Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween! Salty, Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

It’s here! Happy Halloween everyone! The weather here isn’t exactly ideal but we’re still hoping for a good turn out of trick or treaters this evening. Otherwise we’re going to have an awful lot of candy to eat! Here’s a peek at my little trick or treater – his no sew costume was inspired by the unicorn costume here.

No Sew Horse Costume

If you’re leaving your pumpkin carving for today then you’re going to love this recipe from One Hungry Dude for awesome pumpkin seeds. Have fun tonight, everyone!

Pumpkin seeds are a favourite treat for me, around this time of the year. Since Sarah enjoys carving at least one pumpkin for Halloween, there's always a big batch of leftover seeds to work with. Try this simple recipe, and you'll be rewarded with a tasty and healthy snacking option, while your kids are taking advantage of their Halloween spoils.

Salt Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
• Seeds from one Pumpkin
• Olive Oil
• Salt and Pepper, to taste
• Juice from about 1/4 of a Lemon

Place a cookie sheet in the oven, and preheat to 375 F. Once the oven is hot, take the sheet out. Spread the seeds on the sheet in a single layer. Lightly drizzle the olive oil over the seeds, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Squeeze or drizzle the lemon juice over the seeds, then place them in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the seeds begin to lightly brown around the edges. Pull the sheet out of the oven, place the seeds in a bowl, and serve.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Vase from a Salsa Jar

I have to admit that I have more than enough Halloween decorations. I believe I told Chris about a month ago that my collection was verging on “ridiculous”. But that didn’t stop me from wanting to make some more this year. The catch was that I wasn’t going to spend any money so I had to use only things that were already in my stash. So far I’ve showed you Luminaries, Painted Pots and Painted Pumpkins. Today I’m showing you a painted vase I made from an empty salsa jar.

Painted Halloween Vase

This one was really simple. I just used a sponge brush to apply silver craft pain to the outside of the jar. I painted lightly so you can almost see through the paint and it has the great textured lines. Once it was dry I mod podged on some Halloween shapes and then tied on a big black and white bow.

Painted Halloween Vase - details

It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Painted Pumpkins

I’ve gone paint and glitter crazy this Halloween – it seems nothing can escape my sponge brush. That includes these mini pumpkins that I decided needed a bit of dressing up.

Painted Pumpkins

If orange and white aren’t your style a little bit of paint can go a long way towards transforming your pumpkins and Halloween display. I started by making a glittery pumpkin using the leftover mixture from my Halloween Luminaries and Painted Pots. I used a sponge brush to paint on the mod podge and glitter mixture and then just let it dry.

Painted Pumpkin - Glitter

Next up I used a sponge brush to lightly add some black paint to this orange pumpkin. I wanted the orange to show through and I liked the texture the sponge brush made. I dabbed a little silver on to the top of the pumpkin for extra dimension.

Painted Pumpkin - Orange

Lastly, I painted this white pumpkin a bright blue but decided it didn’t really fit in with any of my other Halloween decor. The fix was to sponge some silver paint on, leaving just a bit of the blue peeking through. I like that it looks sort of weathered and antique.

Painted Pumpkin - Silver

All told it took me about 15 minutes to paint these little guys. I was using real pumpkins so I didn’t worry about what would work and what wouldn’t since they’re just going to be thrown out in a week or so anyway and it was fun to just be creative. I’m tempted to paint our full size pumpkin after it’s carved!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Guest Post – Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Wow, it’s Monday already! One Hungry Dude and I had a busy weekend with lots of running around so I’m a little late posting his recipe. But don’t worry, you’ll forgive me once you read it. And you’ll really forgive me once you try it because it is darn good!

When the weather begins to get cooler, I love moving cooking indoors. After a summer of barbecuing, it's nice to regularly turn on the oven and stovetop burners, and revive recipes that have been stored away for months. This recipe is based on a soup that I made during a cooking competition last year. It's got plenty of harvest and fall flavours, with a slightly sweet touch.

Butternut Squash Soup
• 1 Large Butternut Squash, peeled, seeds discarded
• 1 Yellow Onion, peeled
• 1 Green Apple, cored
• 2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled
• 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
• 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
• 1 Tsp Thyme
• Salt and Pepper, to taste
• 3 to 4 Cups Vegetable Broth, warmed
• Cream and Parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Cut the squash, onion and apple into one-inch cubes. In a single layer, place the squash, onion, apple and garlic in a large baking pan or casserole dish, and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle the brown sugar, thyme, salt and pepper over top. Place in the oven, and cook for about 40 to 45 minutes, until tender.

Remove from the oven. Place the mixture in a large pot, add about half of the broth, and puree until smooth using an immersion blender. Add more of the broth, until the mixture becomes a thick soup. Bring the soup to a simmer, and add more salt, pepper or broth, if needed.

Serve in bowls, topping the soup with a touch of cream and a sprinkle of parsley.

* This soup can be served immediately after it is brought to a simmer, if time is a constraint. But I prefer to let it simmer for about an hour or so, to let the flavours meld together.

— This recipe yields about six servings

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

DIY Painted Halloween Pots

I have a ton of craft supplies and very little space to keep them all so lately I’ve been trying to use up what’s in my stash. I’ve had a stack of paper mache pots sitting in my basement since forever so decided to turn a couple of them into a fun Halloween craft. I love the way these painted and mod podged pots turned out! They were so easy and require hardly any supplies. I got my inspiration from here.

Painted Halloween Pots 


  • Pots (paper mache or terracotta)
  • Craft Paint
  • Mod Podge
  • Cardstock
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Paint Brush
  • Sponge Brush

Start by painting your pots. I made a cat and a pumpkin but use your imagination. You could make monsters or vampires or any other Halloween themed creature. While the pots are drying cut faces out of your cardstock. I found keeping the faces simple was easier and also more effective. For example, my cat just has eyes and a nose but you know exactly what it is. At this stage you can also cut out ears and/or stems depending on what kind of pots you’re creating.

Halloween Painted Pot - Cat  

Once the paint on the pots has dried use your sponge brush and some Mod Podge to attach the faces. I then gave the whole pot a coat of Mod Podge so it was shiny all over but this is optional. I sealed my pumpkin pot with glittery Mod Podge left over from my Halloween Luminaries. Click over to that post for the how to. The picture doesn’t do it justice but the whole pumpkin pot is lightly shimmery.

Halloween Painted Pot - Pumpkin 

The last step is to Mod Podge on the ears and stems. To do this just cut into the bottom of each piece and then fold the paper on one half backwards and the other forwards. This gives you two little tabs to adhere to the top of the pot. And that’s it - cute little painted Halloween pots! Including the paint drying these took me about an hour to complete. I used only materials I already had in my stash AND this is another idea I pinned ages ago and finally completed!

Pinned It – Did It Count: 4

Monday, October 15, 2012

DIY Paper Halloween Wreath

Last October I guest posted over at Clean & Scentsible sharing my DIY Paper Halloween Wreath. For those of you who missed it, I’m re-posting here today. These wreaths are so quick and simple to make – you can literally put one together in half an hour!

Paper Halloween Wreath

Here's what you'll need:

  • 12 inch Styrofoam wreath form
  • Two 12 x 12 sheets of Halloween paper (double sided if you want extra pattern variety)
  • Halloween ribbon
  • Tissue paper
  • Halloween stickers
  • Paper cutter or scissors
  • Stapler
  • Pipe cleaners


Except for the paper, I had all of this stuff in my crafting stash so hopefully you will too!

Start by cutting your paper into 1 1/2 by 6 inch strips. If you're using double sided paper you can flip half your strips over so that you end up with 4 piles of different patterns. If you're using single sided you can stick with 2 patterns or just cut only half of 4 different sheets.

Paper Strips

Next, start wrapping strips around your wreath form, one at a time, overlapping them slightly and stapling them at the back. Don't worry about how the back looks, just make sure everything is lined up nicely at the front of the wreath. Keep stapling on strips until your wreath is completely covered. Don't worry if things don't line up exactly right on the last strip as you'll be covering that spot with ribbon. Here's the front and back of my finished wreath.

Details 1Wreath Back

The next step is making the tissue paper flowers. You need 8 squares of tissue paper - the bigger the squares the larger your flower will be so consider the size of your wreath when cutting your squares. Pile the squares on top of each other and fold them like an accordion. When you've finished, twist a pipe cleaner around the centre to secure your folds.

Accordian Fold

Using scissors, cut the ends of both sides of your folded tissue into points. You can cut rounded edges for pretty flowers as well but I think the spiky kind look a bit more spooky!

Pointy Ends

Now spread your accordion out and start pulling the layers of tissue away from each other.When all the layers are separated, adjust them so that there is a flat back to your flower - that's the side with the pipe cleaner tails. Use the pipe cleaner to affix the flower to your wreath or you can hot glue it on. Repeat this process until you have as many flowers as you'd like. I only made two for my wreath because I didn't want to cover up too much of the paper. Once your flowers are in place, stick some Halloween stickers on to them.

Details 2

The last step is to tie some ribbon around the top of your wreath for hanging and you're done! Wasn't that easy? You can use this same idea to make wreaths for all kinds of holidays - just switch the theme and colours of your paper, tissue and embellishments. I made one for Valentine’s Day a couple of years back and I think I’ll do a Christmas version this year!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Guest Post – Honey Garlic Carrots

I have never been a huge fan of cooked carrots. They’re ok but they’re not my favourite – until now! These Honey Garlic Carrots are amazingly good. You’re going to want to try them tonight. Thanks, One Hungry Dude!

A few weeks ago, I finished pulling carrots out of our backyard vegetable garden. There's something about the fresh taste of homegrown carrots that is so satisfying. Perhaps it's the knowledge that I've successfully tended to several plants for an entire summer; or maybe the fragrant aroma and sweet and distinct flavour of fresh carrots. Either way, I prefer a simple recipe for fresh carrots — let the vegetables 'speak for themselves'. All they really need are a few complimentary ingredients to really enhance the flavour.

Honey Garlic Carrots
• Salt
• About 2 Cups Carrots, chopped into large chunks
• 2 Tbsp Margarine
• 2 Tbsp Honey
• 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
• Sprinkle of Garlic Powder
• Freshly Ground Black Pepper
• 1/4 cup chopped Parsley

In a medium-sized pot, bring water to a boil. Add salt and then carrots, and cook until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the carrots. Place them back in the pan, and add the margarine, honey, lemon juice and garlic powder. Cook until a glaze coats the carrots, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.

This recipe serves four people.

— Recipe inspired by Sunny Anderson's Honey Glazed Carrots

Thursday, October 11, 2012

DIY Glittery Halloween Luminaries

I think I might have a Halloween decorating addiction. I seriously have so many decorations for Halloween it’s ridiculous. And yet, I couldn’t resist making a few more! Tonight I’m sharing a really easy DIY luminary project. I love anything with glitter lately and this method makes sure that the glitter stays put.

Halloween Luminary


  • Glass jar (I used a baby food jar)
  • Glitter
  • Mod Podge
  • Patterned Paper
  • Tags, Stickers etc. for decorating
  • Ribbon
  • Sponge Paint Brush

Start by pouring some Mod Podge into a disposable container (I used a clean margarine container) and then add glitter and mix well. There’s no exact measurements here – the amount of Mod Podge you’ll need depends entirely on the size of your jar – but trust me that you’ll want to go heavy on the glitter. The more glitter the less opaque your glass will end up. Once you’ve got your mixture use the sponge brush to paint it all over the inside of the jar. Make sure the entire surface is covered with Mod Podge – don’t worry, it’ll dry clear.

While your Mod Podge and glitter is drying inside the jar cut a label out of your patterned paper. I added a Halloween tag and sticker to mine. Mod Podge your label to the outside of your jar (no glitter this time).

Halloween Luminary Close Up

Once the whole thing is dry, tie on some ribbon, insert a tea light and enjoy! I wasn’t lying when I said it was easy. The Mod Podge keeps the glitter in place so you get the sparkly effect with zero mess. If your jar doesn’t turn out glittery enough the first time you can always add additional coats – just mix even more glitter into the Mod Podge.

I’ve got a couple more simple Halloween crafts coming up so make sure to check back soon!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

By the Batch – Three Minute Fudge (Seriously!)

The other night while watching tv, Chris and I had a mutual craving for fudge. It was really too late to start baking until I remembered that I had previously pinned a recipe for Three Minute Fudge.  I definitely had three minutes to spare – that’s just a commercial break! And even better, the fudge is made with just three ingredients! Seem to good to be true? Read on :)

3 Minute Fudge


  • 3 cups chocolate chips
  • 300 ml of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

Note - I altered the ingredient amounts since cans of condensed milk are a different size here in Canada than they are in the US. If you’re in the US click here for your measurements.


Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and then microwave for three minutes. Be careful removing the bowl from the microwave – it’s hot! Stir everything until well combined. Pour mixture into a 9x9 pan and refrigerate until set. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Seriously, could not be easier and it was really good. To add a little extra flavour I sprinkled on some toffee pieces before my fudge set and just pressed them down a bit with a piece of waxed paper. They officially used up the last can of condensed milk in my stash so clearly a trip to the grocery store is in order!

Pinned It – Did It Count: 3 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Guest Post – Holiday Brisket Sandwich

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to my fellow Canadians! For those of you not eating turkey this weekend, here’s another great recipe from One Hungry Dude!

Whenever I cook for a holiday, I always try to make a bit extra for some leftovers. It allows me to get creative, and make a simple, tasty dish quickly the next night. So I was excited to turn the leftovers from the Rosh Hashanah Holiday Brisket into a hearty sandwich — and quite pleased with the delicious outcome.

Brisket Sandwich
• 3 Tbsp Margarine
• 1/4 Cup Leftover
Holiday Brisket Tomato Sauce
• Four slices of leftover
Holiday Brisket, cut into smaller chunks
• 4 to 6 Button Mushrooms
• 4 Slices
Challah Bread
• About 1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese, grated
• Salt and Pepper, to taste

Place the margarine and tomato sauce in a small frying pan, and heat over medium-high. Add the brisket, and reduce heat by about half. Heat for about five minutes, then add the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms become tender, then take the brisket and mushrooms out of the pan and set aside. Place two slices of bread into the pan, then top with the brisket, mushrooms and a handful of cheese per sandwich. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then cover with the remaining slices of bread. Bring the heat back up to medium-high, and when the bottom slices begin to brown, flip each sandwich. Once the other side reaches the same colouring, remove the sandwiches from the heat. Let sit for two to three minutes, then slice in half and serve.

This recipe yields two sandwiches.

Friday, October 5, 2012

DIY Kids Turkey Headband

I admit that I am one of those mothers who likes to dress my kid up in silly outfits for all of his “firsts”. We gave him a bowtie and a leprechaun hat for his first St. Patrick’s Day; I turned him into a paper bunny for Easter; I even made him a podium and a gold medal for his first Olympics opening ceremony. Yep, I’m that mommy! So with Thanksgiving coming up I’ve been searching for something cute I could make for Nathan to wear to commemorate the day. Enter the turkey headband!

DIY Turkey Headband

Isn’t it cute? It’s inspired by this one I pinned from Pottery Barn Kids (which is no longer available) except, since I can’t sew, mine is made entirely of paper instead of fabric. Slightly less durable but since it’s really only for a couple of photos it doesn’t matter that it probably won’t make it through dinner.

Pottery Barn Kids Turkey Headband

Want to make your own? It’s super easy! Start by cutting a feather template out of cardboard (think cereal box). Depending on the age and head size of your child you can make the template smaller or larger. Then trace your template onto 8 different pieces of scrapbook paper or cardstock. I chose paper patterns that were Thanksgiving-y but you can use any colours or patterns you like – just make sure you choose thick enough paper that your feathers won’t just flop over once they’re attached to the headband. Once your feathers are traced, cut them all out and set them aside.


To make the turkey’s body you’ll need to trace a medium circle and then a smaller one onto brown paper. I used a cappuccino mug and traced the mouth for my medium circle and then flipped it over and traced the smaller bottom. Overlap your traced circles so they look like the picture below and then cut them out as once piece – there’s your turkey head and body!

Turkey Outline 

Snip the corner off a piece of orange or yellow cardstock to create your beak. Then add the snood – the dangly red thing over the turkey’s beak – by cutting a kind of wobbly candy cane shape out of red paper. Glue these parts onto the head of the turkey and then add eyes with black marker.

Turkey Face

Next you need to attach the feathers to the turkey’s body. For this step I just fanned my feathers out as evenly as I could, laid them down on the table and then added glue to the body of the turkey and pressed it down on top of the feathers. To reinforce things I cut a piece of cardstock and glued it on the back.


The last step is to attach the turkey to a headband. If you have a girl then you probably already have something on hand you can use. I happened to have some stretchy baby headbands leftover from making diaper cakes so I used one of those and stapled the turkey to the bow on the front. If you don’t have a headband you could always safety pin your turkey to a toque or similar hat that doesn’t have a brim or peak. I tried hot gluing at first but found that when the headband stretched the turkey popped right off. If you’re worried about a staple or safety pin near your child’s head you can hot glue some felt on the back side.

Finished Back

I am so excited by how this turned out. I think it’s so cute and I can’t wait to do our Thanksgiving pictures this weekend. As you can see, Nathan is thrilled too ;)

DIY Turkey Headband_2

And as an added bonus: Pinned It – Did It Count: 2

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thanksgiving Table Decor

From what I can tell the majority of my readers are located in the US so this post may seem a bit early but, here in Canada, Thanksgiving is nearly upon us. In fact, it’s this coming Monday! So before we get to the big day I wanted to share a couple of simple suggestions for table decor or centerpieces. The nice thing is that both of these displays are already part of my fall decor so you get some bang for your buck by creating these centerpieces and then using them for a month or more in the dining room or living room.

Cake Stand Pumpkins Centrepiece 

For this one, start with a cake stand and then add leaves and pumpkins. That’s it! My pumpkins are fake (I bought them on clearance after Halloween last year) but you can use real pumpkins if you prefer. You can paint them to look shiny and metallic like mine or you can just leave them au naturel. My leaves are fabric but if you’ve got a tree in your yard then go ahead and gather up some real ones! Cover your cake stand with leaves, making sure there’s some overhang, and then place the pumpkins on top.

Bushel Basket Centrepiece

This one is even easier – it’s just a bushel basket that I filled with fall themed potpourri. It’s mostly leaves with some pinecones and pumpkins mixed in. Again, if you wanted to use the real thing you could gather most of these elements outside. For me, I’d rather have fake because I get nervous about insects. I bought this mix on sale at Michaels a few years ago and, because I seal it up every year when the season ends, it still smells so good!

These centerpieces are easy to scale up or down as well. Having a lot of people at a large table? Use a big basket and stuff the bottom with tea towels so you don’t need to use as much filling. Just your family of 4? Opt for an 8 inch cake stand instead of a 12 inch and choose gourds instead of larger pumpkins. Simple as that :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Magnetic Calendar - October

Ok so, depending on how you look at it, this month’s magnetic calendar is either right on time (it is October 1st after all) or really really late (I missed this month last year!). Either way, I’m really please with how it turned out. Of course I had to go with a Halloween theme and lots of orange and black.

Magnetic Calendar - October

I had a ton of Halloween stickers and embellishments in my stash to choose from – I love the skulls and the little crow stickers. There’s a special sticker for Halloween, one for Thanksgiving (it’s in October here in Canada) and the little cupcake returns for another family birthday this month. Here’s a few pictures to show you the details.

October details 3 October details October details 2

And with that, I only have two more months until I have an entire year of calendars completed! There will be another new entry next month for November but, in the meantime, if you want to see my previous months or find out how to make your own calendar then click here. This is really a fun project and I love that you can reuse it year after year.

Happy October!