13 Nov

Any advice on appetizers?

I’ve mentioned that we’re hosting our immediate families for a “Thanksgiving Part 2″, and I want to mix things up by making some yummy appetizers before dinner…

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I feel like we always recycle the same types of hors d’oeuvres and I’d love to get some new ideas.  So, help me out!

What do you make when you host parties?  (Travis wants to try bacon-wrapped asparagus… anyone tried it?)  I’m up for putting in a little effort… just want to try something fun and tasty!

P.S. These stuffed mushrooms look pretty awesome…

2 Nov

Have a Fantastic Weekend

Wow, this week has just flown by, don’t you think?!  I’m looking forward to this weekend… we’re taking a little road trip to visit my brother and cheer him on during his first half marathon!  (Hopefully it goes much better than mine did, haha.)

I’ve got some fun surprises set for the blog next week, so make sure to check back on Monday :)

Let’s kick the weekend off right with some fun links from around the web!

Obsessed with this braided updo!

Easy DIY votives

Trav and I tried out a similar recipe this week and it was delish!  (We added bacon and grilled onions :)

Sweet doorstop.

I love when ladies post weekly pregnancy updates… so cute!

How cozy is this mug sweater?

This home would be the perfect spot for a dreamy weekend getaway…

Is it bad that I’m already reeeeeallly excited for Christmas?

Boot lust!

For more fun finds, follow me on Pinterest

What are you up to this weekend?  Any fun plans?  Got some links of your own to share?  Comment below!

29 Oct

Spooky (and tasty!) Halloween Cupcakes

Travis and I went to a Halloween party on Saturday night and I brought pumpkin cupcakes to mark the occasion.  I was happy with how they turned out, so I thought I’d share :)

These are technically pumpkin muffins, but with the addition of homemade cream cheese frosting, they are truly decadent (and perfectly festive).  Here’s the recipe…

The Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour                                 1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. cinnamon                                  1/3 cup water

1 tsp. baking soda                               1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. salt                                             6 Tbsp. butter

1 tsp. ground ginger                            1 1/3 cup sugar

2 eggs                                                    1 cup pumpkin puree

1) Preheat oven to 350.

2) Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl and the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

3) Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet.

4) Bake for 20-24 mins.

*special trick* for extra moist muffins, place a glass dish with ~4 cups water under your muffin tin in the oven.  The water creates a more humid cooking environment and creates the perfect muffin consistency!

The Frosting

1 stick butter

1 tub whipped cream cheese (8 oz.)

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1) Melt the butter and beat into room temperature cream cheese.

2) Add vanilla.

3) Slowly incorporate powdered sugar.

4) Try not to eat it all before applying it to your cupcakes :)

26 Oct

Have a Spooky Weekend!

This weekend promises to be very festive! There are lots of gatherings and Travis and I are excited to rock our newly-finished Halloween costumes (I’ll show you guys next week). We still haven’t carved or decorated our pumpkins yet, either, so there’s lots to be done!

Let’s kick off the weekend with some fun links from around the web…

Sneak peek of Mad Men!

Awesome decorations for a Halloween party.

Would you rock spider lashes?

A friend of mine is making these for her sister’s baby shower… so cute!

Cool fall nails.

What a fun way to plant succulents!

Fun eyelash ideas for Halloween.

On my fall wish list: a collar necklace

Are you serious?  PECAN PIE BARS!!

Herringbone floors are my latest design obsession.

What are you up to this weekend?  Going to/hosting any Halloween parties?  What’s your costume this year?  Share in the comments!

16 Oct

Easy, Delicious Beef Stew

The weather was gloomy last week, so I tried to get into the fall spirit by whipping up a big pot of stew.  When Travis came home from work, he immediately dubbed it “the best stew ever” and we’ve been enjoying the leftovers for days!  Want the recipe?

Here’s what you’ll need:

-1 onion

-2 lbs. beef (many grocery stores have “stew” meat that’s already been cut into chunks— how convenient!)

-3 celery stalks

-red wine

-2 carrots

-6-8 small white potatoes

-1 container beef broth

-1 packet McCormick beef stew seasoning

-flour

The recipe:

1) Chop up the entire onion and sauté in your stew pot.  Once the onions are nearly cooked, add in the beef and chopped celery.

2) Cook the beef until lightly browned, then pout half a bottle of red wine into the pot and simmer with a lid for two hours.  (Feel free to pour yourself a glass of the leftover wine around this time.)

3) Check in on the meat every half hour or so and give it a stir to make sure the wine isn’t evaporating too quickly.

4) When the two hours are up, mix your McCormick seasoning with 3 cups water (per their instructions) and pour it into the pot.  Add the entire container of beef broth as well.  (Some people call cooking with a packet “cheating”.  I call it convenient and delicious.)

5) Continue to cook your stew on low heat as long as you’d like— the longer, the better!  About 90 minutes before dinner, add in your chopped potatoes and carrots.

6) Just before serving, mix 1/2 cup of water with about 1/8 cup of flour and whisk until there are no lumps.  Stir this flour mixture into the stew and turn off the stove.  This will help to thicken it to the perfect consistency.  (Add more flour if it’s not thick enough for you.)

7) Serve with a big slice of sweet french bread for dipping and enjoy!

Are you a fan of beef stew?  What’s you’re favorite cold weather dinner?  How do you feel about “packet” cooking?  Share your thoughts in the comments!