Monday, October 31, 2011

Thomas the Tank Engine Pumpkin and more!

We have had a jam packed weekend.  Saturday was my sweet Logan's 3rd birthday and we had a great time celebrating that.  And then last night we carved pumpkins. 

Every year I usually carve a pumpkin using the Pumpkin Master's stencils.  This year I decided to do something different and I went online and found a free stencil for a Thomas the Tank Engine stencil.  Logan and Sawyer LOVE Thomas so I thought they would like this.  Sawyer was Thomas last year and Logan is going to be Thomas this year.  I can't wait to get a picture of Logan in his costume by the Thomas pumpkin.

My sister in law and brother in law came over and helped carve.  They used the Pumpkin Master's stencils and did fabulous pumpkins.  Here are how our pumpkins turned out.

So, we are ready to get into some Trick or Treating tonight. I'm praying the rain will hold off until we've had a chance to go. This will be the first year Logan will be into it, so I'll be so sad if we can't take them. 

Hope you are having a Happy Halloween in your neck of the woods!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Smurfy Pumpkins

Today I wanted to share with you some pumpkins we saw at the pumpkin patch.  Brings back memories of watching the Smurfs when I was a kid.  So, anyone dressing up as a Smurf for Halloween?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Count Down to Halloween

The winner of the General Mills giveaway is

True Random Number Generator1

That comment was left by Teresa

Favorite Character.... would probably be Yoda.. IF he can do marital arts so can I :)
GM cereal.... I guess Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Thanks for the offer :D

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween Decorations

Today I thought I'd share some pictures of some of my Halloween decorations on my front porch.  I like to decorate with things like pumpkins and scare crows so the decorations are fall festive without being scary. 
 The first picture is a big shot of my front porch.  I love having different types of pumpkins. 
 This second picture gives you a side shot of the little scarecrows I have in the little adirondack chairs.  The big planter has pansies and a scarecrow in it.  That crazy looking vine behind it goes around my doorway to frame it and it has white lights in it. I love it and sometimes keep that up through Thanksgiving. I want to add more fall decorations to that vine garland, but I haven't had time yet.
 This pumpkin is my new favorite item. He is painted wood and looks so rustic.  I got him at Ross.
 This is a picture of the Charlie Brown wreath I made last year.  They had these foam shapes in a big pack at Michael's last year.  I didn't even use half the pack to make this.  I hot glued them on so they would stay and the wreath still looks great going on year 2.  It wouldn't be Halloween without The Great Pumpkin.  I am a huge Charlie Brown fan.
And this is the scariest decoration I have outside. I have a big spider on each of our lights. 

Do you have any great Halloween or fall decorations at your house?  Leave a comment and let me know. I'd love to see if you've shared any of your pictures on your blog.

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Force is strong with this one

One of the first things I learned about my dh when we started dating is that he is a fan of Star Wars.  And crazy as it may sound, it is one of the things I love about him.

So when I heard through the MyBlogSpark program that General Mills Big G cereals had come out with special edition cereal boxes to celebrate the release of the complete Star Wars saga on Blu Ray, I was really excited.  The Blu-Ray compilations are now out in the stores. So if you are looking for a unique Christmas gift, check them out.

Wal Mart is exclusively carrying the special Big G cereals commemorating this latest Star Wars release.  Specially marked Big G cereal boxes have scenes when placed together create a panoramic poster.  These posters depict good versus evil with many of your favorite characters like Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia and others. Some of the cereals containing these stunning posters include: Honey Nut Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Lucky Charms.   These will be in stores for a limited time.

The folks at MyBlogSpark and General Mills were kind enough to send me a box of each of these cereals to try, as well as a $25 gift card to Wal Mart.  I have been eating the heck out of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  With the cool fall weather, that taste of cinnamon has been great in the mornings. I've been having a bowl along with a cup of apple cider from my Keurig.  I'm in cinnamon heaven. LOL

And now for the great news.  They want to send one of my readers a fabulous prize pack containing one box each of Honey Nut Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Lucky Charms.  And a $25 gift card to Wal Mart.

You have 5 opportunities to enter. You must post separate responses to this thread for each entry to count. You must also include your email address so I have a way to contact you. This giveaway will end at midnight EST on Friday, October 21st. The winner will have 24 hours from when I contact them to get in touch with me, otherwise I will draw another name.
1.) Which General Mills cereal would you like to try?

2.) Follow me @chiccraftychick on Twitter.

3.) Follow the Chic Crafty Chick Blog. Check out the right hand side of my blog to follow. If you are already following, please leave a comment saying you are a follower.

4.) Add Chic Crafty Chick to your blog roll, or add my badge to your sidebar. Be sure to come back and leave the link to your site in a separate comment.

5)Which Star Wars character is your favorite and/or which Star Wars movie is your favorite?

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

The other day I was on Pinterest and I saw a recipe for these cookies pinned by the Scrambled Henfruit Blog.  She says that she got it from The Cooking Photographer Blog.  So now I've found two more blogs I love. 

By the way, if you haven't discovered Pinterest you've got to check it out.  Warning, it is a very addicting website. LOL I'm amazed at all of the great stuff on there.

I made these cookies yesterday afternoon to take to my monthly Bunco group last night.  Let me tell you that these are heaven on a plate.  First let me say that when I was making these cookies I had an idea pop into my head.  A revelation if you will.  My youngest son was a total crab yesterday afternoon and kept wanting me to pick him up.  I was trying to get the batter made so I could put it in the fridge to chill and he kept grabbing my leg.  I've decided that this should be one of the  Top Chef Just Desserts or one of the other Top Chef series quick fire challenge.  See if you could cook in thirty minutes with a screaming kid constantly grabbing your leg.  Or stopping your work to pick them up. So Bravo, if you are reading my blog then if you decide to use this idea, please let me come to the Top Chef kitchens to watch.  LOL

And now back to the cookie making. As you'll see in the recipe below, I did some adaptions from the recipe that the Scrambled Henfruit blog posted.  Instead of using cinnamon, I had Pampered Chef's Cinnamon Plus Spice Blend which I'd never used before.  So I decide to roll the dice and add it in.  I also did not have an hour to chill my batter.  I had 15 minutes.  I will agree with the Scrambled Henfruit blog that if you can give yourself an hour, do so.  I found the dough a bit of a challenge to work with and it would have been easier if it had a chance to firm up a little more. 

Another note, is I used the medium size cookie scoop by Pampered Chef.  When I got to the step where you put the caramel in the middle, I pinched off some dough from the bowl and used that to cover the caramel.  I felt like these cookies were giant, but I don't know if you could get away with making them but so much smaller since the caramels are big.  If you wanted smaller cookies, I'd recommend cutting the caramel in half.

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies
1 cup softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box (7.4 oz) Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink mix -not sugar free- all 10 packets (I found this in my grocery store near the hot chocolate mixes.)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups all purpose flour
1 bag Kraft Caramels (14 oz)

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment. (You really need the parchment!)
  • In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  • With your mixer (or an energetic spoon) cream together butter, sugar, salt and all 10 packages of apple cider drink mix powder, until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix well.
  • Gradually add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture. Mix until just combined.
  • Refrigerate for about an hour. (If you're really impatient you don't have to do this, but it makes it so much easier to work with.)
  • When you are ready to bake, unwrap your caramels.
  • Scoop out cookie dough ball about the size of a walnut. (I used a rounded cookie scoop-full. My scoop holds about a Tablespoon.)
  • Flatten the ball of dough slightly in the palm of your hand. Press the unwrapped caramel into the center of your dough and seal the dough around it, covering it completely. Place on parchment covered cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
  • Bake 12-14 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges. Please don't over-bake! Once the cookies are done, slide the parchment off of the baking sheet right out onto the counter. Allow cookies to partially cool on the parchment. When cookies are cool enough to be firm but still slightly warm, carefully twist off of parchment and allow to finish cooling upside down (either on the parchment or on a rack.) If you forget about them and they cool too much and stick to your parchment, put them into the freezer for a few minutes and they'll pop right off.
  • Yield: about 4 dozen, depending on how large you make your cookies (or how many caramels have been snitched out of your bag before you begin.) Store in an airtight container 

I enjoyed one of these cookies before Bunco with a cup of hot apple cider from my Keurig. Can you tell I like apple cider? LOL

So, do you drink apple cider? What do you think about apple cider cookies?

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Harvest Cream Soup by Pampered Chef

The weather has cooled down here in Virginia and so that has made me change my game plan when it comes to dinner.  I've been wanting to try some new recipes and make some hearty meals using in season ingredients.  So I flipped through my Pampered Chef Quick Vegetarian Main Dishes cook book.  I've wanted to have more vegetables in our diet, so I thought it might be nice to try something from this cook book.

I chose to make the Harvest Cream Soup.  The first picture is of my roasted vegetables.  And of course the second is the finished product. 

I liked this soup, but dh said he thought it was rich and that you wouldn't want to eat more than a bowl.  I served a Roasted Garlic Italian Demi Loaf of bread with the soup. I bought that at Kroger.  I think having a good, chewy bread is perfect with this soup.  I have a ton of this soup and I'm wondering how well it would freeze. I think I may give that a try.  Another thing of note, I like the taste of the soup, but I felt like it needed something else.  The leek taste is pretty strong.  When I make it again, I am going to roast one sweet potato and add that in to the blend. I'm wondering if adding a touch of sweetness will balance it. 

I would say that if you have a busy schedule, I'd recommend cutting up the butternut squash and leeks the night before.  That way all you have to do is roast your veggies and then puree them.

When I made this, I didn't add the ginger root juice or sour cream at the end.  Next time I will add those. I ran out of time trying to get this on the table.

So have you ever made this recipe before, or do you have a home made soup recipe to share?  I'd love to hear what you are cooking.

Harvest Cream Soup

1 lb butternut squash
2 leeks (white and light green portions only)
1 lb baby carrots (about 3 cups)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove
Salt and course black pepper
2 cans vegetable broth
1 can evaporated milk
1 one inch piece unpeeled ginger rood
Reduced fat sour cream

Preheat oven to 350. Cut squash into 1 inch pieces. Cut leeks in half length wise then into 2 inch pieces. Combine squash, leaks, carrots oil and garlic pressed with Garlic Press.  Add to mixing bowl and toss.  Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Arrange vegetables in a single layer on Large Bar Pan. Bake 40-45 minutes or until vegetables are tender and deep golden brown. Remove pan from oven to Stackable Cooling Rack.

Combine half of the vegetables with half of the broth in blender. Cover; blend until smooth. Pour vegetables into 4 qt. Casserole. (NOTE: I just put mine in a pot on my stove) Repeat with remaining vegetable mixture and broth. Add evaporated milk to Casserole; mix well.  Cook over medium heat 5-6 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Grate ginger root using Microplane Adjustable Grater. Gather ginger root in palm of your hand and squeeze over soup to yield 2 tsp; discard flesh. Stir juice into soup just before serving. Season to tasted with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls; swirl in sour cream, if desired.

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

(If you are hopping over from Amanda's blog Serenity Now thanks so much for stopping by!)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Booing has begun!

So for those of you who are new to my blog, this is the time of year that Booing begins in my neighborhood.  Booing is such a fun thing that gets started at the beginning of October so it has time to spread by Halloween.  When you Boo someone, you put together fun treats and then leave them on your neighbor's porch for them to find.  You include a sign and instructions so they can continue Booing other neighbors.  After a week or two, it is fun to drive by houses on our street and see the Booing signs go up on the front of houses.

Here is a peak at some of the goodies I've found recently that are perfect for Booing.  By the way, that Orville Redenbacher Caramel popcorn is awesome.  It is a perfect fall snack.  And I've found Dollar Tree and the Target dollar spot to have wonderful booing items.

If you want to start Booing in your neighborhood, check out the Halloween Booing Printables on this website.  I'd love to hear if you Boo in your neighborhood.  And if so, what kind of goodies do you like to leave?

Checking in Monday a.m.

I'm going to be putting up a spooktacular post later today.  Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

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