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October 2009

September 2009

Modern Pumpkins

Here is another fresh, unique idea for decorating your pumpkins this year.  Look closely at the pumpkins in the picture.  Yes, that's right they are decorated with nail heads!  The neutral colors of these pumpkins provide a modern twist on the traditional orange pumpkins.  The silver and bronze nail heads add an adult flair.  These would be perfect for your adult Halloween parties.



You'll need:

• Pencil
• White or gray pumpkins or winter squash–as many as you want.  I have also spray painted pumpkins in metallic silver and gold which would be pretty with your nail heads.
• Decorative nails available at DIY Upholstery

Make dots on your pumpkin where you would like your nail heads to be.  Make any pattern you like.  Push in your tacks.  That's it!

(photos from

Italian Pot Luck

We are celebrating my birthday this year with an Italian themed pot luck dinner.  Being Italian, you would think I know all about Italian cooking.  I make a pretty good lasagna but that is about it.  I am still perfecting my meatball recipe.  So I'm searching for Italian side dishes to take.  I think everyone will bring some sort of pasta dish, bread or salad so I want to take something different. 

This recipe sounds delicious to me (and EASY)!  If you have any ideas or recipes for an Italian side dish please share.

Italian Bread Salad


Makes 8 servings

  • 10  (1-inch-thick) stale Italian bread slices, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6  plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1  small purple onion, chopped
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Balsamic Dressing

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add Balsamic Dressing, tossing gently.

Let stand 20 minutes before serving

(photo from

Pumpkins on the Vine

Or stem...


I just love these homemade pumpkin glass charms.  What a cute way to keep your stemware straight at your fall and Halloween parties! 

Cut circles from orange construction paper, cut out the centers, then cut a slit in each center to fit on stem. Darken the slits with an orange marker to show depth.  Cut pumpkin stems out of green paper and glue them onto the orange circles. Snake four pieces of thin cloth-coated florist's wire around the stem of each glass; at the top, curl the pieces around pencils to make tendrils.

(photo from

Fancy Poppers

With football season in full swing you might be looking for new snack recipes like I am.  Everyone loves jalapeno poppers, but here is a delightful twist on the fried original.

Grilled Pepper Poppers



16 servings (serving size: 2 pepper halves)


  • 1/2  cup  (4 ounces) soft goat cheese
  • 1/2  cup  (4 ounces) fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2  cup  finely chopped seeded tomato
  • 2  tablespoons  thinly sliced green onions
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 16  jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Cooking spray
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh cilantro


1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

2. Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well. Spoon about 2 teaspoons cheese mixture into each pepper half. Place pepper halves, cheese side up, on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill peppers 5 minutes or until bottoms of peppers are charred and cheese mixture is lightly browned. Carefully place peppers on a serving platter. Sprinkle with cilantro.

(photo and recipe from


Candy Trees

Here's a craft you can definitely express your creativity with.  What an easy, fun way to decorate your home or party for Halloween. 

Candy Trees


All you need are styrofoam cones (you can purchase at Michael's or local craft store), hot glue gun and assorted Halloween candies.  You can also wrap the trees in coordinating ribbon.  For a spookier tree, wrap in cobwebs.  The possibilities are endless.


(photo from

Easy Treat

For all my non-baking friends (that includes me) here is an easy treat to make this Halloween.

Witches Hats



All you need are fudge striped cookies, chocolate kisses and a tube of decorating frosting.  Put a dot of frosting on your cookie, attach the kiss then add a bow, that's it!

(photo from

Autumn Punch

Sangria is just perfect for parties.  It serves a crowd and the pitcher of colorful wine, juice and fruit looks so pretty on your table or bar.  This sangria recipe would be tasty any time of year but the vanilla, plums and cranberry juice give it that fall feel.  Try it warm in the cooler months for a special treat.  If you're not a fan of plums, try apples instead.

Autumn Punch


Makes: 10 to 12 servings

Prep: 20 minutes
Chill: 4 hours


  • 2  teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1/2  of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1  64-ounce bottle apple-cranberry juice
  • 4  medium purple and/or green plums, pitted and sliced
  • 1  750-ml bottle Gewurztraminer, or other fruity white wine*
  •   Ice cubes


1. Place cloves and vanilla bean in center of a double-thick 6-inch square of 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth. Bring corners of cloth together; tie closed with clean string. Pour apple-cranberry juice into a large container or pitcher. Add plums and spice bag. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours.

2. Remove and discard cheesecloth bag. Stir in Gewurztraminer. Serve beverage and plum slices over ice. (Or omit the ice and heat the juice mixture and wine in a 4-quart Dutch oven until hot. Serve in heatproof mugs.) Makes 10 to 12 servings.

*Nonalcoholic Option: Substitute two 12-ounce cans chilled ginger ale for the Gewurztraminer, and serve over ice.

(photo and recipe from

Fall Fragrance

Well I am officially obsessed with the "Leaves" home frangrance from Bath and Body Works.  It is like autumn spices, berries and apple goodness all in one.  Delicious!  

This all started with the hand soap.  I love highly scented hand soaps.  We had people over this past weekend for a football party and my guests could not stop raving over the hand soap in the bathroom. 

Hand Soap


So I was wishing I had a candle or room spray in this scent and guess what?  They have them on the website. 



Not only do they have home fragrance in the scent, they have BODY fragrance in it.  Body wash, lotion, etc.  Do I dare? 

Body Wash


I think I might try the body wash first just in case it smells too potpourri-ish. 

What is your favorite fall fragrance for your home?  Pumpkin, vanilla, apple, leaves?

Pumpkin Creatures

These adorable creatures made out of pumpkins just blow my mind!  The creativity with pumpkin carving just increases every year.  Now you can create almost anything you want out of these pretty fall gourds.  BONUS-kids will love helping you design your creatures!

Hungry Caterpillar


Honey Bear


Scare-dy Cat


Creepy Ants


Find out how to make these and other cool pumpkin creatures and carvings here!