Pumpkin Dip Party Platter

November 4th, 2011

Pumpkin bread.  Pumpkin cheesecake.  Pumpkin muffins.
Pumpkin cookies.  Pumpkin pie.  Pumpkin fudge.

Pumpkin….I can’t get enough of it!

In case you haven’t figured it out, I LOVE pumpkin!  :)

Thanks to my good friend Pinterest, I came across a delicious
pumpkin pie dip
that will NOT disappoint!

But first, let’s think about presentation.

{I need to give props to Mindy of Best Energies Best Affections for the idea.  Thanks Mindy!}

Maybe it’s just me, but I do enjoy food presentation.

I’d much rather eat/serve chips out of a bowl, instead of a bag.
I’d much rather eat/serve caramel, dips,  salsas, etc out of bowls,
instead of the containers they came in.

So, when I wanted to put together a little treat platter to share at work,
I wanted it to look nice.

1. To start off, you need fun bowls!

While in San Francisco for a work training, I got to shop at Anthropologie!
{There isn’t a store located in Iowa.  Sad, I know!}

Because I can’t afford the clothing, I went and looked at the House & Home items,
because that stuff rocks!

In the end, here’s what I came home with.

Aren’t they awesome?!  {I now wish I would have gotten more!}

2.  Next, get some sort of big platter, tray, etc.  Thanks to Mindy and her grand idea,
I used a vintage round cake pan.

This isn’t just any cake pan.  I found it my Grandma’s attic.
So it does have some meaning behind it.

3.  Decide what you want to put in the bowls for dips and dippers.

I decided to go with honey wheat pretzels, honey graham crackers, and grapes.
I would have used apples as well….if I had some on hand.

I served honey crisp apples with this during a craft day, and the ladies loved it!

4.  Now for the dip!

Pumpkin Pie Dip

{Original recipe found here.}

My version of the recipe….

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2.5 cups powdered sugar
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
1+ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1+ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1+ teaspoon vanilla

Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
Add pie filling, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla, beating well.
Cover and chill.
Serve with favorite dippers!

5.  Enjoy!

It not only tastes delicious, it looks great as well!

Another fun idea would be to use clear/white/solid colored bowls,
and add the fun to the pan itself.
Just line it with some scraps of material, scrapbook papers,
or one of your favorite cloth napkins.

Obviously, I didn’t think about that ahead of time.  But I will next time!
I just wanted to use my new bowls!  :)

This idea originated from Mindy as a veggie tray.
She had assorted veggies in different bowls, with a Ball jar of dip in the middle.

With the holiday season upon us, have fun with your treat/snack/dessert/drink presentation.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!  You very well could be the hit of the party!

Halloween decorations part 2… Apothecary style

October 20th, 2011

I’ve never really decorated for Halloween before, so that’s why I’m doing it in phases this year (see part 1 of my Halloween decorations). I’m having to design, make, and acquire everything for the first time, so it takes a lot of creative energy, planning and shopping! The main look I was going for was a more realistic feeling with a muted color palate. I also want to have a lot of small details because I find that those are the most memorable parts of decorating.

I have always loved apothecary jars and I have a small collection of them, so I knew that I wanted to create an apothecary display.  I gathered my existing jars and then purchased a few more at Home Goods (where they are super affordable). to balance out large and small. I also got some tiny jars at a local antique/consignment shop.

I was so excited when I found the antique postal scale and it’s definitely my favorite new piece. Oh and forgive my circus posters in the background… the artwork is phase 3 of decorating so I haven’t quite gotten that far yet!

These two jars sit on the mantle (the sparkly one I use for christmas with those very same sparklies).

The next step was to design my Apothecary labels. I had a lot of fun making these, and I created them with the scale and contents of my jars in mind. And since they coordinate so well with my All Hallow’s Eve digital line, I packaged them up and released them in my digital shop this week:

Once all the labels were designed, I printed them and cut them out.

Then I used my glue runner on the back of each label and stuck them on the jars:

Once all the labels were on, I had to fill up the rest of my jars. I stratigically bought items that I WOULD NOT EAT. Mostly so I won’t eat them and partly so that I can keep them for years to come and can just set up the display really quickly.

These are the fillers I used:

black licorice for the “lizard legs”

chocolate sprinkles for “bat toes”

peppercorns for “eye of newt”

white beans for “tooth of wolf”

black beans for “black locust poison”

gold tinsel glitter for “scale of dragon”

coffee water for “tincture of hemloc”

Not appetizing at all…

So that’s my halloween apothecary collection! Maybe I will add one or two jars every year and eventually have a giant collection! What kind of Halloween decorations do you collect?

The Holiday Planner – How will you use it? *Free Download

October 19th, 2011

I will use my Holiday Planner to keep myself organized this Holiday season. I have big plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thanksgiving dinner will be served at our house this year. So I will be including a shopping list and menu. I will also start collecting any recipes I think I might want to use. This way I can find it all in one place and have them available when I am shopping. How will you use your planner?

Here is a Free Downloadable Shopping List + Menu from Jen Allyson for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and general Holiday that you can put in your Holiday Planner.

Click on the images below to download the PDF files.

Before I can get too excited about the menu, here at the Lake house we are starting a new project…. We need a new wall oven. This means we get to pull out the old one, demo some sheet rock and cut a new hole. After 23 years, wall ovens have changed in size. Lucky for me, Jen posted the most wonderful Project Master List and Project Notes for free download.

And when that new oven is installed, here is a fall family favorite recipe my Grandma Norma always made for us kids.

Persimmon Drop Cookies
1 cup persimmon pulp
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sugar
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ cup butter
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 egg beaten
1 cup nuts (we use a mix of walnut & pecan)
½ tsp. salt
1 cup raisins
Beat till creamy: pulp, soda, sugar & butter
Add: egg & beat well
Sift flour & spices
Add: flour, raisins & nuts to creamy mixture
Drop by spoonfuls on greased cookie sheet
Bake 375° 12-15 min. Makes 3-4 dozen
Click on the form images above to download a PDF version of my printable holiday menu forms. The downloadable PDFs in this article (and across my entire site) are free for personal use only. If you would like to blog about this free download, please accompany and images from my site with a credit and link back to this article. As a courtesy please do not link directly to a downloadable file but rather to this page. At this time, no customizations of this or any of my forms are available. Forms are a free download AS IS.