Pool & Spa Outdoor Blog

Category: Seasonal

Seasonal

Gift Ideas for Pool Owners and Outdoor Design Lovers

Holiday Gift Guide for Pool Owners, Garden Buffs, and Outdoor Design Lovers


With Christmas just a few weeks away, you’re probably decking the halls (and deck’orating your yard), baking Christmas cookies and other holiday treats, and of course, looking for the perfect gift for everyone on your list—including the pool owner or outdoor lover in your family.

We put together some stylish and fun gift ideas sure to please kids, spouses, garden lovers, pet owners, and more.

Check out these unique pool and patio products sure to spruce up any backyard this season and all year round.



Garden Planters


Hayneedle bicycle garden planter bike outdoor decor

Right: This cast iron bronze bicycle planter is a charming gift for any garden lover. Not only does it show off blooms in style, it also serves as an eye-catching garden accent.

Made of durable iron, this bike sculpture includes two planting baskets in the back, one in front, and one in the middle for an attractive multilevel display.



Hayneedle resin self-watering garden planter whiteHayneedle self-watering resin planter graniteHayneedle self-watering resin planter mocha outdor decor

Above: These self-watering resin planters are great for poolside accents and backyard decks. They come equipped with a self-watering system that gives your plant just the right amount of water and nutrients it needs for healthy growth. Made of woven plastic resin that resembles wicker, the planters are lightweight, UV-resistant, and weatherproof. They are available in two sizes and four colors: white, granite, mocha, and black.

Photos courtesy of Hayneedle.com



Stylish Outdoor Seating: Swings, Gliders and Day Beds


OW Lee monterra sofa swing porch swingThe Monterra sofa swing by OW Lee is the ultimate addition to any outdoor living space. Its loveseat design and cushioned armrests bring the comfort of indoors to your backyard.

In addition to its cozy bucket seat and stylish wrought iron frame, the swing has a lot of versatility. It is available as a stand-alone piece with an optional canopy for shade, or you can purchase the swing without the frame and hang it as a porch swing.

Visit www.owlee.com to find a retailer near you.

Photo courtesy of OW Lee, Inc.








Source Outdoor wicker Hampton day bedThis wicker Hampton day bed by Source Outdoor offers outdoor luxury and relaxation.

The off-white cushions are made of durable acrylic outdoor fabric, and the cushion covers unzip for easy removal and washing.

Photo courtesy of Source Outdoor




Hayneedle sling double glider patio chairThis outdoor double glider can seat two to three people and has fast-dry sling seat cushions, making it perfect for poolside seating.

The seats are available in two colors: beach (shown) and bronze.

Its aluminum frame is both rust- and weather-resistant, meaning your glider will look like new for years.

Photo courtesy of Hayneedle.com



Hayneedle double sun lounger hammockCozy Hammocks

Who can resist a hammock on a lazy afternoon?

This double sun lounger hammock bed offers a place to bask in the sun, read a book, or enjoy an afternoon nap.

It is available in blue (pictured), green, and red.


Photo courtesy of Hayneedle.com



Hayneedle striped hammock with pillowIf you’d rather be lounging under a tree canopy,
this striped fabric hammock offers a comfortable alternative to the basket weave rope used on traditional hammocks.

The fabric is made of durable polyester to resist fading and wear and tear, but feels as soft as cotton.

The hammock comes with an adorable yellow polka dot bird pillow.


Photo courtesy of Hayneedle.com


Towel Storage with Style

Every pool owner knows you have to keep a stock of towels on hand for guests. What’s the best way to store them and hang them to dry after use? Check out these great options:

At West End fish wall towel rackHayneedle deck storage box bench pool towels

Complete with an adorable fish and water waves design, this iron 'towels' wall rack (left) is perfect for any pool house, while this outdoor storage deck box (right) doubles as a poolside bench.


Left: Photo courtesy of At West End
Right: Photo courtesy of Hayneedle.com



Outdoor Decor and Garden Ornaments


At West End caged rock flowers garden decorAt West End iron owl candle holder garden decor

These decorative rustic items by At West End add a touch of whimsy to any backyard.

We love these caged rock flowers (set of 4) made from recycled materials, and this iron owl candle holder lantern is an adorable accent to any back porch, deck, or garden.


Photos courtesy of At West End



Games For Kids and Sports Lovers


Hayneedle 2-in-1 pool basketball volleyball game setHayneedle 2-in-1 pool volleyball basketball game set

When you’ve exhausted traditional pool games like Marco Polo and Sharks & Minnows, this portable 2-in-1 pool basketball/volleyball set by PoolSport will keep kids and their friends entertained for hours.

The set includes a basketball net and 16-foot long volleyball net that can span up to a 22-foot wide pool. It easily converts between the two games with no tools required.


Photos courtesy of Hayneedle.com



Pet Beds For Dog Lovers and Pet Owners


The Refined Canine outdoor dog chaise lounge day bed Dog lovers can bask in the sun while their dog relaxes in the shade—in style.

The outdoor dog chaise lounger by The Refined Canine is an outdoor dog bed perfect for any deck or poolside patio.

The bed is made of waterproof plastic rattan material and includes a machine-washable, 3-inch thick outdoor cushion.

Photo courtesy of TheRefinedCanine.com




The Refined Canine wicker dog day bed with outdoor cushionWhen no shade is needed, dogs can enjoy this indoor/outdoor dog day bed.

Complete with bone-shaped detail on the front, this luxury outdoor pet bed is both cozy and canine chic!

Photo courtesy of TheRefinedCanine.com





Idea Books for Planning a New Pool or Backyard Makeover

Inspiration Series 2 - Pool Outdoor Design Books (set of 4) | ManorHouseBookstore.com
Our Pool Idea and Outdoor Design Books make a great gift!

Available in print, check out our selection of pool books on ManorHouseBookstore.com

Inspiration Series 2 (pictured) includes:
- Water Features
- Indoor Pools
- Outdoor Kitchens
- Conservatories

Inspiration Series 1 includes:
- Infinity Pools
- Award-Winning Pools
- Tropical Pools
- Desert Pools

Special pricing when you order one of the above sets of 4 (in print).

All titles also available individually in print and digital download for Kindle.

To order via phone, call 888.768.3222


You may also like...
Gift Ideas for Pool & Spa Lovers >>
Merry & Bright Christmas Deck’orations >>
Holiday Decorating Ideas for Your Backyard >>
Pumpkin Dessert Recipes for the Holidays >>

Outdoor Christmas Deck’orations – Lights, Garland, Planters & More

Merry & Bright Christmas Decorations for Your Backyard, Deck, and Porch


Outdoor Christmas DecorationsIf you love decorating your home for Christmas each year, don’t forget to spread the holiday cheer to your backyard deck or porch. The front of your home may get all the attention from passersby, but a festive display of holiday decor in your backyard is something you can see and enjoy whether you're spending time on the patio or viewing the yard from inside your home.

From bright lights and garlands to lawn ornaments and festive displays, here are some outdoor Christmas decorations and ideas to help you make your backyard patio or deck look festive and stunning for the holiday.




Photo courtesy of Brookstone



Christmas Garlands


Nothing signifies Christmastime like swaths of fresh evergreen garlands draped across outdoor fences and decks. One of the great things about Christmas garland is that it looks beautiful and festive on its own, but can easily be dressed up with lights and other decorative extras like ribbon, bows, berries, pinecones, and Christmas ornaments.

Christmas Garlands

Above: A simple and classic way to decorate your backyard fence for Christmas is with garland and bows. Attach big red bows to the posts of your deck or fence to add a pop of color that can be seen from miles away.

Lighted Holiday Garlands
Right: Lighted garland strands look stunning draped across the railings of a deck and quickly add holiday charm to the backyard. Best of all, the garland can be left up after Christmas to keep your backyard landscape bright and shiny all winter long. 


Editor's tip: If using pre-decorated or artificial garlands, be sure to check that they are designed for outdoor use.




Photos courtesy of Christmas Lights Etc.



Christmas Wreaths


Christmas Wreath on Backyard FenceWreaths aren't just for front doors and mantels. A beautiful lush wreath is a great way to add a festive focal point to your deck or fence. As with garlands, you can customize a purchased wreath with ornaments, lights, and other accents that coordinate with the rest of your outdoor Christmas decorations or theme.

Wreaths are often used in conjunction with garlands, but they offer plenty of Christmas charm when used alone. A large wreath placed between each set of deck or fence posts is a classic holiday look.

Photo courtesy of Foegley Landscape, Inc.


Editor's tip: Try decorating with wreaths in unexpected ways. For example, create a striking and festive wreath wall by hanging multiple wreaths in a zigzag pattern along the back section of your fence. Make this a fun family activity by having each family member decorate their own wreath!



Christmas Trees


Christmas Trees Give your backyard deck some real Christmas spirit with a brightly decorated tree. You can choose to buy a second live tree or purchase an artificial tree designed for the outdoors. Place the tree in the center of your deck or patio, decorate it with outdoor lights and ornaments, and add a few lighted present boxes under it to complete the holiday display.

Another way to decorate your backyard is with mini Christmas trees. Stake pre-lit artificial trees in the ground along the perimeter of your fence or deck, or line them along pathways. You can also put the trees in urns to add some holiday flair around the pool or patio.





Photo courtesy of Christmas Lights Etc.



Christmas Lights


Bright, colorful lights are a quintessential part of any home's Christmas décor and will help give your backyard deck or porch a fun and festive look. Outdoor Christmas lights come in every shape, color, and form—from traditional white twinkle lights to cascading LED icicle lights to large multicolor light bulbs to Christmas lights in festive shapes like snowflakes, stars, and candy canes.

Porch with Christmas Lights

When choosing Christmas lights, consider the holiday theme or look you wish to achieve. Also, don’t limit yourself to one type or color of lights; a creative combination of Christmas lights often creates the most eye-catching display.


LED Beaded Christmas Garland Lights
There are many ways to decorate your backyard, deck, or patio with Christmas lights: you can wrap lights around the railings and posts of your deck, hang them from the beams of a pergola or awning, weave them between fence pickets, drape them across tree branches, or string them around a trellis or gazebo.

If you have a covered deck or porch, try creating a shimmering wall of Christmas lights by running string lights up and down between the beams of the gazebo and the top rail of the deck.




Photos courtesy of Christmas Lights Etc.



Lighted Christmas Displays and Lawn Ornaments


Lighted reindeer Christmas display

Photo courtesy of Christmas Lights Etc.

From whimsical reindeer and snowmen to a life-size nativity scene, lighted Christmas displays, statues, and silhouettes can provide the finishing touch to your outdoor holiday décor. For instance, your backyard will look more like the North Pole when there’s a few lighted reindeer prancing around the patio. You can even turn your backyard into the Island of Misfit Toys with illuminated figures, including The Spotted Elephant, Charlie in the Box, and Dolly.

Besides festive Christmas characters, there are all sorts of lighted lawn ornaments and decor—metal trees, snowflakes, candy canes, present boxes—that can truly make your backyard shine bright for Christmas.

Outdoor Christmas Decorations














Pre-lit Gift Boxes and Metal Christmas Trees: Photos courtesy of Brookstone



Christmas Planters and Window Boxes


Hanging Christmas Planter
Bring new life to dormant planters and window boxes by dressing them up for the holiday.

You can spread Christmas cheer around your deck with hanging baskets or holiday window boxes. For a charming display of Christmas trees, arrange a row of Alberta spruce or boxwood trees in the boxes, wrap each tree with battery-operated twinkle lights, and adorn with miniature ornaments and/or bows. Another fun idea is to spray paint the window boxes red, then paint a thick black stripe around the middle of the box to resemble Santa's pants. Fill the boxes with flocked pinecones and faux poinsettias or holly leaves.


Photo courtesy of Brookstone

Christmas Planter in BackyardA few eye-catching Christmas containers can be all you need to make your backyard merry and bright.

Right: To create this shimmering floral display, fill large planters or urns with an arrangement of evergreens or hardy shrubs and insert lighted birch branches and twigs in the center using a Styrofoam ball; attach large Christmas ball ornaments to the evergreen branches with green floral wire.

In addition to the ornaments, you can incorporate a variety of other Christmas items, such as candy canes, gift bows, Christmas lights, and beaded garland to give your containers even more holiday panache. 


Check out more outdoor holiday decorating ideas  >>





Photo courtesy of Deborah Silver & Co.| Detroit Garden Works



You may also like...
Outdoor Winter and Holiday Decor Ideas >>
5 Haute Patio Heaters to Warm Up Your Backyard >>
4 Products to Extend Your Outdoor Living Season >>
Top Outdoor Accessories for Fall >>

5 Haute Patio Heaters

Stylish Outdoor Heaters to Warm Up Your Patio


   
Stylish Patio Heaters
Patio heaters are becoming a popular outdoor heating choice thanks to their large heat output—most models can heat from six to 20 feet in diameter—and ability to extend your outdoor entertaining season a few extra months or even year-round.

Along with their growing popularity, patio heaters have expanded in design and now come in an array of placement, style, and fuel options, including decorative gas heaters that look like interior lamps and sleek wall-mounted electric heaters that keep your patio warm and open.

Whether you want to entertain family and friends on a chilly summer night, host a backyard tailgate party in the fall, or expand your holiday festivities to the patio or terrace, here are some stylish patio heater options to keep your outdoor room cozy and chic in cool weather.


Photo courtesy of B. Gordon Builders Inc.



Freestanding Gas Patio Heaters

Gas patio heaters, which use propane or natural gas, are easy and convenient options to heat your outdoor area. These chic patio heaters from Kindle Living provide an attractive alternative to the typical stainless steel standby. Plus, they’re made from eco-friendly materials!

Stylish Patio Heater with Lamp DesignResembling an oversize table lamp, this patio heater from Kindle Living adds whimsical warmth and mood lighting to outdoor gatherings.

Available in both natural gas and propane operation, this freestanding heater features a battery-powered light base that can be used independent of the heater and illuminated in any of seven colors. Its classic silhouette makes it a beautiful complement to any style setting, be it traditional or modern.




Natural Gas Patio Heater with Lamp ShadeThough slim in design, this natural gas-powered patio heater supplies powerful heat performance. As heat radiates from the burner flame, it is enclosed in the fireproof shade and directed downward, wrapping bystanders in a soft and pleasant warmth.

Paired with a smooth shade (pictured), this sleek and sophisticated patio heater harmonizes well with contemporary venues.



Combo Patio Heater Lamp
Featuring a gently curved base with vertical ribbing (and hidden propane tank), this posh combo patio heater/lamp exudes style and personality. Its graceful design meshes perfectly with the casual charm of a coastal cottage, yet works equally well in formal or modern environments.

It’s versatile in function too: along with providing heat and light, an optional cocktail table accessory (not shown) can be placed over the base of the heater to hold drinks or snack plates when entertaining or lounging by the pool.




(Editor's Note: Natural gas and propane heaters are safe for outdoor use only. NEVER place or use a gas or propane heater indoors or in an enclosed area.)



Photos courtesy of Kindle Living



Wall/Ceiling-Mounted Electric Patio Heaters

Pergola with Electric Patio Heaters
If you’re looking for a more subtle way to heat your patio, then an electric patio heater may be your best option. The quartz infrared electric patio heaters from Infratech can be mounted to a wall or ceiling—and custom colored to match—to warm up your outdoor space without interfering with its décor.

The electric heaters contain quartz heating elements that emit a medium wavelength of light that transfers heat directly to nearby objects—such as a person, table, or floor—rather than heating the air, providing a comfortable and quick warmth.

An electric heater was bracket mounted to the wooden beams of a pavilion to keep this veranda cozy in cool weather without detracting from the pleasant setting.



Photo courtesy of B. Gordon Builders Inc.



Outdoor Room with Electric Heaters Mounted in CeilingBecause electric heaters do not produce heat by combustion, they require less clearance than gas heaters and can be used in enclosed patio areas.

To complement its contemporary design, six Infratech heaters were flush mounted into the ceiling of this outdoor room, making it usable year-round. The heaters are configured to a solid-state control system which allows the homeowners to vary their output with the current climate.


Photo courtesy of Infratech

You may also like...
Outdoor Heating Choices >>
10 Outdoor Fire Pit Designs to Match Any Backyard >>
4 Products to Extend Your Outdoor Living Season >>
Top Outdoor Accessories for Fall >>

7 Delicious Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving Recipes: 7 Tasty Side Dishes


By Patti Plummer


Thanksgiving is a holiday about being thankful for all the good things in our lives, and what better way to celebrate that happiness than by serving family and friends a bountiful feast, complete with all their favorite dishes—plus some new ones.

Here are seven Thanksgiving side dish recipes guaranteed to become Turkey Day must-haves after just one taste.


Holiday Brat Stuffing


Serves 12Brat sausage stuffing Thanksgiving side dish recipe


1 package (19 ounces) JOHNSONVILLE® Brats, casings removed
1/2 cup butter
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
1 cup green pepper, chopped
12 cups unseasoned bread stuffing, cubed
1 tsp. rubbed sage
2 tbs. poultry seasoning
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, brown and cook crumbled sausage until no longer pink. Drain. Remove from skillet; set aside. In the same skillet, melt butter and sauté onion, celery and green pepper until tender.

In an extra large mixing bowl, combine sausage, vegetable mixture, bread stuffing and seasonings.
Add eggs and broth; toss gently. Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into a buttered 3 to 4 quart baking dish.
Cover with foil and bake at 325° for 60 minutes.

Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer or until lightly browned. Check internal temperature with a meat thermometer, it should read 165°F when done.

Recipe and image courtesy of Johnsonville Sausage



Root Vegetable Chipotle Cheddar Gratin
By Chef Brandt Evans

Root Vegetables Chipolte Cheddar gratin potato thanksgiving recipeServes 8


1 large butternut squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, halved, seeded
2 large sweet potatoes (about 3/4 pound each), peeled
1 medium rutabaga (about 2 pounds), peeled, halved
2 cups (8 ounces) Wisconsin Cranberry Chipotle Cheddar Cheese*
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
*Or use a Wisconsin Chipotle Cheddar or Chipotle Jack Cheese.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Using a mandoline, slice squash and potatoes lengthwise 1/8 inch thick. Slice rutabaga crosswise 1/8 inch thick.

Spray 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange half the potatoes in dish, overlapping slightly; add layer of cheese (half the cheese). Season with salt and pepper. Top with half the rutabaga and squash, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. Repeat layering. Pour broth over all.

Cover tightly with foil; bake 1 hour until vegetables are almost tender when pierced. Remove foil and pour cream over gratin. Bake 30 minutes longer, uncovered, until liquid has thickened.

Preheat broiler. Mix panko crumbs and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over gratin. Broil 3 inch from heat 2 minutes or until golden, rotating for even browning. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes.

Recipe and image courtesy of ©2013 Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Inc.



Cheddar and Hickory-Smoked Bacon Cornbread

By Chefs Duskie Estes and John Stewart Zazu Restaurant, Sonoma, CA

Cheddar hickory smoked bacon cornbread Thanksgiving recipeServes 6 - 8


3/4 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese, preferably aged, grated
8 ounces bacon, diced small, fried until fat is rendered and drained
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup corn oil
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 9-inch square baking dish or cast iron skillet with nonstick spray. In medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, cheese, bacon, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine milk, oil, and eggs. Add to cornmeal-flour mixture and stir just until blended. Do not overmix.

Pour into prepared baking dish and bake until golden and springs back when touched, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Recipe and image courtesy of ©2013 Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Inc.



Sweet Potato Fries with Guacamole


Sweet potato fries with guacamole Thanksgiving side dish recipeServes 4


4 medium-size sweet potatoes or yams (about 1-1/2 pounds), peeled, cut into long sticks, 1/4-inch wide*
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt, divided
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
2 large ripe fresh Hass Avocados, seeded and peeled
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced, more or less to taste
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 450° F. Spray 2 (12”x17”) baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, toss sweet potato sticks with oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, the chili powder and crushed red pepper (if using) until thoroughly coated. On prepared baking sheets, spread sweet potatoes in a single layer. Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, with a fork, mash avocado with lime juice, jalapeño, green onions and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Serve sweet potato fries warm with guacamole for dipping.

*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Recipe and image courtesy of the Hass Avocado Board




Baked Potato with Cranberry Dip


Baked potato with cranberry dip Thanksgiving side dish recipeServes 4


4 large floury potatoes (each 300 g)
6 tbs. olive oil
Salt
40 g dried cranberries
1 ripe avocado (e.g. Hass)
1 tbs. lemon juice
250 g cottage cheese
Pepper

Wash potatoes and dry them. Rub each potato with 1 tablespoon of oil and salt and lay them on a baking tray. Bake them in a preheated oven at 180 degrees (convection heat is not recommended) on the bottom third of the oven for 1 ½ hours.

15 minutes before the end of the baking time, prepare the cranberry dip. Coarsely chop up the cranberries. Cut the avocado in half, remove the core and scoop out the fruit flesh with a spoon. Cut the fruit flesh into ½ cm sized cubes and immediately mix them with the lemon juice. Mix the avocado, cranberries and 1 tablespoon of oil into the cottage cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Take the potatoes out of the oven, cut them lengthwise and push them slightly apart. Spread the cranberry dip over the potatoes. Sprinkle the rest of the olive oil on top and serve.

Photo and recipe courtesy of Cranberries from the USA



Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Frizzled Ham

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with ham Thanksgiving recipe vegetableServes 8


6 slices ham, (about 3 ounces), cut in half, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
1 3/4 pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, outer leaves removed
1 large orange
2 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs. unsalted butter
2 cups shallots, thinly sliced (8 to 10)
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tsp. white balsamic vinegar, OR white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

Working in batches, place the Brussels sprouts in the feed tube of a food processor fitted with a thin slicing disk and slice. (If you don’t have a food processor with a thin slicing disk, thinly slice the Brussels sprouts by hand.) Zest the orange, then squeeze 1/4 cup of orange juice (save any remaining orange for another use). Set Brussels sprouts, orange zest, and orange juice aside.

In a large saucepan or small stockpot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the ham and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisped and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer ham to a plate and set aside.

Add the butter to the pan and melt over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Stir in the Brussels sprouts. Stir in the orange zest and orange juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until Brussels sprouts are tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the pine nuts and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, top with the ham, and serve.

Recipe and photo courtesy of National Pork Board. For more information about pork, visit PorkBeInspired.com


Ham and Peas with Mint and Tarragon

Ham and peas with mint taragon Thanksgiving recipe vegetableServes 4 - 6


4 ounces ham, cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 cups peas, fresh or frozen
3 tbs. unsalted butter, (1/2 stick), cut into 4 to 6 pieces
1/4 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped plus sprigs for garnish
2 tbs. fresh tarragon, coarsely chopped , plus sprigs for garnish
Salt and pepper

Bring a medium saucepan of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the peas and cook until tender, 3 to 8 minutes depending on the size of the peas.

Drain the peas, reserving 2 tablespoons of the cooking water. Return the peas and cooking water to the saucepan. Add the ham, butter, mint, and tarragon, stirring until the butter melts. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a bowl, garnish with the mint and tarragon sprigs, and serve.

Recipe and photo courtesy of National Pork Board. For more information about pork, visit PorkBeInspired.com



You may also like...
11 Favorite Fall Recipes >>
Sweet & Savory Apple Recipes >>
Decadent Pumpkin Dessert Recipes >>
6 Delicious Fall Pork Recipes >>
4 Easy Recipes for Fall >>

6 Spook-tacular Halloween Recipes

Halloween Recipes: 6 Spooky Fun Desserts


By Patti Plummer


Halloween is all about treats—and we have six tricks to help you scare up a bagful of goodies that are sure to make you grin from ear to ear. (But, beware: you may be tempted to try one too many!)

Whether you’re having a Halloween party or just want to try some festive treats, here are 6 spooky fun dessert recipes:


Chocolate Batty Cupcakes


Bat halloween cupcakes recipe Land O LakesServes: 24 Cupcakes


1 (15.25- to 16.5-ounce) package devil’s food chocolate cake mix
1 1/4 cups buttermilk*
1/2 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, softened
3 Land O Lakes® All-Natural Eggs

Frosting
1/2 cup Land O Lakes® Butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 to 5 tablespoons milk

Decorations
24 chocolate kiss-shaped candies, unwrapped
Black decorator gel
Red cinnamon candies
Sliced almonds
1 (9-ounce) package fancy chocolate wafers
Nonpareils

Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cups into 24 muffin pan cups; set aside.

Combine all cupcake ingredients in bowl; beat at medium speed until well mixed.

Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin pan cups 2/3 full. Bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pans; remove to cooling rack. Cool completely.

Melt 1/2 cup butter in 3-quart saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in powdered sugar, cocoa, corn syrup, vanilla and enough milk for desired spreading consistency. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Place 1 candy kiss at an angle on cupcake for bat head. Attach 2 red cinnamon candies for eyes using decorator gel. Add 2 sliced almonds for ears.

Cut chocolate wafers in half with sharp knife. Pipe straight edges with decorator gel; dip in nonpareils. At serving time, place wafer halves into cupcakes for wings.

*Substitute 4 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice and enough milk to equal 1 1/4 cups; let stand 5 minutes.


Recipe and image courtesy of Land O’Lakes, Inc.



Ghostly Cereal Pops

Ghost halloween cereal pops recipe Land O LakesServes 12


3 cups miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup Land O Lakes® Butter
3 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
1/2 cup sunflower kernels
14 ounces vanilla-flavored candy coating (almond bark)
12 (6-inch) wooden craft sticks
9 oval black licorice candy pieces, cut into 36 thin slices

Directions

Line 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, extending foil over edges. Spray foil with no-stick cooking spray; set aside. Place large sheet of aluminum foil onto flat surface. Spray with no-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Combine marshmallows and butter in 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. Place cereal and sunflower kernels into bowl. Pour marshmallow mixture over cereal mixture; mix until cereal mixture is coated. Spoon into prepared pan; press down with buttered hands. Let stand 2 hours until set.

Remove mixture from pan using foil ends; place onto work surface. Peel off foil. Using 2- to 2 1/2-inch ghost cookie cutter, cut ghost-shaped cereal bars. Press trimmings together to form another ghost, if desired.

Place candy coating in 9-inch glass pie pan. Microwave 1 minute; stir. Continue microwaving, stirring every 15 seconds, until melted and smooth. Dip 1 end of each craft stick into candy coating; insert coated end into ghost. Dip back of ghost into coating; scrape off excess. Place, coating-side up, onto prepared aluminum foil surface. Let stand until coating is set.

Reheat coating in pie pan. Microwave 30-40 seconds until melted. Stir coating until smooth; dip front and sides of ghosts into coating, spreading as necessary to cover all sides. Place licorice pieces on ghost for eyes and mouth. Place ghosts onto foil; let stand until set.


Recipe and image courtesy of Land O’Lakes, Inc.



Carriage Cookies


iced sugar carriage cookies halloween recipe Land O LakesServes 42 Cookies


3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups Land O Lakes® Butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 Land O Lakes® All-Natural Egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Frosting
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 to 3 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Heavy Whipping Cream

Decorations
Green food color
Orange food color
Black decorator gel
Halloween candy decorations
84 miniature (3/4- to 1-inch diameter) round peanut butter cracker sandwiches

Directions

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in bowl; set aside.

Combine 1 1/4 cups butter and sugar in bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat until well mixed. Add flour mixture gradually, beating at low speed after each addition until well mixed.

Divide dough in half. Shape each half into ball; flatten slightly. Wrap each in plastic food wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour until firm.

Heat oven to 400°F.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface, one-half at a time (keeping remaining dough refrigerated), to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with 3-inch pumpkin cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart onto large ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 5-7 minutes or until edges just begin to brown and center is set. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to cooling rack.

Combine powdered sugar, 1/3 cup butter and vanilla in bowl; beat at low speed, adding enough whipping cream for desired frosting consistency. Remove 1/3 cup frosting to bowl; add green food color, mix well. Add orange food color to remaining frosting, mix well. Frost cookies with orange frosting. Place green frosting into re-sealable plastic food bag. Cut small hole in 1 corner of bag. Pipe stem and vines on top of each cookie.

Place cracker sandwiches for wheels on carriage. Frost; decorate with black decorator gel to create spokes. Outline window on carriage using black decorator gel. Place Halloween candy decorations inside window.


Recipe and image courtesy of Land O’Lakes, Inc.



Chocolate Cutout Cookies


chocolate haunted house cookies halloween recipe King Arthur FlourServes 18 (3 1/2" by 2 1/2") cookies, or more smaller cookies


3/4 cup sugar
1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
3/4 teaspoon salt*
1 large egg
1/4 cup black cocoa**
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa**
2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

*Reduce the salt to ½ teaspoon if using salted butter.
**Or use all Dutch-process cocoa.

Beat together the sugar, butter, baking powder, vanilla, espresso powder, and salt until fluffy. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Beat in the egg. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl again. Whisk together the cocoas and flour, then beat into the egg and butter mixture until well blended. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets, or line with parchment. Divide the dough in half. Sprinkle both sides of each piece with extra cocoa, to keep the dough from sticking. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll 1/8" thick. Cut into desired shapes with a cookie cutter. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, until their edges are firm and you start to smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and allow to cool completely before decorating.


Recipe and photo courtesy of King Arthur Flour




Meringue Ghosts


Meringue halloween ghosts recipe King Arthur FlourYield: 20 to 24 ghosts


4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup extra-fine Baker's Special Sugar*
chocolate mini chips, for eyes
*Extra-fine or superfine sugar will yield the best results; substitute regular granulated if necessary.

Preheat the oven to 200°F, with a rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare a pastry bag with a 1/2" plain tip.

Place the room-temperature egg whites into the bowl of a mixer. Add the cream of tartar. Beat on slow speed until the cream of tartar is dissolved and the egg whites are foamy.

Slowly increase the speed of the mixer. When the volume of the eggs has doubled and they begin to look opaque, sprinkle in about half the sugar. Continue to beat until the whites are glossy and getting stiff. Add the remaining sugar and mix until it's evenly distributed and the whites hold a stiff peak.

Transfer the meringue to the pastry bag and, holding the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet, pipe, with even pressure, about 2"-high mounds of meringue. Carefully press two chocolate mini chips into each meringue ghost, to make eyes. Bake the meringues for approximately 60 to 90 minutes, or until they're dry and crisp to the touch.

Turn off the oven, open the door a couple of inches, and leave the meringues in the oven to finish drying several hours, or even overnight. Remove the ghosts from the completely cold oven, and store them loosely covered. They should keep for several days at cool/dry room temperature.


Recipe and photo courtesy of King Arthur Flour



Halloween Witch Cupcakes

ice cream cone witch cupcakes halloween recipe Land O LakesServes 12 Cupcakes


Cupcakes 3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Butter, softened
1 Land O Lakes® All-Natural Egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup Land O Lakes® Half & Half or Fat Free Half & Half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Frosting
3/4 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, softened
7 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon green gel food color

Decorations
1 (12-ounce) package real semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 sugar ice cream cones
12 chocolate wafer cookies
Decorator candy eyes
Assorted candies
Red and black gel icing


Directions

Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cups into 12 muffin pan cups; set aside.

Combine all cupcake ingredients in bowl; beat at medium speed well mixed.

Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups. Bake 16-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from muffin pans; cool completely.

Beat 3/4 cup butter in bowl at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt alternately with milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla, beating at low speed and scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Stir in corn syrup and food color. Set aside.

Place chocolate chips in bowl; microwave 1 minute or until melted. Brush chocolate onto sugar cones, coating completely. Brush remaining melted chocolate over 1 side of each chocolate wafer cookie; place coated cones on top of cookie, pressing down slightly. Let stand until set.

Frost cupcakes with green frosting, creating mound of frosting in center. Press candy eyes into frosting; press candy into frosting for nose. Use red gel icing to create lips; use black gel icing for hair. Set witch hat on top of frosting, pressing down slightly to secure.

Recipe and image courtesy of Land O’Lakes, Inc.




You may also like...
8 Spooky Sweet Halloween Treats >>
Sweet & Savory Apple Recipes >>
Decadent Pumpkin Dessert Recipes >>
6 Delicious Fall Pork Recipes >>
4 Easy Recipes for Fall >>

4 Ways to Enjoy Your Backyard This Fall

Enjoy Your Outdoor Living Space During the Fall

Just because your pool may be closed and the weather's a little chilly doesn’t mean you have to retreat indoors until spring. In fact, your outdoor living space is the ideal place to spend your time during the fall—and even winter—months. Here are just a few ways to enjoy your backyard this fall.

Enjoy your outdoor living space during fall

1. Fall is one of the best times to enjoy your hot tub. Spend a relaxing fall afternoon basking in the warm, bubbling water as you watch the colorful leaves fall around you. Check out the range of hot tub models available from Maax Spas.

2. Nothing says fall quite like gathering around a fire pit with family and friends, sipping warm apple cider and roasting marshmallows. Take a look at these stylish fire pit options.

3. Fall means football for many households across the country. Instead of huddling up indoors to watch the game, take a cue from Amy's Party Ideas and host a backyard tailgate party.

4. There’s no need to close up the outdoor kitchen just yet. Plenty of fall vegetables and fruits taste even better grilled, and are a great accompaniment to grilled pork and steak. Find delicious grilling recipes for vegetables, pizza, and ribs here.


You may also like...
Top Outdoor Accessories for Fall >>
Fun Ideas for a Fall Barbecue >>
4 Ways to Extend Your Outdoor Living Season >>


11 Favorite Fall Recipes: Stews, Pies, Salads & More

favorite Fall Recipes: 11 Seasonal Dishes

By Patti Plummer

Now that the fall season has arrived, there is a plethora of hearty soups, stews, and yummy baked goodies you can prepare using the season’s ripest ingredients: including apples, cranberries, pears, and of course, pumpkins.

Here are a few recipes that incorporate autumn’s best—feel free to serve your meal outdoors, picnic style. Cooler months may be coming, but the days are still warm enough for outdoor dining.

Planning for Halloween? Check out these 8 Spooky Halloween Desserts!

Grape and Pear Pie


grape pear pie fall recipeServes about 12


1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
4 cups California seedless grapes
3 cups fresh pears (about 3 medium pears), cored, pared and sliced
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 package ready-to-use refrigerated pastry for 2-crust, 9-inch pie (see note below)
1 tablespoon butter

Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, orange peel and cloves; mix well. Toss grapes and pears with sugar mixture and orange juice. Line 9-inch microwave-safe pie plate with pastry.

Add fruit mixture and dot with butter. Roll out remaining pastry and cut into 3/4 inch strips. Arrange strips in lattice pattern over fruit filling. Fold ends of lattice strips under edge of bottom crust; seal and flute edges.

Preheat oven to 425 F.

To bake in microwave (recipe developed for 700 to 800 watt microwave ovens): Set oven at HIGH (100 percent power), bake 10 to 12 minutes or until filling begins to bubble. Transfer pie to conventional oven and bake at 425 F 10 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

To bake by conventional method: Bake pie in 425 F oven 10 minutes. Lower heat to 375 F and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling begins to bubble.

Note: Tester used refrigerated, rolled-out dough.

Recipe and image courtesy of California Table Grape Commission, Grapesfromcalifornia.com



Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice, Pears, Cranberries, and Walnuts

Acorn squash stuffed with wild rice pears cranberries walnutsServes 6


3 acorns or dumpling squash
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Freshly ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
3/4 cup wild rice
1 1/2 cups canned low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 large rib celery, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 firm Bosc or Anjou USA Pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see Cook’s Note below)
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut each squash in half crosswise. Scoop out and discard the seeds and strings. If necessary, trim the top and bottom so that the squash will sit level, and place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side up. Sprinkle each half with a little salt, pepper, and nutmeg, to taste. Using 3 tablespoons of the butter, dot each half with some butter. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake the squash just until moist and tender, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the rice, chicken broth, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 40 minutes. When the rice is done most of the water should be evaporated.

In a 10-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Swirl to coat the pan and sauté the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the pears and sauté 2 minutes longer. Cover the pan, adjust the heat to medium-low, and cook the vegetables until crisp-tender, 3 minutes longer. Add the sage, thyme, and parsley and sauté 1 more minute. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, sautéed vegetables, pears, walnuts, and dried cranberries. Taste and add salt and pepper, if desired. Mound the rice mixture into the squash halves, dividing it evenly. Cut the remaining tablespoon of butter into small pieces. Dot each stuffed squash with butter. Cover with foil. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.

Cook's Note: Toasting nuts brings out their full, rich flavor. Place the nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until lightly browned, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Recipe and photo courtesy of USA Pears www.usapears.org



Maple Chicken Sauté


Maple chicken breast saute fall recipeServes 4


1 package (about 1 1/4 pounds) Perdue ® Fit ‘N Easy ® Fresh Skinless and Boneless Chicken Breasts
Salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 teaspoons stone ground mustard
1 red apple (Jonathan, Cortland or Gala) unpeeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoons minced fresh sage (or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage) plus whole fresh sage leaves for garnish

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick or well-seasoned skillet, over medium heat, melt butter. When foam begins to subside and butter turns clear, add chicken. Sauté 3 to 4 minutes per side, until golden and cooked through. Remove chicken to platter and keep warm.

Add vinegar and 1/2 cup water to pan and stir to incorporate pan juices. Stir in maple syrup and cook, for about 2 minutes. Add sage and apple slices and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes until sauce is reduced to a syrupy consistency and apples are tender but still firm. Return chicken and any juices to skillet. Serve with steamed Brussel sprouts and hot biscuits or cornbread.



Recipe and photo courtesy of National Chicken Council



Chicken Waldorf Salad


Chicken waldorf salad fall recipeServes 6


1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
1 crisp red apple (such as Harrelson or Braeburn)
1 crisp green apple (such as Granny Smith)
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 6 oz. cartons fat-free orange or vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
1/4 cup walnuts
4 cups shredded lettuce
Lightly salt and pepper chicken, if desired.

In large skillet, combine chicken and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat to medium. Cook 8 to 12 minutes or until internal juices run clear. Drain; set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, core apples and cut into bite-sized pieces. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. In large bowl, combine chicken and remaining ingredients; mix well. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve chicken mixture on shredded lettuce. Serve with poppy seed or raspberry muffins, if desired.

Recipe and photo courtesy of National Chicken Council



Two Grain Cranberry and Walnut Bread


Two grain oat cranberry wheat breadMakes 2 loaves, 16 slices each

 

1/4 cup coconut oil or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pure cane syrup, maple syrup, or molasses
1 1/2 cups sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1 3/4 cups boiling water
2 (1/4 ounce) packages Fleischmann’s® Active Dry Yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water (100° to 110°F)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
3 cups King Arthur 100% Whole Wheat Flour
2 – 2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, divided
3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups English walnuts, coarsely chopped

Topping
1 large egg white, beaten
1 tablespoon old-fashioned oats, divided
1 teaspoon natural cane turbinado sugar, divided

In large mixer bowl, with paddle attachment, combine coconut oil, vanilla extract, syrup, cranberries, oats and boiling water. Let cool to lukewarm.

In medium bowl, dissolve yeast in lukewarm water with sugar; let stand 10 minutes.

When bowl mixture has cooled, stir in yeast. Gradually beat in whole wheat flour, 2 cups all-purpose flour, gluten, salt and walnuts on low speed until combined. Beat 3 minutes on medium speed. If dough is too wet, use additional 1/4 cup all-purpose flour to make a soft dough. Knead with dough hook 8 to 10 minutes or by hand until smooth and elastic.

Place in large greased bowl, turning once to coat dough. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down dough; divide into half. Cover; let rest 15 minutes. Roll each half in 13 x 9-inch rectangle; roll up tightly like jellyroll (start at narrow side), sealing at each turn with fingertips. Press down on ends of loaf; fold strips under loaf. Place seam-side down in 2 greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch metal bread pans. Cover; let rise until nearly double, about 60 minutes.

Beat egg white; brush on loaves. Sprinkle half the oats and sugar on top of each loaf.

Bake loaves in preheated 350°F oven 35 to 40 minutes, tenting loaves with foil after 20 minutes. The bread is done when golden brown and its internal temperature registers 196°F or above on an instant-read thermometer. Remove pans from the oven, and after 5 minutes, use a table knife to loosen the edges, and then turn loaves out onto wire rack.

Rita Lutz, Horeshoe Bay, TX National Festival of Breads Finalist 2013
Recipe and photo courtesy of US Cranberries-Cranberry Marketing Committee; Photograph by Kansas Wheat and Chauncey Photography, Inc.



Autumn Apple, Ham and Goat Cheese Salad

Autumn apple ham and goat cheese salad recipeServes 8 – 10


6 ounces ham, cut into match-stick size strips
3 5-oz bags spring mix salad greens
3 Gala apples, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup pomegranate seeds, OR dried cranberries
1 7-oz package glazed walnuts, OR 1 1/2 cups toasted walnut pieces
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced, halved and separated into pieces
2/3 - 3/4 cup champagne, OR balsamic vinaigrette
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Combine salad greens, apples, pomegranate seeds, walnuts and onion in very large salad bowl.

Pour vinaigrette over mixture; gently toss until lightly coated.

Spoon salad mixture onto individual salad plates.

Top with ham; sprinkle with goat cheese. Serve immediately.

Recipe and photo courtesy of National Pork Board. For more information about pork, visit PorkBeInspired.com



Corn Bread, Sausage and Apple Stuffing


Cornbread sausage apple stuffing fall recipeServes 8

8 ounces pork sausage, bulk
2 cups apple, unpeeled and chopped
3/4 cup onion, chopped
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/8 teaspoon pepper
6 cups cornbread, coarsely crumbled
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 - 1/2 cup chicken broth, reduced-sodium

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large skillet, cook sausage until brown. Remove sausage; drain and set aside. Drain fat from skillet. In the same skillet, cook apple and onion in hot butter until tender. Remove from heat. Stir in poultry seasoning and black pepper.

In a large bowl, combine sausage, apple mixture, corn bread and parsley. Drizzle with enough chicken broth to moisten, tossing gently. Transfer to a greased 2-quart casserole. Cover and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through.

Recipe and photo courtesy of National Pork Board. For more information about pork, visit PorkBeInspired.com



Piedmont Pork Stew

Piedmont pork stew fall recipeServes 6

1 pound boneless pork loin, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 teaspoon oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, sliced
8 ounces mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins
In large heavy skillet brown pork in oil over medium-high heat until browned, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in onion, carrots, mushrooms, tomato sauce, wine, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, salt and raisins; bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until pork and vegetables are tender.

Recipe and photo courtesy of National Pork Board. For more information about pork, visit PorkBeInspired.co


See 6 more delicious pork recipes >>



Milk Raisin Bread Pudding with Spiced Apples


Milk raisin bread pudding with spiced apples fall recipeServes 6



2 large eggs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups nonfat or lowfat Real California Milk
8 slices cinnamon-raisin bread, toasted and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon apricot jam
1 tablespoon water
Spiced Apples (recipe below)
Real California whipped cream (optional)
Heat oven to 350 F. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and salt. Gradually whisk in milk. Scatter bread in a shallow 1-1/2-quart casserole or 8-inch baking pan. Pour milk mixture over bread, pushing bread down to thoroughly saturate. Bake about 40 minutes or until puffed and browned, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Mix apricot jam and water and brush on top of hot pudding. Serve bread pudding warm or at room temperature with Spiced Apples and a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Note: Bread pudding may be assembled the day before and refrigerated covered. Allow an extra 10 to 15 minutes baking time.

Spiced Apples

1/4 cup Real California butter
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or substitute 1/4 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves)
3 small or 2 large red-skin apples, cored, quartered and sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Melt butter in a medium saucepan; stir in water, sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Stir over medium heat until sugar melts and sauce is smooth. Add apples; cook, basting with sauce, until apples are barely tender. Stir in lemon juice. Serve hot with bread pudding.

Recipe and photo courtesy of California Milk Advisory Board


See 4 more sweet & savory apple recipes >>


Orchard Hand Pies


Orchard hand pies cheddar apple pies fall recipeMakes 8 pies

 

1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large Bosc pear, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon Real California blue cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup crumbled Real California blue cheese
1/2 cup grated Real California Cheddar cheese
All-Butter Pie Dough (recipe below) or 2 (15-ounce) packages ready-made pie crusts Cooking spray

Heat oven to 375°F. Combine apples, pears, 3 tablespoons sugar, pecans, cornstarch, butter, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, lemon zest and vanilla in a medium bowl; toss well. In a separate bowl, mix blue cheese and Cheddar cheese.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough 1/8-inch thick. Cut out eight 4 1/2-inch circles and eight 4-inch circles using round cutters or a plate, glass or lid of the right diameter. Lightly spray 8 wells of a muffin tin with cooking spray and line with 4 1/2-inch dough circles, leaving a 1/4-inch overhang.

Brush edges of dough with water. Sprinkle cheese mixture over bottom of dough, dividing it evenly. Mound fruit mixture on top of cheese, dividing it evenly. Place 4-inch dough circles on top, pressing edges with the tines of a fork to seal. Mix together 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Brush tops of pies with water and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. With the tines of a fork, poke a few holes in each pie to vent steam. Bake 35-40 minutes or until pies are golden brown and a knife inserted into the filling feels no resistance. Cool pies in tin about 10 minutes; remove from tin and cool on a rack. Serve warm or room temperature.

All-Butter Pie Dough

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup (8 ounces)
Real California unsalted butter, frozen
3/4 cup ice water


In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar and salt. With a large-holed grater, grate butter into flour mixture; toss lightly with your fingers to coat butter with flour. Drizzle 1/2 cup water over flour and butter mixture; toss lightly with your hands or a spatula. If necessary, gradually add more water until clumps of dough adhere to each other when lightly squeezed. Transfer dough to work surface and form into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Dough may be store in refrigerator up to 24 hours or frozen. Bring to room temperature before using.

Recipe and photo courtesy of California Milk Advisory Board



Pumpkin Nut and Chip Cookies


Pumpkin nut milk chocolate chip cookes fall recipeMakes 2.5 to 3 Dozen Cookies

1/2 cup Real California butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In large bowl, mix butter and sugar until creamy; add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla, beating well after each addition. Sift dry ingredients into separate bowl; gradually add to pumpkin mixture until well-blended. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop batter by heaping teaspoons onto lightly buttered cookie sheets.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on wire racks and store in airtight container.

Recipe and photo courtesy of California Milk Advisory Board



You may also like...
Sweet & Savory Apple Recipes >>
Decadent Pumpkin Dessert Recipes >>
6 Delicious Fall Pork Recipes >>
8 Spooky Sweet Halloween Treats >>
4 Easy Recipes for Fall >>

Fun Ideas for a Fall Barbecue - Fall Party Themes and Ideas

Fall Outdoor Party Themes and Ideas


Summer may have ended, but the fall season offers just as many opportunities to entertain outdoors. With cooler temperatures, gorgeous foliage, delicious crops, and fun festivities, autumn is the perfect time to invite friends and family over for a backyard barbecue or bash. Here are three fall party ideas to keep guests entertained all season long.

Fall Harvest Party

Celebrate all of the wonderful things the fall season has to offer by throwing an outdoor harvest party. Invite friends and family to bring their best autumn-inspired dishes or consider having a harvest swap! Prepare for the crisp weather and shorter days by adding a fire pit and outdoor lighting to your patio or deck.

Harvest Party Décor

Decorate Your Yard for a Fall PartyWith all the natural colors and bounty of the season, it’s easy to decorate your yard for fall. Create a rustic harvest setting with these easy décor ideas:

Welcome guests and set the stage for your party with a festive display that illustrates all of autumn's natural splendor. Dress up a pergola or arbor with fall leaf garland, mums, and a couple scarecrows.

For a harvest-themed tablescape, purchase a piece of velvet or burlap from your local craft store and use as a table cover or table runner. Arrange a mix of gourds and potted mums down the middle of the table for a simple and festive centerpiece. You can also paint letters on the pumpkins or flower pots to spell out “HAPPY FALL” or “HARVEST.”



Photo courtesy of Frog Prince Paperie

Decorate your yard for a fall party with seasonal touches like pumpkins and mums
Decorate the rest of the outdoor space with seasonal touches. Pile pumpkins and mums around trees; place bales of hay around the patio (cover the hay bales with a blanket or fabric so guests can use them as seats); bundle dried cornstalks together and tie them to the posts of a pergola or gazebo.

For evening gatherings, add charming candleholders to the tablescape by cutting the tops off of small gourds or apples, then carving out circular pockets and placing tea lights inside. Drape throw blankets or afgans in fall hues or motifs (think plaid, leaves, owls, pumpkins, etc.) over chairs; guests can use them to keep warm at night. 


Photo courtesy of Worthing Court,
www.worthingcourtblog.com

To add more festive flair, make a garland of Indian corn to hang along the fence or deck: Plot dried ears of corn* (with the husks attached and pulled back) about 6 to 8 inches apart on a piece of twine or raffia. Once in place, use pieces of twine or floral wire to attach the ears of corn to the twine, tying it around each piece where the husk meets the cob. (*Dried ears of corn can be found at your local farmer’s market or grocery store. You can also dry fresh ears of corn by placing them in a mesh bag and hanging them outside or in an area with low moisture and humidity. Corn will dry in approximately three weeks.)



Harvest Party Food


From apples to pumpkins, the fall harvest offers a bountiful buffet of sweet and savory flavors. Create a party menu that embodies the season with these autumn-inspired foods and recipes.


Food for a Fall Harvest PartyCrudités - Visit your local farmer’s market and buy an array of seasonal fruits and vegetables. They not only make for an easy appetizer but add tons of fall color to your buffet table.

Editor's Tip: Dress up your buffet with mini pumpkins, leaves, acorns and pinecones. Include decorative food labels so guests can easily identify dishes (check out Frog Prince Paperie for printable party supplies).

Photo courtesy of Frog Prince Paperie

Harvest Chicken Salad – Give regular chicken salad an autumn makeover my adding chopped apples, pecans, celery, and pomegranate seeds (arils) to the mix. Serve with whole grain baguette slices or crackers.

Apricot-Dijon Pork SaladApricot-Dijon Pork Salad – This is a perfect transitional dish between summer and fall. Summer apricots and tart cherries add beautiful fall color and natural sweetness to the salad, while the Dijon mustard and ginger dressing lend a warm and spicy flavor. Get the recipe >>

Fall Ratatouille – No harvest party would be complete without this quintessential fall vegetable dish. This recipe features a medley of late-summer/early fall vegetables, cheese, and sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. Get the full recipe >>

Caramel Apples – Combine food and fun by setting up a caramel apple-dipping station: Display skewered apples on a bale of hay for easy picking. Use a disposable chafing dish to keep the caramel warm and ready for dipping. Set up a line of plastic bowls (with spoons) at the end of the table and fill with yummy toppings like chopped nuts, chocolate chips, candy bar pieces, graham cracker crumbs, sprinkles, and crushed cookies.

Recipe and photo courtesy of National Pork Board

Apple Cider – Serve this delectable fall drink in a pumpkin punch bowl: Hollow out a large pumpkin, removing all the seeds and scraping out the pulp from the sides. Pour in apple cider and garnish with apple slices and cinnamon sticks. Use mason jars for drinking glasses to add a rustic touch!




Harvest Party Games and Activities

Complete your harvest party with a host of festive fall games that feature the bounty of the season.

Harvest Party Games and ActvitiesCorn shucking contest – Divide ears of corn evenly among guests and see who can finish shucking their pile the fastest. Award the winner with a homemade treat, such as apple cranberry granola bars or a loaf of pumpkin cornbread. After the game, throw all the shucked ears of corn on the grill for a tasty treat.

Bobbing for Apples – You can also go for a twist on this classic game. Hang apples from tree branches by tying a string around the stems. Guests then have to try and bite the apple without using their hands. The first one to eat their apple wins.

Pumpkin bowling – Use a pumpkin as a bowling ball (pick one that’s not too heavy or too big) and use soda bottles as pins (fill them with some sand to weigh them down).

Pumpkin Bocce – Use a medium-sized pumpkin as the pallino and small gourds for the bocce balls. Very the type or color of the gourds among the different teams to keep accurate score. 

Photo courtesy of Frog Prince Paperie






Backyard Tailgate Party - Fun Ideas for a Fall Barbecue


Fall Outdoor Party Themes: Backyard Tailgate Party



Backyard Tailgate Party

Fall and football go hand in hand—and with it comes tailgating! Instead of heading to the game or stadium parking lot, give yourself the home-field advantage with a backyard tailgating party. Put on your best game day gear, fire up the grill, and invite fellow fans (and non-fans) over to enjoy a pleasant fall day of fun, football, and food.

Tailgate Party Décor

Whether you root for your alma mater or local NFL team, here are some ideas for creating a fun football atmosphere everyone will cheer for.

Ideas for a Fall Backyard Tailgate PartyCreate an authentic tailgating ambiance by decorating your truck or car with your team’s insignia and parking it on the back lawn. Add a pop-up canopy and portable chairs to complete the tailgating vibe.

Show your team spirit by hanging pennants, banners, and streamers that display your team’s colors and/or logo.


Photo courtesy of Amy’s Party Ideas


Football Paper Lanterns for Tailgate PartyFootball paper lanterns (pictured at left) and tissue paper pom-poms are another fun decoration: hang them at varying lengths from tree branches or pergola beams.

Put a football twist on seasonal items to liven up your décor:
- Use mums to display your team’s colors
- Carve pumpkins to look like football helmets and paint your team’s logo on them
- Transform a tall oval pumpkin into a football by painting the entire pumpkin pigskin brown and adding white laces down the center
- Make a scarecrow that resembles your favorite player, your team’s coach or mascot

Photo courtesy of Party City



AstroTurf Buffet Table for a Tailgate PartyFor a festive food display, turn your buffet table into a football field with this fun AstroTurf table runner idea from Uncommon Designs. Artificial turf can be purchased at your local home store, or you can use dark green felt as an alternative. To complete the look, use white athletic tape to add yard lines.

Include yourself (and your guests) in the décor by sporting festive football apparel, jewelry, and accessories like party beads, wigs, and foam fingers.

Photo courtesy of Uncommon Designs

Since the game is the main attraction, tune in to the pregame show while you pregame with an outdoor TV. Make sure the TV is positioned where everyone can view it. You can also rent or buy an inflatable outdoor screen if you’ll be entertaining a large crowd—or just want to really impress your guests!



Tailgate Party Food


A simple, self-serve menu of finger foods, hearty sandwiches, and quick-cooking fare will keep fellow football fans fueled from kickoff to the final touchdown—and prevent you from getting sidelined to the grill or outdoor kitchen. Tackle any appetite with these tasty tailgating food ideas and recipes.


Roasted Red Pepper, Ham and Parsley Torte – This delicious appetizer is perfect for a crowd, easy to make, and can be prepared a day ahead.

Football Themed Deviled EggsDeviled Eggs – Turn this classic finger food into football-shaped food by topping with pieces of chives in the pattern of football laces.

Grilled Sweet Potato Salad – This recipe is a delicious fall alternative to traditional potato salad and will pair well with any type of game day grub. Get the recipe >>

Sub or Sandwich Tray – Subs are filling, tasty, and easy to make. Wrap individual subs or sandwiches in napkins so guests can grab both and get back to watching the game.

Photo courtesy of Party City

Burger Bar for a Tailgate Football PartyBurger Bar – Burgers are a tailgating staple and easy crowd pleaser. Set up a build your own burger bar with an assortment of condiments and toppings to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. Take a tip from The Frog Prince Paperie’ s Touchdown Slider Bar and include labels so guests know exactly what they are trying—and don’t confuse the pickled peppers with the hot peppers!

Beer-Grilled Chops – You’ll score major points with these juicy and tender pork chops. Get the recipe >>

Photo courtesy of Frog Prince Paperie


  Find more crowd-pleasing football party recipes >>




Tailgate Party Games and Activities

Keep guests entertained before kickoff with a variety of tailgating games and football activities.

Quarterback Toss – Hang a 30”, a 36,” and a 40” hula hoop from a tree and write a point value on each one (the smaller the hoop, the higher the point value). Let each player have three turns at tossing a football through the hoops. The player with the highest amount of points wins.

Football Face Painting for Tailgate PartyFootball Fan Face Painting – Fans young and old will have fun putting on their game face. Make sure you have paint colors to represent each guest’s favorite team. Along with face paint, provide an assortment of football themed stickers, temporary tattoos, and colored hair spray–and see who gets the most creative!

Touchdown Bean Bag Toss – Form a small football field on the patio or lawn with masking tape. Divide players into two teams and have them take turns tossing bean bags onto the other team’s side of the field. Keep score for each team by tallying the yardage points where the bags land (touchdowns count as 0 points). The team with the lowest yardage points wins.

Photo courtesy of Party City

Football Bingo – Create Bingo cards with football terms and phrases (such as “touchdown,” “false start,” “field goal,” and “interception”) and have guests try to fill out their cards as they watch the game.




Take our survey to get a FREE download of Award-Winning Pools book for iPadFree e-book! See over 75 amazing pool photos in our Award-Winning Pools book. Take our quick survey to download Award-Winning Pools FREE for iPad >>



Choosing the Best Covers for Your Outdoor Furniture

Tips for selecting patio furniture covers










Guest post by Lucy Markham

Coverture Patio Furniture CoversOutdoor waterproof patio covers are essential to extend the life of your outdoor furniture. Though you may feel comfortable leaving your patio furniture unprotected during the warmer months, the truth is that each season of the year poses a unique threat to your outdoor furniture. From the morning dew and insect pollination of spring, unpredictable showers and intense scorch of the sun during the summer, and the weight of falling leaves and snow during the colder seasons, your outdoor furniture should be covered when not in use.

When choosing a cover for your outdoor patio furniture, it’s important to understand the vital elements that make the cover strong enough to withstand the harsh weather in the coming months.

Here’s what to look for when choosing covers for your outdoor furniture:

Material

When looking for outdoor furniture covers, be sure to choose a strong and durable fabric that will withstand the elements of every season. A canvas material may be thick and lasting; however, if you live in an area that experiences heavy rain, a canvas cover may be susceptible to leakage and can cause detrimental water damage to your furniture. Another material used for furniture covers is a waterproof polyester blend. Although you may feel that you are saving money by investing in a less expensive fabric, cheap polyester becomes brittle in extreme temperatures and cracks, exposing your furniture to the elements.



Photo courtesy of Couverture


For ultimate waterproof protection during each season, look for outdoor furniture covers made from multilayered and nonwoven fabrics. This material is extremely breathable while also being waterproof and providing optimal UV protection. Additionally, look for a material that is easy to clean and store, as you want to make sure that your investment will protect your patio furniture for several seasons to come.




Size

Just as it’s important to select the right material for the covers, it is equally important to be certain you have invested in the correct cover size. A majority of retail stores have samples available to give you a range of what is offered, and many manufacturers offer consulting in custom sizing. California-based Couverture, for example, keeps a library of patterns for hundreds of pieces of designer brand outdoor furniture and can also create a new pattern made from your measurements.

Before making any purchases, be sure to measure your furniture, especially the configuration of a table and chairs set where the size might vary considerably from what you’d expect. A cover that is too small will not provide adequate protection while a cover that is too big will have extra material that can sag or get picked up by the wind, allowing rain and debris to find its way in.



Patio Furniture with Duck CoverSpecial Features

To prevent the covers from blowing off of the furniture in high winds, look for covers that have attached straps that tie to the bottom of the furniture, so no matter how intense the storm is, your furniture will be protected.

Another new and innovative feature is from Duck Covers, who offers an inflatable dome to be placed under a patio table, chair, or couch to insure that debris and standing water don’t collect in the crevices of the furniture once covered. The domes allow water to easily slide off of the covers while also permitting air to circulate beneath them. This insures than mold and mildew will not accumulate underneath the covers during humid and rainy seasons.


Investing in quality outdoor furniture covers made from durable and waterproof materials will provide sustaining protection during each season and keep your outdoor furniture looking just as luxurious as when you first purchased it.



Lucy Markham is a graduate of the University of Florida in English and creative writing. As a recent homeowner, she considers herself a bit of an expert on home improvement and décor as she devoted countless hours to improving her new home.




Right: Photos courtesy of Duck Covers



Pages: 123NextReturn Top

Recent comments

  1. Re: Top 6 Swimming Pool Design Features

    LED lamps LED lights LED lighting LED lighting manufacturer LED indoor lighting LED industria

    --ledlamp

  2. Re: Top 6 Swimming Pool Design Features

    points and eight rebounds cheap lebron 12 nike free runs 3 cheap lebron 12 cheap lebron 10 cheap

    --Messi

  3. Re: 8 Cozy and Cool Indoor Swimming Pools

    The best gains runners possibly not even precious microscopic dispose of antique 1058? BI23 dunkelhr

    --UGGClassicCardy5819

  4. Re: 11 Favorite Fall Recipes: Stews, Pies, Salads & More

    As you can see, there is no price chanel belts information encoded in a bar code. When the scanner a

    --siroistiny

  5. Re: 4 Ways to Enjoy Your Backyard This Fall

    What next? In the past, LSD was then replica handbags made into tablets (microdots), simply dissolve

    --louis vuitton replica

  6. Re: 6 Spook-tacular Halloween Recipes

    The ergot alkaloid is synthesized louis vuitton replica into a lysergic acid compound called iso-lys

    --siroistiny

  7. Re: 7 Delicious Thanksgiving Side Dishes

    A chemist making LSD must be extremely hermes belts careful and knowledgeable about working with erg

    --siroistiny

  8. Re: Outdoor Christmas Deck’orations – Lights, Garland, Planters & More

    There a couple of different ways louis vuitton replica to make LSD. Some "recipes" may start with ly

    --dior shoes

  9. Re: Outdoor Christmas Deck’orations – Lights, Garland, Planters & More

    There a couple of different ways to [url=http://www.washingtonlinkagegroup.com/indes.html]dior shoes

    --dior shoes

  10. Re: Beautiful Pool Photos from the 2014 Master Pools Guild Awards

    reprry[url=http://prisdfsddsggs.html]repry[/url]http://prersdfgdsfgs.html

    --sdsad






Archives

Search blog

Categories


Tags


RSS Feed