Back to School Breakfast: Smoothies and Muffins

Are you failing at back to school breakfast? This school year, be at the top of the class with a stress-free breakfast plan! Gather your supplies, pack your freezer, and add these words to your breakfast vocabulary: smoothies and muffins! Smoothies Pre-packaged smoothie kits from your grocer's freezer section are convenient but pricey. You can create your own at home! Put yogurt (your choice of flavor) into ice cube trays (fill about 1/3 full) and freeze until solid. Toss about two cups of frozen fruits (either store bought or fresh fruit you've frozen) into freezer bags along with a handful of your yogurt cubes. Label the bag with the ingredients and date. Pour contents of bag into your blender, add some milk (cow, soy, or nut) or juice and blend until smooth! Create … [Read more...]

Festive Slow Cooker Beverages for Holiday Parties

As you make plans for holiday parties, drawing up menus and planning tablescapes, consider adding festive slow cooker beverages to your fare. Spiced ciders, creamy cocoas, mulled wines, and more can be kept hot and inviting for the duration of your soiree. Plus, they are a cinch to make, most only requiring that you add all the ingredients to the appliance and turn it on! Ciders This one is as easy as pouring apple (or pear) juice or cider into your slow cooker, adding some cinnamon sticks and whole cloves and turning it to low. It will be fragrant and delicious in a few hours. But you can also make it extra-special with a few tweaks. Citrus Cider - the addition of orange and lemon juices and fresh ginger is a refreshing twist Spiced Caramel Cider - this is sweeter cider that pairs … [Read more...]

Creative Ways to Decorate for a Halloween Party

Right now party outlets, craft stores, and discount retailers are full of cute and fun, spooky and scary, gruesome and gory decorations for Halloween. It’s a veritable witch’s brew of choices. But you don’t have to give-up an arm and leg to creatively decorate your home for a Halloween party. Besides, you need to keep your limbs intact for the impending Zombie Apocalypse! How to Decorate for a Halloween Party 1. Decide on your theme Will jack-o-lanterns or skeletons dominate your décor? How spooky or macabre do you want to be? Do you prefer vintage or modern? And with your theme in mind, decide how prolific your decorating will be. Are you a minimalist or do you want to drape your entire home in fake spider webs? Will you also decorate outdoors? Vintage-style bats take flight … [Read more...]

Caramel Apple Dumplings

If you're looking for something quintessentially fall in aroma and flavor, look no further than these Caramel Apple Dumplings! Apple dumplings have a long history and have been mentioned in print since the 17th century. They were quite popular with early American colonists because apples grow so well in this country. Apple dumplings even have their own unofficial food holiday; National Apple Dumpling Day is "celebrated" in the United States on September 17th. Traditionally, apples are cored and filled with a mixture of sugar, butter, spices, and often raisins or other dried fruit. This twist on the classic apple dumpling puts soft caramel candies in the hollowed out core for an ooey, gooey center. An inside-out caramel apple! Caramel Apple Dumplings Ingredients 1 premade pie … [Read more...]

10 Creative DIY Pet Beds

If you want your four-legged kid to have the perfect spot of their own, we've scouted out 10 creative DIY pet beds. The best part is, you can make any of these yourself with materials and items you may already have on hand! It seems that house pets, like humans, prefer a little luxury in their sleeping arrangements. If you have cats or dogs, you've probably noticed that they enjoy either sharing the bed with you or burrowing down into a pallet of comfort. I know I can't leave a pile of blankets or towels for the washer on the floor without finding my dog sacked out on it! So from re-purposing old furniture or clothing to making home decor matching cushions, the following pet beds will not only give your dog or cat a space of their own but they will give you the satisfaction of having … [Read more...]

Strawberry Cupcakes for Valentine’s Day

I have one Valentine's Day tradition; every year I make a heart-shaped, strawberry cake. They started out as cakes from box mixes. And then as my baking prowess progressed, I began trying my hand at "from scratch" recipes. This year, since cupcakes seem to be "all the rage", I thought I'd mix things up a bit and do strawberry cupcakes. As with most new ventures these days, my journey began on Pinterest. After pinning several ideas, I settled on two criteria: the cake part had to use fresh strawberries and there had to be a chocolate element. I settled on these cupcakes from Annie Eats, this frosting from Martha Stewart Living, and these chocolate filigree hearts also from Martha Stewart Living. What resulted was a moist, creamy, fresh tasting delicacy! The use of the fresh … [Read more...]