Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cobwebs & Crow Feathers

 My favorite part of decorating for Halloween is dressing up our chandelier.  It's such a simple thing to do & makes such a spooky statement in a room.
I made these potions with $1 glass bottles from a craft store, water, & food coloring.  I love the old silver serving trays I found at a local thrift store. Vases & corks could work instead of the bottles too.

We suspended these plastic bats from the curtain rods in the front window.  Standing outside at night, you can see their silhouettes in the soft lamp light.  We will have strobes on them Halloween night.

 Cobwebs make all the difference.

 A poisoned apple in a jar: a decorative [vase filler] apple with a little glue & glass glitter.

 Crow feathers. [Black feathers purchased at a craft store.]

 I attached a small branch to our "Rodeo" sign using thin wire, then added the crow, leaves, webs, & moss.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread

Anyone else in the mood for "pumpkin spice" EVERYTHING in the fall?  I came up with this so I could get my fill of the season in the morning... because my pumpkin spice coffee isn't enough? This spread is so great on bagels, crackers, graham crackers, & pretzels. 

The easy recipe:

1 8oz tub of plain whipped cream cheese {the regular should work too! Whipped is just easier}
1/4 c. {heaping} of pumpkin puree
2-3 packed tablespoons of brown sugar {depending on how sweet you want it.  I was fine with 2.}
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

With a hand mixer, combine all ingredients & blend together.

I refrigerate mine in a mason jar & use by the expiration date on the cream cheese.


My Autumn Vegetable Beef Soup

I called this my "Autumn" Vegetable Beef Soup because it packs a little more heat than a standard vegetable beef soup.  I don't like anything too spicy, but the heat level of this soup is simple to adjust, so I made it "just right" for our taste.  I experimented in the kitchen last night & came up with this recipe for dinner.  Like most soups, it was even better re-heated the next day!

Ryan is a meat & potatoes kind of guy, ...he's not really into soups.  He likes stew & chili.  I would say this is a hearty compromise.  Almost chili-like in flavor, but with more of a brothy than a "saucy" constistancy.  

Ryan went back for seconds.

Here is what you need:

1 lb ground beef
2 {smaller} yellow onions - cut into petals
1 32 fl oz. carton of beef broth
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes - undrained
1 c. frozen peas
1 c. frozen sweet corn
1 c. chopped carrots
3-4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/3 c. Western Dressing {I know, sounds strange, but it was amazing!!}
1 teaspoon black pepper
Garlic powder - to taste (I just sprinkled in a little)
Salt - to taste (I used about 2-3 teaspoons)
1 Bay Leaf
A few dashes of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (or any hot sauce, but I love this one for soups!)

In a large pot {not quite a stock pot} I browned the pound of beef with the onion by simmering it in a small amount of the beef broth.  Once the beef was browned, I added the rest of the beef broth.  -Followed by the remainder of the ingredients.  I simmered it {covered} on low for about 45 mins.  But you could probably get away with less time.  The time is pretty flexible, as long as the vegetables are cooked through & soft.  After simmering, I could tell if I need to add either more garlic powder/more Worcestershire sauce/ or more salt.

Remove the bay leaf, serve & enjoy!

This recipe is definitely a keeper!  The list of ingredients may seem long, but they are all pretty basic.  It was a very easy soup to make.  This would probably be great in a slow cooker as well!