Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pumpkin Meets Bacon

If you have read my blog for all of 2 seconds you know that I am madly in love with pumpkin. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin bars, pumpkin cookies...I love everything about pumpkin desserts. Seriously. (Carrie, if you are reading this, please avert your eyes. I know how you dislike pumpkin. :)

My fellow blogger and food lover, Kimberly, sent me a link for a pumpkin recipe about 2 months ago. She suggested that I try it... Pumpkin Caramel Bars - with Bacon. Yep. Bacon. I must say there was a slight "ick" factor at the thought of my beloved pumpkin mingling with bacon. And the picture that was posted of the bars was not that enticing either...but I kept thinking about the recipe...and wondering. Could it be good? I like pumpkin. And I like bacon. But could I like them together?

So after 2 months of contemplation, I made them. Kimberly, you will be pleased to know that I loved them. I was completely surprised. They were moist, not too dense (When I looked at the batter before baking them I thought they would be too dense), the frosting was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G, and the bacon didn't add a bacony flavor - just a subtle saltiness. I made the recipe true to the original with one exception: I used half and half in the frosting instead of heavy cream because that is what I had on hand. Oh, and I didn't refrigerate the bars before eating them. I don't think I would like them as much if I refrigerated them. This is one recipe you should definitely try for yourself. I would love to get your feedback.

You can find the recipe here:

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Peter Pan/Pirate Birthday Party

For my son's 3rd birthday he requested a Peter Pan party. Well if you have tried throwing a Peter Pan party lately you know it is nearly impossible to find Peter Pan party stuff anywhere! Tinker Bell, yes. Peter Pan, no. I guess Peter Pan is not the "in" thing right now. So we combined Peter Pan with a Pirate party in honor of Captain Hook and his gang of pirates. Here's a look at some of the party details:

Spencer requested strawberry cake for his birthday cake. Strawberry cake is pink and in an effort to make it more boyish/pirateish I tinted it with red food coloring, baked it in pirate cupcake papers and garnished them with these cute toothpick signs that say "Pirate's Life For Me."

The candy buffet table. For those of you who know me really well you know I love me a good candy buffet! (To see some of my past candy buffets: and
You can click on the picture above to see things in better detail. I gave each candy a name based on pirate life or Peter Pan. I borrowed a decorative trunk from my parents' to serve as a treasure chest for the pirate loot and nestled in several glass jars and vases along with some Dollar Tree hurricanes to hold the candy.
Buried Treasure: Rolos
Pirate Loot: Fruit Cream Candies in pirate wrappers
"Second Star to the Right" Bursts: Starbursts (Remember? Neverland was the second star to the right.)
Cod Fish: Swedish Fish (Peter Pan calls Captain Hook a Cod Fish alot in the movie)
Cannonballs: Whoppers
Pixie Dust: Pixie Sticks
Don't be afraid to think outside the box (or inside the box as the case may be!) for different candy buffet ideas.

* Most of the pirate party goods I found at Dollar Tree or Hobby Lobby, two of my favorite stores!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Everything is more beautiful when wrapped in satin ribbon...Thanksgiving Centerpieces

I just wanted to give you a glimpse of some Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas I have been working on. A tip for you: Satin ribbon is a must have. It pulls everything together and makes it look more elegant. Here I have taken some fallish things like wheat, leaves, pumpkins, and a cornucopia and using a little satin ribbon, made it into a stunning and easy centerpiece.

This first centerpiece is made using a $5 vase from Walmart (you could easily use your Dollar Tree hurricanes to recreate this look!), a bundle of wheat from Hobby Lobby, and a big, fat, gorgeous, cranberry colored satin ribbon. Have I told you lately how much I love satin ribbon?

Light a candle in the middle and you have instant Thanksgiving beauty!

This is a cornucopia I bought a couple of years ago for 90% off at Hobby Lobby. I think I paid 79 cents. Add a few mini pumpkins, a bundle of wheat, and a satin ribbon...and you have an easy, thrifty, sophisticated centerpiece.

A candle holder from Michaels looks stylish with fall leaves surrounding it. And don't forget the satin ribbon!
So simple yet the impact is huge! Having a beautiful Thanksgiving centerpiece doesn't have to be expensive, stressful, or time consuming. Work with what you have and you might be surprised to see what you can come up with! I will show you our final Thanksgiving table later in the week...and I would love to hear what you are doing with your table so leave me a comment. No really. I want your comments. Thank you :) and Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A cute and thrifty Thanksgiving message

You can print out your own version of this cute Thanksgiving sign HERE. And be sure to check out some of the other cute, free printables available at Craftily Ever After too. I printed this at Walgreens and popped it in a garage sale frame - so easy and adorable!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Feelings of Fall

I walked into my sister-in-law's house yesterday night and was immediately overcome with that fall feeling. Do you know what I am talking about? Cozy. Warm. Beautiful. Familiar. Peaceful. I am not sure I can capture that feeling in words, but it made me want to smile.

I was so impressed with the impact of walking into my sister-in-law's home. She had simple yet beautiful fall decorations. The soft glow of candlelight made the house more cozy (candlelight always seems to make things simply stunning). I was surrounded by the sounds of family togetherness. The smell of a home cooked meal permeated the air. But more importantly, it was a feeling that the Spirit was there. And it made me happy. If you are a part of my faith, you know what I am talking about.

So I thought I would share a little fall goodness courtesy of the Cluff family. Thanks for letting me share a part of your home, Erica! And if you are ever longing for that feeling, visit the Cluff's home...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Target Halloween 75% Off

An early morning run to Target yielded some Halloween goodies at 75% off! You know I can't resist Target, Halloween, or 75% off! They had several aisles still full of Halloween stuff so I recommend checking it out if you want to snag some good deals for next year.

Here is some of my loot:

A cute Halloween shirt for Spencer - $1.50
2 adorable throw pillows for $3.40 each
black fish net stockings (I wear these in the winter even when it's not Halloween!) for $1.25
black party plates, napkins, cups around 50 cents each (I like to use these for Tech football game food - go Red and Black!).

There were plenty of other good deals to find - look for things that don't always have to be used for Halloween... they had a bunch of costumes left and Halloween candy was marked 50%. I think a bag of fun size Twix may have found its way into my cart :).

This fun wig for $2.50 will be great to have for next year! Did you see my friend Elizabeth wearing a similar wig for our Halloween party (pictures can be found on my family blog)? I was excited to get this for our costume box. I've been working on getting a few things each Halloween for Jeremy and I to use for costumes.
Oh how I love me some Halloween clearance! Have you snagged any good deals at after Halloween sales?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Spooky to Spectacular

Here is my transformation from a Halloween mantel to a more fallish, Thanksgiving mantel:

Remember my 25 cent green garage sale vase (spray painted Heirloom White) that showcased my Halloween branches?

Here it is all prettied up with a pumpkin topiary on the mantel! I love it...

* sigh *
I love fall :)
I know it won't be long before we are decorating for Christmas, but I just wanted to prolong the fall goodness for a little longer.
And I did it using things I already had around the house.
Gotta love a beautiful change that didn't cost a dime!