Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Drool of the Week: PUMPKIN!!!


Adj. (pmpkn, pm-, png-)

1) Excellent; first-rate

2) Very attractive physically, etc

3) Marked by a lack of intelligence or care; foolish or careless

4) A lot of, existing in great quantity or ample supply. Enough to fill the orange vine fruit "Pumpkin", that is widely cultivated in early autumn.
"Grunngg has a pumpkin sports car of the mountains"

"Stoozies had a pumpkin time at the party."

"That ho be mad pumpkin."

"By selling my crack-cocaine I recieved apumpkin ammount of money."

"That ho made a pumpkin mistake when she crossed pimp daddy J-Silva."
2. pumpkin  

1-A hard and round vegetable of the squash family that usually comes in a bright orange color or also green and yellow depending on how ripe and grown it is.

-Usually used as food ie pie at Thanksgiving and as decoration ie Halloween (usually carved with some design, usually a face, which then gives it the name Jack-O-Lantern).

2-A term of endearment like sweetheart, which means to call a person cute or adorable or sweet in reference to the pleasing nostalgic look of the pumpkin vegetable.

-Commonly used towards females by males and to describe babies and children.
Ex1-The children are going on a school trip to the farm to pick pumpkins for Halloween.

Ex2-Aww look, that little pumpkin is dressed in a pumpkin custome for Trick or Treating!
3. pumpkin  

A word used for an adorable person, or one that you love.
My pumpkin called me last night!!!

Is it sad that the second dictionary entry that popped up on google for the word "pumpkin" was the Urban Dictionary ??? None the less, I did enjoy their interpretation of one of my most favorite words in the whole wide world. 
Today's drool is more decadent than decorative!...well, ironically it can be both! ...which is why pumpkins are the rockstars of the garden! Here are just a few of the many ways I love to enjoy this perfect fall specimen:

Not quite ready to dive head first into fall, but getting antsy for your first taste of pumpkin? Whip up a chillly pumpkin pie milkshake! Follow this great how-to provided by abeautifulmess. Her blog is awesome BTW!

Craving pumpkin before your feet even hit the floor? (Meeee tooooo!!!) This is a good way to use up a partial can of leftover pumpkin puree. There are lots of recipes out there that don't require the use of a whole can, and this is a yummy way to keep that pumpkin from going to waste!

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
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1¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
Dash of ground ginger
Dash of ground cloves
1 cup milk
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 tbsp. vegetable oil or melted butter
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and spices and stir with a fork to combine.  Mix together the milk, pumpkin puree, egg and oil or butter in a liquid measuring cup.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk together just until combine.  (The batter may still have a few lumps – that is okay.)
Preheat the oven to 200° F.  Have an oven safe plate or serving dish ready.  Heat a greased skillet or griddle over medium heat.  Once the skillet is hot, add a 1/3 cup scoop of batter to the pan.  Let cool until bubbles begin to form on the top surface.  Carefully flip with a spatula and cook the second side until golden brown, a couple minutes more.  Transfer the cooked pancake to the oven safe dish, and place in the oven to keep warm.  Repeat with the rest of the batter until it has all been cooked, regreasing the pan as needed.  Serve with cinnamon sugar, maple syrup, and/or whipped cream.
Source: adapted from Joy the Baker, originally from Martha Stewart

I wait for the Pumpkin Spice Latte to come out at Starbucks every year like a thirteen year old boy anxiously waits in line at the video game store for the latest release of C.O.D. (for those of you who do not know what C.O.D is...you are very fortunate. You either have a socially active teenager, or a semi attentive husband at home!) If you just can't get enough of your spiced latte at Starbuck's, you are going to love these cupcakes with light whipped cream topping. Let these Pumpkin Spiced Latte Cupcakes put a little pep in your step! Recipe provided by Annies Eats.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
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Yield: about 2 dozen cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. espresso powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs
½ cup coffee or espresso, for brushing
For the whipped cream:
2¼ cups heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
For garnish:
Ground cinnamon
Caramel sauce
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.  Stir together and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  With the mixture on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.
Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full.  Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans.  While the cupcakes are still warm, brush them two or three times with the coffee or espresso, allowing the first coat to soak in before repeating.  Let cool completely.
To make the frosting, place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on medium-low speed at first, gradually increasing to high speed.  Blend in the confectioners’ sugar gradually.  Whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-beat.  Use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to frost the cooled cupcakes.  Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and drizzle with caramel sauce.  Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Source: cake adapted from Williams Sonoma

Ok, health nuts, this one's for you! I have to admit, I usually am not a fan of oatmeal. I begrudgingly choke it down some mornings just to feel like I am making a half hearted attempt at healthy living. But you slap a little pumpkin in anything, and I am good to go! This recipe is packed with fiber and flavor. Turn a bland bowl of oatmeal into a slice of pumpkin heaven.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Recipe
1 1/2 cups light vanilla-flavored soy milk (Silk brand, for example)
1 cup uncooked quick oats
1/2 cup previously cooked or canned pumpkin puree
Pumpkin pie spice to taste (or cinnamon and nutmeg to taste)
Brown sugar to taste
Optional: nuts, raisins
Directions: In a saucepan, bring soy milk just to a boil and stir in oats, pumpkin and spice. Reduce heat and simmer a few minutes, stirring once or twice until oats are cooked. Remove from heat and pour into bowls. Sprinkle with brown sugar and additional toppings, if desired. Serves two.
Note: You can use pumpkin pie filling if you prefer, but the sugar content will be significantly higher. Leave out the sugar and seasonings if you use pie filling for your oatmeal.

I love pumpkin in my tummy, but pumpkin curtains are just as yummy! www.apartmenttherapy.com

Use shades of orange in your home accents. It's still a very earthy, nature inspired color, but it packs a color punch that some other "expected" earth tones can lack. Use pumpkin inspired tones to add warmth and interest to a room in your home! Get tired of it later? or want a different look seasonally? Note how the fixed elements in this room are fairly neutral and versatile. The curtains, floral arrangement, and whatever pretty drapey thing is thrown on the bench can easily be changed out with another color, say yellow maybe, for the warmer months.
These big, plush pillows remind me of pumpkins! Again, shades of orange add warmth, depth, and interest to a neutral space. Easy to change on a whim! designedtothenines  

These orange end tables are super fun! When picking bold color for furniture pieces, be sure to test several different shades of your preferred color. Sometimes bold colors like orange and red can turn our paler/creamier than you want or they can be much more intense than you intended. The last thing you want is an end table that screams "GO BIG ORANGE!" when you were really thinking more harvest pumpkin. (that's a University of Tennessee reference for those lucky few of you who are not familiar with their color scheme, put on your sunglasses, google UT Fans and sit back and enjoy the disappointment.)
You can even accessorize your little punkin with cute punkin hats! What baby wouldn't look adorable in this hat??? littlebirdiesecrets.blogspot.com

Check out Slatkin and Co.'s wide variety of pumpkin scented products to infuse your whole home with pumpkiny bliss. They have candles, wall plug-ins, oils, and rooms sprays in fabulous falls fragrances. Or you can buy them directly at your local Bath and Body Works store! www.bathandbodyworks.com

 I hope I have given you some inspiring and indulgent ways to enjoy pumpkin this fall! I think pumpkins are the next best thing since sliced bread. They look beautiful, taste yummy, smell even yummier, can be carved, color matched for home decor, and probably snatched off of your front porch at 2 in the morning and smashed in the road by bored teenagers who have no respect for pumpkins or your fabulous fall display that you spent precious time and moolah on in the hopes that it would bring joy to all who pass by your house, wishing that they too could be a craft diva like you. . . sigh. . . sorry, had to get that off my chest. Stupid teenagers. Anyhowwwwww, I hope you enjoy your pumpkins however you please! Now I am off to Starbuck's for my pumpkin fix. Hooray!!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Burlap, How I Love Thee

Today I would like to pay homage to one of my favorite textural accents: BURLAP! I have slowly seen it creeping its way into design magazines and while I consider the smell to be an "acquired" scent (find a bolt of burlap at your local fabric store and getcha a whiff....you'll see what I mean), I adore the color, texture, and versatility of this material. Here are just a few of the many things you can do with burlap in your own home:

Use burlap and other natural ribbons and twine as gift wrap. southernliving.com 
Make a wreath our of burlap by following this tutorial provided by todaysfabulousfinds.blogspot.com. Or if your inner craft diva isn't feeling ambitious, you can purchase one from etsy.com  

Cover pre-existing mats with burlap. <3 <3 <3 houseofhepworths.com
Cover a cork board, or make a pocket board. www.etsy.com
Burlap makes beautiful curtains. These from Restoration Hardware are lined with cotton. restorationhardware.com 
These panels from www.ballarddesigns.com got rave reviews from happy customers. They have a fringed edge and are lined also. Check out their site to see other panels in burlap, including a damask print! 
This pic is a major DROOL! Soften up a tabletop with a burlap tablerunner (or two, as seen here!) bucketsofburlap.blogspot.com
Burlap offers a softer, more natural alternative to the traditional red, fuzzy stocking. (this is nice if the bold red and green do not really fit in with the rest of your home's decor) www.kristanlynn.com
These burlap pillows will add interest to any boring sofa! (keep in mind, if you are looking for pretty pillows burlap is amazing. If you are looking for a comfy pillow to rest your head on while watching tv....not so much) www.restorationhardware.com These pillow are from Restoration Hardware, but many of the popular home interior shops out there carry burlap or natural fiber accents now.
Take burlap to new heights with a light fixture! There are also shades available for table lamps. The texture and color of the burlap casts such a warm glow and really highlights the weave of the burlap. This pendant is from www.ballarddesigns.com
Yes, burlap enthusiasts...you can even wear your beloved burlap out on the town as a testimony of your love for natural fibers. Just thought I would throw that out there! www.toms.com
There are sooooo many amazing ways to use burlap. I had to force myself to stop searching today because I am going cross-eyed from looking at pics online! You can find burlap in a variety of colors and weaves (some are very loose and some are a tighter weave). You can even buy burlap ribbon! If the smell is a turn-off for you, buy a small quantity of the burlap and take it home with you. Let it air out for a few days and see if it helps with the odor. Some burlaps may air out better than others, so I suggest doing this test before buying super large quantity. If you prefer to invest a little cash as opposed to elbow grease, check out these sites for a ton of great burlap buys:
Ballard Designs (they really were the first...)
Etsy (Shope here for hand crafted goodies!)

Here are some more inspirational photos to get your creative juices flowing! 

Happy Burlapping!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pumpkins, and pine cones, and sweatshirts, Oh My!

The angels are singing, the football fanatics are chest bumping, and my dried up, brown lawn is rejoicing...fall is so close we can taste it! Here are just a FEW things I loooooove about fall:
1) I no longer sweat through my blouses before I get in the car.
2) I will eat anything with pumpkin and cinnamon in it.
3) The fact that I gave up on my lawn and flowers two months ago will no longer matter because everyone's yard will soon be brown now too.
4) Sweatshirts and Uggs...need I say more???
5) It gives me a new reason to go clothes shopping for both me and my fashionable sidekick, Lola Jean.
6) Its ok at this point to start thinking/talking about Christmas, in my opinion anyways.
7) I am a sucker for seasonal decor.
8) Time to save some major coins on our electric bill, can I get an AMEN!?
9) I can play outside without being eaten alive by mosquitoes.
10) My husband listening to "Here Come the Mummies" seems a little less peculiar this time of year. Never heard of them? They are a fantastic group of musicians that are, well, mummies. check them out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETHvSTT6PA8
I will not bore you any longer with my list, because, trust me, I can go on for days. I think you get the idea. One thing that always made the fall fun for me as a child was my Mom pulling out our Halloween decorations and burning spice scented candles. We always had bales of straw, corn stalks, pumpkins, mums, and a friendly scarecrow on our front porch. As an adult, I now want to recreate those feelings in my own home, but there is just one obstacle in my way: By the time I get my Halloween stuff out, the 31st has come and gone, i like to START putting out my Christmas decor mid November (it takes me a while...I have alot of trees. Back off.) So how do I get the most out of my fall decor for the short amount of time its on display and on a budget as well? As with the staples in my home decor collection, I have found that less is more and subtle hints at a theme go a long way. Here are some ideas for fall decorating that I simply adore:
Take candles or apothecary jars that stay on display all year long and change out the fillers seasonally. Acorns, nuts in the shells, pine cones and dried beans have nice colors and textures for the fall.  deckthehalls-christmas.blogspot.com
I love old canning jars; these make great candle holders. http://iowagirleats.com/
My planters are always empty this time of year (usually because I have neglected to water my flowers for the whole month of August) and this is a perfect way to utilize them for a fall display. Uncarved pumpkins will get you though the month of November because they aren't specific to Halloween. If you have a covered porch, you can purchase the fake pumpkins in all shapes colors and sizes and reuse them every year. Cha-ching! For some extra pizzaz, highlight the pumpkins with a metallic sheen paint like the ones pictured here. prettyinpinkandorangetoo.blogspot.com
Sometimes the simplest things can be a beautiful focal point. If you prefer a minimalistic or modern approach to seasonal decor, this might be a good option for you. These leaves can be swapped out with other items for the winter, spring and summer months. images.search.yahoo.com
Another spin on the topiary look. This is a more sophisticated spin on pumpkin carving. I don't know about you, but this is one carved pumpkin that I would not feel tacky leaving out after Halloween. Again, the artificial pumpkins can be carved and lit with a string of Christmas lights on the inside. www.rachelsnest.com
If you are lucky enough to have a porch large enough to accommodate a vintage cart this size, then I am so super jealous. If you are like me, and have neither a porch or a cool cart, then at least check out the pumpkins. Another fun way to accessorize your gourds without carving them. =) And it will last you through the whole fall! farleykids.blogspot.com
If UT orange ain't your thang, don't fret! Pumpkins and gourds come in a wide variety of colors. I prefer the more muted shades of cream, pale orange, and grey-green. www.apartmenttherapy.com
Jazz up sad pumpkins with fun patterns like polka dots. Or use metallic paints to add luster. beautifulthingstoshare.blogspot.com
Dried gourds = years of illuminated enjoyment! To see a tutorial on how to create your own gourd luminaries, check out Martha Stewart's site www.marthastewart.com She's a clever lady!
Ok, there were just too many amazing wreath ideas to pick from. Here is a pretty one I found on Pinterest. Check out their site for loads of ideas on how to make beautiful and budget friendly wreaths. This particular wreath came from www.thenester.com