Blog Posts by Country Living

  • Game Night Recipes



    In the season of long nights and chilly temperatures, why not stay in and invite over some friends for a night of good food and fun times? Whip up food that is satisfying, yet easy to prepare, serve, and eat. Finger foods are perfect for nibbling between rolls of the die, and a hearty main course provides sustenance as the night -- and games -- linger on.

    TIP: Discount and drug stores often stock inexpensive games to add to the routine lineup. Or, if you're planning ahead, order something online from sites like Amazon.com or Walmart.com.




    Recipe: Cheddar Goldfish Crackers with Peanut Butter Spread



    Recipe: Crispy Oven Chicken Fingers


    Recipe: Zesty Vegetable Lasagna


    Recipe: Chocolate Domino Cookies

    Get more recipes and tips for Hosting a Game Night Party.

    Related Links:
    Winter Comfort Food
    Antique Game and Card Tables
    Vintage Playing Cards
    Entertaining in Fall
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    Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.

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  • Pumpkin-Goat Cheese Cheesecake



    Even though Halloween's over, I'm still loving pumpkin-flavored food for fall. There's pumpkin soup, pumpkin-filled cream puffs from Choux Factory, and pumpkin cupcakes from Two Little Red Hens bakery...

    To continue with all this pumpkin goodness, I've decided to make a special dessert for Thanksgiving. Instead of just picking up a pumpkin pie from Costco (the best place for store-bought pie), I'm going to whip up this super-easy Pumpkin-Goat Cheese Cheesecake for the family. After one bite of this delicious dessert, they're likely to forget Costco even exists.


    PUMPKIN-GOAT CHEESE CHEESECAKE

    1 1/4 cups granola, (no large nuts or raisins)
    3 ounces wafer cookies, crushed, such as Jules Destrooper Crisp Butter Wafers
    1/3 cup dark brown sugar
    1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
    3/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup butter, melted
    2 tablespoons butter, melted, combine with above
    8 ounces goat cheese
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    2

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  • Budget Gifts for the Crafter


    The best gift for a die-hard D.I.Y.-er requires some assembly, which makes these gifts (all under $50!) perfect for the craftiest person in your life. And if you're a creative type too, we have some ideas for Crafty Christmas Gifts that might appeal to your artistic side - and your wallet.


    1. TISSUE PAPER POM-POM KIT:
    This airy ceiling pouf assembles in minutes thanks to precut pieces. $20; marthastewartcrafts.com.

    2. POINSETTIA WREATH KIT: Create a wreath that will last for years with Pick Up Sticks' felting kit. $35; pickupsticksonline.com.

    3. CIRCULAR NEEDLE CLUTCH: Knitters can stash up to 12 needles in this soft velvet case. $50; offhanddesigns.com.

    4. IPOD CASE NEEDLEPOINT KIT: Even novice sewers will enjoy stitching their own iPod holder. $25; amhdesignonline.com.

    5. HATS, MITTENS & SCARVES DECK: This deck of portable knitting pattern cards has projects for every skill level. $17; chroniclebooks.com.

    6. REMAKE PAPER PAD: Cut K&Co.'s recycled paper into geometric shapes for

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  • Tomato and Garlic Bread Soup



    It's such a gray and rainy day here in New York. It makes me want to curl up with a good book and a bowl of soup - which inspired me to share this tasty recipe with you all in the Shine community! Hopefully, it will make your cold days a little warmer.

    INGREDIENTS

    1 loaf -- (about 8 cups) Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
    1/4 cup -- olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon -- fresh-ground pepper
    3 -- (about 1 1/4 pounds) medium red onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick
    6 -- (about 8 ounces) medium carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
    15 cloves -- garlic
    1/2 teaspoon -- salt
    5 cups -- marinara sauce
    2 cans -- (14 1/2-ounce) low-sodium chicken broth
    1 1/4 cups -- hearty Italian red wine, such as Chianti or Sangiovese

    DIRECTIONS

    1. Make the croutons: Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Toss the bread cubes with 2 tablespoons olive oil and the pepper in a large bowl. Spread the bread, in a single layer, on a baking pan and toast in the oven until golden -- about 6 minutes. Set aside.

    2. Make the soup:

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  • Get Your Garden Ready for Winter



    Now that it's getting cold (and rainy!), it's time to get your garden ready for a long winter nap. Here's our checklist of the 10 things you should do before the frost sets in, so your precious flowers and plants will be up and growing as soon as spring hits.

    10 MUST-DO TASKS

    1. PLANT BULBS AND PERENNIALS. Fall is the time to place spring bulbs in the ground and plant bare-root roses, deciduous trees and shrubs, and evergreens.


    2. TIDY BEDS. Cut back spent perennials after the first frost and pull up annuals. Leave some plants with beautiful seed heads, such as grasses and sedums, for winter interest and to help feed the birds.


    3. WEED. Get a head start on spring, when weeds are potentially most harmful, by ridding beds of weeds in fall. Be certain to pull the entire root out of the ground. Avoid using harmful pesticides, and get ideas for safe pest control from motherearthnews.com.


    4. MOW THE LAWN. Give your lawn a final cut before winter. Apply corn gluten, which

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  • Election-Day Decorations: Red, White, and Blue Rosettes


    Adapt the rosettes to any size for creating banners, table settings, or any other election-day decor!

    STEP 1 From blue crepe paper, cut a strip 8 inches wide and 20 inches long.

    STEP 2 From a clean newspaper, cut a narrower strip of paper. Lay it down in the center of the blue strip, gluing in place. Repeat, cutting an even narrower strip of red crepe paper, then gluing in place.

    STEP 3 Fan-fold across the narrow width of the strip. Fold in half lengthwise.

    STEP 4 Open out on either side of the center fold you just made to create a circle; glue. Print "Happy Fourth"; cut out around the letters in a circle with pinking shears. Glue onto rosettes.

    STEP 5 Cut 8-inch pipe cleaners in half. Use one to form a loop; slip through another to form another loop, and so on. When chain is complete, glue a pipe cleaner loop to the back of each rosette, first passing it through a chain loop, then gluing in place.





    More from Country Living
    Recipes for Delectable Holiday Appetizers
    Tasty dips, spreads,

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  • Election Day Entertaining

    Happy Election Day!!! If your attending a results party tonight - or throwing one - here's a great recipe for red, white, and blue Americana cupcakes and other election-party favorites.



    A single recipe of our Basic Vanilla Cake can yield dozens of cupcakes - and they'll bake and cool quickly. Simply add appropriate decorations to create these patriotic treats!

    Get the recipe for these vanilla cupcakes and our Fluffy Butter Frosting.




    Serve sweets along with salty finger foods and dips, like our Tangy Bean Dip. Set up your snacks on a table decorated with red-and-white carnation balls. They're so easy to make! Just buy spheres of floral foam and cut carnation stems (each ball takes about 50 flowers) to one-inch long each before sticking them into the foam.





    More from Country Living

    Recipes for Delectable Holiday Appetizers
    Tasty dips, spreads, and finger foods perfect for entertaining any crowd.

    Americana Ice Cream Sundae
    Stay cool on the with this patriotic ice cream sweet treat.

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  • Sunday at the Brooklyn Flea Market

    New York City's newest flea market has been quite the hit in Brooklyn with around 150 clothing, furniture, and food vendors coming every Sunday to sell their wares. Since Brooklyn Flea is only open through December (two more months!!), we thought we'd share some of our favorite photos from this great new antiquing hot spot. If you live in the area, be sure to check it out before it's too cold!


    Two of our editors - Monica Michael Willis and Rebecca Thienes look through a selection of retro fabrics. Rebecca was impressed with the selection: "Everyone from specialty sellers to true junk purveyors are here," she said.




    Look for super-soft cotton and silk sarongs, tunics, and dresses abound at Cristina Gitti's booth, Matta. These might not work for NYC's chilly winters, but come spring, you'll be glad they're in your closet!




    Our editors said one of the best parts of Flea was the selection of tasty food. One vendor, Betsy Devine, fills a cannoli with the fresh ricotta she and partner

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  • Dress Up a Dresser

    Paint your way to vintage cachet. Rescue an old dresser and adorn it in silky color, then select paint in a shade that's as refined -- or playful -- as you'd like your home to feel.

    Depending on the dresser's shape, and the colors and hardware you choose, it can look elegant and formal, romantic and vintage, or sweet with cottage style. Visit tag sales, junk stores, and unpainted-furniture shops, with an eye to pieces with nice lines. Even the most chipped dresser with missing knobs may be a boutique treasure waiting to happen. As you browse, think a bit beyond a dresser's traditional role. Consider using a wider, lower dresser as a serving board in a dining room, and a higher, slim one for additional linen storage in a hallway. (What a perfect way to create storage with style!)


    While on the hunt, look for sturdy dressers with good lines. "Plain painted surfaces and unfinished wood are the easiest to work with," advises stylist Christina Lane, who found this dresser on Route 20 on her

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  • Set the Scene for a Spooky Halloween Party



    Come October, often you can still host a party outdoors. Just let fall's exuberant palette lend a hand with the decorating, suggest Richard Kollath and Ed McCann, who like to layer in atmospheric Halloween accents when entertaining. The designers, authors, and event planners (their most recent book is Faux Flowers; Chronicle Books) advise: "Host a party for adults or families the week before Halloween, then leave the decorations up for trick-or-treaters." You also have a great excuse not to sweep up the leaves, which, scattered across the ground, help set the scene. Above, autumn foliage, faux crows, candlelight, and plenty of jack-o'-lanterns cast a welcoming spell on an outdoor dessert buffet.


    Treat every guest to a surprise right at the door, perhaps with candy-filled cones nestled in a vintage plant stand aflutter with feathered crows.
    See how to make this candy tower here.

    Spell out your greeting in mini pumpkins gathered at a prominent - and stationary - location. First, pencil

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