Fall Placemats

September 30, 2010

Paper pieced today out of scraps -- Yippee!

Pumpkin Steel-Cut Oats

September 27, 2010

With the temperature dipping into the 60’s, it seemed the perfect time to try pumpkin steel-cut oats. I loved them, but Miss Phoebe’s vote will be in tomorrow when she tries a bowl for her breakfast. A couple of our guests tried them this morning, but since I wasn’t here when they were served, I didn’t get the bottom line response. Not sure how they went over.

I simply cooked the oats according to the package directions, added a bit of pumpkin butter, some spices, a little sugar, honey, vanilla and Smart Balance, and threw in some raisins for good measure. They stayed piping hot in my Crock Pot –(the same Crock Pot that was opened as a gift at our wedding over 35 years ago, by the way)…..More later when the verdict comes in.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

September 25, 2010

On the Tea Time Table

About a month ago, I borrowed one of Miss Phoebe’s Paula Deen cookbooks. I copied several recipes out of them, and this was one:

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

2 14 oz pkgs gingerbread mix (I wasn’t going to spend $2.79 / pkg for these so I used Betty Crocker’s recipe and made my own. I didn’t have the key ingredient–molasses–so I googled “substitute for molasses,” and simply put in Karo syrup and a bit of maple syrup instead. The texture of the gingerbread was amazingly soft and moist, so these “make-do’s” worked great.)
One 5.1 oz pkg instant vanilla pudding mix
One 30 oz can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 tsp cinnamon
One 12-oz carton Cool Whip
1/2 cup gingersnaps

Bake gingerbread. Cool completely. Prepare pudding. Mix pie filling, sugar, cinnamon into pudding. (I also mixed an additional carton Cool Whip into this pudding mixture. Yum!) Crumble one batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl. (I wasn’t going to crumble it; I had decided to cube it. But when I mentioned this to my daughter, she said, “Mom, whenever I’ve thought I had a better idea than Paula Deen, I didn’t.” So I heeded that bit of wisdom and crumbled it like Paula had said. Note: crumbling was the better choice. Just right!) Pour 1/2 pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of Cool Whip. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and Cool Whip. Sprinkle the top with crushed gingersnaps. Refrigerate overnight.

I had lots of left-overs, so I had lots to share. One neighbor leaned out the window of her car and said, “I’ve got to have that recipe!” and Miss Phobe said, “Don’t ever lose that recipe!” It really is a keeper! Yum!

Pumpkin-flavored Soft Pretzels

September 21, 2010

I ate waaaay too many of these!

Our house smelled like curry this morning as I left to take my walk, since I had the curry carrot coconut soup still on the stove. The chicken was bubbling away in the other pot, so I knew I had almost exactly a mile’s worth of time–precisely what I would need to do a roundtrip downtown. As I passed Fountain Park, I smelled the pumpkin spices filling up High Street–probably from White Swan Tavern–and I drank them in. (I love yummy smells!) After lunch our house began to smell like pumpkin spices, too, as I experimented with pumpkin soft pretzels.

I used to make soft pretzels all the time when the girls were little, but I had never tried to alter the recipe. Today, having looked forward to pumpkin cooking for several days, I decided that this would be the day to try a soft pretzel that fit fall. YUM! They’re the perfect tea time treat for Parents Weekend! Woo hoo!

“Have you come to sing pumpkin carols?” –Linus

September 21, 2010

Nooooo, but hopefully we’ll feel like singing when the Pumpkin Soup, the Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats and the Pumpkin Quinoa are done…..At least, those are the dishes I’d like to make with the fresh pumpkins that I bought from the Farmer’s Market vendor.

I bought pumpkins which are specifically for cooking. I haven’t yet cut into them, but according to the vendor, they don’t have any “guts” like the regular, jack-o-lantern types do. Because it has been cool for a week or so, I’m really eager to do some fall cooking. And tomorrow just might be that day!

I’m beginning to be a believer…..

September 15, 2010

Fall bounty from the Farmer's Market -- on our dining room table!

….that Fall might actually be here. After such a hot, steamy summer, I didn’t think the heat would ever go away, and if it did for a bit, I figured it might then sneak back. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, when I saw the first fake autumn leaves in a display window downtown, I thought, “Naah. Too early for those! I’m not believin’ it.” BUT we’ve had a glorious week or so now; the farmers’ combines have been in the fields, transforming them from amber stalks of grain to what looks like lots of colossal giants’ day-old, stumpy, stubby beards. So it really is looking and feeling like Fall. Yep, I’m beginning to be a believer….”It’s beginning to look a lot like Autumn!!” (Think of the tune to “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas;” just substitute that last word.) Yippee!

The end of summer? Pebbles on the beach??

September 14, 2010

Small rocks along the seashore??

NO! Look a little closer…..

They’re just SIMPLY SHORTBREADS baked at Simply Bed & Bread for tea time. Simply butter, a little sugar, and flour. Simple. And sometimes “simple” is just right.

A box of animal crackers

September 4, 2010

When I was a little girl, we went to town once each week, on Saturdays. My daddy loved being with us, so if he were going somewhere to do an errand, he always took us. I remember one of those errand trips to the grocery store. My father and sister and I were in the check-out line at the Acme….Pointing to us, the check-out gal had just asked Daddy if we “were good.” With that twinkle in his eye that he always had when he was with us, he answered her, “When they’re asleep.” But we knew that he thought we were “good” much more than that–which we counted on–especially when we were in front of the Barnum animal cracker shelf in the store.

Money was tight, so we knew better than to ask for treats at the grocery store. BUT once in a while, again with that same twinkle, Daddy would stop in front of those bright animal cracker boxes with the string handles and he’d reach up and get a box for each of us. One whole box for each — no sharing necessary — we could hold it ourselves, and eat out of it whenever we wanted, and we could make it last, or eat them quickly, or anything! Such luxury and extravagance! Such love! ….Which was why when our own girls were little, one of my favorite things to do was to stop in front of the animal boxes in the Acme aisle.

So….if you find a box of animal crackers somewhere at Simply Bed & Bread, well,…..you’ll have an idea why it’s there.

Location, Location, Location.

You might notice the WAC Administration Building cupola out of the corner of your eye as you walk onto Simply Bed & Bread's brick path, since our house is just a stone's throw away from the college. Or it might be the ...
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