A hand-me-down Hoosier cabinet

A few weeks ago my paternal grandmother asked me if I was interested in an old cabinet she purchased years ago that was now in possession of my great-great-aunt, her mother’s sister. At first I wasn’t sure if I had room for it in my tiny kitchen, but after some mental rearranging I told her I would take it. With the exception of our bed and our love seat, every piece of furniture I own either was a gift or a hand-me-down, which suits me just fine.

From her description, I knew it was a large cabinet with lots of storage space, which is something I always need for the food I buy in bulk or for kitchen knickknacks.

Here’s what I inherited:

My wonderful, new-to-me cabinet!

My wonderful, new-to-me cabinet!

After some research, I discovered that this cabinet is generally known as a Hoosier cabinet. Cabinets like these were manufactured by several companies in Indiana (hence Hoosier) and were used in kitchens before built-in cabinets were around. There aren’t any markings on this cabinet, but based on online pictures from the Amish Acres Historic Farm & Heritage Resort, I think this is a Coppes Napanee cabinet from the mid-1920s.

My grandmother bought this in the mid-1950s and she told me it was an antique then. She used it in her farmhouse kitchen for a few years until her built-in kitchen cabinets were put in, then it was passed to my late great-grandmother. My great-great-aunt got it in the 1970s and has had it ever since. My great-great-aunt is in her late 90s now and is downsizing, so she wanted to pass it back to my grandmother since she was the original purchaser. My grandmother passed it to me.

I think it’s in pretty good shape for its age, don’t you? I’ve washed it off and given it a good polish, but it still needs a little TLC. The tambour door needs repaired and the bread board needs reglued, but everything else seems to be OK. The porcelain enameled top still slides out for extra counter space and the bottom right drawer is the old tin bread box.

This cabinet came with the part of the old flour bin that fits in the left cabinet on the top. It’s missing the sifter and the glass window on it and it’s also pretty rusted. I’m trying to find a replacement online because I would love to use a bin, but I’m only finding bins that are for decorative purposes and not for food use. Can anyone guide me on that?

I know it’s an antique and probably is worth something, but I don’t care about that. I’m proud that I’m the fourth generation to use this cabinet and I hope it serves me for years to come!

Summer’s winding down and the canner’s heating up

I feel like August has been nothing but a food preserving marathon!

I’m just finishing up today’s pickle palooza. I keep forgetting how many pickles just a small amount of cucumbers can produce! One paper grocery bag full gave me four quarts and 14 pints of bread and butter pickles and nine half-pints of sweet relish, with leftovers. I’ve only gone through 10 pounds of sugar today. Whew!

I find that I have a few must-do every summer canning recipes: apple butter, apple pie filling and some sort of pickle. Do you have those in your recipe box as well? What are your staples?

Pinspiration Wednesday: Black-tipped French manicure

Let it be stated for posterity that I am not a pro at painting nails. I usually stick with one color, be it funky or vanilla, and call it a day. For example, my toenails have been glitter-fied enough to make a disco ball envious. That’s about as funky as this redhead gets.

I was feeling girly Thursday and found this pin of a black-tipped French manicure. Nude-color polish is my current fascination but it can be a bit blah against my already pale skin. But adding black makes it edgy, right?! (Sidenote: Can I still get away with this at 28?)

So while binging on a multiple replays of my favorite The Piano Guys┬ávideos on YouTube and staying up way past my bedtime, I gave this manicure a shot. Here’s what it looks like today:

Nothing says redneck glamour like a nail shot with a mason jar...

Nothing says redneck glamour like a nail shot with a mason jar…

I know you all are so jealous of my blue Ball Heritage Collection jar turned drinking glasses. For the record, that’s water in the bottom, not moonshine.

Now, the one pro tip I can offer – the only reason this looks half-decent is because I used reinforcement labels as guides. You know, those little stickers that I commonly call doughnuts that are used around the punch holes of loose-leaf notebook paper? Cut those suckers in half and stick them on your dry nails before painting the tips. That’s the poor girl’s way of doing a manicure!

I really didn’t raise a lot of eyebrows with this manicure. The best comment came from my dad, who jokingly (I think) said that it looked like I had grease under my nails. Specifically, that grease was “Valvoline with about 500 miles of dust” in it. I died laughing at that.

So, what do you think? Do it again with a steadier hand or leave it to the teenyboppers?

Apple-palooza

This turned up at my house on Monday…

536662_663440348881_1721211852_n copy

…and promptly consumed my soul and kitchen for two days straight.

A jazz bandmate of my husband has a few apple trees and is gracious enough to give us any leftovers when he has them. Apparently this year was a doozy for apples! What you see is one 3-gallon bucket and two 5-gallon buckets of fruit. And when these apples turn up, I have to can them fast so they don’t rot. I hate to waste free food, especially when it’s GOOD food.

I believe these are Summer Rambo apples but I’m not an apple expert. I just know they’re darn good baking apples and make the best freaking apple butter and apple pie ever.

I knocked out the 3-gallon bucket myself on Monday and turned that into five quarts of applesauce. I called in the troops (aka my sister, the fastest apple-peeler alive) last night to crank out the rest.

Out of that entire haul, I only had to pitch roughly 10 bad apples.

The final applefest tally was:
– 9 pints of pie filling
– 10 pints of unsweetened applesauce
– 5 quarts and 6 pints of cinnamon applesauce
– 2 baked apple crisps

That’s the most apple products I’ve canned to date. And I was warned that more are likely coming, so the second round will go to apple butter if I get it. Hopefully cider will be in the stores by then so I can make the apple butter!

Are any of you canning yet this year? What have you put up so far?

Pinspiration Wednesday: Tennessee sweet cornbread

So after getting a week-long break from the rain in Ohio, we’re back to cool and soggy weather. It rained so hard here last night that my pasture field was turned into a series of rushing creeks and a pond. Thankfully, everything’s back to normal today and I can actually see the sun again.

The cool weather has me craving fall foods though. I know, it’s almost August (and canning season!), but all I wanted Monday was a huge pot of soup and cornbread. I have to have bread with my soup – it’s a rule.

I was jonesin’ for cornbread, of all things, to accompany the sausage vegetable soup I made. Since I’m a Yankee, I like my cornbread sweet. I have a million cornbread recipes but I wanted to try something new, so I found this recipe for Aunt Marcia’s Tennessee Sweet Cornbread on Pinterest from http://www.justapinch.com.

I had to take a bite first to make sure I wasn't recommending something nasty to my readers! (Read: I have no self-control.)

I had to take a bite first to make sure I wasn’t recommending something nasty to my readers! (Read: I have no self-control.)

I may have also been looking for an excuse to use my Lodge cast-iron wedge pan┬áthat my mamma scored for me in a store’s clearance section last year. It’s an absolute bear to clean and needs a lot of lard for greasing still so my cornbread doesn’t stick, but I love how it gives baked items a great crust on all sides! I’m tempted to make brownies in it one day for that reason…

I really liked this cornbread and am still snacking on it today. I made the second round of it with blueberries tossed in for an extra treat! This cornbread really isn’t that sweet after I made some slight modifications and is a dryer cornbread if that’s what you prefer.

Here’s the recipe, with my modifications based on what ingredients I had:

1 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup white sugar
4 Tbsps. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil

To make, mix together the first six ingredients together in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir with a spoon. Pour into a cast-iron skillet or pan.

Bake at 425 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.

What’s your favorite cornbread recipe?