Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  Here are our pumpkins!


My pumpkin is eating another pumpkin and ThatGuy's is smoking a cigar.  Hopefully, the neighborhood children will not think that we are promoting a lifestyle of cannibalism and smoking....

I was the pigeon for Halloween at school.  99% of the students knew who I was, except for a confused kindergartner who thought I was a blue chicken and the secretary who thought I was a duck.  Well, at least they knew I was some sort of bird! 

 Side view.

Not sure why ThatGuy made me pose like this. Perhaps I am getting ready to fly towards a piece of candy?

Hope your Halloween is full of fun-size Snickers!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mustached Pumpkins

While planning my wedding I visited a lot of blogs and website for ideas.  I started seeing a lot of mustaches- mostly on sticks.  I first, I thought it was a really strange trend that brides would regret in 2 months.  However, much like skinny jeans and slouchy boots, this seemingly strange trend started growing on me and now I'm obsessed with mustaches.

Meet my mustached pumpkins!!

Can you guess which one is sneezing and saying "Waiter, there is too much pepper in my paprikash!" (bonus points if you can name the movie!)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 Spiced Butternut Squash Muffins and Roasted Beets N' Sweets

The last two recipes from our Autumn Veggie Weekend came from AllRecipes.  Both Katie and I luuuve this website- tons of great recipes with user evaluations.  Katie is an official member and after that weekend, I am too!

Spiced Butternut Squash Muffins

You can find this recipe here.

Joy- These muffins were only ok... not worth the work.  And they really stuck to the paper, until the next day when they peeled off pretty easy. 

Katie- Not nearly as good as other veggie-based muffins (pumpkin or zucchini).

ThatGuy- he definitely ate them... but they sat around for about 2 days before they disappeared (that's a sign its not an awesome recipe).

Since neither of us really loved this recipe, this does not get the J&K's Stamp of Approval. :(

Roasted Beets N' Sweets

Roasted Beets N' Sweets can be found here

I was a little nervous because I've never used fresh beets before!

So Katie bravely volunteered to peel them while I sat at the table, drank a glass of water and told jokes.

Joy- I did like this recipe!  Roasting veggies always takes a long time, but its worth it in the end.  It was an interesting texture between the beets and sweet potatoes.

Katie- I had a strange reaction about this.  The beets were fine, not anything special.  But the sweet potatoes were delicious and I've made them a couple of times. 

ThatGuy- ThatGuy cleaned his plate pretty quickly with this one!

Since we did enjoy this recipe, this does get the J&K Stamp of Approval! :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Simply in Season- Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard

As stated in my other post, my friend Katie spend a weekend cooking and evaluating fall recipes in our (aptly named) Autumn Veggie Weekend.  Our first 2 recipes come from Simply In Season, a cookbook that encourages its user to shop local and use in-season ingredients.  We made Butternut Sage Orzo (pg. 200) and  Chard Cheese Bake (pg. 203).

Butternut Sage Orzo

Saute 1 cup chopped onion in 1 Tbs. oil, about 6 minutes.  Add 1 minced garlic clove and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Then add 4 cups peeled and seeded butternut squash.  Stir to coat. Then add 1/2 cup veggie or chicken stock and 1/2 cup white wine or additional broth.  Simmer until squash is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile cook 1 cup orzo in 4 cups liquid- either water or broth.  Boil until orzo is tender but still firm to bite, about 8 minutes.  Drain.

Add squash mixture to orzo.  Then add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and 2 Tbs. fresh sage.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Joy- This meal was pretty tasty!   Peeling and chopping the squash was not fun, which is why I made Katie do it. 

Katie- I don't like chopping the squash either.  Since our cook day, I've made the orzo twice and added shredded chicken and more sage.  Delish!

ThatGuy- This was surprising delicious.

Because we both loved this meal, we give this meal J&K's Stamp of Approval! :)

 Chard Cheese Bake!

Using 1 bunch of swiss chard, cut the leaves away from the stem.  Chop each into bite sized piece.  Boil the stems for 8 minutes and then add leaves for 5 minutes.  Drain.


In a large bowl, add 4 beaten eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 cup Swiss cheese, 1 cup cubed bread, 1/2 cup green onions, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  Stir together.  Add greens and combine.  Pour into a greased 2-quart baking dish.  Cover and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

Joy- Loooved this!  It was pretty easy to combine everything and turned out really well.  Make sure you add some extra salt and pepper though.  I think we also added some extra cheese, which always makes a meal turn out extra good!

Katie- I thought there was too much cheese and not enough flavor.  Humph.

ThatGuy- This was also surprisingly delicious.

Because we disagreed, we don't this meal the J&K Stamp of Approval.  :(

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Autumn Recipes- Farmers Market

Last weekend I visited my friend Katie in central Illinois.  Our goal was to make some fun autumn recipes, which meant a stop to their local farmer's market.  The weather was beautiful, the produce colorful, and the prices were very affordable.  

Our goal was to cook 4 fall recipes and evaluate them like in my new favorite show Anna and Kristina's Grocery Bag.  In the show 2 friends try to cook their way through a cookbook and then tell viewers they should buy it or not.  It's super fun to watch. 

(p.s. while looking for this link and reading some of the comments on the show's page, I am fearful the show is off the Oprah network! NOOOOOO!).

The next two posts will be about our recipes.  Hope you enjoy and try some of them! 

Pumpkins and Gourds!


A pumpkin plant?!

Fresh veggie!
beet it

rainbow swiss chard
ThatGuy better watch out... I think a fancy camera might be on my Christmas wish list!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

ANTM: Bunnies

While watching America's Next Top Model, Penelope decided to show off her own signature moves. 

The Cotton Tail

Over the shoulder glance

Posing with a prop

Showing off her flexibility!

The Head-on Look
 This rabbit is FIERCE!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

25 Ways to Wear a Scarf

With the change in weather, the best accessory is a cute scarf! Last year I learned a new way to wear my scarf, bumping my scarf knowledge from 2 ways to 3 ways.  HOWEVER, I know know 25 different ways thanks to this girl!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fall Bunting

Made a fall bunting the other day- it turned out pretty cute!  And check out the beautiful tree outside my window!  We are having the most spectacular fall.  

Happy Fall!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Seeds

Hello, Gingersnaps readers!  Thanks for stopping over- hopefully you will stay for a while!  On Gingersnaps, I showed you how to take this cute little pie pumpkin....

And turn it into a festive and delicious fall dinner!


But there's more!  While carving out that pumpkin, don't forget to save the seeds! Roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious to eat on their own or are great alternatives to croutons on salads.  

Here's my recipe for Roasted Rosemary Pumpkin Seeds!

Rinse the seeds carefully, to get ride of any pumpkin.  Toss seeds in 1 Tbs. olive oil and sprinkle on salt and 1 tsp. rosemary.  Place in a 200 degree oven for about 40 minutes- stir every 15-20 minutes.  The seeds will be done when they turn a toasty brown.

So easy and yummy!  Enjoy!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Decorating with Nature

Last Saturday I woke up with a spring in my step!  Usually I wake up by falling out of bed because I can't fully function until after my shower.  But I decided to go on a pinecone walk in the morning.  What's a pinecone walk, you ask?  Well, its a walk around the neighborhood looking for pinecones to use for decorating and crafts.  I made myself some coffee to go and grabbed a grocery bag.  I didn't even make it to the end of the street before my bag was full!!

Pinecones in a glass apothecary jar.   Pretty much any collection in a apothecary jar look sophisticated and pinecones are no exception.

Twigs and leaves wrapped around a candle.   Not sure I actually will light this candle, as it seems like a fire hazard.  But it certainly is a cute and earthy fire hazard....

We had a people for Dinner in a Pumpkin- I cut leaves out using my Silhouette machine and wrote guests' names.  Then I stuck the leaves inside the pinecone.  Easy name place cards!

ThatGuy gives these free decorating ideas "two thumbs up."

Friday, October 7, 2011

Gallery Wall

The gallery wall is finally done!  It turned out pretty well, if I do say so!

Here are some tips:
-Lay out your design on the floor first to see how you like it.
-Try to use a mix of media that all have a common theme.  Our frames are all black, so that ties everything together.
-I used a combination of framed photos, printed canvases, framed fabrics and a shadow box. 
-Make sure your frames are all even and in line with one another.  Uneven lines will really stand out! 

ThatGuy quickly noticed everything I picked out had to do with the wedding.  Well, yeah!  We spend all this money on beautiful pictures, so we might as well show them off!  Many of these were taken by the talented Katherine Salvatori. 

Take a look at my post on how to do vinyl words using the Silhouette machine.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Silhouette Wall Vinyl Tutorial

The other day I received my vinyl starter kit from Silhouette!  ThatGuy and I made a gallery wall in our bedroom (pictures soon!) and left space for a some vinyl words.  After much deliberation and a couple of "spirited conversations" we decided on To Have and to Hold from our wedding vows.  

The next great debate was over font.  We choose Standard Cursive, which we felt was a nice combination of modern and traditional, without being too romantic and swirly.  (p.s. looking for font downloads can be addictive!  I like the best). 


To make sure the letters connected and there are no cuts between letters, weld the letters together.  This is found under Object - Modify- Weld.  Warning: After you weld letters together, I'm not sure there is a way to unweld. 

When you are ready to cut, pick the Silhouette Vinyl setting.  This does not need a carrier sheet so make sure you select the appropriate setting on the machine. 


Use the hook to take off the vinyl around the letters. 


 Make a fun sticky pile of the extra vinyl!

Apply the transfer paper to the vinyl and peel off the back.  Then position your vinyl and sticky part of the transfer paper onto the wall (or whatever surface you are putting the vinyl on).  Use the plastic scrapper tool and rub hard against the vinyl letters and wall.  Then peel off the transfer paper.  

  Ta da!