Tag Archives: wreaths

We Fall for Halloween!!!

 

Halloween approaches! This week, we share two ideas for easy-to-make decorations, a recipe for sweet potato salad and, of course, our garden update and the bears!

HALLOWEEN TREE

We created the Halloween tree pictured above using easy-to-find items, most of which were purchased at our local dollar store.

You will need:

  • 1 tree branch with some off shoots – our’s is 22″ tall
  • Two 8-eight foot strands of black garland
  • Decorative plastic Halloween figures
  • Plastic Halloween rings (ours are bats, skulls and spiders)
  • One 18-inch square of fabric. We used fleece, but burlap would be great, too!
  • Gravel to act as stabilizer in the pot
  • Newspaper and/or plastic bags for filler
  • Curling ribbon
  • Basket, flower pot or the vessel of your choice

 

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We foraged our yard for a spooky-looking tree limb with offshoots on which to hang our decorations. The branch was wrapped in the black garland. The garland had pumpkin and skull images on it, which we removed and saved for another project (see below).

How to create your tree:

  • Line flower pot/basket with cloth.
  • Put gravel in cloth-lined pot.
  • Nestle tree in gravel.
  • Fill pot around tree base with newspapers and/or plastic bags.
  • Gather cloth up around base of tree and secure with ribbon.
  • Arrange the Halloween rings and decorations on your tree.

This tree can be made any height, depending on the size of the tree branch and container used. It would make a great addition to a children’s Halloween party. At the end of the party, kids can take tree decorations home as favors. Do your own variation with light-weight candy, toys or whatever says “Happy Halloween!” to you!

GARLAND WREATH

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The first step in this easy-to-make decoration is to line a 12-inch wire wreath form with black garland (shown). Next, cover the wreath with an orange and black pumpkin-themed garland (thanks, dollar store!). To finish it off, a larger pumpkin (leftover from the tree project above) represents the moon, lighting the sky for one of our cute clip-on witches from last week’s blog.

SWEET POTATO SALAD

This sweet potato salad is a delicious side dish for your Halloween and fall celebrations!

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Tricia Yearwood (yes, that Trisha Yearwood!) had this recipe on one of her recent Food Network television programs. We tweaked the recipe by using non-fat sour cream, doubling the hot sauce and topping with toasted chopped walnuts. Very tasty. Like all potato salads, it’s even better the next day!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/trisha-yearwood/sweet-potato-salad-recipe.html

GARDEN UPDATE

With frost warnings predicted for our area last Sunday night, we brought our flowers, basil, chocolate mint, and pepper plants indoors. We also picked most of the tomatoes, even though they were still green (see veg art below). Temperatures have risen, the plants are now back outside, and they are having another resurgence. One more unexpected comeback!

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VEG ART

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

What is one room a ghosts’ house doesn’t need? A living room!                                                      source: Halloweenjokes.com

THE BEARS

Hmm . . .  we didn’t know the bears were expecting company! Not sure they did either!

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Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin

Let’s Be Independent Together!

We both have wonderful 4th of July memories of fireworks at Blunt Park in Springfield, MA, and Hubbard Park in Meriden, CT, picnics and celebrations with family and friends. We are pleased that our featured image is a combination of our holiday decor and some we inherited from Kevin’s mom, Irene. She shared our love of decorating! This year, we are especially glad to salute our country, in light of the recent historic Supreme Court decision granting marriage equality to all!

HOLIDAY WREATH      

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We made this easy wreath by attaching inexpensive artificial red, white and blue carnations to a wire wreath form. We trimmed the stems to 1- and 2-inch pieces and used them to attach the blossoms to the two rings of the form, then embellished the wreath with a patriotic bow. Using dollar store materials, we made this decoration for about $8.00!

 

 

 

POTATO SALAD

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We have developed this potato salad over the years. It’s a tasty and healthier version than most recipes. The big change came a couple of years ago when we were making a batch of potato salad and realized we had only about 1/2 of the potatoes needed. We improvised by defrosting a bag of frozen cauliflower and adding it to the potatoes. We have seen recipes for cauliflower as a potato substitute for years but, frankly, we really weren’t interested. We made the salad and it was delicious, better than expected. Now cauliflower is a regular part of our potato salad, resulting in fewer carbs and calories. This recipe makes a big batch. The picture of the finished dish is only half of the recipe!

You will need: 3 lbs. Yukon gold or white potatoes, 1 lb. frozen cauliflower, 6 hard-boiled eggs, 2 stalks celery, 1 small onion, 2 and 1/2 cups mayo (we use low-fat Hellmann’s), 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard, 1 tablespoon white vinegar.

  • Peel and chop potatoes into 3/4 inch pieces. Cook potatoes and frozen cauliflower in the same pot until fork tender. They should be ready 15-20 minutes after they come to a boil.
  • Drain and spread potatoes and cauliflower on sheet pan and place in the refrigerator (shown). This is a great way to quick-cool these items.
  • Put quartered onion and halved celery into food processor. Pulse 8 times or until roughly chopped. Combine in bowl with mayo, mustard and vinegar and set aside.
  • Peel and chop eggs.
  • When potatoes and cauliflower are cool, combine with eggs and dressing/veggie combo.
  • Allow to cool 2 hours.
  • Mix well, serve cold. Enjoy!

PATRIOTIC CHIP & DIP

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Red pepper/chickpea dip and white bean/rosemary dip served with blue tortilla chips make a tasty, patriotic appetizer combo that salutes America’s melting pot!

Our Red Pepper/Chickpea Dip is similar to hummus but has no sesame paste (not that there’s anything wrong with it)!

You will need: 1/2 of a 24 oz. jar of roasted red peppers; one 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed; 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest; juice of 1/2 lemon; 1/4 cup olive oil; hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste.

Place all ingredients into food processor, process until smooth (about 10 seconds), chill and enjoy!

Check out this link for a great white bean dip. Kevin likes it with extra rosemary. We use 1/2 of the raw garlic listed.

http://www.food.com/recipe/white-bean-and-rosemary-garlic-spread-dip-140369

These dips go great with blue chips and/or crudite!

HOLIDAY DESSERTS

Here are some red, white and blue desserts which would make great endings for any Independence Day celebrations!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/food/wp/2015/06/26/red-white-blue-and-cool-desserts-for-your-fourth-of-july-cookout-no-flag-cake-required/

GARDEN UPDATE

We picked the first 3 full-grown Shishito peppers from our garden. We had 4 mature peppers, but, unfortunately, a bird or some other creature got to one before we did. We sautéed the three peppers whole and combined with zucchini slices – a delicious side dish!

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Marigold bloom!

One of our marigold plants, which we started from seed, has bloomed!

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JOKE OF THE WEEK  

What did Polly the Parrot want for the 4th of July? A firecracker!                                              source: Jokes by kids

ENJOY!!!

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Roy and Kevin

SPORTS UPDATE: The U.S. women’s soccer team has reached the finals of the World Cup after beating #1 ranked Germany, 2-0, in the semi-finals. They will be in the finals on Sunday against Japan in a re-match of the last Cup finals, which Japan won. A U.S. win would be the perfect ending to the Independence Day weekend! GO USA!!!