November 17, 2014

It’s been a little while since I purchased a nail polish. To be honest, I think my collection built itself up quite a bit and I just needed a bit of a break. I was going strong with my summer nail colors for quite some time, but now that we are firmly in the middle of November, I feel as though it is time to break out some of the darker nail polishes. When I saw the new offerings for my Julep Maven account for November, I knew that the Julep nail polish in Sawyer had to be mine (as well as Joanne, the other polish included in the set!

Julep Nail Polish - Sawyer and Joanne

Sawyer is a metallic chrome polish with a copper hue. I like that the copper is quite subtle; it reads a bit more brown with hints of copper throughout. I even think there are hints of purple involved. The color looked fabulous on both my hands and toes.

Julep Nail Polish - Sawyer

I have to say I was impressed with the long lasting wear of this particular shade. I painted my nails with a base coat, two coats of Sawyer, and a top coat. It lasted more than a week before any signs of wear began to appear. I actually ended up opting to remove it myself before any chips happened just because I wanted to switch it up and wear a new shade of nail polish. I also happened to get quite a few compliments/inquiries on what shade/brand of polish I was wearing, so I always take that as a positive. I can’t wait to wear this shade again. I think I’ll be seeing a lot of it on my hands throughout this winter season.

In case you aren’t familiar with Julep Maven, it is a monthly subscription program for nail polish, and more recently they added beauty products as well. Each month features a new collection of polishes, and you can select the style that fits you best. This November, my subscription box contained these two nail polishes, as well as a volumizing mascara. You’re allowed to skip a month (or as many as you like) and you won’t be charged, so that is always a plus!

Have you transitioned to fall and winter colors for your nail polish? Any favorite colors/brands?

November 13, 2014

I don’t want to admit how long it took us to get our Halloween decorations taken down this year. Because it is embarrassing. I should have been outside on November 1st, pulling up the skeletons and such. But yeah…a few days may or may not have went by. Minor details. But once my DIY Skull Wreath was taken down from our front door, I knew it was time to replace it with something more seasonal. So – my quest to create my DIY Fall Feather Wreath began.

DIY Fall Feather Wreath

You guys – everything is CHRISTMAS themed already. As much as I love that season, it kind of drives me crazy that as soon as the very first day of November rolls around, I’ve pretty much missed out on any opportunity to get something Thanksgiving-related. I headed in to the craft store like an idiot, thinking I’d be able to easily score some pretty fall flowers, leaves, and the like to create a pretty wreath for our door. WRONG! It’s jingle bells, red, green, Santa, and sleigh bells everywhere. Thankfully, I was able to be a little bit tricky and I got my hands on a pretty grape vine wreath that definitely gave the autumnal look I was going for. Score.

DIY Fall Feather Wreath materials

Then, the search for adornments was the toughest challenge. Amid the insane amounts of Christmas themed goods, I managed to make a discovery.

DIY Fall Feather Wreath feather picks

These glittery picks were packed in among the Christmas decorations, but the gold, bronze, and brown tones were just what I was searching for. I loved the feather shape of them; they almost reminded me of turkey feathers when I fanned them out, imagining how they would look when I attached them to the wreath. Done and done. And at 75 cents a piece – totally affordable.

DIY Fall Feather Wreath wood letter

I also grabbed this small wooden C (for our last name) from the wood craft section of the store…just for a little something extra. A little bit of metallic gold spray paint (that I had on hand after my DIY spider web bowl from Halloween) was all I needed to make it blend in to perfection.

DIY Fall Feather Wreath gold wood letter

Creating this DIY Fall Feather Wreath was pretty darn simple. All I needed was some hot glue and 30 minutes of my day to assemble it. First, I spray painted the wooden letter and allowed it to dry while I was working on the rest of the wreath.

DIY Fall Feather Wreath layout

Next, I plugged in my glue gun and began arranging the glittery feathers on the wreath until I came to a configuration I enjoyed. I thought about making the pattern symmetrical, but it turned out I enjoyed it better when some of the feathers were left open on one side, exposing the pretty vines the wreath is made out of.

DIY Fall Feather Wreath how to make

To attach the feathers, I started by gluing down the feather on the very top of the wreath. I also made sure to stick the bottom feather (of the left side) in the spot I wanted it to be placed…just so I could visualize the proper spacing as I glued down each feather. I worked my way from the top feather all the way down to the center feather. Then, I repeated the process with the right side of the wreath. When all of the feathers were attached, I made sure to do a visual inspection around all of the sides to make sure the feathers were fully glued down, and added additional hot glue as needed. With the vine wreath, the surface isn’t flat and smooth, so it was a bit more challenging to get the feathers secure…not hard, but just in need of an additional eye on the glue spots to ensure they weren’t pulling free from the wreath!

Finally, I used a generous amount of hot glue to attach the wooden letter to the bottom of the wreath, and voila!!! My DIY Fall Feather Wreath was complete and ready to adorn our front door.

DIY Fall Feather Wreath

I am quite pleased with how quick this DIY project was to create, and what is even better? The price – I spent less than $10 on the materials for this bad boy. That’s what I’m talking about. So, for the next few weeks my door is going to be looking nice and autumnal…until the Christmas themed wreath gets created and replaces it. I probably should buy my materials now…because if I want until around Thanksgiving, the only things I’m likely to find will be Valentine’s Day related….yeeeesh!

DIY Fall Feather Wreath

Do you have a fall wreath on your door? Did you make it yourself?

November 11, 2014

With holidays, sometimes a learning process has to be involved. In 2013, it was our very first year in our house during Halloween. I was excited to finally get some trick-or-treaters at our door. To prepare, I purchased a few bags of candy to have on hand. We didn’t have an overwhelming number of visitors, but there was a somewhat steady stream throughout the evening. This year, I repeated the same process – I filled a big bowl with candy and had it on hand by our door. And we got three…yes…three trick-or-treaters. Not three separate visits. Three kids total. So as you can imagine, I now have an insanely huge amount of leftover candy. So what should a girl do? Make leftover Halloween candy cookies, that’s what!

Leftover Halloween Candy Cookies

They aren’t anything fancy – I took my classic chocolate chip cookie dough recipe and instead of adding chocolate chips, I chopped up Crunch bars and Baby Ruth candy bars to serve as the chips instead. But oh boy, do I love how they transformed what is your everyday chocolate chip cookie and made it something different than what I’m used to. I like both varieties, but I have to say I think the Baby Ruth version is my favorite. When the candy bar pieces melt down as the dough bakes, it creates a chewy, delicious bite.

Leftover Halloween Candy Cookies

I definitely needed some sweets on hand this past week. I usually don’t have a lot in the house, but I admit that I was glad to have them in reach these past few days. Last Monday, I was brushing the dogs’ teeth and realized that my poor Lucia had cracked yet another tooth. This one was a front tooth (the previous two she had to have removed a few months ago were back teeth). I have no idea how it happened, and I felt terrible that it probably took me a few days to realize what happened. Of course, a trip to the vet ensued on Tuesday, and on Wednesday I had to bring her back in to have it removed. Poor girl! So, I wasn’t feeling too happy with myself about that; the guilt was making me feel kind of cruddy. And on top of it I was just having one of those weeks when nothing I did seemed to go right! I couldn’t get on top of things; laundry piled up, emails stockpiled, and I was feeling pretty run down in general. Oh cookies – how I needed you!

Leftover Halloween Candy Cookies

The funny thing is, even though I made a regular sized batch of these leftover Halloween candy cookies, there is still a HUGE bowl full of candies left. Perhaps another batch is necessary? Perhaps, perhaps. I mean…I need to make my way through that candy bowl, right???

Have you been baking with your Halloween leftovers?

Leftover Halloween Candy Cookies

Leftover Halloween Candy Cookies
 
Prep time
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Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 20-30 mini candy bars (amount depends on bar size! Mix in to taste), chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Add the butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and almond extract in a large bowl and beat with a mixer until creamed.
  3. Continue beating as you add the eggs one at a time, until they are fully incorporated. Gradually add scoops of the flour mixture until it is fully mixed in and a dough has formed.
  4. Use a spatula to fold in the chopped pieces of candy bar. If you would like to make separate types of cookies with different candy bars, divide the dough before folding in the pieces.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then scoop rounded tablespoon sized balls of dough onto the sheet.
  6. Bake for 9-11 minutes until cookies are golden brown. Remove from oven and let rest for 2-3 minutes. Then, place cookies on a wire rack to completely cool. Enjoy!

November 9, 2014

Fall is the ultimate time of the year for comfort food: am I right? The cooler temperatures always have me craving them, as well as the various holiday get-togethers with family and friends. This week, the Sunday Supper family is teaming up with Gallo Family Vineyards for a comfort food filled event, and I’m bringing some Acorn Squash Cheese Spread with Spinach and Artichokes to the table.

Acorn Squash Cheese Spread with Spinach and Artichokes

There is something oh so comforting about cheese. I can’t live without it. Melty, gooey, creamy cheese is one of those food items that I live for and always ends up finding its way into my favorite dishes. Of course, cheese happens to be an essential element of my recipe today. I’ve combined the comforting embrace of dairy goodness with a favorite fall squash. With spinach and artichokes added into the mix, the end result is a creamy, luscious mixture that is perfect to spread all over a slice of crusty baguette. Or two. Or three. It’s a fabulous appetizer option, but if you wanted to keep this dish all to yourself, serving it for dinner alongside a fresh salad as a main course is another alternative to consider.

Acorn Squash Cheese Spread with Spinach and Artichokes

Of course, you absolutely have to pair this Acorn Squash Cheese Spread with a glass of wine. The Gallo Family Cabernet Sauvignon would be a great complement to this dish. It is a full bodied wine with the flavors of blackberries and black currants. It is smooth and pairs well with bold cheeses, which I think make it a great partner for this cheese spread. However, if you are looking for a wine on the lighter side of things, the Gallo Family Pinot Grigio is another selection to consider; it features crisp flavors of fresh green apple, white peach and citrus!

Acorn Squash Cheese Spread with Spinach and Artichokes

Acorn Squash Cheese Spread with Spinach and Artichokes

Aside from comforting dishes, the holiday season is also a time to give back. Gallo Family Vineyards believes that no one should go hungry, so they have partnered with the Meals On Wheels Association of America for the Every Cork Counts campaign. From now until December 31, 2014, Gallo Family Vineyards is helping feed families by donating $1 to the Meals On Wheels Association of America for every one of their wine corks that you send them or submit as a photo electronically (up to $50,000). Giving back is easy, so why not get involved? I know I’ll be rounding up all of my Gallo wine corks!

Gallo wine corks

Acorn Squash Cheese Spread with Spinach and Artichokes

Acorn Squash Cheese Spread with Spinach and Artichokes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • 7 ounces canned artichoke heats, drained
  • 2 ounces Neufchatel cheese
  • 1 cup fat free half and half
  • 2 cups Gruyere cheese, freshly grated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh baguette, sliced
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a deep roasting/baking pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Slice the acorn squash in half crosswise (one half is the top of the squash with the stem, the other is the bottom half, making four small bowl shapes). Use a spoon to remove the seeds. Slice a small piece off the bottom of the squash pieces so they can sit upright in the pan without falling over.
  3. Place the squash in the roasting pan and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. Next, melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the spinach leaves and allow them to wilt for about 2 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and saute for an additional 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, mix together the Neufchatel cheese and the half and half. Add in the spinach and artichoke mixture and stir until incorporated. Ladle this mixture into the squash halves, about ¾ of the way up.
  6. Add the freshly grated Gruyere cheese to the top of each squash half.
  7. Cover the roasting pan with a sheet of aluminum foil and place in the oven to bake for one hour, until squash becomes tender. If you'd like your baguette to be warm, place it in the oven wrapped in aluminum foil in the last few minutes of baking.
  8. Finally, remove the aluminum foil from the top of the roasting pan (and remove the bread if it is being warmed), turn the broiler to high, and cook for an additional 5 minutes, until cheese is golden brown and bubbling.
  9. Remove from oven and carefully place the squash halves in bowls or serving plates alongside baguette. Dip, spread, and enjoy!
If you are searching for Gallo Family Vineyards’ wine near you, check out their store locator. You can even download a $1 off digital coupon for your next purchase!

 

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Make sure you check out Gallo Family Vineyards’ website, like them on Facebook, start a conversation with them on Twitter, see their photos on Instagram, and watch them on YouTube!

Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.

And of course, make sure you check out all of the fabulous and comforting recipes from the Sunday Supper family today!

Comforting Appetizers and Beverages:

Comforting Entrees, Soups, and Stews:

Comforting Side Dishes:

Comforting Brunch, Desserts, and Sweets:

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