Friday, October 17, 2014

Halloween DIY: Spooky Spoons!

Halloween is two weeks away! Can you believe it!? October has flown by and I had to get started on costume and party ideas before Halloween knocks at our door (Trick-or-Treat!).  I love adding a little surprise factor to themed party tables and, rather than boring old utensils, I thought it would be fun to dress up the flatware a bit! I picked up these cheap little skeleton hands for a dollar ninety nine at the craft store (also saw them at the party store so they should be available at any major retailer of the sort) and snagged some silver plastic flatware.  A little hot glue, and we're good to go!
Simply glue the "palm" of the bony hand to the end of the plastic utensil, allow to cool/harden, and repeat!
It's as simple as that.  An entire party set could be made in minutes.  I also appreciate how inexpensive this was, party supplies can add up fast!
I think party guests will really get a kick out of these spooky spoons (and forks/knives).  A cheap way to be a bit playful with the place settings.  Everyone needs a little "hand" with their spoon now and again, don't you think? 


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Monday, October 13, 2014

Camp: End of Season & The Phoenicia Flea

We closed out the camping season this week in upstate New York. Despite chilly nights, the sun shone during the day and it was a great long-weekend.  Lots of campfires and some perfect hikes through the woods.  The first image is courtesy of my little niece who is showing promise of a great eye for photography, don't you think?  We'd both agreed the picture she took of the pine cone felt very "holiday" which, in turn, made us very excited for winter.  But, in the meantime, we soaked up fall and had the best weekend with friends and family...

We even had a little time to walk around Phoenicia and to visit The Graham& Co for the Phoenicia Flea, the sweetest outdoor maker's market which circle's Graham & Co's awesome fire-pit. Of course the icing on the cake for me was berry-loaded homemade waffles from the Phoenicia Diner.  Best breakfast around!  Our love for our upstate NY deepens all the time and this weekend was no exception.  It's exciting to see our favorite place getting some extra love attention these days.

How are you enjoying the season?
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Monday, October 6, 2014

Apple Crumb Muffins

We have ton of beautiful apples left from our apple picking trip and I've been baking away here.  With the weather finally cooling down, apple baked goodies are the perfect thing for snacks and desserts.  One of my favorite, and also the simplest, things to make are Apple Crumb Muffins.

Apple Crumb Muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease or line 2 muffin tins. Peel and roughly chop 3 apples and set aside.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl, pinching out any lumps of brown sugar.

1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or substitute applesauce)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix wet ingredients into the dry mixture and blend until smooth.  Add the chopped apples. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins.

For crumb mixture (to top each):

2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick of melted butter

Combine three ingredients lightly (I use a pastry cutter here) until a rough crumbly mixture has formed.  Sprinkle over each muffin top.

Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the middle muffin comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely before carefully removing from pan.

These are a sweeter muffin, bordering on "cupcake status".  They make a great dessert, especially straight from the oven.

Have you been baking more lately too?


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Monday, September 29, 2014

Sunshine, Apples, and Donuts - Oh My!

We visited one of our favorite local orchards this weekend for a bit of apple picking.  It was quite warm, to say the least, but enjoyable nonetheless. We left with bags full of apples and bellies full of cider donuts... because let's be honest, I'm really there for the donuts.

Now for some baking!! I have a bunch of great apple-filled recipes I can't wait to share with you guys!  Have you picked any apples yet?

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Make a Simple Wooden Stand

We're really getting into the fall spirit around here.  With an apple picking trip planned for this coming weekend, I felt like it was time to get a little festive inside the house.  I found some beautiful cream and green squash at the farm market and then came upon some cute little pumpkins at the craft store. I knew I wanted to display them all at varying heights so I made this sweet little wooden stand for under ten dollars. It only took about 5 mins to make.

You will need:

-1 extra small round wooden plaque
-1 small round wooden plaque
-1 short wooden candle holder
-Gorilla Glue or Super Glue

Center the candle holder in the middle of the underside of the bigger round plaque and glue down.  When solid and dry, glue the smaller plaque face up to the bottom of the candle holder.  That's it!  You may choose to paint or stain your wooden stand, but I liked mine simple and clean, and left the raw finish.
Add a glass cloche to the top, some mini pumpkins and you've got a beautiful fall display. Cheap and easy, you can't beat that!

How are you celebrating the beginning of Fall?

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Nasturtium -Topped Lemon Squares: Last Taste of Summer

It's that time of year when everyone is holding their breath for the official kick-off of Fall. 
I'm just as excited as everyone else, so with the start of September, it was time to say a sweet goodbye to summer.  I figured the sweetest summer flavor is fresh citrus lemon...and sugar, of course. These tart little squares are a bit like lemonade in a baked bite, and are so so pretty topped with the last of our homegrown  nasturtiums. Nasturtium are a wonderfully edible flower, often used on desserts and in salads, so they make the perfect edible decoration here- dusted with confectioner's sugar.

I used this recipe for easy Lemon Bars and then once they had cooled and set, topped them with the fresh flowers and confectioner's sugar.  To use the nasturtium flowers from our garden( this safest to avoid store bought, chemically sprayed flowers), I simply picked them at the base of the bloom, washed them under a gentle spray of cool water and let fully dry on a cloth.  Then I placed them on the dessert and sprinkled with confectioner's sugar.
I was amazed at how simple these were to make (this was a first for me) and that the part that took the longest was waiting for them to cool and set. A perfect sensory way to say farewell to the warm summer months of growth and harvest, and hello to our beautiful, crisp season of Fall.

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