Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bring Nature to the Table-Acorn Top Napkin Rings

my acorn tops..waiting to be used
This easy project is a great way to get your kids outdoors to hunt for acorns. Then come back inside and create something festive for your Thanksgiving place settings.

What you'll need:
* Old napkin rings (however many you want)
* About ten acorn tops per ring 
* Krazy Glue (i like the brush on kind)

What to do:
* Put glue on napkin ring
* Border entire ring with acorn tops (i did one at a time and held it and blew on it a few seconds)
That's It!
Super easy, festive, and fun.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Birch Christmas Tree Ornaments/Gift Tags

   When I saw these at a local boutique I thought "hey those would be so easy to make!" You could use almost any material you like if you don't have access to birch bark. I cannot emphasize enough just how free form this project really is. Sizes don't have to match, the bark doesn't have to look uniform, etc. Just HAVE FUN! This is a great craft to do with toddler age children as well (just make sure to use non-toxic materials)

Before you begin:
* In the interest of tree health, it's best not to peel the bark off of a living tree. I was thrilled to find some old hollowed out birch logs in the back of our lot for this project.
* Depending on how dirty your bark is, you may want to wipe it down with a damp cloth.

What you'll need:
Birch bark
mod podge
super glue
elmers glue
yarn, ribbon, hemp, etc for ornament hanging
What to do:
1. Cut your bark into 3 triangles similar in size (photo of my triangle. pre-tree below)

2. Cut a "stump" for your tree
3. superglue the tips of your triangles to each other, slightly overlapping to make a christmas tree shape. Also, glue the stump onto the bottom triangle (backview photo below)

4. Cover entire tree in thin layer of MOD Podge glaze
5. While glaze is drying, tie your yarn into a circle of desired length (refer to backview photo to see mine)
6. Use elmers glue to attach knot to back of the ornament
   Now sit back and enjoy your beautiful creation on the tree, or as a gift tag on your holiday presents.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Kale and white beans

   I normally only post my own creations, but this recipe, adapted from eatingwell magazine, has been one of our favorites this fall, so I decided to post it for you all. It goes great with a apple/mixed green/goat cheese salad. Hope you all enjoy as much as I did!


  • 2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 8 cups chopped kale (may sub chard)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked great northern beans (or one can)
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Directions:
  • 1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half and remove flesh/seeds. Rub inside of squash with salt, pepper, and tablespoon EVOO. Place cut side down in baking dish and bake about 45 min, until squash is tender.
  • 2. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, until starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in water, tomato paste and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir in kale and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in white beans and olives; cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
  • 3. Position rack in center of oven; preheat broiler.
  • 4. Fill each squash half with about 1 cup of the chard mixture. Place in a baking pan or on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with parmesean. Broil in the center of the oven about 3-5 min.