Tag Archives: autumn

Support the Arts in October!

We love all of the local talent showcased this month! Check out a couple of our favorite events below, and share your photos at those events with us on Facebook!

The Blue Ridge Potters Guild Show and Sale at Patrick Henry High School will open at 6:30pm on Friday, October 13. The show will continue through the weekend, allowing those in attendance to enjoy refreshments as they peruse the potters’ latest works and shop for holiday gifts at more than 50 booths. The largest all-pottery show in Virginia will be open Saturday from 10am to 6pm and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm. Demonstrations for adults and kids will be held throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday. A favorite feature for both participants and customers is the Gallery. This year’s theme is “The Garden.” The Gallery is open to all Guild members to enter a piece based upon their interpretation of the theme. A wide range of work will be available at this event as more than 70 Blue Ridge Pottery Guild members are expected to participate! Visit www.blueridgepotters.com for more information.

The 42nd season of Opera Roanoke opens with a new production of Tosca on October 27 at 7:30pm and October 29 at 3pm in the Shaftman Performance Hall at the Jefferson Center. The show features a cast of Opera Roanoke returning favorites including Dinyar Vania (La Traviata ’16), Thomas Cannon (Madama Butterfly ’11), and Emily Johnson (Falstaff ’08). This Puccini selection is riveting and perfect for Halloween weekend. When romance and politics mix, the result is a thrilling melodrama focused on the haunting aftermath of jealousy, sabotage, and betrayal. To purchase tickets, visit www.operaroanoke.org.

Meet Katy of GypsyPalooza Too!

What led you to the idea for GypsyPalooza Too?

When I first started, I was making jewelry, and I thought the space I rented in Salem would be my studio. Then I decided I really wanted a store. I love clothes and jewelry, and I love being around women who come in looking for something to make them feel pretty. [Opening a store] wasn’t my original intention, but it completely organically happened and I followed it.

What do you hope that your customers take away from their experience with you?

We do way more than sell dresses. We give women confidence and help them try on things outside of their comfort zone. I had a lady whose husband sent her with his credit card because he loved the way she looked when she went home. We are so hard on ourselves, and we need to be nice to ourselves and kind.

Who are your biggest inspirations?

Iris Apfel (fair to say, she is also one of our biggest inspirations) and Magnolia Pearl

Do you have a favorite quote that guides you in your role as a business owner?

“Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.” Minor Myers

What is your favorite up incoming style?

I love layering up lacy summer pieces, or dressing them up with clothes for colder weather! For example, adding a cozy sweater and a funky pair of boots. I love vintage hats too!

Find GypsyPalooza Too on Facebook!

Purchasing With A Purpose

Of course, we all like to find that one gorgeous piece of jewelry or decoration for our homes, but it is important that we consciously spend our money on things that make a difference. With that in mind, check out two of our favorite product lines that are making the world a better place!

both-candlesFirst, the Starling Project by Sterling McDavid is a series of candles that can fill your home with four unique and wonderful scents. What makes this candle special is every time you light it, you are reminded of the deeper purpose behind it. Starling Candles are an entirely American made product whose sales are donated to key philanthropic organizations, like UNICEF. These donations go towards providing solar energy for communities in under-resourced countries.
According to The World Energy Outlook 2015, 1.2 billion people are without electricity. This contributes to poor hygiene and a dependence on unsustainable energy. Unsustainable energy is the leading cause of air pollution; which is a factor in over half a million infant deaths, with poor hygiene resulting in 1.4 million children deaths. Solar energy would provide energy alternatives, cleaner air, and cleaner water in turn saving those lives otherwise lost to air pollution and poor hygiene. One little candle could be the beginning of a change. This candle can make a difference and so can you.
So far The Starling Project has raised over 100,000 dollars which have all been donated to provide solar energy. For more information on how you can help, visit www.starlingproject.org.

songa_shop_bracelet_600x600_luna1-478x480_1024x1024Another awesome retailer, Songa Designs, is also doing its part in making a difference. They create high quality accessories that empower women. Songa Designs is an employer of women for women. According to their website, it is typical for women in developing countries to rely solely on their husbands for income—rendering them completely dependent. Songa Designs seeks to create jobs for these women to grant them their independence. They believes in fair wages and economic independence for all.
They have a number of different bracelets, necklaces, and baskets for sale on their website. Any purchase benefits women in developing countries find their own economic independence. They seek not perfection, but meaning and fulfillment, and their pieces are more than accessories. They are art with a greater purpose. Songa means, “The Path Forward.” Let’s walk together.
We like to buy, but now we can buy with purpose; consciously spending on things that make a difference.

Visit our Facebook page for a chance to win a candle or bracelet of your own this month! Don’t forget to pick up our October issue for more of our favorite fall items!

Written by Nicole Brobston

Serve It Up Sassy: Saturday Brunch!

Brooding over what to serve this Saturday morning for brunch? Celebrate family time together with a casual down home farm-to-table buffet. Get excited about serving easy-to-make-recipes featuring eggs as the main attraction. Sausage and Egg Breakfast Twist, Grits Quiche and Eggs Benedict are not your spur of the moment sunny side up or scrambled eggs, but they do have egg-cellent presentation and individual flavors. So let’s get crack-in!

Whether you make hard boiled, soft boiled, scrambled, omelets & frittatas; eggs are versatile, inexpensive, easy to prepare and a solid source of protein. To compliment the farm-to-table buffet our egg menu features hearty country cooking. The sausage and egg twist is everything you need in one loaf. Purchased frozen bread loaves are thawed and filled with two different fillings, one loaf is filled with red bell peppers and cream cheese scrambled eggs and the other loaf is contains cooked sausage and Monterey Jack cheese. The two loaves are rolled into a six-inch wide log, filled and twisted together to form one loaf of bread.  A decorative three-inch slit in each of the top sections of the twist reveal’s the fillings inside. The twist is glazed with an egg wash and sprinkled with grated Parmesan and dried oregano before baking.  When sliced you see a two-toned bread one side is scrambled eggs and the other side is sausage. It’s a sausage and egg biscuit in yeast bread.

egg-cellent-brunch-angled-setting-www-lizbushong-comThe grits quiche is not exactly your normal quiche. Baked in a cast iron skillet, seasoned grits are flavored with bacon and Worcestershire sauce, caramelized onions, and cheddar cheese.  An egg mixture covers the baked grits and baked again to create the quiche. The dish is garnished with bacon bits, chopped green onions and sliced cherry tomatoes encircled like a bulls-eye on top of the baked quiche. We served it up sassy in a cast iron skillet for the down home feel however; the quiche can be baked in a spring form pan and sliced in individual servings for an egg-stra-special presentation.

Eggs Benedict might sound fancy and intimidating to make but they are very simple to assemble.  English muffin halves are toasted and layered with Canadian bacon or ham, a poached egg and covered with Hollandaise Sauce. The traditional hollandaise sauce is made with raw “fresh” eggs, lemon juice, and salt and warmed melted butter. Because the traditional method is made with raw eggs we opted for an Egg Beater® version. Egg Beaters® are pasteurized which is a good thing when it comes to sauces and preventing illness.  Eating raw eggs could in some cases make you ill with salmonella.  But if you have a strong immune system and use fresh eggs the traditional Hollandaise sauce is divine.

Every buffet table should have a stunning centerpiece. The autumn floral arrangement is a vibrant mix of orange and yellow sunflowers, golden- ruby red alstroemeria and brown eggs. The brown eggs accent the glass hurricane and hide the container with the flower stems. These eggs are hard-boiled for the duration of the arrangement and should be kept in the refrigerator until serving the brunch. After the brunch, return arrangement to the refrigerator if you plan to eat the eggs later. To keep the arrangement fresh avoid direct sunlight if serving an outdoor buffet. Eggs are perishable and must be stored in the refrigerator.  When properly handled and stored, eggs rarely spoil.

Whether you are hosting a Saturday brunch or serving breakfast for supper, these egg dishes will be your new go-to recipes and give your guests something egg-citing to crow about!

egg-cellent-brunch-grits-quiche-www-lizbushong-comBacon-Cheddar-Caramelized Onion- Grits Quiche

4 slices of bacon cut in half
2¼ cups whole milk
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup stone ground grits-not quick grits
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 large sweet onion, peeled and sliced into rings
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese-divided
3 large eggs
1 cup half and half
1/2-cup heavy cream
Garnish: bacon bits
½ cup chopped green onions
5 small cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray medium 10”cast iron skillet with cooking spray and cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon, crumble and set aside. Drain grease from skillet reserving 2 teaspoons. Add sliced onions and butter to skillet with reserved bacon grease. Add sugar to caramelize onions until soft and golden brown. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Add milk, 1-teaspoon butter to a boil over medium heat. Gradually whisk in grits, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, and ½ teaspoon salt whisking constantly until thick and creamy. Add 1-cup shredded cheese to grits stir to combine. Let stand 5 minutes off heat to cool.  Meanwhile mix one egg in a custard cup and whisk in 2 tablespoons warmed grits to egg mixture. Add egg mixture to grits and stir. Bake skillet of grits in oven for 25 minutes at 350 until set and browned.   Remove from oven sprinkle remaining cheese over warm grits, spread to edges add caramel onions. Let stand 5minutes. Reduce oven to 325.
In mixing bowl, combine half and half, cream, and eggs, 1- teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ground pepper. Pour egg mixture over grits bake for one hour and 15 minutes or until mixture is set. Remove from oven let sit 5 minutes before garnishing. To garnish, add crumbled bacon to center followed by chopped green onions and sliced cherry tomatoes to the outer edge of quiche. Optional baking pan: 9” spring form pan.  Add additional eggs if using larger skillet.
Yield:  8-10 servings

 

egg-cellant-brunch-sausage-and-egg-twist-www-lizbushong-comSausage and Egg Breakfast Twist

2 eggs + 1 egg yolk, reserve white for egg wash
1/2 cup half and half
½ cup whipping cream
1-3 ounce package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
¼ teaspoon salt and pepper
4 ounces sage sausage, cooked and drained
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 frozen bread dough loaves
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Place frozen bread loaves vertically on lightly sprayed parchment lined baking sheet to thaw. Preheat oven to 375. In small skillet fry sausage until done and drain off grease. Using food processor, process cream cheese and whipping cream until smooth, add 2 eggs plus one yolk, half and half to mixture. In separate small skillet, add olive oil and scramble the egg mixture. Remove from heat, place in small bowl and add red bell pepper and seasoning.

Lightly sprinkle flour over loaves of thawed bread. Roll dough into a 6”width, creating a well down center of each loaf. Spoon scrambled egg mixture in well of one loaf, spoon cooked sausage down center of remaining loaf. Sprinkle Monterey Jack cheese over the top of the fillings. Mix water and egg white together to create an egg wash. Brush dough edges with egg wash pinch edges together to seal and form into a log. Place logs seam side down in an “X” pattern on baking sheet. Starting in center of loaf, crisscross ends of dough to form a twist. Cut a 3”slit in each top section of the twist to reveal the fillings. Brush loaves with egg wash and sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese and dried oregano.
Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes before slicing. Twist inspired by Pampered Chef.
Yield:  6-8 servings

egg-cellent-brunch-eggs-benedict-www-lizbushong-comEggs Benedict-Black Forest Ham

3-English Muffins cut in half
6 eggs
1 tablespoon white vinegar
12-thinly sliced Canadian bacon or Black Forest Ham
Egg Beaters ® Hollandaise Sauce recipe
3 English muffins, split in half, toasted

Poach eggs; fill saucepan with 3” of water add vinegar and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium. In separate shallow pie plate, fill with warm water, set aside. Add one egg to the water gently without breaking the yolk. Add remaining eggs to water. When eggs become opaque and whites are no longer runny about 3 minutes, transfer the eggs with slotted spoon to the bowl of warm water to keep warm while assembling. For each Benedict, place one toasted muffin half on serving platter, layer bacon or ham, then poached egg, cover with Hollandaise sauce,  serve immediately.
Yield:  6 servings

Egg Beaters ®-Hollandaise Sauce

1/3 c. egg substitute (i.e., Egg Beaters, etc.)
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Pinch of white ground or red pepper
1/3 c. butter

In a blender mix egg substitute, lemon juice and pepper or process in food processor. In glass measuring cup, melt butter in microwave for 50 seconds or until melted. With blender or processor running, pour warmed butter through the lid. Sauce will thicken slightly. Keep sauce warm by reheating in microwave at 5-second intervals. Serve immediately.
Yield:  1 cup

Liz Circle 2013 smallHelping you Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours! ® Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tricities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIP SEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to www.lizbushong.com/www.serveitupsassy.com.

 

Bella Loves: Jack-O Traveler Pumpkin Shandy

September is here! As the weather starts to get cooler and we celebrate the upcoming autumn season with EVERYTHING pumpkin, we want to introduce you to our new favorite beer: Jack-O Traveler Pumpkin Shandy.

bellawebPerfect for enjoying at one of the last campfires of the season, a Halloween party, or while relaxing on your back porch– this delicious dark-hued, shandy-inspired beer will truly take you by surprise. Brewed with fresh pumpkin, the flavor of the alluring wheat beer leaves a remarkable impression and has us ready to enjoy everything fall has to offer.

Locally, you can find Jack-O Traveler Pumpkin Shandy at Kroger or The Fresh Market. Visit the Traveler Beer Company website for more information on products they offer and where you can find them.

Fall Entertaining

falldecor1The autumn leaves bursting into vibrant reds, lively oranges, and brilliant yellows  signal a new season for home entertaining. If you need a little inspiration, look no further than your favorite outdoor spot to update your table setting with the hottest colors for fall 2014.

“Contemporary versions of classic colors are trending in the interior design realm this fall,” says John Griffith, visual merchandiser. “Rich deep Pantone colors including Sangria, Aurora Red, Cognac and Misted Yellow reflect the abundance of color you see outdoors. The new Fiesta color, Poppy, is perfect for autumn. Metallic finishes are also wildly popular, such as gold and copper.”

“Vintage dinnerware continues to be one of the trendiest design elements in the tabletop industry,” says Robbins. “Why buy a reproduction when the real thing is readily available? Search your mother or grandmother’s china cabinet to find some of the great retro patterns. Add your own point of view when you mix and match contemporary designs to create a modern look. It’s really simple to add an accent plate, or a stand-out charger in this season’s colors to update your table for fall entertaining.”

Figural pieces, such as leaf shaped plates and serving pieces are very popular this fall. Many manufacturers are offering colorful accent pieces with favorites including turkey, fall leaves and pumpkin motifs.

“You can use pumpkins as a strong design element through Thanksgiving,” Griffith suggests. “Pumpkins made of glass, ceramic and lightweight resin are big sellers in the store as we head into the season. Mix with the real thing to easily create a great centerpiece.”

As the season changes, so does the way you’re entertaining. Gatherings may be more casual as friends and family get together around the television for the big game or by the fire pit on the patio.

“Appetizer size plates and individual dip bowls are great for finger foods and condiments, says Robbins. “These smaller pieces are both popular and affordable. Plus it’s fun to mix shapes, colors or motifs. Mix and match your favorite team colors for the big game or choose individual Thanksgiving themed plates for celebrations tied to turkey day.”

For more fall decorating tips, visit our Pinterest page!

Weeknight Meals Made Easy

What’s for dinner? It’s a question most of us ask every day. With evening routines packed full of extracurricular activities, chores and preparation for the following day, we don’t always have as much time as we’d like to make dinner. Fortunately, a quick, delicious and healthy meal can still be an option for your family, even when you’re short on time. All it takes is a little planning, some common ingredients and one trip to the grocery store. Here are five dinners to take you through an entire work week:

Monday

Start the week by putting your slow cooker to work for you. Slice off the tops of four to six bell peppers, but don’t throw them out. Remove the seeds and stuff each pepper with a combination of lean ground turkey or chicken sausage, grated cauliflower, carrots, onion and garlic, plus fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Put the pepper tops back on, arrange the peppers securely in a slow cooker, pour a large can of low-sodium chopped tomatoes over them and cook on low for eight hours. Dinner will be ready when you walk in the door.

Tuesday

Soup can be a quick way to have dinner on the table in minutes – and it allows you to use up vegetables that may be near the end of their shelf life. Try a Broccoli Cheese Soup (recipe follows), a classic favorite that the whole family will enjoy. There’s minimal pre-cooking required – simply steam the broccoli, measure the remaining ingredients, put them in your blender. Blend until smooth, pour into bowls and garnish with extra steamed broccoli florets and bit of grated cheese. For a heartier meal, chop and add grilled chicken chunks. Serve with crusty bread and a salad for a complete dinner.

Wednesday

Whole-wheat pasta with basil walnut pesto is a crowd pleaser. Take fresh basil, Parmesan cheese and walnuts and puree with garlic, olive oil and lemon juice in your blender for a quick and easy sauce. If there are stuffed pepper leftovers, chop and heat for a tasty pasta topping. Make a large batch of pesto and you can use the leftover portion later in the week.

Thursday

Throw together a chicken stir-fry for another quick weeknight meal. Chop up your favorite vegetables, including extra cauliflower, onions and carrots from Monday’s stuffed peppers and broccoli from Tuesday’s soup. Saute the vegetables with cooked, cubed chicken and a mix of soy and teriyaki sauces. Serve over rice and offer a spicy chili sauce for those who like it hot.

Friday

You’ve made it through the week. Why not treat your family to pizza? Top a ready-made, whole-wheat pizza crust with your leftover pesto sauce, cheese and any toppings you’d like. Add peppers, mushrooms and vegetables you chopped for the soup and stir-fry to create a veggie delight. Follow the cooking instructions on the pizza crust package, and you’ll be ready to kick off your weekend in no time.

With a bit of planning, you can shop once and have your dinners set for the week. Buy canned or frozen fruits and vegetables in bulk and try to prepare at least two meals using the same ingredients. Even with hectic schedules, families can prepare and sit down to a satisfying meal every night of the week.

 

Broccoli Cheese Soup  (Yields two cups)

1 cup (240 ml) milk, skim or low fat
1/3 cup (40 g) shredded, low fat cheddar cheese
1 cup (100 g) chopped fresh or frozen broccoli or cauliflower florets, steamed
1 teaspoon diced onion
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon chicken or vegetable bouillon or soup base

Place all ingredients into a blender in the order listed and secure lid. Blend until smooth.

No Tricks Here!

Treat guests to a hair-raising Halloween experience

Whether prepping for trick-or-treaters or hosting a party fit for Frankenstein, turning your home into a haunted house can be fun and easy. With these tips, before you know it, your home will be transformed into the spookiest house on the block.

  • Create terrifying tombstones. Set the stage before trick-or-treaters even hit the front door. Use wood, cardboard or thick Styrofoam to create tombstones that you can put in your front yard. After cutting out the desired shape, use a matte gray spray paint to cover the surface, and then use black paint to write creative epitaphs such as “Dare to Disturb” or “Happy Haunting.”
  • Get creative with pumpkins. Everyone enjoys a good jack-o-lantern, but why not choose to think outside the box when decorating with pumpkins this year? Instead of carving, try spray painting or using your favorite Halloween candy to decorate pumpkins in fun, spooky patterns. Plus, this is a project that even the littlest witch can enjoy.
  • Download a haunted playlist. Nothing is quite as spooky as the sound of doors creaking or ghosts shrieking. Put together a haunted playlist that you can listen to while guests arrive, or stick speakers near an open window to entice the nearby trick-or-treaters to stop by for some candy.
  • Serve spine-chilling treats. Use your free time on Halloween to make these simple but yummy treats designed to look like spiders. Serve them when guests arrive to kick-off the scary festivities.

18652366_web

Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkin Spiders  (6 Servings)

6 Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins

1/4 cup Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Chips

Large pretzel twists (2 -1/2 to 3 inches)

12 yellow Reese’s Pieces Candies

Line tray or cookie sheet with wax paper. Remove wrappers from peanut butter pumpkins and place alongside each other on tray leaving 1 inch of space between each peanut butter pumpkin. For each spider, cut 8 matching curved sections from pretzels which will form the legs. Set aside remaining pretzels pieces.

Place milk chocolate chips in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at medium 30 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave at medium an additional 10 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and smooth when stirred. Transfer to small heavy duty plastic food storage bag. Cut off one corner of bag about 1/4 inch from the tip.

Attach pretzel legs and yellow candy “eyes” to spider with melted chocolate; place dot of melted chocolate on each eye. Allow chocolate to set before moving spiders.

For more wickedly delicious recipes, visit CelebratewithHersheys.com.