Monday, September 22, 2014

Owls have landed for the Fall

I love these owls made of natural material.  I have very slowly built this collection of owls.  This is several years in the making! 
This year though, I found the owls a new friend... a squirrel.  Of course there should be a squirrel searching for acorns in the "tree" that the owls are sitting on.

I think the owls are just the cutest.  I also like how they are not very in-your-face which is what I find a lot of Fall decor to be.

You can see now the squirrel sits at the end of the leaf branch.  


Linking up with these fabulous link parties: The Scoop! Inspire Me Tuesday, Wow us Wednesdays! What's it WednesdaysCenterpiece WednesdaysCreative Ways,Tablescape ThursdayTreasure Hunt ThursdayHome Sweet Home Feathered Nest Fridays,G'day Saturdays,

Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 19, 2014

Oktoberfest-themed Tablescape!

Today I'm sharing with you my tablesetting I made for Oktoberfest!  Oktoberfest starts on September 20 this year.  Last year, I had the privilege to visit Germany during the start of the Oktoberfest.  What a sight to see!

I used my Bavarian nutcrackers in the center.  From left to right: an Oktoberfest salesman, a wine maker, and the Bavarian dressed up in full regalia. 

Oktoberfest-themed table
 The Oktoberfest themed nutcracker is seen closer here.  I printed off the Lebkuchenherzen (the gingerbread hearts) and placed them on top of each plate.
Oktoberfest themed party table setting
  If you've been to Germany you would've noticed these little gingerbread hearts everywhere:
lebkuchenherzen
Now looking from the other side... another nutcracker comes into view.  You will also noticed scattered around the table I have little steins.

The steins are vintage.  Most people pick them up as souvenirs from their travels. I picked mine up at an estate sale.  Ironically, I've been to all the places that are featured on the little steins... and I didn't have to lug them back in my suitcase and paid a fraction of the price! I call that a win-win!

close up
The official colors of Oktoberfest are blue and white.  However, since it is also a harvest festival, I thought using orange looked good and it compliments the blue.
Oktoberfest themed party table setting
 One last look!

If you are interested in printing off your own Lebkuchenherzen for your own party, here are the links:
I hope you enjoyed my Oktoberfest themed table!  Be sure to check out my other posts about how to throw a great Oktoberfest party.

Bonus - last year when I was at a cow-festival in Austria (basically an Oktoberfest type festival), I took a picture of these cute little kids.  Don't they look straight out of a postcard?
postcard children

Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A look back at Fall from last year

As I've been busy decorating for the season this year, I thought I would revisit some of my posts from last year.

Last year's scary cat and pumpkin bear table.  


A beautifully decorated Fall doorway... just not my front door!


A look at Halloweentime at Disneyland 2013



The BEST pumpkin festival I've EVER been to in my whole life! Over 450,000 pumpkins!!


A Fall tablescape



I made pumpkin waffles


and a healthy Fall Harvest Salad


and I shared about antique Clapsaddle Halloween postcards.


I have other posts too, but frankly I'm a little embarrassed by my picture taking skills!  I've learned a lot about photography in one year, especially since I now have a Canon rebel.

Linking up with these fabulous link parties: The Scoop! Inspire Me Tuesday, Wow us Wednesdays! What's it WednesdaysCenterpiece WednesdaysCreative Ways,Tablescape ThursdayTreasure Hunt ThursdayHome Sweet Home Feathered Nest Fridays,G'day Saturdays,

Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com/



Monday, September 15, 2014

Copycat Pumpkin Spice Latte

I updated my pumpkin spice latte recipe.  I posted one last year, but after some trials through the season I've altered it.  I can't keep going to Starbucks (I said that last year too!).     
copycat pumpkin spice latte recipe
Copycat Pumpkin Spice Latte

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup fat free milk
  • 3/4 tablespoon canned pumpkin
  • 1-2 packet of sweetener or sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 tsp for a spicier drink)
  • 1/2 cup strongly brewed coffee (or 1 nespresso pod, either lungo or regular)
  • Whipped cream, optional

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, whisk together milk, pumpkin, and sugar/sweetener on medium heat.
  2. Once steaming, mix in vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.  Whisk quickly so it develops a nice foam.
  3. Add to brewed coffee.
  4. Add whipped cream to the top (optional), with a dash of pumpkin pie spice.

I estimate the calories to be around 60-70 with this cup of pumpkin spice latte!

copycat pumpkin spice latte
Linking up with these fabulous link parties: The Scoop!,  Inspire Me Tuesday,Wow us Wednesdays! What's it WednesdaysCreative Ways, Treasure Hunt ThursdayHome Sweet Home Feathered Nest Fridays,Foodie FridayG'day Saturdays,

Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com
search terms: pumpkin spice latte recipe, copycat starbucks pumpkin spice latte recipe, DIY starbucks pumpkin spice latte, #PSL

Friday, September 12, 2014

Oktoberfest Party Ideas

How to throw an awesome Oktoberfest Party

This year the official Oktoberfest starts on September 20.  It's time to start pulling together your ideas for your Oktoberfest party!  I've created a list to help you out!


1. Oktoberfest-themed invitations -  I found these cute ones on Etsy. A cute hand-made invitation can even be a fun keepsake.  Be sure to ask the creator how much of it can actually be customized to your taste.

2. Oktoberfest music - No Oktoberfest party is complete if there isn't an oom-pah-pah band playing in the background!  I listened to various albums through Amazon and found this one to be my favorite:Traditional Oktoberfest music.  Music is essential when entertaining.  By setting the tone, it often enhances the atmosphere, and helps make it a 'good time' as you wait for guests to arrive.

3. German beer - You should serve only German beer at your Oktoberfest!  There are only six breweries in Munich that can produce the official Oktoberfest beer.  You should buy from one of them: HofbräuAugustinerPaulaner, Hacker-PschorrSpaten, and Löwenbräu.  Traditionally, it is also served in the 1 Liter glass beer stein.

4. Oktoberfest-themed decor - I found these really cute printables which would be great for labeling your appetizers and food. I like these themed-printables because it adds the extra little oomph that your party might be needing.  It's also inexpensive.

5. Plates and napkins - Blue and white are the colors of Oktoberfest.  This bundled plate wear is festive and fun. Or, if you want a say in the decorations, you can create your own plates and placemats for your party through Shutterfly.

6. Traditional German Food - Break out the schnitzel and sauerkraut!  Here are some links to some great recipes:
7. Coasters - Where are you going to set down your cold drinks?  How about on some nice coasters!  Many people like to keep their coasters as souvenirs from when they visit Germany.  Why don't you make some custom coasters through Shutterfly and give them out as party favors? For something truly authentic, you could also purchase some German coasters here.

8 and 9: Dirndl and Lederhosen: If you really want to get into the spirit of Oktoberfest, I recommend purchasing a dirndl or lederhosen; these are theme-appropriate outfits that will surely make you the 'hostess with the mostess'. This blog post has some great information about how to buy a dirndl.  The German Import Haus sells authentic German outfits.

Some quick Oktoberfest FAQ:

What exactly is Oktoberfest?
It is a celebration that has been held nearly every year since 1810 in Munich, Germany.  It is a 16-day festival that runs from late September into the first weekend in October.  It was started on October 12, 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on the Theresienwiese (Theresa's Meadow).  To this day, the celebrations are still held on the Theresienwiese!  In Munich, an average of 6 million people visit during this festival.

Why is it called Oktoberfest when it starts in September?
The festival was moved up to enjoy the nicer weather of September.


For more information about the Oktoberfest, visit here.

Linking up with these fabulous link parties: The Scoop!,  Inspire Me Tuesday,Wow us Wednesdays! What's it WednesdaysCenterpiece WednesdaysCreative Ways Home Sweet Home Feathered Nest FridaysG'day Saturdays,

Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Floral Arrangements in the Tulipiere

A while ago a blogged about tulipieres.  For my birthday this year I received a tulipiere from my parents!  (I think they read the blog post!).

I have enjoyed putting flowers in this wonderful vase.  You can break it down and have 3 separate vases OR you can have one tall vase!  That's one of the reasons I love it.

Let's take a look at some of the pictures I've taken through the Summer! 
tulipiere with ranunculus, daffodils, and purple stalks

I had taken better pictures of the one below but I can't find *any* of the pictures other than this crummy one from my phone. Oh well, you get the idea... I used mums and stalks. 

The tulipiere displaying... tulips! It takes about 3 dozen flowers to fill the thing up! 
What's so neat about this vase is that you can create a HUGE impact with it.  Below is one that my husband had waiting for me when I got home from a trip! *awwww* He did a good job, didn't he?
The tulipiere stands at almost 3 feet tall!  I LOVE it!  I love how full this arrangement is.  

a sunflower for the end of Summer!
I hope you enjoyed looking at my pretty flowers! I enjoyed having them!

Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com


Monday, September 8, 2014

Starbucks Pumpkin Scones... Recalled?!

With Starbucks introducing their famed pumpkin spice lattes this week, which I have happily sipped down, I found myself missing something with my Fall treat: their pumpkin scone.  I went to three (yes, three, and no, I'm not ashamed to admit I've been to Starbucks three times in 8 days) and could NOT find a pumpkin scone.
Pumpkin Scone
The new looking Starbucks "La Boulange" pumpkin scone pic source - Starbucks
...but there it was, front and center on the menu! All three times I had asked, I was met with a similar response: "we are currently out." Finally, on the third try, I thought this was too much of a coincidence and I mentioned something to the barista. With shifty eyes, she looked around and finally whispered, "they have been recalled".

Pumpkin Scone
the "old looking" pumpkin scone pic source -Starbucks
Recalled.  There ya have it! I KNEW something was up... because why else would a company put something front and center and then not have any product in the store? After switching to a new looking scone and likely a new recipe based on the pictures in their ads, I guess something went awry.  This scone was likely produced by their (in)famous collaboration with La Boulange Bakery.

Alas, now I must sip my pumpkin spice latte with my cereal at home.  Or, since I have been craving the scone, I will try to bake my own copycat recipe.  And hey, it will likely taste better than a new recipe produced by the Boulange bakery, if their old vs new cranberry orange scone is any indication. (Old cranberry scone = much better!).  You can spot differences in the pictures above.

I found a few recipes for copycat Starbucks pumpkin scones. I've rounded them up below. Likely one will hit the spot!

Copycat Pumpkin Scone Recipe #1 

Copycat Pumpkin Scone recipe #2

Copycat Pumpkin Scone Recipe #3

An internet search as of 9/7/14 only brought up one anonymous person mentioning that there were pieces of glass or plastic in the scones and that was the reason they've been recalled.  I don't know whether to believe it or not, but what I do know is that Starbucks is being silent on the manner as no official press releases are out.  I would have assumed they are recalled due to the scones causing turkey squirts or something of the like.

Either way, I will be trying one of these yummy looking copycat recipes (which are also likely healthier) to go with my morning #PSL.

And I may just have to start making my own pumpkin spice lattes like I did last year.  Check out my recipe for DIY copycat pumpkin spice lattes. 

***UPDATE*** 9/14/14
Still no official word from Starbucks.  Several people have reported here and on another message board that there has been glass/plastic as I noted previously before.  Someone else noted that when they received the scones in their store and reheated them, they were super soggy and all of the frosting melted off.  I find it hard to believe that all batches of these scones had plastic or glass in them... maybe a few, but all of them??  Usually when foods are mass produced they go through an xray to look for metal/glass but plastic would be missed on xray. While some batches of scones may have some glass or plastic in them, I think more likely when the scones were reheated they were soggy and gross.  A poor recipe would affect every single scone in the country... while a few pieces of glass or plastic would only affect a few batches.  If it were really glass or plastic, then they should have thrown those out by now and have distributed new scones.... but they haven't.  Which makes me think it's also a recipe problem.  My 2 cents.  Also, can't believe I'm the only blogger that has written about this!  We wants ze scones!

These opinions are my own. Recipes and their respective pictures are from the sources in the links.
Search terms:
#PSL
Pumpkin scone recall by Starbucks
Copycat Starbucks pumpkin scone recipe
copycat Starbucks pumpkin spice latte recipe

Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com