Pumpkin Everything, Please

After Thanksgiving and the transition to peppermint flavored everything I decided I needed to make the most of this ending pumpkin lovers season.  I mean, who doesn’t love pumpkin?  I feel like I have been flavoring everything with pumpkin, pumpkin spice, or pumpkin and cinnamon, but I am not mad about it.

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Pumpkin, whether fresh or canned, is wonderful in so much more than just pies.  Here are a few of my favorite pumpkin recipes for the fall. I hope you milk up the pumpkin season while it lasts!

Spiced Pumpkin Biscuits

pumpkin biscuits recipe

Ingredients-

  • About 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 5 tbsp. chilled butter
  • 1/3 cup fat-free buttermilk
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 tbsp. honey

Instructions-

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter in the mixture until it looks like coarse meal and refrigerate for 10 minutes
  • Combine the buttermilk and honey and stir until well blended then add the pumpkin and stir. When that is mixed together add to the flour mixture and stir until moist and combined.
  • Knead the dough on a flowered surface until the right consistency, and use a 1 ¾ biscuit cutter to cut the dough into about 14 dough rounds. Place the rounds 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 15 minutes until browned.  Cool and enjoy the pumpkin goodness!

Easy Pumpkin Pie Shake, so so so so delicious!

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Ingredients-

  • 2 cups vanilla reduced fat ice cream, softened
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¾ tsp. pumpkin-pie spice
  • 3 tbsp. fat-free whipped topping

Instructions-

  • Combine all the ingredients except the whipped toppings in a blender and blend until smooth. Top with the whipped topping and enjoy drinking a pumpkin pie!

To spread pumpkin on everything you want,

Pumpkin Butter

Ingredients-

  • 2 lbs. peeled, seeded and diced pumpkin, can be substituted with canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup turbinado sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions-

  • In a pot combine pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, and salt and bring to a simmer and stir until the pumpkin is tender. Continue simmering for about 20 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.
  • After mixture is thickened put in blender and blend until smooth. And then after blended, return to pot and heat for about 10 minutes on low.  Cool and spread the pumpkin love on everything!

Happy pumpkin’ing!

Nancy

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Pinterest Thanksgiving and Fall Decorations

Who doesn’t binge on Pinterest every once in a while? I had a major thanksgiving decorations and crafts binge yesterday that has spilled into today.

There are just so many good ideas that are simple and easy to create that make your house look so decorative. I love it. I get a lot of inspiration and ideas for floral and decorations from Pinterest as well.

I don’t know what I did before this awesome site. I use it to decorate, for recipes, workout tips, to get in the trendy “know,” and so much more!

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I made a few DIY Thanksgiving decorations yesterday and today, there are so many things I want to make I just don’t have enough time. Here are some of the great pins I found that I made, I want to make, or has inspired my creative work at the floral shop!

What are your favorite DIY fall and Thanksgiving decorations? I love getting ideas and channeling my inner creative child! 😉

Happy crafting my friends,

Nancy

Organizing the Pantry

Have you ever looked into your pantry and thought,

WOW this is a disaster?

This morning I opened up our pantry to get some cereal for breakfast and couldn’t find anything. It looked like a Warfield in there so I decided I needed to spend the morning organizing and cleaning.
My pantry desperately needed a makeover so I made a trip to Target to find some cute little bins and a spice spinner to organize the different things in the pantry.

After I got home I took everything, and I mean EVERYTHING out of the pantry and pilled it up on my kitchen counters. It is amazing seeing how much stuff I had in there that I forgot about because it was so piled up!

 

I tried organizing it by frequency used and what it was. I put our tea, ciders, and other drink mixes into one basket. All the random root veggies, like potatoes, onions, and garlic into one. Our oatmeal, granola, and little breakfast snacks into one of the larger bins. And I put our condiments and cooking oils into one basket. The extra spices and hot sauces I put on my new spice spinner to that I can see them because they are the most frequently used.

I then ordered them on our pantry rack so they are easy to get too; but after I had them all organized on rack I realized I couldn’t really tell what they were unless I pulled the bin out. Quick on my feet I came up with the idea to label the bins so they are clearly marked. I found these really cute chalkboard label stickers that are perfect. I like them because if I feel the need to switch what is in the bins, I can just erase it and re-label it.

The bins ended up looking so so so great and everything is organized and clean in my pantry. I feel like I can take a deep breath and enter my pantry with a smile! 
Do you have other good organizing tips? I would love to know how you organized your home.

Until next time,

Nancy

Healthy Snacks – 4 Delicious and Super Easy Recipes!

After researching and writing my post about foods that fight hunger, I have been on the hunt to find some delicious snack recipes that will help keep me awake.  I have been searching for recipes with minimal ingredients, are healthy and easy to make.  Here are a few that I have made and absolutely loved! They are so delicious…..and did I mention super easy!

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Parmesan Kale Chips

Ingredients-

• Kale• Olive oil

• Grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions-

• Tear the kale leaves into large pieces and arrange on a baking sheet.  Spritz with olive oil and bake until crisp.

• While still warm sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy!

 

Cocoanut Banana’s

Ingredients-

• 4 tsp. cocoa powder

• 4 tsp. toasted unsweetened coconut

• 2 small bananas, sliced

Instructions-

• Place the cocoa powder and coconut on separate plates.  Roll each banana slice in the cocoa and shake off the excess.  Then dip or sprinkle in the coconut on the banana slice.Enjoy!

 

Yogurt Covered Blueberries

Ingredients-

• 2 cups of Dannon Oikos Greek yogurt, honey flavor

• 1 carton of fresh blueberries

Instructions-

• Stick a blueberry with a toothpick and dip/swirl it in the yogurt and place onto a cookie sheet.  Once you have done that to all the blueberries, place the cookie sheet in the freezer.  After an hour or so you can take them out and put them into plastic bags. Enjoy!

 

Turkey Snails

Ingredients-

• Breadstick dough

• Turkey slices

• Provolone cheese

• Olive oil

• Dried oregano

Instructions-

• Top strips of refrigerated breadstick dough with a piece of turkey and provolone cheese and roll into pinwheels.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano.

• Bake as the dough label directs, Enjoy!

I hope you liked some of my new favorite snack recipes!  I think I am about to have a turkey snail now.

Until next time,

Nancy

Early Birthday Gift- Fitbit

fitbit-fancy-free-nancyMy daughter, Clara decided to come home this morning to have brunch with my husband and me; it was so lovely seeing her. She also surprised me with an early birthday present, a Fitbit. I am so excited! I have been wanting one for quite some time. All the reviews are great and it sounded like something I would really use. Clara even helped me set it up this afternoon!

If you haven’t heard about Fitbit’s, they are awesome little gadgets. The company’s slogan:

“Fitbit is dedicated to helping people lead healthier, more active lives”

… is exactly what I hope it does for me. Fitbit is a physical activity tracker that is supposed to help you become more active, eat a healthier diet, sleep better, and just make you a healthier person in general.

It tracks daily activities throughout the day including the number of steps you take, how far you have walked, and the calories you have burned. It also is able to tell how vigorous the exercises are and how many calories are burnt. What I think is one of the best aspects of the Fitbit, is that is monitors sleep quality. I would love to know how I am sleeping and if it correlates to the days I fell tired.

There is even a feature on it that will send me messages that are supposed to encourage me to keep moving and working hard. A few of my friends from Tai Chi have them too and we are able to become “Fitbit” friends and work together and encourage each other.

The data gets sent to my smart phone when I connect to Wi-Fi, I have gotten pretty darn good at my smartphone since getting it.  Clara showed me how to look at it on the computer and see how much I have walked and all the other features. She is such a digital guru. 😀

I am really excited to start using it and seeing how much I actually exercise and how it compares to what I eat. I am not necessarily looking for it to help me lose weight, but more to help me stay healthy, motivated, and have fun!

I will keep you updated on how I like my early birthday present and how it is working!

Until next time,

Nancy

Everyone Wants Pretty Hands

Unfortunately, no one had found the fountain of youth yet. Today, while I was having my coffee, Clara was “Snap Chatting” me photos of her newly decorated living room. Yes, I said “snap chat”. She downloaded this app on my phone where you can send photos back and forth that only last for a couple seconds. I don’t really understand it, but she loves it. Anyway, I sent her a photo of me holding my cup of coffee and couldn’t get over how “old” my hand looks.
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I have never really spent much time looking at my hands, but I understand why they say your hands show all the signs of aging. I couldn’t stop looking at them in awe. I know I don’t look like I have aged as much as my hands show.  So I jumped on the internet to find some ideas how to get rid of these “aged hands.”

I read that hands really do show the signs of aging more than most parts of the body. The years of sun exposure, the exposure to the elements, hard work, and constant washing and scrubbing really take a toll on our hands. The skin on hands thins with all the exposure to daily life and more veins become visible, age spots appear, and it is common for hands to become dry. All of this information was pretty much common sense to me, and I wanted to know how to reverse that aging.

I found this website saying that taking care of aging hands is similar to the skin care during menopause; a subject I am pretty knowledgeable on. It suggested exfoliating your hands to remove all the dry skin before moisturizing. Buffing your nails also helps make your hands look younger. I never really thought about moisturizing my hands specifically, I just put lotion on them when they are dry, so this was a new concept for me.

The site also said the moisturizing and protection are the most important in having beautiful youthful hands. It said to use a good quality hand cream and apply it throughout the day to rejuvenate your hands.

After reading all of these articles I have decided I need to find a good hand cream to reverse aging. Do you use anti-aging hand creams? If so what kind do you use and is it effective?

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Seasonal Floral Arrangement Fun

Today at the floral shop we were unexpectedly busy in a great way.  We had a ton of people walk in and call to order arrangements to be delivered and picked up later in the day.  My boss and I were scurrying around making fabulous spring and summer arrangements and bouquets.  Today at the floral shop we were unexpectedly busy in a great way.  We had a ton of people walk in and call to order arrangements to be delivered and picked up later in the day.  My boss and I were scurrying around making fabulous spring and summer arrangements and bouquets.

seasonal-flower-arrangement-nancy-bell

I love it when people call or walk in to order because it often gives us the freedom to use flowers that are in season and create a unique seasonal arrangement.  Today was no exception, I created about 7 arrangements that were all seasonal flowers and they turned out so gorgeous.

Sometimes we have clients ask us what flowers are in season to decide what they want the main focus of their arrangement to be.  Right now is my favorite part of the year for flower availability and the aurora they give off.  The flowers are bright, crisp, and have a wonderful smell…and, in my opinion, the best to work with.In case you were wondering here are the flowers that are in season during mid-June-

• Peonies

• Roses

• Tulips

• Yarrow

• Pomegranates

• Calla Lilies

• Lilies

• Viburnum

• Pincushions

• Veronica

• Chocolate Cosmos

After days like today, I am very grateful to have my couch at home to kick my feet up and relax.    It was such a busy day but I had a great time.  It amazes me how much I can learn each and every day from just working and practicing alongside my boss.

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Working with flowers all day really puts you in a good mood too.

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Create Positivity in Your Life

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“I won’t damage the healthy lifestyle I have worked for” -Nancy Bell

We are constantly bombarded with the ideas to eat healthily and exercise.

Although I have really found an enjoyment in living a healthy life and finding new recipes there are times when I just want to “veg out” and eat some pizza and read all day.

I woke up this morning feeling just that. Instead of falling into my cravings and sabotaging everything I have worked so hard for, I made myself a smoothie and gave myself a little pep talk. I have come so far in the past year and a half and really changed my life for the better, I couldn’t throw it all out of the window now.

After I had my morning smoothie I forced myself to go to the park, once I got there I suddenly got the urge to walk around. There were many times I just wanted to sit down and relax but I kept telling myself that after a few more minutes that feeling would pass, and it did. A couple of hours later, I had walked a few miles and was feeling really ambitions. It is incredible what some fresh air and positive thoughts can do.

I was still craving some pizza and knew that if I went home I would make it and my menopause and stomach would not be happy. So instead I went to our local market and got some fresh fruits and vegetable to make a yummy stir fry for dinner. The market was a quick fix for my cravings. Once I saw all the fresh produce and “healthy people,” 🙂 there was no way I was going to make a pizza anymore.

After I got home I was tempted to snack on my husband’s chips, and like the strong person I am, I made fresh kale chips with my fresh produce. After they were baked, I rewarded myself with a relaxing rest of the afternoon in the yard reading.

may-your-choices-reflect-your-hopes-not-your-fears

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears – Nelson Mandela

Sitting in the sun, reading and thinking about my day made me proud of the strength I have.

If I would have craved a lazy day and pizza 2 years ago, I would have gone for it without even thinking about the consequences. Now, the thought of damaging the healthy lifestyle I have worked for makes me anxious and makes me want to work even harder for the life I live. I am so thankful for all my lifestyle changes and the strength I have gained.

If you ever have those days where you feel like throwing in the towel and giving up, don’t. Power through those days, they only make you stronger. I would not have been able to do what I did today without the positivity I have created in my life. If I can do it, so can you!

Until Next Time,
Nancy

Baby Shower Flowers

This week brought, yet another fun event I was able to help create beautiful floral arrangements for. This week my boss and I made arrangements for a baby shower, a girl. After I found out we were doing a baby shower, I connected the dots and realized it was for one of my friend’s daughters. It was an exciting little surprise.

Because I know the family personally it was really easy talking with them deciding what they wanted and how I could make it happen. My boss lets me, partially take the lead, it was really exciting!

Our creations for the baby shower were fun, elegant, and girly 😍

We focused on the simplicity and beautiful aspects of having a child. We used roses, cut off the stems and put them into small glass votive candle holders. They were beautiful. In taller skinny glass vases we put a variety of long stem flowers in shades of pink and white. We also made a large piece for the head table.

table-center-floral-arrangements

Since working quite a few events now, it is clear to me that a well-designed table centerpiece has the ability to pull a whole party theme together. The freshness of floral arrangements adds an element of delicacy from nature into a static indoor setting.

Helping create these beautiful pieces and know that I am actually going to the shower tomorrow makes me reminisce about Bobby and Clara and their baby showers. It seems like it was just yesterday my husband and I got the news we were going to have our first baby girl. Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face. 😊

I love creating arrangements for events like these. The energy and level of happiness that goes into creating them is reflected in the joy it brings to our clients. I can’t wait to find out the next event I’m going to help work.

Until next time,

Nancy

Clara’s New Beginning

Today was the start of a new chapter for Clara, she moved into a new “big girl” apartment. She had been living in an apartment that needed a revamp about 20 years ago, so moving into a new complex is a huge step up for her. The new apartment is closer to her work so she will be able to walk to work every day; saving money for this fancy apartment complex. Helping her move the past couple days have been quite the adventure, to say the least.

claras-boxes

I had no idea what I was getting into moving my daughter into a new apartment. I remember moving her into her dorm room and not being bad, moving Bobby into his dorm was a piece of cake; but moving Clara into an apartment after some time being on her own already…that was a challenge. How much can one girl accumulate? ….much more than I thought.

Being the mother I am I insisted on packing everything according to room and what it was. If Clara had packed everything herself, everything would be shoved together and unorganized. Even though she was complaining it was taking too long to pack, it was so much easier once we got there to unpack and organize it.

Her previous apartment was about half the size of her new one, but after we moved everything in it looked the same size. I can’t get over how many pillows my daughter has. I am not over exaggerating when I say she at 9 pillows…9. Who needs that many? She says they are just for decoration to make her bed feel cozy. I could only laugh, she is one of a kind and I love her for it.
Even though she asked my husband and me to help, she was complaining the entire time that we were “doing it wrong.” Oh girls, they never change. 😀 She won’t admit it but she was very thankful we helped pack, move, and unpack all her stuff. It would have taken her and her boyfriend so many more trips.
I am excited for her to begin a new chapter in an awesome apartment that is so close to her work. Once she gets everything unpacked and organized it is going to look so nice, it really looks like a “big girl” apartment. I am so proud of her.
Goodbye old apartment,

claras-old-room

Hello bright new apartment!

claras-new-room
Have you ever helped a daughter move? So much more work than a son… 😀

Until next time,
Nancy