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DIY Calligraphy Leaf Name Cards

The weather today was beyond beautiful. After spending countless days huddled up under blankets in our cold drafty apartment, going out today in a t-shirt was bliss. (Nothing against our apartment, I’m not complaining, but some new windows would really be heaven-sent this winter.) As I was walking I kicked through piles of colorful leaves on the sidewalks, enjoying the sunshine and the fact that my nose was, for once, not an ice cube!

So as I was walking down the sidewalk I remembered this image I pinned:

DIY Gilded Leaf Placecards. Perfect for adding a rustic touch with a glamorous twist to your wedding.

And so I picked out a few flat-ish, nicely shaped leaves. Having no gold marker on hand I thought about my options as to how I could still attempt this. I decided I could paint the leaf white, but as I was looking at my leaves I thought the colors were just too brilliant to paint over. So when I got home all I did was pull out one of my micron pens and wrote the name in a pretty calligraphic font! I think this is a great idea for lots of things, Thanksgiving Dinner being one, but also fall weddings or dinner parties!

Calligraphy Leaf Name Card

I’ve never had the nicest handwriting, so I practiced the name I wanted to write on paper before I tried it on the leaf, but the great thing about this time of year is, if you mess up on a leaf you can just go outside and grab another! Be careful when writing too, as the leaf is going to be a lot more fragile than a piece of paper would be.

Calligraphy Leaf Name Card

Imagine these name cards set on a table with a gorgeous rustic autumnal center piece, with all the warmest plentiful harvest type foods you can think of…now that’s a dinner party I’d want to be at! What do you think?

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Soup Weather

Hearty Beef Vegetable Stew

Fall brings a lot of great things, including cozy fashions, warm colors and fun outdoor activities such as hiking, bonfires and corn mazes. And of course most people would include pumpkins on this list, but honestly I don’t really understand what all the hype is about. You guys know that grocery stores sell pumpkin all year round? But I digress.

Besides all that, one of my most favorite things about autumn is the FOOD. Comforting, yummy and warm, fall food is great, and I love that it all culminates in that wonderful holiday we Americans celebrate called Thanksgiving! But i’m not here to discuss Thanksgiving, I’m here to talk about soup! Soup makes up a good portion of the awesomeness that is fall cuisine, and I’ve already made a couple kinds this season. Yesterday I decided to take advantage of my day off to make a big pot of this goodness; Hearty Beef Vegetable Soup. I got the recipe from my mother-in-law because it’s one of Husband’s favorite things that she makes, and I’d have to agree that it is de-lish. It’s more than just putting all the ingredients together and heating them up with this soup, the yum factor comes from the long slow cooking. You start by browning the meat and then you throw in all the vegetables with a whole bottle of V-8 juice. Add stock to generously cover and bring it all to a boil. Then leave that puppy on the stove for 6.5 hours. Yep, you read that right, and it’s because of the length of time it takes to make this that I chose to do it on my day off! But all that long slow simmering makes the meat just so tender and all the flavors of the vegetables mingle to make a pot of pure amazing.

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A few hours before the soup was ready I mixed up some dough as well to bake a fresh loaf of French Bread to go with it. Fresh bread, fresh soup. You just can’t get any more warm and comforting than that! You should use your next day off to make this soup! It makes enough to have plenty of leftovers; pop some in your fridge and some in your freezer (it freezes well, but take note that if you put it in a plastic container the tomato juice WILL stain it!) because there’s going to be so much that you probably won’t be able to eat it all before it goes bad. But then a few weeks down the road when you just need something easy and delicious, BAM take that soup outta the freezer and enjoy the warm fuzzy happiness of fall comfort food all over again.

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So here’s the recipe! Please note that the vegetables and amounts are only suggestions, use whatever you’ve got on hand!

Hearty Beef Vegetable Soup

1 lb. beef tips
4 lg. carrots (peeled and sliced)
1 lg. rutabega (peeled and cubed to 1/4″ pieces)
2 c. cut green beans
2 c. corn
1 lg. sweet onion (diced)
3 stalks celery (sliced to 1/4″ pieces)
1/4 med. cabbage head (cut in pieces)
64 oz. V-8 Juice Original
9-10 c. beef broth (or 9-10 c. water + 9-10 tsp. beef bouillon)

In 8 qt, stockpot brown beef tips in 2 T. oil. Remove the meat and drain off fat. Wipe out stock pot with paper towel and return meat. Add all the vegetables and the V-8 Juice, then add enough broth or water and bouillon to generously cover vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low for 1 1/2 hours. Simmer for another 5 hours, stirring occasionally.

Enjoy the recipe, the next comfort food I’m going to try out is this Bangers and Mash recipe, I’ll have to let you know how it turns out!