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Posts Tagged ‘Autumn’

I’ve been invited to the Thanksgiving luncheon at my previous employer and must find a dish to bring. I always like to include something a little different while the SC natives tend to their traditions. usually bring something New Englandish. Last year it was mashed potatoes and gravy. Would you believe mashed potatoes are not on their ‘must do’ list! I guess this is rice country along the coast and rice is a mainstay of a meal. I’m sure there will be collards and macaroni and cheese. Deviled eggs always attend the party as does sweet potato casserole. The dessert table will be crammed with goodies, and people to full of dinner to really get into most of them. They’ll all strike around 3:00 break time for coffee and whatever is left of the cakes, cookies and pies.
Since I retired 4 yrs ago, It’s always fun visiting with the old crew, seeing their wives and children (all grown up). So what to bring……

Pre-Thanksgiving Spread (That’s my Waldorf in the front corner next to the eggs)


I decided on my twist of a Waldorf Salad

Waldorf Salad Upgraded

9 apples unpeeled but cored and diced (I used a variety of MacIntosh, Granny Smith, and Gala so to have different textures, color and sweet / tart)
2 stalks Celery finely sliced
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream whipped
1/2 Cup Pomegranate Craisins (pomegranite seeds might be nice instead)
1/2 Cup Maple sugared walnuts (see recipe)
1/16 teas Chinese Five Spice powder
sprinkle of ground ginger
sprinkle of ground cardamon

Whip cream and set aside. Blend mayonnaise with spices. Add celery and craisins to diced apples in bowl. Stir in Mayonnaise mixture. Fold whipped cream into apple mixture. Refrigerate. Prepare Walnuts.

Maple Glazed Walnuts with Cayenne
adapted from recipe by fifteenspatulas

3 Tbl maple syrup
sprinkle of cayenne
sprinkle of salt

Heat a skillet to hot. Add walnuts and toast until nuts are heated thru and piping hot. Sprinkle with a good dose of cayenne and salt. Slowly pour syrup in side of skillet (carefully as it will bubble up and spit) Stir nuts around until coated. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool completely. When completely cool, scatter over apples in bowl. Toss walnuts with apples just before serving.

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Thanksgiving time and I’m remembering so many happy Thanksgivings spent with my parents and sisters. When my sisters and I were younger, Thanksgiving meant High School football. Natick vs. Framingham rivals like no other. We always made our own pom-poms from red and blue crepe paper rolls and mom would buy us colored crysanthamums to wear on our jackets. While we cheered our team on, mom was busy in the kitchen at home preparing our Thanksgiving dinner. It was always served at the big dining room table, covered in white linen. Our dishes with the pretty pink flowers would be filled with turkey and dressing and all the fixings. Through the years, Thanksgiving day followed almost the same pattern. Because I was the youngest child, the game continued to be a big part of the day, but my sisters married and sometimes shared the day with their spouse’s families. One year, with just the three of us (Mom, Dad and me) it was decided we would eat out. A more beautiful setting for Thanksgiving than the Wayside Inn there will never be.

It was there I discovered Grape-nut pudding. Served warm with whipped cream, I fell in love with the silky custard and slightly nutty crust. In the years that have passed, I’ve never tried making my own until now. I searched my beloved copy of ‘Fanny Farmer Cookbook’ and scoured the internet to come up with what I felt was a suitable recipe. Of course I took my favorite three and took a little bit from each.

Now, more is not always better. Every now and then, I ‘tweak’ a recipe. Here we go, first, I adjusted the eggs, but only because in separating one of them, I broke the white into my bowl and ditched the yolk. I was supposed to use 2 eggs and 2 yolks. Now I had 2 eggs and 1 white. To correct the error I just added another egg, and what the heck, I added another yolk too. I beat up my eggs with the sugar and vanilla and tempered them nicely. Then I decided that 1/2 cup of Grape-Nuts sounded wanting. They looked lost floating around in that quart of milk. So I added another 1/2 cup. What I didn’t count on is, they expand! They plump up to 3 times their size! They are like oatmeal or cornmeal. They take over and suck up all that milk. We ate it anyway, covered in more milk and lots of whipped cream, not a total disaster, but not at all like I remembered way back 50 yrs ago. Lesson learned.

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I long for reds and gold and orange
cinnamon and nutmeg in the air
a brisk walk under flaming trees
a thick irish knit sweater to wear

I miss the sound of falling leaves
in the silence of early morning
the crisp bite of a just picked macintosh
the fireplace embers bright and warming

I yearn for the acrid smoke of a bonfire
sweet pie pumpkins from the country store
gathered on a leisurely Sunday drive
and long mountain paths to explore

my windows open and curtains flapping
a breath of cool fresh air
soup in the kitchen
enough for an army to share

Saturday afternoon football games
rivals since long ago
a country inn a covered bridge
Oh New England I miss you so

hot apple cider and maple candy
and an icey cold mountain stream
it’s that time of year that I think of home
and its of New England I dream.

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