Halloween Tricks and Treats Decorating Ideas

Fall is the gateway to the holiday decorating season, and the Halloween tricks and treats decorating ideas are flowing.  September to December stands as the most wonderful time of the year for the pumpkins and antlers and garlands oh my decorating inclined.

die-cut-cat-decorationBig G Designs on Etsy

Halloween decorating is serious business these days.  The elaborate decorations and Halloween tricks and treats decorating ideas offered in today’s decorating market far surpass the dime store plastic pumpkin with a flashlight in it, honeycomb centerpiece and die cut front door decoration days gone by.

Halloween Tricks and Treats Decorating Ideas

With that being said, let’s take a look at a few Halloween tricks and treats decorating ideas.


Classic in style and presence, the MacKenzie-Childs Beware Pumpkin Set is a traditional with a twist investment piece waiting to become a Halloween heirloom. 

jack-0-lantern-kohlsJack-O’-Lantern Decorative Pillow

No rocking chair lined porch is Halloween ready without at least one jack-o’-lantern.  Displaying a jack-o’-lantern decorative throw pillow is my idea of the perfect no carve pumpkin decoration.


Bust a fabulous centerpiece move with this decorative bronze sheep bust from Overstock.  Halloween decoration now, decorative home decor accessory later.

handheld mask

Handheld Mask

Set a mood of intrigue and mystery with this handheld mask from Save-on-Crafts.  Mardi Gras will be here before you know it, and I do like decorative items that serve a dual holiday decorating purpose.


Town & Country 

Pumpkin pretty in pink and black.


I grow more impressed and inspired each Halloween season by the stellar designs and gorgeous pumpkin decorating creations.


Benjamin Moore named Shadow, a deep purple, as the Color of the Year 2017.  The color and the timing could not be more perfect right here at Halloween.

hand-door-knockerHaunted Door Knocker

Knock, knock.  Who’s there?  Another Halloween decoration now, decorative home decor accessory later option.


DIY projects shine at Halloween time, and nothings says frightening elegant like a metallic skull head.

wrought-iron-glass-lanternWrought Iron and Glass Lantern

Lighting does set the scene at any soiree, and a black lantern fitted with an orange light bulb shines a light on an eerie glow.


Party City

Add a touch of fright to the look by draping Spanish moss from the arms of a light fixture.


If you don’t have access to moss via nature’s arts and crafts store, pick up a couple of packs at your local dollar store, Michaels or Hobby Lobby.


 Classic Horror Movie Posters

I use movie posters from classic horror movies for everything from wall decorations to invitations to coasters to tablecloths.


Halloween Rolling Pins

Tasty treats and stunning sweets are what Halloween baking is all about.



Cameo silhouette cookie cutter 

Set a Halloween soiree spooktacular table with fun and festive foundation tableware from Dollar Tree.  Your table will traditionally and tastefully coordinate with the time honored colors of Halloween, and your wallet will thank you.


It’s not too early or too late to begin gathering ideas and goodies for your Halloween decorating extravaganza.  I hope one or more of these Halloween tricks and treats decorating ideas help to trick out your Halloween decorating spooktacular.

Love your style!

Fair Inspired, Fall Delicious Baked Caramel Apples

When the fair comes to town so does the craving for a classic carnival sweet treat, caramel apples.  The annual parish (you all say county, we Louisianians say parish) fair is in town this week which means time to develop a recipe for fair inspired, fall delicious Baked Caramel Apples.

caramel-apple-at-the-fairThe Might Thomas Carnivals

I don’t think you ever outgrow the love of fairs and carnivals or the classic food offerings associated with these only come to town once a year midways of amusement.  Dave the Builder gets a kick out of my proclamation “fair music!” when I hear “Up Around the Bend” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.  Back in my midway days, I definitely pondered perpetual motion twirling around the Tilt-a-Whirl, Scrambler, and Flying Bobs.  My tastes in carnival rides runs along the same lines as my interior design and decorating tastes.  Keep the line moving to the center of traditional and classic and go easy on the thrills and frills, folks.

say_ahhhhSay AHHH

No creepy clown sightings or clowning around with the prize winning flavor of a caramel apple.


Baked Caramel Apples

red delicious apples, cored and hallowed ½ way down center of the apple

Per apple:

½ teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 heaping teaspoon Duncan Hines salted caramel frosting


Preheat oven to 400°.  Wash, core and hallow out apples about ½ way down the center.  Place apples upright in baking dish.


Sprinkle the inside of each apple with lemon juice.  Dust the center of each apple with cinnamon.  Add a generous teaspoon of the salted caramel frosting to the center of each apple.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until apples are soft.  Serve warm as side dish or as a fabulous fall dessert topped with your favorite flavor of ice cream or whipped topping.


No need for butter or margarine with this recipe.  The salted caramel frosting pulls double delicious duty as both butter substitute and caramel flavor.  Easy. Delicious. Classic fall flavor.


Nature by Design: What Fall Means To Me

Nature by design is the consummate example of simple yet elegant beauty. Seasonal decorating need not be an exercise in expense or exhaustion.


Rather your seasonal and soon to be holiday decorating involves pulling out all the stops or spot accents here and there, the idea is to invite the season into your home through a visual essay that expresses what fall means to me.

what fall means to me

Still moving at a slowed post surgical procedure pace means I’m mostly guiding the what fall means to me decorating tour of late.  Dave the Builder and my mother are happy to handle the fetch and feather duties.


Thank goodness I like to sit and study a space beyond tape measures and fan decks.  Looking at the world through design and decorating colored glasses promotes a gorgeous result.

“An empty room is a story waiting to happen, and you are the author.” Unknown


Readers of Places In The Home know music beats in the heart and soul of this house.  Music keeps me company in the creative process, and a verse or chorus strikes a note of I’ll groove to that inspiration.  The chorus of singer, pianist, composer, producer and engineer  Carol Duboc’s latest tune, Open the Curtains, mirrors my personal decorating style philosophy.




A punch of personality is as influential to the collective look as the pop of color and the decorative oomph.


What fall means to me is obvious in the gorgeous bouquet of white hydrangeas from my mother and the fall is in the house display Dave the Builder picked up at Kroger.


“Nature is not a place to visit.  It is home.”

– Gary Snyder




Cabbage resting in a mixing bowl staged along side a pie pumpkin gives a simple and fresh nod to fall.


Nature-inspired simple elegance.   I know exactly what fall means to me.

Love your style!



Pumpkin Pie Spice Sugar Scrub

Good morning, afternoon or evening, friends!  Friday is in sight or here which is always a plus. Fall is getting its look and feel on, the small surgical procedure I had Tuesday went well, and I love the way the homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Sugar Scrub turned out.  Anesthesia is drying, and knowing this I wanted to have a hand scrub on hand.  Looking ahead to more fall decorating with the branches and cuttings soon to fill ironstone pitchers and the demijohn Dave the Builder recently found in his rounds, I quickly recalled that getting to and cutting down the aforementioned branches and cuttings do a number on your hands.  Put the pumpkin pie seasoning in the coconut (oil, that is) and treat your hands to a fabulous Pumpkin Pie Spice Sugar Scrub in the morning.

Or noon.

Or night.

You get the point.


After a day filled with political mudslinging from every channel, network and streaming site, am I the only one who feels like a day at the spa treatment is in order?  Pumpkin Pie Spice Sugar Scrub has got you and your hands covered.

pumpkin pie spice sugar scrub

This scrub is super emollient, softens immediately, and can I just tell you- the scent is fall in a bottle.


Mexican vanilla and pumpkin pie spice marry together in notes of fall fragrant harmony.

For the hands:

Dampen hands with tepid water.  Apply a small amount of pumpkin pie spice sugar hand scrub and gently massage in a circular movement to exfoliate and renew skin.  Rinse well with warm water and gently pat dry. To further promote  at home spa experience,  apply a small amount of your favorite hand cream to seal in the moisture and protect.


Taking the new mixing bowl out for a recipe mixing test drive.

Now for the recipe.


Pumpkin Pie Sugar Scrub


½ cup coconut oil; softened

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1½ Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla extract



In a mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together until blended.  Store the Pumpkin Pie Spice Sugar Scrub in jar(s) with air tight lid(s).  The scrub will keep at room temperature for up to one month.




Gorgeous Coming Into Fall Finds View

Gorgeous is coming into fall finds view.  Sprucing up interiors with new and new to you home decor fall finds frames an inviting and stylish picture.


“By all these lovely tokens September days are here, with summer’s best of weather and autumn’s best of cheer.”

—Helen Hunt Jackson

fall finds


Discovering the overnight temps will be in the low 50s throughout much of the week mixed and mingled with the excitement over the home decor fall finds currently catching my eye is a big fall finds deal.

One may even say reason enough to get their it’s fall y’all prep and pretty groove on.

Now for a little housekeeping and the disclosure portion of this post:

As it in life and disclosure policy compliance with FTC rules, honesty is the best policy. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of the product links I have an affiliate relationship with and make a purchase from the retailer, I receive a commission from the sale.  To read the disclosure policy in full (fun, fun) please read my disclosure policy.

Fall Finds


 California Redwood by Benjamin Moore

Color strikes a chord with the eye, nature inspires as only nature can do, and home decor fall finds carry the theme through to the spaces and places we love to decorate.


Owl Moscow Mule Mug 

Small and affordable touches of color, texture and pattern refresh the foundation style.


Broadway Collection End Table Trunk

Stylish storage solution for seasonal throws, blankets and cozy accouterments.


Fox & Hare Serving Bowl

The common denominator of fall color and fall cuisine is the rich, warm and tasteful aspects of their appeal.


Ruffoni Hand-Hammered Copper Chef’s Pan with Wood Spoon

pumpkin-pancakes Pumpkin Pie Pancakes


Vermont Pure Maple Syrup

palmergreen-fall-colorsPalmer Green by Benjamin Moore


Porthos Home Finnick Leisure Chair

benjamin-moore-greenfield-pumpkinGreenfield Pumpkin by Benjamin Moore

sweet-potato-and-green-apple-soupSweet Potato and Green Apple Soup

I like to set the table for seasonal dishes with seasonal dishes.


Expressions Capri Dinner Plate

marble-gold-coastersOld Hollywood Marble Coasters

benjamin-moore-hot-tamaleHot Tamale by Benjamin Moore

painted_ceilings_ericpiaseckiottoPhoto by Eric Piasecki / OTTO

red-lacquered-chestsRed Lacquered Chest


Snow Leopard Throw Blanket

The snap, crackle and pop of fall color naturally evokes a session of seasonal match game.  We associate texture and pattern-fabrics and fibers rich in warmth and coziness with fall decorating and feathering essentials.


Tingari Chocolate Throw Pillows (Set of 2)

Deck the entry halls in warmth and welcome.


Handmade Leopard Print Cowhide Rug

Nature is the ultimate tastemaker- a stunning source of inspiration.  I’m calling this Twig Accent Table by Three Hands  the fall finds deal of the day. Available at Gilt.com, this spot accent table is $39.  There is only one(1) available and is a final sale and non-returnable item.



Maple Leaf Red by Benjamin Moore


Carol Lew Barnyard Royalty Mr. Pig Throw Pillow 

Small spot changes often pack the biggest decorative punch, add decorative interest, and keep updating costs in affordable territory.

pear-tea-towel Do It With Love Tea Towel


French Zinc Corbels

benjamin-moore-butternut-brownButternut Brown by Benjamin Moore



Threshold Ceramic Cookie Jar with Lid 

original_personalised-tinder-sackOriginal Personalized Tinder Sack

benjamin-moore-graphiteGraphite by Benjamin Moore


Toile de Jouy

Adorn the walls, layer with texture and pattern, and light up a crisp evening with a new lamp or light fixture.


Distressed Black Cloche Edison Lamp


Moon Plate

benjamin-moore-newburg-green1Newburg Green by Benjamin Moore


Traditional Home

door-panel-wall-artTeal Panel


Covington Balenciaga Nile Fabric

alden-rugAlden Area Rug

Warming up home and hearth invites the beauty of the current season to lend a stylish look in the pursuit of feathering the nest.

Love your style!

Sage Advice and Astute Observations

Sage advice and astute observations to ponder on this first Friday of fall.


What Mr. Lagerfeld said.


I simply can’t argue with this observation.


I miss the days when no one gave a thought to licking cake batter drenched beaters, raw eggs and all. Lest we forget the days of eating raw cookie dough without an E. coli care in the world.



sage advice

It really is all you need.


Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home to recharge your battery.


I hope you enjoy the splendor of the season on this first weekend of fall at your little house on the prairie.

Love your style!



Tidbits Of All Things House That Make a Home Information

Today I am sharing tidbits of all things house that make a home information.

A design, decorating, dish and detail show and tell resource of information is what drives us here at Places In The Home.

And away we go!

and-away-we-goJackie Gleason

In a recent survey of home decor consumers, the colors blue and purple top the list of color preference when selecting the decorative throw pillows to decorate their humble abode with.


Consumers tastes and preferences also trend toward patterned throw pillows.

Buster-kittySir Kitty Kat

Fleas drives me crazy.   What a swing in subject matter, but into every household an unwanted guest of the bug species will creep in.  We’ve been fortunate over the many years of our pet ownership to only contend with fleas inside the house once.  That is until last month when I noticed we had company.  Sir Kitty Kat aka the culprit gifted the entire house with fleas.  Flea bombing the house with unwanted chemicals was out of the question, and calling an exterminator would be an option of last resort. After conducting a quick google search for help, I decided to go with a natural, safe and inexpensive alternative.

borax information

Is 20 Mule Team Borax a detergent booster or is it a miracle flea be gone treatment?  It’s both!  I used 2 boxes of 20 Mule Team Borax over a 2 week period.  Patience and persistence paid off.  We treated Sir Kitty Kat with a topical flea treatment under our veterinarian’s advisement.  Kitty was scratching to take up residence outdoors for a few days, and admittedly I was happy to oblige him.  I purchased a plastic storage container, a broom, rubber gloves and a box of disposable face masks from the dollar store.  You’ll need two(2) new empty vacuum cleaner bags- one to use during treatment and a fresh new one for after treatment.  Perform a discoloration test by selecting a small area and applying the Borax to rule out the possibility of discoloration.  I only treated the carpet, rugs and floors with the Borax.  I did not use it on fabric or upholstered furniture.

What You Do:

Fill the storage container about 3/4 full per room with 20 Mule Team Borax.  Lightly dust floors, carpets, and rugs with Borax along baseboards, under furniture, in closets.  Use the broom to work the Borax into the carpet.  The Borax dries out the fleas and larvae.  I let the Borax do its thing in the carpet for one week.  Overkill for sure, but we were on a flea killing mission.  Vacuum up the Borax, discard the vacuum bag into a garbage bag and immediately place outside, and pop in a new vacuum bag.


I’ve got the hem tape thing down to a science!

I’ve been called a lot of things in my lifetime, but seamstress is not one of them and rightly so.   All those years ago in high school home economics class I aced the cooking part of the semester.  Sewing cooked my goose.  I come from a long line of no-sew seamstresses.  Button detail and hem tape I’ve mastered, but that’s it for my sewing prowess.


Pincushion curiosity struck while staring at the tomato pincushion that was my mother’s mother’s mother, trying to decide if I really needed the button to be on the pant and not in the drawer.  After consulting with the fountain of information guru that is Google, the what and the why a strawberry is attached to the tomato pincushion mystery was solved. Emory powder is the filler source for the strawberry. The powder is an abrasive, and serves as a cleaner of rust and sharpener of pins and needles.

Glad that’s answered.

I was on pins and needles.


Crazy cake is crazy easy and crazy good.  Do you ever look at recipes and projects and wonder if they really are that easy, that tasty and worth the effort?  You now have it on good authority that this easy peasy crazy cake is.  One pan and no eggs- I love this concept.

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups cold water


Sift flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa together into a 9 x 13 inch ungreased cake pan.  Make three wells. Pour oil into one well, vinegar into second, and vanilla into third well.  Pour cold water over all, and stir well with fork.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean.  To frost or not to frost.  That is the question only your personal preference can answer.


I did not frost the first chocolate crazy cake and it was delicious.  I did frost the second chocolate crazy cake with Duncan Hines Salted Caramel frosting and it was scrumptious.


Choices and caramel make the world go round.  Tidbits of all things house that make a home information does too.

Love your style!

Signs and Sounds: Fall or Autumn Wishfall Thinking

Signs and sounds hinting at an early fall or autumn leads to wishfall thinking.  Concrete proof of fall’s preview peppers the Places In The Home driveway, sidewalk and patio with yellow leaves intermingled among summer’s last holdouts.  As I blog and type “Dancing In The Moonlight” by King Harvest is currently playing on Music Choice.  Now “Night Moves” by Bob Seger is playing.  Two songs played back to back with the lyrics everybody’s dancin’ in the moonlight and with autumn closing in. Changing colors, temps and tastes.  Oh yeah, this is happening.

yellow-fall-leavesWe crazy Louisianians grab hold of the slightest hint of a fall weather preview and hold on for dear life.  Hey, speaking of crazy Louisianians

britney-ellenLouisianians  Ellen DeGeneres and  Britney Spears

Dave and I stood on the front porch for a few minutes Friday night listening to the high school bands playing during the local football Jamboree.  Humidity and mosquitoes crashed our party, making me wish for fall even more.  Hope springs or falls eternal, and I can testify to sure signs of wishfall thinking- shorter days, a changing sun that casts a bright white light through the windows, and wind chimes that play a North wind lullaby.


The first gumbo feast of fall is soon to be cooking in the big blue pot.


Okay.  I couldn’t wait until the official arrival of fall for a gumbo feast.  No respectable Louisiana cook can talk about gumbo and not break out the big blue pot, make some roux, chop up the Cajun trinity, and whip up a pot of chicken and sausage gumbo.  C’est si bon!


The hunt is on for Sportsman’s Paradise activities to do.  Fall festivals of pecan, tamale, meat pie, and funktoberfest are on our fall calendar of events.


A new to me vintage mixing bowl is ready for fall recipe duty.


A bag of fresh and faux apples and a dash of wishfall thinking leads the inspired charge to create delicious apple themed recipes and diy projects.


A Guide to Apples from Williams-Sonoma

1.  Cortland – Crimson in color with a sweet flavor and crisp texture.  Best for:  applesauce and apple butter.

2.  Red Delicious – Softer in texture with a mellow, not-too-sweet flavor. Best for:  apple cider

3.   Braeburn – Reddish-orange with green and yellow streaks and a unique sweet-tart flavor.  Best for:  cooking and baking

4.  Gravenstein  –  A juicy apple with a finely-grained texture and a light yellow or red skin.  Best for:  applesauce and apple cider

5.  Gala  –  Sweet, aromatic and crisp with a light-red color.  Best for: eating raw and applesauce

6.  Fuji  –  Crisp texture and dense flesh with a sugary-sweet flavor.  Best for: eating raw

7.  Pink Lady  –  Crisp in texture and bright pink with a tart-sweet flavor.   Best for:  eating raw

8.  Golden Delicious  –  Very sweet to the taste with a golden yellow color.   Best for:  applesauce and apple butter

9.  Granny Smith  –  Very tart and crisp with a bright green color.  Best for: baking


Wishfall thinking exhibit A as in a fall diamond in the summer rough.  The seasons they are a-changin’.

 Fall Autumn Wishfall Thinking

There is nothing like a good fall preview or autumn sneak peek to build the anticipation of seasonal things to come.  By all accounts, it’s fall y’all!

Love your style!

15 Years Later: Never Forget 9/11

9/11/2016 marks the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks waged against our nation on September 11, 2001.  9/11 will forever be a day steeped in raw emotions.  Sheer disbelief. Shock. Fear of the unknown and sorrow of the now known.  We watched and listened as graphic carnage and deliberate decimation unfolded before our eyes in real time with no filter, no delay button, no censorship.  I wandered out loud my God, is this our new normal?


The Sept. 14, 2001, cover of TIME

I have a hard time remembering what I did yesterday, but I will forever remember every detail, every phone call, and every emotion I experienced that fateful September Tuesday morning in 2001.  I bet you do too.

9/11 flag

9/11 will forever remain the day our nation felt a collective numbness out of shock and sorrow for the innocent and the innocence killed in the terrorist attacks.  Gladys Knight’s beautiful version of “The Way We Were” and the haunting lyric “Try to remember the kind of September When life was slow and oh, so mellow” never fails to turn my thoughts to the morning of September 11, 2001.

What’s too painful to remember we should never choose to forget.  Never Forget 9/11.

“In time, perhaps, we will mark the memory of September the 11th in stone and metal — something we can show children as yet unborn to help them understand what happened on this minute and on this day.

But for those of us who lived through these events, the only marker we’ll ever need is the tick of a clock at the 46th minute of the eighth hour of the 11th day. We will remember where we were and how we felt. We will remember the dead and what we owe them. We will remember what we lost and what we found.

And in our time, we will honor the memory of the 11th day by doing our duty as citizens of this great country, freedom’s home and freedoms defender.”

George W. Bush

The World Will Always Remember 9/11


National September 11 Memorial South Pool

Evil acts tested the stamina, fortitude and resilience of our nation, her citizens, the brave men and women of our military, police, fire and medical departments and city, state and national officials.  We are a changed world.  We may carry and live with the scars, but one thing is certain- The United States of America will never be broken.  Bumped and bruised, but never broken.  We mustn’t allow that to ever happen. Together we are better.


We are the United States of America.  We differ from one another on many points, views and opinions, but when all is said and done, we are one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.  Strong. United. Free.


Flight 93 National Memorial

Through trying times and the best of times, Dave and I never lose sight of our freedoms and how proud we are to be Americans. May God Bless this great nation we call the home, The United States of America.

Tasty Tailgating Recipes For Tailgating Times

Tasty tailgating recipes for tailgating times are on my mind.  Our favorite team is picked, we’ve rallied our friends, and the ideas for tailgating recipes are flowing.  Tailgating is a parking lot or stadium grounds pregame ritual based on the principle of celebrated camaraderie and good food and drink shared among home team friends and fans.  Tailgating sets the pregame football excitement in motion.

tailgating recipesFirst Tailgating- Adams State Grizzlies vs. Texas A&M–Commerce Lions

As fall and football season make their collective presence known, the party atmosphere is everywhere.  Selecting tailgating recipes takes time and thought.  Dishes pleasing to the masses and the pocketbook as well as ones that prove easy to prepare determine many tailgating menus, ours included.  Here’s the starting lineup of tailgating recipes for this season’s tailgating times beginning with the pass a good time crowd-pleaser, Cajun Lemonade.


Cajun Lemonade


2 cups light rum

1 (12-oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce

1 (1-liter) bottle club soda, chilled

Crushed ice & garnishes:  sugarcane sticks, lemon slices


Stir together first 3 ingredients. Add club soda just before serving. Serve over crushed ice. Garnish, if desired.

Southern Living 


Pub-Style Pretzels and Beer Cheese Sauce

1 ½ cups warm water
1 packet active yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour (will need extra for kneading)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg
½ tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon flavored seasoning of your choice (This recipe uses McCormick Grill Mates Molasses & Bacon)

Smoked Gouda and Cheddar Beer Sauce Ingredients
Yield: about one cup
½ cup of beer (This recipe uses Sierra Nevada for its strong taste. Use a wheat beer or blonde ale for a milder taste.)
½ cup grated smoked Gouda
½ cup grated sharp cheddar
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 ½ tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon paprika
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a non-stick baking mat on a cookie sheet.

In a large mixing bowl, add yeast to warm water. Stir until dissolved. Stir in salt and sugar. Once mixed, add flour one cup at a time. Mix thoroughly until dough is thick and no longer sticky.

Create a floured surface for kneading. Knead dough for approximately 5 minutes. Separate dough into even sections, about six.

Roll dough into ropes (Image 1), making width even throughout. Make pretzel shapes by creating a circle with the dough. Twist ends and press down to finish shape (Image 2).

On a plate, mix sea salt and seasoning together for sprinkling. Beat egg in a small bowl and brush on pretzel tops. Place pretzels on baking sheet, and sprinkle salt mixture on top.

Bake for 10 minutes. After the first 5 minutes, switch to broil. Keep an eye on them to avoid over-browning. Remove from oven and serve warm with beer cheese dip.

Smoked Gouda and Cheddar Beer Sauce
In small saucepan, heat beer on low until it bubbles. Slowly whisk in flour, then add cheese (Image 3).  Whisk until smooth.

Add sour cream, mustard and paprika while whisking. Add more flour for a thicker sauce, or more beer for a thinner sauce. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.  Yield: 6-8 pretzels



Tailgating Olive Dip


8 oz. cream cheese
1  cup  olives, chopped (I use green salad olives)
½ cup mayonnaise
2  tbsp. juice from olives
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1  teaspoon hot sauce, optional
½  cup finely chopped pecans


Soften cream cheese. Mix remainder of ingredients.  Best to prepare the night before to allow flavors to marry.  Keep chilled during transport. Serve with pita chips or cracker of choice.

tailgating-food-ideasBetter Homes and Gardens

Imitation is the highest form of tailgating tablescapes flattery.


Flamin’ Cinnamon Cider


In a large saucepan heat cider over medium heat until hot, but not simmering.  Add candies; stir until melted.   To serve, float apple slices on the cider mixture.  If desired, top with orange peel strips.

-Better Homes and Gardens


I like items that pull double duty.  Is it an urn for a fall foliage centerpiece or is it a stylish holder for bottles of liquid fall in a glass aka apple cider?

wood-planterClancy Wood Urn Planter

board-traySur la table


bone-handled-cheese-knivesBone Handled Cheese Knives



Bread Bags 


copper-bowl-with-handlesHammered Copper Bowl with Handles

paper coneBamboo Leaf Cone

caramel peanut popcorn snack mix

Caramel Peanut Popcorn Snack Mix

15 cups popped popcorn (about 3/4 cup kernels)
vegetable cooking spray
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup butter
½ cup dark corn syrup
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts
wax paper
1 (10.5 oz.) package candy-coated peanut butter pieces (such as Reese’s Pieces)


Preheat oven to 325°. Spread popcorn in an even layer on a lightly greased (with cooking spray) heavy-duty aluminum foil-lined 13- x 18-inch pan. Stir together brown sugar and next 3 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; bring to a simmer, and simmer, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Pour over popcorn, and stir gently to coat.

Bake at 325° for 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Add peanuts during last 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and spread on lightly greased (with cooking spray) wax paper. Cool completely (about 20 minutes). Break apart large pieces, and stir in candy pieces. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Southern Living


Corn and Black-Eyed Pea Salad aka Death Valley Salad 


2 cans black-eyed peas
2 cans white corn, drained
2 cans yellow corn, drained
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium purple onion, finely chopped
1 medium bunch green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper, optional
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup white vinegar


Chop bell pepper, celery, purple onion, and green onions, add to large bowl.  Add black-eyed peas,  drained white & yellow corn.  In separate mixing bowl combine sugar, oil, and vinegar, mixing well.  Pour over salad, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Kitchen Daily


Four-Chile Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ½ pounds ground sirloin or chuck
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large Spanish onion (1 ½ pounds), coarsely chopped
8 large garlic cloves, minced
3 large jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 ½ tablespoons sweet paprika
¼ cup tomato paste
Two 28-ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes, coarsely chopped and juices reserved
3 cups chicken or beef stock or canned low-sodium broth
Two 19-ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Pinch of cinnamon
Coarsely chopped cilantro, for serving
Sour cream, for serving

Heat the olive oil in a enameled cast-iron casserole. Add half the ground beef in large chunks and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat until brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Stir and cook until most of the pink is gone, about 3 minutes; keep the meat in large chunks. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining meat.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the casserole. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeños and cook over moderately low heat, stirring often, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the ancho powder and paprika and cook over low heat, stirring often, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the paste is glossy and starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, the chicken stock and the cooked beef and any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.

Add the kidney beans, chipotles and oregano and simmer for 30 minutes longer. Season with salt, pepper and a large pinch of cinnamon. Remove from the heat and let stand for at least 20 minutes. Reheat before serving.
Serve the chili in bowls, topped with a generous sprinkling of cilantro. Can be refrigerated for up to 4 days and frozen for up to 2 months.

-Food & Wine

chili-spoonsFood presentation, especially when tailgating, should be fun. These Chili Cook-Off Wooden Spoons from Personalized Gallery take first, second and third place in the category of how fun!


Serveware ideas include mahogany wood chargers, sugar molds used as a utensils holder, cast iron skillets in assorted sizes, Lodge cast iron mini serving bowls perfect  for  chili, soup and stew, cake stands, chalkboard picks, baker’s twine, take out boxes, and galvanized hot dog trays (clearance priced right).

purple-burlapBurlap is the original if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it tailgating accessory.  I like to keep burlap on the list of tailgating decorating and tablescape items because of its durability and inexpensive price tag.  Versatile for table covers, table skirts and table runners, burlap is a very forgiving fabric. Spills happen.  If a stain should occur, cover it up with a serving tray or platter of food (hey, every good tailgating host and hostess does it) for the duration of your tailgating soiree.  There’s no use in crying over spilled chili, dip, cocktails, etc…  Between tailgating times, head over to the fabric store or online retailer near you for several more yards of this tailgating friendly fabric.


Jack Cheese and Smoky Chipotle Fondue


4 slices bacon, halved crosswise
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup finely chopped red or yellow sweet pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (16 ounces)
2 8 – ounce carton sour cream
2 -3 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
French or Italian bread, cut into bite-size cubes
Tortilla chips or tortilla chip cups

In a heavy, medium saucepan, cook bacon till crisp. Remove bacon; reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan. Drain bacon on paper towels; crumble bacon and set aside.

Add green onion, sweet pepper and garlic to saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat about 5 minutes or till vegetables are tender. Stir in flour. Stir in cheese, sour cream and chipotle peppers. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.
Transfer cheese mixture to fondue pot over a fondue burner or slow-cooker on the low-heat setting. Top with crumbled bacon. Keep warm up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with bread cubes or tortilla chips.

-Midwest Living



The Hummingbird Cupcake

Prepare cupcakes according to box directions.  Allow to cool.  Stir 1 cup chopped toasted pecans and 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon into canned frosting.  Garnish with fresh pineapple wedges, banana chips, and pecan halves.

Southern Living

LSU pitcherGo Team Go Serving Pitcher.  Pick one up on your way to the game at Cracker Barrel.  Yes, Cracker Barrel.  

Citrus Tea Punch


6 cups water, divided

½ cup sugar

3 whole cloves

2 family-sized tea bags

1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick

1 cup orange juice

1 (6-ounce) can thawed lemonade concentrate, undiluted


Lemon slices (optional)


Combine 4 cups water and sugar in a heavy saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until sugar dissolves; remove from heat.  Add cloves, tea bags, and cinnamon; steep 5 minutes.  Strain mixture through a sieve into a pitcher; discard solids.  Add remaining 2 cups water, juice, and lemonade concentrate; stir well.  Chill.  Serve over ice, and garnish with lemon slices, if desired.

-My Recipes