Tag Archive: Autumn

Autumnal Equinox

Yesterday was the beginning of autumn, my favorite season.  Like most years, it really didn’t seem very fall like…at least on the surface.  But, there is no mistaking the clear pale blue color of the sky in September. The change in lighting gives the landscape a slightly cooler look than summer. A small change, but a definite change. Also noticeable was the heavy dew on my car that I hadn’t seen during the summer months. The changes are subtle but present even at the equinox.

For me, Autumn comes as a welcome relief from the heat and humidity of summer.  My creative juices tend to languish in the summer and reawaken as the mornings get cooler and the days get shorter. In early Fall, I begin to think about my favorite holidays Halloween, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. There is still time to perfect some unique meal or craft something special for celebrating or make plans to gather loved ones together.

Happy Autumn!! Wishing you all a wonderful Fall full of creativity and love!

 

Banana Walnut Bread

Have some really ripe bananas? Try Banana Nut Bread!

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That is the scenario that we faced this past weekend. What to do with 7 really ripe bananas. Well we didn’t turn them all into nut bread, but we did use some of them for that purpose.  We used a really simple recipe, but  it does take some planning ahead. The eggs and butter should be at room temperature—so they need to sit out of the refrigerator for a couple of hours. The walnuts taste a lot better if you roast them in the oven first—it releases the natural oils.

2-roasted walnuts

Ingredients

1 ¼ cup of unbleached organic all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon fine salt

2 large eggs (at room temperature)

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted organic butter (at room temperature)

1 cup of sugar

3very ripe bananas peeled and mashed should be about a cup

½ cup toasted walnut pieces

Directions

Sift the flour, baking soda & salt into a bowl and set aside.

4-sift all dry ingredients

Put the eggs and vanilla in a small bowl (or glass measuring cup) and whisk until blended and set aside.

Brush Butter or oil onto a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

Pre-heat the oven for 350 degrees F.

I always sift dry ingredients just to make sure there are no lumps.

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Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (You can use a stand mixer or a hand held electric mixer)

5-cream the butter & sugar

Slowly pour the egg mixture into the butter while using a mixer until it a smooth blend.

Add the bananas mixing until blended. (the mixture may look curdled, that is ok)

Using a rubber cake spatula, mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Fold in the nuts and transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan.

Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the pan cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

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Turn the bread out on a wire rack to completely cool.

After it is cool, wrap in plastic wrap. For the best flavor serve the next day.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

 

Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding

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This little adventure all started, because we had some over ripe bananas in the house. So we started brainstorming about how to use them (besides making smoothies–which we also did).

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Ingredients

4 eggs

2 cups of milk

1 cup of sugar

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

4 cups cubed French Bread (we used stale oatmeal bread)

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

2 bananas sliced (we quartered them length wise and then cubed them)

2-bananas

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan

3-egg milk

In a large mixing bowl, mix eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the bread, bananas and chocolate chips. Let stand for 5 minutes so the bread can soak up the liquid mixture.

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Pour into prepared loaf pan.

6-water bath

Prepare a water bath for the loaf pan to sit in. Line a roasting pan with a damp kitchen towel. Place bread pan on the towel inside the roasting pan. Place roasting pan on oven rack. Fill roasting pan with water to reach halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Challenge yourself to use left over fruits and vegetables. You will save money while expressing your creativity.

Enjoy!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

When you are carving a pumpkin for Halloween or Fall Festival, you have to scoop the seeds out anyway, so you may as well collect them up and roast them.

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You don’t have to wash the seeds, but you can if you want. If you wash them, don’t dry them off too much so the salt and spices will stick to them. If you don’t wash them, you can put 2 teaspoons of oil in a small bowl and coat the pumpkin seeds lightly in oil.

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Pre-heat the oven for 300 degrees.

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While the oven is heating up, take the pumpkin seeds and arrange them on an oiled sheet pan in a single layer. You can add salt and any kind of spice flavor that you want. We used curry powder and cayenne pepper. Cook for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

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The Pumpkin Carving Book

By Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell; Photography by Debbie Patterson; Text by Tessa Evelegh

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This is a great little book. It has tips on carving all kinds of squashes, gourds, melons, and pumpkins. Many of the pictures are folk art patterns or whimsical. The book explains the basics about each type of squash and ways to carve them. Also very helpful is the list of tools and how to use them.

 

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This is a pumpkin that we carved this Halloween season, using the techniques described in the book.

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Apple Cake

Autumn is the perfect time to make apple dishes. I have Ida Red Apples in the house, so I substituted them in this recipe that calls for Fuji or Gala apples.

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Ingredients
2 eggs
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ cup oil
6 medium Gala or Fuji or Honey Crisp Apples
2 Cups Flour
2 Tablespoons Baking Soda

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Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and oil. Peel and slice the apples and add to mixture in bowl (coating as you add apples to keep them from turning brown.) Mix together the baking soda and flour and add to the ingredients in the bowl.

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Mix well (best with a fork) until all of the flour is absorbed by the wet ingredients. Pour mixture into a greased one 9×12 or two 9 inch round pans.

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Bake for approximately 55 minutes.

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Possible Presentation Ideas
Place a scoop of vanilla ice Cream next to a slice of cake and then drizzle with caramel syrup

Tri-Color Stuffed Bell Peppers

I have never been a carb lover, so reducing carbs while cooking, feels very natural. I eat rice, pastas, noodles, and potatoes in very small amounts. I do love most vegetables and really love cauliflower as a substitution for rice. Sometimes when I make this dish, I use half rice and half cauliflower. I feel very comfortable changing it up each time.

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 serves 6:  6 large Sweet Bell Peppers, 2 each color yellow, orange, & red, washed and dried

Stuffing:

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup chopped orange/red mini sweet peppers
½ cup chopped celery
1 cup cauliflower, finely chopped or riced
or
1 cup cooked white or brown rice (omit if using cauliflower)
Garlic Powder to taste
1 tablespoon dried Tuscan Italian seasoning
Fresh ground black pepper

12 oz of Marinara Sauce for topping

Cut the tops off of the 6 large Bell Peppers. clean out the seeds. Set peppers aside.

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Dice the onion, mini sweet peppers, and celery and set aside.  Using a deep skillet or pot, brown your ground beef then add the chopped onion and peppers, and cook for a few minutes.

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Add the cooked rice and/or riced Cauliflower, marinara sauce, rub the Tuscan Italian seasoning into the mixture, season with salt and pepper.

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Drain if necessary. Mix well. Stuff peppers with this mixture.

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Place peppers in a Crock Pot/slow cooker or deep baking dish.

Top each with a couple tablespoons of ketchup or marinara sauce.

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Slow Cooker Method: Cover slow cooker and cook peppers on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 3. Peppers are done when they’re very soft and tender and the meat mixture is very hot all the way through. Serve.

Oven Method: 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Homemade Chunky Applesauce

Perfect for pairing with pork loin roast or pork chops.

INGREDIENTS

I used 4 large Ida Red Apples –because that is what I had on hand.

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2 tablespoons unsalted organic butter

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 Tablespoons Sugar

2-3 Tablespoons of Water

 

DIRECTIONS

Peel, core and cut the apples into ½ inch chunks

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add apples, cinnamon, sugar, and two (or three) tablespoons of water.

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Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, Ida Red apples do not cook down as fast as some apples do, so I cooked for about 20 minutes. If it looks too wet, take the lid off and let some water evaporate.

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Serve warm or chilled. Keep in the refrigerated if you are not using right away.

 

 

Parlor Dwelling

Parlor Dwelling

Slow down you move too fast!!

During the cooler months, one of the most pleasant things we do at Spring Rose Cottage is to sit in the parlor in the evenings. Theo first used the term “Parlor Dweller” to describe people like me who thrive on both the quiet and reserve of the space.

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He subsequently painted “The Parlor Dweller” acrylic on canvas, a study in burnt umber. It is me in one of my favorite wing chairs.

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Wayne defines a parlor as a living room with no television—and he is quite correct. Sometimes “parlor dwelling” is a solitary affair where one can read, do needlework, write a book chapter or blog posts. Sometimes it can be a group activity like playing a board game, cards, name that tune, or playing music.

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One of our favorite endeavors is to take turns reading a book, short story or poems. I enjoy reading out loud and I love to hear someone else read.

I find the parlor is a most agreeable place to dwell.