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how to illuminate your jack-o-lantern

October 9, 2011

Here’s a clever way to light your jack-o-lantern this Halloween.  Wrap a strand of 20 lights around a glass jar, and secure wires with tape. Cut a hole in the hollowed-out pumpkin for the cord, and place jar inside.

Images and Info @ Martha Stewart

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Dip and Spread Recipes

April 22, 2011

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for a new dip or spread recipe. They’re the easiest things in the world to make for a crowd. You can prepare them ahead, and everyone loves them. These will be great for your Easter gathering or any other occasion. Just click on those links to get the recipes and enjoy!

Pears and Camembert~

Blue Cheese and Walnut Spread~

White Bean Dip~

Baked Brie with Pecans~

Goat Cheese Torta~

Smoked Salmon Dip with Bagel Chips~

Get more Dip and Spread Recipes At Martha Stewart

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Easter Costumes for Your Pet!

April 22, 2011

Yes, you read that correctly – Easter Costumes for Your Pet! I can’t believe I’m posting about this, but I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw these photos. I just had to share them with you. Come on, you know they’re cute.

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~~If you can stop laughing… you can see more… Yes, there are more… Go Ahead…. Make your day and Click Here!

Source: Martha Stewart

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10 Most Magnificent Trees

April 20, 2011

Bean farmer, Axel Erlandson, had an interesting hobby. He shaped trees by pruning, bending, and grafting them into extraordinary shapes. He called them “Circus Trees.” He created the following “Basket Tree” arbor sculpture, by planting six sycamore trees in a circle, and then grafting them together to form the diamond patterns. This was a man who was willing to wait years for his art to grow.Basket Tree (Image credit:jpeepz)

10 Most Magnificent Trees.

Special Butter Spreads

April 20, 2011

I found three easy peezy butter-spread recipes . I know. I know. How could butter be any better? Try one of these recipes and you’ll find out.

Lemon-Herb Butter

Delicious with fish or chicken!

Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Amy Burke

  • YIELD: Makes about 1/2 cup
  • HANDS-ON:5 MINUTES
  • TOTAL:5 MINUTES
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

Preparation

* Stir together butter, lemon zest, chives, oregano, and parsley.

Walnut-Honey Butter

A touch of sweet!Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Amy Burke

  • YIELD: Makes about 3/4 cup
  • HANDS-ON:5 MINUTES
  • TOTAL:25 MINUTES
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Preparation

* Bake walnuts at 350° in a single layer in a pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring halfway through. Cool 15 minutes. Stir together butter, honey, and walnuts.

Blackberry Butter

Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Amy Burke

  • YIELD: Makes about 3/4 cup
  • HANDS-ON:5 MINUTES
  • TOTAL:5 MINUTES
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons blackberry preserves

Preparation

* Stir together butter and blackberry preserves.

Source: Southern Living APRIL 2011

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How to Hard-Boil the Perfect Egg

April 19, 2011

It’s that time of year, and I know some of you are Easter Bunny helpers. He could never boil all those Easter eggs without your help. I have the perfect egg-boiling method, a few tips and a video for you. Getting the perfect hard-boiled egg is simple once you know the secret. It’s easy to over cook an egg or crack the shell by boiling it to vigorously. If you follow this method, you’ll get the perfect hard-boiled egg every time.

I’ve used this method many times, but I followed Ina Garten’s hard-boiled egg recipe, which is (except for one small difference) exactly the same as the following “Real Simple” video. After bringing the water to a boil, Garten’s recipe allows the eggs to sit in the hot water for 15 minutes instead of 12. Check out the video below!

How to Hard-Boil an Egg Video and Steps | Real Simple.

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Delicious Easter Side Dishes

April 15, 2011

Are you responsible for the main course, or has Aunt Carolyn asked you to bring a side? If you have side dish duty this Easter, look no further. I have a few suggestions.


Photograph courtesy Anna Williams

Spring Peas with Dates and Walnuts

Cook Time: 10 minutes Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups shelled fresh English peas or thawed frozen peas (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1/4 pound snow peas, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons walnut oil

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with ice water. If using fresh English peas, add to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 1 minute. Add the snap peas and cook until bright green, about 2 minutes, then add the snow peas and cook 30 seconds. Drain the peas and plunge into the ice water to cool.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the walnuts, dates and cayenne and cook until the nuts are slightly toasted, about 1 more minute.

Drain the peas, shaking off the excess water, then add to the skillet (if using frozen peas, add them here). Add 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the walnut oil and toss. Add more salt to taste.

Photograph by Con Poulos

Scalloped Potatoes with Creme Fraiche

Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 pounds waxy potatoes (such as Yukon gold or Yellow Finn), peeled
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Rub the garlic all over the inside of a 3-quart baking dish, then mince it. Grease the dish with about 1/2 tablespoon butter.

Slice the potatoes about 1/8 inch thick (a mandoline works well). Combine in a large saucepan with the minced garlic, the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, the half-and-half, creme fraiche, flour, thyme, mace, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the chives and transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, shaking it to distribute the potatoes evenly. Bake, uncovered, until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 1 hour 5 minutes, occasionally spooning some of the liquid over the top. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

You can also make the scalloped potatoes in individual ramekins; bake about 40 minutes.

Get more  side dish recipes here.