Foodie Friday – Berry Salad with Candied Pecans

Posted in Foodie Friday, Main at 6:38 pm by carrie

It’s the Summer to Fall transitional salad (since it’s still been so warm lately!) ;) I’m making enough for 4 people here…

What you’ll need:

  • Sugar
  • Pecan Halves
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberry vinaigrette (or any vinaigrette… really)
  • Baby romaine lettuce or spring mix – two small boxes or one big box (Earthbound Farm, etc)
  • Gorgonzola cheese – one small tub
  • Ground black pepper (optional)

We’ll make the candied pecans first. Now… these things get HOT… anything where sugar is melting is HOT and a tad dangerous, so please be careful!

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil first, and have it ready.

I’ve seen pecan to sugar ratios anywhere from 8:1 to 1:1. I sort of did 4 cups pecans to 2 cup sugar… how sweet you want it is up to you. Some people add butter, olive oil and even a smidge of balsamic vinegar… but I kept it simple. Put your pecans and sugar in a deep-ish non-stick skillet and get a wooden spoon ready to go. Fire it up to low-medium heat and stir constantly!!

Keep everything moving… the sugar should start melting and turn into drops of brown goo… like so:

Keep it moving! Get all the pecans coated and all the granulated sugar should disappear:

Then, spread them on that cookie sheet to cool for about 30 minutes:

So really… the rest is just prep, cutting, cleaning and assembling because there isn’t any more actual cooking involved! Hooray!

Clean your berries… and cut up your strawberries:

Get a big bowl and put your salad leaves into it. Get your raspberry vinaigrette ready and dump about… oh, 1/4 – 1/2 cup or so (more or less depending on your taste) over all the lettuce and toss carefully using tongs. I used two different kinds of raspberry vinaigrette… one from Trader Joe’s and one from our local grocery store, Harris Teeter. I found that the TJ’s had a slighter sweet taste and the HT’s was more tart… it was a good mix!

To assemble… I used the tongs to get a heaping helping of dressed lettuce onto the plate. I then placed the strawberry slices and blueberries all around the outside of the lettuce. I then put the candied pecans on top in the middle… you may need to break them up a bit with your hands. After this, I placed a generous amount of Gorgonzola cheese on top. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, if desired.

This is a great salad and those pecans really make it super amazing! Make enough pecans to snack on later because they are addicting (and they are better than most trick-or-treat candy out there!) ;)

I’ve seen other variations of this salad… making the pecans with brown sugar, making them spicy pecans, using walnuts instead. And you can use spinach instead of greens, add mango, apples or pears… some avocado, a different cheese etc etc. The internet is full of different recipes, check it out :)

Have a fabulous weekend!!!!

Thrifty Thursday – Halloween 50% off :)

Posted in Main, Thrifty Thursday! at 11:23 am by carrie

I’m SO late with this post!

All of what is left with Halloween goodies is 50% off on our website!

There are also random sales going on over at our ebay store. Halloween, Christmas, jewelry etc etc.

I’m also adding lots of beads and charms for your jewelry making adventures to our ebay store… at great prices, too! After cleaning out all of my supplies… yikes… I have a lot to get rid of :)

Hope everyone is getting ready for this weekend!! The weather is great over here… can’t wait! :) Happy Halloween!


LWICD Wednesday – Jewelry Mess…

Posted in Look What I Can Do Wednesday, Main, Sharing the Handmade Love at 3:46 pm by carrie

I guess I should say… look at the mess I can make!

Beads make a mess… they roll around, they get into things, the boxes get dropped and frantically get scooped back together in no particular order… it’s really gotten out of hand over the last 18 (!!) years.

So… here is what I’m starting with…

There is SO much to clean up (And there is actually about 12 more boxes I’m not showing here… eek!!) … I should just sell it all on ebay and start over ;) hehe

I did manage to get some jewelry made, though (and yes, I hung it on the chandelier again)!

This gold/fall color necklace can be found here.

This silver/gray/red/peach necklace can be found here.

And I’m still working on more earrings to match these guys ;)

So… it’s a jewelry-centric sort of day! And outside, it’s windy and tropical and unseasonably warm… The two counties north and west of us are on a “tornado watch”. This translates into… “stock up on beer” for most folks :/ I think I’ll just organize baubles! :)

18 years of beads… wow.


2of2 for Tuesday – Meg-Centric…

Posted in Main, two for tuesday at 2:06 pm by carrie

So, I’m thinking our girl needs a new collar… there are some fab ones on etsy… here are my faves:

There are TOO many to choose from :) (Some are more practical than others, I realize…)

1of2 for Tuesday – Meg’s Birthday is coming…

Posted in Main, two for tuesday at 9:16 am by carrie

Our little girl is going to be 7 soon!

How did the time fly?!?

I know it’s a tad corny… but here are some snaps from the last 7ish years…

The day we brought her home on 12/30/2003…

Shadow Hills and the trampoline she loved… and her first beach trip… 2004

2005-2006 – Puppyhood no more :)


2009-2010 – Her first time in the snow!

Meg has been to 12 states and has been over the Golden Gate Bridge, seen some giant redwood trees, been to Disneyland and Disneyworld (on property, at least), seen the Painted Desert in New Mexico, the Mississippi river and has posed for us in so many other places… she’s such a great travel companion. We really should do this 365 day calendar ;)

I love this sweet dog more everyday :)


Magazine Monday – Purple

Posted in Interior Design, Magazine Monday, Main at 2:16 pm by carrie

I used a lot of purple in the store, but I’ve been hesitant to bring it into my house. I love it as an accent color, but I’m not sure about an entire wall, let alone an entire room. I love color, but somehow, to me… purple is intimidating.

My Aunt Dee has an entire purple bathroom (Perhaps she’ll email me some pictures!), and my Mom has 3 rooms in her home that are purple (You can see them in the last 2 pictures below… her home in California was featured in Cottage Style Magazine a few years ago). With all of the color courage in my family you’d think I’d just dive right in since it’s in my genes :)

(I love how the boys posed for the camera… Oh how I wish I could give those two little doggie munchkins a bit of smothering right now!! Really really wish.)


Weekend Adventure – Nutmeg goes to the Pumpkin Patch

Posted in Main, Weekend Adventure at 10:21 pm by carrie

Jean’s Berry Patch doubles as our local pumpkin patch and it’s 10 minutes away. We got free apple cider, 3 pumpkins, a few onions and a few peppers, too… all for under $20.00. They have fresh produce most of the year… we’re pretty excited that we found this place :)

Umm… with the obscene amount of Meg pictures we have, we should start a 12-month, 365 dog-a-day calendar… hehe :)


FF – Pumpkin Skillet Cornbread

Posted in Foodie Friday, Main at 6:04 pm by carrie

The Pit in Raleigh is famous for their BBQ and ribs (And their ribs even won on an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay on the Food Network) … but on this trip, I was blown away by their pumpkin skillet cornbread with maple butter.

The cornbread was moist and held together more like a muffin or cake…it wasn’t dry and crumbly like most cornbread I’ve had. It also had a lot of spice and the maple butter was just a tad sweet. I’m not now a quest for the perfect recipe.

I found one recipe over at Diana’s Desserts:

Spiced Pumpkin Cornbread

Servings: 16

A nice change from regular dinner rolls that are usually served at Thanksgivng. This sweet and spicey cornbread will go so well with your traditional turkey dinner and your guests will love it.

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan or a 8 or 9-inch square or round oven safe cast iron skillet. Sprinkle bottom and sides with 1 tablespoon cornmeal; set aside.

In a medium-size bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice; set aside. In a medium-size bowl, lightly beat eggs. Stir in pumpkin, milk, oil, brown sugar, molasses, and orange zest. Add to flour mixture, stirring only until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth top with a rubber spatula. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand in pan 10 minutes before cutting. Cut into squares and serve with lots of butter and honey.

Makes 16 (2-inch) squares.

I’m going to try this… and add fresh ground ginger to mine and try to make that maple butter… I will report back! :) Oh, and I don’t own a cast iron skillet… now I’m going to have to hit all the thrift stores for the perfect one ;)

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »