Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pizza Roll

As a busy mom of three kids I'm always looking for an easy weeknight meal. Of course everyone loves pizza….so when I found this recipe I knew it would be a hit with the family!!! It is a great twist on your typical casserole or take-out pizza. The ingredients listed could easily be adapted to your tastes…..you could add more diced veggies or swap the hamburger meat for Italian sausage or ground turkey. Definitely adding this recipe to my "make-again" file!!!

Pizza Roll 
adapted from Taste of Home Freezer Cookbook

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup Italian tomato sauce
1 can (4 oz.) mushroom stems & pieces, drained
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tube (13.8 oz.) refrigerated pizza crust
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and green pepper over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain.  Stir in the tomato sauce, mushrooms, garlic salt and oregano.  Unroll the pizza dough onto a greased baking sheet; roll into a 15-in x 12-in rectangle.  Spoon meat mixture down the center of the rectangle; sprinkle with cheeses.  On each long side, cut 1-in wide strips about 2 1/2 in. into center. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips across filling.  Pinch ends to seal. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Makes 6 servings.  

Freezer Options: Freeze the cooled unsliced pizza roll in heavy duty foil.  To use, remove from the freezer 30 minutes before reheating.  Remove from foil and reheat roll on a greased baking sheet in a preheated 325 degree oven until heated through.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Frog's Eye Salad

This recipe has become a holiday tradition for my family. My mom has been making this delicious dish for many years! It is the perfect side to any type of meal….it pairs very well with a baked ham or roasted turkey. The surprising taste of pasta combined with the sweet fruit and whipped cream is amazing!!! The name "Frog's Eye" comes from the small acini di pepe pasta that cooks into tender round balls…..like eyes. Needless to say the name alone thrills my kids and encourages them to always ask for seconds!!!

You can find the very important ingredient, Acini Di Pepe, in the pasta section of your grocery store. It is truly unbelievable how one little bag of pasta can grow into such a large bowl!!! This recipe makes a crazy amount which is perfect for family events and potlucks. I'm always secretly thankful to have leftovers though…the flavors meld together beautifully the next day!!!

Frog's Eye Salad

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 can (20 oz.) pineapple tidbits, undrained
1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, undrained
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 package Acini di Pepe pasta, uncooked
2 cans (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained
1 (16 oz.) container Cool Whip
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1 jar maraschino cherries, drained & chopped
1/2 cup flake coconut (optional)

In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, flour and salt.  Drain pineapple; reserving juice to equal 1 cup.  With whisk; gradually stir juice and egg into sugar mixture.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in lemon juice.  Cool mixture to room temperature.  Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain.  Rinse with cold water to cool quickly; drain well.  In a large bowl, stir together pineapple juice mixture and cooked pasta.      Cover, refrigerate several hours or overnight. Add crushed pineapple, pineapple tidbits, mandarin oranges, cool whip, marshmallows and cherries; mix gently and thoroughly.  Cover; refrigerate until cold.  Makes 12 servings (about 1 cup each)

Because this recipe involves several steps, I like to prepare the pineapple juice/pasta mixture in the evening before a potluck. The next morning I simply mix in the remaining ingredients and then let the salad chill in the refrigerator before the event.  Also don't forget to store the drained pineapple in a small container in the refrigerator.  It will be nice and cold when you mix it in the next day. This recipe can easily be adapted to your own preference…..you can add sweetened coconut flakes or omit the cherries or increase the amount of mandarin oranges. Either way this creamy fruity pasta dish will stand out at any get together!!! Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dill Ranch Crackers

 For many years I've made (and loved) the well-known dill weed oyster crackers snack. The oyster cracker recipe typically involves mixing the crackers with seasoning/oil and then baking it in the oven. When I came across this recipe I thought it was interesting that the crackers simply marinated with the seasoning overnight. 

This version is so easy to throw together with other a few ingredients! I used a whisk to combine the oil, ranch dressing and dill week in a glass measuring cup. I also divided the seasoned crackers into two (1 gallon) ziplock bags.

Dill Ranch Crackers
from Eat & Explore Oklahoma cookbook

1 package dry ranch dressing mix
4 tablespoons dill weed
1 1/3 cups Canola oil
1 box (4 sleeves) saltine crackers

Empty crackers in 2-gallon ziplock bag. Mix oil, dry dressing mix and dill weed thoroughly. Pour over crackers.  Seal bag.  Turn and toss to coat crackers.  Let stand 12 hours; turning periodically. Remove crackers from bag and place in dry container for storage.  

These dill ranch crackers are addictive!!! You can not stop at just one. The tasty dill flavor develops the longer the crackers marinate. It is the perfect snack for adults and kids....not just around the holidays but anytime of the year.  This recipe can be made with saltine crackers, bite-sized oyster crackers or even with pretzels.  It would also be a quick hostess gift to package in a cute container during the busy holidays. Thankfully it is super easy to make because these do not last long!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ham & Cheese Souffle

Cheesy, fluffy, savory and comforting are just a few words to describe this egg casserole. It is the type of recipe that is easy to prepare the night before you are expecting guests and then simply bake it in the morning! The blend of ham and cheese plus the crunchy buttery topping makes this the perfect dish any time of day.

Ham & Cheese Souffle
 from the Taste of Home cookbook

16 slices white bread (crusts removed), cubed
16 slices (about 1 lb.) ham, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese
5 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
2 1/2 cups crushed cornflakes
1/3 cup butter, melted

In a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish, layer half of the bread, half of the ham and half of the cheeses. Repeat layers. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, mustard and onion salt; pour over layered mixture.  Cover and refrigerate overnight. Combine cornflakes and butter; sprinkle on top.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the middle comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. 

If you would like to freeze this dish for later simply cover and freeze the unbaked soufflĂ©. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight.  Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake soufflĂ© as directed, increasing time as necessary for a knife inserted near the center to come out clean. 

I wish you could taste this scrumptious casserole!! Perfect served along with some diced fruit and a steamy hot cup of coffee!!! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chicken & Gnocchi Soup

I LOVE all kinds of soup!!! I have quite the collection of stews, chili and various soup recipes. I'm always on the lookout for an easy soup that comes together perfectly! Especially one that the whole family enjoys and asks for seconds!! This recipe for Chicken & Gnocchi soup is one of my favorites when I'm craving something different. It is a comfort food that blends the yumminess of chicken soup with the chewy taste of a potato dumpling.....so good and quick to make!!!

Chicken & Gnocchi Soup
adapted from CopyKat recipes

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart half-and-half
2 (14oz.) cans chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried Parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
salt & pepper, to taste
2 cups diced cooked chicken breast
1-2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 (16oz.) package gnocchi 

In a large soup pot, melt the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, celery and garlic and cook; stirring occasionally until the veggies are tender. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the half-and-half.  Simmer until thickened.  Whisk in the chicken broth and simmer until thickened again.  Stir in the parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, chicken, spinach and gnocchi. Simmer until the soup is heated through.  

I wish the close up picture of this soup could truly show the belly warming goodness of this recipe.  To up the flavor I like to use shredded rotisserie chicken. In the past I've also added cooked ground Italian sausage.  You can replace some or all of the half-and-half with milk if desired.  Before serving, top each bowl with a small amount of your favorite shredded cheese....such as parmesan or cheddar cheese. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

If you love pumpkin, then you will do flips for this recipe!!! Not to jump ahead too fast but these are AMAZING!!! It seems that every fall I have one recipe that I make over and over....and I predict that this season I will automatically bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars for any potluck that I attend!! I can't emphasize enough how easy they are to make. Another plus is that the ingredients are simple enough to remember without needing a long list for the grocery store. 

If you would like to make a "lighter" version of this recipe than you could use low-fat cream cheese or Greek cream cheese. I used powdered sugar to sweeten the cream cheese but you could easily leave it out or use another type of sweetener. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 box Angel Food cake mix
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 (8oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pam with Pam. In a large bowl, stir together the pumpkin, cake mix, 3/4 cup water, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Spread pumpkin mixture into the greased pan.  In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and 1/4 cup water...if needed use a hand mixer to blend well. Add dollops of the cream cheese mixture on top of the pumpkin layer. Using a knife, gently swirl the cream cheese through the pumpkin batter.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

There are so many words that could describe these bars....scrumptious, moist, fluffy, easy and heavenly!!! The next time you have a potluck, family get together or just want to make a quick treat.... try this recipe. I promise that you will add it to your fall favorites!!! Enjoy!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Taco Soup

Where I live in Oklahoma, we are gradually changing into more "Fall-like" weather. This past week the kids started to wear their light jackets to school in the morning and my fall decorations outside of my home finally match the cooler temperature.  The cloudy sky along with the occasional rain shower has been a welcome sight in this dry part of the world. As soon as the crisp weather arrives, I automatically start browsing through my favorite soup recipes.  I've seen different versions of this recipe all over the internet the past few years. When I searched through all of my own files, I found this original taco soup recipe dated October 2009.  Needless to say this is one of my favorite easy-to-make chilly weather soups!!

I've made this soup so many times that I rarely look up the recipe. This past week I was making the rounds in the grocery area of Wal-Mart (not the commissary thanks to the govt. shutdown) when I suddenly had a craving for taco soup. With only a few stops in the aisles and items I already had at home, I had everything necessary to throw this soup together.  I wish you could smell the yummy bubbly goodness.....such a good belly warming comfort food!!!

Taco Soup

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped 
1 can corn
2 cans kidney beans
1 (15 oz.) can Ro-Tel, mild
1  (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 packet taco seasoning mix
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 1/2 cups water

In a large soup pot, brown the ground beef with the chopped onion. Stir in the remaining ingredients and heat until boiling. Then continue simmering on medium-low heat for at least 15 minutes. 

Serve over Frito chips....delicious with a dollop of sour cream, diced green onion and shredded cheddar cheese....YUM!!!

There are many options for changing the flavors of this soup. You can replace the ground beef with shredded rotisserie chicken or ground turkey. I've also used a can of yellow hominy instead of the corn. Sometimes I only add 1 can of beans or I even use a variety of beans such as 1 can of kidney and 1 can of pinto or black beans....etc. Also I tend to buy the mild Ro-Tel and the mild Taco seasoning so that it isn't too spicy for my kids. 

This is the perfect recipe to combine early in the day and then add to your crockpot to simmer on low until you are ready to eat. If I'm serving more than just our family of five then I tend to double or triple this recipe. It is even better the next day as leftovers because the flavors develop together so well. Keep this recipe in mind as the perfect chilly weather soup that everyone will love!!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Banana Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

Typically this time of year everything is "pumpkin". One of my favorite Fall desserts is the famous pumpkin roll. In the midst of a busy afternoon of dropping one kid off at dance class and then getting another kid ready for soccer practice, I suddenly remembered a recipe that I saw years ago for a Banana Roll. Of course here in the great state of Oklahoma we are still experiencing warm weather....even though we are moving into the middle of October. So I think it still qualifies me to make a slight turn from the usual treats this time of year.  Either way I am so glad that I made this delicious banana roll!!! The yumminess of the sweet banana along with the cream cheese filling......so good!!!! 

This banana roll recipe is a little different because the filling is baked along with the banana bread. I was nervous about successfully rolling it together but actually it worked pretty well. I still used a clean dish towel to help roll the edges and ended up with only a few crinkled places. Thankfully a good dusting of powdered sugar helped to cover the cracked areas.

Banana Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

Cream Cheese Filling:
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (3 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk

Banana Cake:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup + 1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 large banana, mashed
4 egg whites
1/4 cup powdered sugar, for sifting on top of cake

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a jelly roll pan (15x10x1-inch baking pan)with butter. Line bottom of pan with waxed paper; grease the top of the paper with butter. 

Filling: In a small bowl combine cream cheese and the 1/2 cup granulated sugar; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add 1 whole egg and milk; beat until combined. Spread in the prepared pan. 

Cake: In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and baking soda; set aside. In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks and vanilla on medium speed until thick and lemon colored. Gradually add 1/3 cup of sugar and mix well. Stir in the mashed banana. (wash the beaters before the next step) In a large bowl, beat the egg whites on medium until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/2 cup of sugar, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold yolk mixture into egg whites. Sprinkle the flour mixture evenly over egg mixture; fold in just until blended.  Carefully spread the batter evenly over the filling in the jelly roll pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched.  Immediately loosen cake from sides of pan and turn out onto a towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Carefully peel off paper. Starting with a short side, slowly begin to roll up the cake....use the towel if you need to as a guide, but do not roll the towel into the cake. Cool completely on a rack. 

The amazing look of the banana roll on a platter is thrilling!!! I wanted to knock on all of my neighbor's doors to show them what I had accomplished! ha ha Even though I was nervous about it coming together, it truly was pretty easy. The downside is the mess it creates in your kitchen from the numerous bowls, but overall it is well worth the effort!! We enjoyed a slice of this dessert a few hours after I baked it....but honestly it was much better the next day cold out of the refrigerator. The banana flavor had really set in and the cool cream cheese was delicious!!! I'm craving another generous slice right now with a hot cup of coffee.........yum!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Italian Stuffed Peppers

I've made all kinds of stuffed peppers....stuffed pepper soup, crockpot stuffed peppers and the original stuffed peppers that you bake in the oven. This recipe is unique because it is made with Italian sausage and spaghetti sauce. It definitely has a richer flavor and is relatively easy to make.

My parents were joining us for dinner so we doubled the recipe and baked the peppers in two 9x13 glass pans. We also cut the green peppers in half to make smaller serving sizes for the kids. It helps the mozzarella cheese to cover more rice and I thought it was easier to cut up instead of eating out of a tall green pepper. 

Italian Stuffed Peppers
recipe adapted from "Orzo-Stuffed Peppers" in Taste of Home freezer cookbook

4 large green peppers
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta (I used 1 cup rice)
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage (I used mild)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. dried basil (or 1/4 cup minced fresh basil)
2 cups marinara or spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Cut tops off peppers and slice in half; remove seeds.  In a large pot, cook peppers in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Drain and then set aside.  Cook orzo (or rice) according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the sausage and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink.  Add garlic and basil; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the spaghetti sauce. Spoon into peppers. Place in a greased 9x13-in baking dish.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheeses. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately or before baking, cover and freeze casserole for up to 3 months.

To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake according to directions.

We served the Italian stuffed peppers along with some buttery corn, cheesy garlic bread & fruit. Since we doubled the recipe, we had plenty of leftovers that made another meal for my family the following night. The next time I make this recipe I'm going to double it and then freeze half of the peppers.  So glad I discovered this Italian version of stuffed peppers....adding this recipe to my "make-again" file!!! I hope that your family enjoys this meal also!!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

I'm obsessed with anything pumpkin!!!! With Fall just around the corner I've already gone crazy decorating my house and pulling out all of my favorite "cool weather" recipes. While looking over my recipe collection this one immediately jumped out. The note on the recipe card was dated 2010 and I wrote "very good!"

 In the past I've made this bread in two loaf pans but I wanted to change the recipe into a bite-sized version. I used my two new mini-bundt pans and they turned out perfectly! Just a little extra effort to layer the pumpkin & cream cheese....but worth the time!!!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

Cream Cheese Filling
8 ounce pkg cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons flour

Pumpkin Bread
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs and  1 1/2 tsp. flour....do not over mix.  In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add in the 4 eggs, sugar and melted butter.  Stir in the pumpkin, water and vanilla...just until blended. 

To make mini-bundt bread: Scoop 1 tablespoon pumpkin mixture into the bottom of each Pam sprayed mini-bundt pan. Then add 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture. Top with another tablespoon of pumpkin mixture.  There isn't a perfect way of doing this. I used the rest of the mixture by filling up each small mini-bundt. This recipe made 2 1/2 pans. I baked each pan for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the pumpkin side came out clean. 

To make 2 loaf pans:  Divide the pumpkin batter in half. Take one half and divide it evenly into two sprayed loaf pans.  Divide the cream cheese filling in half and place each half on top of the two pans of pumpkin batter.  Top with the remaining half of pumpkin batter.  Bake the breads for 50-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Place pans on a wire rack and let cool for about 10 minutes before removing breads from pans. 

The delicious smell of pumpkin baking in the oven filled the entire house! So yummy!!! While these were in the oven the kids were constantly asking when they would be ready. I served these warm....actually I barely placed them on a cooling rack before the kids were grabbing them!

These are perfect the next day with a dollop of butter and a hot cup of coffee.  Such a moist bread with a sweet twist of cream cheese blended throughout!  YUM! I stored the mini-bundt pumpkin bread in a plastic container in my refrigerator.....but they did not last long!  This is also a great pumpkin recipe to freeze and keep for later!  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Crockpot Roast & Veggies

This recipe is originally from my mom.  She has been making roast with green beans and potatoes in the crockpot for as long as I can remember.  Crockpot roast can be as simple or as complicated as you would like to make it. I've thrown a can of green beans, can of diced tomatoes and a roast in a crockpot and kept it easy. Other times I add 1or 2 packets of Lipton onion soup mix along with peeled whole potatoes, carrots and any other seasoning that sounds good.  

Crockpot Roast & Veggies

3 1/2 lb. boneless beef pot roast
6 whole potatoes, peeled
1 large can cut green beans, drained
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 large onion, sliced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 to 2 packets Onion soup mix
salt & pepper

Place roast into crockpot. Add veggies & seasonings. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. 

*If you want to make a gravy, then either leave out the can of tomatoes or drain the can. About an hour before eating, stir into the crockpot 1/4 cup water blended with 2 tablespoons flour. Cook on High until thickened.  

It is so comforting to come home and smell the yummy bubbling roast in the crockpot. I put together the ingredients in the crockpot during my lunch around 11am and by the time we arrived home from dance & soccer practice in the evening the meal was ready! I also baked a tube of biscuits to serve along with the dinner. This is one of my favorite crockpot meals because the kids will always clean their plates! I hadn't even sat down to start eating when one of my kids was already asking for seconds on the meat. It also makes enough that we usually have leftovers for the next day. Hope your family enjoys this dinner also!


Monday, September 16, 2013

DIY Scarf Organizer

I thought I would share a quick organization project today. I've seen a few different scarf hangers in stores but I didn't want to spend that much money. I knew I could come up with something on my own that would be cheap yet actually functional.  So I used one of my new soft pink hangers & a $1 package of shower curtain rings.

Up until this point I've either stuffed my scarves into a dresser drawer or piled them on a shelf in my closet. I gathered all of my scarves (summer & winter styles) and piled them on the floor.  I guess I should have organized them by color but I was so anxious to see the final project that I randomly started pulling them through the shower curtain rings. 

It only took a few minutes to pull the scarves through the rings and then attach the rings on the hanger.  I even tied a shorter scarf at the top of the hanger. Just a little bit of work to even them out and space them on the hanger...and I was done!!!

I love how the scarf hanger turned out!  This definitely improves the display of all the scarves. It hangs well beside my other clothes in my closet and is also easy to move around.  Now I don't have to dig through a pile of scarves and I think it will help decrease the wrinkles on each scarf also.  Such a fast way to organize your accessories!!! Please let me know if you have any organization tricks!!! I would love to try them!!


Friday, September 13, 2013

Fall Finds

I'm super excited about sharing the next few pictures with you!!! My favorite season is without doubt FALL!!! I could go on and on about everything I love about this time of year.....such as the cooler weather, the cute clothes & especially all things pumpkin!!! I couldn't wait until it was "officially" Fall before shopping for new items for the season. This is just a quick look at some things I picked up at Wal-Mart recently. 

As I was browsing the make-up area in our local Wal-Mart, I happened to pass by the lotion/spa section.  The picture of pumpkins on this body spray immediately caught my eye!! I grabbed a bottle and was so excited to show everyone (ie..strangers) standing nearby my discovery!!!  I did not see any type of similar Spiced Pumpkin lotion.....only the fragrance mist.  After doing some research online I did find out that Bodycology also makes a Spiced Pumpkin Body Cream.....so I will definitely be looking for it the next time I run into Wal-Mart!!

 The description on the Fragrance Mist bottle says "Warm up with a fresh blend of pumpkin, creamy vanilla and cinnamon spice for a toasty treat."   What a delicious description of my favorite Fall scents!!!  When I first sprayed this on my arm, I couldn't get enough!! It was just like walking into a Bath & Body works store and breathing deeply all the amazing rich Autumn scents.  I've become a little obsessed with this body spray and have enjoyed leaving it inside my van. I go between just spraying it up in the air inside my min-van to refresh it or adding a few spritzes to my arms or hair. 

 Truly it doesn't matter to me what other people might think.....I love smelling like a spicy pumpkin pie! ha ha   My kids happen to love the scent also! Every time they step into the mini-van they tell me that it smells so good!!! So if you are a "Pumpkin Addict" like me.....go grab yourself a bottle while supplies last!!!

If you visit the Fall decorations area of Wal-Mart, you will find this adorable set. They are about the size of a salad plate or young kids plate. I just couldn't resist the adorable woodland creatures. I can already picture serving the kids an after school snack on one of the these and how surprised they will be to discover the faces!! (Actually the first time I used them was when I served my pumpkin and cream cheese bread.) The perfect Fall treat!!!

Of course I had to buy the matching cups!!! Honestly....they were just too cute to pass by!! The warm Fall colors with the phrases such as "Give Thanks" and "Fall Friends" is so sweet!! Each cup was only a few dollars and our family we'll use them from the beginning of September until the end of November. Then I will simply pack them away with my massive amount of Fall decorations! ha ha

I also spent some time flipping through various new Fall and Halloween magazines. Such a struggle to only pick one magazine....but I finally chose this one because you can't go wrong with any type of Gooseberry Patch recipes. Already on my "make-soon" list from this magazine is the 1) Apparition Apple Cake 2) Sinfully Savory Chicken Casserole  and the 3) Godzilla Cookie

No trip to Wal-Mart is complete without at least one beauty purchase!! Right??? lol Anyway...I've been collecting Sally Hansen polish; especially the INSTA-DRI nail color line for several years. As a busy mom to three kids I have to work fast whenever I get the urge to change my nail polish. Or at least use a polish that I know will dry quickly and is fairly easy to apply myself. The picture above shows the color "Style Steel #110" This polish is a limited edition shade for Fall from the Insta-Dri Rent the Runway collection.  I applied two coats as shown in the picture above. I love the champagne shimmer with a hint of pink. This is a gorgeous neutral color for Fall. It sparkles and adds a festive flair to your nails. Next time I hope to buy the Sally Hansen "Red-io Active" in this same limited line....it looks like the perfect red for holiday parties!!!

Finally I wanted to share my latest purchase from Bath & Body Works. The best time of the year (in my opinion) to shop at Bath & Body Works is right now!!! The overload between apple orchard and pumpkin scents is amazing!!! I can waste way too much time in that store smelling their new creations and debating between exactly how many lotions, handsoaps and candles I actually need. Yet I always come back to the best smelling classic... Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin. As I type this, I can smell this yummy pumpkin scent floating from the wallflower plugged into the kitchen outlet.  It is a no-fail scent that everyone enjoys!!!

This blog post is the first of many Fall related items I hope to share. I'm in the middle of decorating my house with lights, pumpkins & all things Autumn. I plan on taking pictures to give you a little home tour. There is also a long list of my favorite pumpkin recipes that I'm going to feature each week. Please comment below if you try any of the items I have mentioned. I would love to know your favorite Fall items also!!!