Blog Posts by Country Living

  • Autumn Cookie Wreath

    With holiday vacations coming up, it's the perfect time to find fun and easy craft projects that your family can do together. This first idea - an autumn cookie-leaf wreath - takes only hours to complete, especially with the help of ready-to-bake dough (try Pillsbury Ready to Bake! Refrigerated Cookie Dough) and extra pairs of helping hands.

    STEP 1: Make enough dough for 48 three-inch cookies. Divide into four batches and tint each with food coloring (try Ateco's Food Coloring Kit on Amazon - only $11.95). Create a multicolored patchwork by pressing pieces from each batch together on lightly floured parchment paper. Smooth with rolling pin. Chill for 15 minutes, then cut out cookies.

    STEP 2: Create leaf veins with a toothpick, then sprinkle with sanding sugar, available at And make extra cookies to snack on, in order to prevent "sampling" from the wreath while it's still on display.

    STEP 3: Cut two wreath forms from sturdy cardboard and glue them together. Tie

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  • Fun with Toast

    Chances are you weren't very old the first time you were hoisted, in rumpled pajamas, onto the kitchen counter to witness the jack-in-the-box magic of toast popping, warm and golden, from the toaster. Could anything be more comforting than the crunchy-brown aroma of toast? Probably not--which may be why, long after childhood, the aroma of toasting bread continues to elicit an immediate longing to be at a cozy kitchen table having breakfast. But the morning meal is just the beginning. After all, where would we be without grilled cheese sandwiches, and croutons? At an Italian cafe, it turns out, enjoying the dense chewy quality of panini. Or inviting friends to try a sampling of crostini with fresh toppings. Toast satisfies the senses no matter how it's served. And with culinary influences from around the world--and access to the breads that go with them--now is a perfect time to experience a new slice of life.

    This hole-in-one beauty begins with a thick slice of buttered brioche bread.

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  • Raspberry Spoon Fruit Dessert

    A thick spoon fruit made with frozen or fresh raspberries adds a burst of sweetness and color to cupcakes filled with fresh whipped cream. Here's how to make it:

    -- Crush 3 cups raspberries and press them through a sieve into a large saucepan (discard the seeds).

    -- Add another 7 cups raspberries, 5 1/4 cups sugar, and 3 tablespoons lemon juice; set aside for 20 minutes.

    -- Bring to a boil, stirring often, and simmer until the syrup reaches 220 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.

    -- Cool and refrigerate, or layer with whipped cream on split cupcakes for a no-fuss dessert.

    To get other recipes for jams and sauces, keep reading on Country Living.

    And don't miss...
    Autumn Apple Recipes
    Holiday Pies & Desserts
    Quick & Easy Dinner Recipes
    Delectable Holiday Appetizers
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    Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.

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  • How do I find a nice-looking radiator grill?

    I am having someone make me natural maple wood radiator covers. I have been looking for the grating/grillwork that goes in the middle to allow the hot air to get out. The only ones I have found to date are the cheap-looking sheets that are sold at Home Depot or Lowe's. Can you point me to a Web page or somewhere else I can check to find something that looks nicer? Thanks. -- Julie S.

    Answer: There are a number of companies that specialize in custom-made radiator covers, in both wood and metal, with the grills already installed; these come with pre-painted or pre-stained options. A company that I have had good luck with in the past for my own use is Monarch Custom Radiator Enclosures ( or call (201) 507-5551). It carries about a dozen styles, from basic grill work designs to enclosures that incorporate bookcases. The covers are made of steel (which is more efficient for heat transfer) and come in many different colors. You might want to consider using a

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  • Halloween Candy Party Favors

    - galvanized buckets
    - adhesive or rub-on letters
    - candy or goodies of your choice.

    Personalize galvanized buckets with adhesive or rub-on letters for a Halloween table. Fill with treats for guests to take home at the end of the party.

    See more Halloween party favor ideas here.

    Related Links:
    Homemade Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids
    Halloween Sweets & Treats
    Simple Halloween Crafts
    Halloween Decorating
    Medieval Halloween Party for Kids
    Limited Time Offer - Order Country Living & Save up to 81%

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  • Quick & Easy Dinner Recipes

    Recipe: Trout with Fresh Lemon and Capers

    Zesty lemon packs a flavorful punch in this ready-in-a-snap dish.

    Recipe: Easy Pantry Pasta
    Quick and easy pasta begins with basic ingredients, such as mushrooms, onions, and red peppers. An egg yolk is tossed with the ingredients and heated through before serving to glaze the pasta in rich, creamy flavor. Finish with a sprinkle of a fragrant, nutty cheese.

    Recipe: Spiced Pork Tenderloin
    When using vibrant spices such as cloves, bay leaves, and peppercorns in dishes, keep in mind that a little goes a long way -- as in this delightful pork tenderloin that can be served with caramelized pears.

    Recipe: Wild Mushroom and Taleggio Pizza
    It's the ultimate mushroom-lover's pizza: an oven-roasted mix of morel, hen-of-the-woods, chanterelle, and button mushrooms spread on a classic thin crust and garnished with Taleggio cheese melted to creamy perfection.

    For more simple meal ideas, keep reading Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes.

    More from Country Living

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  • Sophisticated Pumpkins

    Halloween may be approaching, but that doesn't mean your pumpkins have to put on scary faces. This year, try taking your creative cues from more sophisticated fare: Borrow inspiration from patterns in your home, favorite clothing, and, naturally, the outdoors, for a decorative and somewhat unexpected approach to pumpkin carving.


    1. Once you've determined a pattern, draw it freehand onto the pumpkin's surface using a grease pencil. If any of the outline is still visible after carving, you can "erase" marks with Goo-Gone or lighter fluid.

    If you're not comfortable drawing freehand, trace the pattern onto paper with a marker, or if it is flat enough, photocopy it. Place a piece of carbon paper between the pattern and the pumpkin, then trace over the design with a pen or a sharp pencil to transfer it onto the pumpkin. Stencils are another, easier option.

    3. Employing linoleum-cutting tools to scrape the surface, rather than cutting all the way through with a knife, is

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  • Scrumptious Layer Cakes

    What better way to commemorate any event than with a traditional made-from-scratch layer cake?

    Our recipes, toothsome slices of the great American home-baking tradition, include such memory makers as a light-as-air Coconut Cloud Cake, a rich and buttery Maple Walnut Cake, and banana cake, a beloved standby, jazzed up here with an unexpected coating of caramel. Have your layers berry topped, lemon filled, or chocolate frosted: Every homemade cake captures nostalgia and creates new memories. Keep the kitchen pace leisurely and savor the activity--you can even prepare the layers one day and assemble them with filling and frosting the next. All the foods you make for your family represent a heartfelt gesture, but a layer cake, lavished with extra time and care, is a true declaration of devotion.

    Get the Recipes:

    German Chocolate Cake

    Coconut Cloud Cake

    Stacked Applesauce Cake

    Banana-Caramel Cake

    Red Velvet Cake

    Lemon-Blackberry Cake

    Maple Walnut Cake

    Easy Chocolate Party Cake

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  • Easy Ways to Update a Bathroom

    1. Switch out standard hardware on vanities and medicine cabinets with antique-look knobs. Glass knobs, whether clear or in colors like depression-glass green or pink; porcelain; bone; and cast-iron knobs can all give a vintage flavor to a bath. Left: All from Anthropologie.

    2. Install a shelf.
    Add storage and style with the introduction of a pretty wall-mounted shelf. The Antiquated Metal Enamel Laundry Shelf from Vagabond Vintage features a trio of cups to organize assorted small toiletries such as cotton balls or swabs, or cosmetics. Good sources for country-style shelves: When I Was Your Age; American Retold; Ballard Designs.

    3. Have fun with tile. A highly practical surface of the bath, tile adds color, pattern, and texture in hundreds of beautiful ways. Like a patchwork quilt, remainder, sample, and sale tiles were "patched" together to cover the walls of a shower stall for an affordable route to a knockout custom look.

    For more ideas, try reading Country Living Easy

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  • 6 Styles for Your Bathroom

    Thinking of giving your bathroom a quick face lift? Choose your decor from six of our favorite interior styles.

    No. 1: Architectural
    The rough-hewn wall of this 1825 house was left exposed, to reference the home's history. Placing a vintage footed tub in front of the wall makes it a focal point. Painted floorboards and old-fashioned brass floor-mounted plumbing (try California Faucets) complete the authentic feeling.

    No. 2: Traditional
    Blue and white gain new freshness and grandeur in St. Antoine wallpaper in BP948 by Farrow & Ball. The symmetrical arrangement of the sinks and cabinets by A-Ball brings order to a small space. Minwax stain was applied for the bold diamond pattern on the floor.

    No. 3: Rustic
    Natural wood, rugged plaster walls, and antique furnishings adapted for the bath conjure the ambiance of a Tuscan farmhouse and also offer a way to minimize the appearance of fixtures. An old dresser is retrofitted as a vanity, and a tall bookcase stows extra items. Wrought-iron

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