This is my ten-year old Christmas cactus. I really should say Thanksgiving cactus because for most of its years with me it has bloomed on Thanksgiving and never on Christmas. This is my own fault and one I am trying to rectify this year. It’s all in the chilling. More on that in a second.
My Christmas cactus is from the genus Schlumbergera. Schlumbergera is a genus of cactus from the coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil. Plants grow on trees or rocks in habitats which are generally shady with high humidity. Most species of Schlumbergera have stems which resemble leaf-like pads joined one to the other and flowers which appear from areoles at the joints and tips of the stems. This genus contains the popular house plants known by a variety of names including Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, Crab Cactus and Holiday Cactus.
Over the last several years, I have put my Christmas Cactus in a shady area in my back yard usually in the beginning of June time frame. Frequent watering and feeding is about all I do to the plant. In ten years, I have re-potted it into a bigger planter only once. For me, I like the Christmas Cactus because it needs little care for the most part. Here is the plant at its regular summer home in my back yard.
In the first weeks of November, when the weather gets much cooler and frost is possible, I have brought the Christmas Cactus indoors and placed it on my kitchen table. This transition from cool to warmer temperatures has always triggered the plant to begin to grow flowers that then bloom around the Thanksgiving holiday. I always think, why if this plant blooms at Thanksgiving do we call it a Christmas Cactus? That’s when I made a chilling decision.
The decision was to keep my Christmas Cactus outside until the beginning of December–one month later than usual. I’m thinking that the plant’s transition from cool to warmer temperatures is the blooming trigger, so if I delay that transition for one month then I can truly have a “Christmas” Cactus. So that’s what I did and my plant came indoors on Saturday. As a precaution, I did cover the plant up on extremely cold nights or nights when a heavy frost was predicted. Here is my plant when under the covers.
While the plant looks healthy and nothing appears to have perished due to the extra month of cold weather conditions, I think that the next few days of the plant being in the house will determine its fate. It will either make it and begin to bloom in the next few weeks or it could also shrivel up and leave us because of the additional cold it has endured over the last month. Keep your fingers crossed with me–let’s hope it transitions without a hitch.
I’ll post pictures when the Christmas Cactus blooms (or an RIP notification if things don’t work out). There is nothing as pretty as a bloomed Christmas Cactus with its fuchsia pink flowers bursting from all sides of the plant. If it blooms, I can then officially and proudly call my Cactus a Christmas Cactus and all will be right in the world. Do you have a Christmas Cactus in your home?
This is another edition of Friday Dance Party on Acorns On Glen. It’s the time where we give thanks for making it through another week and for being alive and present here on Earth. How do we celebrate another week of living? We dance. So, are you alive this Friday? Are you and your family safe and sound? Take a few seconds now to be in the moment and realize what a great life you truly have. Did you give thanks for that?
Good, now let’s dance.
This is what happens when Martha Stewart inspires you way too much. I try not to watch her show much anymore because I am the type of person that sees her do something and then I become obsessed with the idea and have to try it. The problem is that I only complete about 50% of the things that I see her do. Sure, I made this Thanksgiving cornbread in the special turkey pan she used, but still lingering are projects that I haven’t done, like making wax initials with a letterpress, wax sticks and a glue gun, glittering some pine cones for a crystal bowl I have on my dining room table and embossing my velvet Christmas stockings with a faux bois finish. I’m serious, I actually have everything you need to do these projects. They are in my hall closet. However, the only thing I don’t have is time. Oddly enough, when I do have the time, I just don’t have the energy. I see Martha wincing now.
I turned on Martha’s show only once leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. It was the show where she made these cornbread turkeys. I was obsessed and knew that it was happening again….the urge to make something beautiful that she made. I ran to my computer and frantically searched for the right turkey mold pan. I found it on Amazon.com. I had it sent via overnight FedEx, which cost me about as much as the pan. I received the pan late Wednesday evening and knew that it was perfect for the recipe to be made on Thanksgiving morning. I was right on schedule.
The cornbread recipe to fill the mold was very simple to make. The cornbread is actually a little more dense than the cornbread recipe I usually make, but still very delicious. The addition of the jalapeno peppers and the cheddar cheese was a nice addition to the cornbread recipe. They both gave the bread a little punch. Here’s how I did it:
- Vegetable oil cooking spray
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 cups fresh (from about 3 ears) or thawed frozen corn kernels
- 3 jalapeno chiles, minced (ribs and seeds removed for less heat, if desired)
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 large eggs
- 2 1/4 cups buttermilk, well shaken
- 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 5-cup turkey-shaped pans with cooking spray. Melt 1/2 cup butter and let cool.
Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium-high. Cook corn, jalapeno, and shallots, stirring occasionally, until soft, 4 to 6 minutes.
Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add eggs; whisk eggs into flour mixture.
Whisk together melted butter and buttermilk; stir into flour mixture, along with corn mixture and cheddar. Mix until well combined.
Divide the batter evenly between prepared pans; smooth tops. Transfer to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly before inverting onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Christmas is right around the corner. I know Martha will do something that I will see or hear about and the free-for-all will begin all over again. What will it be? Hand felted Santa suits, carve your own reindeer antlers, a simple dinner for 100? If you find out, please don’t let me know. Well, maybe just a hint is fine. Do you
stalk have a favorite famous personality that you like and follow?