I will have to say that it was regrettably an unfortunate incident that caused me to come up with this retro recipe for lime Bavarian salad. My mother, an octogenarian, was recently recovering from a short illness and doing quite well. My sister picked her from the hospital to go home on a chilly but sunny winter Saturday and was involved in a pretty serious car crash.
Back to the hospital they went, this time both as patients. A few cracked bones and bruises turned out to be quite devastating for my mother. My sister, although not admitted to the hospital, was quite banged up as well. So I took some time off to go and stay with Mom while Sis recovered.
Retro Salad Recipe
Stirring around in the still unfamiliar kitchen (she moved into a condo a few years ago), I happened upon her old cook book from the local women’s church group. Published in 1979, it contained all sorts of interesting recipes, all neatly typed in old typewriter pica type with the name of the Lady’s Auxiliary member submitting the recipe. They were neatly bound with plastic spirals and colorful dividers for the recipe categories.
During the 1960s and 1970s, congealed salads made with different flavors of gelatin, fruits, cheeses and other ingredients were popular. I am sharing what turned out to be one of my favorite retro recipes, a version of lime Bavarian salad.
There are several different Bavarian salad recipes from potato salads to fruit salads. This fruity jello salad incorporates crushed pineapple and lime jello with mozzarella cheese. Cool Whip and marshmallows add fluff and sweetness, while chopped pecans add crunch.
Try this retro salad for a change of pace from all those regular salads. It will compliment any meal.
1 small can pineapple, crushed and drained
2 cups water
1 small package lime jello
1 cup pecans
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 large container Cool Whip
Lime Bavarian Salad Instructions
place marshmallow and water in pan. heat until the marshmallows melt.
add directly to the lime gelatin powder in a bowl.
mix well and chill, but not until set.
stir in pecans, cheese and pineapple.
refrigerate several hours or overnight until set .
if desired, garnish with sugared lime slice flowers with cherry centers.
Delicious, authentic Bavarian food reflects regional cooking that developed over centuries. Growing out of the rural areas, the recipes were refined by Bavarian dukes to serve to the royal court.
Trifle is said to have it’s origins in foole, a dessert of fruit puree, sugar, and whipped cream. In 1596 Thomas Dawson of England published a recipe consisting of thick cream, ginger, and rosewater. In later years a milk custard and alcohol-soaked bread were added.
Variations of trifle today include fruit, jellies or gelatin, custard, cream, and port or sherry-soaked cake. They are truly tasty and decorative as well.
Today my friend Annejie (pronounced A nee kee) shares with me her old family recipe for a delightful trifle. Annejie is originally from South Africa. She is of Dutch descent and her cooking is divine. To her family, Christmas without trifle would be an American Thanksgiving without turkey.
The British have influenced the South African culture throughout generations. They took over the Cape from the Dutch in 1795. It was returned to the Dutch seven years later and was seized by the British again in 1866. After the discovery of diamonds and gold in SA, the British fought determinedly in the Boer Wars to retain control. SA remained a Dominion of England until 1931.
Annejie’s dishes often reflect English, Dutch, and Malaysian influences.
Planning The Trifle
Annejie plans her trifle in two-day sessions. On day one, she makes the cakes and prepares the Jello. The next day, she cooks her custard, whips the cream and layers the trifle when the custard has cooled.
South African Christmas Trifle
3 Loaves Sugar Cake, cut into bites, recipe below
4 Packages Lime and cherry Jello, large size
8-10 Cups Custard, favorite recipe or packaged
2-3 Cans Fruit Cocktail, tropical, drain and reserve juice
2 Cups Sherry or port wine
1-2 Cups Malted milk balls, optional
1 Quart Whipping cream, whipped
To prepare for her masterpiece Annejie will bake a “sugar cake”. The sugar cake is surprisingly easy. Annejie prefers this recipe because the cake’s texture and consistency are excellent for soaking up the fruit juices and port in the trifle.
Sugar cake recipe:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
This recipe makes one loaf. Annejie needs a large trifle. She will bake 3 loaves of sugar cake.She begins by beating the eggs and then adds the other ingredients one at a time.She explains that a good mixing machine is important for the fluffiness of the batter.
Annejie bakes the sugar cake loaves in a 350-degree oven. They turn out perfectly as she removes them from the hot pans to cool on a cooling rack.
The cakes are cooling. Annejie prepares the red and green Jello brand gelatin according to package directions. It will take awhile for the Jello to gel. Meanwhile Annejie stores the sugar cake in air-tight containers. They will be cooled off and sponge-like for the trifle building.
Annejie will next make a custard for the trifle layering. This sounds like it is going to be a bit more difficult but Annejie makes hers with ease.
In the UK custard is a medium-thick sauce and is popular for using in desserts. Many times people want to resort to packaged custard because it is easier. But for the best tasting custard Annejie recommends a homemade custard.
Like most good cooks, Annejie measures, tastes and adds as she cooks. There are many custard recipes available if more precise measuring is desired.
Annejie makes her custard with milk, sugar, vanilla and custard powder. She uses almost a gallon of milk.She purchases custard powder, available in the international foods aisle in most supermarkets. She pours almost the whole gallon of milk into a large sauce pan. She heats the milk, adds some vanilla and begins with one and a half cups of sugar. She uses the rest of the milk to stir up with about 7 serving spoons of the custard powder. (To use eggs, use 8-12 beaten egg yolks).
Over medium heat she stirs the mixture constantly until it is a medium-sauce consistency.Annejie pours her custard into casserole dishes to cool.
The fruit is going to be an important part of the trifle.The fruit juice,combined with port or sherry, helps to give the trifle it’s delicious flavor.The sugar cake will be essential to soaking up the liquids. Annejie chooses tropical fruit cocktail for her trifle.
Annejie uses a strainer to drain the fruit juice.She combines the drained fruit cocktail juice with about two cups of port wine. She sets the fruit aside to use in the layering.This trifle is sounding better and better!
Instructions For Christmas Trifle Recipe
Prepare the jello. Cut into cubes when set.
Bake sugar or pound cake in advance. Cool
Make custard using your favorite custard recipe. Cool
Drain fruit and reserve
Add fruit juice to sherry or port.
Cut cake into bite-size pieces
Layer ingredients in a large bowl. Cake, custard, Jello, fruit. Toss in a few malted milk balls if desired
Pour liquid over ingredients. Let soak a few hours.
Before serving, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles.
The layers begin with slices of sugar cake
Cake, custard, Jello and fruit layers. Add the liquid in between. Malted milk balls add a fun surprise.Top it off with whipped creme.
Putting it All Together
All the ingredients prepared, it is time to build the layers of the trifle. Annejie chooses a large glass bowl to make sure everyone can see that it is just as pretty as it is tasty. She begins by placing layers of the sugar cake at the bottom of the bowl. Next goes on some of the custard topped with the red and green jello (which has been cubed).Then she adds some of the tropical fruit cocktail.
Annejie continues to layer the cake, custard, Jello and fruit cocktail. She stops now and again to pour in some of the liquid(fruit juice and port mixture). Often when she makes trifle she will toss in a few malted milk balls here or there for a crunchy surprise but this is optional.
Annejie whips up a quart of real whipping cream to top her creation. Now the traditional Christmas trifle her family loves is ready to adorn the table. It is SO delicious! If you try Annejie’s delightful trifle with ribbons of red and green gelatin, you may just start a family tradition of your own for generations!
Craft sticks are actually Popsicle sticks and tongue depressors like doctors use to check out our throats. Tongue depressors are wider than Popsicle sticks. There is no need to eat lots of Popsicles or swipe tongue depressors from the doctor’s office. Boxes of them are sold in the craft section of department stores and they are very inexpensive.
Other craft supplies to use for homemade craft ornaments include the following
pom poms in different sizes
Craft Stick Christmas Ornaments
Craft stick Christmas ornaments are easy for kids to make. Inexpensive materials and little preparation time make them a good choice for making Christmas ornaments with kids, especially as last minute ideas. Teachers and caregivers will appreciate these simple ornament ideas using craft sticks.
Craft sticks, along with other craft supplies will help kids create really cute homemade Christmas ornaments. Some of these ideas make great refrigerator magnets, Magnetic strips can also be purchased in the crafts section of department stores.
Parents and grandparents will cherish these ornaments or magnets for years to come. They will appreciate the teacher or caregiver’s efforts in helping kids make homemade Christmas ornaments. These are fun to make with your own kids too.
Craft Stick Tree Ornament
Glue three craft sticks in a triangle shape.
Tuck in and glue a third craft stick.
The kids can paint this shaped with green paint.
Allow the paint to dry. Kids can decorate them with pom poms or other craft supplies.
Add gold glitter on a yellow craft foam star for the top
Add a ribbon hanger.
Craft Stick Rudolph Ornament
Glue craft sticks in a triangle shape.
Leave an overlap for antlers
Paint with brown tempera or acrylic
Allow to dry.
Glue on googly eyes
Give Rudolph a red pom pom nose
Add a festive green ribbon and hanger
Snowman Craft Stick Ornament
Paint a craft stick white
Allow to dry
Glue on eyes and buttons with small black pom poms
Use a black Sharpie to add a mouth
Glue on an orange pom pom for the nose
Add a scarf of Christmas plaid ribbon
Cut and glue on a piece of chenille stem for the earmuffs
Add pom poms on each side to complete the earmuffs.
Craft Stick Christmas Snowflake Ornament
Arrange six Popsicle sticks in a hexagonal design.
Paint with white tempera or acrylic
Allow to dry
Glue on clear beads.
Add a hanger of silver rope thread
Peppermint Stick North Pole Sign Ornament
Paint a craft stick with white tempera or acrylic
Add stripes of glue
Sprinkle on red glitter
Make a green construction paper arrow sign shape
Write ‘North Pole’ on the sign
Glue to the top of the candy cane pole
Manger Picture Frame From Craft Sticks
Form a square with four craft sticks that over-lap.
Glue the four craft sticks together at the corners
Glue on two extra craft sticks at the top in a triangle to form a roof
Glue blue paper behind the ‘roof’.
Add a craft foam star
Add a photo from Christmas manger scene play
glue magnetic backing or use as and ornament
Snowman Fridge Magnet
Glue 6 wide (tongue depressor) craft sticks onto a backing of 2 narrow (Popsicle)sticks. The Popsicle sticks provide support for 6 wide craft sticks.
Glue a wide craft stick across the top horizontally, about 2 inches from the top.
Paint the bottom white to represent the snowman’s face. Paint the top and horizontal stick black to represent the snowman’s hat.
Allow to dry. Add googly eyes.
Add craft foam shapes for hat band, carrot nose and mouth.
Add a narrow black ribbon, and the magnet becomes and ornament.
If desired, kids can personalize the front with name, date. Use a silver Sharpie.
Manger with Angel
Form manger as shown 3 craft sticks and two halves.
Use halves of 3 other sticks to paint image of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus,
Use another craft stick half and a shiny pipe cleaner to form angel.
Because of distance or travel time, Thanksgiving may be one of the few times during the year that certain loved ones can get together. Since children,grandchildren, nieces and nephews grow and change each year, this year try starting a Thanksgiving Memory Table Cloth. It is an easy and inexpensive way to create a special family keepsake.
Materials for Memory Table Cloth
1. Purchase an inexpensive linen-type white table cloth
2. Fabric paint in Fall colors
3. Fabric markers
4.Large size artists brushes
Spread brown fabric paint on child’s palm and thumb with the large artist’s brush. Then carefully paint each of the four fingers a different color such as yellow,orange or green. Have child to carefully press hand palm-down on a prearranged area. Wash hand! Child then uses fabric markers to embellish the “turkey” with eyes, comb and waddle. Maybe even a little Pilgrim’s hat one year to be different. Encourage each child to express their own creativity.
Be sure to have each child use the fabric markers to add their name, date and special yearly message if desired.
Thanksgiving Memory Place Mat
A variation of the Memory Table Cloth is a Thanksgiving Memory Place Mat.Individual children can do hand prints on 11-inch by 14 inch construction paper. Use Tempera or acrylic paint rather than fabric paint. Embellish with fine pointed colored Sharpies brand markers. Cover with clear Con-tact for durability. These would make great gifts for grandparents, aunts and uncles.
Imagine how valuable your Memory Table Cloth or Place Mat will be in years to come!
Does your school, office, or dorm have a Red Ribbon Week door decorating contest? Need some fresh ideas?
The contest comes around every year along with other activities to honor Red Ribbon Week. It comes around the same time as, you guessed it, Halloween, so it’s not unusual to see a Halloween theme incorporated in the decorations.
History of Red Ribbon Week
Red Ribbon Week is a week in late October or early November to emphasize and promote drug and violence prevention. It started slowly after the kidnapping and murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camereno and his pilot in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1985.
Camereno’s efforts led to the discovery of a multimillion dollar narcotics manufacturing operation. Citizens in Camereno’s hometown wore red ribbons in his honor. Clubs were started in California high schools in 1986. Club members presented Nancy Reagan, then the first lady with a proclamation.
The first official Red Ribbon Week was organized in 1988, proclaimed by Congress, and chaired by Mrs. Reagan.
12 Ideas for Red Ribbon Week Doors
1. Drugs will Make You Croak.
A confused frog smashed into the window.
2. The Fortune Teller’s Crystal Ball Says it with Lights
Painted with poster paints on black paper. Your Future will be Bright if you Keep Drugs out of Sight.
3. Warm Hugs Not Drugs
Individually decorated snowmen and snowflake cutouts
4. Oh, The Places We’ll Go
Dr. Suess theme. The good life, drug free.
5. Cool Ninja Turtle
Of course, he’s wearing a red bandana!
6. Your Team Against Drugs.
Your favorite team is in the lead . Drugs score 0.
7. Be a Lifesaver, Not a Dum Dum
Can we eat the candy later? Yes, it’s real.
8. Drugs are a Nightmare
A Halloween theme spelled out on a big yellow moon.
9. Don’t Be Bugged by Drugs
Spooky spiders and bats with googly eyes.
10. Election Day is Around the Corner
The candidates are saying drug free slogans.
11.You Only Live Once
Think twice. A powerful message personalized with photos.
12. A Message with a Halloween theme.
The haunted house, big moon, ghosts, and bats tell the message perfectly.
Turn your cheese balls into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween! This cute cheese ball will delight your guests, and if you are invited to a fall potluck event, it travels well.
Simply follow a cheddar cheese ball recipe and form the cheese ball into a pumpkin shape. Tinted cream cheese will give your pumpkin cheese ball a jack-o-lantern face. A green bell pepper’s stem become’s your pumpkin’s stem.
Use this same idea all through the harvest season into Thanksgiving by leaving off the jack-o-lantern’s face.
Ingredients for Jack-o-lantern Cheese Ball
2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, reserve 1/4 cup
1 8 oz. container chive-and-onion cream cheese
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt
stem of a green bell pepper
black and orange (red/yellow) food coloring
Directions for Jack-o-lantern Cheese Ball
Mix all ingredients and form into a ball
Chill at least 2 hours
Use a piece of string or yarn to make indentations like on a pumpkin
Dye about a fourth cup of cream cheese with black and orange food coloring
Put the dyed cream cheese in a sandwich bag and snip the corner.
Many early childhood programs assign children days for taking turns sharing snacks for snack time by bringing them in from home. One February, we wanted to get really creative and send a snack in to commemorate American Dental Health month.
They are made by slicing red apples, spreading peanut butter on the slices and attaching mini marshmallows as teeth. But alas! We remembered that a note home earlier in the year warned that one child in the class had a peanut allergy. Darn. And it was such a cute idea. But wait! Why not substitute cream cheese for the peanut butter! Better yet we could use strawberry cream cheese to represent pink healthy gums!
The apple smiles snacks turned out great and were a big hit with students and teacher.We are sharing some ideas for good snack sharing in case your child has a classmate with peanut allergy. They are very easy to assemble and children can easily help. The only task the parent should do alone is slicing the apples.
Please read the background information on peanut allergies first.
Incidence of Nut Allergies on the Rise
There appears to be no clear reason for a dramatic increase in peanut allergies in recent years. One theory is that the rise is due to more consumption of dry roasted peanuts rather than boiled. The drying process may alter the peanut protein in some way.
Other Nut Allergies:
Botanically speaking peanuts are actually legumes like beans, however, studies indicate that children who are allergic to peanuts are at increased risk for being allergic to at least one other tree nut (pecans, walnuts almonds, chestnuts, macadamias and more). Most doctors of children with peanut allergies advise parents to eliminate all tree nuts from the home if a child has a peanut allergy.Introducing tree nuts into the home should be managed by the individual’s allergy specialist.
Symptoms and Dangers of Nut Allergies
The medical condition caused by a peanut allergy, anaphylaxis, causes cells in the body to release a massive amount of histamines. Symptoms will include itching, hives, sneezing, coughing and wheezing. Gastronomical distress may also be present. Upon constriction of airways, an extreme drop in blood pressure may occur. Without a shot of adrenaline, death is likely. There have been cases reported where a child ate cookies or other foods with “hidden” peanut products and tragically did not survive.
Parents of peanut-allergic children have real and understandable fear. A study conducted by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) found that food allergy families suffer greater emotional distress than even those with epilepsy or asthma. This is probably due to food sharing at school, children’s parties and play dates at other’s homes.
Replacing Peanut Butter When Cooking With Kids
Peanut butter is a popular food for cooking with kids. It can be a sort of natural food glue for all those cute creations we like to make. Kids love eating foods that resemble animals or other familiar objects. This is a great motivator to encourage young children to try new foods. Due to the extreme danger of anaphylaxis, we should refrain from using peanut butter or any nut product for food sharing with other children. Try substituting cream cheese for the “food glue” properties of peanut butter in snacks!
Edible Flowers and Ants on a Log
Children can spread cream cheese on a round, whole wheat cracker and press in golden raisins for the “seeds” in the middle of the flower. Use a few thin slices of the apples to form the “petals.” Add a celery stalk “stem.” Be sure to talk about ways to use the apple scraps; eat them, make cooked apples or even use in composting.
Ants on a log are popular and healthy children’s snack. Substitute cream cheese for the usual peanut butter in ants on a log. For a really cool variation use dried cranberries for some of the ants (they can be fire ants) as well as raisins. Cranberries are an antioxidant-rich super food and they taste great with plain cream cheese.
Apple smile snacks will make everyone smile! Be sure to have an adult cut the slices. They should be about one-half to three-quarters of an inch thick. Blot the apple slices well with paper toweling. We found that if they are too moist the cream cheese doesn’t stick well. Add mini-marshmallows and enjoy!
Beautiful autumn color can inspire just about anything, even cupcakes. Celebrate the season with my autumn-inspired cupcakes. Granny Smith apples and spice give these cupcakes the flavor of the season. They smell wonderful while they’re baking and give the kitchen such a warm, homey feeling.
To frost your fall cupcakes, experiment with mixing just the right amounts of yellow, brown, red and orange food colors. (Brown food color is available in most specialty sections of department stores). You can create shades that mimic Mother Nature’s palette.
The acorns? They’re made with Nutter Butter minis, Hersey kisses and butterscotch morsels. Just hold everything together with a tad of creamy, sticky peanut butter.
Bake these and serve with spiced tea at your fall book club meetings, or any fall event. They are the perfect fall cupcake.
Ingredients for Apple Cupcakes
1/3 Cup Butter, melted
3/4 Cup Milk
2 and 1/2 Cups All purpose flour
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tps Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Cups Granny Smith apples, chopped
1 tsp Vanilla extract
Combine eggs, milk. melted butter and vanilla
Mix sugar, flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a separate bowl
Add dry mixture in the liquid ones just until moistened
Fold in the chopped apples
Bake in cupcake liners at 350 degrees for 18 minutes
Fall Leaf Peak Times in the United States
Northernmost parts of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.
Central parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Colorado
Highest elvations of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho
Highest elevations in North Carolina, West Virginia and Maine, Pennsyvania
Far North New Mexico, Cenral Colorado, Western Wyoming,
Eastern Idaho, Westernmost Montana, Northernmost Arizona and Central Utah
Western North & South Carolina, Western Virginia, Maryland & Delaware, Most of Pennsylvania, Western New York, Eastern Connecticut, Far Eastern Massachucettes and Maine,
Central & Southern Minnesota, all of Iowa, Northeastern Kansas, Southern Missouri, South and Central Wisconsin, Eastern North & South Dakota
Eastern Wyoming, Northern Arizona, Western Idaho, Central Oregon, Central Washington, North-Central California, Western Nevada
Northernmost Alabama, Mississippi & Arkansas, North Georgia, Western Virginia , Maryland & Delaware
Northeastern Oklahoma, Central Kansas, Souternmost Indiana
All but the central parts of Oregon& Washington, Lowest elevations of Northern California
Eastern Delaware, Eastern Virginia, North & South Carolina, Central & Southern Georgia & Alabama
Central & Soutern Arkansas, Central Mississippi, most of Oklahoma, Northern Texas, Western Kansas, Eastern Nebraska
Why Do Leaves Change Color?
Leaf coloration in the fall depends on leaf pigment and weather. Longer and cooler nights in the fall spark chemical processes that paint the leaves on deciduous trees brilliant colors in many part of the world. The three types of pigments that effect color are chlorophyll (green), anthocyanins (red) and caretinoids (yellow).
Chlorophyll and caretinoids exist within the leaf all through the growing season. Anthocyanins are present in the fall due to bright light and increased plant cell sugars in the leaf cells. As the length of darkness increases in the fall, the leaf stops making chlorophyll and the other pigments take over.
Leaf color also depends on tree species. Oak leaves turn red or russet. Poplar,hickory and aspen will be golden or yellowish. Sourwood trees and certain maples will be flaming crimson. Dogwoods are a pretty purplish-red.
Weather affects the fall show of colors. The most spectacular shows follow successions of warm, sunny days and nights that are cold but not freezing.
Fall Decorating Using Acorns Seed Pods and Pine Cone
I love the rustic feel and colors of Autumn. All the pine cones, seeds, and seed pods signify the end of the growing season. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures that can make some interesting crafts. Use them as part of flower arrangements or in Fall crafts such as a sustainable pine cone and nut wreath.
As I was walking down the path on another one of my walks for inspiration by nature for unique ideas, I was hit on the head with a round object. Ping, Kerplink. Ping, Kerplunk. Acorns were falling to the ground from the tall oak trees.
And like Sir Issac Newton and the Apple, bright ideas started popping up (or rather down in this case). I noticed that the acorns were well – pretty. That got me to thinking about what I could do with those acorns. From there, the search for acorns, seeds, pods and pine cones began!
The acorn is the fruit of the oak tree. Oak trees are very common and grow just about anywhere any tree will grow. Identifying an acorn as belonging to any one particular type of oak tree would be a daunting task.
I was not going to try to be a botanist on this walk but rather look for the fattest, juiciest looking acorns for our decorations. Those squirrels and other critters can wait, I will give them back later. Maybe. The squirrels have sabotaged the late tomatoes and early pecans.
Seeds and Seed Pods
Seeds grow new plants that look like the parent plant. Remember learning that in second-grade science? A coconut is the seed of a palm tree. It is only dispersed by a floating river. They are too heavy for animals’ furs to transport, and I doubt there is any creature that would eat one whole and thus disperse it through the digestive system. (Which is what birds do when they sometimes miss and hit your windshield). Hickory nuts, black walnuts, pecans, and chestnuts are abundant in the Southeastern United States. Once again, I did not try to match and identify. I found a lot of seeds and pods that are eye-catching.
More Seeds and Seed Pods
Various holly trees and bushes produce berries (seeds) of brilliant orange and red. I found that magnolias can produce some interesting seed pods. Some shiny red seeds inside have popped out and can be used in my creation. Some of the pods didn’t make it to maturity to produce seeds. They have fallen none-the-less, and will add variety to my collection. Many of the larger pods still have some seeds in them, giving them a festive look.
Painful but Pretty
Sweetgum balls and the hulls of chestnuts could add great texture to my display.They can be painful to touch but are pretty to look at.They remind me of porcupines. I suppose that is the way they protect themselves from too many squirrels and chipmunks.I wanted to add chestnuts to my growing collection. I noticed they are much more scarce than the empty seed pods. Where ever you live, just walk and think about how you can display any seed and seed pods that you find in an arrangement.
Pine Cones for Fall and Winter Holidays
Conifers are evergreen trees that produce seeds in a cone-shaped seed pod. Hemlock, cedar, and different pine varieties produce cones in different shapes and sizes.Pine cones have long been used in holiday decorations. Folks wrap them up prettily in bags along with long matches for gifts. Small pine cones, nut shells, small nuts and dried berries provide a natural filler for potpourri making.
Fall and Winter Holidays wouldn’t quite be the same without some nice large pine cones. The kids turn them into turkeys, and the parents use them to stoke a fire. Pine cones provide us with plenty of free,sustainable material to create some lovely and inexpensive holiday decorations.
They can be displayed in baskets ,glass containers, or as surrounding a candle. Use them naturally or spray with gold or silver spray paint. Dab essential oil on them to add aroma.
Displaying My Finds
I decided the best way to show off my collection of acorns, seeds, seed pods and pine cones was to put them all in a glass container. I was pleased with the arrangement. All the shapes, sizes, and textures worked together to create a rustic looking arrangement. I added a plaid ribbon at the bottom (sans a bow) to add a touch of class. I am thinking about using it as my Thanksgiving Holiday table arrangement paired with autumn candles in miniature pumpkins or perhaps long white tapers in glass candlesticks for a more elegant look. Then after dinner, I will scatter them around outdoors so those squirrels can continue to stock up for winter. I will forgive them for the tomatoes and pecans. Besides, there are still plenty of pine cones left to start using for my Country Christmas decorating!
Pumpkins are a big part of fall and the end-of-the-year holidays from jack-o-lanterns to pumpkin pies. All around town this time of year, you can find pumpkin-flavored coffee, pumpkin ice cream and all sorts of pumpkin treats. You see them stacked by scarecrows and hay bales on lawns.
Here’s a cool idea for using pumpkins. Make a pumpkin planter for some of your fall flowers such as pansies, violas, mums and ornamental kale and cabbages. Hollow out a large pumpkin just as you would for making a jack-o-lantern. Drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Fill will a good potting soil mixture and plant your fall plants.
Now you can enjoy your chilly weather-loving plants on the patio table or on your doorstep throughout the season. Then, depending on the growing zone you live in, plant the whole thing in the winter container garden or elsewhere. The pumpkin will then decompose, making rich soil.
How to Turn a Pumpkin into a Planter
Choose a medium to large pumpkin.
Decide what plants to use.
Cut the top off the pumpkin, a little wider than for a jack-o-lantern
Scrape the insides out thoroughly.
Drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage.
Fill it about three-quarters full with a good soil mix.
Arrange plants and plant them.
Fill in around them with more soil.
You can personalize your pumpkin planter by choosing white or green pumpkins. Use a combination of plants or simply plant a pot of mums in a large pumpkin.
Tip: If you want your pumpkin planter to last longer, scrape it out very thoroughly and coat the inside of it with petroleum jelly. Break up some charcoal briquettes and add an inch to the bottom. This way, the pumpkin will last a couple of weeks.
Plants for your Pumpkin Planter
Here are a few suggestions for what to add to your pumpkin planter. These plants can thrive outdoors and withstand frost.
Some Popular Choices for Fall Flower Gardens
Pansies are colorful annuals that are great for the garden all year in zones 4 to 8. They come in a lot of different colors. They like full sun. Pansies can be started in the spring from seeds. Start them indoors 6 to 8 weeks before they can be planted outdoors. Water them regularly and use an all purpose fertilizer on them.
Mums, or chrysanthemums as they are sometimes called come in a variety of colors and sizes. These plants are perennials in zones 5-9. Fall mums sold as annuals are very inexpensive and worth the price even though they won’t bloom again next year. They come in pretty rustic colors like deep gold and burgundy. You can also get white, pink, yellow and lavender ones. They like at least 5 hours of full sun. Water and fertilize regularly.
Ornamental Cabbages and Kale
Ornamental cabbages and kale go great in the fall garden alongside mums and pansies. They can withstand temperature drops to 15 to 20 degrees, making them excellent choices for zones 5 to 7. If you are going to experience 20 degree nights for more than a day or so, they will need to be covered with perhaps a sheet.
Can you eat ornamental cabbages and kale? Yes, but they are not very tender and they are not as tasty as the others.
Swiss chard is grown more for its tasty health benefits for salads more than it is for ornamental purposes. But its green and purple curly leaves make it attractive to use in flower gardens. For the prettiest and freshest Swiss chard, grow your own starting in spring. Then you will have Swiss chard for salads and gourmet cooking until a hard freeze. Not to mention green and purple beauty for your fall flower garden.
Other Possible Pumpkin Planter
There are so many cool ways to use pumpkin planters. I want to do a green pumpkin with burgundy-colored mums. I also want to do a gourmet cooking one with peppers and Swiss chard. Think up your own cool pumpkin planter idea this fall! This project was a lot of fun!