Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's Just a Bunch of Hocus Pocus!

In light of "All Hallow's Eve,"  Happy Halloween everyone!!

Tonight, Zach and I are handing out candy and watching my two favorite Halloween movies "Hocus Pocus" and the inevitable "Halloween."  What are you all doing tonight?  Are you able to go trick-or-treating with your kids or handing out candy or watching a scary movie?  I would love to know!

Oh and by the way - my favorite Halloween candy is a tie between Hershey's bars and Kit-Kats - The best Halloween candy to me!!!  What is/was your favorite Halloween candy???

Our pumpkins this year - Zachary carved our names into the mouths!  A Campillo Family Tradition!
Happy Halloween Everyone!
xoxo Sarah

Friday, October 26, 2012

Candy Corn Rice Krispie Treats

So when you think of October and candy, what is the first item that pops into your head?

For me it is definitely candy corn!

And what's more perfect than rice krispie treats with candy corn?!

I got this recipe from Kraft and was so excited to make it!  So I thought the perfect time would be for this past Monday when my office had a tail-gate pot-luck lunch!

Click HERE for the recipe from Kraft.  The recipe is also listed below - so easy and worked perfectly!

1/4 cup butter
6 cups JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows
12 drops yellow food coloring
4 drops red food coloring
6 cups crisp rice cereal
2 cups candy corn

1. MICROWAVE butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 45 sec. or until melted. Add marshmallows; toss to coat. Microwave 1-1/2 min. or until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring in food colorings after 45 sec.
2. ADD cereal and candy corn; mix well. Press onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray.
3.COOL completely before cutting into bars. Cut each bar diagonally in half.

The marshmallow mixture is actually orange!
Yeah for candy corn!
xoxo Sarah

Thursday, October 25, 2012

2012 Fall Excursion!

Hello All!

This past weekend we had a lot of fun with our friends Missy and Donny going on a Fall excursion!  We went to a fun pumpkin patch in West Chicago called Sonny Acres and then headed to downtown St. Charles for some afternoon drinks and antiques, then headed for dinner in downtown Naperville - ending the night at a scary haunted house!  Great times with great friends is what life is all about!  Here are some pics from the day below - side note: if you want to go to Sonny Acres - make sure you have children with you!  It's a place for kids!  But don't worry, we still took advantage of the hay ride and apple cider donuts!

The pictures are combination between Missy's and my own - Thank you Missy!
Yeah for having fun with friends!
xoxo Sarah

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tea of the Week!

Hey All!

Sorry it has been so long since I wrote about tea!  It is definitely that time of year when chai tea is starting to smell like Fall and Thanksgiving and pumpkin tea is out and about.  This week, I had Argo Tea's Pumpkin Chai Tea with skim milk - no caffeine and the perfect fall tea on a cold morning going to work!

But what is great about tea now in the mornings on the weekends when it is cold out is having a little breakfast with your tea.  One of the breakfast options I am loving lately is a special Cherry and Rhubarb Jam we got in Michigan.  Top that over some sourdough toast from Panera, and you have a masterpiece!  That and a nice warm cup of tea.

Sleeping Bear Orchards Cherry Rhubarb Jam
What is your favorite fall tea or favorite fall tea snack?  Do you like jams?  If so what is your favorite?  I would love to know!

Happy Fall Tea Drinking!
xoxo Sarah

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Library Time!

Hello All!

So I have been busy reading some pretty long books over the past few weeks. 

First off, I read my first Maeve Binchy novel Scarlet Feather.  When I was up in MI this summer, my mother-in-law and grandma-in-law were talking about how wonderful this author Maeve Binchy was and so I thought I have to read one of her novels.  Maeve Binchy actually passed away this summer, and so that is why they were talking about her so much.  She is an Irish author so all of her novels/stories are set in Ireland.  They have an Irish hint to them in the writing and words that are used and spoken by the characters.  This story in particular is about two friends who start a catering business together in Ireland and how their lives go through all these changes during one years time!  There is love, mystery, excitement and a lot of Irish banter  The story is a difficult read as the sentence structure and wording is a little different than what I am used to reading.  It also take a little bit to get into but I suggest it if you want a full circle story about life and the obstacles you overcome in it. 

The second book I read was one I was really pleased about that I tried.  It was a quick read and I got the recommendation actually from our local library.  The book is The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen.  It is a story about mystery and love and a crazy surprise at the end.  I don't really know how to describe it, but I promise it's worth the two days to read it!

Thirdly, my Halloween pick!  I actually ran into the sequel of this book first - started reading it - realized it was the sequel and went back to the library to get the original.  The book is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.  This book is awesome!  It's like a combination of Harry Potter and Twilight but for adults.  Just my kind of read!  It's about the lives of a vampire and a witch and how they intertwine through history and a certain manuscript that might be what describes how every magical creature came to be - witches, vampires, and daemons.  Random Fact:  Deborah has a award winning wine blog:  Good Wine Under $20.  Can't wait to start following this one!

Happy reading everyone!
xoxo Sarah

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Most Difficult Cooking Task Yet!

It's Fall - and you all know - I love Fall.

I love pumpkin and squash, and I will try to use it as much as I can this time of year because it just tastes that much better - they are in their prime.

So I went to my go to gal - Ina Garten - to make a dish I saw about a year ago on her show "Barefoot Contessa."  The dish I am talking about is her saffron risotto with butternut squash.  My husband makes risotto all the time.  It is one of my favorite dishes.  It is so delicate but so difficult to make perfectly.  There is a lot of time and care that goes into making risotto.  Zachary was a good coach - but I can say I did this by myself, and I am so proud of it!  Plus, Zachary even agreed that this was better than the risotto he makes!  This dish is amazing and just the perfect side dish for a Sunday fall dinner.  We cut the recipe down to be just for us, but I was able to have some for leftovers for lunch as well!  I highly highly recommend making this!

Click HERE for the recipe - it is also listed below:
1 Butternut Squash (2 pounds)
2 TBSP olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.

In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan cheese. Mix well and serve.

This was a picture of the risotto when I just added the squash. 
Happy Risotto Cooking!
xoxo Sarah

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reality TV Cake Recipe - Yes I Did!

Yes Ladies and Gents - I made a recipe for Red Velvet Cake from Kathy Wakile's recipe (Real Housewives of New Jersey - if you didn't know!) for dessert on our anniversary.

Since RHONJ has been in the gossip/pop news so much lately - I thought - what the heck I'll try it!

There are SOOOOO many recipes out there for Red Velvet Cake so I like trying different kinds.  This one was very fluffy and lite and it was delicious!  The one trick I have yet to master for Red Velvet Cake is to not have the cake crumble in the frosting - if you have any pointers on this, please let me know!

Click HERE for the link to the recipe from Kathy's website.

It was very yummy and I recommend trying it!

Fun Fact:  Red Velvet Cake was our wedding cake - that's why I like to make it on our anniversary!
Happy RVC Making!  If you haven't tried it - it's the best!
xoxo Sarah

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon

So for our anniversary last week, Zachary and I made a meal that I have been dying to make ever since I saw it on the movie "Julia and Julia."

Sidenote:  If you have not seen this, you need to - I'm a HUGE Meryl Streep fan and she is just awesome!

Ok - back to the meal.  So this meal is probably one of the most intense cooking instructions possible - many many steps needed for this meal - plus the 3 hours it needs to bake :)

Well - we did it!  And it turned out great!  It was absolutely delicious!  We got all the ingredients we needed at Whole Foods and had fun making it together!

Click HERE for a link to a recipe for Julia Child's creme de la creme - Beef Bourguignon.

Another sidenote:  You can find this recipe in her cookboook The Joy of Cooking.
During the process - and then after!  We added boiled potatoes as a side dish to the meal.  
Happy Cooking!
xoxo Sarah

Friday, October 12, 2012

Acorn Squash Soup

This past weekend - Zachary and I had a nice relaxing weekend!  My mom and sister came down Saturday for some quality time to celebrate my anniversary and my mom's birthday. Zach and I spent the weekend together and enjoyed the crisp air and the smells of fall starting - like pumpkin, squash, spice, cinnamon - all so good and warm!

So on Sunday, even though the Packers lost, I was happy to take my first swing at Acorn Squash Soup from A Cozy Kitchen.  It takes about 2 hours total time - but it turns out amazing, croutons and all!  The recipe is HERE.

**A hint to dice and peel acorn squash:  Cut the squash in half - take out the seeds.  Slice each section of the squash and then peel them - it's easier to handle and easier to peel!

Happy Soup Making!
xoxo Sarah

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pumpkin Scones!

You all know I have an obsession with pumpkin.  I am totally in the pumpkin mood now that I put up Halloween decorations in our apartment.  But take a look at these below:


Omg - amazing!  So soft and the 2 glazes on top of them make them sweet and spicy at the same time!  They are sooo yummy and such a great fun fall treat - especially for breakfast!  I made them for Zachary and also for my mom to taste since she and my sister came down this past weekend on Saturday for a visit!  I got the recipe from BrownEyedBaker.  Click HERE for the recipe - yummy!  The dough might be a little stickier than you want it to be - so just add more flour when you roll it out!  

Have fun with these breakfast treats - they are delicious!

Happy Scone Baking!
xoxo Sarah

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

DIY Ikea Dresser/Night Stand Makeover

Hey Guys!

So Zach and I made a couple changes to our nightstands and dressers in our bedroom. We went to Home Depot and bought some cabinet fixtures to add.  They were not that expensive at all and add a touch to the room that wasn't there before.  I don't have a picture of the nightstands before - so I will just show you the dresser.  Super easy - and a fun project for Zach and I to try at home!
Before and After
Easy, inexpensive and makes a room of a difference!

Happy DIY projects!
xoxo Sarah

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Baked Mac 'N Cheese

Hey Guys!

Went to one of my fav websites the other week to find a great dinner recipe I could make for Zachary.  I went to BrownEyedBaker and looked for some great fall recipes and found her recipe for Baked Mac 'N Cheese.  It is very very good and definitely worth trying!  I would add a little bit more salt that is called for but all-in-all, it was a great weeknight dinner recipe.

Click HERE for the recipe.  Below is how it turned out for me:

Don't be nervous if it look a little watery at first - it thickens up as it cools. 
Happy Mac N' Cheese Baking!
xoxo Sarah

2nd Anniversary...

Two years ago today - I married the love of my life.

Two years ago today - I married my best friend.

Two years ago - Best day of my life.

Happy 2nd Anniversary to my best friend, my husband, my confidant, and my soul mate.  I love you more than anything!

Two years ago today - this picture was taken
Thank you for loving me and being my best friend,
xoxo Always, Sarah

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fun Fall Centerpiece Idea - DIY

I saw this idea at my friend Ang's new house the other weekend when I went up to WI to visit!  She saw it on pinterest - and I though it was genius.

To make your home smell nice - and like a fresh cup of coffee, she added coffee beans to candle votives to place tea lights on top of so that the heat from the candles brought out the smell of the coffee beans.  It made their house smell amazing, and it was a really creative idea to dress up a glass candle votive - plus, the brown is a great accent color for fall and winter!

So I went out and bought some whole coffee beans (any will work) and added them to our coffee table centerpiece.  Take a look below and tell me what you think!  I think it looks great!

Just a fun little fall centerpiece!
Happy Fall Decorating!
xoxo Sarah

Sunday, October 7, 2012

White Bean Enchiladas

Hey Guys-

So the other night for dinner I made these AMAZING enchiladas.  I found the recipe on the website "Thy Hand Hath Provided."  She has an amazing recipe list separated by main ingredient.  So I saw some recipes for beans that looked awesome- so this is the first one I tried which was White Bean Enchiladas.  The recipe is HERE.   Take a look below at this deliciousness.  I strongly recommend these - especially for those that are vegetarians.
The rice is Rice-A-Roni's Spanish Rice (omitted the tomatoes).  Very Very yummy!
Hope you enjoy trying this delicious fresh dish!

Happy Cooking!
xoxo Sarah

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Poppyseed Bread - YUMMM!

This is one of the best recipes I have ever made for bread in general.  Let's get this correct though - it's poppyseed bread - not lemon poppyseed.  This breakfast treat has an amazing almond flavor to it!

My friend Katie made this bread this past March at our SNC Girl's weekend.  It is to die for :)

Here is the recipe:

Mix together:
3 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 T poppy seeds

1 1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
3 eggs
1 c plus 1 T canola oil

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until combined. Put into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Check with toothpick to ensure it's done.

Leave in pan and cool.

When cool, prick top with meat thermometer to make "holes" and pour glaze on top. You may not use all of the glaze.

Glaze recipe: (combine all ingredients and melt in microwave)
2 T melted butter
1/4 c orange juice
3/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
Absolutely delicious!
Happy Bread Baking!
xoxo Sarah

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Friday Night Lights...

What is one of the best memories you have had on Friday nights in the fall?

Is it sipping on hot apple cider with your friends?  Homecoming in high school?  TGIF tv shows from way back when??   Going to haunted houses?  Carving Pumpkins?

I have to tell you - my favorite was and still is Friday night high school football games!  I loved cheering on my high school team with my friends - eating hot dogs and drinking hot cocoa all night long!

I'm blessed as well to have a husband who played football in high school and has a great appreciation for Friday night lights!  So this past week Friday, we decided to go to the local high school football game!  It was such a blast and it was just so fun to be there and people watch as well.  Looking at those youngsters made me realize how happy I am to be where I am in my life - holding the hand of the man I will spend the rest of my life with.

I highly suggest going to your local high school for a fun football game this fall.  They are so fun and just great times!  Go by yourself - go with your family - go with your friends!  Who cares!  It's the fall and it's football - what more is better than that!
At the high school football game this past Friday!
Happy Fall!
xoxo Sarah

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Ok - I did it - yes - This blog - Sarah's Tea Box- is officially Twitterfied.

I still don't know how to use Twitter as much as I would like but I think that I will eventually get the hang of it the more I use it.

If you look at the bottom of this website (on the right) you will see a place where you can follow me on Twitter.

Any Twitter info or tips you can give me would be awesome!

Hope you like this little added feature!
Source: HERE
Happy Twittering!
xoxo Sarah

Happy Birthday Mom!

Dedicated to the my one and only amazing mother - I love you and Happy Birthday!

Mom with her girls!
Happy Birthday Mom!
xoxoxo Sarah

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Obsession with Pumpkin

Ok - it's official I have an obsession.  I love Pumpkin.  Pumpkin bars - pumpkin lattes - pumpkin bread - pumpkin muffins - pumpkin pie.

What is it about pumpkin?  There is just something so comforting and rich about pumpkin that makes it the perfect food throughout the fall.  The spices - the smell - the warmth - I don't know - It's just the best!

So when we had our football get together this past weekend, I decided to make my favorite Pumpkin Bar recipe from Paula Deen - yes Paula Deen!  Might not be the healthiest for you - but once a while in the fall - they are ok.

The recipe is listed below - also click HERE for the recipe from the Food Network website:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.
3) To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.
One of the best pumpkin desserts around - the frosting is amazing as well!
I promise there will be more pumpkin recipes to come this Fall - so get excited!

Yeah for Pumpkin!
xoxo Sarah