Fall and Halloween Decorating

Halloween is just around the corner! It is my favorite for decorating. So I need to get out all my Halloween Decorating boxes and get myself BUSY! I have realized that I have a decorating obsession. I need to start to simplify now that I have downsized. I simply don’t have that many surfaces to display my cute Halloween JUNK anymore! But it is one of the things I most enjoy too.

And I really just love Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday of all. Maybe it’s because as a kid I was a candy-holic. Maybe I love dressing up. Maybe I love dressing up AND getting candy. That must be it.  Here’s my Skeleton Bundt cake. He’s so scary! but he tasted sooooo good! 

So for now I’ll pick and choose some of my favorites. It will probably take me a week to finish decorating. But it will be lots of fun for me too. And my classroom kids will love it. 

At Yeringtonflowers they did a cute Fall table decoration grouping.  Just simple mason jars
filled with acorns and candy corn! Easy Peasy! 

Candy corn and apples make a great base for decorating for fall. Just fill a mason jar with tissue paper. Then on the space between the tissue paper and the glass put a layer of candy corn. Or put a smaller jar inside and do same thing.

Elle Interiors  had the idea to use green apples in a glass trifle bowl to decorate.
 I love the  “green apple” colored candle too! Front-porch-ideas-and-more had this cute idea! 
Fall and Halloween Decorating. This cute windowscape is from Find home decors.com

Use gold metallic spray paint on real pumpkins for a dash of 
sparkle. I think I’ll try that for my fireplace area this year. 
How cool is THAT look? it’s cool alright….
It’s a blog party did a simple but beautiful fall mantle that looks easy to copy…
I love the leaves, pods and
acorns strung along in an easy twine garland too.

Antsi-pants has this FREE printable Fall Subway Art project. SUPER. CUTE!
What is it about Fall colors that are just so appealing?

Pure Style Home did another fall fruits in glass idea that I loved.
I’m going to be looking for some of these glass domes.
I think they are cool and you could use them for every season.

Nest Handmade has an easy Christmas Ball Wreath tutorial on how to make this
beautiful and welcoming addition to anybody’s front porch!
And Hobby Lobby has all the Christmas balls stacked in the aisles already!ve this o

Well, and who could resist just a plain old pile of pumpkins and some straw hay bales or an old cornstalk.
And if that’s not enough, how about a cute grandkid in the mix? Yeah….she makes my day.
 Love her. Happy decorating. Gotta love a little
“punpkin” like this cute one…..:D

Chicken and Dumplings with Jiffy Biscuit Mix

Chicken and Dumplings using Jiffy Mix 

Here I am hanging out at the Bear Lake cabin and I wanted to do some chicken and dumplings. Using a Jiffy Mix will make it a very easy meal! Chicken and Dumplings is a great comfort food when you want something filling and delicious.  Make a side salad and you have a yummy meal for a crowd, or for just a few.

The cows are out in the pasture across the road. I love hearing their mooing while I’m sitting out on the deck. It is soothing and the scenery can’t be beat. 

I like using Jiffy mix the best for my dumplings. It is always fluffy and yummy and it is not very expensive. I think I paid 50 cents for the box. And the best part is I always have it on hand up here at the cabin because we do a lot of pancakes and waffle making for breakfast at Bear Lake.

The pond out front usually has ducks in it too but I think the cows scared them all off for now. It is still fun to hang out and watch the birds and the cows and nature all around us. I love hanging out at the cabin in the summertime. 

Recipe: Chicken and Dumplings with Jiffy Mix(Adapted from Rachel Ray’s recipe HERE

1 1/4 cups rotisserie chicken cut into pieces
1 finely diced onion, fried in 1 T olive oil till translucent
3 carrots finely shopped
2 celery stalks diced
1 cob of corn sliced off the cob (or 1/2 cup frozen corn)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cans or 1 quart chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
lemon pepper to taste
1/2 cup frozen peas (optional …if you like them… I like corn better)
Small Boxed Mix of Jiffy biscuits
1/2 cup water for biscuits

Fry up onions till tender. Cut up all veggies and the chicken and place in a big dutch oven pot. Add wet ingredients and onions and bring to a boil. Add spices. Mix up Jiffy Biscuits and add them in small plum sized clumps to the hot soup. Cover pot and simmer on low for 8 to 10 minutes until dumplings are cakey inside. Add a few sprinkles of flour to your soup broth if you want it thicker. Serves 6 to 8.

By the way, I use the tiniest biscuit cutter in this set to make round blobs of dumplings for my soup. But you could also just make biscuits to go with the soup if you prefer them to dumplings. Enjoy! I’ve got one more week of summer and then back to school for me. Whaaaa…..(ugly crying sounds).

Peach Pie with Fresh Peaches

This Peach Pie with fresh peaches is delicious for a summer dessert! Fresh Peaches are now in season too!

I love a Peach Pie with fresh peaches off the tree. I went to a farmer’s market yesterday and got a big bunch of them since my old peach tree isn’t doing so well this year and I only got a few good ones.

Farmer’s Market fresh peaches make a really nice Peach Pie! 

I got some peach Jello too. It makes an easy and yummy fast glaze for the fresh peach pie. The whole pie takes less than 30 minutes to bake and make if you use the Jello glaze method.  Top it with fresh whipped cream and you have such a wonderful afternoon snack or dessert for dinner tonight!

Here is the Easy Jello Glaze on my Peach Pie with fresh peaches. 

This Peach Pie is very easy and quick. The hardest part of this peach pie is the crust. And whipping up some fresh whipped cream. My hubs loves the REAL STUFF!  But you could use Cool Whip in a pinch too. Even vanilla ice cream would be a good topper.

 Peach Pie with Fresh Peaches and Jello Glaze 

Our peach tree harvest, of course, had nothing but about 12 peaches again. What is fair in that? I hate my peach tree even though it is beautiful 90% of the year.

Our peaches off of our tree. We only get a very small yield on our miniature peach tree. 
Peach Pie with Fresh Peaches and peach Jello glaze is delicious and easy to make.  

I found this recipe that I liked and tried. It is from Taste of Home. I have a magazine subscription to Taste of Home and it is fun to see the pictures of yummy food each month.

Peach Pie with fresh peaches and whipped Cream. 

The finished peach pie is simply mouth watering. It is one of my very favorite pies. I love it! And I’m so trying to be good and not eat too many sweets this lazy summer. But here I am again,  Bad Pattie.

The glaze is so similar to Strawberry Pie Glaze I’ve made a few times. My recipe for Strawberry Pie is here.  Once you have made a pie shell and baked it (I used Paula Deen’s pie crust recipe but it is loaded with butter as you can imagine.  But it is good. Her pie crust recipe is HERE at Paula Deen.com.

Paula Dean Pie Crust recipe…..it only bake for about 10 minutes on 425.

Then cool the shell and start making your glaze.

 3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch

Boil for 2 minutes. Then take off heat and add 1 small box of peach jello. Whisk it for a minute until dissolved. Then chill for 10 minutes then pour over 4 cups of sliced, fresh peaches in a baked pie shell. Top with whipped cream. Slicers are hard to find. Here is one I have liked using to make my cuts professional looking.

While your baked pie shell is cooling,  peel your peaches and slice them up. I did about 10 small peaches. Some were bruised so I only used half of some. And some were small to medium. If you were using larger fruits you could get by with less. Use about 4 cups to make a yummy tall pie.
Lay them over the cooled pie crust and then pour the glaze over the top. Chill for 1/2 hour. Then serve with whipped cream.

This pie is truly divine. It will be gone before you know it.  And it is worth every calorie! Yum.

Pecan Crusted Salmon

One of my favorite things to eat for Sunday dinner is Pecan Crusted Salmon Fillets. My mom used to make salmon loaf when I was a kid and I loved it. This is an even yummier way to make salmon. I loved using old bread and mixing it up with honey and mustard and pecans. It adds a sweet crunch to the Salmon. It is sooooo delicious. It is even great the next day for lunch.

Here is one of my very favorite dinners, baked Pecan Crusted Salmon! 

My daughter turned me on to this recipe from ALLRECIPES.com called Baked Dijon Salmon. It has bread crumbs, honey and mustard, and chopped pecans. It is wonderful with garlic red potatoes and fresh fruit salad. And it is pretty healthy (except for the butter on the potatoes) but hey, I’m a butter girl. I can’t help myself.

Isn’t this Pecan Crusted Salmon just tempting looking? 

I start by mixing up the bread crumbs with chopped pecans, a little mustard and honey mixed in…

 Here is my adapted recipe for Pecan Crusted Salmon:


  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 1/2  tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 4 (4 ounce) fillets salmon
  • Lemon Pepper a few shakes
  • Lawry’s Season Salt a shake


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  1. In a small bowl, stir together butter, mustard, and honey. Set aside. In another bowl, mix together bread crumbs, pecans
  1. Shake season salt and lemon pepper on each fillet lightly, then  brush with honey mustard mixture, and sprinkle the tops of the fillets with the bread crumb mixture.
  1. Bake salmon 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until it flakes easily with a fork.

Then I spread them on salmon fillets and bake….DON’T BROIL! 

I added some salad with fresh tomatoes 

And a side of fresh fruits…
And here it is!  Pecan Crusted Salmon is a great Sunday Dinner!  It is one of my very favorites.
And garlic parsley red potatoes….yummy dinner!

 I like to buy the salmon fillets from Costco, individually wrapped. They are so easy and economical. And they always taste fresh. I am never disappointed. And the salmon is light and flaky and never fishy tasting. This is a favorite dinner of mine.

 And I had to make a yummy dessert to go with it. I love this chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. If you want my recipe and how I make this devilish dessert link HERE.  IT IS VERY EVIL GOOD!

Don’t you want a bite? You know you want to!  Oh my GOSH so sinfully yummy. I need to invite somebody over so we don’t eat all of this ourselves! I know I won’t have much self control when it comes to peanut butter anything.

Enjoy this wonderful spring weather!

Easy Pulled Pork in the Oven

My favorite quick way to do pulled pork is of course order take-out from Texas Roadhouse! They have a $9.00 pound of pork and they will include extra sauce and a dozen rolls! It is a steal!

But if I want to stay home and do it the easiest way is to run to the grocery store, buy rolls, and one of these…..

Easy Pulled Pork in the Oven is an easy weeknight meal. It is less expensive than buying takeout and really pretty quick if you do it in the oven. The secret is the tender meat.

I buy one of these, it is a Pork Loin for roasting. It always is covered in these mesh string things. That is why they are easy to find. The meat man said you could even cook this for 1 1/2 hours and it would be good for pulled pork, if you buy a small one. So I tested him on his meat knowledge. 

Easy Pulled Pork in the Oven. It looks like this when you take it out of the package. Be sure and look for the web of string. This pork always turns out VERY tender for me. I season mine with Monterey Steak Seasoning and add some brown sugar. I wait till it is mostly cooked to add the BBQ sauce. 

My hubs calls them “toaster leavin’s” from an episode where Al Bundy talks about his BBQ seasonings on Married with  Children, back in the day. Remember the one where they had a BBQ inside of the grocery store with beach chairs and a blow up pool? Well, it was a pretty funny one. 

Easy Pulled Pork in the Oven. It is quick, only a few hours in the oven covered with foil and seasonings and you can have a delicious pulled pork sandwich. 

Then I add some brown sugar to the top. Then I add about 1/2 cup water and put foil over the top and let it cook for 1 1/2  hours at 350. Then I check it and cut it apart into 1 inch slices  pulling later. Then I add the BBQ sauce and let those juices do their thing melding with the BBQ sauce together for another 30 minutes or 60 minutes depending on how big it is. Then check to see if it is tender and done. 
Hey I found this cool way to use COKE on Pinterest. Do you think it works? I’ve never heard of coke for a cleaner before. 
Some yummy fruits on skewers to go with my pulled pork sandwiches. Blackberries were on sale at my Sprouts Farmer’s Market. I love blackberries! I have a few vines in the backyard but they are not doing very well. Bah! I really do think I have a black thumb. But at least my pulled pork turns out every single time! Yummo. 
Easy Pulled Pork in the Oven. These sandwiches are great the next day as leftovers too. Or you can freeze the meat in a freezer ziplock bag and eat them in a week! 

I toast the bun a little on and sometimes we add some provolone cheese and extra BBQ sauce. It is a delicious meal. 

Easy Cranberry Relish

I was at the Pinner’s Conference last Saturday and I got the best and yummiest Cranberry Relish recipe from the Our Best Bites ladies.

It is made from a bag of fresh cranberries chopped up in a food processor. Then add a diced apple and a cut up orange, peels and all. Then add 2 cups of sugar. That sounded like a lot to me. But then after she pulsed it all in a food processor they passed around the relish. Oh my gosh it was sooooo gooooood!
Recipe for Cranberry Relish
1 bag of fresh cranberries chopped fine
1 granny smith apple diced
1 orange cut up into 1 inch chunks (including peel)
2 cups sugar

Mix all in a food processor and pulse till fine. That’s IT!

I have to try making it myself. It was refreshing to eat with a spoon, and she said it was even better as a spread on turkey sandwiches. I think it would also be good on crackers like Wheat Thins.

I have another recipe I use with fresh cranberries called Cranberry Cilantro Salsa. It is great over a brick of cream cheese and surrounded by crackers for a party. Now I have two of these fun recipes that would make great party dips over cream cheese.

And they look so festive too!

I can’t decide which I like better. One is sweet, one has a little heat because of the jalapenos. But one thing is for sure. I am buying fresh cranberries this week. 😀

Halloween Brownie Skeletons

If you want to make somebody happy this Halloween make some Halloween Brownie Skeletons! My grandkids love baking with me. And they will love making these. They can do everything but the faces and hands and arms. It is fun to put them all together too.

Halloween Brownie Skeletons are so cute and they make up as skinny treats so they will go far. This cookie sheet (Costco’s large cookie sheets) made 21 treats. 

Here is a close up of my Halloween Brownie Skeleton treats. I made the middle row into just some square brownies with some black and orange sprinkles and a candy corn. 

The bodies are just made from yogurt or white chocolate covered pretzels. I then bought some white chocolate disks from Michaels Craft Store. Those make the heads. The rest is just chocolate and vanilla icing in a piping bag using a very small round tip to make the little faces and arms and legs.

I’m all ready for the Halloween Party now!  I made this cute little Toy Story Jessie costume out of some yellow felt glue gunned onto a white  shirt and I topped it with some red braid. The cow material is just pinned to my favorite jeans. It turned out cute with the little red hat.
Have fun at the Halloween Par-tay! 

Halloween Scone Tacos

I’m making some Halloween Scone Tacos today. They are easy and really yummy.
My Halloween Scone Tacos are made from Mountain Mills Scone Mix. You can get it at Costco and I think at Walmart too. It is an easy mix to make Yummy Scones for Halloween night before your little critters run all over the street eating lots of too tempting junk! 

I tried rolling out the dough and making a “pumpkin shape using a cookie cutter. But alas, when I fried them up and covered them with the chili fixins, they kinda disappeared. But the kids won’t know that! 

Here are my sad little “pumpkins”. Hey, what happened to my stem? Looks more like a blob to me. But again, the kids will never know if you call them Halloween Pumpkin Scones. Hey, maybe these would be good with Einsteins Pumpkin Shmear? I shoulda thought of that! 

This stuff is to die for good. It’s my new favorite thing. I eat the pumpkin Shmear on toast, bagels, fingers, anything! It would be GREAT on scones! 
But chili and all the taco toppings are also great on scones! I think I used leftover chili for these scones, but you could also used canned. I like corn in my chili, but the hubs does not. I try to hide veggies in things like casseroles and soups and chilis. Otherwise we don’t eat them enough. 

I put cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers on mine since I ran out of lettuce. (gotta have a green vegetable, right?) lol 

Next I want to figure out how to make this pretzel bark. Yummo. 

I’m going to try to figure out what else would be good on a scone beside chili, pumpkin cream cheese, and honey butter. In the meantime I’m trying not to chow down on all of the Halloween candy I’ve bought. It is really hard!

Halloween Finger Foods

I love Halloween. I love decorating for it, partying on the day in a costume, and making fun and scary finger foods for all my guests to enjoy. Especially my little grandkiddos. 

Cute table decor can be as simple as a jar of candy corn. Isn’t this so cute? My daughter put a jar inside the jar and just has the in between area filled with candy corn! Genius! 

Or decorate your chairs with simple pumpkin chairbacks made from orange felt. 

Everybody loves scarecrow cupcakes. This would be a great finger food for any fall party. 

Or individual pecan pies made in cupcake tins. Super easy and yummy. A good recipe for these is at All Recipes.com.

Add a little pizzaz to your chips and salsa by getting these orange and black tortilla chips that are in the stores now. But hurry because they go fast! 

I went a little crazy on the Halloween cupcakes a few years ago. Check out the blog for tutorials on all of them. The tutorial and more pictures are HERE.

Some of the spiderweb ones we later added spider rings we got from Walmart. 

My very favorite party finger food is potato skins. They are always a hit. 

These brownies I decorated with yogurt covered pretzels, white chocolate disks for heads and then used white icing in a small round tip for the rest. They were fun. 

Pigs in a blanket are always a hit. Find some hot dogs you like and cut them into thirds. Then wrap them with Crescent roll dough and bake. Mustard and catsup bowls for dipping the pigs. 

Pumpkin breads cut up into half slices are always easy as well as cream cheese ham and onion roll ups. Recipe I use is from Lee Drummond HERE  only I add pieces of ham or bits of bacon to mine. 

Buy some store bought pies with the whip cream or meringue on top and just draw black spiderweb over it. Add a plastic spider. 

Veggies and dip are always popular as are fresh salads. You can always do a salad bar and ask a few friends to bring one too. Then make homemade rolls and fresh butter. That’s a fun party. 

Muffins of all kinds are great party foods. Add your favorite soups. Or better yet buy some bread bowls from your local market and ask them to make them half size. That also makes fun party foods. 

Everybody likes apple wedges and caramel dipping sauce. This on was really rich and caramelly. Here is a recipe for the one I use HERE.

Candy bars for take home fun are great for kids and adults alike. 

And you can’t beat a pretty yummy sugar cookie any time. 

These glazed donuts from Krispy Kreme. Just add the vampire plastic teeth and 2 chocolate chips to each one for a cute vampire donut. Kids loved these at my classroom Halloween Party. But they loved the sugar cookies even better. And they were probably cheaper.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN all you ghouls and goblins! 

Strawberry Freezer Jam and Homemade Bread

Strawberry Freezer Jam

We had a really fun night making homemade Strawberry Freezer Jam as a group of women at church a few weeks ago. I just have gotten around to catching up on blogging about it. I learned a lot from some experts. 
This Strawberry Freezer Jam was to die for good. And to make it even BETTER we put it on homemade warm bread just out of the oven. What could be more delicious than that? 

Gladys made the yummy bread. It was wheat bread and it was soft and spongy and wonderful. Mine always turns out like a brick. But she did give us a few tips. She uses bread flour and fresh yeast. That could be my problem right there. And she also uses crisco instead of oil or melted butter. Hmmm…..worth a try. 

Linda made and taught us how to do the Strawberry Freezer Jam. I’ve made it before just using the package. She did use the package directions also. But I guess there are lots of pectins to choose from. This is her favorite pectin. 


Original recipe makes 5 pints
You can also use low sugar pectin and use 1 less cup of sugar. Lots of reviews on recipe boards suggest this. I did think the jam was a little sweet but I actually love that. yummy. So do what is your taste. 

Get the ripest strawberries that you can and use them the same day you buy the berries so they are perfect. We made this jam in June so it may not have been the best summer month. But you can often find sweet strawberries this summer at Costco. 

So they used the MCP and the SURE JELL pectins both and both were good. One was lower sugar if I remember well. There were a lot of opinions shared that night from lots of old timers who have done jams for decades so lots of good info was shared. But some disagreed with others on this and that. Especially how much sugar to add. 

While the strawberry jam was setting up we watched a demonstration on bread baking. This was her already put together bread rising in a low oven. I think she turned it on to 200 degrees and then turned the oven off and left door open for 30 minutes so oven was a bit warm. The bread rose perfectly as you can see. 

Gladys was a master bread baker. This is the bread just out of the oven. She sprays the top with butter flavored oil spray to make sure it stays soft and looked kind of glossy. 

Here is her best wheat bread recipe. I tried making it and mind was kind of hard and bricky but I didn’t have dough enhancer. I also didn’t have bread flour. She used half bread flour and half wheat flour. I think that is what makes the difference. Her bread is half white half wheat. Also she didn’t add the 9 grain cereal. It was just plain wheat bread. The dough enhancer makes the bread softer she told me later. 

She was so cute in her little apron. She offered to come over and help me make some wheat bread with her because I told her mine always turns out heavy and bricky. haha. She is so sweet. Like I’d let her into my messy kitchen. 

She shared another great tip. She likes to use glass pans for baking because she can see the corners and she has been able to figure out just the perfect golden look to the bottom of the loaves so she knows they are done. 
The brown and white can in the front is the dough enhancer stuff. You can get it from the Bosch store. That’s where I found mine. 

We each got one of these little tubs of freezer jam to take home. They had put a little note on the top on a round sticker. So cute! 

Then we all chowed down on homemade wheat bread hot out of the oven and freshly made strawberry freezer jam. OOOhhhh it was a yummy night!