With so much candy around at Halloween parties, a salty snack will hit the spot. Whip up some homemade kettle-popped corn or one of our popcorn recipes below and place in scallop-edged cups. Embellish with dimensional scrapbooking stickers (found at craft stores) or one of our free printables. If you're sending a cup home with your party guests, wrap it in cellophane and tie with ribbon so the popcorn will stay fresh.
Rabbits, voles and field mice nibble bark along the base of shrubs and young trees. Their handiwork is especially difficult to detect on brushy shrubs that give them cover while they chew. Protect the trunks of woody plants by encircling them with commercial tree guards or homemade versions crafted from corrugated drainage pipe (shown), hardware cloth or small mesh poultry wire.
This friendly, low-key downtown market is a charming way to connect with locals and stock up on some foodie souvenirs. The Alpharetta Farmers' Market held Saturday mornings April-October features plenty of items to cobble together a little picnic or shop for some jams, homemade wares, candles and other items to take home with you. Better still, the downtown is ringed with locavore boutiques and restaurants to grab breakfast or lunch, or find unique home goods, art and apparel.
Try your hand at drying apples, either in the oven or using a dehydrator. Drying is a great way to preserve apples long-term. When apples are fully, properly dry, they’ll last up to six months in a cool, dark place. Or you can also freeze them for longer storage. Dried apples make a tasty snack and are a great addition to homemade granola or trail mix. Grab chopped dried apples for an oatmeal topper or a delicious addition to oatmeal cookies.
Problem: Swarms or clouds of tiny white creatures fly into the air when you move your plants. Solution: You’ve got whiteflies, insects related to aphids that suck plant juices. They make a sticky substance called honeydew that can attract fungal diseases. Spray the plant with an insecticidal soap, following label directions. You’ll probably need to re-treat. Some gardeners use a homemade spray of 2 parts rubbing alcohol, 5 parts water and one tablespoon of mild liquid soap. The good news is that some houseplants, like this red Anthurium, are seldom troubled by these pests.
When tulips, daffodils and lilies burst into bloom, you’re probably not thinking much about the part of the plant that’s underground: the bulb. Flower bulbs are actually a type of food storage organ, a way that plants stash their homemade nosh to help fuel future growth and flowers. Many plants get lumped under the heading bulbs, including tubers, corms and rhizomes. Knowing a little about different types of bulbs can help you understand how these plants grow—and how you should handle them at planting time.
Pineapples are not only great to eat but even better as decor. Have a fear of homemade floral arrangements? Try a fresh pineapple; it makes an affordable and simple display that even a novice hostess can handle. When you are done using the pineapple for display, add them to your menu for another meal or add to the bar for a specialty cocktail. If you are up for it, find a unique way to cut them into fun shapes, and if you need a little help, this can be an activity to do with your guests.
It’s surprisingly easy to make your own apple cider—no apple press required. Just quarter apples, add water, sweetener (if using) and seasoning, and cook for a hour or more. Run the apples through a food mill or food strainer to remove any solids, then strain it again through cheesecloth or paint strainer bag to yield a clear liquid. Enjoy apple cider cold or hot. Once you master cider-making, use your brew to whip up apple cider donuts, a classic fall treat. Homemade apple cider keeps about a week in the fridge; freeze or water bath can it for longer storage.
Cake pops are delicious in any form, but are especially appealing in the shape of adorable gingerbread boys and girls. To make, bake a boxed or homemade cake in a 13-inch by 9-inch pan as directed. Crumble cake and mix with a can of frosting. Form cake mixture into a flat layer and cut out with a mini gingerbread man cookie cutter. Chill the cutouts. Next, dip a lollipop stick into melted chocolate and insert into the cutout to hold the stick in place. Dip the entire cutout in melted chocolate and tap on the side of the bowl to remove excess. Let dry, then decorate with red and white icing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Il Giallo Osteria and Bar in Sandy Springs is a chef-forward Italian experience located close to all of Atlanta's action but with the unusual appeal of plenty of free parking (yes, it is a big deal in this valet and paid parking-crazy town) in a handsome, open space. Chef and co-owner Jamie Adams features fresh, homemade pasta in his open-kitchen for diners who enjoy a little cooking show entertainment with their meal. Adams' agnolotti with brown butter and sage has been featured on Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate, but there are plenty of other culinary delights on offer including polpette turkey and duck meatballs, a distinctive calamari studded with capers, and a short rib ravioli and a rotating cast of pasta dishes that make this a local favorite. With a talented pastry chef onboard, desserts are just as notable and some of the stars of the show, including the strawberry jam and mascarpone strawberry pizza, bomboloni and a decadent hazelnut bar like a European candy bar with a haute twist.