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Falloween Centerpiece! {Pumpkin Parade Linky Party}

I’m going to interrupt my wedding catch up posts to join in the Pumpkin Parade!  Who doesn’t love this time of year – if I could count how many times I saw someone post “First pumpkin iced chai latte of the season!” on their fb newsfeeds I would be, well, counting very high.  But for reals, Fall is the best season, especially in the Northeast.  Stockings and scarves for the win!

So Saturday it was my turn to host Book Club and we read The Cuckoo’s Calling. I really loved it – we don’t often read whodunit’s in BC, but when we do I always think I need to read more of this genre. We always do potluck and people really brought their A games in Fall comfort food. I have no pictures of the food, but trust me, it was good (you can check our some of the past dishes we’ve made on our shared Pinterest board).  Since I was scrambling to have the house clean enough for guests I didn’t try a new recipe, but made my tried and true Semi-Homemade Chili. That dish is bangin’ I tell ya, and did not disappoint. 

The day before I went out on my lunch break ready to spend monayyy on fall decor.  Sometimes I’m just in the mood to spend money on stuff, but alas, nothing was grabbing my attention at any of the seven stores I went to. I finally picked up this black feathery owl who I thought had the right combo vibe of fall and halloween (Falloween, if you will) so I can leave him up through November from Century 21.  I had to actually purchase these mini pumpkins and this little carving pumpkin because I haven’t been upstate to raid my mother’s garden yet this year.  Plopped down next to some fake leaves from our Fall Date Night gift from my sister-in-law last year and some leftover amber votives from the wedding (still for sale if anyone wants them! (shameless plug, sorry)) and this centerpiece was done, yo.  The wire pumpkin was a gift a few years back, and the chargers are from Walmart, and plates and napkins were from Anthropologie. Sometimes I think more is more when it comes to holiday decorations, but in this case, I think my less is more tablescape works.

My neighborhood packs in the parades and festivals the first weekend of October. Saturday was the Ragamuffin Parade, and holy shnikes, was our ‘hood a zoo.  It was super cute seeing all the kids dressed up, but I seriously think that is the most packed I’ve ever seen 3rd Avenue.  It took us about 45 minutes to walk one block to grab coffee and come back.  It was cute though and sooo warm out, so it was worth it a few minutes of insanity.  Sunday was the 3rd Avenue Festival, which is like any other street festival in that vendors come in and line the streets.  I didn’t get to venture out for that because I was indoors canning and jamming with my aunt and cousin.  Oh yeah. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was “all-Fall” this past weekend.

This was my first real foray into canning and jamming and it was a blast (not to be confused with KanJam the game, because, yes, a friend asked me that and she shall remain nameless).  Having the right tools and a few sets of hands and counterspace really makes this process go smoothly, so it went as smooth at it could go in my teeny kitchen.  You may recognize this pic from my fb page – we tried two recipes and they were both a success. Carrot Cake Jam was super sweet and I think will be delicious on some vanilla ice cream or on some warm croissants.  The Fresh Herb Jelly had a nice savory flavor – a little more subtle than I would like, but it was a great way to finally use some of basil I’ve been growing and will be delicious with some stinky cheese and crackers.  I am a convert and can’t wait to try new recipes and methods!

Just for fun, since I didn’t get a chance to link up my TV console to any of the other Fall Decor linky parties earlier this month, behold:

I know my pumpkin centerpiece wasn’t the most elaborate, but sometimes, you gotta work with what you got!  I got so much done this past weekend, I’m not even a little bit disappointed in myself. For some real inspiration go check out the WAY more creative and innovative pumpkin projects linked up to these blogs:
Remember, half the fun is meet new blogs and to leave a comment!!!  I’m a regular reader of Newlywoodwards and Decor and the Dog, but I’ve found a ton of new blogs to add to my daily reading list!

Happy Fall, Y’all!

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Impromptu July 4th BBQ & Gardening Updates

So around mid afternoon on July 3rd, we realized we didn’t have solid plans for the next day. We decided to round up some family members and bear the heat together on the 4th.

I was excited because it gave me an excuse to try a few new recipes, as well as do a little RW&B decorating.  As with most parties, we were too busy grilling and having fun to take a a ton of pictures, but I got some great “before” shots of a recipe or two I plan to share with you guys. Actually, these two:

Having this bbq also filled a void for me as we decided not to throw our big annual bbq since we have Other Things on our minds lately.

I ran to the nearby 99 cent stores and picked up a navy tablecloth, a red and white tablecloth, and some flags and a patriotic spin-y thing (technical jargon).  I scooped up some white carnations with baby’s breath at my favorite bodega/cut flowers shop, and started my prep work so that I would be able to hang out with the family when they arrived.

We finally sampled some of the regional wine we picked up at Seneca Lake, NY a few weeks back

In addition to grabbing a few burgers and hot dogs so I could try this new grilling technique, I picked up some chicken legs and thighs, some ribs, and some potatoes for a new recipe I wanted to try (that came out great, and looked pretty too – recipe to come). I marinated the chicken, boiled the ribs, and smashed the potatoes in the morning.  For a simple cool dessert I made a few packages of jello and pudding in individual dishes, and had some whip cream in a can available for topping.  People brought over some easy apps like shrimp cocktails, anti-pasta salad, gluten-free pasta salad, and the most amazing fried onion rings I’ve ever tried, as well as  a large carafe of delicious iced coffee with kahlua to go with our dessert.

All in all – a very nice and relaxing July 4th!  Hope you enjoyed yours!

*I don’t know who I was kidding when I thought I would be able to relax – I spent over an hour in front of the grill! But luckily everyone graciously worked on the clean up so I could relax after the meal – thanks guys!

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These are about eye-level height with me, and I’ve been encouraging  the vine to stay on the wrought iron instead of grabbing the fence. My luck would be that my neighbors would get all the blossoms on their side!
My morning glories are really growing! But they don’t look like they are going to give me any blossoms any time soon.  I’ll be certain to let you know when they do.  And an added bonus – we have “wild” cherry tomatoes growing!  I guess some of the seeds from rotten tomatoes last year decided to sprout again.  We will see if there is actually enough space in the bucket for them to grow fruitfully.  Fingers crossed!


Foodie Fridays – Spiral Cut Hot Dogs!

Hot dogs are definitely in my top three for favorite foods.  I know this statement may make you question all future recipe posts – I swear I like good, healthy, and complicated foods too.  I’m just saying, I can never say no to a hot dog.  I’m always looking for ways to spice them up so everyone else can enjoy them as much as I do.  In the past I’ve tried a marinade from this post, that was proclaimed “the best hot dog I ever ate” by one of my friends. So when I stumbled on this video via BoingBoing, I had to share!

I’ll definitely be trying this out the next time I grill! I hope you do too…