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Archive for October, 2012

In honor of today’s festivities, I’m giving away a copy of my latest romance novel, The Cowboy’s Autumn Fall, over on my shannahatfield.com website.

Go check it out and enter for a chance to win!

Also, make sure you get your free copy of my book, Savvy Autumn Entertaining.

It’s full of fun fall ideas!

You can download it free from my website, at Barnes & Noble, or from Smashwords!

Happy Halloween!

May your day be filled with all treats and no tricks!

She Who is Wearing a Ridiculous Costume today!

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Host a seasonal Harvest Themed Party by incorporating the elements of the season.

Start with your invitations. You could do something fun like a making a simple scarecrow face. Cut a heavy piece of tan or yellow construction paper into a square. Turn the square so a corner is pointing toward you and one away from you.  Glue two wooden buttons or two pieces of candy corn near the middle for eyes and a gumdrop for a nose. Glue a piece of orange string in a smile for a mouth and then “stitch” over it with a black marker. “Stitch” around the edges of the square with the marker and add a little raffia bow at the top. On the back, glue your invitation. If you are creative with clip art, you could also create invitations that featured corn stalks, pumpkins, baskets of apples, or a harvest moon.

Decorations could include piles of pumpkins.

Think about what you have on hand you could dress up. Right now I’ve got miniature pumpkins surrounding the little cement bunny that stands guard at my front door. An old wheelbarrow, a child’s wagon, even an empty birdbath can be fun containers for pumpkins.

If you are going to put candles in pumpkins, I highly recommend the battery-operated variety. You don’t have to worry about fire issues that way. For something a bit off the beaten bath, take leaf shaped cookie cutters, pound them into the pumpkin with a rubber mallet, pull out with needle nose pliers and get ready for the compliments to roll in once you drop in a candle and illuminate your handiwork.

If you are doing a more formal plated dinner, you have to try this great idea for place cards. Write names of guests on mini pumpkins then using a small knife, follow the outline of the name and peel away the rind without cutting all the way through the pumpkin. Place a votive inside each one. What a fun way to let guests know the seating arrangement. You could also do this with words like “Welcome,” “Harvest,” “Bountiful,” and “Autumn” and place throughout your buffet.

You could also use baskets of apples. There is absolutely nothing on the planet that says fall to me like a wooden basket filled with shiny red apples. Use little baskets to display apples throughout your entertaining area.

Gather stalks of corn and have them stand sentinel by your front door. If you are going to be entertaining outdoors with a bonfire or some other fun activity, be sure to include decorations outside. Straw bales, especially when draped with a thick blanket, make perfect seating for outdoor events. Stack them up and cover with a colorful cloth if you need extra serving space.

Sprinkle fall leaves along your buffet table. You can even tuck a pretty leaf or two into the frame of a mirror or picture.

Bonus decorating tip – nuts and mini pinecones are your friends! They can be trailed along tables, nestled in bowls, poured into jars and stacked in boxes or baskets to create great fall accents. If you’ve got nothing else, at least have a basket of nuts!

Let the kids make a scarecrow and set him by the front door or somewhere sure to be noticed. Do include a few candles in safe and strategic places throughout your home that carry through the scent of fall like pumpkin, apple, maple or spice or use wall plug-ins.

For a simple menu, think about making a big casserole or a pot of hearty soup. Serve with easy herb bread, a fresh salad with chopped apples and toasted nuts, warm apple cider and bar cookies for dessert.

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With a blatant move of shameless self-promotion, I had to let you know that my latest romance, The Cowboy’s Autumn Fall, (book 4 in the Grass Valley Cowboys series) is now available for your reading pleasure.

You can find it on:

Kindle

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

It will also be available in paperback in just a few days!

If you love fall, pumpkins, romance, sassy women and hunky cowboys – I hope you’ll check it out!

Here is a little description:

Brice Morgan thought love at first sight was some ridiculous notion of school girls and old ladies who read too many romance novels. At least he does until he meets Bailey Bishop at a friend’s wedding and falls hard and fast for the intriguing woman.

Bailey Bishop attends her cousin’s wedding with no intention of extending her brief visit to Oregon. Married to her career as a paleontologist, Bailey tries to ignore her intense attraction to her cousin’s best friend, Brice. Ready to return home to Denver, Bailey instead accepts the opportunity to explore a new dig site not far from the family’s ranch in Grass Valley.

Can she keep her feelings for Brice from derailing her plans for the future?

As the autumn season arrives, love falls on willing hearts at the Triple T Ranch.

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With a craving for pumpkin pie the other day, I decided to make some pumpkin pie bites.

The madness behind this plan was that I could freeze them and take out a bite whenever I need a pumpkin fix.

Great plan!

These are easy to make, quick to bake and just as yummy as traditional pumpkin pie. Especially piled high with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon!

Enjoy!

Ingredients

Cream together butter, cream cheese and flour.

Work into a soft dough then chill for an hour.

Shape dough into a ball about the size of a walnut.

Drop into greased muffin cup.

Tamp down dough (use a tart tamper that is generously floured, a spoon or a shot glass).

You want the dough to cover the bottom and sides of the cup.

Dough-lined cups… uniformity is not my forte.

Mix the pumpkin filling.

Pour into cups, filling almost to full.

Bake, cool, enjoy! Num, num, yum.

Pumpkin Pie Bites

Crust:

1./2 cup butter

3-4 ounce of cream cheese (3 oz. if you have a small pack or cut a large pack in half)

1 cup flour

Soften butter and cream cheese, blend together with flour until a soft dough forms. It will be sticky. Cover and chill for one hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a greased mini-muffin tin, roll dough into walnut-sized balls and drop one in the tin. Use a tart tamper (or the back of spoon – or a shot glass if you have one) to smoosh the dough into the bottum and up the sides of the muffin cup.

Fill with pumpkin filling and bake for about 15-20 minutes until pumpkin is set and dough is starting to brown. Remove from oven, let cool, devour.

Pumpkin Filling:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 egg

3/4 cup pumpkin

1/2 cup evaporated milk

Beat egg, blend in pumpkin and milk then stir in dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour into crust-lined muffin cups and bake.

Garnish with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.

She Who Could Not Eat Just One

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Where we live, we have a pretty great view of some of the wind turbines set on the hills around our valley.

I don’t know what it is about them, but I love seeing this big white blades reaching up into blue sky. Especially when they are surrounded by fields of golden wheat, like these were in the summer.

The other night Captain Cavedweller and I were driving home with a car full of groceries. It was almost sunset and although the day had been gray and rainy, the sun had peeked out from behind the clouds, illuminating the wind machines.

I could tell it was going to be a glorious descent of light and wanted to capture it on camera.

As soon as we got home, I grabbed my camera and ran into our backyard, only to realize the neighbor’s trees were going to obstruct the view too much.

So CC and I hustled to unload the car and I left him with bags of groceries to put away while I jumped back in the car and drove about a half-mile from our house.

Pulling off to the side of the road, I think the neighbor’s thought I’d finally lost it as I stomped out to the edge of their field in my skirt and heels, but I wanted to get just the right angle.

And so began the evening spectacular  – a fabulous show of colors against the purple and green hills.

And then it got even better.

She Who Needs to Watch More Sunsets

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First I started blogging. Then I joined Facebook and Twitter.

After that I got sucked into the vortex of Pinterest followed by Polyvore.

Now… my gracious. I’ve been introduced to Houzz.com. 

Thanks, Becca, for giving me one more place to spend way too much time!

You can browse through more than 780,000 photos of home ideas, create idea books and find yourself lost in the oblivion of home design.

Ideas from home gyms to porches and everything in between are available for your browsing pleasure.

My current interest is in the landscaping ideas. We’ve still got a barren backyard that needs sprucing up and I  know I’ll find some great ideas here.

If you love home decor or just like to drool over “dream home” photos, check it out!

She Who May Never Find Her Way Back

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I’ve noticed recently a number of both fascinating and disturbing pins on Pinterest with Halloween makeup and costume ideas.

They are elaborate, interesting and way beyond anything I’d have the patience to sit still for.

I remember way back, just past the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth, when I got to go trick-or-treating, thinking I was uptown because I had a bat girl mask.

I couldn’t tell you what I wore for a costume, because my mother always made me wear a coat over it anyway. But I remember thinking I was sleek and strong and sassy because I was BAT GIRL!

Nevermind that it was impossible to see out of the ridiculous eye holes or breath through the nose holes, which were so precisely placed (as you can see in above photo). The inside of the mask would be all sweaty and have sticky candy residue around the mouth hole. It was cool, way back in the day.

Needless to say, that is a far cry from what people are wearing out on Halloween this year…

(click on the photos to go to their websites)

She Who Needs to Step it Up a Bit This Year

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