Cranberry Pecan Pie holiday dessert recipe
This post is sponsored by Ocean Spray. As always, all opinions are my own.

‘Tis the season for giving. That’s why today I’m sharing my recipe for this Cranberry Pecan Pie. It’s a classic dessert with a tart new twist thanks to the addition of fresh cranberries. I know you are going to love it!

Holiday Dessert - Cranberry Pecan Pie

You might recall that last week I recapped my visit to Ocean Spray’s Thanksgiving Bootcamp and cranberry bog event with the CranMas in NYC. (In case you missed that, you can catch up here.) I also posted my recipe for a Cranberry Old Fashioned. It’s the perfect specialty cocktail for this time of year.

Still feeling inspired by that event, I decided to whip up something else with cranberries. At the Thanksgiving Bootcamp, I had a chance to sit near one of the CranMas. The term “CranMa” is what Ocean Spray affectionately calls their grandmas. These women are cranberry farmers who offer tips and recipe ideas for hosting a fabulous Thanksgiving meal.

Anywho, I got to chatting with the CranMa near me and asked her about her favorite things to cook with cranberries. I think it was destiny, but her response was “desserts”! You know how much I love me a good dessert! While her favorites were cranberry muffins and bread, talking with her about these sweet treats took me back to the Cranberry Pecan Pie I had made years ago. When I reflected on things from the bootcamp that I wanted to share with IBC readers, this pie was near the top of the list.

How to make Cranberry Pecan Pie

One reason I so love this variation of pecan pie is that the Ocean Spray Fresh Cranberries contrast with the sweetness. If you’ve ever eaten pecan pie, you know how rich and sugary it is. The tart cranberries offer a tasty counterpoint.

How to make Cranberry Pecan Pie

For the recipe below, I went with my go-to pie crust. You can use whatever recipe you like best or store-bought crust, if you prefer.

How to make a Cranberry Pecan Pie

How to a make Cranberry Pecan Pie

I also opted for a deep-dish pie. The recipe that follows is for a standard pie. To make a deep dish like I did, just multiply all the filling ingredients by 1.5. This will give you the amount of filling you need.

How to a make Cranberry Pecan Pie

How to a make Cranberry Pecan Pie

This pie is relatively easy to make since the filling comes together in one bowl and there’s no top crust. If you’re looking to practice your pie-making skills or hosting Thanksgiving for the first time, this would be a great recipe to try. Let me walk you through it.

Cranberry Pecan Pie holiday dessert recipe

 

Cranberry Pecan Pie

Serves 8

Here's what you will need:

1/2 recipe IBC's Go-To Pie Crust (Get recipe HERE.)

Filling*:
1 cup light corn syrup
3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups fresh Ocean Spray® Fresh Cranberries
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

*This filling will fill a regular pie dish. If you want to make a deep-dish pie, you'll need 1.5 times the filling ingredients.

Begin by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 1/8-inch thick circle. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Trim the dough and crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers.

In a large bowl, whisk together the corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla extract. Stir in the cranberries and chopped pecans. Pour into the prepared crust.

Bake on the lower oven rack for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Bake 35-40 minutes, until the filling is almost set. (For a deep-dish pie, the entire baking time will be 50-55 minutes.) Cool completely on a wire rack.

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Cranberry Pecan Pie holiday dessert recipe

You’re welcome to serve this pie with a dollop of whipped cream, but I like mine without.

Holiday Dessert - Cranberry Pecan Pie

Holiday Dessert - Cranberry Pecan Pie

That’s it, my friends. Doesn’t it look decadent? As I said, this combination is perfection. The sweetness of the pecan filling pairs wonderfully with the tartness of the Ocean Spray® Fresh Cranberries. And speaking of cranberries, for more information on Ocean Spray and their wonderful products, head on over to OceanSprayThanksgiving.com. They have you covered with everything you need to make your Thanksgiving a memorable meal.

Happy Baking and Happy Thanksgiving!

This post is sponsored by Ocean Spray. As always, all opinions are my own. ‘Tis the season for giving. That’s why today I’m sharing my recipe for this Cranberry Pecan Pie. It’s a classic dessert with a tart new twist thanks to the addition of fresh cranberries. I know you are going to love it! You […]




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This Cranberry Orange Monkey Bread recipe is the perfect holiday dessert.
This post is sponsored by Crock-Pot® brand. As always, all opinions are my own.

Whether you’re making a casual family brunch or hosting a fabulous holiday get-together, this Slow Cooker Cranberry Orange Monkey Bread Recipe just might be that easy fall treat you’re looking for. Loaded with the sweet and tart flavors of the season, it will be gobbled up in no time.

Crock Pot Monkey Bread Recipe Cranberry Orange

You may remember that last week my friends over at Crock-Pot® brand challenged me to come up with new and creative ways to use my slow cooker to prepare treats to serve my friends and family this holiday season. I kicked things off with my Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Sangria (which so many of your seemed to love). Today, I’m back with this delightful dessert.

I knew a monkey bread recipe could be made in a slow cooker, so I decided to put an inspired spin on the classic by inviting cranberries and oranges to the party. The result: monkey bread with the sweet stickiness you love, plus an unexpectedly bright and bold flavor. The touch of tartness is a welcome break from the rich sweetness of most holiday desserts.

Crock Pot Monkey Bread Recipe Cranberry Orange

To create this dish, I used the Crock-Pot® 3.5-Quart Casserole Crock Slow Cooker. I love using this slow cooker for desserts. It’s great for things like cobblers, bread pudding, and brownies, too. Who knew you could use a slow cooker for so many tasty treats?

This monkey bread recipe comes together in much the same way as the traditional kind you make in an oven.

Shake quartered dinner rolls in a delicious combination of sugar and freshly zested orange, and then place the rolls in your slow cooker that contains a brown sugar sauce made with butter, orange zest, and dried cranberries.

Try this Cranberry Orange Monkey Bread recipe for the holidays.

Try this Cranberry Orange Monkey Bread recipe for the holidays.

Crock Pot Monkey Bread Recipe Cranberry Orange

Set the slow cooker to high, and your monkey bread recipe will be ready in 2-2.5 hours.

Crock Pot Monkey Bread Recipe Cranberry Orange

It’s truly that simple. One of the big pluses of using a Crock-Pot Slow Cooker for a dessert such as this monkey bread recipe is that it saves valuable oven space. While the monkey bread is cooking, you can bake a couple other desserts.

This Cranberry Orange Monkey Bread recipe is the perfect holiday dessert.

This Cranberry Orange Monkey Bread recipe is the perfect holiday dessert.

You can serve this monkey bread from the slow cooker, however, I like to flip the whole thing onto a serving tray. For me, seeing all that caramelized goodness from the bottom of the pan is one of the best parts of a monkey bread recipe.

Complete the presentation with a drizzle of orange glaze, orange slices, and fresh cranberries, and it’s ready to enjoy!

Try this Cranberry Orange Monkey Bread recipe for the holidays.

 

Slow Cooker Cranberry Orange Monkey Bread Recipe

Serves 10-12

Here's what you will need:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large orange, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar
24 frozen dinner rolls, thawed and quartered
1 cup dried cranberries
Orange slices and fresh cranberries to garnish

Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the brown sugar, orange juice, and kosher salt. When the mixture begins to boil, remove it from the heat. Pour 1/3 of the sauce into a Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker 3.5 qt Casserole Crock. Reserve the remaining sauce.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and zest from one orange. Stir to combine. Spoon the sugar and orange zest mixture into a large plastic bag; then add the quartered biscuits. Shake to fully coat all of the biscuit pieces.

Add the sugared biscuit quarters to the slow cooker; then sprinkle them with dried cranberries. Finish by pouring the remaining brown sugar sauce over the top of the biscuits. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high heat for 2-2.5 hours or until the bread is cooked through.

To serve, remove the lid from the slow cooker. Place a large serving dish upside down on top of the slow cooker casserole crock. Invert the slow cooker holding the casserole crock in place. The monkey bread should easily fall out onto the dish.

In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and enough orange juice to create a glaze. Drizzle this glaze on top of the monkey bread. Add orange slices and fresh cranberries to garnish. Serve immediately.

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Slow Cooker Cranberry Orange Monkey Bread Recipe

This Cranberry Orange Monkey Bread recipe is the perfect holiday dessert.

Doesn’t that look divine? There’s something about monkey bread, no matter what the flavor combination, that will always be a winner in my book.

What will you make in your Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker this fall? Will it be this monkey bread recipe or my Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Sangria? Whatever you do, have fun!

This post is sponsored by Crock-Pot® brand. As always, all opinions are my own. Whether you’re making a casual family brunch or hosting a fabulous holiday get-together, this Slow Cooker Cranberry Orange Monkey Bread Recipe just might be that easy fall treat you’re looking for. Loaded with the sweet and tart flavors of the season, it […]




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Christmas Tree Ribbon Tutorial - How to Add Ribbon to Your Tree

I’m so excited to bring you today’s post. In response to many requests, last weekend I shared an impromptu Instagram story showing me as I was putting on my Christmas tree ribbon. Over 5000 people watched it, and dozens of you commented on its helpfulness. Thankfully, I was able to download that video and with a little reformatting, I’m sharing it with you today.

Christmas Tree Ribbon Tutorial - How to Add Ribbon to Your Tree

In addition, when I was putting ribbon on another tree, I snapped some photos so I could write a more detailed Christmas tree ribbon tutorial to accompany the video one.

I hope both of these tutorials are useful if you decide to add ribbon to your tree this year or in the future.

Styling Christmas Tree Ribbon

First, let’s talk ribbon.

You’ll need more than you think. The narrow 7.5-foot tree pictured above took 12 yards of 2 1/2-inch ribbon. The tree in the video (which is a full 7.5-foot tree) took 30 yards of 1 1/2-inch ribbon.

I prefer to have ribbon left over for wrapping coordinating presents to place under the tree.

Wired ribbon works best. You can use other types, but you’ll probably find them more difficult to manage. As for the ribbon width, 2 1/2-inches is ideal, but you can use wider or narrower if that’s what you have. On a standard-sized tree, I wouldn’t go with less than 1 1/2-inches wide or more than 4-inches wide.

Once you have your ribbon, the next step is to make sure your tree is ready for ornaments. Whether your tree is artificial or real, all of the branches should be fluffy, full, and looking as good as possible. You’ll also want to put on your tree lights before adding the ribbon.

Now, you’re ready to start. I like to begin at the top and work down and around the tree in a spiral.

Adding Ribbon to Your Christmas Tree - How To

Start by tucking the end piece of the ribbon into the back of the tree and then slowly start to work around. For some reason, I tend to work clockwise around the tree, but I’m not sure if that matters.

Tips and Tricks for Christmas Tree Ribbon

Christmas Ribbon Tips and Tricks

As you move around the tree, try to let the ribbon do its thing. The goal is for the ribbon to drape naturally and not appear forced. The ribbon should never look pulled or stretched. As you work around, you’ll want to tuck the ribbon into the tree, let it billow out, and then tuck it in again.

To keep this looking natural, you’ll want to vary the intervals at which you tuck the ribbon in and how much ribbon you let billow out.

Styling Christmas Tree Ribbon

You can also create curls in the ribbon by twisting it in your hands. This look is a bit harder to achieve but does add an interesting effect. I usually do this only 3 or 4 times per tree. Simply twist the ribbon as pictured below and then tuck it into the tree to secure.

Styling Christmas Tree Ribbon

Continue this process as you work around and around the tree.

Avoid working in a perfectly straight line. As you can see, my lines vary. Some are quite wavy; some are less so. You want to avoid sharp bands of ribbon that cut across the tree.

There’s nothing you need to do to secure your ribbon into the tree. It should stay in place as you work it in and around. If it’s not staying in place, it’s likely that you’re pulling on the ribbon, something you should avoid doing. The ribbon should have no tension. With that being said, certain ribbons are tricky to work with. So if the ribbon is not staying and you haven’t been pulling on it, you can gently curve a piece of the pine over the ribbon to hold it in place.

If you’re using multiple rolls of ribbon, just begin the new roll where the old one ended by tucking the two ends into the same spot in the tree.

This is what the tree looks like when I’m finished putting the ribbon on. The placement looks varied and loose, doesn’t it?

How To: Christmas Tree Ribbon

I’ll be sharing this tree fully decorated on the blog this coming Sunday. Be sure to pop back in then to see how it all comes together with ornaments. However, in the meantime, I invite you to scroll through the post here, This post shows a lot of my trees so you can get a sense of how the ribbon looks once the ornaments are in place.

The goal is to have it all of the decor elements work together to form a cohesive whole. While the ribbon should certainly add to the decor of the tree, it shouldn’t stand out or be distracting.

How To: Christmas Tree Ribbon

How To: Christmas Tree Ribbon

And that’s it! I realize that all of this advice on its own may not be very helpful. It’s a hard to explain this process with just text and pictures, which is why I haven’t done so before. However, now I also have a video to help!

As I mentioned I recorded this on a whim last weekend and shared it in clips via Instagram Stories. So although it’s not a professional recording, it seems to help many folks. I hope it does the same for you. You can watch that video below.

Christmas Tree Ribbon Tips and Tricks Video:

Finally, this is my go-to method for adding ribbon to trees. There are many other ways to do this, but this technique has never let me down. If you have questions or if something is confusing, please let me know in the comments, and I’ll do my best to explain or update this post to clarify.

Happy tree trimming!

For more inspiration on Christmas tree Decorations, check out this post here where I share 10 of my favorite Christmas tree decoration ideas!

10 Ideas for Beautiful Christmas Tree Decorations

I’m so excited to bring you today’s post. In response to many requests, last weekend I shared an impromptu Instagram story showing me as I was putting on my Christmas tree ribbon. Over 5000 people watched it, and dozens of you commented on its helpfulness. Thankfully, I was able to download that video and with […]




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10 Ideas for Beautiful Christmas Tree Decorations

If you’ve been reading IBC for a while, you’ll know that I’m crazy about Christmas. Inspired by some of my previous holiday decorating adventures, today I thought I’d highlight 10 Ideas for Beautiful Christmas Tree Decorations.

I hope you find this post helpful if you’re looking to update your tree decor or planning a completely new look. After blogging for almost 9 years, I have plenty of Christmas tree decorations to share. Would you believe I’ve decorated almost 20 different trees during that time? (I said I was Christmas crazy!) Although I can’t show you every tree, the following ideas are among my favorites.

(Also, you can click on any image or link in teal for more information.)

1. Get Inspired by Adele.
When I’m thinking about a new theme for a tree, inspiration can come from anywhere. Back in 2015, the return of Adele prompted the colors I chose for the Christmas tree in my dining room. I fell in love with a green and gold dress she wore in one of her performances, and that dress inspired the tree.

Adele Inspired Christmas Tree Decorations

Adele Inspired Christmas Tree Decorations

Of course, those colors took on a direction of their own as I decorated the flocked white tree, but I must give credit to Adele and her beautiful dress.

2. Shop Vintage.
Shopping local thrift stores has always been one of my favorite ways to find unique Christmas tree decorations. Not only are the values great, but you get to capture a piece of holidays gone by. In addition to local spots, I also check out eBay and Etsy for festive finds.

Vintage Inspired Christmas Tree Decorations

Vintage Inspired Christmas Tree Decorations

In fact, one year I was able to snag a collection of vintage pin and sequin ornaments from eBay that inspired an entire tree. Last year, I used those same ornaments on a more traditional green tree I set up at my grandma’s house. She hadn’t decorated a tree in years, so I was able to do something special for her.

3. Go for Flocked.
If you’ve never tried a flocked Christmas tree, I can’t recommend it enough. While I love a traditional green tree, there’s something that feels a bit more magical and winter-like about a flocked one. Take a look at the two flocked trees I decorated last year.

This one was in my living room.

How to Decorate a Flocked Christmas Tree

And this one was in my office.

Flocked Christmas Tree Decorations

I even decorated this one twice. The second version made the cover of Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas Magazine! (You can read more about that here.)

Magazine Worthy Christmas Tree Decorations

How’s that for proof of the beauty of flocked trees?

4. Create Gift Ornaments.
Whether you hang these on a tree, tie them on a package, or just hand them out, these gift ornaments are a creative way to use clear glass ornaments.

 Christmas Tree Decorations - lottery ticket gift idea

 Christmas Tree Decorations - hot chocolate gift idea

Here, I filled them with hot cocoa mix, a lottery ticket, cookie sprinkles, and other small items to create unique expressions of love. You can see more of my creative “fillings” here.

Bonus Idea: Enjoy a Very Merry Ornamentini.
Speaking of filling ornaments with fun surprises, I also got the idea to create an Ornamentini!

Very Merry Ornamentini Holiday Cocktail recipe

This cocktail in a Christmas ball ornament is a drink your guests are sure to remember long after the party. You can learn how to create one and get my recipe here.

5. Add an Ornament Garland.
In recent years, I’ve been able to find ornament garlands. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can see a couple here and here. (I’ve also seen them at HomeGoods and T.J. Maxx.) As you can probably tell, it’s a garland made of ornaments. I have a couple different ones and have made great use of them in my trees.

Navy Blue Tree - copper ornament garland christmas tree decorations

Here, I used a copper ball garland on my navy blue Christmas tree.

Navy Blue Tree - copper ornament garland christmas tree decorations

And here, I added a rainbow garland to one of my flocked trees.

rainbow ornament garland christmas tree decorations

What’s great about these ball garlands is that you can use them almost anywhere for instant impact. Last year, I decided to weave the rainbow garland into a pine garland on my staircase banister.

rainbow christmas tree decorations garland

The results speak for themselves.

6. Bring in Chic Metallics.
While I’m normally a fan of color for Christmas, last year I went with blacks and metallics for my Christmas tree,and I couldn’t have been happier with how it turned out.

silver and gold Christmas tree decorations

silver and gold Christmas tree decorations

The look was super chic. However, I kept it interesting with quirky, unique touches such as an owl tree topper and gold sequin unicorn ornaments.

7. Craft Concrete Ornaments.
Speaking of urban chic, why not make your own Christmas tree decorations from concrete? Yep, concrete! Here, I used a fun craft product to create different-shaped ornaments. I finished off the edges with gold German glass glitter for a little sparkle.

DIY Modern Concrete Christmas Tree Decorations

DIY Modern Concrete Christmas Tree Decorations

You can learn how to make them here.

8. Pick a Theme.
Sometimes a theme can be your best friend when decorating a new tree. Take, for example, this woodland-inspired tree I decorated a few years back.

Rustic Woodland Christmas Tree Decorations

Rustic Woodland Christmas Tree Decorations

The woodland cabin theme made finding ornaments and other decorations for this tree much easier. I even added things like lanterns, faux squirrels, and snowy pinecones. You don’t need to use just “ornaments” designed for a tree. Get creative with the things you include.

9. Keep it Quirky.
When it comes to trimming my tree, I often shy away from anything formal or fancy. One year I set up a mini real tree in my entryway and covered it with ornaments of cats in Santa hats.

Unique and Quirky Cat Christmas Tree Decorations

Unicorn Christmas Tree Decorations

Unique and Quirky Christmas Tree Decorations

If you look close at my trees, you’ll find things like unicorns, more cats, mushrooms, and lots of other quirky things. I think it’s all about having fun and using ornaments that make you smile.

BONUS IDEA: Add Ribbon!

I love adding ribbon to my Christmas trees. I recently shared a video on how I add ribbon to my Christmas trees. You can read the tutorial and watch that video here.

Christmas Tree Ribbon Tutorial - How to Add Ribbon to Your Tree

10. Go Rainbow Gradient.
No list of Christmas tree decorations would be complete without a mention of my Gradient Rainbow Christmas Tree.

Gradient Rainbow Christmas Tree Decorations

This may go down in history as one of my most memorable trees. It is certainly one of the most pinned images on Pinterest. It’s easy to see why.

To be honest, this tree was among the easiest to put together. Over 600 round glass ornaments in a rainbow pattern cover this tree. Some are new, and some are vintage. Together they look spectacular.

And there you have my list of beautiful Christmas tree decorations. I hope a few of these ideas inspire you as you set out to decorate your own tree.

Happy Trimming!

If you’ve been reading IBC for a while, you’ll know that I’m crazy about Christmas. Inspired by some of my previous holiday decorating adventures, today I thought I’d highlight 10 Ideas for Beautiful Christmas Tree Decorations. I hope you find this post helpful if you’re looking to update your tree decor or planning a completely […]




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Cranberry Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe
This post is sponsored by Ocean Spray. As always, all opinions are my own.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a dozen times: “When hosting a gathering, have a signature cocktail.” Today I’m teaming up with Ocean Spray and their cranberry farmer Grandmas, or as they call them – CranMas, to share tips for first-time Thanksgiving hosts. Naturally, one of those tips is to create a signature cocktail. My Thanksgiving libation? A Cranberry Old Fashioned. Let’s shake one up and get this party started.

ocean spray cranberries

Back in early November, I scooted off to Rockefeller Center® in NYC for Ocean Spray’s Thanksgiving Boot Camp. (If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember seeing some live shots of the fun!) At the boot camp, I met with several CranMas to learn their foolproof tips for hosting a delicious, memorable, and stress-free holiday. Below, I’m sharing what I learned, a few hosting tips of my own, and my recipe for a Cranberry Old Fashioned.

Thanksgiving table in a cranberry bog

While in NYC, I was also invited to a Thanksgiving lunch with the CranMas and a few other folks. What made this meal incredibly special is that the table was set in a cranberry bog. Yep. There in the middle of Rockefeller Center® was a stunning dining table set in a bog filled with cranberries.

I put on my waders, hopped in, and had a magical and memorable experience. Just like Thanksgiving should be.

Michael Wurm Jr in a cranberry bog

how to decorate a thanksgiving table

While you may not be able to recreate a cranberry bog in your living room, you can host a fabulous and almost-effortless Thanksgiving.

Tips for First-Time Thanksgiving Hosts

1. Listen to Your CranMa
If this is your first-time hosting Thanksgiving, chances are you’ve watched your grandmother, mother, or someone older than you prepare the feast. Look to these experienced folks for advice and ask them to share their favorite recipes with you. Why reinvent the wheel? At its core, Thanksgiving is about family (even if your family is your friends), so use this opportunity as a way to connect and spend time with those you love.

Cranberry Simple Syrup for Cranberry Old Fashioned

2. Plan Ahead
At the Cranberry bog event, one tip I heard over and over again was to plan ahead. If possible, set the table a few days in advance. Prepare any food you can the day before. Things like casseroles, bread, desserts, and even mashed potatoes can be made the day before and warmed up for the big feast. To make it even easier on yourself, invite your guests to bring a dish, so you’re not left cooking the entire meal yourself. If you take care of the bird, they can take care of the rest.

Thankskgiving flower centerpiece

3. Let Nature Inspire Your Decor
Naturally, my favorite part of the cranberry bog experience was the decor. From the flowers to the table setting to the decorations around the rest of the space – it was magical. Based on that, I have a couple ideas to share.

First, use cranberries to decorate. Add cranberries to a wire cord then shape it into napkin rings or a candle ring. Hot glue cranberries to a foam ball to create a topiary. Layer some cranberries in a jar and pop in a candle.

Ideas for decorating your Thanksgiving table

Next, add fruit and vegetables to your flower arrangement by skewering them with a dowel and then tucking them in like you would any other stem.

Thanksgiving Table Setting Decor Ideas

Finally, vintage is back. Hit up your local thrift store for dollies to create a vintage-inspired runner or grab a collection of vintage plates for serving.

4. Create a Separate Pre-Dinner Entertaining Area
People tend to congregate in the kitchen, which can add to the stress and confusion as you’re preparing the big meal. Set up a separate entertaining area in another room to ease congestion in the kitchen. Make a few self-serve appetizers and drinks, including a signature cocktail. Which leads me to my next tip …

5. Serve a Signature Cocktail
It’s fun to serve a unique cocktail when you’re entertaining. It gives your guests a chance to try something new, and it can be a delightful complement to your menu. I’ve recently been enjoying the classic Old Fashioned, so I thought I’d craft one inspired by the cranberry. Thus, this Cranberry Old Fashioned was born.

The best recipe for an Old Fashioned

Cranberry Simple Syrup for Cranberry Old Fashioned

A cranberry simple syrup is used to cranberry-ify this drink. It’s just your usual simple syrup with the addition of cranberries. Add a quality bourbon and a splash of bitters, and you’ve got yourself a Cranberry Old Fashioned.

Cranberry Old Fashioned cocktail recipe for holiday entertaining

Cranberry Old Fashioned

Makes 1 cocktail

Here's what you will need:
3 ounces quality bourbon whiskey
1 ounce cranberry simple syrup*
3 shakes Angostura bitters
Garnish with orange peel, Ocean Spray® Fresh Cranberries, and rosemary

In a serving glass with ice, stir together the bourbon, cranberry simple syrup, and bitters. Garnish with orange peel, fresh cranberries, and rosemary.

*Cranberry Simple Syrup - In a saucepan, bring 2 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar, and one cup of fresh cranberries to a boil. Once boiling, cook for 4-5 minutes. Strain with a fine mesh sieve. Cool before serving.

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The best Cranberry Old Fashioned recipe

Cheers!

How to make the best old fashioned for the holidays

If you’re a first-time Thanksgiving host and need more ideas or have additional questions, you can chat with a visual Ocean Spray CranMas any time. To #AskCranMa a question, head on over to the Ocean Spray Facebook page and chat with her via Facebook messenger. You can also visit OceanSpray.com for more details.

This post is sponsored by Ocean Spray. As always, all opinions are my own. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a dozen times: “When hosting a gathering, have a signature cocktail.” Today I’m teaming up with Ocean Spray and their cranberry farmer Grandmas, or as they call them – CranMas, to share tips for […]




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Friendsgiving Ideas for a beautiful celebration.

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is next week. How can it be so soon? Ready or not, today I’m sharing Friendsgiving ideas you can use for Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, or another fall celebration. From table styling tips to quick DIYs, I hope you find these tips helpful as you plan and prepare for your entertaining adventures.

Unique table setting and Friendsgiving ideas

Celebrate Friendsgiving with these creative entertaining ideas.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving: Friendsgiving is with friends, and Thanksgiving is with family. (There are, of course, exceptions to this, but that’s the general rule.) To me, Friendsgivings also has a sense of casualness. It’s a bit less fussy and more relaxed and fun.

I decided to set up a faux Thanksgiving table on my kitchen island to illustrate a few ideas that you can use for your celebration. I geared them towards Friendsgiving, but you can certainly use them for other occasions.

Last-Minute Friendsgiving Ideas

1. Skip the Cloth. Go with Paper.
I found this fabulous black and white check paper table runner from Hester & Cook at a local shop and knew it would be perfect for this table.

Black and white check Hester & Cook table runner.

Using a paper runner like this (You could even use wrapping paper.) adds pattern and style. It also makes set-up and clean-up super easy. No washing or ironing required.

2. Make it Interactive.I paired my black and white check runner with inexpensive kraft paper.

Paper tablecloth for Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving ideas - craft paper as a table cover

The kraft paper gives your guests a place to have some fun. Supplied with a few markers, guests can play a quick game of tic-tac-toe, write a message to the host, or share what they are thankful for.

3. Keep it Charming.
Have you ever been to a dinner or party and accidentally reached for someone else’s glass? This happens to me more than I’d like to admit. Put yourself in your guests’ shoes and DIY creative wine charms to prevent this embarrassing situation and the need for washing extra glasses.

DIY Wine Glass Charms - Friendsgiving Ideas

Here, I just used a mini-clothespin and added an initial. This way, my guests will never have to guess which glass is theirs. If you don’t have time to prep, no worries. Just set it up as an activity for your guests so they can create their own.

Friendsgiving Ideas - wine glass charms

Friendsgiving Ideas - DIY wine glass charms

4. Tis the Season.
I think it’s always nice to have a little gift (a.k.a. a favor) for guests to take with them when they leave to remember the event. One suggestion is to shop the holiday section at the store for inexpensive ornaments.

Friendsgiving Ideas - Place setting decor

Friendsgiving Ideas - Place setting decor

Ornaments come in all shapes and sizes these days, so you can easily find something to suit your table that will also look great on someone’s Christmas tree. Tie the ornament onto each person’s napkin so your gift can do double duty as table decor.

5. Can I Get that Recipe?
Since I’ve been in the habit of sharing seasonal recipes card printables with all of you, I’m trying to get creative with how I’m using them. You can print out a few blank recipe cards (free download here) in preparation for the inevitable question, “Can I get that recipe?”

Free printable recipe cards for Friendsgiving

Also, I think these are great to fill out in advance if you’re sharing a signature cocktail recipe. Guests often like to know what’s in the drink, plus they can take the card home and recreate the recipe (and memory) at a later date.

Toss in a few fresh flowers and your celebration is ready!

Fresh flowers - Friendsgiving Ideas

Friendsgiving ideas - table decor

I hope you found these last-minute Friendsgiving tips and tricks helpful.

 

If you’re looking for more ideas and recipes, check out these reader-favorite posts:

DIY Color Wrapped Wheat Centerpiece
Colorblock Cork Leaves Table Decor
Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Sangria Recipe
Apple Cranberry Slab Pie
Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Spread

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is next week. How can it be so soon? Ready or not, today I’m sharing Friendsgiving ideas you can use for Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, or another fall celebration. From table styling tips to quick DIYs, I hope you find these tips helpful as you plan and prepare for your entertaining adventures. […]




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This Warm Sangria made in a Crock-Pot is perfect for Thanksgiving
This post is sponsored by Crock-Pot® brand. As always, all opinions are my own.

Need a signature cocktail for Thanksgiving? I have the ideal recipe for you. Loaded with cranberry flavor and seasonal spices, this Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Sangria is the perfect libation to warm you up from the inside out.

Delicious Warm Thanksgiving Sangria perfect for the Holidays.

I got super excited when my friends over at Crock-Pot® brand challenged me to come up with new ways to use my Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker. Everyone knows that they are great for soups, stews, dips, and slow-cooking meats, but they have other uses that you might not have thought of. One example: Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Sangria. How’s that for outside the box?

To make this warm fall flavor-inspired cocktail, I used the Crock-Pot® 4-Qt Digital Slow Cooker. The size is perfect for this particular recipe since it serves about 12 people.

Red Crock-Pot for Thanksgiving Sangria

For this red wine-based sangria, start with two bottles of a Rioja from Spain. It’s my preferred varietal. However, any nice dry light-bodied red wine will work. A Pinot Noir would be my second choice.

Next, add a splash of brandy and cranberry juice for warmth and seasonal flavor.

Fruit is another traditional sangria ingredient. My fruit choices: cranberries and orange slices. These two work well together and fit the flavors of the fall season.

How to Make a Fall Cocktail in a Crock-Pot

Simple syrup gives the recipe some sweetness. You can add more or less depending on how sweet you like your drinks.

Finally, to spice things up, I put in a few cinnamon sticks and about a teaspoon of whole peppercorns. Place the peppercorns in a little mesh bag to make it easy to remove them before serving.

Crock-Pot Thanksgiving Sangria | Inspired by Charm

This Warm Cranberry Thanksgiving Sangria perfect for entertaining in the fall.

With that, set the temperature to high and let the sangria cook for an hour. Once the sangria is warm and the spice and fruit flavors have melded, you change the setting to low. Your Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Sangria is now ready to serve.

This Thanksgiving Sangria makes the perfect cocktail for cold weather entertaining.

Garnished with fresh cranberries, oranges slices and cinnamon, this libation looks at delicious and bright as it tastes. It’s a classic recipe that you and your guests are going to love and server time and time again.

Crock-Pot Thanksgiving Sangria for fall and winter entertaining

Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Sangria

Serves 12

Here's what you will need:
2 bottles Spanish Rioja (or another dry light-bodied red wine)
1 cup brandy (I used apple brandy.)
1 cup cranberry juice
1 cup simple syrup*
1 orange sliced
1 cup fresh cranberries
4 or 5 cinnamon sticks (plus more for garnish)
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns (in a sachet)

Add the wine, brandy, cranberry juice, simple syrup, orange slices, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, and whole peppercorns to your Crock-Pot® 4-Qt Digital Slow Cooker. Stir to combine.

Set the temperature to high and cook the sangria for one hour. Then, set the temperature on low to keep it warm for up to 5 hours.

Serve in insulated mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

*Simple Syrup - In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool before using.

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This Warm Cranberry Thanksgiving Sangria perfect for entertaining in the fall.

Challenge complete! The flavors of this warm sangria are perfect for fall, and to be honest, the whole way through winter. I come back to this time and again as a signature cocktail for entertaining.

This Warm Cranberry Thanksgiving Sangria perfect for entertaining in the fall.

Like any recipe made in a Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker, this is a simple way to serve a lot of folks when entertaining. What ideas do you have for unconventional, outside-the-box recipes made in the Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker?

Cheers!

This post is sponsored by Crock-Pot® brand. As always, all opinions are my own. Need a signature cocktail for Thanksgiving? I have the ideal recipe for you. Loaded with cranberry flavor and seasonal spices, this Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Sangria is the perfect libation to warm you up from the inside out. I got super excited when […]




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An Easy Pickled Beets Recipe
This post is sponsored by Libby’s Fruits & Vegetables. As always, all opinions are my own.

Do you like pickled vegetables? I sure do! That’s why today I’m sharing my Easy Pickled Beets recipe. Whether you’re dressing up a salad with them or serving them as a dinner side dish, this recipe is a winner.

How to make s delicious pickled beets recipe.

If you like pickled beets but have never made your own, I’m about to rock your world with this recipe. Today I’ve teamed up with my friends at Libby’s Fruits & Vegetables to create a recipe with their Cut Beets that’s perfect for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Libby’s offers an excellent selection of convenient fruits and vegetables that are ideal for feeding a crowd without breaking the bank.

Libby's Cut Beets - Pickled Beets Recipe

This year Libby’s is hosting a Cansgiving Sweepstakes. (Click here for full sweepstakes rules and information.) You’re invited to post a photo on social media showing something you’re thankful for this holiday season. Use the hashtag #Cansgiving AND #Sweepstakes for a chance to win one of ten $350 electronic gift cards. Libby’s will also be matching all prizes with monetary and product donations for the second year to Meals on Wheels America, City Harvest, and Children’s Hunger Alliance. Gotta love that!

Easy Pickled Beets Recipe

Okay, back to my Easy Pickled Beets. What I love most about this recipe is that you start with Libby’s Cut Beets. This eliminates the time and mess of peeling and boiling beets. And, in my opinion, these easy pickled beets are equally tasty.

To begin, drain the juice from the beets then add them to a mason jar.

Making the easiest pickled beets recipe

In a small saucepan, create the pickling juice by combining apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring that to a boil and cook for five minutes.

How to Pickle Vegetables

How to Make Pickled Beets

Then, pour the pickling juice over your beets. Yep, that’s all you have to do!

The Best Pickled Beets Recipe

Lastly, put a lid on your jar and refrigerate the beets. They are pretty flavorful within an hour, but I recommend letting them sit at least overnight. For best results, refrigerate them a week before eating.

They will last about two months in your refrigerator, so if you make them now, you’re set for the entire holiday season. Not that there will be any left by then!

Pickled beets for a salad.

You can enjoy these beets however you like: straight out of the jar, paired with a cheeseboard, served as a Thanksgiving side, or scattered on a salad. They are delicious, so I’m sure you’ll find many ways to gobble them up.

The Easiest Pickled Beets Recipe

Easy Pickled Beets Recipe

Here's what you will need:
2 cans (15 ounce) Libby's® Cut Beets
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon peppercorns
3-4 bay leaves

Open the Libby's® Cut Beets, drain the juice, and add the beets to a mason jar. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, add the apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; then cook for five minutes. Remove from the heat and pour the vinegar mixture over the beets. Place a lid on the jar of beets and refrigerate.

Let the jar sit in the refrigerator at least overnight. For optimal flavor, refrigerate for 5 days before eating. Store sealed in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

I told you this recipe was a winner!

For more information on Libby's products, head on over to their website and be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. No matter what variety you choose, their vegetables are perfect for your family's Thanksgiving feast. They add flavor, texture, and nutrition to seasonal recipe favorites.

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Making Pickled Beets

Give this pickled beets recipe a try and let me know what you think. What are some of your favorite pickled vegetables? Are any of you fans of dilly beans? Let me know if I should share that recipe, too.

This post is sponsored by Libby’s Fruits & Vegetables. As always, all opinions are my own. Do you like pickled vegetables? I sure do! That’s why today I’m sharing my Easy Pickled Beets recipe. Whether you’re dressing up a salad with them or serving them as a dinner side dish, this recipe is a winner. If […]




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Gold Bold with Feature Wall Paint Ideas in my Home Office

Paint has magical powers when it comes to home design. You can easily transform a space in a weekend or, in my case, a few hours. Last week I showed you what I did with paint to update my bedroom. Today I’m back to tell you about the feature wall paint in my home office.

As I explained last week, I decided to use paint to create feature walls in my apartment. Because I’ve been hesitant to paint my entire place, I thought this would give my rooms a homey feel with less commitment. And boy was I right.

Here is my office before.

Tips for updating a thrifted mid-centruy sideboard with new drawer pulls. | Inspired by Charm

And here it is now.

How to Create a Dynamic Feature Wall in Your Home

Nice change, right? I decided to go with a navy for this feature wall paint. The exact color is Indigo Batik from Sherwin Williams.

I went back and forth with a few color ideas, but this navy works wonderfully with the wood tones in my credenza. it also makes the gold and brass in this space come to life. I couldn’t be more pleased.

Feature Wall Paint Ideas for Home Decorating

On this new feature wall, I plan to create a functional wall of art. I picked up these two bulletin boards at The Container Store to get me started. This room would probably benefit from a mirror so that may go back there as well. Time will tell.

Bulletin Boards for Feature Wall Paint in Home Office

Brass and Smoke Glass Desk Lamp

The lamp is from HomeGoods. The gold details and iridescent charcoal base were calling my name. I think it’s well-suited to the space.

The rest of this room is also coming together. I’ll be sharing more of what’s on the opposite wall in a future post. I did end up moving the rug from my bedroom in here. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it works.

Indigo Batik - Feature Wall Paint for My Home Office

You may have noticed that I finally hung curtains. Again, I’ll update you on those in another post. The sheers I put up are visible here. I decided to install a double rod so I could have curtains and sheers. As much as I love my big windows, having the morning sun hit me in the eyes isn’t ideal for getting work done. The sheers should solve that issue while still letting all the beautiful natural light in.

Indigo Batik - Feature Wall Paint for My Home Office

Navy Blue Feature Wall Paint for My Home Office

So what do you think of my feature wall paint? Quite a difference, right?

I’m looking forward to sharing more of my office with you. Stay tuned!

Paint has magical powers when it comes to home design. You can easily transform a space in a weekend or, in my case, a few hours. Last week I showed you what I did with paint to update my bedroom. Today I’m back to tell you about the feature wall paint in my home office. […]




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This Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal recipe is the perfect breakfast idea for Fall.
This post is created with America’s Dairy Farm Families and Importers, in partnership with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. However, the views and opinions are my own.

While the best part of waking up for many of us may be coffee, a wonderful and warm part of waking up (especially in the fall) is this Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal.

This Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal recipe is the perfect breakfast idea for Fall.

This Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal recipe is the perfect breakfast idea for Fall.

With the holiday season quickly approaching, I think it’s smart to have some breakfast ideas in your back pocket. When you are serving breakfast to a group (or just your own family), a few go-to recipes that are nutritious, delicious, and filling can pave the way to a fabulous day.

For the past couple months, I’ve been working with America’s Dairy Farm Families and Importers to share dairy-inspired recipes. (Remember last month’s amazing Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream?) As you may know, three servings of low-fat and fat-free dairy each day can help fuel the body and contrite to a well-balanced diet. Dairy foods are nutrient-rich, budget-friendly, and appealing to even the pickiest of eaters.

This Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal recipe is the perfect breakfast idea for Fall.

This recipe for Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal also has pumpkin and fall spices which make it even tastier to pumpkin spice and dairy lovers like me.

Another plus of this recipe is that it’s simple. If your mornings are super busy, just bake the whole thing the evening before and reheat it in the morning. It will be as yummy as ever.

To make this dish, you start with pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar for sweetness, and lots of fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. These spices are what bring out that pumpkin flavor. Next, milk gets whisked in. (Did you know that real cow’s milk contains more naturally-occurring nutrients, delivering nine-essential nutrients for children and six for adults!)

This Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal recipe is the perfect breakfast idea for Fall.

This Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal recipe is the perfect breakfast idea for Fall.

After all of that’s mixed together, in go the old-fashioned oats.

This Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal recipe is the perfect breakfast idea for Fall.

When everything is combined, pour the mixture into a greased pan and sprinkle the top with cinnamon. Once it’s baked, it’s ready to serve. I told you it was simple.

This Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal recipe is the perfect breakfast idea for Fall.

If desired, add a splash of cold milk and a drizzle of maple syrup. I think these two additions take the oatmeal over the top. Try adding a few walnuts or pecans for crunch.

This Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal recipe is the perfect breakfast idea for Fall.

This Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal recipe is the perfect breakfast idea for Fall.

No matter how you serve it, this Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal is sure to become a go-to fall breakfast dish.

This Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal recipe is the perfect breakfast idea for Fall.

Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

Serves 6-8

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon (plus extra to garnish)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
Additional milk and maple syrup for serving (optional)

Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Coat an 8x8 (or similar-sized) baking dish with baking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Then whisk in the milk.

Stir the oats into the pumpkin mixture; then pour it into the prepared pan. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Bake for 45 minutes or until the center is set and the edges are lightly browned.

Serve hot right out of the oven. If desired, top with milk and maple syrup. (The dish can also be refrigerated and reheated in the oven before serving.)

Fall breakfast perfection, my friends!

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Fall breakfast perfection, my friends! Seems like we have a winner!

This Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal recipe is the perfect breakfast idea for Fall.

Also, feel free to get creative and make this recipe your own. Mix in raisins, diced apple, nuts, or whatever you like in your oatmeal. In addition, you could even turn this dish into a dessert by putting in white chocolate chips and topping it with whipped cream.

This Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal recipe is the perfect breakfast idea for Fall.

However you serve it, I hope you love this recipe as much as I do.

This post is created with America’s Dairy Farm Families and Importers, in partnership with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. However, the views and opinions are my own. While the best part of waking up for many of us may be coffee, a wonderful and warm part of waking up (especially in the fall) is this […]




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5 Creative Christmas Mantel Decor Ideas | Inspired by Charm

Since we’ve celebrated a few Christmases together here on Inspired by Charm, today I thought we could take a little stroll with the Ghost of Christmas Past and look at 5 Creative Christmas Mantel Decor Ideas that I’ve shared over the years.

“The most wonderful time of the year” is almost upon us. If you’re anything like me, as much as you love the holiday season, there’s also a stressful sensation of getting everything done on time. I hope these Christmas mantel decor ideas will inspire your holiday spirit and get you in the mood to decorate when the time is right for you to start.

5 Creative Christmas Mantel Decor Ideas

Bottle Brush Trees
A couple years ago (for my 2015 Holiday Home Tour) I splurged and bought an array of green and blue bottle brush trees. They ended up being the feature of my mantel. For variety, I added a pair of vintage brass deer.

Modern Aqua Creative Christmas Mantel Decor

To bring in a little warmth and twinkle, I also wrapped a strand of white lights with a white wire. It’s unassuming during the day but makes the space magical and cozy when lit in the evening.

 

How to Style a Mantel for Christmas

Bottle brush trees are still popular so they are readily available for purchase. You could get a similar look with glass/mercury glass trees which seem to be everywhere these days. I found the “Merry & Bright” banner on Etsy.

DIY Wood Stockings
You might have noticed something else that’s special in the image above. These DIY wood stockings! I created these back in 2015 (You can find the tutorial here.) after seeing vintage ones online. Not wanting to pay the price for vintage, I cut my own out of lumber and stained them to work with my decor. They were actually quite easy to make.

Antique Wood Stockings for a Christmas Fireplace Mantel

While they aren’t functional, they sure are pretty. I think any decor can benefit from a touch a vintage. These wood stockings were the perfect addition to this space. They also work with a more traditional red and green Christmas decor. I’ll show you that below.

DIY Wood Forest
Okay, technically this set-up is not on a mantel, but it’s still one of my favorite holiday crafts, and I think it would be well suited to a mantel. I’m talking about this Colorful DIY Wood Forest. (Yes, I made these trees. I teach you how to make them here.) I would recommend creating a collection of 12-15 trees. I chose vibrant colors, but you can paint the trees to fit your holiday/home decor.

A Colorful DIY Forest for Christmas Decorating

Colorful Christmas Mantel Decor Ideas

You could make a dynamic mantlescape simply by filling it with these. Anchor each corner of your mantel with a hurricane candle for a little twinkle. An alternative would be to mix in some simple houses that match the trees in scale.

Inspired by Nature
During my Holiday Home Tour last year, I looked to nature to inspire my Christmas mantel. While shopping at a local resale store, I stumbled across this set of elk antlers. To display them, I removed them from their mount and set them on the mantel, surrounding them with fresh greens, a string of copper ornaments and large pinecones.

Styling a Christmas Mantel with Modern Farmhouse Style.

I also brought back a pair of my wood stockings. Two did the trick in adding a little warmth, texture, and touch of vintage.

Rustic Modern Farmhouse Christmas Mantel Decor

To soften the look and heighten the Christmas feel, I added a few strands of this bright red felt ball garland. I thought it was the perfect finishing touch.

DiY Colorful Wood Bead Garland
In case you haven’t noticed, wood bead garlands have become popular again in recent years. I love a plain wood bead garland, I decided to craft my own. (You can find the full tutorial here.)

Traditional Modern Christmas Decor

Wood Garland for Holiday Christmas Mantel

Here I opted to use wood beads in various shapes and sizes to create a unique garland. To make it even more special, I painted some of the beads in shades of reds, whites, and greens. As you can imagine, this garland coordinated beautifully with my “Inspired by Nature” mantel.

DIY Christmas Wood Bead Garland for a mantel

Wood Bead Garland for Christmas

And, because I was feeling especially ambitious, I created another garland in a different color scheme to suit my decor after the holiday. I love DIY because you can customize things to suit your personal style and space.

And that’s a wrap, my friends. I hope you found these creative Christmas mantel decor ideas helpful and inspiring as you plan and start creating your own holiday displays.

Happy Decorating!

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Since we’ve celebrated a few Christmases together here on Inspired by Charm, today I thought we could take a little stroll with the Ghost of Christmas Past and look at 5 Creative Christmas Mantel Decor Ideas that I’ve shared over the years. “The most wonderful time of the year” is almost upon us. If you’re […]




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Inspired by Charm Featured and Cover Store - BHG Christmas Ideas Magazine 2017

I’m not sure when I’ve been more excited to share something with all of you. My house and Christmas tree made the cover of the Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas Magazine! *mic drop*

Inspired by Charm Featured and Cover Store - BHG Christmas Ideas Magazine 2017

Let’s backtrack a bit. As I mentioned on IBC late last year (or maybe early this year), the folks at Better Homes & Gardens asked if they could come to my home to shoot my space for the 2017 issue of Christmas Ideas Magazine.

After doing a happy dance and catching my breath, of course, I said yes and invited them over.

Side note: I don’t in any way want to sound braggadocios about all of this. This recognition of my work was and is a momentous time for me, my career, and this blog so I have practically been bursting at the seams with excitement, wanting to share the news with you.

It feels like a dream to be asked to be a part of this magazine since it has long been a favorite Christmas publication. Each holiday season I can hardly wait for this special interest issue to come out. During the past several years, BHG has featured bloggers’ homes. Bloggers who I’ve met, bloggers who I’m friends with, and bloggers I’ve followed with admiration. Being part of this group means more than I can ever express.

For this particular shoot, BHG wanted my space to be decorated differently from what I shared on the blog. Therefore, after Christmas last year, I had to take everything down and redecorate. Thankfully, decorating for Christmas is truly one of my favorite things to do so I didn’t mind. In preparation for the shoot, amidst lots of other things that were going on, I baked a batch of my Sweater Weather Cookies, repainted my wood bead garland, redecorated three trees, and more.

Inspired by Charm Featured and Cover Store - BHG Christmas Ideas Magazine 2017

Inspired by Charm Featured and Cover Store - BHG Christmas Ideas Magazine 2017

Around the second week of January, Nicole, the design director from BHG arrived along with Adam the photographer and his assistant, Jason.

They were at my home for about two days and ended up shooting about 20 photos for the issue. For the most part, they shot everything as I had set it up. Nicole (the design director) would tweak things to make sure they looked good in the photos, but other than that, the styling was all mine.

Inspired by Charm Featured and Cover Store - BHG Christmas Ideas Magazine 2017

During the shoot, Adam took a picture of the tree that was near my office. (This one here.) After shooting the tree, Nicole mentioned that it could make a great cover image. I immediately was all a flutter inside. Like, total freak out. They even did a mock up with the magazine’s logo. However, I was told that the cover has to go through consumer testing, focus groups, and more. So it might not happen.

Well – spoiler alert …

… my tree made the cover of the issue!

Inspired by Charm Featured and Cover Store - BHG Christmas Ideas Magazine 2017

That’s it. My tree. My home. On the cover of a magazine. I can retire now, right?

To go along with the cover image, there’s a Q&A piece in the magazine on how I decorate trees, where I get my inspiration, and so on.

Inspired by Charm Featured and Cover Store - BHG Christmas Ideas Magazine 2017

The magazine also features a 10-page spread of my home. It walks you through my living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom, and upstairs hallway. It also features some DIYs such as my beaded garland, Sweater Weather Cookies, painted trees, and concrete ornaments. It is a true reflection of what an Inspired by Charm Christmas looks like, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Inspired by Charm Featured and Cover Store - BHG Christmas Ideas Magazine 2017

Inspired by Charm Featured and Cover Store - BHG Christmas Ideas Magazine 2017

Inspired by Charm Featured and Cover Store - BHG Christmas Ideas Magazine 2017

I can’t show you everything from the magazine, so you’ll have to pick up a copy or just flip through the issue the next time you’re out shopping. The magazine should be available at many retail stores in your area. I’ve seen it in several grocery stores, Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, and Barnes and Noble.

A big shout out to Nicole, Adam, and Jason for all your work at my home. Also, thank you to Cathy and Lacey (the writers of the articles) for sharing my Christmas story.

Now, I hope this doesn’t sound too corny, but I thought it’d be fun to give away copies of the issue. So, I’m giving away 10 copies of the BHG 2017 Christmas Ideas Magazine to 10 lucky IBC readers. As an extra little treat, I’ll even include some other holiday swag with the magazines.

Cover Boy: BHG Christmas Ideas 2017 | Inspired by Charm

Also, if you would like, I’d be happy to autograph the magazine for you. That may be a totally weird offer, but I’m putting it out there because I’ve already had a few folks ask. However, I’m happy to send you the issue without my signature, too.

To enter to win, use the form below. (Those viewing this on a blog reader may need to visit the actual post by clicking here.) Simply enter your email address in the form for a chance to win.


 

This giveaway is open to readers worldwide. You must be 18 or older to win. Void where prohibited. This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm ET on Friday, November 10, 2017. The winners will be randomly selected and contacted via email.

Good luck to all.

Finally, because I can never say it enough, thank YOU for embracing me and my work. Without you, my wonderful readers, opportunities like this would not happen. I remind myself of this every day. I am so lucky, honored, and blessed that all of you are part of my life.

You constantly give me hope, encouragement, love, and support, and I will be forever grateful. Whether you’re new to Inspired by Charm or have followed from the beginning, (In January, IBC will be 9 years old!), I love you, too.

Inspired by Charm Featured and Cover Store - BHG Christmas Ideas Magazine 2017

Wishing you happy reading and lots of holiday inspiration!

Check out some of the projects featured in the magazine below:

DIY Concrete Ornament | Inspired by Charm
DIY Concrete Ornament

Painted Modern Trees | Inspired by Charm
DIY Colorful Tree Forest

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookie | Inspired by Charm
Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies


DIY Wood Bead Garland

I’m not sure when I’ve been more excited to share something with all of you. My house and Christmas tree made the cover of the Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas Magazine! *mic drop* Let’s backtrack a bit. As I mentioned on IBC late last year (or maybe early this year), the folks at Better […]




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These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a dessert everyone will love.

You’re in for a treat today. These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are beyond delicious. Packed with that classic flavor pairing we all love, and served cheesecake-style, these bars will have you looking for any excuse to make them.

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a dessert everyone will love.

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a dessert everyone will love.

Recently, I’ve been all about peanut butter-based desserts. I think it started during Fall Cookie Week when I made those Peanut Butter Lovers’ Peanut Butter Cookies. (Speaking of peanut butter desserts, I’m sharing a list of some of my favorites at the end of this post.)

To satisfy my craving, I decided to whip out the big jar of peanut butter I keep on hand and have at it again. This time I threw in some jelly for good measure and made the whole thing into a cheesecake. The result? Pure bliss. I think you’ll agree.

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a dessert everyone will love.

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a dessert everyone will love.

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars begin with a graham cracker crust (another favorite of mine). But this crust gets a flavor upgrade with the addition of finely chopped peanuts.

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a dessert everyone will love.

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a dessert everyone will love.

Once the crust is ready, the cheesecake comes together in the usual way with cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. However, this time we’re also bringing creamy peanut butter to the party. This IS peanut butter cheesecake after all.

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a dessert everyone will love.

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a dessert everyone will love.

After the cheesecake is baked and cooled, the whole thing gets topped with Concord grape jelly. (You can use whatever kind of jelly you like. Just make sure it’s jelly, not jam or preserves.)

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a dessert everyone will love.

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a dessert everyone will love.

Once the jelly sets, this flavor-packed slab of deliciousness is ready to be sliced into bars and served. In my case, I shared some with a friend. The rest I rationed out for me to enjoy throughout the week. Can you blame me?

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a dessert everyone will love.

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a dessert everyone will love.

No matter how you serve or slice them, these Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a winner.

Let’s eat!

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a dessert everyone will love.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars

Makes about 24 bars

Here’s what you will need:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, finely crushed (in food processor)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Concord grape jelly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, crushed peanuts, brown sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt. Mix in melted butter and stir to combine. Mixture should resemble wet sand. Press into the bottom and about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake the crust 12-15 minutes until it is set and just beginning to brown. Cool completely.

Set the oven to 325 degrees F. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter about 5 minutes or until smooth. Gradually beat in the sugar and remaining ½ teaspoon salt until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs one at a time; then add the vanilla. Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Use a spatula to level the top. Bake 40 - 45 minutes until slightly puffed, set along the edges, and still a bit wobbly in the center. Let cool completely.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk the jelly until melted and smooth. Allow to cool slightly. Pour evenly over the cheesecake. Spread lightly with a spatula to create a thin, even layer.

Refrigerate about 2 hours until the jelly is set. Cut into bars. Wipe off the knife between cuts to keep the edges of the bars clean. Store in the refrigerator for up to three days.

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If these pictures don’t have you ready to rush out to get the ingredients for this confection, I’d be extremely surprised.

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a dessert everyone will love.

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a dessert everyone will love.

Crunchy, creamy, smooth, and tart. It’s dessert perfected, my friends.

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a dessert everyone will love.

Those of you who are fans of all things peanut butter will want to check out these recipes as well:
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake
Bite-Sized Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Crust
Buckeye Brownie Cookies
Peanut Butter Sheet Cake
Soft Peanut Butter Cookies
Peanut Butter Lovers’ Peanut Butter Cookies

You’re in for a treat today. These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are beyond delicious. Packed with that classic flavor pairing we all love, and served cheesecake-style, these bars will have you looking for any excuse to make them. Recently, I’ve been all about peanut butter-based desserts. I think it started during Fall Cookie […]




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A playlist of songs for "chilling out max and relaxing all cool." - Tuesday Tunes / 28 - Chill Out | Inspired by Charm

Happy Tuesday! Ready for some new music? Today I’m back with a new Tuesday Tunes. This week’s playlist is all about the chill. So grab your favorite cocktail, turn on the tunes, and let’s relax.

This week’s collection of tunes came together more or less by accident. As I was putting together my “Falling for Folk” playlist, I had a lot of songs that fit the vibe of the season (mellow, chill, comforting, moody) but didn’t have that folk sound. Since I loved the songs, I just added them to a new list to use at a later date. Little did I know I was creating another new playlist.

A playlist of songs for "chilling out max and relaxing all cool." - Tuesday Tunes / 28 - Chill Out | Inspired by Charm

When I went back to put together this post and refine the playlist before publishing, I found I didn’t need to make even a single change. All the songs worked wonderfully together and created this magical, chill, fall-esque playlist.

A playlist of songs for "chilling out max and relaxing all cool." - Tuesday Tunes / 28 - Chill Out | Inspired by Charm

A few of my favorites are “Drink You Gone” by Ingrid Michaelson, “Younger Now” by Miley Cyrus, and “Kindly Calm Me Down” by Meghan Trainor.

While this playlist isn’t one that’s going to get your booty shaking or give you a boost of confidence, it’s great for a relaxing night at home with a cup of tea / coffee or for background tunes at a gathering of friends. To listen, you can use the playlist below or find it here on Spotify.

 


 

You’re also welcome to follow me on Spotify for access to all of my playlists and sneak listens to upcoming Tuesday Tunes.

Now you know what I’ve been listening to. With so many new albums out, what are your current favorites? Let me know in the comments below.

A playlist of songs for "chilling out max and relaxing all cool." - Tuesday Tunes / 28 - Chill Out | Inspired by Charm

Happy Tuesday! Ready for some new music? Today I’m back with a new Tuesday Tunes. This week’s playlist is all about the chill. So grab your favorite cocktail, turn on the tunes, and let’s relax. This week’s collection of tunes came together more or less by accident. As I was putting together my “Falling for […]




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Masculine Rustic Modern with Charm - Apartment Bedroom Decor

It’s been a while since I’ve given you an update on my apartment. This past weekend I did some planning and painting, so I’m excited to share a few changes happening around here. Let’s start with a bedroom update.

Masculine Rustic Modern with Charm - Apartment Bedroom Decor

To be honest, sharing an update like this makes me a bit nervous. In recent years, blogland has turned into a place of “beautiful afters” with fewer postings of the “not-so-great-in-betweens.” I’m hesitant to share my in-process photos for fear of premature judgment. However, I remind myself that most of us are in-process and that the vast majority of rooms don’t just magically come together. So, here we go.

We haven’t peeked into my bedroom since June. I’ve actually been waiting to update this space until my dresser arrived. I ordered it in May, and it was on backorder until late September. Flash forward to a couple weeks ago when the dresser got “lost” in shipping from their warehouse. I was pretty angry about the whole situation so I decided to just cancel it.

That meant it was time to revisit the space with a new direction in mind, and that’s exactly what I did.

Masculine Rustic Modern with Charm - Apartment Bedroom Decor

As you may recall, I had considered painting my space. However, I feared to do so because this home is somewhat temporary, and everything would need to be repainted at the end my lease. So, I decided to meet in the middle and just do a little painting to create a few feature walls. It’s all about compromise, right? This past weekend, I painted two walls, one in my office and one in my bedroom. And this is what it looks like right now in my bedroom.

A big black wall.

Masculine Rustic Modern with Charm - Apartment Bedroom Decor

Yes, it’s stark and seems out of place at the moment (hence, my fear of sharing in-process photos), but I do have a plan.

The color is Black Magic from Sherwin Williams.

My thinking for this space is “Masculine Rustic Modern with Charm.” I realize that doesn’t help much, but I hope it will make more sense as the room comes together.

Masculine Rustic Modern with Charm - Apartment Bedroom Decor

I found some barn-light-esque fixtures that will flank the bed on the black wall. I’m also thinking about adding a shelf or picture ledge about three-quarters of the way up that wall. It’s definitely plain and boring right now so adding some charm and character is a must.

The rug will also be swapped out. I bought this one before my dresser fiasco. The dresser was navy, so this would have been perfect. However, now it just doesn’t work in here. (I think it may work in my office, so stay tuned!)

Masculine Rustic Modern with Charm - Apartment Bedroom Decor

I’ve also started to hang art in this space. I’m not sure it will stay exactly as-is, but staring at a bunch of blank walls was driving me bananas.

Masculine Rustic Modern with Charm - Apartment Bedroom Decor

And you’ll notice, I finally have a dresser. An hour after I canceled the one I’d ordered months ago, I walked a few blocks to a local vintage furniture shop and found this mid-century Lane dresser. The folks from the store delivered it the following day. (Oh how I wish I had done that three months ago.)

Even though I’m more-or-less starting over in this room (Don’t worry, the bed, chair, and nightstands are staying.), I’m excited how the space is coming together and happy to share my in-process photos with you. Stay tuned for more updates and pop in again later this week to see what wall I painted in my office.

What do you think of the change?

It’s been a while since I’ve given you an update on my apartment. This past weekend I did some planning and painting, so I’m excited to share a few changes happening around here. Let’s start with a bedroom update. To be honest, sharing an update like this makes me a bit nervous. In recent years, […]




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These Harvest Apple Mules are the perfect seasonal cocktail for fall.

It’s Friday and we deserve a drink. Right? Let’s close out the week and celebrate the last weekend in October with this Harvest Apple Mule.

These Harvest Apple Mules are the perfect seasonal cocktail for fall.

This past weekend my mom came to visit me here in Pittsburgh. We did what we do best, which means we spent lots of time exploring the city, visiting local shops, and biking a trail into the city. We even hit up a fall festival at a local orchard. Even though the festival was a bit of a miss (The place was packed.), there was a fabulous takeaway: these Harvest Apple Mules!

These Harvest Apple Mules are the perfect seasonal cocktail for fall.

One of the booths at the festival was selling vodka, and they provided a sample of this drink. We both had a sip and were impressed by the flavor combo. In a nutshell, it’s a Moscow Mule plus apple cider. That’s it. I’ve often found that simple is best, however, so I wasn’t surprised this drink was a home run, especially for fall.

Typically, a mule is served in a copper mug, but I thought this drink was too pretty to hide in a mug so I opted for a glass.

These Harvest Apple Mules are the perfect seasonal cocktail for fall.

These Harvest Apple Mules are the perfect seasonal cocktail for fall.

These Harvest Apple Mules are the perfect seasonal cocktail for fall.

No matter how you serve it, I think you’re going to enjoy the simplicity and bright fall flavors of this cocktail. For me, this is one of those cocktails I’ll go back to again and again when I just want something to sip on.

These Harvest Apple Mules are the perfect seasonal cocktail for fall.

Although it has a completely different flavor profile, it reminds me of the Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail I made last year. That has been (and probably will continue to be) my go-to drink for the holidays. This Harvest Apple Mule is likely to be my new go-to cocktail for fall.

Let’s stir one up!

These Harvest Apple Mules are the perfect seasonal cocktail for fall.

Harvest Apple Mule

Makes one cocktail

Here's what you will need:
1.5 ounces vodka (I recommend Boyd & Blair.)
3 ounces apple cider
1 ounce lemon juice
3 ounces ginger beer (I recommend Fever-Tree.)
Cinnamon stick and apple slice for garnish

Add all the ingredient to a glass (or copper mug) filled with ice. Stir. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and apple slice.

Print

That’s it, my friends. Cheers!

These Harvest Apple Mules are the perfect seasonal cocktail for fall.

These Harvest Apple Mules are the perfect seasonal cocktail for fall.

I’ll be back here next week to officially welcome November and what I consider the start of the holiday season. Yes. You can expect some Christmas content to start making its appearance here on IBC. Although I realize most of you may not be ready for it, I’ve already seen several folks filling up their carts with Christmas goodies at HomeGoods. Post-Halloween, the holiday spirit will definitely be in the air.

Ready or not, Christmas is comin’!

It’s Friday and we deserve a drink. Right? Let’s close out the week and celebrate the last weekend in October with this Harvest Apple Mule. This past weekend my mom came to visit me here in Pittsburgh. We did what we do best, which means we spent lots of time exploring the city, visiting local […]




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This One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta is a delicious and easy 30 minute dinner recipe.

With colder temperatures moving in, I’m in the mood for comfort food. One of my faves is pasta. That’s why today I’m serving up this One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta.

This One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta is a delicious and easy 30 minute dinner recipe.

It’s no secret that I love pasta and sun-dried tomatoes. Put the two together in a recipe, and I probably could eat that dish for the rest of my life. I’m not sure how my system would appreciate it, but my belly and my palette sure would be happy.

This One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta is a delicious and easy 30 minute dinner recipe.

This One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta is a delicious and easy cold weather dinner recipe.

A few years ago, I shared my take on a One-Pan Chicken Apple Sausage Pasta. That recipe is among the most popular savory dishes here on IBC. So many of you have made it and reported how delicious it is.

Today’s recipe was inspired by the same approach I used for that: just one pan and 30 minutes of cook time. Since this is a busy season for many of us, I thought a delicious and hearty meal with minimal clean-up would probably be welcome.

This One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta is a delicious and easy cold weather dinner recipe.

This One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta is a delicious and easy 30 minute dinner recipe.

While both recipes only require a single pan, the flavors are totally different. As the name suggests, today’s pasta dish is a combination of chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese with a sprinkle of basil. To me, it’s perfection in a pan.

This One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta is a delicious and easy cold weather dinner recipe.

This One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta is a delicious and easy cold weather dinner recipe.

This One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta is a delicious and easy 30 minute dinner recipe.

The chicken gets cooked first, followed by the sun-dried tomatoes with a little garlic.Then the sauce comes together with chicken stock, heavy cream, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. How yummy is that?

This One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta is a delicious and easy 30 minute dinner recipe.

Next comes the pasta. Once it’s al dente, it’s ready to plate. Garnish with fresh basil and more delicious Parmigiano-Reggiano for a dinner win!

This One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta is a delicious and easy 30 minute dinner recipe.

It really doesn’t get much easier than this.

This One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta is a delicious and easy 30 minute dinner recipe.

One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta

Serves 4-6

Here's what you will need:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped into 1-inch cubes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and patted dry with paper towel
1/4 cup white wine (or chicken stock)
1 cup heavy cream
3-4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup grated Parmigiana-Reggiano (Parmesan), plus extra for garnish
1/4 teaspoon paprika
3 cups uncooked pasta (I used Cellentani)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves

Begin by heating the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook about 8 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. Sauté for about one minute. Then use 1/4 cup wine (or chicken stock) to deglaze the pan.

Next, add the cream, 3 cups of chicken stock, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and paprika. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chicken and uncooked pasta. Stir.

Cover and simmer for about 12 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. As the pasta cooks, stir every few minutes. Add more chicken stock as needed.

Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish the top with fresh basil. Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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This One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta is a delicious and easy 30 minute dinner recipe.

This One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta is a delicious and easy 30 minute dinner recipe.

Yes, if you’re wondering, it tastes as good as it looks. Pinky swear. I wouldn’t kid you when it comes to pasta.

This One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta is a delicious and easy 30 minute dinner recipe.

Give this One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta a try and let us know what you think. I hope it becomes a chilly-weather dinner staple at your house. Enjoy!

With colder temperatures moving in, I’m in the mood for comfort food. One of my faves is pasta. That’s why today I’m serving up this One-Pan Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Pasta. It’s no secret that I love pasta and sun-dried tomatoes. Put the two together in a recipe, and I probably could eat that dish […]




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TV Viewing Pizza Party with Pizza Seasoned Pretzels | Inspired by Charm
This post is sponsored by DIGIORNO Pizza. As always, all opinions are my own.

All your favorite fall shows are officially back and in full swing. Whether you’re inviting friends over to watch the big game or the next episode of your current must-see show, here are my tips for hosting a TV Viewing Pizza Party with Pizza Seasoned Pretzels and DIGIORNO Crispy Pan Pizza.

TV Viewing Pizza Party with Pizza Seasoned Pretzels | Inspired by Charm

Through my continued partnership with DIGIORNO Pizza, I’m highlighting their new Crispy Pan Pizza today and sharing my recipe for Pizza Seasoned Pretzels plus some ideas for hosting a TV viewing party.

TV Viewing Pizza Party with Pizza Seasoned Pretzels | Inspired by Charm

Gathering with friends to enjoy a meal and your favorite TV event is a fun and tasty way to break up the workweek. However, the last thing you want to do is spend hours in the kitchen crafting a fancy feast at the end of a busy day.

My solution? A coffee table food centerpiece with DIGIORNO Crispy Pan Pizza as the star of the show. Not only is it delicious, but it will help you get the most out of your evening with friends and family.

TV Viewing Pizza Party with Pizza Seasoned Pretzels | Inspired by Charm

TV Viewing Pizza Party with Pizza Seasoned Pretzels | Inspired by Charm

So how does it work? Let’s start with your coffee table. Since you and your guests will likely pile onto the couch to watch TV, the coffee table makes the perfect space to lay out your spread.

TV Viewing Pizza Party with Pizza Seasoned Pretzels | Inspired by Charm

I recommend setting out plates, cutlery, dishes, stands and a cutting board to start. You want to have room for all of the food, and it should look good, too. Next, add something decorative. I used seasonal flowers I had on hand, but a candle or something related to the show you’re watching would also work.

TV Viewing Pizza Party with Pizza Seasoned Pretzels | Inspired by Charm

Now you’re ready for the food. I chose pizza since everyone seems to enjoy it. Specifically, I selected DIGIORNO Crispy Pan Pizza because it’s a baked-fresh-in-your-own- oven, pan-style pizza. It’s topped edge to edge with cheese and has a one-inch thick crust that is crispy and caramelized on the outside and light and airy on the inside. Delicious, hot pizza, baked up fresh at home. What’s not to love? I’m serving the Crispy Pan Supreme and Pepperoni varieties.

TV Viewing Pizza Party with Pizza Seasoned Pretzels | Inspired by Charm

TV Viewing Pizza Party with Pizza Seasoned Pretzels | Inspired by Charm

TV Viewing Pizza Party with Pizza Seasoned Pretzels | Inspired by Charm

From there, I added a variety of veggie nibbles, including carrots, green beans, mini peppers, and celery. I also included a dip.

TV Viewing Pizza Party with Pizza Seasoned Pretzels | Inspired by Charm

TV Viewing Pizza Party with Pizza Seasoned Pretzels | Inspired by Charm

To finish off the food centerpiece, I whipped up my Pizza Seasoned Pretzels the night before. They are super tasty and a nice complement to the menu.

TV Viewing Pizza Party with Pizza Seasoned Pretzels | Inspired by Charm

Here’s how I made them:

In a medium bowl, I whisked together butter, tomato paste, garlic powder, and tomato basil garlic seasoning blend.

Pizza Seasoned Pretzels recipe

Then, I put my pretzels in a large bowl and gently coated them with the seasoned butter. Next, I mixed in grated Parmesan cheese. Finally, I popped the pretzels into the oven for about 25 minutes.

Pizza Seasoned Pretzels recipe

Pizza Seasoned Pretzels recipe

The blend of seasonings and cheese give these Pizza Seasoned Pretzels delicious bold flavor that works well with the entire TV viewing party spread.

Pizza Seasoned Pretzels recipe

Here’s a more detailed recipe if you’d like to whip up a batch.

Pizza Seasoned Pretzels recipe

Pizza Seasoned Pretzels

Here's What You Will Need:
1 bag (16 ounces) mini pretzels
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon tomato basil garlic seasoning blend
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Begin by preheating your oven to 275 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, tomato paste, garlic powder, and tomato basil garlic seasoning blend.

In a large bowl, add the pretzels; then drizzle them with the prepared seasoned butter. Stir gently to evenly coat. Next, mix in the parmesan cheese with the pretzels until it's well distributed.

Spread the pretzels out in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking. Remove the pretzels from the oven and allow them to cool before eating. Store the pretzels in an airtight container for up to three weeks.

Print

Pizza Seasoned Pretzels recipe

With your pretzels made and your coffee table set, you’re ready! It’s as simple as that.

The thing I love most about hosting a gathering like this is that it’s casual and virtually stress-free. The goal is to create an opportunity to connect with friends and family and bond over food and your favorite TV show or game. All with minimal effort. With the help of these ideas and DIGIORNO Pizza, you will be ready to rise to the occasion anytime.

Pizza Seasoned Pretzels recipe

Just in case you need them, here are a few more TV party hosting tips:

– Create a signature cocktail inspired by your favorite show or a character from the show.
– Invent a hashtag you and your friends can use to share the fun on social media.
– Add extra pillows and blankets to your TV viewing space and encourage your guests to get comfortable.
– Invite your guests to dress as their favorite character from the show.
– Opt for paper plates and paper napkins to minimize clean-up.

TV Viewing Pizza Party with Pizza Seasoned Pretzels | Inspired by Charm

No matter what show or sporting event you and your friends are watching. enjoy your DIGIORNO Pizza and have fun munching on my Pizza Seasoned Pretzels!

For more from DIGIORNO visit them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

This post is sponsored by DIGIORNO Pizza. As always, all opinions are my own. All your favorite fall shows are officially back and in full swing. Whether you’re inviting friends over to watch the big game or the next episode of your current must-see show, here are my tips for hosting a TV Viewing Pizza Party […]




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I always recommend having a few recipes that you can turn to in a pinch. The recipe for these Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze is one I keep handy for an impromptu breakfast treat, afternoon snack, or evening dessert.

These Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze make the perfect fall breakfast, brunch, or dessert treat. | Inspired by Charm

A couple weeks ago I shared my colorful fall table with you. As promised, I’m back with my recipe for the Pumpkin Muffins included in that tablescape.

Colorful Fall Entertaining Ideas and Table Setting Inspiration

These Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze make the perfect fall breakfast, brunch, or dessert treat. | Inspired by Charm

Muffins are one of my favorite things to bake. Sure, cakes and cupcakes are pure magic, but a muffin is a treat you can enjoy any time of the day. In fact, when I ran the B&B, I would often freeze leftover muffins from breakfast so I could enjoy one whenever the mood struck. A few seconds in the microwave was all that was needed.

These pumpkin muffins aren’t fancy, but they’re full of fall flavor thanks to seasonal spices. And the maple glaze is the perfect finishing touch.

These Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze make the perfect fall breakfast, brunch, or dessert treat. | Inspired by Charm

These Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze make the perfect fall breakfast, brunch, or dessert treat. | Inspired by Charm

These Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze make the perfect fall breakfast, brunch, or dessert treat. | Inspired by Charm

To add to their allure. I baked them in this adorable pumpkin muffin pan. I found mine at HomeGoods, but you can pick one up here. Or you could use a standard muffin pan. The muffins will taste the same.

These Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze make the perfect fall breakfast, brunch, or dessert treat. | Inspired by Charm

These Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze make the perfect fall breakfast, brunch, or dessert treat. | Inspired by Charm

These Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze make the perfect fall breakfast, brunch, or dessert treat. | Inspired by Charm

Also, I added chopped pecans to my muffins. If pecans aren’t your jam, I recommend walnuts. You could even make these muffins extra decadent by adding milk chocolate or white chocolate chips. I’ll leave that up to you.

Whatever you decide, I’m certain you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.

These Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze make the perfect fall breakfast, brunch, or dessert treat. | Inspired by Charm

 

Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze

Makes 12 muffins

Here’s what you need:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 (15 ounces) can pumpkin puree
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup chopped pecans, optional

Maple Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2-4 tablespoons milk

Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Use a baking spray to grease your muffin tin. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, ginger, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the pumpkin, melted butter, and sour cream until blended. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir until almost blended; then stir in the pecans until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. (Divide the batter evenly so the muffins will be the same size.) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool for about 5 minutes in the pan. Remove from the pan, invert so the top of each muffin is up, and allow to finish cooling on a wire rack.

To prepare the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, salt, and one tablespoon of milk at a time. Add the milk until you achieve a consistency that will uniformly coat your muffins. Brush on the glaze with a silicone brush.

Print

How’s that for a fun and easy recipe? What I especially love is that no mixer is required.

These Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze make the perfect fall breakfast, brunch, or dessert treat. | Inspired by Charm

If you’re in need of another muffin recipe, check out my Really Good Blueberry Muffins here.
Happy Baking!

I always recommend having a few recipes that you can turn to in a pinch. The recipe for these Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze is one I keep handy for an impromptu breakfast treat, afternoon snack, or evening dessert. A couple weeks ago I shared my colorful fall table with you. As promised, I’m back […]




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#WorkSmartSnackSmart Wonderful Pistachios Office Refresh Giveaway Winner
This post is sponsored by Wonderful Pistachios.

Back in July, I teamed up with my friends at Wonderful Pistachios to give you a look at my new home office, share some smart snacking ideas, and host the #WorkSmartSnackSmart giveaway. Well, last month I hopped on a plane to Boston and set up a pistachio-filled snack area at a dentist’s office in the adorable little town of Lincoln, MA. Today, I’m going to show you how it all turned out.

#WorkSmartSnackSmart Wonderful Pistachios Office Refresh Giveaway Winner

You may remember that Wonderful Pistachios asked people to share an image of their healthy workspace on Instagram. After the contest deadline, a winner was chosen. The winner received a new mini refrigerator along with a year’s supply of Wonderful Pistachios products. Pretty good deal, right?

I loved this concept because Wonderful Pistachios truly are a healthy snack to have around the office. They are known as The Mindful Nut. Taking the time to crack each pistachio may help you slow down and savor the moment instead of mindlessly snacking. Pairing the pistachios with fruit and cheese may just be the ultimate satisfying treat.

While I didn’t do a major design makeover, I did come bearing decorative accessories to spiff up the winner’s space and provide storage for all the pistachios. I also snapped a few before photos so you could see what the space was like when I started.

#WorkSmartSnackSmart Wonderful Pistachios Office Refresh Giveaway Winner

The snack area was just behind the reception desk. Although the space isn’t large, there is room for a small refrigerator, microwave, storage, and a small desk area for eating and more storage.

#WorkSmartSnackSmart Wonderful Pistachios Office Refresh Giveaway Winner

As you can see, the space also serves as a place for posting work-related flyers and notices.

To make way for the new Wonderful Pistachios refrigerator and caseloads of pistachios and almonds, I first cleaned out the space.

Once there was room, the mini fridge was tucked into place and loaded with bottled FIJI Water. Then, I filled in with a paper towel holder and a few baskets and a cake stand for storage and display.

#WorkSmartSnackSmart Wonderful Pistachios Office Refresh Giveaway Winner

#WorkSmartSnackSmart Wonderful Pistachios Office Refresh Giveaway Winner

#WorkSmartSnackSmart Wonderful Pistachios Office Refresh Giveaway Winner

Next, I brought in as many Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds as I could. I normally wouldn’t set out this many snacks at one time, but I thought it’d be a fun for the office staff to see the bounty when they arrived at work the following day. (There were more bags and boxes of pistachios and almonds to refresh this supply when it ran low.)

#WorkSmartSnackSmart Wonderful Pistachios Office Refresh Giveaway Winner

#WorkSmartSnackSmart Wonderful Pistachios Office Refresh Giveaway Winner

#WorkSmartSnackSmart Wonderful Pistachios Office Refresh Giveaway Winner

With all the nutritious and delicious snacks in place, the final step was to add a few decorative accessories, including a new clock, art, and fresh flowers.

#WorkSmartSnackSmart Wonderful Pistachios Office Refresh Giveaway Winner

#WorkSmartSnackSmart Wonderful Pistachios Office Refresh Giveaway Winner

It’s details like these that make a space feel special and homey.

And with that side dish of style, the grand prize was officially delivered and served!

#WorkSmartSnackSmart Wonderful Pistachios Office Refresh Giveaway Winner

#WorkSmartSnackSmart Wonderful Pistachios Office Refresh Giveaway Winner

I love opportunities like this because they allow me to give back to IBC readers. Now, this dentist’s office in Massachusetts has baskets and drawers loaded with healthy snacks which will be perfect when hunger strikes. With Wonderful Pistachios, staff members can satisfy their cravings for something savory and crunchy without compromising their healthy eating goals. It’s a win-win.

Thanks to all who entered this giveaway, and thanks to Wonderful Pistachios for making it possible. It’s been a treat in so many ways.

This post is sponsored by Wonderful Pistachios. Back in July, I teamed up with my friends at Wonderful Pistachios to give you a look at my new home office, share some smart snacking ideas, and host the #WorkSmartSnackSmart giveaway. Well, last month I hopped on a plane to Boston and set up a pistachio-filled snack […]




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Spiced Pear Gin Cocktail is the perfect signature cocktail for Thanksgiving or any fall celebration.

Often, I end the week with a cocktail, but today I’m shaking things up. We’re kicking off this Monday with Spiced Pear Gin Cocktail. This tasty fall libation makes a great start or end to the week.

Spiced Pear Gin Cocktail is the perfect signature cocktail for Thanksgiving or any fall celebration.

As much as most of us love all-things-apple during autumn, let’s not forget about pear. I’ve been waiting to make this cocktail since August, and this weekend, I finally took the time. And boy am I glad I did.

Spiced Pear Gin Cocktail is the perfect signature cocktail for Thanksgiving or any fall celebration.

I seem to be developing a thing for pear-inspired cocktails. Earlier this month I posted my Pear Moscow Mule. A few years ago I shared a Pear Martini, which still happens to be among my favorite drinks.

Pear seems to lend itself well to cocktails and liquors. To my palette at least. If you’ve never had pear vodka, I definitely recommend picking up a bottle or sampling it at your favorite bar.

Spiced Pear Gin Cocktail is the perfect signature cocktail for Thanksgiving or any fall celebration.

This cocktail comes together quickly. It starts with gin. (Which happens to be another reason I’ve been waiting to make this cocktail.) I picked up this bottle of gin from Wigle, which is right here in Pittsburgh. I’m typically not a gin drinker (so I can’t speak to how it compares with the competition). but I enjoy it, and I’m all about supporting local businesses.

Spiced Pear Gin Cocktail is the perfect signature cocktail for Thanksgiving or any fall celebration.

Back to the gin. I added spiced pear liqueur, pear juice, a splash of fresh lemon juice, and a dash of cardamom bitters. Cardamom has a distinct flavor that’s a bit citrusy, spicy, and herbal. It pairs nicely with fall spices such as cinnamon and nutmug, so it’s perfect for this cocktail.

Spiced Pear Gin Cocktail is the perfect signature cocktail for Thanksgiving or any fall celebration.

Spiced Pear Gin Cocktail is the perfect signature cocktail for Thanksgiving or any fall celebration.

All of that gets shaken up with ice, poured over more ice, and garnished with a slice of fresh pear and a sprig of thyme.

If you’re looking for a new signature cocktail for Thanksgiving (or any fall celebration), this is it.

Spiced Pear Gin Cocktail is the perfect signature cocktail for Thanksgiving or any fall celebration.

Spiced Pear Gin Cocktail

Makes one cocktail

Here's what you will need:
1.5 ounces gin
1 ounce pear juice
.75 ounce spiced pear liqueur
.50 ounce fresh lemon juice
2 or 3 drops cardamom bitters
Slice of pear and sprig of thyme to garnish

To a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the gin, pear liqueur, lemon juice, and a dash of cardamom bitters. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with a slice of pear and sprig of thyme.

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Its so pretty in the simplest of ways. I love it.

Spiced Pear Gin Cocktail is the perfect signature cocktail for Thanksgiving or any fall celebration.

 

What I love about this cocktail is that it’s both refreshing and seasonal at the same time. Plus, it’s not overly sweet so it’s easy on your palette.

Spiced Pear Gin Cocktail is the perfect signature cocktail for Thanksgiving or any fall celebration.

Shake one up and let me know what you think. Cheers!

Often, I end the week with a cocktail, but today I’m shaking things up. We’re kicking off this Monday with Spiced Pear Gin Cocktail. This tasty fall libation makes a great start or end to the week. As much as most of us love all-things-apple during autumn, let’s not forget about pear. I’ve been waiting […]




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Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

It’s Friday the 13th … in October. Sounds a bit scary, doesn’t it? To mark the day, I thought you might enjoy these Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes with red marshmallow filling.

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

As you’ve probably noticed, I have a thing for novelty baking pans. Last year I made a skull cake for Halloween. I’ve also baked gingerbread houses for Christmas, and earlier this year, I whipped up pumpkin cakes. So, when I spotted this tombstone pan at HomeGoods, I knew I could make something to die for. (See what I did there?)

Side note: You can find the tombstone cake pan here (via Amazon) if you don’t have any luck at HomeGoods.

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

When planning what to make in these new molds, I knew I wanted a dark colored cake so chocolate seemed like a good idea. To add to the creepiness factor, I thought I’d put some sort of oozy red filling in the cakes. Then it hit me – I’ll make ding dongs!

(Just in case you didn’t know, ding dongs are little chocolate snack cakes filled with marshmallow creme.)

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

With ding dongs for inspiration, I got to work. I whipped up a simple chocolate cake batter and filled my pans. For these molds, you’ll want to fill them slightly more than halfway. Once baked, this amount of batter will ensure that the mold is completely filled.

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

After it comes out of the oven, the back of each tombstone will be domed. I just trimmed off this excess cake with a serrated knife to create a flat back. This step is optional, but if you want a more authentic looking tombstone, I recommend it.

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

From there, I whipped up the marshmallow creme filling and dyed it red. I then put it in a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

To fill the tombstones, I first created a hole through the center with a wood skewer. I wiggled the stick around in the hole to make it a little larger and then piped in my marshmallow creme.

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

For a finishing touch and to keep the cake moist, I coated the tombstones in a simple confectioners’ sugar glaze. When I made the skull cake last year, I learned that the glaze also enhances the details of the cakes.

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

For a final haunted effect, I piped some of the leftover red marshmallow creme on the outside of the tombstones. This step isn’t required, but I found it helpful to disguise the holes where I piped in the filling. Plus, it adds to the whole effect. What do you think?

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

Here’s the recipe for my haunted Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes. Cheers, witches!

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes

Makes 8-10 snack cakes

Here's What You'll need:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk

Marshmallow Creme Filling:
1 1/2 cup marshmallow creme
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2-3 teaspoons red food dye

Confectioners' Sugar Glaze:
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare your baking mold by spraying it with baking spray. Dust lightly with cocoa powder. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and cinnamon; set aside.

With a mixer, beat the butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk.

Fill the molds about 60% full. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes about clean. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove the cakes from the mold and allow them to continue to cool. Once completely cool, use a serrated knife to cut away the domed back of the cake, if desired.

In the meantime, prepare the marshmallow creme filling. Place the marshmallow creme and butter in a mixing bowl. Beat on medium-high until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt, and red food dye. Mix well until light and fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.

Prepare the confectioners' sugar glaze by whisking together the confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. For a thinner glaze, use additional milk. Set aside.

To assemble, use a large wood skewer to create a tunnel from the bottom to the top of each tombstone. Once inserted, wiggle the wood skewer to create room for the filling. Pipe the marshmallow creme filling into each cake. Carefully wipe away any excess.

Use a pastry brush to add the confectioners' sugar glaze to all sides of the snacks cakes.

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container. Before serving, use any leftover red marshmallow creme filling to decorate the outside of the tombstones.

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Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

I’m all about the creepy-inspired treats. Whether you’re hosting a party of your own or attending someone else’s, these Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes will certainly be an unBOOlievable treat.

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

I think the red marshmallow creme filling is the perfect touch. How about you?

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

Give these treats a try and let me know what you think. If you’re looking for additional seasonal goodies, take a look at my Pumpkin Cheeseballs, Ghost Cupcakes, Creepy Cocktails, and Chocolate Skull Cake.

Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes - the perfect haunted Halloween dessert recipe.

Happy haunting, ghoulfriends!

Don’t forget to download and print my FREE Halloween Recipe Card Printable. You can find that here.

Free Halloween Recipe Card Printable download #halloween #recipecard #printable

It’s Friday the 13th … in October. Sounds a bit scary, doesn’t it? To mark the day, I thought you might enjoy these Chocolate Tombstone Snack Cakes with red marshmallow filling. As you’ve probably noticed, I have a thing for novelty baking pans. Last year I made a skull cake for Halloween. I’ve also baked […]




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This Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding made with challah bread and pumpkin custard is the perfect dessert for fall.

Say what you will, but I just can’t stop baking with pumpkin. Today I’m back with my recipe for Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding.

This Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding made with challah bread and pumpkin custard is the perfect dessert for fall.

When it comes to desserts, bread pudding and cobblers/crisps/grunts and such are among my go-to’s. Pie is also a favorite of mine, but I suppose that belongs in another category.

A couple years ago I got this Staub White Pumpkin Cocotte with the intention of making a pumpkin bread pudding. It only took me two years, but it’s finally happened. And boy, am I happy it did. This stuff hits all of my must-haves in a dessert.

This Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding made with challah bread and pumpkin custard is the perfect dessert for fall.
This Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding made with challah bread and pumpkin custard is the perfect dessert for fall.

Let me explain.

I started with challah. This is an egg-based bread that’s a little sweeter and denser than most bread. This makes it perfect for breakfast-style dishes such as French toast or an egg bake since the bread works well to soak up things like custards.

This Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding made with challah bread and pumpkin custard is the perfect dessert for fall.

Speaking of custard, that’s what I whipped up next. Naturally, I used real pumpkin and all the spices that bring out that pumpkin flavor we love so much. All those eggs and the half and half in the custard make this pudding rich and worthy of being called a dessert.

This Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding made with challah bread and pumpkin custard is the perfect dessert for fall.

This Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding made with challah bread and pumpkin custard is the perfect dessert for fall.

The cubed challah bread goes into the cocotte and is followed by the custard. All of that is left to soak for at least two hours, but preferably overnight.

This Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding made with challah bread and pumpkin custard is the perfect dessert for fall.

The next day, you stir in white chocolate chunks or chips before baking and add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top for good measure.

This Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding made with challah bread and pumpkin custard is the perfect dessert for fall.

 

In about an hour, you will have the perfect fall dessert. It’s rich with pumpkin flavor and seasonal spices, and the white chocolate gives an extra layer of decadence.

This Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding made with challah bread and pumpkin custard is the perfect dessert for fall. This Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding made with challah bread and pumpkin custard is the perfect dessert for fall.

I recommend serving this bread pudding with a big dollop of homemade whipped cream. (You could do ice cream, but I think whipped cream is the way to go.)

Voila. Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding for the autumn win!

This Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding made with challah bread and pumpkin custard is the perfect dessert for fall.

Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding

Serves about 12 people

Here's what will you need:
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (15-ounce can) pumpkin puree
2 cups half and half
1 cup milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 cups cubed challah (Cut the bread into 3/4" cubes.)
1 1/4 cups white chocolate chips (or chunks), divided
Extra cinnamon and homemade whipped cream to garnish

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, half and half, milk, sugars, salt, spices, and vanilla.

Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish or 9 x 13-inch pan. Place the cubed bread into the dish and pour the pumpkin mixture over the top. Refrigerator overnight or a minimum of 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Before baking, add 1 cup of white chocolate to the bread and custard mixture; stir to combine. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips. Then dust with cinnamon.

Bake 50-60 minutes until the pudding is set and begins to brown. If the top is browning too quickly, cover the baking dish/pan with aluminum foil.

Serve warm with homemade whipped cream.

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This Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding made with challah bread and pumpkin custard is the perfect dessert for fall.

This is the perfect way to end any fall feast. Skip the pumpkin pie and instead whip up a big dish of this Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding.

This Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding made with challah bread and pumpkin custard is the perfect dessert for fall.

Happy Baking!

Say what you will, but I just can’t stop baking with pumpkin. Today I’m back with my recipe for Pumpkin White Chocolate Bread Pudding. When it comes to desserts, bread pudding and cobblers/crisps/grunts and such are among my go-to’s. Pie is also a favorite of mine, but I suppose that belongs in another category. A […]




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Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

With All Hallows’ Eve just a few short weeks away, I’m popping in to share more spooktacular ideas for celebrating the holiday.

Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

Today I’ve teamed up with a couple blogger friends who are doing the same. (Links are at the bottom of this post.) In fact, we have a mix of fall decor and spooky chic ideas, so there’s something for everyone. However, here we’re focusing on the spook with a few haunted Halloween entertaining decor ideas.

Once again, I’m back in my dining space. I cleared off my eerie eyeball table setting to try something a bit different.

Let’s start over at my bar cabinet.

Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

A few months ago I found this iridescent tea set at HomeGoods. Although not designed for Halloween, I thought the color scheme of black with gold accents would fit the vibe of the season.

Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

I also purchased a skull that seemed to match so I used that for a planter. I continued the iridescent look with black candles that have glitter strands. Isn’t the combination perfect?

Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

Above the beverage cabinet, I swapped out my art for something a bit more seasonal and then filled the rest of the space with gold and black accents, including this butterfly specimen and my beloved black and brass pumpkins. (The psychic art and specimen jar are from Grandin Road.)

Over on the table, I continued the black and skull theme. The plates and the brass skull were both HomeGoods scores. I love ’em.

Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

This time I used black gauze for a tablecloth. I made more holes in the cloth and pulled it at various spots to enhance the distressed look.

The black candelabra is also a Grandin Road find.

Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

To complete things, I added a few spiders for a spine-tingling thrill. I enlisted my trusty gauze cloth again, this time in white. I wrapped it in my fiddle leaf fig tree to create a web. Then I tucked in the spiders here and there to play up the scare factor.

Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

With that, my haunted table is ready for the witches, warlocks, ghouls, and goblins who visit my apartment.

Haunted Halloween Entertaining Decor Ideas for adding spooky chic style to your dining room.

Before you head off, be sure to give my fellow bloggers a visit below for more October decorating ideas. Enjoy!

Meme Hill Studio – Fireplace Mantel with Velvet Pumpkins
I Don’t Know How She Does It – Haunted Table Setting for Day or Night
Styled with Lace – Cozy Neutral Fall Decor

With All Hallows’ Eve just a few short weeks away, I’m popping in to share more spooktacular ideas for celebrating the holiday. Today I’ve teamed up with a couple blogger friends who are doing the same. (Links are at the bottom of this post.) In fact, we have a mix of fall decor and spooky […]




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