Rustic Holiday Entertaining at the Family Farm.

If you were to ask me my favorite season it would surely be Summer, but the tradition, smells + bells of the holiday season make Winter such a strong contender. At least the 4-5 true weeks of holiday celebration between Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Today I'm out at my husband's family farm to set up a rustic Holiday Tablescape, perfect for Christmas Dinner at the old barn at the front of the property.

match pewter candleabra / heirloomed tables cape
holiday entertaining at a rustic barn / heirloomed

The first time I saw the old barn I knew it was my most favorite place on the whole property. A tack + feed room, hay loft, resident cat and fresh coat of white paint on the old wooden walls make this building an easy contender in my book. 

You know I'm a neutral lover to the extreme but the holidays are my one exception where I bring in a pop of red to celebrate the season. One of my very favorite ways to decorate for the holidays is to let my simple backgrounds + bones set the tone while layering on heavy swags of fresh green garland and scattering in a pop of red here and there. This rustic set up at the farm was no exception. 

This year I went with a mix of fresh evergreen swags, magnolia boughs from my backyard (because, it's holiday time in the South after all) and a heavy scattering of pomegranates + sprinkling of cranberry strands for that pop of color. I love the rich red color of the fruit and the fresh element of bringing fruits + veggies into the floral elements, a signature touch I tend to lean on over and over again. 

WATCH THE VIDEO :

chocolate cake in rustic barn window / holiday entertaining / heirloomed
gorgeous pomengrante as decoration for holiday winter tablescape / heirloomed

For a Christmas Dinner table, you'll want to be sure to bring in a variety of pieces new and old. That's the best part of the holiday season, reliving and recreating those traditions from your childhood and creating brand new ones for your own children. Some, perhaps without you even knowing.

Here I'm mixing our go-to heirloomed oatmeal linens, the rustic White Lastra Collection dinnerware from Vietri, and several pieces of showstopper Match Pewter. Because I was fort nature to have been handed down both my grandmother + great grandmother's wedding china, we instead registered for nice dinnerware and continue to collect pewter table service pieces each anniversary to support our entertaining habits. And what better holiday to bring it all out for the family.

holiday entertaining at our rustic barn on the family farm / heirloomed
HoneyBaked Ham for rustic Christmas dinner /easy holiday entertaining / heirloomed

Now if you know anything about me or have followed along here for any amount of time, you know that equally important to tradition during the holiday season are those made-from-scratch handwritten recipes that my family has been making for generations. Filling the holiday table and my own kitchen with the same aromas and flavors that I remember from my childhood is absolutely essential for making the season special.

The exception to the rule, somehow, has always been the HoneyBaked Ham. We step outside the kitchen and have always had a perfectly glazed ham on the table during the holidays, bringing both beauty, ease and flavor to the table like no other. My kids + husband are all on the bandwagon year after year with this yummy staple. 

rustic loaf of bread on holiday tablescape / heirloomed
rustic christmas table setting / holiday entertaining ideas / heirloomed
rustic barn with fresh greens and cranberry garland for holiday decorating / heirloomed

We completed the spread this season with a rustic loaf of bread + butter, freshly roasted asparagus, and a big bowl of burst red potatoes. All delicious and all playing to the gorgeous color of the season.

HoneyBaked Ham and Match Pewter platter for beautiful holiday tablescape / heirloomed
fresh asparagus at christmas dinner / heirloomed
Christmas Dinner tablescape with match pewter butter dish / heirloomed
donkeys and ponies at the family farm / heirloomed

These guys were looking on and wondering when they were going to get to partake in the holiday meal. Luckily we made it through the meal without any animal guests this time around, but past set ups haven't been so fortunate. 

I hope you enjoyed the holiday tablescape and would love to know some elements, tips and touches you're using for your Christmas table setting + spread this holiday season. Merry Christmas!

Special thank you to HoneyBaked Ham, Vietri + Match Pewter for your partnership on this shoot. These are brands I authentically use in my own life + home and ones I support (and hope you will too). All thoughts and opinions are my own.



heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com

 

Mexican Wedding Cookies, A Holiday Staple.

There are some cookie recipes we try out each year, but some we can't live without. TheseMexican Wedding Cookies are some of my absolute favorite around the holidays, and are always a staple in our house. Both my side and Shane's side of the family love to make around and I'm sure we aren't the only ones. Mom always pulls out her old red Betty Crocker "Cooky Book" to make these, and I just love the vintage charm of this book. They're such a hit, and I'm pretty sure she must have to double or triple the recipe every time. 

I'd love to know more about the history of this cookie because it goes by multiple names -- Mexican Wedding Cookies, Petticoat Tails and Russian Tea Cakes to name a few. They are so delicate and delicious.

We are fortunate to always have loads of pecans from the tree at Shane's granny's farm, and I love to use them for these holiday cookies. I actually tend to be a little light vs. heavy on the pecans I use for these, and I like to chop them up very fine. You'll also notice in the recipe that I use almond extract instead of the typical vanilla. This is a trick my mom taught me and it always has friends swooning over the taste. 

The kids like to call these "snowballs" which is cute until they start launching them across the room...

petticoat tails christmas cookies / @heirloomed
Russian Tea Cake Christmas Cookies / @heirloomed
Mexican Wedding Christmas Cookies / @heirloomed

Mexican Wedding Cookies

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (for rolling baked cookies in)

In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Once light and fluffy, add almond extract. In another bowl, combine the flour and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then add in the chopped pecans. Chill dough if it seems too soft. Form dough into approximately 1 inch balls and place on an unprepared cookie sheet. Bake cookies at 400 for 10 to 12 minutes or until they turn a very light golden brown.

White Powdered Sugar Mexican Wedding Cookies / @heirloomed

A few tips for you ... do not over-bake. If they show the slightest bit of brown, it is time to take them out. It is best to roll the cookies in powdered sugar while they are still warm (not hot). This gives them the ideal melt-in-your-mouth flavor and makes sure the cookie is completely coated in sugar. And of course, the cookies are best enjoyed when warm, so don't be afraid to sample before they're completely cool. Oh, and these make a perfect cookie for Santa to enjoy!

I'd love to know what Christmas cookies are a staple in your home!

#HEIRLOOMED

Spiced Holiday Nuts for the Season.

If you have ever visited our home, you know that we always have a bowl of pistachios on our kitchen island for guests to enjoy, and for impromptu snacking that's way better than grabbing a sweet treat. But during the holiday season I will jump at the chance to "spice" things up a little and this little nut recipe is no exception.

I got the inspiration for this recipe by recalling an episode of Barefoot Contessa on Food Network a few years back, and I remember thinking at the time how simple and delicious they looked. So I did a little digging and tested out a few variations to get the combination of flavors I was looking for. Another benefit of this recipe? It leaves your house smelling wonderful all. day. long. 

Rosemary does really well in our garden all year long, so I always have a fresh supply of it on hand to use for recipes like this one. I love giving food gifts for the holidays, especially something that people will actually be excited to eat and enjoy. This year I gifted a package of these nuts in a medium sized canning jar tied with a twine string. The jar was finished off with a small wooden spoon for serving and a sprig of rosemary on the outside. 

Even though I'm not huge on spicy foods, these had the perfect balance of flavor and heat. I added the juice of half an orange to balance out the cayenne, and because I just love the flavor of oranges in the winter.

ingredients for spiced holiday nuts recipe / heirloomed

Spiced Holiday Nuts

  • 3 cups unsalted, whole cashews
  • 3 cups shelled pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne powder
  • Juice from half an orange
  • 1 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375. Place the plain nuts on a baking sheet and let warm in the oven for 10 minutes. While the nuts are warming, mix together the fresh rosemary, brown sugar, cayenne, salt, juice and butter in a bowl. Then, toss the warmed nuts into the rosemary mixture and fully coat, baking for an additional 10 minutes and stirring often. Serve warm. 

Typically, I'd want to put parchment on my cookie sheet for easier cleanup, but when roasting the nuts it works best to put them directly on the pan to ensure that they turn out nice and crispy, just make sure to grease the pan well.

rosemary roasted nuts / heirloomed recipe
rosemary orange cayenne spiced holiday nuts / heirloomed
holiday toasted spiced nuts / heirloomed
holiday food gift recipes spiced nuts / heirloomed

I'd love to know some of your favorite food gifts for the holidays!

#HEIRLOOMED

 

A Holiday Gingerbread Tradition.

One of my absolute favorite traditions from childhood is baking Christmas cookies. Both my mother and my grandmother went all out making recipe after recipe, and my sister and I were always there to help (bake and taste). We always had go-to classics and then a few new ones we'd try year to year. Some would stick around, others not so much. 

Although it's a classic holiday cookie, gingerbread was never something we ate much of growing up. I guess no one in my family cared for it too much. To be honest, I really didn't like the taste of it growing up either, but I always loved how cute the little decorated gingerbread men were and I always wanted to make them.

So this year I was excited to gather the kiddos to make our first batch of gingerbread cookies -- a holiday tradition we will surely continue. 

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I prefer a simple powdered sugar glaze instead of a super decorated gingerbread cookie because of the simplicity and easy execution. It's fun for the kids to decorate with sprinkles, nonpareils and embellishments -- it's easy and it doesn't have to be perfect. Although, I must admit, they did have icing everywhere from head to toe when all was said and done. 

As the saying goes about the cobbler's kids not having any shoes, I created this sweet little railroad strip toddler apron because the children's aprons we had in our line didn't even fit my tiny tots. The pockets are perfect for stashing these little gingerbread men and a spatula or two (and they're a great catch-all for sprinkles). We hang them on hooks in the kitchen, and the kids love grabbing the one that has their hand-embroidered name on it. 

Of course, this recipe also works for gingerbread houses. That's a tradition I love as well. The kids will make their annual gingerbread house with grandma this weekend.


Holiday Gingerbread Cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup unsulphured molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon or orange zest

ICING

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375. Sift together flour, salt, ginger and cinnamon in a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to cream the flour and sugar together. Once the mixture is fluffy, add the egg, molasses and lemon or orange zest. Once ingredients are combined, slowly add in the flour mixture and mix at a low speed. Make sure all of the flour is incorporated -- the dough will be thick. Press or roll dough to approximately a 1/4 inch thickness and press gingerbread men cookie cutter, you will want the dough to be thick enough to hold the shape of the cookie when transferring to the cookie sheet.

A little trick I like do use is to roll my dough, and then transfer the whole flat of dough to the cookie sheet, then cut them on the sheet itself so I don't have to worry about ripping off an arm or leg in the process

making Christmas cookies with the kids / heirloomed

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out with a floured rolling pin. Use cookie cutter to cut the dough into shapes. Then, place shapes onto a parchment-covered baking sheet. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes. Be sure that they are crisp, but not too dark. 

Once cookies are cool, decorate to your heart's content. To make icing, combine all ingredients and mix until incorporated. Enjoy!


I'd love to know what your favorite Christmas cookies are to eat and to decorate! #HEIRLOOMED

childhood tradition making gingerbread cookies / heirloomed

Southern Kitchen Bucket List : Pecan Bourbon Pie.

With Thanksgiving only days away, we're into one of my favorite seasons - PIE season.  If you joined in my attempt at mastering Pie Crust last week then you'll love this traditional Southern staple, Pecan Bourbon Pie.

ingredients for southern pecan pie

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to live at the farm with my husbands family for about 9-months with our kids, and the memories we created during that time were so special for us all. One of the most memorable was going out with his Granny, the kids great-grandmother, who is in her 90's and picking buckets and buckets of fresh pecans in the horse pasture at the front of the property. It was one of Wyatt's favorite things to do, and I know Granny enjoyed his company as well. We would then go back to her house and crack them, shell them, clean them and she'd try to pick out as many whole pecans as she could to save for her much-loved Pecan Turtles that she makes during the holidays.

Growing up in Tallahassee, I always loved going up to Thomasville and driving through the rows and rows of pecan trees. There is just something so beautiful and peaceful about the diagonal rows that captivates me every single time. It's a slow growing tree and the "tree to table" process is a long one so I truly appreciate the Southern roots of this special nut and any recipe that celebrates it.

karo syrup for pecan pie

Pecan Bourbon Pie

  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup of dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp bourbon
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups shelled + cleaned pecans
  • 1/2 cup of pecan halves, reserved for the top layer

Combine sugars, corn syrup, salt, eggs and vanilla, beat on low speed to mix. Add bourbon and melted butter, then stir in pecans by hand. Pour into unbaked 9" pie shell (choose your favorite pie crust recipe here). Use the remaining pecan halves to lay across the top of the pie filling to make a beautiful design.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until you can insert a toothpick and your filling does not coat the toothpick. Allow your pie to rest for at least 2 hours before serving for the ideal consistency.

cracking pecans to make a pie
farm fresh cracked + shelled pecans
pecan pie at the Thankgiving Table / heirloomed

I'd love to know your tips + secrets for making the best Pecan Pie #HEIRLOOMED

{ shop our Pecan Orchard Pleasantries apron, inspired by the rows of pecan trees I so love }