Archive for November 2013

Homemade Cranberry Sauce, It's Not Too Late!

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I know this post may come to you just under the wire for the big meal but seriously, this recipe is so easy that you don't even need to plan. And it is delicious, so much yummier than the canned stuff which I love, by the way.

 I can't take credit for the recipe. I got it from Ocean Spray.  

1. Heat 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar in a medium sauce pan until boiling. 

2. Add one bag of cranberries (I think it's approximately 2 cups).

3. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Pour hot mixture into a small holed sieve or food mill if you have one. If you have a food mill, mill the mixture until smooth and most of the cranberries have been pressed.  If you don't have one, use a sieve over a bowl.

Use a spoon to press the pulp against the sieve. Every so often use the spoon to scrape the underside of the sieve.

5. Give it a stir. Isn't the color gorgeous?  It literally glistens like rubies. So pretty and festive.

6/ Discard the solids left in the sieve and pour the warm sauce into jars or molds. Chill until firm.

It is so yummy!  I have one in the fridge chillin' in a mold so if it comes out nicely, I'll post that pic!  

Enjoy your meal!

Happy Thanksgiving!! Thank you!

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I wish you all a wonderful, blessed, and happy Thanksgiving day!  I would like to take a minute to say thank you to all of you, the readers who support my little blog!  I started this blog as a hobby two years ago and I am so grateful to still be writing and creating and I owe so much of that to you!  Thank you!

And let's be thankful, too, for our family, friends, health, homes, and Hallmark Christmas movies! Yay!

Enjoy your turkey!

Cheers and love!

Last Minute Thanksgiving Table Decor

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This is a post and run type of post because I have to bake 3 dozen corn muffins for Molly's Thanksgiving feast at school (hi, Procrastination!  So nice to see you! Now scram!). But I wanted to show you what I whipped up at the last minute to jazz up our Thanksgiving table!  Nothing like waiting till the last minute, right?  So if you are behind on your Thanksgiving prep and still want to make the table look special, you can pull off these simple ideas in no time flat!

I used a blue and gold theme mostly because I had the blue burlap on hand. If you have any stash fabric that is remotely Thanksgiving-y get it out and use it up!  I made the runner by simply cutting a long length of burlap and fraying the sides. 

The place cards are squares of burlap onto which I hot glued a turkey cut from an old book. Then I used a marker to write the names. I used a gold marker first and it didn't show up as well so I went over it in black. That's why it looks funky. : )

The chargers were silver and I spray painted them gold. I also used a glitter spray paint to jazz up some little birds I had in my hoard. They were originally from the dollar store.

For a centerpiece, I used some leaves cut out of book pages and hot glued to a branch from my yard.  The little white pumpkins are from my fall/Halloween decorating. I just gathered them up from around the house and put them together in a cluster. Sometimes several of the same items grouped together gives a big impact!

A loop of ribbon hot glued to make a ring serves as a quick but fancy napkin ring. I had this glittery ribbon on hand but any pretty, thick ribbon will do!

So there you have some quick and easy ideas to add something new to your Thanksgiving table!  If you need more ideas, you can visit my Thanksgiving table round up!


Fingerprint Popcorn Bowl Class Gift

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Recently, I was given the task to come up with a super class gift or craft idea for Ellie's preschool. The school has a silent auction that is the main fundraiser and each class creates a gift that is then auctioned off. It had to be quick and easy because 3 year olds are making it and it needed to be cute enough that someone would bid on it. 

So here it is!  

How I Decorate For Holidays on an almost $0 Budget

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If you have been a reader of this blog, you know I get tremendous pleasure from holiday decorating. I spend crazy amounts of time pinning ideas, reading other bloggers' holiday posts, reading specialty magazines, etc. to get new and fresh ideas for decorating for holidays. I am also on a budget. A small budget. Like $0. I once asked Jim what my budget is per month for fun stuff and he said "Your budget?  Buy nothing." HA HA HA!  It's almost like he has never met me before.

All kidding aside, it is tempting to toss out all the decor from the previous year and start fresh. can I possibly have another red and white Christmas when everyone is using GOLD?  Heavens!  As tempting as it is, I simply cannot do it. I have had to find ways to reuse, re purpose, and stretch my holiday decorating dollars (or dollar if Jim had his way).

Goodwill Nightstand Furniture Redo

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Jim and I purchased our bedroom set many moons ago. We bought it during a tent sale and there was only 1 nightstand. Not one to love a matchy-matchy look, I decided it was fine and I would come across something someday soon. Fast forward 9 years. No nightstand. Well, until....

Thanksgiving Turkey Bunting Decoration and Stuffing Recipe

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I have a confession. I don't like the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  I adore the idea of Thanksgiving, of being grateful for all of our blessings (and we have so many!) and I love the idea of family coming together. But I seriously could never eat Thanksgiving dinner ever again and never miss it. One of my favorite Thanksgivings was when my mom made veal parmigiana instead. See ya, cranberries! No wait, cranberries, why don't you go wait in the kitchen and you can jump in some bliss bars, ok? 

And not only can you have my turkey, stuffing, and potatoes, you can have my fall decorations. I'm over them by Thanksgiving.  Our mums are fading, the pumpkins are getting in my way, and we have leaves everywhere outside, I don't need them strewn about my dining room table.

That being said, I am Jenny and I find myself looking to freshen things up. And a turkey bunting is the perfect way!

10 Thanksgiving Tablescape Ideas

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Our Thanksgivings are always quiet. It is the one holiday I refuse to travel on and we always enjoy dinner at our home. Halloween is a whirlwind here because it is also Molly's birthday. Christmas lasts forever here too since we travel to NC during the holiday.  So Jim and I decided long ago that our quiet holiday would be Thanksgiving and I love that! 
Even though it is usually just our little family around the table, I do try to  make it special. We eat on the good china, use the best linens, and I work on setting a pretty table with sweet little touches.  I started a tablescape pin board on Pinterest and I decided to share some of my favorites with you. Maybe you can glean some inspiration too! 

Please remember to pin from the original source!

Setting a Fall Table

How to Make Crockpot Caramel Dip

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I am a hot dog person but I married a hamburger person. It works out fine. My mom and I get along famously despite the fact she is a vanilla person and I am a chocolate. Molly prefers sweet but Ellie is salty. Where do you fall?  Bacon or sausage? dark meat or light? Love cilantro or hate cilantro (there really is no in between)? 

Well, I kind of think that the chocolate/vanilla teams can meet on a common ground in the middle which is caramel.  Who doesn't like caramel?  Right. No one. It's like not liking puppies.  Chocolate and caramel?  Yup! Chocolate and vanilla ice cream?  Can I get a woot woot?   It brings these two very different groups together.  A creamy, gooey, bridge between opposing forces if you will.

And I love it. So I made it a few weeks ago with sugar and cream. It was amazing but playing with hot melted sugar is NO JOKE. 
In an effort to make things simpler, I finally tried the condensed milk-in-the-crockpot method and I found it works! Sort of.
For those who haven't seen the millions of recipes floating in the interwebs, here is my version.
Open a can of sweetened condensed milk
Pour it into little jars. Little jars are cuter than big ones which is why I used them.

Cap jars
Place in crockpot

Pour enough water over the jars to cover the tops. This step is supposedly VERY IMPORTANT!!  I guess the containers can rupture or explode if they aren't completely submerged.
Cook on low for 8 hours or until it looks like caramel.
Carefully remove the jars from the crockpot.
They will be super hot so you need to let them cool. If you are using canning jars, the lids will seal but since it isn't processed it isn't shelf stable. Refrigerate!
So did the condensed milk really turn into caramel?  Well, it turned into a thick, creamy, amber colored confection that was yummy stirred into my morning coffee. I would call it more of a caramel flavored dip as it was perfect for scooping up with apple slices. Molly loved it. Ellie gave it the stink eye before deciding she would stick with chips.  This was a good stand in for making caramel with melted sugar. It was easy, didn't make a huge amount which is good for us, and really tasted very yummy.
After a week in the fridge, it started to get a bit grainy but I am guessing it would smooth out again if you put it in the microwave for a bit to warm it up.
I would totally make this again for my girls as a treat or for a party in the fall with apples and other dippers. But if you want real caramel to bring your chocolate and vanilla people together, well then I think you need to don your welding mask and use the sugar/cream method.
Are you team ca-rah-mel or team car-mul?