Monday, November 20, 2017

Studio 5: Cornbread Stuffed Acorn Squash!

Thanksgiving Point (a nonprofit farm, garden, and museum complex here in Utah) hosts the only First Thanksgiving reenactment outside of New England.

I've never been, but after preparing for the Studio 5 segment I want to!

Growing up in Canada, we would celebrate Thanksgiving, but in October.  I didn't know much about the roots of this beloved holiday, so I was excited to learn.  Wow, what an amazing story of courage, perseverance and friendship.  

To leave everything you hold dear, to start a new life in a land you are completely unfamiliar with, to lose half of your original party, to suffer sickness, homesickness, to live on the Mayflower that first winter...all of it must have been incredibly difficult and I'm sure made their first harvest all the more sweet.

Both the English and the Native Americans (Wampanoag tribe) celebrated the harvest.  I love that, for a time, two different cultures could come together, put aside fear and share their resources and knowledge.

I've included a list of what was likely served at this 3 day feast, in case you want to host your own "eat like a pilgrim" dinner next year.  Or you could include just one part of the meal, add it to your traditional Thanksgiving menu and use it as a launching pad to talk about the original feast.

We only know 2 things for sure about that first Thanksgiving dinner.  Venison & wild fowl.  Everything else is a guess, but an educated guess.  We know what was indigenous to that area and what the Wampanoags were cultivating.

Based on that, I created a Corn bread stuffed Acorn squash!  I took a few liberties, but we do know that Acorn squash and Pumpkin were aplenty, in fact, the Pilgrims called Acorn squash "Ground apples".  Apples were something they sorely missed and both Pumpkin and Acorn squash, once pureed reminded them of Apple Butter.

We also know that there were berries & nuts growing in that area.  The Wampanoag would dry berries and cranberries, although they called them Ibimi (which means sour or bitter).  They also cultivated important crops of Corn, beans and Squash.

The Pilgrims brought seed with them, and were able to grow vegetables and herbs.  And they most certainly hunted and used every part of the animal, including making there you go.  Everything we need to make a real show stopping Thanksgiving side dish!

Corn bread Stuffed Acorn Squash

Recipe will fill approx. 2-3 Acorn squash depending on how large they are.  One half would make a great meal on its own, but as a side dish, I would cut squash into halves or quarters.  You can also double the recipe for larger crowds.


2-3 Acorn squash
one 8x8 pan (Approx 6 cups) of homemade cornbread
(or you can use a mix,  just don't buy the corn bread stuffing in a box.  I tried it, not good.)

1/2 cup dried cranberries (Craisens)
1/4 apple cider vinegar
3/4 lb. Hot Italian sausage (or mild if you prefer)
1 1/4 cup chopped onions
3/4 cup sliced celery
2/3 cup chopped roasted Pecans
1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme leaves
1 Tbsp Fresh Sage Leaves, chopped coarsely
1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped finely
2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1 Tsp Freshly ground pepper
1 Egg

1 cup chicken broth (you may not use all of this)


At least one day before, cut cornbread into 3/4" squares (these will get smaller by the time they dry and are assembled).  Spread out and let dry thoroughly.  You can speed up this process by toasting them in the oven.

Cut Acorns in half.  You may need a cleaver for this, as they are hard.    Trim off outside (bottom) part with a knife until they sit evenly.  Rub cut part and inside with olive oil.  Generously salt & Pepper.  and cook in a 400 oven for 30 minutes.  They will be partly cooked at this point.  A fork should insert fairly easily at this point.

While squash is cooking, cook stuffing.
Place Craisens in a small bowl and pour the vinegar over them to macerate.  This will plump them up and add a little zing.
Cook Sausage until brown, remove and set aside.
Add onions & celery to the pan and cook for 5 minutes until soft.
Depending on how much fan rendered from the sausage add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the butter.
Add Pecans & Herbs and seasoning.  Cook another 5 minutes.
Drain off vinegar from Craisens and add to mixture.

Meanwhile, beat one egg and add to a corn bread cubes in a large bowl.  Mix.
Add cooked ingredients and mix.
Add chicken broth a little at a time, until the corn bread has soaked in the moisture, but don't let it get mushy.  Do not over mix, just toss lightly.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (ei: more salt).

Use an ice cream scooper and scoop stuffing into center of cooked acorn squash until quite full.
Place back in oven and cook for another 30 minutes until top of stuffing is golden brown and squash is fork tender.

Oh my goodness, such a perfect balance of sweet & savory!  real comfort food!

First Thanksgiving Menu

Roast Turkey
Roast Beef
Steamed Mussels or Lobster
Corn bread
Sallet (Salad) of Herbs & Cucumbers
Roasted Root Vegetables
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Berry Cobbler
Indian Corn Pudding
Pumpkin custard

Historical Readings
For fun, take turns reading historical readings during dinner (see notes in red).

During this 1600s, good food consisted of meat, bread & beer.  Hard labor needed carbs & protein and during this time, even children drank beer, as often water was not suitable to drink.  (Even though the Pilgrims had no apples, a spiced apple cider is a good substitution for our meal.)

As a result, meat, fowl & seafood was center stage on the first Thanksgiving table.  In preparation for the 3 day feast, the men had gone hunting for wildfowl.  The Wampanoags (the native people) brought venison.  It's likely that they had seafood as well, as mussels, clams, lobster and fish were abundant in this area.

"If you will boil chickens, young turkeys, peahens, or any house fowl daintily, you shall, after you have trimmed them, drawn them, trussed them, and washed them, fill their bellies as full of parsley as they can hold; then boil them with salt and water only till they be enough: then take a dish and put into it verjuice [the juice of sour crab-apples] and butter, and salt, and when the butter is melted, take the parsley out of the chicken's bellies, and mince it very small, and put it to the verjuice and butter, and stir it well together; then lay in the chickens, and trim the dish with sippets [fried or toasted slices of bread], and so serve it forth."  The English Housewife 1615

Gravy?  Absolutely!  Every part of the animal would have been used, including the drippings!  Here's an original transcript from 1615.

"Take fair water, and set it over the fire, then slice good store of onions and put into it, and also pepper and salt, and good store of the gravy that comes from the turkey, and boil them very well together: then put to it a few fine crumbs of grated bread to thicken it; a very little sugar and some vinegar, and so serve it up with the turkey: or otherwise, take grated white bread and boil it in white wine till it be thick as a galantine [a sauce made from blood], and in the boiling put in good store of sugar and cinnamon, and then with a little turnsole [a plant used to as red food coloring] make it of a high murrey color, and so serve it in saucers with the turkey in the manner of a galantine."

Cute poems about Pumpkin & Corn Pudding

Instead of pottage and puddings and custards and pies
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies;
We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,
If it was not for pumpkins we should be undone!

And all my bones were made of Indian corn.
Delicious grain! Whatever form it take.
To toast or boil, to smother or to bake,
In every dish ’tis welcome still to me,
but most, my Hasty Pudding, most in thee. 

John Josselyn, in hisNew England Rarities Discovered (London, 1672) also discusses the use of hominey or corn in puddings:
It is light of digestion, and the English make a kind of Loblolly of it to eat with Milk, which they call Sampe; they beat it in a Morter, and sift the flower [flour] out of it; the remainder they call Hominey, which they put into a Pot of two or three Gallons, with Water, and boyl it upon a gently Fire till it be like a Hasty Puden; thye put of this into Milk and so eat it.
In 1662, John Winthrop, Jr., son of John Wilthrop (1588-1649), first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, wrote the following about the pudding in his letter to the royal Society in London. 
. . . this is to be boyled or Stued with a gentle fire, till it be tender, of a fitt consistence, as of Rice so boyled, into which Milke, or butter be put either with Sugar or without it, it is a food very pleasant. . . but it must be observed that it be very well boyled, the longer the better, some will let it be stuing the whole day: after it is Cold it groweth thicker, and is commonly Eaten by mixing a good Quantity of Milke amongst it. . .

Q's Creative Cards: FREE SHIP on all Christmas Card Kits!

For a limited time, these Christmas kits get FREE shipping!  

Just follow the links and use the drop-down menu to add First kit (for pick up) or just First kit.

Each pre-cut & ready to assemble kit comes with a step-by-step slideshow, Printables & SVG files.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Studio 5: Creamy MAPLE Dressing & Fall Salad

It was a beautiful Fall Day in Sydney, Nova six of a ten day Fall Colors Cruise.

After over a week of going, going, going, we decided to enjoy a simple stroll in town and a leisurely lunch at a popular restaurant near the dock.

My sister-in-law ordered a Spinach Salad with a Creamy Maple Dressing.  I ordered Lobster.  It was good, but WOW, the Salad dressing was outstanding!  Donna had ordered it on the side, so we kept dipping in it, trying to figure out the ingredients.

I walked out of the restaurant and immediately emailed my producer over at Studio 5 and said if she had a kitchen segment needed, I had something I wanted to share!  Yeah, it was that good. :)

There are several recipes online, but I came up with my own and it's a winner! 

Creamy Maple Dressing
{tangy, slightly sweet and creamy.  Perfectly paired with a Fall Salad}

Mix the following in a jar, then shake to mix.  Store in fridge for 3-4 weeks.
·         5 Tbsp Maple Syrup
·         2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard (grainy or smooth)
·         2 Tbsp White Balsamic Vinegar
·         1/4 Cup Mayonaise
·         3 Tbsp Half & Half
·         1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
·         1/2 Tsp Freshly Ground Pepper

Of course, we need an actual SALAD for the dressing, so I combined all my favorite Fall food into one glorious salad. 
Fall Salad
Serves 6 generous servings or 12 smaller servings
{A combination of your favorite Fall Flavors, plus colorful & crunchy!}

Fry bacon
slice 6 pieces of bacon into small 1/4" pieces and cook on medium heat until chewy & crispy.  Lay on paper towel to drain off some of the fat.  Let sit at room temperature.

Cook Butternut squash cubes
Pour off excess bacon fat, keep hot and place 2 cups butternut squash (1/2") cubes into pan.  Add generous amounts of salt & pepper.  It will only take 5-10 minutes depending on the size of your cubes.  I like to slightly under-cook my squash, so try one. :)  You're looking for nice golden cubes.  They look like croutons!  

Marinate Red Onion
To take the bitter bite out of onion, slice a 1/4 of a red onion very thinly (or chop) and soak in White Balsamic vinegar while making the salad.  Drain before adding to salad.

Assemble in a bowl or display on a platter
1 bag of pre-washed spinach
half to whole Honey Crisp Apple (sliced thinly or chopped)
1 Pear (sliced thinly or chopped)
1 cup honey roasted Pecans
1/2 cup Shaved or crumbled sharp white cheddar (Bellavatano from Harmons grocery store here in Utah, is perfect.
1/2 cup Craisins (optional)
Finish off salad with a freshly ground pepper.

Serving Options

·     For a dramatic food centerpiece, deconstruct your salad into layers on a long serving trough.

·     For a quick side salad, chop ingredients and toss in a bowl.

·     For a plated salad for a dinner party, toss Spinach & Onions in dressing, then layer rest of the ingredients on a single plate.

·     For a main dish, add a sliced chicken breast on top of salad, OR serve with a soup or grilled sandwich.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Q's Creative Cards: Christmas Vintage TWINKLE Cards

Is it that time of the year already?  Why, yes, it sure is when you are a card maker!

We need time to put our personal touch to the season and what better way to start than with these beautiful vintage Christmas cards?

Five cards with vintage prints, beautiful sentiments, die-cuts, patterns, charms & ribbon.  All easy to create with my step-by-step slideshow with photos and easy to follow instructions.

Purchase also includes all printables & cut files!

Christmas Vintage TWINKLE cards
Everything is pre-cut, (some are pre-scored) and ready to assemble so you can create more beautiful things, like it's Sister kit...

Christmas Vintage Twist & Pop Cards!  
Buy both and get free shipping!  

Vintage Twist & Pop cards AND Twinkle Cards

Class Schedule for Vintage Christmas TWINKLE cards
Mon., Nov. 6th           Sandy Hobby Lobby                  2 - 4 pm
Nov. 7th          South Jordan Hobby Lobby        5:30 - 7:30 pm
Nov. 8th          South Jordan Hobby Lobby        10am - noon
Wed., Nov. 8th          West Valley Hires Big H              6 - 8 pm
Nov. 9th        American Fork Senior Center      6 - 8 pm
Nov. 10th       Layton Hobby Lobby                  10am - noon
Nov. 10th       Layton Hobby Lobby                  2 - 4pm
Nov. 10th       Layton Hobby Lobby                  5:30 - 7:30 pm

What you'll need: 


Roller-type adhesive for putting cards together.  
Regular Foam squares

THIN foam squares
1/2" foam roll 
Mini & Micro Glue dots 

Dotto or liquid glue to delicate die-cuts

Tools & Supplies:

Paper Piercer 
Large lid or small container to place small items from kit
Distress ink: Gathered Twigs & Stamping Sponge
Ranger Stickles (Glitter Glue) Diamond & Christmas Red

If you have any questions, please let me know.

...and would love if you posted these pictures to Pinterest! 

Q's Creative Cards: Vintage Christmas TWIST & POP Cards

If you're looking for a little more 'action' from your cards this Christmas, look no further...this kit has some great shapes, angles, twists & pops!

If you're new to creating 3 dimensional cards, no fear, I've made this as easy as possible with a step-by-step slideshow with great photos & instructions and pre-scoring (on some) of the cards.  

Everything is pre-cut and ready to assemble!  

*Please see Sister-kit, Twinkle Cards for a complete Vintage ensemble!

Vintage Christmas Twist & Pop Cards
What you'll need to complete Christmas Vintage Twist & Pop Kit


Roller-type adhesive for putting cards together.  
Regular Foam squares

THIN foam squares
1/2" foam roll
Mini & micro Glue Dots

Tools & Supplies:

Paper Piercer * micro hole punch
Bone folder & 12" trimmer
Large lid or small container to place small items from kit
Distress ink: Gathered Twigs & Stamping Sponge
Ranger Stickles (Glitter Glue) Diamond & Christmas Red.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

...and would love if you posted these pictures to Pinterest!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Studio 5: Jar Ring Pumpkins for Fall Decor

Watch the video, then scroll down for picures, instructions and ideas!

Grab that bag of loose Mason Jar rings you have hiding in a cupboard and make something beautiful for your Fall home decor.  It's easy, it's inexpensive and it's fun. 

All you'll need is 24 Mason Jar Rings and Jute to create your pumpkin.
Raid your craft stash, or anywhere else in your home for the added details to make your pumpkin a one-of-a-kind creation.

Create one or several to assemble into a beautiful table centerpiece with pedestals. 


Alter jar rings, if you wish (see below for ideas)

Thread 24 jar rings onto a long piece of Jute.  It's a little easier to handle if you use a long dowel or wrapping paper tube to slip all my rings onto. 

Tie jute into a knot snugly, making sure the rings are all overlapping each other in the same direction. 

Decorate center of pumpkin as you wish (see below).

Altering Jar Rings:

The easiest & fastest way to do this is with Washi Tape.  1/2" washi tape will fit perfectly on the side of the rings.  If yours is a bit wider, you can roll it under or cut it to size.

Painting is also easy, but you have to let the paint dry before you assemble.  Spray paint is faster than hand brushing paint on, but you have to apply several coats to get an opaque color.

Once you have painted your rings, you can sand off some paint for a farm house shabby look (see Sunflower Pumpkin).

Decorating Centers of pumpkins:

It felt a bit like a treasure hunt finding centers for all my pumpkins. 

I found a thicker candle (Hobby Lobby has lots of colors of thicker candles) that fit perfectly in the center of my gold washi tape pumpkin, then purchased some gold glitter curly stems at Michaels to surround it.

For the black pumpkin, I cut a paper towel ring down to size, then cut along it's length.  I spray painted it black, curled it into itself a bit so it would fit in the center of the pumpkin.  Before I tucked it in, I laid some black tulle in the center so it was pushed down.  Lastly, I tucked some black crinkle paper around the stem.

For my Orange pumpkin I rolled up some burlap into a stem.  I tucked a Bay leaf and a leaf I cut from a fall floral arrangement (it won't be missed) around it.  Lastly, I found some more curly stems at Michaels that were so perfect to tuck in next to the stem.  I created a few sentiments on paper, cut out and curled with my finger, then tucked in to the center.

I bundled some cinnamon sticks for the center of my cream pumpkin, stole another leaf and some berries and added more of the curly stems.

For my Farm House Sunflower Pumpkin, I stole a sunflower from my door wreath (again, didn't even miss it), as well as a thick branch I found outside in my wood pile.

Lastly, a little printed banner is a lovely final touch.  You can use the ones I created (see below) or create your own.


Look around your home to find unexpected ways to display your jar ring pumpkins.  If you're making several pumpkins, use different heights to create a visually interesting effect.

I used several candle stick holders, small plates and cake pedestals to showcase each pumpkin.

I surrounded the orange pumpkin with a small berry garland I had in my stash.
Lastly, I had some twinkle lights from Christmas that I tucked into the center of the large black pumpkin and put on the outside of the smaller Gold pumpkin. 

After playing with these jar rings I had a few other ideas...the only one I had time to create was a garland below.  But I think you could use the same concept as a tag for gift bags and boxes.

I also REALLY wanted to create some little jar ring candle and even bought all the supplies, so stay tuned, I may get to this still.  Pour orange scented candle wax into the altered rings (of course, with the lid on the bottom).  Tuck into a celophane bag for a cute little gift or favor, or nestle in some raffia or grapevine as a table setting favor.  

Mason Jar Rings Garland

One more additional idea...I had a natural garland that needed something extra, so I die-cut some letters to spell AUTUMN and glued them onto paper on the back of each jar ring that I had spray painted cream.  I tied them on to the garland with jute.

If you want to use my banners, just click on one to enlarge.  Right click and save.  Open in a word document, size, print and cut!

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"The art of being
HAPPY lies in the
POWER of extracting
happiness from
COMMON things."
~Henry Ward Beecher



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