Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Last Minute Thanksgiving Tablescape

Well it's officially the busiest day of the year, or is it the most heavily traveled? Hmmm.  Either way if you are hosting Thanksgiving this year it is time to decide on your tablescape (if you haven't already).  It's officially last minute, so it may be helpful to hear that I came up with this table using all leftover decor from Halloween and my early Autumn harvest veggies purchases.  I picked up some fabric leaves from the drugstore to give some extra color to the entire table.  I created the name tags with some card stock that I already had on hand. The name tags are set inside the stem of the pumpkin by cutting a small slit into the stem with a sharp knife.  The plates for each setting are assorted designs to make the look a bit more festive.  The final touch was the centerpiece, which is an old vintage bowl filled with colorful squash and acorns.  I think this table scape is definitely eclectic but it works.  It's time to be creative and mix and mingle your leftover decor.  Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Carrot Zucchini Bread

First I would like to begin by giving my sincere apologies for being MIA for the past few weeks.  Between the hurricane Sandy aftermath, catching the flu and escaping the Nor'easter storm by staying with family, things have been just a little crazy in my life.  I'm back to blog and here to stay with no plans of a disappearing act in the future, so sorry :)

Tis the season for giving and what could be more perfect than a simple and delicious Zucchini Carrot bread.  In mini form it is the perfect size to package and give to someone special this holiday season. Oh and it just happens to have some great Thanksgiving colors.  I used mini sized disposable baking pans in addition to a full size loaf pan. This bread is great with a cup of coffee or tea and has served as a lovely breakfast for me and hubby over the past few days.  It is super moist and not too sweet.  I used applesauce instead of vegetable oil to make it a bit healthier and bring down the calorie count.  If you would like to use the full fat recipe go ahead and replace the applesauce with 1 cup vegetable oil.  I don't think you will miss the oil especially if you use the cream cheese frosting.  Hope you enjoy and might I mention it is best to serve warm for that cozy comfort food feeling.

Yield: 2 Loaves (9x13 pan)

1 cup Cream Cheese (1 package room temperature)
1 cup Raw Sugar
1/2 cup Honey
3 Eggs
1 cup Applesauce
2 teaspoons PURE Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cups grated Zucchini
1/2 cup grated Carrots
1 cup chopped Walnuts (optional)
3 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda 
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. In a Large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar and honey. Use electric hand mixer to cream together. Approx. 3 minutes.
3. Add in eggs and blend with mixer.
4. Add in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg & cinnamon.  Blend with mixer.
5. Stir in applesauce, vanilla, grated zucchini, and grated carrot until mixed well.
6. Stir in Walnuts with mixing spoon.
7. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray (I used 1 loaf pan and 2 mini pans)
8. Pour mixture into loaf pan about 1/2 way. (The mixture will rise to top when baking)
9. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean from middle of loaf.
10. Top with cream cheese spread, (recipe below) butter, or enjoy by itself.

Cream Cheese Spread
1 8oz package Cream Cheese (room temperature)
1 stick of Butter softened
2 1/2 cups powdered Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1 tablespoon Honey

Mix together cream cheese and butter using an electric hand mixer.
Add powdered sugar, vanilla,& honey. Mix until well blended.
Spread onto individual slices of bread. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Touch of Fall Around the House

For the past few weeks I have been collecting my fair share of Fall favorites to add some festiveness to the apartment.  My decor consists mostly of Fall produce since there are so many ways to incorporate them into your home decor.  A little paint, a pretty vase or a cute basket is sometimes all you need to showcase your Fall veggies.
Above is our front stoop area.  We share this with the other tenants of the building.  I added a pumpkin one day and the next day the beautiful yellow flowers appeared from another friendly neighbor.  A few days after that came the colorful arrangement in the pot. All of us came together to make our home festive without ever speaking a word to one another beforehand.  I think it turned out to be beautiful with a little neighborly teamwork :)

In the living room I tried to stay within a neutral color scheme with a touch of blue/grey.
I recently found this adorable basket at one of my favorite boutique kitchen stores.
I always seem to be filling these vases with latest season or holiday decor.  I LOVE crab apples, they are so cute.
This great cubby space is the perfect place to boast some Holiday cheer in the kitchen.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Candy Corn Treat Bags

Candy Corns are always a staple item during the month of October. Though I am not crazy about their taste (too sweet for me) their bright bold colors are perfect for Autumn and scream "FUN." I could't resist trying to come up with a way to make candy treat bags look like candy corns.  Besides this bag may look like a candy corn but the candy inside tastes even better.  I used an icing bag instead of a regular cellophane bag so it would have a cone shape.  I cut off part of the top right where the bag starts to angle in one direction.  Then tied it all up with a pretty orange piece of ribbon.  I found these bags in packs of 3.  For the White top I used white chocolate covered pretzel balls.  For the middle I used orange slices and the bottom is filled with lemon drop hard candies.  I'm sure you can get creative and think of several other favorite candies to substitute in white, orange and yellow.  Have fun with it!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Doors and Stoops Part 2: Autumn & Halloween

Aaaah, the crisp cool air of Autumn has really been boosting my mood over the past few weeks. As many, this is my favorite time of year.  I love the spirit of this season and all that goes along with it, ie; turning leaves, pumpkin picking, sweet treats, dressing in layers and bold colors.  Seeing how differently people express their joy for this time of year is always fun and brings a smile to my face.  I decided to get out and explore my newish neighborhood since is this will be the first Fall I spend here.  I was so pleasantly surprised at how much thought, effort & creativity people really invest in making their homes festive. I have been taking photos over the past week of several decorative door steps and entry ways. I posted just my fave pics but there are many more where these came from.  I hope you enjoy these photos and let them bring you some decorative inspiration or even just a smile :)
Happy Friday!

 If you look closely you can see that there are eyeballs in this tree and the black pumpkins are spiders.
 This house is shown in the daytime and again when I walked by at night.
 It's questionable but I think we may be under attack by aliens!