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Recipes

Our secret to taking your favorite fall recipes up a notch …


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Picture your Grandma’s basement. Great wasn’t it? Chock-full of discovery. The way it smelled like old books and powder detergent and could keep you entertained for hours. Grandma Doris’ basement didn’t disappoint. Not only did she have a swing (translation: old piece of wood tied to a rope) hanging from the rafters, but it’s also where she kept her canned vegetable collection – the secret to her lick-your-fingers cooking. Plenty of her favorite recipes called for fresh vegetables and no matter the time of year, she never had to go further than down her stairs.

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This tradition of canning using the “Water Bath Method” was passed on to our Dad and just so happens to be the secret to the best chili you’ve ever had. We promise. We’ll share that recipe in a minute – but first let’s start with the canning process:

Disclaimer: While we are confident in this canning technique, we do not assume responsibility for any illness or infection that may occur from improper sterilization during the canning process. Please use caution – food will spoil if not sealed correctly.

What you’ll need:

  • Water bath canner
  • 2 large saucepans
  • Canning jars, lids
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Canning salt

How much will this cost?

  • Water bath canning pot with rack – approx. $20 (one time expense)
  • Set of 12 pint-sized canning jars – approx. $10 (one time expense)
  • Canning salt – approx. $3

 

Let’s get started!

  1. STERILIZEone of us is a nurse, the other has a one year old, if there’s one thing we’re good at, it’s sterilizing and disinfecting. Put all your jars, lids and rings into boiling water in your water bath canner and let that baby bubble.
  2. TOMATO PREP – Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While you wait, remove the core of the tomatoes (similar to coring an apple) and poke a few holes into the skin. **You’ll also want to cut out any imperfections or bad spots. This may sound like common sense, but you “can”not can rotten tomatoes.

FullSizeRender-53. BOIL – add tomatoes to boiling water. They should boil until skin can be pinched and easily removed. About 3 minutes.

4. REMOVE tomatoes from boiling water to cool. Skin will peel off when tomatoes are properly cooked. To peel, pinch tomato and peel skin back. It is that easy! (Be sure we are skinning with clean hands of course!)

FullSizeRender-65. REMOVE sterilized jars after about 7 minutes. We like to do this with tongs to avoid contamination and burns.

6. SALT: If you are using pint jars as we did, you will now add ½ tsp of salt into the bottom of the jar.

FullSizeRender-77. CUT tomatoes into quarters and place into prepared jar. You will want to smoosh the tomatoes down as you place them into the jar to get rid of any air bubbles.

8. LEAVE ½ inch of room at the top of the jar for an air seal.

FullSizeRender-99. WIPE the tops of the jars with a paper towel that has been dipped into boiling water. Use a new paper towel with each jar to remove any juice or germs that may still remain on the jar’s rim. Again, cutting down on any risk of any contamination.

FullSizeRender-1010. PLACE boiling lids on jars. Remove the lids from the boiling water with tongs (that have been dipped in boiling water of course) and place on jars.

FullSizeRender-1111. NEXT, screw on the canning lids hand-tight. No need to sterilize these but if you’re extra cautious, proceed.

FullSizeRender-1212. SWIRL the now fully assembled jars into your saucepan, full of boiling water. This slowly introduces the jars to the temperature change to avoid any cracking glass. Repeat with all jars.  Jars should be completely submerged with lids pointing up.

13. SLOW BOIL all of the submerged jars for 25-30 minutes (with the lid on the pot).

FullSizeRender-1314. REMOVE the jars after 30 minutes of boiling. We like to place our jars on a towel, again, to avoid any cracking due to a cool countertop and hot jars.

15. LISTEN for a “pop!” (if you don’t hear a pop, the jar is not properly sealed) and your fresh summer tomatoes are now on stand-by for your fall chili craving!

 

And now for that chili recipe we promised you …

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground chuck, browned and drained
  • 2 cans tomatoes, diced and drained
  • 1 can red kidney beans (we like the low sodium option), drained
  • 1 packet French’s Chili-O Chili Seasoning
  • 1 box elbow macaroni (optional)
  • 1 bag shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Oyster crackers (optional)

 

Brown ground chuck in a skillet, then remove from pan to drain grease. Add ground chuck, tomatoes, beans and 3/4 – 1 chili seasoning packet to a large pot and stir. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Serve over cooked elbow macaroni or by itself – topping off the chili with a handful of oyster crackers and a heap of shredded cheese and devour.

Home Decor

Fit for a “Princess”


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As a little girl, our co-author, Emily, watched Disney’s Cinderella every chance she could get. She dreamt of big dresses and beautiful shoes and going to “the ball.” Whatever that is. Fast forward a couple decades and not much has changed. Emily still loves Cinderella. She still dreams of big dresses, and actually has a wall full of beautiful shoes, and she’s definitely home before midnight. She never really outgrew her love of dressing up and feeling like a princess.

So, when she and her husband were building their home, she knew she needed some serious space to house her shoe collection – Her glass slippers, you might say – and she knew exactly how she wanted her favorite room in the house to look.

When working with a small space, it’s important to keep things light and airy when it comes to paint colors. We chose Dogwood by Sherwin Williams and we think it’s the perfect shade of light pink for a woman’s dressing room. Feminine, yet mature.

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We found an antique Statton Trutype dresser on Everything But The House that just happened to fit perfectly into a niche in her closet (by perfect we mean within 1/2″ on either side. She was so excited to find this piece she bid, and won, before she remembered to measure.) One of the things we love most about aged furniture is the solid construction. This dresser was a steal at just $70! A solid wood frame and 9 dovetail drawers mean this little find is strong and reliable. We refinished it with a coat of homemade chalk paint in a very fair, almost-white pink. A metallic monogram (topped with a crown, of course) was just the elegant touch this piece needed. A little back sanding for just a touch of distress and ……

We like to let our antique pieces do the talking so we kept the top of the dresser nice and simple with an antique vanity set, a glass lamp (Pottery Barn), and one of our favorite candles from Flores Lane. We love these hand-poured soy candles so much we have one in every room. They’re small, simple and the scent is never overpowering, perfect for a small space. Besides that, who doesn’t love the way candlelight fills a room?

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Finally, we finished with another flea market find, this gilded antique mirror for just $45! We love the way it anchors everything together … and the way it reflects the light from our crystal chandelier (also Pottery Barn) on the ceiling. A few personal touches like a silver framed wedding photo and this happy little place is fit for a princess!

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Home Decor

“Five More Minutes….Please?”


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By Sunday afternoon we start to get the itch to get things ready for the week ahead. Meals to be planned, grocery lists to be made, and that ever-growing mountain of laundry beckoning from the wicker hamper in the closet.  We know laundry day may seem daunting to most, but for us it seems to be one of our favorite chores. There is something oddly therapeutic about folding basket after basket in front of re-runs of Golden Girls with a hot cup of coffee just like our Grandma Jane used to. We love the smell of clean laundry and the way it seems to freshen every corner of the house, we love big fluffy towels warm out of the dryer (sometimes we have to resist the urge to wrap ourselves in all of them at once like when our Mom did the laundry and used wrap them around us until they went cold.) But what we love the most? FRESH LINENS. Is there anything better than climbing into fresh sheets after a long day at work or a full day of chasing your children? We say no.

Featured today is our co-author, Jessica’s, bedroom with welcoming touches of old and new and a dreamy white palette that oozes that “come get comfy” feeling. Her bed frame was literally plucked out of the mud at a flea market. She came, she saw, she had to have it. A little TLC and minor repairs from our handy-dandy Daddy-O and it was as good as new.

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Pillows and linens were all purchased from our favorite antique shop around, Ambassador’s Antiques & Fine Linens, in Lebanon, Ohio. That store is our happy place. The owner has a perfect mix of new and old, and really embraces the way a ruffled bed skirt or lace-trimmed pillowcase can soften a bedroom. If you’re nearby, we highly recommend a visit. She and her store are both lovely and we promise you won’t be disappointed.

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We, of course, recommend following the laundering instructions on all of your linens, but for an added just-five-more-minutes scent, we absolutely adore any of the Downy Unstoppables scents. throw in a cap full with your sheets and blankets and let your linens freshen the entire room.

Blog, Home Decor, Recipes

Happy Mother’s Day from Sincerely, Doris Jane …


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A mother is a delicate balance. She is strong enough to be the cornerstone of the household and the matriarch of her little family, yet gentle enough to offer her shoulder to tiny crying faces. She is confident in her maternal wisdom, both inherited and instinctual, yet humble enough to remain in the shadows to let her children take the spotlight. She is beautiful, sometimes in ways only a mother can be, whether it’s the light in her eyes when she plays with her children, or the beaming “glow” radiating beyond the round, firm belly of pregnancy, yet she lacks enough vanity to put her children and her family before herself. She is the first friend. The loudest cheerleader. The kisser of bumps and bruises. The steady hand when learning to walk. The phone call for reassurance. The first card on your birthday. The giver of hugs and kisses and rides to elementary school. She is both uniquely and wonderfully herself, yet a perfect combination of the mothers and grandmothers who have come before her.

(more…)

Home Decor, Recipes

An Elegant Antique Easter


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Our favorite holiday of the year came with lots of preparation, and plenty of opportunities to incorporate our favorite heirloom pieces and other antique accessories. Our Elegant Antique Easter post will provide a peek into our family’s Easter celebration, with a recipe for the best carrot cake you’ve ever tasted as an added treat.

Let’s start with one of our favorite accessories. Easter is a time for feminine frills and floral touches, a favorite, yet often forgotten Easter accessory of ours, are a pair of delicate white gloves. Here is a simple guideline to “getting caught glove-handed” and wearing your shorties with style and grace:

  1. Always remove your gloves when they are at risk of being stained. In general gloves should be removed before eating and may be put back on after you are finished. After dinner cocktail? You may keep your gloves on, unless there is a high chance that you may spill your beverage onto your gloves.
  2. Need to powder your nose or reapply your favorite lip gloss? This should be done in the privacy of the Ladies room with gloves removed. At these parties there will be a lot of meeting and greeting, in this situation you should not remove your glove unless it is someone of high religious authority.
  3. Speaking of religion, going to church Easter morning? Don’t get caught with your gloves on if you plan to take the Eucharist by hand. If receiving by mouth gloves may remain on.
  4. Have fun with your gloves, we enjoy searching through antique shops who often have them for as cheap as 3$! But, be careful how you handle your new found accessory as there used to be secret meanings in the Victorian Era!
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Shown here, a favorite pair of gauntlet-length white gloves, just $6 at an antique store in Lebanon, OH. 

Our dinner table this year held an extra special gift from our Poppy. Our Great-Great Aunt Clara’s rose floral china was the focal point for a beautiful Easter table. Though we had to bend the table setting rules a bit (rearranging the utensils for example) to fit everyone we could, it still turned out exactly the way we planned, and the “bunny-fold” napkin tutorial we found here was the perfect touch.

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Now for dessert. A staple at our Easter table each year is carrot cake. We’ve found this sweet and dense, but not too rich recipe to be absolute Easter perfection. The recipe is also relatively simple. Display on a glass or delicate cake pedestal for added elegance. Serve with a cup of hot coffee or a glass of cold milk to ensure every crumb will be gone by the time your guests leave. Our favorite recipe from Taste of Home can be found here.

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This glass cake stand came with a beautiful cut-glass dome, a great find at an antique show for only $40! 

We hope your Easter celebration was as delightful as ours was and that you were able to enjoy the day surrounded by your family and friends. A blessed (and belated) Easter and happy fun-filled spring to all of our readers!

Home Decor

To my friends …


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Very often we’re able to depend on the wisdom and advice of our family. Whether that advice be for raising well-behaved children, keeping a clean and tidy home, or perfecting a well-protected family recipe, we tend to hold the words of our late relatives very dear to our hearts. Our guess is there is something your Mother, Grandmother or maybe your Great-Uncle taught you how to do, or used to say that you’ve passed on to your own children.

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Pictured Above: Top – Lizzie’s children, along with her little red notebook. The bottom photo is our Great Great Grandmother (wearing glasses) and her daughters (L-R) Florence, Mary and Clara. 

A few years ago, our Poppy gave our mom a small, red book full of yellowed pages, worn thin not only by the hands of their owner, but also by the hands of the clock. Inside, these delicate pages held poems, sayings and thoughts of our Great-Great Grandmother, Lizzie. We turned each page carefully, bursting with excitement. We couldn’t wait to find a way to incorporate some of her writing into our everyday lives. How wonderful to be able to display the words of our Great-Great Grandmother in her actual handwriting!

Lizzie Chair
Our finished canvas is pictured above, along with a chair that also belonged to our Great-Great Grandmother, Lizzie Von Luehrte. 

For this project, we scanned our favorite poem from her notebook, then took the scan to Staples to have it printed onto a transparency sheet (The same kind your teacher probably used in grade school math class.) With a projector, we projected her handwriting onto a canvas and traced it, then carefully went back over each letter with gold leaf paint

In an effort to keep her writing within the family, we’ve decided not to share the entire poem on our site, which is why you’ll find some of the words are blurred.