Aug 9, 2014

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Iced pumpkin cookies - add these to your collection of favorite healthy fall desserts. Made with canned pumpkin puree, a low calorie (one cup has 83 calories) and high fiber food. God knows getting the minimum daily fiber requirement is like climbing Mt. Everest in your bare feet. To make this pumpkin recipe much quicker, substitute three teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice (a flavorful blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice - all in one little tin can) and ice your cookies with canned cream cheese icing.

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar or 1 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree - I use Libby's brand
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Icing:
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Using a teaspoon as your guide, drop onto baking sheets; flatten slightly.

3.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cookies cool completely and then drizzle glaze on top.

To Make Glaze: Combine powdered sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add a tiny bit more milk if needed, to achieve desired consistency.

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Aug 8, 2014

Eco-Friendly Wedding Decorations

Eco-friendly wedding decorations may be as close your mother's, your neighbor's or your own back yard. Do you know a little old lady who planted lavender last year to keep mosquitos away and now is overwhelmed by this fast growing plant? It could be roses, peonies or petunias - whatever is multiplying faster than your friends or extended family can keep up with (in my case, it's purple hydrangeas). If hot and humid summers make you need a natural mosquito repellant like we desperately do here in Southeast Virginia and it happens to be lavender (instead of lemon balm or citronella), try using some of these lovely eco-friendly lavender wedding ideas.


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Aug 6, 2014

Orchid Boutonnieres

Orchid boutonnieres - created with an exotic flower that evokes a sense of refinement and to the ancient Greeks - virility. And that's not all. In the Middle Ages, orchids were used as aphrodisiacs and were mixed and measured into overpriced love potions. Knights and noblemen couldn't get enough potion or passion. Aztec Indians, big strong studs who also thought orchids made them better lovers, extracted vanilla from the flower and drank it morning, noon and night. So there you have it. Guys are a lot more interested in fresh flowers than they're willing to admit.

rustic wedding boutonniere
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Aug 3, 2014

DIY Tea Bag Favors

Elegant and eco-friendly.  Those two lovely words sum up the crafts, freebies and DIY projects at Botanical PaperWorks. That's where I found these DIY tea bag favors - shown here in charming shades of nude, blush and teal. If you can fold, make a flap and use a stapler, these printable tea bags are yours for just the price of paper and tea. Many tea lovers think the boring little tea bag lacks the subtlety and full flavor of the larger loose leaf teas. In that case, here's the guide on how to make tea bags from loose leaf tea. The pumpkin spice mix used is a savory and seductive blend of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.

free printable tea bag favors
how to make tea bag favors
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Aug 2, 2014

Hershey's Chocolate Truffle Pie

I made this chocolate truffle pie last night and renamed it "Hershey's" because semi sweet chocolate chips made by Hershey were a little bit cheaper than those made by Toll House. And Walmart's brand of whipping cream was just as creamy and less pricey than the very same product from Land O Lakes. So there you have it, I'm tight with a buck. But the end result was the most delicious chocolate dessert I have ever tasted and definitely headed to every bridal shower, barbeque or birthday I ever attend.

The recipe calls for a prepared chocolate cookie crust and that's what I bought, one made by Keebler.  But it turns out Oreo makes a crust from their crushed signature cookies.  I'm glad I chose Keebler, because it's just as good as the more expensive brand.  And trust me, you can easily skip the whipped topping as shown below.  A perfect easy chocolate pie recipe, just the way it is.

Chocolate Truffle Pie

  • 12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips (dark if you prefer)
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (sounds like a lot, I know)
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared chocolate cookie crumb crust
    1.  In microwave dish combine chocolate chips and 1/2 of the cream. Cook on high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. I'll be honest, it took me a full three minutes to get this result.  Cool to room temperature (about one hour). Stir in sifted sugar and vanilla. Set aside.
    2.  In your electric mixer, beat the rest of the cream until soft peaks form. (There was about 1/4 of a cup of cream left in the carton and I threw that in too.)  Beat in chocolate mixture on high speed 1/3 at a time until it's light and fluffy.  Spoon onto the cookie crust.
    3.  Refrigerate at least 5 to 6 hours before serving for best results.
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Tea Party Centerpiece Ideas

What I love about these tea party centerpiece ideas is that vintage china teacups and teapots are no more five dollars at most thrift stores, church rummage sales and even on Etsy, where today I found an antique Victorian teapot, sugar and creamer set for only $22. The creamer had a fine hairline crack - hardly noticeable - and the sugar bowl was missing its lid. A beautiful gold-rimmed china set with hand painted pink and burgundy peonies that would make three unique tea party centerpieces for less than eight dollars each.

pink tea party ideas
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