Halloween Inspired Treats

22534191_STrick or treat? Most of us would pick treat. Whether or not you have kids, Halloween can bring out the inner child in all of us. Why not grab a few pumpkins to carve and cook up some of the following spooky treats. It’s a fun way to spend an evening entertaining little ones and adults alike.

Once you have hollowed out a pumpkin you can use it to hold all kinds of dips. Use black tortilla chips for a creepy effect.

Make witch fingers out of bread stick dough. Cut pepperoni slices to look like fingernails. Don’t forget to score the dough with a knife, creating knuckles and wrinkles for a more realistic look. If you don’t want to use breadstick dough you can make fingers from carrot sticks. Simply attach an almond fingernail with cream cheese and stand the carrots up in a bowl of ranch dressing.

Make green jello, mix in pineapple juice, lemon lime soda and vodka (if adults only) and pour into a punch bowl. In the meantime add dry ice and water to a large cauldron. Fit the punch bowl into a cauldron. Now you have magically smoking witches brew.

Use test tubes to hold tomato soup. Cut out pumpernickel bread in monster shapes and make grilled cheese.

Entertaining: Casual Dinner Party

In our busy lives it can be difficult to make time for friends and family gatherings. Starting a tradition of weekly family meals is one way to make sure you have quality time together. Another great tradition is to have dinner parties with your friends and neighbors. These parties do not have to be formal affairs. A casual meal in the slow cooker or on the grill is a good excuse to bring together a small group of friends and neighbors.

Open concept kitchens that open onto the dining area are great for these casual dinner parties. It seems at most parties people gather in the kitchen. Allowing the chef or chefs to interact with guests both in the kitchen and gathered at the table is a great thing for the hosts.  Having an open concept kitchen dining area that shares the same floor surface, whether it be tile or wood, will make the two spaces feel like one large room.

For a casual dinner party, you can make it a progressive party where courses are served at different homes. This is a great idea for neighbors or a small block party. Potluck can help keep the costs down for you if your guests bring dessert or appetizers.

Making time for friends and neighbors is a wonderful way to open your home and entertain guests. Dinner parties do not have to be formal or fancy to bring people together over good food, good drinks and good conversation.

Traditional Dining Room Style

Formal dining rooms often follow a pattern in their design. Many formal dining rooms have a traditional style even if the rest of the home is more casual and comfortable.  In many minds, the dining room should be formal and for many of us formal means traditional.  This is the room where we dress up for dinner and celebrate holidays and milestones.

Achieving a formal feel in the dining room is often done with traditional design elements and furnishings.  Even if your style is more modern, these traditional elements are the foundation of any formal dining room.  You can take the traditional elements and modernize them to suit your taste, but you’ll find that you use the same pieces as a traditional style dining room does.

The dining table is the focal point of the room. Surrounded by a set of four, six, or eight chairs, the table is centered in the room by a light fixture, most often a chandelier.  The chandelier is typically hung thirty-six inches above the table, low enough to relate to the table and high enough not to interfere with the sight lines from the chair.  Other pieces in a traditional dining room include a sideboard or buffet and often a mirror above it.

This dining room has all the classic elements of a traditional dining room. The large area rug ties in the artwork and the colors of the table and chairs.