Most of the rooms in The Farmhouse are smallish, but the kitchen - it is not. It's a true farmhouse kitchen, added on twenty or so years after the original part of the house, and then made larger when a porch was closed in and made a part of the room.
It is large enough for a Christmas tree.
I can't remember exactly what year it was, but one Christmas day there was not enough room for our growing family and my sister's growing family and my parents to all sit in the living room (even uncomfortably) to open presents. At the last minute, someone suggested that we all move into the kitchen. Right then, I decided that the next year, I'd have a Christmas tree in the kitchen. I knew I'd need a skinny tree that wouldn't take a lot of space, and it would need to be artificial because the wood stove is in the kitchen.
After Christmas, we searched for our kitchen tree but there were none that met our criteria. None.
That spring, the day before Resurrection Sunday, we went to an antique store in search of a deviled egg plate. As we left the store, Ron said, "Look! There it is!" There in the store window was a pencil tree, the perfect size. And so we bought a Christmas tree, the day before Easter.
The first year, I decorated the tree with my collection of tin cookie cutters hung with checked ribbon. Every year since then, I have hung gingerbread men and dried orange slices.
But this year, on the Annual Mother/Daughter Christmas Shopping Trip, I purchased a pineapple cookie cutter at Williams-Sonoma.
Then last Friday, Nora Murphy released her Holiday 2014 e-mag, featuring the gorgeous colonial home of Dana Schwartz. (I have oohed and aahed over Nora Murphy's work before!) I was perusing the photos, in my house-y glory, when, lo and behold, there in Dana's kitchen was a Christmas tree with pineapple ornaments.
I think she used the same cookie cutter, don't you?
I was inspired to use my new pineapple cookie cutter to make cookies for the kitchen tree!
To decorate the tree, I draped popcorn garland (faux, although real would be great if I had the patience), and hung dried orange slices and a double batch of brown sugar spice cutout cookies (recipe below) tied with raffia.
I had made a patchwork tree skirt many years ago that became the kitchen tree skirt, but two years in a row, Pinky peed on that skirt! What is up with that?! I washed it, washed it in hot water, washed it with vinegar, sprayed it with citrus...nothing deterred her. Blah.
This year, I wrapped a towel around the base of the tree as a test. She totally ignored it. That made me brave enough to grab the coverlet throw on the end of my bed to use. So far, so good.
I love having a Christmas tree in my kitchen! We spend so much time in here. It's not only our kitchen; it's our everyday dining room, our sitting room, our school room, a gathering room. It seems fitting to celebrate Christmas in the heart of our home.
SUGAR & SPICE CUTOUT COOKIES
(Although I use them for decorations, these cookies are totally edible!)
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
* * *
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; blend well.
Stir together remaining dry ingredients and add to butter mixture. Blend well.
On floured surface, roll out half of dough at a time, approximately 1/8" thick. Cut into shapes. Use a toothpick to make holes for hanging.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
(I baked my pineapples about 14 minutes. If they were for eating, I'd take them out earlier, but these cookies needed to be firm for hanging.)
Cool on wire rack. Leave out to dry for 24 hours.
(One year I tried to hang them right away. A couple of gingerbread men lost their heads. Not good!)
Tie on raffia (or string, yarn, ribbon, or bakers' twine) for hanging.
I made a double batch, which yielded 21 pineapples. You'd get a lot more if you use a smaller cookie cutter.
Linking with Nester's Christmas Tour of Homes...where it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful!