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October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween!  

Here's an idea for dinner before you send the kids out trick-or-treating.

Baked Penne Pasta with Roasted Chicken & Fresh Mozzarella

October 27, 2011

Fall Dinner Ideas | What's For Dinner?

Since I've been pregnant, I've discovered that I think about food differently than I did before.  I used to nibble on a PBJ sandwich and a latte while I was running around during the day, then have a huge dinner and dessert at night.  I know it is not a dietitian's recommendation, but it worked for me.  Now that I'm 8 months pregnant, food has become something I depend on every 2-3 hours.  A dream, you say?  Well, it is fun to be able to stop and pick up a scone with my coffee (decaf...), and nice to be able to help myself to a second lunch around 3pm, it has left me a little unmotivated for dinner... by 6PM I feel like I've been eating all day - there's not much room for more!  I needed a little motivation for making a good meal at night, so I put together some of my favorite Fall Cozy Dinner Ideas.

What are you making for dinner tonight?  Please share - I need more inspiration!

Spaghetti & Meatballs... always a staple

Baked Potato Soup & Minestrone Soup

Tuscan Style Braised Short Ribs

Pasta Carbonara with Roasted Chicken

Homemade Pappardelle with Beef Ragu

Beef Stew (aka Beef Bourguignon) 

Beef Stroganoff

Shrimp in Vegetable Ragu with Pasta

Shrimp Linguine (what we're having tonight!)

October 26, 2011

Sam's Owl Halloween Costume

My sister, Jill, came up with this Owl costume for Sam this year.  She applied the felt 'feathers' to a onsie, then had a co-worker make the knit hat.  Isn't it cute?!  Jill said the bodice cost her about $5 to make, by using an old onsie.  The knit hat was only $25... bargain of the year! 

What DIY costumes are you planning to make this year?  I'd love to see photos!

October 24, 2011

Fall Foliage in Concord Mass | New England Fall Foliage Tour

When we moved to the Boston area, I was especially excited about the famed New England Fall Foliage display.  Fall is my favorite season - hence all of the Autumnal themed posts lately.  As you may recall from my Lilac Spring post, our little town of Concord, Mass. has beautiful homes, colonial buildings and charming streets that are the picture perfect setting to experience the bounty of Autumn.

Here are some photos of Mr. Darcy and I taking a stroll around town.

October 21, 2011

Fall Sugar Cookies | Acorn and Leaf Sugar Cookies

What season would be complete without sugar cookies... okay, several versions of sugar cookies.  You might remember my Heirloom Pumpkin cookies I made a couple of weeks ago to match the fun colors of the heirloom pumpkins I'd found.

These Fall Sugar Cookies are a mixture of different colors and sizes of leaves and acorns.  To make the different shades of warm reds, golds and browns, I started with a light brown icing, then added red (for example) to achieve a muted "Fall" red color.  I used the same technique for the gold and darker brown icings.  For more details on how I mix icing colors, visit this post!



I featured these Fall Sugar Cookies at my Front Porch Pumpkin Carving Party.

These cookies would be great for the rest of October and November - You could even have them out for Thanksgiving!

October 18, 2011

Vegetable Beef Soup Recipe | Quick and Healthy Dinner Idea

I'm always looking for a healthy way to incorporate protein and vegetables into my diet... because otherwise, let's face it - it might just be pasta.  This vegetable beef soup contains browned hamburger, versus steak or 'stew meat.'  The hamburger mixes in with the vegetables in more of a non-obtrusive way, instead of large chunks of beef.  It was one of our favorites when we were younger - it isn't fancy, but it is a really quick soup to make that is really satisfying.

Because I had planned to serve it with grilled cheese sandwiches, I left out the starch, but you could easily add pasta or potatoes to make it more of a meal.

Vegetable Beef Soup
a quick, healthy old favorite

1/2 pound of hamburger
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 onion, diced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 carrots, 1/2 inch slices
1 large can (28 oz.) of whole tomatoes
1 handful of green beans, 1-inch pieces
2 cups of cabbage, shredded
2 bay leaves 
2 small cans (14 oz.) of beef broth
Sea Salt & Pepper
1 cup of fresh spinach* 
fresh basil*

In a saucepan, brown hamburger with garlic and onion until cooked.  Drain onto a paper towel to remove fat.  Set it aside.  In the same saucepan, add olive oil and carrots.  Cook carrots for 3-4 minutes.  Add tomatoes, green beans, cabbage, bay leaves and beef broth.  Break up tomatoes with a spoon, creating large chunks.  Heat for 5-10 minutes until vegetables begin to wilt.  Add cooked hamburger.  Taste for salt & pepper.  Cook for 5 more minutes.  Add spinach* or fresh basil* in at the end and let the hot soup wilt it.

*I had planned to add spinach instead of basil (the photo shows a basil garnish), but the lady at the grocery store checkout looked at my pregnant belly and said, 'make sure you wash the spinach really well, it has been known to have E. Coli.'  So, I felt bad using the spinach... even-though I was putting in to get the vitamins and nutrients.  Ugh.  Gotta love all of the random 'advice' you receive as a pregnant lady...

October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Carving Party Invitation | Fall Party Ideas

Yesterday I posted my idea for hosting a simple Pumpkin Carving Party on your front porch.  The entire concept was based around being able to celebrate the Fall season without planning an elaborate occasion.  All you have to do is pick up a couple of pumpkins, snacks and apple cider.  Set it up on your front steps and send out an email to your neighbors and friends. 

I decided to make it even easier for you - I designed "Pumpkin Carving Party" invitations for your to forward to your invitees.  There are four different designs to choose from.  Click on the one you like best to open it in its own window.  Right click, and Save Image As.  Insert the graphic into an email with the time, date and RSVP information.

Have you been inspired?! Are you planning to host a simple (or elaborate?!) Pumpkin Carving Party of your own?  I'd love to see photos of your party!  Leave a comment with a link to photos of your party, or email them to me directly (  I may feature it on the blog!

Don't forget!  If you host a Pumpkin Carving party, leave a comment with a link to photos of your party, or email them to me directly (  I may feature it on the blog!
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