Friday, November 30, 2012

Lisa and Nikki's Holiday Friday Finds!

Hi Friends:

This week's Friday finds is devoted to decorating for the holidays! What has inspired and delighted us? Here they are - the sights, sounds, and one-of-a-kinds we loved!
You have to love this over-sized grapevine wreath embellished with a cheerful gingham bow!
Beautiful wreath made with vintage ornaments!
Look at this basket of vintage ornaments! We love the idea of displaying these beauties in a bowl, apothecary jar or adding them to your ornament collection and covering a slim line tree placed in your kitchen.
Sugar pinecones in seasonal planters. So quick and easy to assemble!
Georgia's is all about repurposing so we love what Green Depot is up to. They are selling  23" x 27" color samples from YOLO Colorhouse, an eco-friendly paint company, for $2. These samples, meant to save paint bought for painting test patches, make beautiful craft and wrapping paper! 
What a treat! Randolph Street Holiday Market shoppers and vendors were entertained throughout the show by carolers. This photo was snapped during their rendition of "Let it Snow".

Check back next Friday for vintage stocking stuffers for the home!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Accessorize Your Door!

I have a confession. For the past 15 months, I have completely ignored my front door. There, I said it.

I, myself, can't even believe I made such a terrible gaff. I mean, my front door is my guests' first impression of me, my home, my family! I can't have the pizza delivery guy thinking that I run a ho-hum operation in here. And what about our Thai delivery lady? I'm sure she just shakes her head in wonder at our boring door...and our incredible knack for consuming mass amounts of Crab Rangoon.

Well, no more. Trusty moss "B" door decoration for the past year, you have more than served your purpose; now step aside. It's the holidays and our door is getting the makeover it deserves.

Now, where to begin...

Do I go traditional winter greens with a big beautiful red bow wreath hanger? No, but isn't this wreath hanger out of this world?
What about a great set of vintage jingle bells. Super cute...but no.

So what did I decide on?

First I started with this awesome door swag that I picked up from Home Depot for $5. It smelled great and served as the basis for my door's new look. Next, I ditched the red faux velvet bow.
I added a pair of 1930's Dutch ice skates. Oh, how I love these.
To finish off the look? A great big, beautiful natural burlap bow trimmed in red.

Recognizing that I don't have the best track record for switching out door decor, I am starting seasonal. Instead of a holiday-specific decoration, I opted for a look that will last all winter long.

Now, I best get started thinking about Spring! Do you have any ideas to share? We want to hear them! Tell us in the comments section.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Homemade Turkey Stock and Turkey Soup!

Hi Friends:

Like many of you, I am trying to use up my leftover turkey. After finishing off most of the white meat on hot turkey sandwiches, I am left with wings, legs and thighs (dark meat is definitely not preferred in our house). I could do a turkey salad, but decided to try my hand at turkey stock for soup and future gravy as stock freezes well. The process is actually very simple with minimal hands-on time; start it around noon and you'll have a delicious soup for supper! Give it a try, you won't be disappointed!  

Turkey Stock and Turkey Soup
3 lbs wings, legs and thighs
1 large onion, peel on
2 celery stalks, large dice
2 carrots, large dice
3 parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
10 cups water
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
 Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place turkey pieces, skin side down, in a roasting pan and roast until browned turning once - about 40 minutes. Remove from pan and place in a stockpot.
Add onion (cut sides down), celery and carrot pieces to roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes stirring once. Add roasted vegetables to stockpot.
Deglaze roasting pan with 1/2 cup of the water and then add pan juices along with remaining water, parsley, bay leaf, salt and pepper to stockpot. Bring to a boil, skim if necessary, reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 3 hours.

Just look at that rich stock! Strain and cool for later use or make soup by adding 1/2 onion, 2 celery stalks and 2 carrots (diced small) to stock. Simmer just until vegetables are tender.
While veggies are simmering, prepare soup noodles (or rice) and dice any remaining turkey meat. Assemble soup by adding cooked noodles and turkey meat to a bowl, ladle on hot stock and top with some grated parmesan cheese. 
There's nothing better than homemade - Enjoy!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Lisa and Nikki's Friday Finds!

What has inspired and delighted us this week? Here they are - the sights, sounds, tastes and one-of-a-kinds we loved!
First things first! Let's address what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers. Georgia's loves Martha Stewart's recipe for Thanksgiving Leftovers Shepherd's Pie. Get the recipe here!
Vintage anodized aluminum housewares seen at New York City's Pier Antiques Show!
How about this for a clever gift idea - convert trophy tops into bottle stops! Seen at the Randolph Street Holiday Market in Chicago.
On our road trip to New York City last weekend, we saw dozens of utility truck convoys returning to the midwest after providing much needed help restoring power to areas hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. We couldn't help but feel pride in America!

If your shopping this weekend, Georgia's encourages you to shop local and support small businesses. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Let's Talk Turkey!

vintage ceramic turkeys

Hi Friends:

The Georgia's crew devotes this post to all things Thanksgiving. We, like many of you, will be spending the day in the kitchen! Here are a few things that we found to be tried and true:

*Don't stuff the bird. The stuffing doesn't get hot enough which may not be safe and it takes longer which may dry out the meat. More importantly, you miss out on the crispy bits! Consider cooking the stuffing in muffin cups so everyone gets some of the crunchy deliciousness!

*Plan for 15 minutes per pound at 325 degrees. Test for doneness with an oven thermometer inserted in the thigh meat. The bird is done when the temperature reaches 165 degrees. Tent with tin foil to keep warm until the sides are ready.

*Good gravy is made with a roux, a fancy name for thickener. Melt 1/4 cup unsalted butter in a saucepan. Stir in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour. Continue to stir until roux is lightly browned and smooth. Whisk into your stock and pan drippings.

*To avoid stodgy, glue-like mashed potatoes, keep it simple. Just add a knob of butter and some milk to boiled and drained potatoes. Beat quickly with a hand mixer until creamy.

*Share the tasks; more hands makes for less stress and more fun.

*Take a 30 minute walk in the morning; you may not feel like it after dinner and you'll be glad you burned a few calories! 
We found this great image on Pinterest and loved it immediately!

This poem is dedicated to you, our friends:

Thanksgiving Friends
Thanksgiving is a time
For reviewing what we treasure,
The people we hold dear,
Who give us so much pleasure.
Without you as our friends,
Life would be a bore;
Having you in our lives
Is what we are thankful for.
Adaptation of Thanksgiving Friends by Joanna Fuch
Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pumpkin Nut Bread!

Hi Friends:

Well, my husband doesn't like pumpkin. Oh, he'll carve one, but that's it. I know, it's just wrong, bordering on anti-American. What would the Pilgrims think! Every year about this time, I start nagging him to give it another try.  I know he is never going to like pumpkin pie, but there are lots of recipes out there calling for pumpkin, and maybe, just maybe, if I could find a recipe where the pumpkin is not overpowering, he would like it. I researched pumpkin breads. I knew this was going to be my best shot because the guy is a bread fiend. After some ingredient analysis and a little recipe tweaking, I came up with a great pumpkin nut bread - moist, nice spice, subtle pumpkin flavor, and yet definitely pumpkin, with options for add-ins of your choice, toasted nuts and/or dried fruit. Best of all, it's a typical quick bread - easy! Give it a try, I know you'll like it because he did!
Pumpkin Nut Bread

Ingredients for two loaves:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp each, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
1/4 tsp each, ground allspice and cloves
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (no added spices)
2/3 cup buttermilk (I used 2/3 cup and 1 1/2 tsp vinegar)
1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped, toasted pecans (or walnuts)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans.
Gather ingredients. In medium bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.
In mixing bowl at medium speed, beat butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in pumpkin (the batter will appear curdled - no worries, the batter will come back together after the addition of flour). Turn mixer to low and alternately add in flour mixture and buttermilk. Note: I never have enough opportunities to use buttermilk, so I make my own in small batches (see above). I use a ratio of 1/2 tsp of vinegar to 1/4 cup of milk. It can also be made with lemon juice instead of vinegar.

Toast pecans for 5 minutes over medium-low heat tossing occasionally. Don't walk away; nuts burn easily!
Stir in pecans and divide batter evenly between two loaf pans.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Enjoy fresh out of the oven! May be frozen.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lisa and Nikki's Friday Finds!

What has inspired and delighted us this week? Here they are - the sights, sounds, tastes and one-of-a-kinds we loved!
Silver plated goodies!  We love using plated ice buckets for floral arrangements. 
Vintage crocks and stoneware! These were once used to store food products. Georgia's loves repurposing them, especially in the kitchen.
Thanksgiving is next week and it's time to get out the bowl! Georgia's tech guy makes awesome stuffing and was given an honorary bowl to perform his magic in. This extra large melamine bowl is from Crate and Barrel and has a lip that is perfect for engraving. Consider honoring someone you love for their culinary accomplishments with an engraved piece!
This Thanksgiving, sweeten each place setting with a Godiva chocolate turkey; your guests will love the take home favor!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chalk It Up to Repurposing!

Photo Credit: Carasco Photography

Here at Georgia's we are all about repurposing, a passion that runs deep for all of us. Not only is repurposing green and good for the environment, it can be a real cost saver, too, especially when planning a wedding. As many of you know, last year I married my best friend and teammate for life. Repurposing was a key theme in our wedding. I wanted to avoid waste at all costs, not only to save some green, but to be green.

One way we cut down on paper use was by using chalkboards. The project began with a visit to one of our favorite salvage warehouses here in Chicago where we found a great vintage gold frame. We brought it back to Georgia's workshop and cut down a Grade A smooth piece of plywood (with no knots) to fit in the frame's opening. Next, we applied fasteners to the back, similar to what you would see on a traditional picture frame. Finally we applied multiple layers of black chalkboard paint to both sides of the plywood. Chalkboard complete.

Photo Credit: Carasco Photography
What did we use it for? The front side of the chalkboard was our ceremony program which we displayed as people walked to their seats. During cocktail hour, the frame was quickly moved and flipped over as the back side featured our menu for the evening. I bet you are wondering where it is now. You guessed it, in the process of being repurposed yet again. But I have to be honest, it is a project I haven't completed yet. This frame will either continue to function as a chalkboard, hold a corkboard for my office or become a mirror for my living room. I haven't quite decided yet.
Photo Credit: Carasco Photography
Do you want a great repurposed chalkboard of your own? Georgia's is stocking up on frames and has amassed quite a collection. Check them out and stay tuned for the grand opening of our online store where we will feature framed chalkboards in addition to winter and holiday decor items.
Now go get some chalk!