Monday, October 29, 2012

Meatless Monday-Fall Flavors Edition

Now that the fall season is in full effect, it's fun to include some of the seasonal fruits and vegetables into our diets.  With pumpkins, pears, sweet potatoes, and squash varieties, among other fabulous flavors, we've found 10 amazing recipes that are begging to be tried!

Let's start with the obvious seasonal favorite-pumpkins!  If you're like me, you know when Starbucks comes out with their famous Pumpkin Spice Latte.  You'll may also know how if you get addicted to them, your daily fix can quickly add up.  According to The Family Kitchen blog, on, this copycat recipe is sure to satisfy your cravings. 

Pumpkin Spice Latte
What you'll need is:
2 c. half and half, whole milk, reduced fat, or skim milk
2 tbs. canned pumpkin puree
1-2 tbs. sugar, stevia or splenda
2 tbs. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1-4 shots espresso or very strong coffee
Brew your espresso or strong coffee. If brewing strong coffee, use double the amount of grounds you would in your regular coffee. Then combine half and half or milk, pumpkin, sugar, and pumpkin pie spices in a small saucepan. Heat until very hot, but do not boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Transfer to a blender or a milk frother and blend until frothy.
Pour 1 cup warm pumpkin milk mixture into coffee mug and add 1-4 coffee shots. Dust with more pumpkin pie spice if desired.  Yields 1-2 servings.

Want to get your pumpkin fix via something other than drink form?  Try these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.  Great for breakfast or a snack on the go!  Unbelievably, his recipe has absolutely NO butter in it!  Check it out here, on Cooking With Kessner.

If pumpkin is not your thing...why not the classic fall fruit that's got everyone out visiting orchards...apples!
Spice up your regular breakfast routine with these Apple Spice Waffles or Apple Oatmeal.  For the waffles, simply add nutmeg, cinnamon, and fresh apples to your mix if you've already got a store bought waffle mix, otherwise follow these steps from  Sames goes for the oatmeal-just add some fresh apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon to your instant oatmeal, or for a more homemade recipe-try this one from

Pears, although similar to apples, offer it's own unique flavor, especially when they become ripe in the fall.  This Caramelized Pear Jam recipe from is great as a gift, or can it and use it year round.  With only 4 ingredients, it does take 2 days to make, but the flavor and possibilities of how to use this are endless!
Craving something with a quicker turn around time?  Why not try this Asian Pear Salad that can be made-dressing and all, in less than 20 minutes?
Not feeling all the fruitiness?  Let's try some more savory dishes that incorporate these delicious fall flavors.  Check out these recipes made with one incredible "super food"-the sweet potato!  These Twice Baked Bourbon Sweet Potatoes are definitely a grown up's favorite side dish.

Or these yummy, creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes, from The Merry Gourmet, that can be served as a nutritious side dish since they offer almost twice as much fiber as a regular potato and tons of vitamins.

What about all the varieties of squash that you now see available at your grocery store or farmer's market?  That butternut and acorn squash seems intimidating, but with these spins on classic recipes, you'll be mad you didn't try them sooner!

The traditional comfort food of mac and cheese has this tasty surprise-butternut squash-hidden inside.  Shhhh!  Don't tell the kids-they'll never know!

Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash from
Or this homemade Acorn Squash Ravioli dish, is to die for since everything in it is fresh!

Recipe from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes
Try one or all 10 and tell us which is your favorite fall recipe?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Easy (Recycled) Halloween Decor

Fall is in the air and that fun candy giving (and getting) holiday is right around the corner.  Many people rush out to the stores to get the newest costume or decorations for their homes and yards, but we've found a few fun crafts to spruce up your place this Halloween, and they are all made from recycled items.

Baby food jars can be used for so many things after they've been cleaned out.  Why not save a couple to craft something fun-like these bats from

Or if your family goes through a gallon or so of milk a week, you can hang onto those jugs to craft some ghoulish ghosts with a little help from your Christmas light collection.

Family Fun

Have some scrap paper or an old, unused book?  Put the pages together to form these pretty pumpkin pieces.  View the tutorial on how to make this pumpkin on

If you can save a cereal box or two from your recycling bin, you and your kiddo can create some silly or scary monsters like these from

And if you have an empty wine bottle or two...or three lying around, why not trying turning them into these adorable candy corn or pumpkin decorations?

These candy corn bottles were created with spray paint and a small ribbon-from Ashbee Design

Got any other fun decorating or costume ideas made from recycled goods?  We'd love for you to share them with us!