Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

Today I’m going to share with you a really yummy recipe for a traditional Thanksgiving dessert kicked up a notch!

Okay, back to the dessert! Last year for Thanksgiving, I decided to ditch the traditional pumpkin pie and  try something new. Something a little more decadent, a little richer and a lot yummier. Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake! It was fantastic! 

One thing I didn’t mention about myself is that I love to cook. Over the years I’ve learned which recipes I like, which I don’t and which I need to modify. Oftentimes my cooking now is a recipe {or combined recipes} modified to suit my likes. That is the case with this dessert also!  I combined a couple different recipes to make my own crust. For the cheesecake I used Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe

For the crust: 10-12 gingersnap cookies, 1 cup graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup pecans and 1/4 cup melted butter, 2 Tbsp. sugar. You can adjust measurements to suit your taste. I used more graham cracker crumbs than cookies. 
Combine cookies and pecans in a food processor until finely ground.
Mix graham cracker crumbs, cookie mixture, melted butter and sugar with a fork, just until combined.
Transfer crumb mixture to a springform pan. Press crust firmly onto the bottom, and about 1 inch up the sides of the pan.
Now for the cheesecake.
 Be sure your cream cheese has been sitting out for at least an hour to get nice and soft so your cheesecake will not be lumpy! Beat softened cream cheese until creamy, about 3 minutes.

Add pumpkin, sugar, eggs, sour cream and spices and mix just until blended. Add flour and vanilla and continue to mix until well blended, stopping to scrape sides and bottom.

Pour batter into prepared crust. As you can see, mine is a little lumpy. I think this could have been prevented if had I used the wire whisk attachment on my mixer. Oh well, it still tasted good!
{I did not follow this recipes directions for baking the cheesecake. After reading reviews I chose to bake using the water bath.}
Bake in a 350 degree oven in or above a water bath. My springform pan would not fit into my water bath pan so I placed it underneath. This is supposed to prevent the cheesecake from cracking due to temperature changes during cooking and cooling.

Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. Turn off oven and open oven door, leaving cheesecake in the oven while it cools. Place on cooling rack. Once the cake is completely cooled, remove outer edge of the springform pan. 

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.
 I hope you’ll include this dessert in your Thanksgiving spread. You’ll be happy you did!

Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe

{Remember, I did not follow this recipe’s directions for baking the cheesecake. I baked using a water bath.

Graham/Ginger Snap Crust
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
10-12 ginger snap cookies
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 stick melted butter
1-2 Tbsp sugar

In a food processor, process ginger snaps and until finely ground. In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, cookie and nut crumbs, butter, and sugar with a fork until combined. Transfer to springform pan. Press into the bottom, and about 1 inch up the sides of the pan.



Wicked Cute Treat Bags

I’m so excited to be here today to participate in the Monster Craft Bash! I’ve seen some wonderfully fun projects and recipes so far! Ready to see what I have for you? 

I’m going to share with you how to make these darling little treat bags! They make a great gift for teachers, a great party favor for a Halloween party or handout on Halloween night {if you really love your trick-or-treaters}.


I started with a sheet of 12×12 Halloween scrapbook paper. I chose three pieces of cardstock to match.
Next I cut three different size circles for layering. You can do this with a cutting machine, such as a Silhouette SD, with a die cut machine or just regular punches. If you do not have access to any of these products, you can certainly trace different sized circles and cut them out with regular and decorative scrapbook scissors. The point is to have different sizes and possibly different shapes.


I purchased this adorable “Wicked Cool” stamp set from Stampin’ Up! You can find a variety of Halloween stamps in your local craft store or, if you’re not a stamper, you can just print an image off of your computer.
 Here is how I created the stamped center piece. . .
I started with the web, applying a light coat of ink and only stamping 3/4 of the actual stamp on my circle. Next I used “have a WICKED halloween” stamp, this time applying more ink so it would stand out. Then I brushed my circle lightly across the ink pad to give it a distressed look. Finally I embellished it with a small rhinestone in the center of the web.
I used regular scrapbook adhesive to attache the bottom circles and used a dimensional to attach the top circle. The dimensional raises this layer and adds a little something extra to any paper craft.


Next I cut a 1 1/2-inch strip of the scrapbook paper.


I used my scoring tool to create the pinwheel to go behind the scalloped circle. I just bought this new toy and I love it! You can find them in the scrapbooking section at the craft store. You certainly could create the accordion fold without, but a scoring tool makes it much easier.


I attached the two ends with glue dots. . .


and hot-glued the pinwheel behind the layered piece made earlier. I used hot glue because the pinwheels seem to have a mind of their own and tend to be a little difficult. Hot glue puts them in their place.



I filled the cellophane bag {which I also got from Stampin’ Up} with candy corn.
Then I folded two coordinating ribbons and stapled them to the top of the cellophane bag.
Finally, I hot-glued the ribbon and bag to the back of the pinwheel.



A perfect and cute little Halloween treat!
Happy Halloween y’all! I hope you’ll stop by my blog, Scissors & Spatulas, and do some browsing!

Better Than Anything Cake

I love to cook, but I’m not nearly as adventurous in my cooking as I like.  I have two little guys, so anything I make has an “easy button.”  On this particular day it was raining {for like the third day in a row} and we were in need of something to occupy our time to make all of us happy.
This is what we made. . .
For little one’s ears, we called it “Better Than Anything Cake.” But come on, we all know what it’s really called. Yes, this is Better Than Sex Cake. {GASP, did she just say. . .? Yes, I did} Okay, now that you know how good the cake is, you want to make it, right?
box Devil’s Food Cake Mix {plus ingredients required on the box}
14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
12-oz jar caramel ice cream topping
8-oz container frozen whipped topping
chocolate-toffee candy bar (such as Heath or Symphony) or toffee chips
Mix and bake the cake according to package directions.

Watching the mixer do it’s work. No, they aren’t fascinated by the machine. They are waiting patiently because they know they will get this:

Cool for 15 minutes. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the cake about 1-inch apart.

Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake, allowing the holes to fill.

 Do the same with the caramel sauce. Place in the refrigerator for several hours. The longer this cake soaks, the better it gets so be sure to prepare it several hours in advance!
 If you decide to use a candy bar for the topping, chop it up into small pieces.

Just before serving, spread the whipped topping evenly over the cake.

Sprinkle candy bar pieces or toffee chips over the whipped topping.

Now cut yourself a nice big piece and enjoy!
I promise, if you’re having a bad day, this will make you feel better. If your day is great, well, this will make it greater!
Be sure to keep this cake refrigerated! In my opinion, the cake is better the second day!

Headboard turned into a Chic Bench DIY

Before I get started, I’ll tell you a little secret. . . I love junk! Hand-me-downs, antiques, garage sale and thrift store items, etc. I love it because I have a knack for turning one person’s junk into my own treasure. The best example to show you how I turn trash into treasure is by sharing with you how I turned this old, broken headboard {trash}
into this cute little foyer bench {treasure}!
First, let me give you the story behind this trash to treasure. This was my hubby’s bed as a child. It was broken into several pieces and was collecting dust and cobwebs in the shed at my in-laws’. It was going to be tossed to the curb until I claimed it for myself because I had a vision of what to do with it. So, being the little scavenger that I am, I loaded it up in the car and hauled it home.  Now I had a piece of trash
great headboard in the garage begging to be rescued!
Here is how I did it.
First, I sanded all the pieces well to rough it up for painting. I used a mid-grade grit for this because I wanted to remove the varnish. It scratched the wood a little, but I’ve learned from my experience that the paint will fill in the scratches.
Next I primed all the pieces with water based primer.
This is where I turned it over to the hubs.
I told him what I wanted and he purchased a 2×4 piece of wood and a deck board. The 2×4 was cut into four pieces and the deck board into three. He did some sawing, some rearranging, some screwing and some gluing to create this. . .
The entire bench was created from the headboard with the exception of two 2x4s which attached the front of the bench to the back of the bench. The other wood is used below. At this point, I put two good coats of paint {Olympic Irish Cream}on the bench and deck boards.
The deck board was used for the seat.
The other two pieces of the 2×4 were attached under the first to hold the boards in place.
I then sanded random areas of the bench, allowing the wood to show through to give the bench an aged, distressed look.
When I was finished, I couldn’t have been happier! It was exactly what I had wanted!
I’m so glad I had a vision, rescued and brought back to life an old broken headboard. I am using it as a bench for my foyer. Now my boys {I have two} have somewhere to sit to put on their shoes! Not to mention a piece of hubby’s past!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my trash to treasure idea today!

DIY Monogrammed Bolster Pillow

I’m very excited to be here today to show you how to make a monogrammed bolster pillow. If you don’t know what a bolster is, don’t worry, I didn’t know that is what they were called either until just a week ago! It’s basically a cylinder-shaped pillow.


Here’s mine. M and our family were established in 2004 when we were married. These are actually really easy to make. Here is what you’ll need.



         Fabric (I used burlap), freezer paper, acrylic paint and stencil brush and ribbon.
First I used my Cricut to make the monogram stencil. Simply place the freezer paper on the mat {shiny side down}and cut out whatever you want transferred to your fabric. If you don’t have a cutting machine, you can certainly trace or print a letter on the freezer paper and use an exacto knife to cut it out.


Once you have your letter cut, place it on the fabric and use a hot iron {steam off} to adhere the freezer paper to the fabric. *Note: the freezer paper did not completely stick to burlap. I used packaging tape around the edges to help keep it in place.
If you’ve never stenciled before, there is a technique to help ensure the paint does not bleed under the paper. Squeeze a small puddle of paint onto a plate. Dip your brush in the paint and use a rolling motion to cover bristles in paint. Dab off excess on the plate and gently apply to fabric using dotting and circular motions.


Once the paint is dry, remove the freezer paper. {I had a little boo boo with one of my zeros. I used a wet tissue to try to remove some of the paint. Ooops, mistakes happen!}


Measure and cut your fabric to the desired size and sew a hem around all edges. If you do not have a sewing machine you could do this with hemming tape. {Because I used burlap, I added an extra layer of fabric so that it wouldn’t be see through. That is the extra “flap” you see.}
 Fold the fabric in half horizontally making sure your monogram is on the inside. Pin the edge and then sew. Invert the fabric so your monogram is now on the outside.
Slide your pillow into the center of the sleeve leaving equal amounts of excess fabric on each side. If you do not have a pillow to use, you can use a sheet of Styrofoam or poly fil batting. Just roll it into a cylinder to fit inside your fabric.
Secure the ends of the pillow with ribbon.
Now proudly display your new pillow in your home!

Tortellini Mediterranean Salad

I am super excited to be here today to share a recipe with you! A couple weeks ago we had a casual dinner of brats and corn on the cob. I needed another side dish to go along with the dinner so I threw together some ingredients I had on hand to make a pasta salad. It turned out quite tasty so I thought I’d share it with you.


2 small packages Buitoni Chicken Prosciutto Tortellini {found in the refrigerator section}, 1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts. 1 medium tomato, 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, a large handful of fresh basil leaves, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning.
Cook the pasta according to package instructions {be sure to add some salt to your cooking water}, drain and allow to cool slightly.
In the meantime, chop the tomato, artichokes, olives and basil into roughly the same size pieces {a trick I learned from Ina Garten, otherwise known as Barefoot Contessa}.



In a small bowl combine Italian seasoning, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.



Whisk to combine well.


In a separate larger bowl, add pasta and chopped veggies.


Add the dressing to the pasta and veggies.


Mix well to combine and refrigerate for several hours.

Baby Shower Pennant Burlap Wreath – DIY

Today I’m going to share with you a wreath I made for a friend’s baby shower. No friends with a bun in the oven? Don’t go away yet. . . this wreath can be changed to suit any holiday or occasion.

So my friend was having her first baby, a girl, but she wasn’t sharing the name. I helped throw a shower for her and I was in charge of decor and favors. I looked at a pre-made banner while out shopping but, me being me, was up for the challenge of a DIY banner! But then I got to thinking, “If I’m going to put the effort into making this banner, why not make something she can use again?” And so I decided to make a wreath instead. This way she could hang it on her door when the baby arrives.
So I made my weekly trip to Hobbly Lobby and walked the entire store and came home with burlap, pink linen, a hay wreath, scrapbook paper, and ribbon.
This is what I did with it. . .
{The pennant says “baby girl.” Remember, we didn’t know the name}
Here is how I did it. . .


I cut the burlap into strips about 2-3 inches thick.
I wrapped the burlap strips around the wreath using hot glue to secure the fabric on the back side of the wreath.
I used my Cricut to cut two different size triangles and letters for the banner. {I used the Basic Shapes cartridge for the triangles and the Cuttin’ Up font cartridge.}
I layered the cut pieces {large ivory triangle, smaller print triangle then letters} and used an adhesive pen to stick them together. These are my pennants which read “baby girl.”



I measured and cut two pieces of grosgrain ribbon slightly larger than the diameter of the wreath. I stretched the ribbons across the wreath and wrapped the excess ribbon around the backside.
I secured the ribbons with hot glue on the back side of the wreath.


I then used a hot glue gun to attach the pennants to the ribbon.
Next I made some rosettes out of burlap and pink linen. I started by cutting the fabric into three-inch strips. Then I twisted the fabric somewhat tightly and began wrapping around and around in a spiral fashion, securing with hot glue on the under side every other circle.


Here is a finished rosette. I tucked the end of the fabric on the back side and secured with hot glue.


For the center of the burlap flowers, I rolled thin blue silk ribbon tightly and secured the end with hot glue.
I placed the flowers around the wreath and added some triangles from the scrapbook paper to mimic the pennants.

And here it is! The baby girl pennant burlap wreath. Again, change the colors and words to make this wreath suit any occasion!

Rag Rug For Lucy’s Room

CAUTION: This project could take your entire life depending on how big you want it. Attempt only if you have excessive amounts of time on your hands!! 

I’m only kidding, sort of. Keep reading.

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I decided I wanted a rag rug to place in front of Lucy’s crib. I briefly looked in stores such as Home Goods, Target, etc. All had rag rugs, but none had the right colors! So I moved on to searching for how to make my own. Of course my first resource was Pinterest. I searched and I found this tutorial from Everyday Art.

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{photo courtesy of Everyday Art}

So it looked easy enough and I decided I needed to do something crafty anyway to get me through the remainder of my pregnancy. After all, it had been months since I’d even explored anything that involved DIY.

So why the bold comment at the top of this post warning you to attempt at your own risk? It will take you forever to complete and you have to have a TON of fabric! To prove my point let me tell you a little side story…

I was at Hobby Lobby for the 3rd time buying fabric for this project. Yes, the third time! i kept running out! There was a lady in front of me buying small amounts of several different fabrics. The lady at the fabric counter is very nice (or maybe just nosey) and always inquires about what you will make with the fabric being purchased. When she asked the gal in front of me I heard her say she was making a rag rug for her son’s nursery. So of course I jumped in and said I was doing the same and went on to complain that it was my third trip to buy fabric and 4th week working on the rug. She had one up on me. It was her 4th trip for fabric and she had been working on rug since she was pregnant. Her son was 7 weeks old! So it wasn’t just me! This was the project that would NEVER end!

IMG_5571 But seriously, look how cute it turned out! So if you are still brave enough to attempt this project, here are my recommendations.

1. Work on this in all your spare time when your hands are fre

2. Don’t underestimate the amount of fabric needed. You will return to the store (at least twice) to purchase more.

So to make the rug you will need a rug pad with large holes. They come in a variety of sizes and you can always cut it to fit the size you want. You will also need A LOT of fabric. Like 15-20 yards total. Choose a variety of different fabrics in the colors that coordinate with your room but also choose different patterns. The pattern on the fabric won’t matter because you won’t be able to see it anyway.

cut fabric strips rag rug

fabric strips rag rug

Using the tutorial above, simply loop the fabric strips through the holes of the rug pad.

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You can see here how I skipped a few random spaces in each row and a row in between.

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This made the rug plenty full.


So try if you dare. It is definitely an adorable product with a tedious process. Lucy likes it!

New winner for the Minted.com giveaway. I’ve picked two and neither has come forward to claim their prize. Let’s try one more time. 

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Oh Diana, it’s you!!

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Please email me so I can give you your prize. 🙂

Apple and Fennel Salad Recipe

Well, it took 2 days but I finally found my the cord to download my photos from camera to computer! Jeesh! Sorry for the delay on sharing the Apple and Fennel Salad recipe I mentioned the other day.


Anywhooo, it’s apple season! One of my favorite things about fall is the flavors. I’m talking about apple, cinnamon and pumpkin. We normally go apple picking at least once in the fall. The kids love it and it gives us an excuse to visit the mountains. But somehow we always come home with too many apples so I have to find recipes to use them up. This one I tore out of Southern Living in September 2010. And yes, I just now got around to making it! But I’m glad I did because it was yummy!


Here are your ingredients…

apple fennel salad

Dressing: 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 shallot, minced, 1 Tbsp. brown sugar, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together first five ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Salad: 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, 1 Gala apple, 1 medium fennel bulb, 1 celery rib, 5 oz. package fresh arugula, 1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves

chopping fennelToast walnuts either in pan on stove or in oven. Thinly slice apple, fennel and celery. (If you’ve never used fennel, cut off the stalks and bottom end and slice like an onion.) Coarsely chop parsley.

apple fennel salad

Place arugula in a bowl and top with parsley, apples, fennel, celery and walnuts.

IMG_5398apple fennel salad

Toss with dressing and serve immediately.

apple fennel salad

If you are unfamiliar with fennel it has a wonderful licorice scent and flavor. I have used it only once before this recipe, and it was cooked, so I was a little hesitant, especially eating it raw. But it was absolutely delicious! It really compliments the sweetness of the apples and the peppery arugula.

fennel and apple salad

You can find the original recipe here.

Oh, I have one more thing to share. The winner of the Minted.com giveaway never contacted me. SO, that means I get to pick a new winner!

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Congrats #7, Kris S!

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PLEASE contact me Kris to claim your prize!

Failure to Post

Well, I had a yummy recipe to post tonight for a fennel & apple salad but my cord to download my pictures from my camera is missing. Figures!


But I wanted to announce the winner of the Minted.com giveaway.

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Comment #17 was Jennifer who said….

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Congratulations Jennifer! Be sure to contact me in the next 48 hours to claim your prize!

Even if you didn’t win or if you missed the giveaway, consider Minted for your holiday cards this year. Check out some of their designs here minted.com/photo-christmas-cards.