Happy Thanksgiving from Megan’s Island

Turkey vegetable tray | Megan's Island Blog

I cut, whittled and delicately placed vegetables to create this Thanksgiving masterpiece that we’ll devour later today. I hope you have a wonderful day with your friends and family! And, don’t forget to eat your vegetables!

Here’s the full tray. Looks pretty awesome, if I don’t say so myself.

Thanksgiving vegetable tray | Megan's Island Blog

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The best rice krispie treats ever

Seriously. Ever. And they’d make an amazing Thanksgiving dessert (or breakfast, for that matter).

Rice Krispie Treats | Megan's Island

Brandon and I were cleaning out the pantry over the weekend, which meant we had a half of a bag of rice krispies and a bag of marshmallows that were “going bad” and “needed” to be re-purposed into something delicious. That means rice krispie treats! And I had just gotten a new recipe!

I was recently at a Social Media Lunch event at Allrecipes.com where I had the best rice krispie treats ever. VoraciousGirl was kind enough to share her recipe with me. The following recipe is predominantly hers, with some Megan’s Island adjustments. I’d recommend you run to the store immediately and pick up the following ingredients.

Why are they so good? I blame it on the whole stick of browned butter. Delish.
Brown butter rice krispie treats | Megan's Island Blog
Brown Butter Salted Rice Krispie Treats
Yield: one pan
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1-16oz bag of mini marshmallows
  • 8 cups Rice Krispies
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla (the original recipe calls for Bourbon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Directions
  1. Melt and brown butter until its a golden brown and smells nutty over medium heat. It’s ok if there are some dark brown-black speckles.
  2. Grease all edges of the 9″ x 9″ pan.
  3. Add mini marshmallows and reduce heat to medium low. Stir until marshmallows are completely melted.
  4. Add vanilla and sea salt to mixture. Stir mixture.
  5. Remove pan from heat.
  6. Add Rice Krispies and mix well to combine.
  7. Spoon Rice Krispie mixture into pan.
  8. Use waxed paper and press mixture to evenly disperse.
  9. Clean the pan by eating what’s left. Careful: It’ll be hot and gooey!

Rice Krispie Treats | Megan's Island

Now, get up and head to the store to pick up some butter, marshmallows and Rice Krispies!! Enjoy!

My friend Emily claims that this Smitten Kitchen recipe is the best rice krispie treats, We’re going to have a rice krispie treat-off soon to crown the champion recipe. In the meantime, try out this one. It’s a winner.

A Sunday crafternoon

I hope you had a nice weekend. Beyond the usual grocery shopping and cleaning, I spent this afternoon finishing up a lot of projects I’ve been working on for the past few weeks (or sometimes years!).

How did I spend my crafternoon? Let me tell you all about it!

WSU Cougar Pinata | Megan's Island Blog

First, I’m on a pinata making kick and I put the last layer of paper mache on a WSU Cougar pinata that I’m making for the big Washington vs Washington State Apple Cup game this Friday.

The pinata is turning out really well and I’m hoping that its dry enough to paint tonight.

My pinata tutorial will be posted in the next few weeks.

Next, I made 15 pairs of holiday earrings for a craft show at work. These are super easy to make and I’ve made them many times in the past.

How do you make them?

First gather your ingredients and tools:

  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Something to make the earrings out of (I use small glass ornaments from Michael’s. These were $5.99 for 27 ornaments)
  • Earring backs. I used the cheap silver ones, since these won’t likely get all that much use. I don’t remember the cost, but they came in the million pack and it was less than $5.
  • That’s it! (I wanted to be extra fancy and used punches to make a little backdrop for the earrings with fancy cranberry-colored glitter paper, also from Michael’s. It’s 12″ x 12″ and was $0.59 per sheet)

Next:

  1. Use the pliers and open the circle hook at the base of the earring hook a tiny bit. It should be easy to open but don’t open it too far, but just enough to slip on the ornament.
  2. Slip on the ornament.
  3. Close the hook back up.
  4. Tada. Totally easy, right? And oh so festive!

Easy DIY holiday earrings | Megan's Island Blog

Since Seattle has been so sunny (ok, not rainy) this week, I decided to do some spray painting. Here is a sneak peek. There will be much more explanation in the weeks to come.I was just happy that I got to bust out the gold spray paint. UPDATE: Read about my golden pine cones here

Spray painting | Megan's Island Blog

Felt Balls | Megan's Island BlogFinally, I bought a bunch of felt balls more than a year ago (online from the Felt Pod) and recently re-discovered them in the garage. It took me about 30 minutes to create a felt ball garland by stringing them on some embroidery floss and hang them in front of the big mirrors in our living room.

What do you think? I love them and I’m so glad I finally finished this project!

(Please note: I only made one strand, that’s just the reflection in the mirror.)

Felt Ball Garland | Megan's Island Blog

And now? It’s time to make dinner. We’re making this root vegetable stew with beef and barley from Whole Foods. It’s so good! Definitely pin this as a dish to try this winter!

Have a great week!

{Wine Wednesday} Robert Ramsay Cellars: Counoise

WineWednesday

2011 Robert Ramsay Counoise

2011 Robert Ramsay Counoise

A few years ago we bought a Living Social deal for tasting and a bottle of wine at a winery called Robert Ramsay Cellars near some of our favorite wineries in Woodinville. We bought it knowing we’d be in the area before it expired and we always enjoy trying a new winery. At that time Robert Ramsay was only making Rhone-style reds and we fell in love with most of their wines, especially the Mourvedre, a peppery, smooth and spicy wine blend.

We’ve visited Robert Ramsay nearly every time we go to Woodinville and we finally bit the bullet and joined their wine club after tasting their newest release: the 2011 Counoise and the 2011 Le Mien.

I preferred the Counoise and Brandon liked the Le Mien. Perfect since we got both bottles with our new wine club membership. Later tonight we’ll be drinking the Counoise with this gnocchi with turkey, squash and kale.

Here are the tasting notes for the Counoise. Looks like we’ll have to get another bottle or two to enjoy with a filet mignon:

With the grill fired up and the first glass accompanying the chef, you experience smells reminiscent of Syrah, deep, dark and musty. A taste of star anise confirms your thoughts but is followed by a meaty and chewy mouth feel, a thickness to go with your filet mignon and a peppery tone suggests the blending of Mourvedre into the mix. Has Bob combined a powerhouse of Syrah and Mourvedre together you ask? No. Counoise transcends them both and your steak has found the perfect partner. If you didn’t buy a second bottle, you may be disappointed.

Never heard of Counoise? The Rhone Rangers have more information about the grape itself:

Counoise may be an obscure grape in the United States, but it is a key component of many Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines. It is a deep purple-red, and has a rich spicy character, with flavors of anise, strawberries and blueberries. Counoise’s moderate alcohol and tannins make it a good complement for Syrah, balancing that grape’s characteristic intense spice, strong tannins and high alcohol.

Have you been to Robert Ramsay Cellars before? Next time you’re in the warehouse district of Woodinville, you should definitely check them out and let me know what your favorite wines are. Happy Wine Wednesday!

Winter decomposition

It was just a few short months ago when our backyard looked like this:

Fall shade garden | Megan's Island Blog

Backyard shade garden, circa summer 2013

With the rain and wind and the changing of seasons, our yard now looks like this:

Fall shade garden decomposition | Megan's Island Blog

Looks like we traded UW Husky flamingos for hostas! 

Fall shade garden | Megan's Island Blog

A few weeks and showers later… It’s almost a winter shade garden

Where did all of those beautiful hostas go!? I know from previous experience that hostas die back in the winter, so I was prepared for the decomposition and their disappearance.

In fact, I’ve taken my sweet time planting most of these hostas and have had them in their pots for years. This is how it usually goes: Clean up the yard in the spring, look at the empty pots as I’m taking them out to the yard waste bin, see new plants sprouting! So, they stay in their pots another year. Summer 2013 was a big time for us in that we actually freed the hostas from their pots and planted them!

2013-11-17-Hostas-in-pots

Knowing that the hostas and a few of our fern varieties will disappear until the spring and that I’ll forget where I planted them, I bought some golf tees (~$5 for 100 of them from Target) to put in the ground, so I’ll know where not to plant next spring.

Here’s how it looks:

Golf tee hosta markers | Megan's Island Blog

Pretty inexpensive solution, right? As your fall gardens start to decompose, I encourage you to get some golf tees of your own to help with your spring planting.

Happy planting and decomposition!

{Gone Pinning} Gluten-free Thanksgiving… with all the fixins’

GonePinning

I kid. I like feasts full of gluten but I also like gluten-free feasts!

I kid. I like feasts full of gluten but I also like gluten-free feasts!

I’m coming more around to the idea that Thanksgiving is almost here — in less than a fortnight (thank you, Heather), nonetheless.

As I mentioned last week, Brandon and I won’t do much cooking for the holiday, so this post is really targeted at my parents (thank you for reading) who will hopefully be considering some of these ideas for our holiday feast. This post is also for a dear friend of mine who is throwing her first gluten-free Thanksgiving (hi, Megan!), so hopefully this provides inspiration for her too. (Man, that’s a lot of pressure on this post!)

So, here we go. First things first: gluten-free appetizers:

A cute, holiday-inspired veggie display

A cute, holiday-inspired veggie display

Bacon-wrapped dates? Yes please.

Bacon-wrapped dates? Yes please.

Sweet potato crostini

Sweet potato crostini

And some ideas for gluten-free side dishes:

Lemony Brussels sprouts

Lemony Brussels sprouts

Wild rice and mushroom stuffing

Wild rice and mushroom stuffing

Honey-roasted butternut squash

Honey-roasted butternut squash

Spuds!

Spuds!

I’m going to assume that you gluten-free’ers have the main dish covered. Mom & Dad: I hope it’s turkey!

Which leaves us with some gluten free desserts!

Gluten-free pie crusts

Gluten-free pie crusts

Pumpkin-ginger cupcakes

Pumpkin-ginger cupcakes

Gluten-free fig frangipane tart

Gluten-free fig frangipane tart

If you do use any of these recipes or re-pin these, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! And if you’d like to see all of my Thanksgiving pins, visit my board. Please note: not all pins on my Thanksgiving board are gluten free.

Happy menu planning and have a great rest of the weekend!