No-Bake Fall Desserts!

Why not throw together a couple delicious fall treats without ever turning the oven on? Removing baking from the equation speeds up your prep time and removes an imposing barrier that usually keeps us from baking: baking! Try these no-bake autumn desserts and let us know how it goes!

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Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwiches!

Mix heavy whipping cream with pureed pumpkin that you scooped out of your pumpkin before you carved your Jack-O-Lantern (or from a can!). Stir in a dash of pumpkin pie spice to add an aromatic quality to your dessert! Then smear this delicious mixture onto graham cracker squares, placing a square on top to make a mini-sandwich! Freeze, then enjoy!

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Pumpkin Pie Bites!

Mix cool whip, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spices, softened cream cheese, and a bit of sugar to taste. Place this in a clean Ziploc bag and cut a tiny hole in the corner! Squirt enough to fill each phyllo cup (you can find phyllo dough cups in the frozen section of your grocery store!) and then place one half-pecan on top as decoration! You can also lightly dust with cinnamon to add aesthetic appeal to these bite-sized yummies!

Autumn Apple Recipes!

Nothing says fall more than apples of all colors and sizes! Use this year’s crop of apples to decorate your dining table in a gorgeous display or to create yummy autumnal recipes to keep your belly warm and your spirits high!

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Simple Microwave Apple Dessert. The queen of easy desserts is here to make your fall afternoon delicious! Cut an apple in half. Then in quarters. Core the apple. Sprinkle the apple quarters with sugar and cinnamon. Place the sprinkled apple quarters on a plate. Microwave for 2 minutes, checking on the apples after 1 minute. Eat your soft and delicious and sweet and yummy apple treat!

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Apple Cutie Pies. This idea is for those who struggle to make a perfect crust or who want to avoid the hassle of putting together a full pie! Instead, pick up 2 pie crusts from your local supermarket. Smear caramel sauce over one of your pie crusts, coating the entire surface. Then sprinkle apple-pie filling on top of the caramel. (To make apple-pie filling: heat chopped apples in melted butter in a pot; once the apples start to soften, add brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; finally add a bit of cornstarch and lemon juice and remove from heat!). Slice your other pie crust into strips and place them in a lattice over the other pie crust. Then use a cookie cutter to cut out little round cutie pies! Place them on a cookie sheet and brush them egg and sprinkle with cinnamon! Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Apple-icious!

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Chocolate apple pops. Feeling intimidated by caramel apples? Trying to not break a tooth on the caramel candy apples this year? No problem! Cut your apples into discs (place apple upright and cut into circles then place one Popsicle stick into the base of each circle, this will make your apple slices look like flat lollipops!) and dip into chocolate instead of caramel. Once the chocolate has cooled for about 10  minutes in your fridge, drizzle with caramel and sprinkle with sprinkles!

Decadent Fall Drinks!

The colder months open up a treasure trove of warm boozy beverage options to keep the spirits up and the body heated! Indulge in tasty steaming drink this fall and relax after a long day!

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Boozy Hot Chocolate. Heat up some whole milk on your stove top and stir in your darkest, most decadent cocoa powder. Add a dash of paprika to give your drink a more subtle depth of flavor. Stir in a splash of dark rum. Pour yourself a glass and top with a healthy portion of whipped cream.

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Cafe Liegeois. Named after the Belgian city of Liege for their brave battle during WWII to give France time to prepare, this after dinner treat is a French specialty and can be enjoyed year round. We find it especially delicious on a cold night, as the blend of cool and hot really adds to its appeal. Prepare a strong double espresso. Scoop coffee ice cream into a large glass and pour your espresso over the ice cream. Top with Chantilly and crumbled speculoos cookies!

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Gluhwein. If you ever find yourself in Germany during the winter months, treat yourself to a trip to their Christmas Markets where you can wander the stalls with a hot mug of Gluhwein, keeping warm and taking in the sights! To make this satisfying hot wine, heat 1 cup of orange juice, ½ cup sugar and 2 cinnamon sticks in a pot on your stove top. Squeeze the juice of 2 oranges into the mixture, stirring. Then push cloves into the skin of those 2 oranges and drop the clove-filled orange peels into the mixture! Add a full bottle of red wine and let the mixture simmer until the flavors waft through the kitchen! Serve to your grateful and impressed guests!

Movie Night Gear!

Time to get your supplies ready for the perfect movie night! Before you snuggle in for the cozy experience of watching a movie with your loved one in the dark, going on a journey through your imaginations while you sit happily in your living room, you must gather the necessary gear…

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Throw. Warm throws and blankets are of the utmost importance when putting together the ideal snuggle movie spot. Make sure you choose soft options that are kind to your skin in case you gently fall asleep and need to use your blanket as a headrest!

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Sleeper Sofa. A comfortable and supportive sofa is a key factor. Your experience will be greatly enhanced if your sofa can be transformed into a bed (by being opened out or folded down depending on whether you prefer the modern sleek look of a futon or if you opt for the traditional silhouette of a sleeper sofa).

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Dimming lights. Whether you are watching the tamest romantic comedy or the most gut-wrenching horror flick, it can be nice to have some ambient light on in the room where you are enjoying your film! Having lamps that can dim to appropriate mood lighting will keep you from having to choose between full blaring light and utter darkness!

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Snacks. Popcorn in all of its different incarnations in a must. Beverages in spill-proofs containers will allow you to sip at your leisure while you watch, without reaching for a flat surface in the dark and risking spills. Collections of healthy snacks in little containers will offer variety and give you something to nibble on during scary movies to keep you from biting your fingernails!

5 Yummy Popcorn Recipes

A big bowl of piping hot popcorn will complete any movie night, but who said it needs to be plain ole’ microwave popcorn with a dash of salt? Why not mix things up and add a bit more flavor to your movie night?

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Garlic Butter. This requires mincing a couple cloves of garlic and mixing them into a bit of melted butter. Then pour this delicious and aromatic mixture over your popcorn a tasty take on a classic snack!

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Cinnamon and Sugar. Sweeten it up with a spoonful of sugar! Melt a bit of butter and then mix in 2 tablespoons of cinnamon powder and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Pour this decadent concoction over your popcorn for treat that recalls the childhood joy of lazy Saturdays and cinnamon toast!

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Paprika and Pepper. Give your movie night guests a bit of a spicy thrill when you add 2 tablespoons of Paprika and 2 tablespoons of black pepper to your popcorn! Add these spices with no extra butter so you can create a gritty spicy effect. Add the zest of 2 limes and then squeeze their juice over the popcorn to complete the flavor palette!

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Spicy Wasabi. Mix 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tsp of sesame oil  and pour this over you popcorn, mixing well, Then add in 1 cup of shredded dried seaweed and 1 cup of spicy Wasabi Peas!  

Halloween Scary Movie Night!

Whether you are getting together with your friends for a fright night, looking for the perfect movie to project on the wall during your Halloween party or simply looking for a sufficiently terrifying movie to get you in the Halloween mood, here are a few ideas to get you on the right track!

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The Funny Option: Shaun of the Dead

This spoof of the zombie classic “Dawn of the Dead” will make you laugh but it will also keep you on your toes with well timed scares and jump out of your seat close encounters with the brain-eating dead!

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The Cult-Classic Option: Nightmare Before Christmas

This Tim Burton stop motion animated musical holiday extravaganza will get you meditating on the meaning of the holiday season, the spookiness of Halloween, the goodness in everyone and fun of Halloween! The songs will stick with you throughout the season and you might be inspired for your Halloween costumes!

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The Snuggle Option: Young Frankenstein

Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder at their best, puns and vaudevillian jokes and physical humor abound, shout-outs to classic horror fill the screen and Frankenstein’s monster might even tap dance! Watch this movie as you snuggle up, no need to worry about being legitimately scared, this is all laughs!

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The ‘Scare your pants off’ Option: The Shining

Not for the faint of heart, there is a reason this monster from the imagination fo Stephen King has risen to such great heights of acclaim, it continues to bring the creepy, continues to make you jump, to make you bite your fingernails, to bring you to edge of your seat and into the confusing mind of a psychopath. Happy Halloween!

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The “Never Sleep Again” Option:Halloween

I might recommend leaving the lights on for this one, Given the title, it’s hard to resist watching this frightening account of a lone killer rampaging through suburbia on the day of Halloween. Grab a buddy, though, please don’t watch this alone. Preferably watch it in broad daylight. Eek!

How to Fill an Empty Space!

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Notice the light. Before you begin dreaming about the perfect love-seat or the ideal floor mirror to lean against the wall, take a step back and just examine your empty home. Observe the natural light, notice if you get more light in the morning or the afternoon, be aware of spots that might have a glare, or spots that might need some lighting assistance. This crucial step will save you time and money farther down the decor road!

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Remember the flow of traffic. Sometimes we can get so carried away with the aesthetic beauty of our space that we can forget the immensely important practical side of decor! Your home will ideally have people moving through the space, and it is vital that you put some thought in the patterns of foot traffic, how you will get from one room to the next, where the dinner guests will most likely float after a meal, how important the movement from the entryway to the family room is. Any amount of thought you put into the flow of the space will help you choose a floor plan and furniture pieces that enhance the social life of your home, instead of constricting it!

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Form follows function. There is nothing wrong with having a gorgeous and insanely impractical coffee table. The only thing to remember is that one the whole, you want your space to serve the function of being a living space and then to take on the aesthetic form you desire. Choosing beauty over function for every aspect of your home will make the space cold and uninviting. Make sure you are choosing a decor that ‘works’ and then you can make sure it is beautiful as well!