Houzz Feature: Neat Fall Finds

Hey all, hope you’re having a great Thursday. Maybe you’ve noticed a new feature in the right sidebar? I have a little widget that shares my Ideabooks from Houzz. A while back, Houzz asked to partner with me and PDB to create a new Ideabook each month of 20 favorite products. What fun it’s been!

Yesterday I was so surprised to find that they chose my latest ‘Fall Finds’ Ideabook to share on their home page:

So cool, thanks Houzz! For a few unique fall decorating ideas (some crazy, some totally practical), check it out.

You can head out to Houzz and the Pepper Design Blog page to see a new Ideabook each month (and inspiration for a rooms in our home, including the new office and future master bath). Or, try the link there over in the right sidebar.

Decorating for Fall: Framed Autumn Leaves

Here’s a quick and easy way to decorate for any season. Choose your favorite flat decor, mount it on white matting or construction paper (or a patterned fabric!) and frame.

I found a few plastic fall leaves (though it would be interesting to try drying the real deal – that is if leaves changed color in San Diego :() and lined several frames that I had on hand with white construction paper for a simple look.

Side note: Kevin thinks I have a frame problem… it’s true, *sigh*. I have a huge box of frames that I constantly rotate in and out around the house. Sometimes frames will sit for months, sometimes even a couple of years before their day of display comes. Most all of my frames are basic white, brown or black – nothing ornate and most made for hanging on a wall. The penny sale at Aaron Brothers is awesome – I have dreams of photo collages and what I will hang!

But I digress… For Christmas, I might change out the leaves for little felt Christmas trees or maybe mount doilies that resemble snowflakes on patterned fabric.

If you’re not a frame addict, try switching out a few of your family photos just for the holidays – or you could always put that Aaron Brothers, Joanns or Michaels 40% off coupon to good use ;).

Good Eats: Killer Crisp Crust

This is a delicious crust that is perfect for fall fruit crisps! It caramelizes in that melt-in-your-mouth sort of way and creates a crispy-sweet shell for roasted apples, pears, figs… or whatever happens to be in season.

It’s such an easy recipe that it’s one of my go-tos when I need a fancy dessert but am short on time – and I literally make it with any fruit that’s sitting in our glass fruit bowl at that moment.

On this particular summer’s day, I had a few extra pears and a whole lotta figs from our neighbor’s tree. So pear & fig crisp it was.

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Killer Crisp Recipe

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Ingredients

*3/4 cup flour
*2/3 cup (packed) brown sugar
*1 teaspoon cinnamon
*1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
*6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

*Fruit sliced and marinating in a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon/nutmeg (try marinating in brandy, maple syrup, honey… too)
*Apple butter (totally optional – my secret ingredient), honey works well
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{1.} Mix together flour, sugar and spices.
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{2.} Blend in butter with fingertips until mixture forms small clumps.

{3.} Prepare the inside of your baking container by greasing it with butter.

{4.} Press crust into edges of baking pan until a layer 1/4″ or so forms.

{5.} Layer in fruit slices and add pats/spreads of apple butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.

{6.} Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes (since every oven and climate is different, look for an initial browning of the crust).

{7.} Remove foil and bake 10-20 minutes until sugars and fruit caramelize. Don’t remove until poking with a fork results in a firm crust – the more carmelized, the better!

{8.} Let stand for at least 30 minutes, serve with a sprig of mint and vanilla ice cream!

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Try this dish with apples, peaches, nectarines, plums, strawberries, blueberries… you name it. I love crisps because they’re quick and easy, you could even freeze the dough in portion-sized balls for future thawing. Note: not an ideal recipe for pies, this is really and truly a crispy-sweet crust.

The perfect summer-meets-fall dessert!

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