Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Come on in to my Halloween House Tour!

Welcome to our Halloween house!  I'm sharing photos I took last year around Halloween.  I went all out with my Halloween decorations because I was planning a big surprise party for Ashton's 18th birthday, which is the day before Halloween.  I only had a small window of time between her being away from the house and all of the guests arriving in order to surprise her so I knew I wouldn't be able to decorate for a birthday party besides some balloons here and there.  All of the Halloween decor never threw her off.  In fact, she helped me put out some of the decorations but was never none the wiser! 

Entering the house, you are greeted by Bonehead Bob;

 who's become entangled in a web of spiders.

A creepy skull that omits fog and changes light colors sets on an antique transferware warming plate on the entry table.

The dining room is on the left of the entry way as you're coming in and I put some blood over the door that looks like it's oozing out of the top.

I like to have creepy little unexpected surprises that you have to  take a double look at, so when I found a realistic looking and feeling (gross) tongue, I stuck it just under the lid of the soup tureen.  Hungry anyone?

A few things here and there in the living room add just enough Halloween flair; a ghost in front of the fireplace, and see the books on the coffee table?

The book is displayed in a chain wrapped forearm and hand skull.

But that's not the best part.  The best part is the name of the book.  Check out the title of the red book!  Lauri (my sister) and I each found a copy for .50 during the Summer and we both looked at each other and said, "This will be perfect for Halloween".  We are both October babies and grew up loving everything Fall and Halloween!  But, I have to admit, not everyone has gotten the pun.

And, I don't know why.  Hmmm.  I think it's sort of hilarious... well you know, creepy hilarious and perfect for Halloween. 

Anyway, back to the house tour. A little bat hangs in front of my Mom's painting from the picture lamp above.

And I went around the house and put these bloodshot eyeball light bulb covers on several lamp finials.  Just enough lamp light shines in to make them light up.  If you want to do this at home, the lights are from the kind of lights made for the yard that stick in the ground.  The eyeballs are the light covers and there are so many different ones available...skulls, skeleton, etc.  

Pumpkins line the stair steps...

...and as you leave the living room and enter the family room on the other side of the wall we have a doll house bar that I like to decorate for Halloween and Christmas.  It's covered with ghosts (does anyone remember these from Pizza Hut years ago?), tombstones and lights to make it look sort of like a haunted house and graveyard.

Lace spider webs cling to the lampshades on the table.

They show up so well when the lamps are lit!

Another subtle touch...a skeleton hand hanging over the armoire door.

Out in the sunroom, I filled a vase with branches from around the yard and strung lights throughout.  It makes it look a little like a dead tree next to the huge birdcage where a crow is perched atop.

Back to the entry way where another crow has landed on top of the lamp...

 ...and out the front door where Heads Up Harry says 
Happy Halloween everyone!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

October Flash Sale

We're having a Flash Sale at Nancy's Daily Dish and I wanted all my readers to know, just in case you're not signed up for my email list.  Everything sitewide is 15% off through Monday! 
 Jewelry is 75% off!
Use Code LEAF at checkout! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Nancy's Creamy Florentine Spinach Dip

We recently celebrated several of the August and September birthdays with Shawn's side of the family.  Shawn and I made his incredible and humongous (1/4 pounders) homemade meatballs with a homemade sauce that simmers all day long.  I'll share the recipes in another post because it's another favorite.  Anyway, I wanted a green side dish or appetizer besides a salad and remembered as a child my Mom making Squash Florentine for some of her dinner parties.  It is an elegant dish of yellow squash hollowed out and then filled with a creamy spinach mixture, and topped with a crunchy and oh so buttery, cracker topping.  The first time Shawn's Mom, Dad and his Grandmother came to dinner my Mom helped me make Squash Florentine for them.   It was my first time to have dinner guests (that I really wanted to impress anyway)!  Over the years I've made it off and on but somewhere along the line I began making it sans squash because my kids usually just ate the filling.  Well, I thought I'd make that as a side dish with the Spaghetti & Meatballs (meat-a-ball-a as we say!), but I couldn't find the recipe so I winged it and made a dip relying on using some of what I knew went into the original dish.  I thought I'd make a roux and go from there.  It turned out wonderfully.  Everyone loved it so much that I made it again a few nights ago, to which it again received rave reviews.  We had perfectly grilled filet mignon with it the second time around and I think the Spinach got more oohs and aahs from the kids than did the steak.  That is an accomplishment in this house! 

Most of the measurements are approximate so you can adjust to your own taste.   Here's how I made it and I'm sorry in advance for the bad lighting in the photos but fortunately that doesn't make a difference on the taste!

Nancy's Creamy Florentine Spinach Dip

2  boxes / packages appx. 10 oz frozen chopped spinach
cooked according to package directions, squeeze out liquid and set aside
4 hard boiled eggs, diced and set aside
6 Tblsp butter
3 Tblsp chopped dried onion 
1/2-3/4 cup flour 
4 oz softened cream cheese 
3/4 -1 cup milk t
3/4-1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 - 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Mix together and set aside

1 roll Ritz crackers crushed or pulverized in food processor
4 Tblsp softened butter 
A big handful or two (I'm guessing about 1 - 1/2) cups shredded cheddar or cheddar-jack cheese (the cheesier the better, IMHO).

Saute the onion in the butter over medium heat until the onions have softened up.

 Sprinkle the flour over the butter a little at a time as if making a roux and you'll have what resembles dough.

Stir in the milk slowly, then add the cream cheese (you might have to use the back of the spoon to blend it in) and then add the parmesan cheese. 
Your mixture will resemble mashed potatoes.  Now stir in the nutmeg, salt and pepper
And then the spinach...
 and lastly, the the hard boiled eggs. 
Spread the spinach mixture in a greased casserole (I used a glass one that was about 9 x 11 but you could use a little bigger or smaller if you wanted) Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until it is thoroughly heated.
While the spinach is baking combine the crushed crackers and softened butter with a fork, like you would flour and butter making a pie crust dough.  
 Once the butter is blended in, toss in the shredded cheese and stir it with the fork so it looks kinda like this.  

 Sprinkle the topping over the baked Spinach dip and return to the over for 10 or so minutes until it's golden brown on top.  The second time I made this I thought I'd browned the topping too much...it was a little past golden, but everyone seemed to like it better as it was extra crunchy...so just brown as much as you think you'd like it.  The crunchy part is SO good!

Serve with crackers or simply as a side dish.  No one will complain either way!  And there you have it. 
 Buon Appetito