Meet Dana. Wherever I have lived there has always been at least one individual in my neighborhood that becomes my lifesaver and sanity. In my current neck of the woods, one of these friends would be Dana. She has brought me dinner when our household has been sick, treats for no reason at all, flowers and a luxury magazine I'd never buy for myself on my birthday, and has shown up on my door step when somehow she intuitively knew I was having an awful day. She is always insightful as we try to solve life's problems and as we commiserate about raising teenagers, and well...we just laugh when we're together, and I love her!
Now, Dana has a darling home. It's one that you walk into and you instantly feel at ease, comfortable, cozy, and at home. I love visiting her house. Another thing I learned quickly when she moved here was that she loves Halloween more than anyone I've ever known! About August she is pining to put up her decor! So with that, I just had to share with you how she makes her house a home, Halloween style. So, while it might be too late for some of us delinquent decorators (I did finally get up my decor two days ago!) to apply these ideas for Halloween, but we can always utilize her cozy ideas for the rest of the year. Enjoy the tour...
Doesn't her front door look inviting in the photo above? I love how she utilizes twinkle lights with her garlands year round--not just at Christmastime.
Always a candle burning to make her home smell delicious.
Notice the tiny details in the ribbons and tags...
I love the simple basket of apples displayed in the background.
I LOVE these festive wreaths tied to the backs of her chairs!
Um, I want to eat dinner here.
Dana is also a fabulous cook! I've adopted many of her soup and bread recipes into my repertoire, and my family is never disappointed. I have made her Cream Cheese Potato Soup countless times, and we absolutely love it around here:
Cream Cheese Potato Soup
6 medium potatoes diced (I like to use new or red potatoes and leave the
1 large onion finely chopped
1 cup celery finely chopped
1 quart water
4 T. butter
3 T. flour
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp dill
1 package softened cream cheese
1 tsp minced garlic
(can also add crumbled bacon if you desire)
First saute' the onion and celery in a little butter. Then combine
potatoes, onion, celery, water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil;
reduce heat and simmer until tender (about twenty minutes.
In a skillet melt butter; add flour; cook and stir until mixture bubbles. Remove from heat. Stir in milk. Return to heat; cook and stir until thickened.
Stir mixture slowly into potatoes; cook and stir until thick. Add
seasonings, garlic and cream cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and
blended. (If you are going to add bacon go ahead and add now). Makes 6
cups. (I always double it).
Shelli here again...I'm making this delicious pumpkin recipe again today. I must be a cinnamon junkie, as I took a look at the recipe Dana had given me a few years ago, and I had upped the cinnamon to 4 tsp! (So, decide how strong you like your cinnamon...and you know me, I can't ever resist an opportunity to add few mini chocolate chips as well!)
My Mom's Delicious Pumpkin Bread
(this bread is so moist and because it has no eggs in it people with egg allergies love it too)
5 cups flour
4 cups sugar
4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 cup water
1 large can pumpkin (not the pie mix)
1 cup oil
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl and add water. Add pumpkin and oil.
Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees in greased pans. Make sure to insert toothpick in center before taking out to test them to see if they are done. When done take out and let cool a bit, then turn them out on their sides to cool some more. Mmmm good.
Thanks, Dana, for giving us a tour and sharing these delicious recipes! Enjoy!