Facebookpreview Groundhog Pancakes

Groundhog Day Breakfast: Punxsutawney Pancakes

Facebookpreview Groundhog Pancakes

It’s Groundhog Day…again.

Sure…it’s groundhog day, and we all know what that means. It’s the one magical day each year that we all collectively lose our minds and look to a fortune telling rodent for answers.

We can chalk this up to the fact that being cooped up indoors may have started to adversely effect our mental capacity, but instead of seeking help for our addiction to psychic rodent prognostication we can just embrace the insanity and celebrate it for all of its goofy silliness!

What better way to start your Groundhog Day with with a nice hearty breakfast in the shape of today’s meteorologist of honor, the groundhog himself. It literally only takes minutes!

Here’s what you’ll need;

  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate Chips
  • A heart shaped cookie cutter
  • Pancake mix or the frozen pre-made pancakes (we used Aldi’s Gluten Free, because we believe that the Glutens should run wild and free, and prance through meadows – and stay the heck away from our intestines)

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Press the cookie cutter into the pancake, and use the spare parts to make little half circle ears, and some paws if you’d like.

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Add the chocolate chips for eyes and cut a marshmallow in the shape of teeth, and you are done!

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A fun and festive breakfast to start your day in groundhog jubilee! For extra fun, pour your syrup off to the side in the shape of a shadow, and/or sprinkle powdered sugar as snow.

Happy Groundhog Day!

P.S.  Punxsutawney Phil and Holsville Hal both predict an early Spring! Yippee!!

However, no prediction has been made by this actress.

Orange is the New Black’s Pennsatucky is not a groundhog and is not in any way related to Punxsutawney Phil. She may or may not be able to predict weather trends better than a groundhog – more research is needed. Always consult an actual groundhog before making any weather related decisions. Thank you.

For more Groundhog Day fun, check out these fun Groundhog Day Treats!

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An elegant New Year Celebration at home.

A Kiss at Midnight: A New Year Celebration

 
Spending New Years Eve at home doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate and bring in the new year with style! 
 
We dressed the table in a lovely “Kiss at Midnight” theme complete with silver and gold accents, a clock plate at every place setting to count down to midnight, confetti streamers and of course, Hershey Kisses so that everyone gets a kiss at midnight!


Sparkling Cider or Champagne makes a great centerpiece. The non-alcoholic grape juice or apple juice versions mean you can bring this celebration into New Years Day for a lovely New Years Day brunch, or let the kids stay up late on New Years Eve and toast the new year with their own kid-friendly glass of bubbly! 

Pssst…Want to hear a secret? These lovely clock plates were made right here at home, and you can make them too. It’s just a clock face printed, cut out and placed under a clear glass plate on top of silver charger plates. If you’d like to make these yourself, you can get the free printable below! Also check out some more great custom table settings you can make with clear plates here! (link coming soon)

Make sure you have some Hershey Kisses saved from the Christmas candy stash for your midnight kiss! I put aside some of the red and green ones as well – to find out why, look here!

 

..and just a few photos with only the warm glow of the Christmas lights.

Free Printable to use at your own New Year’s Eve Party. Happy New Year!
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Facebookpreview Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving Table: The Spendor of Autumn

This Thanksgiving I used all my restraint to resist the urge to let our Christmas decor arrive early. So often I cannot resist that urge and we end up with a Thanksgiving/Christmas fusion. 
 
Everything stayed well within the Autumn color theme this year without even a hint of Christmas!
Burlap has always been an inexpensive fabric mostly used for making things like potato sacks or for wrapping shrubbery for the winter, but somehow it has become very popular in decorating as well.
It does offer a nice warm neutral base and lots of texture so it makes sense that decorators would be bringing this into their designs. 
 
What does NOT make sense is that this traditionally inexpensive fabric is now carrying a designer fabric price tag! I had to shop around a bit but finally found a nice large bolt of burlap at Walmart for a reasonable price.
 
So, on with the show… The table and the buffet are both topped with the above mentioned burlap. Burlap is a fairly open weave, so pairing it with a nice pumpkin colored table cloth really worked well together.


Gold beaded charger plates and white china (retired pattern Alsace by Farberware) with the salad plate swapped out for a lovely leafy pattern plate that harmonizes well with the autumn theme.


I know right now that tree slices as chargers is all the rage in decorating, but for me this is a sentimental accent. These tree slices are from the tree in our yard. 

I grew up with this tree and when a hurricane took it down I was heartbroken and I requested some mementos in the form of tree slices. I had no idea what I would do with them, but all these years later and they have finally found a home on our Thanksgiving table.


I fell in love with these white porcelain pumpkins. I’ll admit I am a bit pumpkin obsessed, but these just sent me over the moon. I want more! Here they are sitting on some silk autumn leaves and my beloved tree slices.


See that silverware? Yes, I do too. I swapped it out for gold flatware, but not until after discovering the error in this photo shoot. Details, details!

 

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Halloween 2015

This Halloween we wanted to create a spooky haunted forest but still keep it light and playful enough that it was still warm, inviting and not too gloomy.  

Some dead tree branches from the yard were perfect for making a huge impact – and the best part is that they cost NOTHING!


When you bring lots of natural elements into the decor everything falls into place. Sea shells, leaves, branches, pine cones and any other natural element can cover your decorating schemes for all the seasons and holidays.


“Creepy Cloth” is a very loose weave gauze-like fabric that can be draped from almost any surface to create a delightfully creepy look. Here we have draped it on our picture frames (two professional artists in the house and we have EMPTY picture frames….we’re cuckoo!).


A simple branch in a flower pot with some floral foam and a centerpiece is born!


Birds perched in random places makes it feel as if they have landed there themselves, and that we are being quietly outnumbered by some spooky guests.

 


Orange and black is such a traditionally Halloween color scheme, but it can feel a bit tacky at times. With the right balance and some natural elements some Halloween elegance can be attained.

A bird and some silk leaves on each place setting helps tie the buffet decor to the table. We found our birds at Dollar Tree.

We like to bring out the ornate silver charger plates and accessories for a Halloween look because it feels like they could be right out of an old haunted mansion!


We found some lovely salad plates with a subtle embossed leaf pattern covering the entire surface of the plate. The natural leaf pattern makes them ideal for autumn decor and because they are plain white instead of fall colors they will fit in beautifully with Spring and Easter decor as well.


Here is a look back at last Halloween with our buffet in burgundy and black. 

As always, thanks for stopping by! Likes, shares, pins, follows and comments always greatly appreciated!

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Facebookpreview Pineappolantern

Pineapp-O-Lantern: A Tropic’alloween Treat

Who says you can only make a Jack-O-Lantern out of a pumpkin? 

Not me! 

Allow me to introduce you to a frightfully fun Halloween treat that makes a great presentation when serving a fruit plate, or fruit and cheese platter or even an awesome Halloween breakfast!

I’m calling it a Pineapp-O-Lantern: A Tropic’alloween Treat!
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It’s basically the same process as carving a Jack-O-Lantern, so I wont bore you with an in-depth how-to, but I will share some tips.

I went the traditional route – cutting the top to make the ‘lid’ of the Jack-O-Lantern and then scooping out the contents, but I’ll definitely be doing things differently the next time I do this (see tips below).

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A much more efficient way (and what I ended up doing about half way through digging and scooping pineapple) would be to make the ‘lid’ cut at the top, and also chop the bottom off the pineapple so you can approach it from both ends.

Then you’ll only need to run the blade of your knife around the inside edge of both ends, hollowing out a cylinder and sliding it out. This will leave you with nice hollow shell for carving a face, as well as a nice neat tube of pineapple to core and slice for serving.

All that’s left to do is carve a face, and pop in a battery operated tealight candle (I got my candles 2 per pack at Dollar Tree, batteries included and they even flicker like real flames!).

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This project is great for bringing some whimsical Halloween fun to an unexpected place like a fruit platter, and I love that the pineapple top looks like spooky spiked hair!

EXTRA TIP: It’s not just for Halloween! Change the facial features slightly and you could carve a tiki face into the pineapple for an awesome display for a luau or other tropical themed summer party!

Instagram PineappOLantern

Well hello there Mr Creepy Pinapp-O-Lantern face!

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Seashore Tablescape – Oysters and Pearls

Oysters and Pearls : A Seashore Tablescape for Summer.


 
It’s not quite summer yet but most people see Memorial Day Weekend as the official start of summer fun and festivities. 
 
So after a quick change from the red white and blue (that will all come back with extra sparkle for July 4th) we converted into a nice beachy summer at the seashore look.
 
Oyster shells and pearls are the theme this time and they are a perfect combo because pearls come from oysters! 
 
We grabbed the pearl garlands from our Christmas decorations, and we have lots of collected sea shells from every time we ever get near a seashore. These Oyster shells were collected in Greenport New York.
 
 
We found lovely Caribbean sea blue bottles at Dollar Tree and got incredibly lucky when we found awesome matching salad plates at Savers. Together they give the table a fresh pop of color and the blue is so refreshing and serene.
 
 
We paired the Caribbean Blue glass accents with our white china and silver chargers.  
 
 
The centerpiece is a lantern that is not necessarily beachy, but it is reminiscent of the top of a lighthouse, so it works! It’s raised up a level on a silver tray resting on a glass block and surrounded by fish netting, pearls, shells and little glass balls that look like bubbles!
 
 
 
We finished off the look with some fishing net, shells and various trinkets and baubles that fit the summer at the seashore theme.
 
 
 
We still need some more fishing nets and accessories to complete the look on the sideboard — it’s looking a bit sparse, so we’ll update when that gets it’s finishing touches.
 
This may be my new favorite tablescape — not looking forward to ever changing this one!  It’s time to celebrate – Summer is here! It’s Beachy Keen!



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Facebookpreview CincoDeMayo

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo Celebration!


Hola and Happy Cinco de Mayo!

This is one of my favorite celebrations to decorate! 

I just love all the bright bold festive colors. 

We’ve been collecting pieces for this celebration all year long! 

We scored a Mexican serape at Savers this winter for only $2.40. 

We folded it and used it as a table runner that gives a bright festive pop of color to the whole table.


We added the plates to our collection last May for Cinco de Mayo after admiring them for quite some time. 

The China pattern is Mambo by Royal Norfolk. We found these at Dollar Tree for a buck a piece. They sell the plates, bowls, mugs and they even have matching glassware and cloth items like tea towels.

We also scored some textured striped bowls at Savers — all four for $4.00. They say Avon on the bottom, but I cannot find the name of the pattern anywhere — it seems to be a retired pattern.

The Cactus Margarita Glasses are by Libbey and they are our newest pieces. 

We found ours at Dollar Tree, and they replaced a set of plastic cactus margarita glasses that we have had for many years. 

The plastic glasses were fun, but the new glass ones are so much nicer.











The centerpiece is more of a collection of colorful festive items — silk Ranunculus in yellow and orange, salsa bowls filled with fresh limes, and a decorative rope of Mexican chili peppers.

















We also used lots of paper lanterns from dollar tree. We had these already for summer parties, and we plan to use them again in an upcoming birthday celebration. 

We LOVE when our decorations work for more than one celebration, it saves money AND storage space!










We finally tried Jarritos Mandarin this year after we found it on sale at Aldi with their Cinco de Mayo specials. 

It’s sweet and yummy but way too bubbly for me – I guess I have a sensitive throat, because all carbonated beverages feel like I am drinking acid! 

I guess I’ll just stick with water!








Peggo made awesome creamy cheesey filled peppers. 

We used some festive mini sweet peppers in red, yellow and orange, and she stuffed them with leftover Benedictine Spread from our Kentucky Derby Soiree

We garnished them with slices of the pepper and some chopped scallions. 

It was not spicy but it was delicious and some hot sauce would be awesome on top to give it some kick!


We don’t have any pictures of our Cinco de Mayo dinner, but we’ll be adding some soon. We have several Mexican recipes in mind that we are just dying to try, and we’ll use any excuse to pull out our fiesta-ware again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Mini Derby Pies – Kentucky Derby Soiree

Mini Derby Pies



This recipe is a family favorite that we have been making for at least 25 years. 

Our traditional recipe uses Walnuts, but to celebrate Kentucky Derby, we wanted to make mini pecan pies — so we swapped the walnuts for pecans.

Some folks call these Tassies, others call them Tartlets but today we are calling them Mini Derby Pies because they are part of our Kentucky Derby Soiree!

Read more about that here – where you’ll find lots of Kentucky Derby decorating inspiration and some winning recipes for yummy treats like Benedictine Spread and Kentucky Hot Browns!

Here’s the Recipe! (sorry, no pictures of the baking process here — my hands were too buttery to hold the camera)

3 oz Cream Cheese
1 Stick of Butter
1 Cup of Flour

Combine all and mix well.
Shape into balls approximately 1 inch in diameter.
Shape Balls into cups by inserting a finger into the center of each.
Chill 15-20 Minutes

Filling:
3/4 cup of Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
3/4 cup chopped Pecans
1 Teaspoon Butter
a pinch of Salt

Mix Together.
Fill each of the muffin cups with filling.
Bake 30 Minutes at 350 degrees
Sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

In my family, we always made these for the big fall and winter holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we always doubled the recipe so we would have enough for the whole house full of guests – I miss those days a lot.

I doubled the recipe this time and was shocked that it yielded a whopping 79 mini pies. 

I believe the original recipe yields 24, so I should have only had 48 — I may be making them a lot smaller than the recipe says, but that is how we have always done it!


The original recipe says to use a mini muffin tin, but we have always just used the mini muffin cup liners and placed them all on a cookie sheet. 

It would just take way too long cooking them in multiple batches.

I’m not sure if we’ll get to the Mint Julep Brownies I had planned to make, so that will have to wait until next year. That brings our very first Kentucky Derby celebration to a close.

We had lots of fun trying new things and look forward to discovering many more reasons to celebrate!

For more Kentucky Derby check out the links below to other Magical Giggles articles packed full of Kentucky Derby decorating inspiration and winning recipes for yummy treats like Benedictine Spread and Kentucky Hot Browns!

Kentucky Derby Decorating Inspiration  
Benedictine Spread Recipe 
Kentucky Hot Browns Recipe
Mini Derby Pie Recipe

Pssst….Hold on to your sombrero — Cinco de Mayo is next! 

Festive fiesta festivities are in the works!


 

 

 

 


 

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Benedictine Spread – Kentucky Derby Soiree

Benedictine Spread Recipe

This Kentucky Derby staple was brand new to us, and it definitely received rave reviews from all in attendance at our Kentucky Derby Soiree!

I didn’t take any pictures of the process of making the spread or the canapes, but I’ll do my best to describe it all!

The ingredients were just the basics:

1 block of Cream Cheese
1/4 cup of Sour Cream
1 whole Cucumber, finely grated
1/4 of a White Onion, finely minced


The key to this recipe was the draining of the excess moisture from the Cucumber and the onion. 

The way we accomplished this was by pressing in a fine mesh colander lined with paper towels. 

It was a lot of pressing and squeezing, because cucumbers hold a tremendous amount of water, but it was well worth it in the end!

Combine the Cream Cheese and the Sour Cream and then add the well drained minced onions and cucumber  — that’s pretty much it! 

We made ours the night before to give it some time for all the flavors to mingle.

The canapes were made by spreading the Benedictine Spread between two slices of soft fresh white bread and then stamping them out with a canape cutter. 

The garnish is thinly sliced cucumber.

In my research I found that many people make this spread with green pepper Tabasco Sauce, which gives it both a little kick of spice as well as it’s signature light green coloring. 

We didn’t have any of the green Tabasco Sauce, and it just didn’t feel right to add green dye, so ours is in it’s natural white. 

I slightly regret the lack of green now because it makes it very difficult to see the spread between the slices of white bread (especially in pictures) — it still tastes fantastic though!

In my research about this Derby Day treat, I found that Benedictine Spread was created in Louisville Kentucky by a fellow Jenny (Jennie Carter Benedict)– so you know I had to give this recipe a try!

For more Kentucky Derby check out the links below to other Magical Giggles articles packed full of Kentucky Derby decorating inspiration and winning recipes for yummy treats like Benedictine Spread and Kentucky Hot Browns!

Kentucky Derby Decorating Inspiration  
Benedictine Spread Recipe 
Kentucky Hot Browns Recipe
Mini Derby Pie Recipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kentucky Hot Browns – Kentucky Derby Soiree

Kentucky Derby Hot Brown Bake Recipe

In our home, when we find a new event to celebrate we are always very excited. 

We love all the research and exploration of the traditions or customs behind any event we are about to celebrate for the first time. 

We love the decorating and all of the creative challenges that come along with it, but one of our family’s favorite parts of a new celebration is trying new foods.

It feels so adventurous to try new things, even if it is from the safety of your very own dining room!

At the same time, we often find that the original or traditional recipes can be intimidating! That is where more interpretive ‘quickie’ recipes come in handy.

We planned on combining a few of our favorite recipes, hoping to cross a Monte Cristo recipe with our favorite Stuffed French Toast Bake recipe. 

Then we found  this awesome recipe on Pinterest which seemed to do exactly that, so we gave it a try (with just a few very minor alterations) and it was exactly what we were trying to create, and it made a perfect festive treat for our Kentucky Derby Soiree.

So here’s what you’ll need!

1 Roll of Crescent Rolls (8oz)
1lb of Turkey Breast (lunch meat)
10 Slices of cooked Bacon
8 slices of Swiss Cheese
3 Roma Tomatoes
4 Eggs (beaten)

We found all of these items at Aldi, so the prices were great!. 

The grand total is $11.55 if you don’t have any of the ingredients already, and there will be lots of extra ingredients left over (8 eggs, 5 tomatoes, and some bacon, turkey and swiss cheese.) 

Here’s how to put it all together!

First, line an 8 inch pan with foil – it’ll make clean-up time a breeze! 

Then open up the crescent rolls. I always scream when I do this. That explosion when the can bursts scares me EVERY time!

Unroll and separate the dough into two large squares. Place one square on the bottom of the pan and reserve the other square for the top(pictured above).

 
 
Layer half the ingredients and pour half of the beaten eggs over it.
Repeat and layer the remaining bacon, tomato,cheese and turkey — then top it with the remaining dough square and pour the remaining eggs over the top of the dough.
 

 

Cover in foil and bake for 20 minutes.
 


After 20 minutes, remove foil and bake an additional 20 to 40 minutes – until the top is a lovely brown color.
 


Let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes to allow it to set before cutting or serving.
 
Here it is plated and ready to eat!

It is sooooo delicious! We’ll definitely be making this one again!

For more Kentucky Derby check out the links below to other Magical Giggles articles packed full of Kentucky Derby decorating inspiration and winning recipes for yummy treats like Benedictine Spread and Mini Derby Pies!
 

 

 

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