By Jennifer L. Williams, email@example.com
December 1, 2013
GLOUCESTER — Visitors will be able to see handmade holiday decorations, historic architecture and a huge collection of antiques all in one visit and benefiting a good cause.
Historic Lisburne Farm off the Severn River in Gloucester is this year's host for the Ware River Circle of the King's Daughters and Sons 24th Annual Christmas Open House. The Tuesday, Dec. 10 event benefits Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters and its Ronald McDonald House.
Last year's event raised more than $10,000, according to organizers.
Lisburne owners David and Mary Peebles will open their home for this fundraiser for the third time.
"I've always done it," said Mary Peebles, who has lived in the house for 48 years. "I've been open for Historic Garden Week 10 times through the years. This is my third time for this, and I like to share.
"It's a nice thing to share, and people are very appreciative of it. That's what makes it worthwhile."
The open house also could be the last time visitors are able to see the home decorated with the Peebles' enormous collection of antiques because the property is for sale.
The circa-1810 Georgian style plantation manor home with colonial revival details is surrounded by lush gardens on 19 acres. The house is filled with a stunning array of visual interest already, even before being decorated for the holidays.
David Peebles, retired president and CEO of Ferguson Enterprises, and his wife Mary are avid antique collectors. They are still active in their store, Swan Tavern Antiques in Yorktown.
A huge collection of 18th and early 19th century antiques, highlighted by a collection of miniature furniture including salesman and apprentice samples, fills each room of their home. The miniatures include a wide array of furniture ranging from a Philadelphia side chair, chest tables, sideboards and blanket chests to a Pennsylvania high boy.
Paintings, including many portraits, and framed family photos fill the walls and surfaces of each room.
The couple, the third owners of the home, bought it in 1958. At the time it had no electricity, central heat or plumbing.
They began restoration in 1964, and moved into the house the following year. They added a library and master bedroom wing in 1980.
All natural arrangements, which the Ware River Circle will create from items found in the great outdoors, will add the holiday flavor.
Kitty Martin, decorating chair, created a centerpiece for the dining room table that featured pine cones hot glued into magnolia leaves.
A total of 16 rooms will be decorated.
"All the arrangements will coincide with the home, which is a colonial home," Martin said. "And it will be all natural. This house is magical, and we're going to turn it into an enchanting home."
Homemade food is always featured on the tours. This year black olive spread sandwiches, madeleine cookies and cereal crisps have been added to the snacks and sweets including the usual chicken salad, ham biscuits, smoked salmon and bittersweet fudge with sea salt.
Ware River Circle members said they are thrilled to be able to have Lisburne open for their event this year.
"We're decorating 16 rooms, which is a huge amount," said circle member Carol Negus. "There are so many antiques in here that are so priceless. It's just amazingly exquisite."
Mary Peebles said she isn't worried about the traffic through her home as the preparations are made.
"No, because they're all such professionals," she said. "They do their own thing. I don't have to worry about it. And all I ask is that they leave them up until after New Year's so I can have my Christmas all decorated."
Williams can be reached by phone at 757-247-4644.
Take the tour
What: 24th annual Christmas Open House in Gloucester, sponsored by Ware River Circle of the King's Daughters to benefit Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters and its Ronald McDonald House. http://www.chkd.org.
When: Dec. 10, with hourlong visits scheduled for noon, 1:30, 3 and 4:30 p.m.
Details: Visit Lisburne Farm, the home of David and Mary Peebles located off the Severn River in Gloucester.
Enjoy food and punches homemade by chapter members. The circa-1810 Georgian style plantation manor home with colonial revival details will be decorated top to bottom for the holidays with all natural arrangements. A huge collection of 18th and early 19th century antiques, including a collection of miniature furniture, combines with paintings and family photos everywhere you look to breathe life into the home's history.
Tickets: $25, available at Green Gates Gifts at Gloucester Point, the Silver Box at Gloucester Courthouse, the Yorktown Onion in Yorktown, or call Sue Hewitt at 804-241-2757. Reservations must be made in advance.
To see a photo gallery and video from Lisburne Farm, go to dailypress.com.
RECIPES FROM WARE RIVER CIRCLE
Apple Pucker Punch
1 bottle of clear apple juice
2 33.8 ounces bottles of ginger ale or 1 very large bottle of ginger ale
1 cup of Apple pucker to give the punch a green color
Float very small lady apples on top. Make an ice ball by taking a round balloon and filling it 2/3 with water, freeze, peel balloon off and place ice ball in center of punch bowl.
2 cans Costco Chicken (12.5 ounces in can)
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup green grapes
1/2 to 3/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
Gently break up chicken with a fork. Add celery, onions, grapes, almonds and cranberries. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix together. Add mayonnaise and mix well. Refrigerate. Yield: 2 cups.
2 large tubes crescent rolls
16 ounces light cream cheese
1 package dry ranch dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 head broccoli (chopped fine)
2 stems finely chopped celery
1 finely chopped bell pepper
Optional: Shredded carrots
Unroll crescent dough and preheat oven according to package directions. Place in 9x13 shallow pan. Press out dough to cover pan making sure that perforations are gone. Bake according to package directions. Cool.
Mix cream cheese, dressing and mayonnaise. Spread on crust. Finely chop vegetables and spread evenly over top. Lightly press them down. Refrigerate. Slice into bite-size squares. Can be made the night before, but not any sooner.
Hawaiian Coconut Shortbread Cookies
1 cup butter, softened (8 ounces)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour (measured after sifting)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted (or more as needed, for coating after baking)
Cream the butter until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla, creaming again until smooth and slightly fluffy. Sift flour and then measure the 2 cups of flour. Add salt to flour and sift again. Gradually add to the creamed butter mixture until you have added all flour and mixture is smooth. Mix the coconut into the cookie dough. Shape into a one and half (1.5) inch diameter roll and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 2 – 4 hours, or for several days until ready to use. The dough may be frozen for later baking. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/4 inch slices from the cookie dough roll and place on a very lightly greased cookie sheet, about I inch apart.
Bake at 300 degrees for about 16 to 18 minutes, until a light golden brown at edges, but not browned entirely across the top. Cool cookies on sheet just until they are set, easy to remove and have cooled slightly, usually about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove cookies with a spatula and place on the 1 cup of powdered sugar (I find it will take more like 2 to 2 1/2 cups) that you have sifted onto a piece of wax paper or similar surface. Cover cookies with powdered sugar on all sides by sifting some of the sugar over them or "rolling" them in the sugar. After they have cooled, and the powdered sugar has set, coat them again with more powdered sugar. Cool completely and store in an airtight container, for however long you can keep them from being eaten!
Cranberry date square
12 ounces package fresh cranberries
8 ounces package dates - chopped and pitted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 cups quick oats
11/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
Orange glaze topping
2 cups powder sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3-5 tablespoons orange juice
In a medium saucepan combine cranberries and dates. Cook covered over low heat for 15 minutes until cranberries start to pop and are soft. Stir frequently. Let cool. Add vanilla. Set aside.
In a large bowl stir together flour, oats, brown sugar and baking soda. Add to softened butter, stir until well blended. Mixture will have a crumbly texture. Put half of the mixture on the bottom of a 13x9x2 pan. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes. Let set for a few minutes to firm. Carefully spread cranberry and date filling over oat mixture. Sprinkle remaining oat mixture over the filling. Bake 20-22 minutes. Cool. Top with glaze.
Bittersweet Fudge with Sea Salt
3 cups mini marshmallows
4 Tablespoons butter
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
12 Ounce bittersweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
Combine first three ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6-7 minutes or until the marshmallows are melted. Stir in the chocolate. Transfer mixture to an 8-inch square pan lined with parchment paper, sprinkle with salt. Chill about three hours or until firm. Cut into squares with a hot knife.
Martha Stewart's Madeleine Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons packed light – brown sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted, plus more, softened, for pans
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
Whisk together eggs and granulated sugar and brown sugars with a mixer on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Sift flour mixture over top in 2 additions, folding in after each addition. Fold in melted butter in 2 additions, then honey and vanilla. Refrigerate, covered for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Let batter stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Generously batter two standard size or mini nonstick or aluminum Madeline pans using a pastry brush.
Transfer batter to a pastry bag, and snip tip to create a 1/2 inch opening. Pipe some batter into molds, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake in middle rack until pale gold, about 8 – 11 minutes (6 – 8 minutes for mini madeleines). Immediately shack madeleines out. Wash and rebutter molds. Repeat with remaining batter.
Dust madeleines with confectioner's sugar.
2 stickers of butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
Chopped nuts optional
Line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Fill with saltine crackers, lined up. Melt butter and add vanilla and sugar. Simmer on a low boil for 1 minute (stir) and pour over the crackers. Spread evenly over the crackers. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, turning oven off after the 10 minutes. Sprinkle the chocolate over the crackers. Return to oven for 1-2 minutes (to soften the chips). Remove from oven and spread the chocolate. Sprinkle with nuts and cool. Once cool – break apart and serve.
1 cup sugar
2 sticks butter
12 ounces chocolate
Chopped nuts optional
Cook about 10 minutes until brown. Pour onto a foil-lined pan. Pour gently 1/4 cup chocolate chips. When melted, spread over the first layer. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup toasted almond slices. Allow layers to set. Break into pieces.
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