumpkin and set it in the middle of my dining room table.  But, after seeing my mother’s beautiful fall centerpiece (above), I decided to try to do something a little more creative…

Fall Centerpiece

So, I decided to challenge myself to see what I could come up with for my own unique fall centerpiece by taking a visit to the produce section of my local supermarket.  I was determined to look beyond the normal fall offerings of pumpkins and Indian corn to see if I could be inspired. 

Fall Centerpiece

Surprisingly, I found quite a few vegetables and fruits that would look nice in a fall centerpiece.  So, armed with my cell phone camera, I started taking photos of some of my favorites…

Fall Centerpiece

Acorn Squash

Now, I don’t like to eat squash at all.  I still remember hiding the cooked squash in my napkin that my grandmother would try to get us to eat.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash

BUT, squash looks great when used as a fall decoration.

Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash

In fact, I have even seen Butternut squash decorated as a ‘Jack-O-Lantern’ with a ghost face colored in using black markers.

Artichoke

Artichoke

Okay, artichokes are another vegetable that I don’t like.  But, they look great in arrangements, so I bought one.

Pomegranates

Pomegranates

Finally, I found something that I do like to eat AND decorate with – pomegranates.  I love their deep color, don’t you?

Oranges

Oranges

Limes

Limes

Let’s not forget citrus, which is always beautiful no matter how you use it – whether in a bowl in the center of the table or as part of a larger arrangement.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

I admit that heirloom tomatoes aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when creating a fall centerpiece.  But, their deep and rich colors would accent any centerpiece.  Tomatoes won’t last as long as the other produce I have profiled, so use for a few days and then eat them.

Mangoes

Mangoes

How about mangoes? 

Apples

Apples

Apples are great for decorating the tabletop.  I like to use them at Christmas time as well.

Red Pears

Red Pears

I don’t think I have ever noticed all of the different types of produce that my grocery store had before now.

I did come away with a few things that I will attempt to create a centerpiece out of.  I promise to share it with you later.

In the meantime, I did find myself captivated by the unusual pumpkin offerings at the store…

Fall Centerpiece

Aren’t they beautiful?

I selected one for my centerpiece.  When I got home, I excitedly showed it to my kids, who to my surprise, were not happy about it.  They asked, “Is this the pumpkin we are going to carve?”

I assured them that this pumpkin is for decoration only and will hopefully last until Thanksgiving.

I did promise them a ‘regular’ pumpkin for carving later on.

So, when you head to the supermarket this weekend, take a closer look at the produce aisle and see what you can use to create your own ‘natural’ fall centerpiece.

Is It Fall Yet?

apple harvest

Last week, I shared with you our latest apple harvest.

My kitchen was filled with bags and bags of delicious, crisp, apples from my mother’s apple trees.

(I don’t have any apples from my trees yet because they are too young).

admit that I didn’t get to my apples right away.  So, they sat in my kitchen.  My granddaughter, Lily, had other ideas for the apples.

A Lapful of Apples and Caramel Apple Jam

She would pick out a couple of apples from the bags.

Lily

Lily then brought them over to me.

apples

And, proceeded to put them in my lap.

apples

By the time she was done, I got the message she was trying to tell me….

It was time to start making some treats with my apples.

Caramel Apple Jam

In the past, I would make homemade applesauce.  Once you have tasted homemade, the store-bought just doesn’t cut it.

This year, I was inspired to make something new.

Caramel Apple Jam

How does Caramel Apple Jam sound?

I found this wonderful magazine at the checkout lane (after I had glanced over the tabloids to get my weekly update on celebrity happenings ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

preserving fruits and vegetables

The magazine is a Better Homes & Gardens special publication devoted to preserving fruits and vegetables (I have seen it at Walmart and Barnes & Noble).  It is filled with jams, jellies, sauces and so much more.  I dog-eared half the magazine with recipes that I want to try.

Well, I decided the Caramel Apple Jam would be my first recipe to try.

chopping fruit

The hardest part of making fruit jams is peeling and chopping fruit.  So, I finally got smart and asked my 15-year old daughter to help me.  

Chopping apples

Chopping apples went so much more quickly with two people.

Like applesauce, we cooked the apples and then put them through a fruit mill, which removed the peels and ‘mushed’ up the apples to the consistency of applesauce.

caramel

At the same time the apples were cooking, I made the caramel from white sugar.

A Lapful of Apples and Caramel Apple Jam

Then combined the two, put it in jars and processed them with my boiling water canner.

Caramel Apple Jam

The Caramel Apple Jam tasted so good that I made two more batches that are now sitting in my pantry.  It tastes great on toast or served warm over vanilla ice cream.  My husband likes eating it plain out of the jar ๐Ÿ˜‰

Caramel Apple Jam

With my leftover apples, I sliced them up and added flour, sugar, cinnamon and lemon and froze them.  I’ll use them later for apple pies, this fall.

How about you?

What are enjoying eating from your garden this summer?