October 12, 2013

Fall Decor Around the House

Fall practically came over night here- yesterday was shorts weather, and today I'm considering a winter coat! I've checked off a few things on my fall decor bucket list. Take a look!

This box is on our dining room table. It's my favorite fall project yet, and hopefully I'll do a DIY post on it soon. It was easy and inexpensive = two thumbs up!

Other dining room decor.

A chunky throw makes the couch look more cozy, and I took our my fall leaf pillow covers. I pulled out my (faux) white pumpkin and added some pine cones to my hurricane.

The bathroom always needs something. This year it was candles, leaves, and acorns (I collected them myself and then had to pull these slug things out of the bottom of the glass for a week. They kept coming out of the acorns- ewww!)

The office memo board got updated with some fallish finds.

As did the entertainment center.

And we can't forget the front porch. I love these color mums!

Happy decorating!

October 11, 2013

Fall Recipes So Far

So excited for all our plans @Krystal Lee pinning right now on all fall related things is keeping me in a super good mood at work right now

I'm six weeks into my fall recipe bucket list, and so far have stayed on track with one recipe a week. I thought I'd take a minute to review the first six.

Week 1: Apple Cider Caramel Cookies

  • They were okay. The dough looked like it would taste heavenly, but tasted EXACTLY like those green apple caramel suckers. EXACTLY. I kept eating it expecting it to taste better, and it never did. I added a bunch of cinnamon, which helped. On their own, the cookies were nothing special. They tasted good with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, but that's the only way I'd eat them.

Week 2: Pumpkin Bread with Streusel Topping

  • Winner winner chicken dinner- this has been the best recipe to date. Super yummy and pumpkin-y. A little putzy, though. I have a pumpkin muffin recipe from a friend where you mix a box of spice cake with a large can of pumpkin, and that's it. They're really good. And the bread tasted exactly like this. In the future, I'd use my easy pumpkin recipe and use the streusel topping that came with this bread.

Week 3: Crock Pot Pumpkin Spice Lattes

  • These were gross. I totally wasn't expecting this to be bad, but it was. I actually didn't even finish my latte, and dumped the rest down the sink. The cinnamon was overpowering.

Week 4: Butternut Squash Risotto

  • Pretty good, but not good enough to make again. I love me some risotto, and although this risotto tasted good, it wasn't anything special. The butternut squash didn't shine though much- you wouldn't have known it was there if I didn't tell you.

Week 5: Baked Apple Pie Egg rolls

  • Super yummy, and super easy! This is also a relatively light recipe. I'm definitely making these again, and Charlie liked them a lot, too. I served mine with caramel sauce and cook whip.

Week 6: Pumpkin Poppers

  • This was my most highly anticipated recipe. I don't know why- maybe the name? Poppers just sound yummy. They were good, but not as fabulous as expected; I think I wanted them to be like pumpkin mini donuts. They're basically mini pumpkin muffins rolled in cinnamon sugar. (Once again, my super simple pumpkin bread/muffin recipe could have easily substituted here)

September 10, 2013

Favorite Video

Hi ya'll. I was just watching a YouTube video, and thought I'd share it with you. It's one of my all time favorites, and it may or may not involve a Justin Bieber song. It start up a little slow, but keep watching! My favorite parts are at 4:15 and at 5:15

September 3, 2013

Fall Decor Bucket List

I love seasonal touches around the house, especially natural ones. Fall is fabulous for this: pumpkins, leaves, acorns, and pine cones abound. And, they're mostly free. Especially if you're a freak like me and lug hand fulls of tree branches home from morning walks with Leo. My current dilemma is if I want to BUY acorns for my decor use (along the same lines as buying rocks- super lame), or if I want to surrender my dignity, make like a squirrel, and scavenge them off the sidewalks next to a busy street. They're the only acorns I've found

*Note to self: Plant an oak tree so that in 40 years, I won't be having this dilemma. 

Along the same lines as my fall cooking bucket list, I'm trying to celebrate bigger and enjoy fall more. For me, that includes craftiness and decor around the house. Here are the projects I'd like to take a crack, at least in some shape or form, this fall.

Mason jars with tea lights and acorns

Fall Centerpieces

Pumpkin Painting

branch candleholder

pumpkin display

bhg natural elements

Fall Dinner Party, http://sharpsfarm.blogspot.com/  This great gathering table inspired me to throw a dinner party...found at a local thrift shop for $29.00, this solid oak table will easily seat 12!!! Ive "mixed & matched " my Lenox Butlers Pantry place settings for a more informal look. , Dining Rooms Design

September 1, 2013

Fall Cooking Bucket List

These are a few of our favorite Fall things :)

One thing I'm trying to do this year is to celebrate bigger, seasons included. I always anticipate fall: changing leaves, cozy sweaters, pumpkin recipes, corn mazes, skinny jeans and riding boots... I love it!

However, it's one thing to anticipate seasonal things, and it's another thing entirely to do something about it. I sometimes feel let down at the end of a season because I was too lazy or busy to act on any of my idyllic ideas. I'm hoping that with some planning, this year will be different. I want to be intentional about enjoying another beautiful Minnesota fall. So, I've created a "Fall Cooking Bucket List."

I love trying new recipes, but never seem to actually make any of the fall-themed ones that I've found. My game plan is to make one bucket list recipe per week. There are 14 weeks between September 1st and Thanksgiving, and I have 14 recipes to try. If I'm feeling particularly daring, I'll throw recipe #15 into the mix: Apple Cider Caramels. I'm a little wary of this one- me and candy thermometers don't play well together.

Without further ado, here are the recipes:

apple pancakes

Spiced Pumpkin Scones Recipe - Inspired by Starbucks Pumpkin Scones


Baked Apples

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Risotto


Apple Cider Caramels

August 30, 2013

Gift Wrap Organization

I finished my gift wrap organization station this week, and thought I'd share the idea with you.

I originally found the idea while searching on Pinterest, and came up with my own version. These two photos were my inspiration:

gift wrapping organized - great for a pantry.

Gift wrap organizer

The Container Store has a hanging over the door system, but it was almost $90 and I didn't want to spend that much. I used this four tiered closet organizer from Home Depot ($20) and paired it with these $3 hooks.

This style of hook should henceforth be referred to as drunk octopus hooks. See?

Drunk octopus wants to fight! 

Anyway. Bam. An easy, inexpensive alternative to stuffing all of my gift wrap into one of those long, under-the-bed storage bins. I (still) don't know how to use the drill, so Charlie hung them all on the back of the office door for me.

I used curtain ring clips in order to hang my wrapping paper. I suppose you could hang flattened paper boxes this way, too. I also used glass mason jars to hold ribbon.

Wrapping gifts is now much less of a pain. I can see exactly what we have, and I don't have to dig through a bin of tissue paper, ribbons, gift wrap, tape, and gift bags.

I love how slim the profile is. We always have the office door open, and you'd never even know anything was behind it.

August 27, 2013

Chocolate Macaroons

I have recently discovered a little corner of heaven on earth called macaroons. I don't know why I'm so late in the game, but I have now arrived.

For Christmas last year, my brother got me the Bon Appetit: Fast, Easy, Fresh cookbook. I was leafing through it this afternoon, and kept coming back to the chocolate macaroons recipe. Oh a whim, I decided to make them (I've never made macaroons before) and OH. MY. GOSH. they are SO GOOD

I signed and oohed and ahhed my way through two of them (What About Bob style) and then helped myself to a third. And maybe ate another while writing this post. Maybe. Here's the recipe:
  • 1 1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
Melt one cup of chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring frequently. Cool to room temperature.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. 
Gradually add in the sugar and vanilla, beating until the whites are thick and glossy.
With a spatula, fold in the melted chocolate, coconut, and remaining chocolate chips.
Drop batter by heaping teaspoons onto two parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets.
Bake at 325 for 18 - 20 minutes, rotating the pans half way through.

Then try to only eat one.