DIY Noise Makers for New Year’s Eve

This beautiful vintage inspired noise maker can really wow your party crowd. Image courtesy of vintageimagecraft.com

This beautiful vintage inspired noise maker can really wow your party crowd. Image courtesy of vintageimagecraft.com

What could be more fitting than to add a nostalgic popper to the night we often look back on as we sing the Scottish poem of Auld Lang Syne? A soda can has never looked better and the tutorial is easy to follow.

You can also let 2014 go out with a bang by making a bunch of noise makers with the recent leftovers of gift wrap, basket fillers, candies and more!

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Make Gingerbread Houses Without Gingerbread!

Pretzels work great for building a "gingerbread" house. Image courtesy of The Pretzel Eater's Club.

Pretzels work great for building a “gingerbread” house. Image courtesy of The Pretzel Eater’s Club.

 

 

If you’re hankering to make a few gingerbread houses but don’t really want to buy the pre-fab house parts or make your own gingerbread  pieces, there are so many other ways to build a “gingerbread” house.

The Rules of Gingerbread House Making

Most people agree, there are a few “rules” to making a gingerbread house or village. 1) It should be made of all edible ingredients – anything else is sorta cheating. 2) You need a great Royal Icing recipe in order to secure things quickly.

There are recipes that are eggless and can still do a good job “gluing” your pieces together well. In fact, there are at least 10 different varieties of recipes that can work well as “cement.” Icings that have any fat (margarine, butter, shortening), usually will not harden enough, so they will not be appropriate.

Building Supplies that are not Gingerbread

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Part 4: Let the Baking Begin

If you have a love for sweet and salty together, you'll love Butterscotch Haystacks. Image courtesy of verybestbaking.com

If you have a love for sweet and salty together, you’ll love Butterscotch Haystacks. Image courtesy of verybestbaking.com

 

 

This is part 4 from the series Get Ready for the Christmas Baking to Begin! This is the final installment in the series, where you’ll find the recipes for Butterscotch Haystacks, Coconut Balls, and a Truffle recipe that can be used in many variations.

 

 

 

 

Butterscotch Haystacks Continue reading

Part 3: Let the Baking Begin

Neapolitan cookies have multi-layers of flavor: Almond, raspberry, apricot, and chocolate. Image courtesy of thehopefulhestia.wordpress.com

Neapolitan cookies have multi-layers of flavor: Almond, raspberry, apricot, and chocolate. Image courtesy of thehopefulhestia.wordpress.com

This is part 3 of the series: Get Ready for the Christmas Baking to Begin. These next two holiday favorites are easier to make than expected. Both goodies run about $9 a pound at your local bakery and this frugal gal knows that you can go broke trying to purchase a nice platter of these delightful morsels. With that in mind, I offer you two great gift-worthy recipes:

 

 

 

Italian Neapolitan Cookies
*Coming from an Italian family, I can tell you this recipe is authentic in nature. Other recipes call for other flavored fillings, but most bakeries use these ingredients.

Supplies: Continue reading

Get Ready for the Christmas Baking to Begin!

Homemade Christmas cookies warm just about everyone's heart.  Find your favorite recipe that you can pass on for generations. Image courtesy of Debbie Morrow, All Rights Reserved.

Homemade Christmas cookies warm just about everyone’s heart. Find a favorite recipe that you can pass on for generations to come. Image courtesy of Debbie Morrow, All Rights Reserved.

The days are ticking quickly by and if you are anything like me, you already have your supplies on hand. No? Well, I can offer you my most requested cookie/candy recipes that have been pleasing people for over 35 years. Since some directions are longer than others, multiple posts will be needed as follows:

Part 1:                                    Part 2:  Chocolate Italian Balls
Spicy Gingerbread Cookies               Peanut Butter Balls
Italian Butter Balls                                 Almond Sugar Cookies
Rum Balls

Part 3:                                    Part 4:  Butterscotch Haystacks
Chocolate Fudge                                 Coconut Balls
Italian Neapolitan Cookies                  Truffles (multi-flavored)

Part 1: Spicy Ginger Bread Cookies

Gingerbread man image courtesy of What Ronronia Wants

Gingerbread men image courtesy of What Ronronia Wants @ blogspot.

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Fun Fall Food Recipes

Let the family munch on this turkey while waiting for the real mcCoy. Image and recipe can be found at:http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/turkey-cheese-ball

Let the family munch on this turkey while waiting for the real mcCoy. Image and recipe can be found at:http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/turkey-cheese-ball

 

 

 

With the American Thanksgiving Feast almost upon us, it’s not too late to plan a few creative recipes that will produce a smile, giggle, or maybe a little awe.

Creating Fun Appetizers

Imagination is key to creating little works of edible art and luckily, there are a lot of people who have the gift of making appetizers that delight.

 Delegating the Work Load

It won’t take much to motivate one of your kids or family members to help in making these fun foods and you may start a new tradition of having a small competition of on who can make the most creative dish. It will not only take some pressure off of you – the main cook – it will spur conversation and delight.

Have a wonderful and plentiful Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

Fall DIY Napkin Rings

Burlap makes a great fabric base to embellishments for Fall napkin rings.  Image courtesy of Tater Tots and Jello, where they offer a tutorial at; http://tatertotsandjello.com/2010/02/burlap-napkin-rings-tutorial-dollar.html

Burlap makes a great fabric base to embellishments for Fall napkin rings. Image courtesy of Tater Tots and Jello, where they offer a tutorial at: http://tatertotsandjello.com/2010/02/burlap-napkin-rings-tutorial-dollar.html

 

Since we covered Fall Centerpieces to Fall in Love With, it couldn’t hurt to add a few posts on how to bring your table settings together.

How to Make a Napkin Ring

Sure, you can buy plain ones at the dollar store, but this frugal gal likes to use and recycle. By making the ring yourself, you can have the control of the width – which allows for more embellishment space.

Start with the base: Save cardboard paper towel, gift wrap or toilet paper tubes. Sometimes you may even be lucky to get a tube with your last fabric purchase. Continue reading

Fall Centerpieces to Fall in Love With

Simplicity at its best: Nature, harvest, and candles come together with a log with holes drilled for candles and accented with leaves, gourds, and mini pumpkins. Image courtesy of The Berry and SAS Interiors.

Simplicity at its best: Nature, harvest, and candles come together with a log leftover from pruning. Image courtesy of http://www.theberry.com and SAS Interiors.

Now with Halloween behind us, it’s time to begin planning our Fall or Thanksgiving centerpieces. These ideas below can work with a dining room table, mantle, or accent pieces. Best of all, not only are they charming, they are quick to craft and easy on the pocketbook. Click on each image for more info.

 

When making a dining table decoration, keep in mind the size of your table and the amount of space that will be needed for a Thanksgiving meal. But most importantly, keep it simple to save you time for other – more important things: enjoying time with friends and family. Now THAT is something we can be truly grateful for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15+ Unusual Pumpkin Seed Recipes

Spicy Roasted Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds image courtesy of girlmedallyn.wordpress.com

Spicy Roasted Sunflower and Pumpkin Seed image courtesy of girlmedallyn.wordpress.com

Many of us have waited until the last few days before Halloween to carve our pumpkins. The reasons vary from the lack of time/motivation to ensuring we don’t have a pumpkin that molds too soon.

Honestly, I like to cut them early. But I’ve tried the bleach method, and others. I followed the directions faithfully but still my pumpkin rotted by Halloween. So now – the last minute – my pumpkins get carved. Which means, pumpkins seeds are done at the last minute as well.

After scouring the internet for flavor choices I thought I’d add a quick note to help those who are also last-minute carvers and seed makers:

Not like the old days of having a 2-day prep, Food Network has several flavors to complete within approx. 30 minutes – Italian, Sweet and Salty, Indian, Spanish and BBQ.

If those flavors don’t appeal to you, why not try:

Salted Caramel Pumpkin Seeds
Jalapeno Pumpkin Seeds
Bourbon Pumpkin Seeds
Sweet and Salty Chocolate Pumpkin Seeds
Jerk Pumpkin Seeds

Maryland Pumpkin Seeds
Drunken Pumpkin Seeds
Ginger-Orange Pumpkin Seeds
Candied Pumpkin Seeds
Caramelized Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Don’t use the old 2-day drying method. Follow the directions for drying on the Food Network link and you’ll be eating those seeds by the end of the night. If any of you try some of these recipes, give me a critique. I haven’t tried all of them, but they sound delish!

Happy Halloween!