Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! 

I'm planning on heading over to my parents' house later today to see my littlest sister all dressed up in her Halloween costume, but I don't think I'll be dressing up this year. But - I did get my house all dressed up! 

I decorated for Halloween a while ago, and somehow it just slipped my mind that I should take photos for the blog, but I did it last night so I could share them today! 

Most of the Halloween decor is in the kitchen... here's our little coffee corner, with the addition of a pumpkin candy jar (filled with Halloween candy!):

This corner of the kitchen always gets decorated for holidays... this year it contains a trio of Halloween candles, a skeleton tealight holder, a mulled cider candle, and a framed letterpress print from tag team tompkins.

Shakespeare quotes make my English major heart happy.

The kitchen table got some Halloween festivity as well, thanks to a runner I found on clearance last November at Pier 1, some jack-o-lantern tealight holders from Goodwill, and a sparkly black candleholder from HobLob. Oh, and some makeshift napkin rings made with black elastic and black spiders! 

I wanted to buy or sew purple napkins to match the candles, but I never did get around to it. Oops.

In the dining room, I hung a quilted jack-o-lantern man that Jeff's mom made for me last year. Isn't he cute? 

The piano room got a little Halloween decor too, in the form of some little decorations on the piano. 

These candles have been bright orange for a few years of Fall decor. But this year, when I pulled them out (from their totally opaque storage tub) they were faded and almost peach-ish. Weird. But I'm okay with it. 

A photo of us from two Halloweens ago, when we were Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf!

In the living room, we have another pumpkin candy dish (also filled with candy... we'll empty out both pumpkin dishes for the Trick-or-Treaters tonight), and I Spy: Spooky Night (a favorite from my childhood - I now have my very own copy!)

My favorite Halloween decoration this year ended up being a trio of pumpkins on our kitchen island:

I found the table runner at HomeGoods, picked up the three pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, and embellished them with rhinestone swirl stickers from HobLob. I thought about painting the stems black, but I want to remove the rhinestones and re-use them for something more "Fall-ish" after Halloween, so I decided to leave them as is. 

And of course, we've got my DIY ghost wreath hanging on the door!

That's it! I'm excited for Fall Decorating Part II later this week (in which I take down the Halloween-specific stuff and add a few more non-Halloween Fall items to the house). I'll get around to taking Fall decor photos eventually... maybe. Haha! 

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Burlap, Burlap, Burlap!

I recently bought two bolts of burlap. JoAnn's was having a one-day-only 50% of burlap sale, so I took advantage of it, and now I have 20 yards of the stuff. I bought it without knowing what exactly I'd use it for (which is very, very unlike me), so I've been looking around for some ideas. Here are a few of the best ones I've found:

Burlap Napkin Rings - how cute would this be for a fall table? And SO much cheaper than buying napkin rings! My kitchen table is all Halloween-y right now, so I think I'll take away the jack-o-lanterns and spiders and replace them with burlap goodness tomorrow!

Burlap Curtains - I may or may not have already started on this for the guest bedroom.... hehe. I'm planning on making some for the game room too though. I think. :)

Burlap Table Runners - there are SO many different versions of this floating around the Internet. I can't wait to try one. Should go nicely with the napkin rings, right?

Burlap in Frames - I love how burlap adds a little personality to wall decor... look at all these cute frames with burlap!

Aren't the little clips just so cute in this one? I love it! 

This would be so cute with Christmas music!

I think I could do something like those frames to make Jeff's Eagle Scout letters from the Senate and House look pretty...

Burlap Pillows - I'd love to whip up a few of these for the (second) guest bedroom. So fun! 

Burlap Around Candleholders - this is so simple, but so cute! And it would hardly use any burlap at all! 

Burlap Monogram Art - I love both of these monogram ideas! I'm not sure where I'd put either one, but I'm filing them away for when I find a spot!

Burlap Wreath - I think this wreath is so adorable, and I'd love to recreate it. Now I just need to buy some twine...

Burlap Holiday Decor - I love DIYing stuff for the holidays. Here are a couple cute burlap holiday ideas!

Berry Monogram with a Burlap Bow

I think I'm going to start with curtains and maybe some artsy stuff. What would your first burlap project be? 

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Slow-Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Puff Pastry Biscuits

When the weather starts to get colder (this is finally starting to happen a little here in Texas), there's nothing quite like a warm, hearty meal. Chicken Pot Pie is always a good comfort food staple, and this slow-cooker version makes it extra easy! 

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Recipe adapted from here.

8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
5 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup flour
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4 thighs)
salt and pepper
1 sheet thawed puff pastry
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen green beans
1/3 cup heavy cream

1. Put the mushrooms, carrots, onion, flour, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 cup water in a slow cooker. Stir.
2. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Cook on low for 7-8 hours (until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are tender).
4. 30 minutes before serving, prepare the biscuits. Use a jar lid or cookie cutter to cut the puff pastry into four circles. Put the four circles on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes, or until golden. 
5. Ten minutes before serving, shred the chicken with two forks. Remove the bay leaf. Add the corn, green beans, and heavy cream, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low until ready to serve. 
6. To serve, place the chicken mixture in bowls and top with the pastry rounds. 

(veggies w/ flour and bay leaf)

(all mixed up!)

(chicken on top)
(puff pastry cut into circles)

(ready for the oven...)

(10 minutes before serving)

(adding the last ingredients)

(cooking for the last half ten minutes)

(biscuits are done!)

(all ready!)