Falling Back and a Thanksgiving Round Up

It’s that time of year to fall back, and

when most of us in the US will be turning back our clocks.

It’s also time when my internal clock falls to comfort food. . .

Harvesting, Gathering, and Thanksgiving!


Click on the links if you’d like to fall back for a taste or

 a peek at a little fall tabletop or Thanksgiving inspiration!

Plymouth Popcorn

A sweet and salty treat, great for snacking and sure to satisfy hungry pilgrims,

football fans, or tree-trimmers over Thanksgiving weekend!


 A Last Hurrah for Fall Leaves & Pumpkins 

Cornucopia folded napkins and a centerpiece with fall leaves and mini pumpkins.

Pecan Pie Muffins

Pecan Pie Muffins

The flavor of pecan pie in an easy and delicious muffin.

harvest of gray and favorite fall soup1

A Harvest of Gray & Favorite Fall Soup 

At the table with gray pumpkins, Royal Stafford’s Hayride Harvest,

and easy & delicious Roasted Pear-Butternut Soup.

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Quick & easy mini pies with a package of refrigerated pie crusts,

a muffin tin and cookie cutters.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Nuts

Pumpkin Pie Spice Nuts

A flavorful, sweet treat for your Thanksgiving table

or an easy and delicious hostess gift.

Roasted Butternut-Apple and Pumpkin Soup Shooters

Roasted Butternut-Apple and Pumpkin Soup Shooters

A teaser appetizer to serve your guests and

 whet their appetite for the Thanksgiving feast.

photo (22)-001

Caramel-Pecan-Pumpkin Bread Pudding 

Move over pumpkin pie, meet your replacement at our Thanksgiving table!

Thanksgiving Lakeside

A pumpkin vase centerpiece and mini pumpkin vases for each place setting.

Cream of Plenty Soup

aka, Shrimp and Corn Chowder, plenty of flavor and plenty hearty!

A meal in a bowl with some crusty bread, ideal for a busy week night when you need something warm and satisfying.

Thanksgiving With a Touch of Blue

Blue married with shades of rust and brown for an unlikely Thanksgiving table color combination, but Mother Nature approved.

Pumpkin-Berry Bread French Toast with Cranberry Maple Syrup

A double duty recipe! Fire up your Slow Cooker for an easy and moist Pumpkin-Cranberry bread. Enjoy it as a seasonal French toast for brunch with Cranberry-Maple Syrup. 

Cranberry-Apple-Pumpkin Bundt Cake

The flavors of fall in a cake with a

Maple Glaze and Sugared Pecans & Pepitas.


Pumpkin Granola

Make-ahead, flavorful and ideal for Thanksgiving weekend with family in town.

Harvesting, Reaping, & Sowing 

Fall or Thanksgiving table inspiration

Autumn Flavor-Infused Bourbon

DIY Holiday Spirits,  infuse the flavors of Apple Pie or

 Orange, Clove & Cranberry for gift giving or mixing your holiday cocktails.


Potato Gratin with Rosemary Crust

 A gratin that marries Yukon Gold with sweet potatoes for a perfect side for fall or Thanksgiving and served in a double crust that’s layered with rosemary and Gruyère cheese. 


Gilded Gourds

A quick wash of metallic color highlights and dresses your pumpkins

and gourds for an easy DIY for your Thanksgiving table.

Cranberry-Pecan Pie Crust Leaves

Dress up your left over Thanksgiving turkey

with Cranberry-Pecan Crusts for pot pie,

or eat them like crackers :)

 Falling Back

Hope you enjoy your extra hour

of sleep as you fall back!

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Deadly Morsels and Twisted Treats, aka Pretzel S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


Deadly Morsels and Twisted Treats, aka

Pretzel S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

are a quick and easy treat for Halloween!


They start with Pillsbury Ready To Bake!® Chocolate Chunk & Chip Cookies as a base and are layered with marshmallows, pretzel twists and deadly morsels, aka Nestle Toll House Halloween Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels. These bars are ready from start to finish in less than 25 minutes, and like Easy Caramel Apple Bars, the hardest part is waiting for them to cool long enough to cut!

Pretzel S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I found the Halloween Limited Edition morsels at Target, if you can’t find them, substitute regular semi-sweet morsels.

You could always add some Halloween sprinkles if you want to add some seasonal color to dress your twisted treats.


Deadly Morsels and Twisted Treats, aka

Pretzel S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, recipe adapted from Pillsbury


16 oz. pkg Pillsbury Ready To Bake!® Chocolate Chunk & Chip Cookies

½ cup miniature marshmallows

 25 to 30 mini pretzel twists (or enough to cover marshmallow layer)

½ cup Nestle Toll House Halloween Semi-Sweet Chocolate and Orange Colored Morsels or semisweet chocolate chips



Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over opposite sides of pan. Spray foil with nonstick spray.

Place cookie dough in bottom of pan. Press dough with fingers to flatten and cover bottom of pan in even layer.


Bake 14 – 18 minutes or just until center is set.

Sprinkle marshmallows over partially baked crust. Arrange pretzels over marshmallows in 5 or 6 rows of 5 pretzels each. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top.

Return to oven; bake 5 minutes longer or until marshmallows appear melted.

Allow bars to cool in pan before cutting. (Pillsbury’s recipe said to cool 30 minutes but my bars were still too sticky. I had better luck cutting after refrigerating for a couple of hours.)

Lift bars from pan by using foil overhang; place on cutting board. Cut bars to desired size and store in airtight container.

You can find a printable recipe here.


Cupcake liners provide an easy and festive way to serve these twisted treats

and keep sinister skeletal hands marshmallow-free <|:>)


You’re welcome to join me at the table here for more

Deadly Morsels and Twisted Treats!

Deadly Morsels and Twisted Treats

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At the Table: Deadly Morsels and Twisted Treats


Halloween’s around the corner which means it’s

that time of year when Treats become Twisted . . .


Witch’s Cauldron Cupcakes


Chocolate cupcakes with frosting in a bubbling cauldron hue

and topped with cauldron potion Halloween sprinkles.


  Twizzlers Chocolate Twists make edible cauldron handles.


It’s also the time when seemingly normal ingredients can appear Spooky. . .

Spooky Lasagna Soup

Spooky Lasagna Soup

Mozzarella and olive slice eyes to stare up from

 your soup bowl with a quick trick & spooky treat!



 Scary Hand Pies are easy to scare up with pie filling,

refrigerated pie crust, and Wilton Candy Eyes.


Scary hand optional <|: >)


Beware. . . it’s the time of year when

morsels become deadly. . .


Death by Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Death by Chocolate Cupcakes

A triple dose of chocolate deadly

enough for the most die-hard chocoholic.


Bottles were collected for potion ingredients. . .


Pick your poison. . .


And shake up a Skeletini Cocktail.



Ravens have gathered for twisted treats. . .

Brains of Cawing Ravens

aka, White Chocolate Popcorn Crunch


Candy Corn masquerades as Bat Fangs,

Dried Cranberries magically become Lord Neckswoop’s Blood Drops,

and White Chocolate Almond Bark is arsenic-laced

all by conjuring ingredient labels.


Wishing you a Happy Haunting!


Deadly Morsels and Twisted Treats Table:

Deadly Morsel Plates & Tiered Centerpiece Basket / Hobby Lobby

Dinner Plates / Pfaltzgraff Delaney

Tablecloth & Goblets / HomeGoods

Witch Hands / Target, several years ago

Flatware & Chargers / World Market


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The Witch Is In: Halloween Cauldron Cupcakes!

Witch's Cauldron Cupcakes

 With Halloween on the horizon,

 it seemed timely to pull out my cauldron and practice my

 spell making with a batch of Chocolate Cauldron Cupcakes!


Fitting too since October 18th is National Chocolate Cupcake Day. . .

I’m happy to celebrate any kind of cupcake day!

{insert *cackle* here}


I like to use a doctored cake mix for quick & easy spelling for cupcakes.

I used a Betty Crocker Super Moist Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix for the cupcakes, substituting buttermilk for the water, 4 eggs instead of 3, and the same amount of oil called for in the mix.

Follow the box directions for mixing and baking, allowing the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.


Twizzlers Chocolate Twists form the handles of the cauldron cupcakes. Bend and insert them in your cupcake, they’re just the right size, no cutting or spelling required! Make sure not to put them too close to the edge of your cupcakes to prevent the cupcake from breaking.


I tried to insert them after frosting the top, before adding the sprinkles, but I had better more luck placing them prior to frosting to prevent breaking the cupcake. I used the pretzel sticks, aka cauldron stirrers, to help spread the frosting close to the edges of the cupcakes and around the Twizzler/cauldron handles. I found the Chocolate Twizzlers at Target, a short broom ride away.


This witch likes Pillsbury canned frosting, but if the idea of canned frosting makes your black teeth ache, use your favorite frosting recipe. I used a vanilla frosting tinted with green food coloring for a bubbling cauldron hue.

Little witches will enjoy custom blending their cauldron cupcakes with sprinkles and nonpareils for a fun Halloween activity and treat!


I hope these cauldron cupcakes make you

Happier than a Witch in a Broom Factory <|: >)

Halloween Witch's Cauldron Cupcakes

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Butternut-Apple Soup with Cranberry-Cheddar-Pecan Pie Crust Leaves

Butternut-Apple Soup with Cranberry-Cheddar-Pecan Pie Crust Leaves

Butternut-Apple Soup is a sweet and savory soup,

 ideal for fall with butternut squash and apples in season!


 I’m serving it up with a side of with

 Cranberry-Cheddar-Pecan Pie Crust Leaves,

 pie crust leaf “sandwiches” of pecans, cranberries, and cheese!

Butternut-Apple Soup with Cranberry-Cheddar-Pecan Pie Crust Leaves

The pie crust leaves are a variation of Cranberry-Pecan Pie Crust Leaves,

with the addition of cheddar cheese to complement the

 flavor of apple in the soup!


I adapted a recipe for Carrot-Apple Soup in

Southern Living Magazine’s September issue.

In addition to substituting butternut squash for carrot, I made an additional change, using evaporated milk instead of cream called for in the recipe for a lower fat alternative. The butternut and apples are pureed, resulting in a thick and creamy soup with the addition of evaporated milk, without the additional calories or fat.


You can find the steps and directions to make the

Cranberry-Cheddar-Pecan Pie Crust Leaves, here.

Cheddar-Pecan-Cranberry Pie Crust Leaves

I added 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

along with 1/2 cup each of pecans and dried cranberries.


Butternut-Apple Soup, adapted from Southern Living


2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cubed

3 tart apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled and chopped (about 1 lb.)

1 large yellow onion

*2 cups cream (substitute 12-oz. can evaporated whole milk and 4 oz. chicken stock for lower fat alternative)

2 cups reduced sodium chicken stock, plus additional stock to thin soup if desired

1 1/4 cups apple cider

3 fresh thyme sprigs

*1 teaspoon kosher salt, adjust to taste

*1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, adjust to taste

Garnishes: diced apples, chopped toasted pecans, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, and/ or crispy prosciutto



Bring all ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 40 to 45 minutes or until butternut squash is tender. Remove from heat, and cool 15 minutes.


Remove thyme sprigs. Process soup, in batches, in a blender or food processor until smooth. For less clean up and no risk of exploding soup, use an immersion blender in Dutch oven, blending until smooth. For a thinner soup, stir in more stock to desired consistency. Spoon into individual bowls, and garnish as desired.


This soup is even better reheated the second day.

Serve with Cranberry-Cheddar-Pecan Pie Crust Leaves.


You can find a printable recipe, here.

And you’re welcome to join me at the table with

Pumpkins, Leaves and Mikasa Autumn Nights here.

Butternut-Apple Soup & Cranberry-Cheddar-Pecan Pie Crust Leaves

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Tricks for Your Treats: Tootsie Roll Witch Shoe Cupcake Toppers

Tootsie Roll Witch Shoe Cupcake Toppers

Here’s a little witchy fun and trick for your Halloween treats,

 Tootsie Rolls Witch Shoe Cupcake Toppers!


I used Tootsie Fruit Rolls, orange and lime, to match the

cupcake liners and coordinate with the stocking leg straws.


Every witch has to have her accessories. . .


 It’s all about the shoes!


The Tootsie Rolls work like a sticky play Play-Doh, also fun for sculpting poinsettias!

I had a bit of learning curve with the shoes since witches need to be airborne. Contrary to popular belief, witch shoes do not defy the laws of gravity :)

I discovered it works best with 1/2 to 2/3 of a Tootsie Roll, rather than a whole Tootsie Roll. Cut your straw and warm the Tootsie Roll in your hands first, placing it on the end of the straw before shaping it.


Lay your straw on wax paper with the Tootsie Roll on the end and flatten and pinch to shape the end of your witch shoe.

Use a knife to cut a small v-shaped notch out of the Tootsie Roll to form the heel and shape as desired. You can even use a contrasting color to make a witchy shoe buckle.


I’m thinking they look a little more like elf shoes than witch shoes :)

I found the orange and black straws at World Market and black and white straws at Target.

You can find Halloween straws from Amazon here.

Tootsie Roll Witch Shoes Cupcake Toppers

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Drink Up Witches Halloween Potion and Winners!


I have a potion brewing for you for Halloween,

guaranteed to help you Eat, Drink & Be Witchy!

Drink Up Witches DIY Cup

I conjured Drink Up Witches Cups, from Pier 1, into witchy stemmed drinking vessels, (easier for long green, crooked fingers to hold :) with the magic of silicone adhesive and a Dollar Tree glass candleholder.


Park your broom and join me at my Witches’ Potion Table, here.


Drink Up Witches’ Potion Ingredients:

~1 1/2 ounces of Authentic Wolfsbane, aka Vodka

 ~ 1 1/2 ounces Poison No. 9, aka Ginger Ale

~ 1 1/2 ounces of Vampire Blood, aka Pomegranate Juice

~ Black Cat Arsenic, aka Black Sugar for Rimming


Adjust the ratio of your potions if you’d like a more lethal cocktail.

Serve over ice, top off with additional Poison No. 9, aka Ginger Ale.

Garnish with a top quality spider bite. . .if you dare.


You can mix an alcohol free potion for fledgling witches by skipping the

Authentic Wolfsbane, aka Vodka and just adding ginger ale.

Eat, Drink, and Be Witchy Giveaway

The winners of my Eat, Drink, and Be Witchy Giveaway are:

Pattie Tierney:  A Cauldron, a Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron 5-Quart Dutch Oven

Linda Kemp:  Baking Cups, Halloween Decorating or Potion Sprinkles, Cookie Cutters, Potion Stirring Spatulas, and some Eye of Newt, or Candy Eye Treat Toppers

Lynn @ Happier Than a Pig in Mud: Drink Up Witches Cups, Cocktail Napkins & Picks, Straws, Bar Towel, and Labels for your Bubbling Brew


Carolyn P : Some additional baking goodies and Halloween Treats!


Congratulations to the winning witches,

I’ll contact you by email and get your goodies to you!

Thanks to all who entered!

Drink Up Witches Potion & Halloween Cocktail

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Top 10 Things Chloe & Gracie Love About Fall

Top 10 things Chloe & Gracie love about fall. . .


1. Sweater Weather!


2. The Smells


Fresh Mulled Cider


Make Your Own Mulling Spice

Make Your Own Mulling Spice


The aroma of fall baking. . .

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Mini Pumpkin Pies


Cranberry-Apple-Pumpkin Bundt Cake


3. Halloween Treats!




Howl-O-Ween Tricking Treats,

from Three Dog Bakery Cookbook

Made with canned pumpkin, vanilla, water, egg, whole-wheat flour,

chopped pecans, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg & oats


4. Pumpkins



5. Chair Sitting



6. Fall Color



7.  Leaf Peeping by Boat

photo (24)-001



8. Fall Sunsets




9. Picnics



Fall Picnic with Pumpkins

10. And an excuse to curl up with a blanket :)

photo (9)-001

Chloe & Grace want to know,

What are your favorite things about fall? :)

Chloe & Gracie Fall Favorites

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Fall Sipping: Apple Cider Sangria

Apple Cider Sangria

 Apple Cider Sangria is a refreshing sangria for fall!

An easy seasonal cocktail for a crowd, taking advantage of just picked apples,

 fresh apple cider, and ideal to mix up for tailgating

 or just because it’s fall!

Carrigan Farms Apple Picking

This sangria is infused with perfect combination of apple and ginger flavors and is refreshing without being overly sweet!


I used a Pinot Grigio for the wine as the base of the sangria, apple cider for the juice,

ginger ale as the mixer, and added apple vodka instead of the typical brandy or rum.


I stumbled on Absolut Orient Apple Vodka that has a hint of ginger, with plans for mixing applicious cocktails this fall.

It only takes five minutes to assemble this sangria in a large pitcher or beverage dispenser. You can mix it and serve it right away since the apple flavor is already in the apple vodka and the cider, or mix it several hours in advance if you prefer to infuse the sangria with more apple flavor, or the apples with more sangria :)


I followed this handy Anatomy of Sangria chart, courtesy of Wine Enthusiast Magazine for a quick reference for easy mixing, that I used to mix our Red, White & Blue Sangria for the 4th of July.


The sangria combinations are endless with this chart as a guideline. Pick and choose your mixers, fruit, juice, wine & liquor, adjusting the flavors and quantities to your taste.


Apple Cider Sangria


3 – 4 apples, diced

1 bottle Pinot Grigio, or white wine of choice

1/2 cup Apple Cider

1/2 cup Absolut Orient Apple Vodka

1 can Ginger Ale (I used diet)

Dice apples and add to a large pitcher. Add wine, cider and vodka. Refrigerate until serving, 1 – 2 hours or up to 24.

Just before serving add chilled ginger ale to pitcher and mix well. Fill glasses half full with ice, add sangria and apples.


 I didn’t add any additional sweetener to this sangria with the sugar in the apple cider and used diet ginger ale instead of regular ginger ale. It was refreshing and plenty sweet for us but adjust to your taste and crowd, adding additional sweetener or simple syrup if desired.


You can find a printable recipe, here.


Make sure you eat the apple after you’re done sipping,

An apple a day keeps the doctor away! :)


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Pick Your Own Apples

Carrigan Farms Apple Picking

I went apple picking at Carrigan Farms, a local

pick-your-own farm in Mooresville, NC.



You can take the kids for an apple hayride. . .



Or they can walk the orchard and drag

 their bag of apples behind them. . .


{insert *wince* and *grin* here}


The orchard is open daily in September

to pick Golden and Red Delicious Apples.


Peeking through the cornstalks is encouraged too :)













Barn, silo and beautiful homestead love. . .*sigh*




And tractor love too . . .




In October, Pumpkin Patch Tours and hayrides begin. . .


And on select nights in October Carrigan Farms

turns into. . . Scarrigan Farms. . .


Carrigan Farms, Apple Orchard and Corn

If you’re not tired of picnicking :) you can enjoy an Apple Picnic. . .


with Apple Walnut Salad, Redd’s Apple Ale and

Sweet & Savory Apple Gorgonzola & Thyme Pies.

Apple Gorgonzola & Thyme Pies

Are you Apple Picking this Fall?

Carrigan Farms

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