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Fun, Food & Friends at Henry & Pearl: My Interview with Janet Purcell | Spoiler Alert! Spiced Pumpkin Bread Recipe Included

Fun, Food & Friends at Henry & Pearl: My Interview with Janet Purcell | Spoiler Alert! Spiced Pumpkin Bread Recipe Included

by: Jill Myrick with SMIJbyjill + rusticchicsmij

Janet Purcell pictured here (left) with, Theresa Morgan, another member of the H&P dream team


Henry & Pearl has earned its place in our community as much more than a great place to grab the latest True Grit or Free People. Although they are GREAT for that, too! It's true Henry& Pearl carries a nice selection of popular brands, but there is so much more. My goal is to, little by little, share what makes visiting H & P so special.

You don't have to visit more than once to realize the team is what makes them so special. A few months ago I got to interview and observe Lizzie in action and get a glimpse into her unique customer approach. This month, I got to sit down with Janet Purcell and get her take on the H & P magic. By the way, I also learned that Janet is a (legit!) pastry chef educated at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago. Spoiler alert! Recipes from her kitchen coming at the end of this post.

Janet has a really cool background that she brings to H & P. She spent a number of years in retail management for Marshall Fields in Chicago before going to culinary school. She is a mom of 3 who relocated to the Milton area over 6 years ago and now has two off to college with her baby still at home. With a big relocation of a family of 5, Janet really sees the value of a helpful, friendly community.

Janet has been at Henry & Pearl for 3 years and she shared many reasons she loves it. I want to highlight three that I think will be really helpful as the holidays approach.

First, Janet shared that H & P has really become a community resource.  They are sharing doctor, vet, stylist referrals along with college and school experiences right while customers are trying on shoes and necklaces. Talk about one-stop-shopping. The team at H & P have amazing experience in the community raising kids, relocating to Milton, attending local schools and even getting a few off to college, career and starting their own families. Chances are that whatever question you have can be answered over a cute dress!

Second, ever wonder "what the kids are into?" Well... They know! Stop in with your holiday list and tell them who you are buying for and they'll help you look cool.

Third, Janet shared the vibe during the holidays and it makes me want to just hang out there and enjoy. She said it's a bustling, fun, happy vibe with hot cider weekends, Christmas shoppers and Holiday Open Houses. They give a personal shopping experience and have an amazing selection of unique gifts. And, they gift wrap in a H&P bag which gets a big smile before it's even opened. I know this from personal experience. There's always something you want in the bag.

I asked Janet about her top three picks for gifts this holiday season. She had a tough time choosing only three!

#1 Crabapple & Milton Christmas Candles topped the list. They are so popular, they were almost sold out. Never fear, more are on the way. They smell incredible and cost $25.

#2 InspiredDesigns Jewelry is always a hit with everyone. Their jewelry is so versatile. It can be dressed up or worn casual, several pieces can be worn more than one way and they have selections across a few price points. It's quite simple to find something stunning.

#3 Smathers & Branson key fobs are great for new drivers, college acceptance, new boats or anything that needs a key. They come in school colors or other interests and are a perfect size for men, women, boys and girls. That's on my Wish List, too! They have stayed popular for years. This is one of those gifts that can't go wrong.

I learned a lot and had so much fun hanging with Janet. The more time I spend with this team the more I realize it's no mystery why people browse, shop and visit at Henry & Pearl. As promised... Those recipes! Every one of these looks yummy and I'll be trying all three. Straight from Janet's personal kitchen:

Spiced Pumpkin Bread for the Holidays


Wow! The beauty is you can bake it as stated in two loaf pans, or do it as muffins- makes almost 2 dozen.Wrapped tightly, they freeze beautifully! 


3 cups white sugar

1 cup veg oil

3 lg eggs

1 16 oz can solid pack pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix

3 cups all purpose unbleached flour

3 teaspoons apple or pumpkin pie spice blend

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

optional add- 1 cup mini chocolate chips or one cup chopped pecans or walnuts 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Spray 2 9X5 loaf pans with butter/flour combo spray. In one large bowl, beat sugar and oil together. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. In separate bowl, sift flour, spice blend, baking soda , powder and salt together. Add dry into wet in two additions until blended. Do not over mix. Mix in mini-chocolate chips or nuts if desired.


Divide batter between two pans, or fill cupcake liners in muffin tins 2/3rds full. Bake until tester comes out clean, about one hour for cake pans, 25-30 minutes for muffins. Transfer to cooling racks, cool ten minutes, then remove from pan to further cool on rack. 


*healthy girl changes- you can reduce the sugar to two cups, and do half unsweetened apple sauce/half oil to lower the fat content. 

This will make your house smell like the holidays and happiness! 


And, just when I was talking about making Meatloaf, Janet shares this! I'm leaving Janet's comments in because they are helpful and HILARIOUS! 
Brown Sugar Meatloaf
1/2 cup brown sugar-for top of meatloaf
3 strips uncooked bacon-for top of meatloaf
1/2 cup chili sauce or ketchup
1 1/2 pounds mixture of ground beef and pork OR all ground beef
3/4 cup whole milk
2 eggs-beaten
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 small chopped onion
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon allspice 
1 cup crushed saltines or bread crumbs 
Pre-heat oven to 350
In large mixing bowl, gently mix everything EXCEPT brown sugar and bacon together until blended. 
On cookie sheet with rim, free-form the mixture into one big loaf, or several smaller loafs.  Lay bacon over meatloaf, sprinkle with brown sugar.
Bake until juices run clear, 35-45 minutes for smaller leafs, 1 hour for large.
Healthier Changes- Omit brown sugar and bacon, but why would you do that ?!?!
You can also gently press meat mixture into muffin tins to make individual baby loafs. Bake approx 20-30-. Little kids LOVE anything in mini form.
Another think that freezes great! Let cool completely, wrap tightly in foil, and freeze for up to two months. After unwrapping, you can bake straight from freezer, adding extra time as needed.


This is an oldie but goodie. So simple, excellent to bring to a party or put out with drinks
I wonder if Janet could be talked into making these for their Holiday Open House... Doesn't the sound of Apricot-Bacon Bites make your mouth water?
Apricot-Bacon Bites
12 slices bacon-halves horizontally
24 dried apricots
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
Partially cook bacon ( use microwave) Wrap one half slice around apricot. Secure with toothpick. Place on cookie sheet lined with foil. Bake in 350 degree oven , turning once, 15-20 minutes, or until brown and crispy.  Drain on paper towel and serve with mixture of soy and sugar for dipping.


Let's get this holiday season started! Janet, thanks for your time, insights and recipes. This was a really fun post to prepare. H&P, thanks for letting me Guest Post. Happy Holidays, All! 

Jill Myrick of SMIJ by Jill

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