TBT: Pumpkin Spice Protein Smoothie

I love Pumpkin Spice Lattes just as much as the next girl, but, let’s face it…they’re not the healthiest thing on the planet. This is my somewhat-healthier (and less guilt-inducing) home version.  Starting my day with this Pumpkin Spice Protein Smoothie makes me feel energized and, yes, just a little virtuous!

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Pumpkin Latte Smoothie

  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Whey (or Soy) Protein
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (from a can, of course)
  • Optional: Psyllium for fiber, a banana, a handful of ice cubes, and, if you’re really feeling thin, a dollop of sweetened condensed milk. Not that I would do that.

Just whir everything up your blender or whatever you use to make smoothies, and put a little energy into your morning…especially on Halloween.  You know you’ll need that extra energy to get through the festivities!

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Family Favorite: Burrito Bowls

We have leftover nights at least two times a week…not the kind of leftover nights that I make the leftovers into something new, just the kind that I pull all our leftovers from the past few nights out and tell the family dinner is served.  It’s up to them to heat it and eat it. And they really don’t seem to mind.

BUT when I’m feeling domestic, I make the leftovers into their favorite Make-Your-Own Burrito Bowls.

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We usually have some sort of cooked chicken on hand.  I just saute some corn, black beans, and diced chicken with a little chili powder, garlic, and cumin for the main part. While that’s cooking, I also cook some quick brown rice and cut up a salad. Or, better yet, we love the salad mix with cabbage, cilantro, and tortilla chips from the grocery store.

When the chicken mixture is hot and the rice is cooked, I put out all the toppings (cheese, guacamole, a couple of kinds of salsa), along with the rice, chicken, and salad.  When I call the kids to dinner and tell them it’s Burrito Bowls, it’s a stampede to the kitchen.

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It’s a quick and easy way to recycle leftovers…and it doesn’t seem like you’re eating leftovers, is the best part!  Of course, if you have a craving and no leftover chicken, you can always use the meat from a rotisserie one…or make veggie ones!

We’re having these for Halloween night, before we hit the neighborhood for trick-or-treating. I think it’s a great way to get whole grains, protein, and vegetables into the hooligans before they load up on candy!

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Thankful Leaves and Frames

Every year, we do a different version of daily blessings for the month of November.  Last year, I used my Silhouette electronic die-cut machine to make giant leaves out of 12×12 scrapbooking paper. It took a few minutes, and they looked so pretty on the window in the breakfast nook!

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Last year was also the first time all three hooligans were able to write their own daily entries, which was kind of cool. Time-consuming with the kindergartener, but cool.

After cutting out the leaves, I was left with the negative cut out of the 12×12 paper.  You know I couldn’t just recycle that scrap…so I used poster putty to attach them to framed 12×12 scrapbook pages that I have framed and hanging on the stairway.  It made a fun, seasonal update that was easy to remove after Thanksgiving.

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I think we’ll do the same giant leaves this year. Or maybe inspiration will strike in the next week and I’ll have a new idea to share for next year!

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Five-Minute Salted Pumpkin Fudge

I’ve been tempted by the Pumpkin Spice Baking Chips at the grocery store one time too many…I finally gave in and bought two bags. Because, you know, if I bought one and loved it, they might be sold out and then I’d really be sorry!

When I got home, I looked at the bag for recipe ideas, and there were a couple of cookie ones on there.  But I despise making cookies. It’s a quirk. I do love making candy, though, so I decided to try to come up with a pumpkin fudge recipe. This one is simple, simple, simple! Not to mention oh-so-yummy, of course!

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Now, there is nothing natural or organic about those pumpkin spice baking chips, so don’t try to make me feel guilty about the ingredients.  Just enjoy the fudge! I based it on a recipe we used to make in our dorm rooms with chocolate chips way, way, way back in the day.

Five-Minute Salted Pumpkin Fudge

  • 2 (12 ounce) packages Pumpkin Spice Baking Chips
  • 1 can (12 ounce, I think) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk!)
  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt

1. Combine the baking chips and sweetened condensed milk in a glass bowl. Microwave for a minute, stir, then microwave for another minute. Stir until chips are all melted and mixture is smooth.

2. Stir in pumpkin seeds and pour into an 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper. Let sit for about five minutes, then sprinkle with flaked sea salt. I didn’t wait, and my salt sank into the fudge. It still tastes the same, it’s just not as pretty as it could have been!

3. Refrigerate for at least an hour, until completely firm. Cut into 1” squares with a sharp knife, so the pumpkin seeds cut cleanly.

Makes 64 pieces of deliciousness

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Everyone in the family loved this, even my anti-squash-in-any-form hubby!

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Daily Gratitude Library Card Garland

Whew…that’s a mouthful for a title!  The actual Gratitude Garland is much less cumbersome and much more appealing…see?

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I based this on a set of stamps and a kit to make a similar garland in Stampin’ Up!’s Holiday Catalog, called Gratitude for Days.

I’ve made a couple of printables, though, that will simplify making your own garland, possibly even with supplies you have on hand!  And wouldn’t that help justify the next craft purchase you want to make?!

I downloaded a file for cutting the library card envelopes from Silhouette, but you could use small treat bags or small envelopes, both found in the scrapbooking section of craft stores. Mine are 2-1/2” x 3-1/2”, so something about that size. You’ll need 30 of whatever you’re using.   You can also find the miniclothespins there, and the bakers’ twine for hanging.

Once you have the envelopes made or bought, you can download this sheet of cards. I printed it on vanilla cardstock, cut into individual cards, (they’re designed to be 2-1/4” x 3-1/4”) and rounded the corners with a punch. Thankful-cards-ChaosServedD

I put the envelopes in a “random” color order that I liked, then added the cards so that they would also be different on adjacent days.  To finish it off, I created a sheet of numbers from 1 to 30 and printed that on white cardstock.  I used various punches and cut out the numbers and adhered them to the envelopes.  You can download the sheet of numbers here.  A couple of numbers are duplicated, so you can use whichever you like better!

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Then just hang up orange and white bakers’ twine wherever you’d like your garland, clothespin the envelopes up in numerical order, and you’re ready to be thankful starting November 1!

I made this for a friend’s birthday gift, and here’s how I gave it to her:Gratitude-Gift-ChaosServedD

I put the clothespins in a little tin, and I found just a small skein of bakers’ twine for her.  I thought it turned out to be super cute, and now I just need to find time to make a set for my own home!

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Monster Glitter Slime

We made this fun Monster Glitter Slime a couple of years ago for Halloween party favors, and I think we need to break it out again this year. It was fun to make, and the kids who took it home thought it was pretty nifty, too! Here’s the original post from the way back machine….

You know how sometimes you find a craft that sounds super cool, but you just know it’s gonna be messy, so you put it off and put it off?  And it usually involves glitter?  Well, that was the case with glitter slime. How could that not cause me to clean my kitchen for the rest of the day?  Believe it or not, it was basically MESS-FREE!

We made it to give as party favors at our Halloween party and had so much fun doing it!

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You can see a step-by-step tutorial at The 36th Avenue blog.  It’s super simple…here’s the written info:

Supplies:

  • 1 (6 oz) bottle Elmer’s washable glitter glue
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon borax
  • 1 Tbsp water

Directions:

1. Have your minion pour all of the glitter glue into a medium size bowl.  We used plastic ones. Stir in 1 Tbsp water, to make it a bit more liquid. Meanwhile, you can mix the 1 cup water with 1 teaspoon borax, then pour it into the bowl of glue.

2. The minions can then knead the glue, and it magically becomes gel…not a sticky, glittery mess as you would think.  It was amazing, I tell you!

We found these little plastic cups at Walmart with the paper plates and such.  Each bottle of glitter glue made 6 little tubs.  To decorate them, I printed “monster slime” on orange cardstock and punched out circles the correct size.  Then the hooligans glued on googlie eyes and I drew noses and corners of their mouths.

I have to admit, after the party I found a couple of spots of glittery slime ground into my couch…but it came out easily with a bit of Spot Shot, so that’s good to know!

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Hard Cider and Caramel Apple Basket

This Hard Cider and Caramel Apple Basket is one of my alltime favorite hostess gifts to give.  Although I’m not a huge fan of most draft beverages, I do have a weakness for hard cider. I think its sweet. crisp, flavor with a bit of tang goes perfectly with pizza, burgers, popcorn…you name it! I was thrilled to discover our favorite burger place in Washington has Angry Orchard Cider on tap, and then happy to find it at Costco, as well. But I do feel a bit lush-ish, having a whole case of it in the house! I need to share it, people…so…

I picked up a Halloween-themed bucket at Target, along with some Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples. I just tucked a few bottles of cider, a jar of caramel sauce (I made my own, but you could also buy a jar, and even pour it into a Mason jar to make it look like you made it), and several apples into the bucket.  Voila!

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So go ahead and invite me over, already…you know you’d love to have this bucket o’apple deliciousness!

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Halloween Treat Bags

I just opened a new set from Stampin’ Up!, and it’s so cute I just had to make something with it to show you!

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The set is Mingle All the Way, from the Holiday Catalog.  There are doodle-looking sayings for every holiday between now and New Years, so I totally felt virtuous buying it. It’s available in photopolymer (the clear stamps) or digitally.  Look…

These bags just took a few supplies…Pumpkin Pie cardstock, Blackberry Bliss  and Pumpkin Pie ink, the Mingle All the Way stamp set, and the Tag Topper punch. The Chevron Tag a Bag is from Stampin’ Up!, as well. For the other bag, I just made a 2-5-7-10 bag from an easy tutorial here, using a piece of black cardstock, then added a bit of patterned paper on the front.

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I love these Tag Topper punches…you just cut your cardstock 2” wide, slie it into the punch, and punch the hole and slanted corners in one easy step.

And here are a few other past ideas for Halloween treats, like this cute Treat Pouch:SourCreamCarton-ChaosServed

Or this fun treat-filled Coffee Cup:

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Or how about a gift of cozy fuzzy socks, done up in an adorable little box?

As always, shop anytime at my Stampin’ Up! site! And thanks in advance! If you order in the next few days, you should have your supplies in plenty of time for Halloween crafting. Of course, if you want digital downloads, you’ll have those immediately. So go get crafting, already!

Paper Pumpkin Halloween Treats

I don’t think I’ve been up on my Paper Pumpkin soapbox in a while…so let me just reiterate how much I love going to the mailbox and seeing that bright orange box in there, filled with crafting goodness!  The day it comes, I cannot wait for the kids to get to bed so I can spend a half hour crafting…just crafting, not having to think up a project or anything like that, because those brilliantly creative designers at Stampin’ Up! have already done that for me!

The package I got in September was super fun….look!

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This is after I stamped the tags, of course…the kit came with 6 burlap bags, an exclusive stamp set, a Tangelo Twist Stampin’ Spot, orange and purple mini-clothespins, die-cut tags in layers, black twine, and orange sequin string. Oh, and bat, skull, raven, and tree stickers.  Those images are all in the stamp set, too, so when I run out of stickers, I can just stamp the images I’d like.

The bags are about 5” by 4” when closed, perfect for my kids favorite Halloween treat.  Sept-Bag-ChaosServedDaily

I used the stamps to make a few extra tags, as well…Sept-Tags-ChaosServedDaily

I also used the Work of Art stamp set on these, for the watercolor-ish zigzags.

Anyhoo, if you’re interested in a creative break each month, you can check out Paper Pumpkin on my Stampin’ Up! website…every month has been a fun, on-trend project that I’ve found really useful!

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TBT: Fall Is Pumpkin Whoopie Pie Time!

The first time I make Pumpkin Whoopie Pies each fall just seems to signal to my brain that it truly is the season.  We’ve been having a really warm, dry fall here in the Northwest (which I am not complaining about), so it hasn’t really felt autumnal.  Aren’t you impressed that I worked that word into the post?  Anyway, as I was driving to pick up the hooligans at school today, the trees seemed to have changed colors, overnight. So, naturally, it’s imperative that I make Pumpkin Whoopie Pies to herald their brilliance!

One of my favorite memories of visiting the Amish area of Pennsylvania can be recreated at home…Whoopie Pies.  That, and a town called Intercourse. But I digress. Here’s the recipe from a couple of years ago…

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Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Makes 12

  • 1 1/2 sticks  (6 ounces) unsalted butter, 1 stick melted, 1/2 stick softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1- 2/3 cups flour
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, chilled
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees . Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, the baking powder, the baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop or tablespoon, drop 12 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  4. When completely cookies are completely cool, cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the confectioners’ sugar and the remaining pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; mix on low speed until blended, then beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  5. Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake. Let sit until filling firms up a bit. Or eat them right now…they’re yours, after all!

Click here for the printable version of the recipe

We gave these as party favors at my middle hooligan’s first birthday party.  They made a cute little package, in a cellophane bag with a “Thanks for celebrating with me!” tag.

They really taste much like a pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting, but are much neater to package or even to eat. So why are you still reading?  Go make them!