Sunday, November 28, 2010

Deck the Halls

Christmas season is finally here!
Which means three of my FAVORITE things:

* Christmas music *
* Christmas shopping *
* Christmas decorating *

This past Friday, we decorated at my parent's house.
Here are a few ideas for your own home!

1.) Coffee Table Centerpiece

I used a circular platter from Hobby Lobby
and placed a candle in the middle.

Then, used filler that looks like red berries.

Placed two antique looking ornaments, some pine cones,
cinnamon sticks, and decorative wicker balls around the candle.

2.) Sleigh Centerpiece

This white sleigh is also from Hobby Lobby.
I placed a candle in the middle, and filled the inside with pine cones
and ornaments.
You can NEVER have enough pine cones - or ornaments - at Christmas.

3.) Christmas Wreath & Garland

My mom bought a plain wreath and plain strand of garland.
(They were on clearance at JCPenney's.)

I decided to dress them up with some ribbon, glass beads, ornaments
and berries. Ribbon and berries were bought at Garden Ridge.
Glass beads and ornaments were bought at Target.

Our color theme is red, blue and silver.

For the stocking holders, my mom and I couldn't find any at the store
that we really liked.
So, we bought some plain silver hooks, and I hot glue-gunned
an ornament to the top.
Works perfect!
And fits in with the garland.

4.) Trim the Tree

Our color theme for the tree was red, blue, silver, white and chocolate brown.
We used red and brown ribbon...
white reindeer ornaments...
colored glass balls...
... and tinsel.

Cute, right?

5.) Kitchen Table Centerpiece

Found a silver platter at Hobby Lobby for $5.
Found some unique candles, and placed in the middle.
(The pine cone candle is my favorite!)

I used berry filler once again.
Placed ornaments and acorns around the candles.

Simple, yet adorable.

Set the nativity scene on the back table, and all in all...
... it looks pretty good!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Splash of Color

I love painting projects.

Some may cringe at the idea of spending an entire day using a brush and roller...
... but I LOVE it.

Sunday, my mom and I finally decided on an accent wall color
for my parent's living room.

Smokey Slate

It was a difficult choice, but in the end, Smokey Slate won us over.
And, a trip to the Home Depot was in our future.

My parents just moved into a new house last July.
They were looking to spice up their living room...
... really make the fire place pop.







I think it turned out pretty well!
It only took us about an hour to paint.

By leaving the middle wall a beige color, it made the
fire place stand out.

Incredible what a little paint can do!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Seafood Soup

I am a sucker for seafood.
Especially shrimp and salmon.
I'm also a sucker for soup.

Put them together, and you have a delicious seafood soup.

(This will feed 4 people)

5 cups of chicken broth
1/2 pound of medium sized shrimp (peeled/de-veined)
2 salmon filets
1 fennel bulb
2-3 medium-sized tomatoes
1 garlic clove
Extra-virgin olive oil

(Crusty bread or dinner rolls to serve with the soup.)

1.) Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 clove of finely chopped garlic to a soup pot.
Stir on low heat, until you can smell the garlic.
(About 3 minutes.)

2.) Chop the fennel bulb into thin slices.
Save the green tops for garnish!
If you've never had fennel before, it tastes like a potato.
I got the idea to add fennel from a Martha Stewart recipe.

3.) Add the fennel to the pot.
Cook for 5 minutes.

4.) Dice up your tomatoes, and add them to the pot.
Cook for another 5 minutes.

5.) Add 5 cups of chicken broth to the pot.
Add sprinkling of salt/pepper.

Cook on low heat for about 20-30 minutes.
Let the flavors combine.

6.) When your soup has about 10 minutes left to cook,
turn the oven on to 350 degrees.
You can buy a loaf of crusty bread or dinner rolls at the store.
Put them in the oven (to heat them up) for 5 minutes.

7.) Cook your salmon filets in a different pan than the soup pot.
Just add a little olive oil to the pan, and cook the salmon
on each side for about 3 minutes.

When it's done, gently tear the cooked salmon into large pieces.

8.) When the soup has simmered for 20-30 minutes, add the cooked salmon...
... and the UNCOOKED shrimp.
Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.

9.) Tear off the tops of the fennel bulb.
You'll need the tiny green parts as garnish.

10.) Spoon the soup into a bowl, and garnish with the fennel.

11.) Get your bread out of the oven.
Serve with the soup.
SO delicious, simple, quick to make.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Piece of Pumpkin Pudding Cake

I can't stop making recipes with pumpkin in them!

Since we have such a short window of time to enjoy it...
... I kind of go overboard a bit!

This "Pumpkin Pudding Cake" recipe is a super simple, delicious dessert
using one of my favorite things -

Inspiration for the recipe came from Katie Grace Designs.

1 package of Spice cake mix
1 15 oz. can of pumpkin
2 packages butterscotch pudding
4 cups milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 carton Cool Whip
Chopped walnuts or almonds

1.) Follow directions on box of cake mix.
It doesn't matter if you bake it in cupcake tins, or a large pan.

2.) Follow directions on pudding packets.
Normally you mix 2 cups of cold milk with contents from each packet.
(4 cups milk total.)
Put the pudding mixture in the fridge for 5 minutes.

3.) Once the pudding is nice and chilled, add 1/2 of the 15 oz. can of
pumpkin to the pudding mix. Stir.
(If you use the whole can, it can be a little too much! I think 1/2 is just right.)

4.) Add the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Stir.
Put in the fridge for about 15 minutes to let the flavors combine.

5.) Get out your Ball jars.
(If you don't have some, you can buy them at Hobby Lobby or any thrift store.)

Add your baked Spice cake to the bottom of the jar.
(Make sure it's cooled off.)
You can crumble the cake, or leave it in a whole piece.

6.) Add a layer of the pudding mixture.

7.) Add a dollop of Cool Whip.

8.) Repeat the layers.
Top with chopped walnuts or almonds.

It's the perfect little fall dessert.
Layers of spice, pumpkin, and cream.

And clean-up is a breeze!