Sunday, October 28


Halloween ideas from Pinterest. If you have never experienced's a link to my page. Try it out.......
you'll be glad ya did!

the domestic curator ~ ronda

Saturday, October 27


How about throwing a pumpkin carving party on the Sunday afternoon before Halloween? It can be great fun for people of all ages. Whether you throw a party for your adult friends, your teenagers and their friends, a group of younger children or for a few families in the neighborhood, pumpkin carving has a magical way of getting everyone involved. You can help your friends unleash their creative side while carving the perfect pumpkin as well as set the season's radar to FUN!
When sending out invitations, indicate this party is BYOP—bring your own pumpkin, of course! Get creative and inventive when considering the invitations. If you'll be handing the invitations to guests personally, consider  invitations attached to jack-be-little pumpkins. Something you could never mail; it will put a smile on their face and anticipation in their hearts.
Our own E about to hurl pumpkin innards all over her love! What FUN they had!

Pumpkin Picassos can whittle original designs, but think about providing templates for the less artistic. Shopping the discounts in November, I have assembled quite a collection of carving tools, patterns, and templates over the years. Not to worry, you can pick these items up cheaply at any craft store or super center.
If the sun is shining, carve outside and enjoy the beautiful Fall weather and colors.  Besides, your guests can be as messy as they like. However if it’s a blustery day {makes me think of Winnie the Pooh!}, move tables into a heated garage or work space indoors large enough to accommodate your guests. You might consider laying down newspapers or plastic to protect your floors and to ensure a quick clean-up for you. Set the mood with Autumn or Halloween decorations. 
 Your buffet can be as simply or elaborate as you like, choose your style. 
A Halloween buffet keeps party goers in the spirit. You can request that everyone bring their favorite Fall snack or you can provide your own. Just make sure the food is not close to where pumpkin innards could be flying! Your guest-carvers will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and might like to take frequent breaks to snack, toss a football or just roam around to admire everyone’s handiwork.
Just before sunset, have everyone finish carving their pumpkins in time for an official lighting ceremony in the yard. That’s when  the pumpkins really shine! Each shell gets a candle, bringing the masterpieces to life. Whether it's a simple triangle-eyes and crescent-moon smile or more advanced  creative carvings, candlelight makes everything magically beautiful.
After your guests are finished oohing and aahing, everyone can pack up their pumpkins for the ride or walk home. Package each guest's carved masterpiece in a paper bag for them and throw in a few extra votive candles and a festive Fall matchbook. Give them a hug and a wave as you send them off into the October night; knowing your friend's will cherish the memories they made at this year's PUMPKIN-PALOOZA!
Our niece Kristin, on the far right, and a few friends after their carving is done.

Make it an annual tradition to host a pumpkin carving party.  You will kindle all kinds of excitement and thrills as     everyone remembers and anticipates your yearly party. Tradition has a way of catching on you know. As the years go by, you can pass the torch....or more accurately, the jack-o’ the next generation; guaranteeing  porches and walkways will continue to extend an eerie greeting  for many years of trick-or-treaters to come
Our Jared and his Amy with their creations.
Don't forget the Halloween music. The Monster Mash, anyone? You can find wonderful free Halloween music HERE!



the domestic curator ~ ronda

Lucy scoops the innards out of the pumpkin Linus brings home. As a result Linus groans,
~ It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
by Charles M. Schulz that's a tradition!

Friday, October 26

The Very Southern Hummingbird Cake

Every season is cake season. However, as the holidays approach, these traditional masterpieces become tabletop mainstays, especially in the South. And let’s be honest, layer cakes don’t come more Southern than Hummingbird Cake.
At the age of 22, newly married and with few cooking skills, I met Mr.P's maternal Grandmother, the ultimate Southern cook. She wanted me to embrace her love and knowledge of say that I was intimidated by her would simply be a huge understatement! Nevertheless, she sat down with the young inexperienced girl that I was and gave me this very special  recipe. A recipe for Hummingbird Cake, Mr.P's favorite! I will NEVER forget that she told me, 'To bake at 350 degrees until done'. Upon which I asked, 'For how long'? She looked at me like there was a tree growing out of my ear and simply uttered a stunned, '....until it's DONE honey'! Okay...after years of cooking I get that! 

 As the most requested recipe in Southern Living history, the  Hummingbird Cake was originally submitted by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina in the  February 1978 issue. With decadent moist layers of pineapple, banana, and pecan batter engulfed in waves of white cream cheese frosting, this Southern staple has obtained a blue ribbon-reputation at countless county and state fairs. Even though other's have produced 'copy-cat' recipes for this iconic cake, this is the ultimate recipe for Hummingbird Cake, the very same one Mr.P's grandmother gave me all those years ago. It  frequents covered dish dinners all across the South, always receiving rave reviews. And aren't we the lucky ones??


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 cups sugar   
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon   
  • large eggs, beaten 
  • 1 cup vegetable oil    
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract  
  • (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained   
  • 1 cup chopped pecans 
  • 2 cups chopped 'ripe' bananas, 3 - 4 large  
  • Cream Cheese Frosting  
  • 1/2 whole pecans, optional
  • 1 cup toasted coconut, optional


Sift together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not beat.
Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup pecans, and bananas.
Pour batter into three greased, parchment-lined and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Decorate top with pecans on top and toasted coconut on the side. Store in refrigerator.

Thursday, October 25

I will eat almost anything impaled by a stick...... will most folks. Whether it's on a pop, skewer, toothpick or just seems to be more fun when it's served on a stick. People of all ages gravitate to bite-sized we not only have fun-size candy bars but BITE-SIZED as well. Do we think just because it's a bite-sized morsel there are fewer calories? Oh you foolish, foolish food lovers {I MOST certainly include myself in this category!} that have convinced yourselves of this nonsensical lie....sometimes it's nice to live in ignorant bliss isn't it?  So if it's not fewer calories, then why are we more likely to eat food on a stick? My personal belief is for convenience. It's more convenient for the host and the guest alike. Quick clean up for the host, no plates or utensils to wash, and easy consumption for the guest. How can you go wrong? 

Here are a couple of my favorite 'food on a stick' recipes, hope you enjoy them as well.



12 oz. goat cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cup tart dried cherries, finely chopped
1 cup shelled pistachios, lightly toasted and finely chopped
Large pinch of Kosher salt, optional
24 - 30 toothpicks
Your favorite crackers, optional


Add 1/2 cup finely chopped cherries to the goat cheese and mix well. Combine the remaining cherries and pistachios in a medium shallow bowl or deep plate. If your pistachios are not already salted, add kosher salt to the mixture to taste. Divide the goat cheese/cherry mixture into 24 - 30 evenly sized balls. Roll each ball into the cherry/pistachio mixture until well covered, place a toothpick in the center of each cheese ball and arrange on your serving tray. Keep refrigerated, but serve at room temperature, with crackers if desired. 
Yields 24 - 30 bite-size cheese balls.

......and if that doesn't do it for ya try......



2 lbs. ground pork
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 cup Panko crumbs
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 eggs
3 teaspoons garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
Optional Garnish:
toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions 


2/3 cup prepared Hoisin sauce 
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground ginger, I use freshly chopped ginger


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together meatball ingredients until well combined. Shape into 1 1/2 to 2 inch balls, making about 35 meatballs. This can easily be cut down to 1 inch yielding you more yummies for your party. Place meatballs on a cookie sheet lined with non-stick foil and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until they are golden on the outside and no longer pink on the inside.
While the meatballs are baking, whisk together the sauce ingredients in a fairly large bowl. Once the meatballs are cooked through, add them to the sauce. 
Stir to coat, add a toothpick and place on your serving tray. Top with the sesame seeds and scallions if desired and serve warm.
Yields 35 - 50 bite-size meatballs. 

Keep a big box of both cocktail napkins and toothpicks on hand during the holiday season. Call your friends and throw yourself an impromptu 'food on a stick' party.....'ll be glad ya did!

the domestic curator ~ ronda
"This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook 'try-new' recipes, 
learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above ALL ELSE have fun in the kitchen!"
~ Julia Child 

Monday, October 22

Unique And Creative Halloween Costumes

If you're stumped about what to wear on Halloween this year, the answer may be as easy as a trip to your local thrift store. Vintage clothing make fantastic costumes! You can be completely original and unique in what you wear and what you transform yourself into. Spending less money than at the party store and you will most likely be MORE comfortable as well because what you will be wearing is real clothing. 

Here are some thrift store pieces that are easy to build a costume around:

Prom and Wedding Dresses:
Dead/Zombie Prom Queen {think Carrie w/Sissy Spacek}
Bride of Frankenstein
Miss America

Overalls or Coveralls:
Serial Killer {think Michael Meyers from the Halloween movies}
Farmer Joe
Super Mario Brothers
Bob the Builder
Rosie the Riveter

Sports Team

You can also look for clothing that embodies the style of a particular decade, iconic looks and people.

The 1920's

Flapper: look for a drop waist dress
Gangster: Full suit with a fedora

The 1930's

Swing Kid or Jazz Man: look for Zoot suit, long pocket watch, hat and cane
Bonnie and Clyde: depression era dresses, beret

The 1940's

Carmen Miranda: bathing suit, tropical print sarong, lots of ruffles and fruit

The 1950's

Elvis, James Dean, John Travolta as Danny in Grease: dark jeans with rolled cuffs, tee shirt with rolled sleeves, boots and motorcycle jacket
Stockard Channing as Rizzo in Grease: tight stovepipe pants, tight boat neck shirt, scarf, high heals and leather jacket
Sandra Dee as Gidget or Olivia Newton-John as Sandy in Grease: circle skirt, petticoat, cardigan, saddle shoes

The 1960's

Mod or Go-Go Girl: shift dress, opaque tights, patent leather white boots, heavy make-up
Hippie: bell bottom jeans, loose flowing flower shirt, leather fringed vest

The 1970's

DISCO!: Platform shoes, polyester dresses and suits spandex pants, gold lame shirts and neck scarves

The 1980's

Rocker: leather pants and headbands, acid wash jeans, band t-shirts, leather cuffs and studded belts
Preppy People: Izod or Polo shirt, Lacoste sweater, penny loafers, khaki pants, pastel colors
Valley Girls 

Halloween is a great time of year for kids and adults alike. There is no age barrier to dressing up and having fun with good friends. Have a wonderful and safe Halloween......'ll be glad ya did!


the domestic curator ~ ronda