Archive for December, 2014

A Compilation for Christmas

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Holidays

Easy Slow Cooker Recipes

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Entertaining

When the cold weather sets in and the holiday planning begins to take up all of your time, it can be nice to come home to a hot meal each evening. With a slow cooker, you can prepare your meal ahead of time, set it, and come home to it ready and waiting at the end of the day. Best of all, many slow cooker recipes take just minutes to throw together, so you don’t have to scramble to get things set up in the morning either. Try these fast and easy slow cooker recipes for yourself this winter when you need a little hot comfort food at the end of a busy day.

Split Pea Soup

This split pea soup is hot, nourishing, and incredibly easy to throw together. Add a 16 ounce bag of split peas to your slow cooker, along with a peeled and diced sweet potato, a peeled and diced onion, and some cubed, pre-cooked smoked ham. Add a tablespoon of celery salt, a teaspoon of white pepper, one bay leaf and six cups of water. Now just set the slow cooker to low and let it simmer for 8 to 10 hours. This meal also reheats very well the next day as leftovers.

Chicken Stew

This hearty chicken stew recipe combines some unusual winter tastes into one fabulous meal. Just cut up two pounds of chicken thighs into small pieces and layer them on the bottom of the slow cooker along with one bunch of chopped kale, and one half of a cubed butternut squash. Add a cup of green peas, a teaspoon of white pepper, and one of cumin. Then just fill the rest of the cooker up with your favorite chicken stock or broth. Simmer on low for 8 hours and your stew is ready.

Turkey Chili

Make this turkey chili as spicy or mild as you want by varying the amount of spices. Add a pound of ground turkey to your slow cooker along with one can each of black, red, and pink beans. Two chopped onions, two chopped red peppers, a can of tomatoes, and three cups of tomato juice round it out. Now add a combination of white pepper, Ancho pepper, and chipotle pepper to your taste to spice things up. Cook on low for 8 hours and serve with sour cream. 

Winter Mantel Decorating Ideas

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

The fireplace is traditionally the heart of a home and often the place where people are drawn, particularly in the winter months. Therefore, when it’s time to decorate your home for the season, it makes sense to pay particular attention to the mantel. After all, this is a visual focal point of the room. Try using any of these ideas to create a mantel decoration that will capture everyone’s attention.

Winter Greenery

Don’t overlook the simplicity of winter greens for making a beautiful and formal decoration on your mantel. Look for evergreen swags you can drape across the mantel, and then try studding the greens with pinecones, bulb ornaments, bird’s nests, and other small items to help complete the look. You can also create small swags and circles out of holly branches or mistletoe; try arranging small groups of them around candles you can light in the evening to enhance the effect.

Mitten Clothesline

Have a little fun with your mantel and invoke the image of mittens drying by the open fire by creating a mitten clothesline. String a line across the mantel, and pick up several pairs of mittens from a dollar store or other discount vendor. Clip them to the line in coordinate colors to give the impression that many little hands are warming up after a cold day outside.

Winter Topiary

Create timeless decorations to display on your mantel this year, and for years to come by making some winter topiaries in a variety of sizes. Create a holiday-themed topiary out of bulb ornaments to display in the center of the mantel, or create two smaller topiaries out of pinecones to set on either end. You can also combine the topiaries with fresh greenery to help enhance the look of the mantel and bring something else to focus on into the overall design. Just be sure that you don’t duplicate the materials used in the topiary elsewhere in the design, so that each component can shine on its own.